A propertarian speaks on the immigration crisis

John Kersey

This speech was given to the Annual Dinner of the Traditional Britain Group at the Royal Over-Seas League, London, on 12 September.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for inviting me to address you tonight. I am going to address a few words on the current immigration crisis.

Let me begin with some considerations of principle. Freedom and civilisation are based upon a simple premise: that land should be privately owned. If we build a society based on the private ownership of land then there is no limit to our endeavour. For centuries, this was the foundation of the West; land was owned and managed by landowners who had a direct interest in its prosperity and an equally direct interest in the welfare of those who worked that land. If we seek the roots of the England we know and love, we find it most clearly in the private ownership of land.

In our time, this freedom has been challenged. Under socialism, and regrettably under governments that call themselves conservative, we have seen measures that have been designed to break the link between landowner and land, and instead to introduce a very different concept. This is the idea that sovereignty consists not in land but in the person. If the person is sovereign, then we will build a very different kind of society; indeed, we are unlikely to build a society at all, because individualism will cause that society to atomize into multiple and ever-changing identity groups.

Here, then, is the root of the immigration crisis. If we say that land is sovereign, then it follows that someone must exercise control over it. There are still substantial private landowners in Britain today, especially so in Scotland. But for our purposes, we should see land as it really is. There is no terra nullis in Britain today. Even that which is owned privately is subordinate to the Crown, and the Crown is effectively a surrogate for the people in its ownership and management of that land which is deemed to be held in common by the nation. I am not talking here of those private estates, such as the Duchy of Cornwall, which belong to the Crown, but instead of the vast mass of common land that we encounter every day of our lives and that is subject to the management of those who are, ultimately, servants of the Crown, whether as politicians, civil servants or local council workers. This is our land, and we are right to care about what happens to it.

This, then, is why as a propertarian, I find the immigration crisis so vexed by unclear thought. Land belongs to someone. If land belongs to the Crown, the Crown has a duty to manage that land in the best interests of the people of Britain, because it is on behalf of the people of Britain that the Crown holds that land in the first place. And that duty cannot be construed otherwise than to the people of Britain as they stand now. It cannot be a duty to foreigners or their governments, for how could that be in our national interest? Therefore we are faced with the prospect that the Crown and its servants believe that in permitting mass immigration to this country, they are actually acting in the best interests of the people of Britain. I believe they are quite wrong in this.

Let us now look more closely at what is going on at the moment. I believe that Janice Atkinson MEP has summed the situation up very well. Here is what she had to say,

“Let’s be clear about another thing: despite what the human rights industry and the massed ranks of taxpayer-funded charities and lobby-groups repeat, this is not a refugee crisis but a massive crisis of illegal immigration which must be resisted for what it is. A man who leaves Syria may be a refugee at the start of the journey. When he is illegally living in Calais and illegally attempting to enter Britain, he is an economic migrant and an illegal immigrant. The humanitarian consequences of the Syrian crisis are for the countries of the Middle East to manage. Not for Britain, not for France, not for Austria, not for Italy, not for the Netherlands, not for Poland, not for Romania. That cannot be said too often. Oil-rich, cash-rich petro-monarchies of the region must act. They claim to be our allies. Instead, some fund Islamic terrorism and allow hundreds of thousands to come to our countries against the wishes of our people.”

It seems to me that we have, since at least 1997, suffered a concerted political attack on our immigration system. The driving force behind that attack seems to be the belief that the person is sovereign; that anyone who wishes should be able to come to Britain regardless of the skills or abilities they would bring to our country or their cultural compatibility with it, and that the settled population of these islands should simply put up with it. We do not need to look far to find the cause of this. The Labour Party saw that immigrants and their descendants were among their core supporters. They believed that the more they opened our doors to immigrants the more they would create a Labour client state and effectively pack Britain with Labour voters. Others, influenced by the ideology of multiculturalism, saw mass immigration in the same way as theorists such as the Frankfurt School as a means of destabilising opposition to socialism and making the lot of conservatives a miserable one. In an interview in 2013, Lord Mandelson said “In 2004 when as a Labour government, we were not only welcoming people to come into this country to work, we were sending out search parties for people and encouraging them, in some cases, to take up work in this country.”

Now we are seeing the distinction between legal and illegal immigration further weakened. Having encouraged mass immigration, we cannot then profess ourselves surprised when people from countries where life chances are extremely poor decide that any chance to get across our borders is worth taking. We are told that if we send millions of pounds in international aid, and indeed if we intervene militarily in foreign wars, that we will help these people stay where they are and stabilise their countries. Don’t believe it. Those who are coming to Europe believe that the standard of living that their countries provide is inadequate by comparison with that of the West. They do not want mere safety, which is why they do not want to stay in Hungary. Rather, they see the prosperity that Britain and Germany represent, and they want to experience it for themselves.

What is happening to our immigration system is an erosion of its natural boundaries. Time after time, the Prime Minister assures us that we will get an immigration system that is tougher. When he says tougher, what he actually means is fairer; that is to say, fairer both to the immigrants and to those who are already here. And yet the changes made do not have the effect that is claimed for them, nor do they succeed in substantially lowering the numbers who enter Britain each year. I hear constant statistic-based arguments from both sides about whether immigration is economically beneficial. I do not believe that it is, because it artificially distorts our labour market. I certainly do not believe it is in anyone’s interest that we should have a class of super-rich international jet-setters employing an underclass of disenfranchised immigrants to do menial work that the existing population of this country is supposedly unwilling to do. But this is what happens when an aristocracy of land is replaced by an aristocracy of money. We should not think that Tony Blair and his colleagues are motivated by noblesse oblige or care for our society and our environment. Their motivation seems, by contrast, to speak all too plainly of short-term, materialistic, self-interested greed and tribalism in favour of their family and friends. Their interest is not so much in New Labour as in cheap labour. These are not the values we should have at the heart of our society and they are not values that have had any significant place in the Britain of the past.

But it is not the economic arguments that have the greatest impact on me, it is the cultural arguments. These are arguments that go largely unheard in the House of Commons. It is left to Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, to voice them. He says “Those arriving have been raised in another religion, and represent a radically different culture. Most of them are not Christians, but Muslims. This is an important question, because Europe and European identity is rooted in Christianity. Is it not worrying in itself that European Christianity is now barely able to keep Europe Christian? There is no alternative, and we have no option but to defend our borders.” His is not the only country to say that it cannot accept more Muslim migrants.

Is it not sobering that our own Prime Minister cannot mount a robust defence of the Christian heritage of our country in this way? It must be admitted that were he to do so, he would not get a lot of support from the Church of England. But this is the crux of the matter. We cannot allow mass immigration by people, whatever their personal merits and humanitarian need, whose cultural commitment is to values which are profoundly different from our own, without a heavy price being paid. And the countries where those values are naturally at home – Saudi Arabia chief among them – are noticeable by their reluctance to assist in the present crisis, even though it is they who should be bearing the heaviest burden. As those rich Arab countries look at Europe, they must be reminding themselves of the old saying, “never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake”.

A further argument which is extremely important is that we must learn the lessons of the past when it comes to immigration. The character of Britain depends in large part on the fact that our country is relatively underpopulated. Even our cities, which have always been cosmopolitan in nature, are having to bear a burden that is far greater than they were designed for. The NHS, the transport system and local services cannot be stretched beyond their limit without breaking. We are seeing property prices being inflated by an artificial scarcity, and new housing being built not only on brownfield sites but often as infill development on greenfield sites as well.

As our towns and cities become more packed, our quality of life suffers. It also suffers from the failure to assimilate migrants by enforcing our cultural values. It should be the norm that the English language is spoken on our streets, for example, and it should also be used in commerce, so that we do not have shop frontages entirely in a foreign language. Immigrants should learn English, and we should monitor their progress until they can communicate clearly in the language. We should have the courage to ban the burka and thereby defend the rights and freedoms of women which were hard-fought in this country. We must ensure that immigrants do not jump the queue for council housing or other public services at the expense of our settled population, but that they wait their turn like everyone else. We should also ensure that British values are taught in our schools and that Muslim propaganda has no place there. One aspect of this that I came across recently is that music – singing or playing an instrument – is regarded as haram, or forbidden, by most Muslims. We should be clear that every child should be allowed the experience of singing and the opportunity to learn a musical instrument during their time at school, regardless of their religious beliefs. And we should not hesitate to deport from this country those who use our hospitality to argue against Western values and to encourage terrorism and armed jihad. That has no place whatsoever in this country. If people want to go to Syria to fight with ISIS, they should not be allowed back and should be treated as undesirable aliens. As our recent experience has shown, it is very easy for the Home Office to keep people out of this country.

In short, where our cultural values and those of foreign migrants clash, ours should prevail and our national systems should enforce them. We cannot be equivocal about this. If we give in to cultural relativism, we are effectively signing our death warrant as a people and as a culture. We need to understand that the support of our culture requires its positive reinforcement at every level. It cannot simply be absorbed by osmosis, and certainly not if we allow ghettoes to form.

I do not want to deny or diminish the human cost of immigration from the migrants’ point of view. We would not be human if we were not moved by the plight of dead children or desperate people. Those scenes rightly evoke an emotional response in us. But political policy cannot be subject to emotion; it must be made with a cool head and in a climate of calm and reasoned judgement. The decisions we make about immigration, whatever they may be, will always have a cost to pay. My belief, though, is that the balance of those decisions must always be firmly towards the settled population of this country, who look to their government to defend their interests. We cannot accept everyone who wants to come here, and if we do, we will have acted to destroy this country, not enrich it. We must have the maturity and the courage to say, as Hungary has said, that there are good reasons to say no.



  • Two things seem to be missing from this piece:

    1) Evidence that the speaker is actually a “propertarian” (unless by “propertarian” we mean someone who feels entitled to control other people’s property, e.g. to decide what language they’ll write their business signs in); and

    2) Evidence of a “crisis” of any kind.

    • Of course it’s not a crisis. This free movement of people is precisely what libertarians have in mind, naturally. Only bigoted racists would possibly object.


      Phew! That was close.

  • 1. “Propertarian” as defined here: http://www.propertarianism.com and elsewhere by Hoppe et al. I don’t want to prevent other people from doing as they wish with their property. I want to ensure that I and others who agree with me can do what they wish with theirs. It is the distinction between “ours” and “theirs” that is key here. My point is that property held in common for “us”, as the settled population of the UK, is being controlled by people acting counter to our interests and against our will.

    2. No crisis? Why do you think Germany has just re-introduced border controls instead of continuing to let everyone in? Do you seriously think that Britain and Germany can absorb everyone who wants to come there without fundamental change both in their cultural makeup and in the provision of public services?

    • 1. It’s only in the case of immigration that Hoppe et. al pretend the state holds property “in common for ‘us.'” That’s an untenable supposition.

      2. Why do I think Germany has just re-introduced border controls? Because I agree with Mencken: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

      • While I agree with John Kersey as to the politically-enforced multiculturalism people in Britain have been subjected to, my concern is that – and this is what Anarcho-Communist love to upbraid me for – private property holders on whatever scale are the ultimate arbiters of how their property should be disposed of.

        I get the point Kersey is making, that we LA folk have more chance of getting a political party into power that pushes the policy suggestions in the piece than we do of undoing the state and reasserting our sovereignty over our respective property and the defence thereof.

        And yet I am still not persuaded. I think it’s because I don’t place as much value in the political institutions that have accrued to British people over the past several centuries, mainly because they were delivered at the same time as the state arrogated more and more power over law-making and dispute resolution to itself, making the total change in the exercise of individual rights from the times of the first Bretwaldas to now a zero-sum game.

        Also, if Hoppe speaks of constitutional monarchs as custodians with a proprietor’s outlook toward their demesne, he ain’t thinking of rubber-stamp monarchies like the UK, Sweden, The Netherlands et al… he means places like Leichtenstein or Thailand, surely?

      • British taxpayers are the owners of public land. The state cannot import clients on obvious propertarian grounds.

  • Splendid piece. I’m reblogging it in an effort to force some sense into American libertarians. And it is quibcagged as well.

  • I’m sorry to say, John’s article powerfully-analytical and notwithstanding, that this sort of discussion is now merely causing a private and small reassortment of the remaining deckchairs on the deck of the Titanic, which is in the act of going down.

    The UK is actually finished. It’s gone. We should prepare for coming the Dark Period.

    The most that any of us can hope for is a sort of encased-spore-formation of the contents of our collective assortment of private libraries, of which I know of several. Although I tend to favour Hard Printed Books in secret armoured and fireproofed rooms, there is a place for modern software-stored things, for there will always be some of those people, perhaps later to be burnt as Witches (I shall be one, for I also know about “wireless” and “radio” – very very dangerous to StaliNazis) who shall yet still know how, in the GreeNazi-enforced Endarkenment, to read the contents of disks and usb sticks, having the knowledge of simple but reliable battery-making, and perhaps even small quiet generators.

    Let me tell you a sad tale. It’s my job.

    I had the good fortune to go to the Tesco in Ledbury on Monday, to buy snacks for myself and our younger son who was hungry after 166 miles. We were going to my cousin’s funeral.We got to the checkout, the good blowsy blonde middle-aged lady checkout-person scanned our things, and then announced “JUST TO REMIND YOU, FROM OCTOBER 5TH WE CHARGE 5P FOR EACH CARRIER BAG!”

    I said …”Oh dear…really?”(somewhat loudly and troubled-sounding.)
    She said:-

    “Ice formed on my upper slopes” (as P G Wodehouse said once about Jeeves), and the rest of the checkout-paying-stage was perhaps marred by a socialist icy-ness coming between me, the customer, and the employee of the shop that was supposed to be serving me. Even my boy noticed it, and chortled in his suppressed joy.

    I was actually seriously depressed, the coming funeral in the rain of my cousin Tony notwithstanding, that an ordinary (and very) provincial Ethnic White British woman, living in an ordinary nice place like Ledbury, could believe such a falsehood as that which she loudly and gaily and optimistically uttered, _ in front of other people who she did not know _ .

    You people overseas must understand that we, here, are finished. As the the engineer, “Chief” ERA Watts in “The Cruel Sea” shouted to his sub on the torpedoing of Compass Rose, “UP YOU GO, LADDIE, WE’RE ALL DONE HERE!”

    • Albion may fall. France, Germany and Sweden may become Islamic republics – but what of the rest of Europe? There isn’t much that can be done for the West’s current state, this we know. It has become a civilisation of death. The general sentiment is against any rational sense; the west has forgotten what it means to be.

      What about those countries in Europe unto which the sun shines first? They have almost no non-European migration! This if course isn’t due to some particular feat of resistance or sensible migration policy on their side – they’re simply seen as unattractive to the invading hordes as they usually have lacking a lacking social welfare institution in comparison to their western peers. (I recommend you watch Janusz Korwin-Mikke’s speech in the European Parliament on this subject. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YTe5YNHBQA).

      It is a senseless endeavour trying to convince the western leftist dogmatists; they are too far down in their own lies. However even if we accept this defeatist attitude what else can we do? We cannot simply remain inert while the world as we knew it falls apart – we cannot ‘enjoy the decline’. We cannot enjoy it simply because we value western civilisation; we value the traits that made it the most successful civilisation in the entirety of Human history! Those same traits that I am speaking of have become increasingly rare over the past century. In principle and with a few notable exceptions we have become emasculated and effeminate as a continent. We are now a race of pathological altruists, desperately trying to appease in an unhealthy focus on others, to the detriment of one’s own needs.

      So what can be done? As I see it you have three options, you can either;-

      1. Hold the line like Ordon in Mickiewicz’s ‘Ordon’s Redoubt’ and lead a promethean lifestyle.
      In desperate circumstances stand against the hordes of the ‘modern educated and progressive’ leftists, the new liberal elite and non-Europeans, however by doing so become increasingly and incessantly isolated from mainstream society. This is the work of Sisyphus and at-least according to me, not the sensible option under the current circumstances as you will end like Prometheus – chained to Mount Kaukasos and having your sense ripped out from you by the left.

      2. ” At dawn, look to the East.” – Gandalf, The Two Towers.
      As the fall of Classical Civilisation came from the East, the downfall of modern western civilisation will come from the South and Southeast. This is an uncomfortable point to make note of, yet is nevertheless true. This doesn’t spell the end for western civilisation; it simply means that the decay present in that part of Europe will spell the end of the west in the west. Western culture can survive perfectly well in Eastern Europe. We share the same Greco-Roman cultural roots. The point must be made however that the further east one decides to flee the more Asiatic-influenced the culture will be.

      I propose that all those who decide to flee the west in pursuit of sanity head towards the Visegard four or a Rus country. The east, in an ironic twist of fate was sheltered from the ills and errs of the west by the Berlin wall. If you do decide to move, you should expect a significant change in your lifestyle and standard of living, you will be travelling to an ex-Soviet or Warsaw Pact state. Communism takes a toll on the mentality. There are however rising ‘New Right’ powers in Poland, Hungary and Russia. Poland has Janusz Korwin-Mikke his party has risen in the polls from 1-10% within a time period of five years and is gradually gaining more as the Polish citizenry is becoming disillusioned with the current Civic Party (Eurocrat apparatchiks) – Law and Order (Authoritarian Catholic socialists) status quo. In Hungary we have the FIdesz and Jobbik parties. Russia has Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin; a sensible cool-headed authoritarian (which is really a positive trait in Russian politics), a down-to-earth foreign policy, and a growing far-right contingent.

      The future is still here, it has merely swapped sides on the iron curtain.

      3. Convert to Islam and escape the blade.

      Your choice.

    • See my comment on “More on Jeremy Corbin”. The country is run by Trots dead set on Agenda 21. Sharia Law will be welcome in comparison.

  • Come Christmas, the citizens of Germany, England, France, etc. will be asking(begging) Santa for a Second Amendment.

  • A reply from an American Morris dancer:

    What is going on over there?

    We dance up the dawn on Mayday. We pipe in the haggis at our Burns Night supper. We do our Playford dances in our Jane Austen couture. We celebrate the Queen’s birthday with strawberries in our champagne. And though we acknowledge that Shakespeare may be a Dead White Male, we don’t concede that he (or his canon) have become totally irrelevant. We tool around in our beat up Jags and MG’s and attempt, in ways large and small, to behave like what we imagine to be proper Englishmen and women of whatever, in Britain, may be the equivalent of the American middle class. And some of us aren’t of Anglo-Saxon or even Irish descent; indeed, we have the occasional African and Latino American among our number as we try, in the pub, to distinguish a Kentishman from a Man of Kent.

    And you’re saying that the U,K. is in danger of becoming Britainiastan while we, over here, are lamenting because we’re forced to wait several more months for the final season of Downton Abbey?

    And here we’ve been imagining that the most important issue that Albion currently faces is whether or not you’re going to be able to continue to provide us with an unending supply of Yorkshire tea!

  • How could Puck ever be irrelevant..?
    (or mark twain)

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