The Pocket Windschuttle now in print
Long-time journalist Tony Thomas ( The Age economics writer 1971–79, BRW 1981–2001) has teamed with historian and Quadrant editor Keith Windschuttle to deliver to lay readers an accessible version of Windschuttle's huge tome on the Stolen Generations.
The Thomas version is called Stolen Generations: The Pocket Windschuttle , and is a 104-page paperback condensation of the original 656-page hard cover book The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, Volume Three, The Stolen Generations 1881-2008 , published a year ago. [full text]
Historical Truth, Postmodern Theory and the Fabrication of Aboriginal History
Lecture to NSW HSC History Extension conference,
Tom Mann Theatre, Sydney, May 26 2010
The notion that all history is politicised, that it is impossible for the historian to shed his political interests and prejudices, has become the most corrupting influence of all. It has turned the traditional role of the historian, to stand outside his contemporary society in order to seek the truth about the past, on its head. It has allowed historians to write from an overtly partisan position. It has led them to make things up and to justify this to themselves on the grounds that it is all for a good cause. Australia 's best-known author of Aboriginal history, Henry Reynolds, has written: “history should not only be relevant but politically utilitarian, … it should aim to right old injustices, to discriminate in favour of the oppressed, to actively rally to the cause of liberation.” [full text]
Mind Your Language, Robert
Quadrant, May, 2010
... Since public apologies are now customary rituals on the Left, Manne should make two of them: one to me for making a slanderous accusation for which he had no evidence, and the other to the Aboriginal people of Australia for describing them in quasi-zoological terminology that, as he says himself, is the equivalent of using the word “nigger” without inverted commas. [full text]
Manne Avoids the Main Debate
Quadrant, May, 2010
The central point in the debate over the Stolen Generations is the accusation that children were forcibly removed from indigenous Australians as young as possible for the immediate purpose of raising them separately from and ignorant of their culture and people, and for the ultimate purposes of suppressing any distinct Aboriginal culture. The purported aim was to end the existence of the Aborigines as a distinct people. As the Australian National University historian Peter Read defined the accusation: “welfare officers, removing children solely because they were Aboriginal, intended and arranged that they should lose their Aboriginality, and that they never return home.”Or as Australia's Human Rights Commission, wrote in its 1997 report Bringing Them Home : “The policy of forcible removal of children from Indigenous Australians to other groups for the purpose of raising them separately from and ignorant of their culture and people could properly be labelled ‘genocidal' in breach of binding international law.” Using these works as its sources, the SBS television series First Australians encapsulated the charge for a popular audience: “Between 1910 and 1970 an estimated 50,000 Aboriginal children were removed from their families. Most were aged under five.”
My book, The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, Volume Three, The Stolen Generations , ( Macleay Press , 2009) challenges these claims. Robert Manne has now responded in three separate places — ABC Radio National, the Weekend Australian and The Monthly . In none of them, did he focus on the central charges above. He was unwilling or unable to engage in a genuine debate. [full text]
Flawed History Keeps Myth Alive
The Weekend Australian, January 30-31, 2010
... What little support there was for the Stolen Generations thesis always came from selected quotations taken out of context by politically motivated historians. Peter Read claimed the files of individuals removed by the Aborigines Protection Board openly revealed the motives of those in charge. “The racial intention was obvious enough for all prepared to see, and some managers cut a long story short when they came to that part of the committal notice ‘Reason for Board taking control of the child'. They simply wrote ‘for being Aboriginal'.”
My examination of the 800 files in the same archive found only one official ever wrote a phrase like that. His actual words were “Being an Aboriginal”. But even this sole example did not confirm Read's thesis. The girl concerned was not a baby but 15 years old. Nor was she sent to an institution. She was immediately placed in employment as a domestic servant in Moree, the closest town to the Euraba Aboriginal Station she came from. Three years later, in 1929, she married an Aboriginal man at the Church of England in Moree. In short, she was not removed as young as possible, she was not removed permanently, and she retained enough contact with the local Aboriginal community to marry into it. The idea that she was the victim of some vast conspiracy to destroy Aboriginality is fanciful. [full text]
Why There Were No Stolen Generations
Extract from the Introduction to The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, Volume Three, The Stolen Generations, 1881-2008
Macleay Press, December 2009
My conclusion is that not only is the charge of genocide unwarranted, but so is the term ‘Stolen Generations'. Aboriginal children were never removed from their families in order to put an end to Aboriginality or, indeed, to serve any improper government policy or program. The small numbers of Aboriginal child removals in the twentieth century were almost all based on traditional grounds of child welfare. Most children affected had been orphaned, abandoned, destitute, neglected or subject to various forms of domestic violence, sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. Historians have given Western Australia a particularly loathsome reputation, but when you examine the records you find the majority of children placed in state Aboriginal settlements were from destitute families and they went there with their parents. In New South Wales, some children became part of an apprenticeship indenture program to help Aboriginal youth qualify for the workforce. A significant number of other children were voluntarily placed in institutions by Aboriginal parents to give them an education and a better chance in life. [full text]
Published December 2009 by Macleay Press, 656 pages
The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, Volume Three, The Stolen Generations 1881–2008
by Keith Windschuttle
$59.95 Hb, ISBN 9781876492199
In 1997, the Human Rights Commission made the most notorious accusation ever directed against Australia. It accused this country of committing genocide against the Aborigines by stealing their children. The purported intention of governments and welfare officials was to institutionalize and assimilate the children into white society and thus rid Australia of its Aboriginal people. In 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologized to Aboriginal people for these policies.
This book is based an exhaustive examination of the archival records of child removals and of government policies and laws. It also scrutinizes the work of the historians on whom the Human Rights Commission relied. It finds the historical research that created this interpretation was shoddy and untrustworthy. Aboriginal children were never removed from their families in order to put an end to Aboriginality or, indeed, for any improper government policy or program. The small numbers of Aboriginal child removals in the twentieth century were almost all based on traditional grounds of child welfare. Most children affected had been orphaned, abandoned, destitute, neglected, malnourished or subject to various forms of domestic violence, sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. The notion that this amounted to genocide came from creative interpretations of selected evidence taken out of context by politically motivated historians. There were no Stolen Generations.
[Buy now from MacleayPress website]
NB: Volume Three is published out of sequence. Volume Two and Volume Four will be published later.
Bill Stanner and the End of
Aboriginal High Culture
Paradoxically, Stanner's most impressive single piece of writing, which Robert Manne's introduction to the 2009 collection rightly describes as his ‘masterpiece', can be read as an argument against the intellectual rationale behind the Coombs package that Stanner himself, wearing his hat as government adviser, had long supported. Titled ‘Durmugam: A Nangiomeri', the essay was written in 1960 but was based on the field work he had done in the 1930s among Aboriginal people in the Daly River district of the north-west of the Northern Territory . It undermined Coombs and his followers by disproving several of their key premises, especially the notion that Aborigines could only be satisfied living in their own country and that title to their country would give them a viable platform on which to build a life based on traditional culture. It revealed Aborigines were not as locked into their traditional ways of life as the leftist orthodoxy claimed. They could, and often wanted to, change where they lived and adapt to completely different circumstances. [full text]
Stuart Macintyre and the Blainey Affair
Quadrant, October, 2008
At the last federal election, Kevin Rudd promised an “education revolution”. However, the appointment last month of Stuart Macintyre to draft the national history syllabus for Australian high schools is anything but revolutionary. It is a return to the past with a vengeance. It is guaranteed to entrench within the teaching of history all the intellectually reactionary trends that emerged from 1960s radicalism and which have dominated the profession for more than three decades: history from below, relativism of interpretation, the politics of ethnicity and gender, and an outlook and practice inspired by Macintyre's commitment to Communism. [full text]
William Wilberforce: the Great Emancipator
In March 2007, on the two hundredth anniversary of the British parliament's decision to abolish the slave trade, there was a flurry of contention in the letters pages of several newspapers and blogs. The points at issue were whether the British had really been the first in the world to take such action and whether the parliamentarian William Wilberforce deserved as much credit as he was then getting in the news media. Those taking umbrage were members of the political Left, who were determined to insist their side always led the way in the progress and liberation of the downtrodden. They claimed the first to abolish slavery were actually the Jacobins of the French Revolution in 1794, thirteen years before the British. The last thing they wanted to concede was that one of the greatest single blows ever struck in the history of human freedom had been initiated and enacted by a conservative, middle-class Englishman heading a political movement of evangelical Christians. [full text]
A depressing new agenda for Aboriginal politics
Quadrant, June 2008
... In short, the United Nations has endorsed a program which, if introduced in Australia, would revive the entire separatist agenda of Aboriginal politics of the Hawke-Keating era, an agenda which, apart from lucrative positions here and abroad for a select class of tertiary-educated activists, has had no positive outcomes for Aboriginal people to speak of, and whose awful failings are reproduced with depressing frequency in the reports of one commission of inquiry after another ... [Full text]
A Cribber and a Fibber
A case of plagiarism by Robert Manne
Quadrant, May 2008
... It is a pity to have to report that Manne has spoilt his case by indulging in an entirely different vice of his own. For his essay abounds in the academic sin of plagiarism. Manne plagiarises not inadvertently, just once or twice, but several times throughout the essay. It is integral to the very way he makes his case about the social damage caused by pornography. In this work, plagiarism becomes his modus operandi. [full text] ["I am totally innocent" -- Manne]
Aboriginal 'genocide' claim denied
The Australian, February 9-10, 2008
Bringing Them Home, the landmark report that found indigenous children were systematically taken from their parents to "breed out" Aboriginality, was built on the "misrepresentations and misinterpretations" of professional historians, according to Keith Windschuttle.
In a preliminary extract from his forthcoming book, published today in The Weekend Australian, Mr Windschuttle questions the existence of the Stolen Generations and claims the policies involved were largely benevolent and contained elements that should be revived today. [Full text]
Don't let facts spoil the day
The Australian, February 9-10, 2008
... Bringing Them Home did no original research of its own in NSW. Instead, it relied upon Read's writings. It quoted verbatim his claim that the files on individual children removed by the Aborigines Protection Board confirmed his case: "Some managers cut a long story short when they came to that part of the committal notice 'Reason for board taking control of the child'. They simply wrote 'for being Aboriginal'."
To pretend this was commonplace, however, is a serious misrepresentation. In a debate with Read last year at the History Teachers Association's annual conference, I asked him how many files bore those words. He confessed to the audience there were only two. When I investigated the same batch of 800 files in the NSW archives, I found there was only one. Its words were "Being an Aboriginal". There were two others with the single word "Aboriginal". [Full text]
Long may open debates continue
The Australian, December 14, 2007
IN November 2000, Paddy McGuinness and I took part in a debate at Bob Gould's bookshop in the inner-Sydney suburb of Newtown. We debated historian Henry Reynolds and Gould himself, contesting their view that Australian history amounted to a long trail of Aboriginal blood that ended in a cesspit of massacres and genocide.
Although Gould has spent his adult life as a doctrinaire leftist and was predictably hostile to our views, he did make one perceptive comment. He said if such a debate had been held in any city but Sydney, and had not been politically sanctioned by its staging at his shop, there would have been a riot and Paddy and I would have been torn limb from limb.
At the time, that was certainly true. It was only seven years ago and so much has changed in the meantime that it is hard to remember how debate on topics such as this was then forbidden. [Full text]
New Quadrant chief will give no quarter
The Australian, October 24, 2007
LOOK out luvvies! Keith Windschuttle, scourge of leftist historians, will campaign against decadence in the arts when he takes over as editor of Quadrant magazine next year.
Consider Wagner's Tannhauser, that myth of the sacred and profane now on show at the Sydney Opera House. "There's a guy painted in gold (who) stands there with a giant erection - symbolises lust or something," Windschuttle said yesterday. "That kind of gratuitous offensiveness is almost everywhere." [Full text]
Veteran journal to target youth
The Australian, October 25, 2007
QUADRANT magazine, a liberal-conservative creature of the Cold War, wants younger readers and writers but isn't wedded to the web.
"A publication of this kind is not going to appeal to the YouTube generation at all," incoming editor Keith Windschuttle says.
Quadrant articles -- up to 6000 words -- demand attention and some maturity. "The net is really short term, quick perusal stuff," he says.
Windschuttle -- a polemical historian who was once a leftist media critic of Quadrant -- will succeed P.P. McGuinness next year as editor of the small but influential journal of politics and culture. [Full text]
Discrediting the Politicization of History
History News Network and Minding the Campus
October 1, 2007
The University of Colorado's dismissal of Ward Churchill for academic fraud was not only a welcome decision in support of scholarly standards, it will also go some way towards discrediting one of the most depressing tendencies of our era, the politicization of history.
In Australia, Churchill has long been frequently cited by historians of Aboriginal affairs. In their introduction to a special “genocide” edition of the academic journal Aboriginal History in 2001, the editors supported Churchill's contentions that colonialism in America and the Pacific was worse than the Holocaust and that the British were the most murderous of Europe's imperial powers. [Full text]
Postmodernism and the Fabrication of Aboriginal History
Lecture to NSW Higher School Certificate History Extension Conference,
Tom Mann Theatre, Sydney
May 30 2007
History is an intellectual discipline that goes back to the ancient Greeks. The first real historian, Thucydides, did a remarkable thing. He set out to distance himself from his own political system and to write a work that examined critically what happened to Greece in the Peloponnesian Wars. He not only told of his own side's virtues and victories but of its mistakes and disasters. Thucydides also distanced himself from his own culture and religion. Instead of the mythical tales that all previous human societies had used to affirm their place in the cosmos, he faced the fact that the Greek oracles could not foretell their future and that the Greek gods could not ensure their fortunes. In short, what was remarkable about Thucydides, and all those who have followed him, was that they made a clean break with myths and legends. Instead, they defined history as the pursuit of truth about the past. [Full text]
Abolition of the slave trade: the Australian connection
Quadrant, April 2007
According to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the 200th anniversary of his country's abolition of the slave trade tomorrow offers the chance to say how profoundly shameful slavery was. Equally, however, it provides the occasion to commemorate those who abolished the trade.
In 1807, the British were the first people in the world to do so. This was one of the great feats in the history of human freedom and its originators and their motives deserve to be understood and celebrated today.
Moreover, there was a strong connection between the British colonisation of Australia and those who campaigned against slavery. Today, our contemporary historians avoid this topic. Hence, few Australians are aware of how powerful the abolitionist sentiment was in colonial Australia or how strongly English abolitionists influenced the political and moral foundations of this country. [full text] [footnoted version]
Revisiting "Catalonia" again
New Criterion, April, 2007
George Orwell was a great writer and a good man but he was not perfect. Anthony Daniels's re-reading of Homage to Catalonia [ The New Criterion , February 2007] performs a public service by showing that, although he was one of the first English socialists to denounce the tyranny of the Soviet Union, Orwell's romanticism about the Spanish working class nonetheless harbored a reverence for totalitarianism of its own. There are other aspects of Orwell's political writings that also deserve to be better known. [full text]
The English-speaking century
New Criterion, February 2007
In the past one hundred years, four successive political movements—Prussian militarism, German Nazism, Japanese imperialism, and international Communism—mounted military campaigns to conquer Europe, Asia, and the world. Had any of them prevailed, it would have been a profound loss for civilization as we know it. Yet over the course of these bids for power, a coalition headed first by Britain and then by the United States emerged not just to oppose but to destroy them utterly.
From the long perspective of human affairs, these victories must stand as among the most remarkable of the past three millennia. They were as decisive for world history as the victories of the ancient Greeks over Persia, of Rome over Carthage, and of the Franks over the Umayyad Caliphate. [full text]
Wall Street Journal Asia, February 8 2007
With a pen stroke, Australian Prime Minister John Howard recently ended a concept that has dominated Australian immigration policy for more than 30 years: multiculturalism. A nation of immigrants, Australia has long tussled with two competing ideas about how to integrate new citizens. Traditionalists wanted immigrants to shed their past and adopt mainstream Australian values; multiculturalists wanted them to retain the cultural allegiances of their old countries intact. By renaming the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, the prime minister stamped his approval on the traditional approach. [full text]
The Bulletin, January 30 2007
Forum: Are We Still The Lucky Country?
... Overall, then, second-rate has always been the wrong adjective for Australia. It tells more about the insecurities of those who use the label than anything else. It is especially untrue today when to be an Australian is to be a citizen of the world, and yet still live in the best country on Earth. [full text]
The struggle for Australian values
age of deceit
Quadrant, January-February 2007
The 2006 Sir John Latham Memorial Lecture, Sydney, November 8, 2006
... The aim of all this, of course, is to undermine the moral legitimacy of the Howard government by portraying it as a band of heartless monsters with blood on their hands. But there is another, deeper agenda. The Left regards Howard and his ministers primarily as opportunistic demagogues exploiting an underlying popular culture, which itself is really to blame. At a conference at Oxford University in September a prominent Australian political figure, who unfortunately I can't name because of Chatham House rules, told his audience that the Australian people had become so sated by a dumbed-down media and jingoistic shock jocks that they thought refugee boat people should be either shot or drowned. This, plus the widespread belief on the Left in the veracity of the SIEV-X story—which is a genuinely shocking defamation of the Australian Navy—is a measure of how morally unhinged the story's supporters have become. [full text]
The nation and the intellectual Left
New Criterion, January 2007
... there is no mystery about how to combat the long campaign waged by the intelligentsia to undermine the nation and to create “community without nation.” It requires a contest for ideas and a contest for the electorate. It means rejecting racial, ethnic, sexual, and religious compartmentalization, as well as the vast legal and ideological baggage accumulated in its train. It means regarding victimhood not as a virtue but a weakness. It means reviving national history as a political narrative and putting the interests of the democratic majority first. In the English-speaking world, it means reviving the values of the thousand-year-old British tradition ... [full text]
The liberal inheritance
The Australian, November 13 2006
The history wars and the culture wars are a fraud, declares Kevin Rudd. In the latest edition of The Monthly magazine, the Labor frontbencher says they are the creation of that wily coyote, John Howard, who wants to divert people's attention while behind their backs he devotes himself to the real business of imposing an “unrestrained market capitalism” that sweeps all before it. The result, according to Rudd, is that family relations and community institutions are being laid waste by the unforgiving forces of neo-liberalism, materialism and consumerism ... Unfortunately for Rudd, his evidence about social change comes from feminist authors whose data is jaundiced and out-of-date. [full text]
Black armband history and the fangs of the left
Prime Minister John Howard addresses
Quadrant magazine's 50th anniversay dinner
Sydney, October 3 2006
... Of the causes that Quadrant has taken up that are close to my heart none is more important than the role it has played as counterforce to the black armband view of Australian history. Until recent times, it had become almost de rigueur in intellectual circles to regard Australian history as little more than a litany of sexism, racism and class warfare. Again, it would take the brave voices of a few individuals to take a stand against the orthodoxies of the day. And again Quadrant has been an outpost of lively non-conformity in its willingness to defend both Geoffrey Blainey and Keith Windschuttle against the posses of political correctness. Nowhere, I suggest, have the fangs of the left so visibly been on display as they were in a campaign based on character assassination and intellectual dishonesty through their efforts to trash the name and reputation of that great Australian historian Geoffrey Blainey. [full text]
The culture wars Down Under: Keith Windschuttle, the Aborigines, and the Left
William D. Rubinstein
Social Affairs Unit, UK
26 July 2006 and 8 August 2006
"Culture wars" in Australia were previously fought by the Old Left; today, by the new post-modernist left and its opponents. During the past few years, an enormous controversy has been generated in Australia by one conservative historian, Keith Windschuttle. The controversy has attracted international attention and has international implications. [Part One: full text]
... Windschuttle's book -- and his imposing research and intellectual framework and cogency in debate, at least a match for Manne's own -- acted as a red rag to a bull for Manne, who has become the leader of the anti-Windschuttle forces on the Australian academic left. It seems to me that, having listened to their televised debate over Aboriginal history and read the exchanges between them, that there is little doubt that Windschuttle has consistently and clearly gotten the better of Manne.[Part Two: full text]
ABC board appointments
Senator the Hon Helen Coonan
Media Release, 15 June 2006
The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, today announced the reappointment of Mr Donald McDonald AC as Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) for a further six months, and the appointment of two new non-executive Directors … “I am also pleased to announce that Mr Peter Hurley and Mr Keith Windschuttle have been appointed as non-executive directors to the ABC Board from 14 June 2006, each for a period of five years,” Senator Coonan said. “I am confident that Mr Hurley's range of business and management experience will be an asset to the ABC Board, as will Mr Windschuttle's background in media, journalism and publishing.” [full text] [disappointment in Melbourne] ["beyond controversial"] [Phillip Adams] [Media Watch] [Andrew Bolt] [Gerard Henderson] [shock and awe among the academic Left: "I can hardly believe my ears", "I'm gobsmacked", "I screamed when I heard the news -- anger, rage and despair"]
The whitewashing of Aboriginal manhood
The Australian, May 23 2006
there are no reports of traditional culture ever sanctioning the horrific behaviour described last week by Alice Springs Crown prosecutor Nanette Rogers. Only recently has anyone heard of such deplorable sexual acts against little children. Their frequency today suggests something else has gone deeply awry. ... The only solution is to stop funding and thus close down all those settlements where unemployment is chronic and where there are no economic prospects, which is most of them. [full text]
The return of postmodernism in Aboriginal history
Quadrant, April 2006
... To describe indigenous myths as “the authoritative bearers of the truth about history” is to do a disservice to the interests of Aboriginal people. It is just as bad as affirming the ancient Aboriginal belief that sickness is caused by sorcery. It is no different to missionaries telling them the Book of Genesis provides an accurate account of the creation of the world.
Moreover, postmodernist history is essentially dishonest. It is born out of bad faith, since those who profess the theory don't take seriously the stories they pretend to endorse. Attwood might feign support for the Captain Cook myths of Northern Australia but he doesn't believe them himself. [full text]
Why Australia is not a racist country
Quadrant, March 2006
According to the Monash University historian Marilyn Lake , the yearning for a White Australia has never died. In the midst of the violence between Lebanese and Australian youth on Sydney beaches last December, she claimed the Bulletin's old 1908 masthead, “ Australia for the White Man”, still echoes in the text messages and political slogans of our own time.
Just as the Pacific Islanders Labourers Act of 1901 meant the Australian nation was founded in an act of racial expulsion, she says, so the anti-Lebanese attitudes of youths at Cronulla beach revealed “an odd resonance between the exclusions that marked the first decade of the 20 th century and events 100 years on”. Racial exclusion, Lake asserts, is “a deep part of our heritage, as traditional an Australian value as mateship” ...
In the wake of all this long familiar hand-wringing, it was refreshing to find in the Quadrant edition of November 2005 the dissenting academic voice of Jeremy Sammut: “Virtually nothing is left of White Australia thinking.” [full text]
Howard, cultural warrior
The Australian, February 21 2006
The tactic of targeting individuals who criticise Islam has been very effective ... This personal terrorism affects not just those directly under threat, but all writers and intellectuals. Most are unable to afford the security costs and the state cannot protect them all. The result is that they are silenced by self-censorship. Until now, the Western political response has consistently been to raise one more white flag in the surrender of Western cultural values that we have been making since Khomeini's fatwa against Rushdie in 1989.
That is why John Howard's statement yesterday is so remarkable. In Europe, comments like that have seen government ministers in several countries condemned by their colleagues. Some have lost their jobs. Howard's comments may signify that a line has finally been drawn in the Western political mentality.
The adversary culture
address to Summer Sounds Symposium
Punga Cove, New Zealand, February 11 2006
Today, we live in an age of barbarism and decadence. There are barbarians outside the walls who want to destroy us and there is a decadent culture within. We are only getting what we deserve. The relentless critique of the West which has engaged our academic left and cultural elite since the 1960s has emboldened our adversaries and at the same time sapped our will to resist. [full text]
The corruption of history
New Criterion, January 2006
... on a very thin and dubious platform of evidence, academic historians have erected a story that compares the actions of the British against the Indians in eighteenth-century America to that of the Nazis against non-Aryan races in twentieth-century Europe. They want their readers to believe that British Army decisions that were entirely opportunistic and made under the duress of battle are comparable to the Nazis' highly planned, efficiently organized, and heavily funded Final Solution. During the Cold War, you could find any number of Marxist academics who would argue for the moral equivalence of communism and capitalism. Since the fall of the USSR , the heat has gone out of that issue, but the same odious kind of comparison is still being made, only this time between Nazism and the liberal democracies of the West. [full text]
It's not a race war, it's a clash of cultures
The Australian, December 16 2005
It was inevitable, given the prevailing mindset within government and
the media, that Sydney 's beachside violence this week would be called
race riots. The New South Wales premier, his ministers and many newspaper
headlines all used the term. However, a more ungainly but nonetheless
more accurate description would have been multicultural riots. For the
doctrine of multiculturalism is really to blame. [full
The Invention of Terra Nullius
Historical and Legal Fictions in the foundation of Australia
by Michael Connor
History books, school curricula and legal texts all treat terra nullius as the defining doctrine in the foundation of Australia and the dispossession of the Aborigines. The High Court's Mabo decision was supposed to have overturned it.
Michael Connor's new book reveals terra nullius was never a phrase used in Australia in the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries. It was only injected into Australian political and legal debate in the 1970s. Since then it has meant whatever its users want it to mean. The foundation of Australia was based on entirely different concepts and terminology.
This book is not just a trenchant critique of recent historiography. It overturns the received interpretation of Australian history and puts a new perspective on this country's beginnings. [Macleay Press title]
Mao and the Maoists
New Criterion, October 2005
... The story brought together by Chang and Halliday is so shocking that reading it literally takes your breath away... It is a telling comment on the human condition. In the breakdown of civilization on the scale experienced by China in the 1920s and 1930s, any society could end up being ruled by a ruthless and cunning psychopath like Mao Tse-tung. Those who imagine the cultural traditions of Western liberal democracy would confer immunity against such an outcome should read this book to see just how many Western intellectuals and politicians were eager to further Mao's career. Edgar Snow was the first but he was far from being the only Western writer or artist to succumb to Maoism. [full text]
Mao and the Australian Maoists
Quadrant, October 2005
... In the Seventies, Maoism in Australia became radical chic. Celebrities such as advertising executive Phillip Adams and ambassador to China Stephen Fitzgerald turned Mao caps and jackets into fashionable attire. The collection of Mao's revolutionary aphorisms, The Little Red Book , became a best-seller in left-wing bookshops. In 1971, a tract by two Danish authors urging children to defy authority and enjoy sex was published and sold in Australia by radical journalist Wendy Bacon under the name The Little Red Schoolbook . After New York 's Andy Warhol produced his silk screen multiple portraits of the great helmsman in 1972, the National Gallery of Australia purchased a copy. Sydney celebrity artist Brett Whiteley followed with a number of social realist paintings acclaiming life in China under Communism. As part of a series of portraits of his artistic heroes, van Gogh, Gauguin and Bacon, Whiteley added one of Chairman Mao in full military dress. [full text]
Racist essay is from the Left, not the Right
The Australian, September 29 2005
... Fraser regards himself as a “racial realist” and thinks those of us who support Enlightenment and Christian principles of human equality are tender-minded innocents, selling out their country to globalization and international finance ...
Fraser's brand of racism should be recognised as one of the logical conclusions embedded within multiculturalism. It was only a matter of time before that doctrine's emphasis on separate ethnic interests prompted someone to define Anglo-Australia as an ethnic group with interests of its own.[full text]
The perverse ideology of our adversary culture
The 2005 Earle Page Memorial Oration, Parliament House, Sydney, June 22 2005
... It is this despair about the majority of the Australian people that constitutes the principal unifying theme of the adversary culture of this country's tertiary-educated middle-class professionals. This social group is a minority but a sizeable one. Its critics sometimes call it the inner-city Left, the new class, or the cultural elite. It dominates our film and theatre industry, our arts and literature, public broadcasting, the Fairfax press and the humanities and social science departments of our 38 universities. Its leading lights were educated and radicalised by the upheavals within universities in the 1960s and 1970s. Its support for a republic and the Greens means most commentators put it on the left of politics, but it is a very different kind of leftism to the traditional variety. [full text]
The journalism of warfare
New Criterion, June 2005
... In Fisk's description, Bin Laden was attended by "bearded, taciturn figures" who never strayed more than a few yards from him. In Lawrence's account, Feisal was accompanied by a retinue of slaves who guarded his person and lit his path with lamps. Students of British imperial adventure novels will recognise the genre. The world the writers conjure up is pre-modern, where natural aristocrats, tall and slender, lord it over male servants and slaves who are handsome, silent and strong. The aristocrats are famous for their warrior skills. Their long robes are trimmed with gold and scarlet. They carry daggers in their belts. It is a world without women and it reeks of homoeroticism. [full text]
White Australia and 60s-generation historians
Lecture to NSW Higher School Certificate History Extension Conference, University of Sydney, June 1 2005
The White Australia Policy purportedly lives on today. At an academic history conference in December 2001, the near-unanimous opinion was that John Howard's border protection measures against people smugglers ensured his election victory that year by tapping into deeply-embedded sentiments of 'blood and race'.
This thesis arose on the radical fringe of Australian historiography in the 1960s. In university life, the 1960s was the great radical decade, when student protests, demonstrations and occupations over the war in Vietnam rocked campuses and radicalized, among others, the then younger generation of upcoming historians. Today, forty years later, those young people are now the professors and heads of history departments. They decide who gets appointed to universities, who gets funded to do research, and what line they will be permitted to take. Today, their views have become mainstream and university and high school teachers repeat them largely unchallenged. [full text]
A genuine Australian political classic
Quadrant, April 2005
Bruce Smith might be an unprepossessing name but it was held by one of the outstanding intellectuals of Australian history. If the recent republication of Smith's major work, Liberty and Liberalism, has the impact it deserves, his name might finally be rescued from the disregard it has suffered for more than a century. [full text]
The Left and the Enlightenment
New Criterion, March 2005
The radical heirs of the Jacobin tradition have always insisted that it is they who speak for the wretched of the earth. In eighteenth century France they claimed to speak for the people and the general will. In the nineteenth century they said they represented the working classes against their capitalist exploiters. In our own time, they have claimed to be on the side of blacks, women, gays, indigenes, refugees and anyone else they define as the victims of discrimination and oppression. Himmelfarb's study demonstrates what a facade these claims actually are. [full text]
Tutorials in terrorism
The Australian, March 16 2005
Negri was one of the organizers of the Red Brigades, the terrorist group responsible for a number of political assassinations in Italy, the most notorious of which was the 1979 kidnapping and murder of the Italian Prime Minister, Aldo Moro. At the time, Negri was professor of political science at the University of Padua. He was arrested and charged with seventeen murders, including that of Moro, as well as "armed insurrection against the state". The Italian public was shocked that an academic could be involved in such events but most astonished by one bizarre detail. Forty-five days after the kidnapping, someone sounding like Negri telephoned Moro's wife, taunting her about her husband's impending death. Nine days later his body, shot in the head, was found dumped in a city lane ... Even though the University of Sydney has been irresponsible enough to fund his visit here, the Howard government should reconsider whether someone convicted of crime on this scale deserves an entry visa. [full text] [editorial in The Australian] [Negri didn't do it -- he says so himself] [the crime and the charges] [terrorism in Italy: an exchange]
The Anglosphere challenge
National Review, March 14 2005
... The Anglosphere Bennett envisages would be a "network commonwealth" of English-speaking nations based on the existing shared values of Anglo-American cultural and political traditions. His concept offers the prospect not of radical change but of a reaffirmation of deep cultural roots. Politically, it is diametrically opposed to the two major movements that, since the demise of socialism, have absorbed the Western intellectual Left: radical multiculturalism at home and bureaucratic internationalism abroad. [full text]
White Australia's myths
The Australian, December 6 2004
Unless they have taken a university course in history in recent decades, most Australians would be surprised to learn they inhabit one of the world's most shamefully racist countries. The academic consensus today is that the White Australia Policy -- a series of restrictions on non-white immigrants dating from the gold rushes of the 1850s and culminating in the Commonwealth's Immigration Restriction Bill of 1901 -- made this country the moral equivalent of South Africa under apartheid. Some historians even label Australia at Federation one of the "herrenvolk democracies" -- a direct comparison with the "master race" nationalism of Nazi Germany ... [full text] -- [more in Sydney Morning Herald] -- [launch speech by Frank Devine] -- [launch speech by Keith Windschuttle] --[Tim Blair comments] -- [on the myth of South Sea blackbirding] -- [more on blackbirding myth] -- [Keith Windschuttle, ABC Classic FM interview by Jana Wendt, December 8 2004] -- [Michael Warby's review]
Washout: On the academic response to the fabrication of Aboriginal history
by John Dawson
The latest front in the history wars: The Fabrication of Aboriginal History by Keith Windschuttle fired a broadside whose aftershocks are still reverberating. In Robert Manne's anthology Whitewash, a score of the authors under siege mounted a counterattack. In Washout, John Dawson uses Whitewash as a telescopic sight into current academic codes of conduct. In a piercing inspection of the methods, standards and philosophic premises within Australia's humanities faculties, Dawson finds they have adopted irrationalism as their standard and abandoned their patriotic oath to defend the truth. [review by Michael Warby] -- [purchase online] [Macleay Press title] [launch speech by John Dawson]
Guerrilla warrior and resistance fighter?
Labour History, November 2004
Musquito has now become a historical figure of some interest, not only in the debate over what happened in Tasmania. In early 2004, he also featured prominently in the National Museum of Australia's exhibition 'Outlawed' on the history of bandits and bushrangers. An examination of his career is a potentially useful case study of the applicability of the concepts of guerrilla warfare and wars of resistance to the early Australian colonies. [full text] [in response to ...] [rejoinder]
Historical error versus historical invention
Australian Historical Studies, October 2004
In his response to The Fabrication of Aboriginal History in the May edition of this journal, Stuart Macintyre acknowledges some of my book's claims about the historiography of race relations in Tasmania are plausible. He notes I have found historians have provided inadequate or non-existent evidence, they have relied on dubious second and third-hand accounts, they have confused names and places, and have exaggerated and misinterpreted the sources. "I am persuaded," Macintyre writes, "that some of these claims are justified". [full text]
Apology from The Bulletin
Keith Windschuttle is pleased to announce that an action for defamation he launched against The Bulletin magazine over an article written by Catherine Lumby in its February 12 2002 edition has been resolved. The editor-in-chief of The Bulletin, Garry Linnell, published the following apology in the edition of September 7 2004:
Apology to Keith Windschuttle
The February 12 2002 edition of The Bulletin contained an article entitled "The deskilling of history" which referred to Mr Keith Windschuttle and his qualifications. Mr Windschuttle claims and The Bulletin now accepts that the article made allegations about him which were not correct. The Bulletin apologises to Mr Windschuttle for any hurt, embarrassment or distress which he suffered as a result of the publication of the article.
The Anti-Chomsky Reader
New Criterion, September 2004
The most devastating articles in the Anti-Chomsky Reader, edited by Peter Collier and David Horowitz, (Encounter Books, San Francisco, 2004) are not those that expose the ideological prejudices, factual misrepresentations and distorted logic of his political writings but the two at the end of the book that tear up his reputation as one of the towering intellects of our time. Two essays about linguistics reveal Chomsky's output in that field to be not the work of a rare, great mind but the product of a very familiar kind of academic hack. His reputation turns out not to have been earned by any significant contribution to human understanding but to be the product of a combination of self-promotion, abuse of detractors and the fudging of his findings. [full text]
by Roger Kimball, from Armavirumque blog, New York
A spectre is haunting Australia . . . and its name is Keith Windschuttle! The Sydney-based historian (and frequent contributor to The New Criterion) has clearly got the politically correct academic establishment in Oz on the run. Eighteen months ago, Mr. Windschuttle published The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, blowing the top off the received notion that Australia was founded on an act of "genocide" against the indigenous Aboriginal population. (The New Criterion ran a preview here and a review here.) The PC establishment never recovered. They spluttered; they ranted; they railed; they called Mr. Windschuttle a large variety of unpleasant names. (For a sample of how surreal the PC-establishment can be about the aborigines, see Germaine Greer's latest lunatic effusion Whitefella Jump Up: there's a description here.) But his thorough, patient scholarship was unanswerable. So now, as The Australian newspaper reports, it's all a matter of damage control. For example, the Australian Historical Association just devoted a large portion of its annual meeting to trying to contain the damage Mr. Windschuttle's book has done to the mendacious PC-version of history they have been peddling for the last several decades. The Australian wrote:
As the elite of the nation's academic historians met in the stately rooms of the Newcastle Town Hall, fear and loathing lurked the corridors. The Australian Historical Association spent virtually an entire day trying to work out strategies to deal with the menace. Would there be safety in numbers if academics stood together? What should be done when the terror struck again? How could anyone survive when the mass media was in on the conspiracy?
Over 18 months after Keith Windschuttle published his book The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, the academic world is still anguishing over its impact. It is terrified of what he will do next. Windschuttle struck at the heart of the accepted view of Australian colonial history in the past 30 years -- that the settler society had engaged in a pattern of conquest, dispossession and killing of the indigenous inhabitants. The facts, he said, did not stack up.
It is a delicious story. Read the whole thing here.
Editorial in The Australian on the issue is here.
The Fabrication of Aboriginal History
Paper to NSW Higher School Certificate History Extension conference June 2 2004
... The argument that all history is politicised, that it is impossible for the historian to shed his political interests and prejudices, and that those who believed they could do so are only deluding themselves, has become the most corrupting influence of all. It has turned the traditional role of the historian, to stand outside his contemporary society in order to seek the truth about the past, on its head. It has allowed historians to write from an overtly partisan position and to justify this both to themselves and to anyone who dared challenge them. [full text]
Quadrant, May 2004
... The growing use of partner, however, has had its own effect. It has helped cement this change more firmly into place by defining serial relationships as the norm rather than the exception. The rise of the term partner is another example of the homosexualisation of our culture. Once again, this is a considerable victory for the sexual radicals.
In these language wars, conservatives have not been completely subdued. Indeed, they scored a notable triumph in the 1990s when politically correct became part of common usage. Politically correct had the great virtue of being a satirical term. It was used by conservatives to send up leftist attempts to impose speech codes that forbade negative descriptors based on race, sex, class, ethnicity, sexual proclivity and disability. The disabled were no longer to be called blind, deaf, dumb or crippled. They were simply different, indeed "challenged" by their difference. [full text]
The prospects of an American empire
New York Sun, April 29 2004
"What the world needs today, is not just any kind of empire," historian Niall Ferguson argues in his new book. "What is required is a liberal empire." ... Ferguson is one of a growing number of authors who have argued in the past twelve months that the United States should recognise the responsibility that comes with its unprecedented power and adopt an international role of benign imperialism. If the President takes their advice, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq will be but the first of numerous foreign interventions to overthrow rogue states and replace them with American democracy and liberalism. After the US has transformed the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa is their next most-favoured site of action. [full text]
Assimilation already a reality
The Australian, March 1 2004
In the 1960s, there was a long struggle for Aboriginal policy. On the one hand, Paul Hasluck, who until 1966 controlled Aboriginal affairs in the Menzies government, pursued assimilation ... On the other hand, Dr H. C. 'Nugget' Coombs, appointed head of the Australian Council of Aboriginal Affairs in 1967, rejected assimilation in favour of self-determination and self-management.
The self-determination policies for which Coombs fought have now been with us for more than thirty-five years. They have been backed by Commonwealth spending that has gone from millions to billions annually and land rights legislation that in the Northern Territory goes back to 1976. Yet the most noticeable thing about this long and expensive social experiment is how many Aboriginal leaders today are in despair about its outcomes. [full text]