Saturday, February 05, 2011

On liberalism (with a small "l")

Today's Herald caught my eye with an article about an Inuit woman - Tagaq - who is appearing at the WOMAD in New Plymouth this year. Because the article described her singing style as "deep throat" as well as "throat singing" it grabbed my interest so the old dial-up was despatched to pull in a track of her music.

It transpired - some 45 minutes later - that what Tagaq does is not throat singing as I understand it (look to Tuva and Mongolia for the most accessible illustrations). Her singing is rather similar to "mouth music" - think Bobby McFerrin as a primary example of that. Quite a let-down really.

But what has this to do with liberalism - small "l" or not.

While I was waiting the 40-odd minutes for my dial-up to complete its mission I sat and read the John Roughan op-ed on this topic. I have to say that it was not easy going. Unlike his usual prose it is difficult reading, making for the ol'probligo to go back and re-read several portions to get the sense of what he is trying to say...
How much self-rule is needed for Maori culture to be secure and its perpetuation assured? People who dismiss the Business Roundtable as another group of suits deny themselves a great deal of mental stimulation. It is a one-man think-tank, Roger Kerr, who is a classic liberal on the economy and most other subjects of public interest.

Classic liberals, as distinct from mild socialists who call themselves liberal, regard the individual, not society, as the base measure of what is good, wise and valid in government. They believe, with much support in recent history, that a default setting of individual opportunity rather than enforced equality produces a better society anyway.

But to my mind they have a blind spot. They don't believe in ethnicity. They can't, or don't want to, see that an ethnic identity is part of every individual's range of interests and rights.

Well, yt has been called a "liberal" (and in the same breath "socialist") by more people than I could shake several sticks at. His second para is right to the mark. His third para there is way out left of third base in my world at least.

He picks up on an address given by Noel Pearson (an Aborigine leader and reformist of some note in Australia) to "The Round Table"; this year's memorial address for Sir Ron Trotter.
Pearson believes the improvement of Aboriginal communities lies in more classic liberalism and less social welfare, more personal and family responsibility and less state dependence.

...

Mindful perhaps that his hosts are much more interested in the first subject than the second, he devoted the bulk of his speech to the better incentives he has built into his people's welfare system and made only a closing reference to the importance of their culture.

...

Economic liberalism and social democracy's gifts of health and education were both necessary for survival but not sufficient, he said. "Self interest is the engine that starts to drive the vehicle of social and economic progress. But tradition drives the human will to exist."

He said, "Too many Australian conservatives don't understand this crucial point. They believe Aboriginal Australians will be content to survive physically and become prosperous and culturally assimilate into the great global English speaking tradition. We will not."

Roughan then makes the point that the same argument can be applied to NZ - and makes the obvious point that Pearson connected the two intentionally.

The distinction is between "equality" on the basis of homogeneity and the recognition of "ethnic identity". Roughan rightly points out that this is something that should be forefront in our minds this weekend, tomorrow being our equivalent of Independence Day in the US. Oh, there are some, on both sides of the fence, who disagree with that but that is the current law and I as a liberal am happy with the situation. One day is as much like any other.

I can go as far as agreeing that the two major political parties "don't get it". That (for this ol codger) is an unquestionable and uncomfortable truth. The last MP and Minister who I think "got it" was Sir Douglas Graham, a centre rightie of very considerable understanding.
Both sides deeply fear "divisive" aspirations they hear from Maori today. How much self-determination is needed for an indigenous minority to be confident its identity is secure and its perpetuation assured?

National doesn't know, Labour doesn't know, probably the Maori Party doesn't know. But all three know, or accept, that assured Maori representation in places of power is a minimum.

The classic liberal party in Parliament, Act, resists even that. Rodney Hide's strict adherence to individual electoral equality has deprived Maori of two seats on the new Auckland Council for the time being.

That last para was one of the triggers for the ol' brain to back-track and re-read. ACT is a "liberal party"?

The Rhinohide would be very upset to hear that!

For my part I confess that I in truth probably have no more "understanding" than the normal, average pakeha in the street. That despite having spent the greater part of my childhood in closer contact with the Maori community than most middle-class pakeha city dwellers. That is not going to stop me from having a minor carp or two at Roughan's thoughts.

The "don't know" problem is far deeper than Roughan has stated. I assume the credit is due for him having realised that there are many aspects other than those of cultural identity, and political representation that fall out of the prospect of "self-determination" for and by Maori.

The first is one Roughan mentions far too briefly and passes over - the shadow of "separateness"; apartheidt as it was termed in South Africa. The very big difficulty with the idea in South Africa was that apartheidt was imposed by a politically powerful cultural minority on a weakened and weaker majority. The "separateness", rangatiratanga, sought by some Maori is seen as a step back to their cultural roots and to a time when they were the dominant culture in NZ. That was the foundation of both the 1835 and 1840 treaties; the Maori were at that time stronger than the colonists both culturally and militarily.

I can not separate the thought of motives (on both sides) that may drive the positions taken by participants in the raruraru.

On the pakeha side, the accusations of racism against Maori can be "excused" as "a natural cultural and personal conservatism". Yes, it may well be and in that form is exactly the same as the "cultural and personal conservatism" of Maori as was stated by Pearson and quoted by Roughan.

Then I turn to this morning's SST, the "rag" that du Fresne among many others likes to denigrate as a "socialist", the universal epithet for "liberal" when the right whinge is losing a debate.

Front page is one person who very definitely does "get it".
Key said the focus of attention had to change, and while National was pressing on with Treaty settlements and foreshore legislation, they were "grievance-based, backward looking issues" and he wanted to look forward.

"This week 60,000 five-year-olds turned up for school and 12,000 of them will leave unable to read and write, and the bulk of them will be of Maori and Pacific ethnicity. Ultimately, if people are locked into an underclass, that's a bad recipe for all New Zealanders," he said.

Key admitted his words were directed at Harawira, who has spent weeks at odds with his Maori Party colleagues after a column he wrote for the Sunday Star-Times. "Hone can stay in opposition or as a radical if he wants, but he won't actually create things."

Harawira fired back, saying when Key put up, he would shut up. "We want all young Maori children to be able to read, write and count well. So I would say to Key, give us the resources and authority to make that happen and I will shut my mouth for the next three years."

The question is the obvious "How?". The jonkey is talking from his cultural background, Harawira from his own. You can tree from there into all manner of other fields that are related.

Get away from the front page, right down to page A12. No, you won't find it by googling the Stuff website. A "Waitangi Day" article, Richard Habersham recording his visit to a Maori gang retreat in Hawke Bay last weekend, the Otatara Awakening. He used the election of Obama as President as the foundation for his speech.
...Once it became clear that Obama truly was elected by mostly whites, however, gang members immediately questioned Obama's racial authenticity. Their tone switched from admiration to deep suspicion. Many theorised that Obama was merely a puppet elected by crafty whites to push an essentially anti-black agenda

...

The more important conversation I wanted to have was ... that Maori, like some American blacks, can't continue to stereotype all whites as racist. Maori... should be more aware that many...pakeha...are dedicated to racial equality.... Most crucially many New Zealand citizens have varying degrees of Maori blood.

...

Perhaps [some] Maori should ask themselves, if Pakeha are so intrinsically racist, how are there so many inter-racial marriages?

It may be helpful for both American blacks and Maori to acknowledge that although our history of oppression is an important aspect of our history, neither race can flourish when their primary political agenda is getting more pakeha concessions.

Why does it take an outsider to draw the line under the blindingly obvious?

11 comments:

PhilBest said...

Good on you for referring to Richard Habersham's essay. The silence around NZ has been so deafening, I was beginning to wonder if I'd just dreamed I'd read it.

If the people of a stone age culture really does want to preserve their traditions, then they simply cannot expect to share in the benefits of modern life. MOST of the PEOPLE of any given race or culture, given the chance, vote with their feet, and "westernise" just as fast as they can. Radical spokesmen can deny this all they like, but it is true. These people WANT the health, the wealth, the education, the amenities; and they know how to go about getting it. They will not get it by staying on the reservation and chanting incantations and doing rain dances. Their "spokesmen" do them a grave dis-service by trying to radicalise them against this trend.

Where the transition has been as peaceful and successful as it WAS proceeding in NZ before the white ants of the left wing got the program from Marcuse, Derrida, Foucault, etc; and radicalised as many (part-)Maori as they could; it was cause for celebration. We really were internationally outstanding (and still are, if we'd only admit it and stick to it). Habersham notes well, the rate of intermarriage and the lack of racial taboos about this.

In fact, that controversial study by a Prof Chapple a few years ago estimated that in every generation, more than 50% of "Maori" had married non-Maori partners. I suppose Hone H. would interpret this as honky bullies sexually exploiting the poor noble savages - as if true love never ever came into it.

The probligo said...

Philbest -

I can ignore your (I think quite derogatory) reference to "stone age culture". Please, I am trying hard here to leave that out of the debate.

There is no question in my mind that Habersham was invited to address that congress of gang members, the Otatara Awakening, as a respectable and well known person of colour from what had been in the past a very racist society. I can imagine that as soon as he started to speak the high confirmation bias expectations of those present were very severely squashed; and as I think they should have been.

First is that some on the non-Maori side are likely to grasp his words and use them to justify an "enough is enough" political stance when in fact the raruraru might not have finished.

Second that it is another indication that our (pakeha) forebears have not yet given up in their effort to eradicate and homogeinise Maori culture. To expand on that -

I for one do not want to lose sight of the relationship between Maori and the environment - whenuatanga I think is the right term. It is a two-way process as I see it. It is a very intimate relationship between long-term survival of society and the resources required to support society.

That takes the "survival of a stone age culture" a very long way past the "singing, dancing, and rather quaint brown people" who provide a caricature of their culture for tourists without any understanding of its foundations.

I am no better than most (on both sides) in that I can not stop moderating my thoughts and opinion with the filters imposed by the culture of my up-bringing. The same criticism/difficulty arises when discussing the role of other cultures in NZ. My understanding is filtered and modified by those same inate cultural influences.

By far the greatest mistake I think we can make, and where Habersham had it totally right, is to assume that "multicultural" means the supersition of one culture over all others. That for me would be a major mistake to make. Far better that (in the very long term) a new culture evolves that takes the best elements of all its component cultures and recognises the cultural sources of those. As a contemporary example the celebration of the lunar new year (adopted from the Asian cultures) has far more of a place in my mind than the traditional. Similarly, Matariki as a mid-winter festival of new starts and renewal would be both appropriate and unique.

I will stop there with the reminder that this is what Roughan was saying; that it is the 'distinction between "equality" on the basis of homogeneity and the recognition of "ethnic identity"'. To a similar extent Habersham's "our history of oppression is an important aspect of our history, neither race can flourish when their primary political agenda is getting more pakeha concessions. is a reminder that apardtheit is not a solution. The recognition of past wrongs is needed and appropriate. The redress for past wrongs does not ensure cultural survival any more than it creates economic survival. That redress is necessary, justified by process of law, and properly recorded by agreement that (hopefully) has proper consent on both sides.

Oh, and as an aside, Hawawira has a far better grasp of his electorates' thinking than the others of the Maori party have on theirs, and too that any of the Nats and Labourlites have on the thinking of their electorates as well. If you want to find out what Te Tai Tokerau is really thinking go to the pub at Opononi, or Ohaewai, or Kaeo or Awanui and talk to the locals.

PhilBest said...

Probligo, a simple fact is a simple fact. My ancestors culture was "stone age", before they discovered how to smelt metals. Someone discovered how to smelt metals, after their culture moved on from precisely the "relationship with the environment" that you insist we should be so respectful about.
Have you read Lynn Townsend White's classic essay "The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis"?
Maybe you and Lynn Townsend White see progress as a bad thing, and wish that we had remained pre-industrial, courtesy of pagan regard for the environment. But it is a huge mistake to assume this belief onto all descendants of the people who once made up a pagan culture, when all the efforts of the great bulk of such people are inevitably to join the modern materialistic era either by their own efforts, or by "wealth transfers" from the evil "imperialists".

"Multiculturalism" I understand to mean the insistence that NO culture is superior, and all cultures have an equal right to remain unchanged. It is, however, very strange that the same European left wing liberals who talk this way, have been only too anxious to move THEIR OWN culture onwards from "Victorian" norms. The only way to explain this hypocrisy, is to realise that their whole motivation is to destroy their own culture; in which case "other" cultures are a handy weapon.

I am not a paranoid conspiracy theorist; you can find all this stuff in Gramsci, Foucault, et al. Marxists who simply switched their program from encouraging the proletariat to "throw off their chains", to seeding as many grievance movements as possible within the culture that had proved resilient to their efforts.

I have a faint idea what Te Tai Tokerau might be talking about in pubs, and I wish the ghost of Sir Apirana Ngata would return to talk to them. Sir Apirana would be distressed at what European intellectuals grievance theories, and the DPB, have successfully done to a minority of part Maori.

The very idea that I might want to return to some culture that pre-dated Anglo-Saxon or Norman "imperialists", or Irish missionaries working with my ancestors, is nonsense to me, and it should be nonsense to any sensible person in this so-called "enlightened" era.

PhilBest said...

But we might actually agree on a lot; I have no problem with:

".....Far better that (in the very long term) a new culture evolves that takes the best elements of all its component cultures and recognises the cultural sources of those....."

I just do not believe that "the best elements" that can be combined, will be found in roughly equal proportions in all "contributing" cultures. This is why one particular "culture" today tend to swamp all others everywhere in the world, even if gradually and voluntarily. In fact, I would say that the only enclaves holding out against it, are ones where the choice is denied the people by brutal means.

This successful "culture" is itself a long-term mixture, and with happy variations between regions; but nevertheless Judeo-Christian values or proxies for them are like a "core" of that culture. Japan is an interesting example of "proxy" values, or similar pre-existing ones, having brought similar results of prosperity. Ethics of work and saving and personal responsibility, shame, and strong family structures; the rule of law, property rights, contracts, democracy, an open-mindedness to technological progress; why, this could be a Protestant country. The fact that it is not, shows how it can be done by any culture while preserving their identity.

Sir Apirana Ngata would have wanted nothing better than for Maori to join the modern world either in this way or by explicitly Christianising (or Ratana-ising?); in fact I would credit the original Maori signers of Te Tiriti with this wisdom, and celebrate them for it. I am sticking up for these Maori, not running them down. I hate white neo-Marxists, and feel sorry for their dupes. The Maori signers of Te Tiriti were not dupes; the Maori who fought on the side of the Crown in the wars were not dupes; but some of the modern activists are dupes of the 20th Century's Neo-Marxists.

I have no problem with THIS:

".....The recognition of past wrongs is needed and appropriate. The redress for past wrongs does not ensure cultural survival any more than it creates economic survival. That redress is necessary, justified by process of law, and properly recorded by agreement that (hopefully) has proper consent on both sides....."

Where does all this "rule of law" derive from? Sir Apirana Ngata was quite clear about this being a major reason why Te Tiriti was a good idea, and the chiefs who "signed away our rights while we were strong", did so after wise consideration. And we should celebrate that - no other indigenous race in the world did so. Absent Te Tiriti; absent the Crown; would any redress for violent siezure of land and property, and killing, be forthcoming? Did these things not exist before Te Tiriti and "the Crown"?

The probligo said...

Thanks Philbest, because you have clarified some of the issues that I suspected but could not exactly put my finger on.

First comes out of the "stone age culture" idea. There is no question - it is irrefutable - that prior to the arrival of the European, Maori were a "stone age culture".

Like a large number of people with whom I have discussed this with, you confute "retention of a cultural identity" with "returning to the old culture".

Those Maori I have heard debating the topic (Maoritv is good for this) use words like "recognition" and "care for" the old culture. The idea that Maori want "to go back to the old ways" (with a strong implication of return to "stone age living" has always struck me as a construct of the pakeha side of the equation.

There is absolutely NO difference (in my mind) between your lengthy description of the development of your culture and your thoughts on multiculturalism on the one hand, and Maori wishing to retain aspects of their old culture whilst living in our modern society with it many cultures on the other.

Your conclusion of your first comment confirms that to be the case.

Your second comment (and I have not read Lynn Townsend) that I might oppose progress is a similarly nonsensical assumption. There is nothing (in my mind) wrong with "progress". I have worked in and with computers for close on 40 years for goodness sake. I am living in a 21st century society with no intention of leaving as long as I have breath.

But that assumption is also based upon preconceptions that are very easily translated (transferred?) to comparative discriminations; I am trying very hard to point in the direction without the direct accusation of racial bias.

I think the idea that Maori "wants to return to their stone-age culture" is a construct of non-Maori whose idea of cultural assimilation parallels that of the American south in the early 1800's.

I will concede that some of those who demand "marae justice" are likely motivated by a strong desire for a sympathetic hearing as much as they might seek cultural justification for actions that are wrong in "imposed" law. I suspect though that many of them would be very rapidly changing their minds when tapu, noa and utu were applied on the marae.

Mind you, that could be a very good thing as well...

The probligo said...

Where does all this "rule of law" derive from? Sir Apirana Ngata was quite clear about this being a major reason why Te Tiriti was a good idea, and the chiefs who "signed away our rights while we were strong", did so after wise consideration. And we should celebrate that - no other indigenous race in the world did so. Absent Te Tiriti; absent the Crown; would any redress for violent siezure of land and property, and killing, be forthcoming? Did these things not exist before Te Tiriti and "the Crown"?

I have read some of Ngata. I do not recall (I plead Blenheimers Disease) your particular attribution.

Truth is that if you talk to the more extreme ends of Maori, particularly Ngapuhi, you will find that opinion of the man is somewhat different.

The Confederation (1835) movement is very strong in Ngapuhi and you can track that back to their being one of the major signatories to that treaty. If you want to prove that statement drive through Kaikohe with a Rangatiratanga flag and see who reacts...

The other side of the argument regarding Te Tiriti is in the translation between the English and the Maori versions. Now be clear, I hate with a passion anything that depends on translation between both language and culture. One thing certain is that there is still considerable room for debate; on the intentions of Henry Williams and the wording he used in both versions; and the level of consensus ad idem between Maori and pakeha sides of the true, cultural, meaning of what was being signed.

The application of "rule of law" that you attribute to Ngata is only a small part of the problem. As I indicated in the earlier comment I think that the separate "rule of law" under rangatiratanga that is sought by some Maori is a mistake on several levels. I think too that it would be a very backward step for Maori.

Personally, I am far more concerned by the kind of commentary - as this morning - on factors such as the level of Maori education. The instance this morning involves the reasons for Maori leading the statistics for driving without a license; that as a statement of fact rather than trying to apply any comparative morality to it.

One of the causative rationales presented with the news was the low level of numeracy and literacy among Maori. That is a justifiable statement from my direct experience. The very big danger, the difficulty I have, is the immediate application of stereotypes to explain the why of it.

The same news item dragged in the incedence of drink driving, starting with the young lass in Napier sentenced yesterday for killing two of her mates while driving drunk. Again, the stereotypes will be rolling around the stage bowled by those unable to analyse long term cause and present consequence.

This is not the time or place for the debate of those stereotypes and why they exist.

What is certain in my mind is that seeing past the current stereotypes - and this was the message Habersham delivered to the Otatara Awakening, and could as easily have been presented with equal effect to The Round Table or Orewa Rotary - is the major issue before our society today, has been for the past 100 years, and will be until the blinkers are removed.

PhilBest said...

Thank you for considering what I have said. I think we are probably mostly in agreement. I admit to being completely unaware of the feelings of Ngapuhi that you refer to. You mean they are an example of the kind of thing I am arguing, that is, they celebrate how wise Maori were to get themselves citizenship under the British Crown? I am disgusted with our media for completely whitewashing the existence of such views among NZ Maori.

Yes, I think Maori COULD have been, and still could be, like the Japanese; still have their own cultural identity, and be right up there in the modern, wealth-creating world.

When Hone Harawira says "give us the resources"; I have no problem if he intends to use them like the Japanese did in the late 1800's - travel the world and discover the very best practices in education, and put them to use. ANYONE would be better off, not just Maori, if they had the right to choose the education for their child via "vouchers", to vote with their feet using the State's money. If Maori did this, they would be a poster case for making educational choice available to all.

But who thinks this IS what a separate Maori education system would look like, and would achieve? Pardon my cynicism. If Donna Awatere and Tim Wikiriwhi were going to oversee the process, I'd be a lot more confident about the outcomes. The worst thing for Maori, is being represented by dupes of Neo-Marxist "grievance" ideology.

You really should read "The Historic Roots of the Ecological Crisis" by Lynn Townsend White. I presumed from your earlier comments about Maori relationship with nature, that you are an environmentalist who sympathises with this "relationship". My point is that this relationship, whether in Maori or Masai or ancient Greek, is inimical to technological progress. It is no accident that technological progress exploded in Christendom after the Reformation. Ancient Greek philosophy and Roman Catholicism HAD been Europeans blockage to this progress. Historically, ANY race that had severed its primitive "connection with nature", COULD have produced the Newtons, Keplers, Hoyles, and so on, who sent modern science on its way. (The "enlightenment" was actually less to do with it).

Lynn Townsend White is a radical environmentalist who is critical of all this progress, by the way, which is why he calls it the historic roots of the ecological CRISIS. As an antidote to Townsend White, everyone should read "The Rational Optimist" by Matt Ridley.

PhilBest said...

I think the "stereotype" that always SHOULD have applied to Maori, is that they are a wise race who, when confronted abruptly with civilisation far more advanced than their own, CHOSE of their own free will to join it at the most legal level after some of their wisest men had travelled and learnt. Similar to the Japanese. Also like the Japanese, family structure was valuable to them; and they displayed a good work ethic in numerous vocations. I have no doubt that educational and professional achievement would have been the norm by now if our pakeha 1960's radicals hadn't drunk the Neo-Marxist Kool-Aid. In fact, one of our biggest mistakes in any case, is hyping up the proportion of "Maoris" in jail, even if they are only 25% Maori; and not bothering to look for all the 25% Maori Accountants, Lawyers, and Scientists.

The lack of intermarriage taboos is also a reason for celebration, as Habersham pointed out.

But if I may suggest carefully, transition into the cultural norms of a modern civilisation is not an overnight matter. People who are only 3 generations "in", so to speak, are more vulnerable to predations of the nature of welfarism. This is why the DPB has done so much more damage to the Maori family, than to non Maori (although that will follow). To paraphrase Rush Limbaugh, I don't blame Maori, I blame white "liberals" for all this.

I strongly object to the stereotyping of white NZ-ers, as Habersham also helpfully pointed out. "We" are not "racists". "We" did NOT "defraud" Maori (except in minor cases provable in court). "We" abolished slavery before anyone else. White Europeans biggest problem now is that we are the world's worst suckers for a guilt trip, and a certain proportion of our number, the Neo-Marxist intellectuals, have re-written history to exploit this.

The probligo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The probligo said...

PhilBest,

I have tried drafting three different responses to your latest comments. Both became far too long, detailed, or headed into the downright impolite. So, instead I shall be brief and to the point.

Your comments show just howe little you really know about the present, and past, relationships between Maori and pakeha.


Go away, read Michael King's "History of New Zealand" and in particular the pre-European history of the Maori. When you understand that, move on to the period 1800-1870. You got a heck of a lot to learn there. Oh, and if you can prove that Michael King is wrong in what he says, I am sure that Auckland University would be happy to appoint you as Professor of History.

Take a tip from an oldster. Know and understand the people you hold in regard. Giving Donna Awatere a leading role in the education system, and having confidence in the outcome could be a little like giving Billy Bunter the keys to the pantry and expecting him to become a chef. I don't know if you recall (I suspect you don't) why Donna Awatere (Huata) is no longer in politics. It had a little to do with Maori education and a lot to do with the mismanagement of government grant funds and a stomach-staple operation. As I said, try not to show your blatant ignorance. It does not help.

Finally, comparing Japanese and Maori culture as a Prim Miss for cultural preservation and identity will lead to the same Delusion as counting apples and oranges. There are just no valid points of comparison.

A lot more I could add. That is enough I hope.

(Reposted to correct two unfortunate spelling errors)

The probligo said...

One other point which needs to be made clear.

You say -
"I strongly object to the stereotyping of white NZ-ers, as Habersham also helpfully pointed out. "We" are not "racists". "We" did NOT "defraud" Maori (except in minor cases provable in court). "We" abolished slavery before anyone else."


You do not hesitate to propose stereotypes for Maori.

I suspect that behind the political rhetoric (especially if you are a fan of Limbaugh and his ilk) there are a lot of other stereotypes you would apply to Maori, none complimentary in the least.

Are NZers "racist"? I agree with Habersham, bit for totally different reasons than the ones you have concocted.

Did "we" defraud Maori? Hell YES!! Read about Parihaka and Te Whiti. Then when you prate on about "abolishing slavery" in this country please remember what the government did in that instance as "punishment" for trying to protect their property. Read about Te Kooti and what happened to him and his supporters (I concede that they were not made to work in "slavery").

Think that is an imaginative figment of the "liberal left"? See my earlier comment on taking on Michael King's chair of history at AU.