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Pulped fiction?

January 7th, 2010

Talking of books, it’s been nearly a month since it was announced that Volume 3 of Keith Windschuttle’s fabrications would be released “next week”. Such vaporous promises are typical of KW, but I would have thought that if a book was promised for next week it would have already been printed. Could it be that, with his lead story about Rabbit Proof Fence totally demolished, Keith has decided to pulp the book and try again?

Update Commenter Charlie, who obviously has a stronger stomach than I do, visited the Quadrant website, and found an extract and cover art for the book, with publication details as follows: The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, Volume Three, The Stolen Generations 1881–2008, Macleay Press, $59.95, 656 pages, published in December 2009. But MacLeay Press itself has nothing.

Update While I’m on the topic, the latest outpouring from American Enterprise Institute Fellow Charles Murray as he complains about the number of black and brown faces on the streets of Paris has drawn attention to his past as a youthful cross-burner. In between his KKK wannabe youth and his current channelling of Pauline Hanson, Murray wrote a bunch of books, such as The Bell Curve and Losing Ground, which put a scholarly gloss on the same ugly stuff, and were therefore treated with more respect than they deserve.

Since he has already commented in defence of Windschuttle, I expect Jack Strocchi will have something to say here and I’m going to let him. However, that’s the end. From this post on, any comment from Strocchi touching on the issues of race, ethnicity, religion or immigration, directly or indirectly, will be deleted and repetition will be cause for an immediate and permanent ban. No correspondence will be entered into, and any attempt to dispute the policy in comments (here or elsewhere) will trigger the same ban. Strocchi is, however, welcome to continue commenting on other topics.

Further update The book has now appeared (11/1/09). I guess Windy was just trying to put some time between the Rabbit Proof Fence debacle and the release. Interestingly, he’s still promising Vol 2 and Vol 4.

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  1. Alice
    January 7th, 2010 at 20:17 | #1

    What can I say except “I’ll beleive when I see it or when Mudered media is reviewing it…which of course they will, because IPA or is it CIS will be busting their fax machines, if not their “facts” machines, to get media releases out about their golden haired boy’s latest attempts at two minute fame.

    He really is like a container of funtastic noodles is our Keith…and about the same level of intellectual nutrional value.

  2. Gerard
    January 7th, 2010 at 21:04 | #2

    He’s probably been hospitalized after watching Avatar

  3. Alex
    January 8th, 2010 at 08:31 | #3

    He’s just waiting for the accompanying 8 part mini-series to go into production next week

  4. Freelander
    January 8th, 2010 at 09:53 | #4

    Talking about fiction, Tony Abbott seems to just make it up as he goes along.

    No one seem to have picked up on something he said on the 7.30 Report on Wednesday night. http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2010/s2786905.htm

    Mr Abbott was talking about the stimulus package…

    CHRIS UHLMANN: But you would have spent money as well. The Coalition actually backed the first stimulus package, didn’t it?

    TONY ABBOTT: Yes, which was about a quarter the size of the second stimulus package, which we opposed.

    CHRIS UHLMANN: But certainly that money was necessary and it appears to have done the trick.

    TONY ABBOTT: But at high price. And if you look across the Tasman, New Zealand has done just as well it seems as Australia without going into anything like the same level of debt and deficit that we have.

    In a corner he resorts to the old tactic of bs artists everywhere. Start making up facts. Anyone familiar with NZ would know that rather than doing just as well, NZ has possibly just started to come out of a recession that lasted at least four quarters. They have hardly “done just as well”.

  5. Doug
    January 8th, 2010 at 11:30 | #5

    Currently no sign of anything new by him on the Amazon site.

  6. Tim Macknay
    January 8th, 2010 at 11:59 | #6

    Coupled with the bizarreness of announcing ‘volume three’ without there ever having been any sign of a ‘volume two’, you have to start wondering if this is an attempt at a hoax or joke by Windshuttle.

  7. TerjeP (say Tay-a)
    January 8th, 2010 at 12:49 | #7

    Freelander – in per capital terms Australia has been in recession following the GFC. In those terms I don’t know how we compare to NZ but I wouldn’t rush to conclusions that we have done substantially better than our little neighbour.

  8. charles
    January 8th, 2010 at 13:17 | #8

    “Freelander – in per capital terms Australia has been in recession following the GFC.”

    Is this a new statistic, are we talking state capitals, capital punishment or something completely obtuse that gives the result your desire.

  9. Charlie
    January 8th, 2010 at 13:47 | #9

    Yes it is all very odd. I note a couple of articles on the Quadrant website drawn from the mysterious book which according to the blurb at the bottom was published in December 2009? As for the content of the articles the usual misrepresentation, conflation and boring confected outrage about lefty academia continue though most of it is years old now. And where is vol 2?

  10. January 8th, 2010 at 14:13 | #10

    TerjeP at 7: We all await your explanation of “per capital terms” with interest and even how per capita can be related to the normal measurement of recessions.

  11. Mr T
    January 8th, 2010 at 15:00 | #11

    Basic Philosophy of Science :

    1 Formulate a hypothesis

    2. Collect Evidence to confirm or disprove the hypothesis.

    Obviously, in announcing Volume 2 and 3 of his books, Mr Windshuttle had already done his research, and just needed to write up his findings.

    But why the delay? The most obvious explanation is that Mr Windshuttle formulated a view, announced he would write a book with evidence to back up this view. When the evidence was not there, the book has been “delayed”.

    Very poor science.

  12. zoot
    January 8th, 2010 at 15:25 | #12

    Fair go for TerjeP. I know what he means – I’ve been in recession most of my life

  13. January 8th, 2010 at 15:27 | #13

    Pr Q said:

    Could it be that, with his lead story about Rabbit Proof Fence totally demolished, Keith has decided to pulp the book and try again?

    Does Pr Q ever tire of dragging Windy out and giving him a good belting or is this his idea of regular mental exercise? Speaking for myself I would be more interested in learning of any interesting, new and true facts that Windschuttle had managed to excavate. Or at least his refutations of the Black Armbanders tendentious readings of history.

    Speaking of the “demolishing the lead story [in] Rabbit Proof Fence”, I wonder if anyone will ever bother to rectify the appalling calumnies this film visits on the reputation of AO Neville, the Aboriginal Protector. Neville was cast as a despicable villain yet his administration of Aboriginal affairs was far from malign. At least Windschuttle tried to repair some of this damage, although characteristically he bungled it.

    Neville’s main role, contra the film, was not to persecute Aboriginals or to take their children away from them. It was to see that Aboriginals received basic minimum standards in their interactions with the white community, mainly in relation to the intoxication of drugs, the employment of labour and provision of sancturary.

    A subsidiary task was to take half-caste children, who were typically at risk of abuse or neglect though not necessarily through fault of the parent, and make them into wards of the state. These children were not removed as part of some Eichmann-like policy of ethnic cleansing, quote-mining efforts of Manne to the contrary. They were removed to improve their social conditions, as Neville observed:

    the children who have been removed as wards of the Chief Protector have been removed because I desired to be satisfied that the conditions surrounding their upbringing were satisfactory, which they certainly were not.

    I’m sure no one who reads this blog would take Neville at his word, especially after the hatchet jobs done on him by Manne. To do him justice one has only remind that child abuse and neglect did not go away when the Aboriginal Protector’s job was abolished. Far from it, when all the post-sixties culturally sensitive anti-racist people got their hands on the administrative apparatus the problems of substance abuse and child neglect got worse. (I suppose they meant well.) So much so that the Feds had to organize an Intervention.

    And now in NSW there are more Aboriginal children in state custody than under the despised regime of Neville. The Australian reports on the phenomenon of the new lawfully “Stolen Generation”:

    WELFARE workers in NSW are removing Aboriginal children from their homes in numbers far greater than during the Stolen Generations, and the recruitment of Aboriginal staff has done nothing to stem the tide.

    On the eve of the release of another report on the crisis in child welfare, The Australian can reveal that a staggering 4000 Aboriginal children are now in state care in NSW.

    This compares with about 1000 Aboriginal children in foster homes, institutions and missions in 1969.

    No one suggests that the problems of Aboriginal emancipation could ever be solved by some administrative trick or ideological fiat. I argue that they are fairly intractable owing to culture shock, which is particularly acute in the Aboriginal case given the stark contrast between their pre-modern nature (evolved in splendid isolation over the past 40,000 years) and our post-modern cultures (created in a drug-fuelled haze over the past 40 years). Culture shock causes anomie which is exactly what remote indigenous communities are being ravaged by.

    Neville realised this all to well and did his best to ameliorate it. He describes the problem he confronted in, and its denial by the white majority, in Australia’s Colored Minority:

    So few of our own people as a whole are aware of the position [of the coloured people of Australia]. Yet we have had the coloured man amongst us for a hundred years or more. He has died in his hundreds, nay thousands, in pain, misery and squalor, and through avoidable ill-health. Innumerable little children have perished through neglect and ignorance. The position, in some vital respects, is not much better today than it was fifty years ago.

    Man is entitled to a measure of happiness in his life. Yet most of these people have never known real happiness. Some are never likely to know it. The causes of their condition are many. Mainly it is not their fault, it is ours, just as it lies with us to put the matter right.

    This does not sound to me like the effusions of a racist persecutor. Of course to Left-liberals there is difference only in degree between Neville’s paternalism and Nazi genocide. Although Windschuttle is such a clumsy historian and lame polemicist I think he should probably give his subject a miss until a less hysterical generation comes to pass.

  14. Doug
    January 8th, 2010 at 15:40 | #14

    That last line in the quote point to one of the problems.

    “We ” operating by ourselves cannot put things right – respect for the agency of Aboriginal and Torres trait Islanders is required. This actually is one of Noel Pearsons points, if I have understood him aright.

  15. Freelander
    January 8th, 2010 at 16:55 | #15

    @TerjeP (say Tay-a)

    You are following Tony – just making it up as you go along.

    In your case “I don’t know how we compare to NZ but I wouldn’t rush to conclusions”.

    Follow your own advice.

    You don’t know and this is not the only thing you don’t know about so don’t just not rush to conclusions, don’t rush to make silly posts displaying your ignorance.

  16. Freelander
    January 8th, 2010 at 16:57 | #16

    @Mr T

    The manufacture of ‘evidence’ is not always a speedy business.

  17. Alice
    January 8th, 2010 at 18:55 | #17

    @Jack Strocchi
    jack you say “Does Pr Q ever tire of dragging Windy out and giving him a good belting or is this his idea of regular mental exercise?”

    If anyone needs a good belting for being a biased nutcase its Windy. Lets face Jack – Windbags is going to go down in history as a right wing ideologue (and before that a trotskyite ideologue) and he has been well paid by his masters along the way to be an idelogue.

    He will never be remembered as one of Australia’s greatest historians in the same vein as Butlin or Schedvin. The man is nowhere near close as a great historian. he has made a living trying to dismantle some of Australia’s greatest historians but he nothing but the mouse that roared.

    Jack, for someone who laments that ..

    “Although Windschuttle is such a clumsy historian and lame polemicist I think he should probably give his subject a miss until a less hysterical generation comes to pass.”

    I would suggest strongly to you Jack, the only hysterical person in the room is Windschuttle himself. Its not the generation interpreting him as the ratbag he is, that is the problem here.

  18. gerard
    January 8th, 2010 at 18:55 | #18

    Jack, what’s this Stolen Generation you’re talking about? Oh, you mean the “Rescued Generation”!

    As wards of the state, the half-caste children not only suffered abuse and neglect at the hands of the State but were forcibly denied any contact with their families. I don’t know if you are particularly attached to your own family members but you obviously share Neville’s opinion that the aboriginals weren’t, or that if they were, it didn’t matter.

    “they have to be protected against themselves whether they like it or not. They cannot remain as they are. The sore spot requires the application of the surgeon’s knife for the good of the patient, and probably against the patient’s will.”

    If you want to defend Neville’s repulsive racist cruelty it can only be from the fact that he belonged to a monstrously racist age. But the rest of the world has moved on since the 30s, even if you haven’t. The policy was abhorrent not only because it was extremely cruel in its effects but because it was also explicitly racist, unlike the case of today’s child welfare agencies that you juxtapose it with in a pathetic attempt to pretend otherwise. The removal of children did not even pretend to be based on case-by-case instances of abuse and neglect but due to the colour of their skin. Apparently you regard Neville’s “satisfaction” as the only operative factor in determining the justice in what was done, the opinions of those subject to his “satisfaction” being of no importance to you. It was the “satisfaction” of a man devoted to the belief that “biological absorption was the key to ‘uplifting the Native race.” Yes, it is better that they should be “biologically absorbed” by force than put into gas chambers, congratulations for pointing this out.

  19. robert
    January 8th, 2010 at 19:55 | #19

    The “Christmas reading” page of the QUADRANT website suggests that the Windschuttle book is still in the future (several of the contributors to this page say they look forward to reading it, but none of them seems to have read it yet). See for yourself here:


  20. sdfc
    January 8th, 2010 at 20:07 | #20

    The current child neglect, high level of alcoholism, violence , unemployment, imprisonment etc among aboriginals is a testament to the success of our past policies toward the them.

  21. Freelander
    January 8th, 2010 at 20:38 | #21

    The quad rant has an interesting peice.


    The leader of the Pelliban (who like Tony would like to turn Australia into a Catholphate) is moaning that religious ‘freedom’ is being curtailed because there has been an outrageous attack on their divine right to discriminate. Big George also seems to believe that criticism of the one true religion’s position on various issues (same sex marriage, abortion and so on) is also an attack on their freedom to spout bile unopposed.

    He should pray to MacKillop who may grant a miracle and turn all these naughty evil-doers into toads. But then, she already has her two miracles. No need for one more.

  22. Freelander
    January 8th, 2010 at 21:21 | #22

    I think I may have the reason why the MacLeay Press website doesn’t have Windspittle’s latest contribution. They don’t seem to have updated their site for several years. Their home page has the banner “NEW TITLES, January 2006”.

  23. Rob
    January 9th, 2010 at 01:12 | #23

    What a shame. It would have made a lovely Christmas present for a loved one an enemy.

  24. Alice
    January 9th, 2010 at 10:47 | #24

    Nothing is what you give enemies for Xmas Rob – so its a suitable gift!.

  25. Alice
    January 9th, 2010 at 10:49 | #25

    Free Lander – I checked the new titles tab – and refreshed and its still not there in MacLeay Press. Either way it just confirms that both Windschuttle and Quadrant lie….bigtime.

  26. Jill Rush
    January 9th, 2010 at 12:26 | #26

    @ Jack Strocchi

    Neville may have been a complex man tied to the mores of the day – however he saw nothing good in Aboriginal life and rather than deal with the issues with the people concerned he decided their future without any input from those affected. He seemed to have the idea that white upbringing was good and Aboriginal upbringing was bad. The children in the Rabbit Proof Fence show that this paternalism created a lot of heartache and desperate acts and Windschuttle’s claims that a letter from a white woman to Neville that one of the girls was running wild may or may not have been true but is certainly poor evidence as it doesn’t specify any incident nor does it chronicle the well known abuse of black women and girls by white men.

    However whether Neville can be considered as a “good” man will not be helped by Keith Windschuttle who seems to suffer from relevance deprivation syndrome judging by his bizarre behaviour. His cognitive dissonance is interesting and considering the claims he makes it is certainly worth the attention of Prof Q.

  27. January 9th, 2010 at 16:10 | #27

    [email protected]#18 said:

    gerard’s venomous rant appears to have been generated by the same Left-wing spam bot which has plagued any rational discussion of the race issue over the past few decades. But I will treat it as if it came from a real person who has some mild anger management issues, perhaps giving it the respect it does not deserve.

    A personal note. I know the North quite well, its history, warts and all. The officials and clergymen who went bush to manage Aboriginal affairs were not crypto-Nazis. They mainly wanted to protect Aboriginals mainly from unscrupulous whites who dispossessed them of land, exploited their labour and prostituted their women in return for grog and the like. They also wanted to instill good habits of work, morality and personal hygiene. Hence the title “Aboriginal Protectors”. I know for fact that many Aboriginals in remote indigenous communities yearn for the good old days of missionary administration and the firm slap of government.

    Some sense of historical perspective is needed before twisting the moral outrage dial up to 11. In the old days almost everyone did it tough. Society was much less charitable to its finest sons, never mind anyone “outside the pale” such as half-castes and out-of-wedlock children. In the Great War the Commonwealth sent 100,000 of its best men to early graves or wheel chairs. Spewing malice over Australia’s “Dead White Males” is self-satisfying but does not advance knowledge of history, much less the interests of colored people.

    gerard said:

    If you want to defend Neville’s repulsive racist cruelty it can only be from the fact that he belonged to a monstrously racist age. But the rest of the world has moved on since the 30s, even if you haven’t.

    Neville was a racist alright, but not “repulsive[ly] cruel”. He was making the best of a bad job in an age when, as you note, everyone was “racist”. Including, and perhaps especially, progressives from the Labor movement and Left intellectuals. (In the UK the Left were behind eugenics.) Although Australian racists were not “monstrously” so – Curtin, Chiffley and Menzies do not really compare to Hitler on any scale.

    Neville’s main job was not to exterminate the Aboriginals or even to “breed out the color” (a quote endlessly mined for its Holocaust frisson by the black armbanders). It was to administer Aboriginal affairs according the constitution, which broadly meant ensuring some minimum standards were enforced in Aboriginal communities, particularly in their relations with Europeans.

    I have never “defended” the crude and cruel process of half-caste child removal based solely on the criteria of race. Its heavy-handed application, unaccountable process and racist disparities were unacceptable by any decent standards. (But not taking away such at-risk children also lead to damage. Damned if they did and damned if they didn’t.) So I have no need to “move on” from it. If you are trying to tie that one on me then please quote chapter and verse, rather “point and splutter”.

    gerard said:

    The policy was abhorrent not only because it was extremely cruel in its effects but because it was also explicitly racist, unlike the case of today’s child welfare agencies that you juxtapose it with in a pathetic attempt to pretend otherwise. The removal of children did not even pretend to be based on case-by-case instances of abuse and neglect but due to the colour of their skin.

    That a policy is “racist” does not necessarily make it “abhorrent”. S51 of the Constitution empowers the Commonwealth power to act only in a way that benefits a race, by implication Aboriginal. This kind of paternalism is benevolent racism, and describes much of Neville’s work. The Intervention is undoubtedly racist in this sense but not necessarily the worse for that.

    The half-caste removal program was undoubtedly racist but it was intended to help, not hurt, the removed children. By the standards of the time being brought up a half-caste in a black community put them in an “at-risk” category, made worse for them some due to risk of ostracism and prostitution.

    The treatment meted out to half-caste Aboriginals was somewhat worse than that endured by white wards of the state, although it would take a sharp man to spot the difference. The authorities had comparable programs of state warding for abused, neglected or at-risk white children which apparently caused much misery. Just the other day the Commonwealth made an apology for the cruelties and crudities of that process, although with out nearly as much fan-fare.

    And the process of making indigenous children wards of the state continues today, even intensifies, ever since nice culturally sensitive post-sixties people have taken over. No doubt the process is nowadays more accountable and humane but that does not mean that the underlying cause driving this policy (social pathologies attending culture shock) is all that different.

    gerard said:

    Apparently you regard Neville’s “satisfaction” as the only operative factor in determining the justice in what was done, the opinions of those subject to his “satisfaction” being of no importance to you. It was the “satisfaction” of a man devoted to the belief that biological absorption was the key to uplifting the Native race. Yes, it is better that they should be “biologically absorbed” by force than put into gas chambers, congratulations for pointing this out.

    I am prepared to take Neville at his word on some matters. My reading is that his word is a lot more reliable than the hatchet job done by Manne and the makers of Rabbit Proof Fence.

    Framing the half-caste child removal policy as a crypto-genocidal program is a grotesque distortion. The “breeding out the blacks” quote referred to assimilating the half-castes, not to extinguishing the black race as a whole. It is mendacious of Left-liberals make this false moral equivalence, not to mention chronic violation of Godwin’s Law.

    Neville’s task was to apply a form of anthropological triage accross the spectrum of races.

    At the “no hope” end of the spectrum it was assumed that full-blooded blacks would eventually die out naturally on Social Darwinist line. So not a great deal could be done for them apart from “smoothing the pillow for a dying race”.

    At the “no worries” end of the spectrum it also assumed that full-blooded whites could look after themselves with no help from the state, again on Social Darwininst lines.

    In between were the half-castes who the authorities thought would do better with the proper care and attention from the state. It was on these that Neville focused, although showing scant regard for their natural desire to maintain family bonds.

    If anything the half-caste removal policy acted to maintain the full-blooded Aboriginal gene pool, especially in the NT. Which is the exact opposite of the supposed intention of the authorities.

    Thats why the black feller mobs up North tend to look down on the “half-yellers” down South. Pretty much the whole indigenous “policy and research” community are issues of such unions. No one seems to be too upset about that outcome, at least.

  28. gerard
    January 9th, 2010 at 18:15 | #28

    I take John Quiggin’s update to indicate that he would prefer a debate on the virtues of benevolently racist kidnapping (“anthropological triage”) to be moved to a more appropriate forum such as Andrew Bolt’s blog.

  29. Freelander
    January 9th, 2010 at 19:02 | #29

    Charles Murray and friends writings on race and intelligence are so incredible it is surprising that even they believe them. Some of their ‘estimated’ ‘average’ IQs for various parts of Africa are so low that these average Africians couldn’t possible survive in the extremely harsh environments they live in. You really have to wonder about bizarre people like Murray, Windschuttle, Plimer and so on.

  30. January 9th, 2010 at 21:45 | #30

    Jack’s comments on Neville seem to me moderate and well-informed.

  31. Robert
    January 10th, 2010 at 03:34 | #31

    A small comment on Jack’s argument with respect to the race power under s51 of the Constitution. At the time when Neville was acting the law did not apply to aborigines. Moreover, the doctrine that the law could only be used for the benefit of a race and not to their detriment only dates from the Tasmanian Dams decision.

    As for supposed violations of Godwin’s law. It might be distasteful to us because of the allusions to the gas-chambers, but it is in no way inaccurate to describe the process of “anthropological triage” identified by Jack as a form of genocide. Genocide takes many different forms, and not all of them follow the example set by Hitler.

    One other point: in what way is it useful to dispute the term “stolen generations”? No one, from Keith Windschuttle to Andrew Bolt to Jack Strochii, disputes the pain and suffering that occurred. No one can argue that equal suffering was imposed on white children merely by virtue of their race. Bolt’s tactic is to argue that the removal practices were not, in the strict sense, theft. This is wrong for reasons I will not go into now. But even if he was right, what difference would it make if we said they were the “removed generation”, or the “separated for racial reasons but with good intent” generation? Suffering by any other name is still wretched. Suffering imposed under antiquated laws does not resemble the kind of child removal practices imposed today.

    My question for Jack is this: what exactly is your point?

    My question for Harry Clarke is this: given their views on climate change, what makes you think people like Bolt and Windschuttle are trustworthy sources on this issue? I’m willing to me persuaded, but I would prefer that I was offered someone other than the usual ideological hacks as authority.

  32. January 10th, 2010 at 13:19 | #32

    Robert, Why are you raising the issue of Bolt and Windy? And where did I suggest that these two were to be trusted on “this issue”? This is brainless tribalism at its worst.

    Moreover, if Bolt and Windy have stupid views on climate change why does this imply that their views on something entirely different are necessarily false?

    My point was only to offer some support for Jack. There is much hypocrisy and inaccuracy in the “guilt trip” the left promote in relation to the “Stolen Generations” issue.

  33. Freelander
    January 10th, 2010 at 13:22 | #33

    I am sure the cross burning by Charles Murray and chums was only a ‘youthful indiscretion’ and his participation was only a social thing. Burning the cross was probably just an expedient; done for the purpose of toasting marshmallows or some such, and having no larger import. It would be uncharitable to suggest otherwise.

  34. Martin
    January 10th, 2010 at 14:20 | #34

    I thought I saw it in Abbey’s in Sydney when I was there over Christmas. I’m back in Hong Kong now, so I can hardly check, but perhaps someone else can. As I recollect it was in the new books section down on one of the lower shelves.

  35. robert
    January 10th, 2010 at 18:19 | #35

    Just to clarify: I, “robert” (lower-case r) am a different person from “Robert” (upper-case r). Might be as well for me to point this out since we’ve both made comments on this particular thread.

  36. Robert
    January 10th, 2010 at 19:21 | #36


    I’m sorry if it seemed like brainless tribalism–I understand the problem with taking a sweeping ad-hominem approach to individual authors: Chomsky’s work on linguistics is groundbreaking, while his political commentary is vile. I swung harder than I meant to. I’m sorry. I would say this though: the only people I can find who would support the argument that the work done by say, Robert Manne, is inaccurate are Bolt and Windy. I am going to wait until there are other authors who would support their view.

    My other point still holds. What is hypocritical about recognising the immense harm that was suffered at the hands of what were, by Jack’s own admission, racist policies?

  37. Robert in UK
    January 10th, 2010 at 19:22 | #37

    Sorry robert, you got there first. If I comment again it will be as Robert in UK.

  38. gerard
    January 11th, 2010 at 08:32 | #38

    Chomsky’s work on linguistics is groundbreaking, while his political commentary is vile.

    How so?

  39. Robert in UK
    January 11th, 2010 at 23:35 | #39

    Gerard: which did you want explained, the vileness or the groundbreakingness?

    For groundbreakingness, see his work in defence of the innateness hypothesis:


    Even if you disagree with it, his work changed the whole paradigm of contemporary linguistics.

    For vileness, see his opinions on Cambodian genocide:


  40. gerard
    January 12th, 2010 at 08:12 | #40

    Yes I thought as much. regurgitating the old cambodia smear spread by the likes of none other than Windschuttle. you’ve obviously never read any of his work (or even the whole of the wikipedia article you linked to, which contains Chomsky’s rebuttal of this smear) but simply repeat one fabrication you’ve been told – a fabrication on the same level as the rightwing lies about Rachel Carson or “climategate”. the work you refer to does not contain any “opinion on the Cambodian genocide”, it is simply a comparison of US media treatment of American and communist atrocities in southeast asia (particularly in the light of Cambodia being subject to a basically genocidal bombing campaign that precipitated the rise of the Khmer Rouge, about which precious few leading academics saw fit to raise a squeak), based on all the available scholarly resources of the time it was written, in support of the thesis that the media requires different standards of evidence for its outrage depending on the perpetrator. It amounts to about 0.001% of his staggeringly huge output of work, none of which you have any acquaintance with, but simply wish to tarnish with the same slanderous brush. What is particularly ironic is that the Khmer Rouge was supported by ever government outside the Soviet bloc between 1979 and 1991; including support by the likes of Jimmy Carter and Bob Hawke (not to mention Reagan and Thatcher). Yet it is one of the few public intellectuals that opposed this support for the Khmer Rouge that gets smeared as an apologist for them. If you ever feel like heaving your uncurious mind over the hump of its own lazy ignorance, you could actually read some of his work. You will get a sorely needed education, and if you still come away thinking that it’s “vile”, at least you’ll be able to say why, without resorting to Windschuttle-standard lies.

  41. Freelander
    January 12th, 2010 at 08:39 | #41


    There is also such a thing as getting it wrong. When the initial reports of the Khmer Rouge atrocities circulated it was possible to believe that they were simply propaganda. Anti-communist propaganda or propaganda against the current enemy is not unknown.
    After all, in the 1980s, due to the work of the CIA in planting stories, the western news media reported how the Iranians were gassing Iraqis but now we know who was gassing who. And we know where they got the technology from.

  42. gerard
    January 12th, 2010 at 09:16 | #42

    You’re right Freelander. The Western media concocted some pretty ridiculous allegations of Vietnamese Communist atrocities while suppressing reports of the very obvious atrocities committed by the US. This is what the work in question was mostly about, it also touched on Cambodia, and raised the (perfectly reasonable) question of the same double standard being at work. C&H never claimed that the Khmer Rouge were innocent, they simply compared media coverage to the conflicting reports available at the time, they said “it may turn out that the worst reports are true”, but their main point was that the level of outrage was not applied with the same standard to American crimes about which the evidence was then unequivocal – everybody knew that the American bombing of Cambodia, probably the most intensive bombing campaign in human history, was killing hundreds of thousands of people (and still is, with the US refusing to pay for ordnance removal), destroying the fabric of society and ensuring only the most violent elements could possibly survive. The US media never touched upon these mass atrocities, although the KR atrocities were prominently covered (in an apparent retrospective effort to justify the Vietnam war, because “communists are communists”, even though it was the Vietnamese communists that got rid of the Khmer Rouge and the Western governments that continued to support them afterwards). At any rate it is only a deliberate slanderer that can twist the simple presentation of the US media’s double standard into a “defense of Pol Pot”. But a lie can get halfway around the world before the truth gets its pants on. Now this can be taken as a thread derail, but the fact that Keith Windschuttle himself was one of the main people pushing this particular smear makes it of some relevance, in that this smear is of the same quality as the rest of his work.

  43. Robert in UK
    January 13th, 2010 at 01:38 | #43


    I’m back in my box. I’m sorry. I’ll go away and think for a while, perhaps try and read some more of Chomsky’s work before I comment again. Do you think Chomsky’s (alleged) sins regarding genocide in Bosnia have also been exaggerated?

  44. gerard
    January 13th, 2010 at 05:33 | #44

    Yes. And there’s another famous smear of him being a holocaust denier and anti-Semite/self-hating Jew. All in a day’s work for the Rightwing slime factory.

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