Brian Caplan on Immigration & Socialism

A fantastic column from Dr. Caplan on how those of us claiming to be anti-statists and libertarians should support open immigration.


Immigration, Trespassing, and Socialism, Bryan Caplan – EconLog: How then could illegal immigration constitute trespassing, surface facts notwithstanding?

There’s really only one way: If the government – and not landlords, employers, and merchants – is the true owner of the nation’s homes, businesses, and stores. If the government is the legitimate owner of all the property in the nation, then and only then do you become a trespasser simply by entering any piece of property in the nation without the government’s consent.

The name for the view that government (or “the people” if you prefer) rightfully owns everything, of course, is socialism. The socialist needn’t believe that everything government does is right. He does however need to believe that government has a right to do anything to everything – and everyone – under its rule. (Why everyone, and not just everything? Because by remaining on the government’s land, you’re consenting to its rules. Love it or leave it).