Jacob Hornberger has written a new post on open borders. Several months ago I went on a back-and-forth exchange with him on this topic. I found it a most frustrating experience, as he would either ignore or misrepresent my positions (for those interested, I offer the running dialogue, in order: here, here, here, here, and here). Therefore, I will not comment directly on his current post – instead, I will touch on one logical inconsistency inherent in his view.
I have argued before that in an anarcho-libertarian world, there would be no such thing as (state) “borders” because there would be no such thing as states. I welcome anyone to prove this wrong.
In such a world, every “border” would be a private border demarcating private property and that these borders most certainly would be “managed” by the property owner. I welcome anyone to argue otherwise.
In such a world, everyone has a right to emigrate (assuming the individual has not voluntarily bound himself to stay); no one has a right to immigrate. Immigration onto a private border without invitation is a trespass. Again, I welcome contrary opinions.
In conclusion, in an anarcho-libertarian world, there would be no such thing as open borders.
Limited Government Libertarian Borders
I have suggested that in a world of state borders, there is no libertarian answer to the issue of crossing those borders. There are, of course, libertarians such as Hornberger who disagree. The closest libertarian-consistent answer I can derive is one where the potential immigrant has an invitation from a citizen, along with guarantees of employment and housing.
There are many libertarians who advocate for limited government; Hornberger is one of these. What is typically meant by “limited government”? I offer a definition from Hornberger:
Thus, as limited-government proponents have long pointed out, there are three primary and legitimate functions of government: (1) to punish murderers, rapists, robbers, and the like; (2) to provide a court system in which people can peacefully resolve their disputes; and (3) to defend the nation from foreign invasion.
The Logical Inconsistency
Hornberger advocates for limited government; Hornberger advocates for open borders. These two positions are logically inconsistent.
The limited government has responsibility “to defend the nation from foreign invasion.”