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Switzerland, Immigration, Hoppe, Raico, Callahan

Gene Callahan, in Private Domains and Immigration, in 2003, concluded, in a critique of Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s views on immigration:

giving more power to the state, based on an arbitrary set of ideals as to who should be allowed to come to the US (or any other country), ideals that are divorced from any actual entrepreneurial judgment, is not the answer to these problems. True freedom is the only answer.

Callahan, in 2010, in The Nature of Ideology, drawing inspiration from cow-psychologist Temple Grandin and his “second stay in Switzerland,” now writes:

Spending more time there on trip two, I thought I was in the most naturally orderly and civic-minded place I had ever been – and, I realized, if the Swiss ever adopted the open border policy I had advocated until then, that place would be gone in a decade. Now, when I recently expressed some reservations about unrestricted immigration on a libertarian blog, I was immediately accused of being a ‘xenophobe.’

Interestingly, these latter observations are similar to those of Ralph Raico and Hoppe. Raico argued:

Free immigration would appear to be in a different category from other policy decisions, in that its consequences permanently and radically alter the very composition of the democratic political body that makes those decisions. In fact, the liberal order, where and to the degree that it exists, is the product of a highly complex cultural development. One wonders, for instance, what would become of the liberal society of Switzerland under a regime of “open borders.”

In other words, the argument is that relatively liberal societies would certainly soon become less libertarian if they opened their borders.

And Hoppe argues here (emphasis added):

It is not difficult to predict the consequences of an open border policy in the present world. If Switzerland, Austria, Germany or Italy, for instance, freely admitted everyone who made it to their borders and demanded entry, these countries would quickly be overrun by millions of third-world immigrants from Albania, Bangladesh, India, and Nigeria, for example. As the more perceptive open-border advocates realize, the domestic state-welfare programs and provisions would collapse as a consequence. This would not be a reason for concern, for surely, in order to regain effective protection of person and property the welfare state must be abolished. But then there is the great leap—or the gaping hole—in the open border argument: out of the ruins of the democratic welfare states, we are led to believe, a new natural order will somehow emerge.

The first error in this line of reasoning can be readily identified. Once the welfare states have collapsed under their own weight, the masses of immigrants who have brought this about are still there. They have not been miraculously transformed into Swiss, Austrians, Bavarians or Lombards, but remain what they are: Zulus, Hindus, Ibos, Albanians, or Bangladeshis. Assimilation can work when the number of immigrants is small. It is entirely impossible, however, if immigration occurs on a mass scale. In that case, immigrants will simply transport their own ethno-culture onto the new territory. Accordingly, when the welfare state has imploded there will be a multitude of “little” (or not so little) Calcuttas, Daccas, Lagoses, and Tiranas strewn all over Switzerland, Austria, and Italy. It betrays a breathtaking sociological naiveté to believe that a natural order will emerge out of this admixture. Based on all historical experience with such forms of multiculturalism, it can safely be predicted that in fact the result will be civil war. There will be widespread plundering and squatterism leading to massive capital consumption, and civilization as we know it will disappear from Switzerland, Austria and Italy. Furthermore, the host population will quickly be outbred and, ultimately, physically displaced by their “guests.” There will still be Alps in Switzerland and Austria, but no Swiss or Austrians.

As for Callahan getting smeared as a “xenophobe” for having reservations about unrestricted immigration, this is common–from criticisms such as he himself leveled at Hoppe, and so on (followup). Make of this what you will.

(To be clear, I’m pro-immigration and opposed to state restrictions on immigration.)

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Misty Khan May 12, 2010, 5:42 pm

    So how would you address the conerns that Hoppe describes?

    • Stephan Kinsella May 12, 2010, 6:26 pm

      The problem of immigration is due to the state itself–democracy, welfare state. The state cannot use unjust institutions such as this as an excuse to issue yet another unjust interference with the property rights of citizens.

      But you can ask Hans his take next month! 🙂

  • scineram May 13, 2010, 5:56 am

    The problem is he just changed position. This has nothing to do with the inconsistecy of the paleo ideology..

    • Stephan Kinsella May 13, 2010, 6:20 am

      ? problem? Why is it a problem to change your mind? I just hope Gene doesn’t get unfairly attacked be fellow libertarians now. But they probably won’t do this–they tend to reserve that for those associated with the Mises Institute, acting as if it’s unheard of for someone to not be open-borders, even while a great number of libertarians are in favor of some limitations on immigration. I guess it’s okay to be for immigration restrictions if it’s for the right reasons.

  • Brent December 3, 2011, 5:06 pm

    It is a tough issue because of the state. Obviously, without states (and all the things they do), there should be no artificial “borders” restricting people’s movement. But this should be rather obvious to all libertarians.

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