February 15, 2004


From Andrew Boltís speech last week to the Sydney Institute:

No, there was no "stolen generation" of children snatched from loving homes.

No, there was no genocide in Tasmania.

No, the smallpox that decimated Aborigines so cruelly was not brought here by European settlers.

No, windfarms will not stop global warming, or do much good to anyone.

No, man-made global warming is not a proven or "agreed" scientific fact.

No, we are not losing thousands, hundreds or even dozens of species each year.

No, forest cover in the industrialised world is not shrinking, we're not running out of oil and the Murray is not dying, In fact, the Murray's salinity is now as low as it's been for 50 years.

No, the US did not sell chemical or biological weapons to Iraq, the CIA did not bring Saddam to power and the turkey George Bush held up was not plastic.

Of course, all of these are articles of leftist faith, and therefore impossible to counter with logic or evidence or reason. Fun to try, though.

Posted by Tim Blair at February 15, 2004 12:54 AM

No, the cause of Stesichoros's blindness was not some remark about Helen's whoring around in the unsavory aftermath of the Fall of Troy.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at February 15, 2004 at 02:13 AM

I hear the first three items attributed to several in the Australian right, but, being an American, I don't think I've ever seen any debate or documentation one way or the other. Where would be the place to look for such a thing?

Posted by: Curious at February 15, 2004 at 11:09 AM

Yeah, it might be fun to try, but Bolt doesn't seem to be trying, he's just asserting. I'm a little dubious about a few of these.

We're not losing even dozens species per year? That's a big call - we really don't know nearly enough to make anything other than a vague estimate of the extinction rate.

The smallpox wasn't brought by the European settlers? I don't know where he got this from - surely it can't have just independently arrived at roughly the same time?

Isn't the salinity issue supposed to be about the water table rather than the Murray itself?

(The rest sound pretty much right, though.)

Posted by: Jorge at February 15, 2004 at 12:11 PM

No, Andrew Bolt has not taken out adspace on the low mongrel blogmire. Or has he?

Posted by: Miranda Divide at February 15, 2004 at 12:18 PM

I think all of those subjects have been dealt with in recent issues of Quadrant. Look for articles by Robert Murray and Keith Windschuttle.
Of course, most of these will give a right-wing perspective. In the interests of balance, you might also want to check out any of the books by Henry Reynolds, and the 'Bringing them Home Report on the Stolen Generations', and several other texts whose details escape me at the moment. Most of them get a mention in articles by Windschuttle.

Posted by: TimT at February 15, 2004 at 12:19 PM

Actually Jorge, Aboriginals traded with indonesians for trepang in northern australia for a long time before Europeans arrived.

On the way through to Australia the first fleet bypassed Batavia because it was being ravaged by smallpox. Thats a historical fact.

So yes, smallpox may well have arrived after migrating down the east coast infecting the communities around Sydney Harbour at the time of arrival of the First Fleet - the incubation times for that disease work out apparantly. I wouldn't know where to direct you to read about this theory, its recollections from my undergraduate days. It never seems to get much oxygen, maybe because it's wrong.

My read on Bolt's point though was that there is no scientific evidence that can attribute blame. Guess work, supposition and coincidence, sure, maybe even arguably common sense, one could see why it would seem the first fleet bought small pox if the Aboriginals all started dying at the time the first fleet arrived - but thats still a long way from making it a scientific fact.

The problem with this debate seems to be that you will toe the line with the orthodox thinking or you are a racist. Debates are politicised, politicised outcomes of debates are passed off as scientific fact, and if you take a contrary point of view to the politicised outcome you are pillored.

Global warming is a good example of this.

Posted by: Gilly at February 15, 2004 at 12:48 PM

hey Tim T. henry reynolds eh? HAHAHAHA!WAHHHHHHHH AAHAHAHAHAHAHA!..... sorry, that slipped out.

Posted by: roscoe at February 15, 2004 at 05:45 PM

"Not running out of oil"? What planet is this guy on?

Posted by: fatfingers at February 15, 2004 at 06:13 PM

t Earth. I assume you live on the planet that ran out of oil in the 1930s, as predicted in the 1920s?

Posted by: John Nowak at February 15, 2004 at 09:01 PM

Gilly: I hadn't heard that theory before. It sounds a little unlikely to me, but I'm no epidemologist. But even if it's a respectable theory, Andrew Bolt is way out of line in presenting it as a fact.

Posted by: Jorge at February 16, 2004 at 06:27 AM

The article's footnote says it's an edited extract of Bolt's speech. So we don't know if he provided more evidence for his assertions or not.

Posted by: Australian Elvis at February 16, 2004 at 10:49 AM