Australia: If you don’t love it, leave

I’ve seen this slogan, with an Australian flag, on bumper stickers, and Google reveals that it a similar T-shirt was the subject of controversy not so long ago.Ifyoudontloveit

I have a couple of thoughts on this

First, this supposedly patriotic slogan was imported from the US, where it has been around for decades. In this respect, it’s similar to the recent innovation of having a single performer sing the national anthem at sporting events (adopted in the US because The Star Spangled Banner is virtually unsingable). This has displaced the Australian tradition of either standing silently or singing as a group while the anthem was played.

Second, I’d encourage the slogan if those who spouted it were expected to act accordingly. That is, the moment they complained about any aspect of Australia (for example, Muslims, dole bludgers, greenies and so on) they would be issued with a deportation notice and told to find a country they could love as it is.

139 thoughts on “Australia: If you don’t love it, leave

  1. @Ikonoclast

    But surely the job of the parent or the guardian or whoever raises a child is to moderate the expression of the child’s genes so that their behaviour when they reach adulthood is functional within their society?

    Laziness like stupidity is relative; it is a judgement of people’s value based on the cultural norms that we accept. These characteristics are not necessarily bad choices in other cultures that do not over value material wealth or possessions and individuality and competition over cooperation.

    Some of us do inherit a genetic tendency to be more lazy and less empathic than others, but in a society that recognises that every child has a right to be the best they can be, children are ‘raised up’ so that they do become functional and valued members of the society. I’d say forager societies with all their initiation ceremonies and tests of manhood and womanhood had this as their most important life task; to ensure the continuity of their society.

    And it seems to me that the recent evidence is showing that all the ‘bad’ genes *can* be modified to express themselves in a way that is approved of by the society.

    One argument that impresses me about the flexibility of our genes and how they can be radically altered by the environment, is by Dave Dobbs in a blog called “-its-time-to-lay-the-selfish-gene-to-rest”; It is in Aeon magazine.

    The other evidence that seems quite convincing to me is James Fallon, a Neuroscientist who says he has psychopath genes but he is not a psychopath because of the way he was raised.

    There is an article on him in Salon, “this_is_your_brain_on_murder_what_the_mind_of_a_psychopath_looks_like/”

    I’m not sure about this Salon article; I can’t find the one I was looking for about this professor.

    There is a discussion happening about whether right wing people are less intelligent as the evidence seems to show, but this is correlation and not causation.

    I think most people like my mother who claim to be not racist without having seriously examined their tendency to judge others by the narrow values they hold, just didn’t get out much among the ‘other’ people and this type of person or personality don’t ‘like’ having to examine their assumptions; they feel attacked if you try to persuade them to share their reasoning.

    This dislike of different things and others, could be based on their genetic predisposition and/or be a result of an isolated upbringing that did not provide for the sort of experiences and thinking that would encourage them to see any value in different ways of doing things.

    But if a person with a reluctance to experience different things, because of genes, grew up in a diverse and functional society that valued cultural differences the person would be very likely to overcome their genetic tendencies and be more like their society. No?

  2. @kevin1

    Yes, I agree, Everything you mention is good. I’ve sometimes had the idea that a story (short story or novel) could be written around the idea of someone, like a US fighter-bomber pilot, shot down after bombing inadvertantly a school or a wedding deep in the tribal lands. He is captured, taken and shown all the damage he has done, all the maimed and mutilated bodies. Then he is kept under guard and required to work in the community and the area. He witnesses more bombings and the results; hides with women, children and local fighters sheltering from bombing raids. His own life is in danger too. A kind of Stockholme syndrome sets in. After all he gets to see the human, good and desperate sides of the people he is with. He lives there for some time. Finally escaping or even being released he makes his way back to “civilisation” and is de-mobbed etc.. His progress and reactions are shown especially when he encounters expressions of cruelty, hate and indifference towards the peoples he learned about.

    Of course variants of this story have been done and maybe even this story. It could certainly be powerful if done right.

  3. @Julie Thomas

    In the great majority of cases, people brought up correctly, as you and I would define it, turn out reasonably decent and not racist, prejudiced etc. At least, that is my observation. So, I agree with you.

    Laziness is an interesting thing. Yes, I am very lazy in some senses. However, quite a bit of my laziness seems rational to me. It seems to me I don’t feel impelled to do much if I am comfortable. I don’t seem to see the need for constant “slaving” at this, that and the other (petty stuff) if I am already safe, secure and fed. I’d rather do something I find interesting.

    Yet I notice that when the “sh*t hits the fan” or there is some sudden need for serious work or extensive planning I can go into “overdrive” and this can last for months if necessary.

    Even my physiology seems to support this. I am (a) basically lazy unless prodded by others or external challenges and (b) when so prodded or challenged I can go into extended overdrive. I get a “second-wind” when others flag (though not compared to a tri-athlete). After about 3 to 5 days extended activity my endurance builds rapidly compared to many people at least of my age (though being a bit overweight is compromising this). I can easily sustain activity for 24 to 48 hours without food (being fat helps there) and have done it, though I need potable water of course. I can sustain weeks or even months of more intense work activity if need be on a consistent 4 to 5 hours sleep. But when things ease up I go back to being a bit of a sloth tho 6 to 7 hours sleep is still enough for me: maybe 8 if am working physically hard day in day out.

    So I happen to think I am adapted to take things easy when they are easy and go into more a of a “surivival mode” when things get serious. It’s a logical adaptation in my view but the modern construction of wage-work plus house-proudness plus keeping with the Jonses attempts to dicatate we must be in a constant state of anxiety about never doing enough and this must find outlets in “pointless busy work” as the Dilbert comic strip terms it.

  4. @Ikonoclast

    There are many examples of course of soldiers who defect, desert or return home to oppose war. The book I mention gives some interesting info about the famous 1930 Academy Award-winning film All’s Quiet on the Western Front. It caused shockwaves, being banned in Austria, Italy, NZ, USSR and China, and heavily censored in Australia, France and other countries. Why? Because the empathy felt by the main character towards the French soldier who he killed and was then stuck with him in the trench while fighting continued outside, was regarded as subversive to nationalist loyalties. The author had to flee Germany, but his sister was charged with assisting him, tried and beheaded in 1944. The main actor (who became a conscientious objector in WW2) said it “showed the Germans as having the same values as you and I have…just people caught up in this thing that’s better than all of us.” In the film he reaches inside the soldier’s coat and looks at his papers,including a photo of the wife and daughter, a unique individual with a family. He weeps and promises to seek out the family: “If you jumped in here again, I wouldn’t do it. You see, when you jumped in here, you were my enemy – and I was afraid of you. But you’re just a man like me, and I killed you…I’ll write to your wife…I promise she’ll not want for anything…Only forgive me.” Not a message rulers want their subjects to heed.

    Some would say the film Avatar had some of the same empathic power, though the raw simplicity of All’s Quiet… doesn’t let gadgetry overwhelm the message. The film No Fire Zone about the last weeks of the Sri Lankan civil war was shot mostly with hand-held video cameras from within the refugee group being bombed, and it’s hard not to be affected by the counterposition of the mayhem with the grinning face of evil in the person of President Rajapaksa at his press conferences.

    What I find attractive about this is it is not another individual self-help program, but an attempt to harness collectively and refine the outpouring of generalised interest and disquiet in the world about important issues. Perhaps new technology and growth of wealth have provided the pre-conditions for more lofty aspirations to become realisable, and borders and assumptions of all types to melt.

    It would also be wrong to see the Roman Krznaric approach as tugging of the heartstrings, the idlea is to generalise understanding – not pity – through cognitive empathy, reducing the cultural and social obstacles of prejudice, authority, distance, denial by direct apprehension. And it’s based on listening. He says that studies of labour negotiations show the time to reach conflict resolution is halved when each side agrees, before responding, to accurately repeat what the last speaker said; in informal situations this can be too artificial, he says it works better with kids than adults.

  5. @Ikonoclast

    I think you are misunderstanding me but whatever, 🙂 It is rude and impolite I have been told, to insist on explaining my point – apparently I even mansplain things. 😦

    I wasn’t suggesting that there is *a* correct way to bring up a child. The point is that if a society wants to perpetuate itself successfully then the most obvious way is for every child that will become the society of the future needs to be raised to be the sort of adult who *wants* to be part of their society and contribute.

    Laziness is an adaptive behaviour as all activity uses resources so it is more efficient for us to be lazy if we can and especially thinking uses a lot of energy so it could be that only a few strange people enjoy thinking just for fun and recreation.

    There is something wrong with a societies that raise some people who cannotome an adult if the society requires that ‘individuals’ take responsibility for themselves There is a rational functional way and then there is the way priviliged white boys are raised which creates selfish and greedy so-called adults who are still children.

  6. oppps being lazy and not proof reading again. The last paragraph is rubbish and should have been deleted.

  7. Having lived in Southern Africa for several years at the time of the Soweto uprising and the war in Rhodesia in my early twenties perhaps gave me an unique perspective or insight into racism. One thing I learned is not to call it by it’s name, because for one it is a complex social issue, second as such an unproductive label to use in general discussion and third it is so pervasive that almost everyone, me included, is in some form or another practising it as an indicator of difference. (apology to Iko for the ‘soft science’ references)

    As a longterm lurker and occasional commentator, may I suggest to refrain from the personal and return to address the issue with substance that does justice to the quality of Prof JQ’s blog. We are on the slippery slope to Cattle taxy standards.

  8. (Note – due to moderating issues second link to ” …indicator of difference …” will be posted in comment below)

    Having lived in Southern Africa for several years at the time of the Soweto uprising and the war in Rhodesia in my early twenties shaped my perspective or insight into racism. One thing I learned is not to call it by it’s name, because for one it is a complex social issue, second as such an unproductive label to use in general discussion and third it is so pervasive that almost everyone, me included, is in some form or another practising it as an indicator of difference. (apology to Iko for the ‘soft science’ references)

    As a longterm lurker and occasional commentator, may I suggest to refrain from the personal and return to address the issue with substance and do justice to the quality of Prof JQ’s blog. We are on the slippery slope to Cattle taxy standards.

  9. In his book “12 years a slave” Solomon Northup describes how he was prevented from giving evidence at the trial of his kidnappers because he was coloured – despite being a free man of New York. The evidence presented by his kidnapper was of a lost document, the fact of which was accepted thereby securing his dismissal.

    Slavery was more to do with ownership than colour.

  10. I’m not monitoring this thread closely enough to see who’s at fault, but please stick to civil discussion, and avoid personal attacks.

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