I have a vision of the future in which a person l move us closer to this state are to be preferred to those policies that move us away from this state.
We are told that we must fear people from other countries – that we must hate them and lock them out of this country because, if they are allowed in, they will destroy everything that we value.
I am of the opinion that a human being is a human being, regardless of what part of the planet he or she lives on. Yesterday, I wrote about the success of China (and of the possible consequences of China growing into an economy that is five times more powerful than the American economy).
This is not a matter of watching the United States crumble and decay until it falls to China’s level. It is a matter of watching China succeed and grow until it reaches America’s level. I am happy that more and more people in China are able to enjoy things that Americans have enjoyed for quite a while. I am happy to see China grow out of a system where 20 million people can starve to death in a year because of a failed government policy.
I would like to see the African, the Arab, the Central American, and the Pacific Islander enjoy those things as well. It is hardly fair, and it is hardly moral, to cheer policies and programs that have the effect of making Americans $100 better off, if its price is to destroy the lives of 1 billion people elsewhere in the world.
I have said that this is a vision for the future. One of the types of objections that I often read to these types of suggestions reads, “If we were to adopt these policies today, the results would be chaos. There would be pandemonium, mass hysteria, a disaster of biblical proportions as the Anti-Christ is summoned to try for world domination!.
The argument, “If we were to adopt your policy today without changing anything else, the consequences would be disasterous,” is a phony objection. There is no possible way that such a policy could be adopted tomorrow without changing anything else. The policy is one to be worked for over generations in the hopes that, some day, it would be implemented. But it would be a ‘some day’ in which other things have changed as well in order to accommodate these changes.
Desires overall will be better fulfilled because people will have more options available for fulfilling those desires. Every time we build a wall or create a barrier, we block people from the fulfillment of their desires. Their desires tell them to ‘do X’. However, they find that X is blocked due to political boundaries. So, they must select a next-best alternative; one that fulfills fewer or weaker desires. So, we have a prima-facie argument against walls and political barriers, just as we have a prima-facie argument against declaring a person guilty in a court of law. The burden of proof rests on those who would argue for the necessity of the wall, not those who would argue against it.
This is not to say that such a burden of proof cannot be met – that barriers are not necessary in some cases. To carry the analogy further, the fact that the burden of proof is on those who would argue that the accused is guilty does not mean that this burden cannot be met and nobody can be declared guilty of a crime.
So, it is no objection to this posting to assert, “I can think of an instance in which a wall should be required.” Indeed you can, and so can I. Think of my property line as a boundary that you may cross only with my permission (except that you have implied permission to cross the boundary long enough to ask for my permission). These walls are useful, because they give each person a realm of security and privacy where they can work towards the fulfillment of their desires without interference. There are some barriers that we simply have to learn to live with.
However, in the long run, barriers between nations make no more sense than barriers between states. The weaker these barriers become – the more freely we can pass between them – the better off we are, provided that certain conditions are met. The better the job we do at creating the circumstances where barriers are unnecessary, the more freedom we all have, and the better off we are as a result.
One of the conditions that we should meet is to reject the idea that we must fear the person from Mexico or from China or from India – that we must fear the possibility that they could take our jobs and ruin our livelihoods. To be honest, I am more likely to lose my job to somebody from California or New York, then to somebody from Chile or New Guinea.
However, I am not impoverished by the fact that they can come here and take my job without barriers between us – because I can go there and take their job as well. The free flow of people across state borders gives all of us more options – both within our own states, and in other states.
It’s also the case that the open borders mean that any employer in Colorado is free to pick up and move out to some other state – some place where wages or taxes are low. Yet, I do not seem to be suffering as a result. Instead, just as some industries can leave if they want, others are free to move in.
The result has not been the ‘race to the bottom’ that we have been taught to fear. It is not the case that the poorest states have pulled the rest of the states down to their level. Instead, we have all benefitted. Our standard of living can only be explained in terms of open borders wealthier states pulling the poorer states up to their level. The result has been a country where the standard of living (at the state level) is quite uniform across the country.
This is what good people have reason to hope for on an international level – wealthier countries pulling the poorer countries up to their level, and prospering together as the American states have done.
This is, as I said, a vision of the future. It will not suddenly spring into existence tomorrow – entirely or in part. So, objections to the thesis that these changes ought to be adopted immediately are moot. ‘Ought’ implies ‘can’, and the only thing that can be done in this case is to work towards such a goal, one step at a time.
And the first step is simply to realize that we go a lot further when we try to help each other and value each other’s success, then we go when we are struggling to find new and creative ways to get in each other’s way and dragging each other down.
I will not live to see the day. Still, hope that some future generation will enjoy the freedom to move among countries and to freely find a home for herself wherever she is most likely to find happiness. If such a future should come to pass, then I regret the fact that I must miss it.