Education

Comrade Pupils, Here Is Today’s History Lesson

School education is bathed in a green-Left miasma, and so a new Victorian Year 12 history text  is unlikely to create much of a fuss. It’s  Volume 1 of a four-part lavish and expensive series from Cambridge University Press, Analysing Australian History – From Custodianship to the Anthropocene ($49.95). In production and multi-media values it’s state of the art. It’s also keyed specifically to the Victorian Certificate of Education syllabus.

The five woke authors begin with a racist apology for being “all non-Indigenous Australians, mostly of Anglo-Celtic descent … Each volume has been reviewed by First Nations educators … and checked by many people, including the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc and teacher forums.”  (p iiv).

Despite being “checked by many people”, the textbook is replete with howlers such as how we’ve been “exporting” brown coal (p294). We don’t. [1]

On p169 the politically-naive authors refer to Tribune, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Australia, as “the union newspaper The (sic) Tribune”.  They unwittingly provide a 100-word slab of 1958 Tribune agitprop for kids to study  the “struggle around issues of benefit to the people generally”. On the same page is an hero pic of Whitlam’s far-left  minister Tom Uren on the march, “a respected federal Labor politician” – the others presumably being less-respected.[2]

On page 17 of the Introduction we view a lone forlorn sheep, backside facing us, suffering from the so-called Anthropocene at “Pejar Dam in southern NSW, 2005” near Goulburn. On page 261 a pic of the very same ewe becomes “An exhausted sheep searches for food on a farm near Ivanhoe, New South Wales, 2002.” Googling suggests that Mrs Ewe took the three years to trot 730km south-east from Ivanhoe to Goulburn. No wonder she’s done in.

The authors are Richard Broome, president of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria and an emeritus professor at La Trobe; Ashley Keith Pratt, vice-president of the History Teachers Association of Victoria; James Grout, a junior and senior history teacher at Geelong; David Harris, teacher and environmental historian; and Geoff Peel, teacher, school department head and examiner.

The book’s title itself is a howler. There is no “Anthropocene”, as the authors claim. It is only a so-far-unaccepted recommendation by the  Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) to the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) to bolster the global warming narrative.   This wished-for “Anthropocene” has lasted a mere 70 years. Officially we are in the Holocene era (12,000 years) of the Cenozoic (66 million years). The IUGS has declined to declare any “Anthropocene”, preferring to wait maybe 50,000 years until some evidence of it shows up in rock strata. In the book, kids must elaborate on this misleading brief:

“Evaluate the significance of the scientific community’s adoption of Crutzen’s idea of the Anthropocene.” (p282).

Like those ‘brown coal exports’, this is just plain wrong, as the AWG makes clear:

The Anthropocene is not currently a formally defined geological unit within the Geological Time Scale; officially we still live within the Meghalayan Age of the Holocene Epoch. A proposal to formalise the Anthropocene is being developed by the AWG.

Now flip to the full page opening picture of Chapter 8: “Environmental movements contest the Anthropocene [sic], 1986-2010.” We see a triumphant crowd of Labor Party members in 2007 raging against coal and led by rock star Peter Garrett and flanked on his left – wait for it! – by a beaming Anthony Albanese, aged 44. Our Prime Minister had then the gravitas of  Manager of Opposition Business in the House and Shadow Minister for Water and Infrastructure.

 As well as three “Australian Labor Party” banners , the pic shows the Labor Party heroes surrounded by placards like “Quit Coal” and “Clean Coal a Dirty Lie”. The caption reads, “Marchers led by Federal MP and Labor’s environment and climate change spokesman Peter Garrett start the Walk Against Warming in Sydney, 11 November 2007.”

Flip past a second heroic pic of Bob Hawke, and conservatives will be affronted by a quarter-page image of the official Greens Party logo (p273). The authors claim the party got up in 1992 because state and federal governments “were overwhelmingly reluctant  to enact changes that might jeopardise economic growth for the purposes of conservation.” The book makes no reference to the international Green movement’s actual origins with Nazi philosophy morphing into the  admitted paedophile-tainted German Greens movement, which involved up to 1000 child victims.[3] Kids should get extra marks for independently researching that.

In apparent role as Greens recruiter, the book intones (emphasis added)

Over time, the Greens developed socially-conscious policies beyond environmental issues, but maintained its initial strong focus on conservation matters. Its platforms have continually advocated  matters such as recycling, water management, habitat loss, specie extinction, deforestation and pollution, but above all, democracy. (p274).

Kids will assume conservatives oppose democracy. The book then serves up retiring Greens leader Bob Brown’s absurd manifesto to his “earthians”:[4]

So far it seems like we are the lone thinkers in this vast expanding universe. (If not, why are they not communicating with us?). They have extincted themselves. They have come and gone.  And now it’s our turn. Just as we are causing that destruction, we could be fostering its reversal. Indeed nothing will save us from ourselves but ourselves. So democracy – ensuring that everyone is involved in deciding Earth’s future – is the key to success.

As a clincher, kids are treated to an adoring pic (above) of five Greens demonstrators in yellow shirts with Greens logos and matching placards, “Clean energy clean air: The Greens”. They hold high a globe of the purportedly endangered planet. The caption reads:

Greens activists dressed as surf lifesavers march through the city to condemn Prime Minister John Howard’s inaction on climate change…7 September 2007.

The book’s standard question-boxes require kids to spout knowledge about the Greens formation (but ignore Hitler and Green paedophilia) and its local electoral strength, followed by

What is Bob Brown’s basic solution for the world’s environmental problems? (p274)

Another topic goes:

In Australia profit will always be valued more highly than the health of the population and environment. Discuss.  (p264).

Fans of even-handed history will be delighted at how kids are now taught about the Cold War. The book gives the West and the Communist states precisely-equivalent treatment, e.g.

Historians have identified several causes that led to the outbreak of the Cold War, including the desire of both the United States and Soviet Union for geopolitical dominance at the end of World War II, the ideological conflict between these superpowers, the emergence and existential threat of nuclear weapons, the fear of communism in the United States and the concomitant fear of capitalism in the Soviet Union.

Quoting historian Timothy White, it continues:

While scholars may have been blinded by loyalty and guilt in examining the evidence regarding the origins of the Cold War in the past, increasingly, scholars with greater access to archival evidence on all sides have come to the conclusion that the conflicting and unyielding ideological ambitions were the source of the complicated and historic tale that was the Cold War. (p160-61)

In other words, the Communist dictatorships which murdered 100 million of their own people and defenceless “class enemies” are really just the mirror image of the Western law- and market-based democracies.

Apparently reluctant to offend Russia’s top dog Vlad Putin, the authors say that un-named “leading nations and world rivals” got some atomic bomb secrets by spying.  The authors put in favorable references to “peace movements” actually inspired or controlled by Moscow, as documented by KGB defector Vasili Mitrokhin. (p148, 156, 169, 180).  Talking of peace, the book refers identically not once but three times to what it regards as the historic founding of Greenpeace in 1971 (p143, 147, 183).  In reality co-founder Patrick Moore quit after 15 years, unable to stomach Greenpeace’s irrational and destructive policies.

The book even directs kids to the ridiculous Doomsday Clock cooked up by leftist scientists. To elaborate, those idiots in 2018 set their clock to “two minutes to midnight” or comparable with the H-bomb stand-off of 1953, because of President Trump and climate change. Nothing more relieves hormonal teens’ angst these days than a Doomsday Clock. The book demands of them, “At what time has the Doomsday Clock been set at most recently? Why has it been set at this time?” (p162).  I can answer that: it is set (pre-Ukraine war) at 100 seconds to midnight, “the closest it has ever been to civilization-ending apocalypse”,  but with sponsors’ hope that President Biden will be our planetary saviour. Our kids, by the way, are also offered a diet of “the 14 most frightening films about nuclear destruction” (p167), such as the corny Melbourne-based On The Beach of 1960. (p167-8).

The book devotes multiple references to avowed Communist Jack Mundey of Green Bans fame (p141, 188-189, 197-98, 212). He gets almost as much messiah treatment as the Green’s Bob Brown. Kids are told to debate the topic, “Jack Mundey was an environmental hero” (p222).

Needless to say, the uranium and nuclear industry get a bad rap, starting with kids being fed a Moscow-friendly conspiracy theory:

In August 1945, the United States used nuclear weapons on two civilian targets in Japan – the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The action was ordered by President Truman, ostensibly to hasten the end of the war in the Pacific. However intense controversy remains about the underlying motives of the United States, with many people arguing, both then and now, that it was unnecessary at that point to defeat Japan and, in fact, the bombing was primarily carried out in order to intimidate the Soviet Union. (p 148)

There was nothing “ostensible” about the 82-day casualty toll on Okinawa shortly before (ignored by the authors) which let the Americans know what to expect on the home islands: 100,000 civilians or a quarter of the Okinawa population killed or dead by suicide, 45,000 American troops killed or wounded and 100,000 Japanese troops killed. It was this high toll that persuaded President Truman to use atomic weapons, rather than send an invasion force into Japan.

On the home front, the history authors are respectful of would-be Aborigine and Melbourne University Professor Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu nonsense about the thriving agriculture of town-dwelling pre-contact Aborigines. He gets half a dozen references. For the susceptible kids, the authors rank Dark Emu (2014) with Geoffrey Blainey’s  1975 Triumph of the Nomads (p8), although, in what looks like a desperate last-minute addition, the Cambridge authors say,

…anthropologist Peter Sutton and archaeologist Keryn Walshe in their book Farmers or Hunter-Gatherers? The Dark Emu Debate (2021), argue that Pascoe has exaggerated his case for Aboriginal farming and used evidence loosely. But clearly in some areas, Aboriginal food production was intensified. (p25).

Pascoe’s map of a purported original Aboriginal “grain belt”, covering half of the continent and dwarfing modern wheat cropping, is reproduced across almost the full page.[5] The original map-drawer Norman Tindale was talking about grain collecting/harvesting, but the Cambridge authors twice refer to it as “production”.  I find it odd, especially in a class textbook, to conflate Aboriginal gathering of sparse native seeds with modern wheat productivity.

A litmus test in textbooks  is whether  such authors hit kids with Murdoch Derangement Syndrome. This history doesn’t disappoint. It quotes activist journalist Maria Taylor, author of Global Warming and Climate Change: what Australia knew and buried, which she helpfully assures visitors to her website is ‘suitable for secondary, tertiary studies and research and as a case study in environment environmental education, environmental policy, science and society studies, political science, policy and political economy, contemporary Australian and western history, climate change studies, media and communication…” On the climate wars, the Cambridge authors quote her thuis:

Great influence was also exerted by News Limited, with a virtual monopoly in Australian print media circulation. The Murdoch media shared the notion that accepting climate science is unwarranted and a threat to business and has spent the last 20 years conducting a ‘culture war’ on this issue. Through politics and media these reasserted beliefs and values had taken over the whole society [what!!!] by the early 2000s and have returned in force in 2014.” (p290, my emphasis. I assume she refers to Tony Abbott’s election).

I googled Dr Maria Taylor, wondering how any Canberra-zone journalist could think The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Financial Review, Canberra Times and The West Australian are part of a Murdoch hegemony. Dr Taylor publishes a monthly semi-rural community newspaper focused on sustainable lifestyles, does some part-time lecturing on journalism to ANU undergraduates and  in 2007 wrote a score of articles for the Bungendore Bulletin.[6]

Australia’s mining and petroleum producers ought to riot about use of this text in class. The authors dismiss the global impact of the 1960s mineral boom in the style of the ex-ABC’s Emma Alberici:

The Fitzgerald Report [1974, for the Whitlam government]  revealed who benefited from this boom. The Report showed the mining industry paid $263 million in royalties to the government from 1966–67 to 1972–73, but five times that amount went overseas in profits to parent companies. The same thing occurred during Australia’s most recent mining boom in the early twenty-first century. Government fuel subsidies, equipment tax deductions and other benefits led to high profits from mining, amidst record high metal commodity prices…(p246)

Through gritted teeth the authors acknowledge that “Mining is important to human development and livelihood” but laud every anti-mining success that activists can cook up.

Mining is also destructive of the environment and the Aboriginal peoples’ custodianship of the land. Iron ore, bauxite and some coal mining is done by open-cut mining. The existing vegetation and topsoil are bulldozed aside, the fauna is destroyed or retreats, and large excavations are made to expose the minerals, often resulting in water and dust pollution. The holes and trenches expand as mineral extraction increases…( p246-7).

Flip a few pages and kids get a section in praise of extreme Left-dopey arts and culture, like “George Turner’s 1987 dystopian work The Sea and Summer depicting a Melbourne of the future drowning under rising seas of climate change”. (p280). No wonder kids suffer education-inflicted pessimism and mental health issues extending even to suicides). The book offers Ms Oodgeroo Noonuccal, aka Kath Walker, alleged “poem”:

The miner rapes
The heart of the Earth
With his violent spade
Stealing, bottling her black blood
For the sake of greedy trade.

There follows (p282) John Williamson’s 1989 Rip Rip Woodchip song and its chorus,

Nightmare Dreaming, can’t you hear the screaming?
Chainsore, eyesore – more decay.

The  book’s question box includes

Identify specific ways in which the [woodchip] lyrics suggest that the environment is being destroyed

♦ Why do you think the song resonated with society?

In a gesture to impartiality, the authors do give brief air-time to conservatives Hugh Morgan (ex-WMC) and Keith Windschuttle (Quadrant editor-in-chief), and more so to Geoffrey Blainey. I couldn’t avoid the entirely subjective suspicion the authors selected weak quotes to enable kids to knock the conservatives down. For example, Morgan is cited arguing that “2000 years of Christian tradition supported the rights of companies to mine”. His cited views in the book include the correct point that Aboriginal culture “demanded vengeance killings and in the past had involved cannibalism” which I assume is inserted to set him up for kids as a nasty hateful person. Question (p253): “What might have contributed to Morgan’s views on Aboriginal peoples and Christianity?”

The authors in their onslaught against the invading colonialists don’t mention the prevalent “coming in” of Aboriginal families to missions and stations for easily-accessible rations. They do provide kids with a positive quote that

The rate of economic progress in Australia between 1820 and 1850 far exceeded that of any other British Colony, and approached that of Britain herself. (p84).

But they match it with an opposite:

The squatters and their flocks drove away the game, and the sheep ate the plants and killed the roots upon which the Aborigines lived. But the transformation did not stop there. The grazing of sheep first opens then kills forests, first converts grassland to wealth then reduces them to indigence [poverty] … biological impoverishment now began in Australia. (p84).

Emotionally exhausted, I have yet to tackle Volumes 2-4 of this curious history series. But at least it puts its cards on the table.

Tony Thomas’ latest essay collection “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from publisher ConnorCourt

 

[1] The book: Australia’s mineral industry was expanded [to 2010], accelerating growth in mining, burning and exporting brown coal.  (p294). Geoscience Australia: “Although Victorian brown coals are low in ash and sulfur, they have high moisture contents and are not exported from Australia to overseas destinations. Brown coal is produced and utilised almost exclusively in Victorian mines and power stations.”

[2] Uren sued the Fairfax and Packer news organisations in 1963 over allegations that he had links to communists which amounted to his being a traitor. The judgment in his favour for £43,000 was then an Australian defamation record. 

[3] For the Nazi’s environmental credential, see Darvall, R., The Age of Global Warming – A History. Quarter Books, London, 2013. P40:  “Were it not for its crimes, the Nazi record on the environment would have been praised for being far in advance of its time…”

[4] “Fellow earthlings, we believe in world government. We abrogate the rights of nations to rule themselves.”

[5] The authors write, “Bruce Pascoe made a case for a more complex food production, an ‘Aboriginal agricultural economy’.”

[6] Dr Taylor’s ANU profile cites an ANU Press book she wrote on global warming (free via PDF)  which includes this quote

 … one of the most unnerving scientific pronouncements ever made: ‘Humanity is conducting an enormous, unintended, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequences could be second only to a global nuclear war’. 

20 comments
  • Biggles

    Well said, Tony! Two points:
    1 If you consult Death by Government by Prof Rudi Rummel of Univ. of Hawaii you will find that socialist governments of the 20th century murdered near 200,million of their own people,
    2. It seems to me that our only hope for an end to the ‘global-warming’ nonsense lies in the rapid advancement of the current grand solar minimum. Whether Earth’s temperature will fall as far as it did in the Maunder Minimum, about 250 years ago, is uncertain, Prof, Zharkova’s work (q.v.) shows it will be cold for about the next 30 years.

  • seagull

    An interesting article by Adam Carey in the Age, June 28, 2021 , showing the decline in the number of students studying Australian History at VCE level. Perhaps they are smart enough to realise that they are being taken for a ride. Who could possibly read this politicised nonsense for pleasure? Bring back Ernest Scott’s Short History of Australia. I read it for interest when I was still at primary school. Full of interesting stuff – discovery voyages, first settlers, convicts, explorer’s treks across the continent, Eureka Stockade, gold rush, land settlement, etc. It is available online in electronic form for a very small price.
    Seagull

  • Macspee

    Tony, I think you will find that some brown coal briquettes were exported but it was never anything but a peripheral issue

  • wdr

    These books appear to be pure rubbish, left wing propaganda. Avoid like the plague. Their prices- $48 per volume- will put many off, thankfully. And wot, no women authors of this series? Avoid like the plague.

  • Farnswort

    Mr Thomas has done us a favour by exposing the rot contained in this text book. I feel genuinely sorry for the kids being indoctrinated in this rubbish. They deserve better.

  • Blair

    Imagine how much better the book would have been if the authors had selected parents.of a different ethnic group.

  • Stephen

    We can only hope that todays youth will question what their teachers taught them as a declaration of independence. My own Boomer generation did it. Sometimes seriously and sometimes just for the sheer joy of our parents outrage. I think it’s pretty hard to brainwash kids in western countries with so many alternative sources of information so readily available via electronic means. There are so many issues where they have been lead up the garden path where a half an hour with Google or Youtube will show that he education they received was in fact, indoctrination.
    As for Australia why do academics hate their country? Compared to what? When they look around the world what better places do they see? If you want to see a socialist paradise save yourself the trouble, there aren’t any.
    The ancient Greeks called it oikophobia so it’s nothing new. I think the academics most prone to it are possessed arrogance and are resentful that mere business people have more money and mere politicians have more power. They think that they’re so smart they should be running everything and it’s a terrible injustice that they don’t.
    As Orwell once said, “Some ideas are so stupid only an intellectuals believe them”.

  • ianl

    Tony Thomas

    Thanks for detailing the dishonesty from the authors of these books in yet again abusing geoscience with the mendacious “Anthropocene”.

    As shown so often, those Left of the divide have no interest in fact, only powerlust.

  • Daffy

    If mining is so evil, I wonder if the teachers eschew its products, and urge their pupils to do likewise. Bang go the cars, the mobile phones, air travel..well, travel of any kind but foot or unshoed horse, and, my favourite based on personal experience, wonderful plastic lined colostomy bags.

  • NFriar

    GOOD GRIEF – what have they come to???
    No wonder you’re emotionally exhausted Tony.

    Thank you for exposing the Education Department in Victoria.
    Parents need to have their kids go on strike till the books are removed – sadly the parents and teachers are the product of the gradual dumbing down over the past 20-30 years.

    All for a political agenda.
    Sad.

  • 27hugo27

    Daffy , those methane spewing horses would be the next target for this lot (you can NEVER be green enough!) and of course the villianous bovine .

  • vicjurskis

    Great article Tony. Reminds me of the hypocrisy of Bob Hawke, with the help of Prince Phillip and the Greens shutting down the fairdinkum renewable energy scheme offered by the Franklin Dam. Outdone by the hypocrisy of Malcolm Turner setting up the massive environmentally impacting and fossil fuel burning Snowy Hyrdo 2 scheme to consume energy to prop up fake renewables.
    Then there’s Rip-Rip Woodchip. Williamson dumped on a renewable solar-powered natural resource industry and “resonated with society”. He actually antagonised that part of society that lives in the bush and produces renewable resources by singing the despicably false song at a national Rugby League Grand Final. To make matters worse, he celebrates his ancestors clearing of the mallee.
    Here an extract from Firestick Ecology:
    The message is wrong on all counts. Williamson denounced workers who cut and regenerate forests with their full complement of biodiversity, but he was proud that his forebears cleared and cropped The Mallee, dismantling entire ecosystems. Apart from wiping out some native plants and animals, they bared the ground and created dust storms that turned snows red in New Zealand, and fed phytoplankton in the Southern Ocean. A verse from Mallee Boy reveals this arrogance and hypocrisy:
    Well I’ve ripped and dug out burrows on a sandy bulloak hill
    Eradicating rabbits doesn’t take a lot of skill
    And a boy born in the Mallee doesn’t find ’em hard to kill
    But they’ll never be as rare as a Quandong tree
    My grandma made some jam for my brothers and me
    They’re like the Mallee Fowl you hardly ever see
    But I don’t mind at all if you call me a Mallee Boy

    More like silly boy in my book.

  • Alice Thermopolis

    Brave foot soldier in the culture wars, thank you for wading into the cesspool of eco-rot again on our behalf,
    The Doomsday Clock, ironically, is instructive. Given the amount of greed, hatred, delusion and nuclear arsenals in the world, it is hard to be optimistic.
    As for the greening of education, is it not merely the culmination of more than half a century of Gaia nature worship and emergence of the UN Church of Climate Control in the early 1990s?
    After all, following the recent election, 50+% of voters are vocal disciples of the new religion. Brainwashed children grow up to become brainwashed voters, determined to destroy a once-great economy and impoverish us all.
    “You want democracy with a greener than thou tinge, senor? You got it!”
    Reality, however, eventually bites, as it is doing in ES energy markets at the moment.

  • Biggles

    Mark Twain was right – ‘Education is what you must acquire without any interference from your schooling’.

  • STD

    Daffy do you think they could afford the kindness of charcoal or that too would be merrily denied?

  • Geoff Sherrington

    Tony,
    Excellent essay, thank you.
    The wrong, ignorant use of ‘Anthropocene’ shows the pseudoscience of the authors as does the wrong, pseudo-sophisticated use of ‘specie’, which is a form of coin currency.
    Geologists and Biologists chuckle at such pretension and write off the authors for lacking ordinary skills. Yet they are allowed to teach? Geoff S

  • Peter OBrien

    “The Murdoch media shared the notion that accepting climate science is unwarranted and a threat to business and has spent the last 20 years conducting a ‘culture war’ on this issue. ”

    Really? Below is the text of a comment posted in Friday’s Australian, which was rejected:

    “Henry Herzog, the energy crisis is real and immediate. That is why even Labor are calling it out. ‘Climate change’ aka global warming is a fake crisis, as all the empirical evidence (very little warming over the past decade and even over the past century, record cold and snowfalls in Australia, recent flooding rains etc) shows. Records show that 21st century extreme weather events anywhere in the world are not unprecedented. And thirty years of dire predictions (including from our former Australian of the Year Tim Flannery) have all turned out to be false.”

  • GaryR

    The socialist-green indoctrination process in our schools has been going on for decades, but has clearly become emboldened in recent years. Exposure is vital, and no-one does it better than Tony Thomas, but the challenges confronting mere logic and evidence – even well-founded ridicule – may have become insurmountable. The ongoing esteem for Pascoe and his works is not a good sign.

  • Stephen Ireland

    For more on the admiration of leading green activists for democracy Tony has done the work for us again

    Tony Thomas – An Extremely Silly Girl’s Cunning Plan – Quadrant Online 25th July 2019

    Just to quote one, identified by Tony in that essay:
    # The latest issue of Foreign Policy (US), a magazine whose website scores 49 million page views annually, has a tract headlined, “Democracy is the planet’s biggest enemy”. The text of that article includes
    If electoral democracy is inadequate to the task of addressing climate change, and the task is the most urgent one humanity faces, then other kinds of politics are urgently needed. The most radical alternative of all would be to consider moving beyond democracy altogether. The authoritarian Chinese system has some advantages when it comes to addressing climate change: One-party rule means freedom from electoral cycles and less need for public consultation. Technocratic solutions that put power in the hands of unelected experts could take key decisions out of the hands of voters.
    The piece is written by David Runciman, a politics professor at Cambridge University and the author of How Democracy Ends. It’s nice for such people to show their true colors.

  • petroalbion

    An excellent take down Tony, but how many children will read it?Pasco’s book is still on the shelves and so will this be. Is it not possible to confront the department for peddling so many lies?

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