Immigration and Healthy Policymaking


  • Malcolm MacLaren



If the people incorporated in the state are considered metaphorically as the «body politic», questions arise as to the body's well-being. The question addressed here is the extent to which «healthy policymaking» is being practiced on matters of great concern in Western states. Exemplary are the public debates on mass migration in Mitteleuropa and elsewhere that have recently wracked political systems and populations. The so-called migrant crises indicate a grave dysfunction in how policy is made in liberal democracies today. The following article attempts a diagnosis of national policymaking on «hot-button Issues». How far can the customary ideals of careful consideration of information, constructive exchange of different opinions, and amiable consensus be reasonably expected in such a highly emotive context? Alternatively, should public policy be made otherwise, i.e., through processes that do not afflict the body politic grievously? The investigation examines different prescriptions proposed by concerned politicians and commentators. It finds that adequate «therapies» ensuring healthy policymaking in this context have yet to be elaborated, either in theory or practice. Dysfunction in policymaking – and profound dissatisfaction with liberal democracy – will accordingly persist about mass migration. The body politic will – can – never develop a total immunity to «illnesses» in popular deliberation. At most an alleviation of symptoms may be hoped for.


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MacLaren, M. (2020). Immigration and Healthy Policymaking. Conexus, 3, 148–172.