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How the left and right share much in their world views

Over on The First Post, Richard Ehrman has written an article called Immigration: Britain’s wake-up call that gives us a splendid example of how the left and right generally share ‘meta-context’ (the unspoken axioms that we take for granted when we discuss something):

The new population projections are shocking [...] Over the next 25 years, the Office of National Statistics expects the British population to rise to 71million, from 60m today. After that, it is on course to hit 75m by mid-century. [...] And because we are not producing enough children to replace ourselves, most of this dramatic growth will be due to immigration. [...] Population projections have proved wildly out in the past, so this latest version should be taken with a pinch of salt. But it should serve as a wake-up call, too.

If we are going to rely on immigrants to pay our pensions and do the jobs we don’t want to do, we are also going to have to build an awful lot of new houses, roads, schools and hospitals to accommodate them.

The fact the population is growing in Britain is shocking, apparently. Okay, yet for some reason I am not shocked. However why is this something we should regard as a “wake up call”? Personally I am hearing something more like a dinner bell being rung. Richard Ehrman is associated with Politeia, an allegedly market-friendly think tank, so why should ‘we’, by which I very strongly suspect he means ‘we-as-taxpayers’, be building houses, roads, schools and hospitals for anyone? In less benighted times the arrival of more people would have been referred to as a ‘growing market’ (i.e. a good thing) rather than an impending liability which needs a “wake-up call” to alert us to a problem.

Let me quote something very germane that was uttered yesterday at the Libertarian Alliance conference in London, by Shane Frith of Progressive Vision on more or less the same subject:

“The claim that immigration puts strain on ‘vital public services’ is a myth. The reality is that immigration only puts ‘pressure’ on the inefficient state sector such as state schools and NHS hospitals. Vital public services provided by the private sector welcome the additional customers. In the vital field of food supply, you don’t hear Tesco complaining that they hadn’t planned on the increased business – we face no food shortages. Neither does Vodafone struggle with the technical demands of providing mobile phones to all these immigrants. Immigration merely highlights the existing failure of the inefficient, unreformed state sector.”

Quite! If indeed much of Central Europe is decamping from their homelands and heading for this Sceptred Isle, what an excellent time to abolish the decrepit socialist legacy systems (which are rather like running 1980’s era computers in 2007 and then wondering why things do not work) that have inexplicably survived into the Twenty First century. Time to replace them with adaptive market driven approaches that are neither distorted nor crowded out by an idiotic and fantastically inefficient state run medical system, preposterous public sector housing and ever more dumbed down state schools. None of these things, not one, is logically something the state should have anything to do with. As I have argued before, perhaps the changing demographic realities may force exactly the sort of changes that should have been introduced decades ago.

And if that is true, it is yet another reason to thank the latest wave of immigrants. Guys, you might actually save us from ourselves.

Vitajte v Londyne!

22 comments to How the left and right share much in their world views

  • A flood of white European Christians who had a bad experience with the reality of socialism and who have a birth rate more like Britain’s very problematic Muslim population is coming and this is….. bad? I don’t f’ing think so! I see it more like the cavalry coming over the hill just in the nick of bleedin’ time! And yeah, like half my mates, I have a Polish girlfriend, so the benefits are pretty obvious to me :-)

  • What’s so great about them being white? I thought black was beautiful:-|

  • I have naught against black people as black people, though I could live without the muslims. But white people are usually easier to integrate and I like that. English culture is just more like that of Europeans than the Pakistanis, an indisputable fact. Even the Jamaicans are more like us when push comes to shove I suppose, at least you see them down the boozer. And I got no problem with any Paki who set up a corner shop (god bless em for that!) or buy a chippy or kebab joint and sells Newcastle Brown to the likes of me, but too many muslims are a world away from that.

  • Alice

    Hang on while I plug in the Irony Meter. No. Nothing. Just some background static. Let me switch off the TV — now the meter is flat-lining. Just what is Perry doing here?

    So if it is not Irony, what is it? The point seems to be that “left” and “right” (whatever those terms mean nowadays) do not share much in the way of meta-context at all.

    Anyway, one should always be wary of straight-line projections in a complex world.

    Russia needs people (especially good breeding stock like attractive Polish women) to populate empty Eastern Siberia, and Russia will increasingly have lots of Euros to induce New Europeans to go east, as Old Europe pays increasing amounts for Russian gas & oil. The proverbial Polish plumber may be getting better offers before too long.

    India is beginning to do an Ireland, and attract back their best & brightest who had previously emigrated. Bangalore-based companies have already held successful recruiting fairs in sunny California aimed at Indian expatriates. Their success in drab old London is likely to be even higher.

    And once Muslim immigrants realize that Britain wants them only so they can pay ever-higher taxes to prop up the social security Ponzi scheme, those potential immigrants may find some more attractive options too.

    First rule of attracting immigrants — there has to be something to attract them.

  • The point seems to be that “left” and “right” (whatever those terms mean nowadays) do not share much in the way of meta-context at all.

    Au contraire… More people coming to the UK? Oh no, ‘we’ (i.e. the government with taxpayer’s money) needs to build houses/schools/hospitals!

    This is a position that both the ‘Conservatives’ and Labour are in complete agreement on, and I would class that as being in the ‘meta-context’ because I doubt it would ever occur that anyone would argue with that notion.

  • And if you think Russia is going to be a magnet for a significant number of Central Europeans, methinks (a) you do not know a whole lot of Poles/Slovaks/Czechs and hear what they tend to think about Russia (b) you may need to adjust your ideas of what Russia is really like economically and politically.

  • Edgar Aethling

    YES! The current system will be bankrupted by demographic realities anyway, so now really IS the time to cut out the intolerable parasites.

  • Excellent post Perry. Interesting coincidence that we should have been thinking about the same issues at the same time (though I actually beat you to it by a few hours!).

    Cheers,

    Andrew

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Perry, good post. As an example of a supposed lefty who has bashed immigration for all manner of reasons (immigrants help cause flooding and other terrors), the yobbish Rod Liddle is a classic example.

    Here’s his latest pearl(Link) of wisdom.

  • An interesting post with the usual radical ideas, shame that there isn’t a single UK politician with the balls to to put them into practice!

  • I had the same thought during the last round of immigration scare stories.

    Shane Frith’s mention of Tesco hits the nail on the head nicely. The success of private food supply is a powerful and irrefutable example of private enterprise being more efficient — even for life or death things like food. There’s no reason that education and healthcare wouldn’t be cheap and convenient if run by the likes of Tesco.

    It’s less convincing to apply this reasoning to housing, though, given that left and right also agree that Britain is far too crowded. Maybe they should look out of the plane window once in a while and see how much empty space there is.

  • R C Dean

    perhaps the changing demographic realities may force exactly the sort of changes that should have been introduced decades ago.

    Pish, Perry, surely you realize that the political game is to buy these newly imported votes by expanding the entitlements. As far as I can tell, the wave of immigration is pushing Our Masters in the opposite direction of what you would like to see.

  • Brad

    All a libertarian should be concerned about immigration is that they will be productive enough, and assist in economic and technological growth to absorb them, perhaps even net a little ahead. If resources are finite, and no new ways are found to exploit existing resources better, then overall quality of life would be lessened the greater the population.

    But, unfortunately, given the socialist ponzi-scheme realities of unfunded defined benefits, immigrants are seen as a way to temporarily plug a sinking ship. It’s not about expansion and innovation, it’s about getting enough added to the ponzi layer to keep it going another generation. What happens in 25-30 years when the next tier becomes subsidizees instead of subsidizors, well, we’ll see. And it only makes matters worse that since it is tied to the a priori acceptance of social transfer, illegal immigrants as well as legal immigrants are graced with a bevy of entitlements from the get go.

    Essentially, until a sensible political and economic landscape exists, immigration will forever be feared or championed for the wrong reasons.

  • Marek

    As a Slovak, I can only confirm Perry’s observation regarding what Central Europeans tend to think of Russia. We’ve had a lot of bad experiences with the Soviets and socialism + culturally, fit much better into Western Europe (Czechs/Slovaks/Poles are usually agnostic Catholics/Lutherans, unlike the Orthodox Russians).

  • moonbat nibbler

    Perry, I do enjoy your utopian optimism. Unfortunately the statist psyche of the British public can not fathom healthcare, education, transport or even housing without the enveloping state.

    It will require an economic fallout far worse than the ’70s and a politician braver than Thatcher to tear apart the leftist meta-context shared by Cameron and Brown.

  • Perry de Havilland

    I do not see my optimism as utopian, Mr. Nibbler, I just think I have the advantage of having cold hard reality on my side.

    The inherent contradiction of the current system mean it is unsustainable in the long run. All Thatcher did was buy some time for The System by semi-reforming it and that time will not last forever.

  • Pa Annoyed

    “And because we are not producing enough children to replace ourselves, most of this dramatic growth will be due to immigration.”

    47% of it. Life expectancy increases also increase the population.

  • j a

    polish men are not that bad either!

  • Paul Marks

    Do East Europeans have a high fertility rate?

    The last time I looked at the stats even the “ultra Catholic” Poles had a fertility rate well under 2.

    I agree that Slavs (all the various sorts of Slavs) are good looking people and that the Slavic cultures are cultures to be proud of (the traditional Germanic view of them is based on a mixture of arrogance and ignorance).

    However, the only Eastern Europeans I know of with a fertility rate over 2 are the Albanians, who are not Slavs. This is not to make any point against Albanians, but simply to point out a fact. I doubt that the Romanians (who are also not Slavs), or the Hungarians (ditto) have a fertility rate over 2.

    Indeed it would not suprise me if Christian Albanians (the people of the late King Zog – the only man I know of who shot back at an assassin) also have a fertility rate below 2 (assuming that there are many Christian Albanians left).

    As for the “threat” of mass immigration as regards the United Kingdom:

    I agree that if there were no Welfare State, and if national and local government did not follow policies to build extra roads, drainage (and so on and so on) for “private enterprise” developers, then immigration would be no “threat” at all.

  • Alice

    Alice: “The point seems to be that “left” and “right” (whatever those terms mean nowadays) do not share much in the way of meta-context at all.”

    Perry: “This is a position that both the ‘Conservatives’ and Labour are in complete agreement on …”

    Ah! Now I understand. If one assumes that “left” = Labour and “right” = Conservatives, then your statement stands.

    The meaning of left & right is open to a lot of debate & misunderstanding these days. (National Public Radio in the US referred to an old Soviet hardliner as a “right-wing communist”!). But it is fairly clear that the Conservative Party now stands for nothing beyond trying to get itself elected, often by currying favor from statist media.

  • Ah! Now I understand. If one assumes that “left” = Labour and “right” = Conservatives, then your statement stands.

    Yes, because that is the terminology they themselves use.

    The meaning of left & right is open to a lot of debate & misunderstanding these days. (National Public Radio in the US referred to an old Soviet hardliner as a “right-wing communist”!).

    Yes, but that degree of babbling incoherence seems confined to the USA (where CNN memorably described the communist coup plotters against Boris Yeltsin as “right wing”).

    But it is fairly clear that the Conservative Party now stands for nothing beyond trying to get itself elected, often by currying favor from statist media.

    Quite, that was pretty much the underlying point of my article… there is actually very little difference in world view between the mainstream ‘left’ and ‘right’ in the UK (and increasingly the same applies to the USA where the statist centre of both parties is largely interchangable) :-D

  • Paul Marks

    Most of the left in the United States support unlimited immigration – because they believe (rightly or wrongly) that the newcommers will vote for them in return for the promise of even more government benefits (of various kinds).

    As for the media.

    “left” can mean (at worst) “good intentions but misguided”.

    But only “right” can mean “evil” (although “right wing” communist is a bit much even by their standards).

    For example, the main stream media would never call Mao or Pol Pot “left wing” after explaining their millions of murders.

    Of course, the main stream media does not often mention these murders at all – but the words “left” or “socialist” would not tend to be used in the context of them.