History Wars

Roger Sandall on Windschuttle

Roger Sandall reviews The Fabrication of Aboriginal History – Volume Three: The Stolen Generations 1881-200

Aboriginal sin?

Fifty years ago, the Australian Left strongly favored literacy, health, and the assimilation of indigenes. It was a broadly sensible goal. But Left progressivism is incompatible with the romantic idealization of hunting and gathering: the one wants to go forward, the other wants to go back. As anthropological romanticism triumphed in the sphere of social policy, the Left embraced “Aboriginality” over literacy and vocational skills, assimilation was denounced as supremely evil, and Australia’s northern indigenes began their slide into the oblivion of fixed dependency—illiterate, vocationally disabled, desperately in need of help. But to intervene, let alone to remove children, is today howled down as cultural genocide.

That has been the baleful long-term consequence of the myth of the Stolen Generations. By exposing the whole matter, by refusing to euphemize unavoidably ugly issues, by examining a mass of historical data nobody troubled to look closely at before, by revealing the shoddiness of his adversaries’ research, and by realistically reducing the fanciful figures they proposed, Keith Windschuttle has placed the nation in his debt.

Source: The New Criterion

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