On home and property – freedom of immigration in a private society

Posted on March 26, 2011


Property is the right to exclude unwanted use and occupation of space. Larger and more central properties have gradually less exclusive policies. The state practices a large-scale, uniform residential policy which it codifies in immigration laws in order to expand its power. This suffers the failures of egalitarianism and creates antagonism between different cultures and ethnic groups who cannot restrict access to their own properties.

While the need for shelter is significant, it alone does not explain why individuals and families purchase or rent homes. Shelters in fact can be provided at very low cost if scaled to large numbers of individuals and families, yet they are not preferred by the market in comparison to individual houses. The advantage the individual house possesses over mass shelter is more than a large amount of storage, it provides the owner a space that is exclusive. No one may enter and occupy this space without the owner’s invitation. A home is therefore a space where all things are familiar, and no unwanted or alien presence is allowed. Familiarity is what provides comfort and rest to the homeowner.

Familiarity, while it may apply to the nuclear family unit, also extends in a spectrum outwards in human society. While immediate children and siblings are allowed unlimited access to the home, family relations are allowed limited access and sometimes can be granted residency if their circumstances are so unfortunate that they cannot afford their own homes. Usually this will be agreed to only if this guest understands that the familiarity of the home may not be affected, and this guest must obey very strict rules of behavior while they are a guest. Continuing outwards in the spectrum of familiarity, friends and acquaintances will sometimes be temporarily received as guests for periods lasting no more than a day. These visitors will of course make no attempt to change the state of the home or disturb its familiarity, in fact they will consider it a personal honor to be able to enjoy the home of their host. Once their welcome has run out, these guests will feel the pressure to return to their own homes.

What we call today the immigration problem is a problem of invasion of privacy created by the state’s immigration policy. While in a world with integrated markets, goods and capital can be moved and exchanged freely from one home to another, there are some who believe that integrated markets also require free immigration of labor, and thus that the state (or the supra-state such as the European Union) should force access for all immigrants to all spaces beyond the doorways of private homes. However, as I just pointed out, familiarity is a spectrum, and the level of comfort felt amongst people of different tribal, ethnic and cultural origins can fall dramatically the more foreign these people are. Being unable to exclude aliens from spaces that they believe they own, as taxpayers and residents, creates the foundations for ethnic and cultural disputes. To make matters worse, public intellectuals who preach cultural relativism will aggressively inflict unfamiliarity on areas they perceive as being not sufficiently accepting and “tolerant” of aliens, sometimes taking the issue all the way to national media.

Because familiarity is a spectrum, the differentiation and employment of space is also a spectrum. One’s bedroom is of course off-limits to friends and guests, but not so to children, while one’s garage is a friendly space for neighbors to drop by. This spectrum continues to expand outwards – the residential street invites only people of the neighborhood, while the commercial street expects many different kinds of people. At the very centers of global movements, the airports, we interact and run into people of all ethnic and cultural origins without conflict. The reason for this is that the airport is organized and managed to be neutral and accommodating to every ethnicity, at the cost of being more expensive to run and losing all familiarity and comfort.

How the state destroys familiarity

The state’s immigration policy is explicitly egalitarian – no culture should have precedence over one another in how space is organized. This means that the state’s stance is to turn all non-residences into the equivalent of the airport. To do this, it must eliminate aspects of public space that people find familiarity in. It must also tax more and provide less value to the long-settled taxpayers. This is the primary cause of resentment to immigration. In a society without egalitarianism and with fully private land ownership, the spectrum of private to public spaces would be restored, and less central spaces (neighborhoods, villages) would establish very restrictive policies on what type of people would be allowed to live there, as well as becoming naturally segregated by adopting practices and patterns that provide familiarity only to a small sub-ethnic group, while more central spaces (business districts, shopping centers, highway rest areas) would be open to all ethnic groups in order to facilitate commerce. As such, there would be a hierarchy of residential statuses, and being a resident of one particular neighborhood or town would immediately grant access to more central locations feeding this neighborhood or town, and may even grant diplomatic papers such as passports, while providing no access to other neighborhoods or towns. Movements of populations would be restricted from the home to the center and back to the home.

The reason why the state would practice and adopt an egalitarian immigration policy is rooted in the origin of the state’s absolutist power. By flooding the country with individuals who have no relationship with any society but the state, the state ensures that no competitor arises to challenge and neutralize its power. In order to restore a libertarian society, libertarians must therefore promote restrictive immigration policies and immediately renounce the unlimited immigration policy that has been promoted by classical liberals and their successors.

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