Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Bunk is History

Wednesday, 8 January 2002

One of the issues that has arisen in the dispute over hero-historian Keith Windschuttle's assault on the orthodox account of Australian history as a continuing massacre, is the need for a history which emphasises nation-building. Such a history would not be a bad thing: a relaxed, comfortable history may be just what an alert but not alarmed nation needs. It has one other major recommendation: just as Sellars and Yeatman (authors of 1066 And All That) were able to declare an end to English history once the US assumed the mantle of "top nation", Australia's history of nation building has its own logical end, sometime in the 1980s with the widespread acceptance of the idea that the best use for a nation is to get rid of the archaic bits that interfere with the operation of the free market and either sell off or rent out the rest.

Such a history shouldn't be too difficult to write, either. Most of the basic facts are available on the web in one form or another, easily found through the web scholar's favourite tool, the Google search. For the rest, the hero-historian can call on the same intellectual resources as the hero-columnists and hero-bloggers who will argue the truth of his (or her) account of history against the deliberate falsehoods of his more "scholarly" adversaries. So I see no reason why I shouldn't undertake the important task of filling this cultural vacuum, however presumptuous it may seem.

No comments: