Statism for Freedom
By Bryan Caplan
Libertarians’ odd openness to using immigration restrictions to protect American freedom has me thinking. There are many statist policies that could indirectly lead to more libertarian policy. If you’re open to one, you should logically be open to all.
Here are just a few candidates:
1. Make public schools teach libertarianism. Sure, public education should be abolished. But as long as public education exists, wouldn’t it be better if the schools taught children about the value of freedom and the wonder of markets?
2. Discourage fertility of less libertarian groups. If you really think that Muslims or Hispanics are unusually statist, their high birth rates should worry you. Indeed, any birth rate above zero should worry you. A moderate step would be to offer members of these groups extra subsidies for birth control. From there, it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump to subsidized sterilization, tax penalties, or a selective One Child Policy.
3. Censor statist ideas. Sure, Paul Krugman has a right to free speech. But the rest of us have a right to not be ruled by people swayed by Krugman. It’s childish to deny the trade-off, no?
4. Subsidize vacations for less libertarian groups on election day. Suppose the government gave members of unlibertarian groups free trips to Cancun that conveniently coincided with election day. While some of the eligible would file an absentee ballot, there is little doubt that this would heavily depress turnout. So why not?
My list obviously just scratches the surface. My point, of course, is not to advocate any of these proposals, but to challenge libertarians who advocate immigration restrictions in the name of human freedom. Out of all the conceivable forms of statism for freedom, why oh why are immigration restrictions the exception you’re swiftest to condone?