Libertarians’ post-it policies on immigration

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.


  1. One test I use is the old Proposition 187 in California.

    All this measure said was that illegal immigrants would not be eligible for state benefits and “public services”. Yet it was denounced as “racist” and struck down by the leftist courts.

    If someone really does support “free migration – but also a free market” they would support not giving government benefits and “public services” to these people. The fact the international establishment elite (the Economist magazine and so on) ridicule such a position (and support government spending on anyone who shows up) shows what this unlimited immigration thing is really about. It is really about creating a vast underclass dependent on government spending – who can be counted upon to vote for the left.

    This is what happened in California – it is a waste of time for a Republican to stand for state wide election now. Especially as there is no real checking to see of the people voting are really citizens (checking that is also “racist” according to the international elite), and the children of illegal immigrants actually are citizens anyway.

    In Germany millions of people have been allowed in who can not even speak German – and who are followers of Islam (the enemy of Europe for more than a thousand years – I make no judgement here about who was in the right in this conflict, but the fact of the conflict is just that, a fact). The idea that all these people will become good-little-workers happy to pay for the pensions of elderly Germans is absurd – on the contrary many of the migrants clearly regard government benefits as their “right” (tribute from the infidels). Chancellor Merkel has betrayed her own people – their very lives may be at stake.

    The world is not perfect – and people have not built border defences for thousands of years as part of a “statist conspiracy”. For example no government had to tell the villagers of the coasts of southern Europe. or the villages of the Balkans, that they had to build defences – or who the slave raiders (for centuries) were. It may not be P.C. to mention the history – but the theology that underpinned the attacks remains.



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