What Is Mass Migration for, Why Does it Keep Happening, and Why Will Nobody Stop It?

You might have noticed that mass migration to the West is a huge problem.

It is very bad for native Westerners, because it promises to transform our societies utterly, in permanent ways and not for the better. Curiously, it is also far from great for the centre-left political establishment responsible for promoting mass migration, because it has inspired a vast wave of popular opposition and filled the sails of right-leaning, migration restrictionist parties with new wind. Mass migration is also bad for taxpayers, for domestic security, for the welfare state, for many other aspects of the postwar liberal agenda and for our own future prospects. In short, mass migration is bad for almost everybody and everything.

There is a reason that nations have borders, and this is much the same reason that we have skin and that cells have membranes. You won’t survive for very long if you can’t control what enters you. Herbal Antivirals: Hea... Jones, Mary Buy New $13.99 (as of 02:52 UTC - Details)

Despite the obvious fact that mass migration is bad, our rulers cling to migrationism like grim death. Given a choice between disincentivising asylees and intimidating, browbeating and harassing the millions of anti-migrationists among their own citizens, our governments generally choose the latter path, even though it is obviously the worse of the two.

Additionally unsettling, is the fact that official justifications for mass migration often have a creepy, post-hoc flavour about them. They sound much more like excuses dreamed up after the borders had already been opened, rather than any kind of reason mass migration must occur. When the migrationists really started to go crazy in 2015, for example, we were told that border security was simply impossible in the modern world and that infinity migrants were a force of nature we would have to deal with. That didn’t sound right even at the time, and since the pandemic border closures we no longer hear the inevitability narrative very much, although – and this is very bizarre to type – there is some evidence that high political figures like Angela Merkel believed it at the time. It is well worth thinking about why that might have been the case.

Another excuse that doesn’t make very much sense, is what I’ll call the refugee thesis. We’re told that millions of poor people are forced to endure terrible conditions in the developing world and that it is our moral burden to improve their lot by granting them residence in our countries. That might convince a few teenage girls, but it cannot withstand scrutiny among the rest of us. To begin with, the population of global unfortunates is enormous; the millions of refugees we have already accepted, and the millions that our politicians hope to welcome in the coming years, represent but a vanishing minority – a rounding error – compared to the vast sea of human suffering. It is like trying to solve homelessness by demanding that those in the wealthiest neighbourhoods make their spare bedrooms available to the indigent. Even more telling, however, is that the push to welcome migrants comes precisely as conditions in the developing world have dramatically improved. When things were much worse, we sealed our borders against the global south; now that they are much better, we hear all about how unacceptably inhumane it is to leave the migrants in their native lands.

Other post-hoc arguments, especially those falling in the yay-multiculturalism category, are even less serious. That we need more diversity to ‘spark innovation’ (whatever that means) or that our local cuisines stand to benefit from the spices of the disadvantaged, are excuses of such towering stupidity, that you will lose brain cells thinking about them. As with the refugee narrative, nobody said crazy stuff like this until the migrants had already begun arriving on our shores. And there is another thing to notice about the multiculticult too. This is its blatant flippancy. The premise seems to be that migration is no big deal bro, but also too there are these cool exciting and totally random upsides, like improved local Ethiopian food offerings. It is the very definition of damning with faint praise.

From fake excuses, we progress to real causes. I am anxious to hear your theories, and perhaps I’ll provide another post on this theme compiling the most interesting of them.

For myself, I see two interrelated and mutually supporting factors:

Demographic decline and labour shortages: I know I know, nobody likes this theory, but hear me out. It’s hard to miss the coincidence between the post-baby-boom demographic decline of Western nations, and their escalating distaste for border security. Countries like Germany face a difficult future of labour shortages and insolvent pension programmes, as each subsequent generation must support an ever larger number of retirees. Here politicians find themselves between a rock and another even harder rock. Older generations vote at very high rates, and proposals to abridge their pensions or raise the retirement age amount to political suicide, especially for establishment parties with fading constituencies made up primarily of olds. On the other hand, demanding that youngs sacrifice ever larger shares of their salaries to keep older generations healthy and hale is a very hard sell, particularly because these youngs must realise sooner or later that there aren’t going to be any pension programmes at all when they retire. If only politicians could conjure into existence a vast pool of younger guest workers, who might redress labour shortages and fund pensions without having much recourse at the ballot box, everything would be happy and solvent again.

Water Purification Off... Redwood, Harrison Buy New $18.97 (as of 06:17 UTC - Details) I submit that it’s not that crazy on the face of it. To begin with, the migrationists themselves often talk about these very things. You can turn on the television at any moment and hear a captain of industry railing against the AfD for the threat they pose to the labour market. What is more, there is some precedent. Many Western countries experimented with mass migration for the first time during postwar economic expansion, precisely to redress labour shortages. Germany welcomed guest workers first from Italy and then from Turkey to sustain its economic miracle, and this thinking is still very much alive in some quarters.

This cannot, however, be a Total Theory of Mass Migration. Far from contributing to the welfare state, our new guests burden it disproportionately, largely because they do not find work at anything like the same rates as natives, and also because when they do find work, it is mostly in low-skilled, poorly paid positions. Crucially, this is not all their fault: Many European countries, and Germany in particular, have long-established protections for native workers in the form of licenses, certifications, educational requirements and the like. We have done everything to keep our borders open, while leaving these protections almost entirely in place. That does not make very much sense, but it is also the kind of idiocy we have come to expect from our late-stage managerial bureaucracy, which has serious problems with coordination and prefers approaches that do not require much effort (neglecting border security) over those that would entail some vision and initiative (rethinking worker qualifications).

After much pondering, I would propose this thesis: The labour-shortage justification is not sufficient in itself, nor is it the real aim of migrationist policies in general. It has been crucial, however, in getting a certain kind of fiscally observant, centre-right politician on board with the programme, and in this way it has helped to make migrationism a consensus policy.

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