Uniformly focused on what they believe we owe to the Syria refugees, many Americans who favor opening our doors to those fleeing the war zone seem indifferent to concerns about the common good. Going far beyond prudentially denying that the refugees pose a significant threat, many imply with their curt and angry dismissals of those on the other side of the issue that they must be motivated by moral indifference, selfishness, cowardice, and even baser motives, like racism. We’ve also heard a fair amount of sophistry about how closing our borders to refugees would be tantamount to siding with ISIS.
It’s almost as if some on the pro-refugee side of the argument consider it illegitimate to take into account threats to the common good when formulating our country’s policies on this subject.
If some on this side of the Atlantic (including the president of the United States) have edged in that direction over the past week, many more do so regularly in Europe, since the entire EU project is premised on the view that the common good of particularistic, national entities lacks the moral standing of universalistic humanitarian ideals. The result has been wildly one-sided policymaking, with Germany and France favoring the admission of hundreds of thousands of refugees with very little if any consideration of consequences, now or in the future.