Tag Archives: Radical Conservatives

A Synopsis of Flanagan’s First Nations Second Thoughts?

Chapter 3: What Ever Happened to Civilization?

RCAP: Aboriginal cultures were on the same level as those of the European colonists. The distinction between civilized and uncivilized is a racist instrument of oppression.

Flanagan defines civilization and culture in this chapter. Civilization must encompass progress in technology and political structure. He argues that aboriginals did not have civilizations under the Eurocentric definitions he uses. The superiority was not of race but of civilization and is justification for conquest. On property theory; Natives were holding the soil for agricultural settlement. They were not using it themselves. Following the More’s ‘Utopia’ principle of expansionism, it is just for an advanced group to conquer the land and assimilate the less advanced group. Vattel says it is lawful to take land away from Aboriginals if they are not using it. Similarly, Locke’s property theory says that mixing one’s own labour with the common world produces property. He adds that every nation is bound to cultivate the land. The conflict between Aboriginals and non-aboriginals is simply between hunters versus farmers. Hunter’s need surplus land but this is not sustainable. The hunters should take on the farmer life as the farmer’s expand to remove hunting land. Assimilation is inevitable since, according to Flanagan, Aboriginals are equally capable of being civilized. RCAP refuses to recognize the distinction between civilized and uncivilized to its detriment. The word ‘treaty’ cannot be found in this chapter.

The Flanagan Factor: “Sovereignty is an attribute of statehood, and aboriginal peoples in Canada had not arrived at the state level of political organization prior to contact with Europeans. The ‘’inherent right of self-government’ would be acceptable in contemporary Canada if it has the same meaning as the American formula of ‘domestic dependent nations’ possessing ‘tribal sovereignty’; but in fact it means much, much more.”

DISCLAIMER: Professor Nerdster Does NOT Agree With Tom Flanagan’s views in the slightest. It is better to get those views out in the open and understand them, rather than not address the criticism of this influential academic.