Intellectual poker

Playing the game 

Watching the latest version of the James Bond movie Casino Royale on DVD last night, and the high-stakes game of poker that was the underlying theme of the film, it became clear that perhaps those of us interested in the culture wars, and the as yet to be written master-work, Once Were Academics, have missed the intellectual card-game that has been, and still is, swirling around us. Are we players who do not fully understand what is going on in the game? 

We sit at the table, we put up our money, we shuffle our cards and we try to play the game honestly, using our cards according to a belief in our values, ideals and a memory of past, combined with the Western traditions of logic, rationality and intellectual honesty. But the ones we are playing against don’t follow the rules — or at least the rules we understand to be the nature of the game. The game is undoubtedly intellectual poker. The prize is the heart and soul of this nation. 

The danger is our inability to totally understand both the structure of this ‘intellectual poker’ game, how it is played, the value of the cards and the nature and honesty of those who we are playing against. This is why it is so difficult to expose the card-sharps in our midst. 

The card-pack, from an academic-Left point of view is broken into good and bad cards. 

The good cards are the red cards (naturally) while the bad cards (generally representing white Anglo-Saxon and Europeans) are bad. Everything bad in the world comes from holding a black, (er, white) hand. Holding a totally red hand is the absolute objective of the Left. The value of the major black cards, Spades, runs as follows: 

  • The Ace of Spades — Racism.
  • The King of Spades — America.
  • The Queen of Spades — Christianity.
  • The Jack of Spades — Anglo-Saxon-European Australia. 

For the more skilful player from the academic-Left, the red (good) cards, run: 

  • The Ace of Hearts — Compassion (selective and conspicuous).
  • The King of Hearts — Anti-Americanism (unrelenting).
  • The Queen of Hearts — Feminism.
  • The Jack of Hearts — Human rights (selective). 

The secondary picture cards, for the keen Left-handed player who can’t get racism or some other ‘ism’ into the game, and is stuck with the other range of red cards, Diamonds, their value runs something like : 

  • The Ace of Diamonds — Global warming.
  • The King of Diamonds — Illegal immigration.
  • The Queen of Diamonds — Viva Republica.
  • The Jack of Diamonds — Fermenting indigenous resentment. 

Meanwhile, to get stuck with Clubs, can mean a bad night for the ‘progressive’ academic: 

  • The Ace of Clubs — John Howard.
  • The King of Clubs — Conservative Australia. 
  • The Queen of Clubs — Family values and tradition.
  • The Jack of Club s — Business. 

The Joker is undoubtedly the Greens, who can manage to represent whatever black card catches their fancy — at the time — and when it’s politically advantageous to do so. 

Unfortunately for the academic-Left, Lady Luck, more often than not deals a mixed hand. But as you can see, this raises few a problems, because a Lefty player can use the negatives associated with a mixed black-red hand to advance any argument at all, from the strident Leftist ideology. 

Take a hand with Ace of Hearts, King of Diamonds, Ace of Spades, Jack of Spades and the Ace of Clubs. You just shuffle the cards and you get illegal immigration, John Howard, racism, white Australia and Left-compassion — a winning hand. Again, take a fall that gives you; Jack of Clubs, King of Clubs, Ace of Hearts, Ace of Diamonds and a Joker. Shuffle and you get; global warming, business, conservative Australia, Lefty compassion and the wild card, the Greens. James Bond is down but not out! 

Perhaps the lesson from Casino Royale is to constantly search for the underlying forces that drive an issue. To understand the ‘game’ that the Left plays there is a need to examine the underlying philosophies, and hatreds, which drive Left-wing academics in their constant rage against this nation. If you are only viewing Australian society out of one eye (the Left eye), you tend to get skewed vision. We need to know when they are bluffing. We need to know when to walk. 

One of the most frustrating aspects of the writings and pronouncement by the current flock of historians and Left-wing academics is the card-game tricks they play. The most frustrating are: taking events out of context; misleading by omission; selective quoting and the gathering of comments, statements or published thoughts by a few, to accuse the majority of citizens of some major ‘thought crime’. How often do you read an academic statement about ‘Australians are racist’ when they quote some statement from an individual, from the past, as overwhelming evidence. 

Group-guilt, and the creating of such, is a nasty business. Academics like to call this stereotyping, when done by some unsuspecting individual making a passing comment. But stereotyping is a favourite weapon used by bitter historians and academics when they are in full attack-mode, particularly when it can advance their theories. Americans are this, the British are that. Australians represent the worst aspects of both…sort of thing. 

Interestingly, academic attacks on ‘white-man’s-lands’ (the USA, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand), such as in the 2008 multi-award winning book Drawing the Global Colour Line by Henry Reynolds and Marilyn Lake, is in fact highly, if not mostly, ‘racist’. 

This book is 350-pages of unrelenting attacks on people with white skin, yet this book was received with accolades and endowed with ‘cultural’ prizes. If anything, their book represents the full range of Red cards. 

If you take virtually any page in Drawing the Global Colour Line and change the words white-man to black-man, or white-skinned to black-skinned, or white to black; you would most likely end up in chains and shipped to Devil’s Island. For instance, Reynolds and Lake say: 

When glorious manhood asserted its elevation, whitemen monopolised the status of manhood itself. Coolies, Islanders, Asiatics and Blacks were cast as not simply deficient as workers, colonists and citizens, but also as men. 

If there is just a whiff of feminism and anti-white-man stereotyping in the above, try this for racially inspired anti-white-ism, anti-Americanism and the notion of that awful racial trait, Anglo-Saxon:

The figure of the ‘white man’, in whose name white men’s countries were forged, was produced in a convergence of imperial and republican discourse that found political expression in the late nineteenth century talk of an Anglo-American alliance. 

In regard to Australia’s part in the forging and creating its nationhood in 1901, all other aspects of life in this country are ignored by Reynolds and Lake, with a concentration on just the white skin of its inhabitants, as though this is all that was going on in Australia at the time of Federation, or all that was in the minds of Australians in 1901. Strangely, then as now, the only preoccupation of most Australians regarding skin-colour, was most likely getting a sun-tan. 

But this is the world of the mutual admiration society that operates within the scholarship that represents Australian history studies today. Yet these writers and historians get away with this sort of publication, unchallenged. 

Unfortunately, this arcane world of political/historical academic research and publication needs to be read (and watched), yet the reading of such material can be mentally tiring and exhausting. Judgement of historical events, by today’s standards and values, means the reader has to try to sort out reality from fantasy — the difference between doing research and coming to a conclusion, rather than coming to a conclusion first, then seeking evidence to back up a political or ideological ordained premise, is the thing to watch out for. 

In the great battles of the culture wars, there is much at stake. 

The understanding and presentation of our history; the belief in the honourable side of our ancestors and ourselves (and acceptance of the occasional failures); our cultural heritage and the defence of our Western values and ideas — all these are under attack by people who are following a ideological bent we hardly can comprehend, and if we could, be totally repelled by it. 

Perhaps we just need to play a little more poker?

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