The Moral and Practical Case for Open Immigration, Essay Example

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Essay

The author in this article argues for the idea of “open immigration.” Open immigration essentially consists of allowing any individual into the United States with notable exceptions (e.g., terrorist, infection, etc), but not necessarily granting them citizenship.  “Individual rights” is the philosophy undergirding this philosophy: That is, a human has certain rights bestowed on him/her simply by existing- a permutation of the natural rights argument made in the 18th century.  After making the moral case, the author turns to the practicality of this idea that concepts of reason and freedom should prevail in letting in foreigners to live, purchase housing, and work in the country without restriction.

Putting aside the nearly intractable problem of how the government would identify criminals or those with difficult to diagnose diseases on the spot, the author is fairly ignorant of another philosophical notion: the social contract.  The concept of a social contract that binds together society is in direct opposition to the author’s notions that rights exist outside of a state-mandated framework.  Indeed, perhaps the author would like to first look at the work of Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan who described the individual’s life in nature as “nasty, brutish, and short.”  Individuals make decisions based on the social contract carried out by the state- although the state may decide that open immigration is in the best interests of the citizens (not a likely proposition), the author bypasses this argument by creating rights in a deux ex machina argument with references to notions like reason and freedom that do not exist in a framework without governments.

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