For Open Borders Day: My Top 30

In honor of Open Borders Day, I looked over my writings here at Open Borders: The Case, and recommend those I think most worth reading. It might be of interest to someone who has read my writing in snippets, and wants to get a more comprehensive understanding of my worldview. See also my book, Principles of a Free Society, my writings at The American, TCS Daily, The Daily Good, The Freeman, and my old blog The Free Thinker. I recently wrote a political essay for Wielding Power which was chosen as the winning entry for the question “Should Nations Restrict Immigration?” Open borders may be my oldest belief. I’ve believed in it since I was a teenager, and I’ve been publishing as an open borders advocate for a decade. Open borders is the most important cause in the world today, after the Christian faith itself.

Without further ado, my top 30, arranged thematically. First, on Christianity and open borders:

1. The Coming Catholic Movement for Freedom of Migration

2. The Old Testament on Immigration. This might be the post that influenced me most, of everything I’ve written on open borders. I hadn’t realized, before consulting the Bible, just how strongly God is on our side.

On the Irish migration experience:

3. Ireland as a Counter-Example to the “Ghost Nations” Myth

4. “No Irish Need Apply” (about private discrimination against immigration, which should be tolerated, since it eases the transition for some natives and doesn’t hurt immigrants much)

Historical posts would include the above Old Testament post and the posts about Ireland, but also:

5. Hospitality in the Odyssey

6. In Defense of the Pilgrims

A bit more abstractly, at a “theory of history” level:

7. In Defense of the Nation-State

8. The Progress of Freedom. It was particularly fun to rediscover this one, in which I argue that “much of the history of the progress of freedom is summarized in three general patterns: (1) accountability vs. sovereignty, (2) the separation of solidarity from violence, (3) rights flow from insiders to outsiders.”

Continuing a somewhat communitarian theme, there are:

9. Immigration, Identity, Nationality, Citizenship, and Democracy

10. Nations as Marriages

11. Robert Putnam, Social Capital, and Immigration

Some of my favorite posts might be called “high theory,” and these can to some extent be distinguished into (a) ethics and (b) political and economic theory:

12. All Ethical Roads Lead to Open Borders

13. A Meta-Ethics to Keep in Your Back Pocket [NOTE: The word “meta-ethics” in the title of this post is used in what is unfortunately a slightly nonstandard way. There’s no better way to say it though, and the language would be better off if “meta-ethics” meant what I mean by it here.]

14. The Border as Blindfold. In which I suggest that the chief function of borders today may be to keep poverty out of sight of citizens of affluent nations to protect their moral complacency.

15. The Inequality of Nations. In which I argue that no claim that is indexical with respect to countries is valid.

Aside from “In Defense of the Nation-State,” mentioned above, economic and political theory include:

16. The Great Land Value Windfall from Open Borders

17. International Tiebout Competition

18. Nonexcludable but Rival Goods

19. The Tendency of Economic Activity to Concentrate Itself

20. The Conservative Social Welfare Function

21. The Citizenist Case for Open Borders

22. Innovation and Open Borders

23. Open Borders and the Justification for the Welfare State

24. Rawlsian Locational Choice (a highly abstract open borders metric)

25. Open Borders and the Economic Frontier, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

The best summary of my case for open borders in one place is probably:

26. Open Borders Questionnaire: Nathan Smith’s Answers

But on civil disobedience in particular:

27. Why Jose Antonio Vargas Matters: Making Human Rights Real


28. The Right to Invite

29. Auctions, Tariffs, and Taxes

… might shed some light on one way to get from the status quo a little closer to open borders. Finally…

30. World Poverty

… may capture, more than any other post, what my motivation is. I’ve devoted a lot of hours to this over the years, and I haven’t got much to show for it other than the moral benefit of having served a good cause. (I have made a little money freelance writing, and my book probably helped me get my current job.) I hope my efforts have been pleasing to God, and may help, in some small way, in the building up of His kingdom.

Nathan Smith is an assistant professor of economics at Fresno Pacific University. He did his Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University and has also worked for the World Bank. Smith proposed Don’t Restrict Immigration, Tax It, one of the more comprehensive keyhole solution proposals to address concerns surrounding open borders.

See also:

Page about Nathan Smith on Open Borders
All blog posts by Nathan Smith

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