The Asian emphasis on family and society … seems to be beyond the comprehension of many Aussies with their two centuries of geographical mobility in the search to better themselves, their acceptance of separation from kith and kin, and their consequent reliance on the collective (i.e. the State) to look after those in need in their family … The Church, society and family gave way to the search for a full belly, based on the nuclear family, where the individual is supreme. The large number of ‘semi-detached’ and single adults (some with dependent children) is testimony to this.
This is not to deny that there are some who look after their own. There are also many who work for society voluntarily on behalf of the collective. And then there are the users of these charitable people. For example, an elderly German lady is living in her own large home by herself, in the Australian tradition. Her married daughter, aged about fifty, lives in her own large home in a nearby suburb. The Red Cross sends a worker, part-volunteer, to help the old lady clean her house. The daughter stands around, supervising the worker, who might be of her vintage. Does the daughter do anything? No way! That’s not the Australian way. The ethos is: the collective must provide – I’m not responsible.
This is not the Asian way, and we all do not have servants – only the few. In human terms, the Asian way is far superior culturally. While there may be some deficiency in some Asian families’ care for their own, there is a far greater risk with an impersonal collective.
… … There are also many of us who do not want the government or its menials examining or coming into our bedrooms, our wallets, or our minds. How much further is it to the totalitarian state? What will be the difference between a communist state and a modern welfare state which tells us also what we can or cannot do or say? Now it is racial ‘vilification’, tomorrow it is political offence, the day after … ?
On the one hand, we have this overemphasis on individual rights, and on the other, on government control, of varying degrees of influence over our lives.
The sooner Australia joins Asia (if the Asian nations accept us) and the larger the Asian component of Australia’s population, the sooner the nation will learn to accept the extended family as the basic unit of society. Intra-familial responsibility should not involve the State, except in great need, not relative need. We need to accept that the stability and security of society over-ride the individual’s so-called rights. Actually, they already do in some areas – we put people in jail for crimes. Whence does the individual obtain his rights, except from, and through, his society?
Then, possibly, we might get rid of the adversarial process in the law courts, where the search for truth in the interests of society will override the current concealment of relevant information (the truth) by judges and legal representatives, purely in the interest of the accused. This means that refugee applications to Australia will be speeded up. Overall, justice will be speedy and enhanced, and costs borne by the individual and the State should be reduced. The legal profession may become leaner in the process, but that should be good for its health.
(These extracts from ‘Destiny Will Out’ highlight the consequences of a ‘pioneer’ nation created by immigrants. Necessarily, the society which developed reflected the need to be self-sufficient, when the traditional support of an extended family was not available. Any relatives within the new country might also be a long distance away, in search of sustenance. Eventually, the State stepped in to fill the social-support gap.
However, with the supportive role of governments expanding, only the nuclear family developed; and that is now at risk. Without stable families of any kind, there can be no society worth talking about.
Since the Asian immigrants are not going to discard their cultural tradition of looking after their own, and protecting their privacy in the process, even in Australia, perhaps there may develop a less-individualistic perception of family and society.)