Commenter New Deal weighs in:
Submitted on 2018/01/17 at 7:49 pm
I’m a left-Unzist who loves free speech and likes policy based on sober argument and evidence. I’m deeply worried about the extremist open-border lunacy now espoused by the American elite, even in its centrist precincts. It didn’t use to be this way. Many of Trump’s proposals were more courteously enunciated somewhat by Obama, more by Bill Clinton, or by the great Barbara Jordan. Public discussion of immigration policy in the U.S. now, however, is about at the level of adolescent twitter chat about the Kardashians.
Maybe throwing open the borders would bring about prophet Caplan’s paradise on earth; more likely the consequences would be bad for both receiving and sending countries, and even perverse, such as global labor contractors swiftly bringing in millions of Southeast Asians (bonus: many are muslim) and booting Mexicans out of their low-wage niches. At a minimum, no one can predict the consequences of open borders: never have there been so many people, never has travel been so cheap. And you shouldn’t gamble a whole country on an untested policy, look at how that worked out for the Russians after 1917.
Nowadays, recklessly utopian positions are not taken seriously on any other topic (except certain U.S. war policies: invite the world, invade the world, hmmm). Fringes might demand abolition of police and prison, but ordinary people don’t. If you really believe in unqualified pacifism and unilateral disarmament, journalists and politicians would treat you like Trump treated Ali G: a few polite words and a quick good-bye. Any politician proposing a command economy, the free distribution of goods, and the abolition of work would get two percent of the vote and maybe pity from some for being weak-minded. What is most similar to immigration was the faith of Leninists that abolition of the price system by violence would liberate humanity. That belief gripped many academics and gullible reformers, but appalled anyone with the slightest business experience and most economists, and killed a hundred million people. That debate was over well before 1989. But when Jeff Bezos, CIA contractor, funds $33 million of scholarships for illegals, that’s normal, laudatory? Rather than bizarre, like Howard Hughes having his urine collected and stored?
We live in a country where most people obey the law. In the majority of countries people do not, and it makes life worse for everyone. Self-exemption from the law triggered the U.S. Civil War, and more generally legal defiance is contagious. Losing the great advantage of the rule of law is another evil that a responsible citizen would not risk bringing about. I feel like I am one of the non-believers among the Xhosa in the 1850s when their prophets commanded the slaughter of all cattle and destruction of crops, because that would cause the dead to rise again, along with all kinds of livestock, clothing ,and wealth, and “the blind would see, the deaf would hear, cripples would walk.” When it didn’t happen, who was to blame? The non-believers. For not believing hard enough they were persecuted and plundered.