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John Rawls: Immigration Restrictionist
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The famous liberal political philosopher John Rawls (1921-2002) argued for restricting immigration in his 1990s work The Law of Peoples:

Concerning the second problem, immigration, in #4.3 I argue that an important role of government, however arbitrary a society’s boundaries may appear from a historical point of view, is to be the effective agent of a people as they take responsibility for their territory and the size of their population, as well as for maintaining the land’s environmental integrity. Unless a definite agent is given responsibility for maintaining an asset and bears the responsibility and loss for not doing so, that asset tends to deteriorate. On my account the role of the institution of property is to prevent this deterioration from occurring. In the present case, the asset is the people’s territory and its potential capacity to support them in perpetuity; and the agent is the people itself as politically organized. The perpetuity condition is crucial. People must recognize that they cannot make up for failing to regulate their numbers or to care for their land by conquest in war, or by migrating into another people’s territory without their consent.

More briefly, Rawls opposed invade the world / invite the world.

Rawls went on to say countries that extrude numerous immigrants are at fault of being poorly run. For example, population pressure is partly the fault of a lack of women’s rights. If immigrant-extruding countries managed their affairs on Rawlsian lines, then not so many of their people would try to leave. It’s basically the same argument Jorge G. Castaneda made about Mexico in the 1990s.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. Did you just happen to be reading Rawls when you came across this? Or were you researching Rawls' thoughts on immigration or something?

  2. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    For example, population pressure is partly the fault of a lack of women's rights.

    The problem is that women's rights means women's independence i.e. women having access to independent material support through jobs and or welfare. This recreates an environment like that of Africa, where women do the work to support themselves and their children and men don't do anything except seek mating opportunities. The long-term trend of this is that carrying capacity plummets and population pressure rises.

  3. How is it we're still using the term "nation," when nations increasingly have no nationality at their core?

    It is one thing to say a nation can accommodate minorities who aren't the dominant nationality. It is another to assume a nation can exist peacefully with no dominant nationality at all; no set of rules on which people implicitly agree due to a respect for their common culture, religion, and history. If you don't respect your own culture and history you can be damn sure that no one else will.

  4. More briefly, Rawls opposed invade the world / invite the world.

    Not necessarily the former. Rawls notes that liberal democracies may go to war to intervene in "unjust societies to protect human rights".

  5. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    How is it we're still using the term "nation," when nations increasingly have no nationality at their core?

    Well you'll notice that Rawls' book isn't called The Law of Nations. It's called The Law of Peoples.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Law_of_Peoples

    "By 'peoples', Rawls means "the actors in the Society of Peoples, just as citizens are the actors in domestic society" (L.P. p.23). Peoples share three features: a common system of government; what John Stuart Mill called 'common sympathies' (XVI of Mill's Considerations, 1862); and a moral nature."

  6. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    That's another thing that riles me about the immigrationists.

    These days, (since the 'economic' case has ben more or less demolished by the crash), they are forever and sanctimoniously proclaiming that their cause is 'moral' in the sense that that the destitute are 'entitled' to the wealth of the affluent.
    For once, Rawls has actually shown the other side of the coin. The 'moral' reponsibility really lies with the pauper nations in that they have utterly failed to formulate national strategies to ameliorate their dire problems – this is the 'cause of causes' ie more paupers are born each year than either the pauper nations or the world can support, and yet somehow nations which have absolutely nothing whatsover to do with this are expected to pay the price.
    If immigration policy really is a 'moral' quandary, then this is the only 'moral' question worthy of the name. It is at the essence of the subject – what conduct is good, laudable and praiseworthy – and which is bad, execrable and deserving of scorn.
    Anyway, to pontificate further, the logical corollary of the immigrationists' position is that, eventually, the 'god' nations will be indistiguishable from the 'bad' since the problem will only be transferred from one t'other. Hence immoral behavior is rewarded and encouraged, whilst moral behavior and all the goodness of the earth and progress, is punished and destroyed.

  7. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Anonymous said…
    For example, population pressure is partly the fault of a lack of women's rights.

    The problem is that women's rights means women's independence i.e. women having access to independent material support through jobs and or welfare. This recreates an environment like that of Africa, where women do the work to support themselves and their children and men don't do anything except seek mating opportunities. The long-term trend of this is that carrying capacity plummets and population pressure rises.

    10/21/13, 12:27 AM

    By citing women's rights, he is probably just noting that women tend to have fewer kids in non traditional societies. So, women will have more kids if they are married and have little access to birth control. This is not absolutely true for each individual, but it is true on a population level in the general case. Now, it probably has a smaller but still significant effect in less developed countries. Population control enthusiasts like women's rights because women will have fewer kids. And to them, the rest is just details.

  8. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The problem is that women's rights means women's independence i.e. women having access to independent material support through jobs and or welfare. This recreates an environment like that of Africa, where women do the work to support themselves and their children and men don't do anything except seek mating opportunities. The long-term trend of this is that carrying capacity plummets and population pressure rises.
    I hate to tell you this but my mother went back to work when I was 8 years old and she made more money than my father and they had different work shifts most of the time to have someone around while I grow up. People here are a little too conservative on the stay at home mom. A lot of middle class folks don't do it anymore and in states like Utah looks of stay at home moms do wrk at the home which allows to bring extra income. Sometimes you guys are the other extrems and I bet you were not grat bread winners or are no longer married.
    10/21/13, 12:27 AM

  9. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    By citing women's rights, he is probably just noting that women tend to have fewer kids in non traditional societies. So, women will have more kids if they are married and have little access to birth control. This is not absolutely true for each individual, but it is true on a population level in the general case. Now, it probably has a smaller but still significant effect in less developed countries. Population control enthusiasts like women's rights because women will have fewer kids. And to them, the rest is just details.

    That's because they don't understand how evolution works. At the population level, they are selecting for more fertile people. They are literally evolving a more fertile populace. If you suppress the fertility of the kind of women who respond to women's rights with lower fertility, then you're selecting for women who are immune to the fertility suppression of women's rights.

  10. Sometimes you guys are the other extrems and I bet you were not grat bread winners or are no longer married.

    In an independent woman environment, monogamy and the male bread winner do not obtain over the long run.

  11. Enoch Powell nailed it: "The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils."

  12. womens rights is a red herring, but it probably serves as a proxy for developed nations peopled by high iq, high social trust groups.

  13. The Law of Peoples was written after Rawls's stroke, so philosophers tend to write it off. However, immigration restrictionism obviously follows from his contractarian Theory of Justice and philosophers are wrong to ignore this part of his theory.

  14. He's right on immigration, but wrong on restricting population. The right to have children is from God and inviolable. Which is another reason for keeping the Second Amendment. All in all, I prefer Lou Rawls.

  15. He might be a restrictionist, but he's certainly not a restrictionist for the same reasons you're a restrictionist.

    He thinks that mass immigration occurs because of poor governance, and could be remedied with better policy. You and the readers here think that poor governance occurs because the people that live there are too dumb to come up with said remedies.

    @John Seiler:
    "The right to have children is from God and inviolable."

    Let's see… I think I'll just take some cause that I have an opinion on, decide that God with a big G is on my side, and declare that anyone that disagrees with my cause disagrees with God. That will automatically convince everyone else out there with an opinion that my opinion is right, and they will repent their sins and sing kumbaya. If they don't, they'll burn in hell for eternity, so we really don't have to worry too much about their opinions. That's my God and I'm sticking with Him. Praise the Lord!

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