Europe has a common market and currency. Customs and passport checkpoints have been abolished at many internal borders, resulting in a peaceful and democratic free zone for travel, work and investment. There are 20 official European languages, spoken by a total of 460,000,000 souls, roughly the population of North America.
The EU is hardly paradise, but it is a model for how many fiercely nationalistic groups, long accustomed to slaughtering each other over the most trivial of pretexts, can create a new and better world from the ashes of devastation and atrocity.
What prevents the US, Mexico and Canada from embarking on a similar road to borderless unification?
It wouldn’t be easy. First of all, it would cost a fortune. We’d need the equivalent of a Marshall Plan to aid Mexico. But if we’ve got $275 billion (and counting!) to wage war and remake Iraq in our image, why not find the funds for waging peace and providing health, education and social welfare for our fellow inhabitants of North America?
There would be countless other obstacles, not the least of which is winning the trust and partnership of the various native cultures and Indian nations with whom our credibility, as well as Mexico’s, is stretched almost beyond repair. We’d also need to address legitimate security and counter-terrorism concerns. We’d need to respect cultural, historical and religious differences. We might have to give up on the idea of military dominance over the rest of the world. But Europe faced similar challenges and is prevailing.
If, like the critics of Victor Hugo, you think a North America without borders is utopian, consider the perils of the anti-utopia currently under discussion: a 2000-mile wall, an ultra-militarized border zone, ghettoization of the Mexican labor force, and criminalization of their presence north of the border. Such a system is a throwback to an age of runaway slaves, collective punishment and debtors prisons. It is impractical, immoral and unsustainable.
Friday, April 28, 2006
Take a look-see. [via Political Theory Daily Review]. Can one make a legitimate moral, economic, and political counter-argument? Does that hypothetical counter-argument rest on racist assumptions?