“Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.“
– George Santayana
We are currently on a sociopolitical merry-go-round. Social experimentation with regards to definitions of marriage, sexuality and gender are currently at the forefront of our social discussions. This will continue for such a time as the LGBTIQ+ lobby wishes to capitalise on the wave of homosexual expression and genderless “marriage” currently sweeping across Western nations. At the heart of it is a desire to broaden the socialistic model so romanticised by groups lobbying for a peculiar partnership between individual identity and proclamation thereof, and an expansion of government and its control over people, their assets and free enterprise.
What was socially wrong with the Australia around the time when Sydney hosted the Olympic games, when the many ethnic groups, migrants and refugees alike, enriched the country whilst embracing the Australian way of life in solidarity with everyone? Why has this so-called “white privilege” led to a swing from one end of historical racism and discrimination to a kowtowing to any and every ideology that Australia is presented with? Why are we lambasting ourselves so much to the point of submission to Islam, denying absolute truths on gender and the family unit, and falling for the duplicitous virtue signalling of social justice warriors? To a “privileged Anglo-Saxon coloniser” it may be easy to dismiss those questions, but how about a less biased perspective from someone who cannot boast of any such “privilege”?
I am a second generation migrant from the Middle East. My parents and the rest of my family are Muslim. I grew up at a time when the majority of schoolmates were Anglo-Saxons, and despite having a fair share of playground bullying there was little effect my background and heritage had on the behaviour of other boys. I do not stand on a place of “white privilege” when I say that Australia offers unsurpassed freedoms and opportunity for all who are able to work hard regardless of their ethnicity or creed.
My parents had opportunity here beyond what they could ever have imagined where they came from, but had no innate “privilege” afforded to them. One could argue they were significantly disadvantaged. They spoke very little English and were unskilled migrants, but their work ethic got them jobs soon after immigrating to Sydney. Pluralism was respected along with the freedom to express it, as it was when I instructed multicultural issues to NSW Department of Health staff and community members in the early 2000s. Today, without as much being said, there is a growing momentum for socialism under the guise of faux equality, with a covert push towards totalitarianism. And suddenly, in the name of “progress”, democracy is cynically decried as a system whereby two wolves and a sheep decide on what to have for dinner.
Even in our own brief history we could learn some lessons from past mistakes of our sociopolitical systems without the need to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Despite this, there is a mounting disdain over our nation’s Judaeo-Christian heritage and a passionate lobby to forge a new Australia, devoid of religion and dissenting opinions. But hasn’t this happened before?
Russia underwent a revolution that saw the failure of a Marxist social experiment in an attempt to remove God from all conversation and redefine the family unit (see Eleni Arapoglou’s essay on this phenomenon). Other examples of imposed cultural Marxism and post-modernism were attempted in Germany, Yugoslavia, Cambodia, North Korea, China and Venezuela, crossing over many cultures and continents. Ask anyone who has come from a socialist regime how they see it would work in any country. What makes us believe we could do it any better here?
I have personally witnessed and experienced the effects of inequality and discrimination, but through recent years we have collectively ramped up the ante on social change with untested and even dangerous experimentation with such self-righteous fervour. Social “progressives” should not claim a higher moral ground or superiority in ideology in this regard. We may all differ in opinion, but without free speech in the fair and democratic society we have done so well to achieve in Australia, we will assuredly go from being the lucky country to being the hapless one.
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Dr Ashraf Saleh
Father of three kids and practicing family doctor, Ashraf served in the Royal Australian Navy as a medical officer from 2005-2012. He's a second generation Egyptian Australian, and a former Muslim.
Ashraf has a Bachelor of Medical Science (Cell Pathology) and Master of Nutritional Science (Metabolic Syndrome) from the University of Sydney, a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery from University of Qld, Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, and Fellowship of Advanced Rural General Practice (Emergency Medicine).