Bryan Caplan on Open Borders: Converting the Faithful

A week ago, Dr. Caplan has solicited opinions on how persuasive his arguments in favor of unrestricted immigration have been. His post has accumulated 102 comments as of this writing, most of them containing answers to his question. I took the liberty of classifying the answers based on two criteria, how much has the commenter been persuaded and what was his original position on the immigration question. I have found it useful to distinguish five such positions: strongly pro-unrestricted immigration, weakly pro-unrestricted or strongly pro-somewhat limited immigration, no position (people who had not considered the issue or had not bothered formulating a position), conservative pro-closed borders and reactionary pro-closed borders. Here are the results at a glance (excuse my paint skillz):

I believe this picture says as much about Dr. Caplan’s audience as about his arguments. He has been quite successful in converting those who had no formulated position and the moderate pro-immigrationists into fervent pro-unrestricted immigrationists, and equally good at increasing the fervor of those who already agreed with him. He has also scored some zealous converts from the conservative camp. However, he has been less than unsuccessful in persuading the reactionaries, and the reactionary side gained some potential members through his obstinate refusal to deal with the strongest reactionary arguments (I’m quoting the commenters, not having read much of Dr. Caplan’s writing on the subject), his moral snobbishness and hypocrisy. I suspect that these results will not change even if more reactionary commenters show up now that Foseti has linked to Dr. Caplan’s post.

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2 Responses to Bryan Caplan on Open Borders: Converting the Faithful

  1. Caplan’s comments are carefully curated by an annoying Jewess. Caplan is also not really worth arguing with, he’s quite obviously a nutty extremist on immigration. He’s basically the libertarian who thinks we should privatize police forces. No one is ever going to take him seriously and he will never win over anyone but Aspergers-afflicted supernerds. Therefore, judging his arguments by the people who bother commenting and are allowed through moderation is unwise to say the least.

  2. Also, do you really have to call him “Dr. Caplan”? It’s unnecessarily servile. First, he doesn’t practice medicine. Second, the time in which a PhD really meant something is long past. Please dispense with this sort of fogey-ish etiquette.

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