Thursday, November 28, 2013

Flag Flaps, Part III, Australia

The debate over the Australian national flag is one of those annoying little issues that can be extremely frustrating. Those who advocate scrapping the Australian flag for a new design have never come anywhere close to gaining the support of a majority of the people and yet, partly thanks to an often treasonous mainstream media, the issue never seems to go away. It continues to be brought up and discussed over and over again in spite of the fact that no poll has ever shown more than 32% in favor of changing the flag and recent polls have shown even less support than that. Those who favor changing the flag invariably wrap themselves in the most popular, “warm and fuzzy” catch-phrases of modern political-speech like “uniqueness” and “multiculturalism”, yet, when you boil it down, it seems what they are most upset about is that Australia never had a really bloody, horrific revolutionary war in order to become an independent country. The Australian national flag came about in much the same way that the independent Commonwealth of Australia itself did, moderately, peacefully and over a period of time. That would seem to be the ideal way for a country to gain independence, yet it seems these people wish things could have been different and rather than be proud of how mature and reasonable Australia behaved in the past, they wish there had been a murderous tantrum instead. Does that sound mad? Give it some thought.

The primary complaint made by the anti-Australian flag crowd is the presence of the Union Jack in the canton. They dislike this because the Union Jack is also the flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and because it is a reminder of the colonial history of Australia as the flag is basically a modified British Blue Ensign. This is entirely understandable because Australia began as a collection of British colonies, as part of the British Empire and so the flag of the British Empire was not the flag of a foreign country, but the flag of Australia and every other part of the British Empire. As Australia came together as one country and gained independence the British Blue Ensign was modified to become the uniquely Australian flag we know today. This was not the case in, for example, the United States of America which started out with a defaced British Red Ensign but dropped the Union Jack (as it was then) also called the “King’s Colours” when independence was declared during the Revolutionary War. It would have been rather absurd for rebel colonists in America to continue flying the flag of a country they were at war with, whose soldiers they were trying to kill as best they could. Yet, none of that happened with Australia. Britain was never an enemy of Australia, they have never fought a war against each other and so the British flag was not the flag of an enemy but the flag of the “mother country” and the British Empire which was the seed bed that the Commonwealth of Australia grew in.

There was no radical change in flag design because there was no radical break with Great Britain. Australian independence came about step by step, legally and peacefully with no bitterness or animosity. It seems some wish it had not been so. These are the sort of people who are, make no mistake about it, traitors in their heart and soul who I am sure wince in physical pain when reading the words of the great Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies who called himself, “British to the bootstraps” and who said that, “…the common devotion to the throne is part of the very cement of the whole national structure.” There should be no doubt that everyone agitating for changing the Australian national flag is also a republican (which makes them a traitor) and some will proudly admit it. Some will smugly proclaim that they oppose the Australian national flag because it features the Union Jack and the Union Jack symbolizes the British monarchy (which is also the Australian monarchy but good luck getting any of them to say that). So, again, it seems that they cannot enjoy being an independent country because that independence came with no hateful, violent break with the past.

Of course, the anti-flag crowd would never admit to such a thing. Instead, they complain that the Australian flag is too similar to other flags and that it does not represent the modern, multi-cultural Australia because all the symbolism on the flag is British (which is not entirely true but that is the argument). The idea that it is a problem that the flag looks too similar to some others is certainly an absurd one. The only other sovereign state with a flag similar to that of Australia is New Zealand, so it is not as though there is a great deal of confusion gripping the peoples of the world. One other flag is similar and that is all. There would be more grounds for confusion over the United States flag which is similar to at least two other countries; Liberia and Malaysia. Yet, no one complains. You will certainly never hear anyone in Texas complain that the beloved Lone Star must be tossed aside because some might confuse it with the flag of Chile. How about Turkey and Tunisia or Slovakia, Slovenia and Russia? What about Indonesia and Monaco? What about Mexico, Italy and Ireland? Chad and Andorra? It is, frankly, ridiculous and more than that, it contradicts their very own, paramount, argument concerning multi-culturalism.

There is, after all, a reason why the flags of New Zealand and Australia are similar just as there is a reason why the flags of Canada, India and South Africa used to be similar; all were a part of the British Empire. Obviously, those wishing to change the flag despise that fact and hate their own history but if they value multiculturalism so highly, surely there was never a more multicultural entity than the British Empire. The British Empire included the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic peoples (all of them outside the United States), French-Canadians in Quebec, Dutch Boers, Africans of various tribes, the Hindu states of India, the Buddhists of Burma, the Chinese of Hong Kong and the largest population of Muslims in the world. What on earth could be more multicultural than that? And how is it that the Union Jack (which is really the only part of the flag most of these people object to) cannot be considered a symbol of multicultural Australia when it is still the symbol of a very multicultural Great Britain which has sizeable minorities of peoples from countries as far flung as Jamaica, Poland and Pakistan? Of course, they will counter that with an even more absurd argument which is that it is just not “proper” for an independent country to have the flag of another country as part of its own. This, frankly, displays an astounding level of stupidity.

For one thing, it is not just “another country” but the country that, whether these people like it or not, founded and brought up what became the modern Commonwealth of Australia. These people cannot seem to get beyond their own prejudices and accept the fact that there would be no Australia if it had not been for the British Empire and those first British ships and British colonists who came and built the country from the ground up. However, the argument that it is “improper” for an independent country to feature, as part of its flag, the flag of another country, while being grossly insulting to other countries and states and provinces around the world that do the same, is so astoundingly absurd, I can really only think of one way to best respond to it and that is with a question. I would really like to pose this to one of the advocates of changing the Australian flag: “Why are you speaking English then?” After all, you’re a totally different and multicultural country now, so why do you still speak the language of your former “colonial masters”? Isn’t it “improper” for one independent country to speak the exact same language as another country? I know, I know, that sounds extremely silly but that is the whole point. Australians speak English because they were founded by English-speaking peoples just like how the Australian flag features the Union Jack because they were founded by people for whom the Union Jack was “their” flag and proudly so.

The Australian flag, the flag that has accompanied Australians to battle in both world wars and every conflict since, represents the entirety of Australian history whereas these people seem to want a flag that represents only the Australia of today which might not even be the Australia of tomorrow. It is absurd. However, it is part of a larger and more insidious effort to divorce Australia entirely from the traditions and values that made the country. Part of that, all here should take notice, is the monarchy. There is scarcely any argument made for changing the flag that could not, and for the most part has not been, used to argue for abolishing the monarchy as well. For many people across the entire English-speaking world those three crosses of St George, St Andrew and St Patrick that make up the Union Jack represent monarchy like no other symbol. The enemies of monarchy are always trying to hide it, change it and remove it from view and all monarchists in the world should stand together in opposition to this. All monarchists everywhere and most certainly all those in the English-speaking world should give all of our support to our loyal brethren ‘Down Under’ in defending and maintaining the Australian flag.

God Save the Queen! God bless Australia and keep it flying!

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