Caplan-Ting Immigration Debate
By Bryan Caplan
Credit where credit is due: Ting was brave enough to debate before a hostile libertarian audience, and he’s the least angry critic of immigration I’ve personally met. Libertarians can learn from his courage. Restrictionists can learn from his serenity.
But my compliments have to end there. Intellectually speaking, Ting’s whole talk is a textbook case of “misanthropy by numbers.” He never strays from these four misguided steps:
1. List as many negatives as possible. Count how many complaints he has – and notice how he almost always leaves magnitudes to your imagination.
2. Studiously ignore all positives – or twist them into negatives. Ting even manages to lament the effects of foreign students’ excellence in math and science!
3. Ignore all remedies other than exclusion, expulsion, and extermination. While he expresses sympathy for immigrants, he never seriously considers any of the keyhole solutions crafted to handle his complaints without trapping foreigners in Third World misery.
4. Ignore the welfare of the maligned group, or the possibility that the maligned might have valid complaints against you. As I explain in the trailer, the fact that most of us care more about Americans than foreigners is a reason to calm down, put our feelings aside, and try to make sure that we treat foreigners fairly – just as we would do if we were judging a competition where our own children were the contestants. Personal bias is an argument for acting against your instincts – not indulging them.
P.S. The Caplan-Ting Foreign Policy Debate makes more sense if you watch our immigration debate beforehand. We did two debates back-to-back, and immigration was first, so there’s a good reason why I tie the two issues together in the second debate.