More than once the question has been asked at this site and elsewhere: If George Soros privately financed one million [insert your choice of peoples from Africa, the Middle East or Central Asia] immigrants into your county (county, not country), would you – as a libertarian – object? The point being, privatized massive immigration of people from a completely different culture: yeah or nay?
Let’s call this the Soros dilemma. In my experience, the question has usually been ignored by advocates of open borders.
While reading One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate, by Tom Segev, this question came to me.
Under the British Mandate, it strikes me that we have seen a real-world experiment – the Soros dilemma put into action. Sure, there was nothing “private” about the significant immigration of Jews (mostly Central and Eastern European in culture) into a land primarily populated by Muslims (mostly Middle Eastern in culture).
But set aside the motive force and the source of funding: what is there in this situation that is not coincident with the aforementioned Soros thought experiment? A wealthy, powerful outside agent driving a significant immigration of people; people from a completely different background and culture from those who are already native.
Over the course of twenty-five years during the Mandatory Period, the number of Jews in Palestine increased from about 84,000 to 640,000 – almost an eight-fold increase. The Christian population doubled, from 71,000 to 143,000, as did the Muslim population, from 589,000 to 1,181,000. The percentage of the total population that was Jewish increased from slightly over 10% to about one-third.
In twenty-five years.
How did that work out for the Palestinian Muslims and Christians? Not well, not well at all; but you already know that. We know the story and the story is continuing to this day; but you already know that as well.
To my point: the motive force and method of funding is irrelevant; George Soros could provide both today (and many believe he is). So the question stands: is there a reason for a libertarian to object? Strictly applying libertarian theory, it seems difficult to object to a George Soros proceeding in such a manner.
But is it so difficult? I have asked before: does an invasion always have to be armed? Is it always obvious when you are under attack? Certainly, the Jewish immigrant wasn’t openly armed; such immigration would not be classified, traditionally, as an attack.
Are libertarians not allowed to defend against an attack?
So what does libertarian theory have to say about this, the answer to the Soros dilemma? I believe the NAP offers an answer, and one counter to what open-borders libertarians believe. Or, it doesn’t offer an answer – therefore leaving us to look to other guides for an answer.
But if the answer to the Soros dilemma for libertarians is that it is perfectly acceptable under the NAP for Soros to finance the immigration of millions, well, we have Palestine.
In Palestine, the British finally came to the realization of what those who lived in Palestine – Arab and Jew – knew was a possibility, if not certainty, from the beginning. There was only one way that this story could end: war.
Somewhere in there is a lesson.