Immigration arguments

David Friedman is an interesting guy and always worth reading. However, something about the immigration issue destroys everyone’s (even Friedman’s!) ability to think logically.

Friedman, for example, thinks he has a good argument when he notes that immigration restrictions were minimal in in the latter half of the 1800s.

I read a lot of anti-immigration writing. I support many immigrant positions. However, I’m not sure that I’ve read (or written) anything that would suggest that if all conditions in the US were to return their state exactly as they were in 1875, that anyone would oppose immigration.

To name just a few salient points, if most immigrants were from European countries, if jobs for unskilled laborers were plentiful, if there was no welfare state or income tax, if discrimination was legal, if voting was limited, etc. I think most modern “immigration restrictionist” would be cool with immigration.

Am I missing something insightful about this argument or is it as retarded as it seems?

Friedman also seems to think that if a bunch of people from place A move to place B, it’s most likely that they’ll act like citizens from place B. For example, if a bunch of Nigerians move to Norway, Friedman seems to think that the Nigerians will act like Norwegians. What is it about immigration that makes otherwise (in this case) brilliant people say retarded shit? (If I’m just interpreting this argument wrong, I’m not the only one.

Even though, as I’ve written, Singapore heavily restricts immigration and designs policies (i.e. restricts freedoms) specifically to mitigate the consequences of having a diverse population, Scott Sumner and Bryan Caplan seem to like it.

I find this really frustrating, since Caplan (in particular) endlessly blogs about the virtues of open borders while loving on Singapore. I’m not holding my breath for a post from Steve Sailer praising the policies of the Balkans.

As it turns out, the answer to the question, “other than that Mrs. Lincoln did you like the play,” is apparently, “yes.”


4 Responses to Immigration arguments

  1. asdf says:

    Being pro-immigration is a high status position. Reasons are invented for things that raise your status. Smart people are good at coming up with every increasing rationalizations for status raising lies if they want to.

  2. Jehu says:

    Yep, because I’m a strong believer in the value of demographic hegemony, and I’m white, I am EVIL INCARNATE. If I were black, I’d be a candidate for a Peace Prize instead. I see the system as we know it collapsing of its own weight in less than a generation, and the part of me that I like less looks forward to engaging in the cycle of payback that always accompanies such a collapse.
    Ridicule trumps reason, but violence trumps all. Perhaps there was wisdom in the old Southern tradition that you could challenge a man to a duel for ridicule, but not for merely defeating you with reason?

  3. josh says:

    You say there was no welfare state, but their was patronage in party machines. Immigrants were cheap votes and cheap labor and elites could avoid the consequences of the inter-ethnic prole shenanegans and destruction of community by moving out to the mainline. Same as it ever was.

  4. Steve says:

    To most post-Enlightenment ideologists, whether Libertarian, or Socialist, people are a commodity by definition.

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