Immigration: the questions of morality

Immigration - the cultural considerations
Immigration - the economics

2015-10-03 boat people

When it comes to refugees and immigrants, the moral question seems to be the most important to most people. Don’t we have a moral obligation to help? It seems like a simple question, but giving the first ‘YES’ answer will only raise more questions.
Who do we help and how?
Who should do the actual helping and why?
How many and at what cost?
What is actually helping them?
How can we determine who is a legitimate refugee?
Is there any risk to ourselves and if yes, how can we mitigate it?
What is the extent of our responsibility and what can we do to avoid creating problems resulting in people’s displacement?
How can we minimize problems that created the crisis in the first place?

All of these questions go beyond the first yes.
For the sake of the argument I will assume that we can all agree that as long as we can, it is a moral imperative to help those in need. I will also assume that we need to be rational about it meaning that the help should actually help in a way that on the whole will create a better world.


Let me start with a presentation of Roy Beck, Immigration, World Poverty and Gumballs.
It is only 6 minutes, I urge you to watch it. He makes the case very convincingly that immigration is not a cure to poverty around the world. The sheer numbers make it impossible to make a difference. It also makes the point that by syphoning off the best people from poor countries, we are hindering their ability of getting out of poverty. It is a powerful moral argument.
If we really want to help the poor of the world, we should help them where they are.
That is the MORAL thing to do.

Roy Beck talks about immigration, not refugees which is a different matter. The assumption about immigration is that it can, is and should be controlled. (…… and no, I will not be sidetracked talking about illegal immigration into the USA).
Refugee situations are not predictable or controllable the way immigration is, but the main point of the argument presented above applies to most situations that create them. They should be taken care of where the problem exists, not half a world away from them.

Natural disasters that can create just as many fatalities and displacement as wars can, are usually resolved locally.  Even most large scale political displacements are solved locally. When the conflict is over, people move back. The real solution to the European migrant crisis would be the resolution of the conflicts that created them.

The moral questions

The most important question of the immigration crisis is the moral one. Don’t we owe to our own humanity to help? Then we need to ask whether we are doing the right things. What is best for the immigrants themselves? What is best for the host countries and if sacrifices have to be made, how much is it reasonable to ask them to make?
An important element of the question would be our own responsibility. Were we in any way responsible for the crises they are running from?

Our responsibility

Ron Paul is quite vociferous with his questioning the role of the US in creating problems around the world. Analyzing the disastrous US foreign policies is the subject of many books and debates. We may disagree on the extent of the responsibility of the US and its allies for various refugee crises, what is without doubt is that there is at least some. But then the question is whose responsibility is it?
It can be argued (as Stefan Molyneux does) that we, ‘the people’ do not owe anything to the victims of the foreign policies of our leaders. The people of Europe in general and Germans in particular heavily protested the NATO participation in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Why should they bear the burden for the consequences of those wars? While I cannot argue with Stefan’s point, for the sake of the argument, let’s suppose that we do feel responsible and we do wish to help. But then we have to ask:

Who do we help and how?

I said in my introduction that I came to Canada resolutely opposed to the ideological system I was running away from. Unlike the Chilean communist refugee, I did not come chanting “Workers of the world unite!”

The rioting Muslims in Budapest who were supposedly running away from the horrors of Muslim extremism did not chant ‘freedom’ but Allah Akbar, the battle cry of those they were supposedly running away from. That is not very refugee like. The question then is: who is a refugee?
The definition of a refugee, as laid out in Section 1(A) of the 1951 UN convention, is:

“A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”

The only migrants in this crisis who would qualify are the Christians, the Jews and the Yazidi. Maybe some Muslim apostates. Definitely not the ones shouting Allah Akbar and throwing stones at the people who are trying to help them.
But let’s suppose that we want to help this bunch. Then we have to ask:

What is help?

The Australians had a serious boat people problem a few years ago which they solved by changing their policy in 2013, making it absolutely clear to everybody that if they try to enter the country through illegal means they will not be accepted. Hundreds of lives have been saved as the number of drowning victims went from hundreds per year to zero because the attempts of illegal entry went close to zero.

This is not surprising at all. Libertarians and conservatives keep telling to the idiots of the left that rewarding or subsidizing bad behaviour creates more bad behaviour.
3,000 people drowned in the Mediterranean this year alone. Angela Merkel and the EU leadership may not be directly responsible for those deaths, but actively encouraging people to get into Europe by potentially dangerous and clearly illegal means isn’t exactly a moral act either.
The cost of the liberal treatment of illegal immigrants is a lot of drowned people. The problem is that the left takes credit for their liberal policies and blames its opponents for their costs.

If Europe took a hard line on illegal entry into the Union, the problem would disappear just as it did in Australia. When we ask “isn’t it moral to accept refugees” shouldn’t we also ask “is it moral to encourage them to risk their lives getting there?”
Even if they get there safe and sound, the moral questions will just keep coming. Most of these immigrants are not equipped to succeed in the developed world. They do not have the education, the work culture or the motivation to succeed. Most of them, just like the majority of the existing Muslim population in Europe, will end up as a permanent failure, a permanent burden on the system.
If Europe want immigrants, the outside of the EU borders are full of people who would love to get in and would have a much greater probability to succeed. Choosing ill-educated, illiberal, ill-behaving Muslims over people from the cultural proximity in Eastern Europe isn’t just imprudent and irresponsible, it is immoral toward the people of Europe.

The cost of help

East European countries are not rich and accepting immigrants is not cheap. I have seen some calculation in the Hungarian press translating the cost of accepting refugees into hospital beds, daycare spots, abused women’s shelters or housing for the disabled. People are quite rightfully asking their governments: What about us?
I came across a joke the other day: “Why are there no Slovaks amongst the refugees? Because they cannot afford to pay the smugglers.”

Ezra Levant makes several points in this video about the economic cost of this mass migration, the costs that go beyond the direct costs of supporting them until they become self-sufficient. A significant proportion of the cost comes in the form of risks.

The risks of help

Nobody could reasonably suggest that it is your moral duty to jump into a raging river to rescue someone if you do not know how to swim yourself. Neither should it be suggested that it is moral to save a life at the cost of two others. The cost of helping cannot be more than the benefit.
Could you be expected to invite a pedophile or a rapist to live with you and you children?
Could you be expected to shelter a stranger who does not even make a secret of the fact that he hates your guts and then take care of him for the rest of his life? Would that be moral?
These hypothetical questions are not as extreme as they may seem.  To see why, you only need to read the headlines on this page:

  • USA: Muslim “refugees” – 91.4% on food stamps, 68.3% on Cash Welfare
  • Sweden: Ten times higher welfare dependency among 16.5% foreign born – an increase of 82%
  • Netherlands: 50-70% of former Muslim ‘asylum seekers’ live permanently on welfare
  • UK: Medial poll show that 1.5 million British Muslims see themselves as supporters of ISIS
  • Britain: Total national Muslim population of a mere 4.4% could decide 25% of political seats
  • BBC Poll: 49% of UK Muslims endorse hate preachers; 11% support Jihad; 27% support Charlie Hebdo execution
  • Britain: 24% of Muslims have no qualifications and 21.3% have never held a job
  • France: Millions of ‘moderate’ Muslims support suicide bombings
  • Islamic Sweden is now the world’s second largest rape nation with a 1,472% increase in rapes
  • Sweden: 77.6% of all rapes are committed by Muslim males, who total only 2% of population

There is absolutely no indication that this latest batch of Muslims, mostly young men who grew up in war zones would behave differently, so the real moral questions are these:

What did the people of Europe do to deserve this punishment from their rulers?
Is accepting these risks the moral thing to do?
Is cultural suicide a moral act?


Only the victims of Islam are legitimate refugees.
The resettling of millions of hostile Muslims into European countries will not solve any problems anywhere in the world but it is guaranteed to create new ones.
The resettling of Muslims in Europe will be an expensive and fruitless enterprise.
It makes no economic sense and it is a political, not a humanitarian exercise.
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This post is part of a series on immigration, you can find the rest here:

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