Don Brash is bashing immigrants again, this time by demanding that all immigrants should accept New Zealand's "bedrock values", which he describes as:
...an acceptance of democracy and the rule of law, religious and personal freedom, and legal equality of the sexes. If you don’t accept these fundamentals, then New Zealand isn’t the place for you.
Put another way, we should not welcome those who want to live in New Zealand but reject core aspects of New Zealand culture.
Interestingly, Brash's backers in the Exclusive Brethren "reject core aspects of New Zealand culture", and refuse to accept religious and personal freedom and equality of the sexes. Does that mean we should kick them out, or not let their friends come here?
The Brethren are an easy example, but there's a general point here: toleration also applies to the intolerant. Social liberalism and the acceptance of personal and religious freedom and non-discrimination necessarily entails accepting those who disagree with those freedoms. And there's no question that we accept this principle; if you point out to someone that there are fundamentalist Christians out there who believe that everyone should be forced to believe as they do and abide by "God's Law", or that there are good old fashioned misogynists who think that women are inferior, or outright racists who think the same of Maori or non-whites in general, you'll almost certainly be told that, while their views may be highly disagreeable, its their right to think that (people might even quote Voltaire at you). Nobody seriously suggests rounding up authoritarians, sexists, bigots, racists, and NZ First voters for deportation or extermination to preserve our tolerant, liberal society. Instead, we accept that accepting them is part and parcel of toleration, and that their views can be dealt with though the democratic process and social debate.
So why the hell do people think any differently of new immigrants?
I think the answer is that, while masked by praise of liberalism and tolerance, this is in fact a rejection of those values. Brash is even explicit about it:
In most respects, it’s a question of quantity and of balance. Diversity is a bit like red wine: a certain amount is good for one’s health; too much too quickly alters your personality and can be thoroughly bad.
Except that diversity isn't a foreign substance introduced into the body politic by immigration - its something that comes from every single one of us. While recent immigrants are one example of diversity, the vast majority of it is entirely internal, stemming from the different ways we lead our lives. Saying that we should only have "a certain amount of diversity" is saying that the life choices of New Zealanders - be they personal, religious, political, sexual or social - should be constrained to conform to some mythical "mainstream", so that old farts like Don Brash aren't confronted with the fact that people don't really think or worship or eat or fuck like them any more. This isn't "liberal", and it sure as hell isn't "tolerant".