One of the strange things about politics today is the attempt by Left-wing activists to demonise ‘nationalism’.
For normal people, loving one’s country is a natural feeling. It gives them a sense of belonging, the comfort of having a clear national identity.
Most Australians are proud of our country’s achievements. For many decades, this was the unifying purpose of Australia Day: celebrating the greatness of our nation and the Western civilisation that arrived here on 26 January 1788.
We know Australia is a wonderful place because so many people from overseas want to come here (often by any means possible).
But in recent years, the Green-Left has tried to turn Australia Day into a day of division. They want to ‘change the date’ or even abandon the celebrations altogether.
The Australia-haters have come from within. They want to make us feel guilty about our love of country and ashamed of our national day.
As Melbourne’s Tarneen Onus-Williams screamed at a protest rally on January 26 last year, “F— Australia, hope it f—ing burns to the ground”.
Hatred of this kind is underpinned by hypocrisy. The Left say they support policies like public education and Medicare, but these services are only available in Australia because of the civilisation that arrived here in 1788.
It’s not a statement of supremacy but rather, an undeniable reality to acknowledge the sophisticated technologies of the West – the housing, the architecture, the engineering, the transport and information systems that have benefited so many Australians.
This in itself is worth celebrating.
Opinion polling has shown that over 70 per cent of people support Australia Day on its traditional date.
They feel no guilt for who we are, no direct responsibility for 19th century mistakes towards Indigenous Australians.
Sensible people know you cannot rewrite history; you can only learn from it.
Australia was not invaded – it was settled.
The Left rely on two big lies in attacking Australia Day. First, that 26 January 1788 was ‘Invasion Day’.
Yet there was no warfare, no organised military resistance. The First Fleet came here with convicts in chains, under guard; it was not an invasion force.
The second lie the Left peddle is that Australia Day is a recent invention and can easily be changed. In fact, the early settlers celebrated each anniversary of the First Fleet’s arrival and on 26 January 1818, Governor Macquarie made it a public holiday.
The challenge for modern citizenship is to reconcile the various loyalties we feel in a more complex, interconnected world: the way in which we identify with our local community, the nation we love and the ideals of good international citizenship.
These loyalties need not be in conflict. They can easily coexist.
In political debate, only the Green-Left argues that one form of identity is superior to all others. They want a world of open borders and the mass movement of people, a world in which ‘globalism’ triumphs and the nation-state fades away.
That’s why they attack nationalism so belligerently and try to belittle Australia Day.
What the protestors don’t seem to understand is that 26 January is much more than a party day. Sure, we celebrate Australia’s many achievements, but it’s also a time for reflecting on Australian history and adding to Indigenous reconciliation.
The strong character and role of Captain Arthur Phillip should always be remembered. He brought the First Fleet from the other side of the world and settled it in a harsh and difficult place. Along with great men like Macquarie, he helped turn a penal colony into a civilisation.
If not for 1788 Australia would have remained technologically stagnant.
Historians have highlighted that up to about the year 1700 Aborigines enjoyed a quality of life comparable to the average farming person in Europe.
However, with the inventions of the Industrial Revolution, Europe quickly raced ahead while Indigenous Australia was left behind, a victim of distance and isolation.
Aboriginal society had not invented the wheel or a written language. It was made up of 300 often-warring nomadic tribes.
Without European settlement, no Aboriginal person would ever have accessed decent housing, healthcare or education.
The challenge now is to make these opportunities universal, so that every Indigenous Australian enjoys a ‘fair go’.
While better policies are needed, no one can say that past efforts have been perfunctory. Today, for every dollar of spending on a non-Indigenous Australian, our governments spend two dollars on Aboriginal welfare – not the work of a heartless country.
Ultimately the Leftists attacking Australia Day cannot even agree on an alternative date.
It would be strange indeed to leave this issue in the hands of people who don’t even like Australia and the things we stand for.
Maybe the Green Left needs to forget about Australia Day and concentrate instead on creating a holiday that reflects their unique interests in life.
An International-Tree-Hugging-Solar-Worshipping-People-Smuggling-Sex Changing-LGBTIQWTF Day is more their thing.