The most effective form of nationalism is that based on ethnicity and attachment to the land – blood and soil. That raises a difficult problem for countries such as Australia, the United States and Canada. For the US the difficulties are insuperable – there never was much chance of blood and soil nationalism there.
For Australia though there was a real chance of such a thing. Up until the 1940s Australia was remarkably homogeneous both ethnically and culturally. We were genuinely an outpost of British civilisation. Culturally we were British, but with a few variations as a result of our geography and our history. We were, slowly, developing a sense of ourselves as a people. We were proud of being British, but also proud of being Australian. We had a real chance of forging a coherent national identity. The blood part of the equation could not be expected to be as strong as you’d find among people who had lived on the same land for centuries but it was still there.
The soil part of the equation was a possibility as well. Compared to Britain Australia was a harsh unfriendly and even ugly landscape. Even the well-watered coastal fringes lack the charm and the prettiness of the English countryside. Despite this Australians had created a perverse fondness for the Australian landscape. In fact we possibly loved the land even more because it was superficially ugly and uninviting – it was a land you could only love if you got to know it. If outsiders couldn’t appreciate it that was their problem.
We developed a mythology based on the landscape. From an early stage Australia was highly urbanised but even Australians who lived their whole lives in cities were familiar with the mythology of the Bush, of cattle stations and drovers and bushrangers.
Australia in the late 1940s should have been well placed to develop, eventually, a strong sense of Australian-ness based on ethnic unity and a strong attachment to the land. Then our government, in its infinite wisdom, decided we needed mass migration. As so often it was a policy imposed upon the people. Since both major parties enthusiastically supported mass migration there was no need to ask the Australian people how they felt about the matter. There was certainly no need to hold a referendum even though this was a policy that would radically change our society.
Up until the 1970s it was not a fatal problem. Most non-British immigrants were from Italy or Greece, with smaller numbers from eastern Europe and various Balkan nations. They assimilated fairly well. Our national identity was weakened but not quite destroyed. Then began the influx of Third World immigrants.
It’s perhaps not quite too late for Australia now but time is definitely running out. The only hope is that people realise that the mainstream political parties – all of them – have betrayed them and intend to go on betraying them. Socially conservative and traditionalist Australians who imagine they are doing the right thing by voting for the LNP coalition are deluding themselves. They are voting for the destruction of Australia.
Nothing can be achieved until voters are prepared to reject both the mainstream parties.