Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Barely tolerated serfies...

I've been reading Che Tibby's series of "Metics" posts on Public Address with interest, but also with some bewilderment at what he is driving at. Is it an attempt to construct a theoretical basis for NZ First? (I'm sure it can't be...)

I do have a specific disagreement with his latest post, and since Public Address is above having a comments section, I thought I'd discuss it here:

Che states:
"Without nation-building, the differences of the myriad persons introduced to migrant nation-states would eventually result in social collapse, and nationalism is the ideology that underpins the process."
I don't believe this is the case.

I'd point out in passing that there are very few non-migrant nation states - to my knowledge only Iceland and some of the smaller Pacific islands are populated near-exclusively by their first settlers - everywhere else has experienced multiple waves of immigration.

There are a range of multi-national states (Britain, Spain) and even more multi-lingual ones (Switzerland, Canada, South Africa). These states have had social problems of various degrees, but these have generally been the result of a dominant culture trying to impose homogeneity. The acceptance of multiple identities has tended to result in a reasonable degree of stability (Scotland, Catalonia).

I don't see that this is any different for "migrant" states - if a subgroup of people want to live differently, but without harming others, then why should this lead to social collapse? There are powerful factors (underpinned by the fact that people are basically the same) that tend to result in cultural merging over a few generations. Where is the imperative for government-forced "nation building"?

Secondly Che states:
"There is a group called 'New Zealanders', who are citizens of New Zealand and therefore nationals. But within this all-encompassing group is another group, one that holds the right to govern, and the right to determine who is, and who is not, a 'real' New Zealander."

I'm a permanent resident, and went and voted 10 days ago. Is Che saying that when they heard my pommie accent, they gave me a special marked voting paper that got later stuffed in the bin? I don't think so - I voted, and hence participated in "governing". And quite a lot of the NZ population is foreign born - 20% at the last census (33% of Aucklanders, incidentally). If we all voted together we'd have quite a lot of influence - we don't because we don't all agree - that's part of diversity.

I doubt I'd personally get far in NZ politics, but that's mainly because I hold views that are socially liberal to the point of near-anarchism, and unfortunately many Kiwis just don't think that way. I have no doubt however that Jordan Carter, an immigrant from Canada, has a glowing future in the Labour Party, just as a for instance.


Jordan said...

Since when is seventeen years "fairly recent"? :-)

Rich said...

Sorry mate, I thought you'd lived here a lot less time than that.