Victor Davis Hanson of the Hoover Institution is one of my favorites. Historian and classicist, he helps make sense of the world. Here’s an audio extract from one of his videos. The video is around 24 minutes long; the excerpt is half as long. In it he addresses the question of why people migrate to the West and not from the West.
As I am an immigrant, I can relate to the topic. After I got to the US, I began to understand that countries differ significantly in what they have to offer. The US is obviously more prosperous than India. At first I did not know nor did I particularly care why the US was so rich. But soon enough the matter intrigued me. Why was India so poor in comparison to the US?
Slowly I came to realize that the question was informed by economics — a subject that I was clueless about because my education had been in engineering and computer science. So began my economics education. I learned that freedom matters. Compared to Americans, Indians are not free, and hence India was not prosperous.
I like freedom. That was one of the major reasons I decided to stay in the US. The second reason is that I hate institutionalized, state-sponsored discrimination. As a Hindu, because of the US constitution’s 1st Amendment, the US government is constitutionally prohibited from discriminating against me. In contrast to that, as I am a Hindu, the Indian state discriminates against me. That is unacceptable to me. It’s morally odious for the goverment of a civilized society to discriminate against people based on religion. Societies that tolerate such policies lack a sense of fairness and justice. They are not fully civilized. I reject that.
Anyway, here’s Victor Davis Hanson.