April 24, 2014 1 Comment
Bryan Caplan says he argues in totally awesome ways and does not use dishonest ‘lawyerly’ argument methods. If you doubt him, just ask him, he’ll tell you how great is the way that he argues:
Can I honestly say I’m any less lawyerly? Yea. I’m happy to admit that the evidence on the immigration-welfare state connection is mixed. I’m happy to point out [...etc...] Why? Because I think my opening statement is true. Getting people to the right conclusion for the wrong reasons is not good enough for me
That’s interesting because there is one recurrent feature of the arguments of Bryan Caplan for open borders which is most certainly, definitely, undeniably, a wrong reason. It is the notion that these two groups of people coincide:
1. People who immigrate (legally or illegally) to the United States, or seek to
2. People not in the United States who have in hand a job offer from someone within the United States, the performance of which would require relocating to the United States
Bryan Caplan (and indeed most open-bordersers) bases a good portion of his open-borders arguments on the notion that Group 1 and Group 2 are identical. He argues in such a way as to imply that if you concede that it’s not right to prevent a person from Group 2 from entering the United States (‘Let Anyone Take A Job Anywhere’), you must therefore conclude you shouldn’t prevent any person from Group 1 from entering the United States either (‘Open Borders’). I could point to post after post where he does this.
And it is wrong. Right? I mean, I’m no genius, but I have a brain. I can employ logic. I can see that Group 1 and Group 2 are not identical. Thus if I took Caplan’s argument to heart (Hey! I should let anyone take a job anywhere!), and then based on that concluded that there should be open borders, I would indeed have gotten to the ‘right’ conclusion, by his lights, for a reason that is certainly and undeniably the wrong reason.
Unless he wants to dispute this, I will also hazard to say that Bryan Caplan too has a brain and can employ logic. Therefore I presume that he, too, knows that Group 1 and Group 2 are not identical. Yet he persists in using arguments which fundamentally pretend that they are. He’s happy to do it. I’d say he’s even proud of his ‘Let Anyone Take A Job Anywhere’ construction. Why? Because he thinks it will get people to the right conclusion, even though it’d be a ‘wrong reason’.
Can anyone honestly say that anything I have said above is wrong? Is the immigration=job offer equation not a ‘lawyerly’ construction on the part of open-bordersers? Is it not an attempt on his part to Get People To The Right Conclusion For The Wrong Reasons? Yes indeed it is. And Caplan knows it. And I have told him. And he is aware that I have told him.
But he still does it. Why doesn’t he knock it off?