The Impotence of the Kantian Republic
When I learned of the provenance of the Manchester bomber, namely that he was the son of Libyan refugees, I asked
myself a question that is now almost disallowable, even in the privacy of one’s own mind: whether any authority, in
granting them asylum in Britain, asked whether it was in the national interest to do so. In all probability, the answer is
no. The officials concerned probably thought only that they were applying a universal rule, or pseudo-universal rule,
that in the name of humanity all political refugees (as Salman Abedi’s parents were) have an automatic right of asylum.
And if they, the officials, were to be criticised, they would no doubt reply that there were a thousand, or five thousand,
refugees for every suicide bomber, and that therefore the admission of Salman Abedi’s parents was a risk that had, on
humanitarian grounds, to be taken.
I doubt whether many citizens, in their hearts, would agree with this, even those who are favorably disposed to the
principle of asylum. Since it is not true that the enemy of my enemy is my friend (the Abedis were enemies of
Muammar Gaddafi, at that stage an enemy of the West), or that the granting of asylum necessarily makes one grateful
to one’s hosts (reflections on the career of the Ayatolla Khomeini might have taught us that), discrimination among and
between asylum-seekers is in accordance with that now unspeakable thing, the national interest.