America, in order to be good, must open its borders to the world – that is the theme of Mr. Binswanger’s latest essay on immigration. And I have to review it. The pain of setting the needle of my intellect in the groove of his sophistries may lead me to drink.
... Clever, I guess, but obsolete. Vinyl records are passé.
OK Froggy. The pain of focusing the laser of my intellect on the pits of his—
... CD’s are on the way out. Think WAV and MP3 files.
The pain of— oh forget it. Froggy you have sabotaged my introduction. Whose little frog are you anyway?
... I belong to no one but myself, I am a sovereign being!
I bought you for a buck ninety-eight plus tax and didn’t know what I was getting. Anyway, I’m glad you bring up sovereignty because Mr. Binswanger makes it the centerpiece of his new essay, titled: “What is national sovereignty?”  In an earlier essay  he had argued for open borders, concluding that:
He begins by saying that a nation’s existence depends on its having borders.
... All nations have borders. Check.
Froggy, that remark was unnecessary. Then he asks an odd question: In order for a nation to maintain its sovereignty must it defend its borders? His exact words are: “... doesn’t its maintaining its sovereignty imply the need to enforce or defend those borders?”
... No border defense, no sovereignty. Check.
Froggy, Mr. Binswanger was asking a question not making a statement, now please be quiet. In contrapositive form: If a country opened its borders would it lose its sovereignty?
But, he then asks, what is sovereignty? Now he knows all along he will define sovereignty so it has nothing to do with borders open or closed, and that will make the answer to his original question “No” – a nation can be sovereign yet still have open borders.
And since he would have us believe that sovereignty so defined is all there is to worry about, we needn’t worry about open borders, QED. That’s where he wants us to go and he gets us there by playing fast and loose with definitions and ignoring the real world.
In detail his argument runs as follows:
1. A country’s border defines the geographic area within which its government can enforce the country’s laws.
This definition fails to get at the essence of a country or its border. If by some catastrophe a country’s government became disabled the country and its people would still exist (unless completely overrun by an invader) and so would the country’s border even if it became temporarily difficult to defend.
2. “ ‘Sovereignty’ refers to the government’s monopoly on force.”
This differs from what you find in the dictionary (Sovereignty: freedom from external control, autonomy). It also differs from Ayn Rand’s use of the word in The Virtue of Selfishness:
Thus ends Mr. Binswanger’s argument. His conclusion amounts to this:
He then emphasizes his statement that sovereignty, as he defines it, has nothing to do with borders:
Note how he narrowed his focus from countries in general to America in particular. If he is true to the Ayn Rand Institute none of this applies to Israel. (In public he refuses to discuss Israel’s immigration policy.)
Mr. Binswanger isn’t through. “What about the claim that a government needs to ‘protect’ or ‘defend’ our border?” It looks like he put those two simple words in quotes intending to belittle the sentiment behind them. Anyway he thinks he has our number:
Among Mr. Binswanger’s list of virtues – peaceful, hardworking, etc. – is a curious omission: voting capitalist. Perhaps he knew that he had to omit it. Third World immigrants by an large vote for statism, even if they came here to avoid the consequences of statism at home.  Since his goal is to promote unrestricted immigration he had to leave out the virtue of capitalism – a small price to pay for an Organized Objectivist.
Then Mr. Binswanger, climbing atop his moral high horse, calls his opponents in this debate illogical, unjust, and un-American. Tribalist too, and everyone knows that wanting to avoid the Other is the blackest of sins.
He claims that the propaganda put out by Immigration Patriots (a term he would object to) “paints immigrants as uncivilized, disease-ridden, and harboring a high percentage of thugs and criminals.” Mr. Binswanger has no sense of statistics, it’s all or nothing with him. At least he realizes that today immigrant usually means Third World immigrant. Many of them are some of the bad things he mentions, and a higher percentage of them than among American whites. This is a valid propaganda point to direct toward people who might shy away from the central pillars of immigration, preference racism and preference culturalism.
Mr. Binswanger then equates the immigrants of today with those of the early part of the 20th century.  He must think his readers are too stupid to notice the difference between the immigrants of yesteryear and the immigrants of today, or too browbeaten by altruism to admit they see it. Noticing the difference might be construed as racist and we can’t have that.
Citing a CATO podcast by immigration enthusiast Alexander Nowrasteh, Mr. Binswanger claims that the proportion of criminals among immigrants is lower than among Americans. The Most Wanted webpages of police departments across the U.S. suggest otherwise but even if true it would be because of the non-white Americans within the category Americans. There is no question that Third World immigrants have a significantly higher proportion of criminals than do whites.
Mr. Binswanger goes on to say: “Philosophically, though, it doesn’t matter.” On that we agree, though the reasons differ. We look at immigration from the non-criminal end and say even non-criminal migrants should be restricted. He looks at immigration from the criminal end and says there should be no restriction at all. Incredibly he says:
He concludes with an analogy:
Mr. Binswanger’s analogy is even further inapplicable. Immigration patriots do not propose to invade Guatemala or wherever and round up its criminals. They do believe it best for us to keep Guatemalans out of America, whether they are criminals or not.
It’s easy to see why Mr. Binswanger had to swap the usual definition of soverienty – freedom from external control, autonomy – with his invented one. If foreigners can come in across the border at will then they are in control, not us.
|The local Objectivist group was discussing Rand’s essay “Collectivized Rights” (in The Virtue of Selfishness) this morning and we had a 45-minute discussion of the very passage you cite, “A free nation ... has a right to its territorial integrity, its social system and its form of government.” What does Rand mean by “social system?” It cannot be synonymous with “government” or she would use the term “government.” It must mean something beyond government, something like what we might call “deep culture,” the cultural norms that guide human interactions short of government action. (Rand is not consistent on this though. In “Collectivized Ethics,” she defines society as “an organized political system.” Elsewhere in “Collectivized ‘Rights'” she defines society as “a group of men.”)|
We need borders and a foreign policy (of which immigration policy is a part) precisely because the rest of the world is not just worse than America in a lot of respects, but also, different. If we imported 200 million rights-respecting Chinese to America, we’d become China 2.0. For some people that country may or may not be a decent place to live but it would not be America, which would be culturally and politically eradicated. My point about the right to a "social system” is that it is a right to a British-American social system including not just the government but also all the other things that go with it. We already have a Mexico, why must we acquiesce in making the U.S. Mexico 2.0 ? Or Honduras 2.0, or any 2.0 ?