Sunday, February 07, 2010

High flying conservatives or globalist liberals?

So historian Niall Ferguson has left his wife and children to live with his mistress Ayaan Hirsi Ali. What's curious about this story is that the three key figures are all high flyers in the mainstream conservative movement. So what do these three people tell us about the state of the "conservative" parties?

I'll begin with the wife, as she is the least controversial. Susan Douglas is one of Tory leader David Cameron's closest friends. She has had a successful career in publishing and she is in the running to become an MP:

Ms Douglas is seen as one of the Tory Party’s rising stars, and is on the A-list of aspiring Parliamentary candidates. She is said to be in the running to contest the Tory stronghold of Stratford-upon-Avon at the next General Election.

She's in her early 50s and is seven years older than her husband. I don't know much about her politics, although she did tell an interviewer that the first thing she reads to start her day is The Guardian, an unusual choice for someone aiming to become a Tory MP.

She doesn't seem to have managed to balance her career and her family. She told the same interviewer that work required her to have an early start (4am) and that she got back home late. This at a time when her three children were aged ten, nine and five and when her husband was living on a different continent in pursuit of his own career.

It hardly seems an ideal arrangement. It strikes me more as a "lifestyle of the rich and famous," with the children presumably being raised by a nanny and not seeing a lot of either parent.

But it's not Susan Douglas who seems most distant from a rank and file conservatism. It's her husband, Niall Ferguson. He too is influential in mainstream conservatism:

Ferguson is on the board of the Centre for Policy Studies, the leading Right-wing think-tank, and works as an unofficial adviser to Mr Cameron, in particular on how to promote ‘Britishness’. He also worked as an adviser to John McCain at the beginning of his election campaign...

Ferguson met his mistress at a party thrown for the "100 most influential people in the world". He is well-connected not just in politics and academia but in the financial world as well:

By this stage he had moved to America, having accepted a chair in history at Harvard. It was then that he also started advising some of the world’s leading hedge-fund managers...

‘There was a point when it was not impossible for me to get $100,000 for a one-hour speech at some extravagant hedge-fund manager conference in an exotic location,’ Ferguson recalled. While he lived a jet-set lifestyle, his wife stayed at home with the children.

So did he use this influence to promote conservatism? No, for the simple reason that he is not a conservative and doesn't even pretend to be one. He calls himself a "liberal fundamentalist":

I would say I'm a 19th-century liberal, possibly even an 18th-century one. Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, Gladstone. My fundamental tenets are concerned with freedom of the individual; the market isn't perfect, but it's the best available way of allocating resources...

As you can see, I'm just a doctrinaire liberal at heart ... I'm just a liberal fundamentalist.

He is a right-liberal who believes that the best way of regulating a liberal society is through the free market. Ferguson is, in fact, so liberal that he thought John McCain ran an unacceptably conservative presidential campaign:

he became, for a time, one of John McCain's foreign policy advisers. "I must say that since he won the nomination, which I was very happy about, I've played virtually no role. In fact, I've played no role. Because, uh" - he is suddenly, uncharacteristically halting - "how to describe it? - I felt much less ... enthused, I think is probably the word, now that it's between him and Obama. And I felt much more uncomfortable with some of the positions he has had to take in order to secure the conservative vote."

Ferguson's right-liberal commitment to the market issues forth in these kinds of comments:

I want to show you that money is the foundation of human progress, and the ascent of money has been indispensable to the ascent of man

He is committed to globalism - to the free movement not only of capital and goods but labour as well. He admits that open borders harm the prospects of the least educated, but believes that people should just be told that they have to compete with waves of immigrants or sink:

Proponents of a new generation of anti-global measures claim to want to protect vulnerable native groups from the ravages of competition. They point to studies that show the biggest losers from immigration to be high school dropouts. Other evidence shows that it's unskilled blue collar workers who are most likely to lose out ...

It makes no sense to jeopardise the benefits of globalisation to protect the employment prospects of high-school dropouts. So here's a modest counter-proposal ... why not ... get this simple message across to the kids in America's high schools: If you flunk, you're sunk. Yes, boys and girls ... Drop out of education without qualifications, and you'll be lucky to get a job alongside the Mexicans picking fruit or stacking shelves.

A commenter at View from the Right responded as follows:

I find this attitude utterly detestable. As far as I am concerned this man is the worst kind of neo-con. I want to live in a society of fellow compatriots, who are valued for being a part of my culture and are brought up to believe they have worth as human beings. To tell them at such a young age that they must compete down at the bottom with people from the third world or perish is my idea of a heartless, cultureless society in which people's worth is defined solely by whether they can stack more cans for less money than the people in the local immigration centre.

Then there is the mistress, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She was born in Somalia, won asylum in Holland and became an MP there in a centre right party. She became a critic of the treatment of women in Islamic countries, had a fatwa placed on her and was forced to live under police protection. She was then appointed a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, usually described as a "conservative think tank". As mentioned earlier, she made Time magazine's list of the one hundred most influential people in the world.

So does she represent a rank and file conservatism? No. She describes herself as a liberal, and from her statements it's clear that she is radically liberal. For instance, she sees Catholicism as a dangerous ideology, akin to Nazism:

METRO: Do you see any positive sides to Islam?

HIRSI ALI: That’s like asking if I see positive sides to Nazism, communism, Catholicism.

She has called for an immigration restrictionist party in Belgium, the Vlaams Belang, to be banned, equating it with an Islamic terror group:

I would ban the VB because it hardly differs from the Hofstad group [a Jihadist terror network in the Netherlands, involved in the assassination of Theo van Gogh]. Though the VB members have not committed any violent crimes yet, they are just postponing them...

The Vlaams Belang is a parliamentary party, the largest in Flanders, which has never called for violence - yet Ayaan Hirsi Ali wants it outlawed as a terror group.

What struck me on reading about these "conservatives" is how distant they are from representing a genuine conservatism, not only because they self-identify as liberals, but because they belong to something like a "new global elite," with very little connection in their values or manner of living to rank and file conservatives.

(Lawrence Auster has written on the same issue here.)

39 comments:

  1. There's something a bit Weimar-like about that pair. The glamour, the ignorance, the hubris.

    In the good old days adulterers would go to prison.

    What a piece of work is a Ferguson! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculty!

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  2. Anon, yes there is a combination of glamour and hubris there. I don't want Ferguson and Ali to go to prison, though - just to be rejected as models of "conservative" man and woman. I don't want to have to choose my political leaders from this clique of liberal globalists who are so thoroughly disconnected from a real rank and file conservatism.

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  3. "I don't want to have to choose my political leaders from this clique of liberal globalists who are so thoroughly disconnected from a real rank and file conservatism."

    So Ferguson is on a board promoting "Britishness". Is it "Britishness" to pursue money at the expense of everything else? Its not suprising that leftists should conflate conservatism with money chasing when these kinds of guys are presented as the so called leaders.

    Nice work on the marriage front Ferguson. Newt Ginrich abandoned two wives, one while she was undergoing cancer treatment and had affairs during his first two marriages. Awesome.

    I have to say the lady, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, is very gutsy but her place is in the Muslim world talking to them, not lecturing us on the importance of banning conservative parties.

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  4. Perhaps they should just be flogged. Or put in the stocks.

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  5. The following was written not long ago by a "movement" conservative in South Australia, who last self-identified as "Catholic":

    "Ayaan Hirsi Ali, one of radical Islam's astutest observers, was her persuasive best on the subject [of Islam] last week."

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/change-but-not-for-better/story-e6frg7ko-1111117975867

    So now we know. If you want to be one of the Australian media's resident "conservatives", you toe the line of the openly pro-abortion trollop Ali, or else.

    I look forward to the usual suspects - the Blairs and the Bolts and the Windschuttles and the other merchants of pseudo-conservative globalist blah - arguing their way around this latest moral sell-out. Let's face the facts: you not only cannot write regularly in Australia's mainstream media and be a faithful Catholic; you not only cannot write regularly in Australia's mainstream media and be a faithful non-Catholic Christian; you cannot write regularly in Australia's mainstream media and be any sort of decent human being. Forget it. Don't even try. Being a pedophile would serve as a better guarantee of self-respect.

    Cue for another two-minute hate session by Kilroy. Or whoever.

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  6. Vincent I read the article but I don't see the point you're trying to make. Ali was quoted in the context of withdrawing from Iraq and Pearson took a strong line against abortion.

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  7. Jesse_7, my apologies if I left any matters ambiguous, but I thought I had stated a fairly obvious fact.

    If one is anti-abortion - as Christopher Pearson says, in that article (and elsewhere), that he is - and if one wishes to possess moral authority, then one must also be opposed to every pro-abort, in public life, without exception. Not just overtly leftist pro-aborts like Obama, but every pro-abort, everywhere. However powerful, however anti-Islamic, however pro-Liberal-Party (or pro-GOP in America), and however good-looking that person might be: if he (or in Ali's case, she) is fundamentally so hostile to human rights as to be in favour of destroying the human rights of the tiniest child in the womb, then there can be no legitimate defence of that person's moral attitudes. Ever. Amen.

    This is quite apart from Ali's evil moronism in denouncing Belgium's perfectly peaceful and reasonable VB (which is not, as it happens, a party that I find particularly congenial).

    And though I respect your comments, Jesse_7 (not just on this topic), I have to say that real "gutsyness" on Ali's part would involve, not whining about mullahs from the safety of Western Europe, but (a) a decision by her to stop being an adulterous whore (in public at that), and (b) a decision by her to start protesting outside an abortuary. The way that I and plenty of other humble Christians do.

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  8. Vincent, I don't know much about Windschuttle except he has done an excellent job debunking the Leftist version of Australian history (deliberate Aboriginal genocide, etc). What about him is pseudo-conservative, globalist, indecent, etc?

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  9. When we look at our Ruling Elite, they are decadent Weimar to their deracinated core, and thus entirely alienated from the rank-and-file of the middle-class (that is, me). There is no need, really, to try to figure out "are they liberal or conservative? If conservative, how conservative?" If they are Ruling Elite, I know enough; they are guilty of being Enemies of the West, and must provide rigorous evidence of their innocence.

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  10. "And though I respect your comments, Jesse_7"

    Thanks mate.

    "I have to say that real "gutsyness" on Ali's part would involve, not whining about mullahs from the safety of Western Europe."

    They're such bastards, she has to have security guards and they're willing to kill people in Europe as we‘ve unfortunately seen. Lets say I wouldn’t enjoy calling them out.

    On the issue of abortion. I admire your passion and commitment greatly. Is there not a danger though in seeing everything through the spectrum of one issue no matter how important that issue is? Just asking the question. If abortion is a moral issue with national implications (eg lower birth rate, self indulgent society) aren't national issues such as immigration and the Muslims an issue of their own right deserving consideration?

    The sort of "meness" involved in the couples relations and affiars is pretty unsatisfactory and as Mark pointed out they're not really conservatives they're "anti" liberals (anti islam etc). Back in the 80's Ferguson would have been considered a member of the "new right" but again that's economics and individualism, not real conservatism. “Liberal” relationships are pretty awkward affairs. I’d be curious to know what the wife (former wife) thinks of what happened.

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  11. THIS fellow Greg Barns clearly identifies himself as a conservative, indeed worked for the Liberal Party for years, yet here he is spruiking the joys of unfettered mass immigration on the ABC website

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2813938.htm

    It is as though the very definition of conservative has been scalloped out and filled with a red centre. Just how genuine and fair IS democracy when there is no real choice or options at all?

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  12. The problem I have encountered with people on the right is that some of them are so overcome with bitterness and hate that they only see "hate" in others – even, or perhaps especially, if it’s not there. I have made that point elsewhere, and now I can only relate it to Vincent.

    His comment about me in his above post (“cue for another two-minute hate session by Kilroy”) is ample proof and need not to be expounded on. It is completely out-of-the-blue, presumptuous, unnecessary and bears no relationship to the topic what so ever. But he seems to never miss an opportunity to make a dig at somebody who he associates with a community within the conservative movement that he finds fault with.

    It is sad that Vincent feels the need to act in such a rude fashion. Perhaps because I mentioned that I once met Prof. Windshuttle, and have defended his reputation here, zealots such as Stove, Reeves and now Vincent feel that they are somehow justified in acting in a way that they find reprehensible in others. This is typical of the Left. They, and in this case, Vincent, should take a good look at himself in the mirror.

    After he does this, I ask that we stop the internecine violence within conservative quarters - it is just plain silly, as I pointed out in the first post that sparked such a negative reaction against me. We can criticise others who profess conservatism without degenerating into the personal mud slinging of the jilted paleoconservatives. Mark Richardson provides an example of this. Stove, Reeves and Vincent should follow his example.

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  13. Greg Barns is absolutely not conservative.

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  14. Greg Barns is not a conservative. I have spoken to him and even challenged him in public at a Liberal Party forum back in the days of the Tampa affair. He made it quite clear that, and I quote "I joined the liberal party, not the conservative party". If he does use the label 'conservative', he is posing - using it as a device to wedge the electorate and garner support for whatever position he is advocating at any given moment. I even saw him wearing a "free the refugees" shirt in those days which was manufactured and sold by none other than Socialist Alliance.

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  15. "High flying conservatives or globalist liberals?"

    Does it matter. As far as I can see, both are interested only in themselves, and are beginning to behave like celebrities.

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  16. The problem here is that any sod can call himself conservative whilst not being one.

    The reality of the situation is that the conservative movement is ideologically fragmented because the proper definition of conservatism has not been made, too many people are let into the fold. Libertarianism is compatible with conservatism up to a point after which it becomes radical.

    The core issue here is what exactly is Conservatism? A good place to start is here .

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  17. This is nothing new for the British. Class is more valued than race/ethnicity. In "Ornamentalism" David Cannadine outlines this phenomena.

    "For Victorians, race was a description, not so much of colour differences, as of social distinctions...This separation of classes was important because each had to keep to their allotted place on the social ladder. 'The English poor man or child', the article concluded, 'is always expected to remember the condition in which God has placed him, exactly as the negro is expected to remember the skin that God has given him. The relation in both instances is that of perpetual superior to perpetual inferior, of chief to dependent, and no amount of kindness or goodness is suffered to alter this relation.'

    The other issue that "conservatives" is that the pursuit of wealth is adaptive. Both Adam Smith and Darwin acknowledged this fact.

    " [37] Poverty, though it no doubt discourages, does not always prevent marriage. It seems even to be favourable to generation. A half-starved Highland woman frequently bears more than twenty children, while a pampered fine lady is often incapable of bearing any, and is generally exhausted by two or three. Barrenness, so frequent among women of fashion, is very rare among those of inferior station. Luxury in the fair sex, while it inflames perhaps the passion for enjoyment, seems always to weaken, and frequently to destroy altogether, the powers of generation.

    [38] But poverty, though it does not prevent the generation, is extremely unfavourable to the rearing of children. The tender plant is produced, but in so cold a soil and so severe a climate, soon withers and dies. It is not uncommon, I have been frequently told, in the Highlands of Scotland for a mother who has borne twenty children not to have two alive. Several officers of great experience have assured me, that so far from recruiting their regiment, they have never been able to supply it with drums and fifes from all the soldiers' children that were born in it. A greater number of fine children, however, is seldom seen anywhere than about a barrack of soldiers. Very few of them, it seems, arrive at the age of thirteen or fourteen. In some places one half the children born die before they are four years of age; in many places before they are seven; and in almost all places before they are nine or ten. This great mortality, however, will everywhere be found chiefly among the children of the common people, who cannot afford to tend them with the same care as those of better station. Though their marriages are generally more fruitful than those of people of fashion, a smaller proportion of their children arrive at maturity. In foundling hospitals, and among the children brought up by parish charities, the mortality is still greater than among those of the common people."

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  18. cont'd...

    Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations

    Greg Clark, in "A Farewell to Alms" also showed that the pursuit of wealth is adaptive.

    "Clark writes that, between the years 1200 and 1800, wealthier people in England had more than twice the number of surviving children than the poor, or common people. Clark describes pre-industrial England as a "world of constant downward mobility, the sons of large landholders becoming small holders, the sons of successful craftsmen of one generation becoming the laborers of the next generation, the sons of merchants becoming petty traders and so on. It was a trend, he points out, that was opposite to what happened after the Industrial Revolution, when wealthy people had fewer children and among the poor were the upwardly mobile. Clark describes the downward mobility before the Industrial Revolution as spreading middle class values downward, values necessary to make the Industrial Revolution happen. He describes these values as thrift, prudence, negation, hard work, literacy and numeracy (math). These, he writes, replaced "spendthrift, impulsive, violence and leisure loving."

    Ferguson is not far off describing the evolutionary impact of competition for scant resources. The lower echelon (low IQ) will be out competed and replaced.

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  19. Anon:
    "Ferguson is not far off describing the evolutionary impact of competition for scant resources. The lower echelon (low IQ) will be out competed and replaced."

    No. We don't live in a pre-industrial society. In an industrialised society upward mobility seems to be the norm, as you just described! Of course that can spread lower-class values up the social ladder again (eg I was raised 'middle class', but I have some lower-class inclinations probably derived from my mother's lower-class heritage).

    Ferguson is talking about something different: mass immigration of Mexicans to replace Anglo-Americans at the bottom of the economy. This does not however result in the dying out of the lower-class Anglo population, because they are still able to raise children to maturity. They merely become economically inactive 'white trash'. A life of welfare and/or crime beckons.

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  20. "This is nothing new for the British. Class is more valued than race/ethnicity."

    That's true to a degree but importing huge numbers of foreigners wouldn't have happened in the Victorian era.

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  21. "This does not however result in the dying out of the lower-class Anglo population, because they are still able to raise children to maturity."

    Good point Simon. My thought was absorption through intermarriage to the larger population of Mexicans. The issue is how is self-interest directed to common good?

    The Victorians did allow a vast number of Gaelic Irish to settle in Liverpool, Jesse, during the famine much to the chagrin of the English. Whole neighborhoods were cleansed of their English inhabitants and replaced with a people considered foreign and lower cast; "spendthrift, impulsive, violent and leisure loving." The Beatles are all of Irish descent.

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  22. "The Victorians did allow a vast number of Gaelic Irish to settle in Liverpool, Jesse, during the famine much to the chagrin of the English. Whole neighbourhoods were cleansed of their English inhabitants and replaced with a people considered foreign and lower cast; "spendthrift, impulsive, violent and leisure loving."

    That's interesting, although I think "cleansed" is a bit of a strong word. Surely the Irish though where not such a big step for the English.

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  23. Jesse, I think you aren't correct on this score:

    "...importing huge numbers of foreigners wouldn't have happened in the Victorian era"

    I'm confident that it would indeed have happened. All that the Victorian ruling class lacked in 1880 was the means required to do it namely the Boeing 747.

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  24. "All that the Victorian ruling class lacked in 1880 was the means required to do it namely the Boeing 747."

    The invasion of Europe and North America isn't happening by airplane, genius.

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  25. "The invasion of Europe and North America isn't happening by airplane, genius".

    But we're talking about Victorian England here. Jesse had expressed some scepticism of the view that class was significantly more important than race for the Victorian British ruling class. Hence (I'm guessing) he thought it likely that they would be more resistant to mass immigration back then compared to the present era.

    I am more inclined to share Cannadine's view and lean towards class being more important than race. This is more of a materialist view of history. Hence I suggested that, had the means of mass cheap transportation - such as the aeroplane - been available to the Victorian ruling class, it's anybody’s guess as to whether mass immigration from places like Pakistan and India would have started in the 19th century instead of post war when intercontinental travel became a reality for the masses.

    So the question I was pondering was whether the Dickensian factory owners - notorious for their brutality to the working class labourers - would have resisted the importation of even cheaper labour from places like the sub continent if the means had been available to them as it is today.

    It's really anybody's guess but I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts - but perhaps this time without the gratuitous sarcasm.

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  26. had the means of mass cheap transportation - such as the aeroplane - been available to the Victorian ruling class, it's anybody’s guess as to whether mass immigration from places like Pakistan and India would have started in the 19th century instead of post war when intercontinental travel became a reality for the masses.

    The means for intercontinental mass transportation did exist in the Victorian Era. In the 19th century, about 50 million people left Europe for North and South America, South Africa, Australia, and other distant lands. (In addition, for the first half of the century, millions of Africans were being transported to America to provide slave labor.) Some ten million left the British Isles alone. The idea that the Victorians didn't have the capability to transport millions of people vast distances is manifestly false. If the Victorian ruling class in England did not bring in colored immigrant labor, it was not because they couldn't.

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  27. A: 12:06-

    You make a good case. The British were masters of the demographic bomb.

    Lord Curzon is purported to have said, while watching his men bathe prior to the Battle of The Somme, that he had not realized that the working class had such white skins.

    "In 1962 Harold Macmillan noted in a letter to Robert Menzies, the Australian prime minister, that `what the two wars did was to destroy the prestige of the white people'. Macmillan added that `It was bad enough for the white men to fight each other, but it was worse when they brought in their dependants.' This last remark reflects one of the great controversies of the First World War, namely the arming of non-white soldiers to fight and kill whites. The German High Command had requested at the outbreak of hostilities that all African colonies remain neutral. However, as Frank Furedi has explained in his fascinating recent study, The Silent War, `White solidarity had more the character of an informal convention than a formal principle'. Germany's request was increasingly ignored. In a chapter of his book titled `The shattering of white solidarity' [Lothrop]Stoddard rails at the horrorifying consequences:

    The havoc wrought in the Teutonic ranks by black Senegalese and yellow Gurkhas, together with Allied utterances like Lord Curzon's wish to see Bengal lancers on the Unter den Linden and Gurkhas camping at Sans Souci, so maddened the German people that the very suggestion of white solidarity was jeeringly scoffed at as the most idiotic sentimentality."

    Source:`Whiteness in Crisis'

    Magazine article by Alastair Bonnett; History Today, Vol. 50, December 2000.

    The arming and use of "khaffirs" against the Afrikaners by Lord Kitchener during the Boer War, also supports your position that class for the Victorians was paramount.

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  28. "It's really anybody's guess but I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts - but perhaps this time without the gratuitous sarcasm."

    Maybe you're right its an interesting question. I do know this (and I've used this example before at the risk or boring anyone) that in the 1840's after the cheap convict labour in Australia began to dry up it was suggested by landholders that Indian labour could be a possible substitute. (As was suggested other means of transport were avaliable) On that front there was a resounding NO from the populace (as represented through other societal interests). Clearly Australia/England in the 1800's had a very strong ethnic identity.

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  29. "The arming and use of "khaffirs" against the Afrikaners by Lord Kitchener during the Boer War, also supports your position that class for the Victorians was paramount."

    All Europeans made use of local troops in the Colonial wars.

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  30. If all Europeans used non-whites to battle whites in colonial wars, it proves the point that white solidarity was/is facile. The White Australia Policy also arose, as did Apartheid in South Africa, from class competition. Landowners/miners demand cheap labour and labours demand for higher wages.

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  31. "The means for intercontinental mass transportation did exist in the Victorian Era"

    You're absolutely right. I also came to this conclusion upon further reflection shortly after finishing my post. Mass transportation on the cheap was indeed available back then, only it was a lot slower.

    But the English ruling class didn't need to import labour en masse then from the third world as they already had a "reserve army of labour" in the English working class and the Irish immigrants.

    They definitely had the capacity to do it and this is evidenced in the (earlier) slave trade as well as transportation of convicts and non-white indentured labourers in the colonies.

    By the way, it's interesting (and not a touch ironic) that we, as traditionalist conservatives, tend to agree that class trumped race here. This is because it's an idea that belongs to an old, much maligned left-winger from Germany who wrote that:

    "The history of all hitherto existing society is a history of class struggles".

    Mass immigration to the west on a grand scale eventually came to pass when the leadership of the working classes' political parties (labour in Britain, the ALP in Oz) betrayed their constituents and colluded with what Marx called the "Bourgeoisie". But this wasn't so that a non-racial socialist workers paradise would triumph in the West as Marx had called for.

    Oh no, it was because they had been co-opted by what he called "capital" which is today what we call "big business" in common parlance.

    This is evidenced in statements from people like Bob Hawke - who in my opinion is the father of the Asianisation of Australia. He spoke of the national interest when argued that immigration be kept off the national agenda. But as the former leader of the ACTU, whose interests was he talking about? The white working class who voted for and empowered him? I don't think so.

    Mass immigration from the third world to places like Britain, the US and OZ has been a diabolical disaster for the white working classes. But it could never have been done had not capital co-opted and seduced its leadership.

    It's only now that the white working classes are starting to grasp this, hence we see the formation of parties like One Nation in Oz and the BNP in the UK etc.

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  32. What's also interesting is that, by any definition of the word Marx was a 'racist' by today's standards and would have been a climate denialist had he lived in the present era - kind of like a Communist Andrew Bolt.

    He was, in fact, the very antithesis of a cultural relativist which today's leftys have become. When he spoke of building a workers' paradise, the dictatorship of the proletariat, and the state 'withering away' it's doubtful he meant it to be replaced by a multicultural de-racinated Europe which is the goal of todays 'new left as well as yesterday's Leninists.

    Here is Marx writing on rural life in India:

    "…we must not forget that these idyllic village communities, inoffensive though they may appear, had always been the solid foundation of Oriental despotism, that they restrained the human mind within the smallest possible compass, making it the unresisting tool of superstition, enslaving it beneath traditional rules, depriving it of all grandeur and historical energies. . . .We must not forget that this undignified, stagnatory, and vegetative life, that this passive sort of existence evoked on the other part, in contradistinction, wild, aimless, unbounded forces of destruction, and rendered murder itself a religious rite in Hindustan. We must not forget that these little communities were contaminated by distinctions of caste and by slavery, that they subjugated man to the external circumstances, that they transformed a self-developing social state into a never changing natural destiny, and thus brought about a brutalizing worship of nature, exhibiting its degradation in the fact that man, the sovereign of nature, fell down on his knees in adoration of Hanuman, the monkey, and Sabbala, the cow."

    Source

    Hmm, "...Man the soverign of nature" and (a) "...brutalizing worship of nature..."

    Doesn't sound like he's worshipping Gaea to me like today's leftys. Nor is he being "respectful" of other cultures when he talks about Hindus exhibiting their "degradation" by worshipping cows and monkeys.

    Very politically incorrect.

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  33. Anonymous interesting point. There's no doubt that the BNP and One Nation are working class parties. One is reminded of the episode of South Park where large numbers of illegal aliens start arriving in America (in this case they're actual aliens from outer space) who are willing to work for pittances. The working class take a strong stance against it because they're the first to lose work. The middle class go on about how wonderful and inclusive it is (because they benefit from it in the form of cheap domestic help). Before to longer its realised that the aliens can do the middle class jobs too and the middle class then start adopting working class arguments.

    I think it is a question for our time, how much in life is determined by economics and how much isn't. I've been told history looks very different when seen through an economic scope, (which I've not seriously done yet). Today in our life movement of peoples is easy, not just because of transport but things like welfare and mass communications. So we're much more required to ask ourselves what kind of nation do we actually want? Rather than just leave it to economics and hope for the best.

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  34. 11:32:00 -

    A good analysis, however, capital can also serve racial interests. For instance apartheid South Africa served to ally the white working class with capital to buffer the growing trade unionism, and thus potential for insurrection in SA. Rhodes and Alfred Beit were happy to encourage mass migration to SA in order to serve the mines. It's only when a pan-racial labour alliance showed potential to threaten capital did apartheid, a system of separation and cheap labour, arise.

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  35. The question of Apartheid and capitalism is indeed a very interesting and complex one. I remember looking at this issue closely back in my student days in South Africa.

    The conclusion I reached was that apartheid from about 1950 to 1980 was indeed extremely beneficial for capital and vice versa. Industrialists and mine owners couldn't rely on an up-and-coming black middle class of black professionals and managers until one started to emerge in the early 80s. Until then the racial color bar on skilled jobs for blacks was an example of big business colluding with one racial group (whites) to exploit another (blacks).

    However, as the black working class started to organise itself politically through unions, the UDF and the ANC, it joined forces with a growing black middle class to challenge apartheid. This development scared the pants off the capitalists as well as the government.

    There was a lot of talk of a socialist revolution in the 80s along marxist-leninist lines. However, it never came to pass because the black leadership was co-opted by capital to drop the idea of nationalisation of SA's key industrys.

    By this time apartheid had become a brake on the SA economy and was creating bottlenecks in the labour supply as well as seriously bad knock on effects like trade embargoes, emigration, terrorism etc.

    So capital simply "switched sides" from being supporters of the white middle and working class to form an alliance with the ANC who were/are black nationalists. In return they got to keep their mines and factories and the blacks got their hands on the levers of power. Everybody was happy - except of course for the white working class - who are now suffering a vicious form of reverse apartheid.

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  36. 11:32 -

    I think its a strong point, however I don't think it carries the day. The idea of truckloads of "coloured" people walking down the English main streets would have been abhorrent to C19th British sensibilities.

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  37. "Everybody was happy - except of course for the white working class - who are now suffering a vicious form of reverse apartheid."

    I would have got the hint and skipped out. You'll be welcome in Australia.

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  38. Anonymous (3:38),

    What you write is interesting and could well be true. But, if so, it's a dangerous game the mine owners are playing. South Africa has lost a large chunk of its productive middle-class to emigration. And, in neighbouring Zimbabwe, Mugabe is demanding that mine owners hand over 50% of the ownership of assets to black Zimbabweans.

    In China we currently have an Australian executive of Rio Tinto being held under arrest on serious charges supposedly for acting against the interests of the Chinese state during iron ore negotiations.

    Western capitalists are not invulnerable to shifts of power away from the relatively stable, productive and creative traditional West.

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  39. Mark said:

    "But, if so, it's a dangerous game the mine owners are playing."

    I think SA is stuffed. I think we all knew that when the ANC took over. Someone like Mandella who was reasonably high minded and inclusive may have been able to keep the country going. The ANC, however, is not an inclusive party its a black guy party and SA is being dogged by the same problems that stuff every African country, endemic corruption, tribal favouritism, short term gouging and technical incompetence. Power outages have started in SA. A few more years and the sewerage system will break down. SA had far more infrastructure than Zimbabwe so the collapse will take longer but I think we can all see the writing on the wall.

    On the issue of the miners aren't they merely trying to buy some more time? Keep things going while they can before, as in other parts of Africa, they become the only functioning entity within the country?

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