Soviet Migration Chaos

In many ways, Europe seems to be in a crises at the moment. Economic problems of some EU states, most importantly Greece have been constantly in the news over the past few years and no end is in side. The people in charge to manage the crises are our completely clueless politicians. They have identified all kinds of causes, except the real one, which is of course themselves. And so every new ‘solution’ presented is really only trying to solve the ever bigger mess that their last one caused. Every time they come up with a new solution, everything seems to go quiet for a moment before the disaster resurfaces.

In the first half of this year, it was Greece that was heading the news. They put a bandage on this problem and so everything has gone quiet for now, until in a few months, the bandage will come off and will reveal an even bigger wound. But it seems we are not going to get to enjoy the holiday in the mean time. This summer, a new crises has emerged. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people are trying to get into the fortress of Europe. Of course there have always been many people trying to get into Europe, but because of the horrendous devastations that various political groups, including and probably most importantly our own governments have caused in the middle east, the numbers of refugees, looking for a better and in many cases simply any life have become so big that it cannot be ignored anymore. We have a problem!

However, just like in the economic crises, the reasons presented to us in the mainstream media for what caused this crises are false most of the time. First of all, the real reason why the middle east has become such a hell hole has a lot to do with the foreign policy of our governments in that region, at least since WWII. However, the details of these policies shall not be the topic of this article. Let us instead focus on the refugee crisis itself.

Since the collapse of the soviet union, most people and even politicians seemed to have learned the lesson that outright centrally planning the economy does not work. Few people however seem to understand why exactly that is. Most just seemed to accept the empirical case without understanding the mechanism behind it. That is probably the reason why we still have a few bastions of real central planning left. One especially bizarre example in the UK is the NHS. It is bizarre, because most countries in Europe are pursuing a much better, less centrally planned alternative. And yet, despite of that, the NHS seems sacrosanct.

But one area in which every state I know of still prefers economic central planning is the movement of people over state borders. Of course there are other aspects to migration than economics, but economics is usually one of the main arguments in favour of this policy. Migration control really is classic central planning and we are seeing all the problems we would expect from such a system.

Every person who crosses a state border, needs to have a permission from the state in whose territory he or she is traveling. Sometimes, he even needs a permission from the state from which he is traveling. This includes citizens, who also need to be ready to proove their membership in that state if requested. From this follows logically that every lip service to private property by any state is an illusion. If the state can prevent me from entering my property and if it can prevent me from inviting strangers to my property, then it cannot really be my property. The real owner seems to be the state.

To select who can pass and who cannot, the criteria are as always in central planning completely arbitrary. We have a classic soviet style system of licensing based on arbitrary criteria and quotas in place. On the surface, all these criteria are openly and precisely laid out. So it looks like we are dealing with an organised system. However, since these rules do not relate to the real needs of people in the world, what we really get instead is what Ludwig von Mises called a planned chaos. What does that mean? For example, while I was studying a Masters at Bournemouth University, I lived with a guy from Japan, who was doing a language course at one of the many language schools in Bournemouth. On a student visa, the central planners had decided, he could work for 20h a week. Why 20h, I don’t know, but that was the number the comrades came up with. He worked in a restaurant as a waiter. In that job it is sometimes hard to keep track of hours worked and so one week he worked a little bit longer. Unfortunately, the restaurant documented this, because he got paid for the extra hours. When the central planners discovered it, they gave him 2 weeks to leave the country. In addition to that, since he had caused such a damage to the UK economy, he was banned from re-entering the country for 10 years.

There you go, that is central planning at work. The people who planned this system were doing it under the assumption, that if someone with a Japanese passport works for more than 20h then that is bad. However, if a student with a Spanish passport or for that matter an English one would do the exact same work, then that is perfectly fine. There is no way of making sense of this. It is a complete chaos, disconnected from any common sense and the real needs of the people involved. But it is a chaos organised with merciless brutal precision. This is of course just one example of one regulation. But every state migration regulation works like this. There are no free market prices involved in these decisions. We just have arbitrary bureaucratic categories, based on whatever the central planners think is sensible. And since everyone crossing a state border needs to be categorised in one of these, I would expect to see quite a bit of chaos from this.

Migration control is not a minor little policy. With this policy the state claims nothing short of the right to control everyone who is on its territory. It is therefore violating the rights of everyone on both sides of the border, not just migrants with foreign passports. Of course, it cannot succeed in ever really controlling people. There has never been a closed border, or for that matter even a completely tight prison. People who really want to cross the border, will cross the border. The state merely raises the costs to do so. But since the state claims the right to control everyone, every person crossing the border without state permission is seen as a problem. And so, further, tighter restrictions on freedom need to be put in place. It is like with all interventions. The state is causing the problems that it is trying to solve. Therefore, we are constantly moving towards more and more
statism.

But the chaos is completely unnecessary. We have a real tool of order in the word which is liberty. The truth is of cause that in every voluntary agreement, both sides always win. If this simple economic principal holds true then no migrant crossing a state border without violating anyones private property rights can possibly cause any damage. On the contrary, if it is indeed voluntary, then there always is a net economic benefit from it.

We also live in a world economy in which goods are being traded all over the globe. Talking about a national economy as if this existed as a separate entity is simply nonsense. There is no such thing, outside of North Korea at least. And even they are not completely cut off. If that is true, then we have a self interest that people move from areas in which they cannot be productive to productive ones. Not only will this not hurt our standard of living, it will improve it.

So if we are now seeing people fleeing areas in which productivity or even pure survival is not possible anymore, we should be happy that they have decided to do the right thing and move to peaceful, productive areas. This is the market trying to solve the problem and the market knows better than the central planners. This is completely leaving aside the fact that there are of course strong moral reasons to let them in.

But what do our politicians do? They do the only thing politics can ever do, which is preventing people from solving problems. Once the solution has been prevented, Leviathan then can have its own go at it and so justify its existence. And again, since their solution will only make things worse the beast will then claim that it needs more power and grow.

The chaos that we are now seeing of hordes of poor migrants interrupting traffic and trains in search for a ride, or worse bodies of drowned migrants including children being washed on the shores of the Mediterranean is the consequence of Leviathan’s solution. Although, thanks to capitalism we now live in a world in which a journey of thousands of miles is affordable to almost everyone, immigrants from a lot of countries to Europe do not get to enjoy these benefits. The state has threatened everyone with punishment who is trying to give one of these people a ride. That is why on every international flight, airlines will ask you about your passport and visa details. Without those, they will not let you on board. Thanks to immigration controls, the state has forced them to be a part in their border control force. This is a good example of one regulation following another. As a consequence, everyone, even legitimate asylum seekers will have to come into Europe on dangerous hidden routes. This shows how serious our governments are about helping the poor. It is a bit like praising oneself for providing free healthcare, but then making it very difficult for people to get to the hospital. Actually it is worse. With asylum, nothing extra needs to be provided actively. The state simply has to go out of the way. But the reaction of many states to this crises has been the opposite. They have build higher fences and hunting down so called traffickers who are transporting
migrants.

As a result, migrants who are determent not to die and make it to Europe often have to pay a lot of money for a ticket on the black market. On the 23rd August this year, the German newspaper ‘Die Zeit’ published an article about a young family of five fleeing Iraq. Amir Shamo, his wife Maha and their three young children, 4 month, 3 and 5 years old, had to flee, when the Islamic State marched into their town and started to terrorise the locals. They are Yazidis and faced the choice of either converting to Islam or being executed. Since they did not want to convert, they decided to flee. They paid traffickers with their whole savings of 34000 Euro (about £25000 or 38000$). That comes down to about an average british year salary. In other words, even for western standards that is real money. 5 plane tickets from Iraq to Germany on the other hand would have cost them just 500 Euro. But thanks to the state, that was not an option. And so, after a long and dangerous journey, their traffickers kicked them out of the van near Passau at the German part of the German/Austrian border. They were dehydrated and hungry and only had a small pack of possessions left. All their saving, that they could have used to start a new life are now in the hands of traffickers. Probably not the nicest people to give the money to. But one can hardly call them criminals. If they were not providing this important service, even at a high price, the family would now most likely be dead.

The reason why they wanted to go to Germany is because Amir’s brother lives in Munich. So he had savings and relatives in Germany, but since neither is a category in the bureaucracy of the central planners, none of that helped them to get into the country ‘legally’.

Normally we would not see pictures of flocks of seemingly poor migrants walking through Europe. They would simply arrive on a plane, train, bus or ship and no one would notice any difference to the other passengers unless you were to ask them for their passports. A lot of these people are not the poorest of the society they are fleeing from, they are among the stronger. The really poor don’t even get out. It is the state that is producing the chaos that we are witnessing.

And the chaos does not end when they finally arrive at their destination. In Passau Amir went to the Police and that put him into the hands of the bureaucracy of the welfare state. Instead of reaching his brother in Munich, he will now have to spend several month in a state organised refugee camp. Even if he is granted asylum in Germany, he will not be allowed to work for at least 1 year. That means he is forced to live on welfare. That also means that he will end up in a statistic of foreigners getting welfare. These statistics then serve as proof that these new people arriving here really are no good. Not only is he actively prevented from being productive, but resources have to be used to keep him unproductive. Only Bureaucrats can come up with such a nonsense. And as Mises pointed out, they really only can come up with nonsense, no matter how hard they try. These refugee camps then end up being another tool in the propaganda of liberty haters. Showing all these people locked up in one location, like bad guys is water on their mills and a good target to attack or to protest against. The latest fashion in the chaotic world of central planning are demands for quotas for states in the EU. Instead of letting people go where they are most needed, bureaucrats will distribute them all over Europe. The criteria used for that will of course again be completely arbitrary and will only spread the chaos. But that is good news for the state, as more chaos means again we will need even more central planning.

The closed border policy often also prevents people from going back. Humans, as well as some other mammals are psychologically programmed to experience loss of something they have more negatively than not having gotten it in the first place. For example, it is more painful to lose £20 then to not get a promised £20. “Illegals” do not have the chance to simply come here, see if they like it and then go back if they don’t. That leads to often completely wrong expectations. Because of their illegality, they also do not have the chance to arrange things from afar. When I moved to England, I didn’t just jump into my car and se what happened. I made sure that I had a place to stay and something to do here before I came. The same is probably true for almost any legal migrant.

But illegals do not have that possibility. Everyone trying to arrange their stay here would commit a crime. So they have little other chance than to somehow make it here and then see what happens. Even if what they find that life here does not meet their expectations, they will be very reluctant to go back. First of all it would make their huge investment that they had to pay to get in look like a loss. Secondly, if they go back, they then cannot easily change their mind and try to get into Europe again. In other words, the closed border system is putting huge costs on ‘illegals’ to go back. And we know that a lot of immigrants at some point will end up going back to their homeland. They often just want to earn some capital that will give them a big advantage in their home country. If we did not have central planning in immigration, all this chaos would play out quite differently. People would come and leave for all kinds of reasons ranging from having been offered some kind of job to having to flee for their lives. According to their needs and expectations, they would need to make arrangements with the locals. Not collectively of course, but on a one on one basis. If their expectations are not met they will go home again. But if they are met and they can improve their lives here it will be a win for everyone. The masses of people that we hear about at the moment, would probably not be very noticeable. What is half a million people in a country like Germany that has already about 80 million.

But yes, over time things would change. We will see multiculturalism. This multiculturalism however, is a fundamental part of the market process. Markets are not very conservative. In fact the big advantage of markets is that they are quicker to adapt to an ever changing world than any other institution. However, the idea that this is like an invasion of a foreign army is simply nonsense. People come here because they value what is here. If we embrace liberty and offer them a part in this society, they will take the offer. But of course, if we fight them, then they will fight back. At his point people often start to mention the welfare state as an excuse to keep the central panning in place. This however is not very persuasive. Let us assume the argument is correct and open borders would bankrupt the welfare state. In that case people who believe that the welfare state is good because it is helping the poor will have to answer the question, how they can seriously argue that we need to not give all these poor people in the world a chance to come here in order to protect the poor. Clearly if that is the outcome of the welfare state, then it is not worth having and protecting it under its own moral principals.

And those who already understand that the welfare state is not helping the poor, they really have nothing to object. I heard some libertarians argue that with a welfare state, immigrants would violate their property rights and therefore we cannot have open borders. But it is not the immigrants that are violating your rights, it is the welfare state. We should not stop opposing one state intervention because of another. With the same logic, someone could say that as long as we have the welfare state, it is libertarian to be in favour of state birth control. Afterall a number of the people who are born will become welfare recipients. Therefore, should we not argue that everyone who wants to have a baby first needs proof that that child will never be at risk to go on welfare? I better stop here, because I don’t want to give anyon ideas. If the welfare state really is so important to you, then build a fence around the welfare state and not the nation state. That means exclude immigrants from welfare.

The world is too complex to let central planners run it. We need now more than ever to bring the order of liberty into the statist chaos. So comrades, go home, do something productive for a change and open the damn borders!

  34 comments for “Soviet Migration Chaos

  1. Sep 12, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    Some of my friends are telling me that the “migrants” are “converting in droves” in Germany – indeed there is quite a mene being spread about this on the internet.

    If it is true, and if the conversions are sincere, then I will revise my opinions.

    However, till then I see the Islamic “migration” to Europe in much the same way that the Britons viewed the “migration” of the Anglo Saxons to this island. After all more than a thousand years of Islamist attacks on Europe are a bit hard to overlook – unless one is really determined to ignore past experience.

    I have been on borders. And I know that what matters is whether someone heading towards a border sincerely wants to join a new “tribe” or comes with hostile intent.

    “There should be no tribes or nations – one world! one humanity!”.

    Errr well if we are to ignore human cultures and histories – fair enough, we can then say anything.

    As for the United States.

    The United States had a border with the Hispanic world, an essentially undefended border (easy to cross – and with little effort to ever send anyone back) for more than a CENTURY before mass immigration from Latin America started in the 1960s.

    In the 1960s the Great Society Welfare State was created – it has since expanded hugely in size and scope (efforts to restrict health, education and welfare to citizens have been repeatedly struck down by the courts) and private (yes PRIVATE) “discrimination” (i.e. Freedom of Association – which must logically include the right to not associate) was banned.

    Is it really a coincidence that mass immigration then started up?

    There is no real need for massive efforts to keep out Latin American immigrants from the United States – still less to kick out people who already there.

    Just end government mandated, health, education and welfare for these people – and allow people who dislike them (for example for the habit of waving the Mexican flag – and attacking people in schools who have the American flag on their clothing) to “discriminate” against them. Anybody who wishes to welcome migrants should be free to do so, and anyone does NOT want to employ or trade with them (or allow them on their property) should also be free to do so.

    Then there will no more be mass migration – any more than there was before the 1960s.

    As for people from Mexico (or anywhere else) who sincerely want to be Americans – they should be welcomed (although the welcome should be voluntary – no government “benefits”, “public services”, or “anti discrimination laws”).

    Just as I welcomed the idea of Bishop Ali (a brown man from Pakistan) becoming Bishop of Rochester.

    Indeed I wish he has become Archbishop.

    It is not the “race” of someone that matters – it is their intentions, their beliefs.

    Do they sincerely come to join a new nation – or do they come with hostile intent.

    In the case of the United States – do they believe that Americans “stole the land” in the wars of 1836 and 1848 (ignoring the nature of the Mexican government of the time – and its own expansionist designs).

  2. Sep 13, 2015 at 10:32 am

    My heart goes out to the refugees fleeing violence as well as the economic migrants seeking a better life. It has been frustrating to see so many people decry the those entering Europe for not seeking refuge in the first country they arrive in, as if they have no right whatsoever to find the best economic circumstances for their families.

    But It’s been a heart warming process for me to see that the consensus of the libertarian movement is firmly for something like open borders.

    No matter what the strange ‘libertarian nationalists’ like Hans Herman Hoppe seem to believe.

    • Nico Metten
      Sep 13, 2015 at 4:26 pm

      Well, unfortunately the consensus of the libertarian movement hasn’t been quite that obvious. I think the majority is indeed in favour of open boders, but the Hoppe crowd has been very vocal against this migration. LewRockwell.com, which is probably the best read libertarian side put out an article every second day or so saying that migration is destroying Europe. Stefan Moleyeux, who has the most watched libertarian podcast on youtube has done the same. Sean Gabb and many with him in the UK are also in that boat. The real libertarians have let these people propagade this nonsense unchallenged for far too long. It is really time to show what libertarians is all about, which is not nationalism, but liberty.

      • Sep 13, 2015 at 5:34 pm

        Agreed, perhaps these people feel they have to shout so loud to make their opinion heard because they know many are against them?

        It’s strange that some folks at the Mises institute have such conservative positions. If you read Walter Block’s most recent book he makes a ‘libertarian’ case against abortion, for the death penalty and government crack downs on unions. It made for a very frustrating read!

        As for Stefan Molyneux, I Stopped watching his paranoid and misogynistic rants ages ago. He started out as a relatively liberal person, it’s interesting g how time has turned him into the man he is today…

        • Nico Metten
          Sep 13, 2015 at 9:53 pm

          There can be libertarians who are personally conservative. I think libertarianism is a big tent. It does not say much about lifestyle, in fact it is all about leaving people alone to live their lives as they please. I don’t think there is anything wrong with advocating conservative values. It is when they start using the state to enforce this conservatism on others, like in the case of closed borders where I really have to protest.

          Walter Block is actually very much in favor of open Borders. Although I would leave women alone to terminate a pregnancy if they feel this is necessary, I don’t think there is a very clear libertarian position on this issue. It is more an issue of what is a human life and when do humans start to have rights. Same is for the death penalty. Personally I am not a fan, but I don’t think that libertarians have to be against the death penalty in principal. But closed state borders, very clearly seem to violate libertarian principals.

          I never really liked Stefan Molyneux. I just came across this video accidentally.

  3. ArashUK
    Sep 13, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    another nonsense article from so-called british libertarians. Could you please tell me why should I in favour of more migrants when I have to pay for their living? Dont fool yourself, most of them are coming to abuse the system and get more benefits. Look at the state statisitics.

    There are very good article on Von Mises and Ayn Rand pages about this issue but none of them are as meaningless as this one. You said:
    “With the same logic, someone could say that as long as we have the welfare state, it is libertarian to be in favour of state birth control.”

    Yes mate, I am in favour or all controls until the welfare state is in place as I dont want to pay more? Have you heard that in Finland they imposed a new tax? Why I should pay more by force? Your idea is complete out of mind. You want to give all costly freedom of a libertarian society while welfare state is in place!! It is total madness and just leads to more tax, more pressure on working people and more looting.

    I am in favour of open border when there is no welfare state, I am in favour of laissez-fair capitalism and in favour of many other things. But you should first take out this money wasting state and then try to open the border and I assure you without a welfare state there wont be any mass immigration.

    I cannot understand why you are in favour of some looters who want to live off others money??? It is immoral and unjust. Supporting open border while we have this welfare state is like you have cancer but you dont stop driniking alchohol and smoking cigarette as they are not the cause of the pain, it is the cancer!!!

    • Sep 14, 2015 at 7:53 am

      Ayn Rand wrote a book about letting the system eat itself. Perhaps if the borders were opened it would.

    • Nico Metten
      Sep 14, 2015 at 10:47 am

      “Could you please tell me why should I in favour of more migrants when I have to pay for their living?”

      Could you please tell me why you think it is any of your business where people are moving? With no word have I defended the welfare state. But the welfare state is a separate problem. Using the welfare state as an excuse to violate people’s rights is not acceptable.

      Most of the people coming here do not come for the welfare. I don’t know where you get that information from. The US had open borders before the welfare state existed and that is when the largest amount of people, most of them very poor immigrated. So the welfare state is hardly the reason why they are coming. But since we have closed borders, and these people are ‘illegal’ they often have to take welfare. They are either not allowed to work, or work is made more complicated for them. They don’t know how long they are allowed to stay, so starting their own businesses is a risky investment. Employers do not know how long they can stay, so they might not invest into such an employee. It is actually the closed borders that drive people into welfare. And closed borders, btw do not come free. The UK is spending about £2 billion every year on border controls. Why am I supposed to pay for this destructive policy?

      But since you also seem to be in favour of birth licensing laws, I doubt that you are serious about liberty anyway.

  4. Ayumi
    Sep 14, 2015 at 10:14 am

    I agree with open boarders IF, and only IF (or “when” if I want to be positive), private property is fully accepted and when there’s no state sponsored welfare.

    Then it would be up to each property owner to let people in or not.

    Also, I agree with Paul Marks when he said:

    “There should be no tribes or nations – one world! one humanity!”.
    Errr well if we are to ignore human cultures and histories – fair enough, we can then say anything. ”

    This is something you omit in your argument Nicco, is people’s cultures and histories.
    I don’t think multiculturalism is necessarily a good thing, for example, if I visit Germany, I want to see German buildings, I want to eat German food, if I go to China, I want to hear the Chinese language, etc. I don’t want to see a Starbucks or M&S in every nation, and I find it appalling that languages are being lost because it is no longer useful in an economic sense.

    Don’t underestimate people’s sentiments to protect their own languages, religions and cultures.
    Differences need to be respected.

    Private property is the answer. I believe like-minded people will band together to protect what is sacred to them, if that means discriminating, then that choice ought to be respected.

    • Sep 15, 2015 at 8:49 am

      Hi Ayumi! Nice of you to check in!

      “like-minded people will band together to protect what is sacred to them, if that means discriminating, then that choice ought to be respected.” if Nick Griffin has uttered the same words would you have respected that opinion? What’s the difference?

      PS loved the Japanese showcase at your wedding.

      • Ayumi
        Sep 15, 2015 at 4:13 pm

        Thank you Simon, yes, it’s been a while 🙂

        In answer to your question, if Nick Griffin uttered the same words… Yes, I would have to respect that. Freedom of speech. No difference. Freedom of speech applies to ALL people.
        Live and let live, as long as one doesn’t infringe on the rights of others.

        I think being muliti-cultural has made me appreciate cultural differences more. Humanity is fascinating because of our differences. I want to protect that.

        It was great to see you at the wedding x

    • Nico Metten
      Sep 15, 2015 at 11:27 am

      “This is something you omit in your argument Nico, is people’s cultures and histories.”

      I don’t mention it, because it is irrelevant. You are right Ayumi, property is the solution. But property only give you the right to control what is going on on your own property. If you want to control a whole culture, then you have to control other people and that is not acceptable. Why should you have the right to tell people that they cannot open an M&S or starbucks on their property? Or even worse, why should you have the right to tell people what language they speak?

      • Ayumi
        Sep 15, 2015 at 4:32 pm

        Not sure how you got the idea that I want to “control the whole culture”??

        I’m not telling people what to build or what language to speak. I’m simply stating that because of the state’s infringing on private properties, we have no means to protect what we might want to protect.

        For example, although a friend of mine owns his flat, he has to pay the council to have rails installed (not his choice) because of ‘health and safety’. They basically put a gun to your head and make you pay for something you don’t want, even though he owns it.

        In an ideal Libertarian world, I imagine many clusters of like-minded people would form and make their own societies. And I also imagine that people will more readily defend their society from ‘infiltrators’ who ever that may be. There’d be no state, no state imposed boarders, and no state benefits.

        Your example of your Japanese flat mate who had to leave due to a visa problem rings very dear to me. It’s so unfair that someone decent like that are banned from entering the country for 10 years, whereas some hate preachers can stay and be on benefits?!

        But if we want a Libertarian world, we have to try to change things in order. Opening boarders without first establishing private property would just bring chaos. Look at Germany!

  5. Mr Ed
    Sep 14, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    ‘If the state can prevent me from entering my property and if it can prevent me from inviting strangers to my property, then it cannot really be my property. The real owner seems to be the state.’

    I do not follow that chain of reasoning. If the State controls who enters an area under its jurisdiction, then an effect of that could be to prevent a person, Mr X from entering his property within that area, or perhaps inviting Mr Y into his property, but that does not mean that Mr X does not own his property, or give the State any say on what happens on that property. Mr X may still rent or sell his land, and prevent others from entering it.

    Whereas if Mr X buys Blackacre, a parcel of land within Whiteacre, and sells or voids his easements of access over Whiteacre, (at common law implied by necessity if not granted) then he owns a piece of land, Blackacre, without the right to enter it without the permission of the owner(s) of Whiteacre. But that would arise from Mr X so contracting. He could sell Blackacre to the owner of Whiteacre and exercise ownership, or forbid access to Blackacre to others.

    The effect of immigration control is distinct from the question of property rights, and is sui generis.

    • Nico Metten
      Sep 15, 2015 at 11:22 am

      “but that does not mean that Mr X does not own his property, or give the State any say on what happens on that property. Mr X may still rent or sell his land, and prevent others from entering it.”

      Well, obviously not. I am being infringed in my ability to sell my property to someone without a visa, as this person would then not be able to use it. I particularly cannot rent out to someone without a visa. And the state has a say of what happens on that property. If someone without a visa makes it to my property, the state will forcefully enter it, drag him out and send him back. So the ultimate control over that property lies by the state. And that is also a big different to you example, as closed borders means the state claims the rights to control everyone within the state borders.

      But I am simplifying here, as I did not want to go into the details of libertarian philosophy. Of course if I am talking about property I am talking about a specific property concept. One that is compatible with liberty.

      As for your example, if Whiteacre is already the owner of that land, and decides to sell a piece of land within his property (Blackacre) then you might be right. But then no one would by Blackacre without having an access guarantee, as it would not really be his property otherwise. Whiteacre would exercise an important control over Blackacre. If on the other hand someone owns Blackacre and someone else buys up all the land around him, then Whiteacre would not have the right to deny someone access to Blackacre, because that would be in violation with his Blackacre’s liberty. So property rights can only go as far as they do not violate liberty.

      • Ayumi
        Sep 15, 2015 at 4:41 pm

        Here’s something I found real interesting :
        The worlds most complex international boarders —

        • Mr Ed
          Sep 15, 2015 at 5:55 pm

          I went to Baarle-Hertog-Nassau before the Euro and Schengen, and every shop had price labels in Belgian Francs and Dutch Guilders, everything rubbed along fine, although I believe that I saw a Dutch army APC invade Belgium (without incident) several times in a few hundred yards. However, the important point about that area is that is shows that people can live side-by-side with ‘rival’ states and get along fine, although perhaps since people had grown up with it, it didn’t seem ‘odd’ to anyone, but it is an example of where states can co-exist and could compete. There would be no reason in principle why houses could not ‘move’ states if the law allowed (without moving front door).

      • Mr Ed
        Sep 15, 2015 at 5:36 pm

        ‘Well, obviously not. I am being infringed in my ability to sell my property to someone without a visa, as this person would then not be able to use it.’

        I am sorry but I have to disagree, as that does not actually infringe on your ability to sell your property, it may devalue it, but that is not the same point, and I am making a fine point (perhaps pointlessly but I am like that).

        My point is that border controls can affect the value of land, but not the rights in ownership. The UK is unlike, say, Greece, where there are legal restrictions, I understand, on land ownership by foreign nationals, presumably to prevent Turks from buying land in ‘sensitive’ areas but avoiding the explicit discrimination against them.

        My point is that the existence of border controls infringes on the value of property, but not rights in ownership, at least in England and Wales, where anyone (real or legal) may own land.

        My example of Blackacre being ‘enclaved’ within Whiteacre would, in any real world sale, carry with it an easement of access for the owner of Blackacre over Whiteacre by implied grant of an easement of necessity for access (and wayleaves for utilities).

        And the effect of border controls is to restrict certain people from residing in or even entering not specific property but an area under the control of a State or States (e.g. the Common Travel Area or Schengen) where one State may deny a person access to several states. I am not aware of a categorisation of this ‘droit de Seigneur’, but it does not relate to specific areas of property so much as apply to all areas and all property within a jurisdiction.

        • Nico Metten
          Sep 15, 2015 at 11:21 pm

          “My point is that border controls can affect the value of land, but not the rights in ownership.”

          Yes, I understand your point, but I disagree. It effects the actual ownership not just the value. If it is my property in a libertarian sense, then I can do with it what I want, as long as I don’t violate other people’s property. But visa restriction, restrict me, from having certain people on my property, or work in my company. That is more than just a decrease in value, that is an actual infringement on the property right itself.

          “ but it does not relate to specific areas of property so much as apply to all areas and all property within a jurisdiction.”

          Yes, and therefore, the state is the real owner, for it can tell me what to do with my property. Visa restrictions is one example of that. It does effect all property, and therefore there is no private property within the modern state.

          • Richard Carey
            Sep 16, 2015 at 4:55 am

            Nico, by this argument, putting a convicted murderer in jail would also infringe your property right to invite him round for tea, would it not?

            Likewise, if you invited a fellow over to your house, and he said yes but his wife forbade it, she would be “infringing your property right” just the same.

            • Nico Metten
              Sep 16, 2015 at 9:26 am

              “Nico, by this argument, putting a convicted murderer in jail would also infringe your property right to invite him round for tea, would it not?”

              That is correct. It would infringe on my property rights, as you would have the right to come to my property and drag him out, if he was hiding there. But this would be a liberty maximising infringement and therefore ok. But point taken. I should not have made the Rothbardian mistake and equate property with liberty. That always leads to confusion.

              “Likewise, if you invited a fellow over to your house, and he said yes but his wife forbade it, she would be “infringing your property right” just the same.”

              If his wife is using force to keep him home than she is infringing on his property rights. And if the wife claims the right to forcefully come into my house and drag him out, then that is clearly infringing on my property rights. Otherwise he has decided not to come along and that does not violate my property.

          • Mr Ed
            Sep 16, 2015 at 1:48 pm

            “Yes, and therefore, the state is the real owner, for it can tell me what to do with my property.”

            No, the State cannot tell you what to do with your property, you retain every right that you have to use or dispose of it as you wish, a State (in this instance) can only prevent people entering its jurisdiction, and a consequence of that is that you cannot admit certain people to your property without those people breaking the law. The State cannot (yet anyway) require you to take people onto your land, e.g. by billeting soldiers or ‘refugees’.

            You fail to distinguish between consequences flowing from stipulations, and stipulations as to use of your property. That is an important distinction, as Richard Carey has pointed out. Your ‘liberty maximising infringement’ leads to all sorts of difficulties and arbitrary judgements.

            Here’s a tip. Rothbard is often simply infantile and wrong. I will leave it to the Sage of Kettering to provide examples.

            As for the wife, it is not clear who owns the house, is it you, your wife, or the two of you under a trust? If there is a trust, then the trustees need to act in accordance with the trust terms, and the principles of trust law. If the trustees are split, then a court may dissolve the trust and realise the assets for division (I am referring to English law here, not the vagaries of libertarian law, which may put us all at cross-purposes).

            • Nico Metten
              Sep 16, 2015 at 2:22 pm

              “No, the State cannot tell you what to do with your property, you retain every right that you have to use or dispose of it as you wish,”

              That is factually wrong. It would only be true if you allow the state to legitimately set the law and therefore the boundaries of property. But if you do that, then I am right that libertarian property is in contradiction with the state’s concept of it. If I were the owner of my property, I could invite and host peaceful people on there, and the state could not block me or interrupt me doing this. But it does. Therefore I do not have the property rights. I only have the rights that the state leaves me. That is a very different concept.

              “a State (in this instance) can only prevent people entering its jurisdiction,”

              “Its jurisdiction”, that is the problem. The state has no right to block people coming to my property. If it claims that right then it is violating my legitimate libertarian property rights and therefore abolish that right.

              “and a consequence of that is that you cannot admit certain people to your property without those people breaking the law.”

              They are not breaking the law, they are just breaking some arbitrary state legislature. The state does not get to decide what the law is. It should merely protect it. But of course it is claiming the right to set the law and by doing that, it is abolishing the real law which includes my property rights.

              “The State cannot (yet anyway) require you to take people onto your land, e.g. by billeting soldiers or ‘refugees’.”

              It does, by for example making it artificially harder to evict people. But that is a different topic.

              “You fail to distinguish between consequences flowing from stipulations, and stipulations as to use of your property.”

              No, I am not. I just don’t accept the state as a legitimate owner of property or setter of the law, like you do.

              “Your ‘liberty maximising infringement’ leads to all sorts of difficulties and arbitrary judgements.”

              Like what, for example?

            • Mr Ed
              Sep 16, 2015 at 5:19 pm

              Nico,

              How is it factually wrong? How are you preventing from disposing of it.

              “It would only be true if you allow the state to legitimately set the law and therefore the boundaries of property. ”

              Have you failed to notice that setting the law is, in effect, what states do? I fear that you are arguing from the standpoint of some libertarian society which does not exist, and I am addressing it from the real world in which I live, so we may be at cross-purposes. If you want to address how many angels can dance on a pinhead on your property, fine, but say so at the outset and save us some time.

              “They are not breaking the law, they are just breaking some arbitrary state legislature. ”

              No, they are breaking the law, as I address this from the real world, not a libertarian construct that you have not set out. Since in your post you refer to real world examples of visa restrictions, I had assumed that you were referring to the real world and the concrete example of the UK. If you switch into a hypothetical libertarian world, it would assist greatly if you were to make that clear.

              ‘ I just don’t accept the state as a legitimate owner of property or setter of the law, like you do.”

              Well it does set the law so we have to deal with that, and you make an unwarranted extrapolation there.

              ‘“Your ‘liberty maximising infringement’ leads to all sorts of difficulties and arbitrary judgements.”

              Well the fact that you pulled it out of a hat like a rabbit, and then come up with an argument that putting someone back in prison is ‘liberty-maximising’, which is, at the very least, a novel argument.

            • Nico Metten
              Sep 16, 2015 at 6:13 pm

              “How is it factually wrong? How are you preventing from disposing of it.”

              I never said that you cannot dispose it. Although the state taxes it, so it imposed an artificial cost on it. The point is that if the state can violently enter my property and drag someone out of it, who is a perfectly peaceful human being, then it does not respect my property rights. In other words it tells me what to do with it. So it is a danger to my rights.

              “Have you failed to notice that setting the law is, in effect, what states do?”

              Yes, I have failed to notice that. In fact it is not true. The state merely sets arbitrary rules that constantly change and that it calls law. But that is not real law as far as I am concerned. Real law is not constantly re-defined by some people who call themselves the government. Real law is inalienable rights.

              “I fear that you are arguing from the standpoint of some libertarian society which does not exist”

              I am giving you the libertarian perspective of current events, as one would expect on a website called the Libertarian Home.

              “and I am addressing it from the real world in which I live, so we may be at cross-purposes. If you want to address how many angels can dance on a pinhead on your property, fine, but say so at the outset and save us some time.”

              So, what you are trying to tell me with all of this is that we do not live in a libertarian society? I agree.

              “No, they are breaking the law, as I address this from the real world, not a libertarian construct that you have not set out. Since in your post you refer to real world examples of visa restrictions, I had assumed that you were referring to the real world and the concrete example of the UK.”

              I am addressing the real world and showing how it is not libertarian and why it would be better if it were.

              “If you switch into a hypothetical libertarian world, it would assist greatly if you were to make that clear.”

              It is published on the Libertarian Home. What else do you expect than a libertarian perspective on things? But it is addressing the real world and shows how the chaos is created by the state and liberty is the solution.

              “Well it does set the law so we have to deal with that, and you make an unwarranted extrapolation there.”

              Just because it pretends to do that, does not mean we should just accept that. Libertarianism wants to change society and not just describe it as it is, which is pretty boring anyway. But in order to change society you need to challenge the way people look at things.

              “Well the fact that you pulled it out of a hat like a rabbit, and then come up with an argument that putting someone back in prison is ‘liberty-maximising’, which is, at the very least, a novel argument.”

              Hopefully the reason why he is in jail is because he is a thread to someone’s liberty. Therefore putting him in prison is liberty maximising, as he now does not get to violate anyone’s liberty.

  6. Sep 15, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Just to make a point that should be obvious. The people coming into Europe are not refugees – they may have been refugees when they left Syria to go to Turkey, but they had no “fear of ……” in Turkey (at least no more than they will have here).

    Even in the case of North Africa – it is just not true that there are no countries in North Africa that are not at war. The people being encouraged to come over the sea do not come as refugees.

    In any previous century they would not have been considered refugees – and they would have got no benefits from the states of Italy (or anywhere else). Indeed the locals might well have killed people coming off boats from North Africa. Unjust possibly – but more than a thousand years of Islamic raiding of the coasts of the Italian lands (and deep inland in the case of the southern states of Italy) had an effect on the mentality of the population (merchants from North Africa were welcomed – but they were carefully watched, even in Venice, if they left the markets and started to get too interested in defences then things went badly for these people).

    It is true that in the Roman period there was freedom of movement (at least till the late Empire) – but then there was a common culture (common loyalties) also.

    • Nico Metten
      Sep 15, 2015 at 11:29 am

      It does not matter what you call them, they have a right to choose piecfully where they want to live. And it looks like they would rather not live in Turckey or Africa. I really cannot blame them, as I also have chosen not to live there.

      But they are refugees, as they left their home not voluntarily.

      • Ayumi
        Sep 15, 2015 at 4:39 pm

        Oxford dictionary definition of refugee :
        “A person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster:”

        Once they escape it, aren’t they no longer refugees?

  7. Richard Carey
    Sep 16, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Nico: “It would infringe on my property rights …But this would be a liberty maximising infringement and therefore ok.”

    If property rights can be infringed to maximise liberty – presumably some kind of utilitarian concept of the most liberty of the most people (correct me if I’m wrong) – then it would be permissible to infringe whatever property rights are concerned in the blocking of large numbers of migrants, as long as such a measure could be shown to maximise liberty.

    This would all depend on how the “liberty maximum” is defined and calculated, and by whom.

    • Nico Metten
      Sep 16, 2015 at 1:13 pm

      “If property rights can be infringed to maximise liberty – presumably some kind of utilitarian concept of the most liberty of the most people (correct me if I’m wrong)”

      No, it is not utilitarian, but libertarian. The liberty of every individual person needs to be maximised.

      “then it would be permissible to infringe whatever property rights are concerned in the blocking of large numbers of migrants, as long as such a measure could be shown to maximise liberty.

      This would all depend on how the “liberty maximum” is defined and calculated, and by whom.”

      Then you need to give me a theory of liberty that is compatible with that. I cannot think of any. Here is mine. I want to maximise interpersonal liberty and by liberty I mean to minimise proactive imposition of others. With this theory, only certain property concepts are compatible. The state owning a whole country is not compatible with it. This also gives you the limitations of libertarian property. When your property is pro actively imposing on someone, then that is a legitimate limitation of your property. Read Jan Lester, he is good on this.

      • Richard Carey
        Sep 17, 2015 at 5:37 am

        ” I want to maximise interpersonal liberty and by liberty I mean to minimise proactive imposition of others. ”

        You don’t seem to be taking into account the “proactive imposition” that many thousands of migrants engender, particularly in the situation playing out across Europe right now. Even if you make a theoretical argument to the contrary, the reality is that these large numbers of migrants are imposing, directly and indirectly on the people in the places they are going to, and your position, again in reality, goes way beyond the simple, negative liberty of theory, and becomes a massive positive liberty.

        You think you are saying “everyone has a right to go where they want” but what this equates to is “everyone has a right to be fed, clothed and housed in whatever place they chose, paid for by the collective”.

        • Nico Metten
          Sep 17, 2015 at 10:02 am

          “You think you are saying “everyone has a right to go where they want” but what this equates to is “everyone has a right to be fed, clothed and housed in whatever place they chose, paid for by the collective”

          I am not saying that at all. What I am saying is, get the government out of the way. How does that proactively impose on the locals, let alone impose more than on the immigrants to keep them out? How did I impose on anyone, coming here, renting a place and doing business? I cannot see how, but it would be a massive imposition on me and the people that I deal with here, to proactively, with guns, stop me from doing this.

          The only way you might argue there is an imposition on the locals from immigration is by the welfare state. But you are forgetting that the reason why there is a welfare state is because the locals have voted for it. So if anything, they have imposed this on themselves. Not all of course, I certainly did not. But if there is someone to blame for the welfare state, it is certainly not immigrants who never voted here. So imposing anything on them because of the welfare state is entirely unjustified.

          • Richard Carey
            Sep 17, 2015 at 10:58 am

            “How did I impose on anyone, coming here, renting a place and doing business? ”

            This is not the reality of the situation that is happening right now. The vast majority of the thousands of migrants streaming into Europe are not in any position to rent a place and do business. They are dependent on charity, either voluntarily given or provided by governments from taxpayer-funded resources.

            As for “getting the governments out of the way”, what will happen then? This is not likely to resolve peacefully, is it?

            • Nico Metten
              Sep 17, 2015 at 11:22 am

              “This is not the reality of the situation that is happening right now. The vast majority of the thousands of migrants streaming into Europe are not in any position to rent a place and do business. They are dependent on charity, either voluntarily given or provided by governments from taxpayer-funded resources.”

              Where is that coming from? Most of these people have already paid a lot of money to traffickers. A lot of the refugees you are seeing are probably more the middle class than the poorest. I fear the poorest have not made it out.

              But even if they do not have a lot of money, they seem perfectly healthy to me, so why would they be unable to do business? Before they introduces immigration controls, millions of penniless poor people came to the US to improve their lives. Not only was there no chaos, it created the most wealthy nation on the planet.

              “As for “getting the governments out of the way”, what will happen then? This is not likely to resolve peacefully, is it?”

              Of course it is. Now we have the chaos and now it is not peaceful. If they were able to move like anyone else, why would you expect more chaos? The market could then order this chaos. You get these doom expectations whenever a government regulation falls. Not to long ago, the xenophobes painted a grim picture of huge amounts of penniless Romanians and Bulgarians coming here, once the border goes. The chaos did not happen though. Liberty works!

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