This review is less about the book and more the journey I took to find and read. Once you read the title, you do not need to really know more about the book. Do you want to read a non-fiction graphic novel on the subject? Yes or no. But maybe my feelings on the subject will help you decide.
I had heard about Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration and even though it was a First Second book (which as you know I love their graphic novels), did I really want to read about immigration? Did I really want to read about someone talking about the pluses of Open Borders? Wait a minute…. What is Open Borders? I was not sure what this term really means. I have heard all the hooting and hollering. I have seen all the media buzz. And I do not care how fair a news medium is (print or electronic) everyone has a bias and the media wants to sell itself. And whichever argument gets their readers/viewers worked up will work. Both sides are divided and use all the hot button terms, points and arguments to “win” you over.
Therefore, maybe I should do a little research, I thought. Reading a pro-Open Borders book was as good a start as anyplace. I picked it up and found out what Bryan Caplan had to say for himself. I learned a bit about him. What biases does he have? See who he does and does not quote (for both sides). And the ways he uses to prove his points are clear. He talks about the history of the issue as well as the current elements. He seems like a friendly enough person willing to talk about the subject. You probably will not change his mind, but then again, maybe he will put a few new ideas into yours.
The result of what I read seems to be a well thought out argument for Open Borders. Granted in many ways it is one sided, but he does show some of the against arguments. His key-hole solutions are interesting. His saying, “Hey let’s use immigration to make money” might make you go “huh.” Is he being tongue-in-cheek? Is he being serious? And depending on the reader, you might have several different answers. He is asking you to experience his words. Think about them. Digest them. And come on your own path to his side of the argument. Yet, he does not seem confrontational. He answers, “This is answer X” to your argument of “Well, what about this…??”
The graphic novel format helps explain the subject. He has graphs and charts and quote bubbles and examples. And many examples are set up, to not be in a “hot button” way of explaining it, but of course, some are. And the cartoon element of Zach Weinersmith’s illustrations lightens the seriousness. They can be a bit too busy at times, but overall, they are perfectly complimentary to the text. I will say that a reread is recommended and do not rush through it. While accessible, it is not easy to digest all at once. It is a good way to introduce in an academic subject in a non-academic manner.