NOTE: All commenters are referred to as “he” in the text below. I did this because the only commenters whose pen names were gendered were male, and in my experience, most commenters on libertarian blogs seem to be male. I suppose I could have used the singular “they” but it seems ungrammatical when one is referring to a specific person. Apologies to any female commenters who might have been misidentified by my choice of pronoun.
Open borders is the most one-sided issue of our times. It wins the argument and to spare. That’s my position, and if there’s a certain bravado about it, that’s my way of daring those who disagree with me to justify themselves. I want to flush out the arguments against open borders, so I can refute them. Yet to argue with run-of-the-mill immigration critics is a tedious business, because their intellectual level is so low (see my dissection of Victor Davis Hanson) that the response could only consist in cutting through crude prejudices and elementary fallacies. Bryan Caplan’s Open Borders Persuasion Bleg a few days ago was useful because he evokes a more intelligent kind of critic. Indeed, as I noted in my previous response to Caplan’s critics, Caplan has managed to muster, in his comments section, the most clear-thinking group of critics of open borders on the web, because they’ve seen him make the case for open borders in its glittering clarity. They are informed dissenters. Though still mistaken.
Caplan started the thread with this invitation:
Immigration restrictions probably have bigger effects on the world’s economy than all other regulations combined. As far as I can tell, virtually every moral theory – utilitarian, libertarian, egalitarian, Rawlsian, Kantian, Christian, and Marxist for starters – implies that these effects are very bad. As a blogger, I’ve tried (though perhaps not hard enough) to make open borders my pet issue – to convince as many people as possible that the cause of free immigration is of overriding value.
My question for you: How persuasive have I been? In particular, how persuasive have I been for you personally? Yes, polling your own blog readers obviously courts a strong selective bias, but I still want to hear your answers.
There were probably more positive than negative responses to this introduction, including some who were completely converted to the open borders cause from indifference or hostility. I’ll focus on the negative responses though because they show what we still need to work on. I’ll cover most of them, but skip the long comments from Ghost of Christmas Past because they would need their own post. Continue reading “More responses to Caplan’s critics” »