Sunday, March 15, 2009

To Michael Halila, part 3

Michael's answer is here.

"What difference does it make? All the difference in the world. It's totally dishonest to compare the entire Iraqi or Somali population to the entire Finnish population, when the Iraqi and Somali populations in Finland are made up of a totally different mix of social classes, ages and income classes than the Finnish population. I don't mean to be rude, but if you don't understand that, then I'm going to have a hard time believing you're qualified to be commenting in any way on statistics either."

It would make a difference if I were writing a sociological essay on the criminal proclivities of the populations of Finland, Somalia and Iraq.

The subject under discussion, however, is the cost that the Finnish society pays for accepting refugees, and the feasibility of accepting them in large numbers. For the purpose of this discussion it makes no difference whatsoever whether they do it because they have a lot of young men, because they are of a lower socioeconomic class, or because of any other factor.

Unless, of course, you are intending to correct those factors. Are you?

"In one sense, I'm presenting my argument badly, and I apologize for that. I want to point out a matter of principle here, and jumping from facts and statistics to principle like this is bad form."

The whole point of my original post that you were responding to is that refugee admissions should not be treated as a matter of principle.

"Nevertheless, the problem with arguing for accepting less refugees because previous refugees have committed crimes is, to me, totally unethical as it constitutes punishing future refugees for the crimes of other people."

The problem with this idea is the assumption that the future refugees are entitled to the exact same treatment as the current ones. They are not, and you know it. (At least, that's what I deduce from your earlier remark, saying that if there will be a lot of applicants the authorities will just tighten the criteria. Is it fair to punish refugees for the simple fact that there are too many other refugees?)

The way I see it, refugee admission is a charitable practice that is, by its very nature, a lottery with a limited budget: Finland has N euros in its budget to spend on refugees, and for that money it can help M refugees, out of a much larger pool. The money can stretch, but not too much. In effect, Finland is already punishing new potential refugees for the fact that the old ones don't find jobs fast enough. (If much less money were spent per refugee, it would be possible to admit a lot more.)

Social peace is a resource as much as money is. So is the population's goodwill.

There is of course a way to reduce refugee crime without punishing anyone except the guilty, but you have already said that you find it monstrous.

"If the problem is Finnish policies, not refugees, why on earth are you agitating against refugees, instead of for political change in Finland?"

"Agitating against refugees"?

The explicit and implicit suggestions of my original post were:

- admit that we can only take a limited number per year, and institute a quota,
- try to favor the refugees who are more likely to fit in,
- avoid admitting people who are likely to be trouble, such as people persecuted for Islamic extremism, or sentenced to death for real crimes,
- deport serious violent criminals regardless of the conditions in the home country,
- encourage integration by limiting social security.

Which of the above are "agitating against refugees", and opposed to "trying to change social policy"?

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