Possibilities without illusions

I just noticed that David Kirkpatrick at NewMajority.com noted that he read Secular Right. Some people have wondered what this website is about in positive political terms. To some extent I’m wondering about what NewMajority.com is about aside from acknowledging that there is something wrong on the Right (wrong not in a metaphysical sense, but in a sense of democratic political success). I think there is something of the same issue here on this website, we tend to attempt to clear a space where it is acceptable to air both secular and conservative thoughts without accusation of contradiction, but many of our critics suggest that there is no issue at all and no real conservatives make arguments on religious grounds alone. That is debatable, but I thought I would bring something up which might flesh out a positive position which I hold, and that regards a moderate restrictionism when it comes to current levels of immigration. As it happens, David Frum, has swung to this side in recent years as well.

My reasoning for this is rather simple, and I sketched out some of the rationale in an essay for Taki’s Magazine. It is based on an empirical assertion as to the limits of human rationality, and the latent hidden variables within existing societies which we may not see. Some libertarians believe that free movement of labor is both a moral and economic issue because allowing those from poor nations to migrate to wealthy nations increases the wealth of the poor. Additionally, they believe that usually that the wealthy are also enriched because of the economic benefits which accrue from specialization within a society (e.g., hire an immigrant to do all your own yard work so you can work more and play more). Many Left liberals agree as to the policy though their rationale might differ (though ultimately it is about utility there as well).

To all this I would contend that there are likely negative externalises not being considered (e.g., all immigrants must be treated in hospitals) nor the spillover effects from a particular type of society (e.g., a literacy rate above a particular threshold resulting in certain expectations which are reasonable from your fellow citizens).  Open borders are problematic taking into account current configurations of human nature and society.  Ultimately these are not metaphysical assertions about the inviolability of a particular culture or nation-state in a specific form, but a proximate utilitarian assessment about maintaining a flourishing society. In short, I believe society is better conceived of as an evolving organism, changing with new inputs, rather than a modular construction which can be mixed & matched at a whim as factors of production are swapped in & out.

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