26 October 2009

Social Engineering, You Say?

Andrew Neather's comments in the Evening Standard on Friday have unsurprisingly been wildly distorted by the right-wing press. Neather responded today to counteract the distortions.

I would like to look at how they chose to misrepresent Neather. There are two lines of attack:
  1. Labour chose an open-borders policy to engineer a more multicultural society.
  2. They did this as part of a cynical attempt to expose the Tories as xenophobes.
The 2nd point is reasonable enough. No policy should be enacted simply as a part of one-upmanship. (Neather's response insists that this "wasn't the main point at issue".)

But the 1st point is nonsense. Social engineering is the government attempting to intervene by influencing or setting limits on people's behaviour, for what it sees as 'good for society'. Social engineering is the antithesis of social liberalism.

'Open borders' is a socially liberal policy that is free from government intervention. It is placing restrictions on immigration that is social engineering; exactly the opposite of what the right-wing press were purporting.

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