Andrew Fraser, American Renaissance, November 2005
One doesn’t become an academic pariah overnight. In my case, achieving that dubious distinction has been the work of decades. That is not to say that I set out to become a fringe figure. On the contrary, as a typically bumptious boy Marxist, I began my academic career in the mid-1970s with the sure conviction that I was on the cutting edge of intellectual and political progress. It was more or less unwittingly that I found myself out of step with the emergent postmodernist Australian university.
In those heady days, I was present at the creation when the law school at Macquarie University was established to teach law in its “social context.” What that meant exactly was not altogether clear, but there was a group of us that hoped to emulate and modernize the traditional “Oxbridge” style of legal education aimed at the landed gentleman rather than the practicing lawyer. For hundreds of years, English and American lawyers had learned their trade by clerking in law offices rather than as university students. A legal education, we believed, should transmit the highest achievements of Western legal thought from one generation of gentlemen — or, today, citizens — to the next.
As someone who had studied history before going to law school, I made a successful pitch for a curriculum based on a first-year course in the history and philosophy of the Western legal tradition. Almost from its inception, however, the course came under attack from every quarter, most obviously from “black-letter lawyers” preoccupied with the exposition of narrow legal doctrine and distinguishing precedents. More surprisingly to me, as a self-identified radical academic, was criticism from leftist law teachers.
Among progressive academics, the deconstruction of every imaginable “grand narrative” had already become fashionable. Before long, any effort to ground legal education in a solid understanding or, even worse, an appreciation of the Western legal tradition automatically raised suspicion; only a closet reactionary or, more likely, an outright fascist could persist in such an obviously wrong-headed enterprise. Although I did not realize it at the time, the course, History and Philosophy of Law, ran head-on into the fundamental postulates of what was becoming the ruling orthodoxy.
It was an intensive, compulsory course that began with the suggestion that the Greek discovery of the mind was the essential prerequisite to the emergence of a legal order as distinct from the normative customs typical of primitive societies. More blasphemous still was the implication that this represented a great leap forward never achieved elsewhere, even by other great civilizations like China. The course even raised the questions of whether the Western legal tradition owed its existence to Christianity and whether the modern crisis of law and legal education is a consequence of the decline of Christianity.
At first, I was simply puzzled by the hostility. It was not until the 1990s that I began to realize that it was “the rising tide of color” that justified the anti-Western and, soon, explicitly anti-white animus of postmodernist theory. Because the white Australian working class had long since rejected the revolutionary class struggle, non-white immigrants were now the underclass of choice, the battering ram white radicals would use to break down the foundations of Western civilization.
Perhaps part of the difficulty was that History and Philosophy of Law was a difficult and demanding course that students could actually fail. An arcane and grueling rite of initiation, it left survivors with the sense that they had joined an academic Special Forces regiment. This ran counter to the postmodern passion for equality that has so obviously lowered standards in higher education.
Official Pariah Status
My most bruising experience of academic pariah status therefore came in 1998. Until then, I harbored the illusion that a humanistic form of legal education was still possible, that students could be prepared not just to get into the law business but to become responsible citizens. But then Macquarie’s Vice-Chancellor, Di Yerbury, eliminated everything not essential to a standard-issue, vocationally-oriented legal education.
I was among four remaining dissidents who were expelled from the law school, administratively segregated in a legal fiction known as the Department of Public Law within the Division of Humanities. It was the end of our effort to build a curriculum around the Western legal tradition. While the four of us still taught law students, both we and our students bore the stigma of deviance. Severing legal education from its roots in 900 years of Western legal history was one more step in the process that has cut law off, generally, from larger norms of morality and justice.
At first, I was deeply depressed to be relegated to the back of the academic bus. Before long, however, I discovered that being a pariah carries certain privileges. Most importantly, I no longer had to teach large compulsory courses with colleagues whose antipathy to my approach was obvious. On almost any issue of interest to constitutional scholars, from federalism (in favor), to aboriginal reconciliation (refused to concede that the white settlement of Australia was a crime), to mass Third-World immigration (against), I found myself at odds with colleagues who would denounce me publicly as a sexist, a racist or a fascist. It was a relief to be alone at last, able to develop and teach new courses of my own, to students who took them out of interest.
In courses like American Constitutional History and Public Law (which included Australian immigration law and policy from 1901 to the present)I could deal honestly with “the rights revolution” that replaced the old Anglo-American constitution of liberty with the contemporary constitution of control. That revolution can be seen most clearly in questions of race, immigration and multiculturalism. Freedom of association, rights of private property, freedom of thought and expression, all have been sacrificed on the altar of diversity. Within the limits of the narrow orthodoxy of the law school, I had never been able to question the whole apparatus of multiracialism, but tucked away in the Humanities Division, I was “out of sight, out of mind.”
Even so, at first I was wary about breaching ideological barriers, particularly when there were non-white students in my classes. But it soon became apparent that many law students shared my fascination with the subject of race, and were irrepressible so long as I led the way in violating the taboo against frank discussion.
Looking back, I was living in a bubble; shocking the sensibilities of well-brought-up, middle-class law students was such fun that I began to lose touch with political reality. Most of the progressive, feminist, anti-racist, and pro-multicultural attitudes proudly displayed by students are a mile wide and an inch deep. It was easy to challenge the myth of racial equality, first pointing out racial differences in athletic ability, then moving on to differences in susceptibility to diseases, to conclude with the problem of racial differences in cognitive ability — a discussion that invariably put law students doing a joint degree in psychology in the hot seat.
Asking whether aboriginal societies can be described as savage by comparison with Western and other advanced civilizations always produced cries of indignation, but students were often forced to concede that primitive tribes with only rudimentary notions of personal property could hardly claim to have been “dispossessed” of “their” lands. Often, after a particularly exciting class, I would remark that Australia, unlike Canada, the UK or even the USA, was still a free country, in which these tough questions could still be debated in college classrooms. This freedom existed only because nobody in authority within the university knew or even much cared what was going on in the obscure courses taught by an aging academic outcast.
In effect, I was sheltering behind an informal “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Content to let nature take its course, senior university managers simply waited for me to drop off the vine, and, indeed, by the beginning of this year, I had decided to retire.
But several years of fielding every conceivable criticism of racial realism from mainly leftist and generally very bright law students had left me with a burning desire and a strong conviction: First, I wanted to discuss Third World immigration in some public forum; second, I had complete confidence in my ability to articulate and defend the racial interests of white Australians. At the same time, having spent years studying the history of race relations in America, I was increasingly disturbed at the growing African presence in my local community in western Sydney. In short, I was an academic tinder-box waiting to be set alight.
The Adventure Begins
One morning in late June, a spark blew into my front yard. It took the form of a “feel-good” story in the local community newspaper about some Sudanese refugees who had just been naturalized. Complete with the “heartwarming” photo of a three-year-old Sudanese girl born in Australia, the headline announced that her parents were now Aussies just like her! The story was too much for me. Later that morning, walking my dog, I took the opportunity to unload on a Liberal Party city councilman who agreed privately with much of what I had to say, but who would never be willing to raise the subject in public. Still steaming when I got home, I dashed off a letter to the Parramatta Sun, never expecting to see it in print.
As soon as the Sun letters editor discovered I was a law professor, an otherwise commonplace letter opposing African immigration became a big story. The spark was about to be fanned into flames.
One of the most interesting aspects of my media adventure has been the realization that no matter how well primed for ignition my personal tinder-box might have been, it was the media that supplied the oxygen and the fuel. Interest continued for months, thanks mainly to self-righteous, anti-racist activists and their allies in universities and the media. Driven by an overweening sense of their moral superiority, anti-racists could not stop themselves from heaping on more fuel whenever the blaze died down.
The first of many anti-racist zealots to get on my case was the slavishly anti-white editor of the Sun, Charles Boag. He not only printed my letter but made it the springboard for a front-page shock piece headlined “KEEP THEM OUT.” He also wrote a pious editorial defending the latest, African, contributions to our vibrant multicultural society, and pouring scorn on pale-skinned, murderous Anglo-Saxons. When I first saw that issue of the Sun, I was nervous about the reaction it might provoke, but I did take comfort in the thought that I must have made the day for a lot of ordinary Aussies. The predictable howls of outrage were not long in coming.
The organized left, in tandem with various ethnic lobby groups, was determined to make an example of me even if it meant stoking up the controversy. The Sun was bombarded with letters and phone calls denouncing my “racist” views. Whether people wrote or called to support me and were ignored, I do not know; it wasn’t until the story moved beyond the local arena that support began to build. A long story in the Green Left Weekly (a redundantly titled, rabidly pro-immigration paper) alerted leftists throughout Sydney, indeed, across the nation, to the presence of a dangerous racist in their midst and, before long, Macquarie University was flooded with demands for my resignation or dismissal.
At that early stage, the university merely distanced itself from my remarks, affirming my right to speak, so long as I made it clear I was speaking only for myself. I spent hours trying to reason with some leftist critics via e-mail, explaining the basis for my views, often giving them copies of the references I was using to support my suggestions, for example, that black Africans are more violent than whites or East Asians. I soon learned that was a waste of time. Anti-racists have too much invested in maintaining their monopoly on moral rectitude ever to allow themselves to be swayed by argument or evidence.
At the university, the departments of Cultural and Media Studies, Sociology, and Anthropology held a forum on “Racism Within,” put on with support, free publicity, and a large venue provided by the Vice-Chancellor’s office. The three or four hundred, mostly white, predominantly female, and exceedingly self-righteous students, academics, and assorted ethnics who gathered to denounce me were not interested in debate; they wanted retribution and a full public confession.
A panel of seven academics took turns describing the threat my hateful comments posed to pluralism and our common humanity. There was general (but not unanimous) agreement that I had forfeited the right to teach, and that my comments amounted to a form of racial vilification that should be the subject of complaints to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. (I have since received four such complaints to which I will shortly be required to make formal responses.)
Members of the audience lined up to pile on me, some denouncing me as a “racist scumbag” (to nods of approval from the meeting chairman) while others, particularly the very nattily dressed Africans present, demanded that I be thrown out of the university. One African speaker made the remarkably explicit observation that “the end of [my] freedom” would be “the beginning” of theirs.
The organizers let me attend the forum but only as an ordinary member of the audience with no place on the panel. When, after two hours of denunciation, I was finally allowed two minutes, I was immediately howled down and quickly surrounded by angry Africans who were so menacing that security officers hustled me out the back door. The general reaction at the forum to my treatment seemed to be one of great satisfaction. Later, however, at least one member of the non-academic staff told me that the whole proceeding had been a disgrace to the university’s good name. Several of my students who attended said the same thing.
Over the next few weeks, letters to the Sun ran strongly against me. There are certainly many white Australians in the Parramatta area who agree with me, but the egalitarians have been doing their job well: The White Australia Policy is the subject of a very powerful and effective taboo. Although western Sydney was a hotbed of support for Pauline Hanson only a few years ago, the few letter-writers who took my side all declined to provide their names.
That was scant satisfaction to the multiracialist mullahs and their followers; one heretic was far too many. For the cosmopolitan, educated classes, I am like an unsightly scab; they want me to disappear, but they cannot stop picking open the wound to their moral vanity.
In what I suppose was an effort to ramp up public pressure on the university to discipline me, a Green Party city councilor (representing a suburb notably free of Sudanese refugees) with whom I had engaged in a long e-mail exchange, gave copies of our correspondence to Tim Dick of the Sydney Morning Herald. That led to an interview with Mr. Dick during which I raised questions not just about African immigration but also about the very different problems posed by immigrants from East Asia and India. Tucked into the inside pages of the upmarket Herald on Saturday, this story was probably of interest only to a few people, but it did alert the producers of two popular current affairs programs to the story; their decision to pick it up rekindled the embers just as they were crumbling to ashes in Parramatta.
Channel 7 was first off the mark, sending a crew to my home for a long interview the day after the Herald story appeared. The journalist, Sophie Hull, was very friendly, and frank about the TV business. She told me that if she prepared a “fair and balanced” story, her editor would order her to do it over again. She also seemed genuinely interested in what I was saying, though like my students, was shocked to hear a law professor openly defend the White Australia Policy. After we finished, she was kind enough to warn me that I might not realize what I had just done to myself. She appeared genuinely concerned that I might have unleashed a media storm with incalculable consequences to myself and my family.
As it happened, her producers did not seem to recognize the value of the story they had in the can; they sat on it the next night while their competitors, the Channel 9 program A Current Affair ran a studio interview with their host, Ray Martin, a well-known media liberal. When I arrived for the interview Mr. Martin’s young assistant was eager to discuss my views, and told me her co-workers all seemed to agree with me. This was not an uncommon reaction among the worker bees in the TV industry, almost all of whom are Anglo-Australians. A couple of sound men and camera operators made similar remarks.
For his part, Mr. Martin was relentlessly hostile, particularly to the suggestion that sub-Saharan Africans have average IQs of around 70. He refused to believe this, but off-camera I made him read the relevant passage from Vincent Sarich and Frank Miele’s book on racial differences that I had brought as a prop. After almost 15 minutes of non-stop hectoring from Mr Martin, this was a satisfying moment. He had to acknowledge in front of his staff that I had made a solid point that could not be dismissed simply as “Adolf Hitler stuff.” Of course, that was the phrase he used on-camera, a smear that remained intact and unanswered in the edited, on-air version of the interview.
Despite his contempt for my “racist rubbish,” Ray Martin did more than anyone to give the story legs on the national stage. It turned out that my interview had produced a massive viewer response, including a phone poll in which 85 percent of an unprecedented 36,000 callers agreed with me that non-white immigration was bad for Australia. Commercial ratings pressures — combined, I imagine, with a desire to see me get my comeuppance — drove Mr. Martin to do another program with me the very next day, this time a walkabout in the Parramatta pedestrian mall. We ambled through the mall, followed by the camera and sound men, while Mr Martin asked me to explain what I found so displeasing or threatening in the polyglot mass of humanity flowing by.
Mr. Martin thought all his Christmases had come at once when we happened on a group of about ten young, mostly white women sunning themselves. He immediately began a vox pop interview, asking how many agreed with the racist professor that all these nice, non-white people in the mall should never have been let into the country. Naturally enough, he got what he wanted from most of them, although one or two had reservations about immigrants who refuse to assimilate.
I did not know it until we met them, but the producers had arranged a meeting with a group of about a dozen Sudanese. Most of them were popping out of their skins with rage, falling over each other to insult and berate me. Mr. Martin did his best to ratchet up their hostility by asking how they felt about being told they were “stupid” and “violent” and should have been kept out. The Sudanese, most of whom were well-dressed and, as they made sure to let me know, university graduates, reacted on cue, and sprayed me with invective and insults for well on an hour, until even Mr. Martin had had enough.
Once Channel 7 realized Ray Martin was doing yet another program with me, they aired their interview that same evening, splicing it together with their own walkabout. This time, I was whisked down to Chinatown to meet Thang Ngo, a local councilor from Cabramatta, a western Sydney suburb that has been transformed into a Vietnamese colony. Mr. Ngo, predictably enough, was much calmer than the Sudanese, merely expressing his disappointment that an educated person would use his position to sow hatred and division.
When I suggested white Australians had good reason to be concerned at the loss of their homeland, Mr. Ngo replied that Australia really belonged to the Aborigines and that the Vietnamese had as much right to be here as Anglo-Australians. I, of course, pointed out that the real lesson of the Aboriginal experience is that a people facing the loss of their homeland should repel the invaders before it was too late. Little of these exchanges made it on the air.
Nevertheless, my appearances on two national current affairs programs the same evening must have been a horror for leftist heresy hunters. Once again, they couldn’t leave well enough alone. Hardly had the programs gone off the air before anti-racists were on the phone to producers, saying I had links to a “neo-Nazi” group known as the Patriotic Youth League. Yet more fuel was thrown upon the fire, as camera crews and print journalists raced to follow up the allegations. No matter how unfair and unbalanced the coverage, at least the gist of my message was getting through — and they were spelling my name properly.
The same pattern has repeated itself for months now. Just as the story seems about to die a natural death, another leftist or ethnic lobby decides to launch a fresh and sometimes even more colorful assault on the “racist” professor. One such experience was a two-hour radio call-in program broadcasting to Sydney’s Africans from the aptly named Radio Skid Row. Organized just as the neo-Nazi angle was running out of puff, a Channel 7 camera crew was present to film the event.
The host, Kwame Koramoah, a lawyer from Ghana, along with his listeners, happily harangued and insulted me, accusing me of everything from trying to stir up hate and terrorism to falsifying my credentials. The high point came when I suggested there might be a link between high testosterone levels and poor impulse control in blacks. Mr Koramoah started bouncing in his chair, shouting in glee that I must be jealous, asking repeatedly how many times I had had sex that morning. Unfortunately, Exhibit A in my defense wound up on the cutting room floor, perhaps because the Channel 7 crew broke up into fits of laughter.
An anti-racist strategy that generates such publicity for my views seems self-defeating, but it cannot be dismissed as a failure. After all, the racial inquisitors have made me unemployable as an academic in Australia. Macquarie’s vice-chancellor banned me from teaching on the specious grounds that the safety of students and staff could not be assured because of threats to disrupt my classes. A month and a half later, the vice-chancellor of Deakin University pulled an article by me, “Rethinking the White Australia Policy,” which I had been invited to submit to the university’s law review, and had passed peer review. My status as an academic pariah is now official and permanent.
My adventures with the media have been fun while they lasted, but few academics are likely to want to repeat my experience. In that sense, the left has probably been successful in dampening down dissent. On the other hand, outside academe, I have received a great deal of support from ordinary Australians across the country. Clearly, many people have drawn hope and comfort from the fact that someone in my position has been willing to challenge the official state religion of multiracialism. Even a few academics have let me know that, while they sympathize privately with my views, they cannot support me publicly.
That support has been of tremendous importance to me; one draws strength from the positive messages in one’s daily mail, coming from all over the world. It would be discouraging to be the target of a relentlessly hostile e-mail campaign. At the same time, as a constitutional scholar with a long-standing interest in the civic republican tradition, the lessons to be drawn from my experience are clear: In order for most people to muster the courage to act and to withstand recrimination, they must enjoy a certain measure of financial and psychological independence.
In my own case, unemployment holds no terrors; my pension is secure and I have had years of practice in pariahdom. I have a place to stand and the will to fight. It is possible for me to act in ways not open to young scholars still struggling to establish themselves, and who must learn to behave as those in authority over them expect.
The other lesson, taught long ago by classical republican thinkers, is that there is something miraculous about action. Departing from the regular, predictable patterns of everyday behavior, anyone who acts in a spontaneous, unpredictable manner in defense of our people may create an unexpected new beginning. Even something as ordinary as a letter to the editor of a throw-away suburban paper can have remarkable and improbable consequences.
People contemplating action may be deterred by the prospect of becoming an outcast. But, for white people today, becoming a pariah may be the essential precondition to rediscovering our social and historical roots. One usually thinks of the pariah as someone who has renounced solidarity with his own people in order to think for himself. But renunciation of solidarity with one’s own race has become the normal condition for white people.
In fact, the entire white race has been transformed into a pariah people. Whites who see themselves as self-sufficient and emancipated from racial identity are utterly conformist in their subservience to orthodoxy. Only those whites who can flout convention and think for themselves will ever experience genuine solidarity with their despised and demonized people.
Only as outcasts from a society in which the abnormal has become normal can we rediscover our true identities as members of a particular people with its own history and traditions. According to Hannah Arendt, it is a fundamental truth of the human condition that an individual of any nation or race can enter the “world history of humanity only by remaining and clinging stubbornly to what he is.” Miss Arendt was, of course, a consummate insider, belonging to the sophisticated and proudly subversive New York intellectual crowd. Even so, she refused to condemn “racist” pariahs.
She provoked outrage among her liberal friends when, in 1959, she defended the right of white Southerners to segregated schools. In an exemplary display of intellectual independence, she insisted that, to force white “parents to send their children to an integrated school against their will means to deprive them of rights which clearly belong to them in all free societies — the private right over their children and the social right to free association.”
Miss Arendt made more than a few enemies in her defense of white communities clinging to an ancestral way of life. Perhaps as a consequence of that experience, she despised the “normal,” well-adjusted and utterly deracinated white liberal passing as a cosmopolitan and enlightened “citizen of the world.” Such a person, she exclaimed, is actually “no less a monster than a hermaphrodite.”
I’d rather be a pariah.