Friday, May 22, 2009
Two Islands: A Libertarian Argument Against Open Borders
Let’s suppose there are two island nations. One is named Liberty Island and the other one is Statist Island. Both are democracies. Neither have a constitutionally constrained government. Both practice open immigration. Since both island nations are democracies, the people get the government they vote for.
On Liberty Island, the people prefer smaller government, one which protects life, liberty, and property. In general, the government doesn’t interfere unless a citizen violates someone else’s right to life, liberty, and property. For the most part, the role of government is to provide a small, defensive military. Consequently, the tax rates are very low. The people of Liberty Island are very prosperous.
On Statist Island, the people want their government to provide a wide range of services and to regulate the affairs of its citizens and companies. Consequently, the government consumes a very large proportion of the wealth. Statist Island has high unemployment and low growth rates. Over the past few years, things have been so bad that many have migrated to Liberty Island, not in search of liberty but primarily as a way to feed their families. They have brought with them many of their customs and culture which have made Liberty Island a more vibrant and diverse island.
Unfortunately, they have also brought with them their statist political philosophy.
The new arrivals join with a minority of Liberty Island voters and start winning elections. These elected representatives encouraged more and more Statist Islanders to migrate to Liberty Island. Soon the statists were in control of the Liberty Island legislative branches and the presidency. They then enacted statist policies and liberty was no longer to be found on Liberty Island.
Of course, this is just a story, it would never actually happen.