"Radio National [Part of Australia's Left-leaning public broadcaster, the ABC] invites listeners to name the greatest speech. Six thousand respond, their hundreds of nominations including Ronald Reagan, Yitzhak Rabin, William Pitt the Younger, Vaclav Havel, Bill Clinton, Salvador Allende, Mahatma Gandhi, Arundhati Roy and Thomas More.....
Anglican archbishop Peter Jensen discusses the impact of acoustics on a great speech, covering the range from the windblown Sermon On The Mount to sermons from amplified pulpits. Interestingly, his favourite speech is secular rather than sacred - Queen Elizabeth I's effort to her last Parliament in 1601: "Though you have had, and may have, many mightier and wiser princes sitting in this seat, yet you never had, nor shall have, any that will love you better." And Jensen is deeply affected when re-reading Keating's address at Redfern: "I was amazed by its high moral purpose, ripping into our conscience and our hearts."
Judith Brett, professor of politics at La Trobe University, feels as strongly for the Redfern speech, while Carr's greatest enthusiasm is for Lincoln's second inaugural address.
The hall is hushed as I tear open the envelope announcing the top 10.
Tenth: Queen Elizabeth I's rallying of the troops at Tilbury on August 8, 1588, as the Spanish Armada approached. "I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king."
Ninth: Gough Whitlam's dismissal speech, Parliament House steps, November 11, 1975.
Eighth: Henry V's St Crispin Day speech before the Battle of Agincourt in Shakespeare's Henry V. "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers."
Seventh: Earl Spencer's funeral oration for his sister, Princess Diana, September 6, 1997.
Sixth: John F. Kennedy's inaugural address, January 20, 1961. "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."
Fifth: Lincoln's Gettysburg address during the American Civil War, November 19, 1863. "Four score and seven years ago."
Fourth: Churchill's "We shall fight on the beaches", June 4, 1940, to the House of Commons.
At Number Three: Paul Keating's Redfern address, December 10, 1992.
Number Two: Jesus's Sermon On The Mount, circa 27.
And the Oscar goes to. Martin Luther King for "I have a dream", August 28, 1963, in Washington DC.
I will not argue with nos. 1 and 2 -- though I myself would have put the wonderful Ronald Reagan's "Challenger" speech as no. 1 (it always moves me to tears when I read it) -- but I am quite disgusted by no. 3, a speech by that foul-mouthed past-master of Leftist abuse, Paul Keating. You can read the speech concerned here. It is just standard Leftist "blame whitey" crap. If it is a classic anything, it is a classic of talk being cheap.
Despite the fact that indigenous black Australians (Aborigines) are substance-abusers on an epic scale and often seem to be grossly lacking in any ability to think ahead about the consequences of their own actions, it is the fault of white Australians -- most of whom would never have even met an Aborigine -- that blacks find themselves in an undoubtedly bad state?
I grew up with Aborigines around and have repeatedly had them as tenants (what a "racist" thing to do!) so I do know the realities involved.
The logic of the Keating speech crumbles upon encounter with the most basic history. If the "dispossession" of their ancestors is the cause of the degraded state of Aborigines, how come:
1). The Anglo-Saxons did not crumble when they were taken over by the invading Normans 1000 years ago? They in fact insisted on continuing in their traditional values and eventually absorbed the Normans.
2). How come the Chinese did not crumble when they were taken over by the invading Mongols nearly 1000 years ago? They in fact insisted on continuing in their traditional values and eventually absorbed the Mongols.
3). How come the Germans did not crumble when they were taken over by the invading Allied powers in 1945? They in fact insisted on continuing in their traditional values and eventually emerged as German and as prosperous as they ever had been. Many of them even survived the gross oppression of Communism and emerged in a reasonably intact state.
And if "discrimination" is responsible for the degraded state of the Aborigines, how come the undoubtedly heavy discrimination that the Chinese and Jews endured in Australia up until relatively recently did not cause the Chinese and Jews to sink into hopeless and self-destructive apathy? Both groups are in fact extremely successful components of Australian society by almost any criterion you choose to name.
All my questions above have only one answer of course. Aborigines are DIFFERENT. All men are NOT equal. Whether the differences are due to culture or genetics need not concern us here. The point is that it is Aborigines who are responsible for the state Aborigines are in. It is not the fault of whites. If other ethnic groups have emerged from dispossession and discrimination in a flourishing state, it is not dispossession and discrimination that is responsible for Aborigines being in a disastrous state. It is the Aboriginal difference that is responsible for the state that they are in, nothing else.
And perhaps most particularly to the point, decades of Left-inspired attempts to "help" Aborigines have clearly done more harm than good. Aborigines once had some dignity. Many of them have very little of that today. Is more of such deluded "help" needed?
(For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.)