In 2020, Australians are planning to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the discovery of their continent by English Captain James Cook. But not everyone Down Under considers it a happy occasion. Statues of Capt. Cook have been vandalized and he is blamed for all the woes inflicted on the Aborigines. Sound familiar?
As cultures goes, the indigenous peoples of Australia known as Aborigines* were, by necessity, hunter gatherers on a continent that is mostly desert. Imagine what material wonders they saw with the arrival of the first Europeans! No matter. *[Latin for “ab”-from, “origine”-the beginning]
Just as Christopher Columbus ruined the American “paradise,” James Cook destroyed Australia merely by finding it. Cook never planted a colony on Australia. In fact, the first English colonists – convicts – weren’t settled in Australia for another eighteen years. But, as we now know, the ultimate scapegoat of indigenous peoples everywhere is the first White guy who shows up.
To steal a line from Shakespeare’s Mark Anthony, “The evil that Europeans do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” Be it exploring the globe or colonizing it, Euro-Caucasians apparently only made the world worse.
Perhaps waves of East and South Asian immigrants would improve the lives of all Australians. However, most Australians don’t see it that way. They are quite concerned with their multi-cultural balance. Not all Australians are White and Christian, but some 75% of Australia’s modest population of 22 million are. With an Asian landmass – which includes one billion Indians and one billion Chinese – within boating distance, Australians are understandably resistant to the uninvited. In fact, anyone caught illegally approaching their shores is interned indefinitely on islands – a humanitarian scandal but certainly a deterrent.
Notwithstanding its perceived xenophobia, Australia has sizeable communities of Chinese (3%), Indians (1.4%), and people from the East Indies (15%) already resident. Only 3% or so of the population is Aborigine, about the same number Capt. Cook found – 700,000 souls. Interestingly, this is comparable to the ethnic Italian population there.
About 18,000 Italian prisoners of war were interned in Australia during World War II. Captured in North and East Africa, the POWs were used as cheap labor in agriculture for three years, even after Italy switched sides. Many stayed at war’s end, and were joined by legal immigrants from the Boot. Italian is among the top four languages spoken on the continent.
Despite its start as a British penal colony, Australia turned out well. Past and present injustices still haunt White Australians but illegals don’t seem to mind the bad rap. As much as everyone despises Western Civilization, everyone wants in, whether it’s Australia, “fascist” Europe or the “racist” USA. Outside of gunning down illegals on the beach, there is no journey or bigotry frightening enough to keep people out – proof that the rest of the world is still worse than Europe or North America. And yet, we are continually told we need improvement – that unlimited diversity and open borders will make us a better nation. Question: Is there an example we should strive for? What other nation on earth is the ultimate success story because of unlimited diversity and open borders? Europe itself was once a boiling caldron of ethnicities and religions that decimated itself in two world wars. Maybe that’s why Europeans fret another caldron.
Even those nations that have imitated our Western values and institutions, like India, are mired in paralyzing diversity – Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, Buddhist, and castes – where cows are sacred and people are not.
Diversity in moderation is a good thing. But try dumping millions of White people into Africa or Asia tomorrow and you’d be asking for trouble.
Capt. Cook eventually found that the Pacific islands were not all welcoming. When the natives of one island realized the wondrous British visitor was not a god they stole his shuttle boat – perhaps a message to not come ashore again. He was murdered while trying to arrest the chieftain responsible. That island was Hawaii. -JLM