I’m sure that I’m far from alone in having dwelt on my own ignorance. These occasional musings into the limits of my knowledge are similar to those moments when you contemplate your own mortality. It is an old cliche that the more you know, the less you realise you know but it is still something I do think about from time to time.
This will be a bit of a ramble if you can’t tell already.
As I’ve said numerous times, I don’t keep up with the news on a day to day basis. I don’t read newspapers, watch TV or even check dedicated news websites with any frequency. I get my news in drips and drabs from the few podcasts, blogs and websites I do frequent. With that said it has been hard to avoid hearing about Harvey Weinstein who has now joined Bill Cosby, and Australia’s own Rolf Harris in the dirty old man archives. What these three and the late Jimmy Saville (who I understand escaped earthly punishment), have in common is that they were doing this for years before it suddenly became public for reasons I still don’t know. Where the people that must known about it suddenly spoke up in condemnation.
I was recently watching the 2005 adaption of Pride and Prejudice on a night when foul weather raged outside. It had been a long time since I last watched it and I found myself focusing on the way the society was portrayed over the story itself which I already well know.
Something I became very interested in during my time at university was something that at that time was known as the “History Wars” in Australia. This is a name given to something really going on all over the West and a major battlefront in what is similarly known as the “Culture Wars”. I have written a post somewhat related to this before. But the short of it is that on one side, you have people that want to uproot Western culture and traditions in order to replace them with something they prefer and on the other you have people who want to preserve our culture and traditions as they have been. This is not strictly a left/right political fight but still fits generally within this framework.
I was first introduced to this personally when I did a course on Australian history that was bent decidedly on the radical, revisionist, anti-Western side. Without having the knowledge to respond to this perspective, I at first merely reacted negatively towards it but I soon began to see what was being done and why. The historians focusing on this weren’t completely wrong, they were (and still are), just selective and dishonest with the history they write. The British did indeed occupy and annex Australia and such an action can reasonably be seen as invasion by the disparate peoples occupying the land at the time. There is indeed documented evidence of the colonists behaving beastly to the aboriginals. There were massacres, there was displacement and the aboriginals did lose their land and their culture to the people that came.
The problem isn’t so much that people want to make this known in our history but that they want to use this as a wedge to de-legitimise what is, in order to replace it with something they prefer. As mentioned the focus is also highly selective of what it shows and what it does not show. For example, the nuances that existed in all of this such as the true nature of aboriginal culture, the frequency of violence and even the very notion of ownership of the land. On top of this, there are also plenty of examples of historian being dishonest whether by invention, omission or both. And even if not, most don’t even deny they have an ideological axe to grind.
Now with all this, I used to try to be reasonable, assuming that the other side meant well and that rational discourse would ultimately bring the truth to light.
I was naive.
What I have learned, especially with better knowledge of people now known as SJWs (social justice warriors), is that this isn’t the case at all.
And here is a direct example:
We are taught that in the past everybody was racist, that they held prejudice against other races and cultures. The white race and/or European cultures are usually the focus of this teaching. In a way, this isn’t really wrong and is true to this day. It is only banished from European (particularly northern European) society through cultural pressure and to varying degrees, through the legal systems.
In saying that this is true, I am not endorsing the narrative of the cartoon like racists portrayed in the media. I don’t accept that the prejudice that existed was bigotry but rather a natural caution towards outsiders that sometimes manifested as bigotry. Reading non-fiction and fiction from the time, there is certainly a whole lot of politically incorrect language that would make the modern art major faint, but little that one would describe as genuinely bigoted.
Thoughts on Donald Trump and the Wall
This is my latest at Heroes of Play. Sonic the Hedgehog was the game series (and character) I was most fond of during primary school. I don’t know if it is a good or bad thing that I’m still into the series today.
Either way, the review is re-posted at the jump and can be seen here.