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Individuals and Demography

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volco
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I was wondering whether the individual has any right to control the Demographic environment in which he or she lives. 

Regarding for example overpopulation, does the individual citizen have a say in opening or closing the borders of the country in which he lives? Even if the decision is 'bad' for the markets, isn't it the people's choice? or the politicians'? 

Current immigration policies in the US and most Western countries have been set up by politicians, subject to no referendum, and in many cases (like Europe's) by unelected administrators. 

 

so whose should be the choice? Regardless of whether that choice is good or bad. 

Edited by volco
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By "control" you must mean "force", because without force you cannot "control" something which in principle would be determined by the voluntary choices of individuals.

 

In a proper society "force" is only used in retaliation and with justification, and such force is delegated to a minimal government.  A minimal government's role is to protect individual rights.  Demographics per se, as a result of the free voluntary choices of individuals is not a threat to any other individual.  As such government would not and could not "play a role".  

 

"Overpopulation" is a concept which you have not defined, and may well be an anti-concept or a stolen concept from the minds of collectivist/social engineers and pragmatists trying to "make things work".  Free individuals will move and rent or buy as the supply and demand and market allows.  IF people are too dense for your tastes, in a city, a town or a village or even in the country as a free individual you have the right to move, i.e. to enter a contract to rent or to buy property.  Those people who live around you (in a free Objectivist society) will have gotten there through trade, and are renting or are home owners by right. 

 

There are a lot of options for you to exercise if the local population gets too large for your tastes. You have the choice to rent out all the apartments in the apartment buildings neighboring you.  You and 19 of your friends can (20 people) rent 40 apartments in an attempt to cut the population (i.e. local population) by half.  For that matter you and 200 of your friends could put an offer to buy the apartment buildings (suitable for 1000 people) and cut the local population to 1/5.  You could move to the country and purchase a large parcel of land ensuring the appropriate buffer.  You could organise or join a private community, perhaps even a "private" city, which has contractual guarantees about numbers of people per square foot or square mile.  You WILL PAY MORE for the luxury, commuting will be more of a challenge but these are realities of being free in a free society.

 

As an individual you cannot "control" demographics any more than a proper government could.  Use of force is not permitted absent initiation of harm (violation of rights) by another. 

 

In conclusion:

"Demographics" is simply not a proper "thing" to control in a geography for which there is a proper Objectivist government. nether the people nor the government have the right to force others in an attempt to control "demographics".

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By "control" you must mean "force", because without force you cannot "control" something which in principle would be determined by the voluntary choices of individuals.

 

In conclusion:

"Demographics" is simply not a proper "thing" to control in a geography for which there is a proper Objectivist government. nether the people nor the government have the right to force others in an attempt to control "demographics".

 

Thanks for the reply. I understand that an Objectivists-run Government and society would be a free market of people and capitals. 

I favor that point of view and that project, but still I have questions regarding the present state of affairs. 

 

Is it a country's obligation to open up its borders and allow free immigration ?  Is it a country's obligation to give those immigrants citizenship? 

 

America's strength is Capitalism, and therefore the USA's strength has to be maintained by a constant influx of immigrants. 

But what about other countries, as dissimilar as Costa Rica, Japan and Israel? Countries whose strengths might not be those of a superpower, but have other qualities that make them valuable?

 

Citizens of these countries might find they have some things to be valued that would be unequivocally ruined if they were to allow free migration: a pristine environment in the case of Costa Rica, a country that is unequivocally their homeland, in the case of Israel, and a country that is unequivocally theirs in all respects, as in the case of Japan. 

 

Do Japanese or Costa Ricans have a right to decide who's going to immigrate into their territories? 

 

Do the Israelis have a right to keep Palestinians without citizenship because that would surely destroy Israel? 

Edited by volco
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   As long as someone can produce something, find a place to stay, and can stay out of trouble, they should be able to come to this country. I don't see a reason to deport anyone unless they are criminal. 

 

   As far as the right to vote and citizenship, I don't think most Americans should have that right much less immigrants. There should be fees and testing processes for anyone who wishes to vote in an election.  This process should be the same for all people, natural born or not. 

 

  I don't see how free immigration would ruin Costa Rica's environment. Job seeking immigrants who can't vote are not a threat to the sanctity of that nation's laws, and I doubt they will be violating the property rights of whoever own's the jungles (or whatever) there.  

 

   Under the principles I outlined above, Palestinians would have trouble immigrating to Israel. Security concerns are a huge problem. 

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   As long as someone can produce something, find a place to stay, and can stay out of trouble, they should be able to come to this country. I don't see a reason to deport anyone unless they are criminal. 

 

   As far as the right to vote and citizenship, I don't think most Americans should have that right much less immigrants. There should be fees and testing processes for anyone who wishes to vote in an election.  This process should be the same for all people, natural born or not. 

 

  I don't see how free immigration would ruin Costa Rica's environment. Job seeking immigrants who can't vote are not a threat to the sanctity of that nation's laws, and I doubt they will be violating the property rights of whoever own's the jungles (or whatever) there.  

 

   Under the principles I outlined above, Palestinians would have trouble immigrating to Israel. Security concerns are a huge problem. 

Ok you've answered Israel. 

Now Costa Rica: A huge amount of Guatemalan immigrants would ruin the environment, real or perceived, and ruin the country's prospects. 

What about Japan? 

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   I don't understand why Guatemalan immigrants would ruin the environment. Can you explain? 

 

   I don't think that the governments of the world have a right to maintain ethnically segregated regions. Many peoples, including all Americans, do not have a state that belongs to just their ethnicity. The Japanese should follow the same protocols as any other country, putting security as the primary concern and letting in any productive person. 

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Ok you've answered Israel. 

Now Costa Rica: A huge amount of Guatemalan immigrants would ruin the environment, real or perceived, and ruin the country's prospects.

Objectivist Politics is based in individual rights. As per Objectivism, a capitalist government may only engage in actions that protect individual rights.

Beyond that, you should try answering your own questions. Unless you're not really looking for answers to questions about Oism, but a political debate. In that case, try statements and arguments to back those statements up, instead of questions.

What about Japan?

What about it? Japan has a massive welfare state. That's what the restrictions on immigration are protecting. (they do allow immigration, btw., they just restrict it to people in well paying professions).

They should eliminate the welfare state, and then allow free immigration. Maybe throw in some easing of environmental and labor regulations. That would put Japan back on a path of rapid economic development.

Edited by Nicky
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Guatemalans play that awful panflute music. It destroys all vegetation for miles. Letting them into the USA would threaten our agriculture business and generally put everybody here in a foul mood. Vote no on Guatemalans.

 

Edit: Oops, that's Peru, not Guatemala. The Guatemalans can stay.

Edited by CrowEpistemologist
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Those are good defenses for Global Capitalism, but it ignores the current situation some countries face. Immigration is de facto not free, but set by policy makers. My question is whether individual citizens should have a say in that policy making? And if so, how? 

 

My other question is whether it constitutes initiation of force to simply close a border (particularly of an island nation, that's why I cited Japan) or only allow tourists and a minuscule amount of foreign residents in order to either preserve their identity and demographic profile, or to keep it from overpopulating (which is subjective but real). 

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Another question would be: Is it in every country's best interest to have an open borders policy?

No such thing as a "country's best interest"; only individuals have interests. And that which is in an individual's best interest where government is concerned is upholding individual rights. We should not argue for less.

I think a country may reasonably have border security procedures to ensure that people crossing those borders aren't wanted criminals or similar, but apart from that, what business is it of the government who goes where? Private property holders may insist that no one can trespass against their rightfully owned land, but the government has no similar claim over "it's territory."

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Another question would be: Is it in every country's best interest to have an open borders policy? 

 

We have established in this thread that it is good for America. But it is not good for Israel. 

What about the other nations in between the two.

Collectivism (a government acting in the public interest, for the common good, or whatever other name you want to put on it, rather than protecting individual rights) is not in any country's best interest.
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No such thing as a "country's best interest"; only individuals have interests. And that which is in an individual's best interest where government is concerned is upholding individual rights. We should not argue for less.

I think a country may reasonably have border security procedures to ensure that people crossing those borders aren't wanted criminals or similar, but apart from that, what business is it of the government who goes where? Private property holders may insist that no one can trespass against their rightfully owned land, but the government has no similar claim over "it's territory."

 

I am playing the devil's advocate here, so bare with me: 

Isn't/shouldn't be a country's territory the aggregation of all private property plus infrastructure? 

Can the interest of a country be the aggregated interests of its individual citizens? 

 

Market is self correcting, but demography isn't. People reproduce. 

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volco

 

Management of infrastructure is NOT a proper role of government according to Objectivism and neither is management of individual people who have not committed any crime.

 

Again there is no concept of Country or Nationalism per se, only the administration of the three branches of government protecting the rights of the individuals. 

Edited by StrictlyLogical
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I am playing the devil's advocate here, so bare with me: 

Isn't/shouldn't be a country's territory the aggregation of all private property plus infrastructure? 

Can the interest of a country be the aggregated interests of its individual citizens?

Let's say your friend, you, and I live on a small island together. You and your friend decide to have my friend banned from coming to visit me, or my would be employee banned from coming to work for me, because it harms your interests in some way (maybe you're working for me, and you're worried you'd be fired if the new guy comes over). Or maybe my friend has a different skin color, or speaks a different language, and you think that will "pollute the environment".

Whatever your reasons, be they sensible or stupid, you just sacrificed my interests, for yours. At that point, the last thing on my mind is your "aggregate". My existence is not something for you to subtract in some vague aggregate that's supposedly gonna cause some undefined total to go up a notch. I exist for my own sake, and will never agree to be sacrificed for yours, or for the collective's.

The only way you're gonna coexist with me in peace is by agreeing to respect my rights for as long as I respect yours. Any kind of arrangement, other than on these terms, is more like a truce than peace. Sure, I will probably tolerate some level of thuggery, for the sake of that truce (same way I choose to live peacefully in a mixed economy and a semi-fascist society, rather than start a revolution). Maybe I'll agree to your ban for now, rather than start a fight. But to tolerate is not the same as to accept. This tolerance is subject to a constant evaluation of my options, and can at any point end either by removing myself from your grasp or by retaliating (depending solely on which is the better option for me). So, be careful how you take advantage of your current ability to sacrifice me for your "aggregate".

Edited by Nicky
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Thanks Nicky that last reply was useful. I am debating this with an American living in Korea (who glorifies that society) Can I now say that anything short of free transit of people as policy would be inflicting in the rights of pre existing citizens to invite friends or collaborators to live with them. Regarding the environment (I've been made fun of this) I'm still not sure in the cases of small isolated islands like Socotora, the Galapagos, etc, which have a very fragile and valuable environment (valuable for the islanders). Those territories (not countries) have indeed closed borders and restrict the entry of tourist to a yearly quota. The Falklands would be an example for the West. A Brit can't simply migrate to the islands except as a tourist (or in the military).

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In a small geography like an island, how would an Objectivist government, on principle, justify preventing (read interfering with) an existing owner from renting or selling his property to an individual not currently residing on the island?

 

In other words, even supposing no rights are considered to attach to an individual not yet living in the geography, how is violation of the property rights of the individual living within the geography justified? 

Edited by StrictlyLogical
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They're not justifiable. As a U.S. citizen, I, and all my fellow citizens, are owners of this public nightclub called the U.S. If I wanna invite a truckload of Guatamalan goth chicks to come in to Club U.S., my government would violate my right to property if it tried to stop me (like how you said, StrictlyLogical).

Here is where I split from some of the open-borders philosophers: Anybody is welcome to try to get in to Club U.S., but since my fellow citizens and I own this public nightclub, I have the right to establish a government that acts as a doorman, keeping out foreigners who don't agree to follow our rules.

Example: a thousand old nomads with a culture of sleeping with ten-year-olds walk toward our border...........

Years ago, My fellow citizens and I had established a government and, at our consent, outlawed sex with ten-year-olds........

Is it a violation of Objectivist principles to post a soldier at that border to make sure that every one of those nomads agrees to follow our laws before we let him in? (I'm not using the "argument from intimidation," meaning I'm not implying that if you oppose my view you support child molesting.)

If you agree that verifying immigrants are cool with our club rules isn't a violation of principles, then I submit that any sneaking in the back door is proof the immigrant didn't agree to follow the club rules, and should be bounced.

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A private owner of property has certain rights.  Government owns no property and has no rights, it only protects rights.  Do not think in terms of being one of "the ruled" when discussing a proper Objectivist society. 

 

In terms of a actual private club, as owner of the Club you can keep out whomever you want for whatever reason.  No one has a right to force you to trade with anyone nor let anyone on your property, and in fact it is the government which protects your right to property and to be free from interference.  It would not be rational in the long run for you to implement procedures which pre-judges individuals from that nomadic culture which may be different from your stereotype and who may have large sums of money to spend in your Club (and friends who are the same)

 

As for government, the police and/or the military would be tasked with ensuring criminals do not enter the geography.  I do not believe Objectivism supports statistical preventative justice.  As for an agreement upon entering the geography, I think an agreement to abide by the laws and to submit to local justice, if it is worded exactly the same as that signed by domestics (which is likely a good idea too) would be reasonable, if demanded of everyone upon entering the geography.

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Thanks Nicky that last reply was useful. I am debating this with an American living in Korea (who glorifies that society) Can I now say that anything short of free transit of people as policy would be inflicting in the rights of pre existing citizens to invite friends or collaborators to live with them. Regarding the environment (I've been made fun of this) I'm still not sure in the cases of small isolated islands like Socotora, the Galapagos, etc, which have a very fragile and valuable environment (valuable for the islanders). Those territories (not countries) have indeed closed borders and restrict the entry of tourist to a yearly quota. The Falklands would be an example for the West. A Brit can't simply migrate to the islands except as a tourist (or in the military).

If something has value, in a capitalist society it would be claimed as private property by people who wish to utilize that value. In this case, by a preservation group of some kind which wishes to study, film, keep intact, etc. the wild life.

Since the value isn't economic in nature (unless they choose to allows tourism), the people who value it would have to put their money where their mouth is, and fund such an undertaking.

There's nothing wrong with owning an island. The problem is when governments declare themselves the masters of everything not owned. That's an abuse of the principles of private property.

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