Dropping the plumb line

In his Open Letter to Libertarians on Ron Paul, featured on anti-state, anti-war, pro-market LewRockwell.com, anarchist David Gordon made the following objection to Steven Horwitz’s pro-choice libertarian objections to Paul’s position on abortion:

No power to regulate abortion is granted to the federal government. Some of course claim that the Fourteenth Amendment changes matters, but it requires very strained interpretation to conjure a right to abortion out of the text of this Amendment. One critic of Ron Paul has admitted that Roe v. Wade is bad law but thinks we should somehow get to the correct pro-abortion view. Is this not to surrender the possibility of constitutional limits on the federal government?

To which I replied:

Yes. So what?

Anarchists don’t believe in constitutional government.

In his recent rejoinder, Gordon responded:

Anarchists oppose a monopoly state, but it hardly follows from this that if there is a government, anarchists shouldn’t be concerned with restraining it.

But I do not claim that anarchists shouldn’t be concerned with restraining actually existing governments. What I claim is that anarchists do not recognize the legitimacy of constitutional governments any more than they recognize the legitimacy unconstitutional governments, since any government, no matter how restrained by a written constitution, must necessarily violate the rights of innocent individual people in order to remain a government. But if constitutional government has no special claim on our allegiance with respect to its legitimacy, then restraining government through the instrument of a written constitution is, at the most, a pragmatic strategy which should be pursued or abandoned in any given case according to its likelihood of success. If it turns out to be a foolish strategy, then abandoning it is no great loss for libertarians.

But if the question is one of practical prospects, then the strategy of trying to restrain the federal government through the instrument of the United States Constitution has already been empirically tested, and it has already failed. As Lysander Spooner wrote, But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain —- that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist. Thus I would argue that anarchists should be intensely concerned with the problem of restraining actually existing governments. What I deny is that there is either any moral or any strategic reason to try to do so through the instrument of paper constitutions.

Concerning Roe, I will pause to say that, unlike Steven Horwitz, I don’t regard the majority decision as bad constitutional law. Since I am an anarchist, I regard the U.S. constitution as having no color of legal authority, so I don’t much think that there is a right way or a wrong way to read the Constitution in legal contexts, and I don’t think that the failure of a ruling to line up with a restrictive reading of the ipsissima verba of the Constitution is any more of a vice in the ruling than its failure to line up with a traditionalist reading of shariah. If such rulings can be evaluated as good or bad law at all, it must be on the basis of other standards — such as how far they serve to restrain or to promote actual state aggression. To the extent abortion laws are invasions against the liberty of pregnant women to dispose of their own bodies as they see fit, a ruling that repeals those laws is a good ruling, even if it doesn’t line up with a literalist reading of the Constitution. To the extent that eminent domain laws are invasions against the liberty of homeowners to keep their own homes, Kelo was a bad ruling, even if it does line up with some literalist readings of the Constitution.

On Ron Paul’s support for a federal police state to enforce international apartheid, Gordon wrote:

Some object to Ron Paul because he does not support an open borders immigration policy. But why should one take this position to be essential to libertarianism? Hans Hoppe has raised strong objections to open borders; and Murray Rothbard, in his last years, abandoned the view. Free immigration combined with a welfare state is a dangerous brew: does it make sense to reject Ron Paul because he cannot accept it?

I replied:

Yes.

Anarchists don’t believe in national borders and they don’t believe in a federal police state to enforce them.

Gordon had this to say:

On immigration, Johnson says that anarchists should ignore national boundaries. Why? Once more, anarchism is a view about the justification of government. It is opposed to states, not nations.

But I did not say that anarchism per se is opposed to nations. I said that anarchists don’t believe in national borders. In anarchy there are no national borders, only the boundaries of individual or common property. Nobody has any just claim to enforce restrictions on any borders other than these. But the continent-spanning territory of the United States of America is not the common property of the American nation, let alone the proprietary domain of the United States government. Thus there is no entity that has any just claim to set collective terms for immigration that can be imposed upon the entire nation. Anarchism rejects all forms of coercion against peaceful people, including the coercion that must necessarily be committed against landlords, employers, and migrant workers in order for the federal government to exile workers from private property onto which they have been invited, or to stop them from doing jobs for willing employers. That includes not only existing federal immigration laws, but also the (more aggressive) federal immigration laws that Ron Paul supports, and the federal immigration laws that Hans-Hermann Hoppe has deluded himself into thinking that an anarchist can consistently support. Anarchists should take no notice whatsoever of government-enforced national boundaries, except to trample them underfoot as an usurpation.

In response to my complaints against a particular pseudo-libertarian argument in favor of immigration laws, Gordon adds:

He points out that some efforts to restrict immigration use violence against people; and he is right that here lies danger. Libertarians who favor immigration restrictions need to specify exactly what measures they think permissible. Ron Paul doesn’t favor beating and jailing people.

I have no idea why Gordon would say this. Of course Ron Paul does favor beating and jailing people in the name of his immigration control policy. He favors the creation and enforcement of federal immigration laws, including a paramilitary lock-down of the land borders, aggressive enforcement of the existing visa system, and the continued criminalization (no amnesty) of currently undocumented immigrants. He also favors the necessary means to these ends: border walls, paramilitary border patrols, government immigration dossiers and employment papers, internal immigration cops, detention centers, and all the other necessary means to interdicting, discovering, arresting, jailing, and deporting people who try to live and work peacefully in the United States without a federal permission slip for their existence. If you don’t believe that this process necessarily involves violent means, then just try to cross the border without government papers and see what happens to you.

For what it’s worth, I don’t claim that anyone who favors immigration laws is (ipso facto) no longer a True Libertarian. But I do claim that libertarians cannot hold the position consistently, and that attempting to hold the position while also holding a libertarian theory of individual rights necessarily involves grave cognitive vices, and probably grave moral vices, too. In any case support for coercive immigration laws is a good reason for libertarians to refuse their support to a candidate for political office.

On the relationship between libertarianism and leftist or feminist cultural projects, Gordon clarifies that he was not referring to the argument that Roderick Long and I advance in our essay on libertarian feminism, but rather to a different argument by a different writer. He has also stressed elsewhere that his argument is only intended to recommend Ron Paul as a candidate, not to claim that libertarians have some kind of moral obligation to support Ron Paul (or any other candidate in government elections). Fair enough. I’ll let those to whom his letter did refer speak for themselves, as far as the charge of subordinating libertarianism to leftist concerns goes. And for what it’s worth, my intention here is not to claim that libertarians have an obligation not to vote for Ron Paul, or even to make any recommendation for or against voting for Ron Paul. It is merely to take issue with the logic of certain arguments that have been used against libertarian critics of Paul’s campaign. In that vein, I don’t buy the argument that follows:

Johnson correctly claims that the concept of libertarianism doesn’t imply political support for libertarians in elections. I think, though, that if someone who defends political action refuses to support Ron Paul just because he is not a left libertarian, then he is subordinating libertarianism to leftist views.

When Gordon speaks of subordinating libertarianism to leftist views, he does not make it clear whether he means subordinating the left-libertarian’s libertarianism of as a political principle, or whether he means subordinating the candidate’s libertarianism as a criterion for supporting a that candidate in government elections. If the former, then Gordon’s conditional is obviously false. There are lots of practical considerations that affect whether or not one should support a particular candidate in government elections, and declining to support a particularly libertarian candidate for reasons other than her own level of libertarianism is not equivalent to subordinating your own libertarian principles to those other concerns. (I wouldn’t support voting for Murray Rothbard for President, either, even though he would be a much more libertarian candidate than Ron Paul. Since he’s dead, and therefore ineligible to run, such a campaign would be foolish. But this decision doesn’t mean that I subordinate libertarian principles to expediency.)

If, on the other hand, he means that such a choice reflects a subordination of criteria based on the candidate’s level of libertarianism to criteria that are based on other considerations, the conditional is still false, although less obviously so. If I reject X for lacking feature A, while X does have feature B, you cannot reliably infer from my choice that I subordinate preferences for B to preferences for A. It may very well be that B and A are valued equally and indepdently of one another, and that lacking either is considered a sufficient condition for rejecting an alternative.

But more to the point, even if Gordon’s conditional were true on this understanding, it is not clear why that would be objectionable. There is no reason for principled libertarians to treat a candidate’s overall level of libertarianism as the sole or the decisive or even the most important criterion in choosing whether to vote for that candidate, or someone else, or nobody at all. Insofar as voting has any worth at all for anarchists, it is only instrumentally, as a means of defense against government invasions of your own or the liberty of other people you are concerned for. But there’s no guarantee that that end will always be best served by adopting the candidate’s overall level of libertarianism as the sole or the decisive criterion for supporting that candidate. They may be or they may not be, depending on the breaks.

In either case, it is, once more, a serious mistake for libertarians of any stripe, and especially anarchists, to treat government elections as the be-all and end-all of libertarianism.

Gordon closes his rejoinder by saying:

Johnson apparently accepts this as a good argument: Johnson believes p; therefore, anarchists believe p. His post is unfortunately a prime example of the libertarian dogmatism I was most concerned with in my Open Letter.

Hardly. All that I claim is that a couple of propositions — in particular, rejecting the legitimacy of constitutional governments, and rejecting the legitimacy of enforcing restrictions on government-defined national borders, are well-established, core doctrines of anarchism as such.

Core, not essential; anarchism is a family resemblance concept, and some anarchists may deviate from some core anarchist beliefs without ceasing to count as anarchists. But certainly a letter which is written by an anarchist for an audience which includes many other anarchists ought to take such core beliefs seriously, and to recognize that arguments that either tacitly or explicitly presume the falsity of those core doctrines will fail to be persuasive to those who follow the plumb-line.

If this be dogmatism, let us make the most of it.

Further reading:

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  1. labyrus

    Personally I’d be happy to attack Ron Paul’s stance on immigration because it’s disgustingly brutal and wrong rather than on ideological grounds. What “anarchists” believe in or not shouldn’t be at the heart of it - libertarians seem to have a lot of respect for rationality as an abstract idea and I’m suprised they’re unwilling to talk rationally about the consequences of immigration policy.

    Honestly, this whole debate doesn’t make much sense, it just seems to me like people who support Ron Paul are (like him) looking for ways to reconcile their libertarianism with their racism. Nativist racism is the real reason for closed borders. You’re never going to be able to convince the “closed border” libertarians of the merits of an open border because they won’t argue in good faith, as doing so would expose their phenomenal privilege.

  2. Rad Geek

    labyrus,

    I agree with you, except that I don’t see attacking his immigration policy as disgustingly brutal and wrong and attacking it on ideological grounds as mutually exclusive, or even antagonistic. The reason that it matters what plumb-line anarchists believe is because violating those principles necessarily involves doing something brutal and wrong, e.g. harassing, arresting, beating, jailing, ruining, exiling, etc. innocent people. Not just as a matter of consequences after the fact, but as a constitutive part of the act itself.

    As for border-control libertarians such as Ron Paul, I suspect you’re probably right that I’m not going to convince them that violence against immigrants is wrong. My hope is not to convince them of the falsity of their position. My goal is rather to convince open-borders libertarians of something else.

  3. pjgoober

    This is one reason I am against open borders:

    “Debunking the Myth of Immigrant Criminality”, by Rumbaut and Gonzalez et al. of UC Irvine excerpt: “Second Generation

    Incarceration rates increase significantly for all US-born coethnics without exception. That is most notable for Mexicans, whose incarceration rate increases more than eightfold to 5.9 percent among the US born; for Vietnamese (from 0.46 to 5.6 percent among the US born); and for the Laotians and Cambodians (from 0.92 percent to 7.26 percent, the highest of any group except for native blacks). Almost all of the US born among those of Latin American and Asian origin can be assumed to consist of second-generation persons, with the exception of Mexicans and Puerto Ricans, whose numbers may include a sizable number (around 25 percent) of third-generation individuals. (Since 1980, when the questions on parents’ country of birth were dropped, the decennial census has not permitted the precise identification of second vs. third or higher generations.)

    Thus, while incarceration rates are found to be extraordinarily low among immigrants, they are also seen to rise rapidly by the second generation. Except for the Chinese and Filipinos, the rates of all US-born Latin American and Asian groups exceed that of the referent group of non-Hispanic white natives.” http://www.migrationinformation.org/Feature/display.cfm?id=403%20

  4. Laura J.

    … so immigrants are fine, but America corrupts their children?

  5. Laura J.

    Or, alternately, America can ignore its immigrant underclass easily enough, but insists on jailing native-born citizens for actually thinking of themselves as Americans.

  6. Bunty

    This is one reason I am against allowing USicans to travel abroad.

    We’ve already established that incarceration rates are a direct indicator of the innate criminality of a race, culture, or group (possibly even a more accurate one than skull shape).

    Combine this with the fairly inarguable fact that U.S. America has the highest rate of incarceration on the planet ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarceration ) and I think it’s pretty clear that that leads inevitably to the fact they are also the most criminal people on the planet.

    Admittedly one could say that immigration is different from travel, due to the limited time of the latter, but this is tantamount to arguing that it’s perfectly ok to have a known and unrepentant child molester baby-sit your children. Because really, it’s just for an evening.

    No, a criminal is a criminal, non-temporarily.

    Not, I hasten to add that all USicans are child molesters. Many of them, indeed, are good hard-working and honest folk.

    I don’t mean to sound like a bigot here, some of my best friends are Americans!

    But really, they are better off among their own kind anyway, they speak the same ‘language’.

  7. labyrus

    PJGoober, at the risk of being accused of being labelled as some kind of PC-fascist, or being told off by the various so-called libertarians that like to suggest that calling a spade a spade is equivalent to name-calling and shutting down rational debate, your comment, suggesting that because of a statistically higher rate of incarceration for some members of an ethnicity members of that ethnicity should be denied freedom of movement is, quite frankly, baldly racist and you should be ashamed of yourself.

  8. Rad Geek

    PJGoober,

    1. I don’t care much about incarceration rates, and neither should you. The government has very different ideas from those held by rational and decent people when it comes to what sort of activities should lead to imprisonment.

    2. I have no idea why you think that the government should visit the sins of immigrant children on their parents. Lots of U.S. born people of all ethnicities commit crimes, but that’s no reason to exile their innocent parents from the country.

    3. I have no idea why you think that the government should retaliate collectively against all immigrants for the wrongful actions of a statistical portion of *non-immigrants* who happen to share their ethnicity, either by (1) violently excluding them from the country, or by (2) subjecting them to higher levels of scrutiny, i.e. treating them as presumptive criminals, for acts that they, individually, did not commit. That’s irrational. It’s also racist.

    labyrus,

    Well, I’ll get your back. I’ve argued before that there simply are no non-bigoted reasons for opposing open borders, and that most opposition to open borders derives from crude forms of garden-variety racism or classism. So I have no trouble agreeing with your description.

  9. bunty

    What is quite interesting though is to think about the causes of the increased incarceration rate among the offspring pop. And what set of beliefs it puts a lie to.

    It certainly isn’t the belief that labour (a.k.a. peeps) should be a globally free market, sans artificial borders.

    It isn’t really statist ones (entirely) to ‘blame’ either (in this case it’s just acting as the enforcer—a bad fix for a problem created elsewhere).

  10. David Gordon

    I’m grateful for this forceful and well-argued response. It has led me to change my views on some matters, but on others I remain unrepentant. It seems to me entirely right that there are core beliefs of anarchism and also of libertarianism, as well as other beliefs that lie farther from the center. I also think, and here I’m not sure whether Charles agrees, that there are some issues on which more than one libertarian or anarchist view is permissible. It may be that one view is better than its competitors, but one cannot say that those who adopt the less preferred view have deviated from libertarianism or anarchism. A case of this kind must be distinguished from a case in which someone does hold a view incompatible with libertarianism or anarchism, but still counts as a libertarian or anarchist because of his other views.

    An example will show what I have in mind. As Charles noted, I am an anarchist and regard anarchism as the best interpretation of libertarianism. Minarchists, including Ron Paul, have in my opinion made a mistake, but I don’t think that they have stepped out of permissible libertarian territory. (Of course, they have rejected a core belief of anarchism. In what follows, I shall refer only to libertarianism, as the anarchist-minarchist dispute doesn’t affect the issues under discussion.)

    In my article, I suggested that Ron Paul’s position that Roe v. Wade should be reversed is acceptable on libertarian grounds. His way of interpreting the Constitution provides a means to limit the federal government, a goal clearly of libertarian value. His position does not violate anyone’s libertarian rights. Even if one thinks that women have an unlimited right to abortion, it does not follow that the federal government should enforce this right. People are under no obligation to enforce anyone’s rights, and it doesn’t violate libertarian principles to think that the federal government should be denied standing in this area.

    In response, Charles notes that anarchists cannot grant that the Constitution has legitimacy. I agree with this and have argued to the same effect in my review of Randy Barnett’s Restoring the Lost Constitution.

    Charles proceeds to set forward his own view of the best way to read the Constitution in order to advance anarchist goals. His Spoonerian position has much to be said for it, but in the present context his remarks are an ignoratio elenchi. I didn’t maintain that Ron Paul’s view of the Constitution was correct, only that it can be given a libertarian defense. Even if the Spoonerian account is a better view, it doesn’t follow that Paul’s position is unlibertarian.

    In like fashion, I don’t think that a Hans Hoppe-style defense of non-open borders departs from libertarianism. Of course it is right that libertarians cannot hold that the government owns the borders. One might, though, regard the borders and other “public” property as jointly owned by the current residents of a nation. ( I don’t see why Charles’s statement to the contrary expresses a belief that libertarians must hold.) In an anarchist world, a private protection agency, or group of agencies, might legitimately exclude others from entry onto this commonly held property, except on terms that they establish. Because they are the common owners of the property, they would be within their rights to do so. Someone who thinks this might further think that if a government acts in a way consistent with the acceptable activities of private protection agencies, it does not in doing so violate libertarian rights.

    Once more, I do not contend that this is the best libertarian view, only that it isn’t clearly unlibertarian. Charles vehemently disagrees. It is clear from his articles on this site that he regards restrictions on immigration as morally abhorrent. If he is right, though, it doesn’t follow that these restrictions violate libertarian principles. Not everything immoral is also unlibertarian.

    He asks why I said that Ron Paul doesn’t favor jailing or beating people to enforce immigration restrictions. I ought to have said has not advocated rather than does not favor. The reason is that, to my knowledge, he hasn’t made any statements defending these measures. Unless he is relying on explicit statements by Paul of which I am unaware, I imagine that Charles is reasoning in this way: Paul supports restrictions on immigration. To enforce these restrictions, various drastic measures, including beating and jailing people, are necessary. Therefore, Paul supports these measures. This argument relies on the principle, who wills the end, wills the means. This is a sound principle, but it is subject to limitations. One may not use immoral means to advance one’s goals, even if these goals are morally acceptable. Even if one accepts the rationale for restrictions sketched above, it seems to me that one would not be justified in using violent measures of this kind: there are, after, all, limits to what one can do in expelling a trespasser even from private property. I don’t think one should accuse Paul of supporting immoral conduct unless one has clear evidence that he does. Perhaps he disagrees that such measures are necessary to enforce the restrictions he wants. If it turns out that restrictions do require such tactics, why assume that he would use them rather than abandon the restrictions?

    The criticism of my use of “subordination” seems to me entirely right. Someone can indeed withhold support from a candidate on grounds other than libertarian ones, without subordinating libertarianism to those other grounds. One might even have a case where someone ranked libertarianism above all other values, and even higher than the sum of all other values, but still withheld support from a candidate. The person might think that only someone who achieved a weighted sum of his values merited support, and a candidate’s high score on libertarianism might not be sufficient to reach the required standard. It is also correct that I didn’t give any reason to think that one ought always to judge candidates exclusively, or even mainly, by the degree to which they are libertarian. I don’t think this. I do think that if a candidate is libertarian, one shouldn’t attach much weight to his failure to profess “cosmopolitan” values, unless one takes this failure to be immoral. (I didn’t argue for this but just offered it as an opinion.) In my article, I do not think I gave adequate recognition to the fact that some people might justifiably oppose Ron Paul because of moral views they have about abortion, immigration, or other matters. My target in the article was not people with such opinions; I was aware of them but didn’t say much about them. Rather, I aimed at people who regard only those who precisely agree with them as libertarians and worthy of support.

    I think it was much too harsh to call Charles Johnson dogmatic, and I withdraw the statement. I do think, though, that he sometimes wrongly conflates his own strongly held moral beliefs with core anarchist or libertarian doctrine. My contention does not in any way depend on taking his moral beliefs to be mistaken.

  11. Bunty

    From a pragmatic point of view, his stance on abortion can’t really be considered a move in a more libertarian direction.

    It’s extremely probable that one of more states would make it illegal. Thus reducing the real freedoms of large numbers of people.

    There might be a reduction of the authority of one set of leaders, but with a matching increase in authority of another set. There would be no overall /reduction/. And there (probably) would be an increase in the manifestation of this authority in terms of restrictions on the individual. Which is less liberty, not more.

    Freedom for the pike is death for the minnow—as they say. If a certain authoritarianism is illegitimate then it doesn’t matter really whether it’s wielded from congress, the town hall, or the boardroom.

    Delegating this power to states seems far more like a pro-abortionist tactic than a libertarian strategy. (Or a constitutionalist one, of course).

    Of course it’s perhaps semantically possible to include this move in the ‘Libertarian’ oeuvre, depending on what defines Libertarianism is. But personally, I would exclude things that result in an actual, empirical, decrease in personal freedom. Just as I wouldn’t consider devolving legislation regarding the legitimacy of slavery to the states to be an exceptionally libertarian stance. The freedom of the individual not to be restricted supersedes the freedom of the state to restrict in both cases.

  12. David Gordon

    A passage in my comment above is poorly worded. Please substitute the following in the obvious place.

    In an anarchist world, a private protection agency, or group of agencies, might legitimately exclude others from entry onto this commonly held property, except on terms that reflect the wishes of the residents. Because the residents are the common owners of the property, the agency or agencies would be within its rights to do so.

  13. pjgoober

    Radgeek writes: “The government has very different ideas from those held by rational and decent people when it comes to what sort of activities should lead to imprisonment”

    The same trends in incarceration disparities by race and immigrant generation hold when looking at violent non-drug crimes like murder and rape.

    Radgeek writes (with my editing in brackets): “I have no idea why you think that the government should visit the [group average] sins of [prospective] immigrant children on their parents.”

    The above in brackets would describe my true position. I don’t think any immigrants should be deported for the sins of their children. I am talking about the relevance of group-average behavior to our future immigration policies.

    “Lots of U.S. born people of all ethnicities commit crimes, but that’s no reason to exile their innocent parents from the country.”

    Totally agreed. Using force of law to uprooting someone for the crimes of their children is wrong. Not letting them immigrate in the first place is the our right.

    “I have no idea why you think that the government should retaliate collectively against all immigrants for the wrongful actions of a statistical portion of non-immigrants who happen to share their ethnicity, either by (1) violently excluding them from the country, or by (2) subjecting them to higher levels of scrutiny, i.e. treating them as presumptive criminals, for acts that they, individually, did not commit. That’s irrational.”

    This depends on moral priors. Again, your moral priors lead you to the conclusion that open-borders are non-negotiable. My moral priors focus more on the debt I owe to my descendants, family, and myself, to do everything I can to pass on to them a country as safe for living as when I got it.

    Here is Thomas Sowell in an essay “Immigration Taboos”: “If 85 percent of group A are fine people and 95 percent of group B are fine people, that means you are going to be importing three times as many undesirables when you let in people from Group A.”

    Change the numbers in Sowell’s thought experiment as you will, but your moral code seems like it would lead you to demand the free immigration of a hypothetical group where 99% of them or (even worse), their descendants (since descendants are here forever) have been statistically found to commit murder. I find the real-life implications of your moral code dangerous to the health and prosperity of myself, my family, my friends, my descendants, and my fellow country-men, therefore I reject it.

  14. Sergio Méndez

    pjgoober:

    The same trends in incarceration disparities by race and immigrant generation hold when looking at violent non-drug crimes like murder and rape.

    Of course, you neglect the fact that emigrants sons -in the US and Europe- are discriminated and that the cycle of violence initiating by the war on drugs hit them more than any other group.

    Totally agreed. Using force of law to uprooting someone for the crimes of their children is wrong. Not letting them immigrate in the first place is the our right.

    Exscuse me, are you pretending to predict the future behavior of imigrant children based on actual statistics? That sounds like really bad science.

    This depends on moral priors. Again, your moral priors lead you to the conclusion that open-borders are non-negotiable. My moral priors focus more on the debt I owe to my descendants, family, and myself, to do everything I can to pass on to them a country as safe for living as when I got it.

    Of course, you are avoiding radgeeks points precisly for discusing your “priors”. So let me ask you…do your moral priors give you the right to forcefully deny the right of another human beings to move from one place to another, just cause you fear that they may actually have descendents that may be harmfull for your decendents?

    Just to end….Even if it is true that hispanic immigrants commit more crimes than other etnicities, isn´t the percentage of hispanic that commit crimes still just a small part of the whole total of those immigrants and their descendence? So how do you plan to pass a colective judgment on the mayority of immigrants for the supposed crimes of their descendents?

  15. pjgoober

    “Of course, you neglect the fact that emigrants sons -in the US and Europe- are discriminated…..”

    There are several things you could have meant by discrimination, so I will address them all. Please don’t take it as me saying you said things that you obviously didn’t say. I know you didn’t make most the arguments I am arguing about below. Also I am talking mostly statistically below about group averages, not group absolutes (ie 100% of 2nd generation mexicans are criminals), which would be ludicrous, though I may not say so every time.

    If discrimination by law enforcement is the reason you meant, then why does the incarceration rate jump so much in the 2nd generation? It couldn’t be racial profiling, since 2nd generation immigrants are the exact same race as their parents. It would have to be more selective than that. It’s probably possible for police to tell 1st gen. immigrants from their children on sight with reasonable accuracy. But why would they want to racistly target only the later generations but not the 1st?

    Also, the National Crime Victimization Survey says otherwise. When people are asked who committed crimes against them, the disparities are still there and largely matches up with official crime statistics and incarceration data. The NCVS finds, just as the justice system has, that most crimes are committed against other minorities of the same race. Why would a minority lie to the NCVS and say that another person of their own race committed a crime against them, when a white person really did it (or no one at all)? In other words, the NCVS probably gives true results.

    For murders (not as covered in the NCVS, you can’t respond to a poll when you are dead), vast resources are poured into solving these crimes. Ok, it is not a priori impossible that a cop could drop crack into a minorities car cause he’s a racist, but for murder such shenanigans could not be anything but exceedingly rare. Millions of dollars and god-sums of man hours are spent trying to solve such crimes. Giant conspiracies would be needed to intentionally skew the results in a systematic minority scape-goating way. Also, most murders are a minority killing another minority (of the same race). I doubt that white people sneak into minority neighborhoods in vast numbers, kill vast numbers of minorities, and get off scott-free while a minority gets the blame.

    If discrimination by society in jobs etc. is what you meant, that seems more possible than the above possibilities. Immigrants come in and do crappy jobs for little money, but it’s still great compared to the poverty they came from, so they don’t commit high amounts of crimes. Their children expect more than this though, since they grew up here, but society denies it to them for some reason, so the 2nd gen. gets mad and run amok. But for some reason the Chinese and Philipinos get a pass, even though Philipinos are pretty darn brown looking (For them alone, 2nd gen. crime rates are lower than non-hispanic white natives). Anyways, several asian groups have higher average incomes than whites (not just philipinos and chinese). So people of certain asian ethnicities have both higher per capita incomes in the 2nd generation than whites and higher 2nd generation incarceration rates. This is a strange conundrum indeed, but gives the lie to the claim that higher incarceration rates for an ethnicities 2nd gen. points directly to systematic societal discrimination against that ethnicities 2nd gen.

    Even assuming that discrimination causes all of the crimes, why should all americans suffer for the sins of racist business and corporation managers/owners who are a small portion of people? So let’s say I am a middle class garage door installer, why should I support open borders if I know that the powers that be are going to mistreat the immigrants children and drive them to a high crime rate (including high murder rates). Letting that happen is completely counter to the obligations I have to my family and country. Logically, assuming this is true, I should: 1. work to end the discrimination that drives the 2nd generation to violent crime, and 2. work to end the mass immigration that allows the 2nd generation offenders to appear in america in the first place. Until society succeeds in 1., I cannot help but insist on 2.

    “…and that the cycle of violence initiating by the war on drugs hit them more than any other group.”

    Ok, I can’t rule that out a-priori, or with data. I have some sympathies with this argument. But as with my last point, the logical thing to do here is to work to end the drug war that drives the 2nd gen. to murder and mayhem, while working to end the immigration policies that allows the 2nd gen. to be born here, be caught up in the drug war, and then driven to murder and mayhem. Until the drug war is ended, it is irresponsible of me to not insist on the end of mass immigration.

    P.S. I am fine with Chinese and Philipino immigration. Maybe the US would be a far better place if 200 million or more Chinese people would be allowed in. I am sure crime rates would be far, far lower. Being raped and murdered is the greatest injustice there is, and 200 million Chinese people would decrease that rate by the most. But the data of Rumbaut and Gonzales tells me that 200 million of almost anyone else would turn out to be an unholy nightmare for america, once the 2nd generation reaches crime-commiting age.

  16. pjgoober

    “Exscuse me, are you pretending to predict the future behavior of imigrant children based on actual statistics? That sounds like really bad science.”

    Making predictions from social science can seldom be exact and 100% sure. It’s not written in stone. Maybe the next generation of mexican immigrants let in will suddenly start having descendants that don’t have the bad average murder-rate and other socio-economic status variables that we have seen in mexican descendants up to this point. But why should I bet the safety of my descendants on that? You would have us keep letting them in, forever, and if we keep getting the same results as in the past, you’d have us keep letting them in the hope beyond hope that it will be better this time. Prudence for my descendants dictates that I err in the exact opposite direction that you would have americans err in. Would you move to the ghetto’s of Detroit? We don’t know what the murder-rate will be there from this minute onward with 100% accuracy, but you’d still be hugely irresponsible to take a bet that it has suddenly ratcheted downward since the last data came out. Would you sign a contract to buy a house there to live in in 25 years? Maybe the children born today are suddenly going to have a much lower murder rate than their parents, driving murder-rates downward a quarter century hence. Again, not wise to do, which is why you’d never do it (you aren’t dumb). All of this applies to our immigration policies just as much. Future predictions in social science don’t have to be 100% accurate for them to be unwise to ignore.

  17. Sergio Méndez

    But why should I bet the safety of my descendants on that? You would have us keep letting them in, forever, and if we keep getting the same results as in the past, you’d have us keep letting them in the hope beyond hope that it will be better this time. Prudence for my descendants dictates that I err in the exact opposite direction that you would have americans err in. Would you move to the ghetto’s of Detroit?

    I donçt know if you should bet “the safety of your descendants”. But the point is that you have no right to protect your descendants forbiding the entrance of hispanic immigrants based on statistics. Not simply cause is bad science ¿you donçt have any assurance that social phenomena repeats itself regularly as do natural phenomena?, but caus on pure moral and ethicall terms you cançt restrict the right of hispanic immigrants for something that their descendants are going to do, supposedly.

  18. pjgoober

    “So let me ask you…do your moral priors give you the right to forcefully deny the right of another human beings to move from one place to another, just cause you fear that they may actually have descendents that may be harmfull for your decendents?”

    Yes, whole-heartedly. Fears without evidence are inexcusable. Fears with evidence are not (and evidence does not have to be 100% predictive of the future, I err on the side of prudence, it’s the least i owe my descendants).

    “Just to end….Even if it is true that hispanic immigrants commit more crimes than other etnicities, isn´t the percentage of hispanic that commit crimes still just a small part of the whole total of those immigrants and their descendence?”

    Yes, of course. You basically just said what thomas sowell said above, but it doesn’t sound quite as convincing for your side putting it the way he does. Again, would you move to the ghettos of Detroit? I am sure only a small percentage of the people there are violent criminals.

    “So how do you plan to pass a colective judgment on the mayority of immigrants for the supposed crimes of their descendents?”

    By “pass collective judgment”, you must mean “not let them immigrate in the first place”. You see open borders as non-negotiable, whatever the likely horrific consequences for current american inhabitants. We are obviously going to have to agree to disagree. When you sell open-borders to people from now on, don’t just tell the moral superiority of your ethical code. You should tell people the likely consequences for the US murder/crime rate as well. Anything else is lying by omission.

  19. pjgoober

    “Not simply cause is bad science ¿you donçt have any assurance that social phenomena repeats itself regularly as do natural phenomena?,”

    So since no one can predict the future with 100% accuracy in social science, you think we should ignore social science when trying to forecast the future implications of our laws? I guess the Bush administration couldn’t have predicted with 100% accuracy that the iraqi’s weren’t going to like being invaded and that they’d resist violently, so Bush & Company are off the hook for all their ludicrously wrong predictions (“welcomed as liberators!”).

    “but caus on pure moral and ethicall terms you cançt restrict the right of hispanic immigrants for something that their descendants are going to do, supposedly.”

    I disagree with you whole-heartedly here. I don’t think either of us is going to budge on this one.

  20. Rad Geek

    pjgoober,

    This is not really much to the point, but as for southeast Michigan, I used to live in Ypsilanti and might very well have moved to inner-city Detroit had my wife’s plans for school turned out differently. Unlike some alarmists, I do know how to weigh significant but small differences in risk and make intelligent life decisions based on them.

    Prudence for my descendants dictates that I err in the exact opposite direction that you would have americans err in.

    Excuse me, but based on the data that you have presented so far, you have not yet even demonstrated an empirical claim that an increase in the number of immigrants’ children would produce a higher violent crime rate in the United States—let alone the collectivist moral conclusions that you draw from this empirical claim. In order to do that you would have to demonstrate that an immigrant’s U.S.-born child is more likely than a U.S.-born child of U.S.-born parents to commit violent crimes, preferably when controlled for socioeconomic factors such as income, education, etc. But whether that’s true or false, you haven’t yet demonstrated it. The study you cited doesn’t even compare the violent crime rates immigrants’ U.S.-born children to the U.S.-born children of U.S.-born parents. It compares the incarceration rates of immigrants to the incarceration rates of other immigrants’ U.S.-born children. To infer anything about potential trends in U.S. crime rates from this comparison is fallacious.

    The same trends in incarceration disparities by race and immigrant generation hold when looking at violent non-drug crimes like murder and rape.

    If you say so, but the source that you cite for your claims above does not provide any evidence one way or another on this claim. If you have evidence, you should produce a citation for it.

    Radgeek writes (with my editing in brackets): I have no idea why you think that the government should visit the [group average] sins of [prospective] immigrant children on their parents.

    The above in brackets would describe my true position.

    Right. So you believe in using real violence against millions of innocent people in order to address the hypothetical sins of children that they may or may not have. That’s despicable.

    Totally agreed. Using force of law to uprooting someone for the crimes of their children is wrong. Not letting them immigrate in the first place is the our right.

    You have every right to adopt any policy you like as to who can pass through or move onto your own property. What I object to is your claim that we—i.e., you—have the right to get the government to force me, and other dissenters, and the guests or tenants that we willingly allow to pass through or live on or work on our land, to follow your policies on our own property.

    However, it is interesting that you make a distinction between (1) uprooting people who are already here, and (2) blocking people not yet here from immigrating. If you believe it is immoral to uproot people who are already here for the as-yet uncommitted possible future sins of their potential descendents, doesn’t it logically follow that you must support the right of peaceful undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States, once they have reached the United States, rather than being hunted down, arrested, jailed, and exiled by the internal immigration Securitate?

    So, do you support whe conclusion that your premises seem to entail—i.e., the immediate abolition of ICE and unconditional amnesty for all illegal immigrants living in the United States?

  21. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2007-12-18 – Radical feminism, libertarianism, and the terrifying feminist menace to men’s wing-wangs:

    […] Gordon later criticized my criticism of the criticism of the criticism; I posted a rejoinder; and Gordon posted a reply to the rejoinder.) Along the way in my first remarks, I mentioned (by way of an example) my views on libertarianism […]

  22. Bunty

    Regarding the Hans Hoppe chappy, just ran across this.

    Bigots and Bell-curvists, oh me, oh my!

    http://rightwatch.tblog.com/

  23. tomas el yanqui

    pjgoober: “Here is Thomas Sowell in an essay “Immigration Taboos”: “If 85 percent of group A are fine people and 95 percent of group B are fine people, that means you are going to be importing three times as many undesirables when you let in people from Group A.”

    That claim displays a remarkable lack of understanding of the principles of statistical analysis on the part of both Dr. Sowell and yourself.

  24. smally lerned

    iF 99.99 percent of group A are fine people and 99.999 pecent of group B are fine people, that means you are going to be importing TEN TIMES AS MANY undesirables when you let in people from Group A.

  25. tomas el yanqui

    No, smally. That’s not necessarily so.

    Depending on the sample sizes from the two groups (e.g. how many people you let in from each group), it is entirely possible that you will let in no desirables from either group. It’s also possible that you might let in more undesirables from Group A than from Group B, again depending on the sample sizes. Tell me, Smally — if I let in 100 people from Group A and 100 people from Group B, how many undesirables have I admitted from each group?

    Hmm?

    The statistical fallacy that you and pjgoober appear to be engaging in is the apparent belief that in any groups of people drawn from Group A and Group B, the number of “undesirables” in each group of immigrants will always be equal to the percentage distribution of “undesirables” in the greater pools (i.e. Group A and Group B themselves). But that’s not always the case. At any rate, this situation is called “biased sampling” in statistics.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecological_fallacy

— 2008 —

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2008-01-07 – Paul Till You Puke:

    […] Gordon later criticized my criticism of the criticism of the criticism; I posted a rejoinder; and Gordon posted a reply to the rejoinder. Meanwhile, Keith Halderman and I had a go-around about my views on libertarian feminism. Just in […]

— 2009 —

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2009-10-07 – Welcome, FreeTalkers:

    […] 2007-11-29: Res ipsa loquitur and the exchanges in GT 2007-12-04: We put the Arch in Anarchy #2, GT 2007-12-11: Dropping the plumb line, and GT 2008-01-07: Paul Till You Puke probably provide the most thorough overview of my take on […]

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