> In the absence of a clearly articulated and worked
out alternate policy,
First, there must be a problem that requires drastic
infinite detention and violation of International obligations?
Can you explain this problem to me first?
You may recall that Labour came to power in a blaze of moral righteousness,
saying they would have a humane refugee policy. Numbers increased
dramatically with no end in sight to exponential growth. [By the way, the
Greens ridiculed the notion that the policy change would increase the
numbers of boat people markedly. They were proven utterly wrong.] So they
tightened policy. It seemed to me that they eventually muddled into an
incompetently executed version of the Howard/Abbott policies.
Now why would they do this? Some people argue that they listened to the
polls and, being cynical uncaring fiends, decided to sacrifice the refugees
in order to buy votes. Personally, while I was no fan of Rudd or Gullard, I
do not think they are that heartless. I just think they were mugged by
What reality? That there are about *20,000,000* refugees around the world,
many of whom would come to Australia if they could. There are *billions* of
people who live in very poor countries, and polls suggest that a *third( or
more of them would move to a rich country if they could. As one indication,
in 2008 there were over 13,000,000 applicants for the green card lottery to
get into the USA - even though the odds are very low.
So the problem is that unrestricted immigration implies huge numbers of
people coming to Australia. The implications can be enormous: housing
shortages, unemployment, breakdown of our ability to fund the welfare
OK you may not accept this scenario. Fine, but where is a solid analysis
that shows it is wrong. As far as I can see, all the evidence suggests it
is basically correct.
Or you may say that this is acceptable, because the need of these people is
so great. The need of these people outweighs the harm to the locals. I
think that is a very defensible view. Why should we in Australia have such
a high standard of living while millions of people die of starvation and
hunger each year? Should we not be prepared to accept a big cut in our
standard of living to help those people?
What I have been asking for is this: What is your specific policy proposal
for immigration, including refugees? Where is your analysis of the
implications of your policy? And a statement that the implications are X
and I accept those implications for these reasons.
I accept the cogency of the arguments that we should do far more for poor
people (whether increasing immigration is the right way to do this I am
unsure). But I find I am not prepared to drastically reduce my own standard
of living to implement this insight. I find few people are. Anyone on the
mailing list who donates more than say 40% of their income to such causes
is welcome to speak up at this point, but there are very few such people.
This is embarrassing. We know what we should do if we value other people's
welfare as much as our own. But we don't do it. The obvious conclusion is
that we don't value other people's welfare as much as our own.
I would also suggest that anyone who wants to demand that the Australian
people accept a large cut in their living standard, should demonstrate
their bona fides by, for example, showing that they currently donate a
large slab of their income to such causes.
Otherwise people can rightly say that talk is cheap.
When you look at other contentious issue, such as global warming, there are
plenty of resources that analyze the issue and possible solutions in
detail. This issue is different, which is very interesting. Google searches
uncover much moral posturing, but little else.