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Many of the most skilled and educated citizens of developing countries choose to emigrate. How may those societies respond to these facts? May they ever legitimately prevent the emigration of their citizens? Gillian Brock and Michael Blake debate these questions, and offer distinct arguments about the morality of emigration.
How should we understand the political morality of migration? Are travel bans, walls, or carrier sanctions ever morally permissible in a just society? This book offers a new approach to these and related questions. It identifies a particular vision of how we might apply the notion of justice to migration policy - and an argument in favor of expanding the ethical tools we use, to include not only justice but moral notions such as mercy.
More than two hundred cities in the United States have now declared themselves to be sanctuary cities. This declaration involves a commitment to non-compliance with federal law; the sanctuary city will refuse to use its own juridical power – including, more crucially, its own police powers – to assist the federal government in the deportation of undocumented residents. We will argue that the sanctuary city might be morally defensible, even if deportation is not always wrong, and even if the federal (...) government is legally permitted to demand that states participate in the process of deportation. We defend this conclusion with reference to a simple, but powerful, norm of international law: that of non-refoulement. As we will discuss, this norm articulates the idea that no state may rightly use its coercive power to move a person into a position in which their basic rights are at risk. We take this norm as a morally defensible principle, and ask what could follow from its acceptance. We argue that this norm has implications for a variety of actors – especially when we notice that those who are facing unjust risks of death are, in general, entitled to use defensive violence against their aggressors. This simple fact, we argue, can help offer a novel defense of the sanctuary city. (shrink)
The book is an argument about the moral foundations of foreign policy. It argues that the traditional idea of liberal equality can be interpreted so as to give moral guidance to policy leaders in understanding what they ought to seek internationally.
Many discussions of the moral dimensions of borders emphasize how those borders foster and sustain a national community. In this paper, I discuss three distinct sorts of goods that might be best preserved in the presence of state borders. The first of these is decolonization; I argue that undermining colonial structures might require political institutions with the right to refuse unwanted outsiders. The second of these is social solidarity; we might find that the inability to exclude outsiders could reduce the (...) willingness of insiders to voluntarily comply with political institutions. The final of these is risk and insurance; the border sustains the ability of a political society to internalize the costs and benefits of political decisions about social welfare. All three of these, I suggest, are important additions to our collective discussions about migration, since none of these goods depend upon our attaching any ethical value to nationality itself. (shrink)
In recent years, many philosophers have argued that it is inherently illiberal to make citizenship for migrants conditional on a test. On these arguments, liberalism itself demands either that no test be administered, or that the test be so easy as to serve merely a symbolic function. In this paper, I make two claims in response to these ideas. The first is that a citizenship test - even a difficult one - is not inherently illiberal, when what is tested for (...) reflects the actual backdrop of knowledge and history required for responsible participation in political discourse. The second is that we have reason to be suspicious of any existing citizenship test, but for reasons of prudence, rather than liberal principle. Existing political elites can be relied upon to make citizenship tests reflect not what is actually required for political agency, but what those elites would like to see reinforced and rein scribed as part of the national identity. Thus, we are right to be wary of citizenship tests - not because liberalism condemns them, but because of predictable moral failures on the part of those charged with writing such tests. (shrink)
Little work has been done to explore the moral foundations of the state’s right to territory.1 In modern times, the state has mostly been assumed to be a territorial unit, and no need was perceived to reflect on precisely what justifies its territorial jurisdiction. The state’s territoriality is related to another topic that has remained under-theorized: immigration. There is, moreover, an obvious relationship between these topics: the more powerful a state’s rights over its territory, the more powerful the right to (...) constrain access to that territory might become – or so, at any rate, we might suppose. Rights to territory and rights to immigration are usefully theorized together.2 Our starting point is a Lockean analysis of the moral foundations of territoriality offered by Simmons (2001). This is a natural starting point not only because Simmons is one of the very few contemporary writers who have taken up philosophical questions about territoriality in the first place, but also because Locke’s thought, as Simmons makes clear, actually allows for the development of a sophisticated account of territoriality. This makes Locke stand out simply because generally modern political.. (shrink)
1. Among the most striking features of the political arrangements on this planet is its division into sovereign states.1 To be sure, in recent times, globalization has woven together the fates of communities and individuals in distant parts of the world in complex ways. It is partly for this reason that now hardly anyone champions a notion of sovereignty that would entirely discount a state’s liability the effects that its actions would have on foreign nationals. Still, state sovereignty persists as (...) a political fact. The number of states has increased enormously due to upheavals of the 20th century, and there is nothing in principle morally wrong with the existence of states - or so we will assume.2 What must be explored, then, are the limits of normatively plausible sovereignty. How bad does a government have to be for outsiders to be allowed to interfere? What responsibilities does a country incur because of its contribution to global warming? What obligations arise through trading? In this paper, we explore another pertinent question: to what extent is a country allowed to influence who lives on its territory by regulating immigration? The angle from which we approach this question continues to be neglected even now that questions of global justice are receiving much attention. Immigration amounts to a change in political relationships as immigrants alter their standing within one community and acquire a status elsewhere. Yet it also amounts to an alteration in physical relationship, since they acquire a relationship to a territory, making a life for themselves with the resources offered by a part of the earth.3 We base our exploration of.. (shrink)
Mathias Risse, Andrea Sangiovanni, and Kok-Chor Tan have offered some subtle and powerful criticisms of the ideas given in my Justice and Foreign Policy. Three themes in particular recur in their critiques. The first is that the arguments I make in that book rest upon unjustified, arbitrary, or contradictory premises. The second is that the use of coercion in the analysis of distributive justice is a mistake. The third is that the global institutional set represents, contrary to my arguments, an (...) independent first-order site of justice. I address these criticisms, and try to vindicate the methodology of Justice and Foreign Policy in the face of these objections. (shrink)
The global city is a contested site of economic innovation and cultural production, as well as profound inequalities of wealth and life chances. These cities, and large cities that aspire to ‘global’ status, are often the point of entry for new immigrants. Yet for political theorists (and indeed many scholars of global institutions), these critical sites of global influence and inequality have not been a significant focus of attention. This is curious. Theorists have wrestled with the nature and demands of (...) global justice, but have for the most part supposed that the debate is between statist and cosmopolitan formulations. Questions of redistribution, immigration, humanitarian obligations, coercion at borders, and territorial rights have correspondingly been cast as either the domain of sovereign territorial states, or of the nascent web of supranational institutions that might bind those states and peoples, morally and legally. Examining some of these issues and arguments through the lens of the global city casts them in a new and informative light, and buttresses an associative turn in thinking about global justice. (shrink)
This paper discusses two possible difficulties with Catherine Lu’s powerful analysis of the moral response to our shared history of colonial evil; both of thesedifficulties stem from the rightful place of shame in that moral response. The first difficulty focuses on efficacy: existing states may be better motivated by shame atthe past than by a shared duty to bring about a just future. The second focuses on equity: it is, at the very least, possible that shame over past misdeeds ought (...) to bebrought into the conversation about present duties, in a manner more robust than Lu’s analysis allows. (shrink)
All modern democratic societies claim to be egalitarian. They do not agree, of course, about what egalitarianism demands; the ideal of equality is hardly transparent and can be plausibly understood to encompass any number of social arrangements and values. Thatsomeform of equality is to be prized, though, is uncontroversial. Indeed, it may be true that all political theories that have stood the test of time can be understood as specifying and interpreting the ideal of equality. Whether or not this is (...) true, I think it is hard to deny that democratic political philosophy can generally be understood as egalitarian in character; to know how to treat people as moral equals, on this account, is to know what justice demands of us. We are all, if this is correct, egalitarians now, however much we argue about what such a label truly demands. (shrink)
In Territorial Sovereignty: A Philosophical Exploration, Anna Stilz argues that legitimate political authority requires the actual—rather than hypothetical—consent of the governed. I argue, however, that her analysis of that consent is inconsistent, in the weight it ascribes to the felt desire to refrain from doing politics with some particular group of people. In the context of secession and self-determination, the lack of actual consent to shared political institutions is weighty enough to render such institutions presumptively illegitimate. In the context of (...) migration, however, a lack of actual consent to the presence of newcomers is ascribed nearly no weight, and instead is taken as evidence of irrationality or immoral preferences. I argue that this apparent contradiction must be clarified before Stilz's overall account of self-governance can be accepted. (shrink)
Rawls's Law of Peoples has not gathered a great deal of public support. The reason for this, I suggest, is that it ignores the differences between the international and domestic realms as regards the methodology of reciprocal agreement. In the domestic realm, reciprocity produces both stability and respect for individual moral agency. In the international realm, we must choose between these two values seeking stable relations between states, or respect for individual moral agency. Rawls's Law of Peoples ignores the (...) stark nature of this choice by insisting that the only legitimate extension of liberal toleration abroad is the toleration of different forms of political organization. It is this attempt to overcome liberalism's tragic dilemma which, I suggest, has made Rawls's international theory less attractive than his domestic theory. I also suggest that this difficulty is at the base of the further difficulties identified by Henry Shue and Martha Nussbaum in their accompanying essays. Key Words: Rawls international toleration reciprocity state Nussbaum Shue. (shrink)
Margit Osterloh and Bruno S. Frey have introduced a novel, and potentially powerful, vision of migration rights, on which European states might respond to the current crisis of migration by conditioning admission on the payment of an entry fee. In this comment, I raise a worry about the morality of a world governed by such a principle. While Osterloh and Frey foresee a world in which migration is made more sustainable, with benefits for all stakeholders as a result, I am (...) worried their program would lead to a lessening of support for the moral principles that gave rise to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. This Convention, I argue, ought to be preserved as a public statement of the principle that wealthy states have an obligation to bear some costs in the defense of human rights; Osterloh and Frey, I argue, might be undermining support for those moral principleswe currently have the most need to reinforce. Nevertheless, I argue that under emergency circumstances we might have a need for experimentation and political innovation, even if we are confident that what they produce will necessarily involve some degree of political wrongdoing; we might, in short, have a reason to try out proposals of the sort Osterloh and Frey defend, even if the moral worries I defend here are correct. (shrink)
This essay attempts to identify the ethical principles appropriate to a second-order political agent—an agent, that is, whose primary responsibility lies not in the implementation of state power, but in the response to and evaluation of that state power. The specific agent I examine is the human rights non-governmental organization, and the specific context is that of humanitarian military intervention. I argue that the specific role of the human rights NGO gives rise to ethical permissions not available to government agents. (...) In particular, such NGOs may have permissions to ignore the motivation of government agents, and support even substantially unjust interventions, where such interventions would have substantial benefit for the defense and preservation of basic human rights. a Footnotesa Previous versions of this paper were presented at Brown University, the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University. I am grateful to all participants for their questions and comments. Thanks in particular go to the editors of this volume, whose help with this paper has been especially valuable. Responsibility for errors, of course, remains my own. (shrink)
ABSTRACT Pablo Gilabert’s Human Dignity and Human Rights offers an excellent, and welcome, defense of human dignity as a foundational concept for theorizing about human rights. In this paper, I defend the thought that concepts such as human dignity have an inescapably interpretive character, resting upon particular interpretations of human acts and lives. I defend this conclusion in three distinct domains: disability, which looks to the question of how to understand the relationship between dignity and a particular physical or mental (...) impairment; defiance, which treats of how we ought to understand unsuccessful resistance to injustice; and death, and the question of how we might ascribe dignity to lives after they have ended. (shrink)