FEE (the Foundation for Economic Education) has done wonderful work in the past, and still manages to do some good work on economics. But FEE has also taken to promoting libertoonist silliness, stuff that is a caricature of libertarianism. The subject of immigration seems to particularly draw out the libertoonism. In this case, Professor Chandran Kukathas of the London School of Economics argues that if a country tries to exercise any control over its borders, it means controlling every person in the country and monitoring them on an ongoing basis. In fact, it "is is not possible without controlling citizens and existing residents, who must be regulated, monitored and policed to make sure that they comply with immigration laws." He rattles on about establishing internal passport checkpoints and explaining what happened under South Africa's apartheid system, as if our only choices are entirely open (i.e. nonexistent) borders or a totalitarian system in which each person is constantly monitored. That's crazy. But here it is, "Controlling Immigration Means Controlling Everyone
: cracking down on immigration means invading every aspect of natives lives."
No, it doesn't. That's remarkably stupid. It's unbelievably stupid. How could anyone ever argue such a crazy thing? Apparently even Professor Kukathas realized this for a moment, because at one point he claims he is not drawing an equivalence between apartheid and controlling borders -- but then he goes ahead and does just that. I commented (see below) but how is one to take seriously an argument that stopping perhaps one million refugees from swarming across a border into one's country is equivalent to monitoring every citizen internally, in every aspect of their lives? The illogic of Professor Kukathas' piece is mind-boggling. And the consequences of the mass immigration Europe is now "enjoying" will be highly destructive for liberty.
Apparently FEE's objective with the pieces it publishes on immigration is to ensure that each one is more absurd than the previous ones -- a tough challenge, but Kukthas' piece rises to the occasion.
Kukathas equates controlling immigration with establishing internal checkpoints where everyone must prove their identities. That's absurd. He's arguing that Hungary building a fence or wall on its borders to keep tens of thousands of people from invading the country indiscriminately is the same as South Africa establishing internal checkpoints where every individual was sorted by race. It's impossible to take such a crazy position seriously.
No members of Daesh (ISIS) should ever be admitted into a Western country. Nor should members of Al Qaeda. And as the Germans are starting to learn, it verges on suicide to allow close to one million people into the country when they have no local language skills, little human capital, and adhere to a religious viewpoint that is completely incompatible with liberal Western values such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, rights for women, etc. The problem is compounded when the country is a welfare state; Germany expects to spend 10 billion euros feeding, clothing, and housing the refugees this year.
But Kukathas insists we must accept this; the only alternative is internal South African-style apartheid. That's crazy. Simply block borders and screen immigrants before admitting them.
It's hard to believe arguments for entirely open borders can get more absurd than Kukathas,' but I look forward to FEE's next attempt. If nothing else, we're getting some good laughs.