It is interesting to listen to conservatives try to explain why things like patriotism and nationalism have seriously declined in our nation. For instance this discussion on Sky News, where they put the blame on education,
“IPA senior fellow John Roskam says an “entire generation” of young Australians have been taught to be ashamed of their country.
His comments come amid low enlistment numbers in the country’s defence forces.
Mr Roskam revealed the Institute of Public Affairs conducted a poll last year among Australians aged 18-25 which found only 32 per cent would fight for their country if it was attacked.”[i]
This is a staggeringly low number of Australians who are willing to fight for their own country. But the numbers are not really that shocking when you consider a few other points.
For the last couple of decades Australia has engaged in a mass immigration experiment to grow our population and inflate the economy with incredible numbers of people coming in each year. The result of this is that as of 2021, 29.1% of all Australians are actually born overseas. When you consider that many of these people have had children while here, this means that a large percentage of Australians are only first or second generation citizens.[ii] The largest group of these people is from England, where our culture predominantly comes from, but since 2011 the largest increase in immigrations comes from India, and many immigrants come from other nations as well.[iii]
Now the views of these immigrants will be diverse, but immigrants do not magically change their culture, practices or ideas when they come to a new country. This fact was on full display this week where disturbing Palestinian protests happened across Australia, and the western world, in support of the attack on Israel from last week. I don’t want to get bogged down in discussing the ongoing conflict in Israel, it is a tiresome discussion; this conflict is several generations old and should not concern Australians. However, this conflict has been big news here in part because Australia has immigrants from both sides in the Middle East and as these Palestinian protestors show, immigrants do not change their views when they change locations, they bring their politics with them.
How is a country with such divisive perspectives represented amongst their citizenry supposed to unite for the purpose of something like self defense? Considering the focus on making Australia multicultural over the last few decades, is anyone really surprised that so many young Australian citizens want nothing to do with fighting for this country? We are a nation divided by deliberate policy choice.
Add onto this the fact that since 2001 Australia has tightened its alliance with the United States and gotten involved in disastrous wars across the world. Many Australians are sick of these wars and want nothing to do with any more foreign conflicts. There is a big difference between defending your country and being used as auxiliary forces in an imperial war in the Middle East or somewhere else, but very few Australians would be willing to risk signing up for the defence forces to defend our country, because they would be concerned about getting caught up in another stupid foreign war far from our home land and interests. For several decades Australians were told that being sent to Afghanistan was defending their nation, or going to Iraq was defending their nation. But more and more people have seen through these forever wars and want nothing to do with them.
All this being said, that does not mean that education has nothing to do with this problem. Australians have been taught to be less patriotic. But alongside of this they have been taught that anyone can be Australian if they have the right paperwork, it has nothing to do with heritage or nationality anymore, it is simply a matter of what your passport says, and therefore, it is simply a matter of whoever the government says is Australian, is Australian? How can anyone get patriotic about this situation. This is statism not patriotism.
Say what you want about Israel, but they have focused on creating a country there for their own people that has a vision to be a bastion of Jewish culture, and they have enacted policies to hand this tradition down to the future generations. It is easy to see why this has been far more successful in building a patriotic culture, than the approach of our nation for the last few decades. Maybe we should pay attention to that?
Ideas have consequences and the consequences of the demoralisation of Australian identity and ethnicity and culture are starting to have devastating effects. For those of us who love our country, this is horrible to see, even though it was also eminently foreseeable.
Matthew Littlefield writes to think through some of the current issues facing society, the Church and whatever else comes to mind that might be interesting to process. Matt's focus is usually historical or scriptural, though he will address current issues from time to time as well. He is a co-author of The Ezekiel Declaration and the book, Defending Conscience, How Baptists reminded the Church to defy tyranny. He blogs most days at YoungGospelMinister.blogspot.com.
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