Friday 11 November 2016
Richard Dawkins wants New Zealand to invite Trump/Brexit-refugee scientists to move here to create "the Athens of the modern world".
I appreciate the compliment he pays my country (though, to be honest, I don't know why he singled us out). I would be delighted to see that vision happen, but in reality it's not going to. Every US election the rhetoric ratchets up and people promise to move here, but very very few of them follow through. Even Dawkins acknowledges it's a pipe-dream. This particular dream is inconceivable because "the Athens of the modern world" would need a gigantic amount of steady government funding for research, and that's not going to happen here.
To be honest it's a little bit frustrating to keep hearing people talk about moving to New Zealand without following through ... it feels like being treated more as a rhetorical device than a real place and people. That said, I personally would be delighted to welcome any science/technology people who really want to move here, and New Zealand's immigration system makes that relatively easy. I'd be especially delighted for Richard Dawkins to follow his own lead.