2013 June 28 Friday
A Liberal Case Against Low Skilled Immigration

You might find it hard to believe that just a few decades ago the Democratic Party represented the interests of the lower and middle classes as economic classes. Now a liberal feels need to explain why he's speaking heresy on a subject where the Democratic Party has abandoned economic interests in favor of ethnic interests. Writing in the New Republic liberal T.A. Frank lays out why he turned against the left's view on immigration.

All in all, I became convinced that high levels of low-skill immigration are good for wealthy Americans and bad for poor Americans. Far more important, high levels of illegal immigration—when you start to get into the millions, as we have—undermines unions and labor standards, lowers wages, heightens social tensions, strains state budgets, widens income inequality, subverts the rule of law, and exacerbates class divides.

He notices that open borders are not compatible with the welfare state. Milton Friedman understood this. Open Borders Libertarians are in denial of the end game for what they are advocating. Frank recognizes the problem:

And generous social benefits cannot coexist with an open border. (Nor can a more egalitarian society.)

Liberals haven't figured out yet that with immigration they are winning a very Pyrrhic victory. They are going totally defeat Republicans the voting booth with rising numbers of lower class immigrants who will faithfully vote for donkeys. But the liberals aren't going to get enough tax revenue to pay for an extensive welfare state that their majority voters will support. We will end up with higher taxes, lower wages for the lower classes, and lower welfare benefits per person.

The Libertarians are worse. Most of them deny the threat that Open Borders poses to their freedoms. Even more insane, Don Boudreaux would rather lose his own freedom than give up his secular faith. Secular faith is worse than supernatural faith because of the resulting need to create a utopia in this world which is bound to fail

I still support open immigration. I cannot bring myself to abandon support of my foundational principles just because following those principles might prove fatal. I cannot tolerate state power to interfere with my and others’ freedom of association, and with people’s freedom of migration, on the grounds that scaling back such state power might lead to more state power wielded in other dimensions.

I can remember when I wanted my values to be accepted by all and for those values to be the right values. I remember when I thought there was something exalted in holding onto values and beliefs that led me to support policies to bring about a this-world utopia. I gave up those beliefs because I decided they amounted to an immature and doomed rebellion against physical laws. I did not want to advocate for policies that would make society worse.

I think secular faiths are worse than supernatural faiths because their strongest believers are much more eager to create a utopia in this world. They'll make huge irrational and destructive bets in this world in order to create their utopia. By contrast, believers in supernatural utopias often accept that utopia is for the afterlife. They have less need for impractical idealism in this life.

The Open Borders advocates miss big violations of rights already in American society. Boudreaux already tolerates state power to interfere with freedom of association on a massive scale. America's labor laws, especially the racial preferences laws and regulations, are a massive interference with freedom of association. Why aren't libertarians bent out of shape by this? Because they let liberals define many moral issues.

Getting back to you and your life: I think the middle class hasn't really internalized the impact on them from the demographic transformation of America due immigration. Do not wait until it is too late before you figure out what it means for your retirement. In a nutshell: Old age entitlements promises will be partially reneged upon. Old age benefits will have to be cut to fund benefits for growing numbers of younger poor people.

The shrinking middle class will need to work longer. So I repeat my advice: pursue a career strategy that will keep you employed longer. Another idea: find another country to live in. I can't say I see a good alternative yet. But many changes in the US will certainly reduce the advantages of being an American.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2013 June 28 07:57 PM 

The Dude said at June 29, 2013 8:02 AM:

"I think secular faiths are worse than supernatural faiths because their strongest believers are much more eager to create a utopia in this world. They'll make huge irrational and destructive bets in this world in order to create their utopia. By contrast, believers in supernatural utopias often accept that utopia is for the afterlife. They have less need for impractical idealism in this life."

This process is called "immanentizing the eschaton". See Eric Voegelin, among others, who traces the process (philosophically) back as far as Joachim of Flora (ca. 1350). Thomas Bertonneu (sp?) at Brussels Journal had a great preciś of Voegelin 2-4 years ago. Also, see Alexander Dugin, from Russia, who is wrestling with a way out of this mess. A big piece of it is the creation of a nameless, raceless, cultureless mass Man. Dugin posits that liberslism has conquered all other ideologies--nationalism, national socialism, Marxism, Leninism, and is now the triumphant ideology around the world. He and Alain de Benoist (read his essay "On Identity") believe that we must go forward with a new "Fourth" and post-Modern ideology before liberalism destroys the world.

Even de Tocqueville had extremely insightful things to say about the deracinated, decultured slaves and how they were mere grist for the mill, with no future and no past. You can substitute "white Americans" for any of his comments about slaves in America.

It mY be too late for us, since (as Larry Auster noted many times) both Democrats and Republicans, both left and right, are mentally enslaved to liberalism and the destruction of all cultures and peoples.

There are signs of resistance in Russia (and certainly in Israel and the Arab countries, both of whom have enshrined ethno-religious hegemony/supremacy as a guiding principle). The Russian thinkers and their friends (Benoist, Israel Shamir, EDL, etc.) are our best allies, since they, unlike Jews and Arabs, do not preach the fundamental evil of Christendom and theextinction of white/European/Christian culture as a solution.

This is not a US problem, it is a Western world problem, an ideological problem, and the sooner we recognize it as such, the better equipped we are to survive the inevitable aftermath.

Mike said at June 29, 2013 8:53 PM:

As a recovering libertarian, I understand fully Boudreaux's attitude. He thinks he's advocating some higher principle even though he knows it could lead to disaster. It's similar to Pacifists who would rather take the bayonet rather than use it. The end result is that they end up dead. The irony of libertarianism as a philosophy is that taken to it's logical conclusion a country that practiced it would wind up as a statist dictatorship, since the true believers wouldn't sacrifice their principles to prevent it.

Randall Parker said at June 30, 2013 10:13 AM:

The Dude, A new ideology is no a solution. Ideologies are all wrong. Secular ideologies have become substitutes for religious beliefs which just trade one set of irrationalities or another.

One of the biggest elements of the problem: romanticizing the human race. The idea that we all have the intellectual capacity and other innate elements needed to support a free society is nonsense. We need a far more empirical approach. When Jefferson was sending books from Paris to Madison it was because they were looking for evidence in history for what works and fails. They were empirical philosophers. Ditto Adam Smith and David Hume. They looked for heuristics without beliefs in a correct philosophical system of thought.

James Bowery said at June 30, 2013 6:54 PM:

The meta-ideology of sortocracy (sorting proponents of social theories into governments that test them) is a solution -- at least it is a proximate solution in that it allows us to more effectively evaluate ideologies rationally without violating consent.

Randall Burns said at June 30, 2013 6:54 PM:

Relatively little has been written recently from a non-conservative perspective on how and why immigration needs to be regulated.
here are some articles of mine I would humbly suggest:
These were both written several years ago:

more articles are here:

PoofRX said at June 30, 2013 8:30 PM:

Also assassinate the traitor politicians.

Randall Burns said at June 30, 2013 10:12 PM:


This 2005 article cites polls that specifically show how the wealthy tend to support high immigration levels.

Mike said at July 2, 2013 5:31 PM:

The libertarian site Econlog follows up on Don Boudreaux's post. Notice the wide divergence between the article and the commenters.


Matt W. said at July 28, 2013 9:35 AM:

One major problem is that Leftist politicians act in their self-interest, not in their constituents' interest per se. It is in the interest of high-power lefties to have more people that they can control, even (and perhaps especially) if their lives are worse. Then they can blame everything on conservatives who refuse to fund social programs (when the real problem is that there are simply too many people who need them).

On the other hand, high-power people on the right have an interest in having lots of cheap labor, and cannon fodder for questionable wars. So they are willing to lose some power at the ballot box in exchange for cheaper, more obedient workers. The right prefers poor people who work. That's not as good as it may sound, because low-skill jobs already don't pay s***. That's why so many conservatives like Hispanic immigration, and why they oppose abortion so strongly. Lots of poor people is fine for neocons as long as they are working obediently for cheap and fighting neocon wars.

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