Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Something else already?

There are signs that our political class is already considering abandoning the idea of an Australian nation in favour of a larger Pacific confederation.

The ALP has actually reached the point of putting forward a policy paper which advocates establishing a Pacific Community (Australia, NZ, PNG and the smaller Pacific nations like Fiji). There would be a Pacific Parliament, a Pacific Court, a Pacific Common Market, a common currency and military integration.

Hugh White, a professor of strategic studies at the Australian National University, approves of the plan and notes that "Closer Pacific regionalism - even eventual confederation - may be an idea whose time has come".

Note that the ALP policy even includes bringing Islander labour to Australia, as part of a free movement of labour.

What this shows, above all else, is how superficial the idea of "civic nationalism" is. Traditionalist conservatives support an ethnic nationalism, in which a nation is founded on a common kinship, history, language, culture, religion - on a tradition which clearly distinguishes one nation from another.

Liberals have abandoned such ethnic nationalism because it's not something that is determined by individual choice, but rather is something inherited. Instead, they have adopted the idea of a civic nationalism in which anyone could choose to become a citizen of any country.

But once national identity is so easily transferable, there is no longer a reason to maintain existing nation states. Hence the fact that our politicians can imagine making us all citizens of some other entity, alongside different peoples to whom we are not closely related and whose traditions we do not share.

1 comment:

  1. While I agree with most your conclusions, your posts have a strong fixation of always viewing events through the prism of conservative vs liberal. Times and people change. Western Civilization has always been changing, that has been its strength. Highlight the hypocrisy, and the double standards that has become a fixture in order to preserve the liberal ideology , don't get fixated and bogged down by the liberal vs conservative dogma. Its getting a bit tad tiring Mark - Long time reader of your blog.