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Monday, January 22, 2018

Immigration Post Links

Here are links to my past articles on immigration.  Future immigration articles will also appear in this index in addition to having their own permalink.  

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 (11/5/2017) 

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. 

2. Why Objectivists REALLY Disagree on Immigration (11/27/2017)

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? (12/5/2017)

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 (1/23/2018)

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.

5. Why Objectivists REALLY Disagree on Immigration, Part 2 (3/16/2018)

However, because of the lack of principled and integrated thinking on the immigration issue, various new points of contention have emerged provoking heated debates.  Also, even within the context of this more limited debate in which open borders types have shifted, the hostility and logical inconsistency of the open borders position has persisted since their initial premises were never fully overturned in their minds.  The purpose of the following is to identify these significant issues, analyze them in a proper integrated context, and expose an even deeper philosophical problem that I see within this community that causes such debates to fester as long as they have.


6. The Founding Fathers on Immigration: Further Arguments Against "Open-Borders" (4/9/2018)

Immigration and the American Founding, a paper written by Dr. Kevin Portteus, is an excellent analysis of some of the moral, legal, and practical issues related to immigration originally considered by America's Founding Fathers, and, in my opinion, serves as a necessary complement to my recent posts on immigration in a free society.

7. Objectivists Disintegrating (May 3, 2018)

See Part 3 "Contextual Principles Related to the Immigration Debate" in which I distinguish an "out-of-context rationalistic approach" from an "inductive, contextualized approach."

8. Immigration Package Dealing (June 20, 2018) 

I recently read a Reason article from 2012 titled "Ayn Rand Was an Illegal Immigrant" by Shikha Dalmia.  This post will analyze some of the major flaws in that article.

5 comments:

Peter Smith said...

"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?"
Yea these are just reflexive appeals to emotion. Just remind them that they should appeal to facts instead of feelings, because facts don't care about their feelings. I don't really like Ben Shapiro but I have to admit that's a good line :)

"Why Objectivists REALLY Disagree on Immigration"
IMO it's because they stop thinking in terms of individual rights on this issue (because it is honestly hard to do so all the time).

"Is There a Right to Immigrate?"
Simple answer: Yes.
A bit longer answer: if you understand that rights are the freedom to think and act in a social context and that only rights violations (force or fraud) are to be illegal, then immigration is a right that has to be perfectly legal. No rights are violated by the act of immigration.

"Biddle's Immigration Fallacy"
I think in this paragraph you're engaging in a bit of that reflexive appeal to emotion you were condemning in the start of the post :) "prominent Objectivist voices were relying on altruistic appeals to emotion and logical fallacies." Oh come on lol.
Biddle et al are quite right on immigration if for no other reason that it doesn't violate rights.
A lot of objectivists like yourself are doing what conservatives are doing and trying to use immigration policy instead of a foreign policy but this cannot be done.

The Rat Cap said...

Peter Smith,

Your argument re rights and their relation to immigration is the equivalent of responding to someone, who has written thousands of words showing that you cannot prove that God exists, by saying "yeah, but God exists." You simply regurgitate, as a fact, the very argument that I refuted and expounded upon. Your out-of-context assertion reminds of me when I literally wrote (in "Is There a Right to Immigrate"):

"The whole basis of the "right to immigrate" argument starts with a kind of out-of-context, rationalistic, assertion of individual rights from which proponents proceed to deduce conclusions. The proper way to deal with this question is inductively, i.e., start with the facts that give rise to individual rights in the first place so we can see how to apply the concept in practical situations." And then proceeded to make a case on this basis....

Since you've done this before, I believe you are willfully disregarding or evading my arguments, and so this comment is not even really directed at you, since you will not consider it, but only to people who have honest comments and see your post.

Peter Smith said...

Sorry Rat Cap, don't mean to piss you off as I read your blog all the time but you are completely wrong on immigration and your mistakes are simply elementary.

You say "the right to immigrate argument starts with a kind of out-of-context, rationalistic, assertion of individual rights from which proponents proceed to deduce conclusions" but "individual rights" are a political principle and as such are the starting point for political discussion. If you aren't talking about rights, you aren't talking about politics.

You say "The proper way to deal with this question is inductively, i.e., start with the facts that give rise to individual rights in the first place so we can see how to apply the concept in practical situations." But if I have to re-establish my political principle on every political issue then it defeats the purpose of having principles in the first place.

In short you have indeed written thousands of words on this topic but as none of them have anything to do with rights, you've failed to write anything about the political question of immigration and so have concluded what a government should or should not do with no reference to the principle of rights.

I expect this stuff from conservatives who don't know anything about politics (or anything else for that matter) and use their platforms to talk nonsense about package-deal, straw-men like "open borders" or "globalists", but objectivists should know better.

In reality immigration is the biggest non-issue in politics today. Conservatives are hung-up on it because they are absolutely hopeless and a lot of objectivists are hung-up on it because they are using immigration, in place of what they actually want to do, which is talk about foreign policy, but these are two separate issues.

Ed Mazlish said...

Peter Smith:

"But if I have to re-establish my political principle on every political issue then it defeats the purpose of having political principles in the first place." ----> The proper purpose of having political principles is not to establish dogma from which one may not deviate, but to help you properly integrate the facts of *every* situation as you encounter them.

There is no shortcut in objectivity to processing the particular facts of a given situation. That's what objectivity means. The idea that political principles can be used to provide universal solutions and avoid the need to process facts of every particular situation is just a fancy way of defending context dropping. It is not advocating objectivity nor is it consistent with Objectivism.

Peter Smith said...

Ed, reminding Objectivists that politics is about individual rights NOT arbitrary, irrelevant factors like what language people speak or whether they integrate or not, is not dogma, it's just a reminder of the basics that we all sometimes forget.
And we shouldn't have to re-establish how we arrive at the principle of individual rights every time we want to discuss a political issue among Objectivists as we should be able to take that level of common ground for granted.
What's happening in the immigration debate is some Objectivists are abandoning the individualist principle of politics and are approaching the issue of immigration like conservatives and progressives, with random, appeal to emotion (ooh scary immigrants might cause crime) and irrelevant, non-rights factors. In this way the arguments Rat Cap offers re immigrants aren't all that different to the arguments offered by leftists to regulate business. Can't have free market, business might rip someone off or something!

"The idea that political principles can be used to provide universal solutions and avoid the need to process facts of every particular situation is just a fancy way of defending context dropping."
In a way I'm reminding you guys to stop dropping the context. If you are talking re issues in a political context then all that matters is rights. If someone might be a terrorist or a criminal/rights violator, then laws already exist to deal with this should it happen and it has nothing to do with the act of immigration.