Bob Higgs is a libertarian American ex-pat living in Mexico who in a recent blog post wrote the following within the context of immigration and borders (bold emphasis added):
As for so-called public property, which the government purports to own, the situation is different: the ownership of such property justly resides in no particular person(s); it is therefore common property, and any person whatsoever, including a migrant, has as much right as any other person to gain access to and use it.
This is a communist, not libertarian, take on property. The libertarian perspective is that state-owned property resides in the people who are forced to finance its control and maintenance.
This is why back in the day only property owners could vote; they were the ones forced to pay the tax, so only they got a say in the matter. And were we to return to this voting restriction, we would be able to roll back much of the state.
If you are taxed and that money goes toward the control or maintenance of property, you have a just claim to deciding how that property is handled. If you aren’t, then you do not.
Is anyone seriously going to claim that I as American have a right to access state-owned property in China or India and can use it however I wish?
It’s amazing that some libertarians can argue that taxation is theft, yet then argue that property held by a criminal entity through that theft somehow belongs to everyone on the mere basis that it is illegitimately possessed.
As I wrote recently, under this logic it is perfectly acceptable for drug dealers to cook meth in RVs in national forests, or even on the sidewalk. In fact, any form of behavior is acceptable on any state-owned property, provided it is not technically “aggressive” or “coercive” in nature.
However, the fact remains that this system is not even remotely close to resembling how that land would be managed were it privatized.
Higg’s “common property” policy is currently adopted by cities such as Seattle and Portland regarding the homeless, and the outcome is as plain, obvious, and predictable as natural resources “belonging to the people” creates shortages in socialist countries.
The result has been the complete takeover of bike paths and public parks by drug addicts and the mentally ill, none of whom are technically acting “aggressive” or “coercive” when they urinate and defecate in public. In Denver, the city has decriminalized defecating on the sidewalk to prevent the deportation of illegal aliens.
You smell that stench? Apparently it’s the fragrance of liberty.
Perhaps these cities should give these people $1,000 and a one-way bus ticket to Mexico. After all, Mexico belongs to the homeless in America just as much as the Mexicans who already live there (and have lived for millennia) and pay that government’s taxes.
In fact, the U.S. should send its all its homeless and unemployed into foreign countries and have them simply occupy the common property, and if they happen to get access to welfare goodies at the same time, well, the people already living do too, so there!
My parting thought is that open border libertarians should avoid calling the Alt. Right a bunch of left-wing socialists when their own treatment of state-controlled land is no different than that of the communist party. Either that, or they can take up my standing challenge as to why their view on the matter is perfectly aligned with the views of Hillary Clinton and other Progressives who favor bigger government in every aspect of life.
Either globalists are all secretly libertarians, or open border advocates within libertarianism need to take a step back and rethink their position.
Obviously I’m not arguing in favor of Soviet bloc-style borders and immigration. I’m saying the people who are taxed and forced to adhere to the laws of a political jurisdiction have a just claim in trying to regulate how the finite amount of resources is handled and restrict who has access to it.
For libertarians, the idea is to have the management of state-controlled property resemble the private sector as much as possible. There is no example of a “free-for-all” on private land; all land owners to one extent or another impose restrictions and rules for those who enter and are allowed to enter.