The Libertarian Paradox and Bad Policy
I don't want to live in an area that indiscriminately lets in millions of poor immigrants from the third world. I believe such a place would be unpleasant to live in. At least I want my government to keep out the crazies with bombs.
Libertarian moral philosophy clearly allows me to pursue this goal privately. I am allowed to band together with other people, buy up some land, and prevent immigrants we don't want from moving to our gated community. Furthermore, in some future anarchist seasteading utopia where governments were privately owned and operated, libertarian philosophy allows me to choose to patronize a seastead government that is discriminating in how many and what kinds of immigrants it accepts (I'm moving to the one with Megan Fox). What's more, judging from public opinion polls I believe such discriminating seasteads would be vastly more popular and profitable than open borders seasteads.
But because we do not live in a libertarian world and much of the property in the United States is owned by the government, many libertarians (example) hold that we have no moral choice but to pursue an open borders policy and let in any immigrant who wishes to come.
This is an example of what I am christening the "libertarian paradox". Because of the governing systems currently in place, libertarian moral philosophy compels us to advocate for bad policies that nobody really wants. Because the roads and borders are not private property, it would be immoral for us to use government force to prevent some immigrants from using them to move here.
And then libertarians wonder why their message is so unpopular, all the while they are advocating policies that nobody, not even most libertarians, would voluntarily choose to live under if they had the personal free choice.
I'll give you another example of the L-paradox. A few months ago I read a blog post in support of a policy of mandatory paternity tests at birth. The author, and myself, think this policy would prevent severe injustice and provide incentive for people to act in more moral and honest ways. But then the author, a libertarian, backed off from his advocacy because he felt uncomfortable making any policy mandatory and thereby using government force on anybody.
But if we had a free choice between living in a society with mandatory paternity testing and one without it, both the author and myself would cheerfully choose the first. Again, libertarian moral philosophy compels us to pollute our real, current world with bad policy, saving our good ideas for a future world of private governments.
I'm a structural libertarian. I think we will have a more pleasant, productive, prosperous, and just world if people had substantive individual choice over the political systems in which they live. I believe modern governments are incurably insane, and most policy is too expansive. But I think it perverse that libertarian moral philosophy constrains us to make bad decisions until we achieve libertopia.