CASE STUDY: EU FREE MOVEMENT
British public opinion on free movement. The majority choose to make their island a prison. Not by voting for their own imprisonment but by having their perception of the world so coloured by the idea of being overrun by immigrants they don't think about the consequences of ending Europe-wide free movement. See also Case Study Brexit.
Even the left-leaning, anti-Brexit Guardian is part of the conditioning British population to see free movement as a privilege granted to others and not one enjoyed by themselves. Where this becomes egregious is, like many fascism tendencies, where the majority tyrannizes the minority over freedoms they themselves won't miss. It's not a balanced trade off.
If ten people vote on whether to make homosexuality illegal and they simply vote according to their personal preference, eight votes choose to outlaw it, two votes want it legal (because they're gay). End result is an overwhelming majority supporting the new law but only two of those ten voters having their lives degraded by the change. Universal suffrage, one person one vote, becomes a tyranny all too quickly when it's applied to every detail of authoritarian power. It doesn't matter that one voter may be unaffected by the vote results and another considers it the most important, defining result of their life. Freedom of movement is a less extreme but nonetheless life-altering downgrade in the personal freedom of millions of people; supported by tens of millions of people who'll never miss it when it's gone.
As a footnote, this dynamic - an imbalance of voter strength of feeling over an issue, where one voter thinks it matters and the next might not care at all, both receiving an equal vote - is the well-spring of WEDGE ISSUES used (and abused) by propaganda the world over.
WHY SHOULD FREE MOVEMENT MATTER?
- "What's the fundamental benefit of transnational freedom of movement?"
- The ideal of free movement can be aligned according to the polemic of "no entry" versus "no way out".
The belief in "no entry", across a society, means limiting both immigration and citizen mobility. It means closed borders and, depending how extreme the "no entry" ideal is imposed, extends to government regulating and restricting movement of those people bound within national boundaries.
Closed borders aims to ringfence home territory. It gives authorities power over immigration affecting labour supply and, once regulating movement inside national borders, allows flexible region by region regulation, and opens potential opportunities - if desired - to impose homegrown-foreign apartheid.
Restrictions on free movement extended to home nationals provides legal ways to keep criminals, disrupting influences and insurgents where they can be tracked and neutralised.
As far as "no entry" advocates are concerned, the inevitable loss of personal liberty - which is felt primarily by non-comformists - is a small price to pay for all the government gains in extra capabilities to keep its loyal citizens safe.
"NO WAY OUT"
Diametrically opposed to the "no entry" ideal are those for whom restrictions on the movement of individuals, including immigration and emigration and traversal of national borders, equates to a de facto "no way out" that's tantamount to imprisonment.
At its heart, it's simple. Freedom of movement means - for millions of people - freedom from the fascism of national myth being twisted, in service of entrenched power, to create inescapable forces able to bind citizens in place, in debt, in check, indentured, without hope of parole.