Immigration Hardin's Argument Begins Essay

Pages: 3 (1154 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Black Studies - Philosophy

Immigration

Hardin's argument begins with, and ultimately fails as the result of, metaphor. Metaphor is the rhetorical tool of people who cannot clearly express their ideas. Hardin's inability to write clearly hinders his ability to make a convincing argument. While he is talking about spaceships and lifeboats, he could just be talking about the earth, and nations. To continually jump back and forth between the clumsy, artificial metaphor and the real world is tiresome. So a lot of what Hardin wants to say is lost in translation. He has little hope of being convincing. When he quotes incorrect GDP figures and lumps Christian and Marxist viewpoints -- Marx's spinning body could provide heat for a small country -- he only diminishes his credibility further.

Now, an argument's strength is not entirely dependent on the writer's clarity or indeed credibility. Hardin's argument seems to be rooted in the tragedy of the commons. Immigration plays into the tragedy because it serves to alleviate human suffering by allowing people from harsher parts of the world to live in the better ones. When this occurs, we are essentially taking the world up to its short-run efficiency level. The problem is that this only alleviates suffering temporarily; it is a short-run solution. In the long run, humans need to experience negative feedback in order to learn. We are overfishing the oceans and polluting the atmosphere because we are not learning fast enough.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Essay on Immigration Hardin's Argument Begins With, Assignment

The fault in Hardin's argument is that when the movements of people are restricted, that makes learning all that much more difficult. The world as presently constituted, with nation states and strict regulations on the movement of people allows the benefits of technological advancement to be concentrated in a small part of the world while the negative externalities are spread throughout. This does not facilitate learning, as evidenced by the utter disregard most in the world's wealthier nations have for changing their consumption patterns. Only those who are directly affected by the negative externalities are motivated to change. Hardin does not explain how this learning and behavior change will occur in the absence of human migration. Indeed, it is only when the wealthy Western nations are flooded with refugees from the suffering parts of the world that the realities of our consumption patterns will become evident. He does not take his line of reasoning far enough -- he thinks that immigration accentuates the tragedy of the commons but in reality learning is the key to changing our destructive tendencies and we cannot learn if we continue to isolate ourselves from these problems. Only to removing his isolation will be learn enough to actually take action to reduce the tragedy of the commons. He might have been able to think this problem through a little further had he addressed it directly instead of getting bogged down in metaphors, which are an inherently imperfect device for understanding complex problems.

Huemer addresses the issue of immigration from a different perspective, asking if there is a right to immigrate. He argues explicitly that the state does not have a right to exclude people. Now, this brings up a basic issue, which is that the positions of Huemer and Hardin are not mutually exclusive, so the choice between the two is a false choice. One can accept both or reject both just as easily as choosing one over the other. Unfortunately, he also leans on an imperfect metaphor, the story of Sam and Marvin. You… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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