This is episode three of our course Six Impossible Ideas (after Brexit). For this series, we’ve teamed up with six researchers from the London School of Economics, each offering a compelling take on one seemingly impossible idea.
What is a seemingly impossible idea, you ask? We’ve challenged each of our lecturers to propose an idea about migration that appears self-evident to them but is missing, misunderstood, or misinterpreted in public conversation.
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Part 3/6 from Six Impossible Ideas (after Brexit)
“Make America great again”, “Au nom du peuple” (in the name of the people), “Wir sind das Volk” (we are the people). All these slogans promise citizens the ease and comfort of regaining control of their countries from migrants and outsiders.
This desire for collective control is understandable but deeply problematic, says Chandran Kukathas, Head of LSE Government.
Chandran’s impossible idea is that restricting immigration doesn’t just affect those on the “outside”, but the citizens inside, as well.
What do “open borders” really mean?
What is the price of your control?
What are the dangers of collective control?
For a balanced take on the case of open borders, have a listen to this Freakonomics podcast from 2015.
This classic work by Scottish philosopher David Hume outlines the gradual change theory Chandran refers to.
Chandran also recommends:
This academic article from Joseph Carens: Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders.
This website which compiles resources and research in favor of open borders.
This British film, Dirty Pretty Things, which is the story of two undocumented immigrants living in London.
Chandran is Chair in Political Theory and Head of Department at LSE Government. He completed his MA in Politics at the University of New South Wales before going on to a DPhil in Politics at Oxford University. His research interests are focused on the history of liberal thought and multiculturalism. His book, The Liberal Archipelago: A Theory of Diversity and Freedom, explores the principled basis of a free society marked by cultural diversity and group loyalties.
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You should also sign up for our newest course, A Migrant’s View, here. It’s a bit different than our other courses, focussing on both research about so-called “origin countries” (where migrants and refugees come from) and stories of arrival, waiting, and return. By signing up for our newsletter on our site, you’ll be the first to know which courses we’ll be releasing next (trust us, there will be more).