Continuing from where I left off (see below):
Unfortunately, I think that Will Wilkinson's account of his opponents' position is more caricature than characterization.
To begin with, I doubt whether even the most "chauvinist" of U.S. immigration restrictionists believes that any rule or policy - even a rule or policy of another group - is justified simply because it benefits the group of which he happens to be a member.
It takes, after all, a truly heroic sort of chauvinism to presume to judge the rules and policies of other groups by the standard of whether or not they happen to benefit one's own. Ironically enough, Wilkinson might actually have a case here if he were objecting to Mexican's attitudes towards U.S. immigration policies - for they do, precisely, insist that we adopt policies that benefit themselves at our expense. But all the immigration restrictionists that I know of here in the U.S. consider it perfectly right and proper for other groups to set up rules and policies that benefit themselves and not us, and merely suggest that we do likewise. That is why they like to point out the highly restrictive immigration policies of Mexico: not because they object to those policies, but rather because they think we should imitate them.
So let's give Wilkinson's account of his opponents' position a bit of a tweak: for the chauvinist, if a rule or policy of a particular group benefits the members of that group, then it is justified.
But this is still too strong. Again, I doubt whether even the most "chauvinist" of U.S. immigration restrictionists believes that benefiting Americans is all it takes to justify even an American rule or policy. And here we should note that some of the most prominent opponents of open borders have also been some of the most prominent opponents of the "global war on terror," on the grounds that pursuit of U.S. interests cannot justify international aggression or violations of civil rights. In fact, most U.S. immigration restrictionists would probably be perfectly happy to agree with Wilkinson when he writes that "citizens are under a strict obligation not to harm or violate the rights of non-citizens."
So let's give Wilkinson's account of his opponents' position another tweak: for the chauvinist, if a rule or policy of a particular group benefits the members of that group, then it is pro tanto justified - i.e., to that extent justified, provided that it does not violate anybody's rights.
One might think that "chauvinism" should be made of sterner stuff. One might even think that it is utterly ridiculous and offensive for Wilkinson to call his opponents "chauvinists," since it is only by grotesquely distorting and exaggerating their position that he can even appear to make that label fit.
At any rate, at this point Wilkinson will insist that restrictions on immigration do violate people's rights: "the status quo system, which limits the freedom to travel and cooperation [sic] without benefiting most of those whose freedom is limited, amounts to both a substantive and moral harm; it denies some basic conditions for human flourishing and thereby constitutes a violation of basic rights." So, apparently, travelling on publicly financed U.S. roads, enjoying the protection of publicly financed U.S. law enforcement, sending their children to publicly financed U.S. schools, being treated at public expense in U.S. hospitals, etc., are basic conditions for Mexican flourishing, and therefore basic rights of all Mexicans.
Now this is an extraordinary view. So extraordinary, in fact, that Wilkinson would undoubtedly disavow it, put in those last terms above. And, as a libertarian (more or less) he could reasonably object that he'd like to see the welfare state rolled back. As, indeed, would I. But we libertarians have been complaining about the welfare state since time out of mind - and we can go right on complaining about it 'til kingdom come, for all the good it will do us. Meanwhile, the welfare state only gets bigger. And as long as that remains the case, to grant non-citizens the right to enter the U.S. at will is, precisely, to grant them the right to enjoy the benefits of the American welfare state, mainly at the expense of current American citizens. Has Wilkinson really allowed his Kantian/Rawlsian sympathies to run away with him to such an extent that he is willing to defend that, so long as the benefits to immigrants exceed the costs to natives?
Next up in Part III: nationalism and "universalism."
P.S.: anybody who has checked out the comments on the WW posts to which I linked and found them as interesting as I did will want to read this half-brilliant, half-unhinged screed by commenter "mencius," aka "mencius moldbug," at his intermittently fascinating site, Unqualified Reservations.