Closed Borders: The Contemporary Assault on Freedom of Movement

In This Review

Closed Borders: The Contemporary Assault on Freedom of Movement

By Alan Dowty
Yale University Press, 1987
270 pp. $20.00
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The assault on the right of "individual self-determination" is not just a contemporary phenomenon, as the author shows in his rapid tour through the centuries. The twentieth century, however, has witnessed both increased formal recognition of human rights and the rise of totalitarian and other governments denying them in practice, as well as the erection of walls and electrified fences to keep people in and the employment of force to drive them out, to say nothing of the lesser forms of denial and control. Dowty is both chronicler of what has been and is, and advocate of what ought to be: a world without barriers to free movement. What would that mean for the communist countries? For the United States? If this country has already lost control of its borders, as some maintain, perhaps things would not be vastly different. The book may be utopian in its hope that the world's governments will ever yield on a matter deemed a question of sovereignty, but in its consistent devotion to principle it may well hold a key to practical betterment of the situation.

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