Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hawke: we should admire illegals

You wouldn't want Bob Hawke protecting your borders. The former Labor PM had this to say on the issue of illegal arrivals:

He also said there was no way to "stop the boats" as Mr Abbott had promised.

"We’re all bloody boat people," Mr Hawke said. "That’s how we found the place."

Mr Hawke said he understood the frustration of many voters at "queue jumpers", but said "we have to look at the other side of the coin".

He said the Coalition’s approach to the boat people question was "nonsense".

"We cannot turn the boats back," Mr Hawke said.

"These people have got initiative, guts and courage and Australia needs people like that."

The last bit is interesting. Those who are politically liberal, like Hawke, often see illegal immigrants in very positive terms, as showing ideal qualities. Why would they do this?

It goes back to the basic liberal world view. Let's say you believe that what matters is living an autonomous life. Who are you likely to think best represents this ideal? The Westerner who follows lawfully his own inherited culture and way of life or the Middle-Easterner who flies to Indonesia and pays a people smuggler to land him on Australian territory in order to enjoy the benefits of an Australian lifestyle?

The Middle-Easterner might well seem to better fit the liberal ideal. After all, he has done two things that make him fit the ideal of autonomy. First, he has acted to self-determine his life circumstances in a way that the loyal Westerner has not - he has dared to break the law and travel the seas to do so. Second, he has chosen "rationally" (in the liberal scheme of things) to enhance his autonomy by shifting to a more prosperous Western democratic country, where he will have more resources to pursue his individually chosen autonomous lifestyle.

So to the liberal mind, even though the illegal has jumped the queue, there's likely to be a respect toward him for doing so. He is acting in an ideal way compared to the ordinary citizen.

Most people don't think this way, as they don't share the underlying liberal philosophy. For traditionalists, it is not only autonomy that matters. Our membership of a common tradition, one based on kinship, language, history, religion and culture also matters. So for us, open borders are not to be welcomed and those who illegally cross borders for lifestyle purposes are not to be admired. We are more likely to look up to those who loyally contribute to a tradition they belong to or one that they can realistically assimilate to.

There's one other issue worth raising here. Liberals like Hawke think that autonomy is the key good and that there's more of it on offer in Australia than elsewhere. But if autonomy is what fundamentally makes us human, how can they bear the inequality of Australians having more autonomy than others?

They can't easily do so, which is one reason they are committed to programmes of mass immigration.

I'll put this another way. Let's say you believe that autonomy as the key human good must be distributed as equally as possible. Therefore, it should be distributed equally among the citizens of the state. But on what grounds should it not be distributed equally as well to non-citizens? What justification can be made for limiting equal distribution to citizens?

Liberals really struggle with this. Hawke himself once suggested that you could morally distinguish an Australian citizen from a non-citizen by the fact that the Australian citizen contributed taxes whereas the non-citizen did not:

An Australian is someone who chooses to live here, obey the law and pays taxes

But his successor, Paul Keating, didn't like making any such distinction between citizens and non-citizens. He railed against the "exclusiveness" of any such distinction based on citizenship as it involved,

constructing arbitrary and parochial distinctions between the civic and the human community ... if you ask what is the common policy of the Le Pens, the Terreblanches, Hansons and Howards of this world, in a word, it is “citizenship”. Who is in and who is out.

If you think this way, what can you do to make distribution equal to all? You can move toward a system of world government, but that's not yet in place. So you might instead think it moral to accept as many people into the liberal West as possible. Which, unfortunately, is what Tony Abbott initially committed himself to in his earlier stance on immigration:

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

Again, traditionalists don't have this problem. We don't see autonomy as the sole good in life, nor as the good which defines our humanity. We therefore believe that someone living in a less wealthy or less democratic country can still have a worthwhile life based on such goods as family, community, religion, nature, art, culture and so on. Furthermore, as we believe that forms of communal identity are so important, we don't think the best solution to material inequality is to transfer populations but rather to work towards development in those countries requiring it.

Finally, there's a larger point to be drawn from all this. In the short term we are stuck with a liberal political elite and we have to try to influence politics within this limitation. But we won't ever get back to a really healthy state of affairs until we begin to have politicians who don't hold the underlying assumptions of liberalism. Our larger aim has to be a shift in political ideas, even as we attempt to deal with the political problems thrown our way by an ascendant liberalism.


  1. They are not "boat people", a treacherous and puerile solecism thoughtlessly adopted by Australian patriots to disguise the motive of their opposition, these maritime vagrants are aliens. Their admission into this country is the consequence of public laxity, the government is controlled by white-hating rascals and the corporate managers long for the revival of slave labour, if only to depress white workers' wages.

    Keating and Hawke, as well as Whitlam, began the transformation of the Labor Party from the advocates of ordinary white Australian workers' welfare against oligarchic abuse and Asiatic rivalry, into the instrument of the displacement of these same people.

    What would Curtin, Chifley or Calwell judge of Gillard? An unwed, childless, unpitying Medusa who so despises the unity and happiness of her people that she promotes their being deprived of gainful manual work in factories and shops, endangered in their enjoyment of domestic safety, and of being supplanted by dark, inscrutable pygmy foreigners from India or Eritrea.

    Keir Hardie would be shocked, I imagine, to perceive that an aristocratic Imperialist might presume to call herself a Labor politician.

  2. "We’re all bloody boat people," Mr Hawke said. "That’s how we found the place."

    No Bob. Years of living as a lecherous, leather-skinned adulterer have blighted your mind's health.

    The Melanesian blacks were the aborigines of Australia (thus acquiring that name), those descended from British stock (75% of Australians) were colonists from the lawful sovereign power governing Australia, and the Dutch, Italians, Greeks, Germans, etc (another 15%) invited hither were free-born white settlers who upon admission were expected to speedily adopt English language and manners, provide for themselves and kin by work, and defend Australia from hostile invasions. No "boat people" in sight.

  3. I'm watching House Hunters right now and this guy who moved from Ecuador to the US as a kid, is now moving back for retirement with his American wife.

    He's sobbing over how much he has missed Ecuador (which bears an unusual resemblance to slum-filled Los Angeles...the people make the place!!!)...He's not an American, he never wanted to be an American, he was uprooted from his people and culture as a child and has never recovered.

    I don't feel sorry for him as he's the enemy that is working against me here in the US...but his emotions are real...

    Immigration is unhealthy and should not be ruptures peoples psyches (especially children)....People want to rebuild their homes, cultures in the new place, to the detriment of the natives.

    There's more to life than individual autonomy, and freedom I hate to say.....especially for non-whites....Non-whites aren't like us freedom loving whites....They want to be surrounded by their culture and people (even if it does resemble a's their pig-sty)

  4. Anon, I journeyed to a genuinely multicultural suburb of Melbourne today - one which was divided fairly evenly between people of different origins: Anglos, other Europeans, Chinese, Africans, Muslim Middle-Easterners, Polynesians.

    It was radically "unhomely". I actually feel more comfortable in suburbs which have been entirely overtaken by one particular group, since there is at least some kind of cultural flavour to such places.

    And, yes, I wondered why the immigrants living there would want to remain there, in a place without any culture to feel connected to, let alone their own culture.

    So I do understand the motives of the Ecuadorian in moving back home. The problem for us of course is that we don't have this option. The best that we can do is to find suburbs or towns that are less affected by the transformation and to organise opposition to the political orthodoxy creating the problem in the first place.

  5. Tony Abbott said...

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

    Well, my instinct is that Tony Abbott must be a complete fool.

    Mr Abbott's remark begs the question, does he have an instinct for the preservation of our culture? Or is everything our country stands for to be subverted to the holy grail of never-ending expansion of gross domestic product at any cost to our nation's sense of community, identity and belonging?

    If we run an immigration program that is 75% Non-European - as it is now - and we run it at record levels ad infinitum - as we are doing now - will there be any "freedom" or "benefits" of life in Australia left to share with newcomers?

    Mark, I can appreciate what you are saying about "unhomeliness". The pace of change in Melbourne in the past decade and half has been dramatic. But what is even more astonishing is that we have allowed successive governments to get away with it.

  6. "we have to look at the other side of the coin"


    The people who live in the country have no obligation whatsoever to consider the feelings or needs of people who do NOT live in the country but would like to.

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

    Just north of you are several billion Asians. Got room for an appreciable fraction of them?

  7. "We’re all bloody boat people," Mr Hawke said. "That’s how we found the place."

    Are we to assume, then, that Mr. Hawke is an advocate of total open borders?

    If so, he is advocating the abolition of the Australian nation-state as we know it.

    I journeyed to a genuinely multicultural suburb of Melbourne today - one which was divided fairly evenly between people of different origins: Anglos, other Europeans, Chinese, Africans, Muslim Middle-Easterners, Polynesians.

    It was radically "unhomely".

    With multiculturalism, nobody feels at home.

  8. Driven by an ideology that justifies their financial interests, Australian elites in business, politics, and academia have embarked on a course to open Australia up to massive, unrelenting immigration from the Third World.

    Why have we allowed this to happen?

    What lie could be big enough to trick long-standing Australians into willingly surrendering their heritage and homeland to Third World immigrant colonisers?

    Why is this country’s political establishment so totally devoid of patriots prepared to take the steps necessary to limit immigration and reclaim control over Australia’s demographic and cultural future?

    Finally, what will Australia look like in a century, if drastic steps are not taken now to preserve traditional Australia’s identity, culture and heritage?

  9. Ultimately a country has to have a numerically dominant ethnicity, or at least numerically dominant number of people speaking a particular language and respecting a particular religion, otherwise it will literally fall apart.

    Brazil is one of the few examples we have of a country without a clear racial majority, and its not an enviable prospect by western standards - high crime, high inequality, high levels of corruption, a mediocre economy and poor management of abundant natural resources. However, Brazil is still at least united by a common language and religion. Given the way most western countries are going, some may not even be as united as as a comparatively messed-up country like Brazil.

    Although, we don't know for sure what a western country with a non-white majority will look like, it seems unlikely it will have low levels of inequality, an efficient welfare state, low corruption, low crime and good management of natural resources as there is no large, fully multicultural state which satisfies these criteria.

    Do liberals, especially progressive ones who claim to be concerned with the plight working class, really want to throw all this away?