Love and Immigration

Immigration policy needs reform in many respects. In a fallen world we are not surprised by broken systems and imperfect policies. Because people are broken, we cannot have an unbroken government.

But we can have a better one.

There are two opposite poles in this debate, mutually exclusive. One says that the nation-state takes priority over the rest of the world and is for a national border. The other says the world takes priority over our own nation. This is the nationalist and the cosmopolitan view, respectively.

But what is at stake is two different ideas of love.

Both sides are all about love. It is only slander to say otherwise. Both sides are pro-immigration. Both sides seek justice, the problem is, both sides have very different, even contradictory ideas of justice, love, and what is good for society.

These two ideas of love are mutually exclusive. The cosmopolitan man says love is by nature inclusive. Nations and borders (following Marx) are just means of keeping others out of the great stuff we have. It’s like another form of racism, and just as oppressive. Real love includes everyone.

The nationalist by contrast says the opposite.

For him, love is exclusive. He says that to love his own wife means to exclude love of all other women. To love God means to exclude love for all other gods.

Therefore, the nationalist says that the government is to love its own people, not others. Our Caesar is to go to war to protect us, not all the other nations. Our Caesar whom we pay taxes to must show love to our people by use those taxes for administration to our own benefit, not for sake of all the other nations.

When Jesus said we are to render to Caesar what is his, he did not say render to another Caesar in a different realm than the one we live. He might as well have said too, a command to Caesar to spend that tax on his own people, not himself, nor other nations. For this is a necessary moral corollary.

But there is something we need to understand about inclusion and exclusion.

Inclusion is not a virtue any more than exclusion is a vice. In fact, inclusion can often be detrimental. The inclusion of error in orthodoxy often leads to heterodoxy. The inclusion of bacteria in medical operations can lead to infections. Exclusion is just as valuable as inclusion.

The nationalist is guilty of oikophilia. The cosmopolitan understands this to be arrogance and hatred.

But oikophilia is literally “love of home.” Love of home is natural and good, if it does not become idolatrous. It is because we love our home that we take care it. You never see graffiti on the bathrooms of people’s homes.

Therefore, when a mass of people flood a new place, their inability to assimilate causes rips and tears in the social fabric. The more pilfered the social fabric the harder it is to love your neighbor.

The myth of the melting pot has been well documented. Sociologist have studied Little Italy and Chinatown for decades now.

It is not easy to “mourn with those who mourn” or “rejoice with those who rejoice” when they do not even speak the same language.

God did not bless the workers of the Tower of Babel, He cursed them. Dividing their languages meant disunity and disharmony.

We should never slander anyone who wants unity and harmony in society. Excluding people is not sin. But even if it was, we seek to include people beyond a superficial level of “being present.” We wish to include them in such a deep way that they can play a profound role in our civic life and our culture. But that requires small amounts of people who can and will assimilate. People who disobey the law already show they do not desire to assimilate.

What we need more of is love, love of home. We especially need oikophilia at the national level where policies are made and the future is shaped.

For Further Discussion:

Robert J. McPherson II on The Problem with Borders


The Reformed Conservative aims to reunite gentlemanly virtues with scholarly conversation. Standing in the great Reformed and conservative heritage of thinkers like Edmund Burke and Abraham Kuyper, we humbly seek to inject civility into an informed conversation, one article at a time, bringing clarity out of chaos.