Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Immigration: The four arguments


The four biggest arguments I hear regularly here from commenters opposed to the right of free association as it applies to immigration (always the same  non-reading, unthinking zealots commenting I might add) are

  1. …but welfare!
  2. …but Muslims!
  3. …but assimilation!
  4. …but low wages!

1. The welfare argument is as quicky dismissed as it is raised, as it was yesterday: “Let’s fight to shrink the welfare state and to liberalise labor laws, not to prevent people from exercising a basic right.” Let’s recognise nonetheless that even in today’s context, the evidence shows that in New World countries like ours, immigrants of all persuasions don’t migrate for welfare and generally use less welfare than locals. And in the meantime, call for both the “Australia Solution” – i.e., restrict migrants’ eligibility for benefits, as Australia does with NZers – and the “Canada Solution” – i.e., allow folk to sponsor and take full responsibility for other folk coming as migrants and refugees.

2. The “Muslim argument” is hardly as complex as the zealots might think either. The right to free association is a right pertaining to peaceful people only – so we those meaning harm have no moral right of entry. But nor do they try: nearly without exception, those who carry out atrocities are young, deluded and homegrown (going against their own parents teachings, as Maajid Nawaz frequently points out, and making you wonder what is in the west’s water when the wish to destroy it is what they imbibe here.)
    And as Steve Chapman points out, the overwhelming majority of immigrants who come to the west, by both legally and illegal means, are not criminals (they are even less likely than the native-born population to commit crimes) and nor are they terrorists (Muslim Americans for example are more likely to reject violence than many othergroups). They emigrate to create a better life for themselves and their families, not to make yours worse. Your enemies are also theirs: keep them onside and they will and do point out the bad bastards. ("American Muslims are responsible for identifying and turning in over 90% of the lone wolves who would have committed terrorist attacks on this beautiful land of ours over the course of the past 15 years,” points out American Muslim Oz Sultan. “We love this country and in order for us to show our love we need to start being looked at as the last line of defense and not the enemy.”)
    In fact, as US attorney James Valliant argues, the only way to actually prevent terrorists from slipping in is to legalise as much "illegal immigration" as possible. “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 America in order to find work was legally permitted into America, I'll bet they'd be happy to stop by the front gate, show some ID,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.”
    As he points, this would concentrate resources on those who actually do pose a threat to the country, while giving the residents of the country all the real benefits that immigration does bring.
    “Sure, some might slip through,” recognises Benjamin Powell, “but right now terrorists could sneak into the country illegally while hiding among more than a million other illegal immigrants crossing the border in the desert. If a more open immigration policy were established, the legitimate workers could come through check points, freeing existing border-control enforcement to focus on finding the terrorists”—while keeping onside your genuine allies

3. And while there are many things to be said about assimilation, perhaps the simplest is to point out that all the demographic arguments raised by American anti-immigration zealots, to take just one example, are best represented by one single state of the US: their favourite: Texas! (The Alt-Right's "Demographic Nightmare" Is... Texas 2016).

4. So, what about the argument that too many arrivals from too many low-wage countries simply lowers our own wages? This can only be held or argued by someone who has never read the data, and never understood Say’s Law (i.e., that it is production that pays for demand.)
    A survey of the economics literature on immigration concludes that “[d]espite the popular belief that immigrants have a large adverse impact on the wages and employment opportunities of the native-born population, the literature on this question does not provide much support for the conclusion.” This is the way academics tell you gently you’re talking out of your arse.
    How is this possible when the laws of supply and demand seem to suggest the opposite? asks Benjamin Powell.  Answer: because those laws operate within the context of Say’s Law and the expanded division of labour created by the new immigrants. You see, new immigrants are not just mouths to feed; they are productive.  “Those immigrants who increase the supply of labor also demand goods and services, causing the demand for labour to increase.” That demand is bought of their own increased production, by virtue of which the whole scale of production increases, lowering marginal costs, and real wages are increased (i.e., there is more to buy with the same wage packet).

Second, immigrants don't simply shift the supply of labour. Labor is heterogeneous. When the immigrants have different skills than the native-born population, they complement the native-born labour rather than substitute for them. Many of the immigrants … are either extremely highly-skilled or very low-skilled. Yet most native-born labour falls somewhere in between… To the extent that immigrants are complementing native-born labour, they increase, rather than decrease, the wages of the native-born.
    Third, even for the unskilled, there is the issue of price sensitivity. If demand for workers is perfectly elastic in the relevant range, then there also need not be any effect on wages.
    Finally, as
Adam Smith pointed out centuries ago, specialisation and the division of labour are “limited by the extent of the market.” Bringing more immigrants into [our given geographical area] expands our market and allows for greater specialisation. That makes each of us more productive and able to earn higher wages.   

In short, then:  

If you are looking for a threat to [the west]'s long-term prosperity and tranquillity, do not look toward immigrants. Look into the mirror instead.

I’ll add some further reading below. But I guarantee the zealots won’t read a word of of it, any more than they’ll read any more than two of the words above.

They remind me of Gary Larson’s famous dog:


[Cartoon by Gary Larson]




  1. At a meeting of the Redneck and neo fascists Society, we carefully considered PC arguments for Immigration. It took a while for us to settle down, because we usually make decisions after a few grunts and throw away lines like ‘ fuck them bastards ‘ , and ‘what is there to discuss’ ‘this is our Country’ and so on.
    You see the Libertarian thinks everything should be subjected to logic, their logic.

    L = Libertarian W = Libertarians wife.
    L “ Should we have our own baby dear, or shall we adopt an Islam” W “ I want our own baby”
    L “ But that’s not an argument, why do you want our own baby W “ I want our own baby , because I want our own baby
    L “You see there you go again, not even considering the rational consequences

    This is where PC and Libertarians utterly fail. They give no value to sheer emotional rights and preferences. They will not accept the rational actuality of Nationalism.
    Nationalism is here and real so they better wake up..
    Here is the Rednecks response to each of PC arguments

    Welfare :: Yes we agree, less welfare and we further agree with the proposition that Immigrants use less welfare than citizens, because there will be no welfare for Immigrants within ten years of arrival.
    Until New Zealanders reasonable needs are met, we have no proper reason to feed people who arrive here with misguided entitlement, care of the sickly pansy State.
    Islam :: We wonder what is in the water of the West which make liberals invite a sector of people known to contain present and future terrorists. Here within PC article here is a preposterous argument for importing terror.

    @ quote from article above @ “´the only way to actually prevent terrorists from slipping in is to legalise as much "illegal immigration" as possible..... “”
    Unbelievable We should replace the legal system with anarchy then we will have order. All pigs are good and some are worser than others .
    The jelly bean argument is relative. Mr. PC here is a jar of jelly beans for your daughter. Only two are poison. If she eats these her death will be quick but violent.

    Well the Rednecks meeting went on for quite a while, and at the end all stood, and recited the creed.
    @ “Strength to New Zealand / Strength to our Nation / Power

  2. The solution to welfare is simple: stop it all. Terminate it all overnight. Without doing that, there is no way the government would allow an immigrant (after one month or nine years) to be left to starve in the gutter: that is why the only way you can solve the welfare problem is to solve all of it all at once.

    The other reason for no grandfathering in, or tailing off, is that only an immediate and permanent cessation of welfare, with significant mortality, will inure the population to any leftist cries of reintroducing welfare. Even if the leftists take over, i.e. only when people remember their parents or grandparents starving in the gutter because state welfare was terminated will people make their own private independent provision for themselves and their families, irrespective of what the government does.

    Remember NZ - NZ now has a much bigger welfare state, and many more bludgers - than it did even after the so-called "reforms" of Richardson (reforms with mostly reversed within 10 years, and completely within 20).

    1. Angry, you say there is no way a government would allow an immigrant to starve without helping them out with welfare. You've clearly missed the years of complaint since 2001 that Australian governments do precisely that with the approximately 600,000 NZers living there.

  3. The fact is, Liberty, to come into being, and survive, requires the right culture. If you import a culture that is inimical to liberty, then you can not only forget about ever achieving the free society you're working for, but you can kiss what liberty your already do have, goodbye.

  4. Migrants come because they want to make a better place, apparently. While this is no doubt true of the individualist independent mindset, the collectivist tribalist mentality is a whole different story. The ideologically blinded no-borders libertarian zealot seems to think that migrants can only be of one type. The desirable type. Here is one type that is pouring into Europe, in order to make Europe a better place.


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