Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Upsidedown Luddism: The Case of Immigration

"Cox's grasp of rights theory is all the shakier in the following quotation:"

The fact that your grandmother, or great-grandmother, or you yourself, originated in some foreign clime … what exactly is this supposed to establish — that there should be unlimited immigration for all time to come? When I moved into my present neighborhood, the population was scant and prices were low; that's why I moved in. Then the population increased, prices went up, and it became very difficult for people like me to do what I did in 1986. Is that a moral problem? Should I try to pass a law guaranteeing that people like me should always be able to move in here?
"The confusion here is simply shocking. Cox is right that there is nothing immoral about the situation in his neighborhood, but it accords perfectly with the stance of his opponents. Open borders libertarians don't want to pass a law that foreigners should be able to move in; they simply oppose laws preventing people from moving in."

"So to go back to Cox's anecdote, it would be as if he moved in back in 1986, and then didn't like the people that moved in afterwards and so got his city council to pass a law preventing further newcomers, even though they could afford the rents and weren't violating any of the contractual provisions signed by the previous owners. And yes, if that's why people weren't moving in to his neighborhood, it would indeed be immoral."

"All the open border libertarians are claiming is that the politicians shouldn't be able to overturn the voluntary arrangements reached between foreigners and particular land owners (and employers) in the United States."

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