Quotable (#180)

Michael Ignatieff on the political contradictions of democratic globalism:

I do think that there’s a real disconnect between an international cosmopolitan discourse about rights — the rights of migrants, the rights of refugees — versus the way in which ordinary people in most democracies see this question. […] For ordinary people, a citizen’s relation to a stranger is a gift relationship, not a rights relationship. They think it’s up to the citizen to decide who gets in. It’s up to the citizen who decides what the boundaries of a political community are. […] That’s what democracy means to them. That’s what democracy promises them: control of borders and the handing out of discretionary gifts to those they decide belong in the community. […] There are a lot of Brexiters who think a decent country is generous to strangers, is compassionate to strangers. But that’s the language of the gift. That’s not a language of rights.

3 thoughts on “Quotable (#180)

  1. jelani cobb ‏@jelani9 5h5 hours ago
    A hundred million citizens stockpiling weapons in fear of their government is not a democracy. It’s a standoff.

  2. A Country is a country club. Membership has its privileges. You pay your fee and get your club card, and guests are just that: guests, and easily expelled for violating club rules. Those that jump the fence are trespassers on the property of the association. Members rights of free association include the right to refuse association or to dissociate from those they deem unfit for membership. Association is not a “gift” despite Ignatieff trying to imply that. Nobody is obligated to associate with you or any refugee. The freedom or right of association is far more strongly protected in law than any supposed right to migrate. Brexiters have exercised their freedom in dissociation from a failed and collapsing technocracy that has trampled on the democratic rights of Britons.

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