The Objective

The objective of this piece is to provide an historical setting to Caucasian racism and religious intolerance then, with the New Zealand atrocity as catalyst, present suggestions for multicultural harmony in Australia. These will be rejected as too radicle but hopefully discussion will result in a solution not just repair.

The Problem is History

     Civilisation once more requires a Cadmus to address the anger, atrocity, anguish and ignorance imposed by racism and religious intolerance lurking beneath the cloak of multiculturalism and to impose upon people a harmonious coexistence. Politically naive rhetoric must be replaced by an appreciation of history and today’s sociological and demographic reality. Effort must be directed towards the cause, not clearing up after an event.

     Islam and Christianity have a shared history and this has affected Western European culture, its origin lost in medieval mist. Shared history includes: the Crusades; the invasion of France and the occupation of Spain until 1492; the invasion of Austria to the gates of Vienna by the Ottomans between the 16th and 18th centuries; the 1916 Asia Minor (Sykes Picot) Agreement that saw the Middle East partitioned between Britain and France; the Balfour Declaration that facilitated the establishment of Israel inside Palestine. History entered the 21st century with terrorism, warfare in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria that has exacerbated racism and religious intolerance.

     With the rise of mercantilist Europe from the 16th century, the seaborn Arab spice trade was lost to the Europeans. Prior to this, global commerce and trade was concentrated around south and east Asia while Europe remained a foggy peninsular on the edge of Eurasia. Since the 17th century, Western Europe increasingly controlled global commerce as maritime power increased. In rapid succession, Western Christendom benefited from the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, virulent eugenics and the acme of European Empires reinforced by an elitist monotheistic faith.

     In the cocoon of this Western culture, from early childhood the superiority of the white Caucasian race was inculcated into the population by myth, ballad, song, story, anthem, art, education, duty and national ethos. Those of us born as late as the 1930s and now in their eighties were so indoctrinated. Those born half a century later are increasingly unimpressed by the verities of yore but they will ultimately accept the benefit of multiculturalism provided economic conditions improve within Western society.

     The post WWII period in Australia witnessed an influx of British, Italian and Greek migrants. The term ‘multiculturalism’ appeared for the first time in political debate in the mid-1970s as a response to the Italian contribution to Australia. This term described the social situation, not one requiring policy or management.

Racism v Religious Intolerance

     We stand with the knowledge and baggage of history from which three strands to Australia’s multicultural problems may be deduced. Racism, religious intolerance and trade are at the centre of medieval conflict between Christendom and Islam. Religious intolerance was also endemic in medieval Europe and flourishes today. The schism between Catholic and Protestant in Australia continued strongly until the mid-20th century and is still with us as a divisive education system.

     Racism is the cultural acceptance that one ethnic group is superior to another. There are numerous examples world-wide.  Two examples suffice: in India the Nordic Aryans recognise superiority over the southern Dravidians; the European Caucasians recognised a superiority over non-white races, colonial or not. Australia has the twin problem of a culturally inherited racism through its association with Great Britain combined with the colonial racism of a settler society fearful of its safety or future stability epitomised in the White Australia Policy.

     The third form of racism that may be associated with religious intolerance is that espoused by extremist groups, examples being the Alt Right, Far Right, White Supremacists and now with a New Zealand connection, the Identitarians – an Austrian anarchist group. Catalysts for these movements are a perceived loss of national prestige, immigration involving different ethnicities and faith, threats to white males in society and fear of competition and exclusion within their society. The ultimate threat to Western society might not be terrorists from the Middle East but people like  Martin Bryant (Port Arthur), Anders Breivik (Oslo) or Brenton Tarrant (Christchurch) plus many American killers. There could be numerous disaffected males proliferating through the Western world. Unfortunately social and economic conditions among Western nations are conducive to rising angst.

Rubbery Definitions

Alt Right – an ill=defined group of White Supremacists/White Nationalists, white separatists, anti-Semites, neo-Nazis, neo-Fascists, neo-Confederates, holocaust deniers and fringe hate groups. According to the South Poverty Law Centre, Alabama, more than one hundred people have been killed by these groups in recent years.

Far Right – these groups espouse an ideology further to the Right of normal Conservative views. Members tend to be extreme nationalists with authoritarian tendencies. It has been established that Tarrant had contact with the Identitarian movement in Austria, a white nationalistic group with anti-immigration and nativist ideology.

White Supremacist – a movement based on the belief the white ‘race’ is superior to other races and should be dominant over them. The objective is to maintain the social, political and institutional domination by white people.

The hard core is made up of mature males but recruits will be found among unemployed disaffected youth. The 2018-19 unemployment figures are unacceptably high, being Australia–13%, United States–9% and Europe–8%: this translates into tens of thousands who may be susceptible to a cause.

Racism in Australia

     Bringing racism into the 21st century in Australia, the Government termed the 2005 Cronulla Race Riots a civil disturbance. More telling, is the result of the 2015-16 National Survey on Racism in Australia conducted by a team led by Professor Kevin Dunn, School of Social Sciences and Psychology, University of Western Sydney. The findings indicated there are high levels of antipathy towards various groups of Australians. Conclusions are:

  • 63% expressed degrees of intolerance/discomfort with Moslem Australians.
  • 51% expressed anti-Middle Eastern sentiment
  • 44% expressed anti-African sentiment
  • 79% recognise racism exists in Australia
  • 33% of participants had experienced racism in public, in the work place and in the education system.

With this bias towards racism and migrant intolerance, it remains to be tested how this might translate into sympathy, tacit or otherwise, towards extremist movements.

     When discussing fundamental sociological problems, there appears to be a reluctance to discuss Homo sapiens and its roots. This species is naturally suspicious of different tribal or ethnic groups due, in part, to an eternal competition for resources. Until the creation of the nation-state in Europe, it was a region of warring, fortified cities with their own ruling elite, and villeins protected by the ubiquitous military force. Today the social setting is similar with the addendum the industrial-military complex is the dominant global force.

Christchurch Aftermath and Suggestions for a Solution

     The Western World has changed, no longer are there Jihadists without but there are White Supremacists within. Greek mythology records Cadmus, bringer of civilisation, killed a dragon and from its teeth rose five warriors who together founded the peaceful city of Thebes.  Australia now requires a statesman with advisors who can create a harmonious multicultural society that is more than just a name – a Herculean task that requires the discard of ancestral baggage.

     Fast forward to the days following the Christchurch atrocity. Ignoring the initial breathless reporting, the ensuing discussions were “How could this happen in peaceful New Zealand” and on restricting news coverage of this and future events – the result and nothing on the cause – the solution. Hansards have been filled with the spoken or written word on stifling information or on society misfits but nothing on economic, sociological or marginalising demographic trends that are impacting on industrialised Caucasian society. Against this background is the requirement to reduce racism and religious intolerance both exacerbated by change, stress and overcrowded cities.

     It should not be forgotten that one hundred years ago there was a parallel to the anarchism developing in today’s society. The period 1880-1920 was one of great social tension, industrial change and a re-ordering of society. The period was rent by lethal militant anarchist movements throughout Europe and the Americas. Anarchism found fertile ground in Australia evidenced by the formation of the Australian Secular Association, the Active Service Commission and the Melbourne Anarchist Club. The most dramatic event was the bombing of a non-union ship, ss Aramac, in 1883 following the Maritime and Shearers disputes. After WWI, movements tended to fade away with rising prosperity.

     With hindsight, that Christchurch was selected for the massacre, should not be a complete surprise. There has been a consistent racist element in Christchurch for years. The Fourth Reich, a white supremacist movement, was formed in a Christchurch prison in 1994 and is active on the West Coast and in Nelson. Two recent murders have been attributed to this group. The Skin Head movement has been active for years round Christchurch. A chilling warning has come from Dr Paul Buchanan, Director, 36th Parallel Investments (NZ), a geopolitical risk company. Buchanan has acted for US government security agencies. He considers the White Supremacists present a real threat to New Zealand.

     Before proposing solutions to racism, religious intolerance and multiculturalism, it is necessary to consider the effect of Government policy and social pressure groups on the Australian ethos. Irrespective of the nature of first settlement by Caucasians, the history of settlement into a prosperous nation over the past two hundred years from 1800 to 2000, is being whitewashed from public perception. A trivial but significant cringe requires the eradication of ‘Happy Holiday’ and the reinstatement of ‘Merry Christmas’. Australians must recognise two facts – first, the immense effort and dedication of these settlers to create a modern society, and second, the fact that Australians enjoy a standard of living and democratic security based on the foresight of our forebears.

     Improved living standards were achieved by a settler society largely guided by Christian faith. Rising living standards and education have encouraged the rise of a secular hedonistic society. The social glue once provided by religious faith is loosing its grip resulting in a decline in peace, love and forbearance. Lay society is facing difficult conditions so now should all those with religious authority move out from their “House of Worship” and minister to the disaffected, the extremists and those with a lost faith on their own turf.

     Government should introduce a policy of “Make Australians Proud to be Australian” which will recognise success and progress, and that present society cannot be held accountable ‘for the sins of the fathers, but at the same time it must work towards equalising society.

     Five suggestions are proposed to reduce racism, religious intolerance, promote multiculturalism and ‘make Australians proud again’. These suggestions will probably prove too radicle for general acceptance.

  1. From early childhood to the completion of university/TAFE education implement instruction on the above four disciplines.
  2. Merge the education system to more closely reflect a multicultural society where religious schools are closed.
  3. Unemployed youth from age seventeen will be required to undertake two years of National Service. Trade instruction and course work would be compulsory.
  4. Government policy would be instituted to engage with White Supremacists and other antisocial movements to foster dialogue to establish common ground and reduce tension. The dialogue will recognise social conditions within Western culture and its implications.
  5. The extremist movements spawn killers. With New Zealand fresh in mind it should be noted that records from America indicate extremists have murdered 313 people over the past several years. (The Economist, 23 March 2019)
    How Britain dealt with the IRA might assist in formulating a policy in dealing with extremism in Australia.

    For a laissez faire Government, these suggestions will be unacceptable while in the community, vested interests will not contemplate erosion of the education system. Until a clear policy on this situation is operational, Australia will continue to experience pressure on its culture.

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