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How to deal with terrorism

November 8th, 2005

Sixteen people have been arrested in Sydney and Melbourne and charged with terrorism offences. While the individuals involved are legally entitled to a presumption of innocence, the police were right to act when faced with evidence suggesting a threat.

What’s important here is that the threat has been dealt with under criminal law, rather than through the use of arbitrary powers of secret detention, as proposed in the new anti-terror laws. Moreover, it appears that the offences created by the 2002 legislation are sufficient to encompass a wide range of terrorist activities. By contrast, it’s hard to imagine how the revival of the notion of sedition in the 1914 Crimes act could have proved useful in this, or any similar case.

It appears that the amendments passed by the Parliament last week were used in framing some of the charges, and certainly the general tenor of the changes seemed reasonable enough. On the other hand, it’s not clear that a major public announcement was a good idea. The fact that one of the suspects was armed and allegedly fired on police may have reflected advance warning. It’s not clear whether it would have been feasible to pass the amendments quietly, then proceed with the arrests and charges, but some of the police quoted (off-the-record) over the weekend seemed to think so. Still, these issues are largely academic (in the pejorative sense) now.

The new and amorphous features of the terrorist threat we now face may well create the need to define criminal offences more broadly before. But they shouldn’t be the basis for granting arbitrary powers to the secret services or the executive government, apparently based on nothing more than an ambit claim wishlist.

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  1. davey
    November 9th, 2005 at 20:32 | #1

    Sometimes people who rail against the elites (so-called or otherwise) remind me of Alf from Home and Away banging on about those flamin’ idiots! while the surf club canteen quietly goes broke.

  2. November 9th, 2005 at 20:43 | #2

    A question for Pr Q:

    Why do Australian citizens, born and bred in Australia, want to mass-murder other Australian citizens?

  3. James Farrell
    November 9th, 2005 at 21:03 | #3

    Let’s ask Martin Bryant. I wonder if he reads this blog.

  4. November 9th, 2005 at 21:15 | #4

    James Farrell Says: November 9th, 2005 at 9:03 pm

    Let’s ask Martin Bryant.

    Does James Farrell believes Australia’s ethnic settlement program is breeding a generation of swine on a par with a psycho-killer?

    Or is he just foolin’?

  5. November 9th, 2005 at 21:31 | #5

    Broken leg Says: November 9th, 2005 at 7:48 pm

    Curse those intellectuals. it is much better to let people in the pub, taxi drivers, talk back callers, and hairdressers to determine public policy. Those people are the real experts!

    Considering what a mess cultural elites have made of culture over the past generation I would rather put my money on the cultural populus.

    It seems that the more cultural elites make contemporary culture, the worse it gets. The cultural professionals have given us the post-modern Yartz with all its attendant horrors. And the cultural politicals have given us multiculturalism. Say no more.

    “I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University.�

    —William F. Buckley Jr.,

  6. Ros
    November 9th, 2005 at 22:12 | #6

    Ender, Keelty was interviewed by Kerry O’Brien last night and he spoke a lot about the difficulty of that decision. Some follows

    “It’s a tension between when is the most appropriate time to intervene to maximise the evidence before the court or when is the opportune time to protect the community and how do we deliver the balance on that tension?â€?

    “but of course one thing that certainly the parliament can’t dictate is just how long we would let this go. That had to be dictated by the actions of the – alleged actions of the people involved and of course that also combined to help the decision makers – and it’s a risk-management decision. They are not easy decisions and they are heavily weighted decisions, in terms of the consequences of not acting.â€?

    http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2005/s1500746.htm

  7. Michael H.
    November 9th, 2005 at 22:50 | #7

    Earlier I said this bent for using “elites” and “intellectuals” was about denigrating ideas that you don’t like. That isn’t really true -it’s more about denigrating the people who have ideas you don’t like, otherwise it would be enough to say ‘idea x is flawed because….’, but referring to cultural elites must be more satisfying.

    James Farrell has a point – born and bred Australians are killing other Australians all the time. Is there a good reason to argue that one type of killing is especially worse than another?

  8. Dogz
    November 10th, 2005 at 05:13 | #8

    oh well, problem with the softwar, third try, Terje-style:

    Quote[JQ]:

    “I particularly like usages like “so-called intellectualâ€? or “pseudo-intellectualâ€?. The user vaguely recognises that intellectuals are necessary, but would like it much better if the actual intellectuals could be counted on to agree with whatever party line they want them to stick to.”

    Response:

    That’s a convenient interpretation, but I couldn’t care less whether the intellectuals agree with my party line.

    The “intellectual elite� (pejorative) are characterized by the predictability of their opinions, their relatively unthinking adherence to a predominately leftist ideology, and their indignation that anyone would question their intellectual authority or the validity of any of their herd of sacred cows. They take their views as given and in no need of justification.

    They hate Howard and the Liberals for questioning/ignoring their authority, and they especially loathe the electorate for putting the Liberals in power, for it exposes their agenda for the undemocratic sham that it is.

    None of this would be an issue (after all, there are bigots in all walks of life), if not for the fact that such people occupy a large portion of the positions of influence within the public sector.

  9. James Farrell
    November 10th, 2005 at 06:25 | #9

    So it’s not because they disagree with your opinions that they’re pseudo-intellectuals: it just happens that they do. It would be a bit suspicious, though, as I’m sure you’d agree, if a hundred percent of them happened to be people whose convictions are different from yours. Therefore, you ought to be able to name at least one pseudo-intellecual who matches all your criteria (elitist, unthinking, indignant, etc.), but who’s at the same time right instead of left, and a lover rather than hater of Howard.

  10. Katz
    November 10th, 2005 at 08:02 | #10

    Even though Dogz would be inclined to disbelieve it, intellectuals (and probably even pseudo-intellectuals) put their trousers (or panties) on one leg at a time.

    In other words, intellectuals tend to be just folks too. And their opinions on matters of “right or wrong” are no more valid than anyone else’s. Intellectuals, however, tend to be better at coming up with more valid answers to questions of “can or can’t”. Although this is not always the case. Witness the recent crashing and burning of the neo-cons, intellectuals par excellence and the “Brightest and Best” of the Bush interregnum.

    There are a few habits of mind that intellectuals tend to avoid, which are prevalent among those folks who tend to see red when the subject of “intellectualism”. These habits of mind aid intellectuals in arriving at workable “can or can’t” answers.

    One of the more important of these habits of mind is the avoidance of the fallacy of composition. This fallacy posits the notion that if a solution to a perceived problem is good for a sub-group in a population then it is good for the entire population. Think about everyone running to one side of a small boat to avoid a large crocodile in the water.

    Thinking conceptually — the province of the intellectual — provides a means to avoid this, and other, logical fallacies.

    And Dogz, you can think like an intellectual without having to call yourself an intellectual. You might care to try it some time.

  11. Paul Norton
    November 10th, 2005 at 08:28 | #11

    In the light of the turn this discussion has taken, I can do no better than repeat the following comment which I made on this blog back in June.

    George Orwell also wrote:

    “it would be a very great advantage if that rather meaningless and mechanical bourgeois-baiting, which is a part of nearly all Socialist propaganda, could be dropped for the time being. Throughout left-wing thought and writing—and the whole way through it, from the leading articles in the Daily Worker to the comic columns in the News Chronicle—there runs an anti-genteel tradition, a persistent and often very stupid gibing at genteel mannerisms and genteel loyalties (or, in Communist jargon, ‘bourgeois values’). It is largely humbug, coming as it does from bourgeois-baiters who are bourgeois themselves, but it does great harm, because it allows a minor issue to block a major one. It directs attention away from the central fact that poverty is poverty, whether the tool you work with is a pick-axe or a fountain-pen.�

    The contemporary Australian equivalent of “bourgeois-baiting [which is] largely humbug, coming as it does from bourgeois-baiters who are bourgeois themselves� is the sort of “elite baiting�, replete with “meaningless and mechanical� references to chardonnay, cafe latte, the inner city, etc., which we got an example from in today’s Australian [i.e. 27 June 2005 - PN] from Trevor Smith, and which is also largely humbug, coming as it does from elite-baiters who are mostly elite themselves (i.e. Murdoch columnists like Bolt and Akerman, well-paid shock jocks, right-wing Labor MPs, Coalition MPs, lawyers like Michael Thompson, career union officials like Trevor Smith, Michael O’Connor and Bill Shorten, career academics like Van Onselen and Errington, etc., etc.).

  12. Dogz
    November 10th, 2005 at 09:20 | #12

    James Farrell,

    “Therefore, you ought to be able to name at least one pseudo-intellecual who matches all your criteria (elitist, unthinking, indignant, etc.), but who’s at the same time right instead of left, and a lover rather than hater of Howard.”

    That was precisely the origin of my “after all, there are bigots in all walks of life” aside. Such people on the right are less common in Australia, but would probably include someone like Alan Jones, and maybe some of the right-wing radio shock-jocks (if not for the fact that most of them are not particularly intelligent). Many of the leaders of the religious right in the US fit those criteria.

    I don’t use the term “pseudo-intellectual” to desccribe the same group as the intellectual/cultural elite. Pseudo-intellectual is just that – someone who pretends to be an intellectual but is not, usually by using the vernacular of an academic field without actually understanding it. Eg, post-modernism is institutionalized pseudo-intellectualism.

    Many members of the intellectual/cultural elite are in fact quite intelligent – they’re just anti-Howard/anti-electorate leftist bigots (Philip Adams being the quintessential example).

    Katz, “intellectual elite” is not the same as “intellectual”. I have no problem with intellectuals, being something of one myself (what’s your IQ, Katz?)

  13. Katz
    November 10th, 2005 at 10:23 | #13

    Dogz, intelligence of the type which IQ tests of various types claim to measure, may serve as a necessary condition for intellectualism, but it is by no means a sufficient condition.

    Intellectualism is more correctly thought of as a cultural condition than a cognitive condition.

    Intellectuals inhabit, elaborate, and sometimes enrich, an intellectual environment characterised by a sharing of a number of postulates and a set of methodologies.

    Perhaps the longest lived intellectual environment in world history was the tradition of Confucianism nurtured and elaborated by the Chinese mandarinate.

    But that Confucian tradition is now in severe eclipse because it has been subverted by the western canon of scientific thought and scientific method.

    This Greek tradition itself is quite old, tracing its origins to Ancient Greece. But, as every schoolboy knows, the Greek canon all but disappeared for more than 1000 years. When it reappeared in Europe in the 12th century, it wasn’t recognised as an intellectual tradition. Rather it was condemned as heresy.

    So what is seen be many as legitimate intellectualism at one time was seen by others as obscurantism, or worse, the work of the Devil.

    How does this happen? The predictive quality of the postulates and methodologies is often a marker for success. Although, as in the case of Greek thought, not always sufficient.

    Human beings are an unpredictable species.

  14. Roberto
    November 10th, 2005 at 10:27 | #14

    The Age’s poll conducted yesterday:

    Terror laws : Was the rush to amend Australia’s counter-terrorism laws justified?
    Yes – 56%
    No – 44%
    Total Votes: 2217 Poll date: 08/11/05

    http://theage.com.au/polls/results.html

  15. Dogz
    November 10th, 2005 at 10:41 | #15

    “Intellectualism is more correctly thought of as a cultural condition than a cognitive condition.”

    Hmm. I don’t agree. Dictionary def of “intellect:

    - The ability to learn and reason; the capacity for knowledge and understanding.
    - The ability to think abstractly or profoundly

    While “learn”, “knowledge”, “understanding”, “abstract” and “profound” may to some extent be cultural, “reason” is not (post-modernists be damned). I don’t think you can be an intellectual without having the capacity to reason, in the sense of “logical reasoning”.

  16. Hal9000
    November 10th, 2005 at 10:54 | #16

    I suspect it’s the tendency of intellectuals to see the complexity and shades of grey in society/morality/the economy etc etc that so annoys Dogz et al. Black and white is so simple, so elegant. As any taxi driver/hairdresser/talkback caller is likely to say, there are simple solutions to all our problems. Bring back the noose/cane/cat o’nine tails, send ‘em all back where they came from – it’s the only language they understand, all people living on the dole are bludgers, bring back conscription – it’ll give those young layabouts a bit of discipline, there’s no point spending money on [insert pejorative reference to minority group here] because they’ll only p*ss it up against the wall etc etc.

    The fact that some of these loudly and frequently voiced opinions may be held by a majority doesn’t of itself make them sensible policies that would benefit Australian society. As that model intellectual Abe Lincoln noted, it’s possible to fool all of the people some of the time and some of them (perhaps a majority) all of the time. A bit of mass hysteria helps, as organisers of witch hunts and pogroms throughout the ages can attest.

    Last, why is it that ‘elite’ is only a pejorative when used alongside ‘left wing’ or ‘intellectual’? Elite athletes, elite military units, elite scientists etc are seen as admirable. Methinks what lurks here are the shades of an inferiority complex and deepseated insecurity, expressed as always by bullying and bombast. Just a thought.

  17. November 10th, 2005 at 11:32 | #17

    Katz: Having seen intellectuals in action, I can assure you that everybody running to one side of the boat to avoid a crocodile is EXACTLY what they do!

  18. Katz
    November 10th, 2005 at 11:40 | #18

    Dogz:

    “Hmm. I don’t agree. Dictionary def of “intellect” …

    One of the other cultural habits of intellectuals is to avoid your mistake of reductionism.

    Note that we’ve been chatting about “intellectuals” but you’ve pounced on the word “intellect”. They’re related, certainly, but to talk about intellectuals from the basis of definitions of the word “intellect” is reductionist.

    Now Dogz, if you have a reasonably useful dictionary, you’ll find the word intellectual a couple of entries down from “intellect”. (I’m looking at the Concise Oxford right now).

    “Intellectual” has several meanings, some of which are simply extensions of your definition of “intellect”. But note this one:

    2. possessing a high level of understanding or intelligence; cultured.

    Now it is clear that none of your synonyms for “intellect” connote that sense of awareness of, employment of, and respect for, “culture”.

    That’s the sense I was appealing to when I mentioned Confucianism, Greek thought or medieval Christianity in the above post. All of the proponents of these systems or cultures of thought can be said to be intellectuals, even though none of them are likely to have given any respect at all for the postulates and methodologies of the others.

    Take Medieval Christianity for example. Enormous intellectual effort was expended to explicate and to elaborate contending versions of the Truth. For a superb account of one extraordinary moment in this story, read James Burge, “Heloise and Abelard” (Here’s an Amazon reference)

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BHA3XG/002-5943522-0201647?v=glance&n=283155&s=books&v=glance

    None of us are born with the intellectual furniture we need to make sense of the world and to communicate our sense of the world to others. This process is a cultural process. “Intellect” in your reductionist sense, is a means to that end, not an end in itself.

  19. Michael H.
    November 10th, 2005 at 11:46 | #19

    The sneering that usually accompanies the negative usage of ‘elite’ is the give away. It’s just an act of labelling that avoids the more taxing task of lucidly arguing the case against the loathed idea/person. And by using it, the user places themselves outside this group. It’s interesting to reflect on why people might consider this to be an effective pejorative term. What aspects of culture and custom make ‘elite’ something to be despised? As Hal9000 pointed out, in other contexts, it’s high praise.

    There certainly is an attraction in simple, elegant answers. Maybe people are ‘hard-wired’ to accept binary propositions? But I think it is more likely that increasingly fast paced news is a factor. Newspaper head lines and 30 second news items don’t lend themselves particularly well to nuanced and complex explanations of, what is mostly, a nuanced and complex reality.

    If we go back of our current ‘terrorism’ situation, a quick review of the recent front pages leaves little doubt that “Jihad” and “Holy War” are on the menu for Australia. Many use the terms interchangeably and with little discussion of what they might mean. They have become labels or ‘hot buttons’ that provoke complex reactions and feelings, without the need for extensive explanation.

    A good dose of explanation from some of those ‘intellectual elites’ to explore some of the “complexity and shades of grey” would be quite handy at the moment.

  20. Dogz
    November 10th, 2005 at 12:07 | #20

    Katz, do you take smugness lessons from Peter Costello or were you just born with the requisite furniture?

    I understood your definition of intellectual. But out of the Confucians, Medieval Christians, and the Ancient Greeks, I would class only the Greeks as true intellectuals, as they employed logical reason (founded the entire western philosophical tradition in fact). I don’t count most theology as an intellectual pursuit (once you assume one falsehood all falsehoods follow – logic 101). But I accept that I may differ in my definition from common usage.

    HAL9000 – intellectuals see shades of grey, bigots do not. Just as there are intellectuals on the right and left, so too are there bigots. The bigots are particularly fond of your argumatative style: build a strawman, attribute it to your opponent, then knock the strawman over in an attempt to knock your opponent over.

    Anyway, all this intellectual debate (ha!) is getting rather boring. Someone else say they hate Howard or that the terrorists are actually misunderstood victims of evil western explotation….

  21. Andrew Reynolds
    November 10th, 2005 at 12:33 | #21

    I do not hate Howard and I think that criminals, whatever their religion or history of exploitation are responsible for their own actions.
    I also think that habeas corpus is a vital part of any democracy – the executive must be subject to independent oversight or the result, in the long run, will be tyranny. To quote Lord Acton – “All power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely.” To give anyone more than a few hours to hold onto a person without effective oversight is a very strong power – close to absolute power – and is simply wrong. Weeks of detention without appeal is even worse.

  22. Katz
    November 10th, 2005 at 12:42 | #22

    Dogz: “Katz, do you take smugness lessons from Peter Costello or were you just born with the requisite furniture?”

    I just like to think that I’m making a difference Dogz.

    “I would class only the Greeks as true intellectuals”

    Of course you’re free to think what you like, Dogz. But your problem is to explain how well-intentioned persons living in different epochs can have enormously different levels of respect for a system of thought which you accept as the “only” logical one.

    Of course, you may well believe that the disappearance of “the entire western intellectual tradition” from the West for 1000 years was the result of some vast conspiracy. But that’s a whopper of a conspiracy theory.

    “But I accept that I may differ in my definition from common usage.”

    I hope (in a friendly and non-smug way) you find someone else to coverse with who is as well acquainted with “Dogz’s Lexicon” as you are. The two of you would doubtless have many fascinating conversations.

  23. November 10th, 2005 at 12:45 | #23

    Michael H. Says: November 9th, 2005 at 10:50 pm

    James Farrell has a point – born and bred Australians are killing other Australians all the time. Is there a good reason to argue that one type of killing is especially worse than another?

    Each life lost is equally valuable. But the way in which lives are taken does make a big difference to the way society operates.

    Psycho-killers are a small, local and ephemeral problem. Terrorist cells are a large, national and enduring problem.

    James Farrell suggests that terrorists are simply Martin Bryants in ethnic drag. This is clever-clever but off base because it ignores the force-multiplier effects that terrorism has on society. (Thats why they call it “terrorism”. Duh!)

    My original question, constructed in the plural form, and alluded to the fact that terrorists were acting like fifth columnists: “Why do Australian citizens, born and bred in Australia, want to mass-murder other Australian citizens?”

    A pscho-killer is a micro phenomenon – he affects only the unlucky few. Martin Bryant and Ivan Milat are examples of native mass-murders who act alone for essentially idiosyncratic reasons.

    Terrorists are a macro phenemenon – they affect the indiscriminate many. Also, they are the products of a migrant settlement program – multiculturalism – that is supposed to breed happiness and tolerance amongst diverse people. I dont see much evidence of that amongst certain parties.

    It would be nice if the odd Wet would treat the problem of ethnic violence serriously instead of construing it as a trivial in itself and a manifestation of RWDB hysteria. (Read the papers recently?)

  24. Dogz
    November 10th, 2005 at 12:53 | #24

    Katz,

    “Of course, you may well believe that the disappearance of “the entire western intellectual traditionâ€? from the West for 1000 years was the result of some vast conspiracy.”

    Well, yeah, it kind of was. Not the whole 1000 years of course, but towards the end the Catholic church did their darndest to keep rational/scientific thought suppressed. Galileo?

    (these days of course even the Catholics are outdone by the ID mob).

    [We really need to stop this - I imagine it's boring the pants off other readers watching us fight like Katz and Dogz]

  25. Nabakov
    November 10th, 2005 at 13:19 | #25

    “…build a strawman, attribute it to your opponent, then knock the strawman over in an attempt to knock your opponent over.”

    “Someone else say they hate Howard or that the terrorists are actually misunderstood victims of evil western explotation….”

    And so now you want others to build your strawmen for you? Lazy dog.

    And funny how many of those who use “elite” disparagingly when it comes to those damned intellectuals are also the ones who rail against creeping socialist tendencies to make everyone equal. Apparently it’s quite OK to have a meritocracy in sport or business but not in matters of thought. (Although yes I would concede it’s much easier to empirically measure excellence in the first two areas.)

    It’s true though that when it comes to public discussion and debate of ideologies, trends in thought and perceived wisdom delivered en haut en bas, we do have a very visible and influential elite – one that’s overwhelmingly big city-based, plugged into high level media and social networks, pulling down six figure salaries and basically the epitome of the chattering classes: that cluster of commentators and pundits that includes Janet Albrechtsen, David Flint, Christopher Pearson, Miranda Devine, David Barnett, Paddy McGuiness, Piers Ackerman. Andrew Bolt, Imre Salusinszky, Gerard Henderson, Tony Parkinson, etc, etc.

    Now that’s a mob that keeps stampeding from one side of the boat to the other to feed the crocodiles.

  26. Michael H.
    November 10th, 2005 at 13:27 | #26

    Jack Strocchi says,

    “Psycho-killers are a small, local and ephemeral problem. Terrorist cells are a large, national and enduring problem.”

    And he is wrong.

    For most countries, for most of the time, ‘personal’ killing is a greater threat to the average person than terrorism. And by ‘personal’ killing I include the usual motives – revenge, rage, personal gain, not just the ‘psycho-killers’. And the personal variety of killers have always been, and will always, be with us. To suggest that only the threat of terrorism is enduring, defies experience.

    And likewise for the claim that “it ignores the force-multiplier effects that terrorism has on society. (Thats why they call it “terrorismâ€?. Duh!)”

    Maybe Jack doesn’t have any young female friends who could relate their fears of walking down a dark lonely street at night by themsleves.

    This is one of the problems with the terrorism debate, the word itself is no longer simply a descriptor, but has acquired it’s own massive ‘baggage’, to which, otherwise rational people, seem intent on adding their own, eg “a migrant settlement program”.

  27. Roberto
    November 10th, 2005 at 15:33 | #27

    One of the things the insurgents in Iraq (and in Indonesia recently) like to do is to decapitate the heads of their victims, on the basis that the soul can’t transmigrate to heaven, owning to the body being damaged in such a way.

    Now given that suicide bombers, and it appears that Azahari Husin (hopefully) suffered the same fate of having their own heads ‘detached’ as a result of self-destruction, why haven’t (Islamic) theologians picked up on this; or is it that if you kill yourself under threat of ‘attack’ from infidels, then that overrides the decapitation issue?

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/severed-head-identified/2005/11/10/1131407727971.html

  28. James Farrell
    November 10th, 2005 at 23:44 | #28

    Jack

    When someone reaches the stage where they’re ready to murder a batch of people who pose no threat to them, considerations of national loyalty are unlikely to get in the way. That applies equally to misfits like Bryant and to political zealots.

    What really surprises and disturbs you, I think, is not that killers kill their neighbours, but that young people like the London bombers, who seem pretty normal, and who should have been enlightened by a liberal education, can become mass murderers.

    I can’t explain it either, of course. But nice, well balanced, young people have always fallen under the spell of malignant gurus and suicidal cultists. Such people decide to join the Hitler Youth, the Manson Family, the People’s Temple or Heaven’s Gate, without any contribution from multiculturism.

    What’s different here is that the gurus are focused and calculating rather than deluded, and that political violence against civilians is their specific objective. Young people like the London bombers just happen to their weapon of choice.

    Of course it’s easier for a professional terrorist to recruit bomber mules from communities that share their language or religion. It’s less work to convert someone who already shares your goals and antipathies to some extent. But anyone can be converted to the cause of liberating Muslim lands from the Infidel, as we know from the cases like David Hicks, John Walker and Wllie Brigitte.

    Thus it’s true that multiculturism has presented an opportunity for determined and ruthless killers to achieve their ends, but so for that matter have trains and fertilizer.

  29. November 11th, 2005 at 09:54 | #29

    James Farrell Says: November 10th, 2005 at 11:44 pm

    Thus it’s true that multiculturism has presented an opportunity for determined and ruthless killers to achieve their ends, but so for that matter have trains and fertilizer.

    We cant dispense with trains and fertilizer. But many successful states (Finland, Japan) can easily do well without multiculturalism.

  30. Steve Munn
    November 11th, 2005 at 19:39 | #30

    Jack Strocchi says:- “Terrorists are a macro phenemenon – they affect the indiscriminate many. Also, they are the products of a migrant settlement program – multiculturalism – that is supposed to breed happiness and tolerance amongst diverse people. I dont see much evidence of that amongst certain parties.”

    This statement doesn’t withstand five seconds of scrutiny. The Red Brigades were Italians who killed other Italians and the IRA and the UDF were/are Irish terrorists who kill other Irish folk.

    You shoot yourself in the foot by naming Japan is an example to be emulated. Remember the sarin gas attacks a couple of years ago?

    The reasons for terrorism are far more complex than “multi-culturalism”. And Australia, and many other countries, have experienced centuries of multi-culturalism without terrorism.

    One more point- Australia is already profoundly multi-cultural, in respect of ethnicities. You can not put the multi-cultural genie back in the bottle.

  31. November 12th, 2005 at 15:52 | #31

    Steve Munn Says: November 11th, 2005 at 7:39 pm

    The reasons for terrorism are far more complex than “multi-culturalism�. This statement doesn’t withstand five seconds of scrutiny.

    We have been disussing the recent rash of home-grown terrorists with ethnic backgrounds. I was referring to multiculturalism as a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for home-grown ethnic terrorists. This is established by the London bombings. Try to read the relevant parts of the thread before jumping in blindly.

    And Australia, and many other countries, have experienced centuries of multi-culturalism without terrorism.

    Multiuclturalism as a political program began with Konrad Heinlein’s agitation amongst the Sudetendeutsche in 1939. And we saw that after that MettleEurope had no more ethnic political problems ever again.

    Australia adopted gradually adopted multiculturalism over the period 1974-1979. Within about ten years of that time the immigration program had become so unpopular with the populus that the Fitzgerald report into multiculturalism was rejected by the Government and had to be suppressed in part.

    It has only been in the past decade that Howard’s conservative cultural identity politics have made the a race-neutral immigration program more acceptable to the majority.

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