The Australian – Neil Brown: Great liberal whitewash<br/> New research has shattered a favourite left-wing myth about race relations

You know how the argument runs: there is a threat from Muslim terrorists; Howard legislates against terrorists; therefore he is legislating against Muslims. Even when he has the gall to say Australians are not racists, he gets a serve, usually from failed leaders of the Liberal Party, that Australians are racists and that it is all his fault.

The argument then goes that left-wingers everywhere, the ALP in Australia, Democrats in the US and social democrats in Europe, are all so tolerant and never let race enter their heads when they are making decisions. In contrast, right-wingers, the Coalition parties here, Republicans in the US and conservatives in Europe, are a lot of red-necked bigots, and on social welfare, immigration, refugee or security issues are anti-black and anti-Muslim. This line is hammered so much it is becoming part of the folklore.

But some recent research shows a different picture. Shanto Iyengar, a professor of communications at Stanford University, has just completed some experiments in partnership with The Washington Post on the attitudes of people to giving aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

James Taranto had this a while ago. I thought I posted it but I can’t find it now, so I think I settled for a quick rant to Peter.

This has to stop. Unbridled research such as this will end up destroying all our cherished myths.

Why, before you can say “chardonnay”, we will be using facts and reality before we make political assumptions.

On the other hand, some Australian research may produce some surprising results about our own big race issue: how can we best help Aborigines? Who knows? My guess is research would show, first, that conservative voters support constructive help for Aborigines because they are individual human beings in desperate need, irrespective of their race.

But it would also show the Left gives priority to the symbolic nonsense of apologies and treaties over health and education because you have to be condescending when you are dealing with a different, well, race.