Friday, July 3, 2009

Aboriginals’ plight - root causes

The plight of the aboriginal people has been a perennial hot topic for decades. Today, nearly everyone agrees the Indians’ situation is pretty awful though nothing ever seems to improve. A recent book, "Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry. The Deception Behind Indigenous Cultural Preservation", by Frances Widdowson and Albert Howard provides a no-nonsense examination of the root causes of the problem. Peter Foster reviews it and likes much of what he reads:

... The "industry" in question consists of a large and ever-growing group of lawyers, bureaucrats, consultants and academics whose careers depend on the "Great Game" of land claims and self-government, which are sold as the cure for aboriginal poverty and dependency.

...The book slaughters a herd of sacred cows, including the validity of "traditional knowledge" and native "justice," and the notion that aboriginals have some special "spiritual" ecological sensitivity.

Claims to sovereignty are bogus because pre-contact aboriginals had no written laws or specialized governments. The suggestion that the U. S. Constitution was inspired by the Iroquois Confederacy is a crock. Chief Seattle's noble words were entirely manufactured. "Culturally appropriate" native medicine is dangerous quackery. "Holism" equals charlatanism. Ethnobotany is BS. The wisdom of elders is primitive ignorance. "Preserving" primitive languages means restricting the ability to think.

... The book derides postmodernism, cultural relativism and Orwellian "Pomospeak," noting that aboriginal policy is marked by obfuscation and denial.

... The book -- which I literally could not put down -- contains an excellent historical background to current policy, good accounts of the origins of such notions as the "Noble Savage" and an explanation of how anthropology came to be corrupted by activism.

Sounds like great stuff. Unfortunately, however, the book is badly marred by the authors’ goofy Marxist analysis and prescriptions and it’s enough to make Peter Foster puke:
... a bunch of ill-fitting Marxism, and references to the theories of Trotsky!

... their own "solution" is, if anything, as misguided as, and even more dangerous than, that of the aboriginal industry, since it recommends "socializing ownership so that goods and services are produced not to obtain profits but to satisfy human need." All to the tune of "Imagine." I'm not making this up.

... This otherwise excellent book concludes in a flurry of anticapitalist and even anti-Zionist (!) rhetoric. Example: "While grain is stockpiled in industrial countries people in the Third World starve." Huh? The world's problems are allegedly due to "the conflict that exists between the few who own the means of production and those who are the producers of all value." Where are we? Manchester circa 1845?
Still, it is apparently "by eliminating this fundamental 'difference' that we can become a global tribe and the 'world can live as one.' " Pass the culturally appropriate emetic: I want to throw up!

... "Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry" makes a powerful case that the aboriginal culture must die so that aboriginal people may live. Then ruins it by throwing in The Communist Manifesto.

Oh well, maybe the Marxist drivel will at least help to get leftists to buy into the authors’ more realistic assessment of the Indian industry’s role in perpetuating the misery.

A few months ago the National Post ran excerpts of the book here, here and here and a favourable review by Jonathan Kay here.


Anonymous said...

government was, is and will continue to be the problem.

JR said...

Well, government is without doubt the biggest component of the Indian industry, though they have made attempts to change the system. But I'm inclined to the view that the biggest culprits are the Indian so-called "leadership" who have consistently obstructed change, at the expense of rank and file Indians, in order to retain power and control over the $billions in lucrative subsidies. Their only solution to every problem is more money. Academics and lawyers are the next biggest culprits.

Anonymous said...

BIggest problem?The natives themselves.Then their "leadership"which has done pretty much frack all except take more money.LOL!Heres what i live my life by and have been quite successful at it no matter who rules the world-
Surprisingly many natives DO NOT live by these so called codes or ethics.Many are just as racist towards whites as whites are towards them.Of course that leaves them vulnerable manipulation.

Anonymous said...

sobriety + job = improvement.

drunken self pity + laziness = status quo

JR said...

Thanks for the link to "Thunder Mountain" - a very interesting web-site. "/the red_road" sub-link wouldn't play, though.