AT THE SERVICE marking the second anniversary of the Christchurch Mosque Attacks, New Zealand’s Prime Minister spoke of resilience.
“Many of us will remember, or indeed have seen children being taught from a very young age to be stoic.” Jacinda Ardern declared. “That if they face the harsh words of others they should adopt a stiff upper lip. Perhaps it has been our way of teaching children resilience in the face of those who might intend to cause harm.”
She’s right, that is the way New Zealanders used to bring up their children. Subjected to hurtful speech, those on the receiving end were taught to sing: “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
The Prime Minister was not convinced.
“Of course we want our children to be resilient,” she said, “but surely no more than we want our children to be kind?
“And so we have to ask ourselves, what does it take to create a generation that is empathetic but strong. That is kind, but fair. That is knowledgeable but curious. That knows the power of words, and uses them to challenge, defend, and empower.”
Jacinda’s question was rhetorical, but it deserves an answer.
What it takes is a society comprised of something other than human-beings – angels, perhaps.
Certainly, empathy confers a kind of strength: Jacinda proved that in the way she conducted herself in the hours and days after the massacres at Al Noor and Linwood. New Zealand was unquestionably strengthened diplomatically by the raw emotional power of its Prime Minister’s empathic response.
Jacinda’s empathy ran out, however, when confronted with the enormity of Brenton Tarrant’s crime. So unequivocal was her condemnation of its perpetrator that she vowed never to speak his name. Nor has she demonstrated the slightest curiosity concerning Tarrant’s motivation. On that matter, at least, she just doesn’t want to know.
But, how can words have power: how can they “challenge, defend and empower” if they are not imbued with the knowledge born of asking “Why?”
The Prime Minister’s own words notwithstanding, there is scant evidence that anyone in this government; the state bureaucracy; or the mainstream news media; has the slightest curiosity, or in-depth knowledge, of the forces that drive individuals like Tarrant. Indeed, within 72 hours of the massacre, New Zealand’s Chief Censor had declared his manifesto “objectionable” – thereby making its mere possession an offence punishable by imprisonment.
New Zealand has not been challenged to do anything about the Christchurch Mosque Attacks except condemn them.
And, of course, they should be condemned. They were cruel and wicked and utterly devastating of the lives of scores of innocent people. But, the overwhelming horror and disgust which such wanton savagery naturally elicits is all too easily harnessed to serve the interests of political causes that are neither kind, nor fair, nor innocent. Causes that have no interest whatsoever in encouraging the free exchange of words to “challenge, defend and empower” their fellow citizens. Causes whose purpose is, rather, to condemn, attack and weaken all those who refuse to endorse their ideology wholeheartedly and without reservation. Causes determined to silence all speech that does not echo their own.
In this regard, there is cause for New Zealanders to wonder exactly where their Prime Ministers stands on how free their use of words should be. What should we make, for example, of this rather oblique passage from her memorial address?
“We all own and hold the power of words. We use them, we hear them, we respond to them. How we choose to use this most powerful of tools is our choice.”
Is it drawing too long a bow to say that there is something vaguely threatening in the construction of those sentences? Something along the lines of: “Yes, of course you have freedom of speech – just be careful how you use it.”
The sense of menace is not dispelled in the sentences which follow:
“There will be an unquestionable legacy from March 15. Much of it will be heart breaking. But it’s never too early or too late for the legacy to be a more inclusive nation, one that stands proud of our diversity, embraces it, and if called to, defends it staunchly.”
Whenever political leaders begin to declare their intention to defend staunchly the ideas for which they stand – and for which they blithely assume the rest of the nation also stands – it is time to worry.
Stripped of its rhetorical finery, Jacinda’s speech boils down to this: If hateful words are directed at vulnerable groups, then legal sticks and stones will be deployed to silence those who utter them.
Jacinda wound up her speech by implicitly inviting her followers to be ready to respond, as she vowed to be ready, when empathy proves unequal to the darkness that dwells in the human heart:
“And [at] those moments, may I never, and may we never – be at a loss for words.”
The effectiveness of those words, however, will largely be determined by the strength of the person speaking them and the resilience of the society hearing them. Jacinda’s inspired words of 15 March 2019 – “they are us” – spoke much more to her strength than to her empathy. She imposed an explanatory framework on a society that was tough enough to carry it and make it work.
New Zealanders are not angels, and they should not be expected to behave like angels. In the hours and days after Tarrant’s attack, what mattered most was the swiftness with which the Prime Minister (unlike some of her left-wing fellow-travellers) moved to reassure her fellow citizens that they were not devils. That designation belonged to the terrorist alone.
Words didn’t kill 51 innocent human-beings on 15 March 2019 – bullets did.
This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Tuesday, 16 March 2021.
“The modern world is not evil; in some ways the modern world is far too good. It is full of wild and wasted virtues. When a religious scheme is shattered…it is not merely the vices that are let loose. The vices are, indeed, let loose, and they wander and do damage. But the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage.
The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. Thus some scientists care for truth; and their truth is pitiless. Thus some humanitarians only care for pity; and their pity (I am sorry to say) is often untruthful.”
G K Chesterton
The idea is being promoted that there is an army of far right activists out to create mayhem. Where are they? Tarrant could hardly be called far right in the usual understanding of the term. More a strange combination of Marxist/racist/eco-fascist I would say after reading much of his manifesto. He is a great admirer of the Communist Chinese, their ownership of big business, one child family policy and strict state social control. His hatred was against humanity in general but targeted the Muslims because of their high birth rates among other things. He has more in common politically with some of the more extreme Greens I would say.
The threat is being deliberately exaggerated in order to justify unreasonable and dangerous incursions into our civil liberties, the criminilisation of speech, with the truth as no defence, probably the greatest concern.
“What shall I do with a torn nation? Stitch it back together with careful words of truth. The importance of this injunction has, if anything, become clearer over the past few years: we are dividing, and polarizing, and drifting toward chaos. It is necessary, under such conditions, if we are to avoid catastrophe, for each of us to bring forward the truth, as we see it: not the arguments that justify our ideologies, not the machinations that further our ambitions, but the stark pure facts of our existence, revealed for others to see and contemplate, so that we can find common ground and proceed together.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
Bang on Chris. I have just been having a discussion on this topic.
Go back to Campbell v Brown (TVNZ) where Brown ("himself a migrant") says the projected number's are "horrible". John Campbell's (winning) point is "but 180,000 of those people will have been BORN here- you know that".
The reaction to that can be explained by Jon Haidt's Elephant and Rider (intuition v's reason) and Robert Sapolsky's "a million years of monocultural living".
Recently on Twitter I reacted to comment: "Good to see 1% of NZ is racist" (meaning New Conservative). He being Taiwanese/ Malaysian ethnicity and "100% Kiwi".
"What is Kiwi?"
"From NZ the countries politics we are talking about"
"So Kiwi and New Zealander is a rather open category and people who object to the displacement of the majority ethnic group are racist?".
John Lennon's Imagine has been Critiqued - Love has to be specific or it isn't love.
A study of second generation Greek and Turkish women showed they don't see any Australian culture. What there is is bland whereas theirs is rich and vibrant. Oz is full of average looking people.
Another thing is the emphasis on society to change versus Cognitive Behavioral Psychology.
Jacinda's UN Speech in context
Mediawatch is suggesting cancel culture is anything other than "moving us forward to a world more welcoming to people who aren't like us"
In North & South Scott Hamilton suggests it is nothing new: is like Boycott and strike where people refuse to buy from a shop owned by the transgressing company.
The Mosque attacks, and the Prime Minister’s response expose the existential problems that lie beneath the surface in New Zealand, and in many western countries. These are questions of national identity, questions about the benefits of multiculturalism to the host country, in what way is cultural diversity really a strength? Is it ever a liability? Questions about the compatibility of Islam with liberal western democracy, and much more.
We have entered a time where politicians seek not only to control the narrative, but to control speech as well. Our Prime Minster and other government ministers, along with the Human Rights commissioner appear to hold the view (to coin Chris’s analogy) that we can make angels out of humans through government fiat. Have these people never read Solzhenitsyn?
Respect for the truth ought to be non-negotiable; the open and free contest of ideas is one way that we gradually arrive at that destination. The ability to openly share information by any means, both publicly and privately is enshrined in our bill of rights, and is a cornerstone of our liberal democracy. This journey can be painful, but it is considerably less dangerous than the one presently envisioned by our Prime Minister.
"Is it drawing too long a bow to say that there is something vaguely threatening in the construction of those sentences? Something along the lines of: “Yes, of course you have freedom of speech – just be careful how you use it.”""
Chris - the answer to your first sentence here is "yes - it is drawing too long a bow". And that is precisely because the hypothesis in your second sentence is not threatening at all. It merely describes how things are currently and have been for a long time - that there are limits to free speech. We are always going to have arguments about where the limits are drawn - but this argument occurs within a fairly narrow range and is governed by the need to balance the freedom to express opinions with the obligation not to harm our fellow citizens.
In short - the sky is not falling.
This is a war on human nature. Spoonley acknowledges that the "far-right" are concerned about "great replacement" but doesn't budge an inch - it is just "hate".
If old NZ operated a white NZ policy that was "racist". But white Europeans are an ethnic group like any other ethnic group and just see this as natural "they are us". The elites saw a need to smash this completely and that is what is really behind the Burke Review of Immigration 1987. The left managed to conflate old NZ with mistreatment of Black Americans and apartheid in South Africa.
I can see both sides having been here for the duration Ali Makram(?) Slice of Heaven RNZ says "many of you may remember that NZ had close knit communities " - "parents were welcomed" - then too many coming.
There seems to be (on the one hand) and image of the peaceful society made up of a homogenous ethnic group and (on the other) one group slaughtering the other as in Bosnia. Both are seen as the same thing. Hence Christchurch is a red rag to a bull for the left.
The solution is "diversity"
Then on the other hand humans have always had issues to deal with homogenous or not ("Cow Cockies and Red Feds")
What I don't get are the people who are pro diversity to a point where the dominant ethnic group (white European) is a subaltern. Who is in charge (the anti-racist minorites come across as anti-white. Taka Waiti and Oscar...). A new post-ethnic cosmopolitan (plastic) identity is supposed to emerge that is deeper than "the politics of nostalgia". Nostalgia is a dirty word.
Are people selectively seeing? How can someone on The Panel says "all the places I have liked have had big populations". I took a train from Yokohama to Atami (slow train) and seemed to be in the city for a whole hour?
Kiwidave, thank you for the GK Chesterton quote - I had never read it before but how true it is. When we focus down only on one issue we so easily miss the unforeseen consequences of our efforts to gain "perfection" in that area. The classic example is the approach to the standard of rental housing from this current Government. The idea that all houses should have insulation, be heated and meet other standards when viewed alone is a worthy goal. But when it results in increased rents, fewer available houses for living, it creates a crisis where people cannot find somewhere to live at all. A balanced approach is so needed in everything.
The most fundamental freedom in a free society is freedom of speech.
In it's absence we get an intellectual monoculture, enforced at first by collective moral suasion, social bullying, and threats to the livelihood of dissenters.
At the bottom of this slippery slope are the cellars of the Lubyanka and Prinz Albrechtstrasse; and the Gulag and the Sonderlager.
As someone with Jewish antecedents, I find that highly disturbing.
"The idea is being promoted that there is an army of far right activists out to create mayhem. Where are they? "
At the same time, we are constantly reminded about communist intellectuals trying to take over the world, yet Jordan Peterson has only a list of about five or six. So where are they?
Words didn't kill 51 people? Ideas certainly did and they were expressed by words, and are still being expressed in various dark corners of the Internet, and sometimes by people who should know better.
When an American pastor can say that they should execute all Muslims suspected of extremism, what on earth you expect to happen? Words have consequences, I thought you people had realised that but obviously I'm wrong.
The most fundamental freedom in a free society, I suggest, is the freedom to say nothing.
It is very annoying for police or a controller, when interrogating someone about a crime or for information about someone else. Sometimes it is a life-saver for someone.
Nancy Wake's husband was arrested by Gestapo after an informer sold his whereabouts to the Nazis. They wanted information on this woman who was running an excellent Resistance network in France. They had her husband in a pitiable state; I think they had pierced his flesh and had intestines pulled out but I don't know if I remember rightly. They let his father visit him and in his distress he begged Henri? to say something, but was refused. That is a silence that helped towards WW2 coming to an end. As someone with Jewish antecedents Anonymous 13.25 you would now understand the vital importance of this freedom - to remain silent.
More than freedom of speech, it is important to have restraint. Freedom gives a licence without a check. Freedom is powerful, and power must be used wisely. So I would like to have the right to address someone in a suitable and fair way, and sometimes I would use their own argot back at them and say some people only understand when you speak their own language.
Donc alors? Pretentious w...ker aren't I.
“There will be an unquestionable legacy from March 15. Much of it will be heart breaking. But it’s never too early or too late for the legacy to be a more inclusive nation, one that stands proud of our diversity, embraces it, and if called to, defends it staunchly.”
Like John Campbell and Susan Devoy here
A terrible event which pushed back the everyday racism.
I just forget what proportion of us have (so called) authoritarian personalities versus novelty seeking, but Jon Haidt says we are like Yin and Yang.
The great liberal Isaiah Berlin makes an extremely important distinction between negative and positive liberty. Negative liberalism says we should allow people to pursue their goals as long as they don't infringe the rights of others. Positive liberalism consists of promoting particular goals, such as autonomy or diversity, as the proper aim of human individuals and societies." Tolerating difference is critical for negative liberalism. Celebrating it is not. If someone doesn't have a taste for Marmite, asking them to celebrate it is a coercive form of positive liberalism with no roots in the Western legal tradition. This is why the attempt by the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2017 to force its members to promote diversity is being challenged in the courts.34
Eric Kaufmann Whiteshift - Immigration and the future of white majorities
Greywarbler: "some people only understand when you speak their own language"
It's worse than that grey.
Some people are not interested in hearing your truth (to paraphrase Oprah) or even THE Truth, they just want to hear their "truth" coming out of your mouth.
I have just finished a good book you might find interesting: Live Not By lies a manual for Christian dissidents by Rod Dreher.
He spent a lot of time with the people that courageously fought the oppression and tyranny of Mid century Eastern Europe and the lessons for us today. How the divine human spirit finally won out against the imprisonment, torture and murder of people for their faith and freedom. Inspiring stuff.
"The Mosque attacks, and the Prime Minister’s response expose the existential problems that lie beneath the surface in New Zealand, and in many western countries."
And not once did you mention the existential problem of racism and bigotry. Illustrative.
GS When an American pastor can say that they should execute all Muslims suspected of extremism, what on earth you expect to happen? Words have consequences, I thought you people had realised that but obviously I'm wrong.
Which words? Witch words? Understanding what has been said is important. Comprehending what is being meant is important. Words expressing thoughts can be turned to sly advantage by us devious humans. A compliment can be understood as a slur. A woman perfectly conforming to the current high fashion of wealthy people could say to a woman she knows is poorer and who she denigrates, 'You are looking very nice, your hair style suits you'. This, responding to the effect of some home treatment with an obviously disastrous outcome. Men can do the same, using their own cultural barbs.
Freedom can not be a licence to do or say just anything without concern for present appropriateness, or even future outcomes. But those outcomes should not be so inflated and exaggerated that they result in proscriptive denunciation as they are becoming. As I said a New Puritan Age where everyone becomes a victim of someone else, and past wrongs are harped on even unto the angels, and bloody bum notes they are to hear.
Victimhood and desire for revenge and to remember and renew hurt, turning to a desire to dominate and control every discussion, forcing all to bow to the Chosen Wound becomes obsessive. People then cannot rebuild a satisfactory society with people able to work together for a common good, committed to that end and agreeing openly to have different viewpoints but similar values. At the present I see an unhappy fractious people being like closely penned hens, pecking at each other and defeathering themselves.
Your quoted American pastor is a sham, in a country that has lived on its own propaganda for so long that it can't lie straight in bed, allowing religion to be dominated by charities raising funds for privateers advancement rather than those of the 'people'. His call for damaging others can not be classified as an example of reasonable free speech, it is 'incitement even invitation to violent action'. That term I think could be noted in law as the most malignant example of what uncontrolled free speech may result in. If I say some ... person should have a bloody kick up the bum, it is a different level of judgmental speech, not appropriate in formal proceedings but its coarseness shoulkd be acceptable as a 'figure of speech' in 'relaxed' conversation, and not a 'hanging' misdemeanour.
And not once did you mention the existential problem of racism and bigotry. Illustrative.
When I grew up I had problems. We lived in a society that was 94% European but life was a battle.
You were too short, too fat, had pimples, couldn't make the grade one way or another, couldn't get the job you wanted etc. As I recall someone saying "life's a bitch and then you die"
After the 1970's we had migrants arriving and at first they were welcomed.
I recall that I had an Indian who was friendlier than the crotchety old lady I had previously. The neighbor on the other side had Chinese "the Wongs are lovely people" she told me later after I had moved up on the hill. That was assimilation.
So we welcomed migrants but then it became about welcoming migration and "diversity recognition".
Meanwhile everyone still has those problems except that they operate in a different sphere.
We like to think that that sphere society operates in is benign. If life was a bitch in homogenous society at least we knew the Queen, parliamentarians etc were benign figures. So even though the bright boy earns a fat salary and can afford a dreamhouse somewhere I am in the race - a chance to full fill my potential.
But what is this. I'm toying with noise control as a stereo is pounding in the distance and I think that shouldn't get a lot of slack.
I go on THE CCC website and I read:
Impact on inequalities
As with air pollution, there is a body of evidence showing that lower-socio-economic groups are more at risk from vehicle traffic, including vehicular noise. Health effects are influenced by the number and type of vehicles per day, particularly vehicles with diesel engines, and the distance from the roadway to nearby homes, and other places such as schools where people may be exposed.
In Christchurch, more socially deprived neighbourhoods have a significantly higher level of exposure to traffic-related effects (including noise), and these areas have greater proportions of Maori, Pacific people, and migrant groups.4
Why do I need to be told that? It's like "well you need a pair of shoes but your brothers are more worn out than yours!". Except it isn't quite like that because the latter is a family situation as per waiting lists or something.
Now it is something different. I would liken multicultural society as to a high school. We are no longer attached by affection but by (some) Woke idiots judgement.
I imagine that the way they think is that in the balance sheet whiteness and racism are the problems, therefore Maori and Pacific Islanders are excluded and we are being reminded that it is our fault.
Throughout the 80's 90's, 20's there has been a focus on racism when a river of migrants began and never ended. Assimilation is a dirty word.
Kymlica's multicultural idea takes Western countries as a base and encourages each group to thrive in their own culture rather than assimilate. The arguments that justify that are 1. economic (questionable) and 2. Resistance is racist
I don't know all the ins and outs of what theorists are saying so hadn't even heard of Kymlica. In case others are so deleterious in knowing the latest fashionable positiion here is a summary. I had to look up Kymlicka and his/her theories about life and the universe that I am supposed to accede to. (And I was just starting to respect academics unlike earlier times reference to 'ivory-tower academics' - Muldoon?). I blame the withdrawal of much study of the Humanities; the slanted views of hysterics have filled the void.
By finding a way to incorporate people’s cultural attachment in a liberal framework, Will Kymlicka’s Multicultural Citizenship changed the way liberal political theorists look at identity. Kymlicka argued that culture, and in particular language, could not be a private matter as liberals assumed, since every state must pick one official language (or a small number of them). Yet official languages were unfair to those who spoke a different language; additionally Kymlicka argued that individual self-respect was an important liberal value, and was tied to a secure cultural context. Critics argued that culture was hard to define, and cultural attachments were much more malleable than Kymlicka suggested. While these criticisms did undermine the power of some of Kymlicka’s arguments, one of Kymlicka’s lasting contributions is the now widely accepted idea that certain kinds of identities cannot be assumed to be a private matter.
Frankly John Hurley you sound incoherent. And when I put down my thoughts about the attacks on accepted cultural ways I end up feeling the same. Victimhood is in, but only about what it is fashionable to advocate for. I have got moans about the grab of the commons - my right to step onto the pavement and not be run down by small machines either person-powered or battery-driven.
What will be stolen next in the name of 'my wants are more important than your once-accepted rights'. Then there is the matter of being a woman, that's up for grabs apparently changing the accepted knowing of what a woman is and the behaviour common to the gender. Will anyone in trousers be using the men's toilet next? Soon there won't be a haven for each gender to escape from the other. Yikes!
We have never allowed the colonial government to dictate what we must or must not say, and we will not be changing now, whatever Prime Minister Ardern may have in mind. We will continue to speak the truth, and we will continue to listen to what others have to say - even, or perhaps especially, the likes of Brenton Tarrant and others who espouse the Five Eyes ideology. So for us the debate is largely academic. Unless the regime attempts to silence us, in which case it will find itself on a hiding to nothing.
Grey, I use the mens toilets because I am a man. I prefer it that way, as I am told do women who are quite vehement in their opposition to blokes in their toilets. I also approve gender neutral toilets for those who genuinely are. That brings me to the thorny question of what we do for those people who are gender fluid according to whatever they decide to be on the day? I could be wrong but Id wager that if they are physically male and appear in the ladies toilet all hell will break loose. Such are the problems of our woke society where toilet arrangements are of great significance. Add that to toilet paper hoarding due to Covid and we are up against it. There are countries like Yemen and Syria where public toilets have been bombed out and children starve. Some things really matter, others well....
Grey, on a non toilet note I too looked up Kymlica. Some interesting ideas there, going to have to read more, especially on animal rights.
You mentioned academia, I'm concerned by an increasing amount of abstract theory that flies in the face of emperical evidence. I listened to Michael Hudson describing his early years working in a bank and studying economics at university. He noted that all the then economic theory on banking didnt match the practice and reality, yet the theories drove policy. Emperical evidence might have stopped the resulting train wreck. When reality in academia becomes subjective i.e whatever fits your theory, the value dissappears. Objective reality eventually appears like a brick wall. This is where most modern sociology will end up.
Kymlicka [...] He is arguably the best connected and best funded academic in Canada, regularly producing papers commissioned by government agencies and corporations, including Forum of Federations, ICCS, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Transatlantic Council on Migration.
There are two fundamental contradictions in Kymlicka’s theory. The first one is that Kymlicka ignores altogether the cultural identity and the national rights of the “societal culture” of the majority English Canadians. He discusses only the cultural rights and ethnic attachments of national minorities and immigrant groups. He rarely uses the term English Canadians in reference to the majority societal culture. While national minorities and “polyethnic” groups are distinguished by culture and by ethnicity, “the majority Anglophone culture” is identified only through its language and certain modern amenities. The English societal culture is portrayed as a deracinated, neutralized sphere consisting of modern conveniences – economic, educational, and social institutions – intended “in principle” to serve anyone regardless of cultural background. The English are mere possessors of individual rights, whereas every other ethnic group enjoys both individual and group rights.
Kymlicka and liberal elites generally believe that immigrant multiculturalism is the final stage in the march towards racial equality. This equality is obviously illusionary. White-created nations are the only ones experimenting with this ideology. What is not illusionary is that Canada is steadily becoming a nation overwhelmed by diverse cultures.
Greywarbler says I am incoherent. Jon Haidt says there is a moral need to live in a coherent moral society.
1. You are an almost pure society (Han Chinese, Japanese)
2. You absorb other cultures slowly and don't exclude them from national membership or subject them to racism.
3. You do what is happening in NZ, Australia, US, Canada, UK. "NZ is one of the five classic immigration receiving societies involved in nation building projects".
In the latter the national identity is contested. "What is Kiwi?"- "from New Zealand".
Imagine if we populous Europeans were encouraged to migrate to Asia, buy up the real estate, build resorts, vote in their elections and drive our buses around Tokyo (out numbering the "Japs" outside the Emperors Palace)?
Imagine if their race relations dope moaned that "we shouldn't assume that a European person isn't Japanese?".
These are the expectations of our elites that our identity and sense of place is a prop.
Yesterday on Bernard Hickey's new podcast an apartment expert said: "New Zealand is changing - the world is changing". She has lived in apartments and loved it.
Ask a poor Japanese if they would prefer an apartment to the NZ suburban house with a lawn. I had a family stay with me. When they got back on entering their apartment the 2 year old cried.
People react to Sex, age, ally? when they meet another person. Race is proxy for ally but this is easily unlearned, however there is nothing ally among large competing ethnic groups.
All the resources of the state are focused on suppressing opposition.
The Social Psychology of Social (Dis)harmony: Implications for Political Leaders and Public Policy
Luisa Batalha, Katherine J. Reynolds & Emina Subasic
Australian National University
This work thus suggests that for multiculturalism to succeed identities need to be transformed. And, importantly, as Kymlicka suggests, this transformation applies not only to the minority but also to the majority. Indeed, perhaps the major identity transformation is required from members of the majority as their attributes are, as a rule, the same as the ones that define the national identity. Minorities need to be written into the self-definition of the national identity such as to imbue them with existential legitimacy as citizens in parity with the majority.
Such civic definitions serve to place the majority group as a sub-group within the system of intergroup relations, which allows for a new identity to emerge. Legitimacy and status as members of the new community are then less likely to be defined by ethnicity. Such civic based definitions also shape sub-group relations such that ethnically-defined difference becomes less relevant to the community as a whole.
In a multiethnic/multicultural society, the shift from an exclusive to an inclusive definition of the national prototype requires the emergence of new and consistent discourses about who ‘we’ are (see Kymlicka, 1995). Discourses that do not appeal to ethnic heritage and traditions but to civic values. It is in this context that the role of political leadership comes into place in changing the discourse and creating a consensual view of the national prototype such that it becomes shared by the members of a polity (see Uberoi & Modood, 2013). Moreover, there needs to be an institutionalisation of the public discourse as in line with terms outlined by Parekh (2006).
Our independant media
JH Deep in theory one gets to understand what quicksand might feel like. Politicians have pet theoreticians and apparently the Canadians consider Kymlicka's work counts for something. If we look at the outcomes for people of the western countries, democracies, however it appears that most have chosen the wrong models. Theories about things proliferate while the subject of them sits mutely miserable. When the exact amount of miserability is ascertained by all, a consensus will have been reached. Then there will be a commission to consider what is the minimum level of nourishment and life aids required, and when that is satisfactorily decided, the news will come that the subject has died and therefore the process has been ineffective, and also has gone over budget! An old USA poke at know-alls was 'Stick that up your Funken-Wagnall. I don't know anything about this term but it counts as useless as much of the process that we go through these days, either from a political level, or an academic one.
My academic guys for November 5, Anthony Gidden (Baron) for his Way to perdition, also Milton Friedman, Hayek and their colleagues. Then there was plucky little Ayn Rand, lionised for not being a Stalinist, and praising selfishness in the same free-handed way that freedom of speech is now.
JH quotes, 'Indeed, perhaps the major identity transformation is required from members of the majority as their attributes are, as a rule, the same as the ones that define the national identity.'
This seems okay to me. A regular check on whether the rules and expressions of nationhood are right to meet current needs, are being ignored or by-passed, or need a tweak. would be an excellent idea and constitute a transformation. It doesn't mean that things need to be overturned.
One of the nation-building projects that we could undertake as a country is to agree what we want within bounded possibilities, and agree after proper discussion that we understand why we can't have just any style of life that we might imagine, agree that we need to include all in the reality of our country's processes and distribution, and that we cannot allow the country to be imbalanced by excess of anything without calling a halt and examining the situation and acting to ameliorate and then stop it. We seem to have lost control in NZ and every rentier man and woman swans around thinking they are God's gift to the world flaunting their material possessions.
Our politicians are drawn from a special group of people who must have an eye defect that causes them to overlook obvious pain and suffering without even a muttered, 'Jam tomorrow'.
The news is full, the blogs are full - of discussions about aspects of our lives. The talk if of good economics but the reality before shows how inefficient our present system is in its projects, and in its paucity of opportunities for people to make good lives for themselves.
What is missing is a look at the core, what we think we are about. A lot of the problems are insoluble because we are out of balance, and people's anxieties are aroused about some particular aspect that is a symptom of the malaise, not the cause. What sort of lives do we want? Start at the bottom line and work up. As we improved things at the bottom a lot of the angst would go away. But there are structural things at the top that could be worked on at the same time. Economists might talk about macro and micro. But we need different names and measures that work to people's understanding. Perhaps a grid designed to examine the subject thoroughly, give citizens the right to be involved, attend meetings with their practical ideas, express these in 30 words; succinct, and punchy. How to improve then in stages; immediate, leading to medium term, with a long term result. Monitored for good positive outcomes in each quarter year. Finite aims and goals, not endless consultations with dreams of project managers becoming The Word. A morass, a quicksand swallowing us up, a sort of liquefaction of the mind.
Post a Comment