How to Counter the Argument “If America’s So Bad, Then Why Is Everyone Moving Here?”
All it takes is five seconds of actual thinking
“There is no such thing as a stupid question. Just stupid people…” — Chris Berman
That quote is mean, but delicious.
A few weeks ago, I published an article entitled Things That Seem “Radical” in America Are Normal in Sane Countries. It was about the need to step outside the bubble and realize how crazy things have gotten in the US of A. (Like how most of the developed world caps credit card fees, has de-corporatized healthcare and affordable university, sensible protections from gun murder, and paid rest for the working class. You know — reasonable human stuff.)
I then spun the article on its head and suggested things that seem “radical” now will seem blindingly obvious in one hundred years. Things like debt jubilees, banning interest and rent-seeking, taxing oligarchs, and building public infrastructure, all in order to save the economy, democracy, and freedom itself.
I then received dripping-with-disdain comments from not one but two—and I have to say it because no other demographic consistently comments like this on my posts—white male Boomers.
Here’s what one of them wrote:
“How droll. I will not challenge any of your postulations but I want to ask one question. If America is the dystopian hell you describe and Europe is the paradise of the satisfied proletariat why is Europe’s population shrinking while America’s is growing thanks to legal immigration? Everyone should be moving to Europe., shouldn’t they? Sorry, I guess that’s two questions.”
Notice the argumentation structure:
Start with an insult to show your superiority.
Don’t address any of the actual points of the article.
Put words in your opponent’s mouth.
Try to distract with a false-premise whataboutism.
End with a dopey joke just because.
First off, dear readers, always remember: Bad faith questions don’t actually require answers.
And if someone starts with a false premise and puts words in your mouth — like saying you think Europe is a paradise of the satisfied proletariat even though you write strong and consistently to the opposite effect — you have every right to call them out.
But this sort of response is so common in unthinking society, so rife in our pathetic reason-free culture, that I thought it worth addressing today.
How should we respond to the unfounded right-wing argument that “if America is so bad, why is everyone moving here?”
And the answer is this:
Everyone isn’t moving to America.
I explained to my commenter/troll that he was (rather pathetically) attempting an apple-to-oranges argument, but it was falling flat with a splat.
To say “Europe’s population is shrinking” is a gross generality. I am certain this commenter knows full well that all the corporatist and fascist-leaning nations like Spain and Russia and Germany and Greece and Moldova are declining, but the more progressive countries are actually growing.
Consider: The US population grew by 0.38% last year.
Meanwhile, Iceland grew by 0.97%, Norway by 0.80%, Sweden by 0.74%, and Denmark by 0.44%.
In other words, some progressive countries are growing more than twice as fast as America. (Now imagine how much they’d be growing if those countries weren’t frozen northern wastelands!)
Now let’s look at net migration rates.
There are 35 countries with a higher net migration rate than America, including Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Norway, Ireland, Singapore, Sweden, New Zealand, and Estonia. Heck, there are more people migrating to Peru and Uganda per 1,000 inhabitants than America.
Migrants are moving to thirty-five countries at greater rates than they’re moving to America.
In other words: This commenter’s point actually proves my point.
And “everyone” isn’t moving to America.
If things don’t change, pretty soon no one will.
In fact, they’ll be fleeing like they are from every other corporatist nation.
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