Saturday, January 30, 2010

Not so stolen generations

Should we Australians be ashamed of our past? For years we have been told that we should be ashamed of the treatment of the "stolen generations". The claim is that Australian authorities forcibly removed whole generations of Aboriginal children from their parents with the racist aim of breeding out the Aboriginal population.

Keith Windschuttle has written a new volume of his important work The Fabrication of Aboriginal History which investigates these claims in detail. He has presented some of his findings in a brief newspaper article, which is well-argued and well worth reading in full.

I'll try to summarise some of the key information. The historians who originally set up the idea of the stolen generations made some key assertions, including:

  • that 50,000 Aboriginal children were forcibly removed
  • that authorities aimed to seize children as young as possible with the aim that they should lose their Aboriginality and never return home
  • that the children were forcibly removed solely because they were Aboriginal

Windschuttle quotes some leading historians of the stolen generations making such claims:

In his 2008 parliamentary apology, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd endorsed the estimate by Peter Read, the university historian who first advanced the concept of the Stolen Generations, that 50,000 Aboriginal children were forcibly removed in the 20th century.

Read had written that governments removed children as young as possible and reared them in institutions isolated from any contact with Aboriginal culture. "Welfare officers, removing children solely because they were Aboriginal," he said, "intended and arranged that they should lose their Aboriginality, and that they never return home."

The majority were allegedly babies and infants. The SBS television series First Australians claimed most of the 50,000 were aged under five. Henry Reynolds explained the rationale: "The younger the child the better, before habits were formed, attachments made, language learned, traditions absorbed."

But are these claims true? Windschuttle provides some strong evidence that they are far from being true. First, it's not true that most of the children removed from their families were aged under five. Windschuttle looked at the NSW records and found that only 10% were under five, most were teenagers.

Second, it was not "generations" who were removed from their families. For instance, at the Moore River settlement in WA, only about 10 children per year were removed at a time when the Aboriginal population of the state numbered 29,000.

Third, the children were not removed "because they were Aboriginal" but because of concerns for their welfare:

Rather than acting for racist or genocidal reasons, government officers and missionaries wanted to rescue children and teenagers from welfare settlements and makeshift camps riddled with alcoholism, domestic violence and sexual abuse.

In NSW, WA and the Territory, public servants, doctors, teachers and missionaries were appalled to find Aboriginal girls between five and eight years of age suffering from sexual abuse and venereal disease. On the Kimberley coast from the 1900s to the 1920s they were dismayed to find girls of nine and 10 years old hired out by their own parents as prostitutes to Asian pearling crews. That was why the great majority of children removed by authorities were female ...

Government officials had a duty to rescue children from such settings, as much then as they do now.

The prevailing policy of the time was not assimilation but the racial preservation of the Aborigines. It's true that there were two regional officers who did propose assimilation policies: they wanted to marry half-caste Aboriginal women to white men. But they did not have government support for these plans. The plan was rejected in cabinet in 1933 and in 1934 a commonwealth minister declared in parliament that:

It can be stated definitely, that it is and always has been, contrary to policy to force half-caste women to marry anyone. The half-caste must be a perfectly free agent in the matter.

The prevailing policy was expressed by J. F. Bleakley, the chief protector of Aborigines in Queensland and the author of the commonwealth policy of the 1920s and 30s, when he wrote of Aborigines that:

"We have no right to attempt to destroy their national life. Like ourselves, they are entitled to retain their racial entity and racial pride."

This is the opposite of genocide. It is a clear statement that the government of the time wanted Aborigines to continue their own distinct ethnic existence.

There's much more in Windschuttle's article, including evidence that those Aboriginal children who were placed in welfare institutions were not cut off from their families or their Aboriginality and were treated in a similar way to white children in similar circumstances (e.g. sent out to complete apprenticeships).

We're fortunate that Keith Windschuttle has made such a determined effort to write authoritative books on Aboriginal history. He may not be a traditionalist conservative (he's more of a right-liberal) but he's provided an important contribution.

86 comments:

  1. This would seem impressive detective work on Mr Windschuttle's part, and I hope I can get around to reading the whole book for myself.

    Now if Mr Windschuttle would concentrate on this sort of research - instead of being too ignorant of basic editorial standards to protect himself against hoaxers; too cowardly to take a stand against John Howard's centralism; too hypocritical to see the illogicality involved in free-marketeers demanding taxpayers' money; and too full of himself to realise that editing Quadrant is a privilege rather than a right - he could have a career in front of him.

    Perhaps teaching humanities at some private American university, since goodness knows it's now impossible to teach the humanities at a government university in Australia and still be a decent human being.

    I look forward to the day when my own 1980s professors, who mostly alternated between Marxist lies and rutting with their female students, can be indicted for "abuse" in their turn.

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  2. If the 'Stolen Generations' is a myth, it only shows that the Left has been too afraid to go the whole hog and indict the fact that we should be talking about the "STOLEN LANDS".

    The Mabo decision went some way to dealing with this but to 'apologise' for this would have been to admit complicity in this act.

    Imagine the ruckus this would have created?

    Savvas Tzionis

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  3. Savvas,

    Your comment is mean spirited. It's not intended to secure the future existence of an Aboriginal tradition. It's intended to attack and undermine the historic, mainstream tradition - presumably because you yourself don't identify with it and would prefer it to be diminished. You're thinking of Savvas and not of a general well-being.

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  4. I'll bet Savvas Tzionis lives in Australia. Why is this the case, if he really were right in saying that Evil old Whitey (hard to sound convincingly non-European with a name like Savvas Tzionis, alas) shouldn't be here at all?

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  5. A Reeves, good point. Savvas is an Australian of Greek descent. If he really believes that he's living immorally on stolen land then the honourable thing would be to return to Greece.

    In this sense, Savvas is sitting on the same branch he wants to cut from the tree.

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  6. Tzionis they weren't stolen they were honourably fought for ;).

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  7. No doubt Savvas Tzionis is a tireless campaigner for the recognition of Greece's pre-Hellenic peoples and the "stolen lands" on which the Hellenic nation now resides.

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  8. "If he really believes that he's living immorally on stolen land then the honourable thing would be to return to Greece."

    No, it's okay for him to live here - just not those nasty Anglo-Celtic Australians who created and built this country.

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  9. Jesse wrote,

    "Tzionis they weren't stolen they were honourably fought for ;)."

    But why don't we say that very often? Deep down, do we think conquest=theft too?

    You know, I don't think our ancestors (even just 100 years ago) would've consented to that for a minute.

    Yesterday I was reading a book about America's first transcontinental railroad, written in 1906 (courtesy of Google), and I was amazed by the pride and forthrightness of it. The author knew that "savages" lived in the West before the coming of the railroad, and he knew that Americans conquered the savages and built the railroad over the land that used to be theirs...and he was proud, not guilty.

    If he was right to be proud, then it means conquest cannot mean theft. And that means nations cannot own land. And that implies that a nation cannot own tangible property.

    If that's right, then I am going to be much more confident when talking to lefties about this. If I'm wrong, someone please point out why.

    PS Reeves, you wrote, "Perhaps teaching humanities at some private American university...". Well, yes, it's possible, but as a conservative he'd have a very steep uphill battle getting tenure.

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  10. Mr. Richardson wrote,

    "Savvas,

    Your comment is mean spirited. It's not intended to secure the future existence of an Aboriginal tradition. It's intended to attack and undermine the historic, mainstream tradition - presumably because you yourself don't identify with it and would prefer it to be diminished. You're thinking of Savvas and not of a general well-being."


    I'd just like to complement you, Mr. Richardson, on the way you handled that. You identified exactly what he was about (himself, not the Aborigines) without fear, rage or malice, but with a stern, even paternal, confidence.

    I'm still figuring out how to do that when I deal with people like Mr. Tzionis. I think it's appropriate to use anger (though never rage of course) sometimes; but I've begun to learn how far I can get with charm too. Thanks for being a good teacher.

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  11. But it's not what "liberals" *want* to hear ... so they will ignore it.

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  12. Yes, anger (which is a different thing from rage) is sometimes appropriate.

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  13. That liberal do-gooders 80 years ago tried to help mixed-race aborigine children seems like a silly thing to be ashamed about. If you want something to be ashamed about, you can be ashamed of living on land that aborigines could be living on if no foreigners had ever come to Australia (which seems unlikely).

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  14. "Should we Australians be ashamed of our past? For years we have been told that we should be ashamed of the treatment of the "stolen generations"."

    I have never understood why "we" should be ashamed of this policy. I had no part in framing or executing the policy, and indeed, it all happened long before I was born. Why then should I feel ashamed of it?

    "Like ourselves, they are entitled to retain their racial entity and racial pride."

    If only public officials today accepted that we, the whites, have a right to ethnic identity and racial pride...

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  15. I would have thought it would be a bigger outrage not to have done anything. Many of the successful aborigines today grew up going to Mission schools which gave them the tools to advance.

    As David Chappelle a black comedian said to a black high school audience. "The first thing you've got to do is stop blaming white people for all your problems. Then get a skill or a trade ...".

    I'm not saying that its easy for Aboriginal people in the modern world and I know that they have a very strong sense of community and are often happy doing simple things like fishing or other activities in nature (if they're not urban). They also clearly have to get their house in order.

    On Bartholomew's point. We can say in our history that we didn't enslave the natives like the Spanish or try to exterminate them like the Argentines. We didn't like African tribes wipe out weaker tribes or peoples. Every corner of earth was occupied by people and then more powerful peoples arrived. It is not a western phenomenon.

    In Malaysia and Indonesia native peoples , who were present before the Malays and Indonesians developed, still live in the more inaccessible regions and jungles. If Malaysians push out a native group do we say that it is actually white people's fault? Because the Malaysians are trying to progress, progress is a western/white thing, so the Malaysians are acting like/copying the whites? This is preposterous.

    The glamour of native groups is not new. Its a cause taken up by people who feel uncomfortable with the rational and controlled urban modern world. The reality of native life though is usually different from what is wished for. If you actually want to help aboriginal people you're going to have to get past noble mythologising and an inflamed sense of injustice.

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  16. Bartholomew wrote:

    "Reeves, you wrote, 'Perhaps teaching humanities at some private American university...'. Well, yes, it's possible, but as a conservative he'd have a very steep uphill battle getting tenure."

    I don't doubt that for a moment.

    All I know is that in Australia (whatever might be the case in America), it is now absolutely impossible to teach the humanities - or indeed most other subjects (perhaps nuclear medicine is OK) - at a government university and still be a decent human being. Such a teacher would have to make, at the best, so many moral compromises that his thought-processes would become worthless. At the worst, he would be a full-blown sufferer from the Stockholm Syndrome. Cf. Peter Wilkinson's book The Howard Legacy, mentioned elsewhere on this site.

    If I had a son, and if he wanted to study the average Mickey Mouse course at a government-run Australian university, I would quote the words of King Louis IX's mother: "I would rather see you lying dead in your open coffin than commit a single mortal sin." Were a son of mine serious about his study choice, he could study at a private college, whether in Australia (there are a few such private colleges in this country) or abroad.

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  17. "as a conservative he'd have a very steep uphill battle getting tenure."

    Pshaw. Getting tenure would not even be an issue, because he would never be hired in the first place.

    If you want to be hired at an American university, you need to attend an elite school and have a powerful, well known professor as your mentor, who will write you a great letter of recommendation. Such professors are, of course, liberals. I doubt they have many conservative students or encourage them to pursue academic life.

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  18. "... I would quote the words of King Louis IX's mother: "I would rather see you lying dead in your open coffin than commit a single mortal sin." ..."

    My mother said essentially the same to me when I was a very young boy. I much agree with the sentiment; I would say it (and mean it) to my own children.

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  19. When historians and academics allow their interpreation of historical events to be distorted by a vicious anti-western ideology it's not surprising that the facts can go out the window. Kudos to Mr Windshuttle for exploding the myth of the stolen generations.

    It's clear that people removed at that time from their families were removed with the very best intentions and it's quite offensive to the people involved to suggest otherwise.

    As for the notion of stolen lands, if that is the true position of the left then the only honourable thing left for them to do is leave and return to the places where they are indigenous. As homo sapiens can all ultimately be traced back to Africa perhaps some place outside Mogadishu would be more appropriate for Mr Tzionis and he can spout his pc nonsense there.

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  20. Mark,

    depends what you mean by mainstream tradition.

    The Australia I grew up in had its faults (to be constantly told you are a greasy wog and feel that your existence is threatended isn't nice) but its only in the last 15-25 years that things have gone awry.

    Yes, I have retreated, you could say, to my Greek roots, but I still play at my local cricket club. It feels like the only link I have to the Australia I once grew up in.

    In any case, I think you have personalised your response to me, when you should be addressing the point I was making about Stolen Lands.

    Maybe the other commentators have, but I generally feel that they show less restraint than yourself in discussing these matters and find it best to ignore them.

    Savvas Tzionis

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  21. "when you should be addressing the point I was making about Stolen Lands."

    I think Bartholomew and myself talked about this issue. The point was made by Anonymous and Mark that if you feel guilty about stolen lands issues in Australia then maybe you won't want to live here. Its one thing to retreat to your "Greekness" in Greece another thing to do it in Australia. The point was also made that the lands of Europe have moved back and forth between people many times. Are lands in Europe considered Stolen?

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  22. Bartholomew, thanks. I think after a time you tend to become less reactive and more confident in calmly asserting your own position.

    Jesse, good point when you wrote:

    I would have thought it would be a bigger outrage not to have done anything.

    We're in a damned if you do, damned if you don't predicament. If the authorities had removed white kids from danger, but left the Aboriginal kids, maybe that would then have later become the basis of a national shame campaign.

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  23. No maybe about it. Plus -- unlike the Eternal National Shame Campaign the leftists are actually runnung -- it would have been appropriate and deserved (with respect to the society and governments of the time).

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  24. An interesting exercise in hypocrisy. Quick to accept the lies promulgated by the nasters of discourse vis-a-vis Jim Crow, knickers are in a twist if the virtuous relationship between Aussies and their own coloreds is questioned. Quite amusing.

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  25. Reeves: "Now if Mr Windschuttle would concentrate on this sort of research - instead of being too ignorant of basic editorial standards to protect himself against hoaxers"

    First of all, that’s Professor Windshuttle to you, mate. Secondly, he does this kind of research all the time. His magazine was hoaxed once, yes, but what ill-educated members of the public such as yourself don’t seem to understand is that Quadrant is not a peer reviewed journal. Fraudsters have on many occasions done to other magazines what was done to Quadrant… the only reason why the Quadrant hoax was a big deal is because the media had a collective orgasm over an outlet of non-leftist opinion being successfully attacked by a left liberal.

    Reeves: “too full of himself to realise that editing Quadrant is a privilege rather than a right

    Oh dear. Looks like somebody needs to breath into a paper bag. Really… what on Earth does the above even mean. I’ve only met Windshuttle on a couple of occasions and don’t know him personally very well, and yes, I too disagree with him on several issues, such as immigration. But your comments are so over the top that you lack any credibility in criticising him. Whatever it is you have issues with, get over it and re-engage rationally; preferably thinking through an argument before your fingertips connect to the keyboard.

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  26. The quadrant hoax for me merely served to confirm what I have long observed, suspected and intuited - namely that the left tends to attract people who are catty, vindictive and otherwise emotionally unbalanced.

    For proof of this theorum try delivering a a non-pc speech at a public university.

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  27. Tzionis wrote,

    "to be constantly told you are a greasy wog and feel that your existence is threatended isn't nice"

    OK, which makes you feel more or less fond of Australians and their traditions? I think you've made Mr. Richardson's point.

    Look, maybe you have every right to dislike Australians. And if they were holding you in the country against your will, I'd denounce them right along with you.

    But they're not. And you're still there. Why?

    Also, I don't remember having been rude to you.

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  28. Jesse wrote,

    "Its one thing to retreat to your "Greekness" in Greece another thing to do it in Australia."

    Yeah, that's a good point.

    Mr. Tzionis, speaking of Greece, are you sure you don't have more in common with the Australians than you think?

    Did not Anatolia once belong to Greece? And didn't "Istanbul" have a much more Greek name? Actually, wasn't it the Greeks who founded that city? Who took it from them?

    If you're retreating to your Greek roots, make sure you don't miss any, particularly the one that got lopped off at the Turkish/Muslim border.

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  29. "The Australia I grew up in had its faults (to be constantly told you are a greasy wog and feel that your existence is threatended isn't nice) but its only in the last 15-25 years that things have gone awry."

    Speaking of racial insults it's interesting that South African immigrants don't complain much about people (often otherwise hyper-tolerant liberals) calling them arrogant, particularly since its about the only racial insult you actually hear people saying in polite society.

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  30. Anonymous wrote:

    "namely that the left tends to attract people who are catty, vindictive and otherwise emotionally unbalanced."

    Oh hell yeah. All that "passion".

    Bartholomew said:

    "Did not Anatolia once belong to Greece? And didn't "Istanbul" have a much more Greek name? Actually, wasn't it the Greeks who founded that city? Who took it from them?"

    Excellent point. It goes back to your earlier point about Africa that its the "primitiveness" of the aborigines that makes them admirable. Are we stealing candy from a helpless baby here? Hmm I can't think why aboriginals can't confidently easily engage with the modern world? Maybe its because they're told frequently how miserable and victimised they are.

    Now look Tivonis was called a "wog" when he grew up, hardly the worst thing in the world to be called (although its apparently gotten much worse in the last 15-25 years). The aboriginals had a harder time. These are facts. Do we start paying reparations? Two points on that 1. Give me a break. 2. Is anybody out there trying to create/make wealth? Or do we just hit up daddy white man for an increase in our allowance?

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  31. "Miserable" read fragile, dependant etc.

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  32. Hi Mark, Sorry, I couldn't find an email for you.

    I just wanted to let you know I will be using some of your comments about my Haiti poem for the cover of my new poetry book as an - specifically:

    "Clarke's views are the more dangerous ones...unappealing viewpoints”

    -Mark Richardson, Oz Conservative

    Thanks for your 'criticism and review' contribution and your ongoing insight, and please let me know if you'd like to be attributed in any other fashion than the above

    Regards,

    Maxine Clarke

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  33. Oh there is one modern proposal for increasing wealth. Import truckloads of immigrants (assuming that the arguments of economic benefit are valid). So what should do we do with this additional money? Give massive payouts to the aboriginals or "plasma screen tv" cash bonuses (reffering to our recent stimulus plan) or some other crap so we can burn up the country in a massive spark of self indulgence.

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  34. "Thanks for your 'criticism and review' contribution and your ongoing insight, and please let me know if you'd like to be attributed in any other fashion than the above".

    Haha oh we're shaking in our boots. Look everyone at what those wacky conservatives are up to! Please send your future poems straight to us.

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  35. Anon: “… the left tends to attract people who are catty, vindictive and otherwise emotionally unbalanced.

    Yes, and I believe Maxine Clarke may have added proof to that theory too with her above comment. Moreover, considering her appalling syntax & grammar, I suggest she would benefit from going back to school than ‘writing a book about poetry’. Then again, I’m assuming that schools still teach outdated concepts such as proper English. Silly me…

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  36. "I suggest she would benefit from going back to school than ‘writing a book about poetry’".

    Lol I should probably go back to school too my grammar isn't the best.

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  37. "It's not threatening your existence to ..."

    No! No! No, Anonymous!

    Some other kids acted rudely toward the young Mr Tzionis, as immature humans everywhere are wont to do, therefore ... Australia must die!

    'Cause, you know, it's always all about me.

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  38. "Some other kids acted rudely toward the young Mr Tzionis, as immature humans everywhere are wont to do, therefore ... Australia must die!"

    Lol.

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  39. Maxine Clarke,

    I have no problem with being quoted on the cover of your new poetry book.

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  40. Ilion,

    That was a good reply to the commenter who responded to Savvas by making a gibe against Greeks (I deleted the anonymous comment for being ad hominem).

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  41. Many thanks, Mark. Happy to send you a complimentary copy if youn have a PO Box?

    Maxine

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  42. Actually, the Anonymous' gibe was rude and insulting ... but it was not an ad hominem.

    'Ad hominem' does not mean either rude or insulting. An ad hominem argument has the form: "So-and-So is thus-and-such, THEREFORE ..."

    My comment was intended for both the Anonymous and for Mr Tzionis to consider.

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  43. I refer to the attack on me made by one "Kilroy" at 5:32:00.

    If "Kilroy" cannot attempt an argument without using language like "orgasm", he had probably better refrain from commenting on OzConservative at all. There are plenty of overgrown-schoolboy bloggers of the Tim Blair type where his smut would be better appreciated. Mark Richardson maintains, in his every utterance, a good deal of dignity; it's obvious that "Kilroy" can't.

    Moreover, what "Kilroy" is clearly too provincial to understand is that in America, Windschuttle's incompetence in falling for so obvious a hoaxer without doing background checks would have got him dismissed from his job, whatever the political affiliation of the magazine in question. Idiotic behaviour does not cease to be idiotic behaviour merely because a non-leftist (or alleged non-leftist; Windschuttle's history of Marxist / LSD activism makes his present poacher-turned-gamekeeper act dubious) engages in it.

    The "Kilroy" recollections of Windschuttle are, of course, utterly irrelevant to the matter under discussion.

    For a conservative's take on the whole unhappy hoax affair, I commend "Kilroy" to the following article by R. J. Stove, who, if memory serves me, was contributing to Quadrant from at least 1983.

    http://www.takimag.com/blogs/article/the_hoax_down_under/

    A word of friendly caution, finally, to "Kilroy": anyone who refuses to give a full name on a comment is at the very least likely to inspire suspicions of pooltroonery. My name is Arnold Reeves. Yours ... ?

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  44. "A word of friendly caution, finally, to "Kilroy": anyone who refuses to give a full name on a comment is at the very least likely to inspire suspicions of pooltroonery. My name is Arnold Reeves. Yours ... ?"

    Mr Reeves,
    You are as anonymous as all the Anonymice are. In that regard, the only difference you and them is that there is an name attached to your posts.

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  45. (I deleted the anonymous comment for being ad hominem)

    Yet you didn't delete Savvas Tzionis comment for being ad hominem when he asserted that you, like other non-Greek Australians, are a genocidal racist?

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  46. "You are as anonymous as all the Anonymice are. In that regard, the only difference you and them is that there is an name attached to your posts."

    Calm down everyone. If I can't make political comments without giving my full name, address etc, its hardly a free country is it.

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  47. "Calm down everyone."

    Do you understand how patronizing this is? How (at least borderline) passive-aggressive? How inappropriate in context?

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  48. "Do you understand how patronizing this is? How (at least borderline) passive-aggressive? How inappropriate in context?"

    Are you having a cry llion?

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  49. ""Do you understand how patronizing this is? How (at least borderline) passive-aggressive? "

    I will say this, am I boiling with rage much of the day? Yes. However I can generally keep a handle on it because it does no good to sound off like a goon. Good fences make for good neighbors and good manners make for good relations. Is that an excessively obvious and patronising thing to say? Well when we can take for granted that the obvious will stand for itself without having to be explained then we can go home happily and stop worrying.

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  50. "Are you having a cry llion?"

    How pathetic.


    And *that* boy and girls, explains why the leftists are able to destroy our once-free societies -- nearly everyone has been coopted by leftism.

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  51. "How pathetic."

    I wonder if that's ad hominem? Lets look it up. Dictionary.com:

    "ad hominem [(ad hom-uh-nem, ad hom-uh-nuhm)]

    A Latin expression meaning “to the man.” An ad hominem argument is one that relies on personal attacks rather than reason or substance."

    Yep.

    "And *that* boy and girls, explains why the leftists are able to destroy our once-free societies -- nearly everyone has been coopted by leftism."

    Funny I don't usually hear conservatives sitting around psychoanalysing each other. A bit of a leftist thing to do?

    You critised Tzivonis earlier for self indulgence "'Cause, you know, it's always all about me." However, you in contrast are clearly a model of restraint .

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  52. I think telling everyone to calm down once in while is good idea. Thanks jesse. This particular thread could well have done with some more dispassionate reason and less bluster.

    I wrote in an earlier comment:

    "...the left tends to attract people who are catty, vindictive and otherwise emotionally unbalanced."

    Let's not mimic the example of our ideological adversaries. I first came to the above realisation when I was still a kid and knew nothing of politics. At the time it struck my youthful mind that whenever PM Malcolm Fraser (regarded as a right-winger in those days) came out to speak in public the lefty rent-a-crowd was positively dripping venom and abuse. But the converse was never the case.

    And who here among us can remember those bumper stickers from the 70s? "Give Mal a break. Break one of his legs!".

    I guess in those days the ALP was favoured more by the working class whereas now it's migrants and chardonnay socialists who are its chief clientle.

    Anyways, I was mulling over these issues this evening when lo and behold found this article written today by Andrew Bolt entitled: Mud slinging is so typical of the approach of warm-mongers.

    "No wonder Osama bin Laden last week declared he was a warming worrier, too. He knows this crowd well."

    It seems nothing has changed!

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  53. "I think telling everyone to calm down once in while is good idea. Thanks jesse."

    Telling people to calm down can be a good idea, or it can be an insult. Context matters.

    Jesse was insulting, both to me and to Mr Reeves.

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  54. "Jesse was insulting, both to me and to Mr Reeves."

    Sorry mate I take it back.

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  55. Off-topic.

    Hey, Australian friends. This is an excellent site.

    It seems to me that there are no forums for traditional conservatives where they can engage in free variety of large and complex conversations about political, ideological, community, cultural etc. issues, i.e. move more towards political planning and practical ideas.

    Jim Kalb, a lawyer and Yale graduate, has written extensively in his Turnabout site:

    http://turnabout.ath.cx:8000/

    He has offered his forum to be traditional conservative discussion site; an addition to the spectrum of sites we now have:

    http://turnabout.ath.cx:8000/forum/15

    Would you be interested in these kinds of conversations? If so, could you spread the message among traditional conservatives?

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  56. Addition.

    Introduction of Jim Kalb:

    http://turnabout.ath.cx:8000/resume

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  57. Anyways, I was mulling over these issues this evening when lo and behold found this article written today by Andrew Bolt entitled: Mud slinging is so typical of the approach of warm-mongers.

    That's ironic, considering Bolt himself has been done for defamation in the past.

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  58. R. J. Stove writes for Quadrant, do we have any other famous contributors here?

    a Finn said:

    "He has offered his forum to be traditional conservative discussion site; an addition to the spectrum of sites we now have"

    Are there no sites like this in America? What kinds of sites do you have? Mainstream Republican?

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  59. Are there no sites like this in America?

    - Probably not, but I don't claim to know all sites.

    "Mainstream Republican?"

    From my Finnish point of view, unfortunately yes. ;) There are two liberal parties, the other just has deceptive "conservative" veneer.

    The purpose is not to tie the forum to one country's politics, but to create universally useful information by articles and discussion. Light chat would be more rare. Participants would come from many parts of the Western world.

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  60. Reeves, the word "orgasm" describes very well the nature of the left's reaction to any sensationalist controversial issue. Get over it.

    My criticism was of your overreaction to Windshuttle and the hoax, without appreciating the issue in its entirety. As I pointed out earlier, the magazine is not peer reviewed and the editor’s culpability cannot therefore be measured according to one running a peer-reviewed publication.

    You seem to be one of those conservatives who can't feel part of the magazine's establishment due to your own pedestrian attitudes. You therefore hide your insecurities by irrationally hating it and its editor.

    On a final point - my name is my business. Go take a flying jump.

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  61. Jesse_7 has written: "R. J. Stove writes for Quadrant."

    Not quite true, at least, not true any longer. If memory serves me, the last time I wrote for Quadrant was in 2004. My recent publishing history indicates that I am persona non grata there - as indeed at most non-Catholic magazines - now, though undoubtedly the editor would be in a better position than I am to confirm or to deny this.

    The latest attack on Arnold Reeves's remarks (11:20), proves what was fairly obvious to most readers of this website anyhow: that "Kilroy", whoever he might be, is an ad hominem bully, a nihilist, and a coward who, when he can't construct an argument (and I have never seen him attempt even the beginnings of one), reverts to lavatory-wall talk. If "Kilroy" is a traditionalist conservative, then in the immortal words of the late American journalist Virgil Thomson, "I'll buy a hat and eat it."

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  62. Jesse wrote,

    "Are there no sites like this in America? What kinds of sites do you have? Mainstream Republican?"

    I don't think A Finn is American; I think he's a Finn (correct me if I'm wrong).

    But more importantly, I think Finn wasn't talking about a nationalist site so much as a traditional Christian one, on which national as well as other concerns could be discussed from that point of view.

    I've wanted to see something like that for a while now, and perhaps I should just start my own blog!

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  63. Re: Bartholomew

    Yes, a Finn living in Finland.

    May your blog be succesful.

    Remember to visit Turnabout forum when you want to have a conversation about some complex issue. I am tied right now in Finnish debates, but I will write to Turnabout forum again soon. Turnabout is a good place to start this kind of development.

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  64. Stove,

    I responded in kind and do not apologise for chastising an idiot. If that is as honenim, so be it.

    Also, do not presume to lecture me on what a conservative is. At least I haven’t been published in that virulently anti-Semitic pseudo-intellectual hat-rag The Occidental Quarterly.

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  65. Is it too much to ask that we as conservatives get along? Its not like there's a shortage or opposition out there.

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  66. Jesse,

    I admit I am a little dismayed too. Especially at Stove’s ad honenim attack on me (eg: “bully”, “nihilist”, “coward” etc). But what is particularly annoying is that he claims I have made no attempt at argument when I have on two occasions addressed the topic of the Quadrant hoax, explaining why I believe Windshuttle is being unfairly treated.

    Stove is no idiot, I have read his literature and can therefore conclude that on this occasion he is being wilfully blind. But why? Well, I am aware that he is bitter about not being elected by the Quadrant Board to be the editor of the magazine. Moreover, he defends Reeve’s rant about Windshuttle being “too full of himself” while claiming that I resort to “lavatory wall talk”. There is a reason why Reeve’s inanities are invisible while my “attack” on him is objectionable to Stove. There is a bond that ties these two together, and it is a bond of mutual hatred. The reasons for Stove are clear, for Reeves, less so (which is why I called it “irrational”).

    As with members of the Left, arguing with them is pointless because people motivated by emotion cannot be reasoned with. I expect Stove to add to his insulting comments about me; perhaps Reeves will wade in and fire off a missive or two. Whatever.

    My advise to them both is as it was in the beginning to Reeves alone: get over it.

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  67. Kilroy,

    For what its worth I think you're all great blokes and I hope you can work it out.

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  68. You know, most of the time when people toss about the accusation of 'ad hominem,' the accusation dosn't fit the circumstance.

    Most of the time when people toss about the accusation of 'ad hominem,' they're engaging in a bit of passive-aggressive posturing.

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  69. Back to the original topic of this entry: has anybody read Robert Mann’s reaction to Windshuttle’s third volume of Fabrication of Aboriginal History? It forms the editorial of the current issue of The Monthly. Hard copy citation and web link follow: Robert Mann, “Comment: Keith Windshuttle” The Monthly (February 2010, Issue 53) pp 8-12.

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  70. I dare say that the article by Robert Manne could be worth studying (I have not done so myself as yet, though I intend to do so) but Kilroy's mention of it might have been more appropriate had he bothered to spell Manne's name correctly.

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  71. Windschuttle has promised to reply to Manne's arguments.

    By the way, I'd like to back up Jesse's appeal to direct our energies outwards, rather than toward each other.

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  72. Hey Vincent,

    I can't see how the article is less appropriate just because I spelt Manne's name incorrectly, but thanks for the correction nonetheless.

    His argument seems to be pretty cogent and logical so I too am waiting for Windshuttle's reply.

    Manne himself was once editor of Quadrant, so there is a lot of tension between himself and the present "crew"; I'm sure it wouldn't be unreasonable to suggest that much of the banter is driven by personal animus.

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  73. Mark Richardson, citing Jesse wrote,

    "By the way, I'd like to back up Jesse's appeal to direct our energies outwards, rather than toward each other."

    Yeah, I agree.

    But I wonder: what do you think it is about conservatism that lends itself to faction? Do you think it might be precisely because we lack an ideological core?

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  74. "But I wonder: what do you think it is about conservatism that lends itself to faction? Do you think it might be precisely because we lack an ideological core?"

    No. Generally I think conservatives disagree far less than anyone else.

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  75. "Do you think it might be precisely because we lack an ideological core?"

    I think a conservative ideological core would go something like this. Family, country, God/morality, tradition, effectiveness, stability.

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  76. Of course, those are values, not points of an ideology.

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  77. "Of course, those are values, not points of an ideology".

    Sorry champ, what's an ideology then?

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  78. Jesse wrote,

    "I think a conservative ideological core would go something like this. Family, country, God/morality, tradition, effectiveness, stability."

    Hey Jesse. Yeah, I believe in all of those things too, but what's the common thread? What does family have to do with, say, immigration restriction? I mean, I could come up with something, but nothing really jumps out at you, you know?

    But yet, conservatives all tend to believe in the same things. Well, the way I explain this is not via ideology but via the law of God written on our hearts. These values are all one in God and God alone. And God isn't an ideology.

    That's our strength (because we didn't just think it up; it's true), but I was wondering here if it might be a weak spot. Our beliefs come from this law written on our hearts not a simple, reducible belief (like "equality" etc.), but sometimes we aren't so good at reading our hearts. And I just wondered if that makes us vulnerable.

    I'm not sure if that's right at all. It was more of a question than a statement of fact.

    Can you tell me how you understand a belief in God to be an ideology?

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  79. "Sorry champ, what's an ideology then?"

    Well, Chief, an ideology is a simplistic valuation-in-isolation of just a few (or even just one) of the goods human beings naturally value.

    For instance, "liberals" value equality (just as we do) -- but because they refuse to place it in a proper context, which context includes justice and liberty, their view of equality is ideological; it's not equality-before-the-law, but rather egalitarianism.

    For instance, libertarians value liberty (just as we do) -- but because they refuse to place it in a proper context, which context includes justice and duty, their view of liberty is ideological; it's not liberty-within-the-law, but rather libertinism.


    In response to the question, “What is Conservativism?” I said:
    Conservativism is the mindset and act of knowing and holding to a proper and virtuous balance between the competing goods of human nature.

    My point was that there are things we humans naturally value, and should value, but that there is a tension, and even sometimes a competition, between these goods: if they’re not kept in a proper balance, we end up with monstrous ideologies with destroy individuals or entire societies.

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  80. “Conservatism is the mindset and act of knowing and holding to a proper and virtuous balance between the competing goods of human nature.”

    That's good. Also:

    "but because they refuse to place it in a proper context, which context includes justice and liberty, their view of equality is ideological;"

    An ideological view is one held without regard to any other value. Equality is always good etc. Good analysis.

    On Bartholomew's point. I guess I was getting at ideology as belief system, so then I would say that belief in God is an ideology. Perhaps when we say "ideology" as single mindedness/blinkedness we're using it as a pejorative?

    I would agree with you Bartholomew that conservatism is instinctual. But I would argue a common thread is to "conserve" existing values and benefits. These values and institutions allow us to grow as human beings. So yes I would agree with Llion that one value (eg equality) taken to an extreme is dangerous because it puts in danger other values, eg hierarchy (some people will know more than others).

    I guess family and immigration restriction have in common that family is necessary for a human being to grow and be secure/happy/confident, as a nation is. Unrestricted immigration puts the nation at risk. If a family is sort of tied to a nation (my family developed in the context of this nation), that to a degree puts it at risk too.

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  81. Bartholomew wrote:

    "Our beliefs come from this law written on our hearts not a simple, reducible belief (like "equality" etc.), but sometimes we aren't so good at reading our hearts. And I just wondered if that makes us vulnerable."

    It could be that our beliefs/instincts are not less valid because we sometimes have trouble expressing them. Its just a sped up way of understanding things. I don't have to think excessively about whether something is right or wrong I just sort of know it is (perhaps with a bit of reflection and consideration). If I have to convince myself too much to do something that's probably because its not right.

    I'm sure a leftie reading this will say "Oh they don't know anything and they're proud", I don't see it that way. If things like "family" are in our blood why should we have to think too much about it?

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  82. "but sometimes we aren't so good at reading our hearts. And I just wondered if that makes us vulnerable."

    I think conservatism is both weak and strong. As lefties forever point out, society isn't left wing enough, too conservative etc. That's because people are reluctant to take up left wing options. The pull of conservatism is strong (and in many cases fairly self evident).

    I think conservatism can lead to passivity though. We may disapprove, but we may not go into battle for it. Lefties on the other hand really seem to get themselves into a lather.

    Liberalism is also relevant (and insidious) because it cuts things down to its constituent parts. Life is about being happy, economics/money makes us happy so life is about money. In liberalism we're also all individuals, in the sense that we have important differences. That means that we say "Just because I think this doesn't mean others will", people can then become generally surprised when others agree with them or share their same view. If everyone has their own views and are unsure of the views of others it makes it hard sometimes to be activated.

    I'd frequently not go to national events in the past (I'm not saying I go to them all now), such as Anzac day or Australia day celebrations and other days. I'd say, I only have so many days off, so I'm going to relax etc. But then I'd go to one of those and feel curiously uplifted. Why? Because, it turns out I'm not just an individual who works and takes time off, but a part of a national entity if you will. So it turns out I’m more than just parts but rather a part of an entirety, that has both physical as well as intellectual aspects.

    Conservatives are fond of looking at things in “organic” terms, ie something that has ,many aspects that grows or reduces. This could be in contrast to, for instance, seeing things in strictly mechanical terms, implement this and you’ll get that etc. Conservatives are also less likely to be dictated by “passions”. We must have equality now for instance, which indicates that people are no more than one big idea or cause, again looking at things in a farily narrow way. An entirety focus means that conservatives are probably more long lasting in their ideas and approach, (they don't get excited then quit) but also that they take longer to get going.

    Back to liberalism, if liberals say, oh look after yourself, then there is a reluctance to engage in politics. Can't someone else do it? What's in it for me? Etc. If liberals/lefties use the language of conservatism that can also lure people into thinking that things will be fine. Once things are implemented people (conservative people) are often reluctant to want to actively change them. They may just sigh etc, while the lefties or liberals get on with it.

    The biggest advantage I think that liberals and lefties have is the ability to confuse the issue and silence discussion. There is a reason why lefties/liberals are more likely to be elitist in my view. That's because I don’t think they think their ideas will necessarily pass the popular or common sense test.

    I'm not dismayed by the prospects of conservatism. If we can battle the left/liberals on ideas we can have them there as well as on the common sense/instinctual aspects.

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  83. Jesse wrote,

    "On Bartholomew's point. I guess I was getting at ideology as belief system, so then I would say that belief in God is an ideology."

    OK. I think Ilion addressed this better than I did. I'd just add that the reason an ideology is not just a belief system but an exaggeration is because of its source: the human mind.

    According to dictionary.com, ideology used to mean the,

    1796, "science of ideas," originally "philosophy of the mind which derives knowledge from the senses" (as opposed to metaphysics), from Fr. idéologie "study or science of ideas,"

    That's an important distinction. The beliefs of an ideology come from you, the individual. Metaphysics which has its origin in things above and outside of us does not. Metaphysics (even the non-Christian kind) appeals to things like Mathematical rules, principles, logic, etc. Because you can't see, taste, touch, hear and feel Math, logic, reason, God and so on, they aren't physical.

    Ideology comes from the physical.
    Metaphysics come from things above the physical.

    Traditional Christianity is metaphysical: it goes back to things above us. Humanism, egalitarianism, liberalism, etc. are all ideological: they circle back to us ourselves.

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  84. Oh, and Jesse I think you're right to be optimistic about the prospects of conservative principles; I am too.

    I wondered if conservatism is weak for the same reason that I think you did: we appeal to things that are above us. The thing about stuff above us is that it's, well, above us. It's hard to understand sometimes.

    Not so with liberalism and all other ideologies. Anyone can make up an ideology, can take some set of beliefs that he understands well and use them to explain everything he doesn't. That's like the kid that doesn't like History saying it's all just a bunch of dates and numbers anyway. He understands numbers; he doesn't understand historical events. So he explains the things he doesn't understand (History) in terms of what he does (numbers) and then dismisses it. That's easy.

    Liberals made it all up--and they're proud of it (bizarrely, huh?). They didn't get it from some "flying spaghetti monster." They got it from themselves. In other words, they made it all up.

    It's easier to make it up, but no lie ever stays concealed forever.

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  85. "Ideology comes from the physical.
    Metaphysics come from things above the physical."

    That's interesting.

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