Saturday, April 23, 2005

White Gold

When most people think of slavery they probably have an image of a white slave owner and a black slave. This is the picture of slavery we have been given through countless books, films and TV shows.

It's an image which fits in well with left-wing theories that white men have established a dominant power structure which oppresses other races, and that therefore white society is morally illegitimate and must be deconstructed.

Up to now, the main argument against such a left-wing view has been that it was actually white men who ended the slave trade. This is a good and effective argument, but it now appears that much more ought to have been said against the left-wing view.

Last year, Professor Robert C. Davis wrote a book which revealed that more than a million Europeans had been enslaved in Muslim North Africa over a period of three centuries.

And now Giles Milton has written a work of popular history on the same theme, entitled White Gold. Milton writes for the mass market, and his works are likely to be stocked by your local bookshop. So a hidden part of European history has now been well and truly revealed.

What's even better is that White Gold is an exceptionally well-written book. It follows the extraordinary story of one European slave, Thomas Pellow, whilst also giving the broader history of the trade in European slaves in North Africa.

Many of the European slaves were captured at sea by pirates, although there were also raids on coastal villages. For instance, in 1625 a corsair fleet attacked the coast of Cornwall. The pirates captured 60 villagers at Mount's Bay and 80 at the fishing village of Looe which they then torched. A second corsair fleet then captured Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel as a base and raised the standard of Islam. By the end of 1625 the two pirate fleets had captured about 1000 Englishmen for the slave market.

Many slaves were taken to the port of Sale on the coast of Morocco. There they were crowded into unhygienic underground pens before being sold. The slaves were shackled with heavy leg irons and many were employed by the sultan to perform hard labour on his grandiose palace building project.

Some slaves were allowed to remain Christian but many others were forced, often with the use of torture, to convert to Islam. A combination of meagre rations, hard labour and unhygienic conditions meant that the mortality rate was very high.

The European slaves were on the bottom rung of the hierarchy in the North African system. The Muslim slave owners were served by loyal black slaves who acted as bodyguards, personal attendants and palace troops and were also overseers of the European slaves. There are many accounts of beatings and executions by the black African overseers of the European slaves.

European slavery in North Africa only ceased in 1816 - nine years after the slave trade was abolished in the British Empire. Even then it was only stopped by force of arms when Sir Edward Pellew led a British and Dutch fleet to Algiers and bombarded the city into submission.

This is, of course, only the most cursory description of the facts of European slavery in North Africa. To get a truer grasp of the extent and nature of this slavery you would have to read a book like White Gold.

Even so, it should be enough to show just how false the left-wing theory of a dominant power structure established by whites to oppress other races is. The left-wing theory has relied for effect on a "filtering" of history in which only those cases in which Europeans were dominant are emphasised.

So we hear a lot about slavery in North America because that's an instance where Europeans were generally in charge. The slavery in North Africa has been, in contrast, almost hidden away up to now, as it shows Europeans not in their ideologically assigned role as oppressors but very much as the oppressed.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

A less destructive humanity

This is from a report on American soldiers wounded in Iraq:

Oreskovic is very articulate and very up on the war mission: “The enemy just want to kill us, they’ll kill your wives, your children, they just want to kill us, not for anything we’ve done, but for what we are, that we give people the choice to decide how to live, and that’s what makes us human, and the enemy wants to take that away from us”.

Corporal Oreskovic is justifying the war on liberal grounds. It is liberals who believe that we are made human by our capacity to choose who we are and what we do through our own will and reason.

Note the radical consequences of this principle. If our very humanity depends on “the choice to decide how to live” then anything which impedes or limits this choice immediately loses its legitimacy. You can’t accept things which take away a person’s humanity.

Yet there are a lot of very important things which do impede our “choice to decide how to live”. Here are just a few:

1) Gender. There used to be an ideal of masculinity and femininity for individuals to live up to. But we didn’t get to choose which one to follow. It depended on an accident of birth of being born male or female. Therefore, for liberals it is more truly human if we act against gender norms, as this shows that we are deciding for ourselves how to live, rather than accepting what liberals call a “biological destiny”.

2) Traditional nationalism. Nationalism used to be based on a shared ethnicity. We were united to our conationals by a common ancestry, culture, language, religion, history and so on. But membership of an ethnic tradition is not something we get to choose for ourselves, but is something we inherit. So again, a liberal will think it more truly human to commit to the ethnic “other” as this is asserting our own choice.

3) Family. The idea that there is one basic type of family, and that our commitments to family need to be stable, will appear to liberals to impede our “choice to decide how to live”. There is more choice if we accept a “diversity” of family types and if we are easily able to break our family commitments.

4) Morality. The idea that there is an “objective” morality (that some things are inherently right or wrong) won’t appeal to liberals as this limits our own “choice to decide how to live”. Thus the liberal morality which says everything is OK as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others.

It is, in fact, very difficult to assert any positive standards or ideals if our humanity depends on a purely personal choice to decide how to live.

We need therefore to challenge the basic liberal principle. To do this doesn’t require us to reject the idea of individual choice. Conservatives have no problem with individuals having a wide sphere of personal choice.

It’s important, though, that we reject the idea that it is a choice of who we are and how we live which makes us human. So what does make us human? One answer might be that God has invested us with a soul which gives us our special status as humans. Or the answer might be that there is a complex totality of a human nature, which includes our capacity for emotion and feeling and instinct as much as our capacity for rational choice.

In any event, we need to challenge the destructive liberal idea of what makes us human – an idea which is usually asserted arbitrarily without any stated justification.

Addendum: This is an important point, so let me try to clarify it. If all that liberals said was that "the choice to decide how to live" is a good thing, then the problems facing the west would be less profound. It would be possible to take this kind of individual choice as a "good" as well as accepting the existence of many other kinds of "goods" and to find a balance between them.

However, once liberals say that "the choice to decide how to live" is what actually makes us human, we are left with just one superior organising principle, which cannot be limited or restrained as this would deny our own humanity. Politics then becomes morally charged with removing any impediments to an individual freedom to choose how to live, even though this destroys many goods which might have enriched individual life and made human life more meaningful.

The tragic thing is that there is no compelling reason why we should ever have accepted the liberal view of what makes us human. It's a coarse and simplistic view, with no compelling logical justification.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Having it both ways

Lindsay Tanner, the Labor MP for Melbourne, has an article in today's Herald Sun on immigration.

It's an odd piece. He begins by reporting that a Sydneysider emailed him complaining about immigration. Tanner's response was to tell this man that he was a lone voice and that "very few people" had complaints about immigration.

Yet, if Tanner had turned back a page in today's Herald Sun, he would have seen the results of a readers' survey asking whether Victoria should try to lure more migrants. Out of 1500 respondents, only 47 answered yes. The vast majority, 1453, answered no to more migration.

But Tanner changes tack anyway. When talking about asylum seekers, Tanner suddenly reverses his earlier view and talks of the "manipulation" of "a lot of deep-seated anti-immigration opinion." He writes that the detention of asylum seekers is "continuing testimony to the strength of that [anti-immigration] sentiment."

So Tanner is willing to use any argument to justify his support for high immigration. If it suits his purposes he will claim that no one has complaints about immigration, so that anyone raising objections should be ignored. But, when it suits his argument better, he warns of a strong anti-immigration sentiment amongst the general public that might be cynically manipulated by politicians.

I think what this shows is that you have to distinguish between primary and secondary arguments. Primary arguments are what really convince someone to take a particular stance on an issue. Secondary arguments are then brought in as persuasive tools to try to convince others to support you.

It's little use trying to understand or persuade someone like Lindsay Tanner on the basis of secondary arguments. As we've seen, it doesn't matter to Tanner if immigration has mass support or mass opposition - he will try to use either circumstance in support of his underlying position.

So what actually does make someone like Tanner support high immigration? What are the primary arguments that have led him to adopt this position?

The answer, I think, is that Tanner is a liberal in his political principles. Liberals believe, as a first principle, that we should be self-created by our own will and reason.

Adopting this principle makes it difficult to legitimately defend our own ethnic identity and ethnic tradition. After all, we don't get to choose such a tradition through our own will and reason, we simply inherit it.

That's why there's such a gulf between the liberal political class and the rank and file. For the rank and file, who don't hold to liberal political principles, it's natural and normal to identify with and to want to preserve your own ethnic tradition.

But for a member of the liberal political class, such traditions violate first principles, and must be overcome through the creation of "diversity".

There's a couple of important conclusions to be drawn from this. First, our aim has to be to persuade a section of the political class to break from liberalism. We can do this by pointing out how arbitrary liberal first principles are, and what negative consequences they have.

Second, we have to be patient and persevering in doing this. At the moment, liberalism is a well-entrenched orthodoxy in the political class, shared by the Liberal Party, the Labor Party, by business and union leaders and by most academics.

So we can't look to any official institutions of society to do the job for us. It's up to us to keep building an opposition to the pervasive liberalism which makes possible the radical transformation of Western societies.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Rethinking the left: Paul Kingsnorth

Generally speaking there are two kinds of liberals. Both kinds believe that people need to be "liberated" from whatever impedes their individual will and reason.

Right liberals, though, have a special focus on economic activity. They see the individual more as an economic unit and stress the removal of restrictions on labour and capital.

Left liberals prefer to focus on social activity. They typically emphasise the "liberation" of the individual from unchosen forms of national identity, family life, sexuality, gender etc. They are more supportive of the idea of state planning over the economy and society than right liberals.

Usually, most of the political debate in the West is between right and left liberals. Even though they share a common philosophical starting point they still often see each other passionately as the enemy.

Paul Kingsnorth is a young British writer. He is a left-liberal, though more opposed to the role of the state than most on the left. He has written a column for the Melbourne Age (The Citizens of Nowhere 20/9/03) which is interesting in the way it goes beyond the usual distinction between left and right liberalism.

In part the column follows the usual pattern. Kingsnorth, as you would expect of a left liberal, hammers the enemy (right liberals) for their focus on the individual as an economic unit.

Kingsnorth chooses, for instance, to criticise Bill Emmott, editor of The Economist, by claiming that Emmott's version of progress is "posited on turning everyone on earth into a wap-wielding, choice-chasing consumer, drifting through a global pleasure garden in which each place is much like every other and everything is for sale".

It's usually difficult for a conservative to remain patient with these kind of left liberal attacks on right liberalism. It's not because conservatives can't see some truth in the claims. Conservatives don't want a society based on a shallow consumerism any more than left liberals.

The problem is that left liberals usually remain blind to the way that they themselves have prepared the way for a consumeristic, materialistic, globalised culture. After all, it is the left who have led the charge to break down alternative standards of culture based on national traditions, a stable family life, accepted standards of morality and so on.

Having "deconstructed" such traditions, it seems a bit naive for the left to then complain when the gap is filled by a shallow commercial culture.

Kingsnorth, though, is different. He is willing to admit that the left has contributed to the rise of a globalised, commercial culture. He says of the supporters of globlisation that:

it is not just The Economist reading right who swell their ranks ... While the neo-liberal [ie right liberal] citizens of nowhere celebrate the birth of a global market ... another group, the liberal [ie left liberal] citizens of nowhere help them along...

Nor does Kingsnorth see this as being only a recent phenomenon. He notes that:

For longer than a century, sections of the idealistic left have dreamt of a world made up ... of "global citizens" casting off the chains of geography and nationality

Kingsnorth gives the particular example of the left-wing novelist H.G. Wells who in 1933 encouraged "modern-minded people" to reject traditional governments and to "make over the world into a great world civilisation."

Kingsnorth is to be congratulated, therefore, on his clear-sighted recognition that left-liberals, in wanting to be "unrestrained" by national traditions, have helped pave the way for right-liberal economic globalisers.

Which leaves one final question. How does Kingsnorth choose to oppose the globalism of both left and right liberals? Remarkably, Kingsnorth takes a conservative approach. He views the attempt to break down traditional forms of connectedness in order to create an unrestrained, unimpeded individual as creating not true liberty, but an unhappy rootlessness and alienation.

This is implied, firstly, in his description of the new global class:

Rootless, technocratic, unburdened by the baggage of locality or the complications of history, they exist in every nation but feel attached to none.

It is more explicit in the following comments:

It has long been a touchstone of "progress" that place, and attachment to it, is an anachronism ... Barriers are broken down by the mass media, technology and trade laws. Rootless, we gain freedom, placeless, we belong everywhere. Yet placelessness and rootlessness create not contentment but despair...

The rising tide of this global progress, we are told, will lift all boats. The trouble is that some of our boats are anchored; anchored by place, tradition, identity, a sense of belonging...

...the citizens of nowhere ultimately inhabit an empty world ... Disconnected from reality, they can make decisions that destroy real places, to which people are connected, at the stroke of a pen.

The rest of us can join the citizens of nowhere in their empire of the placeless, or we can build new relationships with our own landscapes and our own communities. We can build on our pasts or dismiss them ...

As you might guess, Kingsnorth, coming as he does from the left, is not very reliable in his conservatism. I took the trouble to read a book he has recently published called One No, Many Yeses. It was disappointingly orthodox in its left-liberalism (or more exactly left-libertarianism).

Still, I think he's to be congratulated for the approach taken in the newspaper article. He has thought his way through to a more consistent opposition to globalisation than most left-wing writers.

(First published at Conservative Central 26/01/2004)

Do women need protecting?

When I was in my mid-20s and looking for Miss Right I observed a troubling phenomenon. Many women seemed to be rejecting the kind of men they could have serious relationships with. It was as if you would be rewarded as a man if you showed yourself to be an addict, or a player: you had to find some way to prove that you were ineligible for a long term relationship.

It's the kind of observation you can never be sure about and which you usually keep to yourself. Still, I've seen evidence at times that tends to confirm what I thought the situation to be. The most recent proof comes from the pen of Sarah Wilson, a journalist for the Melbourne Herald Sun. In an article (18/1/04) about modern relationships she confesses that,

For the greater part of my mid-20s my love life consisted of a gnarly string of dalliances with inappropriate men.

This was no stroke of bad luck; I would handpick them according to their dysfunctionality...

Every one of them epitomised what I was not after in a relationship. Which meant that I would never fall for them and get hurt.

Sarah Wilson admits though that her strategy of avoiding hurt didn't work,

If I were to be honest with myself, I'd say the "not quite relationship" is impossible to pull off once you hit your 20s ... when it ends, being dumped, is being dumped.

It's also impossible to invest energy─emotionally or sexually─in a bloke and not give part of yourself ... [it] always ends in tears.

It doesn't really surprise me that Sarah Wilson chose inappropriate men as boyfriends to try to cushion the blow of relationship breakups. The romantic aspirations that young women nurse seem to be especially vulnerable to disappointment or betrayal.

There is some confirmation of this in a recent British study on relationships and mental health. The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health concluded that "Enduring first partnerships were associated with good mental health ... partnership splits were associated with poorer mental health ... Women seemed more adversely affected by multiple partnership transitions and to take longer to recover from partnership splits than men."

Looking back

Perhaps what has happened in recent years helps to explain why things were arranged differently in earlier times.

We've seen above how modern girl Sarah Wilson, having become used to falling for men and then getting hurt, responded defensively by dating only the most dysfunctional men she thought she could never fall for.

In the nineteenth century there was some attempt to protect young women from casual relationships. One positive result of this is that the Sarah Wilson's of that era did not have to protect themselves emotionally by consorting with inappropriate men.

In fact, the rewards went to functional men. There was even a saying in the nineteenth century that "Beauty in a wife is a reward for goodness in a husband". There was, in other words, an encouragement for men to follow their better instincts.


Could we be more protective of young women in our own times? The main problem in doing so is that it goes against basic liberal principles.

Liberals want people to be self-created by their individual reason and will. This means that for a liberal it is important that people be unimpeded to act as they desire. It also means that liberals don't like to recognise the influence of gender on men and women.

Therefore, it's difficult in a society dominated by liberalism to argue for a policy based on the specific nature of women and which implies that there needs to be some limitation on, or direction to, individual behaviour.

Even so, it's important for both men and women that we do become more protective of young women. Although the romantic instinct in men and women is natural and strong, it won't survive everything.

It is a warning sign when women start to deliberately choose dysfunctional men as boyfriends that the romantic instincts of women are under excessive stress.

We should be concerned to protect young women so that they can sustain their romantic feelings to an age at which they are settling into lasting relationships with men.

(First published at Conservative Central 19/01/2004)

Saturday, April 09, 2005

What's unbelievable in Spanish?

Oh boy! Now it's the turn of the Spanish. A new law in Spain will make sharing housework part of the marriage contract for men.

To be honest, I don't know if this will change much in practice, but it shows the fanaticism of the political class in their efforts to wipe out traditional gender roles.

Imagine the romance of a Spanish wedding! What a day of political fulfilment! The sheer feminist joy of promising to be a good boy and to uphold the feminist credo.

Compulsory feminism in Norway

How do you like this. Laila Daavoey, who is the Norwegian Children and Family Affairs Minister (of all things!) has announced that Norway will simply shut down companies which don't recruit at least 40% of women to their boards.

Typical of left-liberals to use state enforced quotas. Right-liberals would have been more subtle.

Why the insistence that company boards have more women? Liberals think that individuals should be self-created. It's the first principle of their religion. Therefore, they hate the idea that gender might influence the course of our lives, as this is something we don't get to choose.

So when liberals see more men on company boards, they refuse to consider the idea that men, via their masculine drives, might be there because of a greater motivation, interest and commitment. Instead, they assume that men are there because of some artificially imposed inequality, which it is the government's duty to overcome.

Meanwhile, in neighbouring Sweden, a new feminist party has been established. However, one of its founders, Susanne Linde, has been questioned for taking advantage of Sweden's remarkably lax welfare system. For the past five years, Mrs Linde has been claiming sickness benefit for being "burnt out". This benefit actually increased her income by over one third, from 200,000 to 330,000 kronor.

When asked whether she thought it right to gain such an advantage from welfare, Mrs Linde claimed to be unaware of her personal finances, which she left to her husband to handle, including the tax returns. Some feminist! I wonder if she is the kind of feminist quota material soon to be imported onto Norwegian company boards.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Are there limits?

I found the following letter in this month's Melbourne's Child magazine. In it, a mother eloquently describes the effect of fatherlessness on her three-year-old daughter. She writes,

Last night as she sobbed due to fatigue and other issues I can only guess at, she cried for her father. She told me she missed him and accused me of forgetting to ring him ... Just before throwing herself into my arms, she tearfully declared that she just wanted a daddy.

As you can imagine, the burden of your child's confusion and pain is intolerable. Although I try to dilute it through honest communication, plenty of physical and emotional love, tough love where it is required, and contact with as many other loving role models as possible, it does not compensate for the loss of a bond that was criticial to her.

Everyone says she will survive due to my efforts and her character. Why should she have to survive? Her God-given right to a father who chose to have her was something she should have taken for granted.

My ex-husband lives interstate, which means she sees him at most every eight weeks. He left his first wife when his son was three years old. He left me when our daughter was two and I was five weeks pregnant ... his new partner [is] about to give birth to his son.

My feelings in all this are mostly irrelevant. I am an adult and I will move on. What concerns me is the lack of any mechanism in our community to control this sort of behaviour. Surely we must be accountable for the children who are brought into the world and then abandoned due to a self-serving quest for greater happiness and satisfaction.

No-one expects families to stay together in abusive situations, but in all other cases, surely it is incumbent on those who stood in front of witnesses and swore to love each other in sickness and health ... to exhaust every avenue to protect the family unit ...

I hear the outraged cries from the civil libertarians and the exponents of freedom to make choices and follow our hearts, but what about the hearts of our children? I am tired of watching my child's heart breaking due to a narcissist who continues with impunity to disrupt the lives of children and is unlikely to stop.

What is especially impressive about the letter is that it clearly identifies one of the main reasons for high rates of divorce in the West: the (liberal) idea that the highest value in life is an individual freedom to choose.

If unimpeded individual choice overrides all other values, then the decision to choose divorce can be seen as an act of freedom or liberation.

But, as the mother points out in her letter, perhaps it's not enough to focus only on individual choice. Isn't keeping our promises an important value in its own right? Isn't our parental responsibility to our own children an important value?

It seems to me that the idea of individual freedom of choice as an overriding moral value is hopelessly misconceived and that, if anything, morality means setting limits to what we can and cannot rightly choose.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Playing nicely

Women today aren't supposed to be feminine. We live in a liberal society and the first principle of liberalism is that we become human when we create who we are through our own choices: through our individual will and reason. A traditional gender identity is not something that we choose, it's simply inherited. Therefore it takes on a negative connotation in a liberal society; it comes to be seen as an oppressive impediment to our individual freedom to choose our own identity.

So, we have a generation of women brought up to believe that traditional femininity is somehow oppressive to women.

At a practical level, this wreaks havoc in relationships between men and women. After all, heterosexual men, by definition, are going to be attracted to the feminine qualities of women. If women are too successful in denying these qualities, men will understandably be left confused and less willing to commit to relationships.

Toby Green is a relationships psychologist who recognises the damage done to relationships by the denial of traditional gender qualities. In her latest column she writes,

Nick said he was throwing in the towel. Women were now officially in the "too hard basket". The latest problem was asking a woman in a pub if he could buy her a drink only to be told to "p--- off".

Nick said he'd tried to adjst to the "new woman" and was no longer confused. He just didn't like them.

Being a female has become a serious business. It's as though women have been militarised into believing that femininity is sissy, they've even giving up on the art of flirting.

Psychology practices are bursting with single women in their 30s asking "How do I find a man?" These are successful, attractive and smart women. But what they're missing is the soft, sensual side ...

Some of the women saying they want to find a man don't know how to play the game, or refuse to play it.

Toby Green goes even further down the path of conservatism later in the article. She talks about how difficult it is to simply switch gender roles because of the existence of an "inherent psychology" of man, existing as part of a "human nature".

In other words, she openly rejects the liberal idea that we are "blank slates" and that we therefore simply make up who we are as we go along. Instead, she agrees with conservatives (and modern science) that qualities of manhood and womanhood are hardwired into us and are therefore difficult to change.

Conservatives, who don't share the liberal first principle, have no reason for wanting to obliterate the differences between men and women. What we want to do is to work with human nature, rather than against it, by encouraging the best masculine qualities in men and the best feminine qualities in women.

Overall, we like gender difference. We wouldn't be heterosexual if we didn't. We want our women to be attractively feminine as we find much to admire and love in a genuinely feminine woman.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Raising character?

It's a hundred years since the children's classic The Railway Children was first serialised. The Age yesterday marked the occasion with a fascinating account of the author's life.

Edith Nesbit was not only an author of children's books, she was also a founding member, together with her husband, of the Fabian Society. The Fabians began as revolutionary socialists, but achieved considerably more influence as reformist left-liberals. Broadly speaking, they have been intellectual standard bearers for social democratic parties like the Australian Labor Party.

The earliest recorded goal of the Fabians was to form "an association whose ultimate aim shall be the reconstruction of Society in accordance with the highest moral possibilities" and that the object would be "the cultivation of a perfect character in each and all."

These are high sounding, if utopian, aims. Unfortunately, the Fabians were a long way from cultivating a perfect character, as the life story of Edith Nesbitt makes clear.

Her story goes like this: her future husband and fellow Fabian founder, Hubert Bland, first achieved fatherhood by impregnating a friend of his mother. He then impregnated Edith and married her two months before the birth of the child. However, even after marriage he continued to live with his mother for part of the week, while Edith fended for herself.

He then impregnated the secretary of the Fabians, one of Edith's friends, Alice Hoatson, who came to live with the family in a menage a trois. Edith herself had numerous affairs.

Eventually, Edith made a lot of money through her books, and the household moved to an imposing mansion of 30 rooms with a number of servants, in spite of their supposed Fabian commitment to achieving human equality in a classless society.

Edith did not get on well with her own children, despite achieving fame as a writer of children's books, and her son Paul, like many children of middle class bohemians, was to eventually take his own life.

Hardly a monument to the character raising effects of liberal politics. The men and women who founded Fabianism wanted to achieve human perfection, but seemingly lacked the moral values to act decently within their own private lives.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

We can't win the diversity game

There's a profile in today's Age of comedian Akmal Saleh, an Egyptian Christian who migrated to Australia as a boy. Akmal has this to say about the political leadership of America and Australia:

President Bush makes me angry. I find the Middle East (situation) overwhelming. I think Bush is a fanatic. He's extreme, ethnocentric. America is almost Third Reich Germany. It's frightening seeing the power of the Christian Right. I think John Howard is also scary.

Now, there's a lesson to be learnt here. George Bush and John Howard are the very opposite of ethnocentric. You might even call them ethnophobic (have I coined a new term here?). George Bush wants to accept millions of illegal immigrants in America and John Howard has raised foreign immigration to record levels in Australia. They are both going beyond any normal political expectations to undermine the interests (in fact the very existence) of their own ethnic group.

And yet Akmal Saleh, an immigrant who has had money and fame conferred upon him in his new country, does not praise Bush and Howard as great ethnic diversifiers. In fact he calls them ethnocentric extremists and compares them to Nazis.

So white men like Bush and Howard can never win the diversity game. They'll never win kudos from the Akmal Salehs of this world for sacrificing their own ethnic traditions in favour of diversity. Even if they were to start wearing turbans or worshipping in Hindu temples they would still be scary white guy bogeymen to the likes of Akmal Saleh.