Real Isolationism: Part Three

Freedom of Movement is an essential human right. Apart from the obvious need to get away from people and conditions that are detrimental to one’s person or one’s rights, it also includes the right to go anywhere one desires for whatever reason provided someone else’s rights (most notably property rights) are not violated in the process. It therefore excludes trespassing and other possible types of physical intrusions. For those who accept the idea of the state, or more precisely, national boundaries, such physical intrusion might extend to invasion, or even immigration.

Given that foreign policies such as isolationism, interventionism, or noninterventionism are ideas that generally accept the notion of the nation-state, it may not even be necessary to address the allegedly purist libertarian/anarchist position that states that men are free to roam wherever they please, including in violation of immigration law, however lenient or stringent. However, within the scope of this piece, I maintain that it is possible to agree with the notion that immigration could be restricted without loosing one’s libertarian credentials. Note that when I use the word “restriction,” I don’t mean it in the sense that most would, just as some who use the word “regulation” understand that the Free Market can regulate itself without passing some harmful or useless piece of legislation.

My views (much like Obama’s on state sanctioned/imposed “marriage”) on the subject of immigration have been evolving over the last few years. Rather, they are in a constant state of flux, not evolving towards any decisive position in particular. I have yet to examine and weigh all the arguments for and against the various types of immigration.

Having come this far (pun intended) without doing much more than apologize for my myself, I will now broaden my focus. This is about ideologies and not just personal opinions. In this piece I will touch on the isolationist, noninterventionist, and interventionist positions on immigration, attempting to compare and contrast them, with the goal of showing which two foreign policy ideals have more in common.


Pure Isolationism: Immigration into the United States should be strongly curtailed or eliminated. Laws in place that already do this should be enforced at all levels. Illegal immigrants should be severely punished or deported. Legal immigration should not be an option in most or all cases. Immigrants tend to have one or more of the following undesirable traits: They steal work from people who are already citizens. They bring their inferior culture with them and delude our own. Even if their culture is not inferior, it is still different and keeps them from assimilating. Many of them are criminals fleeing justice in their home countries. Others are in the service of their home nations’ governments, or at the very least, their interests and motives are questionable. More still are needy, disease-ridden, bug-infested refugees looking for a handout. Even those that come here temporarily to compete against our own workforce are guilty of the majority of these charges.

Pure Noninterventionism: Immigration to the United States should not be needlessly restricted. Some undesirable elements should be kept in check, but the greater proportion of these only exist because of other misguided policies, such as the war on drugs, the war on poverty, trade wars, and shooting wars, on our part and on the part of other nations. All other things being equal, immigrants come here to improve their own lot, and in so doing, that of society. They don’t want to feel unwelcome, so barring some policy that encourages or subsidizes their “acting out” or being a burden, they will assimilate and contribute. They will keep various aspects of their own culture, but on the whole, this will not be to the detriment of the rest of the nation.

Pure Interventionism: For the most part only people coming from friendly nations (those we have not bombed or placed sanctions on) and members of the opposition in countries we have cut off ties to, strained relations with, been in conflict against should be allowed to immigrate. And even they should go through every bureaucratic trial we can muster and be probed in every manner imaginable. They should be made to learn English and prove their economic proficiency. If they are good little voters, we will reward them with all the benefits that those born here have been bribed with to keep us in power and our policies in place. Those that step outside our comfort zone should be frowned upon, marginalized, or penalized no less (but perhaps more) than native residents who do the same.

As you can see, according to how I have described (I don’t try to disguise my bias to much and I hope that the reader can detect it) them, noninterventionism and interventionism both desire immigration. They both recognize that immigrants add to society more than they take away. The difference, apart from how they determine who can immigrate, is that noninterventionism thinks of that addition in terms of how it benefits the individuals that make up society, including the newcomers, whereas interventionism thinks of it in terms of how it benefits either the collective or the state, regardless of which or how many individuals are disenfranchised in the process.

Noninterventionism and isolationism both desire what is best for the nation, but the latter assumes that homogeneity is the end, and the former assumes that increased productivity and the fruits it provides to all are the end.

Isolationism and interventionism both tend to distrust ferners to some degree. They both look to antisocial, collectivist policies to enforce their vision of national composition. Neither ideology in its pure form ever considers the notion that people the world throughout are willingly capable of living in peace without severe limitations being placed upon them; that limitations stifle what is good, whereas their absence (the presence of liberty) facilitates it.

Therefore, as they regard immigration, isolationism and interventionism are close relatives, if not blood brothers, but noninterventionism optimizes the personal liberty and economic efficiency of both natives and immigrants.

One thought on “Real Isolationism: Part Three

  1. Pingback: One Year Later at PTPOL « Propagating the Philosophy of Liberty

  2. Pingback: One Year Later at PTPOL « Propagating the Philosophy of Liberty

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