PC Taboos: the EU and Open Borders as a Simple Ethical Problem

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Perpetual guilt

20 June 2016, Dutch: http://verenoflood.nu/oneindige-verspilling-oneindig-leed-oneindige-schuld/

 

Without reading any philosophy, by simply reflecting on what would be a good ethical argument, an argument even a pragmatist would have to acknowledge, there is some obvious ethical bedrock that’s hard to miss. Invariably, plain reflection leads to ideas similar to utilitarianism, even some proto-bioethics, perhaps. It is equally plain, that the greatest good for the greatest amount of people, in sheer numbers, is perpetual in the future. The long-term picture simply has a far greater number of people and living creatures. Acting on this is problematic in terms of accuracy, as expectations of the future, especially when fueled by entertainment-fiction, tend to completely miss the mark. An additional practical limitation is to what extent people are willing to go along with it. The obligation therefore should align with agency and ability, and focus on the now and foreseeable future.

The EU’s approach to the migration crisis has failed all of these simple ethical criteria. There are the points of neglect on vulnerable refugees, and stopping the drowning. Suffering in the now and foreseeable suffering. It has given 6 billion Euros to the aid of Erdogan, which is implicitly at the cost of Kurds and Turkish liberty. Suffering in the now and foreseeable suffering.

The cost in Europe. There is a strain on our public services as a result. This is some suffering in the now, which is yet to spiral into a true major problem. We’re already seeing that this has gone beyond what people will go along with. There is the exacerbation of the already tense relations between Islamic mono-culture in Europe and wider European culture. The approach to the migration crisis has killed our luxury of time to tackle this issue, this is some suffering in the now, but it pales in comparison to the suffering in the foreseeable future. There is an increasing chance of Western-Europe becoming a vast Sarajevo, Lebanon, or a fractured area of countless communities at war with each other. The last of these would simply mean a suffering set on medium until the inevitable gas leak causes a Sarajevo or Lebanon scenario all the same. Suffering in the now and foreseeable suffering.

Compare this to the future that was in our grasp: refugees in local safe-havens, under protection: the noblest use of our military forces. A Europe which has the luxury of time to find its balance, a Europe which can deal with the results of preceding migration with patience and empathy. A Europe which continues to be liberal. A Europe which can afford the best education for its newest generations; perhaps the greatest well-being multiplier we could have. A Europe strong enough to extend care beyond Europe. The loss of perpetual happiness and goodwill counts as heavy as the cost in suffering ahead.

The EU has failed the most basic and simple ethical tests, ethical problems so simple they require no education, only the will to do some honest reflection: you consider the well-being of those you seek to help, consider the consequences, and you take the best course of action. Perhaps this was still considered bad PR at the time. This seems very frivolous compared to the perpetual suffering we risk.

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