Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sir Henry Parkes

Still reading Judith Brett's biography of Alfred Deakin. On p.160 there is a description by Deakin of another of the founding fathers of Australian Federation, Sir Henry Parkes. It's worth quoting, I think, because it shows how keenly a man's character was assessed at the time (late 1800s/early 1900s):
First and foremost of course in every eye was the commanding figure of Sir Henry Parkes...His studied attitudes expressed either distinguished humility or imperious command. His manner was invariably dignified, his speech slow, and his pronunciation precise...He had always in his mind's eye his own portrait of a great man, and constantly adjusted himself to it...Movements, gestures, inflexions, attitude harmonized, not simply because they were intentionally adopted but because there was in him the substance of the man he dressed himself to appear...

It was not a rich nor a versatile personality, but it was massive, durable and imposing, resting upon elementary qualities of human nature elevated by a strong mind. He was cast in the mould of a great man and though he suffered from numerous pettinesses, spites and failings, he was in himself a full-blooded, large-brained, self-educated Titan whose natural field was found in Parliament and whose resources of character and intellect enabled him in his later years to overshadow all his contemporaries.

In 1890, Parkes represented NSW at a Federation Conference held in Melbourne's Queen's Hall. He pushed the case for federation by reminding his audience of what the colonies shared:
The crimson thread of kinship runs through us all. Even the native born Australians are Britons, as much as the men born in the cities of London and Glasgow. We know the value of their British origin. We know that we represent a race...for the purposes of settling new colonies, which never had its equal on the face of the earth. We know, too, that conquering wild territory, and planting civilised communities therein, is a far nobler, a far more immortalizing achievement than conquest by feats of arms. (p.161)

Parkes was politically a liberal. At this time, the logic of liberalism had not yet unfolded to the point at which Anglo Australians thought it wrong to uphold their own existence as a distinct people (their own ethnic existence). For Parkes, at least, this belief in preserving his own nation was not because of feelings of supremacy. He supported restrictions on Chinese immigration, for instance, on the following basis:
They are a superior set of people . . . a nation of an old and deep-rooted civilization. . . . It is because I believe the Chinese to be a powerful race capable of taking a great hold upon the country, and because I want to preserve the type of my own nation . . . that I am and always have been opposed to the influx of Chinese.

This outlook was to hold until the middle of the twentieth century in Australia, before giving way to the situation familiar to our own time, in which both left and right liberals came to support a civic nationalism and then a multiculturalism. It is not a development that the Fathers of Federation would have supported.

Sir Henry Parkes statue in Parkes, NSW

11 comments:

  1. And after the multiculturalism, the liberals will be supporting revanchism. UK politicians are now demanding that anyone who supports the message of Enoch Powell be locked up; no different than in South Africa where those criticizing the torturing Mandelas are subject to criminal prosecution and extralegal violence.

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  2. The history of the founding fathers of Australia needs to be claimed. Eventually the left will get around to unpersoning them so Traditionalists need to tell their stories loudly and proudly now. Their achievements were certainly remarkable and should be better known.

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  3. Also sad to see the Guardian gloating about settling 120 Syrians in Eltham today.

    I watched the leftist protests they did in favour of bringing them there. The usual mix of Trotskyists and Anarchists.

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    1. The An-Com protestors are just the shock troops, your FM Bishop is too much of a coward to do it personally.

      But there really are liberals that want resettlement, and these voices will be eagerly amplified by the establishment.

      The man quoted by the Guardian was using the slur "white bread", we are the only people that hate ourselves to this degree.

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    2. Yes, saw the Guardian article and the "white bread" slur. I usually try to take things philosophically whilst still keeping up the political work, but I have to admit I was angered. I am still amazed by Anglo self-hatred, as I am by the way Anglo leftists think they are being highly moral in undermining their own ethnic group. So much of it comes from Anglo school teachers, like my own colleagues.

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    3. But they ARE being highly moral if your morality is driven by a pathological degree of compassion (and empathy) which leads to universalism and self-abnegation. And this is the main driver of the left today.

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    4. The president of the pro-migrant "Welcome to Eltham" group is Gillian Essex. She's a baby boomer and former teacher/principal who wrote an article for the ABC describing her first skinny dipping experience.

      The only other named member of the group is Nina Kelabora, a graphic designer.

      I looked at the picture of the "demonstration" they held out the back of the Eltham bookshop across from the Woolworths carpark.

      I'm a bit of an amateur far-left watcher and I recognise over half the attendees as members of various Marxist and Anarchist groups. Probably only a couple dozen locals.

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  4. Liberalism is a missile aimed at the heart of society. Like a conventional missile, it develops a trajectory and momentum, which become unstoppable leading a trail of rubble in its wake. Liberalism leads to atheism and individualism which ultimately lead to social fragmentation and subversion.

    It is naive, therefore, to think that the Fathers of the Federation would not have supported multiculturalism, the inevitable and inescapable result of the liberal reforms they started. They shrewdly understood that their populations would not have accepted it and the infiltration of alien peoples like the Chinese would have elicited a powerful and probable revolt against liberalism and return to a stronger form of traditional culture abandoning the liberal path and setting the liberal programme back by decades.

    The success of liberalism is dependent upon its slow process of infiltration and evolution without triggering a backlash.

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    1. Liberalism is not conductive to long term planning. This is why it has never been able to fully incorporate environmentalism.

      I learned once that Australia has several different railway gauges, which seems to have been common in the British Empire. It explains much about why the Cape-to-Cairo railway was never completed, while Russia was able to complete the Trans-Siberian with a worse economy.

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  5. The man of the nineteenth century was intended to develop the character of a gentleman and he was judged by his ability to reach that standard of conduct.

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  6. Parkes' forthright acknowledgement of the Chinese as a "superior set of people...a nation...deep-rooted...powerful...capable of taking a great hold upon the country..." was as good and sufficient an argument as ever, for the so-called "white Australia policy" or for a sincere and fair defense of any nation.

    Nationalism is naturally weak. The more it's exposed, the stronger the moral authority required to defend itself. The West is in moral melt down, when it needs to be armoring up.

    Don't see that happening.

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