Education

Comrade Pupils, Here Is Today’s History Lesson

Tony Thomas

School education is bathed in a green-Left miasma, and so a new Victorian Year 12 history text  is unlikely to create much of a fuss. It’s  Volume 1 of a four-part lavish and expensive series from Cambridge University Press, Analysing Australian History – From Custodianship to the Anthropocene ($49.95). In production and multi-media values it’s state of the art. It’s also keyed specifically to the Victorian Certificate of Education syllabus.

The five woke authors begin with a racist apology for being “all non-Indigenous Australians, mostly of Anglo-Celtic descent … Each volume has been reviewed by First Nations educators … and checked by many people, including the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc and teacher forums.”  (p iiv).

Despite being “checked by many people”, the textbook is replete with howlers such as how we’ve been “exporting” brown coal (p294). We don’t. [1]

On p169 the politically-naive authors refer to Tribune, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Australia, as “the union newspaper The (sic) Tribune”.  They unwittingly provide a 100-word slab of 1958 Tribune agitprop for kids to study  the “struggle around issues of benefit to the people generally”. On the same page is an hero pic of Whitlam’s far-left  minister Tom Uren on the march, “a respected federal Labor politician” – the others presumably being less-respected.[2]

On page 17 of the Introduction we view a lone forlorn sheep, backside facing us, suffering from the so-called Anthropocene at “Pejar Dam in southern NSW, 2005” near Goulburn. On page 261 a pic of the very same ewe becomes “An exhausted sheep searches for food on a farm near Ivanhoe, New South Wales, 2002.” Googling suggests that Mrs Ewe took the three years to trot 730km south-east from Ivanhoe to Goulburn. No wonder she’s done in.

The authors are Richard Broome, president of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria and an emeritus professor at La Trobe; Ashley Keith Pratt, vice-president of the History Teachers Association of Victoria; James Grout, a junior and senior history teacher at Geelong; David Harris, teacher and environmental historian; and Geoff Peel, teacher, school department head and examiner.

The book’s title itself is a howler. There is no “Anthropocene”, as the authors claim. It is only a so-far-unaccepted recommendation by the  Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) to the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) to bolster the global warming narrative.   This wished-for “Anthropocene” has lasted a mere 70 years. Officially we are in the Holocene era (12,000 years) of the Cenozoic (66 million years). The IUGS has declined to declare any “Anthropocene”, preferring to wait maybe 50,000 years until some evidence of it shows up in rock strata. In the book, kids must elaborate on this misleading brief:

“Evaluate the significance of the scientific community’s adoption of Crutzen’s idea of the Anthropocene.” (p282).

Like those ‘brown coal exports’, this is just plain wrong, as the AWG makes clear:

The Anthropocene is not currently a formally defined geological unit within the Geological Time Scale; officially we still live within the Meghalayan Age of the Holocene Epoch. A proposal to formalise the Anthropocene is being developed by the AWG.

Now flip to the full page opening picture of Chapter 8: “Environmental movements contest the Anthropocene [sic], 1986-2010.” We see a triumphant crowd of Labor Party members in 2007 raging against coal and led by rock star Peter Garrett and flanked on his left – wait for it! – by a beaming Anthony Albanese, aged 44. Our Prime Minister had then the gravitas of  Manager of Opposition Business in the House and Shadow Minister for Water and Infrastructure.

 As well as three “Australian Labor Party” banners , the pic shows the Labor Party heroes surrounded by placards like “Quit Coal” and “Clean Coal a Dirty Lie”. The caption reads, “Marchers led by Federal MP and Labor’s environment and climate change spokesman Peter Garrett start the Walk Against Warming in Sydney, 11 November 2007.”

Flip past a second heroic pic of Bob Hawke, and conservatives will be affronted by a quarter-page image of the official Greens Party logo (p273). The authors claim the party got up in 1992 because state and federal governments “were overwhelmingly reluctant  to enact changes that might jeopardise economic growth for the purposes of conservation.” The book makes no reference to the international Green movement’s actual origins with Nazi philosophy morphing into the  admitted paedophile-tainted German Greens movement, which involved up to 1000 child victims.[3] Kids should get extra marks for independently researching that.

In apparent role as Greens recruiter, the book intones (emphasis added)

Over time, the Greens developed socially-conscious policies beyond environmental issues, but maintained its initial strong focus on conservation matters. Its platforms have continually advocated  matters such as recycling, water management, habitat loss, specie extinction, deforestation and pollution, but above all, democracy. (p274).

Kids will assume conservatives oppose democracy. The book then serves up retiring Greens leader Bob Brown’s absurd manifesto to his “earthians”:[4]

So far it seems like we are the lone thinkers in this vast expanding universe. (If not, why are they not communicating with us?). They have extincted themselves. They have come and gone.  And now it’s our turn. Just as we are causing that destruction, we could be fostering its reversal. Indeed nothing will save us from ourselves but ourselves. So democracy – ensuring that everyone is involved in deciding Earth’s future – is the key to success.

As a clincher, kids are treated to an adoring pic (above) of five Greens demonstrators in yellow shirts with Greens logos and matching placards, “Clean energy clean air: The Greens”. They hold high a globe of the purportedly endangered planet. The caption reads:

Greens activists dressed as surf lifesavers march through the city to condemn Prime Minister John Howard’s inaction on climate change…7 September 2007.

The book’s standard question-boxes require kids to spout knowledge about the Greens formation (but ignore Hitler and Green paedophilia) and its local electoral strength, followed by

What is Bob Brown’s basic solution for the world’s environmental problems? (p274)

Another topic goes:

In Australia profit will always be valued more highly than the health of the population and environment. Discuss.  (p264).

Fans of even-handed history will be delighted at how kids are now taught about the Cold War. The book gives the West and the Communist states precisely-equivalent treatment, e.g.

Historians have identified several causes that led to the outbreak of the Cold War, including the desire of both the United States and Soviet Union for geopolitical dominance at the end of World War II, the ideological conflict between these superpowers, the emergence and existential threat of nuclear weapons, the fear of communism in the United States and the concomitant fear of capitalism in the Soviet Union.

Quoting historian Timothy White, it continues:

While scholars may have been blinded by loyalty and guilt in examining the evidence regarding the origins of the Cold War in the past, increasingly, scholars with greater access to archival evidence on all sides have come to the conclusion that the conflicting and unyielding ideological ambitions were the source of the complicated and historic tale that was the Cold War. (p160-61)

In other words, the Communist dictatorships which murdered 100 million of their own people and defenceless “class enemies” are really just the mirror image of the Western law- and market-based democracies.

Apparently reluctant to offend Russia’s top dog Vlad Putin, the authors say that un-named “leading nations and world rivals” got some atomic bomb secrets by spying.  The authors put in favorable references to “peace movements” actually inspired or controlled by Moscow, as documented by KGB defector Vasili Mitrokhin. (p148, 156, 169, 180).  Talking of peace, the book refers identically not once but three times to what it regards as the historic founding of Greenpeace in 1971 (p143, 147, 183).  In reality co-founder Patrick Moore quit after 15 years, unable to stomach Greenpeace’s irrational and destructive policies.

The book even directs kids to the ridiculous Doomsday Clock cooked up by leftist scientists. To elaborate, those idiots in 2018 set their clock to “two minutes to midnight” or comparable with the H-bomb stand-off of 1953, because of President Trump and climate change. Nothing more relieves hormonal teens’ angst these days than a Doomsday Clock. The book demands of them, “At what time has the Doomsday Clock been set at most recently? Why has it been set at this time?” (p162).  I can answer that: it is set (pre-Ukraine war) at 100 seconds to midnight, “the closest it has ever been to civilization-ending apocalypse”,  but with sponsors’ hope that President Biden will be our planetary saviour. Our kids, by the way, are also offered a diet of “the 14 most frightening films about nuclear destruction” (p167), such as the corny Melbourne-based On The Beach of 1960. (p167-8).

The book devotes multiple references to avowed Communist Jack Mundey of Green Bans fame (p141, 188-189, 197-98, 212). He gets almost as much messiah treatment as the Green’s Bob Brown. Kids are told to debate the topic, “Jack Mundey was an environmental hero” (p222).

Needless to say, the uranium and nuclear industry get a bad rap, starting with kids being fed a Moscow-friendly conspiracy theory:

In August 1945, the United States used nuclear weapons on two civilian targets in Japan – the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The action was ordered by President Truman, ostensibly to hasten the end of the war in the Pacific. However intense controversy remains about the underlying motives of the United States, with many people arguing, both then and now, that it was unnecessary at that point to defeat Japan and, in fact, the bombing was primarily carried out in order to intimidate the Soviet Union. (p 148)

There was nothing “ostensible” about the 82-day casualty toll on Okinawa shortly before (ignored by the authors) which let the Americans know what to expect on the home islands: 100,000 civilians or a quarter of the Okinawa population killed or dead by suicide, 45,000 American troops killed or wounded and 100,000 Japanese troops killed. It was this high toll that persuaded President Truman to use atomic weapons, rather than send an invasion force into Japan.

On the home front, the history authors are respectful of would-be Aborigine and Melbourne University Professor Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu nonsense about the thriving agriculture of town-dwelling pre-contact Aborigines. He gets half a dozen references. For the susceptible kids, the authors rank Dark Emu (2014) with Geoffrey Blainey’s  1975 Triumph of the Nomads (p8), although, in what looks like a desperate last-minute addition, the Cambridge authors say,

…anthropologist Peter Sutton and archaeologist Keryn Walshe in their book Farmers or Hunter-Gatherers? The Dark Emu Debate (2021), argue that Pascoe has exaggerated his case for Aboriginal farming and used evidence loosely. But clearly in some areas, Aboriginal food production was intensified. (p25).

Pascoe’s map of a purported original Aboriginal “grain belt”, covering half of the continent and dwarfing modern wheat cropping, is reproduced across almost the full page.[5] The original map-drawer Norman Tindale was talking about grain collecting/harvesting, but the Cambridge authors twice refer to it as “production”.  I find it odd, especially in a class textbook, to conflate Aboriginal gathering of sparse native seeds with modern wheat productivity.

A litmus test in textbooks  is whether  such authors hit kids with Murdoch Derangement Syndrome. This history doesn’t disappoint. It quotes activist journalist Maria Taylor, author of Global Warming and Climate Change: what Australia knew and buried, which she helpfully assures visitors to her website is ‘suitable for secondary, tertiary studies and research and as a case study in environment environmental education, environmental policy, science and society studies, political science, policy and political economy, contemporary Australian and western history, climate change studies, media and communication…” On the climate wars, the Cambridge authors quote her thuis:

Great influence was also exerted by News Limited, with a virtual monopoly in Australian print media circulation. The Murdoch media shared the notion that accepting climate science is unwarranted and a threat to business and has spent the last 20 years conducting a ‘culture war’ on this issue. Through politics and media these reasserted beliefs and values had taken over the whole society [what!!!] by the early 2000s and have returned in force in 2014.” (p290, my emphasis. I assume she refers to Tony Abbott’s election).

I googled Dr Maria Taylor, wondering how any Canberra-zone journalist could think The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Financial Review, Canberra Times and The West Australian are part of a Murdoch hegemony. Dr Taylor publishes a monthly semi-rural community newspaper focused on sustainable lifestyles, does some part-time lecturing on journalism to ANU undergraduates and  in 2007 wrote a score of articles for the Bungendore Bulletin.[6]

Australia’s mining and petroleum producers ought to riot about use of this text in class. The authors dismiss the global impact of the 1960s mineral boom in the style of the ex-ABC’s Emma Alberici:

The Fitzgerald Report [1974, for the Whitlam government]  revealed who benefited from this boom. The Report showed the mining industry paid $263 million in royalties to the government from 1966–67 to 1972–73, but five times that amount went overseas in profits to parent companies. The same thing occurred during Australia’s most recent mining boom in the early twenty-first century. Government fuel subsidies, equipment tax deductions and other benefits led to high profits from mining, amidst record high metal commodity prices…(p246)

Through gritted teeth the authors acknowledge that “Mining is important to human development and livelihood” but laud every anti-mining success that activists can cook up.

Mining is also destructive of the environment and the Aboriginal peoples’ custodianship of the land. Iron ore, bauxite and some coal mining is done by open-cut mining. The existing vegetation and topsoil are bulldozed aside, the fauna is destroyed or retreats, and large excavations are made to expose the minerals, often resulting in water and dust pollution. The holes and trenches expand as mineral extraction increases…( p246-7).

Flip a few pages and kids get a section in praise of extreme Left-dopey arts and culture, like “George Turner’s 1987 dystopian work The Sea and Summer depicting a Melbourne of the future drowning under rising seas of climate change”. (p280). No wonder kids suffer education-inflicted pessimism and mental health issues extending even to suicides). The book offers Ms Oodgeroo Noonuccal, aka Kath Walker, alleged “poem”:

The miner rapes
The heart of the Earth
With his violent spade
Stealing, bottling her black blood
For the sake of greedy trade.

There follows (p282) John Williamson’s 1989 Rip Rip Woodchip song and its chorus,

Nightmare Dreaming, can’t you hear the screaming?
Chainsore, eyesore – more decay.

The  book’s question box includes

Identify specific ways in which the [woodchip] lyrics suggest that the environment is being destroyed

♦ Why do you think the song resonated with society?

In a gesture to impartiality, the authors do give brief air-time to conservatives Hugh Morgan (ex-WMC) and Keith Windschuttle (Quadrant editor-in-chief), and more so to Geoffrey Blainey. I couldn’t avoid the entirely subjective suspicion the authors selected weak quotes to enable kids to knock the conservatives down. For example, Morgan is cited arguing that “2000 years of Christian tradition supported the rights of companies to mine”. His cited views in the book include the correct point that Aboriginal culture “demanded vengeance killings and in the past had involved cannibalism” which I assume is inserted to set him up for kids as a nasty hateful person. Question (p253): “What might have contributed to Morgan’s views on Aboriginal peoples and Christianity?”

The authors in their onslaught against the invading colonialists don’t mention the prevalent “coming in” of Aboriginal families to missions and stations for easily-accessible rations. They do provide kids with a positive quote that

The rate of economic progress in Australia between 1820 and 1850 far exceeded that of any other British Colony, and approached that of Britain herself. (p84).

But they match it with an opposite:

The squatters and their flocks drove away the game, and the sheep ate the plants and killed the roots upon which the Aborigines lived. But the transformation did not stop there. The grazing of sheep first opens then kills forests, first converts grassland to wealth then reduces them to indigence [poverty] … biological impoverishment now began in Australia. (p84).

Emotionally exhausted, I have yet to tackle Volumes 2-4 of this curious history series. But at least it puts its cards on the table.

Tony Thomas’ latest essay collection “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from publisher ConnorCourt

[1] The book: Australia’s mineral industry was expanded [to 2010], accelerating growth in mining, burning and exporting brown coal.  (p294). Geoscience Australia: “Although Victorian brown coals are low in ash and sulfur, they have high moisture contents and are not exported from Australia to overseas destinations. Brown coal is produced and utilised almost exclusively in Victorian mines and power stations.”

[2] Uren sued the Fairfax and Packer news organisations in 1963 over allegations that he had links to communists which amounted to his being a traitor. The judgment in his favour for £43,000 was then an Australian defamation record. 

[3] For the Nazi’s environmental credential, see Darvall, R., The Age of Global Warming – A History. Quarter Books, London, 2013. P40:  “Were it not for its crimes, the Nazi record on the environment would have been praised for being far in advance of its time…”

[4] “Fellow earthlings, we believe in world government. We abrogate the rights of nations to rule themselves.”

[5] The authors write, “Bruce Pascoe made a case for a more complex food production, an ‘Aboriginal agricultural economy’.”

[6] Dr Taylor’s ANU profile cites an ANU Press book she wrote on global warming (free via PDF)  which includes this quote

 … one of the most unnerving scientific pronouncements ever made: ‘Humanity is conducting an enormous, unintended, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequences could be second only to a global nuclear war’. 

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Published by Nelle

I am interested in writing short stories for my pleasure and my family's but although I have published four family books I will not go down that path again but still want what I write out there so I will see how this goes

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