The freedom to move isn’t a basic human right. It depends on where you’re born.
Isabella Alexander

“What if the only chance you had for greater educational or economic opportunity lay beyond the borders of your own country?”

What if that claim was intellectually dishonest?

Germany was essentially bombed flat in WWII. Its infrastructure lay in ruins. Most of its skilled workforce was dead, disabled or expropriated to other countries. Most of its natural resources were already depleted for the war effort. How did it manage to become the greatest economy in Europe within two decades? -by decamping for one of the nations who won the war? Hardly. They instituted austerity policies and worked their collective asses off.

The Pilgrims came to the harshest circumstances imaginable in 1620, and within two centuries, the American Colonies (and then the US) became a global power to be reckoned with. How did that happen? They operated with frugality and resourcefulness, taking the long view, investing in their future, and all the while being engaged with indigenous peoples in border wars and with Britain in the Revolutionary War.

Those may not be the ideal examples, but they certainly belie the claim that the ONLY chance that someone living in a impoverished country has for “greater educational or economic opportunity” comes through leaving. Hell, on a local level, it’s not even true; there are plenty of people who live in cities and towns that are economically (and educationally) disadvantaged, who are committed to bettering themselves and, crucially, determined to stay and improve the lot of others around them.

If the claim were true that economic and educational opportunities only come by migrating to where things are better, then surely anyone living in rural America should move to San Francisco or New York City, and be done with it. But in fact, that would simply doom the areas they came from to an even greater likelihood of decline, since it’s been abandoned by the best and brightest who were there before.

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