Monday, September 28, 2015

Conservative and Proud

The fabulous humanitarian gesture  on immigration from Germany has been heart-warming. Although domestic pressures have made Germany revisit this, the original gesture and scenes in German railway stations were wonderful to see. Angela Merkel's gesture has given the liberal media another tool to berate conservatives, and subtly shame them on the issue of immigration. This is wrong. The concerns raised by the conservatives are very real.

The simplified counter to the idea of mass-immigration would be this - Today's immigration could lead to tomorrow's segregation, to the day after's fundamentalism. The addendum would read - Immigrants live on welfare for a long time and are a net drag on fiscal resources.

But safety and welfare are but one small component of a list of concerns about immigration. It is an oversimplification to bring down immigration to only two issues - security or welfare. A Country could get in safe immigrants who are going to be net contributors to the state and the citizens might still be not comfortable with it. I can be instinctively against enforced multiculturalism without being a moron.

As a conservative, I am peeved at this subculture that looks at any opposition to multiculturalism as bigotry. It is unfortunate that the conservative concern is not articulated and discussed well enough credibly. On one hand, we have the conservative movement hijcked by extremists; on the other we have liberals who are hell bent on belittling conservative ideology.

If I have a second cousin who I know very little about who happens to visit my town, I am ok to grab a coffee with him post work. But even if I am not worried he is a thief I am not happy to have him park at my house for 2 weeks.

Before you get the idea that I oppose all humanitarian gestures and would rather see refugees die, let me clarify that I also think that the response from Germany has been immense and it has made me an even bigger fan of the Germans than I was (and I was a pretty big fan even before this). The way German society has reacted to the refugee crisis has been phenomenal. In the cynical world that we live it, it is very heart-warming to see so many people so willing to take in refugees and help them so much. If I were German, I would be insanely proud of this response from my Country.

As unequivocal as I would be in Germany's praise on this issue, it is important to note that it is not a crime to be wary of immigrants. Similar to slut-shaming, and fat-shaming, this German response has led to a wave of conservative-shaming that has been going on. David Cameron's response has been shameful, Italy has not done enough, the Hungarian Prime minister is bigoted, etc have been found on the web. Anyone who says he/she is worried about the scale of this immigration is painted as the second coming of Satan, or worse still Islamophobic.

Conservatives in Europe have been worried about immigration and multiculturalism for a while now. This is why UKIP got so many votes, this is why Marie Le Pen is gaining momentum. Conservatives in America have been so worried about immigration that they have made a candidate out of Donald Trump. They have been pilloried either for lacking empathy or for whining because they lost out. Although a border-less world with stunted nationalistic impulses would be fabulous for peace initiatives, it is as Utopian as a Marxist world where everyone worked for collective good. All this moralizing is creating fertile ground for a nationalistic backlash that is going to be fun to watch.

Immigration comes with a cost. It is very vital to debate and discuss this with key inputs from people who bear the cost. The left as ever is so eager to capture moral high-ground that there is a steadfast refusal to face facts. The gentlemen who shape immigration policies have probably never lost a job to an immigrant. Perhaps there is some value in listening to what the Hungary PM has got to say

The pace of immigration cannot be imposed by an elite that has nothing to lose from this. On both European integration and immigration from outside EU, the population has grown wary. It is irrational to ask the population to suspend all nationalistic feeling and substitute this either with a trans-national love-in (EU) or with a moral high ground.

The endless moralizing from the liberal media is frightfully annoying on this front. Worldwide, the left has fallen into the trap of believing that occupying moral high ground is in and of itself a solution to many problems. Liberals have a tendency to believe that they can push public opinion toward what it 'ought' to be by tweaking policy. Liberals' fetish for the morally correct humanitarian and environment-friendly gestures is often a load of sanctimonious tosh.

The refugee crisis in the middle East has no easy solution. A small young Syrian boy being washed up on the shore is gut-wrenching; it is so soul-crushing that you want to desperately do something about it. But this desire to do something does not entitle one to belittle anyone voicing caution. With all the moral high ground and pro-poor policies they have, left wingers should be ruling everywhere. Democracy is designed for the guy who speaks for the poor and helpless. The game is stacked so in favour of leftists. But they really struggle electorally because they cannot get over this instinct of being holier-than-thou.

My conservatism is not bigotry. I am not parochial and uncaring merely because I am anti-immigration. I can be anti-immigration, peace-loving, humanitarian and fiercely patriotic at the same time. This is an idea that liberals do not get. In their world, anyone saying - "Hey, we gotta be careful about how many we let into our Country?" is a bigot.  

I am a conservative/nationalist on a few other issues as well. As far as India is concerned, I am not a fan of trade with Pakistan, a pipeline running from the middle East through Afghanistan and Pakistan, or even on cricketing relations with Pakistan. I love the cricket team of our dear neighbours; I would be thrilled to see Amir bowl to Indian batsmen. But in some instances when Countries do not see eye to eye, I am of the view that we should not pretend to be friends. As individuals we try to avoid dealing with people who we do not get along with. As Countries, we should accept the fact that there is a huge trust-deficit and not hanker after foreign policy wins that just do not exist.

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