A Reader Says Ayn Rand Was For Open Borders

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05/17/11 - A Reader Says The Problem Is Not "White Identity", But Multiple Identities

Re: Washington Watcher's article Paul Ryan: "Common Ground" With Obama On Immigration?

From: Dave Shanken (email him)

(Washington Watcher wrote that "Contrary to the widespread assumption, Rand was not a supporter of open borders, "linking to a 2002 letter titled A Reader Reveals Rand Was A Restrictionist!  Dave Shanken disagrees.)

As an apostate Randian, I believe that Rand was rabidly pro-immigration. The full reference linked in Washington Watcher's article discusses Rand's opposition to foreign aid, not to massive immigration.

 Mainstream libertarians also support wide open borders.  I have argued with a libertarian that unrestricted immigration will not advance libertarianism until other libertarian policies are introduced and accepted—for example, after social welfare and public education are eliminated, government regulation on businesses reduced to what was absolutely necessary for public safety, plus the rest of the libertarian wish list.

 The libertarian's response: a long journey begins with a single step.

I replied that a long journey begins with realistic planning.

See Dave Shanken's previous letters.

James Fulford writes: Dave Shanken has a point here. Ayn Rand's work doesn't mention immigration, but an oral history of Rand, Facets of Ayn Rand, based on interviews with Charles and Mary Ann Sures, contains this revealing passage

"Can you give a specific example of when she responded angrily to a question?

MARY ANN: Someone asked her for her views on immigration, if she thought it was a good thing. And she got indignant immediately at the very idea that anyone might be opposed to immigration, that a country might not let immigrants in. One of the things she said in her answer was, 'Where would I be today if America closed its doors to immigrants?' That really hit home; I'm sure everyone there realized that she would not have survived in Soviet Russia, that a person with her ideas would have died in prison, somewhere in Siberia. In her answer, she was defending people who were seeking freedom and a better life. And I think she was assuming that immigrants would be like she was—ready and able to make their own way, accepting help if voluntarily given by individuals but not expecting government handouts. But it was clear that she was angry at the idea, not at the person asking the question."

See also this video from Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, taking the Open Borders position, on orthodox Randian principles.