15 Responses

  1. Simon Rigelsford
    Simon Rigelsford at |

    “Anything less than 100% consensus on free immigration from the present citizens is to be taken as a no, as everyone has absolute property rights which can’t be violated – not even by majority consent.”

    This is ludicrous. Not even Hoppe argues against open immigration on this basis.

    The same principles would require that every time someone wanted to have a child, they would need 100% consensus as well – after all, that child will be using state roads etc in his lifetime just as much as any immigrant will.

  2. WT
    WT at |

    End of multiculturalism? What are you talking about? That’s one of the things I like the best in the modern civilized society; plus, the economical benefits, technological advances, shared knowledge, influx of new ideas, (good) practices and positive social changes of a multicultural society are invaluable!

    Like Steven Craig argued on Facebook, although individual rights are the most important of them all, “one cannot rely solely on natural property rights to determine the most agreeable solution in all scenarios”.

  3. Alessandre
    Alessandre at |

    By describing a landmass as some form of shared property by the citizenry individual property rights have to be violated. If I can’t sell my house to the highest bidder, even if that be a foreigner then I can’t be said to truly own it. Property rights of private citizens over their land can therefore only be upheld when immigration is free.

    The reason I can’t burgle my neighbour’s house is the same reason for which I can’t restrict who he may sell it to. By declaring that the citizens of the same country as me have a collective property right over the land in that country, and therefore a right to keep out foreigners, you declare that they have a right to some share of my house. I think you would object if I used your argument from this article to justify coming and sitting on your sofa

  4. Sam
    Sam at |

    Hi Kier,

    Thanks for taking the time to read my piece and write this response. I found it interesting, but ultimately it fails to convince.

    The first problem is that you assume the existence of natural rights and base your argument on this assumption. Since natural rights are a figment of our imagination, this renders the rest of your argument null. You might as well premise your case on the existence of the Easter Bunny.

    Even on its own terms, your (and Hoppe’s) argument doesn’t work. You admit that “due to the difficulties of tracing the real owners of these pieces of land, we may say that they are either ‘unowned’ or, for the time being, owned equally by every single member of the present population”, and you assume that the latter must be the case. Why should it be the case?

    Consider another example. Much of the land in the UK, the USA and many other places was at one point or another stolen from someone who had acquired it justly. It’s impossible for us to trace the descendants of the ‘real’ owners of these pieces of land, so instead we make do and act like the most recent owner who has justly acquired this land is the rightful owner. In other words, we treat the land as being ‘unowned’ simply because we can’t trace the truly rightful owner.

    Back to the case of roads – stolen property whose ‘true’ owners are also untraceable. You say that “Somebody though, must own them”. But you give no justification for this. As we’ve seen above, in most cases where there is no clear owner we treat things as being unowned.

    Perhaps your justification is practical: that treating roads as if they are commonly owned and giving ever owner a veto on the use of that commonly owned resource minimises other property rights violations. But your piece is a clear refutation of that. Blocking immigrants means aggressing against the property rights of homeowners who want to rent or sell to immigrants, and business owners who want to employ immigrants. Indeed, without a state there would be no distinction between ‘citizens’ and ‘immigrants’ at all. You cannot ‘inject’ moral righteousness into state theft, and when you try you end up restricting people’s property rights even more.

    To put it clearly: The government steals from me, a citizen of the United Kingdom, when it taxes me in order to pay for (among many other things) roads. Many of these roads would exist privately if the government did not exist. I cannot build my own roads because the government uses force to maintain its monopoly. Since there is no possibility of a sophisticated private road network as long as the government owns roads, we should try to administer government roads in such a way that allows people to use their property as freely as possible. Not to do so would be to compound the evil of the initial state theft from me. Since I as a property owner am as justified in letting immigrants onto my property as I am in letting other British citizens on, there is no justification for restricting the movement of non-citizens.

  5. Immigration and Property Rights - The Backbencher

    [...] is obviously utter tripe. In this article I hope to respond to Keir Martland’s view that immigration controls can be justified on property rights basis. Do note that this is not a consequentialist piece, if you want the arguments about economic [...]

  6. Paul Perrin (@pperrin)
    Paul Perrin (@pperrin) at |

    Yup – thats about right.

    Too many so called ‘libertarians’ think themselves ‘libertarian’ so label everything they think as ‘libertarian’… Often quite wrongly.

    I think it could be given a more solid underpinning – (starting from all property is theft…) but the conclusion is correct.

  7. Roads, Balkanisation and Regulation of Monopolies | The Libertarian

    [...] [1] Taking A Politically Incorrect Stance. Keir Martland.http://the-libertarian.co.uk/taking-the-politically-incorrect-stance-on-immigration/ [...]

  8. Some libertarians aren’t very sensible when it comes to immigration | Simon Rigelsford

    [...] debate in the libertarian blogosphere recently about immigration, started by Keir Martland here, and responded to by Allrik Birch here, with Keir then responding to Allrik’s post [...]