Matthew Yglesias has a good piece up this morning on the immigration debate in the wake of the Boston bombings. He points out that historically, as we’ve tightened our border lockdown, we’ve not decreased illegal immigration, we’ve just made the coyote industry more lucrative.
In my favorite line, he suggests that rather than tighten our lockdown, we should open up:
by far the best way to keep dangerous foreigners out of the country is to make it easier for nondangerous ones to enter.
In other words, the best approach is not lockdown, but antilockdown.
If you think about it, this counterintuitive thinking applies to lots of other issues, and particularly reminds me of the debate over piracy — e.g., the best way to decrease illegal downloading is not to make it harder to copy files, but rather to make it easier to buy & share them legally.
I am going to keep thinking of other issues where this kind of thinking applies.