Many national governments have committed heinous crimes against indigenous people.
The U.S. government engaged in numerous forays of theft, arrest, relocation, and extermination against American Indians, then it broke nearly every treaty it made with those tribes. Usually, flimsy politically correct apologies come far too late to be heard by those harmed, and then it becomes ethically and practically problematic to force future taxpayers who had nothing to do with those polices to pay reparations to descendants. Sometimes, the most that can be done is to try to give back land that the government seized.
Australia’s government is a powerful example of this. As I note in an upcoming novella called “Gorge,” and I discovered on the ground in Australia in 1992, for decades, the Aussie government officially saw Aussie native Aboriginals as subhuman and fit to be erased from their lands. It was not only legal for the government to kill Aboriginals (or “Abbos”, as they were derogatively termed) until nearly halfway through the 20th Century, the Aussie government actively sought to kill them and steal their tribal properties.
So one can understand how current generations of Aussies might feel for the plight of Aboriginal scions of those tribes and people.
But a new government policy takes that individual, personal feeling of discomfort over previous state actions and heaps even more backwards thinking – exercised via state policy -- on top of it.
As Rohan Smith reports for News.com.Au, the politicians running the single-payer Aussie health system last year told nurses that they should call female patients “persons,” and now, health care workers are irate over a new political command:
Before administering services to indigenous people, nurses are supposed to “acknowledge white privilege.”
Nurses and midwives around the country must now adhere to a new code of conduct with a section specifically dedicated to 'culture' and which details white Australians’ inherent privilege in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders.
Isn’t that wonderful?
Predictably, nurses aren’t too pleased with this edict.
‘This is eye-watering stuff,’ Graeme Haycroft from the Nurses Professional Association of Queensland told Sky News host Peta Credlin. ‘We’re calling for the resignation of the chairman of the board (Associate Professor Lynette Cusack) because she’s put her name to it and it’s unacceptable.’
As Smith notes, host Credlin said it was “almost too hard to believe,” and wondered:
Before (a midwife) delivers a baby to an indigenous woman she’s supposed to put her hands up and say: ‘I need to talk to you about my white privilege’, not about my infection control, my qualifications or my training as a midwife?
Pretty close. Here is what the government mandates:
Cultural safety... requires nurses and midwives to undertake an ongoing process of self-reflection and cultural self-awareness, and an acknowledgment of how a nurse’s/midwife’s personal culture impacts on care… In relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, cultural safety provides a decolonising model of practice based on dialogue, communication, power sharing and negotiation, and the acknowledgment of white privilege… These actions are a means to challenge racism at personal and institutional levels, and to establish trust in healthcare encounters.
It’s difficult to decide which is more offensive, the idea that individuals should be seen as groups rather than individuals, the vacuous concept that innocent people who were born generations after state-sanctioned crimes against natives can be assumed to be “guilty” of gaining from those crimes, the idea that healthcare providers should have to take time to spout such collectivist nonsense, or the larger, political and ethical idea that people should be forced to pay for a health system at all, regardless of the crazy ideas its political burghermeisters concoct.
So this is simply a manifestation of something more deeply distasteful, something that cannot be overlooked when seeing the “social justice warrior” sentimentality and group-think attitude manifested: It shouldn’t matter what the nurses are told to say, if people are forced to pay for those health services for themselves or others, it is, at its outset, a fundamentally immoral and unethical construct.
In 1808 Walter Scott saw published his romantic poem/tale “Marmion,” and in it, he stated this oft-repeated line:
“Oh! What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”
In other words, from immoral origins, more corruption follows.
Welcome to the web, Australia. Don’t get upset by the fruits of the system unless you question the system itself. When you force people to pay for something and restrict real competition and real options, craziness like this become commonplace, and pulls everyone into the twisted threads of the poisonous spider’s lair.