This is the second essay of two where I am trying to encourage ordinary Australians to speak up and have their say in the face of the opposition from the politically correct. I am protesting in my own little way about the restrictions that we face because of political correctness and cancel culture that contrive to silence us from taking part in any debate where we might have opinions that don’t align with the “woke” attitudes of the dominant minorities that seek to monopolise public debate.
In my previous essay I wrote about the COVID pandemic and global warming. In this essay I intend to challenge the viewpoints of the vocal activists that weaponise racism and those who have assailed us with radical views about gender politics.
If you were to listen to the black activists, whose opinions are promoted by the ABC, the left wing media and a substantial numbers of academics, you would be compelled to believe that Australia is a racist country. I don’t believe that is the case and I will elaborate my thoughts later in this essay.
Mainstream Australia is berated for the indignities conferred on Australian indigenous people because of colonisation. The so called “invasion” by European settlers was so traumatic, it is alleged, that indigenous people still suffer as a result. Colonisation occurred more than two centuries ago. Many peoples jn other nations around the world have had to endure the same experience. Most seem to have had the capacity to accommodate the experience within a generation or two. Yet the Australian indigenous activists seem unlikely to ever let it go.
Much has been made about the necessity to preserve indigenous culture. And yet in those remote communities (which purport to preserve indigenous culture) there are incredible rates of domestic violence, child abuse, deplorable educational outcomes and catastrophic health results. Much of the effort to preserve indigenous culture has served the interests of dominant indigenous males who, as result, have inflicted violence on their communities. Much of what passes as indigenous cultures in such communities has been recently invented and the real culture has been diluted with the passing of previous generations.
But there is a reluctance to confront the real issues of indigenous dysfunction and those who are brave enough to do so are frequently labelled “racist”. Consequently many ordinary Australians are reluctant to express opinions about indigenous affairs being afraid of the opprobrium that deviating from the dogma of the activists attract.
My friend, researcher Anthony Dillon, in the book Cancel Culture wrote:
You are entitled to state your opinions on the merits of a voice to parliament or a treaty; what constitutes genuine racism and what doesn’t; what you think the priorities should be; or any other issue relating to Aboriginal affairs – for the simple reason that Aboriginal affairs is everybody’s business because we are all citizens of one country.
Anthony, of course, can speak with more authority on these issues than I can because he has indigenous blood. And his views are refreshingly enlightened. But just like that other enlightened indigenous voice, Jacinta Price, he is often attacked because he doesn’t toe the line of indigenous victimhood.
Anthony, who has a good grasp on the nature of Humanity, will forcefully assert that race should be a matter of little consequence because what we humans have in common far surpasses any of our differences (including those related to race).
In an article published in The Australian on 4/8/2021, Anthony reminds us how, five years ago the cartoonist Bill Leak was pilloried so dramatically by those Dillon calls the “blacktivists”. It was more than likely as a result of the stress Leak had to endure in defending himself that he died soon after of a heart attack. I spoke to Leak by phone a couple of times in the weeks preceding his death as he bravely tried to defend himself and he was obviously distressed. And what was the sin that Bill committed that saw him attacked so egregiously that he was hounded to an early death? He dared to publish a cartoon of an indigenous man in an outback setting that not unreasonably implied that some indigenous fathers abrogated their parental responsibilities.
Now when you look at the history of remote indigenous communities with their appalling incidence of domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, child abuse, high levels of youth incarceration, removal of children from their biological families and poor school attendance does that not reasonably indicate parental neglect? But such an obvious failing in these communities cannot, as Leak found to his detriment, be openly discussed because it challenges the narrative of indigenous victimhood.
The so-called Aboriginal industry is sustained by an implication that indigenous people have no personal agency and that all the disadvantages that indigenous people suffer are imposed on them by racist laws and racist attitudes of the Australian population. These indignities, they maintain, are further exacerbated by our history of colonialism, “stolen children” and the paternalism of governments.
Consequently the activists tend to hijack the debate of how to improve the lot of indigenous people by running off on tangents about abstract, symbolic issues. Right now their attention seems to be dominated by the proposed “voice” to parliament and how indigenous people are recognised in the Australian constitution. Yet the pursuit of such issues is not going to resolve the real problems of indigenous disadvantage. How is the resolution of these issues going to advance indigenous education, reduce domestic violence, curtail juvenile incarceration or provide employment for indigenous people?
The principal Government intervention to try to alleviate indigenous disadvantage is the “Closing the Gap” initiative which was initially put in place by the Rudd government. Despite the expenditure of huge amounts of money, this intervention has met few of the targets set by government to reduce indigenous advantage. This year the Morrison government has substantially changed the Closing the Gap targets. It claims to have brought on board indigenous organisations to assist the government’s efforts in achieving these worthy goals. It has committed another $1.1 billion in support of these noble ends. But in my mind these efforts are doomed to failure.
Now let me be clear, there is a huge cohort of the indigenous population who are doing well in Australia. They have become educated (many with university degrees), assimilated into the general community, raise their children well, are law-abiding citizens and make useful contributions to Australian society.
But then there is this other cohort who propagate domestic violence, make little effort to have their children attend school, live off welfare, indulge themselves unduly with alcohol and drugs, have little respect for the law and, assuming the mantle of victimhood, take little responsibility for their own welfare and demand the state compensate them for their perceived disadvantage.
A little later I will return to the issue of addressing indigenous disadvantage. But now let us look at the claim that Australia is a racist country which is a common complaint by the activists.
I believe that some Australians are racist. But this would hardly qualify us a racist country. By and large it has been my experience that Australians want to see our indigenous population progress and succeed. I, and most of those I associate with, do not resent the huge amounts of money that have been dedicated to trying to resolve the issue of indigenous disadvantage. My only complaint is I think that expenditure is misdirected.
In the workplaces I managed, the indigenous people we employed were well accepted in the workforce. As well, we offered apprenticeships and cadetships to indigenous young people and their progress was facilitated by their work mates and most went on to pursue fulfilling careers.
But it suits the victim narrative of the activists to talk up Australian racism.
In recent decades this narrative has been augmented by the nonsense of Critical Race Theory (CRT).
Some sociology is based on good research and might rightly claim to be scientific. As you know, the scientific method progresses science by postulating theories and then having those theories challenged by research and by having the theories questioned by competing theories. Normally the theories that best explain observations of the real world prevail. CRT is not such a theory. In fact CRT is not a theory at all. It doesn’t put itself up to be contested. It maintains that white people are inherently racist with respect to coloured people and such racism is so ingrained that white people are not even aware of it. They are afflicted with “unconscious bias”. The proponents of CRT conveniently believe that those who don’t believe its tenets do so because they are inherently racist. It is hard to refute such circular logic!
It is under this subterfuge that the Marxist/anarchists have so successfully propagated the “Black Lives Matter” ideology. And this unverifiable theory seems to have only one object in mind and that is to create an irreconcilable schism between black and white folk. Unfortunately because it reinforces black victimhood it is being cited more and more by Australian activists. [In some American states parents are now taking legal action to prevent CRT being taught in schools because of its divisiveness.]
But let us cut to the chase. Whilst we are distracted by the symbolic indigenous causes like the “voice”, constitutional recognition of Aborigines as the traditional inhabitants of Australia, the indignities of colonialism, the glorification of Aboriginal culture, the celebration of Australia Day, the renaming of Coon cheese and so on, we can forget about “closing the gap”.
To close the gap we need to concentrate instead on:
- Getting more indigenous children properly educated,
- Improving the parenting skills of those indigenous parents who have lived for a generation or two without intact families and without appropriate parental role models, and
- Increasing the level of indigenous employment and as a result reducing indigenous welfare dependency.
If were successful in achieving the above (and I don’t underestimate the difficulty of doing so), then we might expect;
- Reduced levels of incarceration;
- Better health and welfare outcomes;
- Reduced alcohol and drug dependency;
- Enhanced sense of personal agency;
- Improved economic and psychological welfare;
- More intact indigenous families,
So I suppose the underpinnings of the plain talking that needs to be done to properly address the issue of indigenous disadvantage is to put less emphasis on symbolic gestures and concentrate more on practical initiatives that are more likely to improve the lot of our most disadvantaged indigenous citizens.
Of course this won’t suit the activists of the “Aboriginal Industry” who rely on continued indigenous suffering to maintain their livelihoods and who perpetuate the notion of indigenous victimhood.
But let us now turn our concerns towards the issue of gender politics.
Since the 1960’s women have asserted their rights to be treated equally to men. They have largely succeeded in this admirable endeavour. Sometimes the more strident feminists have managed to alienate more women than they have recruited to the cause. Sometimes they have been disingenuous in the causes they have supported. For example some have had limited horizons concentrating on piffling issues in Australian mainstream society but falling silent on such issues as domestic violence in our indigenous communities or the repression of women (including female genital mutilation) in Islamic societies. (Some feminists still harbour some wrong ideas which I will talk about later.) But all in all the feminist movement has made a positive contribution to Australian society.
In recent decades we have also adopted a more liberal approach to homosexuality. In my youth homosexuals (particularly homosexual males) were treated appallingly. Most of my life I have had homosexual friends, both male and female, and I am glad that they can now live openly in loving relationships without undue societal opprobrium. (Mind you I am opposed to same sex marriage. This is not on any religious grounds as you might understand from my writings on religion, but for reasons I have elaborated on in previous essays.)
But then in more recent times we have seen the emergence of even more nuanced divisions propagated by identity politics. Identity politics, in its attempt to manufacture identities to make the marginalised feel special, has confected more and more categories of supposed special, and generally purported, victimised human beings. And much of that effort has been concentrated on issues of gender.
Now I must confess my ignorance with respect these gender variants. Not long ago they were referred to as LGBTQI or some such acronym. Even more confusing was the fact that the proponents of gender diversity have often been prone to add other letters to this already indecipherable alphabet soup to include other minuscule downtrodden minorities.
One must admire the discernment and sensitivity of the modern world. For millions of years human beings and their progenitors had to make do with merely two genders – male and female. It must be like being restricted to two television channels. How boring that would be! But not now. In the twenty first century we have discovered multiple gender options and according to the “woke” gender activists not only are there multiple gender options but, hallelujah, you are able to choose your preferred gender.
But the epitome of this gender nonsense is the issue of transgenderism. The radical proponents of this new “woke” ideology believe that those who, for whatever reason, are uncomfortable in the bodies that their biology has bequeathed them can through an intervention with surgery and drugs choose to change their gender.
Now this is an amazing claim on at least two fronts.
To begin with, the gender activists have been insisting for decades that gender is not biologically determined but created by the early socialisation of our children. Simply stated girls acquire their feminine attributes because they play with dolls and other “girls’ toys” and dress in “girls’ clothes”. Boys on the other hand acquire their masculine attributes because they play with trucks and other “boys’ toys” and dress in “boys’ clothes”.
If this was really the case (and it’s patently obvious that it’s not), instead of subjecting young people to invasive surgery and gene therapy to change their gender orientation we should be able to achieve the same outcomes by therapy aimed at the re-socialisation of the individual. The fact that this approach is never taken to correct supposed gender misalignment indicates that gender activists have little faith in their own socialisation theory of gender formation.
Many who advocate gender reassignment by surgery and gene therapy don’t understand the long term and deeper effects of our biology.
If you take for example males, the huge impact of testosterone cannot be ignored. Once they reach puberty, as a result of testosterone, males have larger bodies, stronger muscles and different brains.
The physical attributes of males is important. Transgender women (males identifying as women) even with surgical and gene interventions will still largely retain these physical attributes conferred on them by testosterone at puberty. It is therefore patently unfair for them to compete in women’s sport.
But testosterone doesn’t only impact on men’s bodies, it also affects their brains.
For example as Jordan Peterson attests:
Women are more interested in people whereas men are more interested in things.
Studies over many years have determined that men:
- Take more risks than women;
- Murder more frequently than women;
- Are involved in more motor vehicle accidents involving speed than women;
- Are less selective in their sexual partners than women;
- Are more aggressive than women;
And so on.
After the onset of puberty the neural pathways determining these behaviours have largely been set and gender reassignment techniques are not likely to alter them significantly.
And herein lies the moral dilemma. Adolescents (mainly girls) suffering from gender dysphoria are now frequently led to undertake gender reassignment therapies. They have the unrealistic expectation that they will be able to change their genders through this process. What’s more they are often led to make these irreversible changes at a time when their rational decision making capacity has not reached full maturity. Many will come to regret these decisions in adulthood. And because of the early effect of testosterone on the brain, fundamental male characteristics will be denied to an adolescent girl seeking gender reassignment so that the outcome, whilst physically dramatic, will be largely cosmetic.
But this clamour to accommodate those claiming to be transgender has another appalling outcome. There is in some places a concession to those misguided (or in some cases opportunistic) individuals who maintain that despite their biology they can choose their gender.
As a result of this we have intact biological males identifying as women being given access to what have traditionally been women only spaces. Ridiculously such people have also been incarcerated in women’s prisons and allowed to be treated in women’s wards in hospitals. What could possibly go wrong?
Moreover these males who self identify as women have been allowed to compete as women in women’s sports. (There were even some such males in the recent Olympics.) As we saw above testosterone imbues men with larger, more muscular bodies than women. Consequently allowing such males to compete in female sports is just unfair to women and girls. (I was a schoolboy athlete. When I was seventeen I could run the 880 yards faster than the prevailing Australian women’s champion. I say this not to boast, because I sometimes lost to my male contemporaries, but just to illustrate the injustice of women having to compete against biological males.)
But enough of this! It is time for some plain talking again. So I am going to tell you to forget the “woke” nonsense of identity politics and especially those with a gender axe to grind.
The irrefutable truth is that there is only two genders – male and female. And no matter how the gender activists would like to think otherwise, gender is biologically determined. In support of this position let me quote evolutionary biologist, Carole Hooven:
…….the facts are that there are two sexes, male and female – and those sexes are designated by the kinds of gametes we produce.
Do we make eggs, big sex cells, or little sex cells, sperm? That’s how we know whether somebody is male or female. But the ideology seems to be that biology isn’t as important as how somebody feels about themselves or feels their sex to be.
But it seems to me that we can’t overturn our biology at a whim. We have to deal with the hand we’ve been given just like we have to deal with being colour-blind, or short, or introverted or whatever.
You might remember the British neurologist Oliver Sacks’ famous book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. Of course a man merely thinking his wife was a hat didn’t necessarily make her one. Thinking your sex is different from what your biology has determined is a similar fantasy that is unlikely to be helpful to your long-term wellbeing.