Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tony Abbott prattles on about conservatism then adopts radical liberal policies

Tony Abbott, leader of the "conservative" opposition, is at it again. Abbott is a man who talks the conservative talk but then walks the liberal walk.

Consider the issue of nationalism. If you were to read the following, you might think that Mr Abbott was a traditionalist conservative:

Scruton, probably the English-speaking world's finest conservative thinker, evokes a conservatism that's founded on an instinctive love of country.

Conservatives are engaged in their country's history, proud of its symbols, concerned for its welfare, attached to its values and vigorous in its defence. The instinct to defer to authority and to respect tradition - the sense that each individual has been shaped by the past and will influence the future, having both ancestors and descendants to keep faith with - is deeply ingrained in human beings, even if it's under-appreciated by intellectuals. A conservative apprehends how so much modern thinking is actually in revolt against human nature.

But all these fine words come to nothing. It turns out that his version of keeping faith with his ancestors is to promote the fastest possible demographic change to his country via mass immigration:

My instinct is to extend to as many people as possible the freedom and benefits of life in Australia. A larger population will bring that about provided that it’s also a more productive one

So we're to have as many immigrants as possible and work harder. That's the gist of Mr Abbott's policy.

In the same speech, Mr Abbott rewrites history and denies that a distinctly Anglo-Australian nation ever existed. It seems that apart from the Aborigines, everyone else has been an immigrant and part of a multi-culti society and culture:

Except for the half million or so who identify as Aboriginal, every other Australian is an immigrant or the descendant of immigrants since 1788. Unlike any other, we are a nation of relatively recent immigrants ... This means, of course, that the immigrant who feels like a stranger in our midst is really at the heart of the Australian story.

To the extent that it is a celebration of our nation, Australia Day is necessarily a salute to an immigrant culture.

How does Mr Abbott manage to combine conservative sounding rhetoric with such radically liberal outcomes?

Mr Abbott is a member of a right-liberal party. Like all liberal parties the basic principle is "freedom" understood to be the pursuit of individual self-determination. This is Abbott explaining what the Liberal Party is about:

Edmund Burke once defined a political party as people working for the national interest according to a particular principle on which they all agreed ... The essential principle animating the Federation Fathers (whether conservative protectionists or liberal free traders, they mostly ended up in the first version of an Australian liberal party within a decade) was citizens’ greater freedom to pursue their individual destinies within the framework of a new nation.

And in the same vein:

The dream of greater personal freedom is probably the Liberal Party’s nearest equivalent to a “light on the hill”

According to Abbott a liberal is someone who embraces this freedom straight up, whereas a conservative is a bit more cautious, more of a slow learner:

In a world where nothing exists in isolation and everything is connected, “liberalism” and “conservatism” turn out to be complementary values. The difference between a “liberal” and a “conservative” is not that one values freedom and the other doesn’t or even that one asserts and the other denies that freedom comes first. The difference between the ways liberals and conservatives value freedom is, perhaps, more the difference between love at first sight and the love which grows over time.

The problem with making a freedom to self-determine the key principle is that it undermines many important traditional goods, including those of family and nation.

We don't get to determine the basic form of the family, so therefore the traditional family becomes for liberals a restriction on our personal freedom. What liberals want instead is a variety of family types for individuals to choose from, none of which is to be preferred over another. Abbott is no exception:

Supporting families shouldn’t mean favouring one family type over others. We have to resist yearning for “ideal” families and “traditional” mothers. Every family is a source of nurturing and security for its members.

Note that Abbott is not just saying here that we need to accept that there will be people who find themselves as single parents and that we should support their efforts to do their best for their families. He's going much further than this and saying that we cannot even uphold the traditional family of dad, mum and the kids as an ideal to aim for.

If he were a straight up liberal you could at least concede that Tony Abbott was being true to his principles here. But consider the way he praises the Howard Government (in which he was a minister):

An examination of the Howard government's signature policies shows deep concern for personal responsibility, individual choice, reward for effort, the protection of families and respect for traditional institutions and values.

He asserts that respect for traditional institutions is a praiseworthy good but then argues that we must resist supporting the ideal of the traditional family. Isn't the traditional family a traditional institution? Isn't it a key traditional institution? His position lacks coherence.

The liberal principle of individual self-determination also undermines traditional nationalism. We don't get to choose our own ethnicity, so nations that are based on a common ethnicity will be thought an impediment to individual freedom and equality by liberals. Instead, liberals often argue for a "civic nationalism" based on citizenship, or for a "proposition nation" based on shared ideals or values.

Abbott is a proposition nationalist:

Notwithstanding their frequent inability to articulate them, men and women live by ideals. Shared ideals and enduring values are what turn crowds into communities and peoples into societies and ultimately civilisations. They form the bonds of kinship and common purpose which constitute the social fabric and which allow diverse individuals to find a sense of place and belonging in something which transcends themselves.

So it's no longer kinship which forms the bonds of kinship, but rather shared ideals and values. There are many problems with this form of nationalism. First, liberals are understandably reluctant to specify the ideals and values too closely. To do so would risk excluding people who don't share these beliefs from the definition of the nation. Abbott even goes as far as to reassure migrants that:

Australia makes very few demands of its immigrants. There is no ideal of Australian-ness to which they are expected to conform.

Abbott has turned here abruptly from the idea of "shared ideals" forming a sense of Australian-ness to there being "no ideal" of Australian-ness.

A second problem with proposition nationalism is that it's much the same from country to country. When liberals do talk about the shared ideal defining the nation, it's usually some kind of liberal value. So all of the Western liberal countries end up being defined much the same way. A person could just as easily be defined as an American, or an Australian, or a Canadian.

And yet we want our national identity to be distinct in some way. Abbott makes a lame attempt to make it sound as if Australia is somehow uniquely defined as an immigrant nation:

Unlike any other, we are a nation of relatively recent immigrants. New Zealand has a proportionately larger indigenous population and North America has been settled for almost two centuries longer.

Sure. Every liberal Western nation is busy defining itself as an immigrant nation, but Australia gets to define itself as such more than the others because we were settled later and have a smaller indigenous population. It's clutching at straws. If we define ourselves as an immigrant nation, then we are not unique, but interchangeable with all the other Western national identities.

Proposition nationalism also suffers from being unstable. Not only can the demographic nature of a country change over and over under proposition nationalism through limitless immigration, but there is no reason for the national state itself to stay in existence. If Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific nations all share the same values, then why not merge them into a new regional state, if there are political and economic advantages in doing so? Why not join together the European states into a single superstate?

There's one final consequence of proposition nationalism I'd like to mention. If what binds a nation together is a shared ideal or value, then you will want to base your political party on this shared ideal or value.

But this then leads to distortions in your understanding of politics. It means that Tony Abbott can't do what a real conservative has to do in order to conserve his own tradition, which is to set himself in a clear and principled way against liberalism. Instead, he has to try and show that liberalism and conservatism are only superficially different and really on the same page. Otherwise, the belief in the national "shared value" as promoted by your party falls apart.

There's more to say on all this, but I'll leave it for a future post.

37 comments:

  1. He's going much further than this and saying that we cannot even uphold the traditional family of dad, mum and the kids as an ideal to aim for.

    Of course he did. All those Muslims he wants to import want polygamy to be legal. Never mind that's not the only aspect of Sharia they want...

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  2. "Edmund Burke once defined a political party as people working for the national interest according to a particular principle on which they all agreed ..."

    I will be happy to disagree with Burke on this, but I doubt he said any such thing. As Russell Kirk wrote, an ideology seizes upon one principle and makes it trump all others, while conservatism, not being an ideology, balances the many public goods that a society normally seeks. A conservative balances the societal goods of law and order, individual liberty, equality, family, community, national strength, perpetuation of inherited culture, etc. The particular balance is unique to each culture.

    So, in America, we would define libertarianism (a.k.a. classical liberalism) as an ideology that pursues individual liberty at the expense of all other goals. Liberalism pursues not freedom, but equal freedom for all, i.e. non-discrimination, with equality trumping all other goods. It is the pursuit of a single good that creates an ideology, which is then constrained to deny that other goods are goods, or to deny that allowing one good to trump all other goods does any harm to those other goods.

    I would be happy to see whatever quote by Burke that Mr. Abbott refers to. I doubt that Burke was saying anything that could be interpreted in the way that Mr. Abbott does, producing a single principle (such as individual freedom) for each political party.

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  3. Jesse_7 writes: "You can do better Tony."

    But can Tony do better? As one who used to work for him (more years ago than either of us would care to contemplate), I doubt if he believes in anything any more, except looking after Number One.

    It is entirely possible that Abbott used to believe (e.g. when he was studying for Catholic holy orders) in something more exalted than mere survival and unpunished fornication. But if you read his recent book, which quite obviously the average reviewer of it never got around to doing, you will realize that he has dropped the ball on absolutely every conservative cause. Not a single exception, though you'd think on the law of averages that there'd be one or two exceptions.

    From abortion via states' rights to European-Australians' rights, Abbott wants exactly what the hard pagan globalist Left does, only he wants to be put in charge of it himself instead of leaving it to Julia Gillard etc. So of course this country's dopey gutless pseudo-conservative rags are hailing him in excelsis.

    He keeps invoking Menzies, but as he himself must know when he looks in the shaving mirror, he isn't fit to be called Menzies's bootlace.

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  4. Aussie reader said:

    "As one who used to work for him (more years ago than either of us would care to contemplate), I doubt if he believes in anything any more, except looking after Number One."

    Was it a bad experience? The problem with politics is you have to be elected. When I hear about Abbott wanting to centralise the health system I think, wait a minute? But he can't get elected if he's demonised by newspapers like the Australian. So some of this is certainly a game that has to be played.

    We all know Labour aren't big on social conservatism but they spout that from time to time when it suits them.

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  5. In answer to Jesse_7's question: if "a bad experience" working for Abbott means a personally unpleasant one for me, then no, I didn't find it thus, however uniformly chaotic his approach to office management, timekeeping, and so forth might well have seemed to others.

    I suppose the problem is that, if anything, after 18 months I knew even less of what principles he stood for than I did at the start. That is all; and that is almost irrespective of his political orientation.

    His own belief in his indispensability strikes me as shining out from such remarks as the following, quoted in Michael Duffy's LATHAM AND ABBOTT (p. 160). When David Oldfield left the Abbott office, in order to join Pauline Hanson's One Nation (and, ultimately, to join NSW's Legislative Council), Abbott commented "Even Jesus had his Judas".

    I can't honestly say that any resemblance between Abbott and the Redeemer had occurred to me before this remark was publicised. But no doubt Abbott's Christological elements had already been noted by persons more intelligent - and more au fait with contemporary Liberal Party etiquette - than I.

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  6. Randian, it's a bit off topic, but did you see that Boris Johnson's 45-year-old ex-wife has married a young Muslim man on the understanding that he can have a second wife to have children with? She wrote:

    At my current ripe/mature/middle-aged stage in life, I realise that I am unlikely to conceive children so we have agreed that so long as he chooses a good partner, then I am happy to live together in an extended family.

    (See here and here)

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  7. The Herald Sun invited comments on Tony Abbott's speech on immigration. They're a bit of a mix, but many are so opposed to Abbott's stance that they now reject him as a candidate:

    Damien: I was planning to vote liberal not now after this stupidity.

    Waage Sando: Tony, you've just lost my vote. The fleeting hope that you represented a real and representative alternative to the regime of KRUDD has now been dashed.

    Chris: Right, so, does this mean that Abbott and Rudd have the same immigration policies. Where is the alternative on this issue?

    B McCormick: We have KRudd with his 'games'. Now Abbott. Just what is really going on there in Canberra. I and a lot of people are now starting to wonder. . . . . Along with a lot of things, the two 'major parties' are starting to blur into a grey colour.

    There was quite a good long comment from one Herald Sun reader:

    "Tony Abbott had being doing well before this, or as well as a fake conservative liberal leader can do, but he has just definitely lost my vote in the next election. I don't want an immigration policy that is created for the 'benefit' economy (read big business). I want an immigration policy that also takes into account factors such as damage to the environment, overpopulation, demographic changes, crime, culture and history. Tony Abbott should go for a night time walk in suburbs such as Footscray, Dandenong, Noble Park, St Albans etc. if he thinks that mass immigration has been an unparalleled success. Oh and by the way it has been shown that immigration does not increase per capita GDP growth, only overall GDP growth."

    So there's still some genuine conservative thought out there, just not in the major parties.

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  8. "At my current ripe/mature/middle-aged stage in life, I realise that I am unlikely to conceive children so we have agreed that so long as he chooses a good partner, then I am happy to live together in an extended family."

    Oh dear. (Does he have a lot of money?) Unbelieveit.

    "So there's still some genuine conservative thought out there..."

    Goody.

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  9. An additional comment, how the hell would she define what a "good" partner is? I would have thought she'd be fairly irrelevant pretty quickly. Such an obscenity.

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  10. To Aussie reader:

    "I can't honestly say that any resemblance between Abbott and the Redeemer had occurred to me before this remark was publicised."

    I would say I've noticed a bit of an indulgent streak in Abbott. He was a big supporter of Howard but then obviously began to "flirt" with Costello when that became politically expedient. I would also say he has a fairly high opinion of himself. Having said that I still think he's a good bloke. I won't think that way if he drops the ball on immigration though.

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  11. did you see that Boris Johnson's 45-year-old ex-wife has married a young Muslim man

    If she had any real understanding of what Islam says about how a husband can treat his wife she'd run screaming. She seems to believe the "religion of peace" BS.

    I hope she doesn't take a trip with him to Pakistan. Once there the husband's family has a habit of stealing the passport of his non-Muslim bride and imprisoning her until she converts.

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  12. "...Mr Abbott said immigration had been a success almost unparalleled in history, but it regularly featured as an issue of concern."

    This is basically politician-speak for: "I know full well the electorate doesn't like it (mass immigration). But my masters in big business absolutely love it. And they are my true constituency and I their faithful servant..."

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  13. On the positive side, Abbott is, at least, nailing his colours to the mast early on in the piece, declaring himself a "Big Australia Man" the same as his mate Kevin who also makes "no apology" for radically transforming our nation culturally in the pursuit of never-ending growth for growth's sake.

    So at least no-one can accuse him of being unclear or misleading in his views unlike that deceitful, lying rodent who was his mentor, that cultural warrior and "defender of traditional Australia" who paved the way for the human tsunami we are experiencing now in our capital cities.

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  14. Hmmm, I don’t see anywhere in the extracted quotes where Abbott says he’s a “big Australia man”. Reaching out to immigrants, who are a sizable percentage of the electorate is only good politics and an inclusive thing to do (before) Australia day. The point has been made that a traditional life is not compatible with large scale immigration. Sooner or later the parties are going to have to make a decision one way or the other on this, as the numbers of immigrants and the effect this has on Australia becomes obvious.

    As for Howard whatever impact he had on the immigration issue he cannot carry the can alone.

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  15. IF conservative values are deeply ingrained within people and society then giving people freedom is not a bad thing. They will choose traditional values. The point has been made on an earlier thread by a right liberal that most right liberals lead quite conservative lives (possibly higher divorce rates etc).

    On the other hand if conservative values are not ingrained or dominant then "freedom" is disastrous and quickly leads to social disorder. For a society we have to look at how the values affect us as an entirety rather than accepting a liberal option, which is as long as I'm allright everything’s fine.

    The mistake I think right liberals make is thinking of freedom as an end in itself, which it clearly isn't.

    We've had a pretty good run in Australia. We could afford to take immigrants in without upsetting the applecart too much. We could afford to be more "liberal" without dramatically changing cultural practices. As AC said flag waving etc goes on. However, the "spending" of this cultural resource can only go on for so long. There's only so much disregarding of the old and incorporation of the new that can be accepted. After a while the capital must be built up again. We hear a lot of "change is a universal", as if continual flux is the normal state of affairs. I wouldn't say that that's normal. Nor is excitement and difference a suitable substitute for stability.

    Large immigration is the core example of the foolishness of liberal thought. This lesson will be brought home to our political masters. If the penny doesn't drop we dissolve as a people. I really don't think Australians want that.

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  16. Jesse, my apologies, I should have punctuated that comment differently. I didn't intend to give the impression that Abbott actually used the words "a big australia man" in his speech.

    However, if you look at the precise text of his speech he does in fact say: "An alternative to discouraging immigrants ...is to ensure that the facilities exist to cope with current and forecast numbers" .

    And, "My instinct is to extend to as many people as possible the freedom and benefits of life in Australia".

    If that isn't an unequivocal, unambiguous statement that he's "A Big Australia Man" (or more probably a HUGE Australia man) then golly gosh I really don't know what is.

    As for Howard, we will never know what went on behind the locked cabinet doors. But rest assured he had the Liberal Party by the balls for the better part of a decade. And if you think that Australia ran the largest migration program in its history without his explicit approval and blessing then I'd respectfully suggest you need to get our more my friend.

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  17. "if you think that Australia ran the largest migration program in its history without his explicit approval and blessing then I'd respectfully suggest you need to get our more my friend."

    Will do buddy. Did Howard really run the largest immigration progam in history? Its not a rhetorical question I'm seriously curious.

    ""My instinct is to extend to as many people as possible the freedom and benefits of life in Australia"."

    I'm not sure that proves much one way or the other. On the "forecast numbers" issue I think it will soon be time for Abbott to be put on the spot and say what kind of Australia, size wise, he wants. Answering the "tough" questions is what politics is all about.

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  18. "Did Howard really run the largest immigration program in history [asks Jesse_7]? Its not a rhetorical question I'm seriously curious."

    In Australian history, yes, it would seem Howard did. Peter Wilkinson's fascinating book The Howard Legacy is full of tables and graphs on the subject.

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  19. Jesse, politicians base their careers and political lives on avoiding the "tough questions" not answering them.

    I saw an interesting piece on Youtube recently in which Labor MP Kelvin Thompson (one of the lonely few voices of reason in the Australian parliament) spoke about how political parties used to have to get volunteers from the local community to do letter box drops for them. Now, of course, he said it's all outsourced to slick mass-marketing specialist companies.

    What he was trying to say (betweeen the lines) is that the Australia's major parties have completely lost touch with the grassroots electorate they are supposed to represent and whose interests they are supposed to protect. They have been hijacked by corporate interests - and the ALP itself has been transformed into a corporation.

    This also echoes what's happened in our higher education sector which has become a "place of earning instead of learning" to the great detriment of our young people.

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  20. To Anonymous,

    How is Kevin Thompson a voice of reason? I've seen his electorate its got a pretty high ethnic population.

    "This also echoes what's happened in our higher education sector which has become a "place of earning instead of learning""

    But you were arguing not long ago that left wing organisation should be starved out. Arguably this is what happened in the Uni sector. The Howard Gov cut back funding, because they were tired of subsidising their opponents, and instead the Uni's looked to foreign students to make up the shortfall.

    RJ,

    "In Australian history, yes, it would seem Howard did. Peter Wilkinson's fascinating book The Howard Legacy is full of tables and graphs on the subject."

    Bloody hell!

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  21. Jesse, I think you may be confusing me with someone else which is entirely understandable given my anonymity.

    Kelvin Thomson is one of only two MPs in the parliament that are prepared to go on the record and publicly call for a large reduction in immigration. The fact that he is doing it in his demographically 'enriched' electorate (Wills) is especially noteworthy and indicative of the strength of his convictions. After all, how much more comfortable would it be for him to simply toe the party line?


    Interestingly enough, the other MP is the former Minister for Immigration under Howard, Kevin Andrews. He's now arguing for an intake of just 35,000 a year. This demonstrates how much influence he had under Howard in setting the intake numbers - even as the minister - zip, none, nada - which illustrates perfectly my earlier point about Howard calling all the shots in the previous govt.).

    Thomson is a special case because his position is hersesy for his party that assiduously courts the ethnic vote and he's even put himself directly at odds with Kevin "big Australia man" Rudd.

    As for the Uni sector, the funding cuts had less to do with slapping down the lefties that were there, and more about setting up a user-pays system in keeping with the Libs economic priorities which included not investing in infrastructure or education.

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  22. Well good on Kevin Thompson!! Do we know what arguments he's using? On the point about Howard's influence, I didn't mean that he wasn't dominate within his party but rather that large immigration began before his term and was heralded by the left. I'm not sure which group is more influential on that issue the business lobby or the cultural left.

    On the matter of the uni's I agree that user pays isn't great but living off the Government teat causes complacency. I don't really have a strong opinion on that score.

    On which major party is better on immigration can we say that the Andrews group within the Liberal party is stronger than the Kevin Thompson group within the Labor party? The 7.30 report is about to put out a 6 part special on the issue and I'll be very interested to see how that's presented.

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  23. Its particularly crazy for a supposed supporter of corporal agencies* to give the conservative stamp of approval to the liberal free-for-all these days. Evolutionary biological scientists are reviving group* selection as a valid counter-part to individual selection. EO Wilson is perhaps the most distinguished proponent of this view.

    This proves that the traditional institutions of group solidarity (family, church and state) did, and perhaps still do, have a critical function in the evolution of morality.

    Instead of giving ground to fashionable liberalism Abbott should go on the offensive on behalf of traditional "corporalism". But he does not have the proper theoretical grasp of the problem or his ideological opponents. In fact his view is fatally compromised because the Right is wedded to liberalism as a recipe for mindless (as opposed to mindful) industrial growth, commercial turnover and financial churn.

    Conservatives have no one to blame but themselves for this folly. They have failed in the simple task of articulating a social philosophy of governance that gives a proper role for established authority.

    * "corporalism" = institutional authority

    ^ "liberalism" = individual autonomies

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  24. By "established institutional authority" I mean those several agencies of state and civil society that act as "cultural conditioners". Most obviously the historical nation state itself, mainstream churches, established professions, great public schools, stone-blocked universities, blue-chip companies, ancient sporting clubs and of course the patriarchal family.

    Unfortunately many, if not most, of these institution authorities have become unsound following "Conquest's Second Law of politics": "Any organization not explicitly right [-corporal] wing sooner or later becomes left[-liberal] wing."

    Environmentalist groups, which were once traditionally conservative in some sense, are a classic example of this. The Protestant churches and stone-blocked universities are another. You could probably throw in the legal profession too, given its heavy dependence on state-subsidized make-work and right-mongering.

    The job of conservatives is to defend established order, which means social organizations that embody legitimate institutional authority. It would be nice if conservatives of all parties recognized their primary ideological duty for once.

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  25. Jack said:

    "Unfortunately many, if not most, of these institution authorities have become unsound"

    You make a good point Jack. However, the authority of these institutions is undermined on a daily basis by the left. How so? For example a kid in school. "This is your homework ...", whether its said aloud or not the kid will think "who are you to tell me what to do". If you're an ethnic kid and the teacher's white you may pick up the left wing script every time you don't feel like doing something, "you don't understand what I've been through, this is white indoctrination" or some other such thing. The kid who can tell the teacher off in such an environment is a hero. He stuck it to authority.

    Movies and news are all about the corruption and incompetence of this, the hidden agenda of that, the rampant exploitation of the other. Being "cynical", ie not willing to submit yourself to another's authority is now considered a public virtue, because the other person must be trying to use you in some negative way or another.

    When authority has been whittled down like this two things happen I think.

    1. The people in responsible positions of authority care less (in my opinion). Why should I bust my gut for this, I'll just be criticised. With the result that the lowest common denominator becomes more acceptable.

    2. Forms of authority that are indisputable, such as law, money and force, become more obvious and are arguably used more nakedly. (Somebody can disagree with me on this point if you like because we also have a general "softening" of society which seems to be in contradiction with this).

    If you look in a bookstore you'll see a lot of books about mercenaries. I would have thought this to be a largely disreputable profession but its popular now because being a mercenary is about force and money and it isn't distracted by anything as squalid as country or national loyalty.

    I would agree that a sense of group is critical to the maintenance of morality. Ultimatly I think a liberal autonomous life is an amoral one. No matter how much moral posing goes on. (Oh I'm lecturing now).

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  26. Except for the half million or so who identify as Aboriginal, every other Australian is an immigrant or the descendant of immigrants since 1788. Unlike any other, we are a nation of relatively recent immigrants ... This means, of course, that the immigrant who feels like a stranger in our midst is really at the heart of the Australian story.

    To the extent that it is a celebration of our nation, Australia Day is necessarily a salute to an immigrant culture.


    So, according to Abbott, anyone who is not an immigrant, or who does not identify with immigration as an integral part of their own identity, is not really an Australian.

    It seems he would have us believe that a newly-arrived Third World immigrant is just as "Australian" as somebody descended from the early pioneers who founded and built this country.

    In any case, the "nation of immigrants" mantra is historically incorrect. The British and Irish pioneers of colonial times, the ancestors of Australia's historic Anglo-Celtic majority, did not merely transplant themselves from one existing nation to another (which is what defines immigration), but from the British Isles to a new territory where no nation-state previously existed. They were not immigrants, but settlers. Immigrants only came later to the nation already formed by those early settlers.

    Mark Richardson wrote:

    "It turns out that his version of keeping faith with his ancestors is to promote the fastest possible demographic change to his country via mass immigration"

    A strange form of conservatism, isn't it? How does one preserve the legacy of their ancestors by destroying any kind of trans-generational inheritance through massive, population-replacing immigration?

    As the late American commentator Sam Francis pointed out:

    "You cannot expect to switch populations and demographic majorities through massive immigration … and not expect also to switch civilizations and symbols that represent them. You cannot expect millions of aliens from one civilization to enter the country, abandon all loyalties and values of their old civilization and sign up with all of those of the new one they have entered."

    Mark wrote:

    "In the same speech, Mr Abbott rewrites history and denies that a distinctly Anglo-Australian nation ever existed. It seems that apart from the Aborigines, everyone else has been an immigrant and part of a multi-culti society and culture"

    It seems there is no place for the 'old' Anglo-Celtic majority in the 'new' Australia. We founded and built this nation, and continue to constitute the majority (at least for now), but yet we find ourselves marginalised, nameless, voiceless and awkwardly wedged into a no man's land between officially-celebrated Indigenous Australia on one hand and the equally state-lauded Multicultural Australia on the other.

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  27. RJ Stove wrote:

    "In Australian history, yes, it would seem Howard did. Peter Wilkinson's fascinating book The Howard Legacy is full of tables and graphs on the subject."

    History will record that Kevin "Big Australia" Rudd and his dopey immigration minister Chris Evans wasted no time in surpassing Howard's immigration record.

    By the way, for those interested in Australia's immigration disaster and who haven't yet read Peter Wilkinson's The Howard Legacy, I highly recommend purchasing a copy. You can read RJ Stove's VDARE.com review of the book here. Be sure to subscribe to Wilkinson's quarterly The Independent Australian while you are at it.

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  28. So you see Jesse, Abbott's speech upon closer scrutiny reveals absolutely no silver lining for traditionalists whatsoever. It's just more bad news unfortunately. He talks about knocking a few recalcitrant heads into place so that the elites can continue to con the public that migration actually works in their favour.

    As for me, I wasn't born in this country but I don't regard myself as an "immigrant" or the descendant of immigrants. Abbott can shove his "we're a nation of immigrants" speech where the sun doesn't shine as far as I'm concerned. That kind of talk is a cynical attempt to neutralise the growing public opposition to the continued mass immigration that he and his party crave.

    Both Abbott and Rudd (and those that came before them from Whitlam on) are hell-bent on maintaining insane levels of immigration until traditional Australia is dissolved into a multicultural polyglot with a massive identity crisis, loads of street crime, ethnic gangs, bashings and racial tensions (which we never had before) all so that their greedy mates in big business can fatten even further their already bulging wallets.

    I find it quite bizarre that the ALP wants to give us a referendum on changing our constitution to a republican model but never gives the Australian people any say whatsoever on far more important matters. Even questions such as whether the nation should go to war are decided by cabinet alone and are not even required to be put to the parliament for consideration. Our policians are not public servants at all - they merely serve themselves and powerful lobbyists and vested interests. What we have with Lib-Labor bi-partisanship on immigration (and many other issues) is not democracy at all - it's just a bloody travesty.

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  29. "I find it quite bizarre that the ALP wants to give us a referendum on changing our constitution to a republican model but never gives the Australian people any say whatsoever on far more important matters."

    We wouldn't need a referendum unless we're changing the constitution but a plebiscite (which is basically the same thing) would be quite reasonable given the scope of that change to Australia that is proposed.

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  30. "My instinct is to extend to as many people as possible the freedom and benefits of life in Australia".

    If that isn't an unequivocal, unambiguous statement that he's "A Big Australia Man" (or more probably a HUGE Australia man) then golly gosh I really don't know what is.


    Excessive immigration is already ruining our environment, degrading our quality of life, straining our infrastructure, pushing up housing costs, driving down wages, intensifying job competition, eroding our historic national identity and culture, and threatening to transform Australia into an incoherent hodgepodge of conflicting peoples and cultures. And yet both the major political parties want MORE, MORE, MORE. What did Australians do to deserve such treasonous, repugnant "leaders"?

    Both Rudd and Abbott need to explain why they believe Australia needs to be running the largest per capita immigration programme in the world. They also need to explain to us how such massive immigration helps, rather than hurts, the interests of native-born Australians.

    While they're at it, perhaps they could explain why they wish to transform the Australian nation as it had evolved by the late 20th Century (a demographically European nation of mostly British Isles ancestry).

    Why does Australia have to be transformed via massive immigration? What have they got against it?

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  31. "Why does Australia have to be transformed via massive immigration? What have they got against it?"

    Good post.

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  32. Did anyone watch the 7.30 report population special tonight? What a bunch of enviro weenies.

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  33. Gack, the entire Western world is infested with these political gadgets masquerading as human leaders. Here in the U.S. one might have predicted that the current serious economic problems, including disturbingly high levels of unemployment, would have compelled the ruling open borders political class to pragmatically hush up, or at least tone it down a bit. But to the contrary, they've taken drained food banks, families in the streets, and the appearance of tent cities as a signal to crank up, to psychotic levels, their demand for more, more, more, and yet more, immigration.

    The more obviously deleterious this becomes, the more irrational, the more strident and bullying Western leaders are getting in pushing it. (It's bad enough when relatively young nations, like Australia and the U.S., are subjected to endless idiot propaganda claiming that they are not, and never have been, anything but culture-less global strip malls. But you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that The Crazy is besetting the West, when even the English and French are now being screeched at by their masters that their nations, too, do not have, and never have had, any historical or cultural significance beyond being immigrant depots.

    I used to think these gadgets were rational, in the sense that profoundly venal people do rationally pursue their own self-interest. Now I'm beginning to believe that they're just flat-out insane.

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  34. "It turns out that his version of keeping faith with his ancestors is to promote the fastest possible demographic change to his country via mass immigration"

    Incredible.

    You would think that someone who is "engaged in their country's history" and committed to "having both ancestors and descendants to keep faith with" would not defend mass immigration. Conservatives want to keep things the way they are - that includes our culture and people. Drastically changing the demographic composition of Australia into something it has never been is hardly a conservative position.

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  35. As for RJ Hawke, who can remember the silly old bugger crying and snivelling on TV when the Tiannmen square thing happened? He said that, because of that incident, no overseas student that was here at the time (from that country) would have to leave and go back against their will.

    After 20 years I still can't work out what the 20,000 people living and studying in Melbourne and Sydney had to do with that incident in Beijing (which was very short lived) and why they were all given residency without having to go through the proper immigration channels.

    At the time people complained that it was discriminatory to allow this group special access to residency (as a block) when there were far more deserving cases already in the queue.

    Senator Bolkus (who was the minister at the time) said that because people from that country had been discriminated against in the past the Labor government was attempting to "put right the wrongs of the past" by discriminating in favour of them this time around.

    Between "the three stooges" Hawke, Bolkus and the other key decision maker, Andrew Theophanous - what other outcome could there possibly have been? And the outcome? Slack border protection by bleeding hearts with a vested interest in creating new ethnic minorities leading to a new generation of non-english speaking Labor voters forever in debted to the ALP and its policies of multiculturalism and mass immigration.

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  36. Senator Bolkus (who was the minister at the time) said that because people from that country had been discriminated against in the past the Labor government was attempting to "put right the wrongs of the past" by discriminating in favour of them this time around.

    Geoffrey Blainey alleged in his 1984 book on immigration, All for Australia, that the Hawke Government was giving special preference to Asian groups at the expense of Europeans. He cited the example of Polish refugees, fleeing martial law in Poland, being refused permission to join relatives already resident in Australia. At the same time, the Hawke Government was accepting massive numbers of Indo-Chinese refugees and then allowing them to bring out their relatives en masse.

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