Sunday, 14 June 2009

The power of duh

It seems like other bloggers are just throwing up gems of blog wisdom and debate that are so good they need answering in full this weekend.

I guess my musings on burlesque, lap dancing, fetish-wear and bondage are going to have to wait a day or so longer.

Old Holborn; impeccably honest freedom-of speechy libertarian as he is posts his ha’pennyworth’s on immigration and argues that it should be unconstrained and unsubsidized by the settled residents and that it would be both meta-ethically right and also practically good for the UK to adopt a total open-door immigration policy.

Back in the day when I was a full-on libertarian (I know, I know, but I was young and I didn’t think anyone was going to get hurt) I’d have agreed with him down the line and all good libs together. Yey.But middle age has made a conservative of me at long last (are you reading this LC old pal? You must be laughing your socks off now if so), and as this is a crucial matter about one of the many huge structural problems threatening our country and our civilisation and which our politicians are still doing absolutely nothing useful about, despite the EU election results, then it needs answering in full.

OH is one of the good guys but on this occasion he’s also one of the wrong guys.

OH’s case is very good - clear and systematic and thorough, as his opinions usually are. I hope that what follows is a detailed and respectful one and is not intended as a fisking. You only fisk the bad guys, right?

I would like to see the removal of all borders, worldwide. Work and live where you want. Whoever you are. From wherever you are.

You can now pick yourselves up from the floor, dust yourselves off and pay attention.

I am a human being

I’ve been reading a book called Out of Eden about the populating of the world by modern humans. It’s upliftting in many ways. We are all, every single one of us on this world, descended from the bloodline of one woman of about 180,000 years ago who has been identified genetically and dubbed Mitochondrial Eve. Everyone not of immediate African descent (from Eskimos to Aborigines, from Chinamen to Redskins, from Finns and Germans to the long-gone Caribs and Tasmanians) are all descended from her umpty-great-granddaughter Out Of Africa Eve whose small band of relatives migrated to southern Arabia around 85,000 years ago.

All of us human beings stand atop a mountain of history and survival that all those heroic generations of men and women built for us. Cecil Rhodes’ ‘All One Empire’ or Karl Marx’s views of human brotherhood pale into shabby fictions alongside what truly and demonstrably connects us all. In this sense alone, we are all kin. It matters. It’s beautiful. We should respect it and delight in it.

It just won’t help us deal with immigration, is all.

…and have exactly the same rights as any other human on the planet.

You do not have the same rights as everyone else on the planet. We might want to see each other (and I think that we should) as unique and precious individuals deserving similar respect to that which we would want for ourselves and our own… but actual rights (the real thing, such as habeas corpus and rights to own property and the franchise and the rights of secure residence in rented accommodation) have all evolved in different countries according to the particular eventsand histories that made those cultures what they are. They don’t all transfer well, or indeed at all, into other cultures. Would you really expect US citizens to respect the hereditary rights of British peers to sit in the upper house of the legislature, or of Muslim men to marry up to four women, or of residents not to live next door to a cranky old sod with twelve shot-guns, or the rights of English children not to marry before the age of 16?

An impeccable libertarian can and probably would say that such things are either easily amendable political institutions or private individual arrangements out of which the State should keep its nose. But those examples are all rights - and so is the right to free medical treatment on the NHS (of which more later) – and they are there because people have dreamed and lobbied and campaigned, and some fought and some died to establish or to keep them as real-world rights.

This is not an argument (hidden from me or from anyone) to treat present or future immigrants as less than human, but it is one that challenges the idea of the universality of rights and it does permit the possibility of treating foreigners as non-citizens, rather than as citizens or second-class citizens.

And what of those evolved rights from other countries – of Muslims parents’ right to export their young teenage children to marry some hill country peasant back in Pakistan, or to mercilessly beat their own children? These are some private not-to-be-interfered-with family rights upon which I would like the State to come down hard on in its size nines. What would Ayn Rand do, I wonder, about the family of this remarkable woman?

A bill of rights might do it – but look who’d be draughting it and passing it into law (even with a referendum to ratify its provisions), and who you gonna call? Economybusters? The X-penses Men? The people whose most ‘Right-wing’ Westminster faction is planning to increase NHS spending by 10% a year after the whole New Labour bubble economy burst? Because the politicians would put all kinds of quality-of-life ‘rights’ in there, including the right to a given minimum income, to representation forever to such bodies as the European Union and the UN, and to be protected against ‘hate speech.’

Nope OH; if Mister Patel wants to sell his daughter up the Kyber or some Senegalese grandmother decides that there’s one clitoris too many in her family’s privately rented flat, then dear old HMG’s just going to have to violate their families’ privacy to do so.
Rights are historic, cultural, visible things which can change, and they aren’t universal or unconditional; they are particular, specific and local.

I will defend your rights and I expect you to do the same for me.

Expect away. Expect to wait. Expectorate, more likely.Look, all those Tube Bombers and would-be tube bombers and others had all the rights that England’s ancient constitution or Scotland’s allowed them, plus more recent rights to settle or were even native to our shores, and still they planed to murder their compatriots and hosts because of something more real to them than Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights and the Human Rights Act – the supposed will of God. They did what they did prior to a wave of half-hearted condemnation or even the praise of co-religionists who also possess the rights of Englishmen and some who still thought the rights and lives of London’s infidels were either non-existent or trumped by the permanent Koranic injunction to conquer and the unbelievers.

You can expect polite argument from me, OH, but not to have your rights respected by such as these. Their minds do not contain rights, or anything like them – either inborn ‘natural’ human rights nor customary and legally-enforced rights. All they know is submission. And this you want to import unscreened and in massive numbers in the hope we’ll get some new equivalents of Richard Branson and I,K.Brunel?

You want you rights protecting then trust to fearsome fellows in cammo, and spies in Pakistan from Leeds and Leicester (‘The name’s Khan, Mohammed Khan’), and terrified, expectant, mistaken coppers who sometimes get it badly wrong.

I’ve got colleagues who think it’s OK to attack elected MEPs if their views are wrong, and one who prefers modern-day violent political witch-hunts of known ‘fascists’ to ‘traitorous’ Irishmen taking the Crown to fight Hitler. That’s a lot of not-defending-your-rights even in Castle City’s small local outpost of the Department of Hurt and Awful Nuisances in which I work.

There’s a lot of naivete in your argument, OH.

Rights are British or American, and only people with a reasonable connection to the place and respect for its ways can be expected to uphold them – and then only a minority. Look at the Labour Party’s legislation and intrusion intended to overturn human nature such as here once again at Anna Raccoon’s place.

Let us analyse my above statement.

I could live and work in New York, Monaco, Switzerland, Bermuda, New Zealand, Honolulu. I wouldn’t need a visa, permission, status or State patronage. I wouldn’t need a passport or an ID card. I am simply me, living on this planet, doing as I wish.

That is freedom.

Freedom’s also the chance to walk around loose because someone didn’t blow you into mincemeat because of what the angel Gabriel said to an illiterate failed businessman who married his widowed boss 1,300 years ago. Most won’t say ‘Boo!’ but I don’t see any Not In My Name demonstrations hereabouts, either. It’s not all about economics. Life is also about belief, and some are violent and bloody and don’t look for any bottom line that’s not the floor of an infidel’s coffin.

Of course, if I couldn’t find a job in New York or Bermuda, I would not expect one single penny from my fellow citizens.

You might come to expect it (or more likely want it) soon enough if your only daughter was dangerously but curably ill and you still had no medical insurance, which is hard to get and expensive – especially for immigrants.

One way we’re generations off replacing the Welfare State is because many, many people really believe that their children would die without the NHS or something very much like it. They’re half right – some private solutions which are offered are not always the best ones.

OH, you mean business, but millions of people aren’t libertarians and don’t – can’t – think as you do. And as this is the case, they’re going to act and vote like tax-seeking clients of the State, and politicians will flock to victim-status them and herd them into the welfarist camp. With hilarious results.

Best to keep many out before they have a chance to do so.

If I fell ill, I would expect my insurance company to pick up the tab from the premiums I have paid. If I cannot afford suitable housing (such a problem with a large family in Monaco), I would not expect other citizens to build me one at their cost. I would not expect other citizens to pay for the education of my children and I would not expect them to pick up the tab for my unemployment.

Education is a public service. Not merely public in the sense that it’s open to everyone, but in the economics sense that it needs to be provided to all irrespective of the recipients’ desire or otherwise (or their parents’ desire or otherwise) because ignorant and unemployable gangs are prone to either demanding welfare at gunpoint (the Brixton Riots and so on were mostly economic in their causes with race as an important marker of who: whom), or to taking it informally via crime.

That education is lamentably badly provided by State-enforced near-monopolies is something we probably agree on, and I’d go the voucher route and no messing, and that’s only just more politically likely than privatizing the NHS, (England’s only near-universal religion, sad to say).

Once they’re in, publicly-mandated education it is collective self-defence to insist that the children of immigrants be educated like compulsory inoculation or Zero Tolerance. And it’s not working now – many Muslim girls are kept out of school or taken out of it already by parents eager not to have their daughters corrupted. Better to keep as many out as possible if we car about our tax burden and limited public resources.

I’ve heard arguments that London would just turn into one huge shanty town full of millions of Africans and Kurds, ready to chance their luck. Wrong. The reason so many immigrants want to storm the barricades is because we pay fellow citizens to do fuck all. We house the, feed them, clothe them, pay their bills, pay their health costs and pay for their education. That is why they want to come here. Not the weather, the quaint English customs or the warm beer. It is simple Darwinism. If they head for the land of milk and honey, they will not starve.

We don't have that absence of welfare state and there’s little or no chance of it being reduced in such a way that 'our' doleys would be 'forced' to work to such an extent that the UK ceases to become a tempting jobs market and large-scale immigration ceases to be attractive to the poor of all those post-colonial hell-holes. I agree that higher populations with healthy labour competition and free enterprise produce greater wealth than smaller populations more tightly regulated but this is not the case now. Thus they'd keep coming and they'd continue to consume resources and over and above what they produce, if the House of Lords report is to be believed. I used to agree with you, but now I don't.

Remove the milk and honey and they will stay put. No one claims asylum in North Korea because they do not offer it. When we stop offering milk and honey to the world, the world will sort itself out.

Our free-ish, industrialized country is milk-and-honey, compared with Third-World hell-holes, and many immigrants gainsay Satan and believe it’s better to serve in Heaven (and clean offices and pick vegetables and gut chickens) than to reign in Hell. Only they don’t all turn into amusingly-accented Dick Emery English-but-for-colour-and-accent new compatriots. It seems that some of them want us to reprise the imperial role and push the Old Country around. Or let Jews die.

Immigration would be based on talent and skills. Without it, the journey would be wasted. You don’t need to legislate for it. Just let those unable to thrive wither and perish.

‘Wither and perish.’ Nope – we just wouldn’t let that happen. Uber-libertarians might theoretise withering and dying scenarios, but actually I bet most of them would, ahem, put their hands in their pockets for poor little starveling immigrant children. Libertarians of my acquaintance just plain aren’t that mean.

Oh, by the way and why-oh-why did the Libertarian Party, which will sure as shooting be described as Right-wing by the establishment press, choose a sodding Gryphon for its symbol?


Duh times duh. Duh to the power of duh.

Our industry would flourish with the finest brains in the world,

Sorry… zombie movie joke in there somewhere …growing tired…nearly too weak to carry on…must make it to the end before teatime...

…regardless of the passports they were forced to carry.

And did those feet in ancient time…

Our minimal tax system

walk upon England’s mountain of debt…

…would see entrepreneurs flooding here to invest.

…And was the holy lamb of gold…

Our bone idle underclass would vanish.

…in England’s peasant piss-holes seen.

Our feckless would prefer to chance their luck on the Costa del Sol rather than freeze and starve in the North East.

You really, really hate the Spanish don’t you, OH?

The Caribbean would become a warm, relaxed easygoing option (it already is actually) and education would once more have a real value to change lives and be treated with respect again. Intelligence would be seen as a passport to health, wealth and happiness again. Wisdom and the opinion of elders would once more be sought to avoid costly and potentially life threatening mistakes…

As in ‘Shall I continue to be a Somali warlord in war-torn Somalia, O Wise One, or would it be better for me to be a Somali warlord in drugs-torn inner-city London?

…by underlings.

Okay, I’ve got all satirical and a little less respectful than I should be.

All those conditions that OH mentions (except for the Caribbean climate) just aren’t real. So their consequences aren’t real either. So we have to deal with what we’ve got and how to solve it should be based on what’s possible.

What we have is a large UKIP presence in the rubber stamp parliament, and we should do our best to publicise their ideas and their manifesto because working conditions, like immigration, are dictated by Brussels. The Parliament can at least fisk the Commission – though it has little power to fix the Commission’s choice of legislation, and no power at all over the Court.

We can hope and agitate for a conservative government to limit child-related benefits and allowances to the third child and no more – at least freeing existing immigrants from dole-seeking husbands’ desire to breed more for higher benefits, and to oblige new generations of Sharons and Sharices to work sometime soon after Kid Number Three.

We can spend on speeding up the repatriation process for illegal immigrants and fund the Border Agency better (might I suggest the former Local Education Authorities’ now-unused budget, come The Day).

And all those spiffy new Tory County Councils need to bin all that ‘inclusion’ and ‘communities’ trash and return to the monocultural if multi-racial society we once had. Fit in or shut up if nobody wants to employ bag-headed Urdu-speaking only shelf stackers.

If you are an inventor, an entrepreneur, a scientist, an engineer, a scholar or simply a damn hard worker, get your arse here now, no matter what colour it is. We need you. If you are a lazy, unemployable, feckless fat oaf, bloated on the unlimited feasts of the welfare state, prepare to starve to death in a frozen ditch, you parasitical bastards.

At least libertarianism isn’t like communism. Not quite. Communism wouldn’t work not only because people don’t suit communism but also because not all people are communists.Libertarianism wouldn’t work only because not everyone’s a libertarian.

It still ain’t so, though.

People don’t fit together and live at peace merely because they are of the same blood-line or whatever, or even if they speak the same language or have the same religion. They live together peaceably because they form groups that share a number of habits of mind; customs and common beliefs and loyalty and common tastes and views about how the world works and how to deal with it. These groups are called ‘countries,’ and they are often slow to absorb new people with new ideas about right and wrong and how to live together peaceably. Mass immigration adds too many new or contrary habits and beliefs to the mixture. Hell, if plenty of the Irish rejoice at British Army deaths after decades of the Republic’s independence and after a decade of the Good Friday Agreement, how do you expect co-operation with our quaint local human rights ways from Somalis or Pathan madrassah alumni or Kurdish exiles?They want us to change instead.

Female genital mutilation, anyone?

So there you have it : from natural-rights libertarian to anti-immigration conservative in three short decades. I wonder what areas of individual liberty my conservatism might decide need limiting next?

Who knows? After all, I’m not even fifty yet…


Thud said...

I need a good sit down after that....i shall digest at liesure.

North Northwester said...

Hi again Thud.
No worries: I tend to do big ones on Sundays - it's all the beer and dancing on Saturdays I think.
I'm just hoping that soemone gets the literary allusion - I've been dying to use it.

James Higham said...

And did those feet in ancient time…
Our minimal tax system
…walk upon England’s mountain of debt…
…would see entrepreneurs flooding here to invest.
…And was the holy lamb of gold…
Our bone idle underclass would vanish.
…in England’s peasant piss-holes seen.
Our feckless would prefer to chance their luck on the Costa del Sol rather than freeze and starve in the North East.



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