This is the text of a talk given by David McDonagh to a meeting of the other Libertarian Alliance.
Nations and Liberalism
Milton Friedman once said that whatever the state can do, the market can do better. However, the state beats the market in producing wars and also in producing propaganda. Let us take the latter first, contrary to the outlook of many, like the late J.K. Galbraith or the current propagandist against the market, Naomi Klein, the market is not so good at producing propagandists. Adverts merely call our attention to what is on offer. They do not convert us, or persuade us to buy, what we do not want. Nor does the greater effort of entrepreneurship. Instead, it guesses what the public want and if it guesses wrong then, contra daft Galbraith, no amount of mere advertising can hope to shift the goods.
If the market cannot outpace the state then what can? How is pristine liberalism to make any headway? The solution is that what is needed is an amateur propaganda group, such as is the LA is, to get for nothing what money can never quite buy: love.
What about war? My answer to this will be spread out below, but, in short, the state needs to be cut back, or to be totally cut out, in order to get rid of this very wasteful problem. The problem of war was the main reason that Cobden and Bright became liberal propagandists.
The problem of war is also why many become Marxists. They ironically put it as being down to capitalism, by which they, basically, mean the market system. They think the that state is used by the merchant class to rig the market, but, while the clever merchant might try this on, the state will generally rule over the merchants in any case. The Marxists did not think that the state could ever quite rule the market, of course, but that it did apply itself as best it could to the interests of the capitalist class. Some amongst the wider LA are Romantics who rather like a class analysis related to a conspiracy theory that is not quite Marxist as it supposes way more success than Marx would have ever supposed from a system that allows the anarchy of money, but both remain utterly unrealistic.
The Marxists never understood nations, nationality or nationalism. They thought it was somewhat unreal. They posed classes as being more like reality but that was exactly wrong, as their particular idea of class has nothing to do with any reality, even though logic allows us to classify as we wish. It is the supposed facts to match their assumptions of objective economic interest groups that was lacking in reality, there was no facts out there to match their assumptions. We can assume whatever we like, but we cannot always match our assumptions to the external facts.
What about the much-eulogised libertarian class analysis? Is there not a clash of interests between the state gainers and the state taxed, between Peter who is taxed and Paul, who is not truly taxed at all? Well, I admit it is way more realistic than is the Marxist class analysis but it is not some form of struggle but rather a willingness to support those who seem to need it and in addition a believed social need to support the state.
This sort of liberal propaganda is maybe harmless enough but I think it is inferior to the Enlightenment outlook that sees no need to bother much about differing economic interests as the state damages the interests of all. The case the class paradigm tends to make against big business also seems to pander to silly ideas not dissimilar to these of the Greens for small-scale production, and even for protectionism. Many of this school think that big business could never arise on a free market but my guess is that it is likely to be the norm.
Even with the state, the market tends to crowd out war. In the early 1980s, Ronald Reagan feared that the problem of defence had been neglected. A successful commercial society always will see any spending on defence as a waste of money. It will often be thought that the money spent on it might otherwise bring some tangible utility. Spending on the armed forces seems to be, at best, like money spent on a sort of insurance scheme.
There has always been this tendency to neglect the need to defend the state against rival states but the commercial society tends to be even more drudging than is the normal state. That the problem of defence can seem like a wasteful bugbear even to a non-commercial state can be seen from the Ming dynasty inChinabefore they decided to spend money on improving and fortifying the great wall. The wealth they saved made them look very attractive to the Mongols who wanted to raid them to grab some of it.
So it was the same before the court saw the need to improve the great wall in China, they thought that spending on the army was a waste of money and as a result they were invaded by the Mongols such that the people had to flee for their lives, the authorities had to let as many into the Forbidden City as they could squeeze in, but many were shamefully left to perish at the hands of the invading Oirat Mongol hordes.
The Great Wall had dated from the Qin dynasty of the fifth century BC but it was rebuilt the wake of that humiliating defeat by the Oirats at the battle of Tumu in 1449. The Chinese replaced the rammed earth wall with one of large heavy bricks and stone, an improved wall that could be manned. The problem seen by the young general, Che-che Wong, was that to pursue the Oirats, or other invading Mongol tribes, into their own lands would be to overstretch the supply lines resulting, almost invariably, in the Chinese being cut off from supplies and thereby consequently beaten. He wanted to take the invaders on away from their homelands but not to allow them to supply themselves by raidingChina, so the wall would enable them to be seen, to then stop their plundering on the Chinese side and hit them when the Chinese defenders were fresh in well supplied from their own homelands.
This solution worked, but it was so expensive that one wonders whether the cure was less costly that the disease, for it eventually took more than three quarters of the state’s total revenue. It took some 20 000 men from all over China, who had to work around the clock to get the wall finished in the allotted 5 years. Many of them later repo9rted that felt more like slaves away from home rather than as troops defending their homelands. So many died in the rushed re-construction of the wall that it was said to be one long drawn out cemetery. Unrest arose, and Che-che saw the need to make a community of the construction project. He did so by planting apricot trees and encouraging the solders to settle on the completed parts of the wall expanding into the continuing construction site. The troops settled there with their wives rather than to think of it as a barracks far away from their home. The army had been part time farmers before Che took over but he had made them professional full timers even before the wall reconstruction began, whilst he was training them in the south where they were first mustered to fight against Japan. That campaign was won by Che’s reforms before he began on the wall.
The peace and security that followed the success of the wall soon brought a protest against its high cost, as it was still taking up to three quarters of the state’s revenue, at times, and it was very far from complete. It was held, by a fraction at the Emperor’s court, that it was a means to power for Che to become the new ruler. The Emperor, on seeing that this could be the case with ease, thought it best to remove that possible danger by sacking Che. That also ended his quest to push on from the 1200 towers he had accomplished to the 3000 result that he thought was needed. So the project was never completed.
A major aim, maybe the major aim, of liberalism has been free trade but neo-conservatism thinks that international law and order is more important. Most classical liberals will hold that the state is needed for the problem of defence, both domestically and against rival states. Anarcho-liberals have held that the market might be better at defence in both realms but they also look forward to the day when all the states ebb, for many anarchists feel that the whole problem of defence is caused by the mere existence of rival states, so that when the state ebbs the problem of defence also ebbs with it. The classical liberals thought that even the limited state would no longer pose the problem of defence.
But there are many others who think that the initiative needs to be taken in the problem, that attack is the best means of defence. They seem to thereby leave liberalism behind. Such are the neo-cons.
We need to look at the actual distinction between classical liberalism and the neo conservative position that it has influenced in the USA for so many opponents of the free market attempt to fuse the two together.
Neo-conservatism is a warmonger paradigm with the avowed aim to spread democracy to lands that lack it. Part of this is the meme form Kant that holds that democracies, or republics, do not go to war, written up recently as a book by Spencer Weart, so that this warmongering policy s might result in a more peaceful world if it only it can first set up all those new democracies.
However, wars have, so far, been quite popular with the masses, so there seems to be no reason, on the face of things, to think that the idea that Kant had was a realistic insight. Rather, it would seem to merely an ignorant idea of what is popular with the masses. In any case, the outlook of fighting to obtain this end seems to ensure war in the short run in order to set up the supposedly peace loving democracy in the long run, so the outlook is illiberal in its means, if not in its long run aims. It seems that the difference between this outlook and pristine liberalism can be summed up in a single word: nationalism. Liberalism is lax on the nation whilst neo-conservatism is keen to use the nation state as a means of spreading democracy and as a basis for it too.
In theUSA, classical liberalism was seen as a form of conservatism. I am too innocent of the history of the USA to be sure that my explanation for this is historically apt but it still seems to me that it might be the case, so it is worth me putting it here. The breaking away of 1776 to form theUSAwas a Whig affair thereby making the version of classical liberalism influenced by John Locke into establishment thought, or conservative thought. In addition to that, a lot of very superficial authors, from the 1870s on, all over the world, or at least in the English speaking world, have tended to see the march of state reform, and even socialism, as progressive. Any opposition to this statist movement, or to this fashion, a fashion that was wittingly or unwittingly, aiming at an almost obviously stagnant society, was said, with some irony, to be conservative. However, there is no real reason why liberalism cannot be conservative as an ideology, despite its opposition to stagnant statism, but it will need to be so by supporting the market, that many people actually fear, just because it is not one whit stagnant but rather a society of personal responsibility and high risk. But it is true that socialism or nationalism is better fitted to stopping progress. Presumably, the Luddite ideas were the acme of protectionism, even if futile. Socialism is an aim to dodge the risk, or at least to collectively share it, or bear it. So is nationalism, if to a lesser extent.
Before the rise of Reagan they used to call classical liberals conservatives in theUSAand it seemed unobjectionable to many classical liberals, named as such, as it meant support for a relatively free market, or at least a freer market that the supposed radicals wanted. Similarly, many classical liberals in theUKhave seen the Conservative Party as being nearer to the pristine liberalism they support than the post-1910 Liberal Party, as it was clear that that party was keener on restrictive and re-distributive state policies than on liberty. That party had drifted towards what the general public had come to mean by liberalism in theUSA. A leading author of neo-conservatism in the USA, Irving Kristol remarked that a neoconservative is a “liberal mugged by reality” but he seems to have meant the type that in the UK were the welfare state neo-liberals that arose in the Liberal party after Gladstone, whose main leader was Joseph Chamberlain. The neo-cons are way more at home with the welfare state and with the statist Keynes from 1036 on than are most classical liberals. Keynes thought he saw a red under the bed problem at the Universiity of Cambridge of the 1020s and 30s, that endagered the market and that is a line of thought that the neo-cons think was very realistic. They too think that there might be a big danger afoot that is well worth coutering today.
To add to the confusion, quite a few Marxists of various hues went over from their adolescent outlook to become conservatives and they retained a radical element that rather liked the warmongering mission to spread democracy that the neo-cons favoured.
Liberalism upholds the right to follow any religion as long as it is not going to illiberally victimise others. But most neo-conservatives seem to have Christianity as part of the deal. 9/11 boosted neo-conservatism greatly. They came up with the axis of evil idea from the backroom boy, David Frum, whom Bush used in his State of the Union speech in January 2002. The idea that a pre-emptive war was good idealism, that only cynics would ever oppose, was also introduced. All that is contrary to the political isolationism with free trade paradigm of Cobden and Bright, an outlook that always was widespread in theUSA, and one that Bush had also endorsed as his foreign policy in his campaign to be elected prior to 9/11. After 9/11, Bush dropped that classical liberal outlook. It might have been dropped anyway. But it is still popular with the masses.
The new neo-con idea that replaced liberalism asUSAforeign policy after 9/11 was that nation building might get rid of the threat from Islamic terrorism from places likeIraqandAfghanistan. Yet in all this, it was oddly overlooked that there was no such threat fromIraq, or even fromAfghanistan, despite it actually harbouring Al Qaeda, for it was way too far away to be an effective base for an attack on theUSA. The 9/11 attacks were from a base inside theUSAand a lot of the training was done inGermany. When this lack of a threat was told to neo-cons on Internet mailing lists before the Iraqi invasion, they usually said that their critic was naïve. They often attempted to make out a case that Saddam was keen on Al Qaeda after all. They sometimes might even admit that the case they had mustered was flimsy but, like the case of Saddam’s WMD, it would become abundantly evident in the future. When no WMD turned up they claimed that it was impossible to have known that before the Iraqi invasion but they did claim that they knew they were there.
As there is no clearUKorUSAnational interest in invadingIraq, orAfghanistan, many have supposed that it is the Israeli national interest that the neo-cons really favour but though that may look more plausible,IranandAfghanistanare a fair distance away fromIsraeltoo.
One marked feature of the neo-conservative paradigm is the idea that there are enemies out there that are best dealt with by war. This is a Romantic outlook that contrasts shapely with the Enlightenment outlook, which holds that we have no enemies at all but rather that liberalism is in the interests of one and all. The major Romantic paradigm today is still Marxism, that sees a class struggle and there are even many Romantics in the LA who think there might be a liberal version of the class struggle, that MPs ought to be executed and the like. I certainly have close LA friends who flirt with sheer Romance. But they are not warmongers. Nor could they be mistaken for neo-conservatives or libertoryans [if I may rudely pinch a term from one of them] of any kind.
Liberalism sees power politics as a silly mistake and the attempt to gain influence around the world made by ambitious politicians as sheer folly. Cobden and Bright were against having embassies around the world, or any international meeting of politicians of any kind, for they saw that as risking war. Political isolationism and free trade was their outlook and their foreign policy was near to being one that had no content. By contrast, the neo-conservatives in the USA were exceeding proud of its hegemony and very keen to maintain it against anything that might replace the defunct USSR as a new rival, presumably China, but it would be the EU if only the tradition of all those languages, and other cultural handicaps, did not prevent them from rapidly organising the very slowly arising super-state so effectively.
Irving Kristol wrote: “If there is any one thing that the neoconservatives are unanimous about, it is their dislike of the counterculture; by which he seems to have meant teenaged fads like being beatniks or hippies or maybe, more sensibly, the Politically Correct totalitarian movement to outlaw 1950s conservatism. Many libertarians have also thought that culture matters, but what they mean by culture is way too wide to have any clear reference. The nation is certainly cultural but saying that there are cultural differences when one means national differences is to be obscurantist.
Kristol, his son and their neo-conservative friends tend to think in the traditional conservative fears associated in the twentieth century with the phrase “reds under the bed” but rampant in the time of the French Revolution and fanned by the Romantic writings of Edmund Burke. This outlook does foster a traditional way of life, it makes, maybe, a fight back uniform ideology to protect the 1950s norm that can react to the rather daft ideology of Political Correctness but it runs the risk of joining them in their crass intolerance rather than beating them.
The Romantic fear that society is about to collapse some time soon, or that there is something that we might call a revolution, as opposed to a mere riot likeFranceexperienced in 1789. Adam Smith replied to a correspondent on the break away of theUSAsome ten, or so, years earlier that there was a great deal of ruin in a nation. This is a bit of corrective realism for the Romantics. Like David Hume, Smith benefited from the writings of Joseph Butler that were a corrective of Hobbes on the war of all against all, as was Locke’s revision of the idea of pristine anarchy or the state of nature prior to the rise of the state.
Many neo-cons are actually imperialist. They think that isolationism is not adequate for the modern world and that the liberal opposition to it, a meme that survived from pristine liberalism, still permeates the political culture of theUSAtoday, as does isolationism. The modern statist liberalism, that replaced classical liberalism, though lacking the economic analysis of Adam Smith and his epigones like Cobden and Bright, indeed, the modern liberals generally think that the empire enrichedBritain, still opposes imperialism. The neo-cons think their anti-imperialist outlook is naïve. They lament the void left by the ebbing of the British and other empires and they feel that something like that needs to rule today. This seems to them to be merely realistic but it fails for the reasons that Cobden said back in the 1830s. TheBritish Empiredid not always do so badly by the natives but they might have done the work it did just as well for themselves and it did tax the mother country more than was good for it. But the neo-cons doubt that they ever can. So there is a large element of neo-imperialism in neo-conservatism.
Some among us have thought that the problem of free immigration causing strife might well be settled by free discrimination and rejection. This seems logically possible given a uniform rejection of the alien phenotypes in any nation, such as might be possible in Japan or China today but even in those two places there will be the usual Bell Curve of reactions to foreigners rather than a uniform reaction, thus this logical possibility remains remote. Females are less likely to be completely unsympathetic to the immigrant than will be the average male, thin even though there will be overlaps there. Indeed we will get a Bell Curve for each sex but one showing more sympathy to be with the females, I expect.
Similarly, the old more tolerant of immigrants than the young will be. Political Correctness holds otherwise, as it naively holds that time is with it and that what it opposes will eventually die out.
Hans-Hermann Hoppe is the leading exponent of this solution, so I will criticize a 2002 paper of his on the topic that was published in the Journal of Libertarian Studies Volume 16, No.1 (Winter 2002) entitled “Natural Order, the state, and the immigration problem” (pp 75-97).
Mises is quoted on holding that if it was not for the positive sum game of trade then men would have been enemies. That looks unlikely, as even in the negative sum game of war we can still have friends. Moreover, the mutual gains of trade do not automatically make for friendship. Free trade crowds out war as it crowds out politics, i.e. the sole cause of modern war, not because we like those we trade with.
Mises was as daft as was Hobbes to think that society ever could be a war of all against all. Though John Locke seems to have hit on the idea of revision late in his studies of Hobbes in his preparations for his books, Locke did outline a way more realistic view of pristine anarchy, or of a state of nature, than did Hobbes. Aristotle was clearly right to say that man is a social animal. The human race always was socialized into society, which always was artificial. We most likely inherited some culture from pre-man. It is not likely that the long parenting of humans could be done free of human society. Individualism is a social philosophy.
So the idea that there could be a society utterly devoid of sympathy looks far-fetched. Hoppe cites Mises’ Human Action [(1949) 1998 edition] (p 144) to this end. Let me see what he says in my own 1966 edition. We are told there that we are born into a socially organized environment (p143) such that society came before the individual. Mises sees that the individual is an agent and that society is not. He says that society is just the interaction of individuals. Society cannot be found free of individuals. To take it literally that it can, is a recipe for many errors. Only man can act. [This usage of “man” no more excludes women than the suffix in the word “women” excludes them].
Going over to the next the page, Mises says that friendship arises from society rather than the other way round. Society makes us human. That seems to be fine, but then we come to Hoppe’s quotation that the division of labour aided this. Unless we count that to include the natural one between the sexes, one that all animals have, for Engels once said that that is where the division of labour sprung from, then this would seem to be false. Trade expands the domain of society but it does not create it. Mises seems to exaggerate here. He grants that if not the family, then sexual attraction, that often results in it, are biological. But modern man could not rear himself free of a tribe even if no tribe is biologically determined. It seems clear that a tribal society could exist free of progress but it is true that trade makes society easier and that it greatly boosts progress.
Hoppe (p76) feels that this insight of Mises helps to explain why the modern neighbourhood is homogeneous, why it is usually confined to one tribe wherein each person own whatever they own separately, in an equal way to others, but that anyone may own more or less than others, that people may be in relationships, such as father and son, landlord and tenant and the like. Such relationships form communities that may well get on peacefully with alien communities, says Hoppe. Trade works well between those that do not like each other, either physically or behaviourally. Hoppe says in a footnote that Mises notes that would be the case even if we postulated that intense hatred was inborn between alien phenotypes, and all that seems to be the case.
Hoppe tends to embrace the old adage that “birds of a feather flock together” for he holds that distinct ethno-cultures will segregate out. Likes like to associate with likes, based on race, language, or other cultural differences like religion. They tend to separate themselves from unlikes. There will be some overlap, he says, but he seems to think it will not amount to much. The in-groups remain largely uniform. Despite all the multicultural propaganda by the state, the result is still largely one of separate groups. Most would seem to prefer to trade with each other from afar, says Hoppe.
If there were to be no state property at all, not anywhere on earth, then there would be no leeway for mass immigration. Immigrants would then need to know those they visited, as there would be no public space to move in otherwise, says Hoppe (p78). But contrary to this, private property supplies any amount of public space in shops, airports, ships and the like. Why will they cease to exist?
Hoppe thinks any immigrants or visitors will need to be invited into any area they travel into and that this will restrict immigration, as the immigrants are not likely to ever be invited in, but it is not clear that, in fact, the public spaces will be lacking for them to arrive in on uninvited in a completely free society. He thinks that the immigrants will always be dependent on the person who invites them in, but why should we expect public places to vanish?
Hoppe admits that there will be lots of movement in free trade, as there is a need for it, but he thinks there is also a need to be selective. Most inclusive will be roads, railway stations, harbours and airports. He admits that they will be willing to let people in. It is their trade to do so. But they do reject trespassers, drunks and others today, says Hoppe.
Shops, hotels and restaurants are similar in their keenness to welcome people in. But hotels will be more concerned about how the locals will react to their guests. Similarly, shops might fear a boycott of locals if they serve people whom are unacceptable. They may discriminate owing to the potential loss of good will amongst the locals.
Hoppe thinks that local employers will think along the same lines. They may fear that a mixed workforce may lower productivity through the strife that is likely to thereby arise (p79). In any case, immigrant workers will require housing and there discrimination is strong. Residents do not like foreigners. Residential property in a whole area might fall in value if aliens are let in. It is the difficulty of finding anywhere to settle that Hoppe seems to think will stop any significant immigration in a free society.
That is not too bad but it is always a bit risky saying how things may turn out if they are free for we do not know what the people will want in the future.
But if we have a state then things might be different, says Hope. He claims to have a distinct idea as to what the state is so I will cite his idea here:
“Let us now introduce the institution of a State. The definition of a State assumed here is rather uncontroversial: A State is an agency which possesses the exclusive monopoly of ultimate decision-making and conflict arbitration within a given territory. In particular, a State can insist that all conflicts involving itself be adjudicated by itself or its agents. Implied in the power to exclude all others from acting as ultimate judge, as the second defining element of a State, is its power to tax: to unilaterally determine the price justice seekers must pay to the State for its services as the monopolistic provider of law and order” (p80).
Hoppe holds that mass immigration is a state phenomenon. The state is not for the common good or owing to the public fear that anarchy would not produce a stable order but so it can be used for selfish ends of an elite, says Hoppe (p81), but that does not seem plausible to me. It is clearly there owing to the current common sense idea that it is needed for good order; though it is maybe even more secure owing to the fact that people think that it must serve some end, even though we may not know what that end is. This Hayekian idea is also a widespread common-sense idea. .
Though taxation, a ruling class can enrich themselves from the work of others is Hoppe’s idea. That may be a logical possibility but love of power seems to be a far greater motive for the ambitious politician. It is often the case that one might earn way more elsewhere than in office but many have, like Joseph Kennedy, sunk a lot of money on the aim of getting his sons into power as an end rather than a mere means of getting money. In most cases, political power looks more like an end aim than like a mere means to getting rich.
With the state and set boarders, immigration takes on particular character, says Hoppe. Instead of a person moving from one place to another, we have a foreigner doing so. It is the state that decides who can settle. Force decides it rather than free buying and selling or fee association. It is either that the state forces the immigrant to be accepted or to not be allowed in (p81). This allows mass immigration that might be seen as forced integration, though that could not emerge if the state allowed truly free immigration, as then all immigrants would need to be invited in (p82). He says we then get macro rather than just micro immigration. The state will want to maximise tax revenues. Hoppe says they will not be so interested in dong what many think it is their job to do, viz. to provide domestic or national security. He holds this is typical of a monopoly service and the state always imposes a monopoly.
Because the state may need to maintain its rule, it needs all private land to be surrounded by state owned land, so that it can get access to anyone who rebels against state rule or against taxation. So we get many parks and openly public roads so that no one can resist the rule or coercive powers of the state. This is why the state wants to own the roads. It is not a market failure, says Hoppe. Public roads being over supplied, as they are with the state, also pushes people who would sooner dodge each other into unwanted contact, he adds (p83). As the state will be keen on redistribution, this is almost bound to be done on racial, tribal or linguistic criteria. A diverse mix in society gives the state an excuse to push its rules, though its ever-increasing Politically Correct affirmative action and anti-discrimination measures (p84), says Hoppe. Seeing the public unarmed and unable to reject those they want to reject is all part of facilitating state rule, according to Hoppe. Employers can no longer hire or fire as they wish. Landlords can no longer refuse to let rooms when they might wish to do so.
All this allows the immigrant to enter and settle in state residential areas with the protection of the state (p85). Why would immigration ever be a problem for a state? Hoppe oddly assumes there is a free market area from which they might immigrate and suggests that they would not, that emigration might be the problem there as only those who want to go on welfare would go from free trade to a state. The state then would have emigration as the problem, he says. But it is not likely that the state would provide welfare under those circumstances. He seems to think that welfare claimants are no problem for a state and that the clash of races in the multi-racial society is not either. He tends to suggest that those two social problems aid the state in some way. Hoppe takes this idea that the politicians are in it only for themselves a bit too unrealistically. We might say to Hoppe as Hume said to Rousseau, there is something in what you say but not as much as you think there is.
Hoppe then says that the state is also the cause of emigration. Presumably he means that if it tends to depress economic progress in many places to a greater extent than do other states then people will want to leave. Again, there is something in that but it is way more to the point to say that it is capital accumulation that tends to attract immigrants. A worker moving fromIndiatoEnglandcan expect to get better pay for almost any job that he does owing to greater capital accumulation inEnglandthan inIndia, and similarly with an immigrant fromEnglandto theUSA. There are there other factors but that seems to be the main cause of mass immigration today. But Hoppe instead wants to say:
“In fact, the institution of a State is a cause of emigration; indeed, it is the most important or even the sole cause of modern mass migrations (more powerful and devastating in its effects than any hurricane, earthquake or flood and comparable only to the effects on migration of the various ice-ages) (p85).”
This is clearly hyperbole from Hoppe and by that I do not mean that the damage Hoppe feels is done by immigration is but rather for him to say that the state is the main push of emigration or the main pull of immigration, that it in on par with or more significant than capital accumulation as the pull and relative poverty as the push. As for the supposed damage, it is likely that it is as subjectively as bad as Hoppe imagines it is for some natives or even worse than that for a few but on the other side some natives of the land that the immigrants go to will welcome the immigrants and they will see their arrival as a boon. Political Correctness only flourishes today, as it seems fine to many people, even if Hoppe’s case gets a bit stronger when we consider that it is mainly popular in amongst the state supporting elite.
Hoppe goes on:
“What has been missing in this reconstruction is the assumption of a multitude of states partitioning the entire globe (the absence of natural orders anywhere). Then, as one state causes mass emigration, another state will be confronted with the problem of mass immigration; and the general direction of mass migration movements will be from territories where states exploit (legislatively expropriate and tax) their subjects more (and wealth accordingly tends to be lower) to territories where states exploit less (and wealth is higher) (p85)”
No mention of the pull of better pay in the lands where there is capital accumulation, yet Hoppe is an economist. He often cites Mises but Mises would soon have told him that the pull of immigration was capital accumulation. Moreover. We might note that Hoppe has noticed that immigration can pose problems for the state. He admits that “another state will be confronted with the problem of mass immigration;” in contradistinction to his suggestion that it can never pose problems for the state as it gives only a wider tax base.
Hoppe follows on:
“We have finally arrived in the present, when the Western world —Western Europe, North America, andAustralia—is faced with the specter of State-caused mass immigration from all over the rest of the world. What can and is being done about this situation?
Out of sheer self-interest States will not adopt an “open border” policy. If they did, the influx of immigrants would quickly assume such proportions that the domestic state-welfare system would collapse. On the other hand, the Western welfare states do not prevent tens or even hundreds of thousands (and in the case of theUnited Stateswell in excess of a million) of uninvited foreigners per year from entering and settling their territories. Moreover, as far as legal of open borders that exists de facto in the U.S. really amounts to a compulsory opening by the central state, the state in charge of all streets and public land areas, and does not genuinely reflect the wishes of the proprietors” (p85)
Hoppe holds that the state sets immigration limits that it then flouts as it sees fit and all this is usually unpopular with the natives so he asks why is it done (p86). It is not difficult to find a rationale, he says, as forced racial integration breaks up many institutions in society such as the family or the clan. In a broken society it is easier for the state to get rid of people who cause them trouble. Socialist dictators use this ploy. They can flee easier if toppled. TheUSAhas favoured Jewish immigrants from the formerUSSRautomatically. They tended to get jobs in the public or state sector. InIsrael, some ninety two percent of the land is owned by the state. They will not allow the natives to leave but allow Jews from all places to enter. Non –Jews are not allowed to rent from Jews (p86). Hoppe continues:
“In the “logic” of the state, a hefty dose of foreign invasion, especially if it comes from strange and far-away places, is reckoned to further strengthen this tendency. And the present situation offers a particularly opportune time to do so, for in accordance with the inherently centralizing tendency of States and statism generally and promoted here and now in particular by the U.S. as the world’s only remaining superpower, the Western world—or more precisely the neoconservative-social democratic elites controlling the state governments in the U.S. and Western Europe—is committed to the establishment of supra-national states (such as the European Union) and ultimately one world state. National, regional or communal attachments are the main stumbling blocks on the way to this goal. A good measure of uninvited foreigners and government imposed multiculturalism is calculated to further weaken and ultimately destroy national, regional, and communal identities and thus promote the goal of a One World Order, led by the U.S., and a new ‘universal man’ (p87).”
This aim of world government may be a common aim in government circles, for it is not so uncommon in the few amongst the public that show any interest in politics but it is idealistic rather than based on self interest. It was way more popular in 1945 than it is today if we judge by the number of books that can be found from that decade that advocate the aim.
Hoppe sees that a completely open boarder today would soon see many immigrant groups becoming a majority in many places, as there are so many who might gain from leaving from places that have large populations like India and Nigeria and not many natives in Switzerland, or Austria or even in greater populated Germany or Italy by comparison with the massive indigents in the two lands cited (p88). This would most likely cause the welfare state to collapse but Hoppe is not worried about that consequence but he thinks that it is a mistake to assume that the anarcho-liberal order would emerge from this sort of collapse. This is because the immigrants are not like they might be if they were natives but have the culture of the lands they have come from rather that the knowledge needed to be part of the market order. Proper assimilation can only arise when the immigration is on a small scale and it cannot cope with large-scale immigration, says Hoppe. Only the very naïve would expect a market society to emerge from the assorted enclaves or ghettos of the various immigrant areas. Indeed, Hope feels that any sociological insight would lead on to expect only a civil war from such diversity. It will begin with plundering and people squatting in houses such that capital will soon be consumed and society will ebb. The natives will soon be a minority. The Alps will still be inSwitzerlandandAustriabut not any Swiss or Austrians (p88).
Hoppe feels that the libertarians who advocate open borders are not only ignorant of sociology but they also fail on basic ethics (p89). The assumption it makes is that foreigners have a right to live wherever they want to, but he says that they have no such right. They might have that right if the property they were moving to were not already owned territory, but it is not. Hoppe feels that the evidence of conflict along ethnic and religious lines is rife, fromUlstertoSouth Africa, fromYugoslaviato theLebanon, from the Soviet Union of 1917 toIndiain 1948. IsSwitzerlandwith its cantons of French, Germans Italians and Romansh an exception? No says Hoppe, as the cantons allow them a lot of independence. Of the twenty-six cantons only three are bilingual (p89).
Many advocates of the open boarders hold that the state property is unowned, like the frontier was, but it is not like that (p90) says Hoppe, as it is largely confiscated property. It basically still belongs to the taxpayers from whom it was taken from and who have continued to be taxed to maintain it, he thinks. This seems far-fetched. It clearly belongs to the state. But Hoppe feels that the ones that had it taken off them remain the rightful owners. Many nationalists do feel that taxes remain theirs, in some way, but that seems to be a falsehood. But like them, Hoppe feels they have a right to a say in how taxes are used, and that gives them rights over the foreigners. It looks like a democratic and a nationalist position that Hoppe basically adopts here. The fact that all the state has is really still truly the property of those who have had it taken from them means that the foreigners do not have the same rights and it also makes affirmative action also morally outrageous
Many say that immigrants work their own way and thereby make for greater prosperity. Maybe, but that does not make it any the less immoral says Hoppe. For him, immigration is a matter of right and wrong, not of economics.
The state is supposed to protect the natives both from invasion and from domestic crime, so it is ironic that it tolerates, or even encourages, masses of aliens in to occupy its homelands It is not the case that immigrant invited in do no damage, according to Hoppe, as he feels that they do impose on the natives. Only in a completely company owned town can the full cost be met by the employer of the immigrants he invites in as workers. As things are, the immigrants not only impose on the natives but also are privileged against normal social discrimination (p91). By being able to externalise the cost of immigrant workers, some firms can bring in low quality people in regardless of how they fit in (p92).
Hoppe feels that the open border stance is bankrupt (p92). He feels it might owe something to the idea that businessmen are heroes, an idea that Ayn Rand had. What can be wrong with such a hero hiring an immigrant worker? But if she had read a bit of history, says Hoppe, then she might have realised that big business is a big offender against private property rights. They use the state to get privileges like importing immigrant workers at other people’s expense, he says. They also export capital and get the state to bail them out when the investments fail.
Hoppe thinks that many libertarians who argue for an open door policy are egalitarians also. They liked the tolerance of various lifestyles and the anti-authoritarianism of liberalism. But they are sensitive on free discrimination. They even think the state is right to be against racism and sexism. Some of such libertarians are often even Politically Correct [PC]. Like normal PC adherents, they might ironically say that civil rights are important whilst pushing privileged suppression of normal social discrimination. They simply do not see that they are calling for a privileged position at others expense. Discrimination and exclusion is the normal price for many new lifestyles but they like to see the state criminalize this reaction (p92).
Hoppe seems to be a bit weak on logic. He says:
“A State is a contradiction in terms: it is a property protector who may expropriate the property of the protected through legislation and taxation. Predictably, a State will be interested in maximizing its tax revenues and power (its range of legislative interference with private property rights) and disinterested in protecting anything except itself. What we experience in the area of immigration is only one aspect of a general problem. States are also supposed to protect their citizen from domestic intrusion and invasion, yet as we have seen, they actually disarm them, encircle them, tax them, and strip them of their right to exclusion, thus rendering them helpless” (p95).
But we do not get any contradictions in reality but only in accounts of reality. What Hoppe seems to mean is that the state does not always protect private property, but that is no contradiction. He means that the suppositions that he is criticising are inept not that they are strictly absurd.
Hoppe feels that to solve the immigrant problem is to solve many others. He says that a return to natural order will be part of it, and by that he seems to mean liberal anarchy. He thinks the means to this is by devolution and succession (p93). He thinks by this process the state will ebb, but it seems more likely that common sense, or the common outlook that the public have, will change resulting in privatisation rather than devolution, whereby the state is rolled back first and later dissolved. Hoppe also says that privatisation will be also needed (p94). Within a page he declares that devolution is not enough. But it has no use at all. It can only hope to achieve its aim of getting people to love the local state, but that is hardly a liberal aim.
Hoppe want to make a detailed fuss of who has paid the most taxes, or who might have owned the property to begin with (p94) but all that is to create problems rather than to solve them. The thing to do is to privatise, and to do so as quickly as possible and let bygones be bygones. Hoppe admits to some problems with privatisation but they seem to be all around his fuss about the process but, of course, he is right to make explicit that anyone who gets the sometime state property will need to be able to sell it to those who will be able to manage it well. Any fool needs to allow the market to part him from his money. This polycentric public regulation by the price system is all the regulation that is needed, and all that is socially functional.
“With the central state withered away and the privatisation of public property complete, the right to exclusion inherent in private property and essential for personal security and protection is returned into the hands of a multitude of independent private decision-making units. Immigration once again becomes a micro-phenomenon and disappears as a social “problem” (p95).
This will aid the problem, or ease it, but it might not get rid of it altogether. Hoppe seems to assume that the likes of the BNP is in the middle of the Bell Curve rather than at one of the edges of it. That may be the case, or it may not be. Political Correctness has obfuscated how things are with the public by its intolerance of free speech.
A fond friend replies to all this above thus:
“It is ironic that Hoppe seems to feel immigration and alternative non-traditional life styles will not be broadly tolerated on the market when he, a German national, has himself, lived in Las Vegas for twenty years and then divorced his wife of long standing and abandoned his children in order to take up with and then to marry a Turkish woman, and live in Turkey with her running a hotel.”
We can expect the general public to be equally lax.