Towards A Good Samaritan World

Monday, December 12, 2005

Andrew is also shocked by the news of race riots in Sydney. I agree with him... except... But we part ways when he goes on to remark:

what is the world coming to?


I have good reason to be glad I wasn't born an Australian.

Cheer up, Andrew! Race riots are a chronic affliction of many societies, but they're not necessarily getting worse. Countries like America and (even more so!) Australia are absorbing huge numbers of immigrants. Here's some good news as reported by the Center for Immigration Studies. (It's not good news from their point of view, because they're anti-immigration... I disagree with them, but I'm guessing they still probably have their facts right.)

The 35.2 million immigrants (legal and illegal) living in the country in March 2005 is the highest number ever recorded -- two and a half times the 13.5 million during the peak of the last great immigration wave in 1910.

Around the turn of the 20th century, inter-racial "quiet wars" were a feature of many US cities. But those turned out to be growing pains, and eventually the many cultural streams joined into a coherent national American culture. That can happen again... only this time race riots are happily rare in the United States. Australia's absorbing even more immigrants than the US, so it's sad but not surprising that there will be some problems with integration. I'm confident that Australia can overcome them.

Australia's economy has been booming for a long time; it's absorbing lots of immigrants from all over the world; it's people are adventuresome travelers; its skillful and courageous foreign policy earns it an influence out of proportion to its population. Every country has its faults. But if I were asked to name a single country in the world that others would do well to emulate, which one would I pick? Australia.


  • I'm glad you're now focusing on the beliefs we have in common!!! I was thinking about this a bit more (after watching a slew of reports published on Aussie news websites) and was thinking that part of Australia's problems may stem from the fact that although they are a country of immigrants, they accepted almost no non-European immigrants until the 1970s (the so-called 'White Australia Policy'). It makes sense that these sorts of tensions would be negatively correlated with the presence of (unfamiliar) immigrants. Hence the reason why the US now has some of the best race relations in the developed world and certainly much better than most of Europe. Canada, I guess, is a bit of an outlier, though, since they have little history of multicultural immigration, large recent flows of multicultural immigration, and (presumably) minimal racial tension. I shouldn't be trying to generalize about this stuff, though, I guess . . .

    By Anonymous Andrew, at 9:07 PM  

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