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Craig24

Ed Powell's paper against open borders

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Objectivist Ed Powell has written a paper against the open borders immigration position of other Objectivists (Binswanger, Tracinski, Biddle, Bernstein, Duke).

This raises the question: Does a foreigner have a right to cross an international border?  Powell says no.  Powell says the burden of proof that any applicant for entry is not a threat to the freedom or security of the country lies with the applicant.  

The paper is well written, the position well argued.  For reference: Binswanger's essay and Biddle's essay

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Oof.

I've not yet read the whole thing -- it's near 70 pages, which may take me a little while -- but so far, some of the rhetoric is brutal:

Quote

[Yaron] Brook has recently taken to Twitter to claim those of us labeling him as an advocate of open borders are lying, simply because we have not kept up on whether Brook and ARI are fighting Eurasia or Eastasia.

Yow!

Edited to Add: I've (again) exceeded my ration of daily "likes," so thank you Craig24 for providing this material.

Edited by DonAthos

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9 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

Oof.

I've not yet read the whole thing -- it's near 70 pages, which may take me a little while -- but so far, some of the rhetoric is brutal:

Yow!

Edited to Add: I've (again) exceeded my ration of daily "likes," so thank you Craig24 for providing this material.

You are very welcome.

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5 hours ago, Craig24 said:

Powell says the burden of proof that any applicant for entry is not a threat to the freedom or security of the country lies with the applicant.  

I don't intend to read 70 pages, but I'm curious about one thing: Does he say what such evidence would be like, and is it something any ordinary person -- say you -- would be able to put together in (say) under a year of preparation? 

Or, is he creating an abstract standard against which any evidence can be disqualified as being insufficient.

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A brief (and not at all comprehensive) survey of the beginning of this essay:

The essay seems to begin by trying to make the reader afraid (comparing modern society to the Fall of Rome, for instance), which... whatever. There are plenty of lessons to be drawn from history -- that's the virtue of the discipline -- but I don't know how much insight the migrations of Germanic barbarians sheds on 21st Century immigration. Or at least, any worthwhile comparison would require a ton of research and argument, and not the supremely superficial treatment here. Thus, this seems mostly to serve an emotional purpose, though Powell means to use it to offset the traditional American ideal of immigration being regarded as an important and laudable aspect of our history.

Still: "immigration" could be good or bad, from various standpoints and in different historical settings? It isn't always an unvarnished blessing? Sure. Why not.

Then Powell seeks to defuse the idea that opposition to "open borders" is racist. I've no problem with that -- I don't think that advocacy of immigration laws necessarily has anything to do with racism (even if some advocates of those laws are racist).

Then he raises Binswanger as "the most prominent Objectivist advocating completely open borders." I'll just go with that -- I don't keep up with those things. Though, having read through this section previously, I have to say that, while considering myself an "open border" proponent, I don't like Binswanger's position as cited here, for some of the same reasons Powell raises.

Powell discusses some of the other Objectivist intellectuals supporting "open borders" before savaging Yaron Brook at length for appearing to change his own position on this issue (from "open borders" to completely restrictive against Muslims) without acknowledging that any change has taken place. Seriously, Powell is supremely harsh against Brook, finally concluding that Brook's position "changes slightly or radically each week."

Finally, Powell looks to Ayn Rand, lamenting that she never wrote about immigration but citing that she did touch on the subject during a speech, and appeared to support "open borders" at that time. (Or something like it, at least; the direct quote taken from her is: "How could I ever advocate that immigration should be restricted when I wouldn't be alive today if it were?")

Powell finds that Rand's quoted stance on immigration is at least somewhat related to ignorance ("she was not fully educated about every single issue in American history") and that other quotes on other subjects show that Rand should be sympathetic to a (more) restrictive immigration policy. Here he invokes Rand's regrettable remarks about Native American Indians (or at least, I regret them) as well as a general swipe against "the Mohammedans, the Buddhists, and the cannibals."

Whatever we think about Rand's choice to put those three groups together like that, or whether we see any significant differences between, say, a Buddhist (as some of my more pleasant in-laws are), and a cannibal (which they are not, to the best of my knowledge), Powell invites us to imagine such people coming into the United States "in the hundreds of thousands or millions."

Having concluded that Rand was dismissive of the idea of American Indians having "inalienable rights to continue their savagery" (which is perhaps just a touch misinformed in certain respects), he wonders whether modern savages should be considered to have such things as "the right to contract."

So, if I'm following this (and I might not be, I'll admit), I think that we've thus far concluded that some groups of people have individual rights... and others do not. Is that it?

Powell then introduces Objectivists who champion a "selective immigration position," counting himself among that number.

He sets his position against Binswanger's, which is accounted to hold that there ought be no restrictions against immigration whatsoever, even in the case of a criminal escaping justice or a member of a terrorist group. Insofar as that reflects Binswanger's position, I think it's clearly flawed -- but then, I think that's a straw man of a stronger possible open borders position, which I myself attempted to outline in this thread.

Powell continues to raise specters about Binswanger's position, including that it would not allow air defense (against another possible 9/11), which again, would suffice to sink his position (if it reflects it accurately, which I cannot at present say), but seems a straw man version of the "open borders" stance I would take. I believe it is possible to support both immigration, and criminal and military self-defense. A border open to immigration need not be unmonitored; there can still be an immigration process, even if there is no quota.

Powell takes a moment to talk about the nature of countries, and how it is proper to deal with other countries as units (as opposed to dealing with individuals, as individuals). He says that this "is not 'collectivism,' but an expression of the reality of international politics." So I guess that clears that up. He seems to imply that this is also the case made for "the interment of enemy aliens during wartime, despite their guilt or innocence," so that's yet another wonderful policy linked to this overall platform.

I can only wonder if Powell is already thinking about the essay he would write to defend the internment of American Muslims, if Trump ever stumbled over such a notion. And if you've ever wondered how a civilized society sinks into absolute nightmare, this is practically a primer. Powell is linking -- if implicitly -- restrictive immigration, internment camps, and the European conquest of North America, which was in many respects genocidal. He is making a case, again implicitly, at least, that there are groups of people who do not have individual rights, because they are cultural savages. (Like... Buddhists?) This isn't midnight in America yet, folks, but the shadows are growing long.

Then Powell discusses "subversion," saying that it's not the case that force is alone "aggression." I'll leave it for others (for now at least) to relate this to Rand's arguments about force and rights more broadly (is there anything left?). But for Powell's part, he claims that "if you want a free polity, you must maintain a culture of freedom."

Given the context of such a remark in this essay, I think the only reasonable conclusion to draw is that Powell believes that the government ought to intervene to produce/defend/maintain this "culture of freedom." So that would include restricting "subversive" culture, presumably, and... what...? Supporting the creation of pro-freedom culture? Is this both censorship and propaganda we're talking about?

But of course, Powell casts himself only as talking about immigration. He just wants to stop the "subversive element" at the door, and does not seem interested as to whether his ideas have any further implication. What to do about homegrown subversives? (Who I would imagine could be just as dangerous as those born elsewhere...) That isn't addressed here, and I'm not certain Powell has even stopped to think about the potential consequences of his platform.

One specific "subversive element" Powell discusses is the Muslim Brotherhood, and secret documents discovered which purport to detail a conspiracy on their part to undermine Western Civilization.

Now look, maybe that's true. I have no idea. But reading this account, I must say, reminded me strongly of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. But if Powell is aware of such historical parallels, he doesn't seem bothered by it, concluding that Islam is engaged in "civilizational jihad." (So are some Mexicans, whom Powell has as trying to retake the Southwest United States in "a very long-term strategy...through immigration and cultural change.")

So you see, this is war. It's war when people move here, pretending to be peaceful, because really they're plotting to overthrow our way of life.

Against this peaceful war, Powell recommends the border as "self-defense." Quoting Peter Schwartz, Powell cites that "freedom is the end to which all other political actions are the means." Thus, if some person "desiring entrance [into a country] will not further the goal of keeping that country free," Powell concludes that he can rightly be excluded. Not because he is "riding in a battle tank or carrying a rifle," but because he is "a person from an incompatible culture."

And once again, I know that Powell sees himself as talking solely about "foreign policy," but can we take a moment to wonder... if people who have not initiated the use of force can be judged as "subversive" and "culturally incompatible," such that they forfeit their rights, and if "freedom is the end to which all other political actions are the means," then why shouldn't this also be an argument for domestic action?

Why not start rounding people up for having the wrong beliefs?

I'm now on p. 20 (of 69) and I'm done. (For now at least.) This essay is terrifying.

I guess it's one thing I'll say for what's going on in the world right now: it's really clarifying where people stand on some pretty fundamental issues.

Edited by DonAthos

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America merely has to adapt the immigration policies of one Singapore or Qatar if any. The dangers Powell associates with immigration from south of the border or the Islamic World can be countered through ending efforts to subsidize immigration.

On 1/31/2017 at 2:55 AM, DonAthos said:

Powell is linking -- if implicitly -- restrictive immigration, internment camps, and the European conquest of North America, which was in many respects genocidal.

The population decline of the Siberian American was largely from non-sapient forces (plague) as opposed to organized effort, with their population noticeably smaller than what the American Holocaust narrative demands. There's a lack of evidence of planned mass death in the style of the Nazis among the North American colonies to call it a policy. Even during war and other conflicts, it was hardly just Europeans versus natives instead of there being European forces with SA allies against rival Europeans and other SAs. Anti-White tales of genocidal settlers seizing the Americas from the Nohle Savages are a distortion weaponized by the Left. For more on this:

http://thealternativehypothesis.org/index.php/2016/06/02/the-non-genocide-of-northern-native-americans/

https://board.freedomainradio.com/topic/47655-youtube-the-truth-about-the-native-american-genocide/

 

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5 hours ago, Layjamin said:

Anti-White tales of genocidal settlers seizing the Americas from the Nohle Savages are a distortion weaponized by the Left. For more on this:

Stephen Molyneux and an alt-right site...

Those are far from good sources for rational thought, worse than even radical Leftist sources. There are plenty of better sources that are against Marxist critiques of Colonialism. Indeed disease killed a lot more, but a lot of natives were still murdered.

On top of that, you didn't even try to argue against open immigration.

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On 1/30/2017 at 8:06 PM, Craig24 said:

This raises the question: Does a foreigner have a right to cross an international border?  Powell says no.  Powell says the burden of proof that any applicant for entry is not a threat to the freedom or security of the country lies with the applicant. 

The three main reasons why visa applications are rejected by the US are

1. the applicant has the wrong education level and/or profession

2. the applicant isn't rich enough

3. the applicant lost a lottery, or belongs to an ethnic group with too many applicants already

Does the paper acknowledge and address that fact? Or is it written under the pretense that the motivating factor for restrictions on immigration is national security?

Edited by Nicky

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12 hours ago, Layjamin said:

America merely has to adapt the immigration policies of one Singapore or Qatar if any. The dangers Powell associates with immigration from south of the border or the Islamic World can be countered through ending efforts to subsidize immigration.

Hello and welcome to the board!

I'm not terribly familiar with the immigration policies of Singapore or Qatar, but I agree with you that immigration ought not be "subsidized." It should merely be legal.

Quote

The population decline of the Siberian American was largely from non-sapient forces (plague) as opposed to organized effort, with their population noticeably smaller than what the American Holocaust narrative demands. There's a lack of evidence of planned mass death in the style of the Nazis among the North American colonies to call it a policy. Even during war and other conflicts, it was hardly just Europeans versus natives instead of there being European forces with SA allies against rival Europeans and other SAs. Anti-White tales of genocidal settlers seizing the Americas from the Nohle Savages are a distortion weaponized by the Left.

I agree with a lot of what you say. The spread of disease was the single greatest factor in reducing Native American populations after European contact, and absolutely there was warfare amongst Native American groups, both before and after contact. Also, I wouldn't claim that there was "mass death in the style of the Nazis" -- the Nazis and their Holocaust is fairly unique among world history, it seems to me, and while comparisons to the Nazis (and Hitler) are always popular when trying to demonize some group, they are rarely very appropriate.

The history of contact between Europeans and Native Americans is lengthy, and complex, and it would be foolish to say that there was ever one single unified plan or attitude or relationship.

However, what I'd said originally was, "the European conquest of North America, which was in many respects genocidal." I think that specific use of language means that this was not necessarily "genocide" in full measure -- but bears many of the features of genocide. Or at least that's what I had intended, and I continue to think it defensible. Not because I have any interest in any "anti-white" narrative, or in promoting Native Americans as "noble savages," but because I think the history bears it out.

Though I'm not an expert on this subject, and am open to being mistaken, it seems to me that starting with Christopher Columbus, there was a general European attitude of superiority (in terms of culture, race and religion) which motivated enslavement, despoilation, and disregard of Native American life. The end result of this contact over time (through means both intentional and unintentional) was a massive depopulation of Native Americans, and the taking of nearly all of "their" land.

When Ayn Rand says that "the white man did not conquer this country," it seems to me to be dismissive of episodes such as discussed here, along with a number of various wars, skirmishes and policies in both the colonies and American government (and I'm sure, also, amongst the Spanish -- though I'm less familiar with Latin American history). I think there's a lot in the record that can sensibly be described as "conquest." When she says that "the Indians did not have the concept of property or property rights -- they didn't have a settled society, they had predominantly nomadic tribal 'cultures'," well, I've come to believe that this isn't strictly speaking the case. Native Americans were not a monolithic culture, and while some were nomadic, there were also many settled communities; and if the idea is that, pre-contact, Native Americans held no concept of "property," well... that sounds like it would be a tricky claim to assess over such a diverse population. But over the hundreds of years of contact with Europeans during which Native Americans were progressively despoiled, I expect that many of them came to understand European conceptions of property, including in land, and held it, and were yet unfairly divested of it anyhow.

In the end, I don't believe that many European actions were motivated by some philosophical ideal of individual rights, either for or against, or some specific understanding of "property," and why Native Americans could not lay just claim to the items they had created or the land that they used to grow food, or support their lifestyle. I think that they saw that the Indians had gold, or other valuable resource, and wanted to take it, and used whatever means at their disposal to do so. I think that they saw that the Indians inhabited valuable land, and wanted to take it, and used whatever means at their disposal to do so. I don't think they would have cared had the Indians pronounced their possessions or land "property," or could source their claims in a solid philosophical manner (though I believe that the origins of their claims, in many cases, would correspond to the Objectivist theory of property rights). I think there's no conceivable justification to the enslavement of many Indians, or their forced conversion to Christianity, or the occasional massacres of peaceful populations (though Native Americans did that as well, and incited many wars; this history was bloody on both sides).

Though I know that many historians would not use the term "genocide" to describe this situation in total (while some would), I yet think it apt to say that "it was in many respects genocidal," for as Wikipedia has it (from Genocides in history): "The indigenous peoples of the Americas have experienced massacres, torture, terror, sexual abuse, systematic military occupations, removals of Indigenous peoples from their ancestral territories, forced removal of Native American children to military-like boarding schools, allotment, and a policy of termination."

And if that's not genocide, it's still nothing good, and -- contra Powell -- not anything like a moral basis for our modern day foreign policy.

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13 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Stephen Molyneux and an alt-right site...

Those are far from good sources for rational thought, worse than even radical Leftist sources. There are plenty of better sources that are against Marxist critiques of Colonialism. Indeed disease killed a lot more, but a lot of natives were still murdered.

On top of that, you didn't even try to argue against open immigration.

Those are just sources I threw out flippantly. I have more than them, significantly peer reviewed and academially published by professional scholars with enough research to their name on the relevant subjects whose works withstood scrutiny by other professionals on the relevant subjects.

9 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

Are you a contributor or promoter on that site?

No. 

6 hours ago, DonAthos said:

Hello and welcome to the board!

I'm not terribly familiar with the immigration policies of Singapore or Qatar, but I agree with you that immigration ought not be "subsidized." It should merely be legal.

A respectable company wouldn't going to risk the expenses of airfare and other relocation issues just to save a Dollar or two on their wages absent of outside aid. 

Even in the case of Islamic terroism, Islam was by large an oddity in the United States until about the 1970s or so. Of the low millions of Islamic residents in the US today they're largely new arrivals in the 21st Century. Who used fugee benefits and other efforts to subsidize migration.

I figure a noticeable amount of the individuals Powell worries about wouldn't even be in America absent of some help here and there.

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On 2/4/2017 at 0:58 PM, Layjamin said:

Those are just sources I threw out flippantly. I have more than them, significantly peer reviewed and academially published by professional scholars with enough research to their name on the relevant subjects whose works withstood scrutiny by other professionals on the relevant subjects.

Fair enough - even I've posted a few links from sources that may be horribly biased, but rarely a good point is made anyway. Molyneux (or those who associate with his ideas seriously) is a quack though, so if he's right about something, no one should take his word for it. Anyway, since you have better sources, stick to those. 

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