Ever since the breakout of the Syrian civil war, millions of syrian civilians have migrated to Europe and the United States. This is understandable, considering what factions are vying for power, and what they might do to these civilians. In their countries of refuge, however, there are also problems. According to the BKA, Germany’s federal crime office, crimes committed by immigrants rose by 79 percent from 2014 to 2015. Violent crimes, including assault, robbery, “predatory extortion” and “crimes against personal freedom” doubled. crimes of this nature make up 18% of the crimes committed by immigrants. On New Year’s Eve in Cologne, Germany, there was a notably large groping and sexual assault of women by refugees. In Paris, France, there was an outright terror attack that claimed the lives of 130 people, with many more injured.
This sort of development raises questions of what to do with the syrian refugees. They are not accustomed to the cultures they are now a part of, but that does not change the negative consequences to sheltering them from a brutal civil war. With these sorts of situations, Utilitarian thought helps one get a better grasp of the situation. More specifically, one should understand what an optimific action is, and the basics of hedonic calculus. An optimific action is an action that maximizes the good results and minimizes the bad results in the best possible proportions.
Hedonic calculus considers seven characteristics of results, giving one a way to measure how good an outcome would be. the seven characteristics to consider are intensity, duration, certainty, propinquity, fecundity, purity and extent. Intensity is how good or bad a result is, duration is how long the pleasure or pain will last, certainty is how likely the outcome is, propinquity is how distant the benefits are, fecundity is how likely this pleasure or pain is to lead to similar pleasures or pains, purity considers how pure the pleasure or pain is and extent considers how many people will experience the pleasure or pain.
keeping that in mind, what about the refugee crisis? The current policy Germany is taking towards syrian refugees suffers on a couple sections of hedonic calculus: purity and fecundity. The purity of the pleasure of saving all these people’s’ lives comes with notably higher rates of crime. the problem with the fecundity of the policy is that, as long as this civil war rages on, and probably afterwards, many syrians would likely prefer to be in Germany where they might get away with some of these crimes, as many of those involved with the Cologne attacks did. The policy invites more crime and attacks. These results are not optimific, and thus the policy really should be adjusted.
And just to be clear, this is not to say that these refugees should have been left to die in Syria, that is an even less optimific action to take.