by Derrick Broze and John Vibes
Since the issue of borders and immigration continues to be a hot topic of debate among “libertarians” I figured I would share a quote from my recent book. Please feel free to respond regarding your thoughts on our take and tag your closed border friends. As you will see, John and I argue that the language around “open” and “closed” borders is a part of the problem.
“Traditionally, libertarian and anarchist positions on borders have favored an “open border” solution. This would be in contrast to a “closed border” with immigration controls. This is naturally in line with anarchism considering the fact that governments implement and control borders, and anarchists seek to abolish governments. However, recently some anarcho-capitalists and libertarians have argued for closed borders. They believe private property norms justify forcibly restricting the movement of other free humans, even beyond the borders of their own property. The Alt-Right takes it a step further and argues that the State may even be a necessary evil in order to save “western civilization” and “traditional values” from an ”invasion” of immigrants.
The discussion on borders often centers around whether or not immigrants will have access to “public property” while visiting. Closed border advocates argue that in a stateless society based on private property norms, immigrants would not be welcome unless they were explicitly invited or had employment opportunities. If the immigrant is not invited or does not have a contractual agreement they would not be allowed to occupy private property. Since the closed border/private property advocates believe there will be no such thing as “public property” in a free society they argue that immigrants without an invitation will have nowhere to go and will thus be trespassing and subject to physical removal. We argue that in the absence of the state, land currently known as “public property” (or land controlled by the government) would revert back to unowned property.This would allow for individuals to travel across or homestead on this previously government held land. Those who argue that taxpayers should have the first claim to this land ignore the reality that failing to join the counter-economy and continuing to fund the state is not a noble act. Taxpayers and agorists are equally enslaved under the statist system, but when the state collapses, favors will not be paid to those who extended the life of the state by failing to withdraw financial support. We find it laughable that “anarchists” would suggest that paying taxes is honorable and deserving of special privileges in the post-state world. Sure, we are all forced to pay taxes under the threat of violence, and the fact that people pay under duress should not be held against them, but at the same time, those who have the courage to take the risk certainly deserve an extra level of respect and admiration.
One major roadblock in the borders debate is the use of faulty terminology. A valid objection to the concept of public property is the association of the concept with government controlled property. However, we do not think public property needs to be exclusively thought of as government property. In his essay “In Defense of Public Space”, libertarian thinker Roderick T. Long discusses the problems with the public and private debate:
“”When we think of public property, we think of government
property. But this has not traditionally been the case.Throughout history, legal doctrine has recognized, alongside property owned by the organized public (that is, the public as organized into a state and represented by
government officials), an additional category of property owned by the unorganized public.This was property that the public at large was deemed to have a right of access to, but without any presumption that government would be involved in the matter at all.
I have no interest in defending public property in the sense of property belonging to the organized public (i.e., the state). In fact, I do not think government property is public property at all; it is really the private property of an agency calling itself the government. What I wish to defend is the idea of property rights inherent in the unorganized public.””
It seems as if the time has come to abandon terms like open and closed borders in favor of decentralized borders. We imagine a free society with decentralized borders would consist of a mixture of open borders, closed borders, public property, private property and unowned land. We believe a network of competing public and private spaces which allow for freedom of movement is most consistent with the sovereignty of the individual.”