Carlo's Corner: Hating something doesn't make it 'illegal'

April 28, 2013
It actually takes more than simply hating something to make it illegal.

It must be great to have the ability to simply declare people you don't like “illegal”. This is the Liberals’ response to “boat people”.

I get that the Liberals hate dark-skinned foreigners with the gall to arrive at our borders and ask for asylum rather than staying where they belong, getting bombed by our military in Afghanistan or tortured by a regime we support in Sri Lanka.

But it actually takes more than simply hating something to make it illegal. You usually find it requires an actual law to be broken.

In the case of refugees, it is legal under international law to seek asylum. Signing on to the Refugee Convention, which Australia has done, means agreeing to not treat those who seek asylum as illegal.

In a rare example of the truth sneaking into the mainstream media (the editor must have been drunk or on holiday), Jane McAdam explained in an April 23 Age piece: “Being an asylum seeker gives you a legitimate excuse for not having a visa under Australian law.”

The whole argument that refugees should go through “proper channels” kinda fails to notice one of the key things about needing asylum. You will tend to find that if you feel a pressing need to flee a nation, you generally cannot ask your persecutors if they would kindly stop torturing you and let you leave.

In the case of Sri Lanka, our government actually assists the Sri Lankan regime in physically preventing persecuted Tamils — 20,000 of whom the Sri Lankan military slaughtered in a single night in 2009 — from fleeing the island.

None of this stops Tony Abbott from insisting boats full of asylum seekers are “illegal” ¯ nor for that matter, does it stop Labor or 99.9% of Australia's media from repeating the same bald-faced lie.

Well, if all those bastards can do it, then so can I. Using the logic of “it is illegal because I said it is illegal even though it breaks no law”, I hereby declare that declaring asylum seekers to be “illegal” to be illegal. I am collecting money for a billboard to point out that since Labor took over, there have been 12,345,678,234,647 illegal references to “illegal boats”.

In the meantime, I only hope the electoral commission fines whoever vandalised the Liberal Party's billboard on “illegal boats”, changing the number of “illegal boats since Labor took over” to “zero”. The truth simply has no place in election propaganda.

* * *

In other news, the recent defeat of gun control legislation in the US Congress makes total sense, because the Boston Marathon bombings showed that you don't need a high-powered semi-automatic weapon to murder and maim people.

The ability to kill people by other means clearly makes it ridiculous to restrict the ability to buy high-powered semi-automatic weapons with which to kill people.

Which, when you think about it, makes it redundant to ever ban anything dangerous, because there are always other things that are dangerous too, so we might as well legalise anything that can be used to harm others in the interests of fairness.

So while they are at it, the US Congress should legalise personal ownership of small-scale nuclear bombs too, because otherwise defenceless citizens will be entirely nuclear free while any criminal with access to the international black market in uranium can make their own dirty bomb to terrorise the law abiding.

The Boston bombings did reveal just how dangerous American society truly is. First the bombings, then the witchhunts against various people whose only crime was “jogging while brown”, then when news broke that the Boston bombers were of Chechen origin, social media was filled with angry Americans threatening war on the Czech Republic, half a continent away.

It is worth remembering that the US is a country with the world's largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. We better hope and pray no one from Austria ever does anything to piss them off.

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