There Are Limits...

For instance, to how open one can be.

I know a nice libertarian-socialist fellow named Mophery Rurbt. He has a household, let us imagine, consisting of three wives (well, he is a Mormon, and the Supreme Court has legalized polygamy), and four children.

One day at his door he finds a small Bangladeshi child, looking hungry, and saying he is come all the way across the world from Bangladesh, and has no place to stay. Mophery's family all consult together, and decide they can take him in. The little Bangladeshi child is overjoyed and becomes part of the Rurbt household.

One thing he does after joining that household is Facebook message all his friends back in Bangladesh, and tell them about this generous American who will take people in. Well, they Facebook message their friends, and so on, and about a week later...

Mophery wakes up in the morning to find Bangladeshis on his lawn. And beyond his lawn. In fact, as far as the eye can see (and this is pretty far, since Mophery lives on a tall hill) darn Bangladeshis struggling to advance towards his home. He learns that every single one of them expects him to take them in.

He locks his door, and shouts out the window that he will call the police if the horde tries to force its way in.

All, but now his fellow libertarian socialists hate him. "You're telling these people where they can go at the point of a gun."

The problem is that they don't see private property as legitimate, and thus don't see Mophery's efforts to stop his home from being overwhelmed and destroyed as a useful dwelling as legitimate. But Mophery has had a sudden awakening, and realizes that his household, to be a functioning unit, has to be able to control who may or may not join. If those who are not invited to join try to force their way in anyhow, the initial quote aggression" is on their part, not on his household's.

Nation-states, too, are functioning social units. If they are to remain functioning social units, they have to be able to regulate the influx of new members. It takes an ideology to occlude this rather obvious point, and make it look as though a group declining to invite someone in is somehow threatening them "at gunpoint."

11 comments:

  1. "Nation-states, too, are functioning social units. If they are to remain functioning social units"

    Nation-states (and other violent criminal gangs) are "functioning social units" in the same sense that cancer cells are "functioning cells." Why the hell would we want them to remain "functioning social units?"

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    1. Well, at least you admit open borders are a way of destroying the nations that adopt them! But really, Tom, this is just trolling: you know I think you are wrong, and I have offered plenty of reasons and evidence that you are wrong. And I get that you don't believe me.

      So what is the point of showing up here and posting "You're wrong." I know you think I am wrong. If you have some interesting new argument, great. Otherwise let's not waste time.

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    2. Nation-states (and other violent criminal gangs)[…]

      I didn't know I was the member of a violent gang.

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    3. "I didn't know I was the member of a violent gang."

      Samson, these are very nice people who have entered an hallucinatory reality in which words mean something quite different than in the real world.

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  2. Samson: me either. I also didn't know that folks don't have a right to own things. I agree with them - they should 'give' me the things that they 'own', since their ownership is invalid. I would happily accept their 'donations'.

    I think that, more and more, I'm beginning to realize that philosophy can only make common sense more defensible. Without having it (common sense, that is), no argument will suffice. Some of the most brilliant people in intellectual history made deeply stupid conclusions (example: socialist anarchists who do not think that people should own things), and no amount of arguing can cure stupidity.

    One last thing; if your political ideology requires that you describe normal conventions of the world in quotation marks because it doesn't agree with them, then there is a good chance that reality doesn't agree with your political ideology.

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    1. I also didn't know that folks don't have a right to own things.

      Well, see, now you're implying the absurd. Just because I don't think nation-states are "violent gangs" doesn't mean I think that people don't have the right to own things. The problem with libertarianism is that it simplifies ownership to the point of it being vacuous. The anarcho-capitalists also fail to see that their "private property communities" are just states by a different name!

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  3. "Well, at least you admit open borders are a way of destroying the nations that adopt them"

    Actually, no. So far as I can tell, open borders have always been good in nearly unalloyed economic and social ways to the extent that nations have adopted them.

    I was rejecting the "the reason we should close borders is because doing so is good for states" not because it is correct, but because something being good for states is not something I recognize as a compelling argument.

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    1. "open borders have always been good in nearly unalloyed economic and social ways to the extent that nations have adopted them."

      Yes, the Romans Empire did so well when the Germans poured through it borders.

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    2. "but because something being good for states is not something I recognize as a compelling argument."

      Right, and I get that. We disagree on this point. So let's not post every single time I make it, with you noting you disagree: I get it. I like you coming around and posting, but just not when it is "Wrong: states bad!!"

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    3. But take it as a given that every single time I post anything implying that the state might be a useful social institution, Thomas Knapp disagrees.

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  4. Samson, thanks. But I don't know where you got the idea that I was implying that you believed that you didn't have a right to own things because you believed in the validity of nation states. A Catholic, I understand the need for the State, provided that it is guided by a just set of moral laws.

    Instead, I was demonstrating the absurdity and, I think, evil of socialist anarchists, who strike me as manifestly wrong of not only economics, but also simple ethics.

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