Good intentions may have been behind it, but a disastrous left-wing experiment from the seventies has blighted untold innocent lives.
At the height of the Cold War, in the early seventies, a sinister plot was hatched at the highest levels of the Australian government. Codenamed ‘Witchcraft’, the idea was to submit a group of Australians, against their will, to a collectivist Marxist experiment designed to deprive them of their personal freedom, their will to achieve, their economic independence and their right to full participation in our capitalist economy.
The results were chilling. Within a short time, severe depression, alcoholism, chronic drug dependency, pedophilia and pornography were rife. Drip-fed by the State, the victims developed very few skills, ambitions or hopes of their own. In scenes of deprivation normally only found in isolated corners of the Soviet Union, malnourished children, removed from access to proper health care or education, lived in squalor and disease while their ‘parents’ – often co-habiting in large polygamous groups – succumbed to hedonistic nihilism.
Yet rather than exposing the horror and putting a stop to this grotesque attempt at human engineering and cultural manipulation, all subsequent Australian governments have endorsed and continued this nightmarish socialist experiment on innocent lives. To this day, those subjected to the worst excesses of this systemic abuse lead desperate lives devoid of meaning or the opportunity for personal fulfillment, existing day by day solely on the promise of the next ‘fix’ of alcohol, drugs, pornography or all three.
OK, I made up the bit about it being codenamed ‘Witchcraft.” But the rest is pretty accurate.
The red-faced justification for the disastrous policies of Aboriginal “welfare” initiated by well-meaning public servant and Keynesian economist H. C. ‘Nugget’ Coombs is that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. ‘Nugget’, who among his numerous other achievements established the Australian National University and government support for “the Yarts” and the Australian film industry, didn’t set out – presumably - to destroy individual self-esteem and ambition; they were just two of the (predictable) side-effects that his ideas led to. Bizarrely, Coombs even went so far as to praise Aboriginal teenage boys who “roam freely in small anarchistic gangs, acquiring mundane knowledge and skills by observation and imitation with little formal discipline or instruction'. The birth of gang culture in urban Australia, brought to you by the ex-Governor of the Reserve Bank.
Forming his ideas during the Depression and refining them at the London School of Economics under the guidance of Harold Laski, one of the most influential Marxists of the 20th century, ‘Nugget’ was responsible for ending – and demonizing – the previous policy of “assimilation.” Problematic but hugely successful when compared to anything that has gone since, “assimilation” was the (now) politically incorrect idea that Aborigines could be encouraged to get a good education that hopefully led to some kind of a job, that would in turn lead to full participation in mainstream society and eventually the opportunity to purchase property. That this efficacious approach to improving the lot of all other Australians was deemed either not good enough (or possibly too good) for raising the living standards of indigenous Australians was, of course, typical of the inverted racist thinking that typifies so many leftist policies.
So instead, under Whitlam and Coombs, “assimilation” was scrapped and Aborigines – fresh from winning recognition, respect and their rightful place in Australian life at the 1967 referendum – soon found themselves being treated as a cross between quaint museum pieces and Huxleyan drones; denied the opportunity to determine their own lives whilst being left to the mercy of enterprise-sapping government hand-outs, politically-indoctrinated bureaucrats, corrupt tribal leaders and the demon grog. The road to hell, indeed.
Billions of dollars have been wasted paving it, but the pot-holes remain unfilled. From the current government the best we’ve had is an ideologically-inspired, hand-wringing “sorry” and, er, that’s about it.
Which brings us to Noel Pearson, Warren Mundine, Tony Abbott and a cinema commercial for the mining industry.
Mundine was National President of the Australian Labor Party and is a proud member of the Bundjalung people. “My personal opinion is that Nugget Coombs was wrong, and the statistics and the way Aboriginal people live today prove that,” he told Paul Comrie-Thomson on Radio National’s Counterpoint. (Former Keating minister Gary Johns was less diplomatic – labeling Coombs as “off the planet.”)
Pearson, indigenous founder of the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership, is even more damning: “A rule of thumb in relation to most of the programs and policies that pose as progressive thinking in indigenous affairs, is that if we did the opposite we would have a chance of making progress.” He goes on: “Our descent into passive welfare dependency has taken a decisive toll on our people, and the social problems which it has precipitated in our families and communities have had a cancerous effect on our relationships and values.”
Tony Abbott has promised that if elected he “will spend at least a week every year in a remote indigenous community because if these places are good enough for Australians to live in they should be good enough for a Prime Minister and senior officials to stay in."
Spot on, but let’s hope he does more than just visit. An Abbott government should rebuild Aboriginal policy from the ground up, override the Coombs/Greens anti-mining agenda and grab the golden chance that the resources boom offers to dramatically improve the lives, education, job opportunities and prosperity of the next generation of indigenous Australians. Rather than just scrapping the mining tax, ramp up incentives to provide community training and employment. Noel Pearson, Warren Mundine and other role models should be used to inspire pride in Aboriginal achievement through a campaign that promotes – yes, let’s not beat about the bush – contemporary assimilation. “A hand up, not a hand-out.”
Cinema goers are currently being treated to a lengthy commercial by the mining industry that tells the moving story of a young man who trained to be a chemical engineer, detailing his background, his education, and his Mum’s justifiably proud aspirations for his career.
The surprise is that he’s an Aborigine.