:: Saturday, 6 September 2003 ::
The problem that the Howards and Blaineys have is that their story is simply not big enough for Australia. No great transformation can come from their tiny view of us and their limited faith in us. Their failure is not simply one of crabbiness or rancour; it's a serious failure of imagination, a failure to read our historical co-ordinates correctly and usefully and to move to a bigger construct, a bigger picture of who we are and what we can be. That's the job of political leadership.
Their timidity not only diminishes their own horizon, it is a drag on the rest of us. The country always has to make its progress despite them. These people never help. They always have got to be dragged along, and they will accept a new norm only when someone else has struggled to put it into place.
But the fact is, this view will not win. It cannot win because it has no policy framework to it - and deep in their tiny, timorous hearts they know it. The undertaking is simply too big for them.
That is why you get all this thrashing around in the press. It's babble, because at the heart of their wrong-headed campaign is an attempt to contain and censor the human spirit, to muffle, muzzle and vitiate it.
What great transformation are you after? A Rinascimento (or, to use the coarse french, renaissance)? A civil war? The renewed production of the Bolwell? What?
Australian history is the history of this nation. It is not make believe. And it is not small. It is a vibrant weird history of Aboriginals, convicts, dreadful snobs, Irish, wogs galore, huge distances, the Bungle Bungles, beaches, pride, courage, lamingtons and love. As is. Without embellishment. And as for ‘limited faith’ well, what can you say of a paragraph that ends with ‘political leadership’. Jeez. Which is it? Are we all to participate in the great transformation? Or are we simply to be led to it? Hmmmm? Honestly.
Their exclusiveness, whether we are talking about White Australia in the past or boat people now, relies on constructing arbitrary and parochial distinctions between the civic and the human community. Who is in, and who is out. Who is owed possession. Who has rights.
What is the common policy between the le Pens, the Hansons and the Howards? It is citizenship - and it has always been so with these people. Who is in, and who is out. Wolfgang Kaspar, writing in Quadrant, was brazen enough to write about the "frictional costs of Australian settlement of Muslims". This is an example of the new fascism.
Rather than celebrate the successful multiculturalisation of Australia, they seek to shear people off and play on old prejudices by the use of implicitly negative phrases such as "for all of us", when they really mean "for some of us".
Good grief. What can you say to this? Are we not to give a shit about who we are? Does “us” mean nothing at all? Earlier we needed to stop being ambivalent about ourselves. Now it is bad to be too sure about who we are. And apparently in this multicultural country, it is only okay to celebrate wogs, but it is verboten to actual see them, hear them and understand their contribution, good bad or indifferent in the country as a whole. Who’s being exclusive and cocooned now? And whatever you do, don’t mention the Muslims, ya fascist.
Fer Chrissakes. We have mentioned the Italians and Greeks with their cash-money no taxes society, we have mentioned the Chinese with their Triad violence, the Vietnamese with their gangland drug running, the Pacific Islanders with their violence full stop. What the fuck is so fragile about multiculturalism that we cannot raise matters that matter? There is nothing fragile about wogs. It is so typical of a Labour man to imagine wogs need his protection. Thankyou but no thankyou.
And the Le Pen thing is just a cheap shot. Pym Fortuyn. Got a problem with him RIP? Get. Far. Away.
This is a government that talks in code. John Howard does not understand that base motivations run through a community and a polity like a virus, that these things are poison to the nation's soul. They are part of an anti-enlightenment. I think he has re-calibrated Australia's moral compass, where due north is only for the elites, whatever they are.
Blunt, huh? Gotta watch those Aussies. Just a pack of racist fascists pretending to be egalitarian hard workers. Even the wogs. Spending night and day out at Woomera and at church meetings taunting unauthorised entrants. Oh yeah. That is us.
The contempt in that statement, the dripping loathing his countrymen is just awful. Damn them for electing Howard.
:: WB 4:25 pm [link+] ::