Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cultural warriors launch a new attack on ANZAC

And surprise, surprise. It's the usual discredited suspects, people such as historians Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds.

Reynolds of course is the "historian" who made up fabricated accounts of the numbers of aboriginal people killed on the frontier, hiding them behind footnotes that were later shown to be fake.

But he's a Lefty, and for them even lies are true if they say the "right" things.

As Merv Bendle points out in an article in the April issue of Quadrant magazine, the cultural left is employing the same tactic that they used quite successfully in the lead up to the 1988 celebration of the bicentennial of the founding of British Australia and thus the start of our history as a modern nation state. (To be clear here, this is no dismissal or denigration of Aboriginal Australia nor a denial of its sufferings that followed. You don't have lie or make things up as too many historians have done to be able to honestly acknowledge this. However, Australia as we know it today as a socio-political entity was the creation of the British, and did not exist until they came here.)

Naturally enough, the ABC and the SBS love Reynolds and company. so remember to question everything he and they say when you inevitably see them on one documentary or other.

These are people who reject the notion that we should strive to apprehend the truth, (okay, through a glass darkly admittedly), and to tell it honestly and without fear. History for them is an ideological weapon to be used to achieve political ends. And you'd have to say they have been enormously successful in this project.

The "black armband" view of Australian history is still the accepted version within government, academia and large sections of the media.

The cowardice of the Hawke Labor government is resisting those who wanted to turn the Bicentennial into an occasion of bitter atonement for our shameful sins, as we put on sackcloth and ashes and apologised to Heaven through teary eyes for our crime of being here, was a disgrace.

And these people still exert great influence on school history courses. Though it is interesting to see how so many young people have pushed back against this effort to make them feel ashamed to be Australians.

The sensitive inner-city Green-voting latte drinkers bore us all every year with their tut-tutting about "bogans" wearing the flag. Well, get fucked I say. I feel closer the the African immigrant down at the Nollamara shops who had just as proudly put an Aussie flag on his car for Australia Day.

Anzac in Ashes

Mervyn F. Bendle


The attack by the left on the Anzac tradition has escalated. As I predicted last year (“Gallipoli: Second Front in the History Wars”, Quadrant, June 2009; “The Intellectual Assault on Anzac”, Quadrant, July-August, 2009), the centenaries in 2014 of the outbreak of the Great War, and in 2015 of the Gallipoli campaign, will see an intensifying debate about the war as people seek to come to grips with the meaning of the seminal event of the twentieth century. Pushing itself to the centre of this struggle will be the intelligentsia, which historically has depicted these events in simplistic ideological terms and as exercises in futility. The intelligentsia is also infuriated by the Anzac legend, which is a dynamic cultural force over which it has little control, and for which it has very little sympathy, empathy or understanding.

In my earlier articles I detailed how a number of prominent academics and other members of the intelligentsia were mounting a wide-ranging ideological attack on Gallipoli and Anzac, publishing books and articles, and delivering speeches undermining and ridiculing the tradition, and how its leading members were preparing a collection of critical essays to carry forward their iconoclastic program. This has now appeared (Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds (eds.), What’s Wrong With Anzac?: The Militarisation of Australian History (WWWA). Sydney: New South Books, 2010). This is an explicitly polemical book, brought out in time to capitalize not only on Anzac Day 2010, but also to play the type of ‘spoiling’ role with respect to the upcoming centenaries that the four-volume, A People’s History of Australia Since 1788, played prior to the 1988 Bicentennial.

That earlier far-left collectivist effort was meant to ensure that Australians had no illusions about the historical depravity of their nation, spelling out its sins in the Introduction to every volume: “This history is critical not celebratory. It rejects myths of national progress and unity. It starts from a recognition that Australian settler society was built on invasion and dispossession [and that] the last two hundred years [was] but a brief, nasty interlude”. Consequently, as Mark McKenna recalls smugly in his chapter on how Anzac Day became Australia’s de facto national day, public support for the Bicentennial was systematically undermined by the “impact of the new critical histories of the last two decades”, which generated “an increasingly polarized debate” as Aboriginal groups declared 1988 a ‘Year of Mourning’, “feature articles discussed white guilt and national shame”, and newspaper editorials deplored the “ideological vacuum at the heart of the Bicentennial”. The Hawke government capitulated to the intelligentsia and refused to support the First Fleet re-enactment, in a servile betrayal of a nation that can only happen once a century. Ironically, the intelligentsia’s deliberate spoiling of the Bicentennial led to a renewed interest in the Anzac tradition, as Australians embraced it as an alternative foundation for a positive national identity. Consequently, as McKenna concedes, by 1990 “the connection between the failure of the Bicentennial celebrations and the new embrace of Anzac Day was … abundantly clear” (WWWA, pp.114-9).

This new book now explicitly targets Anzac as the centennials approach, pursuing the same iconoclastic agenda and polemical strategy that was so effective in the 1980s.
Read it all.

But really, do any of you seriously believe that Australia is being militarised? Do you really think that comes anywhere close to the reality of this country?

You have to wonder about how disconnected from reality some clearly very clever people have become.

Here's a review of the same book. You'll recall to mind that wonderful observation by George Orwell about an earlier group of intellectuals and their ability to believe absurdities - only an intellectual would believe something like that. No ordinary person would be so foolish.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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