Last night’s meetup afforded an opportunity to poll attendees on immigration. I asked everyone to imagine themselves to be writing a manifesto and to state their policy on a post-it note. The goal of this exercise is to generate on-topic talking points for attendees, and is far from rigorous. 13% did not participate and the sample that did included non-members, first timers, and potentially people with no affection for libertarian ideas at all (the evening’s main topic was artificial intelligence).
I was impressed by the depth and variety of thought packed onto 25 post-its. There were some really interesting ideas that were unique in the sample: fixed price immigration, giving the issue less importance, supporting the local population to ensure they have something to offer. I particularly liked the idea that governance over immigration should be fractured in some way, by devolving it to localities or creating “100+ countries”. That is the ghost of Hayek showing up, I expect.
40% of respondents favoured open-borders as their reflexive or only position, with half of those favouring controls while a welfare state (education NHS, etc) continued to exist. One hacker favoured open borders as a means to collapse the welfare state.
28% favoured selection of immigrants according to culture or merit, with the preponderance of those concerned immigrants must adapt to our culture generally, or to some specific set of values such as “individualism”.
56% favoured unlimited immigration so long as those coming were able to pay their way and accepted elements of our culture. 12% of post-its mentioned both culture and merit as selection criteria.
The rights of employers and landlords to hire or rent homes to whoever they pleased was mentioned on 10% of post its. I think support for this idea is artificially lowered by the fact that the question was open ended. I would value asking this question again as a yes/no question and would expect support for the proposition to be high.