Politicians who first ask their polster to check which way the wind of public opinion is blowing, and then bend to that wind are the worst. Australia’s David Leyonhjelm is not one of those.
To his vast credit, Leyonhjelm is willing and courageous enough to advance an unpopular idea and argue publicly for that idea. This is the courage and commitment that is so lacking in our political system today and we need more politicians prepared to do this rather than be driven by polling.
Its not certain whether Leyonhjelm prefers to be described as a “Libertarian” or as a “Classic Liberal”. Either way, it has been disappointing to observe his fashionable commitment to multi-culturalism, a trait shared by many other Libertarians. However, perhaps those of us who accused him of this had it wrong. Had misread him.
In a recent Financial Review article, Leyonhjelm makes the point that ethnic background plays an important part in preserving the ideas that underpin liberty. He says
The debate over S18C is much greater than free speech. It is in fact a fight for the votes of people who have different values from those of traditional Australia. Instead of embracing the values of their adopted country, these ethnic, religious and immigrant representatives want Australia to become more like the countries they left behind.
Australia has a deeply rooted tradition of freedom in which free speech is central. Our legal and cultural origins lie in Britain, where the primacy of individuals over collectivism first took root. The same values led the US to make free speech the first amendment in its Bill of Rights.
In other words, indiscriminate immigration from countries that do not share our cultural origins has a damaging effect upon freedom.
This can be seen quite starkly in the Left’s (Australian Labor Party) opposition to doing away with or altering the Racial Discrimination Act. This opposition is driven by its fears of losing the votes of recent immigrants and the established non-British heritage ethnic communities.
Uncontrolled immigration is not the only driver of lost liberties of course. A dysfunctional left controlled education system is doing just as much if not greater damage. However the point here is that Libertarians who subscribe to the idea of borderless countries are doing liberty a disservice.
They deny the value of Western culture in a manner pretty much the same as (for one example) post modernist Swedes, who have failed to teach their children history or pass on their heritage for seven decades or more. Sweden is now lost. Their liberal heritage will be replaced by Shariah law, or Islamic based totalitarianism.
We all need to read David Leyonhjelm’s excellent article, but some Libertarians need to read it more than most.