November 15, 2013

Australia's Camp of the Saints

The New York Times Magazine has a long adventure story by reporter Luke Mogelson about his infiltrating a group of mostly Iranian economic illegal immigrants in Indonesia who are trying to sneak into Australia by boat. 

Of course, in the article the Iranians are called "refugees" and "asylum-seekers" as if they were Niels Bohr in his sailboat slipping away from the Nazi occupation of Denmark. If you read the article closely, however, the Iranians mostly seem to be seeking refuge from the general cruddiness of life in a country chock full of Iranians:
A majority, I was surprised to discover, were not Afghan but Iranian. Most were from cities and the lower middle class. They were builders, drivers, shopkeepers, barbers. One man claimed to be a mullah; another, an accomplished engineer. Their reasons for leaving varied. They all complained about the government and its chokehold on their freedoms. A few said they had been targeted for political persecution. They bemoaned the economy. International sanctions — imposed on Iran for refusing to abandon its nuclear program in 2006 and later tightened — had crippled their ability to support their families. They were fathers who despaired of their children’s futures, or they wanted children but refused to have them in Iran. The most common word they used to describe their lives back home was na-aomid — hopeless.

The strong desire of Australian voters to avoid a slow-motion Camp of the Saints on their shores has been a major factor in elections in this century, one that the American national media have mostly professed bafflement about.

What never gets brought up in this long article is: "Why Australia?" I mean, aren't there other countries closer to Iran than Australia for Iranians to take "refuge" in?

The handy website Air Miles Calculator shows that the distance from Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran to the airport of Australia's largest metropolis, Sydney, is 8037 miles. 

How many countries are less than 8,000 miles from Tehran?

As its ancient history of civilization suggests, Iran is more or less in the center of the world, with the vast majority of all countries closer to it than the major immigrant destination cities of Australia. So, it would make more sense to ask how many national metropolises are more distant from Tehran than Sydney is.

The answer is just a small number of countries in the western or southern parts of Latin America and in the Pacific. Even Sao Paulo in southern Brazil is closer to Tehran than Sydney is.

Below is a sample of Great Circle distances from Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport to the airports of:

Baku, Azerbaijan: 355 miles
Grozny, Chechnya: 622
Dubai: 746
Beirut: 897
Tel Aviv: 964
Tashkent, Uzbekistan: 1,061
Istanbul: 1,270
Berlin: 2,176
Oslo: 2,464
Paris: 2,610
Dublin: 3,001
Lisbon: 3,274
Casablanca: 3,305
Seoul 4,088
Nuuk, Greenland: 4,407
Dakar, Senegal: 4,444
Johannesburg 4,522
Tokyo: 4,819
Cape Town, 5,240
Anchorage, Alaska: 5,664
New York: 6,133
Toronto: 6,165
Vancouver: 6,588
Sao Paulo: 7,557
Los Angeles: 7,606
Monterrey, Mexico: 7,820
Bogota: 7,951
Sydney: 8,037
Honolulu: 8,089
Mexico City: 8,184
Stanley, Falkland Islands: 8,869
Santiago, Chile: 9,183
Auckland, NZ: 9,350
Easter Island: 11,172

Whether Pitcairn Island is nearer or farther than Easter Island is hard to tell because it doesn't have an airport.

Every single one of the more than 40 Muslim-run countries in the world is closer than Australia. Of course, Iranians aren't terribly welcome in the Persian Gulf due to worries that they'd undermine the country. Here in Los Angeles, which is closer to Tehran than Sydney is, there are large numbers of Iranians. And while they are constantly striving to get their in-laws and second cousins into America, I've never noticed much desire among L.A.'s Persians for the gates to be flung open for the Iranian masses to follow in their footsteps. 

At the very end of the article is a single sentence that, perhaps, sheds some light on one technical reason for why Iranians want to go to Australia:
Moreover, unlike with Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, no agreement exists between Iran and Australia allowing for the forcible repatriation of asylum seekers whose applications are unsuccessful. 

But, the main reasons are that Australia is lightly populated, and set up by and still (mostly) run by Northern Europeans.

83 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why not remove the sanctions? There are lots of sanctions on Iran that obviously hurt its economy.

If the US put equivalent sanctions on Israel, you'd have hordes of Israelis moving abroad as well, claiming "anti-Semitic" sanctions and seeking asylum. But in that case of course you'd say it's the fault of the sanctions.

Anonymous said...

If the 'West' wants wars and blockades across the world, they should expect refugees. Australia in particular is encouraging refugees by supporting the Global War on Whatever.

Rohan Swee said...

If the 'West' wants wars and blockades across the world, they should expect refugees. Australia in particular is encouraging refugees by supporting the Global War on Whatever.

Still avoids the question of why they don't want to go to closer, more culturally compatible countries. If, as you claim, the West's, and particularly Australia's, policies are the cause of all their woes, you'd think they'd want to get as far away as possible from the lands of such troublemaking jerks.

Geoff Matthews said...

For those who criticize the sanctions, I'd ask:
Is there a legitimate reason to worry about nuclear proliferation? If so, then the sanctions are justified.
I remember growing up (in the 80s) with prominent people saying that we should be afraid of nuclear war. Isn't it more likely that as more nations get these weapons, a war like this is more likely?

Anonymous said...

The high demand for residency in (mostly) European-run countries raises a question about the libertarian free market economists' approach to migration: if markets are so great, why not apply them to migration? What if Australia and similarly attractive countries charged $2 million per migrant for the right to live there permanently? Maybe a slightly less crappy country than Iran would offer legal residency for $10k.

It would be interesting to see countries ranked by price of admission.

BurplesonAFB said...

Anon 2:53

Expect? Sure. Harbor? Never.

Invade is bad, invite is worse.

Anonymous said...

The "White Man's Burden" just won't take no for an answer -- it'll chase you 'round the world, and hop right back on your back.

Whiskey said...

First off, Iran Anon 2:53 is responsible for the sanctions. All they had to do to avoid them was give up their nuke weapon program. Allow the West to reprocess the fuel and problem solved. Or become like France, officially non-Muslim, with a non theocratic insane aggressive regime, and build all the nuclear weapons they want. Problem solved either way.

Iran's Mullahs are 100% responsible for the mess. They could have ended their nuke program, or changed their regime so nuclear weapons produce the same yawn that Israel, France, and the UK produce. Regularly threatening to close the Gulf, demanding oil at a min $150 a barrel, and promising to nuke Israel into cinders makes everyone very scared of the regime.

But the regime itself is Muslim. Muslim nations are good at Jihad, but not much else. Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, South Sudan, Somalia, all are Muslim nations that face no sanctions. And send most of their men to refugee camps around Europe. As does Pakistan and Bangladesh come to think of it.

Meanwhile Steve the West WANTS! Camp of the Saints, mostly. Desperately. Women, gays, lesbians, people of color, the CENTER of power and those who cannot be criticized want to DROWN White guys in a sea of non-Whites. To kill the ickiness of Beta White maleness that produces technology, disruption, change, growth in power of the average guy, and cuts down aristocracy and elite family power like clockwork.

That is because we live in a profoundly feminized, gay, effete society absent rewards for accomplishing things.

Ace of Spades had a story on a cute little (White) kid with a terminal illness who got to play Batman for a day, saving the day. Some media person tweeted that he only got that help because he was White. Yes the woman tweeting is White herself.

Podsnap said...

Australia's legal immigration is much higher (proportionately) than the USA. On the other hand illegal immigration (to the extent it can be measured) is less.

The current amnesty situation is an existential issue for Americans, whereas Australians broadly support excluding illegals and can practically do it much easier than the US can.

Illegals are mainly used as a wedge issue by the major parties.
Most Australians have so little understanding of the extent of legal immigration that they tend to blame the fact that the major cities are turning into overcrowded third word sewers by blaming it on 'illegals'. The ('right wing') Liberal party 'deals' with this issue by playing tough on illegals, while leaving the legal immigration tap fully on.

Australians are so cowed by PC that the only way they feel comfortable about criticising immigration is to talk about illegals. "It's not fair that the illegals can jump the queue, while the deserving migrants have to wait in line".

Fuck your queue and fuck your stupidity or hypocrisy.

A good example is this pre-election story where some half-witted Liberal candidate blamed overcrowding on refugees -

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/liberal-candidate-links-asylum-seekers-to-traffic-jams-and-hospital-queues-20130903-2t1kw.html

The elite media etc immediately stomped on her correctly stating that overcrowding has nothing to do with our small number of refugees. They all patted themselves on the back that the stupid xenophobe had been pwned and we all went on our merry way.

Reffos are a distraction for us. I would let in a ten thousand a year if we could cut legal immigration to zero.

also said...

Australia traditionally had a higher employment rate than any non-EastAsian advanced economy, though I think the German-speaking nations have rebounded to pass them recently. Unless I was accidentally reading a story about Austria

Bert said...

"Global War on Whatever"

I like that. I'm going to start using that.

Yes, the so-called West is fading away as a racial, cultural, and geopolitical entity. The weaker it gets, the angrier it gets. This current fracas over a nuclear Iran is just a symptom of a greater illness.

anony-mouse said...

1/ Don't they realize that if simply getting on a boat to Australia from Indonesia would work that a lot of Indonesians would have done it already?

2/ Why don't they simply travel to one of the many Euro nations that still have their doors open?

3/ The sanctions aren't hurting or the Iranians would have ended or even slowed down their expensive nuke program. And there are lots of economic migrants from places that don't have any type of sanctions on them.

Paulson Bazooka said...

It is a universally experienced (albeit not acknowledged) truth that non-Westerners who emigrate to Western countries mostly seem to be seeking refuge from the general cruddiness of life in a country chock full of non-Westerners.

agnostic said...

The country has been chock full of Iranians since ancient times, while parachuting into Australia is recent.

Recent changes -- "international" economic sanctions (i.e., pushed by the US and Israel), and growing tired with the also recent move toward rule by the mullahs.

Can the average American tell you when the Iranian Revolution was? If it was a revolution, things must have been pretty different in the decades leading up to it, under the Shah, right?

Google image search Iran 1960s or Iran 1970s, and look at how Westernized it used to be. No head scarves or chadors, let alone penguin ladies running around to police the dress code. The only strange looks you got about your appearance was if your hair wasn't big and bouffanty enough, or your skirt wasn't sufficiently mini. Persian beach babes in bikinis -- stuff you'd think was impossible given today's climate.

They'll have to outgrow their mullah-run government on their own, but the "international community" can end the sanctions now.

countenance said...

Why Australia?

Because...no such thing as race. It's just a social construct. And don't you dare try to notice things and come to the conclusion that all these fake refugees are trying to get into countries that have one of those trivial social construct-y things in common.

Anonymous said...

or they wanted children but refused to have them in Iran

In the long run, dysfunctional countries will inevitably be filled to carrying capacity with poor people.

Thus the ultimate beneficiaries of immigration are not the Huddled Masses, whose numbers are irreducible in the absence of improvements in the sending countries, but rather their entirely hypothetical surplus progeny. This additional population doesn't exist, ex ante, but comes into being to the degree that loose immigration policies in receiving countries allow it to.

Another way to put it, of course, is that mass immigration is a form of colonization. But "Give me the children you wouldn't otherwise have" didn't focus-group well when they proposed to inscribe it on the Statue of Liberty.

Ian said...

Arabs have historically hated Persians and vice-versa. This is still true today.

Auntie Analogue said...


Commenter Ian is, I think, on to something.

Europe is now jam-packed with Sunni Moslems; here in the U.S. Obama has bent over backwards to help Sunni Islam (mostly by backing Moslem Brotherhood entities). So why would Iranian Shiites want to emigrate to Euro-Caucasian countries that have large Sunni populations, or to countries that favor Sunni Islam? Perhaps Iranians then think, aha, Australia has some Sunni Moslems, but not as many, and not all crammed into the small geography the way that Sunnis are crammed into, say, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, and France; which may make Australia look to Iranian emigrés to be a safer bet.

Or maybe Iranians find appealing the prospect of camping by a billabong and squeezing jumbucks, to be slaughtered later by halal method, in their tucker bags?

notsaying said...

Just a thought: Do traffickers make more money from less frequent long trips or from more frequent shorter trips.

These are not poor people.

You could charge them much higher rates to go to Australia. If that's more profitable, I suppose the trafficker all want to go to Australia.




Anonymous said...

3/ The sanctions aren't hurting or the Iranians would have ended or even slowed down their expensive nuke program. And there are lots of economic migrants from places that don't have any type of sanctions on them.

Yes they have hurt their economy:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanctions_on_Iran#Effects

Self-defense of a polity is always the chief priority. Of course they haven't slowed down their nuke program since that's a part of self-defense. These kinds of sanctions are acts of war, and in war, self-defense becomes even more important. Self-defense is the last thing you give up.

We're not talking about "lots of economic migrants from places that don't have any type of sanctions on them." We're talking about Iran.

Anonymous said...

It's funny. I was in China this summer and met a number of students through a friend of mine who's a professor. When I asked them where they most wanted to visit outside of China, the majority said they wanted to go to Australia (Japan was also a popular pick). Not quite sure why Australia has such an attraction to the rest of the world. I was surprised how few wanted to go to the US (but maybe that's just because I'm an arrogant American.)

A bit of a tangent but I thought funny: an Australian told me that they have been some problems with the toilets and Chinese visitors. The majority of toilets in China are still the holes in the ground over which one squats. When the Chinese get to Australia, they've never seen a western toilet so they end up standing on the toilet and breaking the seat or falling off.

Anonymous said...

"If you read the article closely, however, the Iranians mostly seem to be seeking refuge from the general cruddiness of life in a country chock full of Iranians"
If you replaced the word "Iranians" in the sentence above with Irish, Germans, Scandinavians, Italians, etc., etc. - couldn't that be the story of those groups immigration to the United States.

Come on Steve - you got to do better than rank xenophobia.

Anonymous said...

The idea that Captain Cook 'discovered' Australia in the 18th century is a myth - a peristant myth taught in British schools largely for reasons of national pride. The fcat is, Australia *must* have been known to the Indian seafarers who reached Bali etc.

Anyway, my point is this up to the point that British colonialism built up Australia from the 1800s onwards, largely with convict labor, the whole sub-continent of Australia was just more or less ignored by asiatic sea-farers, explorers etc on the grounds that it was largely inhospitable to habitation.
Britons and Irish did all the hard work of making that inhospitable landmass a wealthy, productive farm, granary and developed nation. Now they've done all the hard work, other people - who did absolutely nothing to build the wealth of Australia - want to take advantage and take it over.

Robert said...

Funnily enough, I saw only today a fascinating Iran-based movie called Before the Revolution about the huge diaspora of Israeli professionals who worked in Tehran under the Shah.

Talk about livin' the dream, these dudes (construction workers, kibbutz administrators, security personnel, army analysts, Mossad operatives, and at least one professor) had it made back then. Their wives still more so.

They were earning incomes compared to which, anything they could've obtained back in Israel was a pittance. And they had access to things like color TV sets and disposable diapers, then largely unknown in even the hippest quarters of Tel Aviv.

Seeing and hearing them being interviewed in the movie (interviews were interspersed with archival footage of the Iranian Revolution) was fascinating. Reminded me of the 1970s and 1980s shows in which retired British civil servants would reminisce about life in the Raj. Also reminded me of what Rhodesian exiles sound like when they get together and chew the fat about the good old days of Smithy. (I guess that French emigres in 1800, nostalgic about the ancien regime, would have sounded similar.)

The curious thing is that far from living up to the stereotypes of Jewish cunning, almost none of the expatriate Israelis, and this includes the Mossad guys, predicted that the Shah's rule would collapse as rapidly as it did after the 1978 riots. Except for the military attache and, you guessed it, the security guard. (When the short-lived Bakhtiar prime ministry imploded after the Shah fled, the military attache escaped almost certain execution by pretend to be a PLO representative.) Anyway, once Khomeini was in the saddle, the Israelis got airlifted to their native land, where they've been ever since.

Short version of their recollections: "you just can't get decent hired help nowadays."

wanderling said...

The reason all Indonesians aren't jumping on boats to Australia is because they know Australians don't want them all in their country and plenty of Australians, especially in the north of the country would use their guns on them if they tried.
Indonesians are smart enough or perhaps polite enough to stay in their own country.

Australian isn't all PC when you consider it sent its army into Aboriginal communities 10 years ago to control the population and that occupation is still in force today.



Anonymous said...

Australian leftists can never get enough of this poverty porn. Allowing these boats allows for a myriad of dramas. Pantomime on the high seas. Boo, hiss, preen.

Whatever it takes to destroy your enemies and their ilk.

wanderling said...

To the person who wondered why the Chinese want to go to Australia. It's because the light over Australia and lack of pollution means everything looks as if it's in high definition.
Sydney harbour is also particularly beautiful.
The Chinese love it, considering the poor air quality and reduced visibility in China.

Anonymous said...

If you replaced the word "Iranians" in the sentence above with Irish, Germans, Scandinavians, Italians, etc., etc. - couldn't that be the story of those groups immigration to the United States.

Come on Steve - you got to do better than rank xenophobia.


I'd cut the blog proprietor a break. They can't all be gems.

Anonymous said...

Funnily enough, I saw only today a fascinating Iran-based movie called Before the Revolution about the huge diaspora of Israeli professionals who worked in Tehran under the Shah.

I'm guessing that these were Iranian Jews who were forced to become Israelis (or Americans) after Khomeini came to power.

eah said...

It's tragic. On all sides.

But, the main reasons are that Australia is lightly populated...

In Europe they tend to congregate in large cities where plenty of their countrymen already live. I'd be surprised if it wasn't the same in Australia.

Anonymous said...

"The sanctions aren't hurting or the Iranians would have ended or even slowed down their expensive nuke program."

Yes, because a government would never let its own citizens go hungry while spending its money on national defense/national pride programs. Why, such a thing has simply never happened.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but the most likely victim of an Iranian nuke would be Israel. Though Steve has many funny, insightful and erudite readers (whose comments are a big part of what makes this a great site) he also attracts people who have a problem with Jews.

Anonymous said...

Northern Euros...

http://www.amazon.com/Architecture-Harry-Weese-Robert-Bruegmann/dp/0393731936

"The book The Architecture of Harry Weese by Robert Bruegmann" has an excellent portrait of upper middle class WASP life in the early 20th century. A real treasure.

A review:

http://www.robertbruegmann.com/_images/books/Baldwin%20weese%20review%20places%20may%202011.pdf

Anonymous said...

They all wanna go to northern Europe.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRbT9IciF-A

Anonymous said...

The other point is that Australia is a bit like the US used to be - "the lucky country", a land where the ordinary person can still have a decent standard of living. They want a piece of that.

http://brontecapital.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/lessons-in-my-laundry-part-1.html

Back in the Mother Country, in many areas adding more immigrants is just "bombing the rubble" as far as Brits are concerned, because those areas are already lost to the natives. I listened this morning on BBC to Pakistani residents of Slough bemoaning the number of (Roma) immigrants on the streets.

"They should cut down on immigration"

In Sheffield "the local community" are organising patrols to keep their property safe - the sort of thing that in an English community would be called "far-right vigilantism".

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2504472/Fears-civil-unrest-Sheffield-locals-action-Roma-migrants.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2508120/Fear-loathing-prejudice-Blunketts-yard-A-deeply-disturbing-dispatch-ex-Labour-Home-Secretary-warns-race-riots-Roma-influx-Sheffield.html



freudwasrightaboutafewthings said...

There's an immigration angle to the "Half-Ton Killer" story:

http://www.heavy.com/news/2012/10/worlds-fattest-woman-mayra-rosales-fact/

Sheezus. The future: immigration and obesity. Morbid obesity.

Belisarius said...

"One man claimed to be a mullah..."

Did it not occur to the reporter to ask why a mullah would want to make a long, dangerous, and desperate journey to escape a land run by mullahs? Is he Sunni and in trouble with the regime? Is he a missionary hoping to make converts? If, as I suspect, he is just immigrating for economic reasons, has he asked himself why a nation of infidels is so successful while the dar-al-islam is such a hell-hole?

These kinds of questions never occur to leftist reporters because they have no knowledge of history other than leftist mythology and no clue what makes one civilization rich and another poor. To them, if the entire populations of Australia and Iran were switched, the Australians would suddenly be the poor ones. Australia just has a lot more money-trees, you see- you just pick more money off the tree and your income goes up.

Anonymous said...

The country has been chock full of Iranians since ancient times, while parachuting into Australia is recent.


Recent changes -- "international" economic sanctions (i.e., pushed by the US and Israel), and growing tired with the also recent move toward rule by the mullahs



Which STILL has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they can easily escape the sanctions by going to any number of non-European-run countries. Iraq, for example.

Anonymous said...

Come on Steve - you got to do better than rank xenophobi


Thus spake the homophobe.

(Note correct usage of the word "homophobe")

Anonymous said...

Arabs have historically hated Persians and vice-versa. This is still true today.


China is not Arab. Neither is Russia. Or India. All are a lot closer to Iran than is Australia.

Anonymous said...

"Come on Steve - you got to do better than rank xenophobia."

Stating a truth ("If you read the article closely, however, the Iranians mostly seem to be seeking refuge from the general cruddiness of life in a country chock full of Iranians") is not a phobia, it's just a fact.

Your statement is not a logical argument.

SFG said...

Actually, the few Iranians I knew were decent chaps--the place has actually had a decent amount of civilization long before Islam. We could probably make peace with them if we could get rid of the mullahs and make Israel behave. Long odds, I know.

Anonymous said...

"The fcat is, Australia *must* have been known to the Indian seafarers who reached Bali etc."

Not all discoveries are the same. Some have consequences.
It's like Viking landings in the new world meant nothing.

Dave Pinsen said...

"If you replaced the word "Iranians" in the sentence above with Irish, Germans, Scandinavians, Italians, etc., etc. - couldn't that be the story of those groups immigration to the United States."

Sure. The difference is that those are all pretty nice places to live today and Iran is not.

Simon in London said...

I think the Sunni/Shia split may be a factor, yes. Australia has long had a large Lebanese Shia immigrant population (crazy but true); this may make it a preferred target for Iranian migrants also.

Anonymous said...

I saw that article too. Like you, I noted the *asylum* term as well.

And I also noticed the author dancing around the question of why Australia?

To be fair, who wouldn't want to move there? It's sunny, got famous beaches. Your free-er than 90% of the worlds population. They seem to have a decent economy. It's not a backward old world place.

To bad no one ever writes the story about why Australia wouldn't want everyone moving there.

Old fogey said...

I've lived in Iran. Iranians do not feel any ties to Afghans, Turks, or Arabs - they consider themselves closer to Europeans in outlook and level of civilization. During the reign of the last shah traveling abroad to an Iranian meant traveling to Europe or North America - I only remember one acquaintance over more than 12 years who visited Asia (in her case, India) on vacation.

Iranians study English in school, so it is far more likely that they would be able to find a job in an English-speaking country such as Australia than in any of the countries surrounding Iran.

The people described in this article are anxious to get out of the "Islamic Republic" so they do not want to end up in another Islamic country, be sure of that.

If they could, these folks would much rather move to the U.S., Canada or Germany. Failing that, Australia must seem to them like a last-chance possibility to make new lives for themselves. As they have made excellent immigrants to the U.S. (Iranian family names are nowadays quite prominent in the medical, biological and physical sciences), I only wish that we could secure our southern borders and welcome educated Iranians in larger numbers.

Ian said...

Auntie Analogue,

True that the Sunni-Shia split exacerbates the tensions between Arabs and Persian. However, my understanding is that the animosity between the two groups traces back to before Islam, and is more rooted in race and culture than it is in religion. Persians view Arabs as inferior and backwards.

Persians feel much more comfortable with Turks than they do with Arabs, despite Turks also being majority Sunni.

Mr. Anon said...

Bert said...

""Global War on Whatever""

I like that. I'm going to start using that."

Yes, I liked that too. Nice coinage. GWOW - it has a ring to it.

Dave Pinsen said...

Your last paragraph reminds me of Joel Stein's essay about Indian immigration to Edison, NJ:

when I was a kid, a few engineers and doctors from Gujarat moved to Edison because of its proximity to AT&T, good schools and reasonably priced, if slightly deteriorating, post–WW II housing. For a while, we assumed all Indians were geniuses. Then, in the 1980s, the doctors and engineers brought over their merchant cousins, and we were no longer so sure about the genius thing. In the 1990s, the not-as-brilliant merchants brought their even-less-bright cousins, and we started to understand why India is so damn poor.

Mr. Anon said...

"SFG said...

Actually, the few Iranians I knew were decent chaps--the place has actually had a decent amount of civilization long before Islam. We could probably make peace with them if we could get rid of the mullahs and make Israel behave. Long odds, I know."

I have similiar experiences. I never met a Persian whom I did not like. But that was a fairly restricted and self-selected sample - people who emigrated to the west, or who were sent there by thier parents when young, because they did not like the Islamic fundamentalist regime.

Mr. Anon said...

"Belisarius said...

""One man claimed to be a mullah...""

Did it not occur to the reporter to ask why a mullah would want to make a long, dangerous, and desperate journey to escape a land run by mullahs?""

Most journalists are not very bright. They never seem to ask even the most obvious questions.

Mr. Anon said...

"Geoff Matthews said...

For those who criticize the sanctions, I'd ask:

Is there a legitimate reason to worry about nuclear proliferation? If so, then the sanctions are justified."

Your second sentence does not logically follow from the first. Anyway, I'm not especially worried about it. Iran has, within living memory, fought a bloody war with a neighboring nation, and is in fairly close proximity to two, not entirely friendly, nuclear powers - Russia and Israel. They have every reason to want thier own nuclear deterrent.

And as to the non-proliferation treaty: why is it that renegging on an agreement that a nation voluntarily entered into, as did Iran, is so much worse than never agreeing to enter into it in the first place, as did Israel (which nation has hundreds of nuclear weapons)?

"Isn't it more likely that as more nations get these weapons, a war like this is more likely?"

No, not necessarily. Lots of nations had battleships prior to WWI. But it was only the ones that Britain and Germany had that contributed to the outbreak of the war in any sense.

Anonymous said...

Which STILL has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they can easily escape the sanctions by going to any number of non-European-run countries. Iraq, for example.

Of course it has something to do with the sanctions. The sanctions make the economy worse than it would be otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Sure. The difference is that those are all pretty nice places to live today and Iran is not.

That's not the difference, since when those groups were immigrating en masse to the US in the past, those places weren't that nice for them.

Don't you understand how analogies work?

Anonymous said...

Pitcairn is 11,693 mi according to Google Earth, so it's farther than Easter Island. The miles in Steve's list, BTW, are not air miles but statute miles. The distance in air/nautical miles to Pitcairn Island from Tehran is 10,161 nm.

Anonymous said...

"Iran has, within living memory, fought a bloody war with a neighboring nation, and is in fairly close proximity to two, not entirely friendly, nuclear powers - Russia and Israel."

Actually make that 4, Pakistan and India are nearby nuclear powers as well. Not to mention the nuclear weaponry the US has in the Gulf and Arabian Sea.

Anonymous said...

They have made a mess out of their own countries and now they want to go to a nice country like Australia (which they will in turn make a mess of).

Canada has its own version of this Camp of the Saints insanity - The Tamils of Sri Lanka. They get in rust-buckets, and pay a huge fee to arrive off the shores of Canada after crossing TWO whole oceans. They have dramatically lowered the quality of life in places like Toronto.

Robert said...

Anonymous at 4:49 said: "I'm guessing that these were Iranian Jews who were forced to become Israelis (or Americans) after Khomeini came to power."

No, they weren't. They were all Israelis well before 1979.

Not all of them were born in Israel of course, though a lot were. (One of them cited was a German who said that the Shah's downfall reminded him of Kristallnacht - which he was old enough to have witnessed himself - and urged his family to get the hell out of Tehran.)

Many couldn't speak Farsi. All spoke fluent Hebrew.

Big Bill said...

"Is there a legitimate reason to worry about nuclear proliferation? If so, then the sanctions are justified. I remember growing up (in the 80s) with prominent people saying that we should be afraid of nuclear war. Isn't it more likely that as more nations get these weapons, a war like this is more likely?"

"More likely"? Don't be silly. It is a virtual certainty that there will be a nuclear war.

As I remember, the Pope banned crossbows because they were so brutal.

Didn't work, did it?

The real thing to worry about is new targeted recombinant DNA technology that will peacefully (and secretly) sterilize entire populations. No fuss, no muss, no suffering, just ... no more kids.

Anonymous said...

"Don't you understand how analogies work?"

I didn't follow the thread, but analogies are the weakest form of argument (see, for instance, course notes for AP English, will it be on the test?):


"Analogy is the weakest form of rational appeal. Analogies never prove anything."



Even if Iranians actually were Scandinavians, that doesn't mean the US needs more immigration now. Perhaps the US already has more people than it should. If your analogy was taken as an argument, where would it end? When everyone in the world lived in the US?

Perhaps you are a bad person for thinking that Iranians need to be around Americans or Australians to be well off. Perhaps Iran desperately needs Iranians and you are conspiring to destroy them.

Dave Pinsen said...

"That's not the difference, since when those groups were immigrating en masse to the US in the past, those places weren't that nice for them.

Don't you understand how analogies work?"


The difference is that pretty much no densely populated country was nice for young, non-wealthy people back then. There was no welfare state, and if you couldn't afford land for a farm, it was hard to support yourself and raise a family. Which is why many Germans, for example, moved to the US and the Southern states of Brazil. But today, that's no longer true. Those European countries have high qualities of life despite being densely populated. Iran doesn't.

The difference isn't population density anymore, but that first world, European or European-colonized countries offer qualities of life that Islamic countries can't match.

Foreign Expert said...

I get 11689mi for pitcairn.

Anonymous said...

I didn't follow the thread, but analogies are the weakest form of argument (see, for instance, course notes for AP English, will it be on the test?):

Analogies also correlate highest with IQ among frequently tested question types.

I wasn't making an argument. I was simply pointing out that you didn't understand the analogy.

Anonymous said...

The difference is that pretty much no densely populated country was nice for young, non-wealthy people back then.

You didn't understand the analogy.

That's not the difference, since back then you still had groups immigrating en masse to the US.

Anonymous said...

"Why Jews flee to Europe (or at least half of it)"

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/why-jews-flee-to-europe-or-at-least-half-of-it/article15446274/

"Have you heard about Europe’s Jewish exodus? Amid growing tensions and tough economic conditions, tens of thousands of educated middle-class Jews are fleeing every year – not out of the continent, but rather from Israel into Europe, and especially to Germany, which has become the chief destination (after the United States) for the half-million Israelis who have left the country amid its much-discussed “brain drain.”"

Anonymous said...

"They'll have to outgrow their mullah-run government on their own, but the "international community" can end the sanctions now." - One, the primary driver of their problems is demographic and nothing else. Their population has shot into the stratosphere,along with the rest of the 3rd world over the course of the green revolution. Two, we are under no obligation to trade with any nation, much less one that wishes for our destruction.

Anonymous said...

Two, we are under no obligation to trade with any nation, much less one that wishes for our destruction.

Sanctions are different from merely refusing to trade with a nation.

And what do you mean "we"? The US pressures international bodies and other countries to place sanctions on Iran. It's not simply a matter of the US not trading with Iran.

Dave Pinsen said...

I understood it and pointed out why it was weak in my previous comment.

Anonymous said...

You didn't understand the analogy.

But likely we do and furthermore we likely understand you. You're trying to play the race card. You're making an argument for trying to un-Americanize America. If Scandinavian immigrants once were good, surely immigrants from Iran, Somali, and every other place in the world are now also good, only an ebil raciss could think the contrary.

It's a silly race-card yap that allows for no difference in circumstances from populating an underpopulated continent in the past and immigration into the modern US now.

Anonymous said...

I understood it and pointed out why it was weak in my previous comment.

You didn't understand the analogy. What you did in your previous comment is pose a different comparison.

Anonymous said...

But likely we do and furthermore we likely understand you. You're trying to play the race card. You're making an argument for trying to un-Americanize America. If Scandinavian immigrants once were good, surely immigrants from Iran, Somali, and every other place in the world are now also good, only an ebil raciss could think the contrary.

I didn't make the original comment. I came in afterwards to point out that you and others didn't understand the analogy.

I'm not playing the race card, and I'm not saying Scandinavian immigrants once were good, or that immigrants from Iran and elsewhere today are good. I'm not against racism.

I'm pointing out that you didn't understand the analogy. You're not even interested in the analogy itself, you're simply interested in its political use, just like pro-immigrationists. Neither you nor race card playing pro-immigrationists are interested in the analogy. You are interested in politics.

Dave Pinsen said...

You didn't understand my comment.

Anonymous said...

I did understand your comment. You didn't understand the original analogy, as your comment showed.

Maxwell Power said...

(Note correct usage of the word "homophobe")

Yep...

btw, We have nothing to hate but hate itself. If human equality is to be forever averted... we gotta go after those sports teams with Indian type names too

Anonymous said...

Analogies also correlate highest with IQ among frequently tested question types.

Just because high IQ people can _identify_ analogies has nothing to do with the relevance of an analogy to truth. Spotting BS analogies might be a useful result of intelligence.

Anonymous said...

"And what do you mean "we"? The US pressures international bodies and other countries to place sanctions on Iran. It's not simply a matter of the US not trading with Iran." - America doesn't hold a gun to their head. If they'd rather trade with Iran than America that is their business.

Anonymous said...

America doesn't hold a gun to their head. If they'd rather trade with Iran than America that is their business.

America does pressure international bodies and other countries to place sanctions on Iran.

The point is that it's not simply a matter of the US not trading with Iran.

Dave Pinsen said...

You didn't understand my analogy, as your subsequent comments have demonstrated.

Matthew said...

Forget the Iranians. Look at Sri Lankan Tamils. Their country is less than 100 miles from the coast of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, home to 72 million people, the vast majority of them ethnic Tamils. The same language, religion, and culture.

So, fleeing oppression real or alleged, thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils hop on boats and head...thousands of miles east, to Australia.

Anonymous said...

"America does pressure international bodies and other countries to place sanctions on Iran.

The point is that it's not simply a matter of the US not trading with Iran." - The international pressure in question being trade.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said..."Yeah, but the most likely victim of an Iranian nuke would be Israel. Though Steve has many funny, insightful and erudite readers (whose comments are a big part of what makes this a great site) he also attracts people who have a problem with Jews."

Don't be so thick. You meant "people who have a problem with Jews having a problem with gentiles".

People don't have "a problem with Jews" per se. They (we) have a problem with Jewish aggression.

Anonymous said...

To Matthew said:

And to Canada too. White countries are sucker nations. And the Tamil con artists know it.