Bryan Caplan  

A Childish Question About Immigration

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I've often heard opponents of Latin American immigration complain that they're lowering our average IQ. Here's Tommy commenting on Tyler:

What matters in a society, in any society, is a healthy mean IQ. I've noticed a tendency on this blog by some people to assume that if IQ matters at all then it is strictly the presence of a reasonable percentage of high IQ individuals that is important. This is all wrong.

Question: Is this is the real concern, why not just advocate additional "compensatory" immigration from high-IQ countries like China and Korea? That handles the mean-IQ crisis (if any) without ruining the lives of millions of Latin Americans who come here to find a better life.


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COMMENTS (70 to date)
sam writes:

Why would mean IQ be the important measure? I'm not sure I follow that. It seems like there are all kinds of possible distributions of IQ that could be "ideal" depending on what the make-up of the national product was. For instance, perhaps the best ratio would be 10 people with low IQ for every 1 person with high IQ in order to provide support type services. Why would this necessarily be sub-optimal to a situation in which you had 11 people of average intelligence?

Matthew c writes:

I suspect the bottom line is that:

1) The antis don't much care about the welfare of Latino immigrants.

2) They feel that Latino immigrants add to negative social conditions such as single-parent homes and crime.

3) They believe that Latino immigrants will vote for bad policies such as higher taxes on the rich, income redistribution, etc.

4) At some level, the tendency toward tribalistic xenophobia for people who look, speak and act differently is probably a lot higher among the antis.

Heather writes:

My concern is that a large IQ disparity leads to a large income disparity and stratification among social classes. Perhaps allowing low IQ workers into the country NOW does not hurt us, but it tends to exacerbate social problems in the years ahead due to differences in birth rates, mother's age at first birth, crime differences, etc.

As an engineer, I see the shortage of skilled workers in industry and I see a need to allow more immigration of high IQ workers, but I am not convinced that immigration of low IQ workers is of no harm to society. Apart from this, making some "average" IQ mark does not mean the necessary people are available for filling jobs. As has been shown in other postings, average can be manipulated by very high IQs weighting out very low IQs.

Dennis Mangan writes:

The "antis" are not "ruining the lives of millions of Latin Americans". They have their own lives and countries, and those are not the responsibility of the U.S. Why don't you just advocate the wholesale takeover of Latin America by the U.S.? That would improve a lot more lives than just those who manage to sneak in.

Steve Sailer writes:

Did you spend more than 5 seconds thinking about this?

Why not just have more high IQ immigration?

Your idea is like saying when you are trying to hire one person for your company: "I got a great idea -- let's hire a really dumb guy and then we'll hire a really smart guy to balance him off!"

A better question is Why do the IQs of smart economists drop 50 points whenever they turn to the subject of immigration?

Mensarefugee writes:

Why not just let the High IQ ones in? That can only be better than smart and dumb balancing each other out.

And ANY argument for low IQ being okay runs into this question:

What has been the chronic problem of America?
Answer: Blacks

Why?
Answer: Low IQ.

eric writes:

I think the real concern is not that poor foreigners will bring down GDP statistics (which individuals shouldn't care about), but that eventually poor foreigners will co-op the system, expropraite the wealthy (see Armenians in Turkey, Jews in Germany, Chinese in Indonesia, Indian in Uganda, whites in Zimbabwe). They not only took their wealth, but often killed them! Not rational in an economic sense, but such are humans.

Horatio writes:

Reply to Steve's post.

Hire the dumb guy to clean the toilets and the smart guy to fix the network. What's wrong with that?
Your analogy only works if you're hiring them to do the same job, but we're using different immigrants for different roles. The Brahmins perform our surgeries and the Mexicans move my furniture.

Dog of Justice writes:

Hire the dumb guy to clean the toilets and the smart guy to fix the network. What's wrong with that?
Your analogy only works if you're hiring them to do the same job, but we're using different immigrants for different roles. The Brahmins perform our surgeries and the Mexicans move my furniture.

The thing is, robots can, and should, be performing many of these roles.

50 years from now, Mexicans aren't going to be much better at picking fruit than they are today; while an automated solution to picking fruit could improve enormously over 50 years. Automation is one of the key sources of economic growth, why are we artificially discouraging it by giving employers access to cheap labor below its true cost?

That said, automation is also quite good at doing many nominally "high IQ" jobs. So the overall consequences for immigration policy aren't that clear.

(One can imagine a theoretical limit where very few people actually need to work to keep things running. Charles Murray's "$10000 yearly grant" idea may not have much traction now, but it'll look prescient in the future, I think.)

j writes:

Nice answer, Bryan. The idea could be developed ad absurdum and IQ testing instituted as part of the naturalization process. Moreover, low IQ Americans could be encouraged to move to Africa, improving the averages of both.

However, since Sparta vs. Athens, open societies always had the upper hand. Dorian Sparta restricted citizenship to the point that it ended as an insignificant village in Laconia, while Ionian Athens was open from the start to all refugees, which were assigned to a local tribe, and soon it became a powerful metropolis and intellectual center. Rome was founded by outcasts and maintained for a thousand years fully open borders, extending its valuable citizenship to include in the end the whole world. Israel is another country that was founded on the basis of indiscriminate immigration, accepting old, diseased, IQ less etc. people (the only condition is to have some remote connexion to the Jewish people, like a credible Jewish grandmother or unrefutable myth of being former Jews, like Ethiopian Falashas). There was also a window when it was also easy to get into the USA. Mormons are accepting everybody and his dead grandmothers, and the faith is prospering; Masons restricted their membership and their temples are empty.

All in all, I wonder why Latinos deserve all that hate. I formed my image of Anglo - Latino relations watching Giant with James Dean. In the film, both ethnias feel confortable with each other. However there was a violent class conflict among the Anglos, James Dean playing the embittered poor Anglo seeking revenge by finding oil. This picture may not be true today, if ever was. Latino audience enjoyed Anglos speaking down to their servants in funny "Spanish". There was no hate on either side.

Jody writes:

j: Your Israeli example does not prove what you think it does.

Think right of return.

In other words, the Israelis have indeed been very discriminating in terms of immigration - they just chose a particular cultural factor - Jewish heritage - and stuck to it. (something we did prior to 1965)

In this context, the parallel factor to the Israeli one would be above median IQ - which is more or less Steve's position.

Now arguably the Israeli limiting factor is far more critical to their survival than limiting IQ would be to the survival of the US, but there is still the point that Israel is not the open immigration example you seem to think it is.

Chuckles writes:

[Comment deleted for providing false email address. Email us at webmaster@econlib.org to restore this comment.--Econlib Editor]

Jason Malloy writes:

Your model would just create two hostile castes: an Asian overclass and a Hispanic underclass that resents it. In fact this is what we see in Latin America today, but with largely European elites. Two subgroups with extreme low and high IQs is not the same as a bell curve with a fat middle.

An interesting but largely unexplored issue in IQ & the Wealth of Nations is that mean IQ is more important than a fat right tail. India's population suggests it has a lot more people with IQs above 150 than Denmark, but you need that high IQ cluster around the fat middle to make the economy work effectively.

By the way, the social gains of importing high IQ immigrants (and I fully believe there is a gain to this), has to be weighed against the social problems of ethnic heterogeneity - which creates insoluble political dilemmas (especially when those ethnic groups are economically unequal). Society has to be able to adjust and digest, and this is brushed aside to out detriment - 'how many' is indeed an important question, but few important people are eager to ask it.

Jason Malloy writes:

And yes "compensatory immigration" is amusingly absurd, since we can obviously do better than simply compensating: bring in that same high IQ immigration, but without the low IQ immigration. Let's try and maximize our wellbeing, instead of making an awkward Rube Goldberg effort just to stay in the same place.

Matthew c writes:

Let's try and maximize our wellbeing, instead of making an awkward Rube Goldberg effort just to stay in the same place.

The unsaid second sentence of the xenophobes is: "And screw the Latino immigrants who simply want to come and cook our meals, build our homes, clean our offices, watch our children and grow our food". I guess their welfare doesn't count.

Apparently to the xenophobes, people who whose jobs do not involve years of college education are subhumans who deserve to be shoved off the island.

Steve Sailer writes:

Used Car Salesman: "So, Professor Caplan, you should buy this red car."

Prof. Caplan: "Yeah, but this red car is a piece of junk."

Used Car Salesman: "Okay, well ... hey, that blue car over there is in great shape. You could buy both the bad red car and the good blue car and that would be like having one average car."

Prof. Caplan: "Wow, that's terrific thinking. I'll take them! Where do I sign?"

Jason Malloy writes:

Ha, exactly.

Matthew C., you could poison the well by using this forum to call names like you're in jr. highschool, or you could make a counter argument with logic and supporting evidence. I supplied links for this very reason.

I am unimpressed by your comment that I am unconcerned with the welfare of the "Latino immigrant". For one I clearly said I favor high IQ immigration, which can, of course, include Latinos, so your 'xenophobe' epithet is empty trashtalk. It obviously has nothing to do with the definition of the term.

Secondly I reject your assumption that national self-interest is zero-sum. For one, illegal (mostly) Mexican immigration allows Mexico's white elite to lob off its economic problems onto America, freeing it from the burden of amending its corrupt and venal mismanagement of the country. So for one poor Mexican to have a better life in America perhaps two Mexicans in Mexico are worse off. For two, I believe American prosperity serves to promote America's governance and market politics, which I believe are superior in lifting all boats. If a new American demography creates a counter trend in which massive inequality and economic dependency are the natural order, then those great (libertarian) values are threatened domestically by the new economically incapable masses, who will vote for socialist policies in self-interest, and internationally because other countries will believe America's failures are the result of (libertarian) policies instead of low IQ demography. Therefore regions like Latin America will continue on with their backwards and destructive market policies to the detriment of poor Latin Americans. So I believe American economic prosperity will serve more poor Latinos then immigration as charity.

Therefore my policy recommendations are intended in the spirit of both national and world self-interest (though little of this has to do with personal self-interest - high IQ immigrants (who I favor) would be far more likely to "steal my job" than the low IQ immigrants I disfavor).

Jason Malloy writes:

Apparently to the xenophobes, people who whose jobs do not involve years of college education are subhumans

And how dare you suggest I believe any human being is "subhuman". Speak for yourself, don't put your hateful nonsense into my mouth.

Engage me with scientific citations and logical persuasion, and then we'll dance. You can check your emotive rhetoric at the door.

Jason Malloy writes:

. . . I omitted what has to be the most important reason to maintain first world mean IQ in America: scientific productivity. Science and technology are perhaps even more important than government and economic policy. High IQ countries, and America, in particular, lead the way in producing the science and discovery that will improve the lives of people in every nation - especially poor nations. Take a look at what's happening to science and math scores in Texas and California with their shifting demographics. When we lose our scientific productivity, the entire world really will lose too.

Honestly, I'm an optimist about the economic future of America and the world no matter what our immigration policy (in part because I believe that the necessary genetic fixit technologies will come either way), but I'm serious about these concerns. I want America to act wisely (not Iraq Attack) in its own selfish best interest. Perhaps some will interpret this as 'racist' (if Americans are indeed a race), but I believe this will benefit both America and the world. Just as Adam Smith's completely selfish baker actually helps others as well himself.

So no on unchecked immigration as American charity to the 4+ billion people of the 3rd world. This is not the best policy for ourselves or them.

John S Bolton writes:

Balancing high and low-IQ immigrants also doesn't balance because low-IQ populations, shocking as it may sound to some, just happen to be affirmative action-eligible, and this is determined by their ethnicity, by that of their source group.
Every increment in the Latino population size via immigration, in itself increases the size of the quotas for that group, even if not one foreign-born of their group ever took an affirmative action position, which is far from being the actuality.
As always, vicious smears are used in the place where a rational argument was to be expected, as to why we need additional low-literate, low-fluent immigrants, relative to the English language, and in the context of a multitrillion-dollar welfare establishment! The author of the original post is of course not using such a smear approach, unless his intent is to suggest that the only reason that the majority of civilized people here oppose free immigration of undesirables, is racial hatred.
Open societies, the more open to hostiles they become, fail to maintain civilization.

Tino writes:

Sad to read comments above:

Yes, there is a (small, more on this later) gain to be made by having low and high IQ individuals. Comparative advantage and all. But this autistic answer completely ignores the fact that we are discussing people, not Chinese toys. Low IQ people:

1. Low IQ people are on average less productive, and in a liberal democracy require the high IQ people to continuously subsidize them . This is not open for debate, but a simple fact about America (and Europe) today. The cost of low IQ immigration through the political system, not the labor market, is obviously the CORE of the issue.

And the “I am a libertarian and would cut government” answer does not apply. We are discussing the expected effects of immigration, not idealistic utopias. Even today 37% of Hispanics gets some form of welfare.

The cost for immigration is similar to staying in Iraq until the mid 2040s.

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Welfare/sr12.cfm

You don’t trust Heritage? Well, The National Research council 1995 calculated (in present dollars) 140.000$ in discounted net lifetime cost per low skilled immigrant (the overwhelming majority of the illegally). They still assumed, counter to present experience, that the immigrants children would completely converge to native education and income levels in 3 generations. Remember this was before the latest expansion of benefits to the working poor, and before the coming expansion. 30%(!) of all those without health insurance we keep hearing about are Hispanic. It is just a matter of time before the left passes “free” health care, especially with the help of millions of new poor voters.

2. Low IQ people impose huge, perhaps even larger second order effects by voting for bad (for the rest of us) policy. The effect is through both self interests and through having worse cultural political beliefs. I would also guess that the low IQ contributes to the support for bad policy, but have no evidence (and yes, very high IQ people also seem to go for bad policy).

According to the Pew Hispanic survey 35% of whites support expanding government, compared to 60% of Hispanics (almost identical figures for second generation Hispanic).

3. Low IQ empirically people have more social problems, including committing more violent crime. Again this is not what we “feel”, it is a solid empirical fact found by every important study of criminals and welfare receivers. The costs low IQ people impose on everyone else by committing crime against them is huge, and not compensated through the market (duh). Why are you ignoring it?

Hispanics violent crime rate is 3-400% that of the non-Hispanic white.

It also seems many people get disutility from living in a society with large and permanent differences in living standards. Do you think the constant social tension today between african americans and whites is a possitive thing? Arabs and Frenchmen? So why than import a new underclass?

4. I am more than a little tired of the combination of self-satisfaction and intellectual laziness of the pro-immigration economist crow. Have you thought this issue through before using a heuristic and accusing the other side of being “tribalistic” or yahoos?

Let me take just one example of the incredibility low standard of economic immigration clichés. The pro-immigration crowd often claims simultaneously that:

• We gain from exchange with low skill immigrants,

• Low skilled American workers wages have not go down due to immigration

Hmm. Anyone sees anything wrong with these two claims? Isn’t it elementary price theory that the benefits from the gains of exchange of trade go THROUGH lower prices(wages)?!?

The only possible way to claim this would be that immigrant wages are systematically below natives, for the exact same work. How this would be possible in a functioning market no economist has explained to me.

You have to choice which you believe. Both are not simultaneously possible. If immigrants come to the US and work, but not in large enough numbers to drive down wages, 100% of the gains would go to them.

I understand that the average Ted Kennedy supporter is too un/miss -informed to understand this. But aren’t you people supposed to be economists?

The explanation for all of this is of course simple. Bryan Caplans concept fits it well: Rational irrationality. We all rather live in a world where everyone is equally skilled and every groups is equally desirable as neighbors and citizens. Sadly this is not true. But most liberal/libertarians prefer to pay a mental price in order to ignore unpleasant data.

This systematically biased ignorance may be ration. This doesn’t make it less costly for society, or anything to be proud over. The multiplier of signaling to everyone else that you are “nice” and “enlightened” by exaggerating the benefits of multiculturalism and denouncing opposition doesn’t help.

Jason Malloy writes:

I would also guess that the low IQ contributes to the support for bad policy, but have no evidence (and yes, very high IQ people also seem to go for bad policy).

Ha, the evidence you are looking for comes from own Dr. Caplan.

Both Dr. Caplan and Dr. Cowen accept IQ differences (see Dr. Cowen's recent book recommendation). I have a feeling they are slowly being pushed from their immigration irrationalities.

For one, neither of them ever have good counter-arguments to the IQ realists, which, I suspect, is very hard behavior to maintain for men of such high general intellectual caliber.

Tino writes:

Maybe Caplan should ask:

"Fine, on average low IQ Latinos do not benefit America. But if you really believe IQ is so important, why don’t we see the right demanding more high IQ immigrants from China? This indicates you are just using the low average IQ of Hispanics as an excuse to keep out people that don’t look like you”

The simplest answer to that question would be: The Murray crowd would be delighted to take more high IQ immigrants. I think few Americans would oppose immigration of people that:

Contribute to the living standard of the rest,
Want to and are able to assimilate,
Want to maintain the ethos of the US
Will guarantee not to commit crimes, terrorism, espionage etc.

But how in god’s name can you target such people in today’s climate? Can you imagine what would happen if a politician suggested IQ testing in today’s climate?

Matthew:

You write "I guess their welfare doesn't count”
If the illegal’s only wanted to “cook our meals, build our homes, clean our offices, watch our children and grow our food” there would be no problem. They would simply agree to a deal where they abstain or pay for tax funded services, and pay enough taxes to make both sides gain from immigration.

I have never, never, heard any immigration spokesperson suggest anything remotely like this, or any deal whatsoever that focuses on mutual gain, rather than taking as much as possible from the Americans.

There is no end to the entitlement mentality. The people that came here illegally, supposedly to “help the US economy”, are angry that they have to pay a miniscule fine to stay in America! They demand altruism from everyone else, but name their largest organization “The race”. They create enormous long term costs on the host population that is welcoming them by refusing to assimilate, and proudly trying to make Spanish the main language of parts of the US. In their “protests” they carry Mexican flags.
Have you heard about reciprocity? Google it.

James S. writes:

Tino, you wrote:

I think few Americans would oppose immigration of people that:

Contribute to the living standard of the rest,
Want to and are able to assimilate,
Want to maintain the ethos of the US
Will guarantee not to commit crimes, terrorism, espionage etc.
And what if tomorrow we found 100 billion martians on Mars, all with high IQ, we're talking 200+, but who were all poor and dirty from having to live crowded underground, in shadows (far away from our telescopes). Yet they met all your criteria and were all eager to become "Americans", what with all our freedoms and liquid water. We could really improve America by taking in 1 billion of them couldn't we?

Do you think Matthew C. would shout "xenophobe" at anyone who opposed such a peaceful migration?

Insolent Citizen writes:

Matthew c writes:
I suspect the bottom line is that:

1) The antis don't much care about the welfare of Latino immigrants.

Maybe they prefer the welfare of American citizens to that of non-citizens from other countries. And don't assume that supporters of mass immigration and amnesty care about the welfare of the helot class they want to import. Agribusiness is not exactly full of bleeding hearts.

2) They feel that Latino immigrants add to negative social conditions such as single-parent homes and crime.

They don't "feel" this. They argue this based upon empirical evidence.

3) They believe that Latino immigrants will vote for bad policies such as higher taxes on the rich, income redistribution, etc.

And that's exactly what they appear to do.

4) At some level, the tendency toward tribalistic xenophobia for people who look, speak and act differently is probably a lot higher among the antis.

Ah yes, the ol' "hate" card. Let me ask you: in your neighborhood, roughly what percentage of people are of your race? How many Mexican laborers live on your street? Just like the liberals who wanted to bus other people's kids to integrated schools while sending their own kids to private schools, supporters of mass immigration tend to be people who think that they are paragons of enlightenment for patronizing ethnic restaurants and tipping the docile little brown-skinned lawn boy. Meanwhile, working class whites have to do the dirty work to make sure the wogs don't get too out of line. Welcome to the Raj.

Oh, and things like "National Council of La Raza" surely don't indicate any sort of tribalism on the part of immigrants.

Matthew c writes:

Maybe they prefer the welfare of American citizens to that of non-citizens from other countries.

There is a name for that. It is called tribalism, and we can see that ultimate fruits of that kind of belief system in full flower in Iraq.



They don't "feel" this. They argue this based upon empirical evidence. . .

And that's exactly what they appear to do.

According to these arguments, we should have kept out the irish and italians 100 years ago. . .

Ah yes, the ol' "hate" card.

You just admitted this in your answer to (1) above.

Let me ask you: in your neighborhood, roughly what percentage of people are of your race?

100%. Everyone on my street is a member of the human race. And that is how I see people, not as members of "my" subgroup or some other subgroup.


How many Mexican laborers live on your street?

There are 8 families on my street. Three of them are black, five are white. No mexican laborers, although there are many living relatively nearby.

Just like the liberals who wanted to bus other people's kids to integrated schools while sending their own kids to private schools,

tipping the docile little brown-skinned lawn boy.

I can't afford any "lawn boys". But I do not hate and fear them, and wish to deprive them of their means of making a living.



Oh, and things like "National Council of La Raza" surely don't indicate any sort of tribalism on the part of immigrants.

Yes, plenty of ugly tribalism on every side. But that doesn't excuse the tribalism from the people with my skin color who want to deprive honest and hardworking people of the chance to make it in a free society because they don't happen to have a high-IQ.

Matthew c writes:

And how dare you suggest I believe any human being is "subhuman". Speak for yourself, don't put your hateful nonsense into my mouth.

Apparently not human enough to deserve the chance to work in a free society and get ahead. As you state quite freely here:

For one, illegal (mostly) Mexican immigration allows Mexico's white elite to lob off its economic problems onto America, freeing it from the burden of amending its corrupt and venal mismanagement of the country.

In other words, to you the impoverished potential illegal immigrant is a pawn in a political game to be kept at home in hopes that, somehow, magically, having even more grinding poverty in the shantytowns of Mexico City will result in better economic policies for the Mexican government.

You don't give a rat's ass about the individual worker and his or her family which are (very obviously) made better off by access to the American labor market.

You also seem to utterly ignore the facts on the ground, which is that mexican immigrants are the ones who (in large part) are paving our roads, building our homes and offices, planting and picking our crops, cleaning our offices, and serving our food in restaurants. I suppose to your crowd all these things will be done by robots by next Tuesday. . .

Matthew c writes:

You write "I guess their welfare doesn't count”
If the illegal’s only wanted to “cook our meals, build our homes, clean our offices, watch our children and grow our food” there would be no problem. They would simply agree to a deal where they abstain or pay for tax funded services, and pay enough taxes to make both sides gain from immigration.

I have never, never, heard any immigration spokesperson suggest anything remotely like this, or any deal whatsoever that focuses on mutual gain, rather than taking as much as possible from the Americans.

Then you haven't been listening to any pro-immigration libertarians, who all suggest things like this. You are absolutely right that we do not need any new welfare recipients, and that immigrants should not be eligible for public assistance.

Otto Kerner writes:

Horatio writes: "Hire the dumb guy to clean the toilets and the smart guy to fix the network. What's wrong with that?
Your analogy only works if you're hiring them to do the same job, but we're using different immigrants for different roles. The Brahmins perform our surgeries and the Mexicans move my furniture."

But, in this case, in addition to their paid labor, we are "hiring" both parties to be our neighbors and fellow citizens, and to be the progenitors of the future neighbors and fellow citizens of our descendents.

Personally, I treat immigration as a human rights issue, so I don't really care what the IQ of the people coming in is.

Mitchell Young writes:

It has to be stated over, and over, and over again. The aggregate net gain to natives of a country from immigration is so small as to be vanishing. The NSF report 'The New Americans' found a gain to the native born of $1 to $10 billion, out of a 4 trillion dollar economy, thus at most one quarter of one percent of the economy. Or looked at another way, assuming about 60 million native-headed households at the time of the study, the average household gained $166 per year.

Now, how many Americans do you think would be willing to pay $166 to avoid the increased traffic, the stress on public services, environmental damage, and frankly the total makeover of many communities into neighborhoods that are unfamiliar and alien?

The last point might seem to some to be 'irrational' (xenophobic, racist etc), but there are two rejoinders.

1)the majority of immigrants themselves want to live in familiar surroundings, where they see others like themselves, that speak their language, etc. Are they then 'irrational' , or is this simply a natural human desire.

2) Prof. Caplan is cleverly or unconsciously elliding the meaning of 'rational'. In rational choice economics, which I take it Caplan and other supposed libertarians are following here, rationality can *never* be applied to ends, or preferences. Preferences are simply beyond discussion. Person A is no more irrational for wanting to live in a relatively homogeneous community than Person B is for wanting to live in a 'cosmopolitan' neighborhood.

Mitchell Young writes:

Then you haven't been listening to any pro-immigration libertarians, who all suggest things like this. You are absolutely right that we do not need any new welfare recipients, and that immigrants should not be eligible for public assistance.

The problem with libertarians is that they ignore the real 'facts on the ground', which is that we do live in a state, that groups do compete for control of the state, and no amount of wishing it weren't so will change that. Moreover, the demographic changes induced by immigration, things will get worse for libertarians as a practical matter (as opposed to as some Platonic ideal). That day laborer that you see as some sort of embodiment of free enterprise is going to have a kid (or 3-4) and they will put into power people who will vote for wealth transfer, minimum wage hikes, and the like. We are already seeing this is Cali. Does the phrase 'hoist by their own petard' mean anything?

As for the 'next Tuesday' comment by Matthew C. Now, it took us about 25 years to get into this mess. It will take a while to get us out. But it will happen one way or the other.

dobeln writes:

"Apparently to the xenophobes, people who whose jobs do not involve years of college education are subhumans who deserve to be shoved off the island."

Kindly hand out all of your private resources to south americans before starting to advocate handing over all communal resources to south americans. It just looks better that way. Thank you.

dobeln writes:

"There is a name for that. It is called tribalism, and we can see that ultimate fruits of that kind of belief system in full flower in Iraq."

Well, I see Iraq more as a case of squeezing too many tribes into one political entity. (Insert quip about immigration to the US) It's not as if immigration makes tribalism go away - on the contrary, it makes tribal conflict much more likely.

Still, claiming that Iraq is the rule for all forms of tribal nationalism is absurd. There are large numbers of perfectly peaceful people with relatively tribal identities around the world. And those tribal identities in turn enable coordination and cooperation on a scale that just wouldn't be possible in a completely atomistic world.

dobeln writes:

"Then you haven't been listening to any pro-immigration libertarians"

That's what? A whole percentage point of the electorate or so? And a tenth of a percentage of the Mexican immigrant electorate?

j writes:

Jody, you are unfamiliar with Israel's immigration.
You people seem to assume that ethnic composition of a population is irreversible, fixed, forever. It is not. Brasil was 90% black a century ago, today is mostly European. People in Cuba looks different from the times of Fulgencio Batista - they are blacker. Two thirds of Iran is peopled by Turks, Persians are getting scarcier. You cannot find a Greek in Classical Greece (Ionia). Peoples come and go, have many children or none.

Mitchell Young writes:

J,

First, I think some of your facts are wrong -- I've been to Corfu (just north of the ionians) and seen women with sandy blond hair and ringlet curls who could have stepped right off a classical vase. I don't think Brazil was ever 90% black.

Second, it is no doubt that populations get replaced, but why should they acquiesce in that replacement? Plenty don't -- the Japanese certainly are keeping Japan the way it has been for a thousand years.

Third, there is a plausible case to be made the immigration surpresses fertility among the natives. It costs a lot of money to buy a proper suburban house in Southern California, in a descent neighborhood, because rents have been driven up by population growth. Now, most native-born Americans want that house, in a descent neighborhood, before they bring a kid into the world. So they have to put family-formation (Sailer's term) off, or move to another state. That has to be having some impact on fertility overall. After all, look at when we had a huge jump in fertility, the 20 year 'baby boom' , a time of very low immigration!

Horatio writes:

Otto writes
"But, in this case, in addition to their paid labor, we are "hiring" both parties to be our neighbors and fellow citizens, and to be the progenitors of the future neighbors and fellow citizens of our descendents."

From those roles, I am only "hiring" them to be future citizens and produce the fellow citizens of my descendants. However, I can see how the other roles they play will matter to the average American.

Mitchell Young writes:

I am only "hiring" them to be future citizens and produce the fellow citizens of my descendants

Actually, a business owner is not 'hiring' them to produce 'fellow citizens' , and he certainly isn't paying for said production. If a business owner employing immigrants would pay the entire cost of the educating the employees children, the entire cost of the extra transport to get them to and from work, and so on, then we could begin to speak of hiring 'to produce fellow citizens.' Clearly as things stand now, all those costs -- education, transportation, healthcare and on and on -- are externalized to society as a whole.

Jason Malloy writes:

Apparently not human enough to deserve the chance to work in a free society and get ahead.

This is a total non sequitur that could be used to support any - and I mean any - possible position.

1. "Do you support school vouchers?"

"No"

"You monster! You believe disadvantaged children aren't human enough to deserve their choice in education."

2. "Do you support school vouchers?"

"Yes"

"You monster! You believe disadvantaged children aren't human enough to deserve functional public schooling."

Believe it or not people can disagree with you about political positions without believing some segment of the human race should suffer or die like dogs. I provided reasons that I think open immigration would actually hurt the 3rd world instead of help it, but you didn't respond to those points, again feeling content with personal attack in lieu of logical argumentation.

It's great you feel passionately about the Human Right to live and reproduce and defecate anywhere you damn well please, M.C., but we live in a world of nation states and property rights, precisely because these laws minimize human conflict and suffering. I don't have "a right" to go into your house to sleep on your couch and eat your food; I don't have "a right" to move to Sweden, mooch a free college education off of their public dime and come back to America to work (while, of course, taking free medicine from Canada's health care system); I don't have "a right" to move to Israel and vote in their democratic process for the PLO; nor do I have "a right" to move to Germany and vote in their democratic German elections that German wealth be redistributed to the people of America as 'reparations' for the mental damage (I'd assert) they caused us in WWII.

Property rights are not a crime against humanity - quite the opposite. Similarly, the nation state is not a crime against humanity - quite the opposite. The right to self-determination allows a people with shared political and cultural ideas to determine and manage themselves and their destiny according to their collective hopes and values. The Swedish want to help the Swedish with their generous welfare state, not me. If everyone in the world was eligible for free Swedish largesse, there would be no more Swedish largesse. (there isn't enough) So instead of some people getting the help that Swedish people believe is a human right, nobody would get that help. Similarly, Israel is a state designed to serve Jewish interests, not mine. If everyone in the world was eligible to immigrate to and/or vote in Israel, 50 million Arabs would move there and vote that the Jews leave and give the Arabs their wealth. So nation states protect the collective interests of a people from the conflicting interests of other peoples (territory being a prime example, but also style of government/economy and wealth/property redistribution). Of course, people within nation states have conflicting interests as well, but mostly not as different or intense. The nation state simply reduces (e.g. religious, ethnic) conflict to manageable chunks.

It is not "a right" for Mexicans to come to America and take American welfare and charity, and vote for Mexican political and economic interests in America's democratic process. Nor is it "a right" for Americans, like myself, to freely go to Mexico and help myself to their public resources and vote for policies contrary to Mexican interests in Mexican elections (e.g. 'give free oil to the United States'). So there is no double standard: if they are subhuman from these rules, then I am as well.

Jody writes:

Jody, you are unfamiliar with Israel's immigration.

And you missed my point. I'm saying that while Israel is not restricting immigration in terms of ethnicity, they are restricting in terms of **religion**. Jews from all over the world are welcome to immigrate to Israel. Others, not so much.

In other words, Israel picked a factor (religion)to discriminate on who gets to immigrate to Israel.

This is a direct parallel to Steve's suggestion that the US discriminate based on a single factor (IQ) while otherwise ignoring ethnicity.

Thus, contra your use, the example of Israel lends support to Steve's position.

Jason Malloy writes:

In other words, to you the impoverished potential illegal immigrant is a pawn in a political game to be kept at home in hopes that, somehow, magically, having even more grinding poverty in the shantytowns of Mexico City will result in better economic policies for the Mexican government

This is a very poor comprehension of what I said. No one is 'a pawn'. Simply put, the invisible victims of open immigration are the Mexicans who suffer from Mexico's lost incentive to face its political failures. Much like the invisible victims of minimum wage hikes are all the people who simply aren't offered future work.

You don't give a rat's ass about the individual worker and his or her family which are (very obviously) made better off by access to the American labor market.

*Yawn* No, you don't give a rat's ass about the individual Mexican who has to live in poverty, because a valuable voter skipped the border. Matthew, why do you hate angels, cute puppies, and baby Jesus?

Or instead of hyperventilating about how eeeeevvviilllll we think each other are, we could actually have a discussion.


You also seem to utterly ignore the facts on the ground, which is that Mexican immigrants are the ones who (in large part) are paving our roads, building our homes and offices, planting and picking our crops, cleaning our offices, and serving our food in restaurants. I suppose to your crowd all these things will be done by robots by next Tuesday. . .

And who does these things in Japan right now? I suppose Japan is famous for its dirty offices and road shortages? No. By the way, most of the schools and roads and hospitals that need to be built are because of the rapid population stresses of illegal immigration.

More importantly, the high mean IQ of the nation is worth far more to our long-term economic and national well-being, than the possible miniscule national economic advantage we are getting right now from illegal immigration, though we probably aren't even getting that:

"Based on research by the National Academy of Sciences, the lifetime net fiscal drain (taxes paid minus services used) on public coffers created by the average adult Mexican immigrant is estimated to be more than $55,000. While employers may want increased access to unskilled Mexican labor, this cheap labor comes with a very high cost."

Not to mention the priceless human cost. I don't know how much the life of Waitress director Adrienne Shelly was worth, but I sure wouldn't have traded it for a cheaper head of lettuce.

Jason Malloy writes:

[I'm sorry. I'm reposting because all the html was stripped from my last comment. I'm not sure why.]

In other words, to you the impoverished potential illegal immigrant is a pawn in a political game to be kept at home in hopes that, somehow, magically, having even more grinding poverty in the shantytowns of Mexico City will result in better economic policies for the Mexican government

This is a very poor comprehension of what I said. No one is 'a pawn'. Simply put, the invisible victims of open immigration are the Mexicans who suffer from Mexico's lost incentive to face its political failures. Much like the invisible victims of minimum wage hikes are all the people who simply aren't offered future work.

You don't give a rat's ass about the individual worker and his or her family which are (very obviously) made better off by access to the American labor market.

*Yawn* No, you don't give a rat's ass about the individual Mexican who has to live in poverty, because a valuable voter skipped the border. Matthew, why do you hate angels, cute puppies, and baby Jesus?

Or instead of hyperventilating about how eeeeevvviilllll we think each other are, we could actually have a discussion.

You also seem to utterly ignore the facts on the ground, which is that Mexican immigrants are the ones who (in large part) are paving our roads, building our homes and offices, planting and picking our crops, cleaning our offices, and serving our food in restaurants. I suppose to your crowd all these things will be done by robots by next Tuesday. . .

And who does these things in Japan right now? I suppose Japan is famous for its dirty offices and road shortages? No. By the way, most of the schools and roads and hospitals that need to be built are because of the rapid population stresses of illegal immigration.

More importantly, the high mean IQ of the nation is worth far more to our long-term economic and national well-being, than the possible miniscule national economic advantage we are getting right now from illegal immigration, though we probably aren't even getting that:

"Based on research by the National Academy of Sciences, the lifetime net fiscal drain (taxes paid minus services used) on public coffers created by the average adult Mexican immigrant is estimated to be more than $55,000. While employers may want increased access to unskilled Mexican labor, this cheap labor comes with a very high cost."

Not to mention the priceless human cost. I don't know how much the life of Waitress director Adrienne Shelly was worth, but I sure wouldn't have traded it for a cheaper head of lettuce.

Tino writes:

"Two thirds of Iran is peopled by Turks"

Seriously, where do you people get this nonsense from? Original Turks are Asiatic. If “two thirds” of Iran was Turkish Iranians would look like this
http://www.spyoftheheart.com/spy_images/image032.jpg

Not like this

http://www.iran-interlink.org/images/ebrahim%20tehran.JPG

Even Turkey is not 2/3 Turkish, genetically! (estimates are 30%).

Iranians are obviously a various mix of, Persians, Arabs, other Semetic and Iranian people, Elamites, Turks, Mongols, Armenians etc. But equally obviously the main influence is NOT East Asian, as anyone with two eyes and a little sense can see. Linguistically about 25% are Turk, but the Azeri aren’t genetically mostly Turkish either. The Turkmen and some of the south westerns tribesmen are the only significant majority Turkish people in Iran, and they are a small minority.

By the way, to the extent Iran is Turkish this came about through violent, sometimes genocidal invasion waves. Is that something that you really want to emphasize?

PS.

“According to these arguments, we should have kept out the irish and italians 100 years ago. . .”

No. Italians and Irish had high average IQ (also they arrived to a society with no welfare state, and no ideology of multiculturalism that operated against assimilation). It took a few generations, but they converged to American average income.
Hispanics have IQ almost a standard deviation below the Italian/Irish average. They are therefore not likely to EVER reach the average white/Asian level of accomplishment. This is the whole point of the debate.But tThank you for demonstrating you don’t even understand Caplans premise.

Steve Burton writes:

In 2002, the Pew Hispanic Center surveyed the beliefs and attitudes of Hispanic Americans on various subjects:

2002 National Survey of Latinos.

Herewith some highlights:

Preferred or Volunteered Racial Categories:

With the exception of Cubans, those surveyed - especially younger people - overwhelmingly identify as "Hispanic" rather than "white."

Discrimination:

By absolutely gigantic margins, those surveyed believe that they are discriminated against in the workplace and at school. Strangely enough, the better their English, the more certain they are that they have been mistreated.

Views on Some Social Issues:

Those surveyed are much more anti-gay and anti-abortion than American whites - quite close to American blacks on both issues, in fact. 72% believe that sex between two adults of the same sex is unacceptable, and 63% believe that abortion should be illegal in most or all cases.

Bigger vs. Smaller Government:

Those surveyed overwhelmingly prefer "higher taxes to support a larger government that provides more services" - by contrast to American whites, who, by an equally overwhelming margin, prefer "lower taxes and...a smaller government that provides fewer services."

Interestingly, American blacks are much closer to American whites on this issue than they are to Hispanics. A substantial majority of American blacks also prefer "lower taxes and...a smaller government that provides fewer services."

No kidding. Check it out.

In short: Hispanics are the most extreme and consistent anti-libertarian constituency in American politics today. Ideological libertarians who welcome the expected doubling of the percentage of the Hispanic population under current policies are signing their own political death-warrant. They have allowed ideology to draw them into madness, and to tempt them toward the flood, or to the dreadful summit of the cliff, that beetles o'er his base into the sea.

Conservatives who believe that Hispanics are "natural Republicans" because they disapprove of homosexuals and abortion should take note of the fact that American blacks disapprove of homosexuals and abortion by very similar margins.

Steve Burton writes:

tino makes a crucial point: "Italians and Irish...arrived [in] a society with no welfare state, and no ideology of multiculturalism that operated against assimilation..."

Those who support open borders like to point out that, in the past, the U.S. has successfully assimilated all sorts of ethnically distinct immigrants.

But the great waves of American immigration in the 19th and early 20th centuries swept ashore in a relatively harsh, sink-or-swim society where one had little choice but to fit in, and to make one's own way.

The Latin American immigrants of today, on the other hand, show up in an advanced welfare state which positively *encourages* them to maintain and to exploit their separate ethnic identity for political and economic advantage.

That's a whole different ballgame.

Mensarefugee writes:
I provided reasons that I think open immigration would actually hurt the 3rd world instead of help it, but you didn't respond to those points, again feeling content with personal attack in lieu of logical argumentation. - Jason Mallory

When there is no logic (at least Bryan had a logic, but your opponent didnt get it), people still consider their opinions every bit as valid.

Frankly, personally, I dont buy the Property rents going up as a valid reason. Ethnic heterogenity is slightly valid. Low IQ and anti-libertarianism coupled with over average fecundity among the illegals is a reason to fight to keep more out.

Insolent Citizen writes:

Thanks for unmasking yourself, Matthew C. In your efforts to "prove" that anyone who opposes massive, unskilled immigration is racist, you have revealed yourself as someone who regards citizenship as meaningless. You believe the U.S. Government has no particular obligation to its own citizens. In fact, you obviously regard the very idea of having a country as downright absurd, a vestige of our primitive past. You are a Citizen of the World.

So hey, let's let Argentinians vote in our elections. After all, depriving anyone in the world of the right to elect U.S. leaders would be irrational, since we would obviously be preferring citizens to non-citizens. No point in having customs stations, or visas, or borders at all. Such things are clearly prejudicial against non-citizens. Moving between Mexico and the U.S. should be no different than moving between Poughkeepsie and Peoria. And Uighurs can claim Medicare. No? What?! How dare you suggest that this old crippled yak herder be deprived of his right to free medical care in his old age just because he is not a U.S. citizen? And if a bunch of Wahabbis from the Najd want to colonize a Midwestern town and impose sharia law, we have no business telling them no, because we can't prohibit them coming into the country, and we can't prefer the wishes of U.S. citizens to not be decapitated for blaspheming the Prophet, because that would involve making hateful preferential claims to the right of free speech under the tribal U.S. constitution.

And if you are ever in a jam in a foreign country, I am sure you will not do anything so unelightened as to call upon your fellow United States tribesmen to come to your aid. That would be so gauche.

And.......end sarcasm. Seriously, did you have to go to grad school to learn this crap, or did you come up with it on your own?

And for all of you who think Matthew C is a rigorously rational-minded fellow, on his blog he praises a man for making the following statement: "...the evidence for catastrophic global warming in the near future is far, far less compelling than the evidence for telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, psychokinesis, and even life after death."

Mensarefugee writes:

Damn Insolent...
Nice post, but Im with Matthew C on that psychic and global warming thing :/

j writes:

Seriously, where do you people get this nonsense from? Original Turks are Asiatic.

Yes, Tino, they are. Iran is in Asia, so Iranian Turks (aka Azeris) are doubly Asiatic. Like everybody else, they are a mixed population and they look it. Pls put aside temporarily your arrogant pedantry, and agree with me that the Persian ethnia in Iran is, numerically, weakening. Population has changed and keeps changing. My point is philosophical: change is universal and withing the limits of time, eternal.

Jason writes:

Wow, I've never seen such a lively discussion on this site before(I haven't been coming here that long though).

I don't have any statistical evidence to site, but I think that measured IQ and productivity are poorly correlated. Many successful businesspeople are not of above average intelligence, they just have above average drive. If there is one thing that Mexican immigrants are above average in it is drive.

This discussion has been dominated by people that put the state on a higher level than the individual. As Sheldon Richman says, the issue is migration not immigration, and also, it's natural not national rights.

I would love to see this country get back to its early days where restricting entry was recognized as impossible (it still is). People came from all over the world to live and work without restriction. Citizenship was something you chose voluntarily. One of the big reasons that Mexican immigrants take low wage jobs when they come here is that those are the only jobs available "under the radar". Back before the US required people to have their "papers" we had immigrants living and working here in all kinds of different jobs.

No individual has the right to prevent a free exchange of goods and services between two other individuals. No individual has the right to do the same by proxy through government. Trying to use the government to "engineer" society through quotas of immigrants with particular IQs is especially repulsive to me.

Mitchell Young writes:

Lord save us from reality-challenged libertarians.

Matthew c writes:

And for all of you who think Matthew C is a rigorously rational-minded fellow, on his blog he praises a man for making the following statement: "...the evidence for catastrophic global warming in the near future is far, far less compelling than the evidence for telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, psychokinesis, and even life after death."

Apparently you are one of the great many who believe that "rationality" consists of subscribing to a particular set of dogmas about the nature of the universe, without bothering to see whether those dogmas fit the observations.

Have you investigated any of the evidence for these phenomena (no, reading only the CSICOP et. al. literature does not count as investigation)?

What do you call someone who spouts off an opinion on a controversial topic without doing any kind of investigation?

In any event, on the topic of immigration I must plead guilty to the charge of upholding the rights of individuals over the rights of the "nation state". I agree with those who see immigration as another form of migration, and the right of migration as a fundamental human right.

As for those who claim to be libertarians, but who justify an anti-libertarian position on economic migration on a "the ends justify the means" basis, I can only ask what exactly have "tactical" anti-libertarian deeds in the name of liberty accomplished for us over the past hundred and fifty years in this country? At some point you simply have to stand up for what is right and true.

Wild Pegasus writes:

To those of you who would use violence to keep out peaceful but not-intelligent-enough-for-you immigrants, would you be just as willing to use violence to keep high-IQ citizens from emigrating?

- Josh

Jason writes:

Matthew C. Hear Hear!
Anyone who thinks that coming up with some particular set of laws do deal with immigration is less "pie in the sky" than the libertarian ideal of no immigration laws is sadly mistaken. As Harry Browne used to say, your first mistake is thinking that government will actually enact the policies you want. Every good idea will get shredded when it goes through the political process.

Free trade and free migration are only good in theory? Sheldon Richman has a great article on the subject. http://www.fee.org/in_brief/default.asp?id=1159

8 writes:

Disney uses violence to keep you out of their parks, but they cannot use violence to keep you there. See the difference?

With no due respect, the Libertarian position (I'm registered but I reject open borders as a practical matter) on immigration is eerily similar to the Bush position on Iraq. All the evidence and arguments against it are brushed aside in favor of stubbornly adhering to a rigid ideological position. Limited government and property rights are subordinate to unrestricted migration, the #1 issue. Only an immigration policy that supports my main goal, maximizing liberty, is the rational position.

Tino writes:

1.“ Iran is in Asia, so Iranian Turks (aka Azeris) are doubly Asiatic.”

Ah, autism when logic fail! I wrote, clearly as anyone can see:

“But equally obviously the main influence [genetic influence of Iranians] is NOT East Asian”

Well? Are Azeris “double” East Asian, in that they are neither genetically East Asian, not geographically?

I am really curious to know if you have ever seen Azeris, when you make the absurd claim that they are genetically Turkish. Which means that they should look East Asians, such as Mongols. More Chinese than Arab, to simplify.

Here is a list of prominent Iranian Azeris, from Wikipedia, with pictures.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Grand_Ayatollah_Ali_Khamenei%2C.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Khatami.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Ali-Daei.JPG

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41954000/jpg/_41954068_energy_minister203.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Rahim_yahya_safavi.jpg

http://www.holycrime.com/Images/Criminals/AliAkbarMeshkiniCb.jpg

Contrast this with how Turkish invaders originally looked

http://img2.travelblog.org/Photos/1449/9426/f/37542-Happy-Mongolia-0.jpg

Do you get it now?

Next part. No, even linguistically Turks are no where near “two thirds” of Iran. They are one fourth. And lastly I do NOT agree that “the Persian ethnic in Iran is, numerically, weakening.” The ethnic changes that you are referring to happened hundreds of years ago, through foreign invasion. Iran‘s ethnic mix has not changed at all for decades. Population growth rate has not been different for Persians, Iranians kurds (like me), Azeris, Baluchi, Lor etc. The fact that you learned about it recently does not prove the phenomenon is new.

If anything the Persian ethnic is strengthening, through cultural and linguistic assimilation of minorities to the Persian norm in large Iranian cities.

This is not “arrogant pedantry”. It is explaining the facts to you, when you are making absurd claims (that do not have much to do with the topic at hand, but do indicate the level of argument of the pro-immigration crowd).

2. “I don't have any statistical evidence to site, but I think that measured IQ and productivity are poorly correlated.”

The simple correlation coefficient between per capita GDP (productivity) and IQ is 0.73

http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/sft.htm

It is an open question how much goes IQ-income, rather than income-IQ. But the fact that historic IQ figures PREDICT income certainly indicate the former exists and matters (as does the stability of relative national IQ, even with the Flynn effect, the fact that oil rich countries that saw rappid increase in income did not experience rapid increase in IQ etc.).

Within the US the correlation between IQ and Income is 0.4. IQ is the single strongest external variable in explaining income. The measured correlation between IQ and ability to perform specifically tasks often is above 0.5. Given the fact that both IQ and Income data are imperfect (compare permanent and temporary Income) the correlation is remarkable.

“If there is one thing that Mexican immigrants are above average in it is drive.”

Fine. So why are they earning less than half (44%) of the native American income?

http://www.census.gov/population/cen2000/stp-159/STP-159-Mexico.pdf

http://www.census.gov/population/cen2000/stp-159/native.pdf

Why are 37% of “driven” and “productive” Hispanic households using some form of public welfare?

“One of the big reasons that Mexican immigrants take low wage jobs when they come here is that those are the only jobs available "under the radar”

Really? Than we should really expect second and third generation Hispanics, who are citizens, to do very well financially.
The Bureauof Labour statistics seems to be run by racists.

http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2006/09/art2full.pdf

They claim that 31% of second generation Hispanics, and 29% of third or higher generation Hispanics work as Professional, Managers, businessmen or in financial, compared to 57% of natives.

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/forbrn.pdf

The median income of second and third or higher generation Hispanics is only 30.000 dollars per year, far below the native average. How very odd.

3.
“To those of you who would use violence to keep out peaceful but not-intelligent-enough-for-you immigrants, would you be just as willing to use violence to keep high-IQ citizens from emigrating?”

No. Not want to give some poor strangers partial property right over your home (and accepting the obligation to and help feed them) is not the same as beating your wife if she wants to leave the house.

Can you honestly not see the distinction?
America is the common property of American citizens, just as a corporation, a club or a house can be owned by several people. Individual stockowners/club members/family members have the right to do whatever they want with their purely private property, and with their human capital. They DO NOT have the right to give away part of the common property to outsiders.
It is as simple as that. The fact that libertarians cannot understand simple economic and refuse to respect property rights of citizens disgraceful.

The distinction is not between right of the American state and Mexican individuals. It is between the rights of the individual Americans that want to maintain the right to decide over their own fairly libertarian club (The United States), and the “right” of Mexicans to illegally barge in, even though they do not contribute to the welfare of the owners.

Horatio writes:

"America is the common property of American citizens, just as a corporation, a club or a house can be owned by several people. Individual stockowners/club members/family members have the right to do whatever they want with their purely private property, and with their human capital. They DO NOT have the right to give away part of the common property to outsiders.
It is as simple as that. The fact that libertarians cannot understand simple economic and refuse to respect property rights of citizens disgraceful."

So I should be allowed to do what I want with my property. If I own a home, I have the right to rent it to a Mexican. I can hire anyone I want to mow my lawn or build my house. Citizenship and government maldistribution programs are where you draw the line.

Where do you draw the line for common property? Surely, the citizens of San Francisco should not have as much right to main street in my town as I do. If the citizens of my town decide they want cheaper labor, we have the right to let them in.

Mr. Econotarian writes:

If you look at anti-immigration writings from the 1920's, 1910's, 1900's, even back to the 1840's, you will see the exact same arguments that are being made today. And they were not true then, nor now. Check out the digital copies of anti-immigration books and pamphlets at the URL:

http://www.digitalbookindex.com/_search/search010hstusimmigbacklasha.asp

Gains from immigrants are not made from them driving down wages, they are made through specialization allowing both immigrants and natives to specialize in what they are both most efficient at doing. This is Ricardo's Comparative Advantage. And it held for my low-skill, non-English speaking immigrant ancestors and it holds for today's immigrants. They create new jobs.

As to the "keeping Mexico from liberalizing its economy," if we allow in immigrants, how is Cuba coming? Meanwhile I seem to remember East Germany reforming very rapidly after emmigration from the country became possible.

Moreover, wouldn't you say that Mexico's economic freedom has improved slightly over the last 20 years?

morganja writes:

Wow. How humiliating for this site. The opinions, poorly disquised as analysis on this thread, reveal the main problem with liberterian thought today. Far too often, persons claiming to be for freedom and liberty, are simply racist reactionaries co-opting the movement because they think that the end result supports their desired end results. There is no consistency of theory or logic.

Tino writes:

1. “There is no consistency of theory or logic.”

Did you have any actual arguments, besides calling us “racist reactionaries”? No? Then don’t expect anyone to take you or your comments seriously. Come back when you have something to contribute, except your hysterical emotions.
“Citizenship and government maldistribution programs are where you draw the line.

2. "Where do you draw the line for common property? Surely, the citizens of San Francisco should not have as much right to main street in my town as I do”

In fact I completely agree with you. If the deal was allowing cities, even individuals, to allowe in foreigners to their city, and somehow limit the transfer of rights from everyone other American I would have no problem.

But this is not what we are discussing. This bill will give immigrants the right to vote in state and national elections, which is transferring the property of other people. Laws today automatically entitle immigrants and their kin to massive redistribution.

Interestingly the immigrants and their supporters have never, and will never, suggest to a deal that limits their “right” to vote, their “right” to get money and services from Americans, the “right” to bring other foreigners with them. They have taken the “right” to violate most American laws without being deported.

Clearly they are not much interested in assuring mutual gains, just taking maximum advantage of dumb Americans.

3. “If you look at anti-immigration writings from the 1920's, 1910's, 1900's, even back to the 1840's, you will see the exact same arguments that are being made today. And they were not true then, nor now”

This proves absolutely nothing, unless you can also prove that the same exact factors apply today that applies than. There has also been plenty of examples where people argued that immigration was good, and it didn’t turn out that way. Basically every single country in Western Europe had this experience. America was told in the mid 60s that Hispanics would assimilate economically and culturally. They clearly have not.

Let me demonstrate a few obvious examples of differences between immigration now and 1840-1910:

• There was no welfare state. The cost of immigration T O D A Y is hundreds of billions of dollars per year, because of the welfare system, just through direct benefits. If you want to ignore the quantitatively most important component when analyzing immigration don’t expect me or anyone else to take you serious as economists.


• Almost all successful immigrant groups come from Europe. In the end of the day the difference between Germany, Italy, Ireland, Scandinavia, Russian Jews, the Polish, Greeks and the other groups is small. With few exceptions all the immigrants care from countries that have high IQ. Germany, Italy, Ireland, Scandinavia, Russian Jews and the Greek are today all developed or (rapidly developing, in the case of communist nations). Latin America isn’t.

• There was no ideology of multiculturalism, and a very strong expectation, really demand, to culturally assimilate. This is just not true today.

• There was self selection, due to high costs of migrating.

• There was no communication technology that enabled Mexicans to culturally and identity wise still live in Mexico.


The test here is simple. If you REALLY believe unskilled Hispanics will converge to Irish or German levels of achievement any day soon we can simply shut down immigration now, and start taking new people when those already here have assimilated.

Because you are honest when you make this claim, aren’t you?

Jason Malloy writes:

And for all of you who think Matthew C is a rigorously rational-minded fellow, on his blog he praises a man for making the following statement: "...the evidence for catastrophic global warming in the near future is far, far less compelling than the evidence for telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, psychokinesis, and even life after death."

Ugh. Thanks. I didn't realize this was the same Matthew that has trolled my group science blog (gnxp) before with paranormalist quackery. I'm a little embarrassed now for "debating" him here.

Thanks for unmasking yourself, Matthew C. In your efforts to "prove" that anyone who opposes massive, unskilled immigration is racist, you have revealed yourself as someone who regards citizenship as meaningless

Yes, fairly common Libertarian (big 'L') kookery: rejection of nation states and government. Such are the people trying rather pathetically to peg the legitimacy of borders as 'racist' (without even trying to apply the word with any coherence or accurate definition), when it is they that are fringe. I appreciate America's liberal tradition of free-market libertarianism (small 'l'), but loathe the absurdities of ideological Libertarianism.

To those of you who would use violence to keep out peaceful but not-intelligent-enough-for-you immigrants, would you be just as willing to use violence to keep high-IQ citizens from emigrating?

Case in point: the people who compare nation-state borders to the Berlin Wall. Of course one was a prison, the other is an internationally recognized private boundary. I'm sure preventing your children from ever leaving the house is the same as preventing me from climbing in your bedroom window! Anyway, the whole Libertarian 'government = terrorism' trope is tiresome. I get a migraine everytime one whines about paying their income tax "at the barrel of a gun". Go away Lame Rand.

I don't have any statistical evidence to site, but I think that measured IQ and productivity are poorly correlated.

The scientific consensus is otherwise. This is very well studied, and the two are highly correlated (PDF).

Im with Matthew C on that psychic and global warming thing

Mensarefugee, anthropogenic global warming is also a scientific fact.


Gains from immigrants are not made from them driving down wages, they are made through specialization allowing both immigrants and natives to specialize in what they are both most efficient at doing

The gains or losses from different kinds of immigration are not true a priori, rather they are a matter of context and demonstrated by logic and evidence. None of the evidence above for the overall losses of our current illegal immigration (mostly through their American descendants) have been addressed: The increased crime rate, the lifetime net fiscal drain, the weighty externality on our political landscape (social reactionary, anti-market), the caste inequality and attendant ethnic resentment, and the wide-ranging and significant national penalties that will come from lowering the mean IQ of the country.

And, no these arguments were not made and refuted in the 1920s. I'm not aware of studies in the 1920s showing third and fourth generation Irish, Italians, and Jews were failing to acquire skills suitable for a technological economy. Nor am I aware that they had transracial adoption data for these groups. I do know of modern transracial adoption data for Hispanic Americans and human capital traits. . . it is not encouraging.

I'm sure only the voodoo of Libertarian Dogma (much like the voodoo of Matthew C's paranormal "science") can tell us how expanding a resentful, dependent, ethnically aggrieved underclass will improve America.

Matthew c writes:

(much like the voodoo of Matthew C's paranormal "science")

Name-calling, what an epitome of reason you are. And I do not use the word "paranormal" because that implies something outside of the natural order. You can call yourself a "pro-science" blogger and rationalist all you want, but the fact that you refuse to read certain scientific research just because it disagrees with your prior beliefs about the nature of the universe makes you just as much a dogmatist as a Christian fundamentalist who refuses to read about the evidence for evolution.

Science is supposed to be about evidence, and you are not willing to even consider the evidence probably because you are unable to, due to rampant unchecked confirmation bias. That makes you a dogmatist, no different from those scientists who scoffed at continental drift, ball lightning, the germ theory of disease, and many other new ideas.

Matthew c writes:

I only need to add one more thing about Mr. Malloy.

Malloy's blog, Gene Expression owes the bulk of its importance and readership because it was one of the first places online touting human biodiversity in all its aspects. One of their greatest complaints was and is that a taboo exists on studying and talking about differences in sub-populations of human beings.

How remarkably and deliciously ironic that Jason is using exactly the same techniques of name-calling, dismissal, refusal to engage the ideas of his opponents and other such tactics that were and are used against advocates of recognizing human biodiversity and against GNXP.

Also, Malloy complains that I was "trolling" his blog. Apparently when someone makes a public blog entry with incorrect information and a commenter disagrees with that blog entry and the majority of the commentariat, this constitutes "trolling". You can also notice that it is Malloy who brought the off-topic subject of psi research into this thread. And the comments I posted where I disagreed with GNXP did not pertain to the human biodiversity issue at all. Rather they typically were rhetorical questions like "how come religious people refuse to accept facts and evidence that their belief systems are not correct" and I would respond that it is not just religious people who are subject to confirmation bias. Or posts that equated belief in psi phenomena with superstition, and I replied with citations to replicated scientific studies showing that psi phenomena are real.

Econlib Editor writes:

I'm going to insist that the commenters in this thread cool it with the personal analyses and return to the content of the post.

Pointing out where commenters are coming from in their thinking is legitimate. Doing so with rancour and snideness is not the most effective way to do so. Writers do have natural biases, ideologies, and starting points in their comments, and their posts elsewhere are records of their line of thought.

However, continuing with analysis of the lines of thought of the various commenters is not relevent to this EconLog thread. It is enough to point out out someone's alliances or previous writings once if it may be unclear to the reader.

Immigration is a volatile issue and we've allowed more temper flares in this thread than usual. Some useful observations have come out of it. Please return to civility and relevance now, before this thread spins out of control and we are forced to resort to individual bans or removal of comments.

Thank you.--Lauren, Econlib Editor.

Wild Pegasus writes:

Disney uses violence to keep you out of their parks, but they cannot use violence to keep you there. See the difference?

Yes, the difference is that Disney owns the land for Disneyland. The United States does not own America. Duh.

- Josh

8 writes:

One nation practicing open borders by itself is like one individual practicing communism by himself.

ben tillman writes:
If this is the real concern, why not just advocate additional "compensatory" immigration from high-IQ countries like China and Korea?

It's not the real concern. The real concern is that the country (including physical resources and social capital) belongs to those who built and secured it. Like everyone else, we need a place where our descendants can live autonomously. The country that we (and our ancestors) built is the place for them to do that.

You see, Americans are alive and have an interest in staying alive through future generations of themselves.

Koreans may be intelligent on average, but they aren't *us*, and they can't have our country for the same reason that I can't have your house, car, and paycheck.

Matthew c writes:

Koreans may be intelligent on average, but they aren't *us*, and they can't have our country for the same reason that I can't have your house, car, and paycheck.

I would think after the disasterousness of the past century of nationalism, that its currency might be in decline. Alas, not so.

ben tillman writes:
I agree with those who see immigration as another form of migration, and the right of migration as a fundamental human right.

The fundamental human right is property. A "right" of migration conflicts with the concept of property, so there can be no such right.

ben tillman writes:
So I should be allowed to do what I want with my property. If I own a home, I have the right to rent it to a Mexican. I can hire anyone I want to mow my lawn or build my house.

...if you can get adjoining landowners to cooperate by letting your tenant or worker travel to the boundary of your land.

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