Open Borders? Immigration, Citizenship, and Nationalism in the 21st Century | Janus Forum Series

Open Borders? Immigration, Citizenship, and Nationalism in the 21st Century | Janus Forum Series

Welcome, and thank you for attending this Janus Forum
Lecture Series, sponsored by the Political Theory Project
here at Brown University. My name is Dan D’Amico. I’m the associate
director of the PTP and tonight’s master of
ceremonies, so to speak. I’d like to begin with a
brief description of what the Political Theory Project
is and the Janus Forum program. Our mission at the
PTP is to invigorate the study of the ideas
and institutions that make societies free,
prosperous, and fair. Second, we aim for
all of our programming to promote
interdisciplinary methods and ideological pluralism. But what does that mean? In short, we want to
bring together individuals from sometimes different subject
fields, different identities, and/or different value
systems to think and discuss pressing social
issues of our day. Janus Forum lectures
such as this one provide an event space where
members of the Brown community can engage contrasting
intellectual perspectives in their most
sophisticated presentations and in direct comparison
to one another. When designing Janis
lectures, we simply try to think who are the
most established members of an academic
profession whom also have a substantial disagreement
in the research field. Human migrations
have persistently grown in both magnitude
and sociopolitical relevance in recent decades. Unexpected policy changes
reshape the entire livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of
individuals and families. The format for tonight’s
event is straightforward. Each presenter, beginning
with Professor Miller– or I’m sorry, Professor Carens
will discuss the motivations and findings– JOSEPH CARENS: David’s first. DANIEL J. D’AMICO: Oh. Miller’s first. I apologize. Beginning with
Professor Miller, we’ll discuss the motivations and
findings of their research for approximately
35 minutes each. Following both, we’ll
have an equal period of time for questions and
answers from the audience. Thereafter, we’ll conclude to
the lobby for some reception and refreshments. Now, I’d like to introduce
our first presenter. David Miller is a professor
of political theory, FBA, and official fellow
of Nuffield College. Miller’s work attempts
to leverage evidence from the social sciences
to inform debates in political philosophy. Most relevant for
tonight’s topic, he is the author of Strangers
in our Midst, The Political Philosophy of Immigration,
published by Harvard University Press. In that text, Miller describes
a deep normative connection between the roles and
responsibilities of state governments and their citizens
operating through the contours of formal immigration policy. Please join me in welcoming
Professor David Miller. [APPLAUSE] DAVID MILLER: Thank you, Dan. Thank you. And thank you to the
organizing committee for inviting me to this very
interesting [INAUDIBLE].. I’m very much looking
forward to our discussions after the two talks and, of
course, hearing Joe Carens speak. It’s actually the
first time I’ve been here at Brown and the
first time also on Rhode Island. And to me, Rhode Island has
a indissoluble association with chickens. And this is because,
when I was growing up, my father, among his
various enterprises, had a small chicken farm,
which was next to our house. And so the family recruited
to conduct various chicken related activities. And so for me, you
say Rhode Island red, this does not conjure up a
left wing member of the Brown faculty, but
actually a broody hen who has to be delicately
prised away from the eggs that she’s covering, without
getting pecked in the process, to me, is a Rhode Island red. Right. To business now. So immigration we’re
talking about tonight. And it’s a hugely controversial
topic in democracies on both sides of the Atlantic. Emotions run very high. And I’m not in this talk going
to try to propose solutions to the pressing
questions that face you here in the US in
particular, things like the issue of
the Mexican border and the issue of the DREAMers. I don’t think
anything I could say about those specific
topics would be particularly illuminating. My brief is a different one– it’s to thin out the reasons
why democratic states should or indeed must have
control over their borders. They should adopt selective
immigration policies that limit the numbers
entering at any time period. Of course, that
means turning away those who are not selected. And I come to this as a
defender of liberal nationalism, a perspective that underpins
much of what I’ve written in recent years, including
the book which Daniel just mentioned. So my plan is to talk a
little bit about nationalism in general, and then to show
how it shapes my approach to the question we’re debating. I think it’s fair to say
that nationalism’s had a bad press in recent
years, especially in hotbeds of liberalism,
such as university campuses seem to have become. There’s perhaps a smidgen of
sympathy for small nations who want to break
away from larger ones, like the Scots and the Catalans. But generally, nationalism’s
linked to authoritarianism, hostility to outsiders,
perhaps even to racism. To get a sense of
what the word evokes, sometimes it’s helpful actually
to look at the Thesaurus. And so somebody who
is going to be happy defending a certain
kind of nationalism, as I’ll explain
in a moment, I was happy to see that the
Roget compiler has chosen to put “nationalist” in the
box headed Philanthropy, rather than in the following
box headed, Misanthropy. On the other hand, in the box
headed Misjudgment subsection Bias, we find “nationalistic”
up alongside chauvinistic, xenophobic, illiberal,
intolerant, and bigoted. And I think those are the
associations that many people will have when describing
a person or a party as nationalist. So now, somebody
like myself who wants to defend a liberal
form of nationalism is going to have to do
some work to persuade you that nationalism might
actually be a good thing. So let me say a bit about
what liberal nationalism means and why I want to defend it. So like other nationalists,
liberal nationalists believe that national
identity is important, that it’s valuable,
that they exist. And where they do exist, people
who have them should be granted the means of political
self-determination normally in the form of an
independent state– though in other cases,
sometimes through federal or devolved institutions
within a larger unit. What’s distinctive about
liberal nationalists is their view about the
form that these identities should take. They should be inclusive,
pluralistic, and open to change from below. What does that mean
more specifically? Well first, the
distinctive characteristics by virtue of which people think
of themselves as belonging to one nation
rather than another should not be such that only one
part of the relevant population can share in them. So a nation that defines
itself by gender, or sexuality, or skin color, would
fail that test, while a nation defining
itself by language wouldn’t since,
potentially, everyone can learn to communicate
in the national language. And then, second, the
identities in question should not be monolithic, but
should be sufficiently open that people can find
different ways of belonging. So there can be cases of what
I’ve called “nested nations” where people identify
themselves in part with a smaller nation that lives
inside the shell of a larger one. And there can also be hyphenated
identities, similar to here in this country, where the
first part of the hyphen refers to a person’s ancestral
home, the person where their forefathers
came, the second indicates their current
national belonging. And then third, the
national identity itself can be
understood as subject to an ongoing
conversation conducted in many different
formats and places– what it means to be an
American, or Pole, or whatever. One part of that
conversation is going to be about the reevaluation
of national history. There’s no reason
for a liberal nation to repudiate its history
entirely or cease taking pride in some what it’s achieved. But there will be other policies
or events for which there now needs to be some acknowledgment
of responsibility, perhaps the issuing of
apology or paying of debt. Now, liberal nationalism,
to make it clear, needn’t be, and is unlikely to
be, a purely civic nationalism. A civic nationalism is a term
that scholars of nationalism use to describe a hypothetical
society whose members are held together only by their common
citizenship and a shared belief in political
values, like freedom, and the rule of
law and democracy. I think it’s questionable
whether any real society could ever fully conform to
that specification. But in any case,
liberal nationalists will freely admit that national
identities include cultural as well as strictly
political elements– so cuisine, dance, music,
literature, and so on. And they’re the stronger for it. Religion, too, can play a
role in national identity when it reflects the
country’s historical heritage. Though, that’s one area in
which the ongoing conversation I’ve talked about is going
to be particularly important. Now, I think these cultural
elements are particularly significant when it comes
to talking about immigration policy, as we’ll see shortly. But before I get
to that, why is it valuable for these national
identities to exist? After all, we know they’ve often
given rise to violent conflicts both within and between states. So somebody might
ask, wouldn’t we be better off not
to have them at all? Well, national identity,
I’m going to suggest, is one response
to the human need to belong and to identify with
a group to whom you can turn to in times of physical
need and danger. In other words, it’s a response
to human vulnerability. We can speculate
about whether the need itself originates
in the earliest forms of human social
life– hunter gatherer bands and so on. Indeed, critics of
nationalism often make exactly that point,
attacking nationalism as a regression to
atavistic tribal instincts that have no place in a
free and open society. My view, however,
rather than try to eliminate something
as deeply embedded in the human psyche as
the need to identify with a social group, it’s better
to ask whether that need can’t be turned to constructive rather
than destructive purposes. Here then is the point at
which the inclusive character of liberal nationalism
comes into focus. So the aim is to develop a
form of collective identity that everyone living
and working together in a bounded political
community can share. Now, that’s an aim that’s
never fully achieved. There are always going to
be individual people who, for one reason or another, can’t
embrace the national identity as it’s evolved. But to the extent
it can be achieved, there are then two more specific
goods that it brings with it. The first is the
support it provides for democratic institutions. So in societies divided
along lines of class, race, or religion, there’s a
well-documented tendency for politics to descend into
a factional struggle for power in which each faction
questions the legitimacy of the other side’s right
to exercise authority. So for democracy to
survive, is essential that people should regard
each other as opponents rather than enemies– people you disagree with,
but who fundamentally you can trust not to abuse, or
oppress, or exploit you. If that condition is
not met, then it’s going to be dangerous
for those who hold power to lose elections. So then either attempt
to fix the process, or if that can’t
happen, if they do lose, to challenge the result
and cling to power. Those scenarios are
all too familiar, and they aren’t all confined
to economically underdeveloped societies. So democracy requires
that you should trust your fellow citizens,
despite disagreeing with them politically. And the sharing of
a common identity has long been recognized, due
to many experimental studies, as a major source of trust. We trust people we
think are like ourselves in certain respects. When we identify ourselves
as British or American, we make that assumption
of commonality. You might say something,
give an illusion, but nonetheless, a necessary
one if democracy is to survive. Second good that national
identity can provide is support for policies that
provide aid for people in need, more generally for economic
redistribution in favor of the worst off in society. The most powerful
argument you can make in support
of those policies is that it’s obscene that
our compatriots should not have guaranteed access to goods
like food, shelter, and health care. Again, the appeals to identity
as a source of obligation. Now, it’s not easy to specify
exactly what kind of identity is needed to induce people to
offer their political support for policies of that sort, how
far common citizenship alone might be adequate. So I don’t want to
overstate this point. And of course, if you’re a
libertarian, for example, you’ll be opposed to
redistributive social justice in any case. So you’ll be happy to see
national identities evaporate if the effect of
having them is to make people more willing to
support redistribution. So the second argument then is
liberal or social democratic in character. It applies only if you
believe in social justice in the first place. So what I’ve claimed then so
far is that national identities are intrinsically
valuable because they answer to a deep-seated need
of human beings to belong. And they’re also instrumental
valuable because of the role they play in supporting
democracy on the one hand, and social justice on the other. So now it’s time to
turn to immigration and ask what this implies
for immigration policy. Now, for reasons
of time, I’m going to have to set aside two
categories of immigrants who have special claims
against the state they’re trying to enter. The first category
are refugees who are crossing a state’s
border in order to protect themselves
against serious threats to their human rights. There are debates about
how widely or narrowly that category should be defined. But once we have
a definition, it’s widely acknowledged that states
have obligations of justice to admit the refugees who
arrive at their borders. The second category
I’m setting aside are those who enter for purposes
of family reunification. In other words, especially
the spouses and children are current citizens. Again, it’s widely recognized
that citizens have a right that members of their
immediate family should be allowed
come in and join them. Now, there’s some
discussion about how widely or narrowly family should
be understood in that context. So setting those two
categories aside, my focus is going
to be on people who want to immigrate for
any or all of the reasons that people typically have for
moving to a new society, chance for a better job,
better education, higher standard of living,
cultural opportunities not available in the
home society, and so on. So how, from a liberal
nationalist perspective, should we regard
immigration of that kind? What kind of effect
is it going to have on the culture and the
institutions of the receiving state? In particular, might it
have a detrimental effect on national identity and
thereby on the values I was suggesting are
furthered by these identities? Could that be the main
reason for setting limits to immigration, and also perhaps
for selecting some rather than others for admission? Now, I think it’s important
to underline that you can only tackle those questions by
thinking about immigration in a holistic way,
not by considering the position of
individual immigrants. Nobody could reasonably
claim that admitting Mira and her family is going
to have any effect on national identity. Nor would any problems arise
if the immigrants were simply carbon copies of the
natives, identical along all the relevant
political dimensions. But when culturally
and demographically different immigrants
arrive in large numbers two changes will occur. First, the social
composition will alter, which creates
both new challenges and new opportunities
for public policy. New arrivals may have different
education and health needs, different work skills, and
different cultural aspirations from the indigenous majority. So justice is going to demand
accommodations should be made and priorities shifted. And then secondly,
of course, immigrants will qualify, sooner or
later, for citizen status. And so the composition
of the demos, the group that, in a
democratic society, is the ultimate decision
maker, that will change, too. Now hypothetically, you
could drop that assumption and talk about
immigration on the basis that immigrants are
admitted just as denizens with no rights of citizenship. But I think that would
be a clear contravention of democratic principles. We have to assume immigrants
become citizens in due course. So again, when they’re
added to the demos, this is not just a matter
of adding extra bodies. The balance of political
forces is likely to shift. For example, there
may be a partial shift away from class-based politics
towards some form of identity politics. Now, the effects
of these changes will vary greatly according
to the precise case. So for example, the impact of
Mexican immigrants in the US is going to be very
different from the impact of Syrian refugees in Germany. And recognizing that
there will be an impact implies no judgment about
whether the net effect is positive or negative. The point is simply that
large scale immigration is a socially and politically
transformative process. And so there arises
the possibility of an identity conflict
between the immigrants and the whole society where
the members of the latter may resist the cultural and
political transformation that immigration brings with it. So I said earlier that a liberal
nationalism can accommodate hyphenated identities. And it might then
seem as though, in the case of immigrants,
the identity that they bring with them simply forms
one part of that hyphen. And the new national
identity is the second. But that assumes
the two identities are compatible with each other,
as far as their content goes. In other words, there’s no
contradiction between them such that they impose different
practical requirements on their bearers. But I think that can’t
be assumed, especially in the case of immigrants whose
cultural backgrounds are very different from the societal
cultures of the societies that they’re not joining. It’s worth remembering that
even the hyphenated identities that we now take for
granted, like Irish-American, were originally problematic,
since American identity was defined in such a way
as to exclude Catholics. Now historically,
the main response to these identity
conflicts has been to insist that immigrants
should assimilate fully. In other words, abandoning
whatever cultural commitments they bring with them,
identifying single-mindedly with the society
they’re joining. But to demand that sort
of full-scale assimilation is liberal, and also, I think,
very likely to fail since, try as they might,
immigrants will hardly ever be able to turn themselves
into cultural replicas of the native-born citizens. So if asking immigrants to
assimilate to the existing national identity
is unacceptable, might the solution be to abandon
a unified cultural identity in favor of multiculturalism? So what advocates of
multiculturalism propose is the state should form
a kind of neutral arena within which different
cultures can coexist on a footing with quality. As a simple matter of fact,
the largest cultural group is likely to be the
indigenous majority, but there’s no reason
on this view to give it any kind of privileged status. So that would mean that
national identity would have to take the form
of what I earlier called a civic nationalism, so
a political identity deprived of any specific
cultural content. But I think it’s questionable
whether such an identity could play the part that national
identities have so far played in the constitution
of democratic states. What holds people together
creates solidarity between them, makes
them willing to accept internal redistribution,
is an emotional bond that comes from a sense of being
different from other peoples. So multiculturalism, were
it really to come about, would presumably look much
the same the world over. If a society is nothing
other than a cultural mosaic contained within a liberal
democratic political framework, then what distinguishes
one society from the next can only be its geographic
location plus minor variations, perhaps, in the
colors of the mosaic. In fact, no society
has ever been fully multicultural in the
sense I’ve just described. And politically,
there’s been a backlash against multiculturalism in
almost all European societies with substantial
immigrant populations. What we find in practice
is that states continue to support their citizens’
national identity by giving precedence to components
of the national culture when making policy,
while at the same time making cultural accommodations
to help recently arrived immigrant groups. In other words, to
put it at its simplest and using a British example,
we require Shakespeare to be taught in schools as part
of the national curriculum, but expect that students
will be introduced to Buddhism and Islam,
as well as Christianity, in their religious
education class. In that way, national identities
can be reproduced over time and transmitted to children
of immigrant origin, while recognition is given
to their inherited cultures by offering them a place
in the school curriculum or in other places where
cultural values are on display in the public sphere. So you might then think that,
with this solution in place, cultural accommodation
for minorities, but some precedence given
to national culture, the immigration
problem is solved. But crucially, it depends on
restricting the inward flow of immigrants to
the extent that’s needed to maintain that
cultural equilibrium. So although immigrants will
naturally gravitate to places where people from the same
background are already living– and this by itself
shouldn’t be of concern– there is a legitimate
worry over the formation of what, in European
debates, have been called parallel societies
where almost all of the immigrant social
contacts are with people from her own culture. In other words, essentially,
immigrant ghettos are being established. For integration to
work, immigrants need to be interacting with
and learning from natives on a daily basis,
living side by side, working in the same
offices and factories, having their kids educated
in the same schools. Because immigrant
dispersal can’t be forced, the numbers arriving do matter. There’s an upper limit above
which successful integration is not going to happen. Now, a natural
question to ask here is whether that
limit doesn’t depend on who the immigrants are,
what cultural background they’re from. Swedes arriving in
Norway are hardly likely to have problems
integrating there, whereas Eritreans arriving in
Germany very probably will. So then we have to face
the thorny question of whether the
selection of immigrants by cultural or national
background is permissible. So it might seem
obvious that, if states are allowed to select
on these grounds, then the numbers they can
take in will be higher. And we know that, in the
past, states they often followed precisely that
logic, quite openly adopting immigration policies
designed to favor those who, because of their
cultural backgrounds, are thought to be able
to fit in more easily and reinforce rather than
weaken the national culture. So there seems to be
then a trade-off here. If you want states to be
more generous in opening their borders, then
you have to allow them to be more selective
in who they take in. But although
states, in practice, will no doubt continue to use
proxy criteria whose effect is to bias their immigration
policies in favor of applicants from countries they
see as culturally desirable, it’s worth, I
think, spelling out briefly why overtly discriminatory
policies are unacceptable. And here again, I’m leaving the
special case of refugees aside. Although immigrants can’t
claim a right to be admitted– I’ll come back to that
point in a moment– they do in many cases have
a strong personal interest in being allowed to enter. They have hopes and
aspirations that can only be met by moving to
the society they’ve chosen. So if their application’s
going to be refused, they must be given defensible
reasons for the refusal. And those reasons
must be encapsulated in an openly stated
and consistently applied policy that
tracks the characteristics of individual applicants. Now typically, those
characteristics will be demonstrable,
work-related skills that reflect national
employment needs. But the policy of selecting
people by national origin fails that test because
the country you’re born in doesn’t correlate directly
with any personal features of that kind. So even if it’s true that
people from country X are more likely
to be low skilled or have undesired cultural
traits than people from country Y, it certainly won’t be true
of every individual applicant. The problem here is
same as the problem with other cases of
profiling, namely that the policy
being pursued fails to show adequate respect
for each individual person by simply assuming that because
she belongs to a group most of whose members have a
certain cultural trait, she must also have
that trait too. And also if culture’s the
issue and so even at the moment if we had some way of measuring
the cultural attributes people bring with
them, not rely simply on crude national
stereotypes, there’s no reason to think these
cultural characteristics are permanently fixed. No reason to assume
that a person can’t make the kind of
cultural adjustments they would need to make as a
citizen of the new society. So if discriminating between
immigrants on cultural grounds is inadmissible, as
I’ve just argued, then the issue for
a liberal state is how to ensure its own
cultural continuity over time. And that means setting a ceiling
on the number of immigrants who are admitted. But that then raises
the question– this is going to be the
last topic I address– whether potential
immigrants don’t have claims that are
sufficiently strong to override the concerns I’ve been raising
about identity, social trust, and the preconditions
for social justice. When citizens are
contemplating the choices they have to make over
immigration policy, so what weight should
they then give to the interests of the
immigrants themselves, as opposed to the interests
of their fellow citizens in maintaining or improving
the degree of democracy and social justice
in their society? What about other
goals and values, like environmental
sustainability, that might be jeopardized
by mass immigration? Last year, New
Zealand government announced that its aim was
to reduce their immigration numbers from 70,000 to 25,000. And alongside more
mundane grinds for the proposed reduction,
like housing shortages, the wish to preserve
that country’s pristine natural environment
was given as a reason. But critics might say
that, however laudable these goals might
be, they can’t stand in the way of individual people
improving their life chances, especially when they move
out of relative poverty into rich countries
like New Zealand. Well here, we encounter
the morally difficult issue of compatriot
partiality, the question whether and to what extent
it’s permissible for citizens to favor the interests
of their compatriots when making a policy decision. Now, as a matter of fact,
all governments presently operate on the basis of strong
partiality for compatriots in the sense that they
devote only a tiny fraction of their resources to promoting
the interests of outsiders through foreign development
programs and the like. But is that permissible? Well, there’s deep disagreement
about this question which I can’t hope to
resolve in a short talk. But there is at least
fairly wide agreement that compatriot partiality
must have its outer limits. There are things governments
are not permitted to merely because it would be in the
interests of their own people to do them. I’ve already gestured
towards one limit when I’ve said that governments
must show respect for potential immigrants
by providing individually tailored reasons
when the decision not to admit them is taken. Another limit set by
human rights that’s widely accepted in any defensible
immigration policy must be human rights compliant. But then critics are going to
argue that only an open borders policy can meet that condition. Well, to assess that, it’s
important to distinguish between the claim that
immigration is itself a human right and the claim
that states can’t impose border controls without infringing the
human rights of at least some of those who are
excluded by them. Now, in relation to
that second claim, it’s not difficult to
find cases in which states policies, either
now or in the past, have violated human rights
by detaining immigrants under conditions
that fail to meet minimal standards of
decency or by refusing entry to boats carrying
migrants in circumstances where this will put
their lives at risk. On the other hand,
it’s hard to see why these morally
indefensible policies have to be pursued in order
for immigration controls to be effective. That’s going to
depend to some extent on geographical circumstances,
to some extent on the lengths to which immigrants
themselves are likely to go to evade immigration rules. It’s hard, I think, to
say more in general terms about the feasibility of an
immigration regime that’s fully compliant with
basic human rights. But I do want to insist
there’s no general human right to immigrate. I’ve argued this at some
length in published work. Just to cut a long story short,
to defend the human right to immigrate, you’d
have to show that being able to cross borders and
settle in a new country amounted to a human need or
interest of sufficient weight to put states under a
corresponding duty to admit. That, it seems to
me, is implausible. So even though many of us value
the opportunity to travel, experience different
cultures and ways of life, to claim that it’s
impossible to live a decent life without having
that opportunity seems far fetched. Diametrically opposed view
was expressed by Jean Jaques Rousseau who, when asked
who advised the Poles on how to keep their country free and
reflecting on the conditions of true patriotism, remarked–
and this is Rousseau– “When first he opens
his eyes, an infant ought to see the fatherland. And up to the day
of his death, he ought never to see
anything else.” And that’s kind of extreme view,
it’s best to be always at home. But I think it’s no less
extreme than the view that you can’t live a decent
life without the opportunity to move between
countries at will. So to sum up, I’ve
tried in a short time to explain and defend the
liberal nationalist perspective on immigration that informs
what I’ve written about it. I’ve also indicated why
large scale immigration is potentially problematic for
a society that’s held together by liberal national
identity, one that makes room for cultural pluralism. I’ve asked whether
it’s legitimate to take national cultural factors
into account when formulating a selective immigration policy,
and I’ve argued that it’s not. And then finally, I’ve raised
the issue of compatriot partiality and it’s limits– in particular, whether
immigration controls can in themselves be challenged
on human rights grounds. So I hope I haven’t come across
as chauvinistic, xenophobic, liberal, intolerant, or bigoted,
but that’s for you to decide. [APPLAUSE] DAN J. D’AMICO: Thank
you, Professor Miller. Joseph Carens is a professor
of political science at the University of
Toronto and fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Most relevant to our
purposes tonight, he is the author of The
Ethics of Immigration, in which he examines the
normative justifications for a society of
totally open borders. Please join me in welcoming
Professor Joseph Carens. [APPLAUSE] JOSEPH CARENS: Thanks, Dan. So let me start by
saying that I do not regard David Miller as
chauvinistic, xenophobic, illiberal, intolerant,
or bigoted. I just think he’s wrong. [LAUGHTER] And I want to thank
the Political Theory Project for inviting David
and me to this event. And I want to endorse what
I take to be the underlying spirit of the
Janus Forum, namely that one of the
purposes of a university is to place different views
about important topics in a serious and civil
conversation with one another so that those listening
to the exchange and participating in
subsequent discussions can gain a critical and
reflective perspective on those topics. And despite my little
joke at the outset, I don’t think David is wrong
about everything he says. Indeed, despite
my genuine praise for the structure
of the Janus Forum, I think there’s a danger
in this sort of format that it may encourage too much
focus on areas of disagreement and not enough on
areas of agreement. Indeed focusing on
disagreements is in some ways a structural problem
in academic life, maybe especially in
political philosophy. We almost always pay
attention to the differences between our views and not to
what our views have in common. Thus, for example, if you
have followed the immigration debate– note the term “debate”– you probably think of David
and me as fundamentally at odds in our views. Carens is a
cosmopolitan idealist who favors open
borders, you may say. And Miller is a liberal
national realist who defends the state’s
right to control admissions. And that’s not an entirely
incorrect snapshot, but it’s also misleading
and an incomplete picture in some important respects. For one thing, I don’t describe
myself as a cosmopolitan, even though others sometimes do. And that’s because the
term “cosmopolitan” is often associated
with the idea that particular
attachments do not matter, that your connections
to your family, your friends, and the communities
to which you belong, including your
national community, are somehow unimportant. Well, that’s definitely
not my own view. I think belonging matters
and matters morally. Take the question of
national community. At a personal level, I feel
quite attached to Canada, the country to which I moved as
an immigrant three decades ago. I identify with
Canada and care more about how it fares
in the world than I do about most other states. But I also feel attached
to the United States– Donald Trump
notwithstanding– because it’s the place where I was born and
raised and spent the first four decades of my life,
the place where all of my family of
origin still lives, and where I’m still
a citizen, as well as being a citizen of Canada. So I care particularly about
the fate of America as well. Sad. At an intellectual level,
I feel the attraction of a social order in which
most people see themselves as members of a particular
political community with which they identify and
which they want to help direct. I agree with David
that it is morally appropriate and
desirable to cultivate a sense of belonging, belonging
to one’s national community. And I also think it can
be legitimate to favor one’s fellow members, one’s
compatriots over others, in various ways. And then, if we turn to the
specific topic of immigration, there are again lots of issues
on which David and I largely agree. For example, we both think that
immigrants and their children should have relatively
easy and secure access to citizenship in the states
where they’ve settled. We both think that immigrants
who have settled permanently should enjoy most of the legal
rights that citizens enjoy. We both think that it’s wrong
for a liberal democratic states to keep legally
admitted immigrants in a temporary status
for many years, denying them the
security and rights that come with permanent residence
and access to citizenship. We both think it’s reasonable
to expect immigrants to adapt culturally in some
respects– for example, by sending their children to
schools where they will learn the language of public life,
whatever their parental language is, and that it’s
unreasonable to expect them to adapt culturally
in other ways– for example, by
changing their religion. We do sometimes
differ on the details of what it’s reasonable to
respect with regard to some of these topics– reasonable to expect with
regard to some of these topics– but we shouldn’t let
these differences obscure the wide areas of agreement. Now having offered this
cautionary note about not overstating disagreements, I’ll
proceed to ignore that caution in the rest of my talk and
highlight the ways in which my approach does
differ from David’s. So I’m going to focus
on three topics– irregular migrants, which
is my term for immigrants who have settled without
authorization, refugees, and open borders. Now, the inclusion of
the first two topics may be puzzling
because it might seem that if one thinks,
as I indeed do, that justice requires
open borders, these other questions
will simply disappear. In a world of open
borders, there will be no regular
migrants because you don’t have to get permission
to go anywhere, right? And refugees, at least
if there were any, would be free to settle
wherever they wanted. But this way the thing about
immigration is much too quick. First, as a practical
matter, questions about irregular
migrants and refugees are the most urgent
and immediate issues that all liberal
democratic states have to address in
one way or another. And as a theoretical
matter, it can be helpful to see what follows
from fundamental premises that are widely held, even if one
does not accept those premises oneself. So the idea that liberal
democratic states are morally entitled
to control immigration to a considerable extent is one
of those widely held premises. It’s the conventional
view of immigration. So for the moment, let’s
assume that David is right and that states are morally
entitled to control immigration for the sorts of
reasons that he offers, but let’s see what follows
from that perspective for the issues of irregular
migrants and refugees. Or to put it another
way, let’s see the way in which the issues of
irregular migrants and refugees troubles that perspective. So my first question is this. From the perspective of
the conventional view that liberal democratic
states are largely entitled to control borders,
in other words, not from an open
borders perspective but from a liberal nationalist
perspective like David’s, what are states permitted
or required to do in their treatment
of immigrants who settle without authorization? Supporters of these people
call them undocumented. Critics label them
illegal immigrants. And I use the term
irregular migrants, so as to avoid building the
outcome of my argument into the terminology. But all terms have
their problems. There are objections
to that one too, but so that’s my term for it. Anyway, the crucial
questions are these. First, are states morally
free to do whatever they want to such
people because they have settled without authorization? And second, are states morally
free to deport such migrants regardless of how long
they’ve been present or how old they were
when they arrived? My answer to these
questions is a twofold no. Let’s start with the question
of what legal rights irregular migrants should have. At first blush, it may
appear puzzling to suggest that irregular migrants
should have any legal rights. I mean, they’re violating
the state’s laws by settling and working
without authorization, so why should the state
be obliged to grant them any legal rights at all? But a moment’s
reflection makes us aware that irregular
migrants are entitled to at least some legal rights. Unlike medieval regimes,
modern democratic states do not make criminals
into outlaws, people entirely outside the pale
of the law’s protection. Irregular migrants are clearly
entitled to the protection of their basic human rights. The right to security of
one’s person and property is a good example, right? The police are supposed to
protect even irregular migrants from being robbed and killed. Just the fact that you came
in without authorization doesn’t mean you
can be shot, right? People don’t forfeit their right
to be secure in their persons and possessions simply in virtue
of their immigration status. And the right to a fair trial,
the right to emergency health care, these are other examples. But here’s the problem. The fact that people are legally
entitled to certain rights doesn’t mean they
actually are able to make use of those rights. And it’s a familiar point
that irregular migrants are so worried about
coming to the attention of the authorities
that they are often reluctant to pursue
the legal protections and remedies to which they
are formally entitled, even when their most basic
human rights are at stake. Now that creates a
serious normative problem for democratic states. It makes no moral
sense to provide people with purely formal legal
rights under conditions that make it
impossible for people to exercise those
rights effectively. So what is to be done? Well, there is actually
a partial solution to this problem. States can, and
they should, build a firewall between immigration
law enforcement on the one hand, and the protection
of basic human rights on the others. We ought to establish as
a firm legal principle that no information
gathered by those responsible for protecting and
realizing basic human rights can be used for immigration
enforcement purposes. We ought to
guarantee that people will be able to pursue
their basic human rights without exposing themselves to
apprehension and deportation. For example, if irregular
migrants are victims of a crime or witnesses to one, they should
be able to go to the police, report the crime, and serve
as witnesses without fear that this will
increase the chances of their being
apprehended and deported by immigration officials. If they need
emergency health care, they should be able to
seek help without worrying that the hospital will disclose
their identity to those responsible for enforcing
immigration laws. Now turn to the question
of the right to stay. As time passes,
irregular migrants acquire a moral right to
stay or to have their status regularized. And the basic point is this. The longer you
stay in a society, the stronger your
claim to membership, even if you have settled
without authorization. When people settle
in a country, they form connections and
attachments that generate strong moral claims over time. They become members, in
just the sense that David was talking about membership. And it’s the membership
that gives them a moral claim, the fact that
they are members of society. That’s when the conditions
of their admission become irrelevant. Now, I know some people will
be skeptical about this. And if you are, ask me in
that discussion section to tell you the story of
[? Margarite Grimmond. ?] It’s a true story. It’s a fascinating story, but I
don’t have time to tell it now. So let me turn to the
question of refugees. Even if we accept
the conventional view about the state’s right to
exercise discretionary control over immigration, everyone– well, these days, I have
to say almost everyone. It’s rash to assume that
there’s a moral consensus shared by everyone, even
those who claim to be committed to liberal
democratic principles. But almost everyone
recognizes that refugees have a special claim. And David certainly does. He says states have
obligations of justice to admit refugees who
arrive at their borders. And we’ve come to have
this view in no small part because of the way we responded,
or really failed to respond, to the plight of Jewish refugees
fleeing the Nazis in the 1930s. We kept most of them out. In one famous case, the United
States and Canada actually turned away a boatload
of Jewish refugees who had made it
to North America. And in many cases,
states prevented Jews from coming in the first
place by denying them visas and putting other
obstacles in their paths. And the reasons for refusing
to admit Jewish refugees were the same sorts of
reasons that you hear today for refusing
admittance to refugees. We’ve got our own problems. It’s too expensive. Some of them may be subversives. One prominent
government official worried explicitly that
Nazi saboteurs and spies would pretend to be
refugees to get entrance to the United States. Others worried about
their being communists. Well, after World War II, people
in liberal democratic states, most people recognize that this
exclusion of Jewish refugees had been a terrible moral
failure on our part. We vowed never to
let it happen again. Along with other states,
we created an international refugee regime that guarantees
that people cannot be returned to a place where they will
be subject to persecution. But now, we are
once again failing to provide refugees with the
protection that they need. So David says that
states have an obligation to admit refugees who
arrive at our borders. And indeed, that is
what the current refugee regime under the Geneva
Convention requires. But rich states have
undermined that refugee regime with visa controls and carrier
sanctions that prevent refugees from coming to our shores. If you come from a country
that generates refugees, you’re going to have a very
hard time getting a visa to come to Europe or North America. And without a visa, you
won’t be able to get on the airplane or the
boat to transport you, because there are
sanctions against them. Now, here’s an obvious
point, but it’s one worth making explicitly. You cannot claim to have
addressed the refugee problem if you set up a regime to
protect refugees that you then prevent the refugees
from accessing. And that’s precisely what we’ve
done, at least with respect to many refugees. And in addition to
its inaccessibility, the current refugee
regime is deeply inadequate in other ways,
primarily because of the way it assigns responsibility
for taking care of refugees. So ask yourself this. What do refugees need? And who should provide it? Well, at first, all they
need is a safe haven, someplace where their
lives won’t be endangered, their basic human rights
will be respected. And for these
purposes, refugee camps make sense, as long
as they’re properly organized and supported. But it’s not
reasonable to expect people to spend their entire
lives in a refugee camp, yet that is what we do today. Millions of refugees spend
long years of their lives, sometimes their entire
lifetimes, sometimes their children’s lifetimes,
in camps with little or no education
for the children, limited or no economic
opportunities for the adults, and extreme physical danger,
especially for women. This is not an acceptable way to
treat people in desperate need. Refugees who cannot return home
within a reasonable period need a new home, somewhere where
they can live a normal life. Well, who should provide
refugees with what they need? Well again, it may be reasonable
to expect neighboring states to provide initial
safe haven, at least as long as those states don’t have
to bear the financial costs of doing so. You know, refugees flee
to the neighboring states. That’s what they do. That’s going to happen. And so then it makes sense
to set up the camps there. But there’s no reason to
expect the neighboring states to provide refugees with a new
home, if that’s what they need. That’s a responsibility
that ought to be shared by all states. And that’s where
we’re failing today. Turkey has taken in
millions of refugees. Lebanon, a country of
only a few million, has taken in a million, almost
a quarter of its population. Jordan has taken in millions. These states are not
responsible for the fact that the people became
refugees in the first place. And it’s simply not
reasonable to expect them to be the only
ones to provide refugees with the new homes
that they need. Now, we have failed terribly
to meet this responsibility. Now sometimes, people
say, well, taking in large numbers of refugees
is just too much to ask of us. But several states, including
the United States and Canada, did much better after
the war in Vietnam when we took in large
numbers of refugees. And Germany took in
a million recently. There are different
ways to think about the responsibility
for resettling refugees and how that should be shared. Obviously, for example, size
of the existing population is one important consideration. And there are many
others, but whatever would be a fair way of
sharing that responsibility. It’s just not plausible to claim
that most rich states today are doing their fair share
in this regard, including the United States, clearly. And the question that we
ought to be asking ourselves, but almost never
do, is what do we imagine will happen
to these people if we do not take them in? Why do we think it is acceptable
to foist the responsibility off onto the neighboring states
and, in addition, to shut our eyes to the limit of life
that so many people will face because we refuse to take them? OK. So far, I’ve been arguing
within the limitations of the conventional
view of a view like David’s and trying
to show that, even when states are normally entitled
to control immigration, we face important moral demands
that we are failing to meet. But now, let me turn to the
controversial part of my talk– the direct challenge to
the conventional view of, a case for open borders. Borders have guards, and
the guards have guns. Now, that’s an obvious
fact of political life, but it’s one that’s
easily hidden from view, at least from the
view of those of us who are citizens of
affluent democracies. If we see the guards at all,
we find them reassuring. We think of them as
there to protect us, rather than to keep us out. To Africans and Afghans in
small leaky vessels seeking to avoid patrol boats
while they cross the water to southern
Europe or to Australia, to Mexicans and others from
Central and South America willing to risk death from heat
and exposure in the Arizona desert in order to evade the
fences and border patrols, to them, it’s quite different. To these people, the borders,
the guards, the guns, are all too apparent, their
goal of exclusion, all too real. But what justifies the use
of force against such people? I mean, borders
and guards can be justified as a
way of keeping out terrorists, and armed
invaders, and criminals. But most of those trying to
get in are not like that. They’re ordinary,
peaceful people, seeking only the opportunity
to build decent secure lives for themselves and
for their families. On what moral grounds
can we deny entry to these sorts of people? What gives anyone the right
to point guns at them? Well, to many people, the
answer to this question will seem obvious. Every state has the
legal and moral right to exercise control
over admissions in pursuit of its
own national interest and the common good of the
members of its community, even if that means denying entry
to peaceful, needy foreigners. States may choose to be generous
in admitting immigrants. But in most cases,
at least, they’re under no moral
obligation to do so. And I think that’s
essentially David’s position, as I understand it, leaving
aside the refugees and so on, which he caveats for
and family reunification. But I want to
challenge that view. I want to argue that,
in principle, borders should generally be open. And people should
normally be free to leave their country of origin and
settle wherever they choose. A critique of exclusion has
particular force with respect to restrictions on
movement from poor states to rich ones in Europe
and North America, but it applies more generally. Here’s the key. In many ways, citizenship
in Western democracies is the modern equivalent
of feudal class privilege. It’s an inherited status that
greatly enhances one’s life chances. To be born a citizen
of a rich state in Europe or North
America is like being born into the nobility in the
Middle Ages, even if many of us are part of the lesser nobility. To be born a citizen of a
poor country in Asia or Africa is like being born
into the peasantry, even if there are
few rich peasants, and some peasants manage to
gain entry to the nobility. Like feudal
birthright privileges, contemporary social arrangements
not only grant great advantages on the basis of birth, but
they entrench these advantages by legally restricting
mobility, making it extremely difficult for people born into a
socially disadvantaged position to overcome that disadvantage,
no matter how talented they are or how hard they work. And like feudal practices,
these contemporary social arrangements are
hard to justify when you think about them closely. Reformers in the
late Middle Ages objected to the way that
feudalism restricted freedom, including the freedom
of individuals to move from one place to
another in search of a better life, a constraint that was
crucial to the maintenance of the feudal system. You know, you belong
to that noble. You can’t move to
somebody else’s land just because you think there’s
a better opportunity there. You were constrained. And modern practices
of state control over borders tie people
to the land of their birth almost as effectively. Limiting entry to
rich democratic states is a crucial mechanism
for protecting a birthright privilege. And if the feudal
practice of protecting birthright privileges was wrong,
what justifies the modern ones? There are millions of
people in poor states today who long for the freedom
and economic opportunity they could find in
Europe or North America. Many of them take
great risk to come. And if the borders were open,
millions more would move. The exclusion of so many
poor and desperate people seems hard to justify
from a perspective that takes seriously the
claim of all individuals to be regarded as free
and equal moral persons. Now, some will object
that open borders would be contrary to our interests. And perhaps they’re right. But if we want to
act ethically, we have to give reasons for our
institutions and practices. And those reasons must
take a certain form. It’s never enough to justify
a set of social arrangements governing human
beings to say, well, these arrangements
are good for us, without regard for others,
whoever the us may be. We have to appeal to
principles and arguments that take everyone’s
interest into account or that explain why the
social arrangements are reasonable and fair to everyone
who is subject to them. I don’t know how many of
you read The New Yorker. They once had a
cartoon that seems appropriate to mention here. It shows two kings
talking to one another. First one says to
the second, well, monarchy may not be the
best form of government, in principle, but it has
always seemed the best form of government for me. I’m afraid that those of us
who live in rich states today are a lot like that king. The way the world is organized
may be hard to justify, but it’s good for us. Now, I have no illusions about
the likelihood of rich states actually opening their borders. The primary motivation for
my open borders argument is my sense that it’s
of vital importance to gain a critical perspective
on the ways in which our collective choices
are constrained, even when we can’t do anything
to alter those constraints. Social institutions
and practices may be deeply unjust, and
yet so firmly established that, for all
practical purposes, they have to be
taken as a background given in deciding how
to act in the world at a particular moment in time. For example,
feudalism and slavery were unjust social arrangements
that were deeply entrenched in places in the past. In those contexts, for
long periods of time, there was no hope
of transcending them in a foreseeable future. But criticism was
still appropriate. So even if we have to take
such arrangements as given for the purposes of
immediate action– so if you’re dealing with
the South in the 1830s, maybe it’s important
to think about how can you improve the
condition of slaves, rather than focusing
on abolition. But you shouldn’t forget about
the fundamental injustice of slavery. Otherwise, we wind
up legitimating what should only be endured. Of course, most people
in the democratic states think the institutions they
inhabit, that we inhabit, have nothing in common
with feudalism and slavery from a normative perspective. The social arrangements of
democratic states they suppose are just– well, nearly so. But it’s precisely
that complacency that the open borders argument
is intended to undermine, for I imagine, or
at least I hope, that in a century or two
people will look back upon our world with
bafflement or shock. And just as we wonder
about the moral blindness of feudal aristocrats and
Southern slave owners, future generations may ask
themselves how Democrats today could have possibly
failed to see the deep injustices of a
world so starkly divided between haves and
have-nots, why we felt so complacent
about this division, so unwilling to do what
we could to change it. The argument for open
borders provides one way of bringing this deep injustice
of the modern world into view. And it’s only a partial
perspective, to be sure. Because even if
borders were open, that would not address all
the underlying injustices that make people want to move. But it’s a useful perspective
because our responsibility for keeping people
from immigrating is clear and direct, whereas
our responsibility for poverty and oppression elsewhere
often is not as obvious, at least not to many people. But we do have to
use overt force to prevent people from moving. We need borders with
barriers and guards with guns to keep
out people whose only goal is to work hard to build
a decent life for themselves and their children. And that is something
that we could change. At the least, we could
let many more people in. And our refusal to do so
is a choice that we make and one that keeps many
of them from having a chance at a descent life. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] DANIEL J. D’AMICO: We have
two microphones set up to field questions and
answers from the audience. Please feel free. Go ahead, Daniel. DANIEL: Hi. Thank you, so
much, for the talk. This is sort of a
two-part question. It’s for both of you. So Professor Miller, you
talk a lot about culture and preserving it. And that is valuable
to a sovereign nation. Could you please expand on
what you mean by culture and why it is valuable
to preserve it? And then the second
part would be like asking a response
from Professor Carens and if you agree
with that, basically. DAVID MILLER: Is this OK? DANIEL J. D’AMICO: Mm-hm. DAVID MILLER: Yeah OK. Right. Define culture, that’s one of
those kind of real challenge questions. So I think what I was
suggesting in my talk and what I think is that
the importance of culture in this discussion is not so
much about the intrinsic values of culture as a form
of human experience. I mean, I think we could have
a long discussion about why human beings need cultures
and what part they play in human life. I was referring to it here
as an individuating property. So we ask the question,
what makes a people? What makes Americans American,
distinct from Canadians, or French, and so forth? Going to be a number of things. But among them is going to be
things that are distinctively American– beliefs, ways of
life, practices, customs, verbal mannerisms,
whatever it might be. And the importance, as I was
suggesting here in this debate is that, by virtue of
these cultural differences, we come to think of those around
us as sharing things with us. And this seems, to me, is a very
valuable mechanism in societies that in other respects are
highly diverse economically, racially, and so
on and so forth. So that’s really the
instrumental argument that I was making for the
importance of culture. But I think I haven’t really– I’ve not done a very
good job in answering the first part of the
question, which is actually what exactly culture is. It’s a very amorphous thing. JOSEPH CARENS: So this is
one of these areas where I don’t think David and I– is this working? Can you hear this? DANIEL J. D’AMICO: Yeah,
just stay close to it. JOSEPH CARENS: Right. So I don’t think David
and I actually have– again we have disagreements
about particulars, but not about the general
principle here. So I’ve written elsewhere about
multiculturalism, and I’m in– multiculturalism is
not just about people perpetuating the
traditions that they have brought with them from
their country of origin or from their families, right? So what I find in thinking
about these topics, it’s always helpful to have
concrete examples in mind. So that’s why I cited
in my talk, right? Many states have different
languages, right? So is it reasonable
to expect immigrants to have their children–
so should immigrants learn the language of the
country that they move to? Well, they don’t have
to, but you know, it’s not reasonable for them
to expect other people learn their language either. So if you want to successfully
negotiate, you’d better adjust. But it is reasonable,
I think, to expect them to send their
kids to schools where they will learn those. They can speak whatever
they want at home, but they should learn–
because they can’t function in the society effectively. The children cannot have a
positive future in the society unless they learn the language. So if you start to
go through, piece by piece, particular
issues about culture, when oftentimes things
that are debated under the heading of
culture are really debates about the extent
of religious freedom and what it’s
reasonable to constrain. So I think it’s easier to get a
good answer to these questions by thinking about
concrete contested cases. Where are questions of
culture actually contested? And what is the
contestation about? As opposed to– it’s my general
approach to political theory, actually. Start from the ground
up, don’t start from the abstract
principle down. DANIEL J. D’AMICO:
Brian, you were next. BRIAN: Thanks, Dan. I wanted to attack an area
of agreement that you had. So I hope you’ll consider it
a challenge to both of you. The view, which I really
do believe you share, that immigrating or
traveling into and spending time in another society should
imply some regularization or membership in the society. Perhaps not identical
to, but akin to citizenship, or
with what appears is euphemistically understood
as a pathway to citizenship. Conversely, Lant
Pritchett, I think, has argued forcefully that that
amounts to moral proximity, to moral perfection
by proximity, that people who make it
here, we have to spend a lot of concern about. And anybody who doesn’t
can stay where they are, whether that be a hellhole,
or whatever it may be. And not that, through
the point of refugees or looking at the broader world
community, there’s not a duty, but that duty isn’t
seen as a duty that corresponds to the moral duty
to treat immigrants well. And he believes, I think, that
actually, the circumstance of the country from
which people immigrate and the acceptability under
liberal democratic principles, if that assumption were
not inherent in immigration that a person comes to be
a member of the society, would maintain ties
and improve development in the country from
which they come. And I think that’s a broad
challenge, in other words, to which moral goal is higher– to raise all people,
or to race the people that come to your country. Which is almost
like that question about national identity. DANIEL J. D’AMICO: Thank you. DAVID MILLER: OK. So there were a
number of issues, I think, raised
in your question. The starting point– I think, to begin with,
you were challenging the shared assumption
that everyone who comes as an immigrant and who
stays for a period of time should be entitled to
apply for citizenship. Is that right? That was the starting. BRIAN: Approximately, yes. DAVID MILLER: Yeah. So well, we know
that, in the past, this has not been the case. And there have been societies– for example, Germany for a
large part of the 20th century, admitted guest workers who
were unable to come and have permanent residence,
but were never entitled until the very end of a century
to apply for citizenship. And if you do that, then
what you’re creating is effectively a
two-status society. And it seems to me
that this is simply incompatible with liberal
principles of freedom and equality. In other words,
in a democracy, we assume that, at the
most basic level, everybody who’s a permanent
part of the society has equal standing. And so it’s just not– you know, the ancient Athenians
had the slaves and so forth. We just don’t accept that as
a kind of part of a democracy. It’s part of the basic
fundamental principles of our system. And so we then effectively
have to choose. We have to either limit
migration to short periods– and I don’t know whether
Joseph Carens wants to talk a bit about
what he thinks about temporary migrations. I think there is room for people
to come on a short-term basis, without expectations
of citizenship. But I think as
soon as the period that they come for goes beyond
about, let’s say, five years, then they must be put on
the road to citizenship for the reason I gave. But I think you had
other questions as well, but let me stop there. And perhaps Joe
wants to add to that. JOSEPH CARENS: Sure. DAVID MILLER: Yeah. JOSEPH CARENS: So I agree with
everything that David said. And the reference to
temporary migrants is not irrelevant
because, if I recall– I’ve read some of Lant
Pritchett’s stuff. So he’s one of those
people who thinks that opening borders will
enhance economic opportunity. He also wants to have– so the idea that
people move to a state but retain ties with
their state of origin is something I fully embrace. As I said, I’m an American
as well as a Canadian, even though I live in
Canada and have lived there for the past 30-some years. So the idea that people can
have multiple connections and connections to
more than one state I fully embrace, but
having connections to more than one state
is not the same as having comparable connections
to every state. So you can belong in– you know, some people
find that problematic. But you know, you
can love your mother. You love your father. It’s not loving everybody in
the world in the same way. So part of this issue is
this particular connections and why they matter. The second thing that lurks in
the background of Pritchett’s critique, which is the part that
I’m sympathetic to, is we’ve set up a world in which, as I
say, some states are very rich. A few states are very rich, and
a lot of states are very poor. And most people’s lives are
very limited because of that. So it’s that
background structure. So I think David may be
a little more resistant. Either he doesn’t agree
with my assessment of that, or he doesn’t want to
engage in that discussion. But that’s where I think
we have an obligation at the level of
principle to figure out how to create a just world. And a just world would
be one in which there wouldn’t be vastly different
circumstances of birth among societies. There may be separate
societies, but the circumstances won’t be so different
between them. And we could do that,
as human beings. I’m not saying we could do that
as a matter of policy tomorrow. I’m not saying there’s some
obvious political possibility, but it’s something
that we could do. And we should think about it. And we should think about how
to move in that direction. DANIEL J. D’AMICO: Thank you. AUDIENCE: Thank you both
for your comments today. So this question is
for Professor Miller, because I had this
curious experience during this talk
where I completely agreed with everything you
said the whole way through. But then after
Professor Carens spoke, I completely changed my mind. [LAUGHTER] JOSEPH CARENS: Well, that’s
what this forum is for, right? [LAUGHTER] AUDIENCE: And so I wanted
to press specifically on where you think the
feudalism analogy goes astray. And more particularly
I want to ask, first, a clarifying question
about your view. Do you agree with
Professor Carens that, in an ethically
ideal sense, open borders would be
ethically preferred? Or do you think even in an
ideal world, your argument about the intrinsic value
of some political culture or something like that will
show that there’s still some kind of residual
rights to control borders. DAVID MILLER: Right. Thanks very much
for your question. So the reason I think
that the feudalism analogy, tempting though
it is, is misleading is that, in feudalism,
the advantaged position of the nobles depends upon
the disadvantaged position of the serfs, the
vassals and the serfs. The whole system
is a rigid system, which the nobles can only enjoy
that wealth so long as there are serfs to support them. But although inequalities
are huge in the world today, it’s not the case that rich
societies in that same sense can only be rich
because there are other societies that are poor. I think, to make
that argument, you’d have to have a very strange
theory of global economy. So there’s no reason why
the U.S. Can’t be rich and China can’t be rich. That clearly going
to happen, and that’s going to be a good thing. So the question then is how
to move in the direction that we will all applaud,
in which no society falls below a poverty line
that we can recognize. I mean, we have good markers
of when that would be. What’s the best way
to move towards that? And then the question is,
what role should migration play in that process? And here, then, we enter
a very difficult set of questions about
the relative advantage in terms of economic development
of people leaving societies and moving to rich societies,
versus staying where they are and developing those societies. So should we, for example, be
spending much more resource on educating people to stay
in countries where they can provide vital skills, computer
skills, engineering skills, medical skills, and so forth? In other words, it’s often
about the comparative advantages and disadvantages of brain
drain versus remittances and so on and so forth. So we need it we need a story
about the best kind of system that would encourage
development of poor societies. But the basic point is
there is no rigidity in the system in the way that
there is under feudalism. We can be rich, and other
societies can be rich too. AUDIENCE: Could I get
a quick follow-up? DAVID MILLER: Yep. JOSEPH CARENS: Sure. AUDIENCE: Suppose
a person thought that the moral force of
this feudalism analogy derived more from the kind of
moral luck or arbitrariness in the way the advantage
has been allocated and less from the fact that there’s
a necessary relationship between some people doing better
and other people doing worse. You can imagine a society
where, say, we give tall people more money than everybody else. And there’s no necessity
to some people being short. Everybody could have
the same height, and yet it still seems
wrong for some reason. Do you think, in
that case, there’s something to the
feudalism analogy, or no? DAVID MILLER:
Well, I think the– so the issue– so you could
recast the feudalism analogy as an argument about
moral [? opportunists. ?] And there are some
people who do that. But I think it becomes
less persuasive. In other words,
there’s an assumption that it’s deeply problematic
that some people are just born in a place
where, by some metric, their life chances
are lower than people in some other place. And I just don’t see it. I just don’t see it. There’s a real problem if
people are born into poverty. There’s a real
problem if people are born into social
relations of injustice with other people
in their society. But the mere fact that a child
born, let’s say, in Portugal has lower statistical life
chances in terms, let’s say, of income than a
child born in Norway may be quite
considerably smaller. I don’t think that that is a
problem of moral significance. People just have different
intuitions about that. So I can just state that. But that’s my view. AUDIENCE: Thank you. JOSEPH CARENS: Can I just
jump in on that for a second? DANIEL J. D’AMICO: Sure. JOSEPH CARENS: So one of the
interesting things about Norway and Portugal is that they’re
both part of the European Union and had open borders– have open borders. You can move from Portugal
to Norway if you want. DAVID MILLER: Norway isn’t. JOSEPH CARENS: Well, but– OK, Norway– Sweden? DAVID MILLER: [LAUGHS] JOSEPH CARENS: OK. [LAUGHTER] DAVID MILLER: We need countries
outside the EU to ally with, Joe. JOSEPH CARENS: Right
So here’s the point. Why do people want to move? So David has implicitly
in the back of his mind an unspecified, I think, vision
of what a just world would be and how it would be organized. It’s going to have
states that are going to be kind of these
national things and so on. So it seems to me
that it’s worthwhile just reflecting upon. OK, who is that
vision going to be persuasive to, if we were
just starting from scratch and creating? So the fact that you have a
possibility that some states– not all states can be rich. That doesn’t answer the
question of whether or not you want to set up a
system in which you permit these kinds of inequalities. And there has to be
an argument for why you want to permit
the inequalities or why you wouldn’t want to
permit those inequalities and over time. And one of the
things that I think it’s worth paying
attention to is that the actual concrete–
people think, open borders– that’s impossible. Culture, how could
you protect it? So the European Union– remember, these
are countries that fought wars with each other
for hundreds of years, right? And they have profoundly
different cultures. You have people who, oh,
it’s all European culture, but that isn’t how they
saw it for a long time. And they have managed– you know, lately,
they’ve had some bumps in the road,
clearly, around that. But they managed for many
years to have open borders. And the heart of that is
the economic differences between the states
were not so great. So the difference between
Portugal and Sweden are comparable to the difference
between Portugal Norway. But at a certain point, you
know, you speak Portuguese, you grow up [INAUDIBLE] family. You’re going to move to
Sweden just because you can make a little more money? Some will, but not that many. So if you create– it doesn’t– so I’m
not for flat equality. I’m saying the inequalities
between states, if we’re imagining it’s
better to have a world divided in that way, which I
think is plausible, they have to be limited. And if they’re limited, the
whole problem of open borders is involving vast
migration will disappear. DANIEL J. D’AMICO: You’ve
been waiting patiently. AUDIENCE: Yes. Hello? Is this working? DANIEL J. D’AMICO: Yes. AUDIENCE: I have a question
to Professor Carens. The first one is,
in your argument, you kind of assume that
countries, that some countries, are poor and some
countries are rich. And this is like a static point. And this might not change. And then, my second question
kind of goes into this. Imagine you have open borders. And imagine richer countries
open up their borders. How do you deal
with the injustices that kind of come after that? Imagine you have
some people who are able to migrate to
those countries, but those are not going to be
the very, very poorest people in these countries. And then, by migrating
to those rich countries, this has a secondary effect,
a negative secondary effect, to the people who
kind of need to stay. Yeah. How do you address this? And how would you help? Or how would you work
with these injustices that you impose on the
very, very poor within those poor countries? JOSEPH CARENS: So
there are people, like Lant Pritchett, who
we’ve referred to earlier, who actually make an open
borders argument as a policy proposal, which they
think might have some purchase among
certain people. And that’s not actually
my own inclination. So as I tried to make clear,
I think of the open borders argument as bringing into
view in this question. Why is it that people would want
to move from their home state? Only because things are bad
where they are, and things look much better somewhere else. So the real solution, it seems
to me, is to make things good, not just decent. Dave and I differ on this. He wants a threshold. I want not absolute,
but relative equality– things to be very
good everywhere. And so then, how we
get there from here, that’s this question
of transition. And whether the best
thing is to open borders? I’m not convinced of that. But here’s what
I’m worried about. Sometimes people say– you
know, the argument you make has some plausibility. I mean, it’s a complicated
empirical question about what are the
consequences of movement. But somebody will make the
case, this movement is bad. You’ve got the brain
drain problem and so on. And I certainly think
that is a persuasive case in some context. But then you say, OK,
so then, well, we’ll do something else to
change the circumstances. And say, oh, that doesn’t work. You know, aid doesn’t
work, development strategy. So it’s sort of
like, oh, too bad. Yeah, that would be nice, but
you can’t get there from here. So I want to resist that because
we do decide who gets in. And it’s just not
plausible to imagine that we’re keeping people out
in order to make things better for the people at home. We’re not doing that. And I don’t want
to let that be– I’m not suggesting
you were saying that, but I want to resist that there
can be a kind of overlooking of the ways in which we are
protecting our own privileges with this immigration regime. And if we’re not interested in
protecting our own privileges, there will be opportunities
to change the– and I’m not saying
the top priority should be more migration,
if we are indeed committed to some other
method of transformation. That’s fine. AUDIENCE: Thank you. DANIEL J. D’AMICO: John? JOHN: My question
is for Joe, but I’d be interested to hear what
both of you think about it. So Joe, I’m just
kind of wondering how deep the principle
of open borders is, given your wider
conception of social justice? Because I share with
you a strong commitment to the ideals of free migration
that you were describing, that you were
sketching, but I think you have different views
about what justice is. And I think David
and I do, as well. But I just want to know where in
your idea of an ideal society, ideal world, how strong that
principle of free migration might be. And in David’s case,
I gather he would say, in 100 years from, or 200,
lucky, lucky, 100 lucky years from now. [INAUDIBLE] a conception–
a more just world on David’s understanding. We’d have a variety of
nation states, each of which had prosperity and social
justice, institutions of the welfare
state, for example, or [INAUDIBLE] democracy. And in that ideal
world, for you David, I gather the reasons
that you provided [INAUDIBLE] suggest
there could be some limitations on immigration
that would still apply, provided the societies
were all just. But I wonder, for you
Joe, if you could just say something to us about that. In your world, I
thought you would say that free
migration would happen, would be a basic human right
and a fundamental principle of justice. Is that what you would say? And can you just describe
what the ideal world world looks like? JOSEPH CARENS: Yeah. So I’m actually
not an absolutist about almost anything. And so I can certainly
imagine contexts in which there would be reasons
why people want to restrict a certain set of
circumstances that lead to large numbers of
people coming into a community. So taken very
concretely, I think it’s reasonable for
indigenous communities to want to maintain control
over who settles on their land. These are vulnerable,
impoverished communities. And so that’s a concrete
practical issue here and now. And I guess you can imagine,
even in my ideal world, that there could
be circumstances under which some small
group shared a culture. See? Like David, I think culture
and identity matters. And for some reason, contingent
reason, lots of people are trying to get in. I don’t think it’s very
likely, but lots of people were trying to get in for
relatively unimportant reasons. So I’d be– you know, again,
it depends on the concrete specificity of the– so I guess here’s
another way to put it. I think that migration
is a human right, but human rights
are about protecting fundamental interests. And it often is the case that
even fundamental human rights or the fundamental
interests that are being protected
by basic human rights can come into conflict. And there can be
circumstances in which you have to make trade-offs,
or you have exceptions. There are very few absolutes. JOHN: But now I’m struggling
to understand the moral units that you’re working with. In the case of the
indigenous community, let’s imagine now it’s
a situation of justice. So they’re not deeply
impoverished with respect to the rest of the world. Let’s say it’s a prosperous,
but deeply cohesive indigenous community. Is your position then that, if
one of these indigenous members wanted to sell property
to a non-member and, say, give a job to a non-member, that
you would oppose that person’s right to make that sale
and to hire that person? JOSEPH CARENS: So I am not
an absolutist about property rights, as you can imagine. And that’s one of the places
where we will disagree on. I can certainly imagine
contexts in which it would make sense for
an indigenous community, even a prosperous one,
to try to maintain a particular culture which
they think would be threatened. So look. You can use this in the
language of economics. There’s a collective
action problem. If people are making
individual choices, what are the collective
effects of people who are not indigenous moving
into indigenous communities where you’ve got a very thick
and important kind of culture that you’re trying to maintain? So yes, I would be
willing to limit certain kinds of economic rights
for the sake of that wider collective good. We could have a dispute
about whether that’s genuinely a collective good. I think I’m kind
of with David there in thinking that
shared identity, shared culture can
be, in some context, an important collective good. Again, you have to ask– so people sometimes
want to make arguments about this in terms of
abstract principles. I think it’s helpful to think
about why are you imagining that people are
going to be wanting to move onto this and into
this indigenous community? They get decent
chances for jobs– why is the Portuguese person
going to move to Norway? So I don’t think indigenous
communities should be entirely exclusive, but the
idea that you want to have most of the people
in the indigenous community– because often, indigenous people
fall in love with somebody who’s not indigenous. They ought to be able to bring
their spouses in and so on. But that’s more important
than getting a job or selling a piece
of property, to me, is that personal relationship. And you’re not going
to get a huge movement if you have a background
of relative equality. That’s the heart of it. JOHN: Thank you. DANIEL J. D’AMICO: Oliver, were
you trying to ask a question? OLIVER: Yeah, I wanted
to ask a question. So Professor Carens, you
mentioned the idea, especially with language, that there
might be sort of passive costs imposed on irregular
migrants who, because the way the labor marketplace
is structured, naturally have an
incentive to learn English. So I guess my question
is, how much scope is there for these costs imposed
on irregular migrants that sort of encourage them to go
here into the national identity without actually being
actively imposed by the state, whether that’s
learning the language, or sort of more active
marketplace discrimination? JOSEPH CARENS: So I was making
a claim not just about irregular migrants, but all
migrants have an incentive to learn the language of
the community to which they have moved. That incentive is stronger
for some than for others. You know, in Canada
in the United States there have often been traditions
of migrants moving and then settling in places where
most of their neighbors speak the same language. They’ve got stores that
sell the food that they’re familiar with and so on. But you can only go so
far in the wider society if you’re living in that
kind of enclosed community. And for the children,
it’s important that they have the capacity. They might decide to
stay in that community. That’s fine, but they have
got to have the capacity to move out into
the wider society. So that’s what I’m saying
is that it’s all right– it’s reasonable for
a political community to make a judgment about
what is good for those who are living within it. In this case, in terms of the
education of the children, to require them to learn
the dominant language. They shouldn’t prohibit the
kids from speaking the parents’ language at home, or in the
school yard, or anyplace else, but they should make sure
that they have facility in the dominant language. OLIVER: I guess I wanted to
push you a little further. It seems like, in
the late 1800s, there was a fairly open
immigration policy, relatively open borders. But there was far more
discrimination within society. Discrimination went beyond
purely lingual discrimination, right? So I’m curious, is
there any moral limit to where there’s no
government imposed program, but you’re still having
a significant amount of passive costs imposed
on these immigrants? If that makes sense. JOSEPH CARENS: I guess I’m
not understanding precisely what you have in mind. Maybe again, if you could
give a concrete example. So I think it’s perfectly
appropriate for the state to forbid racial and
religious discrimination and to adopt a variety
of laws and social norms, not just laws, but social norms. So the kids get taught in school
that we don’t discriminate here on the basis of race,
or religion, or gender, or sexuality. So that’s a perfectly
appropriate thing as an object of public policy, including
public policy around norms. We could debate about
the particulars. OLIVER: All right. DAVID MILLER: Could
I come in on this? So I think language is a
pretty easy one to defend. How far would you
go in insisting that education more
generally should have a national cultural component? So for example, in terms of
teaching of national history and teaching of– I mean, the Shakespeare case,
as it were, the case of– JOSEPH CARENS: [INAUDIBLE]
teaching Shakespeare? DAVID MILLER: Well,
that’s because it’s good literature, right? Not because it’s– I mean, who’s the– JOSEPH CARENS: If
you’re in France, you should teach Racine. DAVID MILLER: Right. JOSEPH CARENS: I have
no problem with the idea that there are important
elements of cultural heritage. But again, I don’t know
anybody who objects to that. I mean, there are people
who object to Shakespeare. You know, hey, hey, Western
culture [INAUDIBLE].. DAVID MILLER: So let me
press you a little more. Do you think, for example,
that religious minorities should be entitled to
withdraw their children from public schools
and have them educated in private schools in
the religious culture that they come from? JOSEPH CARENS: So again,
that illustrates the point that I was trying to make,
is that debates about culture often turn out to be
debates about religion and about the degree
of religious freedom. That is appropriate to allow. And there’s a whole question
there about the extent– so to answer your
question, you’d have to have some specification
about the extent to which you think private schools of
any sort should be allowed and for what reasons. And then we could think
about whether or not these religious schools
would fit within that reason. But I do think it is
reasonable, on the one hand, if it would be
unreasonable to require either the students
or the teachers to abjure, or to stop carrying
on their religious dress, if they are required as a
matter of religious conscience to dress in a certain way. You can’t require
them not to, you know, as a condition
of public education. So a lot depends on the
specifics and the content. DANIEL J. D’AMICO: Thank you. Dr. [INAUDIBLE]. AUDIENCE: My question
is for Professor Miller. So I was interested
in the two cases that you set aside at
the beginning, the case of refugees, and the
case of chain migration, specifically, given the
focus on national identity. So one of the major very recent
issues in U.S. Immigration debate is this issue of
chain migration threatening this idea of national identity
that we’ve constructed. So I’m interested in why
you set those cases aside? If there’s a norm of
justice that maybe triggers a rights claim for
those sorts of migrants that it doesn’t in other cases? Just to hear you speak
on those two cases. DAVID MILLER: Yeah. Well, I mean, I set
them aside because I said, I think, at the outset,
or at least some point in the talk, that I
thought that the pursuit of these national values
and the reproduction of the political community
has to be carried on within certain moral limits. And I thought that– well, the two cases
are a bit different. Because in the
case of refugees, I think what you’re responding
to is an external human rights claim on the part
of the refugee. In the case of
family reunification, what you’re responding
to is a claim on the part of an existing
citizen to the right to family life which, again,
is a human right. But in that case,
it’s actually– I don’t think the right belongs
to the person coming in, it belongs to the person
who’s already a citizen. So partly because I
hadn’t, to be frank, thought about it in
any depth, I’m not sure where I stand on
the question of is it we’re extending the
family beyond the spouse and the children. Because presumably– so I mean,
chain migration, actually, I’m not familiar with what
that means in this context, but it typically means bringing
in wider family members– cousins, uncles,
aunts, grandparents, that kind of thing. AUDIENCE: That’s my
understanding, yeah. DAVID MILLER: And
therefore, indefinitely extending, because they can
also bring then in the– yeah. Well, I think, one
thing I would say, I think this is a
right of citizens. So I would restrict it to people
who already have citizenship. That would be one limit. Nothing– huh? JOSEPH CARENS: [INAUDIBLE]
permanent residence status. DAVID MILLER: Now,
you’re asking– yeah– the details. Yeah. I guess, probably, permanent
residence would get that right, too. Yeah. [INAUDIBLE] come back. So maybe I’ve not got the
subtlety of the question. AUDIENCE: Should we let him go? DANIEL J. D’AMICO: Alan? AUDIENCE: I’ll as you after. ALAN: First of all,
thank you for your talk. This question is primarily
for Professor Miller, but I mean, if you can answer– so your argument for
immigration seems to– or restricting
immigration– seems to largely hinge
on a preservation of a cultural stability. And I guess I want to challenge
the correlation between borders and cultural identity,
national identity. So although some borders do
exist along cultural lines, a lot of them have been
kind of arbitrarily drawn due to different
historical circumstance or power play, et cetera. And in fact, you can see
in large parts of the world borders cut across ethnicities,
or shared ethnic groups, or shared cultural groups where,
in that case, it doesn’t seem as if the border– or it seems as if the border
artificially divides a culture. So you could easily imagine
if historical circumstances were slightly different. You know, Vermont could
have been part of Canada, or Texas part of Mexico. So do you think that
the arbitrariness of these political
borders kind of undermines this argument of preservation
of a cultural stability. DAVID MILLER: No, not at all. I mean the mere fact of
historical arbitrariness is irrelevant. I mean, the question is, has
a political community now been formed which can operate
in a democratic manner and is a [INAUDIBLE] values? So the fact history
could have been different is neither
here nor there. What is at issue
are cases in which the actual place
the border is drawn doesn’t correspond to
existing cultural divisions. And then we have
problems, because although in some cases– so I think I said
at one point, I mean, I’m not a kind
of simple sovereignist, as some people are. I think that, often,
political power needs to be divided
up in a way that respects the different
identities of different groups within the societies. That’s why I’m strongly
in favor, for example, of evolved arrangements
in countries like the UK, and Spain, and so forth. But in other cases,
it’s actually very hard to find a way of
redrawing boundaries that doesn’t actually
simply reproduce the cultural divisions
that were already existing, but in a slightly
different place. And so then, of course– I mean, if you look at
the historical process, what you actually
see is active nation building, often of a rather
brutal and coercive kind. And we’re, to some
extent, the inheritors of processes that, looked
at now through liberal eyes, don’t look very savory. We should acknowledge that. We should acknowledge
the democracies we now have were often built
in ways that we would now find problematic. So we don’t have
available to us, if we’re to keep to
liberal norms, the capacity to actually create fully
homogeneous groups any longer. So then, I think, there will
be these problematic cases. I mean, I once wrote a
paper not very long ago in which I tried to apply
liberal nationalist ideas to the case of Kashmir,
which is a nightmare. It’s a nightmare. I mean, there is no– nobody one has a good solution
to what happened to Kashmir. But you can at least see what
kind of political arrangement might be appropriate
in that sort of case. It’s not going to be
a neat one, nor is it going to be unproblematic. So the answer is,
I think, the kind of position that I’m
taking has to be somewhat flexible in these cases in
which cultural boundaries, ethnic boundaries, and so on,
don’t line up with borders. But I don’t think it
defeats the principle, it just makes it more
complicated to apply. DANIEL J. D’AMICO: Thank you. David? DAVID: Yeah, thanks. First, let me say thanks for
the papers and the exchange. And it’s really terrific
to have you both here. And this has been really great. My question is prompted
mainly by David Miller’s view. The question is going to lead
in the direction of thinking maybe this really tough question
of what is cultural identity, or what is national culture,
a little bit more pressing on your view. First, sort of clarifying,
see if I have your view right. I take it on your view
that the point is not the cultural identity
or national culture needs to remain static and
that some kinds of immigration are going to upset that. That’s not the argument, it’s
that there needs to be one. And it’s OK if it changes,
and it inevitably does change. So what needs to happen
then your argument is there needs to be some
kind of identity what it is to be British. It’s not that it needs
to stay the same. OK. So if that’s what
it is, then it looks like it’s hard to judge
what kinds of migration might bring about the
following situation. There’s no longer any such thing
as what it is to be British. That’s the bar that
you’re setting it at now. And critics might say,
there’s going to be one. It’s going to change. It may involve how we deal
with certain divisions and conflicts. I’m not sure. But now the question
is, what would it mean– and I’m not saying
there’s no good answer– what would it mean for migration
to cause the situation such that it’s destroyed
the fact that there’s any such thing as what
it is to be British. That’s a fairly
high bar, isn’t it? DAVID MILLER: Right. Two things are happening. One is that– I mean, there’s an interest
in continuity and also in organic development. So there’s one thing a
national identity does is connect us here and now
to things that happened, often, some time in the past
so that when we have one, we see ourselves as involved
in a long historical process where some of the things
that happened then we now approve of and celebrate. Other things, we turn our
backs on and criticize. But it’s an organic
development which we want to be in control
of as we move forward. So when immigrants arrive
and bring new challenges, we won’t have to
respond to them. But we also want to include them
in a continuing organic process of development. So that’s the challenge. So what we don’t
want is just to be a kind of container for a
disaggregated mass of cultures. DAVID: Just a very
small follow-up. DAVID MILLER: Yeah. DAVID: The thing
about continuity is certainly a good point
if it’s instrumental, at the very least. If it changes too
fast, I think, now that actually will destroy there
being any national culture. So that is easy to fold in. But then, if you’re arguing that
there’s just a separate thing, it’s not about that there
needs to be a national culture, there also has to be this
thing like slow change for its own sake. That would need
separate support. DAVID MILLER: Yeah. DAVID: But you
might make the case that, if it changes
too fast, there will fail to be one at all. But again, that feels
like a high bar. [INAUDIBLE] I’m not sure. I don’t imagine that. JOSEPH CARENS: So can I just
add to that about culture? That it’s capitalism that is
eroding national cultures, not immigration. You know, think about the
transformation of societies. If you went to– you go to Paris today, and
you’ll find McDonald’s and, you know, kind of the– the idea that it’s
migration– sort of. Migration has an impact. But really, you know, it’s
[? Marx’s ?] basic point– the logic of capitalism,
the transformation, the globalization of capital
and globalization of products– that’s had a huge impact
on national cultures, a much greater impact for the
most part than immigration. DANIEL J. D’AMICO: Glen? Final question. GLEN: So my question is
for Professor Carens, and it’s that, to what
extent do countries have– or people have a right to
their own self-determination? So for example, if a country
had an open borders law, and then suddenly it was like,
no, we don’t want that anymore. Do the people have a right to
be able to sort of vote on it? And then, also, in the
case where there are closed borders, does the government
have a right just because, like the intellectuals say,
that this is the correct thing to do to either– JOSEPH CARENS: There’s
no danger of that. GLEN: –either– like, do you
have propaganda campaigns? Like people would say
that that’s happening now to change the national
views on certain issues around immigration. JOSEPH CARENS: So just take
the second point first. You know, I think what David
and I are doing is appropriate. That is to say,
we try to reflect critically on public policies
and the principles behind them. And we get to contribute
to the conversation. The likelihood of either
of us having an impact is almost negligible,
but we get to do that. And I don’t think
that that’s a problem from a democratic
point, or from a wider democratic point of view. With respect to the
self-determination issue, part of what I think
it’s important to see– so I agree with David
again on one of the points that there can be
layers and levels. And you live in a city, and it– Providence, it
has all kinds of– so Providence only picks
up garbage for people who live in Providence. That’s perfectly appropriate. It favors and it
taxes the people that live in Providence to do that. That’s perfectly appropriate. But the thing is you
can’t prevent people from moving from Boston to
Providence if they want to. So this idea that
open borders somehow undermines
self-determination, again, implicitly draws in the
background on an assumption that lots of people
are going to want to move into where you are and
start doing things differently. So states’ rights, the United
States, Canada’s the same way, are very strong
sub-national units with lots of
jurisdictional authority, constraints on what the Federal
government can do with respect to those states, and so
on, with respect to states and provinces in Canada. And yet, you have freedom of
movement within the state. So there’s not a
fundamental– it’s not that there can
never be a conflict between self-determination
and migration. I’m not making
that extreme claim. I’m just saying that you can’t
see these things as necessarily in conflict. And the degree to which they
might stand in tension with one another depends on
background circumstances which themselves have to be
subject to critical scrutiny. DAVID MILLER: So I mean, it’s
tempting to say, well simply, that immigration
policy’s something that is part of self-determination. That would sort of simply
cut through the whole debate. We just say we value
self-determination. One of the things we should
be free to decide as a country to do is what our
immigration policy should be. But I think that’s [INAUDIBLE]
is a bit too quick. And that’s why, I
guess, I was trying to give what I thought were
the underlying reasons that would make such a
decision defensible. Because otherwise, it just
looks like, OK, we could do it, but it would look
mean, wouldn’t it? If there were no
other reasons at all, it would look just kind of
mean to keep people out– just we decided to do it. So you know, it’s the
same way if somebody wants to come and look at my garden. It’s kind of mean just to
say, no, for no reason at all. So I have to have a reason. It’s not, I guess, were
the sort of reasons I was trying to give. But otherwise, it would
be tempting to take the short route. GLEN: Thank you. DAVID MILLER: Yep. DANIEL J. D’AMICO:
That’s all the time we have for this evening. Thank you all for attending. Be sure to subscribe
to our Facebook page, and be on the lookout
for future PTP events. There are refreshments and
hors d’oeuvres in the lobby. Thank you, again, for coming. [APPLAUSE]

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3 thoughts on “Open Borders? Immigration, Citizenship, and Nationalism in the 21st Century | Janus Forum Series

  1. Pyros Dimas the weight lifter from Albania was world champion ,they honoured him with the highest national award , still he moved to Greece .Then Sulemaonue from Bulgaria to Turkey .The first one is enjoying in US ,the other could not produce a line in Turkey. A fellow named Shaquiri is in Swis rather than Kosovo ,then you have Cilic in Croatia not in Bosnia and Raonic in Canada instead of Montenegro. Now what is Nationality , citzenship and last of all loyality.

  2. Prof Miller addresses interesting topics, like community, the sense of being a nation, what makes the state as such, Prof Carens is just a peace and love hippie who has no idea (apparently) of how the world works.

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