View Full Version : Libertarian answer to immigration

09-19-2005, 10:54 AM
Pat Buchanan has written a best-selling new book on immigration, "The Death of the West," but in a recent column, he got the libertarian position on immigration wrong.

It's true that open borders lead to more statism. Indeed, it takes a massive state to maintain open borders. So libertarian critics such as Steve Kubby are wrong, and Buchanan is right. Where he is not correct is in ascribing the open borders position to the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and to all libertarians. Indeed, conservative or "paleo" libertarians oppose open borders based on the idea of exclusive property rights.

Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Senior Fellow of the Mises Institute, has written extensively on this topic. He is the first theoretician to look at the immigration debate not through utilitarian concerns about increasing welfare in society, but from a rigorous argument focused strictly on property rights.

The increase of the immigration-fed welfare state aside, a fundamental right in any free society is that of property ownership as well as the right of exclusion pertaining to that property. After all, if I own land and buildings, and if I decide to exclude others from my property whether they are immigrants or domestic residents I surely must have that right. Hoppe points out that, because property owners have a right to exclude, then under the scenario where all land is privately owned, as it should be, "there exists no such thing as freedom of immigration." Libertarianism proper, then, does not uphold some right to "freedom of immigration," but rather the right of the property owner to decide whom to invite and whom to exclude.


With the establishment of a government and state borders, immigration takes on an entirely new meaning. Immigration becomes immigration by foreigners moving across state borders, and the decision as to whether or not a person should be admitted no longer rests with the private property owners or associations of such owners, but with the government as the ultimate sovereign of all domestic residents and the ultimate super-owner of all their properties.

The current system of mass immigration allows for the trampling of private property by means of forced integration, and the harm done is immense. As it stands, property owners are limited by law from excluding individuals from their place of employment due to affirmative-action and discrimination laws, and from their neighborhoods by civil-rights legislation.

Immigration in that sense is forced integration, and according to Hoppe, when that is the case:

The result of this policy of non-discrimination is forced integration: The forcing of masses of inferior immigrants onto domestic property owners who, if the decision were left to them, would have sharply discriminated and chosen very different neighbors for themselves.


09-19-2005, 12:30 PM
Sorry, but if Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe still thinks there is any such concept as private property rights in the United States of America, then he needs to schticken his kopf out the window of that Ludwig von Mises institute a little more often and readjust his monocle for a better view.
Personally, I make an extortion payment of several thousand dollars a year to local and state government just for the privilege of not being escorted off my property at gunpoint by the sheriff.
Local zoning laws and municipal ordinances are so strict that there is virtually no change outside of basic maintenance that I can make to my property without incurring repercussions from government at some of its many overlapping levels.
Personally, I'm about ready to let "the masses of inferior immigrants" herd their goats on my front lawn -- maybe it will save me a citation for not cutting the grass soon enough.