Friday, January 25, 2008

Roebuck doesn't like the natives

There must be an island somewhere for Peter Roebuck. He's a former English cricketer who decided to become an Australian citizen despite apparently not liking Australians.

Earlier in the month he wrote an extraordinary column for the Sydney Morning Herald in which he described the Australian cricket team as a "pack of dogs". Now he's gone further and written a column for the Melbourne Age in which he delivers a garbled attack on native born Australians:

AUSTRALIA must not be waylaid by nauseating nationalists convinced that the defeat in Perth was caused not by a combination of absent friends and wayward bowling but by a sudden bout of politeness. Nor must it take heed of backslappers arguing that India's celebrations and appealing at the WACA Ground matched Australia's excesses in Sydney.

That is to confuse joy with rage. Likewise, the umpiring was acceptable and even-handed. Only lamingtons imagine otherwise. The game is up for that lot. It is time to move on. It is debatable whether people born in this country should be allowed to vote. It is no achievement to emerge from a womb. They could just as well be in Winnipeg. Australia is best loved by its settlers.

The "lamingtons" (a kind of Australian cake) are, it seems, parochial, native born Australians, who despite their "nauseating nationalism" don't have much love of country, might as well be somewhere else, and have no particular eligibility for political rights, unlike the more worthy "settlers" (migrants).


  1. Just imagine if someone disparaged people who are not Australian-born in a similar manner. The left would be hysterical.

    It seems that the left believe that only racism against certain groups is unnacceptable. But that in itself is a racist double-standard.

  2. Leon, my thoughts exactly.

    If Roebuck had made similar comments about any other group he would now be under heavy fire. There's a double standard.

  3. "It is no achievement to emerge from a womb. They could just as well be in Winnipeg. Australia is best loved by its settlers."

    This reminds me of Ayn Rand's reply to a heckler once. Rand, who had escaped to the U.S. from Soviet Russia around 1925 and had a heavy Russian accent, was speaking on behalf of Wendell Willkie, the 1940 Republican candidate for president, at a street corner rally somehwere. A man in the crowd interrupted her and said, "What do you know about it? You weren't even born here." And Rand retorted, "That's right, I chose to be an American. What did you do, besides having been born?"

    Now it's a fine answer and I always liked it. And it's certainly true that a person who out of love and belief chooses to live in a certain country or to join a certain religion, may have a greater appreciatoin for that country or religion than a person who was born in it. But of course this attitude can easily be taken too far, and turn into a universalist contempt for all concrete communities.

  4. I will amend my comment and say that there is an offensive implication in Rand's comment to the heckler even as originally made. She gets a break because she was justifiably defending herself from someone who was saying that she had no right to express her views on American politics because she was an immigrant. But at the same time, she was implicitly putting down all people who are native to the country in which they live. She was saying that natives cannot possibly have a rational love of country, that only immigrants can. She was saying that immigrants are by nature superior to natives. Which makes her sound like today's proponents of open borders.

    In the early 1990s I said in conversation with a friend, that Ayn Rand was the first neocon—meaning that she treated America as a pure, universalist idea rather than as an actual country and people.

  5. Roebuck is at it again. He can't wait for Australia to disappear ...

    Lily-livered lilywhites have held cricket back:

    Australia is advancing ... It is all part of the same process, a long-awaited and stiffly resisted move towards enlightenment.