The Cave, the Journalist, and “The Voice”

3 May 2023

7.2 MINS

The other day I came across an article by a journalist from The West Australian, Ben O’Shea. The headline was “Why the Indigenous Voice ‘no’ campaign makes me want to hide in a cave for 500 days”.

He began by telling the story of

Spanish mountaineer Beatriz Flamini. Flamini broke a world record for the longest time spent in a cave last week when she emerged into the sunlight having spent the previous 500 days living 70 metres deep in a cavern outside Granada.

When asked by reporters if spending such a long time underground, removed from humanity, caused her anxiety or made her think of ending the experiment prematurely, Flamini was emphatic in her response.

“Never. In fact, I didn’t want to come out,” she said.

It’s not far past this where we discover O’Shea’s reason for beginning an article on the Indigenous “Voice to Parliament” referendum with this story.

… complete isolation could be an attractive proposition if it means never receiving the inevitable how-to-vote pamphlets from the Indigenous Voice No campaign. After all, the No campaign in the 1999 republic referendum used the same slogan.

The campaign was launched this week with the slogan “don’t know, vote no”, which is guaranteed to be emblazoned across said pamphlets.

It’s also an act of thievery that’s eerily appropriate for a group that seeks to prevent First Nations people getting proper acknowledgment for enduring the theft of their land, children and autonomy.

And there it is! Not the fact that the slogan has done the rounds before. Besides, how many times have Labor candidates in various elections over the past 50 years given us variations on the theme of Gough Whitlam’s “It’s Time”?

No, the point he’s really making here is his focus on three issues that sum up for him the grievances of Indigenous Australians, the “proper acknowledgment” they’ve been denied: “the theft of their land, children and autonomy”.

And it’s not even the fact that he identifies those running the “No” campaign as a ‘group that seeks to prevent First Nations people getting proper acknowledgment’. He’s also tarring anyone who votes “No” with his “racist” brush!

But how is it that, after all we’ve been through over the past thirty years in acknowledging the past, that there are people still making such claims? And it’s fair to say that O’Shea is far from alone in making such claims. In fact, his voice is representative of those pushing the “No” case on the Left.

After all, look at the chain of events since the Mabo decision in 1992, followed a few months later by Prime Minister Paul Keating’s Redfern Speech for the 1993 International Year of the World’s Indigenous People. This was followed by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s “Sorry Day” speech in 2008.

In fact, we now have a “National Sorry Day” as an annual event, as well as NAIDOC Week, as well as a 24/7 Indigenous channel on the SBS TV network, subsidised by all tax-paying Aussies.

Doesn’t this qualify as “proper acknowledgement”? If not, why not? And if not, how much more is warranted?

And if it does qualify, when will there be an acknowledgment in response to this truly “proper acknowledgement”?

It should be obvious by now that from those on the Left pushing the “grievance” barrow, there can’t – and there won’t.

You only need to look as far as the sloganeering associated with Indigenous protest marches on these occasions, and in particular on Australia Day, with the strident calls to change that to “Invasion Day”. These slogans include the one emblazoned on SBS’s Indigenous channel, NITV, the one that I mentioned is subsidized by all taxpayers: “Always was, always will be Aboriginal land”. There are also others with variations on the theme of “Abolish Australia”.

But this is typical of the so-called “anti-racism” that is currently infesting most Western nations, spawned by the neo-MarxistCritical Race Theory”, and enlivened by the “Black Lives Matter” movement. It’s a part of what Douglas Murray has termed, in the title of his most recent book, “The War on the West”.

In the book Murray notes the profound and positive progress in race relations in Western nations over several generations. But as he puts it,

At the exact moment that racism has never been more discredited or more social and politically unacceptable, it is portrayed as omnipresent and needing a great pushback.

In the same vein, African-American economist and social commentator Thomas Sowell said,

Racism is not dead, but it is on life support — kept alive by politicians, race hustlers and people who get a sense of superiority by denouncing others as “racists.”

And in a point that’s specific to that of the efforts taken by leaders here, Murray has this:

In recent years, the prime ministers of countries including Australia, Canada and the United States, and Britain have all issued apologies for historic wrongs. Sometimes, as when the direct victims of these wrongs are still alive, this can ameliorate suffering and provide a form of closure for the victims.

But when we are talking about apologies for things done centuries ago, we enter a different ethical territory. In such cases, neither the people claiming to be victims nor the people assuming the mantle of perpetrators are any such thing…we are talking about political leaders and others making apologies for things that happened before they themselves were born And apologizing to people who have not suffered these wrongs themselves, though some may be able to point to some disadvantage they can claim to have suffered as a result of these historic actions.

Any apology begins to consist of people who may or may not be descended from people who may have done some historic wrong apologizing to people who may or may not be descended from people who had some wrong done to them.’

On that point, Australia’s population now has 43% of people who are from a non-Anglo-Celtic background, and with 30% of the current population born overseas, why are they expected to say “Sorry” every year?

This is what becomes of the ill-focused grievances associated with this, typified by those of Ben O’Shea in his article. In fact, it’s typical of all the neo-Marxist causes which Murray carefully outlines in his book, replete with examples of the bizarre and hypocritical outcomes.

And in the book he carefully outlines the antidote required to cut the legs off those manufactured grievances of the Left, in a chapter headed “Gratitude”.

He first notes that ‘the line between civilization and barbarism is paper-thin…given the fragility of all things plus the evil and carelessness of which men are capable’.

He continues:

What is it that drives that evil? Many things, without doubt. But one of them identified by several of the great philosophers is resentment (or “ressentiment”). That sentiment is one of the greatest drivers for people who want to destroy: blaming someone else for having something you believe you deserve more.

Murray then quotes Friedrich Nietzsche:

… it will come as no surprise to find attempts… to sanctify revenge with the term justice – as though justice were fundamentally simply a further development of the feeling of having been wronged – and belatedly to legitimize with revenge emotional reactions in general, one and all.

Is this the reason why the predominant message we have from the Albanese government and supporters of the “Yes” vote are primarily emotionally driven, with little actual detail? It certainly resembles the outcome of what Murray describes as Nietzsche’s ‘central insight, which is that ressentiment is at its heart a yearning for revenge motivated by a desire to “anaesthetize pain through emotion”’.

Murray, again quoting Nietzsche, further describes these “men of ressentiment”, that they

… rip at wounds that have been closed and open scars “and make themselves bleed to death from scars long-since healed”.

He then reflects on responses to Nietzsche, by the philosopher Max Scheler and sociologist Helmut Schoeck.

…just as the men of resentment talk about “justice” while meaning “revenge”, so it is that something is disguised within their talk of “equality”. For anyone who talks of “equality” will find an inbuilt problem…”Equality” as a purely rational idea can never stimulate desire, will or emotion. But resentment, in whose eyes the higher values never find favor, conceals its nature in the demand for “equality”. In reality it wants nothing less than the destruction of all those who embody those higher values which arouse its anger.

Hence the slogans like “Abolish Australia”.

Murray concludes:

…it may be worth recognizing what we are up against when we hear the critics of the West today. For just as we are not up against justice but rather up against vengeance, so we are not truly up only against proponents of equality but also against those who hold a pathological desire for destruction.

This is also why Winston Churchill defined Socialism as “a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy”.

And Paul Keating, in his “Redfern” speech, referring to the “Report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody” made mention of the negative impact of guilt without forgiveness:

I do not believe that the Report should fill us with guilt. Down the years, there has been no shortage of guilt, but it has not produced the responses we need. Guilt is not a very constructive emotion. I think what we need to do is open our hearts a bit. All of us. Perhaps when we recognise what we have in common we will see the things which must be done the practical things.

And it’s those things “we have in common” which lead inevitably to the gratitude that Murray espouses as the true requirement for reconciliation, the lack of which he tells us leads to the darker consequences Keating hinted at.

Without an ability to feel gratitude, all of human life and human experience is a marketplace of blame, where people tear up the landscape of the past and present hoping to find other people to blame and upon whom they can transfer their frustrations. Without gratitude, the prevailing attitudes of life are blame and resentment. Because if you do not feel any gratitude for anything that has been passed on to you, then all you can feel is bitterness over what you have not got…Without some sense of gratitude, it is impossible to get anything into proper order…

…The more important task of life is to recognize what you do not have while being grateful for what you do.

This, surely, must be the starting place if we’re ever going to work constructively towards “Closing the Gap”, the gap between where you are and where you want to get to. In this, Murray’s solution is the opposite of the blinkered historical ignorance of the likes of journalist Ben O’Shea. His focus is on past wrongs long ago acknowledged and repented, yet without the foggiest notion of how to constructively make amends. It’s like looking through a telescope from the wrong end.

So if O’Shea wishes to isolate himself in a cave for the duration, he certainly has my support!


Photo by Joe Pearson on Unsplash.

We need your help. The continued existence of the Daily Declaration depends on the generosity of readers like you. Donate now. The Daily Declaration is committed to keeping our site free of advertising so we can stay independent and continue to stand for the truth.

Fake news and censorship make the work of the Canberra Declaration and our Christian news site the Daily Declaration more important than ever. Take a stand for family, faith, freedom, life, and truth. Support us as we shine a light in the darkness. Donate now.

One Comment

  1. Pearl Miller 16 June 2023 at 3:51 am - Reply

    Brilliant article Kim in my humble opinion. So glad that you can articulate what we need to know so clearly.
    Candace Owens has had a close look at the BLM Movement to find that, of the, I believe it was, 8 million dollars raised . that there is no improvement to the BL in the US. From it.
    Great sums of that money, it seems. was spent on hookers, adult entertainment and debauchery of all sorts….Lord help us not repeat this folly with The Voice. Bless you Kim ❤️🙏

Leave A Comment

Recent Articles:

Use your voice today to protect

Faith · Family · Freedom · Life



The Daily Declaration is an Australian Christian news site dedicated to providing a voice for Christian values in the public square. Our vision is to see the revitalisation of our Judeo-Christian values for the common good. We are non-profit, independent, crowdfunded, and provide Christian news for a growing audience across Australia, Asia, and the South Pacific. The opinions of our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of The Daily Declaration. Read More.