Saturday, April 8, 2017

Empathy and Immigration Policy

A friend in Arizona forwarded this to me (from Jeremy Beck of The Hill). He commented saying "Good grief! I'm actually mostly agreeing with a socialist on immigration policy." I absolutely agree with him.

In some respects I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. I learned many years ago, in discussions with a very liberal friend, that Left and Right can find common ground and common goals, just disagreeing on how to reach those goals, so long as pure hyperpartisanship can be avoided.

Here's the text of the message that was forwarded to me.

Ian Smith of the Immigration Reform Law Institute describes the challenge that we in the "immigration-control" movement face in getting our message out to different audiences:

"How to communicate the broad effects of unregulated immigration to non-systemic thinkers, i.e., excessive immigration acts like a weight on working-class wages, makes the rich richer, expands income inequality, puts pressure on public assets, contributes to urban sprawl, increases real estate prices, etc.

"These effects, although disastrous, are diffuse and tend to lag, meaning they do not resonate well with hyper-empathic types."

Smith gives a real-world example: the crisis of displaced persons worldwide. As you know, the United States can help 12 displaced people in the Middle East for the cost of permanently relocating one refugee to America. Yet nearly all of the political discussion focuses on the one percent of displaced people who are able to relocate:

"Empathy-politics, however, diverts otherwise good people from making real, effective reforms. Writing about the refugee-crisis in his just-released book, 'Against The Double Blackmail,' NYU professor and avowed socialist Slavoj Zizek says that it's 'not enough to do (what we consider to be) the best for the refugees, receive them with open hands [and] show sympathy and generosity to the utmost of our ability.' Instead, he says, we must get to the heart of the matter and 'avoid the false generosity that simply makes us feel good.' As he asks, 'are we not doing this to forget what is required?'

"What's required for the refugee-crisis at least, Zizek says, is deep change. Instead of letting them leave, we must offer them a 'common struggle' where they are. We must 'fight for a positive universal project shared by all participants', specifically, he writes, the twin struggles against corruption and the globalist elite."

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