It’s called “Open Borders” and the Conservative Tradition: The Salamanca Scholastics” and is the first in a series documenting that support for open borders is the historical norm, and was embraced by all the intellectual giants of the conservative tradition before very recently, when the popular right went full xenophobic.
By natural law and the law of nations everyone has the freedom to move wherever they wish, as long as they are not enemies or causing harm.
— Domingo de Soto
The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent order, permitting the Trump administration to enforce its new rules preventing many Central American immigrants from seeking asylum in the United States, is an opportune moment to address an angle of the immigration debate which has received remarkably little commentary in conservative and Christian circles: namely, the historical, and eminently traditionalist, provenance of what is often derisively referred to as “open borders,” i.e., a strong moral presumption that every person has a natural right to leave or enter whatever nation he chooses, in much the same way that subjects of non-totalitarian polities enjoy a strong presumptive right to migrate between various jurisdictions within a state.
The series of essays inaugurated by the present entry is not directly concerned with the moral, practical, or other cases for open borders, or with addressing common arguments against the same. Rather, it is concerned with sharing the author’s impressions of the history of the concept and practice. The author makes no pretense to originality in what follows. He simply wishes to bring what is already well-known to specialists to a more popular appreciation, the better to enrich mainstream conservative commentary on the immigration debate.
Read the rest here. And watch that space for more of what will doubtless be some very good research in answer to the evil xenophobia of MAGA Christianity.
It is interesting to me to see somebody arguing this from a Traditionalist perspective. Some of his terminology will be opaque or confusing for readers not steeped in pre-modern thought forms and terminology, but he is perfectly right: the Christianist Right’s adoption of Trumpian racist xenophobia is profoundly alien to the Catholic tradition and the conservative Catholics who promote MAGA are astonishingly ignorant of the Tradition they claim to uphold.
I would add that it is doubly and obscenely absurd that these champions of Trump who routinely parrot the lie that they “just care about the rule of law” at the border (as they excuse and defend the legal kidnap and torture children) are also passionate advocates of exempting their god king from having to obey the Constitution or face any rule of law whatsoever for his visible-from-space crimes. MAGA Christianity is not about the rule of law. It’s about the use of law as a cudgel by the lawless and powerful to beat, kidnap, rob, and kill the brown and poor.
God sees. And Our Lady gives ample warning to those who persist in blaspheming her Son in this way:
- He has shown the strength of his arm,
- he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
- He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
- and has lifted up the humble.
- He has filled the hungry with good things,
- and the rich he has sent away empty.