« Valentines Day | Main | Cool Scifi Forum .... »

February 15, 2008


I listened with interest to the debate around the apology by the current Federal PM of Austalia to the Aboriginal people. He apologised for several things done to Australia's aboriginal people over the last hundred years, including the "forced" removal and "conditioning" of aboriginal children. By this is meant that they were placed in regular education, instead of being allowed to follow the practice (which I understand has been re-introduced) of children in this group attending when they happen to take the fancy or to simply go "walk about" when the mood strikes them and their families. Listening to the various sides of the debate I repeatedly heard the words "racist views" or "apartheid" and then that crowning insult thrown by the left - "conservative" - which in their view equates to "Neo-Nazi". The one thing I didn't hear was any suggestion that the attempt to assimilate (another of the words used in the debate) the aboriginal peoples into the mainstream, might have benefited at least some among them.

What was clear from the debate was that the government, having issued the apology, now regards the matter as closed. Those who opposed the issue of the apology made an interesting point, one I find myself agreeing with. What good is an apology if there is to be no attempt to address the still very obvious issue of what to do with a large section of the population (about 300,000 people) who stubbornly refuse to lift themselves out of the stone age culture they would like everyone else in Australia to adopt? Clearly even the Left on this argument haven't a clue either, since there were the usual mutterings about returning the land to its rightful inhabitants, compensation and then - nothing constructive or practical. Except of course the usual propaganda, twisted history and ideology.

It is a very interesting and difficult conundrum. First it is filled with emotions, which never help to settle any problem. I have no doubt that the Australians of the 1890's saw the aboriginal peoples (as indeed did many Europeans) as an unfortunate sub-species to be protected, educated and, if possible, helped toward "enlightenment". In frustration, no doubt, they adopted the policy of enforced separation of children from parents deemed to be beyond reform and genuinely thought they were doing the "right thing". I have equally no doubt that those who now jump up and down about this and other "abuses" of the past will reject any thought that their fathers and grandfathers might have had the highest of ideals - ideals they held as dearly as the current crop of apologists cling to their desire to wear sackclothe and ashes and go about flagellating the rest of us for the "sins" of the past. The fact is that we look back with the perfect vision of hindsight and, as a philosopher once remarked, "The past is a foreign country from which we are now barred."

We cannot put right the mistakes of the past with meaningless apologies. And the apology is meaningless if it does not include a determination to provide a clear and acceptable means to provide a way out of the hardship that so many aborigines claim is a result of the history for which the apology has been made. That was very much the point made by those who opposed the statement. Yet this is the latest fetish of the left of any and every political spectrum. It is, in fact, part of the "victim" culture so beloved of Labour in this country and in Europe - and certain sections of the US and Canadian political spectrum.

Wherever you go these days there is some lobby campaigning for an apology for something done to someone with whom they seldom have much more than a tenuous connection. A classic example has to be Stephen Spielberg's dumping the Chinese Olympic Directorship. Instead of using his role to campaign quietly, he's decided to "grandstand" it and publically attempt to humiliate the Chinese. Now I would not rate the Chinese government as the world's most benevolent regime, but the fact is that they have to work out their own solutions within their own culture. And the culture of "Protest" is not one they have any truck with. So to promote protest in that country is not only to ask for trouble, but to visit it upon the heads of those gullible enough to listen to Westerners who have more sensibilities than sense. Yes China has an appalling Human Rights record, but so do a number of the "Protest" lobby's favourite regimes. I'm sorry, but Spielberg's resigning on the grounds that China should have stopped the slaughter in Dharfur is plain stupid. China is not concerned with what happens anywhere outside China at the moment, though I fully expect that that will change drastically if they are put under enough pressure - and it won't be the countries we disapprove of that they then target.

This culture of apology seems to me to have sprung from the protest movements of the 1960's and the Hippy culture that gave rise to these neo-puritans (on any matter THEY disapprove of) is now propelling the West into a very dangerous possible confrontation with the vigourous and rising powers off the East that do not share our obsession with "Human Rights" or our concept of "democracy".

Perhaps it is time to sit back and think carefully about the whole ethos that drives this urge to apologise for everything while at the same time trying to dictate behaviour to everyone else........

Posted by The Gray Monk at February 15, 2008 06:40 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Spot on!

Our politicians, not just you Brits', but our American ones as well and obviously the Aussies' as well, are apparently totally incapable of comprehending that there are people in this world who do not share our own sensibilities. They deal with Muslim countries and groups without bothering to read the Koran, for example, and even if they did read it, they wouldn't take it seriously -- therefore, they wouldn't believe any Muslims did, either.

The same applies to most other issues -- the greatest problems we face in western society these days are based on the actions and politics of people whose very logic is 180 degrees different from our own, yet our leaders insist upon adressing issues as though all involved shared the same sense of reality.

The pomposity and pontification of our own leaders and legal systems are the primary reasons why the west is going down, yet We, The People are the very ones who are voting these folks into power and keeping them there.

Posted by: Seth at February 15, 2008 11:00 AM

Thanks Seth, yes, I believe that this is a disease that has infected all Western societies. It remains to be seen whether it can be cured or whether it is terminal.

Posted by: The Gray Monk at February 15, 2008 04:47 PM