Exporting Lack of Freedom

Some thought experiments about freedom…

1. Say there are only two countries in the world, Canada and the US. Canada is somewhat socialist-ish, the US is capitalist-ish. Canada allows its citizens to emigrate if they choose, but the US does not allow immigration or even Canadian visitors. Some percentage of Canadians would choose to move to the US if it were allowed, and some percentage would not leave regardless of the opportunity. What percentage falls into either group is unknown. In this case, who restricts the freedom of Canadians – the Canadian government, or the US government?

2. Consider case 1 again, and say that the US government also doesn’t allow its citizens to even visit Canada or trade with Canada. Presumably, the percentage of Canadians who would gladly move to the US if given a chance would rise with exposure to Americans. Does this increase the amount by which United States restricts the freedom of Canadians? It certainly seems to increase the restrictions the US places on its own citizens.

3. Consider case 2 again, but this time assume the two countries in the world are the US and Cuba. Cuba does not allow its citizens to visit the US or to leave Cuba. It does allow US citizens to visit Cuba. The US (mostly) doesn’t allow its citizens to visit Cuba or do business with Cuba, nor does it allow Cuban visitors to the US much less Cubans to immigrate into the US. Obviously, nobody would say the US is more restrictive than Cuba, but it does seem relevant to ask two questions:

3a. How restrictive is the US relative to Cuba
3b. Is there some amount of the lack of freedom of Cubans that can be blamed on US policy? Consider – to get to the US, Cubans must not only beat safeguards put in place by Cuba but also safeguards put in place by the US.

4. How does case 3 change if there are many countries with policies similar to the US, but only one Cuba?