Tuesday, 9 December 2008

LIBERTARIAN SUS: Open immigration – let’s do it!

This post arises from a question in reply to a comment I made at "Crusader Rabbit" last week on this post.  It also serves to address concerns raised by CR author 'KG' on Libertarianz immigration policy:
Q:  What's your solution to open immigration in light of Muslim terrorism?

The question of the ramifications of open immigration in this age of global terrorism is one that arises from otherwise libertarian-leaning folk from the blue corner in particular, (albeit not exclusively), and I understand their concerns.

Our philosophy is one of individual freedom with responsibility for one's actions.  This requires the existence of a state in order to protect citizens' rights, in stark opposition thereby to a state of anarchy. 
As such, we believe in a limited state, comprised solely of police and defence forces and the justice system.  All other services currently administered by the state would be run privately.  Making exceptions as to the role of the state automatically begs the question as to where the line is drawn.  This is where I believe ACT goes wrong and compromises itself, but that's for another time.

A supporter of the free market and capitalism understands the concept of supply meeting demand, no
matter the subject/issue. As with any other service currently controlled by the state, (except those three as mentioned), we would abolish the Immigration Department, allowing private organisations to fill the gap, creating competition, efficiency and better outcomes for the client.  Organisations may include both those for profit and non-profit.

In accordance with our policy of more freedom and less government, we welcome any peaceful person who wishes to make a life in New Zealand, subject to their waiving any rights to whatever remains of transitional state welfare programmes (prior to the latter being abolished for good).  Immigrants will either provide for themselves or find sponsors -– who will be expected to take some degree of responsibility for those they recommend. 

Sponsorship allows the likes of religious and secular humanitarian groups to step forward and practice the charity in which they believe.

It will be up to organising bodies such as these to sort immigrant background checks, employment (or pre-employment training if need be), housing and educational arrangements, etc.  In other words, they will do exactly what the Immigration Department now does, but with total accountability. The individual organisations will be accountable if they screw up, adversely affecting their reputations and business in the case of commercial entities, as a result.

The free market, whether dealing with products, services or in this case, people seeking employment, naturally balances itself when left alone.  The numbers will sort themselves out.  Think about it:  Church and humanitarian groups do not want to be sponsoring people for long periods, so it will be
in their best interests to find the immigrants suitable employment, and to have them self-sufficient as quickly as possible.

Contrast that to the current scenario where the Immigration Department hands large numbers of unskilled immigrants directly over to Social Welfare – and they then stay there as a financial burden to the taxpayer for who knows how long.  They are undoubtedly useful for the socialist left vote every three years, though . . . but I digress.

"But we'll be overrun!"  Will we?  Only a tiny proportion of New Zealand's land is technically urbanised, according to Owen McShane.  The UK and Japan each have a similarly sized landmass to New Zealand. The UK has some 65 million inhabitants, Japan around 130 million.  There is plenty of room for more people, but, importantly, growth would be slowly consistent with employment opportunities.  Stories akin to "the mongol hordes" are patently alarmist and xenophobic, but nothing new.  People were saying that when the Chinese arrived in numbers during the 19th century gold rush.

However, as for the very real danger of the growth of anti-western Islamofascism as seen in the UK and Europe, I draw your attention to two significant differences between a libertarian system of government and our current scenario:
  1. 1)    In a libertarian society there would be no special treatment for any group or groups of people via the social engineering that routinely occurs in western socialist/statist countries at both national and local level.
  2. 2)    As already noted, there would be no state welfare, housing, medical or educational services to immediately walk into as a matter of right at public expense.
I put it to you that the above encompasses the essence of the migrant troubles found in much of the western world today.  Irrational social policy has encouraged open milking of the public purse, together with an appetite for favourable policies.  Agitators will always exist, of course, but agitation of any persuasion is much less attractive when participants have to both fund and action it themselves, in their own time.

Additionally, the libertarian fundamental of enshrining the individual's right to free speech remains the most effective tool to combat the 'terrorism by stealth' that has occurred in the UK.  In other words, the crucial importance of protecting individual rights -– which naturally includes his right to free speech -- is the best way to attack political correctness.  There are those who mistakenly believe in the subjugation of the individual to the wishes of the majority.  Aside from the immorality of exerting force, it is a dangerous trap in which to fall, based as it is upon the presumption that the majority must be in the right. Benjamin Franklin said it best:  Those who give up essential liberty for
temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

I find it puzzling why someone would dismiss the idea of privatisation because of the odd point of which they are uncertain, thereby ensuring the continued existence of the centrally controlled status quo they profess to oppose.  Definitive "solutions" are best left to neo-Nazis and socialists. They seem to be fond of those.  The truth is that no system guarantees perfection.  There is no utopia. You'll be waiting a long time to hold out for universal success because errors will always be made where people are concerned.

But a privately-run service subject to competition and accountability is always going to be superior to one controlled by a one-size-fits-all state bureaucracy, where there is no accountability to either client or employer (the taxpayer) and which is almost always obscenely politicised -- or in very real danger of being so.



  1. Sus, I have a problem with Libertarian's idea that everything should be privatised or all things belong to the individuals and not the state (or collective).

    I think that immigration should be run by the state (ie, everyone else - collective) no more than the guardian of law and order is run by the state. If you advocate that immigration should be privatized then why not the Police? What is the difference?

    Here is a scenario to ponder about:

    1) If the immigration is privatised and as you said, can be run by commercial competing organizations (which are non government). The border security is going to be comprimised, since these organizations are competitors which they don't share a single database of information. The minute they share, they immediately lost the edge to their competitiveness. Look no further than the commercial banks. They compete with each other, therefore don't share a single database to combat frauds, it is almost a fraud committed at Bank A, will be repeated at Bank B or Bank C, etc... Had A, B and C share the same database, then the fraud committed at Bank A, would have been detected at Bank B, immediately if those con people tried to pull off the same trick at Bank B. There is no doubt that Bank B, C, etc... would eventually know about those tricks, but perhaps a little too late to prevent them in the first place, where crooks have now contemplating on a new trick that has never been done before so as they can con the banks.

    If the US disparate systems of Security Agencies fail to prevent the 9/11 when they're under the state control, think about it if those agencies are private ones. They would be worse than state agencies, for the same reason I have highlighted in my example for the banks.

    It is simply nonsense for the police to protect the individual rights within a country's border, when they're being violated where as those rights could have been protected in the first place by eliminating those threats right at the point of entry (the border). Should the police be also protecting the border? They should, but why burden too much with such task when they have too much to deal with within the border?

    So, if Immigration is to be privated, then how would the libertarians deal with the scenario that I have highlighted?

  2. With open immigration using Saudi oil money Moslems would move a few million people from say Indonesia into New Zealand. When they got to 51% of the population then the Koran would tell them vote to end Lib utopia and install Sharia. Mohammad would have his only little Saudi Cleric run colony in the south pacific.

    New Zealand would be renamed New Afghanistan. It would take about 12 months.

  3. So, if Immigration is to be privated

    meant to be:

    So, if Immigration is to be privatised

  4. FF, Sus may have a different view to me (I'll let her respond herself on that) but in my view the immigration department itself should be canned, and immigration itself be handled as part of law and order.

    And like you, I'm not in favour of law and order being privatised.

    Now, just to specify what exactly is involved with "running immigration": Take Harry Binswanger's proposal, with which I agree (and which I'm sure you read before responding).

    Paraphrasing his proposal, I'm in favour of open immigration into New Zealand. Entry into NZ should ultimately be free for any foreigner, with the exception of criminals, would-be terrorists, and those carrying infectious diseases. (And note: I am defending freedom of entry and residency, not the automatic granting of NZ citizenship).

    You can argue that some entrants should be required to post a bond. You can argue that some should only be allowed to enter with a period of guaranteed sponsorship by others. It's certainly the case that all entrants must forswear any claim on the welfare state (as long as it exists).

    But to administer all these cases, and to ensure that criminals, would-be terrorists, and those carrying infectious diseases are not permitted entry, you clearly need some agency, and like I said in my view that should be part of law and order. And I don't see a good case for law and order to be privatised.

  5. Simon,

    I'm sure Sus will have her own response. But let me make mine.

    The same essential argument you're running here was used several years ago to suggest druggies would overrun Europe when the Schengen agreement was implemented, creating open borders throughout Europe.

    They didn't -- despite the prevalence of welfare throughout Europe.

    But let me make a few points about the setup you suggest.

    First, I am defending freedom of entry and residency, not the automatic granting of NZ citizenship. Which means that the privilege of voting is not automatically granted to everyone who just happens to be inside the borders on election day. That would clearly be absurd.

    So the idea of voting in a Sharia-dominated state in the manner you describe would simply have no mechanism by which it could happen.

    But, you'll say, what about some type of situation along those lines?

    Well, any serious defence against the Islamofascist threat must include a serious intelligence response. In fact, in my view, in the NZ context, that would be the primary form of defence against the threat (backed up of course by the capacity to respond to such a threat in the appropriate way).

    I would expect in the present context that the type of situation you outline would be one that was carefully monitored by any responsible intelligence agency, and if it ever were to come to pass a suitable response could easily be made without any conflict with an open immigration policy (since open immigration means open only to peaceful people, not to criminals, would-be terrorists, those carrying infectious diseases and any agents of a belligerent state).

    Second, as James Valliant points out (and I'm sure you read his points before responding) "it would be a whole lot EASIER for the border patrol to stop a terrorist [or would-be foreign agent] from oozing in if we LEGALIZED as much immigration – and as many 'illegals' – as possible. And the sooner the better, please..."

    "...If one is looking for a needle in a haystack, as the saying goes, one has a hell of job. Finding that needle on a relatively clean floor, however, presents an achievable goal.

    "If every person who wanted into [NZ] in order to find work was legally permitted into [NZ], I'll bet they'd be happy to stop by the front gate, show some i.d., get checked against a terrorist watch-list, etc. Only those with criminal records, or reasons to flee justice, those with contagious diseases, and, well... terrorists would have any reason to 'jump the gate' at all.

    "This would concentrate our resources on those who actually posed a threat to the country. Thousands of border patrol agents would, then, not be going after thousands ... of people everyday, but just a few hundred .... I, personally, prefer those odds when it comes to catching terrorists and mass-murders."
    And would-be agents of belligerent states.

    "Besides, we wouldn't be violating anyone's rights – and that might be a good thing, too."

    Third, the overwhelming majority of would-be immigrants are not terrorists or would-be agents of belligerent states. As Binswanger says, they are ambitious, courageous, and value freedom. They come here, often with no money and not even speaking the language, to seek a better life for themselves and their children.

    These are often the best of where they've come from.

    For the most part, they've chosen NZ for the values it represents -- not because they wish to destroy those values, but because they wish to enjoy them and work to achieve them for themselves.

    We should be more confident about those values ourselves, rather than apologising for them to all and sundry, and being fearful that the values are so fragile they'll be "diluted" by new New Zealanders.

    That on its own -- being proud of the values of reason and individualism and capitalism, and standing ready to promote them -- would do more to properly "assimilate" any would-be hordes than would fear and loathing and xenophobia.

    BY THE WAY: Have a look at the linked post 'Immigration and the 'Statue of Bigotry (Some Facts)' to see several linked reports showing that by every serious measure, immigration to free countries such as the US (and by implication here in NZ) is by every measure a boon to everybody concerned.

  6. You'd need to maintain some sort of centralised biosecurity function as well. Don't want nasty bugs coming in and ruining the crops...

  7. Hi TWR: No, we don't want those nasty bugs coming in.

    But I'm not sure a centralised biosecurity agency is either necessary, or that it works.

    After all, some of those bugs are already coming in, suggesting the state biosecurity setup isn't all it could be.

    I invite you to check out my thoughts on this from a few years back: 'Biosecurity Bureaucracy Banished.'

  8. I agree with open immigration but not run by private agencies. I think Immigration should be part of the security operations of a limited state. But this post is absolutely right in stating that 1) multicultualism and 2) the welfare-state are what's causing all the trouble.

    But this raises a question for me. I think that Milton Friedman said that open immigration in the context of the welfare state is dangerous. It think this is so but I would go further. Open immigration in the context of Democratic welfare states is *really* dangerous as Simon's post indicates.

    From the point of view of intellectual advocacy whether it be for Objectivism or laissez-faire, I think that open immigration is something that should not be a priority. It depends on too much that does not exist right now.

    In the context of today's PC socialist/pacifist world, open immigration would be dangerous as it *would* give Muslims the opportunity to impose Sharia. The West would have to be well on its way to a philosophical and laissez-faire revolution before I would advocate for open immigration practically even though I agree with it theoretically.

  9. Banks already share information, in a sense. Companies such as Baycorp maintain a database of credit ratings and banks subscribe to it. Presumably in a Libertarian society a private company or companies could provide the data management which the NZ Immigration Service currently does - they may even be able to negotiate data-sharing agreements with other states.

  10. Peter said...
    Companies such as Baycorp maintain a database of credit ratings and banks subscribe to it.

    To the best of my knowledge, the Baycorp database is not about fraud, cases. It is a database made up of defaulters, which is different from what I stated. Defaulters are not necessarily the Fraudsters.

    What I stated is similar to the problems stated in the following papers (freely downloadable PDF):

    1) Collective Data Mining: A New Perspective Toward Distributed Data Mining

    2) Distributed Data Mining in Credit Card Fraud Detection

    Paper 1) highlighted the lack of centralizing data to combat fraudulent activities in the financial industries such as commercial banks.

    Paper 2) highlighted fraudulent financial activities and how to combat them, using proprietary data only , and not centralize. So, a fraudulent detection system deployed at Bank A, might lack the fraudulent patterns that crooks has been running at Bank B or Bank C. This means that the crooks will soon apply their methods at Bank A, since their detection system hasn't seen such a fraudulent pattern before. This is exactly what I mean by centralize.

    Baycorp database, doesn't handle this sort of things. It is a database for reference only and not a realtime system to detect fraudulent transactions.

    I think that (not 100% sure) that ANZ Bank, ASB licensed SAS's datamining software for the detection of real-time financial fraud.

  11. Well written post Susan. I tend to agree with PC that immigration should be handled under Law & order. This subject is one that is mentioned regularly by people I meet in general & is therefore considered quite important by them.

  12. Thanks for your comments. I'm flat out today with little time to spare -- none, truthfully! -- but PC has provided good responses in the interim. (Thank you).

    I wrote this post with myself in mind when I went to the US and ended up living there for more than four years. I didn't go there to become an American, just to accept a job offer. I wasn't interested in permanent residency, let alone citizenship. I certainly wasn't interested in harming anyone or anything, or ramming my personal beliefs down anybody's throat.

    It seemed absurd to me that I was technically committing a crime by going to work every day, and the small company for which I worked was up for a (then) $US20,000 fine - Lord knows what it is these days - if I'd been "apprehended" in my office.

    You see, I was there legally .. just not supposed to work. We'd applied for a work permit in order to do the right thing. That my paperwork -- bloody reams of it -- was "in the pipeline", ie sitting in some lazy arse's office in the Sacramento branch of the INS, was beside the point: I wasn't permitted to work. (And they wonder why people turn to illegal avenues of money-making. Drugs, anybody?). Jeez.

    No matter how often we rang to check on my status, nothing changed. We never got to speak to a human, ever, just a machine to which we'd dutifully leave our details - again - and nobody would ring back. Ever. In the end I was more worried for the company, so left the country. In my experience, the INS was a mess to put it mildly.

    I occasionally wondered what happened to my p/work. Reckon it's still languishing in somebody's basket marked "Who gives a fuck"?

    FF/Simon: A police force exists to protect my individual rights whereas an immigration service doesn't, so I don't see why the two need to be treated/managed exactly the same.

    Having said that, I think it essential to have matters of citizenship as a federal branch of L&O for obvious reasons, but the post was about open immigration which is not synonymous with full NZ citizenship. I accept that I ought to have stated that but I was conscious of the post length. My fault.

    And yes of course we would have all official points of entry covered, again for obvious reasons. Intelligence would monitor potential threats of terror, etc, and I see both police & defence - being internal and external protection respectively - being party to that.

    But given that the great majority of people just want access, some only temporarily, for peaceful reasons, does it not make sense to have people be able to do so via reputable agencies, thereby alleviating the backlog that always occurs with state monopolies?

    Not to mention the horrible games they can play. Remember the case of the expelled German family down on the West Coast? They'd started a business in a depressed area, had three little kids at school and were well-liked by the local community, to no avail because of a minor drug charge years beforehand in Germany when the dad was a teenager! John Delamere behaved like a bloody Nazi. It was shameful.

    Madmax: Can't argue with you. The welfare state is the lifeblood of UK & European Islamofascism, without a doubt. This post was, as you are aware, about open immigration (not citizenship!) in the context of a free state.

  13. Immigration was a subject written about by Hans Herman-Hoppe. It's worth looking it up.

    The basics are that in a Libertarian society all property is privately owned by someone. An immigrant is going to have to find someone who will either sell him a house to live in, rent him a house to live in, lend him a house (or room) to live in or lease him a hotel/motel room. Then that immigrant is going to need to find someone who wants to trade with him and somone to hire his skills and labour. If he can't locate these things, that is no-one wants him, then he becomes a trespasser and out he goes. Good bye!

    The important point was that the immigrant requires the voluntary collaboration of other people in order to stay. If he fails to retain their collaboration and co-operation he has to leave. Thus, the immigrant is required to provide value in his daily dealings with other people. There is no welfare where other people have tehir lives mortgaged by the immigrants "needs".

    A system like that would prove most discouraging to bludgers and hand out scammers and welfare rorters and the like. There is not a lot of attraction for them in place run like that. On the other hand productive people will be treated properly.


  14. Dead right, LG.

    Even though this was written in conjunction with the scourge of global terrorism, I still see arising problems being minimised as a result.

    Why would, say, Saudi Arabia spend a fortune deliberately sending Jihadists into a libertarian environment where there's not only no state cow to milk, but where their fucked-up, feudal views are going to be scorned big-time, etc, when they already have easy access into the socialist, apologist EU that seems to welcome them with open arms?

    It's not logical. Nor is it moral to deny people wanting to leave those hellholes for a better life here at either their own expense, or that of a voluntary sponsor.

  15. A supporter of the free market and capitalism understands the concept of supply meeting demand, no matter the subject/issue. As with any other service currently controlled by the state, (except those three as mentioned), we would abolish the Immigration Department, allowing private organisations to fill the gap, creating competition, efficiency and better outcomes for the client.

    Almost sounds good, but what do you have against competition, efficiency and better outcomes in "those three as mentioned" services?

  16. Too little time for a long reply, Sus.
    But...if you don't trust the state to run the country and our lives, then why the hell would you trust businessmen?
    Because they're less corrupt? More principled?
    Pull the other one.
    And Saudi money propping up the pursuit of an ideology would make a mockery of the idea of 'privately funded' immigration.
    Now, I'm off to work to pay for the welfare leeches...:-)

  17. A thought: what's to stop the Saudis setting up a dozen companies here in NZ and using those to sponsor hundreds or thousands of radicals as 'workers'?
    Once here, removing them wouldn't be a simple matter.
    I'll think some more about this and perhaps post a response at CR this evening.

  18. Businessmen running *our* lives, KG? What businessmen?

    Who I choose to pay for any service (or product) is up to me and me alone. Who I choose is will either do the job properly or they won't. It therefore behoves that I do my homework properly.

    Your Saudi fear was answered in my last post. It simply wouldn't be worth it, while they have bigger fish to fry in far more sympathetic environments. Did you read the other links PC provided?

    Greg: Because govt exists to protect the rights of the individual: your freedom, your property & contracts. The absence of govt is a state of anarchy which doesn't protect your rights. Hence our belief in an extremely limited govt restricted by a constitution.

    If you're new to the concept of freedom with responsibility, feel free to do some reading. There are plenty of suggestions to be found on this site. Cheers.

  19. Again, I'm in a hurry (which is why no posts on this at CR, Sus)
    you said: "Your Saudi fear was answered in my last post. It simply wouldn't be worth it, while they have bigger fish to fry in far more sympathetic environments."
    So you're content to rely on NZ's insignificance to the Saudis?
    Nonsense--we're dealing with fanatical Wahabbists here and NO fish is too small to fry for these animals.
    Relying on one's 'insignificance' is a poor strategy, no better than wishful thinking. NZ is in fact very useful to these people as the fake NZ passports scandal showed.

  20. Cheers, KG.

    If you do find the time to write a post - and I can sympathise with time issues! - I refer you to both the preceding comments on this thread and recommended links so's to not wate time rehashing here.

    But the important thing to point out here is that I'm *not* talking citizenship-with-NZ-passport: I'm just talking immigration, per se, which may be temporary (as it was for me in all the other countries in which I chose to live & work).

    Of course issues of citizenship will be overseen by L&O, ie the state.

    And an intelligence service would remain very much part of the defence ministry, liaising with police as required.

    Anyway, that's enough. I suspect we'll just end up agreeing to disagree after all.

  21. "Anyway, that's enough. I suspect we'll just end up agreeing to disagree after all."
    As we so often do. :-)
    But it's always fun and I learn a lot in the process.

  22. Greg: Because govt exists to protect the rights of the individual: your freedom, your property & contracts.

    Which is an impossibility - they can't protect your freedom by restricting your freedom (monopolizing the provision of security services to you, etc.), your property by stealing your property (taxes, to pay for the former), or your contracts by giving themselves priority over your contracts (again, monopolizing particular services to you). Your position is not well thought out.

    The absence of govt is a state of anarchy which doesn't protect your rights.
    Because you say so? "The absence of government-food-provision is simply anarchy which doesn't protect your food-acquisition"

    If you're new to the concept of freedom with responsibility, feel free to do some reading. There are plenty of suggestions to be found on this site
    Thanks, but I'm far from new to the concept.

  23. "Thanks, but I'm far from new to the concept (of freedom)."

    Really? You seemed to have missed the essential point of my-freedom-ending-where-your-nose-begins & vice versa.


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.