On Ethnogenesis and Nativism

Nativism in the Australian context is not, and has never been a principle for the extinguishment of ties between Australian identity and our British ethnic heritage. Nativism hinges upon a simple question: Are we Australians of British heritage or are we British people who just happen to be in Australia?

Nativism maintains that there has been in Australia, since the arrival of the first fleet, a long-worked development of a valuable and unique culture. The culture of Australia, being rooted firmly in British cultural history and traditions, but developing further on it, and departing from it in some circumstances as necessitated by Australian conditions.

In Henry Lawson’s, ‘Barney, take me home again’, Johnson, an Englishman “got settled down comfortably and strengthened in the glorious climate and democratic atmosphere of Australia …. Johnson was thin when he came to Solong; he had landed a living skeleton, he said, but he filled out later on. The democratic atmosphere soothed his mind and he soon loved the place for its unconventional hospitality.”

Australia’s unique geographic isolation from the rest of European civilisation necessitated significant cultural forces to be at work, the creation of a democratic atmosphere, as Lawson describes it, resembles the tradition in Australia of the recognition of the dignity and honour of every man, regardless of his position on the social ladder. The poor man in Australia, may gaze into the eye of the wealthy, may shake his hand and speak on common terms. The great Justice Henry B. Higgins writes in Australian ideals,

“It is moral superiority which is the only true basis of distinction. George Washington William Ewart, Gladstone, Michael Davitt, John Burns, George Higinbotham, Abraham Lincoln — these men are raised to eminence and distinction in the hearts of their con temporaries, and of posterity, by their acts and their principles, not by the artificial advantage of having themselves styled ‘ Sir’ This or ‘ Lord ‘ That !”

The democratic atmosphere is the basis of the egalitarian principle of Australian culture. No man is worth more than his merit by possession of titles, inheritance or authority. This distinct contrast to the ways of the British culture which had been left behind. Russel Ward writes in Australian Legend,

“[The colonies] were the first places in the world to give every man the vote .. Our colonial parliaments were characterised first by the fulfillment of the Chartist program – the seemingly forlorn hopes of working-class Britain made a firm reality in the antipodes – and then by the populism of the land laws, as the people demanded that squatter estates were broken up and made available to them at a reasonable price. Our egalitarianism is perhaps best embodied by the concept of ‘mateship’, a national order that admits no entrenched deference of any kind.”

The extreme environmental conditions of isolation, flood, drought and fire produced energies of will to create a more just form of civilisation in Australia. Disputably, a higher form of civilisation in the conditions, as Cicero writes that the science of Government is for “the formulation of laws, the virtues of equity and justice and loyalty, the conquest of human passions and the improvement of human conduct.” (On the Orator). England however, and for the better part, Europe. Being thoroughly developed, accessible and ruled by the barons of old, did not cultivate the same cultural and political sentimentalities of Australia, sending our continent and nationality into a unique trajectory which is best described by Lawson and Patterson in their own literature, which was a very raw, offensively Australian perspective on our national life, as Percy Stephensen writes in Foundations:

“Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson may be regarded as typical pioneers of indigenous culture in Australia. Whatever their faults, their work has an outstanding quality of being drawn direct from Australian life, and not from a bookish or “literary” idea, in imitation of English poets. Lawson and Paterson were both Australian born, and wrote for Australian readers primarily. Their work is crude enough in parts; it is the raw material of an Australian culture, but it is of high national significance, as being truly indigenous.”

The newly migrated Britishers who lived in the comfortable conveniences of the city, such as Sydney or Melbourne however, were rarely, practically engaged in this cultural development which was brought upon by conditions of the countryside and the bush. Surrounded by their own fellow-immigrants, and not by a majority of naturalised Australians, cultural development in the cities was stifled, and the latest trends from Europe were in vogue in the cities, with some flowering blooms of Native culture making appearances on the periphery.

The dilemma of the urbanite in colonial times continues on to this very day. Where generations are born, raised and die within the confines of Sydney and Melbourne, surrounded by un-assimilated aliens, Who by circumstance find no romance in Australia’s history or its culture, who think themselves above it, and who go out of their way to cringe at Australian culture. A. A. Phillips in ‘The Cultural Cringe’ writes:

“There is a certain type of Australian intel­lectual who is forever sidling up to the cultivated Englishman, insinuating: ‘I, of course, am not like these other crude Austra­lians; I understand how you must feel about them; I should be spiritually more at home in Oxford or Bloomsbury.’.”

This mental disease, as Phillips calls it, is endemic in Australian cities, particularly amongst self-professed intellectuals who shrug off Australian history, culture and politics as an unfavorable triviality and directly import their preferences from overseas as a carbon copy. This is part of the greater shift to globalisation: the tidal waves of foreign media, bringing with it its own ideologies and culture have broken over Australia’s walls, flooding every room and building in our country with all forms of undesirable poison be it cosmopolitan marxism, or a new form of trans-national racialism which discards all justice to our national heritage.

Percy Stephensen writes in The Foundations of Culture in Australia: “A nation’s cultural self-definition provides it not only with an individuality, but also with a title to survive. Imperialist internationalism has a tendency to pour all nations into one mould: to make culture uniform and monotonous throughout the world.

To resist any such monotonising of culture here is the plain duty of an Australian patriot who considers that there is no place like home—and means Australia when he says that. If the advocacy of Australian patriotism is to be considered “disloyal” by some and “chauvinistic” by others, such epithets, it may be presumed, cancel one another.”

This is the rallying cry, which was once addressed to the cultural and political imperialism of the English crown, but now finds new vigor in the nativist’s defense of an Australian identity, sovereignty and culture inamongst the new hipster trend of trans-national racialism.

There can be no questioning the fact that the European race is being demographically replaced and harrassed by aliens across the entire world, and that the plight of European-descent people in Europe, America and Australia are very similar. It serves the common good of all to uplift and support where practical, genuine nationalist movements across any European-descent nations. It would however, destroy any equitable justice to our heritage to toss out and demean our own ethnic heritage to fit into somebody’s else’s fantasy of a post-national, racial empire.

M. K. Grant
ANA National Governor,