Comforting stories

Apocryphal stories of fake beggars who secretly buy mansions with their takings are popular, because they allow passers-by to feel relaxed and comfortable in the face of destitution by choosing not to believe it is real. Never mind that almost all who beg are in fact very poor.

Increasingly common assertions that asylum-seekers are “economic migrants” (for example, The Australian’s editorial, 8/7) are similarly untrue of the vast majority, but serve to soothe any discomfort caused by by our ongoing breaches of human rights obligations and the rule of law.

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