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The other shoe

March 2nd, 2008

There’s been a fair bit of discussion of the recent announcement of Volume Two of The Fabrication of Australian History: The “Stolen Generation”.

What doesn’t seem to have been mentioned is that the topic of this book bears no relation to the Volume Two that was announced in 2002, with a projected publication date of 2003, dealing with frontier violence in Queensland. In 2006, it was due out “within the next twelve months”. There was also to be a Volume 3 on Western Australian due out in 2004, of which nothing has been heard for quite a few years. His most recent statement on the subject, in May 2007, suggested that a multi-volume work would be forthcoming “eventually“.

Searching Windschuttle’s site it appears that none of the vast body of material he claims to have amassed on these topics has ever been published. In fact, he barely seems to have mentioned Queensland in recent years, apart from briefly restating his longstanding, and long-refuted attack on Henry Reynolds’ estimates of frontier deaths.

At this point, Windschuttle ought either to put up or shut up.

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  1. wilful
    March 3rd, 2008 at 07:50 | #1

    Keith Windschuttle’s contribution to history in the future will be as a footnote to something about the 90s-00s ‘culture wars’, there will be little or nothing to remember by him to aboriginal and settlement history.

  2. Hal9000
    March 3rd, 2008 at 11:55 | #2

    It was interesting to re-read the appalling Paul Sheehan quoting Windschuttle with approval. The trick they use is to establish a ridiculously high standard of proof, and then when using the results of that exercise in argument, attempt to pass it off as a common sense standard.

    Remembering that killing Aborigines was as much murder in the 1850s as in 2008, finding the documented evidence of eyewitnesses is a bit like coming across Jack the Ripper’s diary – a very lucky find. And yet Windschuttle and his fans insist that this sort of evidence – enough to secure a criminal conviction then and now – is the only ‘plausible’ evidence.

    Hearsay evidence – eg ‘Bloggs was notorious for shooting any black he came across’ – combined with the demonstrable absence of formerly numerous Aborigines on Bloggs’s vast landholdings – must in Windschuttle’s view be dismissed as ‘implausible’.

    We can deduce, therefore, that the perpetrators in Queensland were sufficiently careless in their self-incrimination that even Windschuttle was unable to develop a plausible denial. Poor petal.

  3. melanie
    March 3rd, 2008 at 21:12 | #3

    The longer Volume Two is delayed, the fewer words wasted on all sides and the better for all of us.

  4. Jill Rush
    March 3rd, 2008 at 22:29 | #4

    The most pleasing aspect is that he will no longer be given credence by the government of the day. His refusal to accept the verbal evidence of Aboriginal people was appalling.

    His time will be seen as a pimple on the body of history. Nasty and an irritant but of no real importance in the long run.

  5. March 4th, 2008 at 08:39 | #5

    At this point, Windschuttle ought either to put up or shut up.

    Preferably and more efficiently, he should shut up.

  6. Keith Windschuttle
    March 4th, 2008 at 11:03 | #6

    The belief that Cathy Freeman won Gold at the 200 Olympics is in fact a myth. Every account of it happening has fatal flaws, and I believe she was in fact holidaying at Surfers Paradise at the time.

  7. O6
    March 4th, 2008 at 11:14 | #7

    That’s the 200BC Olympics, I take it from the lack of photographic evidence of Ms Freeman on holiday?
    Why does anyone bother with Windschuttle now?

  8. snuh
    March 4th, 2008 at 13:18 | #8

    There is no doubt that the majority of Aboriginal people today believe the Stolen Generations story is true. If parliament agrees with them, but fails to offer compensation, it will reduce next week’s apology to a politically expedient piece of insincerity that yet again humiliates Aborigines by showing we do not take their most deeply-felt grievances seriously.

    yes, windschuttle actually said this. a man who chooses this as the moment to announce his book on the “myth” of the stolen generation, actually said this. he’s not the most self-aware person in the world.

  9. Jage
    March 4th, 2008 at 13:34 | #9

    Having just read that Courier Mail article it does not do anything of the sort as refute Windschuttle’s exposure of Henry Reynold’s methods.

  10. jquiggin
    March 4th, 2008 at 16:33 | #10

    As you’ll no doubt recall, Jage, Windschuttle criticised Reynolds for estimating Aboriginal deaths on the frontier as being 10 times the number of white deaths (which were recorded fairly accurately). The Courier-Mail report suggests that Reynolds was on the conservative side here; reprisal raids like this were a routine occurrence, and casualties on the Aboriginal side far exceeded the number of whites for whom vengeance was taken.

  11. Jage
    March 4th, 2008 at 17:01 | #11

    But there is no connection between what is reported in the Courier Mail article (a very odd source for scholarly authority I would have thought) and KW’s critique of Reynold’s method, nor does it lend any support to the validity of that method.

    So it is simply wrong to say that a Courier Mail journalist has ‘long-refuted W’s attack on HR.’ Did HR and/or KW even mention the career of Frederick Urquart? Given Koch reports that his reign of terror was from 1917 to 1921, while Fabrication covered 1803-47, you need to explain the relevance of this newspaper story.

    Reynolds is nowhere near cleared and Windschuttle remains uncontradicted.

  12. jquiggin
    March 4th, 2008 at 17:49 | #12

    You’re missing the point completely, Jage. I’m not talking about Windschuttle’s (nitpicking) criticism of Reynolds work on Tasmania, in Volume 1 (to which I assume you refer), but about his attack on Reynolds work on Queensland.

  13. Jock Lenehan
    March 4th, 2008 at 18:02 | #13

    The comments here show remarkable apprehension.

    Why is the unsupported word of Henry Reynolds so more desireable than the painstakingly referenced work of Keith Windschuttle.

    Myth has a remarkable attraction for the left. Perhaps I should say, negative myth.

    I am reminded of Lyndall Ryan’s comment to the effect that although the facts upon which she based her conclusions were not supportable, she stood by her conclusions.

    Where a reasonable group would have been abashed at their exposure, the left wing historians simply became more aggressive and arrogant. But, of course, a reasonable group would not have lied in the first place.

    Windschuttle has, singlehandedly, exposed their disgraceful attempt to besmirch the Australian community, and they should only expect more of the same

  14. snuh
    March 4th, 2008 at 18:41 | #14

    jock, i expect the nature of the comments refletcs that the history wars were done to death in the oz blogosphere, and no one really has any desire for another flame war about it.

    so, if you want to perist in your belief that windschuttle stands alone, defending us from a left-wing conspiracy to besmirch australia (which conspiracy appears to have extended into the liberal and national parties, given the apology), i hope no one will stop you. absent new claims from windschuttle, it just seems profoundly pointless to again have the argument your trying to bait us into.

  15. Jock Lenehan
    March 4th, 2008 at 18:55 | #15

    Thanks Snuh, I had some difficulty in working out what this thread is about.

    I see now that it is simply a nit picking personal attack on KW, and nothing to do with history.

  16. Ikonoclast
    March 4th, 2008 at 19:21 | #16

    Keith Windschuttle’s work has about as much plausability as the work of the Holocaust denialists and the Climate Change denialists. Such absurd denialism has long ago been refuted but the denialists keep on believing what they want to believe despite all the empirical evidence to the contrary.

    I always wonder why such denialists think that other people would want to fabricate evidence that casts a pall on their cultural past or a shadow across their possible future. Of course they (and I) do not want to fabricate past ills and future dangers. What we do want to do is look at the world objectively and see what the real world evidence is telling us.

    Denialists (of objectively verifiable events or trends) are people who simply want to live in a fairy tale all the time. Look I like living in fairytales too but what I do is read “Lord of the Rings” again or watch my BBC “Pride and Prejudice” discs. Then I come back to the real world and put my thinking cap back on.

    You know it makes sense. :)

  17. Jage
    March 5th, 2008 at 16:06 | #17

    Actually John, it is you who is missing the point. You have tried – and dismally failed – to trash KW’s scholarship. If you posted this thread not intending his books to be discussed, why have you started your thread trashing them? If your point was not directed at KW’s books, you still have not answered the questions raised by this newspaper story.

    There is no connection between what is reported in the Courier Mail article (a very odd source for scholarly authority I would have thought) and KW’s critique of Reynold’s method, nor does it lend any support to the validity of that method.

    So it is simply wrong to say that a Courier Mail journalist has ‘long-refuted W’s attack on HR.’ Did HR and/or KW even mention the career of Frederick Urquart? You need to explain the relevance of this newspaper story.

    Reynolds is nowhere near cleared and Windschuttle remains uncontradicted.

  18. Jage
    March 5th, 2008 at 16:08 | #18

    Ikonoclast

    Which particular Holocaust deniers and climate change deniers have written books on early Australian history?

    You would do well to actually read KW’s books before making a tit of yourself again.

  19. jquiggin
    March 5th, 2008 at 17:21 | #19

    I think even a Windschuttle fan ought to be capable of detecting that the post is about non-books – those that have been promised and have not appeared.

    Your suggestion “You would do well to actually read KW’s books before making a tit of yourself again.” is particularly delicious in this context. Perhaps KW ought to get around to writing them.

  20. jquiggin
    March 5th, 2008 at 18:05 | #20

    PS, commenters who wish to change pseudonym should advise me in advance. Please check the comments policy on this point.

  21. Jage
    March 9th, 2008 at 13:16 | #21

    John

    My comment was to Ikonclast and all those people who get their knowledge of this debate from op-ed bloviating Luvvies.

    So a Couurier Mail journo has refuted attacks on Henry Reynolds in books that have not been written by KW?

    Curioser and curioser. Tell me, do you apply the same standards of logic to your critiques of climate change models? ;)

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