Windschuttles and weathercocks

Amid the voluminous commentary on the Windschuttle hoax(es), the most telling, for me, was a summary of his political peregrinations from Guy Rundle at Crikey. It’s paywalled but I’ll quote the best bit:

The man who’s now editing Australia’s premier conservative magazine was advocating the revolutionary potential of LSD in the 60s, media studies as “radical pedagogy” in the early 70s, was enthusiastic for Pol Pot peasant-style revolts in the late 70s (“the oil is almost gone — soon the Aborigines and poor whites will rise up” he wrote in Nation Review in the late 70s) and re-emerged in the 90s, after the global collapse of the left, as a man who thought there was no Tasmanian genocide, that the White Australia policy was a left-wing plot, that John Steinbeck made up the Great Depression and that the British Empire could not have been cruel because its officers were Christians.

Like a mendicant Pope, he’s spent his life wandering from one state of certainty to the next, in the search for godknowswhat.

The only stage missed was his (“Killing of History”) period as a scourge of postmodernist and relativist theory and fan of the empirical approach of researchers like Henry Reynolds.

That brings to mind the more general phenomenon of migration from dogmatic left to dogmatic right, which I discussed quite a while ago here, and linked to Paul Norton.

82 thoughts on “Windschuttles and weathercocks

  1. Donald – everything to do with social welfare of any kind to the “plotters and schemers”, is a “left wing plot” or a “left wing” organisation except the irony of it all is that the so called “left wing plot” doesnt exist and never existed in this country and is a relatively recent (well about 35 years) crazy (far right) conservative fabrication (they publish absolute tripe en mass to snow the media).

    They dont call them the “crazies” for no reason (and many in their own party have had them up to the back teeth as well because they have gone beyond the pale naming everyone from academics, to scientists, to artists, to social welfare researchers, to the ABC, to environmental scientists, to public servants as left! Who is next?? Almost like they wish McCarthyism back. If we were all that left we would be calling each other comrade and they would be closed down or in jail as dissenters).

  2. “Nowadays removal of children does not generally get followed with deliberate shifting around and renaming them. We don’t try to hide the children from their parents, unlike the rather common behaviour in the past.”

    But wasn’t that largely true for all children born out of wedlock before the seventies Donald? In white society pregnant unwed mothers who did not want to run the gauntlet of backyard abortions were whisked away from their immediate surroundings to have them on the quiet and immediately given up for adoption. In that sense most white ‘illegitimate’ children were brought up secretly with adoptive parents. There was also a strong tendency to farm children out among friends and relatives should too many be a financial burden or the family fall on hard times.(it occurred in my mother-in-laws rural family of 8 where one brother would grow up to be a State cabinet minister) Noone saw any point in even telling children they were adopted, let alone having contact with the biological mother.

    Now when that polite society would come across neglected aboriginal ‘illegitimates’ and take them into care, why would we expect them to be treated any differently? Nowadays we want to ferret out and erect individual monuments to miscarriages buried in hospital grounds in the past and construct adoption registers for future biological reunions. How times change, but where was the racial discrimination in that discriminatory system by today’s standards, albeit if remote aboriginal women were largely preyed upon sexually by a white male underclass, their offspring would clearly be overrepresented statistically, particularly if shunned by the tribe. Our society today can’t even begin to fathom that ‘illegitimacy’ of the past and its social mores, any more than I can barely remember smoking the cigarette brand ‘doctors recommend’ in the office or train.

  3. Actually for a lesson in what ‘illegitimacy’ was like in 1927, perhaps instead of Rabbit Proof Fences teachers might play Blossoms in the Dust with Walter Pidgeon and Greer Garson as the spectacular pioneering Edna Gladney in Bush country, Texas for some idea of the flavour of those times. Again I’d say let’s see the figures on those 4500 aboriginal children in NSW custody now that can trace their ancestry to a stolen parent and see the causal link or not.

  4. Observa
    “In white society pregnant unwed mothers who did not want to run the gauntlet of backyard abortions were whisked away from their immediate surroundings to have them on the quiet and immediately given up for adoption.”

    True Observa – it was really the rise of feminism that gave women the choice of keeping their baby even if they were single. So in the 1970s there was a rise in single mothers but it may not have been a sign of economic hardship breaking families up (but Im sure that played a part) – it was also the feminism whereby more single women kept their babies. Before that they were “almost” forced to give them up for adoption and they were taken away before the nother could barely set eyes on the baby and what you say is correct in that the child was often not informed.

  5. But Observa
    You are only focusing on one aspect of removal here (and many aboriginal removals were absolutely “forced” not “almost forced” ie the parents or mother had no say and they were not just unwanted pregnancies and specifically they were any child with one ounce of white in them. They left purebreds behind – didnt want those did they. That is racist.

  6. By racist I mean – it was not a policu driven by kindness (although on the surface it was portrayed thus) or else why concentrate on mixed bred aboriginal children with some white in them even if that white was the product of rape or abuse or defacto relationships of convenience???

  7. Observa
    I suspect they wanted the mixed breeds raised by whites to breed out the aboriginal genes conmpletely and that is genocidal but it was portrayed as a rescue of children and many involved in the program (the “rescuers” for example would sincerely have beieved they were doing the “right” thing for the child – so then it gets confused. But notwithstanding the key elements of the policy as designed (but not as carried out) were genocidal. This goes to the heart of the policy design and the intent behind it.

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