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The great Windschuttle hoax

January 7th, 2009

The publication by Keith Windschuttle of a hoax article on science has been all over the papers and the blogs. I agree with Tim Lambert (who gives lots of links) that the article sounds reasonable by comparison with the nonsense commonly published on scientific topics by Quadrant.

Just before this, I was thinking about another hoax, namely the repeated promise of a Volume 2 of The Fabrication of Australian History. When Volume 1 came out back in 2002, Windschuttle promised further volumes on an annual schedule, covering Queensland and WA. Since Queensland in particular was the focus of Henry Reynolds’ main work, and since the evidence of numerous massacres seems incontrovertible, this promised volume was central to Windschuttle’s claims of fabrication. The promise was repeated year after year, but no Volume 2 ever appeared, and the “research” supposedly already undertaken has stayed out of sight.

Then in February 2008, Windschuttle published extracts from a Volume 2, promised for publication “later this year”, but now on a totally different topic, that of the Stolen Generation. His target this time was Peter Read, an eminent historian who’s done a lot of practical work reuniting Aboriginal children with their birth families. It’s 2009, the promised volume hasn’t appeared, and there hasn’t been any reference to it on Windschuttle’s site for some time.

The real hoax victims here have been those on the political right, who’ve repeatedly swallowed Windschuttle’s promises to refute well-established facts about Australian history “later this year” and who are now getting their “science” from his discredited magazine.

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  1. January 13th, 2009 at 09:57 | #1

    Cow say moo – like the academics you want to invoke your genocide and deny it too.

    Attwood’s postmodernist-influenced approach is a disaster. His interpretation of Ryan’s genocide quote is wrong, and contradicted by her.

    I haven’t been academically programmed, I mean trained.

    Congratulations on the twins – I won’t expect a reply.

  2. Ken Miles
    January 13th, 2009 at 13:06 | #2

    In Fabrication Vol 1 Windschuttle exposed the exaggerations and fabrications of academic historians that had supported the Tasmanian genocide myth. If he had left it at that the black-armbanders could have continued making vague statements about bloody massacres and “general estimates” of the death toll. The only way to combat that misleading approach was to tally up the evidence of killings that had any credibility and explain why other massacre stories had no credibility. This could be done surprisingly thoroughly because, as everyone agrees, the colonization of Tasmania was particularly well documented, officially, unofficially, and by the likes of G. A. Robertson who spent years with the Aborigines recording what they told him.

    JD, the problem is that we will never be able to know with any certainty what the death toll was. Rather (short of a time machine), “general estimates” is the absolute best that we can realistically achieve.

    That there is a large volume of Tasmania primary literature helps, but it doesn’t solve the problem. For example, how many Aborigines were shot, fled and later died? You, me, Windschuttle or anybody else has no idea. However, logic suggests that in a world without antibiotics, modern medicine and a lack of shelter during freezing nights, a significant number of Tasmanians must have perished this way. Windschuttle’s methodology will, by design, miss these deaths out. Henry Reynolds attempts at cobbling together a crude survey out of the historical record is infinitely better.

    As I said above, Windschuttle’s work could have led to a sensible debate about the evidence and the likelihood of unrecorded killings etcetera. Instead the academics chose lynch-mob tactics – a strong indication that Windschuttle’s case is factually and logically (if not politically) correct.

    Good one. A Windschuttle supporter complaining about lynch-mob tactics. You’re not Katherine Wilson having another go at a hoax are you now?

  3. January 13th, 2009 at 14:23 | #3

    Ken Miles, my answer would be repetitive, so I’ll let you have the last word.

    J Quiggin, thanks for the space.

  4. Alanna
    January 13th, 2009 at 17:34 | #4

    I would like an update on the additions to Moo’s herd? My best wishes too Moo.

  5. Jeremiah
    January 13th, 2009 at 19:11 | #5

    #100 Alanna. I am all in favour of autodidacts who have high IQs and 50+ years of serious reading (or listening to those who have done the reading) like Phillip Adams. But it is tiresome to be misconstrued by quick-to-the-keyboard Alannas who I would like to discourage from wasting time by being as patronising as possible. Any literate person ought, if careful, or just well educated, take note of my use of the word “connotations” and also what “its literal meaning” means clearly enough in the context (“the killing of a people” – not a word owned by people who got together to frame a convention or treaty after WW2).

    To use some official definition for a treaty or convention as if it is relevant to my point suggests only an obsession with Alanna’s solipsistic mental realm. Equally to say “there is no [sic] definition that…” misses the same point and is, anyway, factually untrue. To put “advanced planned” in quotes is to manufacture a quote so that too is no answer to anything I raised.

    Presumably, in their dogged support of their preconceptions, neither Alanna or Chris Warren can see, even now, that the Robert Mannes and Raimond Gaitas, as well as poor Ronald Wilson, had tin ears for nuance when they thrust “genocide” on a surprised Australian reading public about 15 years ago. To use the word genocide without having its connection (indeed origin in) the Holocaust, or at least Rwanda, in mind exhibit the tin ear syndrome, not to mention a evidence of ignorance and insensitivity. To mention a lower level example of the same thing which they would probably deplore, it is a bit like expecting people in the UK of sub-continental origin to accept the word “Paki” in casual use or Aborigines to accept “boong”.

    Two final points. It is clear that “colonial authorities” (the words I used) didn’t have the mental element of (the crime of) genocide to which Alanna attempted to divert my point and which she quotes as “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such”. War using superior and even very destructive weapons is not even the beginning of the notion of genocide. The future Commissioner Urquhart’s successful slaughter of many of the Kalkadoon warriors gathered to fight him and his native (NB) troopers was not intended to wipe out the Kalkadoon or even their culture of which white people generally had very little conception. A moment’s thought makes it clear that Aborigines who would be available to work in the modern economy were not likely to be killed unlike the Jews of Europe or the Tutsi in Rwanda. so, no intent even to commit what Alanna thinks of as genocide.

    And one final piece of patronising pedantry. Chris Warren says:

    It is of course relevant to my argument because, of course, the absence of particular characteristics of European anti-Semitism means that, if there was genocide (i.e. the deliberate carrying out of a policy of genocide), its mental element has to shown to be some other set of causal states of mind. What are they Mr. Warren? I don’t expect to get an answer because of course British colonial authorities simply didn’t wish to destroy a people, or any of the Aboriginal peoples,and the few sociopaths amongst settlers, convicts and emancipists who did were so disapproved of that their actions to give effect to genocidal intentions put them in danger of being tried, convicted and hanged, as a number were.

  6. Jeremiah
    January 13th, 2009 at 19:22 | #6

    Slight correction…#100 Alanna. I am all in favour of autodidacts who have high IQs and 50+ years of serious reading (or listening to those who have done the reading) like Phillip Adams. But it is tiresome to be misconstrued by quick-to-the-keyboard Alannas who I would like to discourage from wasting time by being as patronising as possible. Any literate person ought, if careful, or just well educated, take note of my use of the word “connotations” and also what “its literal meaning” means clearly enough in the context (”the killing of a people” – not a word owned by people who got together to frame a convention or treaty after WW2).

    To use some official definition for a treaty or convention as if it is relevant to my point suggests only an obsession with Alanna’s solipsistic mental realm. Equally to say “there is no [sic] definition that…” misses the same point and is, anyway, factually untrue. To put “advanced planned” in quotes is to manufacture a quote so that too is no answer to anything I raised.

    Presumably, in their dogged support of their preconceptions, neither Alanna or Chris Warren can see, even now, that the Robert Mannes and Raimond Gaitas, as well as poor Ronald Wilson, had tin ears for nuance when they thrust “genocide” on a surprised Australian reading public about 15 years ago. To use the word genocide without having its connection (indeed origin in) the Holocaust, or at least Rwanda, in mind exhibits the tin ear syndrome, not to say evidence of ignorance and insensitivity. To mention a lower level example of the same thing which they would probably deplore, it is a bit like expecting people in the UK of sub-continental origin to accept the word “Paki” in casual use or Aborigines to accept “boong”.

    Two final points.

    It is clear that “colonial authorities” (the words I used) didn’t have the mental element of (the crime of) genocide to which Alanna attempted to divert my point and which she quotes as “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such”. War using superior and even very destructive weapons is not even the beginning of the notion of genocide. The future Commissioner Urquhart’s successful slaughter of many of the Kalkadoon warriors gathered to fight him and his native (NB) troopers at Battle Mountain was not intended to wipe out the Kalkadoon or even their culture of which white people generally had very little conception. A moment’s thought makes it clear that Aborigines who would be available to work in the modern economy were not likely to be killed unlike the Jews of Europe or the Tutsi in Rwanda. So, no intent even to commit what Alanna thinks of as genocide.

    And one final piece of patronising pedantry. Chris Warren says:

    ‘Jeremiah’s point about some abscence of “motives for German anti-Semitism, including not least religion and rancorous envy” is not relevant.’

    It is of plainly relevant to my argument because, of course, the absence of particular characteristics of European anti-Semitism means that, if a case is to be made that there was genocide (i.e. the deliberate carrying out of a policy of genocide), its mental element has to shown to be some other set of causal states of mind. What are they Mr. Warren? (By excluding the elements of religion and envy and thereby narrowing the field of definition it ought to help you focus your thoughts). I don’t expect to get an answer because of course British colonial authorities simply didn’t wish to destroy a people, or any of the Aboriginal peoples,and the few sociopaths amongst settlers, convicts and emancipists who did were so disapproved of that their actions to give effect to genocidal intentions put them in danger of being tried, convicted and hanged, as a number were.

  7. January 13th, 2009 at 21:00 | #7

    To be fair to Windschuttle, mainstream historians of Aboriginal history do have a lot to answer. I’ve lifted the following from a piece put together by Windschuttle that juuxtaposes comments by mainstream historians that demonstrates bad faith:

    I don’t want to call it genocidal, but I’m not going to tidy it up either.
    — Cassandra Pybus on the Tasmanian Aborigines, Sunday, Channel 9, May 25 2003

    In the early nineteenth century, the Aboriginal people of Tasmania were all but wiped out, I mean it was one of the clearest cases of genocide that we know of and recognised as such at the time.
    — Cassandra Pybus, Four Corners, ABC-TV, August 26 2002

    ***

    Falsely accusing Australian historians of exaggerating claims of genocide and Holocaust in Australia in order to paint them as ideologically-driven is now common among history warriors.
    — Dirk Moses, Online Opinion, 11 April 2005

    Australia had many genocides, perhaps more than any other country.
    — Dirk Moses, Journal of Genocide Research, 2000, p 93

    ***

    In my opinion, genocide is neither a necessary nor a useful concept for the task of understanding the nature of the white colonisation of this country.
    — Bain Attwood, Telling the Truth about Aboriginal History, 2005, p 92

    the concept of genocide, I am suggesting, might still be useful to us in the historical task of imagining and so understanding the past of our forbears (and therefore, in time, it might have beneficial political outcomes).
    — Bain Attwood, Aboriginal History, 2001, p 171 [his emphasis]

    ***

    More specifically, Windschuttle has not provided any evidence for his imputation that academic historians have compared the British colonisation of this country to Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews or caused others to make such a comparison. This is a figment of his imagination.
    — Bain Attwood, Telling the Truth about Aboriginal History, 2005, p 95

    For the foreseeable future, the fate of reconciliation will also rest on recognition of the severe historical impact the various dimensions of colonisation have had upon Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders — what can and should be called a holocaust given the scale of loss and the trauma that has been suffered.
    — Bain Attwood, in Michelle Grattan ed., Reconciliation, 2000, p 258

    ***

    Windschuttle has clearly demonstrated that mainstream historians have thrown around words like holocaust and genocide, then accused Windschuttle of being a liar when he says this is what they have done.

    I repeat, Windschuttle has been unnecessarily callous but he has nonetheless demolished for all time the respectability of the genocide/holocaust argument.

    Quotes from: http://www.sydneyline.com/Return%20of%20Postmodernism.htm

  8. Alanna
    January 13th, 2009 at 22:22 | #8

    jeremiah

    perhaps you would like to then explain your interpretation of your own comment

    “One comparison with the most obvious idea that “genocide” brings to mind is to point out that the mixture of motives for German anti-Semitism, including not least religion and rancorous envy, had no part in the motivation of white frontier settlers and their supporting police.”

    Seeing as you clearly dont like my interpretation of your comment (Im not bothered by your personal insults – they dont require any academic rigour to interpret).

  9. Alanna
    January 13th, 2009 at 22:51 | #9

    Jeremiah,

    There are methodological standards for lying about history but I happen to think that the proponents for genocide denial of the Australian aboriginies are a minority (albeit a vocal and sometimes excessively misleading wordy minority – with many of the same characteristics as you display yourself Jeremiah). Too soon you sink into the personal attack and much like Windschuttle launches personal attacks on those he disagrees with, I might add.

    I merely drew attention to my interpretation of your comment concerning German anti semitism as it relates to the precise definition of genocide. I note to the strange propensity for some individuals to ignore what would appear to be the bleeding obvious to me (no pun intended). We could move on to South Australia and discuss flour laced with Strychnine or the employment of Tasmanian aboriginies for basic sustenance and no wages.

    There are many other incidences of this sort of denial – as in global warming denials, Rwandan genocide denials, even Holocaust denials. Windschuttle excelled himself denying the genocide of Tasmanian aborginies. I simply dont agree with Windschuttle or with the line of argument you offer. I would also prefer you keep your person insults to yourself.

    You can call it what you want (perhaps an unintended accident) but how do you account for the demise of an ancient race from Tasmania a mere one hundred years after white arrival?

    What would you call it? Natural selection? Darwinian displacement? Survival of the fittest or was it survival of the most powerfully armed? So all is at it should be in the natural order of nature, and it wasnt genocide but guns probably helped.

    I disagree. Its an offence to historical truth and its an offence to aborigines across Australia. Windschuttle is merely peddling politics not truth. Australian labour historians also went off tangent prior to the 1960s by romanticising the rise of the labour movement. Windschuttle has been off course on the aborigines for close to two decades.

  10. Chris Warren
    January 14th, 2009 at 08:24 | #10

    Good to see that Jeremiah has backed away from wanting his “german anti-semitism” as a criteria for genocide.

    He now wants a new criteria – this is a bit strange – but anyway here it is:

    a “mental element has to shown to be some other set of causal states of mind.”

    Deniers of genocide always try to fool with definitions and add in supposed new tests to disrupt discussion.

    This is not rigorous.

    The only definition that legally applies is the Convention. Anyone adding in their own pet theories are just wasting time and trying to deflect attention. They are not good thinkers.

    However there may well have been interesting causal states of mind, active in Tasmania, that maybe were the same as and some that were different from the Nazi genocide and the earlier British and Colonial genocides against American Indian tribes.

    However in all cases, causal motivations have been,
    1)ignorant racism plus
    2)lebenschraum.

    But theoretically you can have genocide without 1) or 2).

  11. Jeremiah
    January 14th, 2009 at 10:05 | #11

    #110 to #112 I’m sorry to sound snobbish but it’s a waste of time conversing with people who, even when put on notice, can’t meet standards which allow precise logical engagement. Alannah asks me to “explain [my] own interpretation of [my] own comment “One comparison with the most obvious idea that “genocide” brings to mind is to point out that the mixture of motives for German anti-Semitism, including not least religion and rancorous envy, had no part in the motivation of white frontier settlers and their supporting police.” seeing as you clearly don’t like my interpretation of your comment”, but I look in vain for any interpretation by Alanna of that comment as the reference to Nazis “advanced planned” genocide clearly has nothing to do with it.
    Chris Warren did get into that area but now #108 proves conclusively that he hasn’t the equipment for intelligent debate. To start with I didn’t “back away” from anything. It was never there as misconstrued by Warren to back away from. I don’t want a new criteria [sic - sorry the patronising pedant arises again] for the existence of genocide. I merely pointed out that the deliberate act or policy of genocide requires motivation (as an ingredient of being deliberate in case I need to spell it out), and, if you don’t find the motivations for classic known genocide you need to look for alternative motivations if you are to make people believe in the intent – the deliberate quality – of the policy or genocidal results of actions.

    Ordinary courtesy and honesty in intellectual activity requires that one answer the point a person is making in the terms, assuming they are intelligible and raise a well enough defined point, that the proponent uses (or logically related terms). While I now see that Chris Warren made broad brush assertions about (undefined) genocide in #30, it was my completely different points in the context that they are to be found in #98 that he has now responded to and the comment he and Alanna quote about Nazi anti-Semitism is preceded by “[after referring to David Lowe's 'Forgotten Rebels']…even the most belligerent settlers come across as economically driven and no more tribal or racist that the more extreme Zionists (and less violent in words than Hamas or Hezbollah or the Iranian PM). It mightn’t suit Windschuttle’s case entirely, or anyone else’s, but it is hard to see how things could have been much different in the late 19th century than the fighting of a war which had no clear rules or conventions, let alone treaties, to govern it.” It is then that I say, NB, “Practically none of the connotations of the word genocide, let alone its *literal* meaning…..”

    Very odd not to notice, especially as I used the word “connotations” which seems to have gone over your head as much as over Alanna’s, that I said “literal” not “legal”. This has got nothing to do with “pet theories” let alone “new tests”: that is Chris Warren wanting to insist on (some and what aspects of) the 1948 Convention definitions. The literal meaning of this mongrel Graeco-Latin word is the killing of a people and it is clear enough that colonial authorities had no such policy or broad intent. It is not useful for Mr Warren to throw in “may well have been” and “maybe were the same” when questions of evidence about motivation are asked especially when those words of his are followed by “earlier British and Colonial genocides against American Indian tribes” which suggests a willingness to ignore his own ignorance and vagueness about historical facts as generous as his willingness to attempt to use foreign words he has no idea about (Lebensraum is the word you want: it means room for living).
    The problem perhaps lies in the woolly thought embedded in his brain on the evidence of #30 :

    “Remember too, that early Australian economic growth was based on the genocide of the Aboriginal race, and dispossession for the survivors. Windschuttle (and otehr Quadrant ranters) try to deny this and offers no other explanation for Australian property rights.

    The genocide of Aborigines is the hidden [sic] secret to Australian economics.”

    Gee whiz. If Australian Aborigines still lived as they did 220 years ago (with no expanded trading ties with Asia whether in mother of pearl or Chinese TV sets) the Australia of 2008 would look rather different. Who has been keeping this secret from me? As to the supposed need for any “other explanation for Australian property rights” than genocide and dispossession try, as you like quoting legal definitions as if they are sacred, reading some of the Mabo decision and understand that Australian property rights rest on common law and acts of the Crown originally with statutory overlays since.

    And please remember as the seas rise because of global warming (and even more because of the wicked Quadrant people’s refusal to quit their secret smoking habits and cut their CO2 emissions) don’t get out of your depth.

  12. Alanna
    January 14th, 2009 at 10:20 | #12

    The methodology of denying historical truth for ideological reasons used by Windschuttle, actively employs diversion of the main argument down a series of side alleys – the purpose is to get bogged down in trivia – very minor semantic arguments (definition of the word connotation for example)combined with the personal denigration of those who disagree with their argument.

    The latter is not acceptable debating practice anywhere although many political debates also made maximum use of this (obfuscating) strategy over the past decade. I was beginning to wonder if some of our politicians had been reared fighting scrum brawls. This diversionary tactic is a fairly common characteristic of articles (if you can call them that seeing as many are not backed by rigorous research or empirical studies) and media grabs published by Quadrant, CIS or IPA .

    If they cant secure their extreme ideological views into some form of media that, for them, semi legitimises what is really a non mainstream or minority view, they retreat from the key argument and seek denigration of their critics (as an enemy) or trifling over minor semantics or initiating sensational attacks on other eminent reserachers in particular fields such as Australian history and social welfare (even charities have come under fire because the poor are just “lazy or on drugs”).

    Its an attempt to hike their mad views into the media by riding in on someone else’s high profile coattails.

    The title of Windschuttles Book is classic example

    “Fabrication”. Shock. Horror. The entire history profession has been lying to us all…

    Even Henderson has it partially right when he says the problem with Windschuttle is he has swung from the far left back to the far right. One cant help but wonder if there is something of a revenge seeking (Freudian) shadow behind his attacks on the – so called enemy “left wing academics”.

    One of my forebears was in the rum corps and was sent to Tasmania to fight “bushrangers”. How many were white bushrangers and how many were black? How many were genuine bushrangers and how many were just desperate people. Living could not have been easy but it would have been easier without a tribe camped on “your land.” We cant even accept the television version of the word bushranger. How many aboriginies were massacred at one particular site? (121 is concrete tally?). How many were shot by farmers trying to secure their own survival on what they perceived at the time as their land? How many were driven away to areas with little food available and starved. How many died elsewhere in alien territories (perhaps at the hands of rival tribes in territorial disputes). Collectively, innocent motives, murky motives and guilty motives combined to form genocide of the Tasmanian aboriginies.

  13. Alanna
    January 14th, 2009 at 10:26 | #13

    Oh and Jeremiah, for someone who accuses me of being quick off the keyboard I notice you are not too slow yourself.

  14. January 14th, 2009 at 10:58 | #14

    Alanna, Chris Warren,

    If you look at my #109, you will note that even mainstream historians have backed away from the words genocide and holocaust.

    Although more Aboriginals were killed than Windschuttle’s numbers suggest- probably significantly more- it was the white man’s disease that did the bulk of the damage. Alanna in particular is committing every indecent act that she now accuses Windschuttle of committing: it’s an unedifying spectacle.

  15. Alanna
    January 14th, 2009 at 11:23 | #15

    Melaleuca,

    The Tasmanian aboriginies all disappeared – in a relatively short time frame. The whole lot. Not a single one left. That is the unedifying spectacle but I will give some weight to disease. However, sufficient would have survived the initial wave of disease to go on – but what of the rest?. I have seen the actual photos in Tasmania of the last few aboriginal souls, stuffed into what looked like tatty ill fitting victorian clothing and propped uneasily in front of the cameras for a sepia photo (and if I recall the readings at the Tasmanian museum, which is stretching my mental recall given it was 1973) kept almost as living zoo specimens for people to parade by and gawk at at the time. That was the truly unedifying image for me, and for me, there is no other word to describe what happened to the Tasmanian aboriginies, but I have no inclination or desire to debate “literal” meanings og genocide or “legal” meanings genocide or the word “connotation” or the “inapplicability of the German mindset” to this situation with Jeremiah.

  16. Alanna
    January 14th, 2009 at 11:35 | #16

    Accidental at times – yes, due to disease at times – yes, due to stravation at times – yes, due to murder at times – yes but overwhelmingly due to lack of sufficient concern or care during the period, genocide happened. Call it what you will.

  17. Alanna
    January 14th, 2009 at 11:36 | #17

    Call it genocidal negligence.

  18. January 14th, 2009 at 12:06 | #18

    Well then Alanna, your beef is with Bain Attwood, Dirk Moses and Cassandra Pybus as well as with Keith Windschuttle ;)

  19. Chris Warren
    January 14th, 2009 at 15:05 | #19

    Melaleuca

    Disease certainly caused a lot of depopulation. In Tasmania there appears no reason to suggest that disease was spread deliberately.

    However a case for genocide by musket ball, cannonade and starvation can still be made.

    Here is not the place.

  20. Chris Warren
    January 14th, 2009 at 15:12 | #20

    Jeremiah, said: [quote]

    “…the most obvious idea that “genocide” brings to mind is to point out that the mixture of motives for German anti-Semitism, including not least religion and rancorous envy, had no part in the motivation of white frontier settlers and their supporting police.”

    Then Jeremiah said: [quote]

    It (“german anti-semitism” ) was never there – see #113.

    These two quotes contradict each other.

    QED

  21. Alanna
    January 14th, 2009 at 16:09 | #21

    Mel please – I cant take any more?!!;)

  22. nanks
    January 14th, 2009 at 18:59 | #22

    thanks for the link to ‘The Thinker’s Podium’

  23. Jill Rush
    January 14th, 2009 at 20:45 | #23

    #91 John Dawson – you might like to consider this. A week ago I would have accepted someone claiming to have had something published in Quadrant as having some veracity. This week I know that being published in Quadrant is no big deal and that there is no guarantee of any kind of accuracy in what is presented. What a difference a week makes.

    On another note about the impact of disease on native populations there is little doubt that it was used by the colonisers. By the time Tasmania was settled it was well known that Aboriginals were very susceptible to disease. Governor Phillip had documented exactly this phenomenon in Sydney. The colonisers took no precautions to limit the effects of disease and were belligerent to Aboriginals who tried to protect sacred sites or to teach the colonisers respect.

    Windschuttle’s failures as a historian are many. His hoax as Prof Q has pointed out is that he has promised us more but unlike the ads on TV has failed to deliver the steak knives.

  24. Jeremiah
    January 15th, 2009 at 00:19 | #24

    #114 Good to see that I have something in common with Alanna, namely an ancestor who was an (Irish in my case) soldier in the Rum Corps.
    Can’t say the same for sticking to the point. Where now is her insistence in #100 that genocide must be understood as the crime defined in the 1948 Convention? Instead we are told “Collectively, innocent motives, murky motives and guilty motives combined to form genocide of the Tasmanian aboriginies.” With “innocent motives” the game was over and Alanna might as well not have wasted her and our time by entering the field. Now “genocide” means when she uses it the actual wiping out by whatever causes of a people, no more no less (in which connection I refer Alanna to the story of the Beothuks of Newfoundland, wiped out by 1829. Those nice proper Canadians, OK Newfies because they weren’t Canadians till 1949, couldn’t have committed a genocide could they?).

    Chris Warren is in need of a good 6th grade teacher to make him read things carefully and pause before he says something stupid – and wastes everyone’s time. He started by saying at #113
    “Good to see that Jeremiah has backed away from wanting his “german anti-semitism” as a criteria [sic] for genocide.” Mr Warren then chooses the words “it wasn’t there” from what I said, or, as he put it “it (german anti-semitism) wasn’t there” as contradicting what I had previously said when he should have summoned up the mental stamina to read and repeat my full refutation which showed that I wasn’t talking about a criterion or defining condition or standard for genocide but a possible reason (or criterion to adapt Mr Warren’s terminology) for inferring, or rejecting the inference of, genocidal motive in those who did in fact harm Aborigines. What I said was “I didn’t “back away” from anything. It was never there as misconstrued by Warren to back away from. I don’t want a new criteria [sic - sorry the patronising pedant arises again] for the existence of genocide. I merely pointed out that the deliberate act or policy of genocide requires motivation (as an ingredient of being deliberate in case I need to spell it out), and, if you don’t find the motivations for classic known genocide you need to look for alternative motivations if you are to make people believe in the intent – the deliberate quality – of the policy or genocidal results of actions.” As can be seen my use of the comparison with German anti-Semitism was even weaker than the suggestion that it could aid in inferring genocidal intent; I merely pointed out that the Alannas and Warrens needed to give some persuasive explanations if they were convince others that there was the genocidal intent.

  25. Alanna
    January 15th, 2009 at 05:43 | #25

    Jeremiah# – my rum corp forbear married a second fleet convict woman (the nightmare transportation) who had become relatively wealthy in four years after arrival by inheriting the land grants of her first rum corp husband (she must have been assigned to him Im supposing – anyway he didnt live very long on Lord Howe – or was it Norfolk? (memory failing) island. Oh btw, she stole a silk handkerchief to be granted transportation – so cliched isnt it ? but women had it far worse than men – most unfair. Now Jermiah – I am going to work so Ill have to check your story about the Newfoundlanders later but Ill be back.

  26. Chris Warren
    January 15th, 2009 at 06:26 | #26

    Jeremiah

    Such wordplay and abuse will get you nowhere.

    It is a not necessary to have evidence of genocidal intent in the historical record to have had a genocidal outcome.

    So this is just a diversion by a denier.

    And a game I find rather too common, boring and useless.

    I gave sufficient causal factors in #112 above so I am not going to repeat them here. If Jeremiah wants to contests real positions, he should start here – not in Germany.

  27. Jeremiah
    January 15th, 2009 at 10:56 | #27

    #128 My Rum Corps ancestor also married a convict woman who ended up the respectable mother of many fecund daughters by three marriages. This female ancestor of mine was transported, I infer, for social engineering reasons, which included getting her and her first daughter away from the bad man she was living with who was not convicted of the petty theft for which she was transported.

    #129 Chris Warren: In your terms your use of “wordplay” is itself word play – and the resort of one who is unused to precision of thought or language and, on the evidence, incapable of it. A most important item of evidence is that you are now saying or implying that I am denying that there were “genocidal outcome”[s] in Australia and therefore denying that white settlement led, for example, to the wiping out of the Tasmanian aborgines. As a close relation of mine wrote one of the first books on the subject that would be unlikely and is in fact quite false as attention to what I have written on this blog would demonstrate.

    From the outset I have tried to convey the major point that “genocide” is an inappropriate word to use for what happened in Australia because anyone with sensitivity would understand its historical connection in fact and in usage with the Holocaust. Many dead metaphors have started off as mere exaggerations in innocent examples of limited vocabulary (e.g. when the cricket commentator says “they had to literally blast him out”)but the acceptability of loose language can be affected a number of factors. Here I would cite first the well known and justified sensitivity of Jews to suggestions that almost any other persecutions of people compared in magnitude or evil motivation with the Holocaust. Then there were the people who ought to have known better using Nazi and Hitler analogies of Jeff Kennett when Premier of Victoria. In the current context there is also the (prima facie deliberate) switching between meanings of genocide to insinuate that someone (who? anyone who was some part of a causal chain?) had the kind of criminal intent that would have allowed (some senior people constituting)the colonial authorities – or maybe the representatives of some fictional private association (“The Top end of Town”?) – to be convicted of what was later defined as the crime of genocide, or maybe just held morally culpable as if they had committed genocidal acts or created genocidal policies with such a guilty mind.

    I suspect that part of the reason that you are all over the place is that you are ignorant of the context of debate raised by what Windschuttle has actually written. The old lefty discovered in his researches that the colonial authorities were by and large a very proper lot of officers and (perhaps even) gentlemen much influenced by the evangelical Christianity which had led to the abolition of the slave trade, the abolition of slavery itself in the West Indies, and, eventually to all sorts of protections of the weak like restrictions on child labour, not to mention the ending of widow burning in India and other mere impositions of Western prejudices. Of course he did also get particularly angry with people like Lyndall Ryan and a few others who were completely unscrupulous in their fabrications of evidence about actual numbers of Aborigines killed. He was answering the whole package of misrepresentations (which, as I have previously indicated, may be a much more formidable task for him if he tries to do it comprehensively on Queensland and Western Australia although a few articles he has written appear to hit the mark) which includes both physical facts and motivations.

    As to the causal factors you say were sufficiently set out in #112, I presume you weren’t referring to your “maybes” and are reasserting the view that “ignorant racism” and the need for land (given by you as “lebenshchraum”) were universal. But you still haven’t made the connection. It goes without saying that nearly all whites were as ignorant of Aboriginal ways as Aborigines were of modern European culture and it is likely that the views of many , even most of our white forbears fell within a range from “hopelessly primitive culture which can’t last in the modern world” to “in some ways admirable but basically inferior people who won’t be able to adapt to modernity” which takes the argument nowhere. Even Indonesian peasants desperate for land don’t try and wipe out the Orangutans just because they are inferior being by some criteria. Irish Catholics, English Evangelicals and Scottish Presbyterians would have all been horrified at any people being treated like vermin (as Muslims presumably would have too if the people in question would accept Allah as the one god).

    You may Chris Warren want to inhabit a private world where there is some question about what happened to Aborigines but, for most people, there is a completely different context for discussion of genocide in relation to Aborigines, beginning, perhaps, with the sanctimonious insensitivies of Wilson, Manne and Gaita or maybe later when Windschuttle led the counter-attack with Fabrication and a number of published articles about particular alleged massacres.

    Don’t waste a good word. That Aboriginal life as it was 220 years ago has simply ceased to exist is not in question, but if you want an actually useful way of bringing “genocide” into the conversation you might consider broadcasting “genocide of Aborigines continues apace today. It is the genocide by alcohol and drug abuse, untreated STDs, child abuse, physical violence and obesity related diseases produced by a rotten diet and lack of exercise. And this genocide is largely committed by Aborigines against themselves.” That should get you two minutes attention, like calling Kennett a Nazi and it contains an element of truth even if the fundamental fact of a genocide is nowhere to be seen: Aborigines are actually increasing in numbers despite the fact that the unforgivable policies of Coombs, Fraser and other high-minded fools have done more harm to more people than all the policies towards Aboriginal people of the first 180 years.

  28. Chris Warren
    January 15th, 2009 at 13:51 | #28

    Jeremiah: “From the outset I have tried to convey the major point that “genocide” is an inappropriate word to use for what happened in Australia because anyone with sensitivity would understand its historical connection in fact and in usage with the Holocaust.”

    This is wrong. The events in Germany have got nothing to do with what happened in colonial Australia. Our historical discourse is based on Australian circumstances and genocide is a completely appropriate theme for discussion.

    Whether it occurred and/or how, is a separate issue.

    demonstyrating some association with some criminal intent or guilty mind is not relevant.

    I am sorry you cannot see the connection between ignorant racism, lebenshchraum and genocide.

    Windschuttle is too partisan to be taken seriously. His discussion is a political exercise based on a working thesis that the only deaths that occurred were the deaths that were recorded by colonial authorities. He had an opportunity to clarify possible errors in the history, and this would have been of some use, but he ruined his chances.

    Whether someone wants to see colonial authorities as a proper lot of officers and evangalistic bibleists is not relevant except as a contrast to what was done by them to Australian natives – including possibilities of massacre, starvation, mass slaughter, dispossession and social breakdowns.

    Ignorance of one races ways by another, is hardly the point. Ignorance is no excuse for inhumanity and is probably a false pleading anyway.

    I have not explored whether genocide is relevant to today. This is not my context. It is also not the context where the original aggression occurred. But I well understand the tactic of trying to deflect attention away from Australia’s colonial history.

    Why hide one context with another?

  29. Alanna
    January 15th, 2009 at 20:48 | #29

    I must agree with Chris – especially when I heard that one of the last of the abororiginies in Oyster Cove (where the only few remained) – on his death they cut off his head to “eaxmine” and put in a museum and someone made a tobacco pouch out of his scrotum. I think this demonstrates how little regard the white community of that era had for the aboriginies. They were seen as something akin to animals and I believe a process of dehumanisation allowed this to occur.

    Much the same happened to the jews. If you want to do something really bad to another race first you need to marginalise, separate (Oyster Cove – reservations etc) and then slowly but surely dehumanise them. The literature has it that Tasmanian Aboriginies could not make fire – interpret as too backward to make fire – yet there is evidence witnesses saw them making fire and using logs as boats.

    Dehumanisation is the only way a person could consider, or other people would permit to occur, the making of a tobacco pouch out of someone’s scotum after their death (lampshades where made out of dead jews skin in concentration camps).

    In this, my friend Jeremiah, you may have raised an interesting point by denying a parallel between Nazism and the extinction of the Tasmanian aboriginies. Was it really much different? How do you know, Jeremiah? I dont see much difference now. The dehumanising process started there with the branding of jews who were made to wear the star of david as an armband.

    People can apparently only do horrible things to other people when they no longer consider them human. Perhaps this has more influence in the Tasman aboriginal situation than you wish to acknowledge.

  30. Chris Warren
    January 16th, 2009 at 10:13 | #30

    It has been pointed out to me – that I have repeated the argument re genocide and people like jeremiah, as put by McQueen, here:

    http://home.alphalink.com.au/~loge27/abor_s/abo_genocide.htm

    ***********************

  31. Alanna
    January 16th, 2009 at 11:28 | #31

    Chris#133 Re your link – Rare man who had the ability to actually see a fallacious argument and very eloquently call to account its shortcomings.

  32. Karsten Dunstan
    January 22nd, 2009 at 04:04 | #32

    Deleted. Consider yourself immediately and permanently banned from this site

  33. Alanna
    January 22nd, 2009 at 05:42 | #33

    #135 Karsten – people like you mark yourselves by your vindictive ability to insult others with no intelligent opinion of your own.

  34. Alanna
    January 22nd, 2009 at 05:54 | #34

    #135 Oh and Karsten – JQ stamps out personal attacks. Not acceptable in here and not acceptable to me. Offer a point of view not an insult and if you dont know how – do some reading.

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