Often times, in Facebook level debates, topics will be debated without the full context, leading to exchanges of the form:
A: "I oppose environmentalism"
B: Oh, so you want garbage and pollution everywhere?!"
A: "I support abortion rights"
B: "Oh, so you want to kill babies?!"
A: "I support controlled immigration"
B: "Oh, so you want to kill or deport every immigrant?!"
Everyone in such forums has witnessed these types of debates, and it always leaves me with the sense of "where do you even start in such a debate?" Complex topics require more than out-of-context cliches, straw men arguments, and the like which usually only lead to hostility. Rather than debate in that way, I am providing links to my core immigration articles below so the full context of my arguments can be understood. As I note, immigration is a complex application of philosophy requiring some particular understanding of history, law, economics, ethics and political philosophy among others. There are many excellent scholars in this area I have drawn from, and it sickens me to see generally decent, thoughtful people attacking each other and talking past one another by engaging in debates without purpose or context.
1. Philosophical Foundations of Immigration in a Free Society
In 2015, I wrote a short post titled Principles of Immigration in a Free Society geared towards fellow Objectivists and libertarians who have been vehemently debating this issue. I argued that, even in a free society with a rights respecting government, immigration restrictions are perfectly appropriate and necessary as part of the government's national defense function. Given this, it is even more critical to have restrictive policies today in the context of the threat of Islam, mass migrations from civil wars, our own mixed economy that subsidizes immigrants, and the reality of democratic elections within a nation on the brink where immigrants tend to favor the left (which regards immigrants as an important voting bloc to accomplish their civilization destroying political agenda).
Since that time, the immigration debate has exposed even deeper fundamental philosophical problems that need to be understood and resolved. If we are to determine the government's proper role regarding immigration, it is important to trace these root philosophic issues that ultimately bear directly on policy. The following is an attempt to briefly categorize and analyze some of these underlying topics and to reiterate some ideas from the original post.
Objectivists disagree on immigration because their intellectual leaders have left them with a false alternative, between rationalism and empiricism, that fails to properly address the core facts and questions surrounding this important and complex issue. I hope by shedding light on even a portion of these flaws, it can lead to a more informed and civil debate and lead to better scholarship in this area and others.
3. Is There a Right to Immigrate?
In the wake of a recent post I wrote on immigration, an argument that keeps arising is the claim that "immigrants have a right to immigrate." This assertion takes different forms such as, "a border is just a line," or "everyone has the same rights, how can you deny them the same rights you have?" and so on. I touched on this argument again in another immigration post, but I want to make a more direct argument opposing the premise of this claim.
4. Biddle's Immigration Fallacy
Objectivists should be relying on arguments from rational self-interest which entails thinking through the practical long-term consequences of immigration policies morally, politically, economically and culturally. This is what a rational foreign policy must accomplish with respect to immigration. I never thought I would see the day where prominent Objectivist voices were relying on altruistic appeals to emotion and logical fallacies.