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Monday, April 21, 2008

Does the SoP Mandate Open-Borders Absolutism?

Frank, I agree that the 2006 immigration language is poor.  It only seems to be defended by LP presidential candidates (e.g. Phillies, and I think Root) seeking political cover for their dissent from open-borders absolutism.  Its primary virtue is that it is an improvement over the 2004 language, which advocated the "transitional actions" of "elimination of all restrictions on immigration" and "declaration of full amnesty for all people who have entered the country illegally".  (That's quite an interesting "transition"!  The 2004 platform was larded with lots of other equally drastic "transitions".)   I see vanishingly small chance of such absolutist language getting 2/3 approval in Denver.
If you're looking for past (or proposed) platforms, the web's most complete collection of them is at fantasy platform says: "Migration across borders should be without constraints, provided that migrants do not trespass and are sponsored by someone (perhaps themselves) who can afford to assume the same responsibility for their resource impact and congestion impact and subsistence needs as parents do for native children."  My argument for it is here, but perhaps it suffices to quote Walter Block:
WB) Immigration and abortion are highly unsettled issues in our community. I regard Murray Rothbard, Hans Hermann Hoppe and Stephan Kinsella as three of the most gifted libertarian theoreticians that have ever graced our movement. All three disagree with me and Paul’s critics on these two matters. When expert libertarian philosophers disagree with each other, it is a bit much to declare either side anti- or non-libertarian. It is therefore highly improper to castigate Dr. Paul for taking a position on immigration and abortion incompatible with libertarianism, no matter how much, nor how fervently, we disagree with Paul, Hoppe, Rothbard and Kinsella on these two issues, as I do. (WB
In fact, immigration and abortion are just 2 of about 25 Free Variables in Libertarian Theory that I've cataloged.  I'd be interested in knowing even a rough count of how many of those variables you, a party founder, think have their values interestingly fixed (or even constrained) by the Statement of Principles.  I can't agree that the SoP provides clear guidance on immigration.  Anyone who thinks it does should perhaps advocate that we not muddle the issue further with a specific immigration plank.