A Border Wall Will Not Suffice To Keep Out Trespassers

My answer to your query is balloons, zeppelins, helicopters, digging, boats

Walter E. Block, Ph.D.

read from the bottom up

From: J

Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 7:16 PM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Re: Immigration, GoFundMe, and the Blockian Position

Hi Prof. Block,

Why must all US land be privatized? If only southern states were privatized, borders could be erected on that land. If only a thin sliver of land was privatized between Mexico and the US, borders could be erected on that land. My contention is that even if the land under it is unowned, a private border could be erected anywhere (using, say, privately-owned cement), and it would be illegitimate to violate this property by climbing over it.

That is the extent of what I am saying. I may write an article for the Mises Wire on it. But I could very well be wrong on what I’m saying. If any good counterarguments come to mind, I’d be happy to address them in that article, if I do write it.

Wishing you all the best,

J

On Wed, Jan 16, 2019, 7:43 PM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu wrote:

Dear J:

We don’t agree. I’m for open borders, until and unless we privatize all US land. Then, all uninvited immigrants are trespassers, and can be ejected on that ground, compatibly with libertarianism. Otherwise, not.

Best regards,

Walter

Walter E. Block, Ph.D.

Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics

Loyola University New Orleans

6363 St. Charles Avenue, Box 15, Miller Hall 318

New Orleans, LA 70118

wblock@loyno.edu

Skype: Walter.Block4

tel: (504) 864-7934

From: J

Sent: Tuesday, January 15, 2019 8:34 PM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Re: Immigration, GoFundMe, and the Blockian Position

Hi Prof. Block,

Yes, I have read many of your works on immigration. Thank you for sending that more complete list – it is all very interesting material.

I have also checked out Hoppe’s work on the subject. As far as I can tell, having considered both sides, I think that I largely agree with you on it.

However, I do think certain immigration restrictions (e.g. a wall) can be justified within the context of your libertarian theory of immigration, as I outlined in my prior email. What do you think about it?

Best,

J

On Sat, Jan 12, 2019, 7:57 PM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu wrote:

Dear J:

Here are my pubs on immigration. How do they square with your views?

Block, 1983A, 1983B, 1988, 1990, 1998, 2004, 2011A, 2011B, 2013, 2016A, 2016B, 2017; Block and Callahan, 2003; Deist, 2018; Gregory and Block, 2007;

Block, Walter E. 1983A. “How immigrants CREATE jobs,” North Shore News, p. A6, January 30; http://tinyurl.com/2xklvn

Block, Walter E. 1983B. “Protect Canadian Jobs From Immigrants?” Dollars and Sense. February 7; reprinted in Block, Walter E. 2008. Labor Economics from a Free Market Perspective: Employing the Unemployable.  London, UK: World Scientific Publishing; http://www.amazon.ca/Labor-Economics-Free-Market Perspective/dp/9812705686/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336603241&sr=1-7;

Available for free here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B00FX9dsY4zJNXU5SmVKYVBQOWs/edit?usp=sharing;

http://direitasja.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/labor-economics-from-a-free-market-perspective-walter-block.pdf

Block, Walter E. 1988. Dollars and Sense: “Migration patterns tell real story.” January 12;

Block, Walter E. 1990.  “Immigration,” Fraser Forum, January, pp. 22-23.

Block, Walter E. 1998. “A Libertarian Case for Free Immigration,” Journal of Libertarian Studies: An Interdisciplinary Review, Vol. 13, No. 2, summer, pp. 167-186; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/13_2/13_2_4.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2004. “The State Was a Mistake.” Book review of Hoppe, Han-Hermann, Democracy, The God that Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy and Natural Order, 2001May 25. http://www.mises.org/fullstory.asp?control=1522

Block, Walter E. 2011A. “Hoppe, Kinsella and Rothbard II on Immigration: A Critique.” Journal of Libertarian Studies; Vol. 22, pp. 593–623; http://mises.org/journals/jls/22_1/22_1_29.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2011B. “Rejoinder to Hoppe on Immigration,” Journal of Libertarian Studies Vol. 22: pp. 771–792; http://mises.org/journals/jls/22_1/22_1_38.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2013. “Rejoinder to Todea on the ‘Open’ Contract of Immigration.” The Scientific Journal of Humanistic Studies, Vol. 8, No. 5, March, pp. 52-55

Block, Walter E. 2015. “On immigration.” December 21;

http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2015/12/walter-block-on-immigration.html

Block, Walter E. 2016A. “Contra Hoppe and Brat on immigration.” Management Education Science Technology journal, Vol 4, No. 1, pp. 1-10; http://mest.meste.org/MEST_1_2016/Sadrzaj_eng.htmlhttp://mest.meste.org/MEST_1_2016/7_01.pdf; (1333)

Block, Walter E. 2016B. “A response to the libertarian critics of open-borders libertarianism,” Lincoln Memorial University Law Review; Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 142-165; http://digitalcommons.lmunet.edu/lmulrev/vol4/iss1/6/;

http://digitalcommons.lmunet.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1071&context=lmulrev

Block, Walter E. 2017. “Immigration and Homesteading.” March. The Journal Jurisprudence. Vol. 35, pp. 9-42; http://www.jurisprudence.com.au/juris35/block.pdf

Block, Walter E. and Gene Callahan. 2003. “Is There a Right to Immigration? A Libertarian Perspective,” Human Rights Review. Vol. 5, No. 1, October-December, pp. 46-71; http://www.walterblock.com/publications/block-callahan_right-immigrate-2003.pdf

Deist, Jeff. 2018. “Block on immigration.” September 4;

https://mises.org/library/immigration-roundtable-walter-block

Gregory, Anthony and Walter E. Block. 2007. “On Immigration: Reply to Hoppe.” Journal of Libertarian Studies, vol. 21, No. 3, Fall, pp. 25-42; http://mises.org/journals/jls/21_3/21_3_2.pdfhttp://www.academia.edu/1360109/On_Immigration_Reply_to_Hoppe;

https://mises.org/system/tdf/21_3_2.pdf?file=1&type=document

Best regards,

Walter

Walter E. Block, Ph.D.

Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics

Loyola University New Orleans

6363 St. Charles Avenue, Box 15, Miller Hall 318

New Orleans, LA 70118

wblock@loyno.edu

Skype: Walter.Block4

tel: (504) 864-7934

From: J

Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2019 8:01 PM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Immigration, GoFundMe, and the Blockian Position

Hi Prof. Block,

I had a question about your stance on immigration. I think recent developments regarding America’s proposed border wall could allow for libertarians to advocate for such a wall without abandoning any fundamental principles. It may even be cause for Hoppeans and Blockians to find common ground on the issue.

One of your central claims is that “government-owned” borderlands are akin to unowned property. If a plot of land is unowned, there is no titleholder whose rights can be violated; for that reason, traversing such land is entirely legitimate, as you claim (you and Hoppe disagree here).

The specifics, of course, are unimportant. According to your argument, Mexicans can freely enter Texas, Texans can freely enter Mexico, and Hondurans can freely travel up to Tijuana and enter San Diego. The general principles you lay out apply no matter who is involved, or where the border-crossings are taking place.

To the same point, though, the principles apply no matter what actions are taking place (as long as no aggression is involved, of course). Individuals have the right not only to travel across the supposed “border”, but to do whatever they like upon the land: meditate, play tag, plant trees, etc. I think that you will agree with me that they would also have the right to build on the border. Indeed, they would have the right to build a wall.

Applying your arguments, though, the wall would simply be public property if built with the public funds of the tax pool (this is another point on which you and Hoppe disagree). It would not be wrong to try to deface, damage, or destroy it, as this, like all other uses of the unowned “public property”, would be morally legitimate. ICE agents would also have no justifiable recourse to defend against such attacks on the border wall, as using force against people who are doing no wrong is immoral.

Even still, building such a wall may save taxpayer money in the long term (by decreasing the number of net tax consumers, which illegal immigrants often end up being), thus resulting in lower expenditures, lower taxes, and ultimately less government aggression against taxpayers. I am unsure as to what degree this would save money, but Republicans often argue that it would save quite a lot, and it is an interesting thought, which libertarians should consider. I think you will agree with me that short-term increases in spending should be encouraged if they seriously promise an ultimate decrease in spending in the long term.

Imagine something else, though. The wall need not be funded through taxpayer money. In under a month, a GoFundMe campaign called “We The People Will Fund The Wall” has yielded $20 million. While this is nowhere near the $5.7 billion requested by Republicans for the border wall, it is hard to say just how much money the crowdfunding campaign will actually turn up. As far as I know, the money flow shows no sign of stopping. Plus, it is clear that the private market could get the job done for much cheaper than the government could.

The people may be willing and able to fund the border wall themselves, and if so, it would belong to them as their private, collective property – the use of which they morally have the final say over. There would be no problem with using force to defend this border, as it would be no different from defending any other private property.

Admittedly, the land around and below the wall, as well as all of the space above it, would still be “public” and thus unowned. However, digging under the wall could be perceived as weakening its structure, and thus be regarded as a form of aggression against it (similar to if I dug a large tunnel five feet below your cellar). In addition putting a ladder up against the wall would result in an unwarranted use of the it, making going over it (in this manner, at least) also morally illegitimate.

In reality, though, it is unlikely that private citizens will be the sole funders of a border wall. If the GoFundMe money does eventually go toward building a wall, much taxpayer money will also be used. What then? This is a difficult question. It is hard to say whether the wall would be entirely privately owned, or whether it would be partially privately owned (to the degree that it was funded privately) and partially unowned (to the degree that it was publicly funded), if the latter conception even makes any sense.

At any rate, it is clear that the GoFundMe crowdfunders would have some sort of rightful property title to the wall. Even if private donations make for a mere fraction of the total funds expended on the wall, there will be a private ownership claim to it by some people, and thus unwanted would-be immigrants may legitimately be prevented from crossing it.

Since these points are so relevant at the moment, I think it is important to evaluate the immigration situation in ever more depth. I hope you consider what I have written, and I am excited to hear your thoughts in response.

All the best, J

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3:58 pm on April 25, 2019