Growing right-wing discontent

If there’s one thing that defines the totalitarian right, it’s an overwhelming sense of entitlement. Being born into a country, into a class/caste/sect or into a particularly coloured skin (othering criteria being whatever is the most self-serving and/or to coincide with established totalitarian tradition) entitles you to a whole heap of opportunities that The Others aren’t.

One of the most basic demands of the totalitarian right is that entitlements are beyond criticism, often followed by the paradoxical expectation that the totalitarian right-winger is a free-thinker. A participant in a absolutely free market of ideas. Right-wing totalitarianism could hardly be seen as having prowess if it wasn’t seen to perform in such a light.

But it doesn’t perform. Genetic fallacy, hasty induction, argument from tradition, argument from authority, argumentum ad baculum – and that’s just some of the fallacies. Don’t get me started on the cognitive biases (particularly the out-group ones) or the flakiness of the objectification of the identity of Others. Right-wing totalitarianism is rife with shoddy thinking.

Usually when one calls a racist person, or a racist idea, racist, they to varying extent allude to these kinds of intellectual short-comings or at least to the sordid psychological motivations behind them. Not always, but usually.

Occasionally, “that’s just racist” is used to shut people up. It happens to scientists studying the human genome for example, who have no such motivation and who’s only crime is to make some anti-science bigot feel insecure.

But the average right wing totalitarian is far from being your average geneticist. Usually they are looking a convenient Other to blame for their own failures or lack of opportunity and let’s face it, geneticists aren’t people you could call failures or deprived of opportunity.

The right-wing totalitarian is mediocre in all but the grandeur of its delusions.

Take the faux-egalitarianism of Pauline Hanson. The ‘One Nation’ dream – that we could all be unified and high achieving if it weren’t for those darn Asians/Muslims/Insert-Other-Here and their pesky dog.

The economic argument against immigration was vapid (even without the bogus statistics Hanson cooked up) in not realising the role immigrants play in a growing economy and the cultural arguments weren’t much better. The Aussie Dream needed special protection, or at any rate, a particular subset of Australian culture, caught in stasis and not flowing along dynamically like the rest, needed its stasis maintained and its (imaginary) cultural dominance assured.

But more than this, the totalitarian-right Hansonites wouldn’t brook being called racists. They were supposedly being oppressed by political correctness, merely by being criticised, yet expected their distortions of fact to be recognised merely as honest criticism of multicultural Australia multiculturalism (the reality of multicultural Australia being something else they were in denial about.)

Or put more simply (as simple as such contortions get), you shouldn’t express your right to free expression by criticising their distortions, because it oppresses their right to free expression to speak truth to power by speaking distortions. Breaking this rule made you un-Australian (and it is at about this point that Howard followed through after Hanson did the dirty work for him), un-patriotic or what-not.

Maybe I can distill this somewhat further. “Don’t point to me being stupid and call my stupid, stupid, because your the one who’s stupid! Whaaaa!”

I honestly don’t think the totalitarian right deserves better representation. Insulting? Sure. Unfaithful? Don’t think so.

So imagine this mind-set and the comfort it enjoyed under the days of Howard and Bush Jr. Out-groups were routinely demonised, stupidity was protected from criticism on the grounds that criticism was “political correctness gone mad”, and the totalitarian-right mind aroused with crypto-nationalist jingoism, faux-patriotism, flag-waving idiocy and the flattery of traditional narratives that had either gone well beyond their use-by date, or never really existed to begin with (Iraq-9/11, Founding Fathers and God in the Pledge of Allegiance, false popular history of “In God We Trust” on currency in the US, de-contextualised readings of founding documents, delusions based on Terra nullius, the peaceful colonisation of Australia, the cultural homogeneity of Australia etc.)

Not that the totalitarian right got what it wanted, and not that the new political zeitgeist is free of these kinds of things, but the last two years have seen this relatively comforting atmosphere stripped from the right wing.

Naturally, they are hopping mad about it. They haven’t become mad though – that would be a misrepresentation. Rather, they were always mad and now without Howard and Bush’s particular brand of nationalist sedative, they have resumed climbing the walls just like they used to for most of the 20th century.

John Quiggin commented that now the culture wars were essentially over, the left could spend the time to extend the wars and push the right into further obscurity and foaming at the mouth. Or, it could just get on with business. I think suspect that the left have done the latter, but all the same the totalitarian right has still descended further into obscure lunacy of its own volition – all it took was for the left to get on with business and conspiracy mindedness enslaved to delusions of cultural entitlement did the rest.

The bellicose has got so much worse.

The election of President Obama signalled the death of something that deserved to die – the political motivation to exclude non-whites from the presidency. This, the end of the hegemony of political racism, and certain articulated points of political philosophy expounded by Obama, are what’s being celebrated by Americans en masse.

Naturally, the right has on frequent occasions in its rhetorical attacks on Obama, pulled out the old straw-man and pretended that it’s grappling with something as frail as itself – “Americans voted for Obama because he’s black! The racists!”, the shrill cries tell you. Never mind that Obama had a political philosophy that he brought to the election. Never mind the fact that the African Americans that are being labelled racist for their support of a black man, voted strongly for democrat presidential candidates such as Clinton, Gore and Kerry.

Never mind the facts. That’s been part of the totalitarian right epistemology for a long time now – acknowledge the confirmatory and ignore exceptions to the delusion, even when the exceptions are the rule and the delusions its exception. The David Irvings and Keith Windschuttles of the culture wars have made good friends of the political right through their ability to dismiss evidence that contradicts the favoured narrative, even if the standards change from book to book.

In The Killing of History (1994), Windschuttle railed against literary theorists/critical theorists and associated professions for turning history into an art that tells fanciful, flattering histories. Yet, in The Fabrication of Aboriginal History (2002), Windschuttle invoked the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (the hard version I might add – hardly something compatible with his 1994 stance) to argue that because Aborigines in Tasmania had no word for compassion, they lacked the quality. Jumping from literal determinism to logical positivism, Windschuttle then (famously) dismissed the testimony of first hand witnesses on the grounds that their observations can’t be objective.

Windschuttle clearly selects his method to suit the conclusion, failing to apply this criteria evenly. This fact was ignored by the likes of Andrew Bolt and John Howard, who uncritically promoted Windschuttle’s work to their respective (and overlapping) totalitarian-right audiences.

So with the election of the Rudd Government, and the subsequent getting on with the business of an apology to the stolen generations, totalitarian-right deniers of history had Howard’s salve removed from their sore, wounded minds. No pro-active antagonism was needed. The right-wing of the Australian blogosphere lit up with lunatic “I’m not sorry” posts. The right media went into overdrive about how white Australia was being guilted, when it was never about the guilt of non-Aboriginal Australians.

Heaven forbid that anyone ride roughshod over feigned, confected concerns by doing something sensible!

Returning to favoured territory, right-wing Australian Facebook groups are popping up to protest against immigration and integration, pushing it seems, ever more demented arguments. The group F**k Off We’re Full writes (amongst other things);

“This idea of Australia being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Australians, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle.

This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.”

(Mark Jahn, 2009)

And those millions of people who struggled for freedom just happened to be from a variety of cultural backgrounds, and fought despite being subjected to all sorts of bigotry at the time (Irish, Greek and Italian Catholics, Aborigines etc.)! To think that they made these efforts to create an Australia where Australians who have never seen the likes of this kind of struggle can pretend to be cultural bouncers is preposterous.

Keeping in mind that this guy is still basically just a kid at age nineteen and giving him some wiggle room, this is still a pretty silly line of reasoning. Multiculturalism doesn’t alter our standing in international law/geopolitics at least not to our detriment (Australia and Canada are world leaders in articulating multiculturalism as a political philosophy) and this rubbish about diluting our national identity is just ideological purism that ignores the reality of Australia’s cultural history. Australia isn’t, nor has it ever been at any point so culturally homogeneous as to have a single identity to begin with. Not before nor after white Australians turned up (closely followed by Chinese, Irish, Greeks, Italians and so on.)

If we were that culturally homogeneous to begin with, and cultural purity had been maintained, you can kiss your kebabs goodbye. Pretty much everything in Australian gastronomy would be a narrow variation on this monstrosity (thanks Scott.) For that alone, I’ve ample reason to be thankful for Australia’s rich, multicultural heritage.

As for Jahn’s comments on South Australian driver’s licenses and un-obscured faces, and a governmental abstinence on Christmas lights being put up in Sydney (not a ban on the private practice), these are both Church-State issues, not issues of multiculturalism. Arguably, South Australia was wrong to issue a driver’s license with a photo of an obscured face on religious grounds (creating a special religious right for a sub-group as opposed to infringing upon a general religious right held by all South Australians.) As for NSW voluntarily staying on its side of the church-state divide (states don’t have a church-state separation), it has probably done the right thing (by not giving special rights to Christian practitioners of gaudy decorative rites.)

If you believed Jahn, this is all just the new fashionable multicultural bogey man as opposed to church-state civics going as far back as the Enlightenment. But then, he’s barely just an adult – he doesn’t go back that far himself. A lot of the 19,000-plus members (plus the other 3000 that have joined while this post was being written) on his group on the other hand, probably can’t pull the same defense (although I think a number of them got on to argue a counterpoint and others still didn’t necessarily read too far into it*.)

Facts rarely count in these kinds of circumstances. All the same, this is the safe end of the right-wing cultural xenophobia phenomena. Paranoid, fact-avoiding straw-man representations of multiculturalism should be the least of people’s worries (unless of course you are a history or civics teacher, or the concerned parent of a student studying these subjects) when it comes to what totalitarian right-mindedness has been up to of late.

Facebook hot-air groups, when not organising vigilantism (which Jahn’s group isn’t) are just that – hot air. People letting of steam and letting their uglier side show in the process. Same thing that happens when some blokes loosen their belt after a long day – you can afford to ignore this stuff to some extent.

Tim Blair’s News Ltd blog, known for being somewhat milder that his independent blog, has been host to a lot nastier discussion participants than anyone you’ll see on Jahn’s group. Although the clown who put this travesty against production standards of a party promotional video on Jahn’s group could probably go the pace. Darrin Hodges of the same APP that has ties with the particularly violent British National Party being the person in question, posting the video four months ago.

I hope young Mark doesn’t get roped in. But I digress.

“Blair’s Winged Monkeys” they have been called, such is their notoriety. They can’t get away with posting on Tim’s new blog, corkers like they used to. It has to be frustrating for some.

Recently, some in the same circle, particularly the bloggers from A Western Heart (which I won’t link to for reasons that may become obvious) were dropped from Tim’s blogroll. Coincidentally only a very short period after it was revealed at GrodsCorp that one of the A Western Heart bloggers had advocated for the assassination of US President Obama. (Hi CIA! I like your President – but this guy! Woo!)

Dangerous polemic. After all, it only takes one loon with a gun to take it seriously.

In the US, gun purchases have gone through the roof since Obama took office. Channelling one of the the very revisionist narratives I mentioned earlier (or perhaps a ghost writer) Chuck Norris tells us that…

John Adams declared that, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.” Yet we’ve bastardized the First Amendment, reinterpreted America’s religious history and secularized our society until we ooze skepticism and circumvent religion on every level of public and private life.”

(Chuck Norris, 2009)

… and he goes on to say (cited by Charles M. Blow – thanks Bron), “How much more will Americans take? When will enough be enough? And, when that time comes, will our leaders finally listen or will history need to record a second American Revolution?” And… “Thousands of cell groups will be united around the country in solidarity over the concerns for our nation. You can host or attend a viewing party by going to Glenn’s website. My wife Gena and I will be hosting one from our Texas ranch, in which we’ve invited many family members, friends and law enforcement to join us. It’s our way of saying “We’re united, we’re tired of the corruption, and we’re not going to take it anymore!”

Of course, the corruption and oppression they speak of is largely a figment of their imaginative, paranoid contortions. The second amendment is the strongest case they have against Obama and secularism (and secularists don’t all agree with gun control anyway), the first amendment rights – especially where the establishment clause is involved (where the like of World Net Daily and Chuck Norris agitate in direct contradiction to the constitution) – is something they just have plain upside down. And Obama hasn’t even done anything to do with second amendment rights yet!

And don’t you just like how he calls his groups “cell groups”? What a good resistance fighter Chuck is.

There are other “cell groups” out there not happy with Obama. Ones that should make your flesh crawl.

Enter the disturbing story of the late James Cummings.

James Cummings was a man shot dead by his wife Amber last year, after what she has described (along with witnesses) as a period of sexual, physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her husband, which she is pleading led her to a moment of insanity. I’m not going to comment on the murder charge against Mrs Cummings. The trial isn’t over and it’s incidental to what I do want to focus on.

Thanks to [Censored], who leaked government documents on the investigation, it has come to light that James Cummings was in possession of thorium-232, which although the most stable (and common) radioisotope of thorium (and being non-fissile not suitable for a nuclear weapon), still an isotope suitable for use in a dirty bomb. Depleted uranium was also found (which is also non-fissile, but does not present a substantive radiation risk – despite pseudoscience to the contrary) along with components for a detonator/explosive and instructions on how to acquire and use other economically significant (and available) radioisotopes (of cesium, strontium and cobalt) to manufacture a dirty bomb.

So what profile did this guy fit? Was he a Muslim? Nope. Was he poor and disaffected? Nope, he was comfortably middle class. That’s why you don’t hear about him in the news.

He was a white guy in his twenties with a trust fund and links to right-wing, white supremacist groups in the US. Heck, he even collected NAZI cutlery!

According to his wife, allegedly he was rather pissed off when Obama beat out John McCain for the presidency. Which for an alleged wife abusing/bashing rapist, must have been pretty angry for his wife to take notice!

There is this Popper quote that I keep revisiting. Indeed, I cited it when arguing that the odious Nick Griffin of the British National Party, should have been let into the country after being invited through the buffoonery of the Australian Protectionist Party. It goes…

“If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.” – Emphasis added.

– Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945)

Despite Nick Griffin’s argument that “When the crunch comes, power is the product of force and will, not of rational debate” (which is more about the Will to Power and the BNP’s ressentiment), I think Griffin and his ilk can and has been countered by rational debate. The British National Party, for all its bellicose, is politically impotent. Reasoned appeal to the public has easily kept their lunacy in check.

Nick Griffin, the perennially stupid Australian Protectionist Party and thoughtless Facebook xenophobia groups fall short of Popper’s cut-off criteria, I think. Let them say silly things and exercise your right to free speech by pointing out their errors of fact, logical fallacies and cognitive biases. Exercise your right to be outraged, exercise your right to oppose them and exercise your right to laugh at them.

But somewhere between the clownesque Chuck Norris and evil James Cummings there is a line. A line where the totalitarian right-wing that seeks special entitlement for race and creed is willing to be truly destructive. A line where the growing discontent becomes malcontent and where society is right to enact intolerance, to take away the rights that others would use to deprive us of ours.

I think managing this line, or preventing such conflicts before they begin, would be served by a greater focus on the growing right-wing discontent.

~ Bruce

* I think perhaps there is also reason to assume that totalitarian righ-wing popularism is tapping into something deeper and more significant with people than the politics and lack of thought would otherwise indicate. Un-articulated frustrations of a hard life perhaps.

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37 thoughts on “Growing right-wing discontent

  1. Darrin, Bruce is musing on the new political zeitgeist and the totalitarian right, to use his terminology.

    I take it you don’t see any point to it.

  2. “The economic argument against immigration was vapid (even without the bogus statistics Hanson cooked up) in not realising the role immigrants play in a growing economy and the cultural arguments weren’t much better.”

    Sorry, old chap, but your arguments are as economically illiterate as One Nation’s proposal to print off more money as a solution to all our woes.

    The truth is that advances in productivity and technology, not increased labour inputs, are critical to economic prosperity.

    The Australian economy would do just fine without immigration. Just like other countries, such as Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Japan, South Korea etc., which have all prospered without mass immigration.

    “The Aussie Dream needed special protection, or at any rate, a particular subset of Australian culture, caught in stasis and not flowing along dynamically like the rest, needed its stasis maintained and its (imaginary) cultural dominance assured.”

    Funny. Japan is a monocultural nation which shuns immigrants, but I’d hardly assert that Japanese culture is “caught in stasis and not flowing along dynamically like the rest.” In fact, it remains one of the most dynamic countries on the planet.

    As for the “imaginary cultural dominance” of traditional Anglo-Celtic Australia, are you honestly asserting that modern Australia hasn’t historically been dominated by people of British Isles descent?

  3. The truth is that advances in productivity and technology, not increased labour inputs, are critical to economic prosperity.

    Yes, because if Australia’s population didn’t grow it would have had no impact on our productivity. You wouldn’t happen to know Graeme Bird, would you?

    The Australian economy would do just fine without immigration. Just like other countries, such as Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Japan, South Korea etc., which have all prospered without mass immigration.

    The word ‘stagnant’ comes to mind.

    Japan is a monocultural nation which shuns immigrants, but I’d hardly assert that Japanese culture is “caught in stasis and not flowing along dynamically like the rest.”

    I didn’t say monocultures were in stasis, I said that there was a dream of a monoculture caught in stasis i.e. people didn’t want the culture to change.

    are you honestly asserting that modern Australia hasn’t historically been dominated by people of British Isles descent?

    I’m asserting that any dominance to an extent that defines Australia as Anglocentric (note I don’t conflate the Celtic – nice way to make a culture look bigger than it is that) is a product of wild fancy. The fact that you treat to the British Isles historically as some kind of monoculture really shows how much you aren’t grasping the concept.

  4. “Yes, because if Australia’s population didn’t grow it would have had no impact on our productivity.”

    Actually, without population growth, we’d probably be more productive as more capital would be spent on labour-saving productivity-enhancing devices. Unfortunately, by swelling the size of the workforce and driving down the cost of labour, immigration serves as a disincentive to greater investment in such labour-saving productivity enhancements.

    Even if the immigrants we imported were veritable miracle workers compared to native-born Australians, the problem would remain that immigration only diverts investment away from capital deepening (i.e. more capital investment per worker) – the key to higher productivity – toward capital widening (i.e. more capital diverted toward infrastructure and housing needed to service the growing population).

    “You wouldn’t happen to know Graeme Bird, would you?”

    I assume that was some kind of puerile attempt at an insult.

    “The word ’stagnant’ comes to mind.”

    I take it you’ve never been to any of the above-mentioned countries then.

    Given that you believe that the world’s most dynamic, stable, prosperous, and successful societies are in fact “stagnant”, perhaps you’d care to enlighten us as to which countries you believe to be superior and non-stagnant.

    “I didn’t say monocultures were in stasis, I said that there was a dream of a monoculture caught in stasis i.e. people didn’t want the culture to change.”

    I don’t think anybody is denying that cultures change over time. I think the issue here is that people want to feel that they have some control over the direction and rate of change of their own culture. When a rapid influx of culturally alien immigrants occurs on such a scale that it threatens to supplant the host population’s culture, naturally the host community will feel threatened and begin to resent the foreign influx. Wanting to ensure the continuation of one’s national culture seems perfectly natural to me. Each nation has its own culture and way of life, and there seems nothing undesirable in wishing to retain them, instead of allowing those cultural traditions to be disrupted by large immigrations of culturally disparate and perhaps even hostile groups.

    “I’m asserting that any dominance to an extent that defines Australia as Anglocentric (note I don’t conflate the Celtic – nice way to make a culture look bigger than it is that) is a product of wild fancy.”

    In that case, you really are more delusional than I thought.

    Whether you like it or not, the fact remains that British-derived cultural traditions and institutions and people of British descent still characterise mainstream Australian life. It is not a product of wild fancy, but a historical, cultural and demographic reality that you refuse to accept due to your own irrational Anglophobia.

    “The fact that you treat to the British Isles historically as some kind of monoculture really shows how much you aren’t grasping the concept.”

    I never said that the British Isles was a “monoculture”. I was simply stating that most of Australia’s people and cultural traditions are of British Isles (or Anglo-Celtic Isles, as the Irish Government prefers) origin. Most of what many of us view as traditional Australian culture was largely formed through a synthesis of English, Irish, and to a lesser extent, Scottish and Welsh cultural traditions during the colonial period. Just like the culture of medieval England, with its odd linguistic combination of Anglo-Saxon and Norman French, was formed through a process of cultural synthesis. But these are still distinct cultures in their own right, in the same way that a hybrid plant species is one species, not a combination of different species, or that a human being is one person, not simply a mix of his mother’s and father’s characteristics.

  5. “Actually, without population growth, we’d probably be more productive as more capital would be spent on labour-saving productivity-enhancing devices.”

    I think I’ll stick with my economically bankrupt economics than your comic book economics.

    “I assume that was some kind of puerile attempt at an insult.”

    No, not entirely. The epistemology behind your economic bare assertion seems quite similar.

    “I take it you’ve never been to any of the above-mentioned countries then.”

    I need to go to them to notice their GNPs?

    “When a rapid influx of culturally alien immigrants occurs on such a scale that it threatens to supplant the host population’s culture, naturally the host community will feel threatened and begin to resent the foreign influx.”

    Except Australia has historically dealt with large influxes exceedingly well. As for the host community being afraid, well, maybe you feel threatened but you can’t go and project that on other Australians.

    “Whether you like it or not, the fact remains that British-derived cultural traditions and institutions and people of British descent still characterise mainstream Australian life. It is not a product of wild fancy, but a historical, cultural and demographic reality that you refuse to accept due to your own irrational Anglophobia.”

    Straw-man.

    And what Anglophobia? Since when did I say I didn’t want any culture from the British Isles over here in Australia?

    “I never said that the British Isles was a “monoculture”.”

    But you talked about it as if it were.

  6. “I think I’ll stick with my economically bankrupt economics than your comic book economics.”

    Let’s face it, you don’t have a clue about economics period.

    If you can provide some evidence that increased labour, as provided by immigration, doesn’t serve as a disincentive to capital deepening and investment in labour-saving devices which spurs productivity growth, then please, enlighten me. Better yet, perhaps you could offer up some evidence to show that there is in fact a positive correlation, rather than a negative one, between population growth and productivity growth.

    “No, not entirely. The epistemology behind your economic bare assertion seems quite similar.”

    Are you aware that guilt by association is an example of an ad hominem fallacy?

    I’m not even sure who Graeme Bird is. But I hope that he understands more about economics than you do (which would’t be hard).

    “I need to go to them to notice their GNPs?”

    So we are talking exclusively about GDP now? Perhaps I should have asked you to clarify what you meant by “stagnant”. Economically stagnant? Culturally stagnant? What exactly?

    Oh, I should point out that GDP is largely irrelevant. China has a big GDP, but I would hardly call it a prosperous nation. GDP per capita is a far better measure of a society’s prosperity (and, incidentially, nearly all of the above-mentioned low-immigration countries have a higher per capita GDP than high-immigration, presumably “non-stagnant” Australia).

    “Except Australia has historically dealt with large influxes exceedingly well.”

    Just because we successfully absorbed previous waves of immigrants doesn’t automatically mean that that success will continue into the future. The conditions have changed significantly since the first post-war wave of immigration.

    In the mid 20th century, Australia had a vital and confident core culture and insisted that immigrants assimilate. The immigrants were almost exclusively European, coming from a similar ethnic and cultural background as the existing Australian population. Most importantly, the great immigrant wave was drastically reduced after two or three decades, ushering in a period of ethnic equilibrium and social peace. None of those factors obtains today.

    “As for the host community being afraid, well, maybe you feel threatened but you can’t go and project that on other Australians.”

    Hilarious. You project emotions and feelings on to me and then claim that I am “projecting”.

    “Straw-man.”

    Fact: British-derived cultural traditions and institutions and people of British descent still characterise mainstream Australian life.

    “But you talked about it as if it were.”

    Um, no, actually I didn’t. I was referring to the British Isles in the geographical sense. I never talked as if the British Isles was comprised of only one single culture (even though English culture has dominated that part of the world for most of the modern period).

  7. If you can provide some evidence that increased labour, as provided by immigration…

    So I’m supposed to provide counter-evidence that your rather novel assertion doesn’t work, otherwise it does. Shifting the burden of proof isn’t a strategy that usually works around here.

    I remain incredulous to comic book economics until I’ve seen evidence to see otherwise.

    Are you aware that guilt by association is an example of an ad hominem fallacy?

    Are you aware that guilt by association and ad hominem fallacies are forms of invalid arguments. I simply made a rhetorical statement with no conclusion hinging upon it.

    So we are talking exclusively about GDP now?

    Don’t pretend I’ve changed the topic or moved the goal posts. And don’t put words in my mouth – I never said “exclusive”.

    Please do explain how GDP/GNP is unrelated to economic groth – which is what I’ve been talking about sinde the start. How is the change of GDP/GNP per capita over time, which is what anyone sensible would see that I’m talking about, how is that not an indicator of growth and how has Japan for example (one of your examples) done in this respect over the last couple of decades? Hmmm?

    You project emotions and feelings on to me…

    Your words were “will feel threatened”. So when I say “fear”, it’s hardly a projection.

    Now there’s that accusation of Anglophobia you’ve yet to substantiate, Ed. Please substantiate. 😉

  8. It’s propaganda, John! :O

    On a more serious note, I think this discussion is starting to go down an absolute technologist versus absolute immigration route that may not be productive to discussion. Firstly, at no point have I said that more immigration is always better. I’m not an absolutist by nature. Second, technology (and I use the term in a broad definition to include systems like business models) obviously contribute to economic growth.

    As this talk goes on, it become increasingly distant from the point of the original post as well, which was about culture. I don’t want things to evolve into a red herring of sorts.

  9. Topic drift… Hm.

    To be fair, Ed focused on the economics of immigration and on Australia’s culture, both elements in your post (even if minor) for disputation.
    I don’t think Ed has, however, addressed your overall theme.

    Ed is technically on topic, and did respond to you.

    To keep in the spirit of the thing, though, I note you raised the issue of the purported economic arguments against immigration in the context of “the faux-egalitarianism of Pauline Hanson” and their being used for the masking of covert racism, which Ed’s “English culture” certainly incorporated and countenanced.

    Regarding

    … the average right wing totalitarian […] Usually they are looking [for] a convenient Other to blame for their own failures or lack of opportunity

    That’s a pretty strong claim. Is this so, or is this a stereotype? I don’t know.

  10. Revisiting what I wrote:

    “Take the faux-egalitarianism of Pauline Hanson. The ‘One Nation’ dream – that we could all be unified and high achieving if it weren’t for those darn Asians/Muslims/Insert-Other-Here and their pesky dog.

    The economic argument against immigration was vapid (even without the bogus statistics Hanson cooked up…”

    The economic argument agaisnt immigration I had in mind was the Hansonite’s economic argument – one the failed to consider job creation, multiplier effects and the importation of skills into a low-training industrial environment. I suspect Ed had already rejected this particular argument.

    As for faux-egalitarianism – that was more in reference to the anti-affirmative action rhetoric that was dressed up as egalitarianism.

    RE: Othering – That’s a pretty strong claim.

    Othering (sort of the behaviour to match the various outgroup biases) is one of the criteria of authoritarian personality types – don’t do it and you don’t qualify, so it’s a bit of a by definition thing. I’ve avoided explicitly citing the research on “right-wing authoritarianism” I had in mind because in the context of the post it could get confusing – “right-wing authoritarians” as far as the personality type goes can actually be politically left wing (and Maggie Thatcher was defined as having a “left-wing authoritarian” persona as far as the research goes) although politically right-wing totalitarians tend rather strongly to be “right-wing authoritarians”.

    Blaming “The Other” at a political level has also been a feature of totalitarianism as defined in various schools of thought (mostly continental philosophy where the term comes from), but it’s also been argued to be a part of colonialism where the natives get “Othered” as inferior rather than being a scapegoat as with right-wing totalitarians (“The Elites”, “The Jews” etc.)

    Looking for a good quote has been hard as far as descriptions of fascism (and associated othering) go – my best book on the topic is nowhere to be seen atm (haven’t seen it in months.) 😦

    In The God Delusion, Dawkins argued it was a problem religion made worse, citing the sectarian othering in Ireland.

    AV’s bigger on the RWA research than I am. Pity he hasn’t joined in.

    Hope that helps clarify.

  11. It’s an opinion piece, wot, just like your comment; unlike your comment, however, its basis is supported with references and exposition.

  12. It’s an opinion piece, wot, just like your comment; unlike your comment, however, its basis is supported with references and exposition.

    ummm ok it was an opinion piece: I never said it wasn’t.

    What I said was that it’s incoherent drivel- like this:

    One of the most basic demands of the totalitarian right is that entitlements are beyond criticism, often followed by the paradoxical expectation that the totalitarian right-winger is a free-thinker. A participant in a absolutely free market of ideas. Right-wing totalitarianism could hardly be seen as having prowess if it wasn’t seen to perform in such a light.

    1. WFT is this supposed to mean and,
    2. If you can explain what it means then where are the so-called facts supporting this undecipherable drivel.

  13. Very easily done, Wot.

    The textbook case of a right-winger putting forward a racist argument (i.e. genetic fallacy, guilt by association fallacy or just doctored crime/immigration stats driven by outgroup bias), having the idea criticised and then whining “political correctness.” – Both the exemplar and the substantiation.

    “How dare you oppress my free-thought by criticising my ideas!” – Textbook Hansonite, whining about the PC-police keeping them down simply because someone applies a bit of critical thinking. I paraphrase of course, but Australian political discussion has been riven with this kind crap for the last 15 years – I cite it all.

    Of course, I’m just repeating myself to someone who I doubt has read past the second paragraph.

    I mean seriously. Analyse what you are writing.

    If you can explain what it means then where are the so-called facts supporting this undecipherable drivel.

    You imply the facts aren’t there yet explictly admit that you don’t have the means to verify it!

    If you don’t start conversing in good faith, I’m going to ignore you. Busy life and all.

  14. That is without doubt the most turgid piece of illiterate, ignorant rubbish I have read for many a year…there is an alternative reality inhabited by the left in which they build images of their opponents and then react to the images rather than deal with truth.

    There is no organised, totalitarian right, for example. There’s only rabble like One Nation and a few other nitwits.

    Compare that to the organised, totalitarian left of Big Green environmentalism, the union movement, the anti-globalisation crowd, the peace ninnies.

    It’s not a contest.

    The right believes in individual liberty and small government. It’s hard to practice totalitarianism if that is your foundation.

  15. Jack, you’ve got a point in that it’s somewhat turgid, much like your comment, but otherwise I see little correspondence between the post and your comment.

    Clearly, it’s not illiterate – that claim is a patent falsehood, and does you no credit.

    You claim it’s ignorant, but you do not specify what it is that the post indicates is unknown to Bruce – therefore, unless you confuse ignorance and obtuseness, you are making a naked assertion there.

    You consider it rubbish – fair enough.
    Let’s review your justification for this.

    1. You consider Bruce’s opinion is based on an “alternative [sic] reality inhabited by the left”.
    2. You consider there is no “organised, totalitarian right”.
    3. You consider there is an “organised, totalitarian left”.
    4. You consider the comparison between the non-existent “organised, totalitarian right” and the existent “organised, totalitarian left” is “not a contest”.
    5. You define some beliefs of “the right” and find them partially incompatible with totalitarianism.

    Hm. Seems to me you’re essentially doing that which you accuse Bruce of doing.

    Brief observations:
    1.
    I note that the term ‘organised’ is only used by you, not by Bruce – this is a clear misrepresentation.
    I note there is no shared intersubjective (perception of) socio-political ‘reality’; we all live in an alternate reality to that of others. Clearly, your intent is to privilege your own perception by implying it is more congruent with the facts than you consider Bruce’s is. I see no explicit evidence for that, however.
    I note you write that Bruce addresses a straw man version of “his opponents”, though you do not substantiate this; this is ironic when you’ve misrepresented him (cf. my first sentence in this section).
    2.
    Leaving aside your addition of “organised” to the term “totalitarian right”, I guess (I must, since your comment is anything but detailed) you object to the term “totalitarian”.
    Perhaps you’d care to define how you understand this; I myself consider Bruce uses it in the sense of seeking total political/ideological authority (and I don’t deny it applies to any political party or ideology, that’s what aspirations are about).
    3.
    See [2].
    You write that “the organised, totalitarian left” is comprised of
    a. Big Green environmentalism
    b. the union movement
    c. the anti-globalisation crowd
    d. the peace ninnies.
    Of these, I consider that only [b] clearly meets the criteria of the Left.
    I note that, historically, there has been emnity between [a] and [b].
    4.
    🙂
    5.
    See [2].

    To sum up: As I see it, you begin with a malevolent lie, and then offer vague, unsubstantiated, contradictory and hypocritical criticism of Bruce’s post.
    I’m not impressed.

  16. Hi John,

    Thanks for taking the time to use post-modernist decontructionism on my post.

    If you fail to understand that Big Green is a totalitarian member of mainstream leftism, for example, then I am not surprised that you are unimpressed. Impressing people wasn’t my intention.

    At least we have clarity about each side’s position. Agreement we will never have until the left lets facts and outcomes direct their thinking.

  17. JL: Thanks for taking the time to use post-modernist decontructionism on my post.

    I’m not sure those words mean what you think they mean, Jack.

    JM: Perhaps you’d care to define how you understand this; I myself consider Bruce uses it in the sense of seeking total political/ideological authority (and I don’t deny it applies to any political party or ideology, that’s what aspirations are about).

    Spot on, John.

    Been up since the wee hours, so I’ll get back to blogging tomorrow. I’m off to bed now.

  18. Communism – Totalitarian entity of the political left.

    Fascism – Totalitarian entity of the political left.

    Nazism – Totalitarian entity of the political left.

    Socialism – Veiled totalitarian entity of the political left.

    Total number of conservative totalitarian states to date? ZERO.

    Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot… wow, you progressives really are evil fuckers, aren’t you?

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