Friday, November 29, 2013

The Third Edition of the Machinery of Freedom

I have just finished drafts of the  chapters for the new edition and webbed them for comment.


At 10:54 PM, November 29, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Links seem to be missing for 53 and 58!

At 11:16 PM, November 29, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...

Thanks. Fixed.

At 2:49 AM, November 30, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome! Can't wait till it hits the shelves!

At 8:02 AM, November 30, 2013, Blogger Dan The Misanthrope said...

I'm generally pretty sympathetic to many of your positions but I'm not very convinced by the libertarian position on immigration anymore. Very few libertarians have been willing to deal with anti-libertarian arguments based on human biodiversity. Most of the beltway conservatives just call it racist and move on without ever addressing the science.

At 9:14 AM, November 30, 2013, Blogger Tibor said...

Thank you. Well, I wanted to read that immediately at first, but since I am going to be on a train home from Goettingen for 6 hours next week, it should fill the time then nicely :)

What exactly do you mean by anti-libertarian agrumends based on human biodiversity?

At 9:48 AM, November 30, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

david friedman said:

"There is no good reason to think that we are wiser than other people in other times and places..."

we are ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE wiser than before otherwise we would have learned NOTHING from history and developments in thinking and measuring. for example while a roman judge may have had access to a few roman law codex, a few greek books on athenian laws and maybe superficial knowledge of egyptian law, we have UNLIMITED access to every single book on law ever to have been published and thousands of commentaries from game theoretic perspective to theological perspective. the ancients would judge our levels of knowledge and levels of sophistication and accuracy in reasoning as that of GODS. indeed we those ancients we do have the knowledge of the gods because we know exactly what the ancients' practices, laws and beliefs led to.

At 10:40 AM, November 30, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...

I'm curious about the human biodiversity argument that Dan mentions--perhaps he can expand on it. Speaking as an economist, I would expect diversity in human characteristics to be an argument in favor of immigration, since gains from trade are greater when the parties have different relative costs. But I can imagine political issues arising that would have the opposite effect.

At 11:00 AM, November 30, 2013, Anonymous Utility Maximiser said...

Following on from Dan The Misanthrope's comment, while I think your arguments in all the other areas of your writings are excellent, I'm still not sure about the immigration issue (not convinced either way). You say in "The Conservative Mistake":

"Critics of free immigration worry that immigrants might change the country, make it more socialist, more crime ridden, more like the places they are coming from, but offer no strong reason to expect those particular effects."

The most common piece of evidence I see cited is the voting patterns of immigrants (typically those of non-European descent) who consistently vote Democrat. You could argue that the Republicans aren't so pro-freedom either, but such minority groups often combine social conservatism with economic statism.

You have argued that free immigration reduces redistribution because the possibility of foreigners coming here for welfare makes redistribution less appealing to the native population. Bryan Caplan has argued that ethnic heterogeneity reduces feelings of national togetherness and trust making redistribution less appealing. The response I've heard normally consists two points: Firstly that a lack of feeling of national unity and trust is itself a bad thing—the fact that we would live in a society where we are less interested in "helping" our fellow man (even if such "help" is misguided) reflects that the society is undesirable. Secondly, that this would only be true so long as the native population remained a majority. Once the native population were a minority, the reaction against redistribution would not offset the desire for it among immigrants.

I'm not convinced by these arguments but I'm not really sure how to respond. I think libertarians in general need to address these issues more. I think that the fact that discussions of race & ethnicity are taboo has meant that libertarians haven't been forced to think about these issues.

At 1:41 PM, November 30, 2013, Anonymous RKN said...

You'll want to try and come up with a more a convincing example of reproductive success trumping survival. The sexual behavior of the female praying mantis you described is largely a myth, a behavior originally observed during experiments on certain species of mantis (there are >2000) held in captivity, but far less frequently in the wild, and even there the reasons remain controversial.

At 2:36 PM, November 30, 2013, Blogger Dan The Misanthrope said...

One example would be differences in IQ, there is pretty solid evidence that there are are average IQ differences between populations. There is also good evidence that that some of the difference is due to heredity such as brain size studies, transracial twin adoption studies etc. In general lower IQ people think less like economists and are less classically liberal.
It's not just IQ though either, some groups are likely more tribalistic by nature and this should matter in terms of political externalities.So my main concern has to do with political externalities but there is also crime and social capital concerns too among other things.

A few sources:

At 2:39 PM, November 30, 2013, Blogger Dan The Misanthrope said...

David would argue that we could restrict citizenship and just allow them to work but I find that to be politically infeasible.

At 3:16 PM, November 30, 2013, Blogger Tibor said...

Dan: This kind of argument I have encountered before when went to one of the regular meetings of the Free Party (almost libertarian laisezz faire party in the Czech republic). One guy there said something along the lines that if we alow more of these "arabs" in here, they will eventually enforce their sharia laws and stuff (in all fairness he was not a member of the party, only its supporter which means he donated some money to the party). I countered with the argument that while if we have the social system we have, it indeed does attract a lot of people who want to benefit from that, that is benefit from the work of others, I don't see why an actual libertarian country would have such problems. Why should people who want to live off social welfare payments move to a laissez faire country? I would rather expect people (whathever cultural background they have) to move there for freedom and opportunities and such people are unlikely to then vote for more state, taxation and forced redistribution. If they wanted such a state, it would be easier for them to move to an already socialist country (such as France or Norway of today). So I would expect the immigrants to reinforce the laissez faire spirit of such a free market counrty rather than diminish that.

At 3:42 PM, November 30, 2013, Blogger Will McLean said...

I see some serious problems with the Neo-Lockean theory of Chapter 57. It allows only very weak property rights to unimproved land, which is most of it. I can exclude others from land by building a fence around it, unless they figure out a way to cross the fence without damaging it. This isn't that difficult. A 7.5 foot deer fence is more fence than most landowners want to buy, yet a ladder system to cross it would cost much less than enclosing even a moderate area. Alternatively, an interloper could breach the fence, mingle his labor with the land, and either pay the trivial damages from breaching the fence or restore it to its original condition.

At 8:56 PM, November 30, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...


AsI wrote at the end of the chapter:

"This approach to justifying property rights has its problems. In order to maintain ownership of my land, I have to be careful to do things with it that make it impractical for anyone else to use it without damaging my property. I have to be particularly careful not to let anyone else do anything with it such that my future use would damage his property, since that could make the land effectively his. That is a cost that could be avoided if the land was my property in the usual sense.

Speaking as an economist, I find the rules implied by this argument to be inefficient ones."

At 11:03 PM, November 30, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The new edition should have a chapter on Seasteading, perhaps written by Patri Friedman?

On immigration: If a libertarian society wants to survive, it has to restrict the immigration of non-libertarians. Pretty simple, actually.

At 11:37 PM, November 30, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...


Patri is writing his own book.

At 5:00 AM, December 01, 2013, Blogger Tibor said...

Anonymous: How exactly are you going to test if the immigrants are libertarian or not? Also, why would socialist immigrants even want to move to a libertarian country and than laborioulsy try changing its laws to more socialist ones (if we suppose that there are socialist countries out there which have relatively free immigration policies, which is true of Norway...although it probably won't be for long). If I want to live in a a redistributive welfare state, I will move to Norway rather than to Switzerland or Hong Kong.

And vice versa: Libertarians (in a very broad sense of the word) don't want to migrate to Venezuela or Cuba to change its socialist laws to more libertarian ones. Some people who also happen to have rather libertarian sentiment may want to move there for other reasons (nice weather, botanical research,...) despite the fact that it is a socialist country, but there will not be that many of them.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I really don't see a reason why anyone would want to move to a country which has laws predominantly in the opposite direction to where he wants to go.

And as far as "cultural influece" goes, it can change quite fast. I read a very interesting book about Japan called "Mysterious land Nippon" (it is in czech though) and especially one bit was really interesting. During the Meji reforms, there was one English industrialist setting up a factory in Japan. He wrote in a letter to someone (or perhaps it was a letter to a travel magazine or something, I don't recall that exactly) that "Japanese are lazy people who have to be forced to work, they can at best do menial tasks with little thought, repeat what you tell them but they are incapable of any innovation of their own. And it is in their nature that they are such"...It is really funny if you look at something like that in retrospect. Japanese back then might as well have been like that, because they were used to centuries of a society in which whatever you did, you had no chances of improving your status. All (or almost all) was determined by what family you belonged to. That of course encouraged no effort of their own. But once the situation changed, the changes in cultural attitude quickly followed. I would expect a truly free society to have those effects on its inhabitans as well. I think the reason why the US worked as a cultural "melting pot" was exactly that - it allowed people to better themselves. The reason it does not work like that anymore (and the reason there are big problems with arab minorities in the UK, France and other EU countries) is that it no longer is a free society it used to be (well, if you did not happen to be black or a woman that is :) ). It is not that the "evil immigrants" changed it to a more socialist country.

At 6:10 AM, December 01, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tibor Mach:

I don´t know how to test immigrants, but I want to stress that every society which sees itself as more than just an accumulation of random individuals has to make sure that new members are somewhat compatible with its basic values. A libertarian society won´t work if the majority of its members are non-libertarians. Another problem of completely free immigration is that it would allow a foreign government a non-military takeover by simply moving enough of its citizens into the libertarian society.

At 8:09 AM, December 01, 2013, Blogger Tibor said...


The problem that foreign government faces is how to control its former citizens who moved to the country it wants to take over. The "invading" country is likely to have a powerful government which controls its inhabitans a lot in order to even be able of forcing a lot of them to move to the second country. But if that is free, why would the now free people want their former government to take over?

Also, I don't think "libertarian values" are all that much different from values of other people. I totally agree with David that the main differences are not in morals but in assumptions. There are no (except for maybe a few sociopats) communists who would like to live in what other people see as the consequences of a communist society and no libertarians who are libertarians because they agree with communists about what a libertarian society leads to.

And again - if I want to live in an paternalistic welfare state it is easier for me to move to Norway rather than to move to Switzerland and try changing the country to a more socialist one.

At 9:27 AM, December 01, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tibor Mach:

It´s not that hard for a government to control its (former) citizens, it just has to give them enough money. Besides, there usually are ethnic and cultural ties to the home country which the foreign government can use for its aims.

I think you underestimate the difference between libertarian and non-libertarian values. Most people don´t want liberty per se, but goodies for themselves. They are basically social democrats.

A libertarian society is in a state of lower entropy: Hard to maintain, easy to destroy.

At 12:22 PM, December 01, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...

"every society which sees itself as more than just an accumulation of random individuals has to make sure that new members are somewhat compatible with its basic values. "

The U.S. did almost nothing of the sort for about the first two thirds of its history. Yet it was a strikingly successful society.

At 12:42 PM, December 01, 2013, Blogger Tibor said...


Ok, so the government gives them money and then what guarantee does it have that the people will do what it wishes? Or does it pay afterwards? Then what guarantee do the people have that such a malicious government will do so when it actually controls them again? And since you have to keep this all secret, it is tremendously difficult to do are all conspiracies. And this scenario is just that, I think - a conspiracy theory.

Again - people might want "goodies for themselves" (I'm not sure whether I would call that being a social democrat, I'd rather say that is typical for most people, most libertarians included), but if they want to achieve that through government redistribution why would they not come to an already redistributive society? Again - why should I do the hard work of changing Switzerland into Norway, when I can just move to Norway where other peopel have already done the work for me?

I really don't think libertarians are some kind of saints, or "the enlightened" while everyone else are the "greedy bastards" (funny that this is exactly a majority view of libertarians). Again, I think the main difference is not in different morals, but in different opinions on what leads to what. If you can agree on the facts with someone, then you will most likely agree on the morals that are associated with those facts.

Furthermore, if a "libertarian" society actually required people to be libertarian, then that arrangement would be a utopia. It makes no sense to say "if people just behaved like this and that we would have an ideal society". That is not interesting, because the communists can make the same argument (well, apart from the information deficit of central planning). If any libertarian (or any other) concepts are of any practical interest they have to assume the people as they are (and have always been), so it cannot really assume that everyone has to become a libertarian (or a communist) for that society to work (better than the alternatives).

At 2:36 PM, December 01, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@David Friedman

"The U.S. did almost nothing of the sort for about the first two thirds of its history. Yet it was a strikingly successful society."

thats a LIE and a red herring. its a lie because ever since the revolution there has been a political movement to create one-nation-one-people american culture, this can be for example seen in the gettysburg address.

its red herring because in the first half of us' history loca, ie town and maybe state, did matterand people went about creating and enforcing certain morals and ideas: religion playing a big part in this of course.

At 3:08 PM, December 01, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coincidentally, Marginal Revolution (very interesting economics blog) linked to a study today that suggests immigrants to the US are significantly less libertarian on average than people born in the US.

At 3:16 PM, December 01, 2013, Blogger Will McLean said...

"The U.S. did almost nothing of the sort for about the first two thirds of its history. "

As long as you were a free white person "of good character."

At 3:56 PM, December 01, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...

Anonymous: What you wrote was "I want to stress that every society which sees itself as more than just an accumulation of random individuals has to make sure that new members are somewhat compatible with its basic values."

Throug much of U.S. history anti-immigration sentiments existed, but until the 1920's the only significant restrictions that were actually in force were on oriental immigration, and they came in fairly late in the period. Anyone who immigrated became a new member of the society, and since anyone (except, for the last few decades, Chinese and Japanese immigrants, especially to the West Coast)who wanted and could get here was allowed in (unless he obviously had a communicable disease, not a question of basic values)the society was not making sure that new members were compatible with its values.

Hence my statement was not a lie but a simple description of the historical facts.

At 3:59 PM, December 01, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...


And how was "of good character" in fact controlled? Any immigration checkpoints on the Mexican border? What sort of interrogation do you think the folk at Ellis Island engaged in?

As I expect you know, the nationalities that the anti-immigration people objected to were ones that were coming in in large numbers.

At 12:49 AM, December 02, 2013, Blogger Tibor said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 12:50 AM, December 02, 2013, Blogger Tibor said...


I think it is quite possible that today's immigrants to the US are on average less pro-free market or less libertarian than average citizens. But the US is no longer a free market country. There are a lot of subsidies, a lot of social welfare and although there still is a myth (especially in Europe) of "ruthless capitalism" in the US, the truth is as far as it can get. Now, CATO institute is obviously biased in this but if their study is to believed, in some states in the US it is actually easier to live on social welfare than in some european countries (provided that you are a US citizen):

"The current welfare system provides such a high level of benefits that it acts as a disincentive for work. Welfare currently pays more than
a minimum-wage job in 35 states, even after accounting for the Earned Income Tax Credit, and in 13 states it pays more than $15 per hour. "


Now, of course such a deal is much more attractive to people who actually want to live on social welfare than to those who don't want to subsidize the former. Also, even people who come to work may soon find out it is much more difficult - there are various regulations and complications with working on your own. Those people may soon learn that even for them it is easier to just live on welfare subsidies.

My conjecture is that whatever state you predominantly have (free market or social welfare oriented), the same kind of people are going to be immigrating there. Now, there have to be other effects as well, otherwise all countries would eventually end up in one far end point and stay there. But as far as I can tell, immigration magnifies the trend whatever it is, rather than the opposite. It might be even a testable hypothesis (although given all the effects working together and not that much data, it could be hard).

At 1:45 AM, December 02, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually immigration was a local issue pre-1900s. i remember listening a podcast on law liberty talk about this subject. what happened was that there were immigration restrictions but on state level.

in fact there has ALWAYS been a very strong anti-immigrant movement in USA. for example i think it was washington or madison (one of those) who was extremely worried about german immigrants just after the signing of constitution.

USA, at least in the general public-popular-rhetoric, has never been particularly welcoming of immigrants, apart from of course english immigrants.

At 2:38 AM, December 02, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...


(I am the anonymous who posted the Marginal Revolution link) Thanks very much for the CATO article, I might show it to one or two of my friends here in Europe who seem to think the US is basically the Wild West in terms of the role of government. That said, I didn't see any comparisons in that article to European countries, could you remember which ones they were?

I agree with your view about people who come to the US today, a very large fraction of whom are there for a better job and standard of living rather than any attraction to American/libertarian values. Equally, many won't have any big complaints about welfare programs being expanded, being largely in the lower income groups anyway. In the UK (as I'm sure you know) we have had a large number of Eastern and Central Europeans come to look for jobs, and are overall neither significantly more right or left wing than the native population. But ultimately they are poor by our standards and probably wouldn't curl up and die if more money was put into benefits. That said, they tend to be quite enthusiastic drinkers so they might increase opposition to alcohol restrictions in the long run.

At 3:34 AM, December 02, 2013, Blogger Tibor said...


Well, 15 dollars an hour is about half of the median wage in the US. In the Czech republic, half of median wage would be about 4 dollars. I have not studied it in detail, but I am reasonably sure that you cannot get that much on welfare here. Not in the long run anyway. If you lose a job, you get about half of your previous salary for 3 months and then you only get a minimum which might be about 2 dollars an hour. However, there are other subsidies - for accomodation, for children and a couple of others that you can get, so maybe it is possible to live on welfare on much higher standards. Still, if you consider what you can actually buy for that money (groceries are not more much more expensive in the US that they are in the Czech republic, accomodation and services are, gas is much cheaper, since in EU the shale gas mining is prohibited), one can definitely live on welfare better in some parts of the US than in the Czech republic (and I would expect this to be true of other former communist central European countries which are now part of the EU, such as Slovakia, Poland or Hungary).

My guess is also that at least some Swiss cantons dont have very high welfare subsidies, because the taxes there (mainly in the German part and especially in canton Zug) are very low and I dont see how they could afford it (and I don´t see how the local people would support it), but this is just a guess.

So I guess my previous statement should not be viewed as solid evidence, I cannot present any definite data. I might try to look something up, although it is quite hard to make these estimates as there are usually many independent subsidies that one can apply to, so you cannot just compare two numbers.

So far as I know, UK is becoming increasingly socialist with ridiculous ideas such as subsidizing mothers for lactating emerging lately. And of course the national healthcare system seems to be quite horrible there also. But I only know what I read and hear. However it has been following this trend with slight pauses such as the Thatcher period ever since the end of WW2 (or ever since WW2, as war is the state´s biggest friend), so that was way before any very foreign immigration (such as Poles or even Arabs). It still seems to me it is the other way around - free market rule attracts people who want to work there, pay low taxes and be bothered by the state as little as possible and welfare state rule attracts people who want to live off social welfare subsidies. It is not the immigrants that change the rules, but the rules that change the kind prospective immigrants.

I agree that immigration might be a problem as long as you have a welfare state. But it is not a reason to restrict immigration but to eliminate the welfare state.

At 4:04 AM, December 02, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Don't worry, I'm not too bothered about finding an international comparison. I just thought you meant there was something in that article that I missed. It would be interesting to know how US states with bigger welfare programs compare to their equivalents in Europe ie Nordic countries. I suppose the basic reason the Czech Republic, Poland etc have quite basic welfare programmes is because they have to be more competitive than Western European economies, in order to catch up? I don't know much about the subject.

The UK hasn't become much more or less socialistic in recent years (our healthcare system won't be properly reformed in a million years, however). Thatcher was, in my view, a lot more than a slight pause, as she led to significantly less public ownership of industry and decreased the awesome power of trade unions. Britain was the Sick Man of Europe throughout the 1970s, a leader with her views was genuinely needed by the 80s.

One trend I have noticed is that our left-wing press- newspapers are extremely biased in the UK by US and European standards- are always printing articles about relative poverty. These articles rarely mention or seem to control for the large numbers of poor immigrants who have moved here in recent years, and instead suggest the usual class system nonsense about the government being controlled by and for the rich etc. The conclusion is inevitably that the government should do a lot more in terms of public spending. Also, the anti-welfare right is invariably (relatively) anti-immigration, and the left is pro-welfare and pro-immigration. Extremely few people have the same combination of views as yourself.

At 7:07 AM, December 02, 2013, Blogger Tibor said...

Anonymous: Well, taxes in the Czech republic have increased recently, because the so called right wing government raised so many of them in what they call "austerity". Same story as in other European countries, including western ones. The level of bureaucracy seems to be about the same as in Germany (where I now study and work, so I can compare it a little bit). Czech GDP has surpassed that of the southern countries (Portugal, Greece, maybe Spain, but not Italy I think) already, but that is hardly a surprise considering how horrible laws they have there (in Spain it is almost impossible to fire someone and if you do, you have to pay him several months of wages...which results in I think about 50% unemployment among people below 30 years of age) and also how much in debt their governments are.

But there definitely is no catching up to Germany or especially not to Switzerland which has much lower taxes than, well...probably all other European countries.

There is no reason to expect a government to do a good job just because it has some catching up to do. As long as there is no competition, the democratic proces is too crude a tool to steer the government in the right direction. This is also probably why Switzerland is so successfull - there are a lot of very small cantons with a lot of power (more than that of the US states) which creates some competition. In the US it does not seem to work because the states are too big.

The problem with most right-wing politicians is that they like to use free market rhetoric, but their real policy is also state oriented. In other ways than that of the left, but it still leaves the state a lot of power. A left wing politician says: This industry should be nationalized, a right-wing politician says: this should be private, but he really means: "This industry should be licenced by our government so that a few companies that supported me in the campaign get to compete there, but noone else does".

I am exaggerating a little bit, but this is basically how it is.

And as I said - I don't believe you can have a welfare state and open borders at the same time. Not for a long time at least. Well, welfare state tends to create rent seeking and other problems even if you have closed borders, but it will probably take longer. But if you don't have any mandatory "social security" nonsense and no welfare subsidies, then I think immigration can only be positive.

Also, to close the borders is also to limit the freedom of your own citizens. Why should the state forbid me to employ a ukrainian (a lot of illegal ukranians work in the Czech republic in factories and other jobs that Czechs don't want to do much...and often they are extorted by ukranian or russian mafia who transport them here...and since they are illegal, they cannot get help from the police, that is another bad consequence of restricting immigration) worker, or rent him a flat?

At 7:12 AM, December 02, 2013, Blogger Tibor said...

Anonymous: Just to be a bit more precise - there were elections recently and now there is a new government which is a coalition of social democrats, christian democrats and a new party started by one local billionaire who has some chemical and food factories (so I expect that at least he is not going to want to increase taxes, albeit he will also probably want to keep the biodiesel subsidies).

Also this is interesting - there is a small party which however made it to the parliament (you need 5% of votes nationwide to get to the parliament in the Czech republic) and it is led by a half Japanese half Czech former travel agency businessman...and his main attraction is anti-immigration (and anti gypsies) rhetoric, which I find extremely funny.

At 11:07 AM, December 02, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...

"in fact there has ALWAYS been a very strong anti-immigrant movement in USA. "

Yes. There was hostility to Irish, Italian, Jewish, and Chinese immigration. But there were not, with the exception of the Chinese starting in the late 19th century, actual restrictions on their coming. And they came in very large numbers, peaking at about a million a year—and not a very large fraction of that million were English.

"what happened was that there were immigration restrictions but on state level."

Can you provide some support for that claim? Article IV Section 2 of the Constitution provides that:

"The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States."

At 12:50 PM, December 02, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a start for how States set their own immigration policy. i presume you ca email the author or search around beyond that.

and don't quote the constitution as if its the law of the land, its NOT: Article 1 Section 1: "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives." ever heard of the FDA? FCC? SEC? etc.?

At 2:12 PM, December 02, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...

On the subject of state control of immigration:

1. If you listen to the podcast you provided the link for, it's clear that what the states were controlling was not who could come to them from other states, which is what the constitutional provision I quoted would be relevant to, but the arrival of people in their ports from abroad. That means that if you could get into any state you could get into all of them, so no state could control who got into it.

2. Further, if you listen to the podcast, you discover that the two main bases for limiting immigration were disease, which I think I already mentioned, and "paupers," people who appeared unable to take care of themselves. Neither of those fits your argument.

3. He makes it clear that naturalization, becoming a U.S. citizen, was under federal control not state control.

So states could not set their own immigration policy in any way that let them control who came into them. All each state could do is control who came into it from abroad, and that control was not used for "creating and enforcing certain morals and ideas ... ."

Again ... . You claimed that my description of US immigration policy prior to the 1920's was "a LIE and a red herring." That was your response to a comment of mine responding to a comment of yours about societies making sure "that new members are somewhat compatible with its basic values." If the only things checked for were disease and pauperism, the U.S. was not making sure that its new citizens were somewhat compatible with its basic values. If each state had no control over citizens moving to it from other states, no state could be making sure of that either.

Would you care to either support your claim or retract it? You may want to listen to the podcast you pointed me at before deciding.

So far as respect for the Constitution is concerned, most of the period I am discussing was before the "FDA? FCC? SEC?" existed.

At 2:35 PM, December 02, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Would you care to either support your claim or retract it?"

I support my claim and certainly do not withdraw it. there has been anti-immigration sentiment for the whole of USA's history and i cannot believe that that did not translated to immigration controls of some kind.

why do I get the burden of proof?

you should be able to provide at least some corroborative evidence that there were absolutely no actual restrictions on immigration (as opposed to what some constitutional writers wished for), especially in the sense of not requiring the immigrant to have hold some basic values of US. the loyalists for example were brutally and violently driven out by the colonial insurgents, certainly those people were deemed not to hold basic values required to stay in america...

At 3:09 PM, December 02, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...

"there has been anti-immigration sentiment for the whole of USA's history and i cannot believe that that did not translated to immigration controls of some kind."

I agreed some time back that there was anti-immigration sentiment. But you have no business describing the usual account of the relevant history as "a LIE" on the grounds that you "cannnot believe" it is true, when you have not a scrap of evidence that it isn't true.

You provided a link to a source of evidence on the relevant history. Listen to it and see if you can find any suggestion that either the states or the federal government was "requiring the immigrant to have hold some basic values of US."

At 4:40 PM, December 02, 2013, Blogger Will McLean said...


"The U.S. did almost nothing of the sort for about the first two thirds of its history. "

It barred non-whites from becoming naturalized citizens until 1870, If they were of "African nativity and to persons of African descent", they got chance to become citizens in that year. But that wasn't where most immigrants were coming from then.

But Asians had to wait: Chinese until 1943, and most other Asians until 1952.

Now, the exclusion of a path to citizenship seems like an important omission to me.

At 6:06 PM, December 02, 2013, Blogger Will McLean said...

"The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States."

This is profoundly unhelpful if you wish to be a citizen but can't because white persons got to go to the head of the head of the line for citizenship for most of our history.

At 2:01 AM, December 03, 2013, Blogger Tibor said...

Anonymous: I do not know if you are religious but your last response really seems the same as that of people who ask atheists to disprove existence of God. It is the one who claims existence of something (you claim existence of concrete anti-immigration restrictions) who should provide the evidence. And unlike the God questions, it is pretty easy to provide it if there is some, so that there is no reason to stay agnostic.

At 2:31 AM, December 03, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

no, you just made a claim, your statement is no better than mine. prove to me that what you said was not a lie. the us constitution doesnt count, because that is a wish-list, not a record of what actually happened. there were requirements for immigrants to be at least a little bit aligned with the local norms, otherwise they would have been imprisoned and deported.

At 4:16 AM, December 03, 2013, Blogger Tibor said...

Anonymous: No law is the default state. You claim that there were anti-immigration laws. Therefore you should show conclusive evidence of their existence. Will at least makes a claim (I don't know whether true) of a particular law restriction. You have only provided hand-waving so far. And yes, probably people could get imprisoned (or if they were not citizens, then maybe even deported) for breaking laws, but that applied to citizens also. If you want to back up your claim, you need to show evidence that there were laws that were preventing immigration based on culture or "basic values of the society". If you mean by that that a non-citizen immigrant could have been deported when he trespassed the local laws, then that is probably true, but I would not call that selecting immigrants based on whether they share the basic values of the society. It is selelection based on obeying local law and that is something different.

At 6:22 AM, December 03, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i dont see why i should have the burden of proof. i was not the one who originally made a claim, it was David Friedman.

At 8:19 AM, December 03, 2013, Blogger Will McLean said...

The first Federal law to restrict immigration rather than naturalization was the Page Act of 1875, followed by the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. But earlier, California passed a series of state laws intended to discourage immigration by disfavored groups, starting with the Foreign Miners Tax of 1850.

At 6:25 PM, December 03, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...


When you say a statement is a lie, the burden of proof is on you. If your point is only that I haven't shown it to be true, you should have asked me to do so, not asserted that it was false.

As it happens, however, you yourself provided the evidence to support my claim, in the podcast you provided the link to. As you can easily find out by listening to it, it is inconsistent with your claim, consistent with mine.

At 8:16 PM, December 03, 2013, Blogger Unknown said...

Rand specifically states in Shrugged: "Value is that which one acts to gain and keep." Her derivation of Ought from Is is as simple as that man strives for things, which is accepted as the standard of value in ethics at a much broader range than Rand's work. For what it's worth, she also makes the comparison: "Rationality is a matter of choice--and the alternative his nature offers him is: rational being or suicidal animal." So at least the concept of a destructive beast is in her vocabulary. Again, this is an aside - I don't believe Rand derivates her concept of value from that which beasts must strive towards, but that which man does, which is pure and simple. Clearly some people do not value life, but this does not imply the non-existence of values on a subjective level.

Rand's point is really that man's value *should be* life, but that reasoning is a lot more complicated, and not limited to a discussion on Ought and Is. Put most simply, life is that which allows man to make a story - a romance - which is the fast-track to happiness, or so she believes. One should value life because all value utility and life is good, as far as Rand is concerned. Whether or not you agree with that is based on a complicated series of interwoven opinions about the virtues of living, not a brief point about Rand's minor flaw in the field of animal psychology.

At 11:03 PM, December 03, 2013, Anonymous Ty Fyter said...

Hi David,

I like your stuff. Will the Third Ed. be available in print??

Ty Fyter

At 11:49 PM, December 03, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...


Open Court is interested in publishing the third edition, but we haven't yet reached an agreement on terms. So I expect it will be available in print as well as in some eBook form.

At 11:50 PM, December 03, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...


While non-whites could not become naturalized citizens, they could and did immigrate in large numbers and their children were natural born citizens.

I don't see how that pattern supports the point Anonymous was making and am not sure what point you were making.

At 2:16 AM, December 04, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

" the podcast you provided the link to. As you can easily find out by listening to it, it is inconsistent with your claim, consistent with mine."

no i distinctly remember the podcast saying that there were immigration controls, lax but never the less in existence, on state level and the states chose what these were and how they were enforced. in any case that is only a corroboration. what you must so is prove/show evidence of absence of any immigration restrictions, lets say up to the civil war, every where and all the way through that time period. this means of you must check all the states.

lets not forget that even now the states practise their own immigration policy, e.g. ARIZONA. even if SCOUS didnt like what arizona did, arizona never the less HAD an immigration policy. combined that with my knowledge that america always had strong anti-immigration sentiments i think my claim is true unless you can show otherwise.

as i said, i considered it highly unlikely that not a single state, or even county or town in that 100 year or so history ever have a single immigration control measure (which required the immigrant to be at least a little bit consistent with the local traditions/norms) be it explicit law or tacit societal norm.

At 5:11 PM, December 04, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 5:13 PM, December 04, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

David, there is a typo in the Initial Appropriation chapter " that it is therefor proper to convert land", e at the end of therefor...big fan of your work, looking forward to getting the new edition.

At 12:50 AM, December 05, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...

Samer: Thanks. I think that's one my wife already caught--I have two in house copy editors, as well as all the helpful readers elsewhere.

At 10:56 AM, December 06, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many thanks,on another note at the beginning of the "Economics of Virtue and Vice", first line, there are two ns at the end of the word explanation.

BTW, I really like how you addressed the Randian positions by actually quoting her. It would be awesome if a chapter, at some point, addresses Rothbard by quoting him (I don't know whether this is covered in the new edition). It seems that his followers (like Block in his paper about you)went after you for not actually quoting him. To be honest, I am on your side of the issue, but it will set the record straight once and for all if Rothbard gets the same treatment as Rand.

At 1:07 PM, December 06, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...


I have two different disagreements with Rothbard. The important one is on how the legal system of an anarchist society should be generated. I make the argument for my view in the book, and don't see any reason to discuss his.

The other is that I think Rothbard was frequently dishonest in his arguments, with his attack on Smith a notable example. I've discussed that in some detail online, but don't think it is relevant to the subject of my book, which is libertarian ideas, not the libertarian movement.

At 5:55 AM, December 10, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a suggestion, but would you ever make a chapter that concerns the theory of "Demand-Pull Inflation", which revolves around the idea that Government must use taxation to control wages from going up in order to prevent inflation which is caused by high wages, something like that. The reason I think its important is because its being taught in high school economics classes now a days.

At 5:10 PM, December 10, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...


If I included chapters responding to every piece of bad economics taught anywhere it would be a very long book.


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