Saturday, May 28, 2016

Open Borders in Welfare States

After three days in the desert fun
I was looking at a river bed
And the story it told of a river that flowed
Made me sad to think it was dead

Jacob Hornberger argues that, in order to remain ideologically consistent, libertarians must support open border policies in welfare states. He says that "the best way for libertarians to fight tyranny is not by supporting more tyranny, but rather by a steadfast adherence to libertarian principles."

However, in welfare states the tendency is to let immigrants have access to healthcare, education, and other resources that must be funded by taxpayers. Opening borders in such situations mean that the burden on taxpayers will increase.

Hornberger suggests that if adhering to his principles means paying higher taxes, "then so be it." But by consenting to higher taxes for both himself and others, isn't he in fact supporting the same tyranny that he purports to fight? He is using strong armed government agents to forcibly take from some in order to get what he wants.

To be fair, Hornberger does mention that laws could be passed that preclude immigrants from going on welfare. If such laws were passed and adhered to, then open borders would be more consistent with libertarian philosophy because no aggression has been added to the system. Unfortunately, Hornberger's argument does not stay on this track--perhaps because he suspects that the likelihood of passing and adhering to such laws in welfare states is low.

Absent such laws, however, open borders in welfare states further compromise the liberty of some, which should be unacceptable to lovers of freedom.

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