December 13, 2005

More on the Sydney Beach Riots

This post from Belmont Club has an interesting discussion and analysis of the Sydney beach riots, with a very long and interesting comments section. Some on-the-point quotes:

Like most people in Oz, I have Muslim or Middle Eastern friends and the way I got it figured is if we don't start cracking down on the Osamas and the Zawahiris and the al-Arians because they are draped in this bogus human rights shield, then the Joe Samadis and the Bill Mansours of the world are gonna start catching it.

Multiculturalism may not be dead, but it's certainly taken a hell of a ding.

Read, as they say, the whole thing. It's particularly interesting because Belmont Club is written by a non-white immigrant Australian, so it's hardly a "neo-nazi" viewpoint.

Democracy, immigration, multiculturalism. Pick any two.

Posted by James C. Bennett at December 13, 2005 03:00 PM
Comments

"Democracy, immigration, multiculturalism. Pick any two."

That's a pithy phrase and it just might catch on. I'd love to see a longer exposition of the idea. That is:

1. Why you can't have democracy if you have immigration and multiculturalism (presumably because such a society will spontaneously combust, leading to violent crackdowns and a closed society).

2. Why you can't have immigration if you have democracy and multiculturalism (presumably because more immigrants would lead to an unstable mix of conflicting factions -- invoke James Madison here as needed).

3. Why you can't have multiculturalism if you have democracy and immigration (presumably because an open society with strong civil ties will lead to productive assimilation, making multiculturalism moot -- is there a virtuous circle here?).

Peter

Posted by: Peter Saint-Andre at December 13, 2005 05:23 PM

So long as you treat people as members of ethno-racially defined compartments, rather than as individuals, all democratic processes become intercommunal contests for public-goods prizes. Whatever community gains majoritarian control then screws the other communities. In such a system, immigration threatens to upset the ratios between the contending communities, adn is destabilizing. Italian guestworker immigration into Switzerland, for example, a historically viable democratic multicultural society, has been such a destabilizing factor. The USA has historically been a high-immigration assimilationist democracy -- and multiculturalism has been an aggravation on the US system. And as can be seen from the news from Sydney, to other Anglosphere immigrant democracies as well.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at December 13, 2005 05:53 PM

"So long as you treat people as members of ethno-racially defined compartments, rather than as individuals, all democratic processes become intercommunal contests for public-goods prizes. Whatever community gains majoritarian control then screws the other communities."

What a wonderfully perfect description of Africa!

Posted by: Brock at December 13, 2005 06:37 PM

Jim:
A very arresting observation. However, couldn't be argued that treating ethno-cultural groups as individuals a way to destroy their cohesion as an opposition group in a multiethnic society? (i.e. say the Bretons, Basques, Provenšal, et al under the French republics; the Kurds under the Turks, etc etc) What about multiethnic democracracies? (if one regards Quebecois as an 'ethnos' within Canada)
It's an insuperable tension between indivdiuals and 'natural' collectivites such as ethno-linguistic groups isn't it?

Posted by: xavier at December 14, 2005 01:25 PM

Xavier:

There's nothing wrong with individuals coming together to form voluntary associations based on ethnicity and language to prsue mutual interests. And in a multi-ethnic state, different regions might hae different cultural frameworks -- but individuals should be free to join or leave such frameworks as they see fit. Quebec is an example -- would you have liked to have had to declare yourself "French" or "English" when you came to Quebec?
You are free to assoicate yourself in either framework. Civic states with voluntary affiliation are a better way of dealing with these questions than mandatory compartments determined by birth. Where multiple ethnicities are in one state, a federal state of autonomous civic (i.e., based on voluntary affiliation) regions seems to work best -- as in Switzerland.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at December 14, 2005 09:35 PM

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NE TE METS PAS DERRIERE MOI THANKS ;)

Posted by: bcxbgcbc at March 29, 2007 07:47 AM
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