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Bryan Caplan on “Statism for Freedom”

Bryan Caplan has some questions for those libertarians who endorse the use of government power in select areas (namely, immigration) as a means of protecting us from government power.  Here are Bryan’s opening and closing paragraphs; in between these paragraphs Bryan outlines a few policy proposals that are just as consistent with libertarianism as is the proposal to empower government to restrict people’s freedom of movement and association in the name of protecting freedom generally.  A “realistic” libertarian should be no less trusting of the exercise by government of the powers that Bryan proposes as he or she is of the exercise by government of the power to restrict immigration.

Libertarians’ odd openness to using immigration restrictions to protect American freedom has me thinking.  There are many statist policies that could indirectly lead to more libertarian policy.  If you’re open to one, you should logically be open to all.


My list obviously just scratches the surface.  My point, of course, is not to advocate any of these proposals, but to challenge libertarians who advocate immigration restrictions in the name of human freedom.  Out of all the conceivable forms of statism for freedom, why oh why are immigration restrictions the exception you’re swiftest to condone?