2013-07-29

Sonic Charmer: Still Wrong On Immigration

Sonic Charmer believes that advocates of open-borders change the subject when we receive objections:
But here’s the slippery part: when you take them seriously and therefore try to argue against #1 in good faith, you often get a retreat in response: hey, we’re just saying #2! We just think the government should, like, allow more immigration!
As usual when he writes about immigration, Sonic Charmer is woefully mistaken. For reference, here are his points #1 and #2:
1. The government has no right to restrict border crossing. (More immigration being, presumably, a result.)
2. More immigration should be allowed by the government; we should make the decision to allow it because it’s neat/good/etc.
 
Open borders advocates want borders to be open. There is no need to parse it up into two or more versions of it. There are many different ways to make a convincing argument for open borders.

One of them is to argue that enforcing closed borders in an attempt to prevent me from trading with immigrants is more of a restriction of my property rights than an open border is to those who do not wish to trade with immigrants. I would flesh this point out further here, but I already did last Friday, at OpenBorders.info.

Another way to argue for an open border is to say that, all theoretical mumbo-jumbo aside, increased immigration is good for everyone, so if you prefer working within a system you view as being more "practical," then fine: let's just open up the borders using the existing political machinery.

There is no reason to have to "choose" between these positions, and there is nothing dishonest about advocating for both positions simultaneously. If you believe, as I do, that freedom of migration is a human right and that it is morally reprehensible to bar other human beings from exercising that right, then the moral case for immigration supercedes any apparent conflict between saying that the government has no right to restrict immigration and saying that I would prefer if the government decided not to restrict immigration.

An easy way to see this is to compare it to a human right everyone agrees on: Freedom of/from religion. Let's say you lived in a place where it was illegal to practice your personal religion or atheism, whatever it may be. Let's also say I supported a policy of Freedom of Religion. I could easily make the case that the government has no right to dictate the beliefs of its citizens, and I would be absolutely right. Alternatively, I could argue that the government should stop putting restrictions on how people choose to practice or not practice their personal religions.

This would only seem like some kind of contradiction or "two-step" to someone hell-bent on eradicating the freedom of religion. And so it goes for immigration.

The truth is that I don't care if you choose to see open borders as something the government has no right to prevent or if you choose to see it as something the government should stop restricting. Who on Earth would care about a distinction like that? That Sonic Charmer chose to take this tack instead of responding the specific arguments I made against his appeal to property rights seems to suggest that he is having trouble defending his own claims.

Of course, this makes a lot of sense to me, since I believe Sonic Charmer will eventually come around to the open borders idea. Even though his readers tend to be racists, he himself clearly isn't. My OpenBorders.info piece from Friday highlighted some problems with the property rights appeal. Let's keep our eyes peeled to see whether Mr. Charmer can refute my claims on their merits, or whether he will finally warm up to immigration like I think he will.