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Two Faced Liberalism.

Written By: - Date published: 3:31 pm, January 13th, 2018 - 89 comments
Categories: Donald Trump, International, liberalism, politicans, Politics, racism, Social issues, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: , ,

Anyone want to lay out what the essential difference might be between picking and choosing between broad categories of migrants and picking and choosing between broad categories of migrants?

What’s the difference at play in preferring “skilled” migrants over supposedly “unskilled” ones or Norwegian migrants over Haitian ones; moneyed ones over poor ones? Liberals might argue that the former and latter are nuanced and better targeting for economic exploitation than the middle one. And some might point out that the middle is informed by racism while the former and latter aren’t. But then, that last point is just to argue that some forms of discrimination are okay while others aren’t.

Anyone inclined to get on a high horse over Trump splabbing shit about preferring Norwegian migration to Haitian migration should, surely, get all fired up over preferring those who might be considered economically exploitable to those who might be considered economic liabilities. It’s the same shit afterall – born of discrimination.

And while we’re here, Haiti is a shit-hole. Would you live there? Or would you want to bring up a family there? I wouldn’t.

I mean, fuck. The country sits at number 168 of 187 on a UN Human Development index. 59% of the population lives on less than US$2 per day and 24.7% on less than US$1.25. Two thirds of the labour force do not have formal jobs, literacy rates are down around 60% and infant mortality runs at a whopping 55 per 1000 births ,while 59 of 1000 babies who survive that hurdle never reach their first birthday. And so it goes on and on.

To slam Trump for his bullshit as though it’s such a terrible thing to refer to a place as a shit-hole (who hasn’t referred to some place as a shit-hole?) and ignore why Haiti and other places on Trump’s list are “places polite society would never refer to in that way”, isn’t just facile – it’s the height of cold fucking hypocrisy.

You want racism? Read Johnathan M. Katz’s opinion piece in The Washington Post about how it is Haiti has become the place it is today (He covers most of it).

There are very specific and traceable reasons as to why Haiti, El Salvador and however many African states might be referred to as ‘shit-holes’. And every single one traces back to liberal capitalism. And liberal capitalism, in case you missed it, is the thing all these voices speaking from their institutional places and high places are in the business of protecting and perpetuating.

You give a shit about Haiti and the people living there? Do you? Really!? Or is indulging in a bit of excited monkey spanking over successfully identifying with those who would deem themselves superior to a guy you don’t like, on the basis they’d never (apparently) refer to a place with predominantly black or brown populations by way of Trump’s uncouth terminology – is that all that matters?

89 comments on “Two Faced Liberalism.”

  1. Matthew Whitehead 1

    If Haiti is a shithole, Bill, it’s because the rest of the world has been digging around and shitting on it for quite some time.

    It’s really unjust to agree that a developing country like Haiti a is shithole just because it’s been colonized, and is still having wealth transferred out of it, by overseas interests. I would have expected better of you. It’s also very dismissive of the fact that people like you and I might actually have things we could learn from people in Haiti.

    I would actually argue that all the types of migration restrictions you mention are informed by discrimination, but okay. I agree there is an inconsistency to thinking skilled migration is fine and opposing the rhetoric of white supremacy, although it isn’t a direct inconsistency that everyone finds easy and obvious because it’s an argument that relies on statistics, not direct inference.

    • Matthew Whitehead 1.1

      And yes, I actually do give a shit about countries that are less well-off than New Zealand, like Haiti, or Samoa, and have previously given both time (and I don’t mean by spreading “awareness,” lol) and money to help make the situation just a little bit better.

      • Sam 1.1.1

        Psychologically people project there problems onto money in order to invent a narrative/story that fits with on there educational background. So you don’t see people who’ve payed off the mortgage, playing lotto, to the upper middle class playing lotto is like putting money in a shredder and they know this because they’ve gone to school a bit longer than 90% of all kiwis and have learnt the odds.

        But the history of immigration kiwi style causes great discomfort. Almost all immigrants migrate to New Zealand because NZ democracy is better than the one they live under, and a little for those who want to continue there businesses under favourable economic and political conditions. The major causes of discomfort come from those who see migrants who own small to medium sized business and don’t speak very good engrish. And try as they may the fact is that first generation immigrants who learn English as a second language well past there 40’s, no matter how hard they try will never speak English properly and this is the source of the discomfort.

        So the language barrier is not solvable in one generation. It is up to second generation immigrants to learn the language, customs and tradition of New Zealand. And they do that by working through New Zealand’s education system. Under these parameters it doesn’t actually matter what condition immigrants arrive to New Zealand or there lvl of qualification. So consideration to the total number of migrants must be given. And under current economic and political conditions we’ve probably maxed out immigration. And the major fixes are to do with increasing tax revenue so the government can tax and spend on getting government services back to where they should be so immigrants will continue to want to come to New Zealand.

    • Bill 1.2

      …it’s because the rest of the world has been digging around and shitting on it for quite some time.

      Well, yes. Did you bother reading the link before commenting? The link that comes after You want racism? Read Johnathan M. Katz’s opinion piece… and before There are very specific and traceable reasons as to why Haiti, El Salvador and however many African states might be referred to as ‘shit-holes’. And every single one traces back to liberal capitalism.

      I also provided a “get out” clause for anyone who might have felt the urge to get all defensive, but it seems you missed it Matthew. I made no assumption about whether any individual reader of this post has sailed on by the historical colonial context of Haiti and other countries or not. I asked if a bit of excited monkey spanking over successfully identifying with those who would deem themselves superior to a guy you don’t like was taking precedence to giving a shit. Ample room right there for a simple “no”. 😉

      • weka 1.2.1

        I reckon you probably need to start appending a note to your posts that link reading is required. Because I think most people follow links to get additional information, not to understand basic premises in a post.

        FWIW, I think calling Haiti a shithole is offensive and damaging in multiple ways irrespective of whether the person doing it is someone I like or dislike. And my critique of Trump isn’t about dislike of him, it’s about the damage he’s doing to the world from his positions of power. You calling Haiti a shithole is one thing, the President of the US doing that is order of magnitude different.

        Also fwiw, I don’t call places shitholes. The reason being that real people live there and have connections with place even under extremely adverse circumstances. I’d hazard a guess that many Haitian’s would prefer to have their country back and a decent standard of living than having to emigrate. So if NZ ends up like Haiti, I’ll still want to live here. Moving people on doesn’t solve the problems about why places are being fucked over. Instead of calling Haiti a shithole, I’d call the geopolitical and cultural dynamics at play that have created such problems for Haiti as being the shit.

        I know you were trying to make some specific points here, but if you write in an inflammatory way I think it’s reasonable for people to respond to that too.

        • Bill

          Trump characterising Haiti and other ostensibly friendly nations as “shit-holes” was stoopid. And yes, bound to get people’s hackles up…in much the same way, but at a far greater scale than if I said the same (of say) Gore.

          Just a side thought I’m putting out there, but the response of mainstream liberal media if he’d referred to Russia or Iran or N. Korea as “shit-holes”? Not the same, I’d warrant.

          When I used the same label as the one ascribed to Trump for Haiti (and I did wonder if I should have used the more accurate term of “fucked up”, but since “shit-hole” was the word de jour…), I also linked to the all the dire stats and placed it in a historical and political context via direct commentary and links.

          And that’s what neither Trump nor mainstream liberal media response to his remarks have done, meaning that we’re meant to be happily awash in facile bullshit.

          Wasn’t setting out to be particularly inflammatory btw. I knew some people would be a bit less than happy about what I was saying, but hey. (I also knew a few people would “get it”). And giving reading links that explain a world view that hasn’t really been constructed from reading is…kinda difficult. 😉

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            …we’re meant to be happily awash in facile bullshit.

            Well it’s clear that you think we are. As I said below (and provided evidence of), I suspect the average US citizen might be a bit more clued up about eg: Haiti in particular and colonialism in general, given their colonial history.

            • Bill

              Well it’s clear that you think we are.

              Well, no OAB. As I said, I was aware some people would “get it”…but that it wouldn’t chime with the majority (and I think the comments bear that out).

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.2.2

        Since Weka mentioned it, I’ll be able to read the link when my monthly quota of WP articles ticks over again. I think I got the general gist of it though.

      • Matthew Whitehead 1.2.3

        I did read the whole thing, and I will say it was very poorly worded given your claimed intent, and I think anyone would understand if I missed Your Grand Point among all its other issues.

        You are missing a few things:

        1) I don’t agree Haiti is a shithole, and it’s something you should never have agreed with in words, and even doing so humourously or rhetorically needed the context to come before that statement. I think there are actually relevant, non-materialistic factors to making that judgement and that Haiti, like most nations that have dealt with colonialism, disaster, and economic warfare against them, has been resilient and deserves real solidarity. My point was that agreeing with Trump is in itself wrong irrelevant of your point about Haiti actually being impoverished, and that impoverishment does not a “shithole” make. You are not at all clear in the piece that you are actually just playing on people’s outrage over this comment, as you put the phrase “I agree” right in there with no obvious signs of satire, scare quotes, etc…

        2) This entire post seems to be premised on “talking real” (in the ironic conservative sense where that actually means “offending people by expressing ourselves undiplomatically and never appropriately backing off or apologizing”) rather than “giving a shit.” Giving a shit would actually involve listening to people from the countries that Trump has insulted and seeing what they want- and you will note that one of the big things they have been saying is that they do not want people to think of their countries as shitholes, and, like the social liberals you so often lump in with Liberal Capitalism™, they have Taken Offense, want an apology, and are offering many of the same types of defiant mockery as the people you accuse of not really giving a shit. Yes, just mocking Trump is insufficient solidarity, and it’s where some of these people following the latest Trump outrage will stop, as the unserious outrage-following social liberals you no doubt attacking here. But it is not in and of itself proof that someone isn’t serious about international solidarity, addressing poverty, or hell, even smashing capitalism. Let’s not assume people can’t walk and chew gum.

        3) Just like the people you’re complaining about, you’re not practicing solidarity, either, as far as I can tell. This entire post is you grinding your usual axe on this subject. Yes, addressing systemic problems are important and part of opposing dumb agendas like Trump’s, I agree. But did anyone from Haiti, or Africa, actually ask you or people in general to challenge the systemic problems of liberal capitalism in solidarity with them? I’m going to guess no, given you don’t talk about it, either in your piece or in the comments. Solidarity involves following directions from the people you’re supporting, and giving them what they need, not what you want to give. Calling out people for “not giving a shit” when in some of these cases they are literally doing what they have been asked to to show their solidarity makes absolutely no sense. You may not agree that what they’ve been asked to do really solves the problem, but it clearly doesn’t show they don’t actually care at all, even if you feel it’s an empty gesture.

        4) You don’t get to be unclear and then blame people for not divining your intent, btw. If we’re writing things, it’s on us to communicate clearly what we’re doing. Just because you focus on the reaction doesn’t make it clear you’re not actually taking sides on the original comment too. I understand there’s some obligation on a reader to note the context of your writing, but I think you’ve leaned on that way too heavily here.

        I think you’re a good sort Bill and your heart is clearly in the right place, even on this piece, but this is just bad writing, and you should absolutely resile from putting into writing your agreement with Trump’s statement, even as a rhetorical tool to make a point. Your piece is appropriating this situation to talk about a largely unrelated subject, (Trump’s reason for calling Haiti and African countries what he did is highly likely to have been white supremacy, not poverty, as he has absolutely demonstrated with his similar disparity of reaction to Puerto Rico when compared to other recent disasters in the mainland US- he largely seems to judge countries by racial demographics, an attitude which has likely been contributory to the problems in places like Haiti that you decry as being caused purely by liberal capitalism)

        And yes, I’d agree with Weka that if you want people to follow links to foundational information in your posts, you’re going to need to call that out. Casual links are supposed to be supplemental. Pieces that don’t stand alone need to say so.

        • Andre

          Matthew, thank you for having the patience to clearly spell out some of the problems with OP.

          • Sam

            Something I think Yu guys are missing. Is Trump is doing remarkably well on the economic front. Unless y’all start playing to his strength instead of his weaknesses it will be Trump20. Infact a Trump 2nd term is almost guaranteed thanks to some oh so clever outrage mentality.

        • North

          Matthew Whitehead – thank you for your excellent contribution @ 1.2.3
          “This entire post is you grinding your usual axe on this subject.” Rings true. With no disrespect intended…….Bill is just one person who lands where he does and is remarkably skilled at justifying his choice of landing spot. It’s art rather than science however. These are not science times.

        • Bill

          Well, too much there to pick up on more than just a few points (I’ll follow your numbering).

          1. An observation doesn’t get binned just because an unpleasant person makes a similar observation for different reasons. And similar observations do not (obviously) equate to agreement in the area of reasoning etc. Impoverishment doesn’t make for “shit-hole” (We agree). But no health care system, huge mortality rates, tanked life expectancy, totaled infrastructure etc, on the other hand….

          And I didn’t use the phrase “I agree” in the post. Not anywhere. So I’ve no idea what you’re on about there.

          2. The post was about a larger context or bigger picture and not lending outrage to tittle-tattle and bullshit agendas of people seeking to defend the indefensible and re-establish their primacy within an indefensible state of affairs. (So, not “playing” on people outrage then)

          3. I’m going to follow Norman Finkelstein on the solidarity argument. Solidarity is absolutely not a limited case of taking directions from those solidarity is being expressed for. Did anti-Apartheid campaigners take directions from the ANC? No. Did that mean solidarity wasn’t expressed? No.

          4. If you were unclear on some points or whatever, there is always that wonderful little symbol “?” that you could have employed instead of jumping to (wrong) conclusions about my intent.

          And sure. Posts can be written more clearly and less clearly. And there’s much more leeway on topics or approaches people are already familiar with or agree with. And some things are easier to express and “pin” than others. Writing fairly fast (the nature of this blog) around thoughts and approaches that are ‘unusual’ to some people mean that hit will be taken. Maybe practice makes perfect. Who knows.

          As for links, I don’t tend to put in links for very little or no reason, but sure, maybe I should impress the importance of some of them.

          • red-blooded

            Actually, Bill, we anti-apartheid activists DID take direction from the ANC and groups like the UDF (United Democratic Front). They called for a sports boycott (and divestment, an academic boycott etc) and we tried to ensure that their call was heard and respected. There were ANC representatives living in exile around the world (including a rep in Australia, if I remember correctly) and they visited and campaigned with local activists. It was a collaboration. I was part of HART’s national organising committee and can vouch for that.

            • Bill

              I didn’t say no direction was ever taken or suggestions followed up on. I said that taking or not taking directions does not define what is and isn’t solidarity.

              I wouldn’t have thought that was in any way controversial. Do all secondary pickets only become acts of solidarity if the principle strikers have asked for or directed said secondary pickets?

              • red-blooded

                Well, again, it might be a case of saying what you mean more clearly, Bill. What you said was, Did anti-Apartheid campaigners take directions from the ANC? No. What I take from that is that you believe the anti-Apartheid campaigners didn’t consult with and follow directions from the ANC. (That is what you actually said.) If what you MEANT was, “Did anti-Apartheid campaigners always take directions from the ANC?” or “Did anti-Apartheid campaigners take direction from the ANC about all decisions?” then you needed to say it.

                I guess this is part of the point that MW was making above about intended message and received message.

                • Bill

                  Aye. Very good red-blooded. All cleared up now.

                  I wonder what it is that I didn’t go with a “but you said Apartheid activists always took directions” when you wrote we anti-apartheid activists DID take direction from the ANC …hmm. I guess that might be because I allow for the fact that comments are banged out and that I can make an intelligent decision between possible interpretations of meaning and intent.

                  And y’know, it’s also possible to overlook ludicrous (because I can assume not deliberate) claims of exclusivity, such as you’re use of “we” in a context that can easily be taken to imply “I” was obviously a bit of John Key during the whole apartheid era 😉

                  You and others want to get into a whole “talk the way I want you to talk, and say the things the way I want to hear them” shite, then please, do it with one another and leave me out of it.

                  I’m not going to get overly worked up over minor word slips and what not on a blog, because I assume others will apply a similar reasoned, possible interpretation to my comments as I do to theirs.

                  And where genuine puzzlement takes hold, question marks on the end of sentences seeking clarity are better all round than a rush at attempted point scoring off the back of some possible, “unreasonable but I’m sticking to it” interpretation of word placement/misplacement because “Gotcha!”

                  And that’s not to say there won’t be occasion when I gleefully fuck somebody up and bury them in their own words “just ’cause”. Hypocrisy allows for that broad playing field 🙂

          • Matthew Whitehead

            1) My objection is not to who said it. My objection is to what was said, and why it was said. (Remember, Trump is making his comments through a white supremacist lens, the same way yours are through a left-wing lens) Haiti and Africa aren’t shitholes because they’re less-developed

            True enough on the agreeing pseudo-quote, what you specifically said was:

            And while we’re here, Haiti is a shit-hole.

            That’s what I get for not copy-pasting, apologies if I wasted your time.

            2) Yes, I got your intention, but it just doesn’t land that way, Bill.

            3) Well, if you like, but it’s actually quite rude to imply you know better than the people on the ground what type of solidarity they need.

            4) No, I am talking about how your piece needs to be clear in and of itself in the main body. I am talking about taking responsibility for what you write, Bill. I’m not talking about me, personally, being confused. Not everyone (in fact, very few) read or participate in the comments. I eventually got where you were coming from, but you’re being attacked and TS is being attacked by extension on social media because this piece is, rightfully in my opinion when it is taken outside of the context of its comments, being seen as unacceptably attacking developing nations while expressing faux-solidarity. (I did, however, defend your intention on social media, even though I have criticised you here, because I think you genuinely do believe that the people of Haiti deserve better opportunities, because I’m reading in the context of your other posts) I’m asking you to word yourself more carefully, to consider the tone and interpretation people will read into your writing, without censoring your own political opinions or even your straightforward rhetorical style. (my beef is with building offense into your style and pretending like it’s the reader’s fault you’ve caused outrage)

            You went past “calling a spade a spade” here, and instead insulted an entire country to use them to make a political point. That’s not okay, (and if that’s me policing what you should say through criticism, yes I guess I’m guilty) and it also distracted from your real point that people doing genuine solidarity should care about more open borders, and should care about economic opportunities for people in other countries. (Which I’m sure there are plenty of people within Haiti and the African community who would agree wholeheartedly with, had it been presented better)

            There’s also a deeper point to be made about how people calling for skills-based immigration and liking our points-based system are fueling the very white supremacy they claim to be opposed to when you talk to them about the issue, but it can’t really be examined when you defend Trump’s rhetoric as being real because of the economic situation, when he could care less about that. He never calls slavic countries names, even when they’re poor, because they’re white countries in his mind.

            • Bill

              The lens I’m interested in (because nobody wants to fucking well look at it or acknowledge it) is that of the liberal elites who are constantly trying to brew up a storm against Trump. I’m also interested in their motivation and ambition. And I’m interested on the effect their bullshit is having on deeper and more meaningful calls for some measure of fundamental change. (ie -how well their co-opt and/or shut down tactics are bearing fruit)

              These fuckers (liberal elites) are leveraging off words Trump said about places. And those places have been, and continue to be, well and truly, and consistently, fucked over by the very political/economic system they want to drive.

              And we know, from even a cursory glance at history, that when they are in the driving seat, what they do, and what they promote, results in places like Haiti being created, and we know they do what they can to ensure every ‘Haiti’ stays in a chronic, debilitated state.

              The gall of those fuckers to then turn around as though there’s nothing to see bar an orange clown saying some ignorant and fucked up shit is beyond appalling.

              And anyone who is unwittingly aiding them return to power by buying into, and running with their bullshit, really needs to wake themselves the fuck up.

              Now feel free, if so inclined, to cut/paste and submit that to whatever social media platform you say people were attacking the post on.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                we know they do what they can to ensure every ‘Haiti’ stays in a chronic, debilitated state.

                Do they? Are you sure that organised crime and authoritarians didn’t have anything to do with it?

                Mass movements have been co-opted by the establishment since forever, so there’s nothing new going on there.

                How do you measure progress though? If we take the typical Liberal metrics – life expectancy etc – things are manifestly better for most of the globe than they were 100 years ago. Even in Haiti.

                As for the POTUS, the analysis runs far deeper than “some ignorant and fucked up shit”, even if we confine the search terms to CNN and MSNBC.

                Do you regard Jimmy Carter as member of the Liberal Elite? How about the others on The Intercept’s list? How “in control” of things do they sound?

                • Bill

                  No OAB. The elites who manage capitalism actually have the best interests of people at heart. And that being the case, there’s obviously simply something deficient about black and brown skinned people that accounts for their countries being pretty well fucked up.

                  That’s the liberal argument you want to hear, yes? Oh, no. That would be one of the foundations of liberal thought that’s meant to swept under the carpet and never mentioned these days. My bad 🙂

                  So it must be the organised crime and the despots then. Ah. Nope. That’s essentially the same fucking argument as the one that has never to be dragged out from beneath the rug. Swy. 🙁

                  Okay. On progress. I’m in the camp that maintains there is no such thing. There is constant change and waxing and waning or cycling around of ….well, everything over time.

                  You think that current post-colonial societies are “all round better” than they were before colonialism, yes? Or you don’t, which is why you limit comparison to begin deep within the colonial period. Or maybe you actually do believe in linear progress – y’know that myth that things are always on the uppity up?

                  Anyway. Well done you. You managed to identify an ex president of the USA as having been a member of the liberal elite! Give that boy a chocolate fish. 🙂

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    No, that isn’t the argument I wanted to hear. Is your mind-reading device broken or something?

                    I don’t know the answers to the questions I put to you. If I have a point to make it’s about the illusion of “control”.

                    So yeah. Stop being so fucking reactionary/defensive.

                    Edit: that’s too cryptic. Example: How do you measure progress though? If we take the typical Liberal metrics…

                    Perhaps life expectancy would have improved more without the gentle attentions* of the Liberals. Perhaps it’s a bullshit metric.

                    *that’s sarcasm, in case you need more clarity.

                    • Bill

                      Well, I’m sorry you didn’t want to hear it OAB. But it is the quintessential liberal reasoning contained in your leading question.

                      Personally, I find it pretty heinous, but hey, that’s liberalism for you.

                      I’ve spoken of management, not control. The two are very different things. Maybe you should engage with someone who’s spoken about control is that’s what your concern is.

                      Meanwhile, I’ve already said I don’t believe in this thing called “progress” so beloved of liberals – so I’ve nothing to say on it except…well, no. i suppose you don’t want to hear how that concept ties right back into and helps justify actions that flow from the heinous liberal notion you didn’t want to hear about in my last response to you. So I’ll keep schtum and let you figure it out all on your own…if you’ve a mind to.

                      edit – it just crossed my mind that maybe your confusing my mention of “driving” with control. If so, what you’re overlooking is that drivers are often directed.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Question: That’s the liberal argument you want to hear, yes?

                      Answer: No, that isn’t the argument I wanted to hear.

                      Translation: you aren’t a mind reader, no matter your projection and conceit. I may as well try and discuss the subject with Hornetinthemiddle.

                    • Bill

                      Hey, OAB, it was you who implied (by way of a leading question) that organised crime and authoritarians had something to do with places remaining in a chronic, debilitated state.

                      All I did was type out the original version of that suggestion as per the basic tenets of liberalism.

                      In other words, I gave back to you the argument you were proposing. No mind reading involved. Just reading.

  2. Incognito 2

    Hypocrisy or false equivalence?

    The ‘Leader of the Free World’ (=POTUS?) should follow and be held to different standards in his public tweets and outbursts communications. Unlike Sir John Key he seems to be only wearing one hat (red baseball cap) 24/7 and unfortunately I think it is an inappropriate one for the office he’s been elected in.

  3. greywarshark 3

    I think that the point Bill was making has been missed. Apparently the reality is that Haiti is a shit-hole, and the stated stats give that credence. Bill’s whole point surely is that the USA has been the home of liberal whatsisname which apparently is the term for people of high calibre, if not high fibre. They have not treated Haiti as one would have expected from such whited sepulchres. And then to condemn Haiti by the
    POTUS when its condition is largely of the USA’s own making condemns that country, not the hapless island and its people.

    That’s the meaning that I got from the post.

  4. There are very specific and traceable reasons as to why Haiti, El Salvador and however many African states might be referred to as ‘shit-holes’. And every single one traces back to liberal capitalism.

    True. In fact, many nations in Africa were doing quite well until they got forced to open up their borders to trade and Western ownership. They went backwards after that but a few people in the West got rich because of it (I read an article on it once but can’t find it any more).

    And liberal capitalism, in case you missed it, is the thing all these voices speaking from their institutional places and high places are in the business of protecting and perpetuating.

    And it’s capitalism that we need to get rid of which explains why the rich protect it so hard.

  5. JohnSelway 5

    I wonder what your reaction would have been, Bill, had John Key used the same words. Or Farrar in a blog post.

    I’m gonna go out an a limb and say you probably wouldn’t be so forgiving. Because it’s an asshole thing to say – no matter what your politics.

    • Bill 5.1

      You do understand that the post is about the reaction to his comments? (I guess not)

      • JohnSelway 5.1.1

        Yeah and my comment was about your “Meh” and apparent nonplussed response to Trump himself

        • Bill

          I mentioned Trump twice in the post. I refer to his bullshit and I refer to him splabbing shit.

          There’s nothing “nonplussed” about my response to Trump, because I’m not really interested in responding to Trump. Yet again, the post is about the general liberal reaction that would have us ignore the histories of Haiti, of El Salvador and African nations because hey, giving Trump some shit is much more important 🙄

  6. Anne 6

    My reaction when I read about Trumps “shithole” comment:

    So, which country more than any other turned them into shitholes in the first place?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      Organised crime and money laundering is a country now?

      • Richard Christie 6.1.1

        Organised crime and money laundering develop and flourish under certain conditions, Anne attributes those conditions to the activities of certain countries and or their agents.

    • Bill 6.2

      Precisely Anne. But that’s ‘off the table’ as far as the general and encouraged reaction to his comments go.

  7. Anne 7

    Oops sorry, don’t know what happened there.

  8. mickysavage 8

    I agree Haiti has problems, imposed from afar, but I don’t and can’t agree with Trump about it.

    • Bill 8.1

      You think Trump gives a crap (or even knows much) about the historical context of the countries he mentions? Or do you think that referring to a place as “a shit-hole” is inherently racist? If so, then is referring to a country as “fucked up” racist too? And if not, why not?

      According to vacuous liberal commentary splattered across pages of newsprint, we’re to acquiesce to the simplistic notion that merely calling a place a shit-hole is, in and of itself, racist. It’s not.

      And tellingly, there has been scant attention paid to historical contexts that might explain why Trumps comments could or should be seen as riding a wave of racist ignorance.

      But as I suggest in the post, such an exploration makes liberal capitalism look bad. So it’s ‘off the table’. Trump is bad. Liberalism is beyond question. End.

      • JohnSelway 8.1.1

        I think the point your missing is that Trumps “shithole” comment is not in isolation and in the light of everything else he has said on matters of race and in light of the company he keeps it makes him sound like a racist blowhard.

      • JohnSelway 8.1.2

        Oh and here you go:

        Your faux concern for any other issue around the issues of capitalism while potentially valid merely serve as window dressing in your defense of an indefensible Trump

        • Hanswurst

          I’ve noticed that it’s a particularly common trait in liberals to equate a failure to prioritise condemning whatever is most important to them with supporting or defending that particular thing. “It’s fine to raise point A politely, so long as you wail and gnash your teeth at point B first.” This is often so ingrained that readers of that mindset don’t even seem to understand arguments that aren’t framed that way.

        • Korero Pono

          Woah – I did not think that Bill was defending Trump at all, I think he was pointing out how hypocritical liberals are – and they are. Is Haiti a “shit hole” or isn’t it a “shit hole”? The stats indicate it is a “shit hole”, much the same as various parts of New Zealand are “shit holes” – a descriptor, not a racist attack at all. Still trying to work out why Bill’s post is labelled (I assume by liberals) as being in defense of Trump – it clearly isn’t but it is pointing out the hypocrisy of those who take advantage of the disadvantaged, and why those people are disadvantaged in the first place. People are so caught up in their hate of Trump, making him the figure head of all that is vile (and he is a vile person) but in so doing are over-looking how we are all complicit in the hard core exploitation of poor, brown people the world over – even in our own back yard – maybe we all have a bit of trump in us after all… but our PC, polite liberal bullshit facade simply means we can pretend we’re good, especially when we compare ourselves to really bad shit heads like Trump. In reality we’re all arseholes and we’re all responsible.

        • Bill

          Hmm. I’m not defending Trump.

          Do you not maybe think the “defense of the indefensible” is being somewhat surreptitiously conducted by the Liberal media practice of omission?

          Or maybe you can’t see that, because you cleave to the ideology at the heart of liberal philosophy – and so hold that the capitalist economic order is natural, meaning the state of affairs in Haiti and elsewhere, though “unfortunate”, is all the fault of Haitians and those elsewhere?

  9. Ed1 9

    I gather that quite a few African countries are upset about the statement – at the very least it was not diplomatic, but isn’t undiplomatic what we expect from Trump? It is the tacit acceptance and continued support of Trump by the Republicans that is of more concern.

    The post reminded me of another article:

    It seems that protest and concern about systemic abuses of women are only a left issue, and that to be credible it is necessary for “”global femiism” to be consistent over long periods of time covering quite different issues. It seems that “global feminism” was very concerned about racism in South Africa – I remember a more general concern arising from some of our Maori players getting abused while over there, then South Africa éncouraging”us not to send “blacks”- an issue where New Zealand was able to make a difference because of the high emotional appeal of international rugby to both countries – as well as beng a nice diversion / distraction for Muldoon to exploit. Should we be stopping female sports teams from competing in Afghanistan? I guess the fuss here was all to do with “global feminism”, and the lack of similar protest about Moslen women being required to wear hijabs and not allowed to be educated is proof that the left have a big problem . . .

    Has Trotter caught a dose of Trumpian logic?

  10. Sanctuary 10

    Looking through the other end of the telescope on Trump’s “shithole” comments I searched in vain for any American media that might have taken the opportunity to examine one of the most pernicious myths that poison American politics – the incessantly repeated idea/big lie that the USA is the “greatest nation on earth”.

    I mean, why would a Norwegian want to move to America? There hasn’t been a murder in Oslo since last May, they have free and much better health care and education, an enlightened prisons policy, a generous welfare state, they work less and have longer holidays, and they earn a higher GDP per person than the USA. Wealth distribution is much fairer. There is free childcare meaning women play a big role in the civil society of Norway and the country has squirreled away a 1 trillion dollar wealth fund from North Sea Oil (the British squandered their oil windfall on tax cuts and weapons).

    Instead of looking at Norway and asking why would a Norwegian want to move to America in 2017, the liberal media in the USA took the easy way out and focused on the cultural war racism of Trump’s “shitholes” comment because even they believe the big lie of being the “greatest nation on earth”.

  11. Lara 11

    One glaring common denominator of the places Trump called shitholes, is they’re predominantly populated by non white people.

    And Trump has spouted plenty of racist crap. Remember the Mexican immigrants as rapists?

    And Africa is a continent. Not a fucking country. So lumping ALL of Africa as a shithole…

    How on earth is that not racist?!?!

    • Bill 11.1

      Or you could look at the fact (making assumptions about what African countries he had in mind) that they are all desperately poo,r and so simply couldn’t be predominantly peopled by white people. And take it from there…

      Trump is an ignorant racist. That’s been known for some time – since at least his jumping on the “super predator” band wagon.

      And he did manage to refer to Africa as a continent, not a country. (jist sayin’)

  12. red-blooded 12

    Bill, the issues around immigration are complex, I agree. There are plenty of people in developing countries like India or the Phillipines, for example, who do have skills wanted in countries like the US, Uk or NZ. It’s also true that their own countries need these skills, and that they’ve usually been helped in gaining those skills by their own country’s education systems. The exodus of white South Africans, for example, has been part of that country’s problems in the post apartheid era. Having said that, it’s hard to tell any one person that they have to stay in their own country to help it towards prosperity if they don’t want to be there. And governments that bring in skills criteria are doing what they are elected to do – protecting the interests of the people who elect them.

    So, I’m not claiming to be able to walk the idealogically pure path when it comes to immigration. Historically, the US has been one of the most open, least discriminating countries, in terms of immigration. It seems to me that there is a difference between selecting people on the basis of skills and on the basis of country of origin, though. One has at least a facade of fairness – it isn’t intentionally unfair (although it probably does end up excluding most people from poorer countries). The other doesn’t even try to pretend to be fair. It’s based on a belief that people from some countries are better than people from others – a blunt and at heart racist assumption.

    I don’t think we should try to excuse the indefensible. Trump’s a racist creep, and it’s not hypocritical to point that out. As others have said, it’s part of a pattern (that also sees him shitting on women, on the disabled, on the poor…). One comment, in isolation, would be an issue of bad judgement and a minor news story (a behind-the-facade story). This isn’t one comment – it’s entirely in character, and the people who voted for him voted knowing his character. That’s the really worrying part.

    • Sanctuary 12.1

      Mass immigration of the type beloved by the globalist neoliberal enabling classes is a form of cultural genocide with at least the secondary aim of wiping out local in-group identity and further atomize society and with it further cripple the collective ability of what were previously racially and culturally homogeneous societies to effectively oppose globalisation.

      I hate the way South Africans, with their ambient arrogance and racism, sneer at how soft Kiwis are. I hate the way Indian migrants I work with have no idea (and care even less) what ANZAC day is about, or that so many Chinese migrants loath the welfare state built by my grandparents and great-grandparents and look down on Kiwis as “lazy” and look to Beijing for instructions or the way a Filipino I work with went nuts at Labour’s formation of a new government because (in his mind) the years he’d spent arse licking the local National party to build up connections (because back in the Phillipines corruption is rampant and that is how you get ahead) were now “wasted” and in his view (no kidding) the governor general or the army should intervene.

      These people bring nothing of cultural value for me. They frequently want to dismantle everything generations of my family has fought for and built. They often don’t value democracy. My culture is casually denigrated every time a migrant I work with asks me why do things in such a silly way, and I’m then told we have a hopelessly naive view of human behaviour.

      Anyone aspiring to be a resident needs to at least attend a compulsory seven day course in NZ civics and history.

      Anyone aspiring to become a citizen should be required to do a fourteen day course on New Zealand and it’s ways as part of the process.

      • red-blooded 12.1.1

        Sanctuary, I’m sorry that you’ve had bad experiences with some immigrants, but I think you’re making broad generalisations about immigrants based on race.

        My family includes immigrants, and they have made a lot of effort to integrate themselves into NZ culture while also maintaining their own cultural traditions and (of course) a world view that is more international than many Kiwis. I love the fact that NZ has become more multicultural over time. I love the fact that the school I teach at includes students and teachers from all over the world. The kids I teach are much more open and accepting of other cultures than the kids of my generation were, and I see that as something to celebrate.

        Should Kiwis who live in Australia have to do a civics and history course?

        Do we have nothing to learn from the values and cultural norms of people who come to NZ as immigrants?

        • Sanctuary

          “…Should Kiwis who live in Australia have to do a civics and history course..?”

          Of course they should. If I were an Aussie I’d be annoyed if a Kiwi had no idea who Jack Lang was or had never heard of Don Bradman. The course content might be different (and maybe shorter) for a New Zealander than for a Sudanese person, but they should still have to do it.

          “…Do we have nothing to learn from the values and cultural norms of people who come to NZ as immigrants…?”

          New migrants that integrate and assimilate via marriage and civic engagement should always be welcomed, along with whatever positive values and cultural norms they bring to alter our society.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Your criteria for being “Australian” is knowing who two white fullas are?

            • Sanctuary

              “…Your criteria for being “Australian” is knowing who two white fullas are..?”


      • Bill 12.1.2

        Just to comment that this anarchist immigrant, on reading that comment, was caught somewhere between laughing his arse off and puking. There’s a wee fella in a Norwegian jail I suspect you might find some common ground with Sanc. Maybe you could start up a correspondence with him?

        • Sanctuary

          Do you ever get invited to parties?

          TBH, tediously and needlessly offensive lefties with no off switch, a mortgage on knowledge and a blustering, blowhard approach to different points of view do their own side more damage than they do it favours.

    • Bill 12.2

      I don’t think we should try to excuse the indefensible. Trump’s a racist creep, and it’s not hypocritical to point that out.

      It’s not hypocritical to point out that Trump’s a racist creep, except when it’s the gatekeepers of a socio/economic system that’s largely predicated on racism that are doing the pointing (and off the back of a very long bow). And I agree we shouldn’t try to defend the indefensible.

      But I think we might disagree on what’s indefensible in all of this and on what we each think is being excused.

      If I say Invercargill’s a shit-hole (and yes, it’s been known for me to say that), then am I being racist? Or has racism actually got nothing at all to do with it?

      Because, by my way of thinking, racism isn’t and can’t be determined merely by what anyone thinks of a physical location. But then, I get that in the rush to heap shit on Trump these days, that formerly obvious and common sense view, puts me firmly in a minority camp.

      Trump’s an arse and a racist and whatever else – an odious fuck. And I’m sure he’s not aware of the following, but he does sometimes serve to shine a light on underlying institutional assumptions, mentalities…and rank hypocrisies.

      • Union city greens 12.2.1

        “If I say Invercargill’s a shit-hole (and yes, it’s been known for me to say that), then am I being racist? Or has racism actually got nothing at all to do with it?”

        If you’re saying it’s a shit hole because the people who come from there are black, or Hispanic, then yes, it’s racist.
        If you think trump was referring to the economic, social status of those nations mentioned, rather than the people who emigrate from them, then your point may carry some weight. After all, a shit hole is a shit hole. How confident in Trump are you he’s made that distinction?

        • Bill

          What I know is that Liberal media imposed their own distinction. And “everyone” just thoughtlessly got in behind.

          Apart from the Washington Post opinion piece I linked to in the post, have you seen any other mainstream articles that would presume to call “the west” to account by pointing to the fact the shitholes are a legacy of liberal capitalist colonialism – ie, racism?

          • Union city greens

            Most right thinking people jumped to the correct conclusion that Trump is a racist bam.
            The end.

            • red-blooded

              Most right thinking people jumped to the correct conclusion that Trump is a racist bam. Correct given the larger context (ie, Trump’s many other racist comments and decisions).

              • Union city greens

                All his comments should be taken in context – That he’s a bigoted old, rich white fuck head.

            • Bill

              Has anyone said Trump isn’t racist? I certainly haven’t. That conclusion or opinion – that Trump’s racist – was arrived at some time ago.

              But what’s that got to do with how liberal media has “worked” this “Haiti’s a shit-hole” thing?

              Are we (by mainstream liberal thought) meant to believe that Haiti and wherever else aren’t fucked up places? Or are we meant to just quietly, but not in polite society, acknowledge it, but then move on because “mis-fortune”?

              Or are we meant to not even do any of the above, because Haiti and wherever else are just convenient and soon to be forgotten 2x4s to beat Trump with? Like, because that’s all that matters and everything else is moot?

              • Union city greens

                The argument is whether Trump was speaking about the races or the nations. I believe, like most I know, it was the people not the geography.

              • spikeyboy

                I suspect youre right about the 2x4s. But they may need more cause Trumps head is remarkably thick.

                Neocon thinking on Trump according to Greenwald

                ‘but they were also worried that his uncouth, offensive personality would embarrass the U.S. and thus weaken the “soft power” needed for imperial hegemony. Even if Trump could be brought into line on neocon orthodoxy — as has largely happened — his ineptitude and instability posed a threat to their agenda.’


                Soft power is very important for US hegemony so expect many more beatings. Its more difficult to wage wars when no one else wants to be on your team

                • Bill

                  Thing I actually quite like about his ineptitude is that it sometimes opens a window to the true nature of things.

                  And this “shit-hole” comment of his is one such instance. No-one in power has ever given a shit about Haiti and all the other places he mentioned – beyond ensuring that they continued to be controlled and bled.

                  Now, they might not have up and stated that they considered these places to be “shit-holes” and not worth bothering about (beyond the caveat just mentioned), but they sure as fuck acted (and will continue to act) in ways that “shit hole” would seem to be among the least offensive labels to ascribe to their actual takes on those places.

                • Bill

                  That’s a nicely informative piece Spikey. Thanks for linking it. The following stood out for me in reference to all the mainstream liberal media arm waving, posturing and finger pointing about ‘all things Russian’ we get subjected to…(and the same emotional fucking “buy in” it generates, as per the effect of their bullshit reaction to that Haiti remark)

                  when it came time for Democrats to elevate Putin and Russia into a major theme of the 2016 campaign, and now that their hawkishness toward Moscow is their go-to weapon for attacking Trump, neocons have become their natural ideological allies.

                  The song Democrats are now singing about Russia and Putin is one the neocons wrote many years ago, and all of the accompanying rhetorical tactics — accusing those who seek better relations with Moscow of being Putin’s stooges, unpatriotic, of suspect loyalties, etc. — are the ones that have defined the neocons smear campaigns for decades.


                  THE IMPLICATIONS OF this reunion are profound and long-term. Neocons have done far more damage to the U.S., and the world, than any other single group — by a good margin. They were the architects of the invasion of Iraq and the lies that accompanied it, the worldwide torture regime instituted after 9/11, and the general political climate that equated dissent with treason.

                  • spikeyboy

                    Yes. And furthermore why have the democrats handed to a man the decry as a madman or Hitler or an agent of Russia the continuation of such extraordinary powers of surveillance?

                    ’55 Democrats voted against your constitutional rights and opposed the USA RIGHTS amendment. Had 26 voted the other way, we would have won.’

                    View at Medium.com

                    The same goes for why they are happy to concentrate power in an alleged madman by refusing to remove the presidential ability to start wars.

                    ‘Earlier today the US Senate voted by a nearly two-to-one margin to kill Senator Rand Paul’s amendment to sunset the 16 year-old Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) which has been used to justify disastrous US military interventionism in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia. ‘

                    View at Medium.com

                    Its all smoke and mirrors

                    • Sam

                      “The democrats handed to a madman” the keys to Washington for the same reason the DNC and a particularly vocal sector of lefties rejected Bernie Sanders. The White working class of America saw what globalisation has done to there communities and they wanted a tough man, yes a man, but particularly a tough person, irrespective of gender that person HAS to be tough in order to take on the globalist agenda.

                      And in the case of New Zealand Jacinda must be tough enough to reject the Blairites of the Labour Party and chart a new course, and that new course begins with a tax and spend agenda. Quite simply…

                    • Bill

                      Seems I had Caity Johnstone bookmarked, but that for whatever reason she’d dropped off my radar. Thanks for the inadvertent prompt.

                      Shifting the bookmark to a more prominent folder now 😉

          • One Anonymous Bloke


            Haiti, A Long Descent Into Hell published in the Guardian, Disaster divided: Two countries, one island, life-and-death differences, CNN, France Will Not Repay Haiti Reparations, NYT. There are lots more if you search “Haiti + Colonialism”. Even PJ O’Rourke mentioned it.

            Dominant narrative? Maybe not. Well documented? Absolutely.

            • Bill

              Thanks for the links. Though none are contemporary, as in, part of the current news cycle reporting on Trump and Haiti – which was my point.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                I deliberately excluded the last few days from the search criteria. As for the last few days, What Haitians Are (is the Huffington Post a liberal publication?). There are more, but trawling through the screeds of contempt for POTUS gets a bit tiresome.

                I haven’t even started on Nigeria etc.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                PS: I think the average citizen of the US may even have a better appreciation of colonialism than say, your average Pākeha. After all, their war for independence is a thing.

  13. Sam 13

    The Clintons got their claws into one side and failed to get their claws into the other side of the shithole they tried to rule over namely the U.S. So which shithole you visit on your next Vacation? West Palm? Barbados? St Barts? The Maldives? Why not visit Haiti? The DRC? Bangladesh? Papa New Guinea? Liberia? 😂 Theres no such thing as a kind of less desirable place in the world. Theyre all the same. Any one with an objective view, wasn’t surprised that Trump would call them shitholes. Because they are shitholes. Not because Trump is a racist bigot. When was the last time any of you left New Zealand and went on vacation to Haiti, Honduras or the DRC, for fun? Never! Why? Because no one wants to go to a Shithole for a Vacation! Let alone make a family there.

    Meanwhile in the UK you can get a Virgin train from London to the North & get a first clads service microwave meal and a cabin that smells of piss from a Toilet that trys to distract you from how shit the service actually is by telling you sarcastic jokes in an electronic voice. So New Zealand new first class train service won’t have to try hard at all to outperform what’s out there.

    2.7mln people went to the U.K. And stayed in an AirBnB because they couldnt afford to go somewhere they really wanted to go to, fly first class and stay in a 5 star hotel. Otherwise they wouldnt have gone there. People went & stayed AirBnB cause they cant afford to go where they really wanted to go, fly 1st class & stay in a 5* hotel. Otherwise they wouldnt have gone. These shitholes become options due to necessity for cheap holidays. Budget airlines & hotels for budget people

    additionally at least 50% of them were people visiting their families back in the countries they came from once a year and staying in an AirBnB down the road using their Western World incomes to “live it large” in their childhood neighborhood during their vacation back home.

    Immigrants literally “own a share” in nothing. The financial illiteracy of kiwis that fall for the narrative never fails to amaze me. You’re getting royally scammed, by being psychological coned into vacationing in places you wouldn’t ordinarily travel, but calm as a Hindu Cow (walking off a cliff) you accept it as gospel. Totally brainwashed.

  14. Stuart Munro 14

    I imagine Trump is delighted to get his Russian financial dealings out of the news for a couple of days – if all it takes is a little invective we’ll be hearing plenty more.

  15. AB 15

    The irony for me is that I’d wager that a fair proportion of Norwegians might consider the US a bit of a ‘shithole’ and not want to emigrate there because they already live in what appears from the outside to be a reasonably functional social democracy.

    So the president of a bit of a shithole doesn’t want migrants from a far worse shithole that his shithole made even shittier than their own shithole, but instead wants non-shithole residents to come to his bit of a shithole.

    The reason to loathe Trump is not a bit of pearl-clutching over his vulgarity, that’s just the icing on the t*rd. The real reason is that he embodies deep and loathsome hypocrisies

  16. nukefacts 16

    “Anyone want to lay out what the essential difference might be between picking and choosing between broad categories of migrants and picking and choosing between broad categories of migrants?”

    You miss the point.

    Allowing immigrants into NZ is a choice we as a country make, therefore we can pick and choose as we like. If say we need more Doctors for the health system instead of Chef’s for Sky City, then it’s not discrimination or racism, it’s a conscious decision driven by the needs of NZ’s social and economic system.

    Likewise, we as a country are allowed to choose how many people we allow to immigrate into NZ. It’s not racist or discriminatory, it’s just a choice, and one which should be informed by rational understanding and debate about how many additional people we want to add to the NZ population.

    Just piling more and more immigrants into NZ is not necessary or even sensible, especially in light of our infrastructure and environmental constraints, and the economic finding that while our recent influx of immigrants has increased GDP, it hasn’t increased GDP per worker i.e. our economy is not meaningfully improving. Arguably, it’s actually got worse as we now have large infrastructure deficits in many cities and will eventually have a much greater welfare burden from new health and superannuation costs.

    I despair at the left and right on how they have politicised this issue.

    On the right we often get either outright racism, apathy, gaming of the system to improve National party votes, or cronyism/corruption to further right winger financial benefits (e.g. Judith Collins/Oravida). On the left we have a blind adherence to the religion that all immigration is good no matter what and anyone challenging this view is racist.

    Again, both sides miss the point. While taking in refugees is a legal and moral necessity that we need to do much better at, immigration is a choice and we can only choose wisely when we stop politicising it and make conscious choices based on facts and needs.

    • Sam 16.1

      If we accept a foreign language as our primary language then who are we to deny foreigners entry into a land that speaks there own language? So we either differentiate New Zealand from the rest or I don’t see how New Zealand can resist the pull of the American and British empires. By diffintition smaller proxy nations must lose in a trade and immigration war.

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