Regia, crede mihi, res est subcurrere lapsis

Political philosophy is based on building and maintaining good leadership. Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s famous book, The Social Contract, deals with this key point and explores another critical idea: how does one determine if a policy has been successful? To Rousseau, the answer is simple and merely a matter of mathematics. One can evaluate a government’s effectiveness by looking at increasing population demographics.

We have to be carefully in interpreting the the meaning of that Rousseau statement, because it can drive us toward a wrong conclusion. And we would say this : “the higher the population rate growth, the better the leadership”. Therefore the governments of African countries are the best in the planet. According to World Bank data, Italy’s rate is -0,15%, UK’s one 0.65%, the lowest in the world is Lithuania with its -1,42 and the highest ones are Oman and Bahrain , immediately followed by Nauru and Niger. According to this reflection we should go through a dictatorship, since these work better than our democratic regimes.

This clearly is not the right way of interpreting Rousseau theories. Another historically important thinker, politician Karl Haushofer, explained that a country or an empire that isolates itself will inevitably suffer. If it instead opens its borders and its culture to the world, then that country will grow. According to Rousseau’s theory, an increasing population aided by immigration would lead to an increase in the effectiveness of the country’s government.

The countries that close themselves off are the countries that fail. The mighty Roman Empire leaves no different precedent; during the last period of its life, Rome tried to strengthen their borders and limit immigration. This political strategy was one of the key reasons Rome fell. In contrast, during the second part of the twentieth century, the United States became a superpower because it allowed immigration and encouraged a multicultural society.

A country that can open itself to the world without fear of being changed by other cultures is a strong one. The most obvious examples are the British Empire during nineteenth century and the United States during the twentieth century. If a country does not fear building bridges and finding its essence in openness, then that country is not lost in itself.

The population growth referred to by Rousseau is most often seen in rising immigration rates, not in the number of the births and deaths. The power of a country can be measured by its capacity to welcome people and share its culture. The model of integration developed in Riace, an Italian community supportive of immigrants and refugees, is an example of powerful leadership. Using immigration as a tool to achieve population growth is a symbol of good policy and strong national power. China is strong because it has great immigration channels. Bahrain is the country with the highest population rate growth, notably due to their large population of immigrants. It is no coincidence that this nation has experienced great success in terms of trade and economy over the last few decades.

Politicians are increasingly discouraging immigrants from entering their countries. The Western world, by turning away numerous groups of refugees and asylum-seekers, is weakening itself during this migration wave, rather than grow with the changing tides. It is making the same mistake that brought down the Roman Empire by encouraging hate and bigotry. If the West wishes to stay a world leader and maintain cultural hegemony, it should welcome immigrants and build a multicultural society. Globalism, it would seem, may in fact be the West’s saving grace, rather than its downfall.


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