Saturday, November 02, 2013

The BBC debate 1

It's no wonder that the Western countries are in such trouble when you consider the shallow ideas that dominate the minds of our intellectuals.

John Derbyshire has a report up at Vdare about a debate on immigration that took place on BBC radio. The positions taken by the participants were as disappointing as they were predictable.

Why predictable? There is a growing consensus amongst liberals of all stripes that the point of life is to be self-made, particularly in the market. If you believe this, then you will see economic migrants as the ideal sort of person, since they are the ones who take the most initiative to be self-made in this way.

One of the panellists on the BBC debate was Claire Fox, who is the director of the Institute of Ideas. This is what she had to say on immigration:
So I believe in freedom of movement and therefore open the borders, but I suppose morally my main thing is that, being human, one of the most inspiring things about it is that you can make yourself not accept your fate and create your own destiny. And in that sense the immigrant is an ideal moral figure, and could be seen to embody it. So that's what I find inspiring.

Isn't that a revealing statement? She is saying that what defines us as a human is that we are autonomous in the sense of being self-determining or self-defining. That's step one in the thought process. But how do we self-define? To be consistent, we can only self-define in some area of life that we can pursue as individuals, such as career, travel, lifestyle, hobbies and so on. Career is the weightiest of these, so liberals tend to put most of their eggs in this basket. So what it all boils down to in the end, for a liberal, is being self-made in your career and economic status.

An economic migrant goes to all the trouble to uproot himself in order to make himself in the market and so he becomes for the average liberal "an ideal moral figure."

The mistake made by liberals like Claire Fox is to think of human life in terms of a detached self-making. We are supposed to make our lives as abstracted individuals, as this abstraction is supposed to give us the greatest freedom to self-create.

But we are not detached or abstracted selves. When we make our lives we do so as created beings with given natures. Freedom means a liberty to unfold (or fulfil) the best within these given natures.

And we do that best within natural forms of community, such as family, tribe and nation. This is particularly true for men, as our masculine talents are especially directed toward our roles in upholding these forms of human community.

In arguing for a borderless world, liberals are not adding to but are taking away from our freedom to creatively unfold ourselves as individuals. They are dissolving the longstanding communities within which such creative self-expression best takes place.

There were also some arguments relating to Christianity mentioned in the BBC debate, but I'll leave these to the next post.


  1. I presume what Ms. Fox means by "fate" is passive response to external forces that push and pull the individual without much in the way of volition on the individual's part. If we use this definition, economic forces are among the most powerful engines of fate. An immigrant who can move to a place with higher wages, and does, is simply accepting his fate. On the other hand, if Ms. Fox would quit her job, move to Ghana, and devote herself to subsistence farming, we might have a case of autonomy.

    1. That's a good point JMSmith. It is being able to withstand larger, external, economic forces which shows a resistance to fate or destiny. I have to say as well, though, that fate or destiny was not always held in such negative terms within the Western mind. To have a sense of one's fate or destiny once had a religious or spiritual significance. That there was a fate or destiny written for us was something that lifted our minds rather than something that limited us.

  2. Immigrants are basically people who run away from the problems in their countries, rather than stay and fix them. What's so admirable about that?

  3. Isn't there a contradiction between the leftwing ideologues' glorification of autonomy and self-creation, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the glorification of the group identity of the new (or relatively new) immigrant communities? For example, nobody in the leftwing establishment seems much exercised over inability of immigrant Muslim women to exercise their right to "self-create" and function autonomously. Nor do they think it proper to encourage immigrant groups to assimilate so that their individual members can "self-create" as people of European descent supposedly do. In the US, for example, the establishment encourages Latinos to use Spanish as their first language, and many continue to do so even after three generations.

    1. Well, yes. But you have to keep a few things in mind. First, left-liberals see things in terms of whites having created themselves as a false category in order to get an unearned privilege over other groups. True equality and justice, therefore, will only come (according to left-liberals) when whiteness has been deconstructed. So left-liberals are much more concerned with the "falseness" of white identity than they are with the status of other identities. Second, left-liberals are able to see non-white identities positively in the sense that they are used to organise against white "privilege". Some left-liberals do warn that these identities should not be "reified" (held to have a real essence), but that tends to get lost within the general idea that such identities are progressive and aid the cause of freedom, justice and equality. Third, when you take autonomy as your moral ideal, then what will matter morally is that you don't interfere with the choices of others. So a morality of non-interference develops based on respect, tolerance, non-discrimination, openness, diversity and so on. How then do you show yourself to be the most moral person? You do so by proving how much you respect and tolerate those most different to you. So left-liberals are caught in a bind. Autonomy tells them on the one hand that Muslim women shouldn't wear the burqa, but they also want to prove how tolerant and open they are toward what is most other to them, and that would be burqa wearing Muslim women. Some liberals do resolve the dilemma by critising the burqa, but most prefer to keep moral status by not criticising it. Finally, the left-liberal concept of solidarity has come to mean, over time, identifying with those most other to you and this also means identifying with "othered" groups such as observant Muslims.

    2. Most of this comment is nonsensical. "True equality and justice, therefore, will only come (according to left-liberals) when whiteness has been deconstructed" Whiteness is a genetic and therefore biological fact. It cannot, therefore, be "deconstructed" within a living human being who is the phenotypic expression of his genetic inheritance. The white race can be eradicated only by genocide or miscegenation, itself a form of genocide. Neither of these will achieve either equality or justice and both are monstrous crimes. One cannot be concerned with the "falseness of white identity" any more than one can be concerned by any other biological fact. Are you suggesting that liberals will seek to declare physically handicapped people as having a "false identity"?

      "Third, when you take autonomy as your moral ideal, then what will matter morally is that you don't interfere with the choices of others. So a morality of non-interference develops based on respect, tolerance, non-discrimination, openness, diversity and so on. How then do you show yourself to be the most moral person?"
      Again this is nonsensical. Liberals show zero tolerance for Christianity and interfere considerably with the rights of Christians to observe their faith. Their tolerance is therefore selectively promoted towards those identities which they seek to use to undermine the Western identity. Muslims are tolerated as their religion is used to undermine Christianity. Sunni Islam is also a useful means of totalitarian social control and hence a useful ideology to those who seek to create a Police state. Hence Liberals promotion of Sunni Islam and its Wahabi sect in particular (the most dominant form of Islam in the West due to Saudi money). Shia Islam on the contrary is not promoted in the West and most liberal politicians would seek to "tolerate " it as much as they "tolerate" Christianity. Whilst liberal politicians seek to promote Wahabi Sunni Islam, they do not identify with Sunni Muslims in any sense, most keeping a sound distance from them. A liberal politician in a Sunni mosque would quickly become a target of violence in true jihadi fashion. Accordingly you will never see a liberal identifying with a Muslim. They just use them.

    3. Pas D’Ennemi à Gauche. In my eyes, leftist support for (or indifference to) 'other' group identities can best be explained as functionalist. Namely, the existence of competing identities provides the left with tools with which to undermine the legitimacy of traditional forms of Western identity.

    4. Anon (9.28),

      You and I might accept that race is a biological reality, but left-liberals see it as a social construct, which is why they talk about deconstructing whiteness. It is logical from their point of view. Similarly left-liberals do not see the deconstruction of whiteness as a monstrous crime as you and I would, as they consider its very existence to be the most significant thing standing in the way of a world of equality and social justice. That's one reason why they are so zealous in attacking whiteness as a source of privilege and oppression. The teachers I work alongside are nice people but they are rabid in their obsession with attacking whiteness - it's like a moral crusade for them. If we don't understand why they are doing this, we'll never effectively counter their understanding of the world.

      With your comment on Christianity, you've misunderstood the way left-liberals see things. Left-liberals would have little problem with Christianity if it were understood to be a purely personal and subjective belief - it would then be compatible with liberalism, even if it were thought to be false. The problem is that Christianity hasn't quite been reduced to a personal and subjective belief. Even the mainline Christian denominations still sometimes draw the line somewhere when it comes to moral issues. That means that they violate a liberal morality of non-interference, in which what matters is that we are able to equally and freely self-determine our own goods in life and that we extend this right to everyone else equally. By violating non-interference, the churches attract the wrath of the left-liberals, but to left-liberals this is a case of "no tolerance for the intolerant".

      Why are left-liberals tougher on Christianity rather than, say, Islam? Left-liberals have to answer the question of why Christianity is non-liberal. Their answer (often) is that it is an ideology that is used to uphold an unjust social order, i.e. it is part of the power structure. Therefore, it has to be taken down a lot more urgently than a religion like Islam which cannot be regarded this way historically in the West and which, as I tried to explain before, is identified as the "other" religion which liberals are supposed to extend solidarity to.

  4. This is Homo Economicus the "worker" stripped of all human dignity, the type of deracinated individual favoured by Marxists and big business. This type of human, stripped of all meaningful ties and values in life, except the desire to work and consume, is cannon fodder for big business. Like cattle, such people can be manipulated and controlled with ease. Hence the desire for mass immigration, despite the lengthening dole queues and expanding soup kitchens of the West, as big business needs a steady stream of low wage slaves. The British economy has been restructured as a low wage economy.

    Economic migrants are not self made. They are Third World immigrants who seek access to Western money and goods (health care and education, not to mention benefits) and who bring their own cultures with them and have no intention of compromising them to Western values. Immigrants are in reality colonists. In a similar vein, British people who colonised Asia and Africa were not self made in any sense but economic as they did not seek to go native and transform themselves into Africans or Asians. The majority of economic migrants are Muslims from the Arab and Asian worlds, and it is more likely that they will force their traditional cultures on the West rather than the other way around unless forcefully resisted.

    "This is particularly true for men, as our masculine talents are especially directed toward our roles in upholding these forms of human community." In the West, it is men who are responsible for the destruction of community and civilisation. The elite men set out to destroy it and the non elite men passively went along with this destruction failing to uphold their religion, traditions and culture and meekly accepting mass third world immigration without so much as a whimper.

  5. She knows NOTHING about migration if she thinks they are autonomously creating their own destiny. Migrants rarely, if ever, just pick up and move themselves autonomously to another country. For one thing, they are POOR - that's why they are moving! - so they need to draw on external resources. They usually have a social network (friends and relatives) in the new country who can provide them with a place to live and a job or help to find a job. Also, there are extensive networks (often tied to organized crime) designed to recruit workers in poor countries, bring them to rich countries, and put them to work once they are there. When women are given false promises in their home countries and then turned into sex slaves in the new country, that's pretty much the opposite of the "create your own destiny" dream that this idiot idolizes.

    1. Migrants also have contacts in government organisations in their target countries who are prepared to issue them with false NI numbers so that they can work and claim benefits illegally and additionally provide them with false ID and passports which are sufficient to fool employers who are lax with their compliance checks. Rather than creating their own destiny, they are colonizing and often criminal thieves.