Saturday, June 7, 2008

A colonial hangover?

Lawrence Auster has commented on Kevin Rudd's plan to create an "Asia-Pacific community." He pastes an article from the Herald Sun which contains these comments from a Professor Tim Lindsey:

Professor Tim Lindsey from Melbourne University said an Asian Union was a fantastic idea.

"We are living in the "Asia century," he said.

"Australia is uniquely positioned as the only Western society in Asia and we have never capitalised on that, despite most of our commodities going to Asia."

He said Australia was still suffering from a "colonial hangover" by setting ourselves apart from Asia.

"This perception of ourselves as a European nation has to change," he said.

Professor Lindsey's assertion that "Australia is uniquely positioned as the only Western society in Asia" is geographically erroneous. Australia is not a part of Asia - it is a unique continent in its own right. Moreover, if Professor Lindsey were to stroll over to Melbourne University's Geography Department and examine a map of the globe, he'd find that most European capitals are, in fact, closer to the major Asian power centers than the Australian capital Canberra.

Geographical fallacies aside, Professor Lindsey's comments are a reminder that most of Australia's political, economic and academic elites are at best indifferent, at worst openly hostile, to the preservation of Australia's historic European culture and majority population. In fact, according to the good professor, the loss of our identity as a predominantly European nation would be desirable! Lindsey presumably believes that the disappearance of traditional British/European Australia is required to rid this country of its "colonial hangover," so that a new, emancipated Australia can fully realise its Asian destiny.

While demanding that Australia's historic identity be extinguished in order to "capitalise" on the "Asia century," Lindsey doesn't actually explain in any specific terms how Australia would benefit from becoming less European and more Asian. More trade? As the professor himself notes, most of our commodities are already going to Asian countries. And we certainly don't have much else to export to Asia, especially not since our own manufacturing sector was decimated by the rise of the Asian manufacturing mammoths. In reality, trade with Asian countries does not depend on Australia redefining itself as a part of Asia. No more than the remarkable post-war increase in trade between Japan and Western countries was contingent on Japan abandoning its traditional identity.

What does Australia stand to gain then? More "cultural enrichment"? While de-Europeanisation may be the goal of those elites who loathe traditional Australia, and believe that Asian peoples and cultures offer something inherently superior, not many Australians would consider the loss of their identity and culture "enriching." The wholesale destruction of a nation's historic identity and culture never is.

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