Answering Scott Adams on Immigration

Scott Adams asks, “I find myself wondering what legal immigrants think we should do about illegals? I have a feeling I would defer to their judgment.”

I disagree, for much the same reason that I would disagree were Scott to say, “I find myself wondering what major exporters think we should do about the Export-Import Bank? Or, what major sugar farmers think we should do about sugar subsidies? Or, what union organizers think we should do about minimum wage? I have a feeling I would defer to their judgment.” Legal immigrants are the beneficiaries of a government monopoly. Relaxed immigration restrictions would impact current legal immigrants most directly, assuming that the legal immigrants are about equal to potential immigrants in areas of job and language skills. Therefore they have a vested interest in keeping immigration difficult, except perhaps for close family members.

Warning: discussions of abortion and suicide below the fold.

Continue reading Answering Scott Adams on Immigration

Self-Ownership Should Be More Controversial Than Property Ownership

Listening to Tom Woods’ discussion with Matt Zwolinski on Basic Income Guarantee (BIG), I had a thought I haven’t heard anyone else discuss.

Zwolinski favors taxation of property because a person does not create natural resources, but expropriates them from nature. Others have raised the question, if an individual does not have the right to lay claims on natural resources, why would a group of individuals have such a right? But my thought was, why does Zwolinski assume the self-evidentiary nature of self-ownership, but reject the idea of personal property-ownership, when if anything, society has a greater claim on an individual’s body and work than it does on property? That is, since a person likely would not exist apart from the actions of countless people in the past, does society not have a strong claim on the fruit of that individual’s mind and body? Since natural resources pre-date society, society’s claim on the fruits of those resources is much weaker by comparison.

My point is not to support income taxation or communism, but rather that if one correctly supports self-ownership, for deontological or utilitarian reasons, then supporting property-ownership and rejecting collectivist claims on property is a much smaller logical step.

Arnold Kling Throws Down

In this post about Joseph Heinrich’s Secrets of Our Success, he quotes Heinrich:

Humans are bad at intentionally designing effective institutions and organizations, though I’m hoping that we get deeper insights into human nature and cultural evolution this can improve. Until then, we should take a page from cultural evolution’s playbook and design “variation and selection systems” that will allow alternative institutions or organizational forms to compete. We can dump the losers, keep the winners, and hhopefully gain some general insights during the process.

Kling responds:

Yes, Professor Henrich, we have a term for that. We call it “the market.”