Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rudd MP vs Rudd PM

Kevin Rudd gave his maiden speech to parliament in 1998. He wanted in this speech to set out a distinctive political ideal for the Australian Labor Party. He didn't want to be seen as merely another technocrat in a parliament of technocrats:

For nearly a decade now it has become fashionable to accept the death of ideology, the triumph of neoclassical economics, the politics of convergence and the rise of managerialism.

Put crudely, it is the view that, because parties of the traditional Right and traditional Left have now moved to some mythical place called the `Centre', all that is left is an essentially technocratic decision between one team of managers against another, both operating within a common, or at least similar, mission statement.

Politics on this argument becomes little more than theatre — a public performance necessary to convince the shareholders at the AGM that the company needs new management.


The ideal he came up with for the Labor Party was not exactly original. He merely restated the underlying distinction between left and right liberals. Both kinds of liberals take as a starting point the idea that we are made human by being self-determining, autonomous individuals. But if society is made up of millions of self-determining, autonomous wills, how is it to be regulated?

Right liberals have generally preferred the free market solution. Individuals were to work for their own profit and the hidden hand of the market would regulate the outcome for the overall benefit of society. Left liberals, in contrast, argued for a greater degree of regulation by the state.

So it's no surprise that Kevin Rudd, as a left liberal, argued in his maiden speech for a higher degree of state regulation and that he saw in this a distinctive political ideal for the Labor Party:

I believe that there remains a fundamental divide between our two parties on the proper role of the state in a modern economy and society. This government's view is a minimalist view of the role of government. It is a view that holds that markets rather than governments are better determinants of not only efficiency but also equity ...

It is a view that now dominates the treasuries of the nation — both Commonwealth and state — and their combined orthodoxy that a good government is a government in retreat — retreat from any form of ownership, retreat from most forms of regulation and retreat from responsibility for the delivery of as many services as possible. It is a view which says, in effect, that governments are the enemies of freedom ...

It is a view that is Thatcherism writ large, including her most infamous proclamation that there is no such thing as society. And it is a view that labour markets are like any other market that should be deregulated because, according to this view, labour is no different from any other commodity.

This is not my view. Nor is it the view of the Australian Labor Party, of which I have been a proud member for 17 years.


Remember, Kevin Rudd pinned his hopes of being something more than a technocrat on this ideal. So is it really true that Mr Rudd, as PM, has based his politics on something other than the market? Is he something more than Economic Man?

In yesterday's Age there was a brief discussion of Australia's extraordinary rate of immigration. Tim Colebatch, the economics editor, was sufficiently broad-minded to observe that,

... as anyone in Melbourne knows, there are drawbacks to population growth. Labor MP Kelvin Thomson is worried: "We are sleep-walking towards environmental disaster" ... And trying to cut carbon emissions by 60 per cent while raising population by 60 per cent, he says, is "trying to fight with both hands tied behind your back". Another 13 or 14 million people will not give us a richer country, it will spread our mineral wealth more thinly and give us a poorer one."


And what did our supposedly market-independent PM have to say? Mr Rudd was all Economic Man:

I think it's great that our population is growing because so many countries around the world are shrinking and that poses a real problem in terms of having a strong tax base for the future and a strong economy.


Perhaps what is most striking is Mr Rudd's opposition, in his maiden speech, to the idea that labour should be treated just like any other commodity. He declared himself opposed to the view:

... that labour markets are like any other market that should be deregulated because, according to this view, labour is no different from any other commodity.


And yet his own minister felt free to declare to the public exactly this view: that labour is to be treated just like any other commodity, even to the extent that immigration decisions would, from now on, be left to employers:

Senator Evans said immigration should be the nation's labour agency, meaning a continued high intake of migrants ... Decisions about who came to Australia would increasingly be left to employers.


I don't even recall the Liberal Party publicly admitting to such a view: that immigration decisions would no longer be made by government as part of a larger national policy, but to employers as a function of the market.

So is being a political leader of a nation like being a manager of a company? Rudd wants the answer to be no, but in his most critical political decisions he is acting as if the answer were yes.

61 comments:

  1. I read in the Spectator not long ago that Rudd had cut the immigration intake for economic reasons, a move to ease unemployment during the gfc. Such a decision was clearly at the behest of the union movement and designed to keep wages high in union industries. The Spectator article surprisingly argued against the cut.

    Here Kevin Thompson argues against immigration on "environmental" grounds:

    ""We are sleep-walking towards environmental disaster" ... And trying to cut carbon emissions by 60 per cent while raising population by 60 per cent"

    The argument goes along the lines of, we have to stop having children because humans are destroying the planet.

    So what we have here are two "left" arguments against immigration. Both are incredibly weak. Whether we take immigrants into Australia or not they'll still be living somewhere, “pumping out carbon“ and affecting the planet. Perhaps Kevin Thompson would be better off supporting mass sterilisation campaigns.

    The self serving arguments of the union movement can also be allayed, for instance, by greater restrictions on taking up employment in union dominated areas.

    The ONLY way immigration numbers will be substantially cut is when the cultural and practical value of maintaining the existence of your nation is recognised.

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  2. Its interesting how this globalist liberal strategy is given as a sink or swim ultimatum. Curtail it and you risk economic catastrophe.

    Yet China, Japan, Korea and Saudi Arabia don't look too shabby for looking out for numero uno.

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  3. Its interesting how this globalist liberal strategy is given as a sink or swim ultimatum. Curtail it and you risk economic catastrophe.

    Yet China, Japan, Korea and Saudi Arabia don't look too shabby for looking out for numero uno.


    As long as workers in developing countries labour under sweatshiop conditions, industry in Australia will be undermined, immigrants or no. In a globalised economy, industry is increasingly moved offshore to cash in on cheaper labour costs. Note the prevalence of Indian call centres, for instance.

    Also, I'm not sure who in their right mind thinks that China, Japan, Korea and Saudi Arabia aren't looking 'too shabby'. China relies on the most appalling labour conditions, with significant poverty outside of the major cities. Japan has been in a recession/deflationary cycle for almost 20 years. Korea has been bouncing around since the Asian crisis of the 90s, and whilst conditions are better than in some Asian countries, they're are hardly anything you'd swap for Australia. Saudi Arabia is fine if you're wealthy, as there are lots of tax breaks, but considering everything else wrong with the country, tax breaks don't really cut the mustard.

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  4. I think it's great that our population is growing because so many countries around the world are shrinking and that poses a real problem in terms of having a strong tax base for the future and a strong economy.

    This is an incredibly obtuse comment, especially from a man purported to be highly intelligent.

    The only reason Australia's population is growing is because of the massive levels of immigration the Rudd Government has unleashed upon this country. Without ongoing immigration, Australia's population would be in the process of stabilising, much like the populations of Europe and Japan.

    The Federal Government evidently believes that immigration is some kind of panacea for a "shrinking" population. Yet this raises the question: if immigration is such an obvious and simple cure-all for the problems that Rudd refers to, then why aren't other industrialised countries rushing to follow Australia's lead and import millions of Third World immigrants?

    The reason is because, as Christopher Caldwell argues in his book Reflections of the Revolution in Europe, most other industrialised countries have come to the conclusion that the benefits of large-scale immigration are “puny”, while the side effects are profound and permanent.

    Despite what some vested interest groups may claim, immigration is NOT a fix for an aging population because the immigrants themselves grow old. By bringing in so many immigrants now, we are simply augmenting the dependent elderly population of the future, which will make it necessary to import even more immigrants to support them when they retire, and so on ad infinitum. The whole thing is an unsustainable Ponzi scheme.

    Another fallacy that Rudd appears to have fallen for is the belief that population growth is vital for a "strong economy." The notion that a country can only have a "strong economy" by having an ever-expanding population can be seen for the fraud that it is by simply pointing to the example of most of other industralised countries, whose populations have barely grown over the past fifty years. During that period the greatest ever growth in their economies and, more importantly, their per capita wealth has taken place.

    In Australia's case, a larger population simply means greater import demand and lower per capita earnings from mineral exports. As a larger population sucks in more imports, this adds to our current account deficit and foreign debt. It also means we have to borrow heavily from abroad to finance the additional social infrastructure needed to accommodate a rapidly expanding population. This diverts capital away from more productive economic activities, such as the development of new export industries.

    And what about the non-economic aspects of immigration? Australia is, after all, more than just an economy and its people are more than a mere labour force.

    If the current projections are borne out, the demographic changes induced by sustained mass immigration will radically alter the face and character of the Australian nation. Yet that prospect is seldom discussed in public. Immigration is only ever talked about in economic terms. In largely ignoring the non-economic dimensions, the Federal Government is facilitating a radical transformation in the ethnic and cultural composition of our society and the cessation of a particular heritage. And they are doing so by default, without any form of public consultation or consent.

    Surely the Australian people deserve to have some say about the future of their nation?

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  5. Surely the Australian people deserve to have some say about the future of their nation?

    But the Australian people do get to have a say - every three years at the ballot box. The predicted rise to 37 million people is not a classified state secret. It's been splashed all over the print and electronic media. If Australians choose en masse to vote liberal/labor they are effectively endorsing this transformation.

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  6. The Spectator article surprisingly argued against the cut.

    If I recall correctly, it was an editorial.

    The whole thing was a run-of-the-mill open-borders piece, replete with the usual inane banalities. The editor did little other than parrot the same old fallacious arguments in favour of high immigration - "Australia is underpopulated", "immigrants stimulate the economy" etc. - while haughtily dismissing any concerns about the negative impacts of immigration.

    (To be fair, The Spectator also published this article arguing against continued mass immigration, for which it should be commended.)

    Having read so many asinine pro-immigration articles and editorials, I have reached the point where I now believe I can boil the entire pro-immigration case down to two core arguments:

    A) Immigration is good because it increases population, and thus increases gross domestic product. According to this "logic", a doubling or tripling of the Australian population through immigration will lead to a doubling or tripling of economic output, thereby making us - voilĂ  - a "wealthier" country!

    B) Immigration is good because it increases "diversity" which is itself the highest good. Why is diversity meant to be such a good thing? Who knows. I've never understood how anybody could honestly believe that diversity is beneficial given that all the evidence indicates the diversity is a sure-fire way to destroy social cohesion. Any discussion of the real advantages of diversity usually manages to establish only one benefit people really care about: good ethnic restaurants. But I doubt even Kevin Rudd would claim that getting an authentic Indian restaurant in every suburb is a major national objective.

    I suspect diversity worship stems from a belief that the less homogeneously white or Anglo a society is, the better. Those advocates of multiculturalism are driven less by a love of diversity and more by a hatred of white people. Consider, for example, that it is only ever white countries that are said to be in need of a heavy dose of diversity. In contrast to immigrant-receiving white countries like Australia, Canada and the United States, non-white nations are careful to maintain racial and cultural homogeneity and most allow essentially no immigration at all. It seems that everybody apart from whites can see that celebrating the growing immigration-induced "diversity" within your own country actually means celebrating your own displacement.

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  7. Whether we take immigrants into Australia or not they'll still be living somewhere, “pumping out carbon“ and affecting the planet.

    Yes, but by moving to Australia and adopting our First World lifestyle, they emit more than they otherwise would had they remained in their old homelands.

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  8. So when is the European-descended population expected to become a minority in Australia? In the United States, the submergence date is 2042.

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  9. The ONLY way immigration numbers will be substantially cut is when the cultural and practical value of maintaining the existence of your nation is recognised.

    That is about as far from our current crop of politicians thinking as could possibly be the case. Most people in OZ are welcoming and tolerant of newcomers regardless of their race color or creed. However, a 60% increase in population (driven by immigration) and the ensuing transformation of Melbourne and Sydney into Los Angeles-style mega cities divided along racial, ethnic and religious lines is going to put some very considerable strains on that tolerance. Already it's showing signs of weakness.

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  10. But the Australian people do get to have a say - every three years at the ballot box. The predicted rise to 37 million people is not a classified state secret. It's been splashed all over the print and electronic media. If Australians choose en masse to vote liberal/labor they are effectively endorsing this transformation.

    I dunno about Oz, but in the US an election never provides a real choice in immigration matters. McCain vs Obama, they're both open-borders types who want to give us a sham "immigration reform" designed only to delude the stupid and maintain the status quo. A candidate who genuinely wanted to restrict immigration wouldn't even make it on the ballot.

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  11. The ONLY way immigration numbers will be substantially cut is when the cultural and practical value of maintaining the existence of your nation is recognised.

    Jesse, I agree. In fact, I'd take your argument further.

    If people think non-discrimination, open borders and diversity are morally right and good, they will support them regardless of the costs to the environment, the economy, public safety, social cohesion etc.

    There are plenty of Australians who want to have things both ways. They identify positively with the Australian tradition but also think that non-discrimination and diversity are moral goods. So they have to shut their eyes to the real long-term consequences of immigration policy.

    The whole thing is an unsustainable Ponzi scheme

    As this becomes obvious to more people it will hopefully further weaken the credibility of the liberal elite.

    But the Australian people do get to have a say - every three years at the ballot box.

    There are a small number of people - I call them the political class - who have an enduring interest in political ideas and political activism. It is this political class which determines what happens politically - not the vast bulk of the population.

    The problem for us is that this political class is nearly wholly liberal - either left-liberal or right-liberal. Therefore, immigration reform doesn't come up as an option on election day or anytime else.

    There is a gradual improvement in our situation; we are getting a certain number of intelligent political class types on side. But not enough yet to really register a change in the political landscape.

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  12. Thanks Mark,

    I was heartened by what happened in America recently. Personally I think the US situation where people say the borders "can't" be controlled is far scarier than what we have here. Prior to the last election the immigration or naturalisation congressional bill was shot down after substantial political grass roots protest. There was also a Presidential candidate, Tancredo, whose sole platform was immigration and the border. Its true he didn't personally gain a lot of votes but the political gravity shifted and all the Republican candidates during the primary adopted the issue, hitting those "soft" on immigration and as Tancredo said "trying to out-Tancredo each other".

    The eventual winner, McCain, adopted a "secure the border first" platform and admitted his prior policy was mistaken. As Mccain is/was a man of honour I believe that as President that is what he would have done.

    On the morality of it, yes that is the biggest reason why it is such a loaded issue.

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  13. "There are a small number of people - I call them the political class - who have an enduring interest in political ideas and political activism. It is this political class which determines what happens politically - not the vast bulk of the population. | The problem for us is that this political class is nearly wholly liberal - either left-liberal or right-liberal. Therefore, immigration reform doesn't come up as an option on election day or anytime else."

    I have on previous occasions urged Traditionalists (inter alia on this blog) to get involved politically, but no, there is always some excuse to avoid membership in that political class that sets the narrative...

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  14. Figures from the Department of Immigration show that since 2000, Australia took in an average of about 120,000 migrants each year, with the trend increasing.

    Dr Dharma Arunachalam, director of the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University in Melbourne, said that should this rate be sustained or even increased, some Australians might find it difficult to adjust to the changing demographics.

    *snip*

    The only obstacles to the population surge could be if “feeding” nations such as India and China become so economically successful that their citizens do not want to migrate, Arunachalam said.


    Source

    The Federal Government's immigration policies are effectively giving populous countries like China and India the green light to colonise Australia.

    Australia, it seems, is destined to become little more than Lebensraum for the populations of Asia and the Third World.

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  15. I have on previous occasions urged Traditionalists (inter alia on this blog) to get involved politically, but no, there is always some excuse to avoid membership in that political class that sets the narrative...

    Get involved? How?

    Party politics are a dead-end.

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  16. At this point Rudd is enjoying unprecedented support because people are scared witless by the GFC. When it becomes clear, however, that Labor isn't governing in the interests of the "working families" who elected them, but governing instead for themselves as well as the growth lobby, their electoral chickens will eventually come home.

    The unfortunate reality is that, by the time the electorate wakens from its slumbers our once green and livable cities will have transmogrified into sprawling, crime-ridden, high-rise megalopolises and it will simply be too late.

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  17. Doing what we're doing here is political so that's good. One of the problems is that counter arguments to immigration often aren't discussed so they, like a plant, can't grow in the light.

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  18. Thanks for the article RD, but I couldn't make the link work.

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  19. At this point Rudd is enjoying unprecedented support because people are scared witless by the GFC. When it becomes clear, however, that Labor isn't governing in the interests of the "working families" who elected them, but governing instead for themselves as well as the growth lobby, their electoral chickens will eventually come home.

    I wonder about the intelligence of the Australian people.

    Take, for instance, the issue of climate change. Rudd was elected largely on a 'green' platform, successfully portraying his opponent Howard as a ditherer and a closest climate change "denier". The Rudd Goverment has talked the talk about reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions since it came the power, giving the impression that it, unlike Howard, is serious about climate change. But actions speak louder than words. And the Rudd Government's decisions to dramatically increase immigration flies in the face of its commitment to reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. By ramping up immigration to record high levels, Rudd is making it impossible for Australia to meaningfully reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. There is no way to dodge the fact that a growing population equals growing emissions.

    Yet, the Rudd Government's incongruous, ridiculously contradictory set of policies on carbon emissions and population/immigration have gone largely unnoticed by the MSM and the general public.

    Do people not grasp the utter futility of trying to reduce carbon emissions by 60 percent while simultaneously swelling the size of the population by 60 percent?

    Through his actions, Rudd has demonstrated that his commitment to mass immigration outweighs his purported concern about climate change. All his tough talk about addressing climate change is just that - talk. The man is such a mendacious fraud that it is difficult to believe anything that comes out of his mouth. Yet, as you pointed out, he is still popular among the general public.

    I can only conclude that the Australian people are borderline retarded.

    The unfortunate reality is that, by the time the electorate wakens from its slumbers our once green and livable cities will have transmogrified into sprawling, crime-ridden, high-rise megalopolises and it will simply be too late.

    Given that the ALP is busily "electing a new people" through immigration, Rudd probably won't have to worry about a backlash from native-born white Australians for much longer. Immigration is rapidly reducing their percentage of the population, transmogrifying our once largely homogeneous Anglo-Celtic nation into a polyglot, multicultural, multiracial hodgepodge of humanity.

    Not that this should come as any great surprise. The Labor Party has long viewed immigration as an ideal way of importing voters and bypassing those refractory, conservative-leaning locals who aren't reliant on big government. Simply cast your mind back to the 1980s when the family reunification immigration stream was shamelessly exploited by the Hawke/Keating regime to provide the ALP with ethnic branch stacking fodder.

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  20. Thanks for the article RD, but I couldn't make the link work.

    I found another link.

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  21. The eventual winner, McCain, adopted a "secure the border first" platform and admitted his prior policy was mistaken. As Mccain is/was a man of honour I believe that as President that is what he would have done.

    McCain wanted to "secure the border first" and THEN legalise the millions of illegal immigrants already inside the United States.

    The same McCain who set a nauseating new record for pandering to Hispanics.

    The same McCain who unabashedly championed the neocon policy of "Invade the World! Invite the World!"

    No, McCain would have been an unmitigated disaster on immigration, probably even worse than Obama.

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  22. In response to the earlier posts about political activism, the most productive thing that we traditionalist conservatives can do is start forming our own associations, publications and think tanks.

    We need to articulate a clear alternative to the current dominant paradigm of liberalism.

    We don't need to reach out to the masses; we simply need to develop as an intellectual movement.

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  23. At some level you really have to hand it to Rudd and the ALP. They really are a well-oiled machine. They easily out-rank the Libs in terms of political donations from business and their union mates. They fill up their party with celebrities, sports people and rock stars - whom the bogan masses adore and trust. They milk a free propaganda machine at their disposal via the schools, universities and the ABC that brainwash our youth from the cradle. And they ruthlessly exploit the fact that demography is destiny by importing hundreds of thousands of new ALP voters every year.

    I am quite convinced that the ALP is at the beginning of a very long period in power - longer than anything we have witnessed in Australia in living memory. Such a state of affairs reminds me of Russia which has a democratically elected dictatorship.

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  24. "I can only conclude that the Australian people are borderline retarded"

    This is funny. Its just I don't know more "relaxing" having a Labor govt. The amount of shrieking and hysteria that went on under Howard was quite intolerable. Even if they do similar things. For instance Rudd increased defence spending substantially to pay for new submarines etc If Howard had done just imagine the level of shrieking, militarism, arms race with Asia, attempting to use military solutions, on and on and on. Rudd does it, well its a sensible long term strategy *chuckles*.

    Ok I get it you don't like McCain.

    On Anonymous' point I think you might be surprised. Yes Labor have advantages but they're also lazy. They think they can cruise to victory and do whatever they want in power. The rapid fire debt is one heinous example. The Labor state governments were also looking secure but now there's a Labor fed gov and no more Liberals/Howard to blame things on they're starting to fall.

    I guess more important than the colour of party in office though is the nature of their polices.

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  25. "Australia's population balloons to 21.8m"

    This is an article on ninemsn (sorry I'm not very tech savy so I haven't been able to link it).

    In the article Rudd says predictably "its great news" because the economy will keep growing. Immigration numbers will be altered to suit the economy.

    Opposition is voiced by green gourps:

    "We cannot continue to add the equivalent of a city larger than Canberra every year to Australia's population and still expect to maintain the health of our environment and our quality of life."

    As good as it sounds and knowing that any support is good support, I must confress I'm uneasy having green groups carry this issue. The environment is a pc issue (it needn't necessarily be but it currently is) as is immigration. Using pc arguments to fight pc issues will leave us marginalised.

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  26. Jesse_7, if you are looking for an erudite (but very politically incorrect view) you should take a look at some of Prof. Andrew Fraser's work. It's worth a read.

    He wrote inter alia that,
    ..."ordinary Australians favouring a moratorium on ... immigration cannot count on effective leadership or support from ...among (the) political, intellectual and corporate elites. On the contrary, our still predominantly Anglo-Australian rulers are indifferent; some profit from, and others actually take pride in their active collaboration with the Third World colonisation of Australia. None of the major parties, indeed, not one member of the Commonwealth Parliament, offers citizens the option of voting to defend and nurture Australia's Anglo-European identity"

    Source

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  27. Australia's population balloons to 21.8m

    Australia's population soared by almost half a million people in the year to March - a boom not seen since the 1960s.

    A green group says that's no cause for celebration and has called for immigration to be cut to protect the environment.

    Australian Bureau of Statistics data released on Tuesday shows the population increased by just over two per cent - or 439,000 people - in the year to March.

    There are now 21.8 million of us.

    Most of the recent increase - almost 300,000 people - was due to immigration.

    But there's also a mini-baby boom, with 160,000 babies entering the world during the year.

    Recent research showed Australia's population would balloon to 35 million - seven million more than previously thought - on the strength of immigration and births over the next 40 years.

    The government says the population boom is great news because it means the economy will keep growing.

    But some green groups say enough is enough.

    Australian Conservation Foundation spokesman Charles Berger said the growing population was on a collision course with the environment.

    More people - as outlined in the ABS data - meant more greenhouse pollution, poorer river health and struggling infrastructure.

    Every extra million people added 25 million tonnes of greenhouse pollution, Mr Berger said.

    He called for migration to be cut to "more sustainable levels".

    "We cannot continue to add the equivalent of a city larger than Canberra every year to Australia's population and still expect to maintain the health of our environment and our quality of life."

    Immigration Minister Chris Evans said the government could adjust the immigration intake to suit the economy.

    The Rudd government had cut the permanent skilled migration twice since last year, a spokesman for Senator Evans said.

    He also pointed out the ABS data included temporary skilled workers from overseas and international students, most of whom would return home.

    The ABS data showed Western Australia was leading the population proliferation, while Tasmania lagged in last place. All states and territories recorded an increase.


    Link

    "There are now 21.8 million of us."

    Foreigners may be pouring en masse into Australia but they aren't 'us'.

    "Immigration Minister Chris Evans said the government could adjust the immigration intake to suit the economy."

    Once again, immigration is treated as a purely economic issue, devoid of any wider social dimensions.

    What about adjusting immigration levels to suit our capacity as a society to absorb such a large influx of culturally alien people?

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  28. Jesse_7, if you are looking for an erudite (but very politically incorrect view) you should take a look at some of Prof. Andrew Fraser's work.

    Although I don't necessarily agree with everything he says, Fraser's review of Keith Windschuttle's book The White Australia Policy is also worth reading.

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  29. Anonymous: "Get involved? How? Party politics are a dead-end."

    It's a dead end because people like us aren't involved... well... I am, and there is a small group of us here... but if we had a few hundred, things could look very different indeed. For one: the electorate would actually have a choice during elections!

    Jess_7: "Doing what we're doing here is political so that's good."

    What were doing here is talking which is good, but not good enough. In politics, its all about bums on seats, not how well you frame an argument. I know this as a matter of fact, so don't bother trying to argue or refute it.

    RD: "In response to the earlier posts about political activism, the most productive thing that we traditionalist conservatives can do is start forming our own associations, publications and think tanks. We need to articulate a clear alternative to the current dominant paradigm of liberalism. We don't need to reach out to the masses; we simply need to develop as an intellectual movement."

    As above. Also, what's the problem with walking and chewing gum at the same time? Nothing. The excuse that we need to first have a think tank before we do anything is just laziness pure and simple.

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  30. Thanks for the articles guys,

    I guess any examination of "race" is problematic. From my perspective I really like "foreigners" (sorry if that offends anyone and I know this is a difficult topic) and I think they have a huge amount to offer Australia.

    Recently I went to a dentist and gp, from Algeria and India. I was hugely impressed by their diligence, professionalism and industry. They were motivated by a real work ethic and sense of service and not merely a desire for money or status. I have an excellent friend who is an Iraqi, came to Australia as a refugee (legally) and is in the army. He takes a colossal amount of pride in being an Australian, does his best to contribute and be a good Australian.

    I do think they (and I'll use the word "foreigners" again rather than immigrants) have a huge amount to offer Australia over and above food. They can all add to the excellence and overall success of Australia. So what’s the problem?

    I'll give an example. If I were to emigrate to Saudi Arabia I think it would be my duty to be a good "Saudi". I wouldn't be an enthic Suadi but I would certainly be respectful of the culture and try to fit in. I could use and draw on my western background and thinking to add to or possibly improve the position and life of Saudi Arabi and I would try to do that without attempting to radically change the culture. What I certainly wouldn’t do is walk around saying Islam was shit, Saudis are assholes, they should stop hogging the top jobs, make room for the rest of us. Gratitude, humility and a sense of service would dominate my attitude to Saudi Arabia.

    These attitudes are not fostered in “multicultural” society where groups of people flock into ethnic communities and have no sense of a whole or national Australia. This is perhaps in some way inevitable when the numbers are large.

    So my issue in a way is not with immigration per se (and I appreciate the arguments against overcrowding and environmental damage) but rather the attitudes associated with it. That its necessary because "Australianness" or western culture is bad. The idea that people have a right to come here or we should feel guilty of we don't accept them. This kind of immigration is incredibly disrespectful.

    The idea that immigration is an absolute economic "good" is also as we have discussed dangerous because it is not weighed against counter arguments, economic or otherwise and has started to approach the level of delusional dogma.

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  31. Jesse_7 I am inclined to agree with you that there are some excellent immigrants from every corner of the earth in Australia who are hard working decent people and don't have a chip on their shoulder. I'm certain that most of us here don't object to migration in reasonable numbers. But what we are facing with the current crew in Canberra at the wheel is an immigrant tsunami the likes of which we have never seen before.

    With the kind of numbers they are talking whole suburbs are going to be radically transformed almost over night into little Indias, little Iraqs and little Beijings. Unlike other immigrant-driven economies such as the UAE we bend over backwards handing out passports and citizenship to anyone that has a credit card and a part time taxi job. This all begs the question what does it mean to be an Australian?

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  32. It's interesting how left liberals are quick to point out the shallow managerial side of modern society and blame it on right liberals, while thinking that it's got nothing to do themselves.

    This brings to mind John Ralston Saul's Voltaire's Bastards which was a liberal-humanist attack on the enlightenment legacy of hyper-rationalism and managerialism written in the early 90s.

    In many ways left-liberals are actually more deluded than right liberals, since they believe in even bigger technocratic myths than there more straightforward counterparts.

    In the case of left liberals, their liberal myths include the idea that diversity is just another small challenge that the all-conquering western technocracy will take in its stride, and that increased environmental standards will not have an adverse economic impact on people on low incomes.

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  33. Tom Keneally: Our door should always be open

    It's normal in times of financial uncertainty, or even at other times, to call for reductions in immigrant numbers. It has always been a false response...

    ... the external pressures on immigration policy will grow, not lessen ...

    We have here no secular theology of immigration. We have no public monuments to ragged masses yearning to be free. We have sometimes intense initial resistance followed by tolerance, fraternity and the highest level of ethnic inter-marriage in the world. Australian inclusiveness gradually spreads to include new-coming group after new-coming group. This history of immigration indicates it has enriched the community by creating wealth and cleverness and imagination - all without destroying the cohesion we want, and without creating ghettos. Why reduce these possibilities? Under the sanction of mere reason, less immigration will make Australia less wealthy, less clever, less imaginative and less of a successful polity. Who wants that?


    Keneally, like Labor, is insanely reckless with rampant ruinous immigration.

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  34. Jesse_7, Rudd's "cut" was spurious. He had previously increased immigration substantially over Howard's already huge levels. The cut is only in skilled migration, and doesn't affect "family reunion" or "humanitarian" categories.

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  35. I'm certain that most of us here don't object to migration in reasonable numbers. But what we are facing with the current crew in Canberra at the wheel is an immigrant tsunami the likes of which we have never seen before.

    I agree - numbers are the issue here.

    Managed correctly, a select number of individuals from all racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds could easily have been absorbed into this country without radically altering the fundamental character and identity of our nation, provided that immigrant numbers were moderate and a policy of assimilation was pursued.

    Unfortunately, the pro-immigration political establishment that runs this country does not seem to have the word 'moderation' in its vocabulary. The immigration tsunami they have recklessly unleashed upon this country is pushing us far beyond any semblance of an assimilable demographic mix.

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  36. I think we can agree that being an Australian involves more than just living here.

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  37. Well, according to Bob Hawke, an Australian is merely "someone who chooses to live here, obey the law and pays taxes."

    When a country is subject to a large influx of people from vastly different ethnic and racial backgrounds, it invariably forces the host population to redefine the grounds for membership of its national community. The host population is subsequently pressured into giving up its old, ethnoculturally defined identity in favour of a new civic identity designed to include people from other ethnic and racial backgrounds.

    In other words, the host population is effectively robbed of its distinct ethnocultural identity all in the name of 'inclusiveness', while at the same time being told to "celebrate" the diversity created by the arrival of foreign peoples committed to maintaining exclusive ethnocultures that the host population is not considered a part of by virtue of their race and ethnicity!

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  38. Jesse, RD,

    I understand why you bring up the numbers issue. A national tradition could still function if the numbers were small, and the problem is not with individuals but with larger social trends.

    Even so, I think it's important not to limit the discussion to numbers. If diverse immigration is good in principle, then it's a losing game to argue that it just shouldn't be taken too far. Who wants to be on the side which says that a particular good should be limited for the sake of caution?

    We also have to argue on principle, just as RD does in his last comment. The real principle here is whether established ethnocultural national traditions are valid and should be protected through immigration policy or whether it is right to shift to a civic form of nationalism.

    What we can then do is to point out the inherent instability and contradictions of civic forms of nationalism.

    (See, for instance, here, here or here.)

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  39. The real principle here is whether established ethnocultural national traditions are valid and should be protected through immigration policy or whether it is right to shift to a civic form of nationalism.

    Mark, I am inclined to agree with you in principle on this but, with respect, what you are suggesting is simply not going to fly in today's Australia. The shift you are describing has already occurred and because demography is destiny there is simply no going back.

    Ethnocultural national traditions are only acceptable politically in non-European societies. 40 years of non-discriminatory immigration and political correctness are not going to be overturned now that they are so firmly ensconced. Even if the idea did get some traction with the public, as Andrew Fraser has pointed out there is not a single MP that would touch it. Furthermore with the ruling elite now viewing themselves as managers of a company and not guardians of a 'nation' the best we can hope to achieve as conservatives is to apply pressure via democratic means to minimize the damage.

    There are simply too many powerful forces and vested interests at play that would nip a more discriminatory immigration program in the bud.

    What I have noticed these days is that, pretty much without exception, anyone that argues for cuts in immigration always tempers their argument by calling for the refugee intake to be increased so that they can't be accused of the 'r' word. In such a climate, anyone that argues that we should go back to the white Australia is going to be crucified.

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  40. Anonymous, I agree with you to this extent. The only way you would get a cutting back of numbers in the short term is if someone established a party or pressure group (as happened with Australians Against Further Immigration back in the 1990s) and got some electoral support - enough to make the establishment think of taking things slower. Such a group would have to deal with things as they are and argue on the grounds of the economy, the environment, social cohesion and so on.

    It would be great if this happened. I would give it as much support as I could.

    However, there's another task. That's to begin to lead Western intellectual and political types away from liberalism. To do this requires raising issues of principle.

    We don't know what's going to happen in the medium term. The once powerful Eastern Bloc hollowed out and collapsed with surprising rapidity. It's possible that opportunities will arise here to salvage something of our tradition. But we have to be in a position to take advantage of these opportunities. We have to break the political impasse which limits political thought and political ideas to left-liberalism versus right-liberalism.

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  41. Hmmm... nobody engaged my comments... strange, perhaps, but not unpredictable.

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  42. "When a country is subject to a large influx of people from vastly different ethnic and racial backgrounds, it invariably forces the host population to redefine the grounds for membership of its national community."

    I agree. The idea though that all that is required is legality, paying taxes and choosing to live here is an incredibly weak basis. In practise we have to cut the first two out because its not like you'll be deported if you're an Australian citizen and don't pay taxes (I could be wrong on this perhaps if there was dual citizenship). Basically you're Australian if you're invited in or otherwise legally allowed to become a citizen.

    "What we can then do is to point out the inherent instability and contradictions of civic forms of nationalism."

    This is true. In Frazers article it was pointed out that tolerance, developed from a combination of civic nationalism and a British social trend. Tolerance, however, is not always adopted by migrant groups. Particularly if they live in large numbers. Then it becomes a rights culture, you must respect my rights and my community. So we see now what happens when community rights are pitted against broader social attitudes, for instance in ares such as respect for women.

    "If diverse immigration is good in principle, then it's a losing game to argue that it just shouldn't be taken too far."

    I agree it is a slippery slope. Going back one to the immigrant intake in the 50's. I'm sure there would have been some controversy at the time, even though it was a white intake. We don't like east europeans, their culture is different. Today we wouldn't be really concerned about east european immigrants, except perhaps if they brought substantial levels of crime.

    Going back further the US at the turn of the C20th. Irish and Italian immigration would have been controversial. Today we wouldn't have a problem with this immigration. The cultures we considered different back then we wouldn't consider so different now, they were white, european, christian etc.

    So today a Keneally would say the cultures we find different now, asians, arabs, africans will in the long run be seen to be not so different. Africans are christian, arabs are blokey etc. In the long run we will have in common our "humaness". Culture is a lot of baggage that causes tension and keeps us apart. By overcoming culture we can live in harmony. On top of that basic premise we can keep which ever bits of culture we want as sort of dressing on the tree.

    In the past immigration would have been accompanied by assimilation ("the melting pot"), today if culture was the problem we won't require it. Alternatively a new culture will be one of complete inclusiveness.

    I'm not saying I agree with this view but its important to understand the arguments.

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  43. Sorry Kilroy was getting to it. Busy doing immigration.

    I agree we should do both but the ideas war is cruical. Look at the left they've lost most of the elections in the post war period but have a dominant position.

    The best counter is to engange ideas. At Uni I was suprised how "weak" the young libs were, they couldn't articulate or defend their position. The "best and bravest" were all liberals. This is largely due to the continual practise they had in discussion and debate. People may feel instinctually conservative but they need understanding and arguments to sustain action.

    I also think as conservatives we should stand up for decent society. So much left wing politics is hectoring, smug and superior. I don't think we would do well immitating the left wing shrieking and force politics.

    We can win by having, bank managers, headmasters, the public service, in fact all the people who used to vote conservative but now generally vote left or liberal, on our side.

    Having said that yes politics matters. If you don't vote you don't count.

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  44. “What I have noticed these days is that, pretty much without exception, anyone that argues for cuts in immigration always tempers their argument by calling for the refugee intake to be increased so that they can't be accused of the 'r' word. In such a climate, anyone that argues that we should go back to the white Australia is going to be crucified.”

    I agree it isn't easy. In the short term its easier to argue as you sugested behind refugee acceptance or alternatively on environmental grounds. However, there is growing dissatisfaction.

    Not that long ago people who would have argued for these levels of immigration would have been crucified.

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  45. Mark, yes I certainly recall the AAFI. They even ran their own radio commercials at one stage. A lonely voice of reason in a sea of politically correct madness. They eventually threw their lot in with One Nation which seems to have completely imploded.

    Kilroy, as regards political activism/political parties, are there any that can genuinely be regarded as traditionalist without being racist? In other words a party that adheres to the traditional values of the Aussie battlers and hasn't been hijacked by people who want to make lamp shades out of their neighbors or people who regard the Jews as being the root of all evil?

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  46. Too much immigration is never enough for some. Arthur Sinodinos (close friend of we-decide-who-comes-here-John-Howard) The more of us the merrier:

    One source of national power is population. On recent projection, we may hit 35 million by the middle of the century. Why stop there? There should be an appetite for a very large increase in our immigration program. Apart from sheer numbers, there is the dynamism and energy that new immigrants impart to a host society. It can also slow, although not prevent, the ageing of our population...

    The development of northern Australia should be a priority in its own right and as a way of better distributing an increased population...

    But we should also not be afraid of developing bigger, more global cities...


    Sinodinos is another mad growth addict.

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  47. This history of immigration indicates it has enriched the community by creating wealth and cleverness and imagination - all without destroying the cohesion we want, and without creating ghettos. Why reduce these possibilities? Under the sanction of mere reason, less immigration will make Australia less wealthy, less clever, less imaginative and less of a successful polity. Who wants that?

    What utter rubbish.

    Like most immigration enthusiasts, Keneally makes grand, sweeping statements about the benefits of immigration without bothering to provide a skerrick of evidence to support his claims.

    Keneally claims that immigration has created "wealth and cleverness and imagination." Yet he provides no examples of this in action. If one compiled a list of the word's most wealthy, clever, imaginative countries, those countries with low to no immigration, such as Switzerland, Japan, and the Nordic states would top this list. How does Keneally explain their success?

    Ever the purveyor of fiction, Keneally proceeds to engage in the outright denial of reality when he claims that immigration hasn't undermined social cohesion or created ethnic ghettos. Where is Keneally's Ivory Tower situated? Obviously not in one of our major cities. Social cohesion is at its lowest point in Australia's history as the country struggles to maintain some kind of unity and
    congruity in the face of ever increasing, immigration-induced diversity. We are rapidly becoming the discordant "nation of tribes" that Geoffrey Blainey warned of, even as Keneally tells us otherwise.

    All in all, Keneally's speech is heavy on emotion and cliches and light on facts and reason. For Keneally, the more complex arguments about immigration are a morass, and he expends no effort thinking about them. Rather, he views immigration as strictly a moral issue, seeing himself and his fellow immigration enthusiasts as the high priests of tolerance, open-mindedness, compassion, and cosmopolitan sophistication. To support high immigration is to be morally upright and forward-thinking; to be opposed is to be backward, incompassionate, intolerant, myopic, xenophobic, even racist.

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  48. Jess_7: “I agree we should do both but the ideas war is cruical. Look at the left they've lost most of the elections in the post war period but have a dominant position … At Uni I was suprised how ‘weak’ the young libs were …

    The Left has not lost most electoral battles since WW2. By taking over the party-political structures (whatever their brand names are) they have managed to win practically all electoral battles. They have done this because they have no compunction getting involved in party politics even at a time when their ideas were still regarded as loopy by the mainstream or at best unconsolidated by their own support-groups. The YLs were, and are, “weak” because you, Mark and the other contributors to this an other blogs spend all their time bloging instead of doing what the left has done, which has obviously worked.

    Jess_7: “So much left wing politics is hectoring, smug and superior.

    If you want to learn to swim, you have to get wet. If that upsets you, then surrender and get use to living in a liberal dominated world. Stop complaining.

    Jess_7: “We can win by having, bank managers, headmasters, the public service, in fact all the people who used to vote conservative but now generally vote left or liberal, on our side.

    And then what? Vote for who? None of you are involved at a party-political level to be capable of being voted for anywhere. You can convert all the bank managers and waiters you like… and then what? By then, the views espoused on websites such as this one will be criminalised and you may as well take your “think tanks” underground.

    Anonymous: “Kilroy, as regards political activism/political parties, are there any that can genuinely be regarded as traditionalist without being racist? In other words a party that adheres to the traditional values of the Aussie battlers and hasn't been hijacked by people who want to make lamp shades out of their neighbors or people who regard the Jews as being the root of all evil?

    First of all, I reject any suggestion that Traditionalism leads to the Gas Cambers. This is a typical liberal fallacy. In fact, it is the secularised regimes of the world that have taken that path time and time again in history.

    Secondly, to answer your question, no. There is no traditionalist party in Australia. But let me offer you some advice: stop thinking about it in terms of your own party. Minor parties are completely useless. The best you can ever hope to get is one (one!) Upper House/Senate position. Concentrate on one of the two major parties, build a faction there, and you will possibly be able to determine who will be Minister for this-or-that. What would you rather have: (a) Mark Richardson as a Senator who occasionally delivers a speech to the House, and is laughed at, or (b) Minister for Education, Mark Richardson, who’s just spearheaded a new educational curriculum? Tough choice eh?

    To all: Look, you’re either involved, or you’re a spectator. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to join up, and find somebody among your group who finds this idea more interesting to lead your lobby while you provide numbers. It’s not that hard, really! You already have a core: don’t you chaps meet regularly in Melbourne already? Take it to the next step… why the hell not? Oh, yes, that’s right, you have to have a think tank and spend some more time having a chat about raggers rioting in the suburbs of Paris… Of course, I forgot.

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  49. Kilroy, I agree with you that we need to get active and involved but that's where my agreement ends. I believe we need a viable alternative political party rather than trying to swing an existing party to the right. They are part of the problem, not the solution.

    The new party needs to have a balanced and sensible set of policies and principles that reflect the views of its members - ordinary Australians. This means no ties to the "League of Rights". No closet Nazis and no barreling on about 'poofters' and Jews. This would give it the greatest electoral appeal. Perhaps something similar to UKIP in the UK.

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  50. Kilroy writes

    "The YLs were, and are, “weak” because you, Mark and the other contributors to this an other blogs spend all their time bloging instead of doing what the left has done, which has obviously worked."

    Depends what you mean by "worked". Successful by a number of measures, sure, including ensconced political power. But its fail points are vital and these are at the level of principle. Without cogent discussions of conservative thought, which take a while to filter out and around, there can be no basis for change at the level of political logistics that you suggest.

    Liberalism succeeds in part because it is programmed to deliver what appeals to the average citizen who will not give much thought to most political subjects. This is not something that "works" on a respectable or sustainable level. It is presently rotting us from the inside out. To the extent that the attention span of people is reduced to simplistic and hedonistic needs, conservatism fails. Making the arguments, sparking the thoughts that bring about more than superficial change requires that we disregard expedience and create solid arguments on which party politics might eventually be based. None of this is trivial.

    I do agree with you that shoring up or adapting the currently recognized political apparatus is a sound strategy. As others, left and right, have done, the strategy for change needs to be viewed on the generational level. Nothing notable should be expected before 20 years effort, though anything can happen. I aspire to reverse the content of the saying "Why it's not liberalism, it's just the way things are." Traditionalism can be "just the way things are" as well.

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  51. Hmmm so let's see. We all join the ALP at once and try to get Kevin and Julia to see things our way?

    Daryl Kerrigan said to tell him "He's Dreaming! :-)

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  52. Or better yet, we join the Liberal Party - a party which exists to promote the tenets of liberalism.

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  53. The YLs were, and are, “weak” because you, Mark and the other contributors to this and other blogs spend all their time blogging instead of doing what the left has done, which has obviously worked.

    Sheesh! Kilroy, I sacrificed a goodly part of my 20s to electoral politics. What I learnt is that it is extremely difficult to make progress without a layer of intelligent, political class types to form a leadership (and you're right - in Australia you wouldn't need a very large number to make a difference).

    I haven't joined the Liberal Party because to make a serious attempt to gain influence in such a party would require me, for tactical reasons, to be less open in criticising liberalism for a lengthy period of time.

    If you look at the left, they have a layer of intellectuals who develop the theory, a layer of radical activists who agitate for the theory and then a layer of more mainstream politicians who seek institutional power.

    We just aren't in a position yet to imitate this model. I've chosen for the moment to clarify the politics in the hope of inspiring others to take a principled stance in favour of a non-liberal politics.

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  54. Here here the Left operate on several layers. Conservatives have a tougher time getting "out there" for whatever reason.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDvDjinaWOw Here's a complaint registered at guys from a men’s movement perspective.

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  55. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  56. Anonymous: “I believe we need a viable alternative political party rather than trying to swing an existing party to the right … Perhaps something similar to UKIP in the UK.

    What is the likelihood of the UKIP ever getting a Ministry in the UK? Let me answer that question for you: None. Compare that to the infiltration of the US Democrats: look at the huge policy shift that Party has undergone since the War of Southern Independence. These chaps have moved from Southern agrarian conservatism to… hold onto your hats people! Barrack Hussein Obama! This silly idea of starting up side-line parties is just that: silly. If you want to maximise your impact, exert influence over a Party that has a chance of getting government. Learn from your enemies!

    Jess_7: “Gez sorry Kilroy I feel guilty now.

    Don’t feel guilty, feel angry, and get active.

    Leadpb: “But its fail points are vital and these are at the level of principle

    The left has no interest in principles. It uses the rhetoric to bamboozle us. It has no concern about its obvious “fail points” because it is only interested in the outcome of its contradictory social theories. In this respect, they are completely victorious.

    Leadpb continues: “Without cogent discussions of conservative thought, which take a while to filter out and around, there can be no basis for change at the level of political logistics that you suggest.

    OK, I understand your point. But let me ask you a question: at what point do you decide that your discussions have been had? What is the criteria you are using to determine when involvement at the level I suggest is now called for?

    Anonymous: “ Hmmm so let's see. We all join the ALP at once and try to get Kevin and Julia to see things our way?

    The sarcasm implicit in this comment betrays ignorance of the party political structure. The image that comes to mind by way of the “try to get Kevin and Julia to see things our way” statement is that of a futile remonstration about the merits of traditionalism with deracinated internationalists. However, if you set up a faction that controls preselectors, branch executives, conferences etc, you don’t need to convince anybody to see things your way. You just say: “this policy/law is crap, pass it and you lose our confidence, bye by ‘PM’ Rudd.” I think you’ll have a better chance in the Liberal Party though in exerting this influence unless you can take over a Union base in the ALP. That’s a choice you and your supporters will have to make yourselves based, presumably, on your opinions regarding organised unionism etc…

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  57. Mark Richardson: “Sheesh! Kilroy, I sacrificed a goodly part of my 20s to electoral politics. What I learnt is that it is extremely difficult to make progress without a layer of intelligent, political class types to form a leadership

    I accept that. My honest opinion is that we have this already here: many of the comments made on this blog cover such a large area of social and political issues that the intellectual framework appears to already exist. Perhaps do your frequent Traditionalist Conferences more often; that might be a good idea to foster an institutional framework.

    Mark Richardson: “ I haven't joined the Liberal Party because to make a serious attempt to gain influence in such a party would require me, for tactical reasons, to be less open in criticising liberalism for a lengthy period of time.

    Not so if you have a body of members behind you. If you represent a lobby, it’s difficult to dismiss you. If you represent a body of preselectors, it’s difficult not to listen to you. If you represent a chunk of State Executive, it’s patently stupid to deride you. What you and I need in this country is somebody on our side with a big stick. It’s my belief that this could be a way to get hold of that stick, or at least a part of a stick, or at least something that could grow into a stick. Look, I suppose I’m ultimately saying that what we’re doing here now is great work, but we can chew gum and walk at the same time. If you’re saying we don’t have the organisational strength yet, then maybe you’re right – but we can’t dillydally – times are moving fast and pretty soon we’ll find it difficult to even speculate what could have been…

    Mark Richardson: “ If you look at the left, they have a layer of intellectuals who develop the theory, a layer of radical activists who agitate for the theory and then a layer of more mainstream politicians who seek institutional power. We just aren't in a position yet to imitate this model.

    OK. I accept that too. So you’re saying we need to create a political class. But although I strongly support that fact that you’ve decided to “clarify the politics in the hope of inspiring others to take a principled stance in favour of a non-liberal politics”, how to we know it’s time to go to the next step? And what plans do we have to create and foster this political class necessary to engage on the party political level?

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