In the minds of most people the story of ‘the stolen generations’ evokes images of large numbers of part-Aboriginal children being systematically and unjustifiably taken from their families and put in institutions or fostered out. At the same time, in a separate and distinct compartment of their minds, these same people will agree that at some extreme point of parental neglect, or abandonment, children, whatever their ethnicity, have to be removed for their safety and wellbeing.
South Australian Bishop Chris McLeod was a visiting preacher at my Anglican church a short time ago. In his sermon he explained that his mother had been part of ‘the stolen generations’. She had been taken from her family and cared for in an Anglican orphanage and, subsequently, in an Anglican household. He did not elaborate further.
I don’t want to comment on the Bishop’s position. I knew nothing about him until hearing his Sunday sermon and know very little now. I know nothing about the feelings of his mother.
What I want to comment on is the likely reception of the Bishop’s remarks by the congregation. I might be wrong but I doubt anybody besides me would have read Keith Windschuttle’s Fabrication of Aboriginal History (Volume III). To a man and woman they would have slotted the Bishop’s remarks into what they ‘know’ to be a cruel and racist part of Australia’s past; ditto for almost any group of Australians.
All Australians are aware of Kevin Rudd’s apology. Why apologise for something that didn’t happen? The story of ‘the stolen generations’ has become an historical fact or, more correctly, a factoid.
In different circumstances I might have been like the rest of the congregation and the bishop’s story would have slotted neatly into a mindset captured by the received wisdom. I went so far the other day over coffee to say that those who had not read Windschuttle’s work were not entitled to have a view on ‘the stolen generations’. As neither of my two companions had done the requisite reading I am not sure how they took this comment. If it came across as arrogant, so be it. I think it is true.
It is also true that the received wisdom will prevail. The story of ‘the stolen generations’ represents yet more damning evidence of Australia’s racist history. It will not be widely questioned because that itself would be racist. Ergo, its verisimilitude will increase with time.
One of the principal building blocks of our civilisation is the primacy of reason — to think, to understand and form logical judgments on the basis of experience, evidence and facts. Twist experience, evidence and facts to suit a political narrative and reason fails, sophistries prevail. We now have many such sophistries plaguing and undermining our values and culture.
Marriage as commonly understood since the dawn of time has suddenly become a discriminatory institution; children, we are told, do just as well with same-sex couples. Life is sacrosanct, but unborn babies are disposable. All cultures are equally worthy, but our Judeo-Christian heritage is dispensable. A religion whose text preaches violence is peaceful. Speech should be free provided it doesn’t offend. The economic system responsible for lifting countless millions out of poverty oppresses the poor. Opening borders to all-comers is sustainable … and so on it goes.
The ‘stolen generations’ is just a small piece of the puzzle; but a piece it is. The end game is to chip away at the foundations of our civilisation until it is rubble. The question is not why false and destructive narratives emerge; they always have. The question is why they have now attained such purchase that, for example, Q&A audiences cheer every sanctimonious barb directed at our history, values and way of life. I don’t know the answer.
Yes, it might be explained by the march of the left through the media and educational institutions. But that simply puts the question back to an earlier stage in the process. How come that happened? After all we are talking about attacks on the greatest civilisation that mankind has known and in circumstances where no half-pleasant alternative is on offer.
My shot in the dark is that those undermining our civilisation have Nirvana in their sights. Now there is a nirvana. It’s called the after-life. But just suppose you disavow the possibility of an after-life but still have the longing? We see the result. It is apropos. The godless are leading us to hell on earth.