Gideon Rachman writes at the Financial Times:
“In the long run I expect the nativists [battling with liberals over immigration] to lose, not because their demands are unpopular but because they are unenforceable. It may be possible for island nations surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, such as Japan or Australia, to maintain strict controls on immigration. It will be all but impossible for an EU that is part of a Eurasian landmass and is separated from Africa only by narrow stretches of the Mediterranean.”
The only argument given for the inevitability of immigration is the geography of Europe. Despite all Europe’s money and technology it is somehow impossible to police its borders or deport people to places outside if they get in. Not that this is ever shown in the article, we just have to trust Rachman on this.
He does find time to explain how the EU policy that: ‘…refugees can apply for asylum in Europe, illegal “economic migrants” must return home…’, is: ‘unlikely to stem the population flows for several reasons.’. Which is true, but few disagree that current EU policy is wrong. And what has it to do with the unstoppable immigration thesis?
The writer does light incense at the altar of the Financial Times globalist idols:
“One possible reaction for Europe is to accept that migration from the rest of the world is inevitable — and embrace it wholeheartedly. Europe’s debt-ridden economies need an injection of youth and dynamism. Who will staff their old-age homes and building sites if not immigrants from the rest of the world?”
And makes sure to talk about how:
“In the colonial era Europe practised a sort of demographic imperialism, with white Europeans emigrating to the four corners of the world.”
This might give cheer to liberals looking for historical data to throw at their opponents. But still the most important and concluding claim that immigration cannot be stopped is not reinforced. The vague argument from geography is all there is. This is quite appalling as argument goes and there are only two explanations:
- Intellectual failure
- The article is rhetoric looking to persuade rather than argue a case
Rachman’s response to enraged commentators attacking his article shows he is claiming it is not rhetoric
“I find all these enraged comments slightly baffling. I am describing how I think events will unfold – not expressing an opinion as to whether it is a good or a bad thing”
Well, if not attempting to persuade whether it is good or bad we can only explain the poor quality argument as an intellectual failure. If this were true then any rage would be misplaced: idiocy is intellectual error and is treated with education rather than anger, which is for moral failures.
Is the rage at his article therefore unfair? Is he right to be baffled?
I think not. The article has all the hallmarks of a counsel of despair designed to demotivate and undermine an opponent by persuading them with rhetoric of their inevitable defeat. That a senior journalist writing for a renowned publication could write such a bad argument, but accidently write such a sustained piece of rhetoric stretches credulity exceedingly thin.
Of course, if Rachman actually believes the immigration is bad, this article might well be nothing more than a mistake. So, I sent him a tweet:
@gideonrachman: “…not expressing an opinion as to whether it is a good or bad thing”. Is the mass immigration good or bad?
A day later, and after he has sent out a selection of tweets, including a retweet of someone attacking him for the article, he has made no reply. So, Perhaps this article is both an intellectual failure and a blunder into unintentional, but despite this, well crafted rhetoric, but I know which way I would bet.
The commentators rage makes sense and any bafflement is hard to credit. Insidious rhetoric looking to demotivate the European response to their invasion is corrupt and people are right to oppose it.