Australia’s hopes rest in its youth, or so people used to say in the expectation that rising generations would build a bigger and better country. Fat chance of that now, when much of the nation’s youth, particularly the part that’s allegedly more academically gifted, has been transformed into a kindergarten full of cry babies – snowflakes they’re called in America – mewling and puking because no one’s ever said ‘no’ to them and now they’ve been precipitated into a nasty world where they’re expected to stand on their own feet, and it’s just too hostile and they need ‘safe spaces’ in which to curl up with a bunny rug and suck their thumbs.
If these adolescent infants only knew it, they’re already in the safest space they’re ever likely to encounter. There is no place less threatening in the world than Australia. Apart from the occasional apprentice jihadi or howling Leftist mob, very little disturbs our uniquely fortunate and serene material existence. Yet as a rumble of thunder on the horizon presages the end of a fine summer day, the drums of war can be heard in the distance, muffled still but real. North Korea may be, in Neville Chamberlain’s words, ‘a far away country’ but in the global village distance is no protection.
How would our cry babies cope if they had to go to war as many of their great-grandparents did at the same age? Would they grow up, just as those earlier generations were forced to? And come to that, how would we all react? Australia was much more united as a nation in 1940 and 1914. It was still by and large a shared culture in which, apart from a few tiresome communists and anarchists, the mainstream agreed on the big things and disagreed only on the details. Whatever party they voted for, the ultimate loyalty of the majority was to Australia, and yes, to King and Empire (cue sneering laughs from academe). It’s not like that now. We are unbridgeably divided, and have been since Whitlam exploited spurious patriotism and the republican sentiment provoked by Britain’s abandoning us for the Common Market (we were the first casualty of that exercise in national folly which is only now with difficulty coming to an end) to impose 1960s progressivism on a socially conservative nation. That determined the modern narrative of a ‘caring’ Left versus a crusty ‘fascist’ Right in its present form, except that the increasing derangement of the Left, its ditching of ‘blue-collar’ workers in favour of manufactured victim groups and an obsession with gender and climate fantasies, has deepened the division. Can a nation divided against itself defend itself?
What would be the national response to war in 2017? Assuming that we are not obliterated in one fell swoop (we might be lucky and lose nothing more than the world’s most hideous parliament building) we can hope that the armed forces are still able to function, that soldiers are still up to a fight, that the native masculine aggressiveness which is their stock in trade as much as compassion is of a médicin sans frontières has not been crushed by the malign forces of sensitivity training, anti-Anzac rhetoric from the universities, the feminisation of young males in general and the ‘anti-sexism’ piffle from General ‘Slingbacks’ Morrison, clacking into the mess in his high heels.
Civilian reactions are likely to be mixed. ‘Middle Australia’ would doubtless see defeating the enemy as a regrettable necessity but there would be no unanimous national determination to win, as there was in earlier wars. Communists would be against fighting North Korea, just as they were against fighting Germany when Hitler and Stalin were in cahoots and communist-controlled unions on the Australian waterfront and elsewhere did everything they could to sabotage the war effort, then showed their utter cynicism by being all for it once the Nazi psycho had turned on his erstwhile chum. But communists in Australia aren’t the relative few they were then. A Marxist-tainted Left now runs just about everything in our public life and could be relied on to see the regime of Kim Jong-un in a favourable light, perhaps as an innocent consequence of imperialism. The moratoriums of the Vietnam years would pale into insignificance as massed hordes of Lefties smashed windows and burned cars to denounce the ‘aggression’ of the ‘Trump-Canberra axis’ and show their solidarity with Kim’s exemplary democracy, as once they supported that other murderer of his own helpless subjects, Ho Chi Minh. Followers of David Hicks would seek crowd-funding to travel to North Korea and join its army. Scruffy Fairfax editorialisers would describe the conflict, as one correspondent so elegantly did Brexit, as a ‘sh-t sandwich’ and Eureka Street would pontificate that defending Australia fulfilled none of the theological criteria of a just war.
Naturally it would be unacceptable to refer to North Korea as an ‘enemy’: the Human Rights Commission would condemn that as ‘hate speech’. Smug little Tim, fresh from his triumph trawling for objectors to the late Bill Leak’s ‘racist’ cartoon, might send a letter to Pyongyang inviting Kim to make a complaint under 18C if he felt hurt or intimidated by anything said against him by Australians.
Bumptious as ever, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, having donned a pair of extra large spectacles to try to make herself look like a serious thinker, would tweet that defending the country against North Korea had no purpose beyond deflecting attention from ‘the real victims of aggression’ on Manus Island. The Monthly would publish an elderly squeak from Anne Summers wondering why we never hear the voices of North Korean women.
The ABC would give full rein to its treachery. From a bunker in the cellars of Ultimo Leigh Sales, wearing her inquisitorial face, would cross-examine Senator Marise Payne and demand to know how it felt to be a ‘war criminal’. Jon Faine would hang up on ‘militarist’ callers. Four Corners would present a heart-rending report by John Pilger on youthful ‘martyrs’ threatening suicide for fear of being called up. Compass would discover a ‘rich vein of Christ-like spirituality’ in Kim Jong-un.
Perhaps this is fantasy and war would bring a sudden revival of old-fashioned patriotism. Improbable but let’s hope we never have to find out. No one wants war just so the cry babies can grow up. But how would the Left spin it if it were the hated Trump who saved the peace by meeting and negotiating with Kim, as the equally detested Nixon met with Mao?
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