Saturday, June 03, 2006

A Question from A Reader

“Timerty”, a visitor to my article, The Principles of the Anti-Immigrant Crowd, Reductio ad Absurdum, posted the following question:

Help me out here.

With the right of association comes the converse right of disassociation, or exclusion. I can choose who I want to hang around with, only if I can choose not to be with others. Right?

If my neighbors and I want to form a member only association, we are then excluding all non-members. Our individual property ownership gives us the right to exclude all non-members from our collective property. We have the right to create fences (borders) and/or hire a security force to prevent non-members from crossing our property. This works fine for a small group. What happens when this association grows into the size of a city, a state or a country? Do we not still have the right, as an association of private property owners, to prevent non-members to come on to our collective property?

I guess my question is – at what point does the right of association not apply?

My response:

Timerty -

You are exactly right. With the right of association comes the inverse right of non-association (or exclusion, as you put it.) Such associations may be exclusive and private based on the mutually and voluntarily agreed upon terms of each and every individual that enters into such a compact.

The right of association does not apply when someone you want to associate with doesn't want to associate with you in return. You can't force someone in to a relationship...that would be slavery.

If you and a bunch of people wanted to form such a collective as you speak of, that would be perfectly fine. But you have no right to force someone else to erect such barriers around their property. Free association necessarily means voluntary association.

Also, as the size of this group increases in number, having a consensus of opinion would become less and less likely. Hypothetically speaking, if the group grew to a size of a city, state, or even entire country, that is still fine...but in reality, how likely is that? If it really were a unanimous consensus that a specific group of people should be excluded, then its fairly obvious that you wouldn't need government to enforce such edicts. The fact that the anti-immigration crowd is turning to government is a de facto admission that they do not respect the rights of others.

The issue here is that the anti-immigrant crowd wants to use government to force their views on EVERYONE, regardless of whether they want immigrants here or not. If I am an American businessman, and I _want_ to hire Mexicans, and these Mexicans _want_ to work for me...the anti-immigrant crowd says that we should be punished because such an arrangement offends their sensibilities as to what is politically "correct". What they are doing is taking people who have not given their agreement to such a compact as the one you describe above, and saying, "too bad, we're making this decision for you." They are violating the right of association of the people they disagree with.

Hope it helps.

-LJ


Remember, any government in a free society is dedicated solely to the protection of the rights and property of its citizens. It does not endeavor to tell people how they must use their property, but simply to back up the right of property owners to use their property as they see fit.

10 Comments:

Blogger Francois Tremblay said...

Don't ingratiate them by using the non-term "immigrant". There is no such thing as an "immigrant".

11:27 AM  
Blogger doinkicarus said...

well said, francois.

Anyways, in regards to Timerity's question: "f my neighbors and I want to form a member only association, we are then excluding all non-members. Our individual property ownership gives us the right to exclude all non-members from our collective property. We have the right to create fences (borders) and/or hire a security force to prevent non-members from crossing our property. "

He's right. To an extent. And that extent is: So long as you can achieve unanimity between your group of neighbors/friends/associates. The moment your neighbor wants out of the agreement, the agreement ceases to apply to him and his property. I understand that this is not presently how use restrictions on properties work (they are set by municipalities, and consented to by purchasers) but that's beside the point, and I don't believe topical to the discussion here.

So, as long as you can tally up 300M votes to build a fortress-like wall between Mexico and the US, feel free. You don't have my blessing.

And my hunch is that you don't have very many others' either. The ONLY reason immigrants (sorry, Francois) come here is because they see an opportunity. And opportunities arise because a large number of americans want at least tacitly accept the goods & services rendered thereunder as a benefit. If there were no market for "immigrants," they wouldn't be here.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Wulf said...

Well spoken, all. It is a shame that so many are framing this whole immigration issue in such collective terms.

2:37 PM  
Blogger Libertarian Jason said...

Well, the anti-immigrant (sorry, francois) crowd is inherently a collectivist bunch.

9:36 PM  
Blogger Wulf said...

It's happening on both sides of the debate. It is ridiculous that so many Americans think that they value individualism, when in reality they do not.

7:38 AM  
Blogger Francois Tremblay said...

Everyone is collectivist, even the pro-"immigration" bunch. It makes me sick.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Libertarian Jason said...

Even the pro-immigration bunch? How so, Francois?

2:15 PM  
Blogger Francois Tremblay said...

"Even the pro-immigration bunch? How so, Francois?"

Let's just say that if I hear one more person praise "Mexicans" because "they work so hard on jobs that no one else would take", I may become a serial killer.

1:48 PM  
Blogger James said...

Jason said:
"as the size of this group increases in number, having a consensus of opinion would become less and less likely. Hypothetically speaking, if the group grew to a size of a city, state, or even entire country, that is still fine...but in reality, how likely is that?"

The term "representative government" comes to mind in such a situation. The initial "government" that Timerty described fails the minute someone dissents and thus is not able to stand on its own. The formation of a representative government allows for individuals who have a difference in opinion to still join the 'union' even though a 100% consensus can't be reached.

Your assertion that the "anti-immigrant" crowd wishes to exert our political pressure on the whole is not entirely correct. First we are NOT Anti-Immigration, and second we do not want our view forced on the whole of the country we simply want the LAWS in place to acctually apply to those in violation.

The United States of America, whether you like it or not has borders. Laws in the US define who is, and is not recognized as a US Citizen as well as methods a non-citizen can follow to become a LEGAL U.S. Citizen. Currently those who wish not to proceed through legal means to become a naturalized citizen (or even a temporary one) are in violation of US Law and are thus "Illegally inside US Borders". We live in a representative government and as is the course with all other legal arguments if you dislike a process or law you can petition the government and those representing you, for a change as are people like me who feel that US Law pertaining to illegals is all but being ignored.

I could care less if you go along with my opinion as it is the nature of our country. I am not forcing you to agree with me. I am petitioning my government to enforce it's own laws and that is my right to do so.

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Libertarian Jason said...

second we do not want our view forced on the whole of the country we simply want the LAWS in place to acctually apply to those in violation.

But if those laws violate MY natural right of liberty of association and private property, then you ARE forcing your views on everyone else. What you are sayign, James...whether you are intellectually honest enough to admit it or not...is that you want me punished if I choose to associate with someone who hasn't gotten permission from a politicians to associate with me.

You ARE forcing me to agree with you, because part of "enforcing its laws" means punishing people who don't obey.

10:54 AM  

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