A shameful episode

With the claims of the last of the Tampa refugees being recognised, one of the most shameful episodes in recent Australian history has drawn to a close[1]. All those involved in the government’s actions deserve undying historical obloquy.

fn1. I don’t intend to enter into debate on this post, but I do plan to put forward and defend a more general assessment of the issues in the near future.

30 thoughts on “A shameful episode

  1. The Tampa gets to the heart of an age old philosophical question: are political acts to be judged by their intentions or by their consequence?
    Certainly the intent of Howard, to win an election by exploiting the woes of, mostly legitmate, refugees by whipping up xenophobia, was bad. THis is more especially so given the fact that Tampa refugees were fleeing tyranny of fascists and fundamentalists that we are supposed to be at war with.
    One would agree that the Liberal Parties:
    political exploitation of the Tampa was shameful and the
    economic implementation of the Pacific Solution was wasteful.
    Would a Pr Q agree that a “more general assessment of the issues” include recognition of the fact that playing “the race card” works the other way, with sometimes toxic social pathologies consequences resulting. During the Keating period of pee-cee multi-culti identity politics the civic fundamentals of alien intake policies were also politicised, by the Left, much to the disgust of some social democrats:
    ethnic lobbies, exploiting humanitarian sentiment in this country, built up divisive multiculuralist bureaucracies, which are instinctively disliked by the vast majority of Australians because they discourage integration
    the ALP was fast turning, from a class party representing the majority of working class citizens, into an ethnic party representing a coalition of minority dependents, with a draining of its primary vote amongst the citizen-shipped workers
    associated with the change in social orientation of the ALP was a change in its political MO, with a higher-incidence of branch stacking et al, often utilising ethnics that were be-holden to the ALP’s internal ethnic lobby
    a well-intended liberal-left oriented legal system was undermining the intent of the UN-based refugee criteria, encouraging appeals to overthrow Immigration department rulings in the case of aliens who did not meet the UN refugee criteria
    the laxity on refugee policy was mirrored in a dodgy bureuacratic application of the family re-union policy, which was being rorted to bring in large numbers of unskilled/dependent persons to this country, to the detriment of poorer low-wage and welfare-prone citizens
    People smugglers, exploiting perceived laxity in alien intake policy, were gearing up to send large numbers of boat-people floating accross the Indian Ocean in unseaworthy vessels, likely to meet the fate of the SIEV-X
    Most Australians, including this one, are happy to have a race-blind alien intake policy that does not bias towards Caucasians. This is so long as the critieria for acceptance is:
    immigration: economically utilitarian
    refugees: politically humanitarian
    But the liberal-left political class (no doubt excluding Pr Q) were happy to defy community sentiment on this issue, so long as “they” had the whip hand on the relevant offices and “they” could bask in the sunshine of their own self-congratulation.
    This sort of thing cannot go on forever in a democracy, where a strict policy of universal non-ethnic based citizenship is vital for civic survival (anyone for Iraq?). Eventually the people will get sick and tired of this nonsense and vote for some one to put a stop to it. THis is precisely what happened on a regional scale with Hanson, and a national scale with Howard. The polticial process, I admit, is not pretty to see. And outrageously expensive.
    But the policy results were in accordance with the will of the majority. And the consequences have been consistent with a non-racist construction of the national interest:
    Howard has raised the total immigrantion quota;
    Howard has also increased the NESB ratio within immigration to rates higher than Keating.
    The politicised ethninc lobby is in disarray, good riddance.
    Latham has forsworn the ALP’s identity politics mantra, in favour of economic aspiration for all
    The people smuggling trade, with its terrible cost mass drownings, is now in abeyance.
    Social democracy must be equally opposed to policies that exacerbate class division and cultural seperation, a position affirmed by AUstralian and British social-democrats. I have a few curly questions to toss at the Good Professor, which I am sure he will be only to pleased to answer:
    Given that Pr Q is fair dinkum about social democracy would he agree that his philosophy of government is not a tram, that he can just hop on and off as he pleases? And if so:
    Does Pr Q agree that part of the socio-political consequences of the Tampa was to end the (Multi)Culture Wars with a victory for the integrationists over the seperatists?
    Does Pr Q think that the pee-cee, multi-culti identity politics of the nineties are to be exempt from “historical obloquy”?

  2. Hear! hear! indeed. But I’m afraid episode may be the operative word here; that we may be still in the early chapters of a long saga of cruelty and indifference.

    Meanwhile, rational expectations prompt me to congratulate Jack on his immanent repudiation of the above.

  3. Jesus Jack you’re not paying attention, the Hazara team is the top of the ladder of the Albany Soccer League this week with a 6 -2 record for the season. You get the picture Jack, they’re called the Hazara soccer team and none of the Hansonites in the Albany Soccer Club had a problem with that. Because the ALbany City Council, amongst other local organisations, has given it’s backing to their claims for prmanent residency status.

    Now Albany has a proud tradition of xenophobia, being a small port, we’ve had mounted gun defences since the Russian threat of 1890. But it was a the “toxic social pathologies consequences” of the Tampa policies that changed indifference and fear into concern and solidarity.

    The thing that always surprises me about this anti-multicultural attitude is that it’s proponents strive so hard to drive ‘love’ from their perspective. As if it’s a cost too great rather than a promise of hope.

  4. kyan gadac
    Your response is typical of the “bait and switch” rhetorical tactics used by the “Left” to smear criticism of their disastrous multi-culti policies and ludicrous pee-cee attitudes.
    I did not say that the Tampa would bring “toxic social pathologies”. Quite the opposite, I said that it was shameful that the plight of legitimate refugees was the occasion of a political showdown on the issue of civic policy.
    I did say that poorly regulated immigration “sometimes” led to “toxic social pathologies”. As occurred in the US when the 911 mass murderers had their visas rubber stamped by a Republican admin eager to court the Arab vote. And in Australia, where politically rorted immigration has let in ethnic criminal gangs. This fact has been commented on by POlice Commissioners before they were howled down by the likes of you.
    The cone of silence descends on any of the problems associated with a multi-culti policies.
    As for the Tampa, if you read what I wrote, you will see that I was ashamed to see my government politically exploit their claims. I support the legitimate claims of any person fleeing from tyranny, especially the Tampa people who I am glad have a place to stay that is safe. Point to my words where I have denied this.
    I do think that the Tampa incident, appalling as it was taken by itself, has set in train a sensible re-evaluation of the whole Keating
    “Culture Wars” social policy: by far the silliest thing he ever did. And exploited by the Theophanous types for their own nefarious purposes.
    Will the liberal-Left once, just once for gawds sake, acknowledge that the reason there was a reaction to trends in immigration policy is that the vast majority of Australian citizens deplore the concept of Balkanising a good political culture? This was the project of the Liberal Left during the nineties, with seperate Nation for Aborigines, gender seperatism for “womyn” and multi-cultism for self-appointed ethnic spokesmen.
    Howard and Latham are at one, with the vast majority of Australian citizens on this issue. The Parliament, through legislation and regulation, decides who comes to this country and who shall stay. Not politicised lobby groups.
    Love is a very bad emotion to regulate the particular policies, because different people love different things,. Love is a personal, not political, emotion. We have a duty of care to persons seeking a safe harbour, whether we love them or not.

  5. Jack’s got a conspiracy theory of his own and he’s sticking to it. Ergo: the concept of Balkanising a good political culture… the project of the Liberal Left during the nineties, with seperate Nation for Aborigines, gender seperatism for “womyn” and multi-cultism for self-appointed ethnic spokesmen.

    Will Jack ever acknowledge the leading role of the Liberal Party, from the late 1980s onward, mostly following the lead of Mr “too much Asian immigration” Howard in promulgating the backlash that Jack claims was solely the responsibility of the Keating Labor government?

    Will Jack ever acknowledge that Howard and the other shameless opportunists in the Coalition might have intentionally ran an orchestrated campaign of manufactured outrage, backed by their loyal lapdogs in the media, about the tyrannical troika of ‘political correctness’ ‘multi-cultism’ and ‘aboriginal separatism’?

    Will Jack ever acknowledge that Pauline Hanson may have joined the Liberal Party because she felt they were sympathetic to her paranoid xenophobic beliefs? Could that have been because they had their own little project of assiduously cultivating exactly those sentiments for political purposes; only to (as Jack admits) quietly back away from giving the suckers what they had implicitly been promised – when they had achieved their desired goal).

    Go on Jack, drag out all the evidence of the grand conspiracy against Australia’s good political culture (make sure you use plenty of dot points), and then perhaps you can go for a walk in the real world. Maybe you’ll notice that our political culture has changed a lot despite all the furies of those who hark back to the golden age (what age was that? take your pick), and once upon a time their were governments that dared to acknowledge this fact. Until, of course, Jack’s knight in shining armor came along and turned back the tide.

  6. MarkWW makes two statements that are in contradiction to the known facts.
    First he tries to bag the Howard Liberal party as racist:

    Will Jack ever acknowledge the leading role of the Liberal Party, from the late 1980s onward, mostly following the lead of Mr “too much Asian immigration” Howard in promulgating the backlash that Jack claims was solely the responsibility of the Keating Labor government?

    I deny that the Howard Liberal party is fundamentally racist, although it did engage in incidental racism over the Tampa. It is the ALP that has prominent ethnic lobbies, which has tended to stir up racial antagonism, promoting the barbarisms of ethnic seperatism over the Enlightenment ideal of racial integration.
    Howard renounced in word, and deed, any racial biases he might have had in immigration policy.

    The Prime Minister told The Australian that Chinese-Australians and Vietnamese-Australians could be considered the country’s new Greeks and Italians.
    Mr Howard admitted his views had changed and mellowed since he provoked controversy in 1988 by arguing against an increased pace of migration from Asia. He now regrets that opinion, and believes time has proved it wrong.
    And he said that although Muslim-Australians faced greater cultural differences than earlier migrant groups, he was confident they would also be quickly integrated.

    Howard backed up his anti-racist words with anti-racist deeds, not that the bigoted sections of the Left was paying any mind. Ross Gittins reports on the lifting, and colouring, of Australia’s migration program under Howard:

    In 2000-01 it reached a peak of 136,000 – its highest level in 12 years. The following financial year (the last for which we have figures), it stayed high at 134,000.
    In 2000-01, the Government granted visas to 80,600 settlers under its migration program, plus 13,800 visas under its humanitarian program.
    From fairly low and steady levels until 1991, net long-term arrivals shot up to 56,000 in 1999-2000, then 75,000 and then 93,000 in 2001-02. And in these years, for the first time, net long-term arrivals exceeded net settlers.
    Guess what? There isn’t a predominance of white faces…
    [the non-white component of immigration was] the best part of two-thirds.

    But a sizeable section of liberal-Left progressives (not Pr Q) are more interested in ostentatiously preening their moral vanity, rather than actually making a multi-racial society work.
    There is little connection between the anti-Asian immigration of Howard in the eighties and pro-Asian immigration Howard of the noughties. He changed, and admitted he was wrong, which is more than can be said of the cultural reactionaries of the liberal-Left in this matter.
    MarkWW then tries to re-write history by saying that Howard encouraged Hansons political careery:

    Pauline Hanson may have joined the Liberal Party because she felt they were sympathetic to her paranoid xenophobic beliefs?

    Pauline Hanson, with Howards approval, was expelled by the Liberal Party for making racially biased remarks:

    comments she made to The Queensland Times, a daily newspaper in Ipswich, advocating the abolition of special government assistance for Aboriginals above what was available for other Australians led to her disendorsement by the party during the campaign.

    Howard and Abbott also connived to get Hanson charged with breaching electoral law.
    So Howard expelled her from hthe Liberal party and locked her away from her own party.
    With racist pro-Hansonites like Howard, One Nation does not need any anti-racist enemies.
    Multi-culturalism is antagonistic to multi-racialism, because it promotes cultural seperatism that inhibits racial integration. Many traditional multi-cultures practice customs that are degrading to women. But in the liberal-Left view, the multicultural Lion may always lie down with the Enlightenment Lamb.

  7. I think Jack has whacked the mole on the head. Just in case any PC types are in confusion here about the Liberal-Hanson connection, Pauline Hanson was disendorsed immediately from the Liberal Party. She was in fact disendorsed, not for advocating the abolition of Affirmative Action, but for suggesting that she would not represent the Aborigines in her electorate. That was the kicker.

    The Labor Party took years to get rid of Graeme Campbell.

  8. Jack could be making a fortune if he got these published in the Herald-Sun. He argues an inflexible national culture far more eloquently than Andrew Bolt.

  9. Jack’s is an interesting hypothesis, but does not convince me.

    The reason for the decline of Labor can be fairly easily traced back to handing over of decision-making to the factional leaders. They’ve relied on a cronyism system, which has extended to “ethnic” leaders who can “deliver” votes to factional leaders needing the numbers.

    The same leaders have usually relied on opinion polling for any public or policy statements.

    The proof of that is surely in the Mal Colston saga, where discovery of his fraud occurred over ten years before its exposure. It was only exposed because he’d ratted on Labor. All that time he’d gone on getting Labor endorsement because some factional leader or leaders needed his vote. MC and PC was just part of the flourish.

    As for multiculturalism, I have to tell you that I’m pretty rapt in having SBS TV coming to my area (country Vic). The quality of their news and current affairs is at least as good as the ABC, for a fraction of the cost.

    The commercial radio waves here are dominated by John Laws because the money-makers have worked out that it’s cheaper than running a local service.

    But whatever way you look at it, Tampa and post-Tampa refugee policy was utterly shameful. To hear Vanstone still trot out that line about keeping kids locked up for years to deter people-smugglers is pathetic.

  10. Don Wigan includes sense and non-sense in his response to my rant.
    First the sense about party organisation.

    The reason for the decline of Labor can be fairly easily traced back to handing over of decision-making to the factional leaders. They’ve relied on a cronyism system, which has extended to “ethnic” leaders who can “deliver” votes to factional leaders needing the numbers.

    This is true, but political spoils distribution on the basis of ethnicity is frowned upon, if not intensely disliked in Australia. An exception to that rule was made on the question of Aboriginal organisations but the ATSIC, through poor accountability, queered the pitch.
    What scares me about the ALP ethnic lobby was that it was heading in the direction of the US Democrat party, losing connection with employee class people of all races, and siding with ethnics of all classes, because they are easy to recruit and organise with a politically compormised immigration program.
    If this trend continued, in an aging society where the deficit in the birth rate must be made up for by NESB immigration, then it would spell doom for a social democrat party.
    Don unfortunately includes some non-sense about multicultural spoils distribution:

    As for multiculturalism, I have to tell you that I’m pretty rapt in having SBS TV coming to my area (country Vic). The quality of their news and current affairs is at least as good as the ABC, for a fraction of the cost.

    I am a sucker for SBS as much as Don, but he is kidding himself if he thinks that it is a true form of multi-culturalism. Dr Knopfelmacher once described SBS as a form of Euro-cosmopolitanism

    for bored Anglos, languishing in Ocker land, starved for a bit of cheap Continental culture.

    If Don wants a taste of “real, existing multiculturalism” he might want to take a wander down Luton, or Beirut, or Baghdad. It ain’t pretty when people dont agree on ways to live.
    PS Don forgot to mention the one boon that multiculturalism did deliver to the culinary nightmare that was Australian food culture: cheap ethnic cusine!
    PPS. In premptive moral self-defence, I must assert that opposition to multiculturalism does not entail opposition to multiracialism.
    Multiculturalism can be dated to the ending of the White Australia policy in 1966, which allowed non-Caucasian and non-Christian people into this country in large numbers.
    I am happy to have multiracial non-Caucasian society, with the proviso that those from non-Christian cultures should be encouraged to be secular and cosmpolitan. The problem with multicultural lobby groups stems from the fact that that the non-Christian cultures they endorse are to often sectarian and parochial in nature.
    I should add that the Howard goverments privatisation of education by stealth has exploited the desire of mugrants to pursue sectarian education, to the expense of the ideal of “free, compulsory and secular” education.

  11. The ideal of “free, compulsory and secular” education is monstrous and wicked precisely because it seeks to engineer socially. Indeed, that was an explicit intention on the part of the evil American educationist Horace Mann, not to be confused with Horace Walpole’s correspondent, who wanted enforced assimilation of Massachusetts migrants (often Irish). It worked, which is not a measure of its merit. It actually crowds out precisely the parental freedoms that can sometimes have those harmful incidental effects but are more valuable as freedoms anyway.

    Related to this is the idea of controlling migration. The remedy to bringing in people who are not like us is not to go all Dr. Moreau and bend and straighten them, it’s to work to accommodate from both sides, excluding those who won’t be accommodated except on their own terms, and so maintaining the essential values. Non-essential values can be compromised, so long as you don’t mistake all values for that.

    There’s also an agency cost that I have mentioned before. With representative democracy there is a temptation for politicians to elect a new people incrementally, diluting the equity of the electorate who are here already. This is another reason for only letting in people who are in accord on essentials (that includes people from places where those aren’t the prevailing ethos, but who want that ethos).

    Those are the principles. But as Napoleon said, the trick is doing it (freely translated from “l’execution c’est tout”).

  12. The Liberals only disendorsed Pauline Hanson because they didn’t think she’d win.


    WHy is social engineering necessarily evil? Seems to me there are many arguments in favour it, particularly if we wish to maintain our current civilization beyond the average lifespan for such.

    To educate/proslytize/browbeat young men into a belief that it is not all right to beat their wives hardly seems untoward unless you are one of those wierdo neo-Darwinist libertarian evolutionary psychologist nuts.

    Which I’m sure you aren’t

  13. Well, Jack, I thought it might be exploiting the obvious to comment on the broadening of our cuisine, and even our opening hours, by the influence of other cultures.

    I remember back in the late sixties arriving in Cooma after a long trek late one Sunday night. We had a grill at a Greek cafe, the only place open.

    My friend remarked, “You can say what you like against the wogs, but if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be eating now.”

    Things have improved a lot since then. I’m not disputing that there have been some flaws in the impetus of multiculturalism, especially in its institutionalisation.

    A lot of the ideas were pinched from Canada, where there were entrenched alternative cultures denied respect and recognition previously. Our situation was not the same.

    The push started with Al Grassby, and it ought to be admitted that basically he was right. There should not be any shame in your origins – in fact they should be celebrated.

    Of course they eventually become part of our broad Australian mix, but we should never deny their validity as the earlier monocultural style seemed to.

    And that’s even before we get to influences like David Malouf who have given us a better look at ourselves.

  14. the episode that I find most disturbing from this time is not the Tampa (although that was disgraceful enough) but the sinking of the SIEV-X. 353 people drowned. Current government’s policies have reduced the inflow of refugees – that’s undeniable – but at what cost? There is no evidence (although some conjecture) that the Australian government contributed to the sinking of the SIEV-X. But there is plenty of evidence that the government could have done more to save lives – if it were not for the policies at the time our maritime surveillance and search and rescue could have helped. Jack would probably say the SIEV-X disaster was the people smugglers’ fault. So what? Yes of course the boat would not have set out if not for the people smugglers; but Australia’s lack of action contributed to 353 people dying. The issue is not who is more or less to blame, but what a country like Australia should have done given the situation arose.

    PS – one of the most annoying of the many annoying claims by Jack is: “the non-Christian cultures they endorse are too often sectarian and parochial in nature”. So Christians are never sectarian? or parochial?? It’s this sort of claim that gets the right its reputation as being a bunch of bigots. It’s also code for anti-Islamic sentiment When you read it you are meant to think of the Taliban and other fundamentalist islamic states – ignoring the many tolerant and inclusive states with islamic traditions. You are meant to ignore buddhist, taoist, or many other alternative traditions that are manifestly less sectarian and parochial than christianity.

  15. Stephen needs to learn a lesson in logic 101. He has committed the fallacy of Denying the Antecedent
    If X sometimes Y.
    does not entail
    If not-X therefore non-Y.
    If I say that “some Irishmen are drunks” it does not imply that I affirm that “all non-Irishmen are stone-cold sober”.
    Thus when I argue that some non-Christian-based cultures (X’s) sometimes are authoritarian and sectarian (Y) I do not imply that all Christian-based cultures (non-X’s) are always liberal and ecumenical (non-Y).
    FTR:, and in ideological self-defence, I hereby affirm that:
    some Christian cultures are sectarian and authoritarian eg Deep South, Northern Ireland, Balkans. and
    some non-Christian cultures are liberal and ecumenical, eg Indonesian Muslims, Tibetan Budhists et al
    But acknowldging these facts does not weaken my general point. Such liberalism and ecumenicalism that exists in Western Christian cultures is largely the result of the weakening of monolithic Christian theological belief and theocratic power. This seperation of Church and State has flowed from the Pagan, Classical and Reformatory traditions within Christianity.
    In the West there is not much in the way of “fire and brimstone” Christianity left, it is mostly Christianity-lite. This is good thing, as I indicate by my support for the Enlightenment and “free, compulsory and secular” education. I like the French goverment’s attitude to these matters.
    BTW: Stephen’s little riposte is a text-book example of both the irrationality and the immorality that is SOP in the multiculturalist manual of debating techniques.
    Start with a fallacy and end with a slander.

  16. Don Wigan and I seem to be converging, from different termninological starting points.
    One point should be stated without fear of contradiction: The mass migration of Eastern and Southern Europeans was not an example of multi-culturalism or multi-racialism.
    Continental Europeans are predominantly Christian and Caucasian, as were the Anglo-Celts. THe differences between them are essentially accents and idioms. “Wog culture” is now taken to be a cosmopolitan version of Western culture, not a form of “multi-culturalism” seperate to the Western tradition from which Australian draws most of its values from.
    After the war, assimilation of ethnics did occur, in the sense of “ockerisation” but now we prefer integration.
    The entry of Non-Christian cultures and Non-Caucasian ethnics occurred after 1966, with the ending of White Australia and the active promotion of Multi-culturalism over assimilation and integration.
    The ending of White Australia was Good.
    Promotion of multi-culturalism is controversial. If it means cosmopolitanism and ecumenicalism then all well and good, who could disagree?
    But if it means turning a blind eye to the intolerant aspects of other nations cultures, sorry mate, I am going to bag it.
    That also entails facing up to the intolerance displayed by Caucasian Australians, which occurred in the case of the Tampa. (which, to compound absurdity with shame, was taken over by predominantly Caucasian Ethnics fleeing intolerant Cultures).

  17. jack’s accused me of denying the antecedent – a good debating point if it were true. But consider the matter carefully – what I was objecting to was Jack’s use of the adjectival form “non-Christian” to describe cultures that are parochial and sectarian. If he’s against all parochialism and sectarianism, then why the need for “non-christian”??? If he were consistent, he’d also call on sectarian christian immigrants to assimilate (and I can assure him there have been some of these) – or at least avoid the religious characterisation. and in concentrating on the PS, he ignores the main point of my post – in the SIEV-X incident 353 people died. In what way can that be justified?

  18. stephen
    Thankyou for not calling me a bigot because I refuse to accept the ideological vanities of multicultural ideologists. It is nice to not have to walk out in a suit of ideological armour for a change.
    I use the term non-Christian and Christian because it cuts through the b.s. about the meaning of the word “multi-culture”.
    In theory, multiculturalism is sold as a form of elite cultural epicureanism, an industrial strength version of cosmopolitan liberalism, John Stuart Mill on turbo-charge.
    In fact, “real and existing multiculturalism”, is based on loyalty to ethno-sectarian group based on Race, Religion and Region.
    It so happens that in most of the West, which was the font of the Christian Church, the “faith communities” which once presribed the norms of culture have now more or less given up fundamentalist theological stances. Hence it would have been more accurate to describe our culture as “post-Christian”, some times called “post-modern” to take account of the simultaneous collapse in ideology.
    The same cannot be said for many non-Christian societies throughout the world where the Church, of whatever denomination, is still a powerful force in daily life.
    Encouraging new migrants to retain multicultural ways of life in practice means encouraging them to cling to sectarian practices and superstitious world-views that they are fleeing from.
    Worse still, clinging to the ways of the old country actually arrests the integration of the next generation of migrant kids into the secular and ethno-blind Australian community.
    In short, deadly earnest forms of multiculturalism actually encourage ethnic seperatism and ethnophobia, precisely the vices that multi-culti spokesmen claim to oppose.
    Rotten mean-spirited proponent of the Enlightenment that I am, I do not think if fair to describe this multicultural philosophy as “progressive”.

  19. Jack:

    I know what you don’t like. You don’t like foot binding, female circumcision, honour killings, Serbians and Croatians brawling at soccer matches, drive-by shootings in pursuit of ancient feuds, and boys in baseball caps cheering Bin Laden. Well, nor does anybody else reading this blog, as you are well aware.

    But the naïve, do-gooder, PoMo, PC, multiculturalist ideologue responsible for all these phenomena is a figment of your imagination. Like Paddy McGuinness, apparently think that if you can attribute every opinion you disagree with to this phantom nincompoop, your opponents will thereby be implicated in the above list of horrors and, accordingly, discredited.

    If you are opposed to the humane treatment of refugees, why not just state your reasons without all the irrelevant posturing and name-calling.

  20. Andrew, in the area of ethics you can’t net things off. Sometimes you have to go with a lesser evil, but if – as many people do to preserve their self-image – you rationalise yourself into believing it is good, you end up where the USA is now.

    If you face up to lesser evil, you remain open to other possibilities that don’t involve it. Horace Mann was wicked because he deliberately chose to press for an unnecessary evil – the evil he wished to head off, unassimilated immigrants, could have been addressed in other ways.

    So getting back to compulsory education etc., the social engineering part makes it evil from omitting other ways. If you look at the Butler Education Act in the UK, for instance, you will find it addressed the needs for education without coercing people into new ways; it respected the agendas of existing providers, including the religious ones. At least in principle, parents did not find their children being re-educated as well as educated.

    At the most general level though, in other contexts than education one can have social engineering that is a necessary and lesser evil. That doesn’t make it good.

  21. James,

    I dont know where you got the idea that I am “opposed to the humane treatment of refugees”. This is yet another SOP in the liberal-Lefts debating technique: if you disagree with them, then you automtically are in league with the devil to torment the helpless people of the world.
    FTR, and in ideological self-defence, I support, and have always supported, UN-sanctioned treatment of refugees. I thought that the treatment of the Tampa refugees was shameful and wasteful. Read what I wrote above.
    I oppose mandatory detention of children and the issue of Temporary Protection Visas.
    I support the raising of the refugee quota and immigration quota, whether the applicants are NESB or not.

    But I will not have a bar of the liberal-Lefts ideology of rorting these schemes for professional advanceement under the guise of a progressive political ideology.
    As doe the shopping list uncivilised practices that you mentioned, like youI loathe them and the racism, sexism and sectarianism that go with them.
    I have never said that the:

    naïve, do-gooder, PoMo, PC, multiculturalist ideologue are responsible for all these phenomena

    These attitudes are sometimes the default condition of the older people fleeing dysfunctional or pre-modern cultures. Its not their fault, thats just the way they were brought up.
    Sometimes, as in the case of criminal activity, they may be the result of lax screening.
    It is our responsibility, as legatees of the worlds stand-out moral (Jewish), intellectual (Greek) and political (Roman) traditions, to promote those values and prevent New Australians from falling into their old ways, some of which are bad.
    For the most part, immigrants with a will and bit of nouse, and a bit of go do this for themselves. If they dont make it, their kids are usually keen to fit in and do well for themselves. Good luck to them.
    My beef is with the po-mo philosophers, multi-culti activists, pee-cee ideologues and identity politicians who did not stand up for the Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment values embody these traditions. This was a sin of ommission, as much as commission. They failed in their moral, intellectual and political duty.
    Instead the “progressives” took the easy self-indulgent option of adopting trendy and fine-sounding slogans which had the effect of licensing the default tribalism that is a part of the instinct of all people, black, white or brindle.
    That way lies barbarism.

  22. On rereading the original post I concede that it did not endorse the cruel treatment of the Tampa refugees. Your point was that, while the government’s motives may have been cynical, the controversy was on balance positive because it caused scrutiny and exposure of various abuses of the immigration system.

    Still, you come across as generally supportive of Howard and Ruddock on policies that, more than anything else they have done, deserve condemnation.

    And, except in so far as it can be achieved through mere repetition, you haven’t demonstrated a link between multicultural ‘slogans’ as you call them, and the tribalism and barbarism we all dislike. I think the latter have more to do with economic insecurity, a deteriorating public school system, and the triumph of individualist, consumerist ideology in general, than with ethnic politics.

  23. I mean Jack’s original comment, not John’s original post. My second feat of carelessness today.

  24. James,

    I supported Howard in spite of, not because, of Ruddock’s refugee policy. At the time I felt that national security and civic identity were more important issues than anything else, what with Timor and 911.
    I stand by that judgement. Howard has improved Australia’s national security and repaired our civic identity. He was a steady hand to have at the helm in a series of crises.
    I concede that my subsequent support of the Gulf War was half-way foolish.
    I acknowledge that some of the social pathologies that are associated with post-multicultural immigrants are partly caused by the more general problems inflicted by “Economic Rationalism”.
    Other problems are associated with the greater cultural distance that seperates Asian and Arabian cultures from European ones.
    But some immigrant social pathologies are caused by our partisan ideological culture: rorted immigration, lax screening and tardy integration – social outcomes which were justified under the guise of “Political Correctness”.
    Bob Birrell has outlined the proces by which a large number of non-economicly selected ethnics have concentrated into “zones of disadvantage” in Sydney’s Ethnic Underclass, in a way that is not necessarily to the advantage of Australia:

    For the past couple of decades most of the growth in the migration program has come from family reunion, humanitarian and on-shore change of status flows, none of which are selected on the basis of skills. The majority of these people have come from Non-English-Speaking-Background (NESB) countries.

    According to Birrell, this pattern of ethnicity and poverty was not inevitable, but was a result of a certain unidentified political force regulating immigration and the changing industrial basis of the economy:

    the final overlap between residence, class and ethnicity is not inevitable. Rather it is a product, even if unintended, of Australia’s immigration program. According to our analysis, the increasing concentration of low-income NESB-origin residents in Sydney’s south-west is a consequence of a disjunction between the characteristics of the skills offered by the family, humanitarian and change-of-status streams of migrants locating in Sydney and the city’s changing economic base.

    By all means, lets accept NESBs. But lets select them on the basis of economic advantage for AUstralia, not political patronage for various parties, lobbbies and interest groups.
    The link between political corruption and social disintegration was forcefully outlined by the redoubtable Paul Sheehan, whose work I have no hesitation in recommending to all on this list.

  25. How absurd some of these ramblings are? Even so we are all entitled to an opinion are we not?
    We each are the sum total of all the diverse ethnicity mixed and mingled by our forbears..
    Very few of us can say we have evolved from one only civilisation.
    I surveyed all the people at my workplace onetime and found 160 people could lay claim to 43 different nations/ethnic groups/cultures.
    I grew up in area with many groups and found the differences of peoples beliefs and cultures a wonderful insight into what makes us who we are. (at least 12 different groups in my local neighbourhood).

    I wonder why the “News” has to report in the manner of “Member of Ethnic Group sets out to “kill” member of another group “Sell drugs to” or
    “80yr old kills young children in road accident ” “Doctor from China finds “cure” for homosexuality” “Catholic man marries Jewish woman”
    These are just examples of the stupidity of the Press Statements of what they think “SELLS” the Story.

    Is the important fact 2 Children were indeed killed or that the man driving the car involved was 80 yrs OLD or that he was a MAN maybe
    he was Brirish, Catholic, tourist, resident had 1 leg , Red hair??????

    Other details would come to light as investigations take place etc etc etc but we seem to have it forced into our psyche the badness of a certain group. “Butcher kills wife in drunken rage” This portrays that butchers are violent drunks, doesn’t it?

    So some of you think I talk nonsense but it is true. I take people as I find them and have always looked for the best qualities in people and that is what I found – only good and wonderful qualities, the alternatives have been few and far between in my life, which has been wide horizoned. People with ANTI-OTHER GROUPS need to open their minds, hearts, and their arms in welcome, understanding and love.
    Subject of love is not only a personal emotion
    it is what we need more of NOW. Love of GOD, Love if Mankind, Love one another, Love of our Earthly Home, Love of all the “good” our World contains. If we use the Loving Principle in all of our judgements and dealings our kids will have a much, much, much better, happier world in which to live.

    With Love
    From Susan, Scottish/English/German/Irish/Paraguyan, Australian Indigenous, 4th Generation Australian, Mother-in Law to NZ, Indigenous, Spanish, Australian humans, Grandparent of mixed cultured AUS/NZ, Eastern European, and others not yet revealed, Christian, 5 various persuasions, Jewish, etc etc. All of the above future/current Earth inhabitants and learning LOVE of diversity not HATE.

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