Freedom of Movement of Peoples (open borders)

Anybody remember trade tariffs? No, me neither. They were designed to keep the bad things out. Us versus Them.

Anybody remember passports and immigration rules? No, me neither. They were designed to keep undesirable people out. Us versus Them.

This way of thinking is grossly flawed. There are no countries, no individual states. They are convenient administation blocs for politics.

There are only people living in different places. Human beings, ordinary people, mothers, fathers, children, labourers. Just human beings trying to get by.

Let’s face it, 95% of us could not be bothered moving. Why would we? We’ve got our jobs, our friends, our comfort zone where we are. The people who want to move are the ones who need it most.

So what are you really afraid of? Poor people taking your welfare? Sponging on your taxes? Muslims? Diseased people?

Countries are entirely artificial.

Only human beings in different places.


15 Responses to “Freedom of Movement of Peoples (open borders)”

  1. Andreas Says:

    Totally! Isn’t it amazing how many people will sing along when you play John Lennon’s “Imagine”. Just about everybody knows the words.

    Imagine there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace
    etc., etc.

    If we’re all in with that, then why on Earth are we all still stuck behind these artificial borders?

  2. Gracie Says:

    Oh that is music to my ears. Artificial borders indeed all in order to made a few people more powerful and wealthy. Out society has developed into such madness that nothing shocks me anymore, absolutely nothing.

    Great blog – I love this post.

  3. SilverTiger Says:

    Economics is one of the many subjects I know nothing about, so I can’t comment on tariffs and trade barriers and whether they are sensible or fair. On the other hand, as a citizen of a specific country, the UK, I do have thoughts about patriotism and insularity.

    Despite the deliberate discouragement of nationalism by creeds such as Marxism, I think individuals do tend to identify with the country in which they live. If they were also born there and have lived their lives there, the bond will be that much stronger. It is very hard to adhere strongly to your own country, community, family or gang without, at the same time, regarding non-members as “other”, alien and foreign. There is a tendency to see the virtues of one’s own group and the faults of other groups.

    I don’t think this is merely a cultural bias which we can be educated away from. I think it is deeply ingrained, either genetically or culturally. The history of Europe and the Middle East is a story of wave after wave of invasions in which homeless land-hungry barbarians came and drove out the inhabitants, taking over their country for themselves. This has bred in us the feeling that strangers are bad news. I suspect this is the impulse that lies behind racism and other forms of prejudice.

    Pessimistically, I don’t think we can necessarily cure ourselves of this emotional prejudice, though we can convince ourselves intellectually that it is unworthy and then behave as though we do not feel it.

    Not everyone is the same. Some people are less prejudiced than others. Perhaps losing our prejudice is the way of the future. I would like to think so.


  4. Manas Says:

    People without border, huh?

    Well nationalism IS bad.

  5. whig Says:

    Just to give another perspective, borders are what delineate control, and we all do this to some extent. Even a person living on the street wants to have an area of his or her personal control, and as we have more ability to control more space we naturally tend to do so. The trick is to control no more than you must or can without depriving someone equally entitled, and we resolve this in many cases by sharing control. However, if we cannot agree to abide by some social rules of sharing, we have some who will take advantage of others or on the flip side, be disadvantaged by the sharing arrangement. It’s not an easy problem to solve, or it would have happened by now, but I’m very much interested in helping people find a solution. First and foremost is to advocate for the end of cannabis prohibition and the use of cannabis by people to treat their social phobias and learn how to live in peace with people who are different from themselves.

    And that’s instead of a blog post from me today.

  6. whitishrabbit Says:

    You could post *that* on your blog, with just a bit of intro, whig

    Interesting ideas, Ideaman. And even if some of the fundamentals are simplified, it’s the complexity of our systems that seem to make them so defunct. The 95% of people would never move might be a stretch, if we threw open the borders you can bet a lot of those in terrible circumstances would pounce on the opportunity. But there you have the ‘us’ and ‘them’ thing again. I get angry at the sense of entitlement that people who were born to good conditions feel about wealth and privilege. You look at those kids born to AIDS and hunger in Sub-Saharan Africa, to warfare and restriction in Gaza, to genocide in Sudan, and the pervading attitude seems to be momentary pity, and then back to prime-time. If not for a happy accident of birth and circumstance, that starving child is my child, that bleeding, hopeless mother is me.

  7. Jon Says:

    There are more than arbitrary reasons for setting up states.

    A government that rules over too large an area (say, a world government) necessarily neglects local needs at the expense of the greater majority. It’s an issue of management. The Roman empire fell because it didn’t have the gubernatorial wherewithal to manage such a diverse ethnic, economic, and geographical behemoth. With the invention of faster communications this is easier, perhaps. However, even the US, arguably the richest nation on the planet, does not have the financial capability to extend such technologies across the entire globe. Communication isn’t the only thing, either. You have to worry about voting issues, human rights, military, finance, etc. All of these things differ wildly from one country to the next. The only way a global government will work is if everyone buys into it. People don’t want to be subject to foreign cultural intuitions.

    Any global government will necessarily be weak, then, because it would have to cater to the lowest common denominator. If nation-states feel the law isn’t in keeping with local tradition, they’ll simply secede and declare their independence. Look what happened with the United States. One state seceded, then another, and then all of the south, all over the one issue of slavery. It led to civil war.

  8. arnold Says:

    I think we imagine a world without borders as being the same as it is in the US but without borders. I wonder how differently we would think if we lived is, say, Somalia or Rwanda.

  9. Jon Says:

    We had a unique chance in the US. We came to a land mass that wasn’t occupied by industrialized nations (Amerindian tribes, yes, but not nations). That kind of opportunity doesn’t exist anymore.

  10. archiearchive Says:

    Why do I feel so depressed after reading the later comments when I was so lifted by the original post?

    The control freaks who need to control all of us little people all seem to lack two things. A sense of humour and a sense of optimism.

    I consider myself a human being first, and Earth is my home.

  11. Jon Says:

    Well, don’t expect humanity to disabuse itself of a 4000+ year old social norm overnight.

  12. ggwfung Says:

    Thanks for all the comments on this one. It’s a fascinating subject, and one that’s sure to develop further in future years.

    Many thanks to Andreas, Gracie, SilverTiger, Manas and whig. Contributions also from whitishrabbit, Jon, arnold, and archiearchive.

    Lots to digest here.

  13. tobeme Says:

    This is an interesting concept and as we evolve as human beings we someday may be ready for such a world. I don’t believe we are ready for this yet, however we are making slow and stready steps towards this ideal.

  14. SurfaceEarth Says:

    I wrote about this idea too, not as a political or economic expert, simply wondering out loud in “My Open Letter to God”.

    I want to believe it can occur. I ask myself could I give up all that I call mine today? The space I live in knowing no one will boot me out, the car I drive, and on and on. Wewould have to strip it all the way back, no?

  15. Alex M Thomas Says:

    As Whig says “learn how to live in peace with people who are different from themselves.”

    True. This is what is paramount to others.

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