The race rhetoric in South Africa appears to have reached an unprecedented level of nastiness, and farm murders are increasing. Ever more prominent black South African voices are calling for the removal of white people. With a mind to possibly preventing a genocide, New Zealand ought to consider whether we should start accepting white South Africans as refugees.
There are several major advantages to the idea from a New Zealand perspective.
South Africans regularly find themselves at or near the top of the income tables for the various immigrant groups to New Zealand – in stark contrast to the sort of person who usually comes to the West as a refugee. This suggests that they broadly fall into the categories of immigrant that we’re trying to attract anyway.
The common Marxist argument that Third World refugees are generally beneficial to the nations that let them in has been proven to be a lie, but white South Africans have a similar level of academic achievement to white people in other Western cultures, and this has had a positive effect on employment rates and economic productivity. In this sense they could be considered a First World culture.
This also means that they’re much less likely to do the kind of welfare bludging and petty crime that people from other large refugee sources tend to do, which means that the New Zealand population is less likely to regret the decision to let them in. Many Europeans bitterly regret letting in so many immigrants whose net contributions are negative, and New Zealand has the right and duty to act to avoid the same fate.
Culturally speaking, white South Africans are more like us Kiwis than anyone else in the world is, with the exception of Australians. The first major wave of British colonisation was to the Americas, which is why the Americans and Canadians are similar, and the second major wave was to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, which is why these cultures are similar.
White South Africans speak English, they play cricket and rugby, they have a much better idea of how to conduct themselves in a Parliamentary democracy than most other immigrants, they value education, they have extensive experience (however cynical) of other ethnicities, they have a Northern European Protestant work ethic like most other successful colonial cultures, and, at least for now, they are mostly free of the massive psychological trauma that makes the long-term integration of a foreign person into society truly difficult.
In other words, they’re every bit our cousins as much as the Aussies are.
If white South Africans are not much different to us than Aussies are, their integration will be straight-forward, which is something that cannot be said of most potential refugees. This means that we can accommodate more of them for a given amount of social upheaval.
After all, a given number of immigrants will cause a level of social disruption that is a function of how different those immigrants are to the host population, so if one of the limits to taking refugees is how willing the host population is to accept them, then taking refugees that are more like us will allow us to help more people.
This means that if we are to take refugees at all, and many are arguing that we should, then we should take white South Africans first.
One negative that people might argue is that South Africa, as a developing country, needs the brainpower of its most highly-educated demographic much more than New Zealand does, as we already have a large class of highly-educated professionals whereas South Africa is still fairly poor and educational standards are very low.
But against that it could be argued that these white South Africans are going to end up moving out of the country one way or the other, and in short order in either case. Because they are educated, white and English-speaking it’s also fairly easy for Australia, Canada, Britain or America to take them in, so we might as well grab them now.
Another potential negative to consider is that offering blanket asylum to white South Africans might jeopardise a potentially more orderly withdrawal process. Measured emigration might turn into a panic.
But against this it would be argued that if a Zimbabwe-style ethnic cleansing in South Africa appears probable – and it’s looking ever more likely – then moving as quickly as possible is the best move to minimise human suffering in the long term.
New Zealand should take measures to accommodate considerable numbers of white South African refugees because the safety of those cultures in the African continent can no longer be guaranteed, and letting them into New Zealand is both easier than them going anywhere else and better for New Zealand than letting any other group of refugees in.
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