Friday, December 04, 2015

David Garrett's dystopia

In a guest post at Kiwiblog, the website of National Party pollster David Farrar, former Act Party MP David Garrett has called for the government to immediately and permanently ban all Muslims from immigrating to New Zealand. 
Garrett's post has caused a lot of comment. Some of his critics have pointed out the symbolic harm that would be done to New Zealand democracy if the state were to begin to discriminate against potential citizens on the basis of their religion. But Garrett's proposals would lead to actual as well as symbolic damage to democracy and civil liberties. 
Let’s imagine that Garrett gets his way, and that a law banning Muslim migrants from this country is passed. If such a law is to function effectively, then systems will have to be set up not only to exclude from New Zealand self-declared Muslims, but to make sure that Muslims don't slip into this country by disguising their faith.
Let’s say that John Smith from Britain decides to immigrate to New Zealand, is accepted, because he has skills and money and a job waiting for him, and ticks the No box when confronted with an official form that said ‘Are you a Muslim?’ But Smith actually converted to Islam a few years ago in Britain. He didn't admit to his faith because he wants to live in New Zealand, and because he believes that his ideas about God and the universe are none of the business of immigration officials. After he arrives in Auckland Smith begins to attend a local mosque. He also listens to Sufi music at home, enrols in an online course in Arabic, and buys his meat from a halal butcher.
If the ban on Muslim migrants is to have any force, then people like Smith will have to be identified, detained, and deported. In order to identify people like Smith, the police or some other arm of the state will have to monitor the Muslim community. CCTV cameras will presumably have to be set up outside mosques and halal butchers. Citizens living near new migrants would presumably be encouraged to listen carefully for the sounds of Sufi chanting, or the Muslim call to prayer. Even Muslims who are legitimately living in New Zealand will routinely have their privacy and other civil liberties curtailed. And all of this effort will be devoted to monitoring the thoughts in people’s heads.
David Garrett has previously advocated the state-sponsored sterilisation of New Zealanders convicted of crimes against children. His latest proposal is just as dystopian.
[Posted by Scott Hamilton]

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Garrett is himself a convicted criminal. He stole the identity of a dead baby. He hid the conviction even when he went into parliament. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10673929

9:38 am  
Blogger Psycho Milt said...

It's pretty depressing stuff. On one level I'm sympathetic to his viewpoint, as I consider Islam a totalitarian ideology that everyone in a western democracy should automatically file under DO NOT WANT. However, even a few moment's reflection reveals two show-stoppers for Garrett's suggestion:

1. If we make religious belief an immigration/citizenship criterion, we trash the values that supposedly differentiate western democracies from the kind of authoritarian regimes that Muslims come up with.

2. Obvious practical difficulties with implementing and enforcing such a policy, up to and including the police-state activities you describe above.

10:05 am  
Anonymous Scott Hamilton said...

Hi PM, I don't consider Islam any more inherently totalitarian than Anglicanism, which was the religion that marched with British and colonial soldiers on their jihad into the Waikato Kingdom, and which made sure its churches in early New Zealand could double as fortresses and armouries.

While I've been researching the history of the Great South Road on Papers Past I've noticed a lot of articles from the 1890s and early 1900s about the threat that migrants from Syria, many of whom were working as hawkers in country towns up and down the road, were supposedly posing to NZ. There were various bills presented to parliament designed to control hawking, and I suspect that Seddon's notorious 1896 anti-Asian law was designed partly to combat Syrians and Lebanese. Now we have a new panic over Syrians...

6:28 am  
Blogger Richard said...

Well the guy is a nutter, it is obviously impractical. You need to vet immigrants regardless of their religion. But if we are talking dangerous, the US needs to expel every one who owns guns other than those with a genuine need for one (after clamping down on guns). In fact the WASPS are indeed Jihadists in their own way.

Moslems are no more totalitarian, they are DIFFERENT from those of us who are either atheists of Anglicans etc There is no guarantee that Christians and Buddhists or other religions might decide to open up with guns and throw bombs around. In addition the more we repress or turn our backs on refugees or genuine immigrants (of whatever ilk) the more we endanger ourselves as well as we increase the resentment (potentially) which increases the likelihood of some kind of attack.

I think Psycho is wrong. But at least he makes a reasonable argument. Garrett is more the "psycho". I don't like his name, I would like to see him deported to Iraq for immediate beheading.

7:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was under the impression that New Zealand – like the United States - currently dissuades the immigration of those who practice polygamy. Could that policy be construed as a form of state sanctioned discrimination against certain religions ? I would argue it is a religiously focused discriminatory policy, and I’d suggest that the vast majority of New Zealanders (esp females) are happy for it to remain in place.

I'm not a fan of Trump or Garrett, but where is the sober leadership that is willing to say that religious supremacy does not fit well with Liberal democracy.

In regards to your John Smith scenario you state, "If the ban on Muslim migrants is to have any force, then people like Smith will have to be identified, detained, and deported". I generally agree, but even in a world where Garrett’s proposal became law, I cannot imagine such an extensive detection regime as you have set out being put in place. Instead perhaps Mr Smith only comes to the attention of the Authorities due to his actions in what he refers to as practising his faith, but doing so in a manner that the Public considers hateful and extremist (let’s say posting of pro Salafist vitriol or his grooming of a bride overseas) ? In this case should John Smith be able to rely on the freedom to practice religion as a defence and if not, why should he not suffer consequences for these actions?

"I don't consider Islam any more inherently totalitarian than Anglicanism, which was the religion that marched with British and colonial soldiers on their jihad into the Waikato Kingdom, and which made sure its churches in early New Zealand could double as fortresses and armouries."

As I have an ancestor who fought under the leadership of Rewi Maniapoto, I’m not going to disagree with you on the aggressive power and often totalitarian nature of British Imperialism and its core Anglican faith. But surely in today’s context Anglicanism – as currently practised - cannot be compared to the vileness of many existing Islamic theocratic states not to mention the practices of Salafism/Wahhabism. In short, there is a reason Sufi Muslims are suffering in Pakistan and it’s not the CoE!

"While I've been researching the history of the Great South Road on Papers Past I've noticed a lot of articles from the 1890s and early 1900s about the threat that migrants from Syria, many of whom were working as hawkers in country towns up and down the road, were supposedly posing to NZ. There were various bills presented to parliament designed to control hawking, and I suspect that Seddon's notorious 1896 anti-Asian law was designed partly to combat Syrians and Lebanese. Now we have a new panic over Syrians.."

Interesting, my elderly grandmother talks fondly of a neighbouring family of Syrians (the Karam family) when growing up in 1930’s rural New Zealand. I was under the impression they were Maronite Christians and were seen as different, in a negative sense, since they were “Syrians” and not “British”.

2:30 pm  

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