Thursday, October 01, 2015

Is It Becoming More Common For Liberals To Advocate Open Borders?

   I've long contended that much of what liberals say about immigration is on a trajectory toward advocacy of open borders. I quit reading Crooked Timber years go, when it--or so it seemed to me--became a liberal echo chamber. You can still find interesting stuff on there sometimes, and a better person than myself would be better at panning for gold amid the ostentatiously scramble metaphors...
   I do think that there's a decent moral case to be made for open borders. But I also think that the position is nutty. To my shame, I've never thought about it in much detail. Who knows which way I'll swing if I ever do think hard about it...  One vague concern I have is that open borders arguments typically sound to me like arguments that also entail that we should all have what we might call open doors. That is, roughly, they sound like arguments that would also lead to the conclusion that we cannot justify excluding others who are less-well-off than ourselves from our private property. And arguments that nations are roughly tribal seem to me to be applicable to families. Such arguments do make a certain amount of sense. But my gut says that you don't have to go very far down that trajectory before things become insane... Again, that's a gut-reaction to a set of arguments I have not thought about with any care.
   At any rate, I once conceded in an argument around here that I had been wrong to suggest that many liberals were tacitly committed to an open-borders position. I can't shake the impression, however, that I was wrong to concede that. There still does seem to me to be a tendency on the far-ish left to see border control as inherently unjust.


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