As a preview to the Sydney Olympic Games last September, The Wall Street Journal ran a front-page story about the great issue it said was dividing the Australian nation, the treatment of its Aboriginal people. The two journalists who wrote the story opened with an account of an incident near Hobart in Tasmania in 1804 when British soldiers fired on a party of Aboriginal men, women, and children, who were out hunting kangaroos and armed only with clubs. This was “the opening shot in a war that would result in the near-extermination of Tasmanian Aborigines,” the journalists wrote. “Some of the 50 or so killed that day were salted down and sent to Sydney as anthropological curiosities.”

The fate of the indigenous Tasmanians is today frequently described in the liberal media as an example of British imperial genocide. This is because they were a distinct ethnic group, physically different from mainland...


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