History shows that no society or culture remains static. Change inevitably arrives whether welcomed or not. Reconciling modernism with traditional cultures is a challenge to all peoples, communities and nations.
While the injustices of the past need to be heard, studied and understood, likewise those elements which were judged as inherently good and positive also need fair historical representation. All societies need to wrestle with what practices need discarding and those that must be retained and applied to our time.
But history should not become a tool for incessant national flagellation and self-loathing. Pascal Bruckner in his book, The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism, discusses the West’s guilt of its past has become a pathology; an obstacle to fighting today’s atrocities, obscuring important realities. But the West has no greater monopoly on evil than the rest of the world. It has created atrocities as well as destroyed them – leading in the abolition of slavery, renouncing colonialism, building peaceful and prosperous communities and establishing rules and institutions that are modeled worldwide.
Conversely, unrelenting historical guilt gives rise to ongoing historical victimization where the narrative of loss and grief becomes so entrenched that this alone defines individuals, communities or nations, but in the process leaves little room for human progress.
Australian aboriginal people are identified by a number of indigenous politicians and academics as falling prey to the victimization mentality. But much of the blame is laid directly at the feet of government policy pushed along by vested interest groups. 
They shine a light on the false rhetoric that enough has not been done to help, as objective and measurable data tell a different story. Essentially they argue that contrary to political spin, too much money has been spent for too long on the wrong thing without substantial improved outcomes. According to the latest reports, policy surrounding Aboriginal affairs has mostly been unproductive in relieving the main issues of literacy, violence, disease, addiction and early pregnancy. 
There is much evidence to support this view. Collectively, the three tiers of Australian government have scholarships, jobs, affordable housing, welfare and social assistance reserved for Aboriginal people. Total direct expenditure on services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in 2012-13 was estimated to be $30.3billion, accounting for 6.1 per cent of total direct general government expenditure. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians made up 3.0 per cent of the population in 2013.
Expenditure per Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person increased by 10.3 per cent, and expenditure per non-Indigenous person increased by 2.2 per cent.
Estimated expenditure per person in 2012-13 was $43,449 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, compared with $20,900 for other Australians.
A lesser-known fact is the role of the Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Program (AACAP). Since its inception in 1997, it has spent an estimated $120 million to over 40 Indigenous communities. Over 5,000 army personnel have assisted in the design, planning, coordination and control of engineering works. In the ten years, this involvement has extended to coordinating the health and veterinary training and support, as well as employability skills programs.
But while the focus here is indigenous welfare, it is important to underscore that wherever the principles of broad and a high entitlement culture persist the same predictable symptoms soon surface. The evidence strongly suggests that chronic welfare dependency in whichever part of the world it is measured has no racial basis. This is most glaringly seen in the ‘white tribes’ of contemporary Britain. Dr Theodore Dalrymple in his book Life at the Bottom gives his accounts of underclass apathy, despair and dysfunction in large part sustained through the elite ideas of unconditional welfare.  Eventually it eats at the dignity and potential of every human being, destroying the motivation and the potential for prosperity.
Ironically, the waste and dysfunction created by aboriginal social welfare programs can only be understood as a bureaucratic failure to match benefits with discernable needs rather than race.
In the words of Indigenous leader, Professor Marcia Langton:
“Welfare dependency has a large reach in the Aboriginal world – much larger than in the rest of Australia – because there are so many programs, and all these programs are constructed, when you get down to the essence, on the belief that Aborigines can’t do it because they are racially different.”
But to the extent that aboriginal self-determination remains sacred political and academic ground, inequality of welfare will stubbornly remain. Particularly when researchers for aboriginal advocacy have dissected history under a microscope, looking for anything unjust according to contemporary standards of fairness. This anachronistic application of contemporary standards to events of the past produces an absurd distortion and a disproportionate number of claims of ‘unfair’ treatment.
Consider the relative increase in the number identifying in the ACTs population that increased almost tenfold between 2006 and 2011, from 3.4 per cent to 33.8 per cent. In Tasmania the increase was from -2.8 per cent to +17 per cent. Is it right to assume that all these individuals qualified for welfare merely because of some distant relationship with aboriginal ancestry? Is this equitable to those who most desperately need welfare?
This reinforces the observations of Ronald Berndt 30 years earlier:
“Many people of Aboriginal descent have deliberately attempted to exploit their own position by enhancing the Aboriginal side of their descent at the expense of, and in contrast to, any other (e.g. European) …” 
What becomes clearer when dealing with any institutionally entrenched mindset, is that it is extremely difficult to persuade anyone bent of self- destruction that they have the power to take responsibility for their lives and solve their problems when they have been conditioned to depend on a system that is both its benefactor and master. But it does not mean we should not try.
Black slavery in the US was not exceptional; the trade underpinned the economy stability of many empires. However, it was America (and England through the indefatigable efforts of William Wilberforce) that questioned the morality of holding human beings in bondage. However, over 150 years later, there remains a mental ‘legacy of slavery’. Economist Thomas Sowell argues that today this narrative is the dominant framework that is used to explain black American social problems, creating a further sub narrative of a modern day ‘plantation mentality’. 
In his provocative book, It’s OK to Leave the Plantation: The New Underground Railway, Clarence Mason Weaver challenges this mindset and points to his own life that was replete with naked racism and the unprovoked suffering it caused.
In 1971, working in the U.S. Navy he had 2,800 pounds of metals dropped on by a white worker that Weaver believes were racially motivated. It left him with severe back injuries, a ruptured spleen and crushed and broken bones. A series of events that he credits with not enslaving him to bitterness include a rediscovered Christian faith and determination to attend college.
In 1975, he graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with three college degrees. Weaver writes, “I am not a victim. I am victorious.” However, he believes it first begins with leaving the “mental plantation”.
Poverty has many features that communities cannot control. For example, children have no power to determine whether they are born into poverty and are clearly disproportionately disadvantaged when compared with wealthier children. But the hope of climbing out of the cycle that freed millions from the same fate is accessible. This is seen most clearly when comparing the West’s most successful ‘poor’ immigrants.
Minority groups, in various countries, that have achieved extraordinary economic success include: Germans in Eastern Europe, Lebanese in West Africa, Japanese in Peru, Chinese in other parts of Asia, Jews and Indians in Britain, Greeks in Australia and Italians in America. These immigrant groups arrive with a taste for entrepreneurial freedom, a commitment to education, family and doggedness for hard work.
In the past, the government’s role towards immigrants was limited to providing the best environment that allowed them the opportunity to flourish, this included securing private property rights, free association, free exchange of ideas and goods supported with and protected by the rule of law.
The inverse relationship holds true for poverty. To a large extent it is a response to a particular set of structural and psychological barriers. Sound governmental policy is found in eliminating both these obstructions.
This is the focus for the proposals set out in the Australian Christians Aboriginal Affairs Policy Recommendations. They are pivotal to giving Australia’s Indigenous the opportunity to rise above decades of poverty and abuse.
We cannot continue the road of ever increasing government bureaucracy and handouts. Government programs and aid have become an ineffectual proxy to the real thing. They unfairly compete with potential and real markets and destroy the incentive for innovation and work. Why bother to produce or work when the alternative is to get something for next to nothing or free?
A significant part of the antidote to abject welfare-dependent poverty is access to the same freedoms and marketplace opportunities that provide work and commercial opportunities.
While government still has an important role, it is a limited one. Judeo-Christian values emphasise the function of government in securing justice for rich and poor alike. This includes: upholding rule of law, protection of private property rights, allowing for free association, providing a secure environment for free and honest exchange. While well-targeted welfare should serve as a safety net to those who most need it, benevolence is not the governments primary task but society’s. Individuals, families, churches, private organisations, businesses and charities all play essential roles in caring for communities. The New Testament story of the Good Samaritan is often cited by Christian relief agencies as a basis for lobbying governments to increasing foreign aid but they neglect to point out that the Samaritan did not entreat the Roman Empire for the funds. It cost him of his own money, time and effort to help the robbed and severely beaten man. 
This principled order of private and public relationships is primarily rooted in the church doctrine of subsidiarity. While the state has an obligation to assist individuals it should never completely take over this function. Subsidiarity contends that those closest to social and/or economic problems are best equipped to solve them.  Getting the order and functions right is the difference between free and tyrannical governments. 
It was only when insidious government funding began to work its way through these self-reliant communities that the roles gradually were reversed. “(The) Government became agents of community development and social change. Christian missions became managers of Aboriginal communities. Mission priorities changed.”
The wisdom of subsidiarity perfectly predicts the subsequent dire outcomes because large governments lack day-to-day familiarity with people and their complexities that are often reduced to numbers, statistics, endless research, committees, meetings, surveys and an equal amount of misdirected money.
If closeness to the need is indispensable to understanding and appropriately helping the plight of Aboriginal communities so too is the urgency to reconnect them to the rest of the nation. Poverty-stricken Aboriginal communities far removed and disconnected to the rest of the nation help no one except those who have managed to depend on them for their own rent-seeking activities.
Aboriginal leader, Warren Mundine, memorably said on receiving the Bennelong Society’s medal, “There seems to be buried in every government policy of every major political party this basic idea of preserving a mythical noble savage ideal of indigenous Australia…Aboriginal people are not museum pieces. We are human beings. All we ask is that we receive the respect to which we’re entitled as fellow human beings.”
In the case of Aboriginal people they are excluded from the very laws and protection that helped ‘white’ civilisations prosper and shed many of its barbaric practices. So too, these would also protect indigenous Australians from traditional forms of retribution, child brides, customary laws that permit men to beat their wives and the compounding problem of lenient court sentencing based on ‘cultural’ mitigating factors. 
Conversely, Western principles such as freedom of speech and conscience and universal human rights including non-relativism regarding violence would stem the systemic intergenerational violence and abuse that is destroying their people and cultural legacy.
But in Australia, for the longest time there has been a determination to reject evidence of high incidences of domestic violence within specific cultures, even when the facts scream otherwise. 
It was one of America’s founding founders, John Adams that famously said, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” And the evidence is both brutal and heart retching within many indigenous communities. 
The Little Children are Sacred government report (2007), found rampart sexual promiscuity mostly by young boys to young girls and abuses of every sort. High teenage pregnancies only perpetuate the cycle of immaturity and casual sex, but did not stop there. Every debilitating addiction and vice is there to read and weep.
Dave Price tells his harrowing story in response to an article on Aboriginal victimization. Part of it is reproduced here:
“Last week I kissed goodbye the corpse of my 39 year old Aboriginal niece. She died from a lifetime of alcohol abuse. Last year she was deliberately run over by a drunk from Hermannsburg in a four-wheel drive while she lay sleeping on our golf course. That contributed to her death.
Last year, as well, my daughter and I identified the body of her 28-year-old sister killed in a car crash. Everybody in the car was drunk including the driver who was also unlicensed. Her husband decided to bash her from the back seat. She crashed into a tree. The unrestrained and obese body of the driver’s assailant crushed my niece against the dashboard. She was the only one to die. Their younger sister died from alcohol poisoning at the age of twenty-one. Their father died of the same thing. Their brothers have been in the ICU of our local hospital several times because of alcohol abuse but somehow they are still live. I could go on…and anyway, we’ve been saying these things for years.
The many billions of our dollars spent by governments on their welfare and on Aboriginal controlled organisations since I first walked into a remote community forty years ago this year did nothing to save these, my loved ones, from their chosen lifestyle. The constant advice, entreaties, begging, cajoling and threatening that my wife, daughter and I have assailed them with through all those years also had little effect. Though the one who died last week did stop drinking after being run over on the golf course, but it was too late.”
Instead, governments on every side and all along the political spectrum have fallen prey to the doctrine of cultural relativism that effectively says that Western democratic values cannot be ‘forced’ on all people. 
But this ignores that the foundations of liberty were founded on ideological principles of freedom that gave birth to economic prosperity. They are intricately linked.
Again, economist Thomas Sowell speaks to this phenomenon in his book, Wealth, Poverty and Politics: An International Perspective. Sowell argues that the second determinant of economic success is culture, that is, customs, values, norms and attitudes and the migrant groups high levels of trust and cooperation among themselves.
Historically many of those values are built up from Judeo-Christian traditions. As journalist, Matthew Perry, writes in his seemingly paradoxical article, As an Atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God, “Missionaries, not aid money, are the solution to Africa’s biggest problem – the crushing passivity of the people’s mindset.” 
The stolen aboriginal generation is here and now.
It is not enough to merely read, nod our heads in agreement or even feel some genuine sadness. We must act wisely, decisively and give voice to those who are brave enough to expose crushing reality and cry out for their people to be saved from themselves and from government policy failure.
Martin Luther Junior’s address still resounds with astonishing exactitude not just for the American Blacks he sought to liberate, but for every person, culture and nation that find themselves bound in what poet William Blake called, “Mind-forged Manacles”.
“… The Negro himself has a decisive role to play if integration is to become a reality. Indeed, if first-class citizenship is to become a reality for the Negro he must assume the primary responsibility for making it so. Integration is not some lavish dish that the federal government or the white liberal will pass out on a silver platter while the Negro merely furnishes the appetite. One of the most damaging effects of past segregation on the personality of the Negro may well be that he has been victimized with the delusion that others should be more concerned than himself about his citizenship rights.
… The Negro must come to see that there is much himself can do about his plight. He may be uneducated or poverty-stricken, but these handicaps must not prevent him from seeing that he has within his being the power to alter his fate.”
© Eleni Arapoglou – AC Policy Researcher
 Sergei DeSilva-Ranasingle, “Indigenous Nation Building: The Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Program,” POLICY, Vol 30 No.4, page 29, Summer 2014-15; http://www.army.gov.au/our-people/army-indigenous-community/army-indigenous-initiatives
 “Waking up to Dreamtime: The Illusion of Aboriginal Self-determination”,
Edited by Dr Gary Johns, Published by Quadrant Online January 2012
 “The Speaking land: myth and story in Aboriginal Australia”, Ronald M. Berndt, Catherine H. Berndt , Australia Council. Literature Board, Ringwood, Vic.: Penguin, 1989.
 Dr Augusto Zimmerman, “Subsidiarity and a Free Society”, Policy, Vol. 30, No.4, pg. 15, Summer 2014-15.
 John Harris, “One Blood: 200 Years of Aboriginal Encounter with Christianity”, 01 Dec 1990, Albatross Books Pty Ltd, Sutherland, Australia; http://sydneyanglicans.net/blogs/books/a-great-man-and-an-inspiring-aboriginal-christian-story