The moral duty to rescue those in danger

There is a moral difference between charity and rescue. Charity is ethically non-obligatory: rescue is ethically mandatory. Rendering charity to someone, for example by paying for an orphan to be raised, is voluntary because no one has a claim on what belongs to another. When, however, people are trapped inside a burning house, or a child is drowning, it is ethically mandatory to go to the rescue based on the Golden Rule. Such obligations are greatest when by a slight effort and no risk to ourselves we can prevent great harm to others. They are weakest when by going to someone’s rescue we risk great harm to ourselves, or take on great cost, or when the victim is author of his own misery.

Just as individuals show different levels of courage, so too do nations. Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States have traditionally gone to the rescue of other nations under attack, at great danger and hardship to themselves.

When the United States gave aid through Lend-Lease to Britain, and to Western Europe under the Marshall Plan, and to Berlin during the Berlin Airlift, it was not charity but rescue. By contrast, when industrialized countries give foreign aid to support Third World socialist regimes, it is charity, not rescue; and not only is there no ethical obligation to provide this aid, it is actually immoral to do so because such assistance hinders political reform.

Why asylum seekers and refugees should not be admitted

A country is owned by its citizens. They alone have the right to decide who shall immigrate to their country and under what circumstances. That right is eroded when a majority of the population is forced, against its will, to accept refugees and asylum seekers. Unlike Lend-Lease or the Marshall Plan, it is no temporary arrangement involving mere money or goods. Once the refugees have been admitted, they never leave. Instead, they form enclaves and begin displacing the people who previously owned the country. A prime example is France. With around 10 percent of its population now comprised of Islamic immigrants, the native Frenchmen have effectively surrendered ownership of 10 percent of their country to foreigners. Unless something changes, very soon the population will become more than 50 percent Muslim. At that point it will no longer be France. The French will be a stateless minority within an Islamic country.

The island solution

Free countries should establish methods for rescuing refugees without the need to take them inside their own borders. These methods should be established before a crisis arises, much in the same way as a nation builds warships before a war breaks out. During the Vietnamese boat people crisis of the late 1970s and early 1980s, Margaret Thatcher proposed that Britain and Australia buy an island from Indonesia to use as a final place to settle Vietnamese refugees. The proposal was scuppered because of the objections of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who worried the island would become a ‘rival entrepreneurial city.’ In fact, this would have been an excellent outcome for Singapore since entrepreneurial peoples, even rival ones, historically do no harm to each other, but rather enhance each other’s prosperity through competition and trade.

There are thousands of unoccupied islands throughout the world which are suitable for conversion into small republics like Singapore. For this purpose, the free countries of the world should buy deserted islands, and build international airports, deep water port facilities, and skyscrapers capable of housing millions of refugees. Then when a crisis occurs the refugees can be taken to the island to start their new life. They should be slowly weaned off aid and encouraged—through a period of supervision—to establish a thriving sovereign nation.

Safe haven

Another option is to set up safe havens in the actual country where the civil war is occurring. It is no good having these defended by United Nations peacekeepers—history shows the civilians in safe havens protected by the United Nations forces are as good as dead (In 1995 in the UN-protected “safe area” of Srebrenica UN troops stood by as 8,000 men, women and children were murdered). Safe havens should be guaranteed by sovereign nations who commit their own troops, and national honor, to protecting them.

Attack and destroy the tyrant

The Kurdish and Shiite populations of Iraq are no longer tormented by Saddam Hussein for the simple reason that he was captured by the armed forces of the United States and dropped from gallows, thereby breaking his neck and rendering him harmless.

This article is an extract from the book ‘Principles of Good Government’ by Matthew Bransgrove