No Case for Closed Borders

by | Mar 30, 2020

Anyone who thinks the coronavirus pandemic destroys the case for open borders hasn’t thought the matter through terribly far. Bryan Caplan explains here. Just to give a taste, in the name of excluding viruses from our shores, the government would have to stop immigration even when no pandemic was in progress since pandemics can’t be counted on to announce themselves in advance. Moreover, tourism, commercial visits, and trade would have to be abolished too. And — yikes! — so would American travel abroad unless Americans were willing to leave home and never return.

One last thing: since we have nothing even close to open borders, Caplan writes, “How much protection have 98% closed borders given us against the pandemic?  The answer: Virtually none…. The sad fact is that even very low absolute levels of international contact have been more than sufficient to spread infection almost everywhere on Earth. The marginal cost of higher levels of contact is therefore minimal.”

Liberty is a necessity, not a luxury — even during serious pandemics.

Sheldon Richman

Sheldon Richman

Sheldon Richman is the executive editor of The Libertarian Institute and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com. He is the former senior editor at the Cato Institute and Institute for Humane Studies; former editor of The Freeman, published by the Foundation for Economic Education; and former vice president at the Future of Freedom Foundation. His latest books are Coming to Palestine and What Social Animals Owe to Each Other.

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