Refugees at the border

https://pilotonline.com/opinion/columnist/guest/article_2858b642-bfb8-11e9-a826-bb8aa79103d0.html

This issue is a big embarrassment for the US. Not to mention incredible suffering for families and their children.

Rubin is a favorite whipping girl of the right. But that does not make the message any less powerful.

People leFT their countries for similar reasons throughout history. Persecution, extreme conditions such as starvation, droughts, wars, pogroms and economic disasters. The rich, connected and powerful seldom leave.

The world is hardening against the movement of people and it will only get worse. About 1/4 of the world are in acute water crisis. Including our own Southwest. Can’t move emergency water like bags of rice or flour.

Our crisis at the border is not unlike the causes of the “mass migration” of black Americans from dangerous and crushing situations in the South. The lawlessness and racial persecution, along with legal suppression was more than many could handle.

The response in the North was not particularly welcoming. And these were Americans v. Americans. Blatant discrimination in housing education and jobs continued but fewer lynchings for minor social gaffes. But there were still riots.

What eventually transpired was air conditioning and Civil Rights . The South became richer, less threatening and more livable. Offices, factories and rising standards of living followed. The Rule of Law applied to everyone.

The migration reversed eventually.

The point? We can throw up all the barriers we want, but unless we can address why people are taking these incredible risks to emigrate, the problem will continue.

And not just here, but around the globe.

IMHO

3 thoughts on “Refugees at the border

  1. RE: “The point? We can throw up all the barriers we want, but unless we can address why people are taking these incredible risks to emigrate, the problem will continue.”

    That’s no doubt true, but I would ask, Why should we bother?

    I appreciate that helping others can be a moral good and even serve our own self-interests, but I note that helping others can also be a moral evil. For this reason, I reject the idea that helping others is an obligation in any way. It remains, necessarily, a matter of choice and of performance.

    So, again, why should we bother?

    Like

    1. Why bother?

      Spoken by a person who had the good fortune to be born in the US and not North Korea. As a friend once quipped, we are “members of the lucky sperm club”.

      Altruism is a trait that has developed over the millennia and is a survival mechanism even among some of the highest primates. From families to villages tribes to whole nations. We just haven’t gone beyond borders yet.

      There is not a culture or religion of any significance that does not recognize an obligation to assist others in distress.
      The laws of the sea demand it, for example. Most nations have some form of assistance for families in need embedded in the laws regarding distribution of taxes.

      I think it is in the DNA of our species to render assistance. Apparently our laws reflect that to a degree.

      Admittedly, there can be errors in the actual administration of such subsidies. But the concept of altruism is fairly universal.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. RE: “Altruism is a trait that has developed over the millennia and is a survival mechanism even among some of the highest primates.”

        Altruism as a survival mechanism has been much studied. It is far from the only or even the best mechanism.

        To illustrate: Altruism is only advantageous within kinship groups, since only relatives can pass on some part of one’s own genetic code to subsequent generations. As a result, the persistence of altruism across generations depends on the stability of a population of kin.

        But notice that similar factors would apply in the case of other inheritable traits, such as selfishness or brute strength. As a result, competition between kin and non-kin groups can never be resolved by altruistic behavior alone.

        Which brings us back to the observation that helping others can be a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing. It can be either, depending on circumstances.

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