Saturday, September 5, 2015

Death Race 2015

The evil characters in the movie Death Race 2000 were organizing the cross country trek where many people would die for entertainment. They watched for the fun of cheering on their favorites. Today in 2015 we don’t even bother to watch. America and Europe pat themselves on the back about how popular our death race is and get all worked up about how we should give out better prizes.
People are taking themselves and their children on a variety of long journeys. It may involve trekking through deserts with just the water you can carry. It may involve crossing seas in leaky boats, it may involve involvement with criminal organizations. It may involve crawling under barbed wire fences. It may involve violence between you and your fellow travelers for the best chance of winning the prize. It is the journey to reach America or various European countries without a visa and the prize is being allowed to stay and given various benefits as an applicant for “refugee” status.
I can understand an individual being overwhelmed by the crisis and deciding to just help the person in front of them right now. But what I find morally inexcusable is to advocate that governments, whose job it is to make these big policy decisions, should make a practice of encouraging this gauntlet by making a premeditated decision to give out more and bigger prizes to those who win the death race. The responsible thing to advocate for is that those you think should be allowed to emigrate be given visas in the countries they are currently in, so that they can arrange ordinary commercial transportation at their leisure. To instead require that they “prove” they really want to come by risking life and limb is sadistic and evil. To require them to abase themselves, throwing away honor and respectability, and openly grovel by presenting themselves as helpless and desperate is frankly sick.
It does seem to me that letting in everyone who would like to come is not even close to practical, so some sort of selectivity is required. But the worst possible way select imigrantes is to require them to ignore your stated laws and suffer through at dangerous and degrading journey so they can beg for your mercy on your home turf.
It may be more soothing to our consciences to ignore that fact that we are being selective. It’s easy to say well the ones who made it here are the ones I can see and I’ll lobby for helping them while ignoring those you can’t see. But you are setting up incentives, and you are encouraging expectations, and you are being selective. You are just being selective for those willing to break laws, lie, and put themselves and their children in an abusive situation in order to win your favor. This is not the right policy for governments to pursue and it is wrong for Americans and Europeans to ask them to do so.

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