My Real Most Unlibertarian Position
June 20, 2012 13 Comments
Recent posts by Aretae and Steven Landsburg (and of course Bryan Caplan) arguing the pro-lots-of-immigration viewpoint have made me realize a far more appropriate candidate for my most unlibertarian position: not only do I not favor lax immigration, but I think I’m only getting worse as time goes on. Unless I move somewhere with far different influences to react to, 30 years from now I’m basically going to be Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino (the first half).
This may be environmentally-induced. Living in college towns pushed me right and living in areas with lots of immigrants…well, complete the analogy. Whatever the reason, I can’t even understand the libertarian position anymore if I try really hard and squint my eyes.
It seems self-evident to me that nation-states exist, that they have borders, and that it states will have an interest in controlling, to some degree, those borders. This strikes me as an indisputable and obvious duty of the state if only as part of national defense (of course, some libertarians don’t believe in national defense either); Steve Sailer’s framework of speaking of illegals as ‘illegal infiltrators’ is apt, even if it will make people uncomfortable.
The standard libertarian response is to start speaking of what will maximize the aggregate utility function of the world, then saying QED. I have always thought this a clever enough reductio when it is used against lefties who pretend their sole motivation is to help people (as in ‘if you really want to help why don’t you..’), but as sincerely-meant advice it’s a non sequitur. Maximizing the utility function of the world, however nice a result that might be, is simply not among the things the government of the United States is empowered or supposed to do. That’s not why we have one. (How amusing is it that we have stumbled onto the one area of agreement between libertarians and ‘neocons’, since they both apparently think otherwise?)
In any event: get off my lawn!