Hornberger and Open Borders

I do not spend as much time online or follow all of the various political websites that I did a few years ago. However, I recently went to the website of the Future of Freedom Foundation (FFF), a libertarian website. The FFF was founded, and is headed by, Jacob G. Hornberger, a graduate of VMI, lawyer, former professor, and author.

On the 19th of May, Hornberger posted an article on the FFF site entitled: Open Borders Is The Only Libertarian Immigration Position. Hornberger has written on this topic before, including a July 30, 2010 post entitled An Open Border In My Hometown. Hornberger grew up in Laredo and is the son of a bilingual ethnic Mexican mother and an “Anglo” father.

Hornberger begins Open Borders Is The Only Libertarian Immigration Position by stating: “There is a common misconception in the libertarian movement that there are two positions on immigration within libertarianism : the position favoring open borders and the position favoring government-controlled borders”.

Interesting. I suppose it is a misconception, because I used to think it myself. (I oppose open borders, but I do not have a problem with tourism or limited immigration of culturally compatible people).

Hornberger then explains why he believes that the only immigration position consistent with the libertarian non-aggression principle and private property rights is open borders.

Hornberger gives a hypothetical situation of two brothers owning adjacent ranches, the border between the ranches being the border between Mexico and the state of New Mexico. He postulates the American (ethnic Mexican?) brother inviting his Mexican brother across the border to dinner.

As there is no fence, he just crosses the order of the two countries and ranches. Hornberger then points out that he illegally entered the country, though on invitation of his brother. Hornberger now states that with government controlled borders, the U. S. Border Patrol would have to arrest the Mexican brother, initiating violence and trespassing on the American brother’s private property. But the analogy misses the point, as it ignores what a country is.

The core concept of a country is that a group of people form a set of laws to administer justice to those who would harm others. This has traditionally been done by people who share a common language, culture/ethnicity, and common moral values; when these three criteria are not met, things often do not go well. These people establish legal boundaries (borders) for their government; this is to codify jurisdiction of crimes and clarify who is a citizen -with the right to vote, hold office, etc. The national family may control entry into its collective home, just as a family controls entry into its private home. A country without borders is not a country, and cannot exist.

Some libertarians try to get around this by arguing for imaginary border lines that people may move across, including to seek employment. But at what point do these immigrant resident-workers become citizens -entitled to vote, hold office, and influence the government built by others. From a libertarian-nonaggression-market-oriented position, to hold them out of citizenship as resident aliens would be unfair, as it curtails their freedom to participate in (change) the legal system of their new home. The children of the founders just lost their country.

Libertarianism has a few flaws, open borders being one of them. My utter rejection of open borders and unrestrained immigration is one of the primary reasons that I no longer call myself a “limited government” type libertarian.



Author: Joe Putnam

I am a Christian (Reformed/Sovereign Grace Baptist type), white American of Western European bloodline, advocate of an agrarian social order, Kinist, White Nationalist, admirer of America’s Founding Fathers and the Boys in Gray, homesteader, indie published author, and amateur historian. I have indie published several books, all of which are available from Amazon. I am a life long resident of rural Orange County, IN –in the part of the Upper South that many would term Greater Appalachia or the Dixie Frontier. In addition to my own blog "Putnam Liberty Notes", from May through July of 2017 I dual published many of my posts at the popular multi-author Alt-South blog Identity Dixie. In addition to my blog writings, I am currently gearing up for (at least) two more book projects –one theological and one historical. The theological one will cover the three interpretational views of Daniel’s 70th Week. I hope to have this book in print in late summer 2017. (Hint: I am, not a Dispensational Futurist). The historical book will be a biography of George Rogers Clark (1752-1818). Clark was a noted Virginia militia officer who’s campaigns, including his successful siege of Vincennes, basically took the Old Northwest from Britain during the American Revolution. Clark spent the rest of his life around the river that separates Clarksville, IN from Louisville, Kentucky. I hope to have my Clark bio in print in early 2018.

3 thoughts on “Hornberger and Open Borders”

  1. I have indeed watched the results of unrestrained immigration from ethnically diverse people. Due to my former neighbors lack of care for my private property which really was a lack of distinction for property lines I found garbage, tools, equipment, and other items left on my area. What libertarians don’t realize is while a border is left open private property is being trampled. I suppose the advocates of open borders would suggest Federal governments don’t have the authority to manage a border but constitutionally a state does. That argument may hold water but ultimately it is the private property owner that suffers through damage.


  2. Thanks for the comments Tony. I just read the LRC article you linked to above. I am glad that BM realizes that national culture does exist. As I am sure you know, there has been a dust up among libertarians in the last year over open borders -in large part because of the immigration influx into Europe as a result of instability in Syria. The Hornberger article I took apart with my May 31 post was part of an exchange between him at BM. i actually read the whole exchange, and wrote another blog post which I am going to post today. It was to humorous not to post on it! again.


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