Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Should American Indians and New Zealand Maoris and Australian Aborigines be urged to preserve their traditional cultures at all cost? Should they be told that assimilation is wrong? And is it wise to leave them entirely to their own devices? The Australian example suggests that the answers are no, no, and no. The best chance of a good life for indigenes is much the same as for you and me-full fluency and literacy in English, as much math as we can handle, and a job. In the year 2000 artificially preserved indigenes are doomed....

There's a very Big Ditch between the tribal world and modernity. Until around 1970 governments in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand accepted this fact, and they saw their duty as helping indigenes to cross the Ditch. For that reason they concentrated on better health, education, and housing, and let the chips of traditional culture fall where they may. That's how western civilization dealt with its own traditions, creatively destroying those that would not change. Creative destruction is a law of historical advance.

But romantic primitivism swept progressive policies away. Planning for the future and looking forward was out. Looking backward became the only proper way to look. Transfixed by the Culture Cult, a hyperidealised vision of traditional life was adopted, and the effect on indigenes of romanticising their past has been devastating.

On the one hand they found themselves being used as pawns in political games played for high stakes. On the other hand they became the deluded victims of the extravagances of their admirers. If your traditional way of life has no alphabet, no writing, no books, and no libraries, and yet you are continually told that you have a culture which is "rich", "complex", and "sophisticated", how can you realistically see your place in the scheme of things? If all such hyperbole were true, who would need books or writing? In Australia, policies inspired by the Culture Cult have brought the illiterization of thousands of Aborigines whose grandparents could read and write.

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There is a report today on Education Watch about the lockstep Leftism in an American Social Work school.


As long as you don't vote for political conservatives like George Bush, of course

Two Episcopal priests who led Druidic activity will not be suspended, said a bishop, who blamed the local scandal on conservative groups out to destabilize the Episcopal Church USA. The Rev. William Melnyk and his wife, the Rev. Glyn Ruppe-Melnyk, had participated only in "exploratory thinking" with Druid circles as students of pre-Christian Celtic spirituality, said Bishop Charles E. Bennison, leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.....

The couple's involvement in Druidism came to light last month after the Episcopal Church's women's ministry listed two of the couple's Druidic liturgies on its Web site for possible use in developing feminist liturgies. The church removed the liturgies, but several Christian groups and private Web sites accused the church of promoting pagan rites. The church denied it.

Last week, the Melnyks wrote letters of apology, saying they "recanted and repudiated" their Druid connection, and that their goal had been to reach out to marginal Christians. Bennison said he would send the couple written reprimands.

Erik Nelson, research associate for the institute's Episcopal Action Project, said he was surprised Bennison "would continue to defend (the two priests) when they repented and admitted it was wrong."

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