Cheers! The Economist is willing to acknowledge that there are limits to the open border concept!
Few people support entirely open societies: it would be perverse, for example, to allow Ebola victims to cross borders unimpeded.
Actually, though, quite a good article. Bagehot does a very good job looking under the hood at the motivations of the champions of openness and finding quite a bit of hypocrisy, self-serving behavior, and rent-seeking there.
My main objection to the article is that it looks at life through the lens of . . . well, of an Economist I suppose. For instance:
(P)eople’s support for openness and closedness is dependent on their interests and circumstances—they support openness in so far as it advances their economic interests and, with the exception of a few ideologues or idealists, no further.
Culture? Tradition? Shared values? The non-economic prerequisites for common culture, law and institutions? No mention.
In turn the article makes no distinction between opposition to immigration of Europeans within Europe and migration from the rest of the world. Hello?
“Culture? Tradition? Shared values? The non-economic prerequisites for common culture, law and institutions? No mention.”
An econ paper I read once described these as “compositional amenities,” in very econ fashion of course.