UKIP claims that its tax policies are derived from Adam Smith. But what would the great man make of its anti-immigration policies? I suspect the answer is: not much.
Now, immigration was not much of an issue in Smith's time so he said little about it directly. But he did point out that some forms of migration, such as the settlement of new colonies, greatly increased prosperity. And his argument that import duties encouraged smuggling has an obvious parallel with how immigration controls encourage people traficking. smuggling.
But I'm thinking more of a passage in The Theory of Moral Sentiments (III.I.46 here). He acknowledges that we lack sympathy with foreigners. We would, he says, "snore with the most profound security" upon learning of the destruction of an "immense multitude" of Chinese in an earthquake. But this lack of fellow-feeling must be resisted, he continues. The "impartial spectator", or our conscience:
calls to us, with a voice capable of astonishing the most presumptuous of our passions, that we are but one of the multitude, in no respect better than any other in it; and that when we prefer ourselves so shamefully and so blindly to others, we become the proper objects of resentment, abhorrence, and execration...
One individual must never prefer himself so much even to any other individual, as to hurt or injure that other, in order to benefit himself, though the benefit to the one should be much greater than the hurt or injury to the other.
This, I suspect, is an argument for open borders. It tells us that we must not impose harms upon would-be immigrants, even if immigration is costly to us (which it isn't, but let that pass.)
You might object that by "others", Smith means only other members of our society, or fellow nationals. You'd be wrong. Later on, he writes:
Our good-will is circumscribed by no boundary, but may embrace the immensity of the universe...
The wise and virtuous man is at all times willing that his own private interest should be sacrificed to the public interest of his own particular order or society. He is at all times willing, too, that the interest of this order or society should be sacrificed to the greater interest of the state or sovereignty, of which it is only a subordinate part. He should, therefore, be equally willing that all those inferior interests should be sacrificed to the greater interest of the universe, to the interest of that great society of all sensible and intelligent beings (VI.II.44).
We should, then, read Smith as being a cosmopolitan thinker. Samuel Fleischacker, for example, says "there is no question, I think, that Smith aspired to provide...a structure for morality that reaches out across national and cultural borders."
Such an attitude is surely inconsistent with the little Englander anti-immigrant policies of UKIP.
I say this not simply to point out that UKIP's drawing on Adam Smith is rather selective. I do so to remind readers that Smith was a greater moral philosopher than economist;this passage, for example, is just wonderful.