August 18, 2016


Imagine There's No Border : A world without boundaries is a fantasy. (Victor Davis Hanson, Summer 2016, City Journal)

Today's open-borders agenda has its roots not only in economic factors--the need for low-wage workers who will do the work that native-born Americans or Europeans supposedly will not--but also in several decades of intellectual ferment, in which Western academics have created a trendy field of "borders discourse." What we might call post-borderism argues that boundaries even between distinct nations are mere artificial constructs, methods of marginalization designed by those in power, mostly to stigmatize and oppress the "other"--usually the poorer and less Western--who arbitrarily ended up on the wrong side of the divide. "Where borders are drawn, power is exercised," as one European scholar put it. This view assumes that where borders are not drawn, power is not exercised--as if a million Middle Eastern immigrants pouring into Germany do not wield considerable power by their sheer numbers and adroit manipulation of Western notions of victimization and grievance politics. Indeed, Western leftists seek political empowerment by encouraging the arrival of millions of impoverished migrants.

Dreams of a borderless world are not new, however. The biographer and moralist Plutarch claimed in his essay "On Exile" that Socrates had once asserted that he was not just an Athenian but instead "a citizen of the cosmos." In later European thought, Communist ideas of universal labor solidarity drew heavily on the idea of a world without borders. "Workers of the world, unite!" exhorted Marx and Engels. Wars broke out, in this thinking, only because of needless quarreling over obsolete state boundaries. The solution to this state of endless war, some argued, was to eliminate borders in favor of transnational governance. H. G. Wells's prewar science-fiction novel The Shape of Things to Come envisioned borders eventually disappearing as elite transnational polymaths enforced enlightened world governance. Such fictions prompt fads in the contemporary real world, though attempts to render borders unimportant--as, in Wells's time, the League of Nations sought to do--have always failed. Undaunted, the Left continues to cherish the vision of a borderless world as morally superior, a triumph over artificially imposed difference.

Yet the truth is that borders do not create difference--they reflect it.

That last is a genuine insight, which, reversed, explains the demise of borders : porous borders reflect the lack of differences amongst nations at the End of History.  America and North Korea have a border because they are so different.  America and South Korea, Canada, the Bahamas, Iceland, England, Sweden, etc. have none because they are virtually indistinguishable. The latter are not going to become less like us, the former is going to become more.

Posted by at August 18, 2016 6:56 PM