Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Silly Argument

Every one of the posturing notables simpering ‘refugees welcome’ should be asked if he or she will take a refugee family into his or her home for an indefinite period, and pay for their food, medical treatment and education.

If so, they mean it. If not, they are merely demanding that others pay and make room so that they can experience a self-righteous glow. No doubt the same people are also sentimental enthusiasts for the ‘living wage’, and ‘social housing’, when in fact open borders are steadily pushing wages down and housing costs up.

From this article by Peter Hitchens, published in September 2015.

I think this is a really stupid argument. Don't get me wrong, I'm no enthusiast for open borders (although I do believe in a compassionate refugee policy), and I have little doubt the final sentence is true. I just think this particular argument is stupid. And yet, it's used all the time.

Citizens argue in favour of government expenditure all the time, without others challenging them to contribute directly. 

When somebody says the government should do something about homelessness, who asks: "Are you going to put a homeless person up in your living room?"

When somebody says the government should put more money into education, who asks: "Why don't you just donate directly to your local school instead of spending other peoples' money?"

The whole idea of government is that we can do things collectively that we can't do individually. If you were to consistently apply the "why don't you put up a refugee in your home?" line of reasoning, surely people who contribute more in taxes should have extra votes, since it's their money that the government is spending in various ways?

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