White-only housing development

I believe in private property rights and the right to discriminate. Logically then, I believe that any group of people (including racial or religious groups) should be able to buy property and use it as they wish. If you are white and you only want to live with other whites, then you should NOT use political power to remove non-whites from Australia, but you should be allowed to join together and buy a block of units (or a farm, or whatever) which only accepts whites.

That’s pretty controversial stuff. I wonder if it would sound better if we had the same proposal by a non-white group?

The Islamic Council of WA is looking at setting up a Muslim-only housing development (with hall, conference centre & recreation facilities). They argue that separation allows different groups to pursue their own customs without offending other groups, and it allows for easier social interaction. Perhaps. The counter-argument is that this “apartheid” undermines broader social cohesion and is divisive. Perhaps.

Personally, I wouldn’t want to live in a place that was too homogenous. I like diversity and I am happy to live in a multi-racial, multi-religious, mulit-cultural neighbourhood. But that’s just me. While I may personally disagree with some lifestyle choices that other people make — I believe we should all have the freedom to make those lifestyle choices.

One advantage of allowing people to pursue their own lifestyles voluntarily on their own property is that you take away the need for them to become politically active on the issues that annoy them. Instead of lobbying the government for fewer immigrants, anti-immigrants can choose to live in a “non-immigrant” area. Instead of lobbying the government for special rights and funding for minority cultures, those cultures can choose to live together and maintain their own culture.

I don’t think such “exclusive areas” will be very popular, and I doubt many would survive in modern Australia. But they should not be banned.

17 thoughts on “White-only housing development

  1. having come from London, and having spent three years in New York, it is interesting to note how much more ghettoised Sydney is than these other international cities.

    people are for ever talking about how much they love diversity, but they all then go back home to their unicultural communities.

  2. We should always differentiate between private discrimination and public (state) based discrimination. There is a difference despite the fact that many lefties and other assorted statists don’t understand.

    There should be no state based discrimination of any sort, while people should do what they wish privately with minimal state interference.

    If people want to create ghetto like conditions, let them. In fact it shouldn’t even be a case of letting them, it ought to be a basic right.

  3. Pom

    NYC is pretty Baulkanized I thought. Think of Crooklyn, Queens, Spanish and black Harlem.

    Even the upper East Side apartment buildings called co-ops………The Co-op board either rejects a potential owner or grants approval without ever having to give a reason. Sure enough an entire building becomes infested with lawyers, bankers and hedge fund operators. They can be jewish buildings, Waspish or just new money types…. all mostly white.

  4. they all then go back home to their unicultural communities.

    Speak for yourself. Come walk my suburb some time.

  5. it is interesting to note how much more ghettoised Sydney is than these other international cities.

    I wonder what you are basing that on, pommy. Michael Duffy has been writing on that subject recently, based on some personal observations, and came to the conclusion it is a myth.

    I must say though that I think the libertarian perspective fails to provide an adequate answer in these situations. It refers only to the relationship between individuals and government, whereas individual freedom is more extensive than that.

    I think I prefer the term liberal (in the original meaning). This post allows us to consider the difference. While we might agree it is not an appropriate use of the government’s power to intrude if a community chooses to adopt an exclusive housing policy based on religion or race, libertarians would leave it there.

    Liberals, on the other hand, would consider it their duty to make their opposition known in any way they can. That might include verbal protests, using their authority on behalf of a bank to refuse a loan to the development, or generally boycotting businesses or individuals associated with it. A good example might be a tradesman refusing to provide services.

  6. I think DavidL makes a very good point. For prominant examples the difficulty lies however in the fact that noisey liberals will soon have politians keen to do their bidding whether invited to do so or not.

    Personally I had little difficulty with John Howards decision to end racial exclusivity by over-riding the permits system used to control access to the “public areas” within certain aboriginal communities. The liberal in me finds the permits system abhorant even whilst the libertarian in me can rationalise it as being a reasonable initiative.

    On a grand scale we might regard nations as private communities free to enforce whatever rules they prefer. So if a nations such as Japan wants to exclude white folk then that is it’s perogative. If Australia wants to exclude Asians then likewise. Of course the Saudis can subjugate women and the Indians can persecute the lower casts. The whole notion of sovereignty says that the place is privately owned by the sovereign and if we go along with this then pretty soon we work our way back to the divine right of kings.

    Freedom requires that we have a sphere that is private. However it also entails a sphere that is public. Erecting your soap box in your living room isn’t quite the same as erecting it on a street corner.

    If somebody wants to build houses in Australia for Muslims then I’m okay with that. If they prohibit non-muslims from walking the streets of Muslim Town then I would be concerned by that. An open society entails openness.

  7. John,

    I think a general argument against your reasoning is that whites are the majority in Australia, hence they don’t need special privileges, since they get it via the democratic system. Thus comparing whites with a minority group is not a fair comparison, since minorities can’t vote for things in the way the majority group can. It’s quite possible, for example, for whites to vote for legislation against some potentially harmless aspect of minority culture, and there is essentially nothing that the minority culture can do about that (e.g., laws against certain styles of clothing, like Burkhas). Thus there may be arguments for asymmetric rights (there are other ones too which I can’t currently remember) — a less controversial example is for special scholarships/positions in schools, but similar sorts of arguments apply (albeit without freedom of movement connotations).

  8. “i wonder what you are basing that on, pommy”

    having lived in all three cities for a decent length of time, David.

    This post raises a very tough issue. There is not a black and white answer. If Muslims want to build a community principally for Muslims, then i can understand their reasonings. However, to reject a prospective home buyer becuase they dont share the same majority faith of the local community, seems to open a can of worms. White supremacists would then understandably demand whites-only areas, ethnic Chinese would do the same, and before you know it, your community is completely atomised.

  9. I should perhaps add that liberals would probably have no problem with a muslim-only housing development if being muslim had no more connotations than being presbyterian. But that is not the case.

    Australia’s early exposure to muslims was totally benign, with Afghan camel traders and post-war Turkish immigrants integrating harmoniously.

    It’s only the more recent affinity of some muslims for separateness, oppression of women, hostility to freedom and democracy and, for a few, terrorism, that has altered the liberal perspective. Experience, which I concede is not infallible, suggests a muslim-only housing estate would seek to adopt some or all of those values. It’s that, rather than being muslim per se, that conflicts with liberal values.

  10. It’s a very interesting topic, and I 100% agree to the right of a developer to seel his property to whoever he likes. What I fail to see is how he could rest assured that the prospective buyer will not on-sell the property to someone that does not comply with whatever rule was set from the start.

    Of course, if everybody living there has a particular characteristic, someone without it wouldn’t ‘fit’, wouldn’t feel comfortable. But I don’t see how the transaction could be prevented from happening.

  11. I think a general argument against your reasoning is that whites are the majority in Australia, hence they don’t need special privileges, since they get it via the democratic system.

    Don’t swallow that kool aid Conrad, i’ve seen this hog wash in America and Europe generally coming from the left wing tinfoil hat wearing moonbats. The idea that an ethnic or religious group that is in the majority has less rights than those in the minority is nonsensical and has no place in a free society. There can be no justification for any group in society to have special privileges.

    The desire to form a Muslim ghetto and restrict outside influence is a sign that those who pursue the more oppressive aspects of Islam believe are losing the battle of ideas and wish to restrict their people especially youth from the polluting values of western liberty. Any wish by white supremacists to keep other cultures out of their areas is a corollary to this, they wouldn’t want their children exposed to all of those nasty ideas of tolerance to others until they have been properly ‘educated’ against them.

    The idea of no go areas is not on, but if groups wish to live together there is no problem. Some time ago in Israel some of the more extreme religious elements wanted to restrict access to the streets in areas where they lived on the sabbath.

    As they constitute a minority, should it be argued that they had a right to do so?

  12. Conrad — while whites make up a majority, white nationalists are a relatively small minority. So by your standards (only minorities can discriminate against others), then white nationalists can still create their own exclusive community. Only tolerant whites cannot… but they wouldn’t want to anyway. 🙂

    Jim — if those extremists is Israel own the street, then I think they should have the right to control access, using any criteria they like.

    I agree with DavidLs distinction, though I don’t think it’s a distinction between “liberal” and “libertarian”, but instead a distinction between “political philosophy” (the role of government) and “moral philosophy” (how we should live). I interpret DavidL to be saying that he is both a political liberal (libertarian) and also a moral liberal (in his life he prefers tolerance & diversity). I am the same.

  13. There was no indication in the coverage as to ‘ownership’ of the streets but they did seem to be in some cases major thoroughfares in Tell Aviv. Most of the arguments presented seemed to be based on the belief that people had no right to travel on the Sabbath.

  14. John & Jim,

    I’m not especially convinced by it — but I’ve forgotten what the arguments for and against it were in contentious cases (and non-contenious ones for that matter, like access to race-specific medical problems) and who makes them (I’m sure they apply here). It’s worthwhile noting that the asymmetry problem is evident in this statement:

    “The idea that an ethnic or religious group that is in the majority has less rights than those in the minority is nonsensical”

    But so why is the opposite true? At least in terms of behavior restrictions, it tends to be the case that minority group behavior is restricted more than majority group behavior. So if that’s the case, how does one stop the asymmetry? Or do minority groups simply have to put up with asymmetrical levels oppression?

  15. “Civil rights used to be about treating everyone the same. But today some people are so used to special treatment that equal treatment is considered to be discrimination.”— Thomas Sowell

    I have reread the post a few times at this stage and have yet to find any area where John was advocating special privileges for any one, either majorities or minorities. You seem to be the only one doing that.

    I am not aware of any restrictions on clothing in this country, the burkha has not been banned, nor as far as I am aware is there any move to do so. If there are any rules against minority group behavior, it is because there are too many rules governing too many aspects of everyones behavior. The answer to these conflicts is to repeal such laws, not to grant privilege to minorities.

    Some cultural behaviors will of course not be accepted here, but unless you are advocating clitorectomies, honor killings, or whipping immodestly dressed women, it is really difficult to see what you are on about.

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