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Is Open Borders Dead?

The first clear expression of coronavirus-induced panic

In a recent segment of The McLaughlin Group, Pat Buchanan declared:

Open borders is dead in Europe, it’s going to be dead in the U.S. You’re going to see nationalism rising, transnationalism receding… All these powerful movements that had been up against transnationalism are going to begin to prevail.

In avowing that coronavirus will upend long standing commitments to globalisation, Buchanan touches on critical ground.

The disease is rapidly spreading worldwide; in Australia people are panic-buying whilst heavy travel restrictions have been placed on both China and Iran.

Given the rate of this escalation–and that our leaders, likely behind the scenes, understand coronavirus may be a leaked bioweapon–it is easy to imagine travel bans being placed on many further countries. It is, moreover, foreseeable that at some later date, all travel to Australia will be stopped so to reduce proliferation of the disease.

The significance of present (and possible future) disruption to the free movement of people cannot be understated. I wrote last month “the continued deterioration of coronavirus will present massive opportunities for us to make metapolitical inroads;” below, it is appropriate to consider why.

In Australian politics, since approximately the election of Gough Whitlam in 1972, there has prevailed an unspoken accord on the necessity of mass Third World immigration. Out of hundreds since, just two politicians–Pauline Hanson in 1996 and Fraser Anning in 2019–have endeavoured to challenge this trajectory.

Proposals set forth by Hanson and Anning were effectively couched in the negative, by virtue of the globalist consensus they opposed. This came in the form of being construed as anti-immigration and anti-multiculturalism.

Any individual that proposes change does so through making an assertion. When this occurs, that individual tends to bear the practical onus of proof. For people have an instinctual attachment to things as they exist, naturally demanding proof before assenting to potential upheavals.

This calculus confers an imponderable advantage upon repositories of the status quo. It is this status quo which has benefitted the Liberal-Labour duopoly: throughout its unremitting globalisation of Australia.

If the worsening of coronavirus brings about additional travel restrictions and these remain for some time, Australia will have a new status quo. Namely, one in which travel is permitted from only from a limited catalogue of countries.

Admittedly, it is difficult to precisely conceive what a post-coronavirus Australia would look like. But for one thing, many will be scarred by coronavirus, a disease that was caused by our interconnectedness with Asia. Due to this and depending on the ultimate severity of coronavirus, the onus in debate over globalisation may shift.

Rather than the onus fall on nationalists, transnationalists might be asked to give reasons for the reopening of our borders to people with radically different standards of hygiene, disease prevention and development. A common challenge to the restoration of mass migration could be:

Given the devastating consequences of coronavirus in Australia, why should we risk recurrence of same by returning to the pre-2020 provisions for immigration and travel?

This onus and the trauma of coronavirus, combined with all the other negatives, would make recommencing mass, unchecked migration an incredibly difficult sell.

Should a public drift towards nationalism eventuate, politicians will be impelled to govern accordingly–through developing sensible, electable policies on immigration.

At this stage, it might be premature to declare the age of ‘open borders’–the post 1960’s relentless influx of Third World immigration–‘dead’. But with each new case of coronavirus, a lasting death of open borders inches closer to reality.

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