The politics of fear

Keith January 21st, 2013

I am going over my notes for a university workshop on language that I am running tomorrow, and am once again reminded why I find both the government and opposition rhetoric on asylum seekers so abhorrent.

In 2011, 4,565 asylum seekers arrived in Australia by boat – less than 3 per cent of our total permanent intake in that year (ASRC). Why should this be considered as sufficient for us to require better ”border protection”? This policy does have a precedent:

“Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

“… Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

- Hermann Göring, 18 April 1946 (Gilbert, GW 1947, Nuremberg Diary).

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