Confused on classical liberalism

From time to time I get to speak to Arts students who all tell a similar story – they signed up for a subject in political philosophy and learned about socialism and communism and several other ‘isms’ in some detail. Then they had a single lecture on liberalism or even classical liberalism that was very vague and general. Generally stories like this don’t worry me too much. Signalling theory suggests that what you have learned at Uni isn’t as important as the fact that you did learn at Uni. So the content (what human capital theories emphasise) isn’t as important as the process of learning. This must be especially true for more generalist degrees.

From time to time, however, it does matter.

Most elite opinion has no real understanding of classical liberal thought. We see this in the media all the time. We have seen this in the nonsense written and spoken about the appointment of Tim Wilson to the Australian Human Rights Commission. We see this in the complete incomprehension the left have displayed to the anger the Bolt decision generated. They genuinely do not understand what the fuss is about and when 18c is amended – as the Australian has been suggesting for the last two days – they will be surprised. Even at this late stage they somehow still think that 18c will remain intact and in place.

The confusion about classical liberal thought can be seen in an op-ed in The Conversation by Catherine Renshaw of the Australian Catholic University.

Classical liberalism is not a coherent body of political philosophy. However, in relation to human rights, there are three key ideas that most classical liberals subscribe to.

The first is the idea that all people are born with rights, which they hold simply because they are human.

The second idea concerns what human rights actually are. Classical liberals believe that the list of genuine human rights is quite short. It is comprised primarily of those things that are necessary to preserve life and individual liberty.

Thirdly, classical liberals believe that the role of the state in fulfilling or protecting human rights should be very limited. States should do only what is necessary to protect life and property.

That is more or less correct – I would insert the word “equal” into the “all people are born with rights” statement but she has distilled the ideas fairly well. It’s not clear, however, why these statements are incoherent to her or anyone else.

She does have a go at a critique of these ideas (emphasis added)

Historically, classical liberals view rights as bestowed by God or derived from some essential human essence.

But many Australians seem to take a more pragmatic view of human rights, as noted by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commissioner Mick Gooda. Rights are the important interests and values that democracies have decided to protect.

Okay – so rights don’t come from God, or some human essence; they come from democracy. Hmmmmm. I’m not sure that subscribing to classical liberalism is inconsistent with democracy but I suspect many critics do think just that. She goes go for some paragraphs on what Australians want and expect from a human rights regime that is at odds with classical liberal views. Unfortunately, however, Ms Renshaw runs into a very serious problem (emphasis added).

Where his views have resonated is on subjects such as children in immigration detention. On this issue, Wilson has simply said that he doesn’t think it is right. This is the sort of visceral response shared by most Australians.

In addition to his gut feeling that imprisoning children is wrong, as a classical liberal, Wilson should find the government’s entire asylum seeker policy deeply troubling. What the government is doing is violating the rights of the few (asylum seekers) in the name of achieving a greater good for the many (preventing deaths at sea and protecting Australia’s sovereignty).

To a classical liberal, this sort of utilitarian approach to rights should never be acceptable. Wilson’s intervention on this issue will be important.

I actually don’t disagree with that view – I expect classical liberals do find “asylum seeker policy deeply troubling” and “utilitarian approach to rights should never be acceptable”.

Yet the democracy that is Australia does not find “asylum seeker policy deeply troubling” – quite the contrary. Both the Labor Party and the Liberal Party were competing at the last election to outflank the other on the right on asylum seeker policy.

Whatever “important interests and values” asylum seekers might have, Australian democracy has decided to not protect those rights. In terms of the argument Ms Renshaw has presented in her op-ed this is a fatal flaw in her argument, but it isn’t a fatal flaw in a classical liberal argument. Classical liberals are capable of holding the belief that asylum seeker policy is deeply troubling despite having majority support within a democracy. I don’t understand how she can hold that view – given her argument.

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82 Responses to Confused on classical liberalism

  1. james

    I expect classical liberals do find “asylum seeker policy deeply troubling” and “utilitarian approach to rights should never be acceptable

    Which is why I am not a classical liberal.

    If an ideology all but calls for the abolition of the nation in which you live, you cannot support it.

    A country without borders in not a country, it is a place.

  2. Max

    But many Australians seem to take a more pragmatic view of human rights, as noted by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commissioner Mick Gooda. Rights are the important interests and values that democracies have decided to protect.

    Here she is employing the Hegelian dialectic hence the contradictions and victim mentality.

  3. blogstrop

    Apologists (including journalists pretending to be honest commentators, and academics trying to look thoughtful) for the left side of politics will bend and spin anything. They have no difficulty with finding fault in something now that a conservative government is in place which they soft-pedalled while a leftoid one was marshalling whatever it might take to win an election, or even to appear as if it was getting something useful “done”.
    Detention brought in under Keating became the work of the devil under Howard, and then late in the Rudd-Gillard/Green-Rudd fiasco it was again soft-pedalled in the hope that voters might be gulled into returning Labor.
    The furore over Wilson’s appointment is purely one of partisan chagrin that someone not left-leaning has been inserted into a den of luvvies. The lengths that Renshaw has gone to in order to construct a philosophical hurdle are unsurprising, but ultimately unconvincing.
    Wilson has a much more nuanced view of where rights come from, where responsibilities commence, and the gap between. Furthermore, I would expect he could avoid redundancies in the written word such as “essential human essence”.

  4. ar

    Leftists are troubled that there are so few human rights. They want reams of legislation identifying every human right they can dream up.

  5. Gab

    Even at this late stage they somehow still think that 18c will remain intact and in place.

    I have to agree with them. Abbott will make few cosmetic changes but 18C will remain intact despite all his promises before the election to repeal 18C.

  6. .

    I expect classical liberals do find “asylum seeker policy deeply troubling” and “utilitarian approach to rights should never be acceptable

    Not really. I find mandatory detention troubling.

    Utilitarian approaches to rights are acceptable, as they lead to the same conclusions – we have inviolable rights. We’re all better off with them.

    Open borders has nothing to do with “the destruction of the nation”. The US would not have grown into the country it is without them.

    What we need to do is end welfare for non citizens. Our migrants will self select to be better.

  7. Peter McCaffrey

    Rights are the important interests and values that democracies have decided to protect.

    If rights are given by a majority, then they can be taken away when the majority changes its mind.

    That’s the exact opposite to what classical liberals believe – that rights are the things that are NOT subject to a majority vote.

    Of course, people like Catherine Renshaw want rights to be subject to a majority decision when the majority agrees with them, but want rights to be inherent when the majority disagrees with them.

  8. ar

    What we need to do is end welfare for non citizens

    What we need to do is end welfare. TFIFY…

  9. eb

    “Asylum seekers”… pfft. The democracy that is Australia is upholding the property rights of the legal citizens and residents of Australia against a bunch of people trying to break in.

    I don’t find the asylum seeker policy at all troubling. It is entirely sensible and justified. If it succeeds, as it has in the past, there will be hardly anyone in detention and no drownings.

  10. LordBromley

    The Liberal Party was borne of a pragmatic compromise between two traditions- the liberal tradition and the conservative tradition. Therefore the Liberals embrace conservative notions like national borders, border security, support for the military, support for traditional marriage and families with liberal notions like free speech, free markets etc

    I’m probably something of a rarity on these forums. I’ve only just discovered your website. I’m a paleocon- you know, Ron Paul, non-interventionist foreign policy, anti-NWO/globalisation, anti-GM foods, gold-backed money, generally anti-war, free markets, sovereign nation-states, pro-life, minimal government etc

    Obviously then, I prefer Libs to Labor although we do have our disagreements. Conservatism is a broad church and it is in many ways refreshing that we don’t all sing from the same hymn book.

  11. Tardell G

    “all people are born equal” – You do know that we’re not all born equal, right?

  12. Token

    There needs to be a good comprehensive discussion where it is spelled out that the big government nanny statists who refuse to recognise property rights and want endless layers of government created roadblocks may call themselves “Civil Libertarians” but are not Libertarian.

    When it comes to Burnside & Ackland it is clear they are not Civil either.

  13. .

    anti-GM foods

    That is neither here nor there. The Government shouldn’t have a policy.

  14. TerjeP

    I’d rather we had essentially open borders and a whopping arrival tax (eg $25k per head) and then deal with people for tax evasion not border crossing. Although in administrative terms you would want people to pay the tax before they arrive.

  15. stackja

    A little history

    Immigration to Australia During the 20th Century – Historical Impacts on Immigration Intake, Population Size and Population Composition – A Timeline

    1947 The Government partly relaxed the restrictions of the Immigration Restriction Act 1901. Non-Europeans admitted for business reasons, who had lived in Australia continuously for fifteen years, were allowed to stay, without applying for periodical extensions of permits.
    Australia agreed to settle 12,000 displaced persons per year with provision to increase this number.

    1949 Assisted arrivals reached more than 118,800, four times the 1948 figure.

    1966 After a comprehensive review of non-European migration policy, the Government announced that applications from those wishing to settle in Australia would be considered on the basis of their suitability as settlers, their ability to integrate readily, and possession of qualifications useful to Australia. At the same time, a number of non-Europeans who had been admitted as ‘Temporary Residents’ could become residents and citizens after five years (ie. the same as for Europeans) instead of fifteen years. This enabled them to bring their families to Australia much earlier.

    Then in 2007 Kev changed the rules.

  16. Hayek, Friedman, Nozick, Epstein and Mill are on the web, you know

    there is no excuse for not knowing their views for lecture preparation

    More than a few leading classical liberals (and libertarians) are Jews and are non-observant Jews too boot so attributing their thinking to gifts from God is just weak

    J.S. Mill remarked in his Autobiography that he must have been one of the very few in Britain raised without any instruction in religion or belief in a deity see http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/mill/#VieRel

  17. DrBeauGan

    To a liberal or rational conservative, arguments proceed logically from premisses to conclusion and need to be consistent. To a lefty, these are unnecesary constraints. The aim is purely rhetorical, to build tribal loyalty and damage the enemy by sleight of tongue. They are not in the business of discovering truth, they already know it. As well argue with a fanatical moslem.

  18. Viva

    Dr Johnson as literary critic believed that a moral that wasn’t explicitly stated wasn’t there. Presumably the left take the view that rights that aren’t backed up and enforceable by law aren’t there either.

    It seems to me that the classical liberal view that certain rights are inferred simply on the basis of being human is incredibly naïve. You can assert whatever you like about your rights – whether or not they are recognised is another matter. Nevertheless I cannot subscribe to the never-ending list of rights invented daily by the left and thrust upon the general populace whether they like it or not.

    IMO you can assert and demand all you like – in reality you have only an expectation which may or may not be acknowledged according to the time and place you find yourself.

  19. Token

    Yet the democracy that is Australia does not find “asylum seeker policy deeply troubling” – quite the contrary. Both the Labor Party and the Liberal Party were competing at the last election to outflank the other on the right on asylum seeker policy.

    I really don’t like how people calling for an end to the piling on of more and more of contradictory immigration & entry laws, which have resulted in huge cost to taxpayers, worse services and still resulted a large number of illegal entrants “outflanking” “on the right”.

    Stopping the boats does not address the metric sh*tload of laws implemented by both parties which provide a mix of punishments and incentives to people who try to arrive in this country without a visa.

    I do hope that we don’t keep doing the job of the left by adopting their labels, created to confuse and impede real discussion on this complex topic.

  20. will

    Open borders has nothing to do with “the destruction of the nation”. The US would not have grown into the country it is without them.

    tell that to the Armenians, and a great many other marginal and extinct peoples.

  21. will

    If rights are given by a majority, then they can be taken away when the majority changes its mind.

    without Liberty, democracy is merely tyranny of the majority

  22. .

    tell that to the Armenians, and a great many other marginal and extinct peoples.

    Armed invasion and state ordered genocide being compared to open borders is a sickening abuse of argument, history and logic.

    Please stop abusing the English language and the fine academic discipline of history.

  23. dover_beach

    What the government is doing is violating the rights of the few (asylum seekers) in the name of achieving a greater good for the many (preventing deaths at sea and protecting Australia’s sovereignty).

    But those deaths prevented at sea are of those few.

  24. Viva

    Open borders has nothing to do with “the destruction of the nation”. The US would not have grown into the country it is without them.

    “The country it is” won’t be lasting much longer – thanks to those same open borders.

  25. will

    I’m a paleocon- you know, Ron Paul, non-interventionist foreign policy, anti-NWO/globalisation, anti-GM foods, gold-backed money, generally anti-war, free markets, sovereign nation-states, pro-life, minimal government etc

    you sound very confused – how can you be anti-globalisation and also agree with the self evident truth that free markets make everyone more prosperous?

  26. will

    I have to agree with them. Abbott will make few cosmetic changes but 18C will remain intact despite all his promises before the election to repeal 18C.

    so Mein Kamph, which killed many millions, and Das Kapital, which killed hundreds of millions, will continue to be available, yet 18C will prevfent hurty feelings.

  27. Beertruk

    Gab
    #1230777, posted on March 19, 2014 at 10:47 am
    Even at this late stage they somehow still think that 18c will remain intact and in place.

    I have to agree with them. Abbott will make few cosmetic changes but 18C will remain intact despite all his promises before the election to repeal 18C.

    Gab. our hope may be restored. This on Andrew Bolt’s Blog today :

    No to racism, yes to free speech. Abbott stands firm

  28. will

    Armed invasion and state ordered genocide being compared to open borders is a sickening abuse of argument, history and logic.

    Please stop abusing the English language and the fine academic discipline of history.

    name one country with open borders that is still, you know, a separate independent self governing country.

  29. .

    “The country it is” won’t be lasting much longer – thanks to those same open borders.

    No. Of course not. It will get better and better.

    Generations of bludgers don’t come if there is no welfare on offer for turning up and doing nothing. Australia is a better place than what we were in the past due to immigration.

    This has only become questionable recently – as per the decline of the quality of country shopping, welfare addled “refugees”.

  30. .

    name one country with open borders that is still, you know, a separate independent self governing country.

    The US and Australia had open borders in the 1800s. They became the best places in the world to live. The ALP implemented WAP here and we were never the same since.

    Truth be told, our immigration policy is still fairly liberal.

    We’re not Israel. We gain little from a closed border that can’t change without scrapping welfare for non citizens.

  31. Gab

    Yes I saw that, Beertruk. Like I said, a few cosmetic changes but 18C will not be repealed as promised.

  32. Viva

    No. Of course not. It will get better and better.

    Better and better? Maybe, maybe not. It will eventually become more and more Latino in character with values not necessarily consistent with those that made the US “the country it is”.

  33. dover_beach

    The US and Australia had open borders in the 1800s. They became the best places in the world to live.

    They also had a restricted franchise and very limited powers, among other things.

  34. .

    It will eventually become more and more Latino in character with values not necessarily consistent with those that made the US “the country it is”.

    Just like the Irish.

    They also had a restricted franchise and very limited powers, among other things.

    Franchise ought to be restricted to citizens, citizenship ought to take a long time to acquire.

  35. Peter

    I hold that the detention of illegal immigrants does not violate fundamental rights any more than the imprisonment of criminals – or even the many restrictions faced by our armed services personnel – do.

    I cannot recall that we have any form of right to freedom from consequences. Indeed, many of the rights that we do agree on serve to restrict the freedoms of others.
    My right to own property restricts your right to appropriate, utilise or trespass on it.
    Your right to security of person restricts my freedom to act negligently, dangerously or violently. Laws restricting drunk-driving do not indicate a lack of respect for individual freedoms.

    The fundamental issue here is CHOICE.
    A soldier cannot simply leave the battlefield when he chooses, because he has chosen to join the military and that CHOICE limits the other choices that he can subsequently make. Likewise, the criminal cannot leave gaol when he chooses, because his CHOICE to commit criminal acts has consequences.

    We do not view the illegal immigration issue clearly if we refuse to understand it in this context….. that those who come here illegally have chosen to do so. They either know, or should have know, the consequences of that choice. In choosing to avoid the normal, legal channels for immigration, they have infringed upon the right of the Australian population to choose who – and under what circumstances – we will permit to enter our country.

  36. dover_beach

    Yes, but you raised the US and Australia in the 1800s, not what ought to be the case.

  37. .

    I think they are instructive to what we can do now, DB.

  38. Max

    “all people are born equal” – You do know that we’re not all born equal, right?

    If Darwinism is correct and evolution via natural selection is a continuous process then some people must be more highly evolved than others.

    More and freer mate selection = more evolution.

    No. Of course not. It will get better and better.

    Its gone to Hell

    San Diego in the 50s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWPhHcOXt4w

    Now
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFGvPnvhXUU

  39. .

    That was the best non-comparison ever made on the Cat.

  40. rebel with cause

    Its easy to advocate open borders if the immigrants you are likely to get are hardworking Christians, Jews and east Asians. How likely is that to occur? Substantially less so than in the 1800s I’d say.

    Of course we don’t have to accept open borders in totality. There is no reason we can’t have open border relationships, with migrants restricted from welfare, with countries we trust. This would be similar to the arrangement we already have with NZ.

  41. Peter

    Open borders, eh?

    I suggest that there would be a race between two or three of the more populous countries to ship enough of their surplus citizens here to vote Australia into becoming a satellite state in their empire.

    Remember that those nations which have benefited from this policy in the past did not have significant welfare themselves.

  42. rebel with cause

    Problems on the US border aren’t much at all to do with restrictions on the movement of people, but much more to do with drug prohabition.

    The revealed preference of most US citizens in the southern states is that they are quite happy to have Latino migrants where they are not able to become citizens – just look at how many employ illegal Mexican migrants as nannies, cooks and laborers.

  43. Max

    much more to do with drug prohabition.

    Plenty of places in the world effectively have free drugs. Liberia, the Favelas of Brazil, Thailand, Mexico, all hell holes.

  44. dover_beach

    I think they are instructive to what we can do now, DB.

    Maybe, but the cases have striking dissimilarities, as I’ve noted.

  45. Peter

    As for the idea that we simply restrict the franchise to citizens, how well did that work out for the Romans?

    We are most likely looking at a deeply divided society in which the “citizens” have to put an inordinate amount of resources and personnel into the military and police in order to maintain their own security. Give it a couple of generations and you have a large underclass of people who are born here, know no other home, yet regard the ruling “citizen” classes as oppressive and dictatorial because we make the rules, require them to pay taxes, yet give them no welfare in return.

  46. rebel with cause

    Plenty of places in the world effectively have free drugs. Liberia, the Favelas of Brazil, Thailand, Mexico, all hell holes.

    Yeah and plenty of hell hole countries execute drug smugglers. What’s your point anyway? Australians are ‘more evolved’ than our neighbors because of our drug laws?

  47. Ms Doolittle

    Some people are just more equal than others.

  48. Balatro

    This fred started as a discussion on classical liberalism, but has been hijacked by a side issue of open borders. Border control and passports are concepts that have been around since the 16th century at least, and no country has an open border policy. Australia, like most countries, subscribes to the UN convention on asylum seekers, and continues to observe its responsibilities in this area, as witnessed by the fact that several thousand are accepted every year from the UNHCR resettlement camps around the world.
    What Australia, like many countries, does not accept is attempts to contravene the border control measures in place.
    Now before those of you who agree with Bob Brown say we should allow anybody who can get here by any means should be allowed in – no questions asked – consider this. On arrival at a point of entry, if a person declares they are seeking asylum, it must be dealt with on those terms. Many people have done this. I remember one case where members of a national sporting team ( wrestlers I think) came here to compete and on conclusion of the event refused to leave ,claiming asylum. So why do the folk in Indonesia risk a sea voyage? If they can fly to Bali, why don’t they fly to Australia and declare their status on arrival? There is only one logical answer – they are concealing their country of origin. Because if their claim of asylum is not accepted, then they are returned to their country of origin, normally by the carrier that delivered them. All the asylum seekers that Australia accepts that arrive via the UNHCR have had their claims tested and arrive on valid travel documents. The sea voyage is a means to avoid that scrutiny and the delay of being in a camp in a country not of their choice.
    As for the Liberalism, classical or otherwise, I am surprised by the number of people who confuse the conservative values of the LNP with classical liberalism. The conservatives are in the centre, a position which Bob Hawke recognised and assiduously worked. There are people well to the left and the right who have conservative values, and still support degrees of intervention in other peoples lives.
    Viva is right – you can only have an expectation of your assumed rights being upheld. Some time ago the question was asked here – why has there not been a libertarian government in power in the modern world? I think the answer is that they could not agree on what to leave out of the rules that were to be upheld.

  49. Ms Doolittle

    Balatro “they could not agree on what to leave out of the rules that were to be upheld.” We are going to sort all that out tomorrow night at the Liberty & Free Market course in Melbourne.

  50. dover_beach

    Where we have this or that right and whether or not they will be recognized (i.e. upheld) are two different questions. BTW, my quick glance at the article didn’t actually identify what purported right was allegedly contravened by the lawful detention of children. Does she in fact identify a specific right that would preclude this?

  51. dover_beach

    Whether we have…

  52. LordBromley

    you sound very confused – how can you be anti-globalisation and also agree with the self evident truth that free markets make everyone more prosperous?

    Globalisation as it relates to the NWO is the inorganic (forced) convergence of nations against the will of the people. The EU, ASEAN etc- the creation of more concentrated entities to replace nation-states. A nation is an organic group of people with shared interests. The nation-state is therefore undermined by multiculturalism which is the forced assimilation of disparate nations into the host country.

    Free markets are generally better but there are a few examples of market failures. These instances are far less numerous than Labor and the Greens imagine but they do exist. This is where minimal Government comes in. Most would argue in favour of courts and police for example.

  53. brc

    I was in a forum conversation with someone at a different forum, discussing how Australia still has plenty of small-l liberal tradition. Things were going fine until they suggested that a measure of this is the nber of greens in the parliament.

    I questioned this and they basically said the greens have a no-Internet filter policy while others don’t. That’s fine, and I support that, but I find it astonishing that anyone could find the greens even remotely in the classic liberal camp. I brought up their agitation for state control over the media, their ex-soviet senator, their calls for population control. All these are hand waved away as mere details.

    It’s been said before- a lot of young people these days are ripe for a story of classic liberalism. They routinely fly to other countries to enjoy things they aren’t allowed to do at home. They instinctively distrust late corporations and hate crony capitlism. And yet somehow they are turning to the greens as their savior, the hard-left of Australian politics. Effort needs to be made to collect these young voters, more so for the influence thy can bring to the liberal party when they finally start paying taxes.

  54. Andrew

    I expect classical liberals do find “asylum seeker policy deeply troubling” and “utilitarian approach to rights should never be acceptable”.

    I disagree. I think many classical liberals see that asylum seeker policies actually protect the rights of the individual of the actual country that the government should be working for.

    From time to time I get to speak to Arts students who all tell a similar story – they signed up for a subject in political philosophy and learned about socialism and communism and several other ‘isms’ in some detail.

    Yes, I have experienced that. 9/11 weeks were dedicated to left-wing ideologies and 2/11 weeks were dedicated to more right-wing leaning ideologies although one of those two weeks was partially dedicated to ‘modern liberalism’ i.e. American liberals.

  55. Fisky

    Classical liberalism is not a coherent body of political philosophy.

    WTF??

  56. manalive

    Mill distinguishes between justice and morality:

    ” … ethical writers divide moral duties into two classes … duties of perfect and of imperfect obligation; the latter being those in which, though the act is obligatory, the particular occasions of performing it are left to our choice, as in the case of charity or beneficence, which we are indeed bound to practise, but not towards any definite person, nor at any prescribed time …”.
    ” … justice implies something which it is not only right to do, and wrong not to do, but which some individual person can claim from us as his moral right. No one has a moral right to our generosity or beneficence, because we are not morally bound to practise those virtues towards any given individual … whoever does not place the distinction between justice and morality in general, where we have now placed it, will be found to make no distinction between them at all, but to merge all morality in justice …”.

    (Utilitarianism).
    Any moral obligations Australians have to settle refugees is exercised through the UN refugee programme.

  57. .

    Max
    #1231195, posted on March 19, 2014 at 2:14 pm
    much more to do with drug prohabition.

    Plenty of places in the world effectively have free drugs. Liberia, the Favelas of Brazil, Thailand, Mexico, all hell holes.

    Um, no. Drugs are illegal in Mexico. Did you not notice the drug war? 10,000′s of casualties?

    rebel – as someone who prefers open borders, I’ve gotten most of my way, even now. The CER is a good measure.

    Good migrants will follow better business conditions and the end of no questions asked welfare for anyone who turns up.

  58. Balatro

    Ms Doolittle – I look forward to hearing the outcome of your course. Maybe you might put it up as a guest post.
    As I recall the discussion here fell away after the second bottle of choice.

  59. Abu Chowdah

    This fred started as a discussion on classical liberalism, but has been hijacked by a side issue of open borders.

    It hasn’t been hijacked at all. Sinclair’s assumptions about what defines a libertarian (basically that they would agree that the policy is concerning) has, by generating disagreement, cleverly demonstrated Renshaw’s contention that classical liberalism is not a coherent ideology.

    Open borders, eh?

    I suggest that there would be a race between two or three of the more populous countries to ship enough of their surplus citizens here to vote Australia into becoming a satellite state in their empire.

    Yes, agreed. Anyone who seriously argues for open borders and who thinks that their implementation won’t eradicate Australia and turn it into an historical footnote is a bloody moron who shouldn’t be allowed to operate a jaffle iron, let alone heavy machinery. Either that, or a bald fascist gnome academic who likes to generate traffic!

  60. Max

    Dot. Drugs are cheap and freely available in many places in the world. And those places are miserable hell holes.

  61. JABL

    However when you have Suri Ratnapala as one of your Jurisprudence lecturers, you have no illusions as to what Hayek was on about.

  62. Astonishing that people are still thinking in outdated 19th century concepts like ‘peoples’, ‘nations’, and ‘borders’ in a Canute-like attempt to cling on to the past. In a globalised world these are essentially meaningless sentimental leftovers. If you grant capital the freedom to go where it will in the world, then labor must also have the same essentially borderless globalised freedom to live and work wherever people choose. The current problem is the result of creating a borderless world for capital while attempting to retain the now redundant notion of discrete countries with borders for labor. The world will be a better place once people realise that the problem is not the people on the move, it is the futile fences trying vainly to corral them.

  63. .

    Anyone who seriously argues for open borders and who thinks that their implementation won’t eradicate Australia and turn it into an historical footnote is a bloody moron who shouldn’t be allowed to operate a jaffle iron, let alone heavy machinery.

    I operate these with excellent efficacy. Maybe you’re the problem, re, operator error.

    Max
    #1231566, posted on March 19, 2014 at 7:12 pm
    Dot. Drugs are cheap and freely available in many places in the world. And those places are miserable hell holes.

    Spain? Holland?

  64. Driftforge

    Astonishing that people are still thinking in outdated 19th century concepts like ‘peoples’, ‘nations’, and ‘borders’ in a Canute-like attempt to cling on to the past.

    What has been, will be again.

    I mean seriously, if you don’t try and maintain a discernible people in your nation, it becomes a race to the mish-mash bottom.

    Unfortunately, all the work required to raise the standard of your stock can be frittered away quite quickly.

  65. .

    Can anyone say how mass migration to Australia and America in the 19th century made Australians or Americans worse off?

    Anyone?

  66. Fisky

    Can anyone say how mass migration to Australia and America in the 19th century made Australians or Americans worse off?

    I don’t think anyone can. However, the conditions under which it occurred – frontier expansion, limited franchise, white supremacy and no welfare – aren’t exactly popular concepts nowadays.

  67. Fisky

    The current problem

    What problem are you referring to?

  68. Fisky

    If they can fly to Bali, why don’t they fly to Australia and declare their status on arrival? There is only one logical answer – they are concealing their country of origin.

    Also, you need a valid visa to enter Australia through an airport, and it’s nearly impossible to deport boat people who have landed on the Australian mainland. Everyone knows this, the government, the smugglers, and the asylum seekers, but the Left pretend not to know it so they invent ludicrous arguments hoping no one will call them out (the boaties are only entering their nearest UN Convention country! people aren’t allowed to get passports in Iran!)

  69. .

    However, the conditions under which it occurred – frontier expansion, limited franchise, white supremacy and no welfare – aren’t exactly popular concepts nowadays.

    We can open up a lot of land, constitutionally limit the government and cut off welfare for non citizens. These should be done anyway, as separate matters to ensure continuing prosperity.

    A colour blind government is even better – Aborigines were better off as British subjects then as wards of Australian States.

  70. Driftforge

    Can anyone say how mass migration to Australia and America in the 19th century made Australians or Americans worse off?

    Evidently in the 1930′s they thought something had gone wrong, thus the White Australia policy.

    More relevant question – can anyone say how the White Australia policy made Australia worse off?

  71. Driftforge

    However, the conditions under which it occurred – frontier expansion, limited franchise, white supremacy and no welfare – aren’t exactly popular concepts nowadays.

    Pretty good self-selection criteria.

  72. JC

    More relevant question – can anyone say how the White Australia policy made Australia worse off?

    Are there non-whites holding jobs? You’re not another who thinks jobs are zero sum, right….? That’s apart from restricting people simply because of the color of their skin.

  73. JC

    You also may want to explain how the British invasion of the 70′s made this place better off when almost every single one of those fuckers ended up as a shop steward.

    It’s not the color of one’s skin we need to worry about but the culture they left ad if they can integrate. The co-mingling in Australia has been remarkably successful with intermarriage rates of 87% according to one study. The muzzo intermarriage rate is 17% which demonstrates that it’s culture, not skin color.

  74. JC

    Drift

    If you want to push that line why not go to Storm Front where I’m sure you’d get a better reception.

  75. Fisky

    constitutionally limit the government

    No, no we can’t do that. The last time it was possible to constitutionally limit government was ironically when the ruling class consisted of paternalistic white supremacists who didn’t really believe women or people of colour should vote.

    More relevant question – can anyone say how the White Australia policy made Australia worse off?

    In terms of opportunity cost, it obviously did make Australia worse off – the entry test was specifically designed NOT to measure any relevant aptitudes. Nowadays, the bar is set very high, but it’s based on cognitive criteria above everything else (except for the disgraceful open door privileges we have generously provided to New Zealanders).

  76. Fisky

    You also may want to explain how the British invasion of the 70′s made this place better off when almost every single one of those fuckers ended up as a shop steward.

    Australia’s preference for cheap UK immigration was one of the most damaging policies we ever had. It will take decades to clean up the mess from that (in fact the Gillard Government itself was really the product of our pre-1970s immigration policies).

  77. Gab

    >However, the conditions under which it occurred – frontier expansion, limited franchise, white supremacy and no welfare – aren’t exactly popular concepts nowadays.

    I would add to that the lack of burdensome regulations and OHS laws that make it harder for businesses to start up and thrive; plus minimal taxation and smaller government.

  78. JC

    In terms of opportunity cost, it obviously did make Australia worse off – the entry test was specifically designed NOT to measure any relevant aptitudes. Nowadays, the bar is set very high

    Anyone seen an English proficiency test? It’s actually an IQ test in disguise. One section deals with numeracy.

    People like Homer Pazton would fail it… Which makes me think that it ought to given to everyone and people like Homer deported to a refugee camp as a swap with someone who passes.

  79. JC

    Australia’s preference for cheap UK immigration was one of the most damaging policies we ever had. It will take decades to clean up the mess from that (in fact the Gillard Government itself was really the product of our pre-1970s immigration policies).

    Too fucking right. The lying slapper has possibly cost us $150 billion in my estimate. If only they weren’t allowed in.

    Conroy? How much did he cost us? How about that Scottish prick?

    I’m counting at least 300 billion from these arseholes alone.

  80. Fisky

    Anyone seen an English proficiency test? It’s actually an IQ test in disguise. One section deals with numeracy.

    Even native speakers struggle with the written modules. We actually have a very good test of language and cognitive aptitude as it stands, and there are people on this thread who want to go back to making immigrants write paragraphs in Estonian???

  81. Fisky

    Too fucking right. The lying slapper has possibly cost us $150 billion in my estimate. If only they weren’t allowed in.

    Conroy? How much did he cost us? How about that Scottish prick?

    I’m counting at least 300 billion from these arseholes alone.

    Don’t forget former immigration minister Chris Evans, an ex-UK shop steward who said abolishing the Pacific Solution was the proudest day of his life.

    Yeah, that 10-pound Pom policy was a real winner.

  82. Combine_Dave

    More relevant question – can anyone say how the White Australia policy made Australia worse off?

    Large numbers of supporters of the liars party from the motherland coming to oz to carry on the good fight against the Torries?

    Like Doug Cameron and Gillard’s Dad.

    These kinds of Morons don’t tend to exist in the political systems of Asian countries, hell even the current batch of Chinese Communists are more proBusiness than the ALP.

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