Section 46 [The Foundations of Culture in Australia, by P. R. Stephensen, 1936]

[Editor: This is a chapter from The Foundations of Culture in Australia (1936) by P. R. Stephensen.]

§ 46

Sires to the slaughter

Let us state the proposition in crude terms, from the point of view of Antipodeans, who dwell as far away from Europe as it is possible anywhere on the globe to dwell. Australia, the only underpopulated continent, cannot afford a second culling of its young sires for European slaughter in this generation, or in the next generation, or in any future generation. If, to put it brutally, the European nations are over-populated, particularly “Catholic” nations, such as Italy and Germany, where birth control is discouraged, and if these periodic mass slaughters, decimations, and devastations of the populace in Europe are necessary on sociological, biological, or “economic” grounds, the matter is of European concern only, and is not our concern. Far from requiring to be decimated, Australia requires an increase of population. Australia cannot afford one man, or one shilling, for European wars of the future. Every man, every shilling, may be needed for our own defence. Every young sire is needed for the peopling of our nation. Our part in any European war of the future, if we were to participate, could not be decisive of the conflict there; but another huge draft of 400,000 Australian sires sent overseas would be adversely decisive of our national destiny as occupants of this Continent. It would weaken this nation below the point at which it could offer resistance to Asiatic penetration. Another European war, if Australia participates in it to any extent, means the end of the ideal that Australia will be a future home of the white race.

We have therefore to decide, and may have to decide very quickly, what would be Australia’s attitude in the event of the tocsin being sounded for another of Europe’s familiar carnages.

During the carnage of 1914-18, we sent our draft of 400,000 men under an implied bargain with Britain, by way of reciprocity, and in return for, the “protection” of Australia by the British Navy. In the forthcoming carnage, which appears to be inevitable, shall we repeat our gesture of 1914? Is it fair to allow Britain to imagine that we shall repeat it, and to shape British policy in Europe on that assumption? Would it not be more courteous, more forthright, and in fact more manly, for Australians to make it officially and unofficially quite clear to English-Imperial statesmen that, for reasons relating to own actual existence, it will be impossible for Australia ever again to send soldiers to Europe to participate in a European war?

Britain’s reply to that would naturally be: “Very well, if you won’t or can’t help to defend us against Germany, or Italy, or France, or Russia, or Jugo-Slavia, or Whatnot, obviously you cannot expect us to defend you against Japan!”

Australia’s answer to that: “We shall defend ourselves!” is the only possible reply for a self-respecting nation to make. This answer has a particular validity in view of the fact that we should have to defend ourselves, in any case, if the hypothecated Japanese attack were launched while the British Navy was preoccupied, in its “Home” waters, with the defence of Britain; and in view of the fact that this Japanese attack would never be launched except during another self-decimating war of the white races in Europe.

P. R. Stephensen, The Foundations of Culture in Australia, W. J. Miles, Gordon (N.S.W.), 1936, pages 157-158

Editor’s notes:
antipodean = of or relating to Australia or New Zealand; normally used by Europeans to refer to Australians or New Zealanders, or items from those two countries, however, the term is also used by the inhabitants of Australia and New Zealand to refer to themselves (“antipodean” also refers to two things that are direct opposites, including two places or areas which are on opposite sides of the world; hence the origin of its usage regarding Australasia)

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