Monthly Archives: October 2013

A state is not a race

While we must always be vigilant against racism in all its forms, it should be remembered that Israel is a state, not a race. As such, it may legitimately be criticised, like any other. This is not to deny that some such criticism may be racially motivated, but no state is automatically insulated from all criticism by virtue of its people, nor is all criticism of a state automatically directed also at its people.

When Andrew Bolt was convicted under the Racial Discrimination Act in 2011, there were loud protests that this infringed free speech, although Bolt wrote unequivocally about the race of his subjects. These critics are deafeningly silent now that the same law is being used in an attempt to stifle BDS, which, whatever its merits as applied to Israel, is a peaceful form of political expression directed at a state, not a people.

Deterring asylum

Australian refugee policy is characterised by confusion and conflict. In its goals it is torn between protecting the world’s most vulnerable, protecting the country’s borders, and protecting political positions. Its treatment of asylum seekers is perceived sometimes as administrative necessity, sometimes as deterrence, sometimes as punishment, and sometimes even as a means to preserve the cultural status quo.

Below I look at the present state of the policy in general, and some of the confused motivations behind it. I will not look at offshore processing at all. Continue reading

Liberal conservatives

The Liberal Democratic Party’s David Leyonhjelm (“Liberals don’t live up to their name, unlike the LDP”, The Australian, 1/10) correctly points out that the word “liberal” is not a trademark; one might add that nor is it an apt title for a conservative party.

But it is similarly presumptuous for Leyonhjelm to lay exclusive claim to the word “libertarian”, as do many on the Right these days. That philosophy originated from the Left, and many of its contemporary strands retain that character.

The root of both philosophies, liberty itself, has been discovered by the Right in recent decades, but in the process has come to refer only to economics. The original left-wing version came in a package along with the matching democratic values of fraternity and equality, but as yet the Liberals, the LDP and the Right in general have as yet found no use for those.