Steve Sailer had a piece last month entitled, “The wind is at the back of open borders“. It discussed a piece written by Alex Tabarrok over at Marginal Revolution, which stated, in part:
[M]ost moral frameworks (libertarian, utilitarian, egalitarian, and others) strongly favor open borders or find it difficult to justify restrictions on freedom of movement.
I asked in the comments section:
Do any self-assessed moral philosophers start with evolutionary principles/sociobiology/etc., or does they all presume the only way to construct a model for the morally perfect society is by stemming off of 18th Century, pre-Darwinian metaphysicists?
I.e., if I were to take up the task of hammering out a political (and hence moral) philosophy, it would start with human nature—as determined by state-of-the-art science, historical evidence, and cold, hard reasoning. Nowhere in my equation would enter baseless philosophies like Romantic-era notions of “blank slates” or any other such rationalist, non-scientific guesswork.
This leads me to believe fields like sociobiology and its kin (e.g., evolutionary psychology, etc.) are on the right track as they look at society as an evolved organism. Looked at this way, certain necessities pop right out at first blush.
E.g., one of the first things an organism needs are boundaries. In a single-cell organism, this would be its cellular membrane; in a multicellular organism, cell walls, bark, scales, skin, etc. In a social organism, this means its territory as defined by its borders.
Two things can be said about this:
One, if society is an organism, and organisms require boundaries to survive, then a society cannot survive without borders—giving lie to every purely rationalist-based political philosophy that advocates “open” (read: non-existent) borders.
Two, just as a multicellular organism has its boundaries (e.g., skin) and is composed of subunits (cells) which contain their own boundaries (i.e., cellular membranes), so too does a social organism need its borders just as its subunits (people) require their own (i.e., private property).
If this is on the right track, then it might just be that the need for private property is an indelible part of human nature, and a requisite for individual liberty. (This is perhaps the key point where John Locke and our founders went splendidly right, and where Marx, Engels, et al. went horribly wrong).
A man’s home is his castle.
Good fences make good neighbors.
Note I’m just spit-balling here. And I’ll continue…
Why would I say that private property (as in literal territory) is a requirement for individual liberty (at least for white people)? I don’t know what the causal link is between the two, but I had this thought: The bluest of blue areas in the US are in major metropolitan areas—NYC, LA, Chicago, etc. Most people in these cities (well, LA perhaps excluded) rent (or own shares in a co-op). Even if they do own their residence outright, there’s a good chance they’re in a multi-story building where one’s “territory” in surrounded in three dimensions by strangers. And what we normally think of as “territory”—i.e., a lawn, maybe some woods, etc.—is public space.
I.e., the vast majority of liberals I know don’t own land, whereas the vast majority of conservatives I know do.
I’m certain this idea (private property, or lack thereof, and its effect on political leanings) has been discussed somewhere at some time by people far more educated and intelligent than myself, so before I further expose my ignorance, I’ll yield the floor to our commentariat. Fire away!
BTW, here’s a picture of hot Asian chicks in lingerie because it popped up on my Facebook page: