I don’t need to turn my house into a stop for the underground railroad. Slavery is mostly gone, except for a few pockets of slavery in third world countries. Slavery in the US is a rare blip. Slavery is so clearly a crime against freedom, I need not comment further on it.
Blatant and institutionalized racism is mostly gone. I don’t need to go on bus rides to the south or marching for civil rights. There is still a lot of division, informal racism and institutional tinkering left to do to deal with hundreds of years of slavery. Freedom from ownership by another citizen is not freedom at all if the law of the land is written to exclude one from participation.
The new racism is nativism. Europe has been leading the pack with countries like Austria and Denmark having entire parties devoted to nativism. In the US, white supremacy movements have been fringe deviant groups, mostly condemned by the majority and too small to be a threat to the progress made so far. The real future threat is the new rhetoric showing up in both the Democratic and Republican party.
A basic part of freedom is the freedom to leave. If the state owns the citizen, the citizen is not allowed to leave. This property right of the state, to own and keep it’s citizens can only be enforced with the co-operation of the states of the world to stop immigration. A citizenship that can flee tyranny is a free citizenship.
The move to closing the borders to immigration and emmigration is a move towards tyranny at home and in the world. If the nativists succeed in shaping a world where no one may cross borders, we will have enabled tyranny in our own state. The state does not need to worry about the rights or freedoms of the trapped.
The nativists’ cry “Love it or leave it” is an illogical non sequitor. Once global nativism has balkanized the world, we will have no such choice. Following such advice would be as logical as telling a slave in shackles to choose to be free or telling a sharecropper to work his way out of the legal trap of institutionalized racism.
The only way we can protect our right to leave is to welcome those who wish to come.