People are fleeing chaos in Europe’s neighborhood and Europe responds by blocking borders. Right- and left-wing nationalists argue to preserve either culture or our valuable states of welfare. A welfare which applies only to those with European nationality or urgent need of protection. Everyone else gets to fend for themselves, even if they are about to die of hunger or disease we could easily cure, children as well as adults.
Freedom and welfare benefits have in common that they both are something we want and are willing to defend. We’re talking about discrimination as a bad thing, but the entire global system is fundamentally based on effectively discrimination. A sanctified private property creates poverty and exclusion from all the material benefits we enjoy, not to talk about the fundamental needs. The borders creates prisons for people who have done nothing wrong.
The western values conservatives are trying to protect is largely outdated. They are mostly about protecting yourself and the people close to you, which is in theory fine, but when the protection of one’s own luxury means sacrificing other people’s lives and wellbeing it’s starting to smell of wickedness. The welfare state is a good thing, but as long as people are kept outside it’s nothing but privileges for the privileged, like an expensive private hospital or a kings throne. The national social democracy shows its true face: It is not about universal goods, solidarity or altruism, it’s ultimately about me and my own people enjoying our wealth. Everyone else are on their own.
We need new values. We need a set of values that includes everyone. A set of values where no-one should suffer, no matter how different they are from ourselves. Because poor values might sooner or later backfire. Because the fight for universal rights make our lives more valuable.
People are fleeing from war. Still, it was when the international community started to bomb like hell the really big crowds began move. We have a responsibility to ensure that these people are welcomed at their arrival. Today disorder and distress along national borders are increasing.
If something causes terror in Europe is the subjugation of people on the run. Oppression creates terror. Closing borders so people are unable to move from unbearable conditions creates desperation. In desperation people do stupid things.
Islam today has many similarities to medieval Christianity. A good number of Arab countries have systems very similar to European feudalism. Kings ruling with religion as weapon, keeping public information at a minimum level. This creates problems. Monotheistic religions tend to be problematic. Moderate Christians and hidden atheists managed to reform Christianity, and there is nothing that suggests the same thing can’t happen to Islam.
What we need is contact, dialogue and open borders. Us-against-them mentality creates polarization, polarization creates suffering, suffering sometimes leads to violence. By welcoming Muslims to Europe, were an open debate is possible, Islam has a chance to develop. To close our borders will not work in the long term. When the suffering gets grave enough at our frontiers they will sooner or later fall.
Radicalized individuals can be a problem, but the problem gets far more severe when these individuals form governments. The extreme right is on the march and fascists nourish on their Muslim peers the Islamists. All people must by definition be of equal worth, primarily because it is the only ethically defendable way to see the world, secondly because discrimination legitimizes rebellion. If we treat other people like crap it will be pathetic to whine when they strike back. Moral superiority is the best weapon you have in the fight against extremism.
We in the West are used to being able to travel wherever we want, and we take it largely for granted. The vast majority of the world population is not blessed with the same rights. The main difference are as we are born at a different location, wich is not a legitimated reason for discrimination.
Freedom must in it’s nature apply to all equally. A free world where only some people are free makes no sense. Stalin’s Russia was the freest country in the world for Stalin, he could do whatever he wanted. I realize migration and cultural clashes can be problematic, but to let go of privileges was problematic for the nobility ogf France at the end of the 18th century as well. Had they given in before it was too late, perhaps they would gotten a better deal, as they did in other countries. Today we say national states’ citizens rather than the nobility and the third state, but the situation is the same. Congenital privileges defines the possibilities people have in life.