Friday, November 25, 2016

Australian Immigration Minister: mistakes were made

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has sparked controversy by saying that Prime Minister Fraser made a mistake in the 1970s by overriding departmental advice and allowing Lebanese Muslim refugees to come to Australia. Officials in the Immigration Department warned Mr Fraser that the largely uneducated, rural Muslim refugees would struggle to fit into Australia and might bring some of the violence common in their homeland to Australia.

As it happens, two thirds of those connected to terrorism in Australia are Lebanese Muslims; there has been a wave of crime gang related shootings amongst Lebanese Muslim communities in Sydney and Melbourne; 20% of Lebanese migrants still cannot speak English; many of those recruited to fight for ISIS have come from this community; and Lebanese Muslims are four times more likely to be on the disability pension than the general population.

So, although there have been some success stories as well, the department officials had a point.

What I'd like to focus on, though, is the bigger picture of what happens when you bring diverse groups of refugees to Western countries (i.e. refugees from very different backgrounds to the host country). For instance, one leader of the Muslim Lebanese community, Mostafa Rochwani, replied angrily to Dutton that it was Australians who pushed the Lebanese refugees into violence and crime:
These communities have faced cultural, political, economic and physical violence from a society that was hostile to any kind of encroachment on their grip on what it means to be Australian...Whether it is expressed in gang violence or in foreign fighters, these people are inherently just seeking what society was unwilling to provide them: their humanity, their worth being recognised.

Is the problem not obvious? Rochwani is saying that the price for integrating Lebanese Muslims is for the existing population to give up on their own sense of what it means to be an Australian. We have to give up our own identity, so that the refugees can then feel more included.

And, in a sense, he is right. It is human nature for people to want to feel a sense of identity and belonging in the society they live in. If you bring in people who are radically different ethnically, then you have an issue. Either the newcomers have to miss out in terms of identifying with the larger community, or else the existing population does. Someone has to lose out.

This is less of a problem for liberal whites, as they are committed ideologically to the idea of identifying only with themselves as individuals - although in practice they do seek out communities of white liberals to live amongst. But for most Westerners having to give up on their own identity, so that Lebanese Muslims are not radicalised, is not a great situation to be in.

That's why the whole project of flying refugees around the world to live in the suburbs of Western cities is a misguided one. It is part of a liberal denial of human nature.

One more example. Dutton was attacked in Parliament by Australia's first female Muslim MP, Anne Aly. Aly was self-conscious when she was a girl of not looking the same as others:
Australia's first Muslim woman elected to Parliament, the counter-terrorism expert said she had become aware of her own status as a minority at the age of six or seven.

Wondering why she didn't have a Barbie doll that looked like her, she was told by her mother thinking too much would make her go crazy

Anne Aly has been given every advantage in the Western world (a high flying career as an academic, employment as a government expert, a columnist for several leading newspapers, and now an MP) but she still does not identify with the Western tradition because she was self-conscious of looking different. And so she says things like "Let's disrupt, let's destroy the joint."

Again, the only way to make her feel better is for the traditional white Western populations to no longer exist in such numbers. Only then will those like Anne Aly no longer feel like a minority outsider. It is once again a terrible situation that Westerners have been put in by liberal immigration policies - go under, so that Muslim girls don't feel like they belong to a minority which looks different.

Anne Aly responding to Peter Dutton

One final point. In some ways, the politics of the left is forming around this dynamic. It was noticeable during the American elections that younger minority activists looked to white politicians like Hillary Clinton as their "allies" against the white majority. It puts the white leftists in an unusual situation. They are temporarily useful to those who see themselves as the new America, but they won't serve the same function in the longer term - they won't be needed anymore. If the white liberal left wins, and the demographic trends continue, then a tipping point will be reached at which the minority activists will feel confident that they can get the job done by themselves, without the need for the leadership of white liberals. Where then will the future Clintons of the world fit in on the left? In other words, if the point of leftist politics is to represent non-white activists against the white majority, then what will happen ultimately to the white left? They will not be natural leaders of this movement, not in the longer term. They are temporary stand-ins.


  1. Mistakes were made, now you and those complicit in the bureaucracy and elsewhere need to be rooted out and made to PAY, in prison, money and punishment.

    There's no damn way 'sorry' is going to be enough. Because this is a crime, not a policy option.

    1. Fraser is such an odd character. The problems with the Lebanese Muslim community were evident by 2007 when The Australian newspaper ran a story about it. The newspaper story mentioned how concerned the Cabinet and the Department had been about changing normal eligibility rules to bring in the Lebanese Muslims. Fraser overruled them and then 30 years later said that he was not responsible for anything bad happening, it was all the fault of the wider Australian community:

      "From my point of view, I think the education system and the community have got to take a pretty fair part of the blame (for current problems)," Mr Fraser said. "If there were known to be problems in relation to the Lebanese, maybe the very pertinent question is: why weren't some special efforts made to ward off future difficulties?"

      So in Fraser's view:
      1. It was OK for him as PM to push for a policy that everyone else predicted would cause troubles
      2. But then the people on the ground in Australia should have known that it was going to cause troubles and take preventative action
      3. Therefore the blame goes not to himself as the architect of the policy but to ordinary school teachers and other members of the local community for not "warding off" the problem.

      There is a lack of connection to reality here, both in his denial of responsibility and his belief that some technocratic measure in a school might have avoided the bad outcomes.

      Newspaper source:

    2. Fraser is such an odd character.

      After the lunacy of the Whitlam years Fraser was elected in a landslide because Australians thought they were getting another Menzies - a sensible pragmatic moderate centrist. What they got was a wild-eyed idealist who had not only drunk deeply of the liberal Kool-Aid - he'd drained the glass and asked for another.

      Fraser's tenure as prime minister marked the beginnings of two fatal course changes in Australian politics - towards vicious short-sighted far-right economic policies and towards far-left social policies.

      Fraser managed the impossible - he actually did more harm than Whitlam.

    3. Yes, sad to say, your last line is true. Whitlam did many bad things for the country, but Fraser managed to be even worse.

    4. It was ironic that Muslims started the Lebanese war when both Muslim and Christians and other had been living together in harmony for ages. The militants took control of who could leave Lebanon and guess what, we got nothing but the persecutors.

  2. It's already happening. A black Bernie Sanders spokeswoman recently publicly stated "we don't need white people leading the Democratic party right now."

    Also, I think that white liberals see themselves as being of the same people as nonwhites, if only subconsciously; they think of white liberals plus nonwhites as "our people," as "us," with nonliberal whites of course being "them." They are in for a rude awakening as nonwhites gain greater power and reveal that of course they do not see whites, liberal or non-liberal, as members of the same people as themselves.

    1. Interesting - I didn't think it would begin so quickly. But I'm not totally surprised as the energy, and the political logic, on the left is pushing towards this outcome. I wonder what the reaction of white leftists will be if this picks up steam? I don't mean ordinary, semi-political left-wing white people, but the activist types. If they have no future leadership role in the Democratic party, what will they do?

  3. The Second World War taught two indisputable lessons: race is, or could be, dynamite; ditto religion. And ever since, Western politicians have ignored these lessons. Some, no doubt, were acting for the USSR but obviously many weren't. All very odd.