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Ross Howard
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Accusations of racism and extremism are a tactic commonly used to shut down people with opposing views. So when Philip writes, “Ross is obviously a climate change denier” and so “not worth arguing with” he follows this well-worn tactic. His accusation is untrue. Few serious people deny climate change, which has occurred before humans evolved on Earth. What is in contention is the veracity of climate change apocalypticism. So-called sceptics often doubt many aspects of the climate change debate which are advanced, and in doing so, they point to the extreme complexity of the Earth’s climate. They also doubt the effectiveness of proposed solutions—a cost of one to two trillion dollars per annum (and the consequent destruction of all advanced economies) in order to reduce temperatures by a mere 0.05 degrees Celsius by the year 2100. The subject is far too complex to engage in these pages. In addition, events such as Climategate exposed scientific fraud and the manipulation of data in order to enhance the Global Warming Theory. For example, the Hockey Stick Graph deliberately hid declining temperatures so a warming trend would show. Fundamentally, the issue of climate change should be one of science. Yet it is apparent that the debate has turned away from a pursuit for truth to the propagation of dogma. The position of activists is that is not possible to disagree with their climate change apocalypticism in good faith. Threatening the resource sector with legal consequences for their position on climate change is now the official policy of the US Democratic Party, since 2016. In 2015, the New York State Attorney General subpoenaed ExxonMobil for documents that might show the company downplayed the risk of climate change. In 2015 twenty scientists demanded President Obama use the law to go after “deniers”. Michael Mann has issued legal proceedings against those who questioned his fake Hockey Stick Graph after his university cleared him of any misconduct. So official scientific bodies can quash dissent by effectively declaring their research as unimpeachable. Bjorn Lomborg wrote, “Global warming is a real phenomenon, it is mostly man-made, and it will have a long-run overall negative impact”. But he also suggested present policies were ineffective and wasteful. For his heresy from the accepted line, he was prevented from opening up a research centre in Australia after pressure from academics and activists. Attempts to use state plenary power to determine the truth is to reverse the values of the Enlightenment. In fact free speech is under attack throughout Western academia. And we even have Australian academics suggesting, “There is some merit in the idea of a ruling elite class of philosopher kings…or ecoelites." The Divine Right of Greenies perhaps? The UN boss of the Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, has spoken of “intentionally” changing “the economic development model that has been reigning for the, at least, 150 years, since the industrial revolution.” Effectively destroying advanced economies. That is what worries many people. And it’s probably not surprising that far-left extremists are so in favour of a new-found cause that might help them achieve what has eluded them for the last hundred years.
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No matter what happens, it seems that Doomsday Scenarios will always be with us. From Thomas Malthus to Paul Ehrlich the myth of overpopulation continues. Yet according to the U.N. Population Database, using the low variant projection (historically the most accurate), the earth’s population will peak at around 8.3 billion in 2050 and then start to decline. In fact, most serious demographers have spent the last 30 years examining declining fertility rates which are causing a population implosion in many countries, especially Western nations. In “How Civilizations Die” (2011), author David Goldman writes: “As a matter of arithmetic, we know that the social life of most developed countries will break down within two generations. Two out of three Italians and three of four Japanese will be elderly dependents by 2050. If present fertility rates hold, the number of Germans will fall by 98 per cent over the next two centuries. No pension and health system can support such an inverted population pyramid.” But people are attracted to apocalyptic scenarios. In his 1968 book, “The Population Bomb” Ehrlich wrote: “In the 1970s hundreds of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.” In 1971, Ehrlich wrote, “If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.” It was all nonsense of course, however his hysterical predictions induced some governments to change their policies. For example, it influenced Justice Potter Stewart’s vote in Roe v Wade which allowed abortion in the USA: “As Stewart saw it, abortion was becoming one reasonable solution to population control.” [Newsweek, September 14, 1987] Ehrlich had written, “I have yet to meet anyone familiar with the situation who thinks India will be self-sufficient in food by 1971, if ever.” But between 1971 and 2011 India’s population doubled while its economy grew faster, and it became a food exporter. The economist Julian Simon exposed most of Ehrlich’s errors, and won money from Ehrlich (the Ehrlich-Simon wager) by proving his ravings about the relationship of population to commodity scarcity was wrong. But the arrogant Ehrlich frequently called people he disagreed with “fools”, “idiots”, clowns”, and said of Julian Simon, “If Simon disappeared from the face of the earth, that would be great for humanity.” But even in the face of all his errors, and his opposition to evidence, reason and good faith, the bien pensant progressives have showered Ehrlich with awards and honours. A couple of years back Ehrlich was the guest speaker at an ANU environmental conference, and was showered with praise by Phillip Adams on ABC radio. Yes, the same Phillip Adams who cheered on Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and advised Australians to drink the same socialist kool-aid that ended up destroying Venezuela’s economy and left its people starving. The same is true of the climate-catastrophe predicted by those who push the global warming agenda. None of their apocalyptical predictions have come true, but their hysteria has induced government action, given some people lucrative jobs, and made charlatans like Al Gore rich. In 1970 claims were made that the world would be “eleven degrees colder by the year 2000.” Global temperature has increased by about 1 degree Fahrenheit since 1970. In 1970, Ehrlich had claimed, “In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish.” On 3 August 1971, the Sydney Morning Herald announced that the Great Barrier Reef would be dead in six months. Someone has been predicting its death almost every year since, and money has flowed as a result. And lets not forget our own Tim Flannery. In 2006 he predicted there will be “no Arctic icecap in the next 5 to 15 years” and “we have just a decade to avert a 25-metre rise of the sea”. And in 2007 he predicted Australia’s dams would not fill up again. But as Clive James has written, “It would surely be unwise to believe that mankind’s capacity to believe in fashionable nonsense can be cured by the disproportionately high cost of a temporary embarrassment.” Happy New Year.
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Chris asks “where is the Left’s alternative economic vision”, and he laments how the progressive forces in politics are “so obsessed with identity politics, asylum seekers, special interest groups and what I regard as the ephemera of politics.” He’s correct. Unlike the Old Left, today’s Left don’t seem to have a vision beyond things that are destructive, like identity politics. In 1978, Deng Xiaoping rejected the communist economic system and embraced a market economy, and Vietnam did likewise with its Doi Moi reforms in 1986. Thereafter they both flourished economically. As Paul Oates writes, you look to see what has worked. However the European Left appears to have learnt nothing. Britain’s distinguished Marxist historian, Eric Hobsbawm, wrote: “If the Left have to think more seriously about the new society, that does not make it any less desirable or necessary, or the case against the present one any less compelling.” So after a century of bloody failures, Hobsbawm doesn’t know what his future will bring, but he knows it’s both desirable and necessary. And he knows that there is a “compelling” case to destroy the present system, even if he can’t say what will replace it. In other words, “Trust Me”. In essence, Hobsbawm is appealing to tribalism. And you can see that on university campuses today. You are either with the feminists, radicals, activists and so forth or you’re on the other side. Philosopher Roger Scruton put it like this: “The inescapable conclusion is that subjectivity, relativity and irrationalism are advanced not in order to let in all opinions, but precisely so as to exclude the opinions of people who believe in old authorities and objective truths. "This is the short cut to Gramsci’s new cultural hegemony: not to vindicate the new culture against the old, but to show that there are no grounds for either, so that nothing remains save political commitment.”
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Phil may be correct that there could be a connection between the welfare state and the power of corporations. One of the things the inquiry into trade unions threw up was the collusion between the big construction unions and the big construction corporations. Outlandish demands by the unions would be agreed to by the corporations because they could simply shaft the sub-contractors and smaller players and pass the costs on. In government contracts the taxpayer payed the excessive bill. Chris is certainly correct that unfettered capitalism can be a great evil, but I doubt many people support laissez-faire economics. The problem I see is the mess of the current crony-capitalist/socialist financial/monetary system. Let’s remember: 1. It was the Hayekians and devotees of other Austrian economics who predicted the GFC and published models predicting it; 2. Stalwarts of the status-quo like Britain’s Treasury, promoted the disastrous European Monetary System; failed to predict the GFC; and wrongly predicted economic disaster with Brexit; 3. Multinationals, banks, media, the bureaucracy and the political class all opposed Brexit and Trump; 4. Big money today is not conservative. Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, Jeff Bezos and Larry Ellison all support liberal causes and the Democratic Party; and foundations such as Mellon, Bloomberg and Macarthur outspend conservative foundations “by a factor of at least thirty to one each year.” [they all benefit from crony capitalism] But I agree with Chris about a potential for a future economic calamity. Trump must not get carried away with economic success and let go of the reins on big business. Where I disagree with Chris is his assertion that Trump is a person who will “subvert the public interest in the pursuit of power and profit.” The billionaire spent his own money on his campaign and was opposed by all the wealthy and powerful. The facts show that Obama administration subverted the public interest in pursuit of power. Like some Third World dictator, Obama weaponized the Taxation Office to target and harass conservative opponents. A recently concluded court case saw the government pay compensation for such perfidy. They should have been jailed. Now we are finding out about treachery in the FBI and the phoney Russian dossier, paid for by the Democrats, which seems to have been used to obtain warrants to spy on the Trump campaign. And FBI emails worrying about a Trump victory saying “we can’t take that risk” and about having “an insurance policy” against that eventuality. So we get Russiagate and attempts to bring down Trump and his government! The FBI involved in a coup? J. Edgar Hoover is starting to look like a choir boy. And all the current economic success is due to Obama? Wishful thinking Chris!
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There is a problem with large corporations. The fact that American worker’s wages have virtually stagnated since 1973—productivity grew 72.2 percent while wages rose only 8.7 percent—demonstrates that something has gone wrong in recent decades. In 1890, when American corporations like J.P. Morgan and Rockefeller became monopolies which restricted competition, the government introduced anti-trust laws to break them up. Today, corporations like Google and Facebook are the largest and most powerful in history, and are a potential threat to freedom of speech and information. But corporations are only part of the problem, and the people who have allowed corporations to become a problem are the same people who have let these other problems also fester—my generation. There is a funny thing about the human mind: if we don’t see something coming and our predictions are all wrong, it indicates that our worldview is askew. We can then either adjust our worldview, or pretend we are correct anyway. In fact most people choose the latter, because to adjust our worldview is to risk our own wisdom and virtue. Pride and moral cowardice prevail. Many people remain lifetime Liberals, Labor, Country Party or whatever irrespective of their party’s policies. In “Hubert Murray: The Australian Pro-Consul”, Francis West shows that Sir Hubert Murray had an inquiring mind, not a closed one, and could change his worldview. West noted Murray’s, “capacity, at a comparatively advanced age, to respond to new things. And this is not a common human characteristic in old or even middle age.” So in addition to corporations what are some other problems? Take government welfare! The 1960s and 1970’s saw an explosion in social welfare programs which greatly increased the size of government and government spending. Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society was a noble endeavor to eliminate poverty and racial injustice. But it had the perverse result of creating a permanent underclass totally dependent on government welfare. Walter E. Williams is a distinguished black economist who wrote the book “Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?” He wrote: “The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery could not have done, the harshest Jim Crow laws and racism could not have done, namely break up the black family.” Williams noted that historically up to 90% of black kids lived in two parent families. That is now down to around 30%. The illegitimacy rate of 70 percent among blacks is unprecedented in American history. The poverty rate among black families where parents worked is under 5%. But poverty in black families headed by single women is 37%. American writer Kay Hymowitz has written on the growth of single-mother families and how the Democratic Party has targeted this group with benefits so they are unlikely to bite the hand that feeds them—the government has become the father of their kids. This is also the reason those on the Left hate black neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, who is a self-made man from an “oppressed group” who rose to prominence advocating self-reliance, limited government and his Christian faith. After all, a successful black man who dares to leave the Welfare Plantation threatens the voting bloc of the Left, and hence its political power. Then there is no-fault divorce. This was first tried in Russia in 1917. It proved so disastrous for women and families that it was reversed in 1926. The Whitlam government introduced no-fault divorce to Australia in 1975. A 2008 Australian report noted how youth homelessness had gotten dramatically worse since an earlier report in 1989. The report largely blamed no-fault divorce and single parent parenting. However it noted “few would seriously want to reverse these social changes.” There is no political party, church or charity prepared to advocate change. Then there is the education system. Higher education throughout the Western world has become dominated by cultural Marxists, especially in the social sciences where in the US, Democrats outnumber Republicans 8:1 and in sociology its 44:1. Free speech and free inquiry are being shut down and corrosive identity politics prevails. Research showed that 80 per cent of Australian universities had acted censoriously or had policies limiting free speech. The skills of the average Australian student barely match those of Singapore’s most disadvantaged students, even though Singapore spends less per student, has larger classes, and pays its teachers less. And the only solution Australian politicians can recommend is spend more money, where bureaucrats and unions are the only winners. And corporate America is following the universities and is wallowing in political correctness. Sam Altman, chairman of one of Silicon Valley’s most successful innovators, wrote recently: “I felt more comfortable discussing controversial ideas in Beijing than in San Francisco…Restricting speech leads to restricting ideas and therefore restricted innovation." Another way our society is destroying itself is by embracing “environmental” policies that destroy its economic base. Just convince yourself you’re “saving the planet” and you’ll happily watch your society disappear up its own fundamental while proclaiming your own virtue. The EU’s method of suicide is childlessness. The leaders of Europe’s biggest economies, and all the European members of the G7, are childless. Europe’s post-Christian secularists’ have 1.3 children per couple compared to 3.5 for the Muslim immigrants they have welcomed in. Demography is destiny. How is it that the West has implemented so many destructive policies since the 1960s? Perhaps St Paul got it right: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” So what then happens if someone comes along and starts to reverse these destructive policies? Those who didn’t see it coming will continue not to see, lest it reflect negatively on their own wisdom and virtue. In the US, the economy is in top gear; business confidence is high; stocks are at record highs; unemployment is down; energy production is up; stifling regulatory burdens are being rolled back; foreign policy has been revitalized and ISIS is being defeated; the biggest taxation reforms in 30 years are about to happen; etc. etc. etc. Lamenting on “the mental affliction known as ‘political correctness’”, British historian Paul Johnson wrote of Donald Trump: “He is vulgar, abusive, nasty, rude, boorish and outrageous. He is also saying what he thinks and, more important, teaching Americans how to think for themselves again.” Aristotle knew that a thing, like government, could only be good if it fulfilled its purpose. Trump’s government is fulfilling its purpose. It’s a pity that Trump’s bombastic personality has blinded opponents to this reality.
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Most of the churches did good work in the areas of education and health. On a personal note, my mother was educated by Catholic nuns in Port Moresby, and I owe thanks to the sisters of the Catholic hospital at Megende, Chimbu, for the birth of my first child. A good account of the history of the Catholic Church in PNG was written by Georges Delbos: “The Mustard Seed: From a French Mission to a Papuan Church, 1885-1985”. Unfortunately many atheists fail to grasp that science is limited to the empirical, natural world and is incapable of saying anything about a non-empirical, spiritual realm—except to deny it exists. In “The God Delusion” (2006), the militant atheist Richard Dawkins wrote: “Whether we ever get to know about them or not, there are very probably alien civilizations that are superhuman, to the point of being god-like in ways that exceed anything a theologian could possibly imagine.” So Dawkins can conceive of “god-like” beings, but only in the far distance, not so close where they might be a constraint on his own ego.
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The Dark Ages, the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, Galileo and Sanguma. Chris Overland has suggested that the Western world was all superstition and magic until “the Renaissance triggered a scientific revolution.” He would possibly agree with the British scientist, Sir William Dampier, who had said that scientific thought was “quite foreign to the prevailing mental outlook” of the Scholastics who were enmeshed in a “tangle of astrology, alchemy, magic and theosophy” and were absolutely hostile to experimentalism. But that is all a myth. The great scientific achievements of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were the culmination of normal scientific progress made in the universities founded, controlled and staffed by the Catholic Church. The key to the rise of Western civilization was the pursuit of knowledge. It was the Scholastics who founded the great universities where they formulated and taught the experimental method. They were the ones who launched the rise of Western science. Universities were set up in Bologna (1088), Paris (1150), Oxford (1167), Palencia (1208), Cambridge (1209) etc. In their pursuit of knowledge universities esteemed innovation, and they were dominated by empiricism. Writes Marcia L. Colish: “Altogether, the methodology already in place by the early twelfth century shows the scholastics’ willingness, and readiness, to criticize the foundational documents in their respective fields. More than simply receiving and expanding on the classical and Christian traditions, they set aside ideas of those traditions deemed to have outlived their usefulness.” Robert Grosseteste (1168-1253) made contributions to optics, physics and tides, and he refuted Aristotle’s theory of the rainbow by realising they were refracted light. Albert Magnus (1200-1280) was “perhaps the best field botanist of the entire Middle Ages.” Roger Bacon (1214-1294) is renowned for his Opus Majus. He stressed empiricism as opposed to authority, because “authority has no savor, unless reason for it is given, and it does not give understanding, but belief.” Bacon stressed that theories must be put to further tests of their implications or predictions before they could be regarded as valid. William of Ockham (1295-1349) recognized that space was a frictionless vacuum. Nicole d’Oresme (1325-1382) established that the earth turned on its axis, thus giving the illusion that the other heavenly bodies circled the earth. Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543) put the sun in the middle of the solar system and had the earth circling it as one of the planets, although he failed to recognize that the orbits in the solar system were elliptical, not circular. In fact, his famous book ‘On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres’, is wrong except for the placement of the sun in the centre. The science historian, I. Bernard Cohen noted that “The idea that a Copernican revolution in science occurred goes counter to the evidence…and is an invention of later historians.” Copernicus had simply added another small step forward. Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University, Steven Shapin, in his book “The Scientific Revolution” commences with the line: “There was no such thing as the Scientific Revolution, and this is a book about it.” Author Rodney Stark writes, “Just as a group of eighteenth-century philosophers invented the notion of the Dark Ages to discredit Christianity, they labelled their own era the Enlightenment on grounds that religious darkness had finally been dispelled by secular humanism…the superb scientific achievements of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were not the work of skeptics, but of very Christian men—at least 60 percent were devout. The era of the Enlightenment is as imaginary as the Dark Ages, both perpetrated by the same people for the same reasons.” And Isaac Newton famously remarked “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” So what of Galileo? As Stark notes: “What got Galileo in trouble with the Church were not his scientific convictions nearly as much as his arrogant duplicity.” The Galileo Affair needs to be put into historical context: the Reformation, the Thirty Years War and the Catholic Counter-Reformation were all raging. Protestants were charging Catholics with being unfaithful to the Bible and so “the limits of acceptable theology were being narrowed.” Pope Urban III who knew and liked Galileo, tried to avoid a conflict between science and theology. Stark: “Early scientist adopted the tactic of identifying scientific conclusions as hypothetical or mathematical, hence being without direct theological implications. And that was what the Pope asked Galileo to do.” Was that asking too much? “Given Galileo’s propensity to claim false credit for inventions made by others, such as the telescope, and to have conducted empirical research he probably did not really perform, such as dropping weights from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, it would not seem to have stretched his ethical standards to have gone along with the pope. But to defy the pope in a rather offensive way was quite consistent with Galileo’s ego.” Galileo had earlier authored a book, “Assayer” which ridiculed the Jesuit mathematician, Orazio Grassi, who had published a study that (correctly) treated comets as small heavenly bodies. In 1632, Galileo published his “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems” ostensibly an explanation of tidal phenomena, but about the systems of Ptolemy’s, in which the sun circles the earth, and Copernicus’s wherein the earth circles the sun. The dialogue he employed “allowed Galileo to exploit the traditional ‘straw man’ technique to ridicule his opponents.” The book caused a stir, and the pope felt betrayed. The whole episode caused “a general crackdown by the Counter-Reformation Church on intellectual freedom that otherwise may never have occurred.” Still, the pope used his power to protect Galileo from any serious punishment. Stark: “Ironically, much that Galileo presented in the book as correct science was not; his theory of the tides, for example, was nonsense, as Albert Einstein pointed out in his forward to a 1953 translation of Galileo’s notorious book.” Furthermore, “The judgment against Galileo was partly motivated by efforts on the part of the Church leaders to suppress astrologers—some theologians mistakenly equating the claim that the earth moved with doctrines that fate was ruled by the motion of heavenly bodies.” Galileo was not some naïve scholar persecuted by ignorant bigots, and he remained deeply religious. And the case does nothing to alter the fact that the rise of science came from the Catholic Church seeking knowledge. More recently, we should not forget that it was a Belgian Catholic Priest, Georges Lemaitre who proposed what became known as the Big Bang Theory. Today in our post-Christian era, people would be better occupied trying to correct the deplorable state of their own institutes of higher learning and universities. Free speech and the Enlightenment values are being repudiated worldwide. Writes the philosopher Roger Scruton: “Books are struck off the curriculum on the grounds of political correctness; speech codes and counselling services police the language and conduct of both students and teachers; many courses are designed to impart ideological conformity rather than to inspire rational inquiry; and students are often penalized for having drawn some heretical conclusion about leading issues of the day.” Catholic universities are in a similarly deplorable state. In 1967 a group of Catholic academics declared independence from Church authority, and an attempt by Pope John Paul II in 1990 to reaffirm the Catholic tradition with ‘Ex Corde Ecclesiae’ has been largely ignored. At Notre Dame and most Catholic campuses students can choose courses on Native American Religions, Buddhism and cults. At the University of San Diego a course on “Gay and Lesbian Voices” will count towards a theology credit. (Can courses on Astrology, Magic and Sanguma be far away?) At Jesuit Marquette University, Professor John Mc Adams was sacked for standing up for a student who wanted to present an argument in a philosophy class against same-sex marriage and had been prevented from doing so by a lecturer. The pursuit of knowledge led to the rise of Western Civilization, and it is the repudiation of knowledge that is leading to its decline. The real hard work is to turn around the disasters happening right under our noses, rather than pontificating about myths of yesteryear.
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Many years ago, I read a book by a French priest who had worked in the Yule Island diocese. I think his name was Fr Duperyrat, but I’m not sure and I can’t recall the name of the book. Some readers may know. He related a number of spirit stories from, I think, the Goilala area. One story I do recall concerned an area from where he wanted to cut some timber, but the locals would not venture there because of some “devil” dwelling therein. He was determined to prove their beliefs wrong. The end result was that he captured an enormous python that lived there. So in fact their beliefs were not based on a mere fantasy. But I recall other spirit stories which confounded him, and for which he could offer no rational explanation.
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But why is the old world order dying? Every founder of the American Republic knew that their creation could only survive if its people were virtuous. In “The Political Theory of the American Founding: Natural Rights, Public Policy, and the Moral Conditions of Freedom”, Thomas G. West writes that the founders were realistic about the self-interested nature of man, but still sought to idealistically build a government that served the common good. The founders considered “virtue as a condition of freedom” and property rights as essential so that “the poor as well as the rich can benefit.” The founder’s trade policy was based above all on a “consideration of interest”, and they did not believe “in laizzez-faire economics at the expense of American prosperity or national defence.” The US was on track when it introduced anti-trust laws in 1890 to break up monopolies, but they dropped the ball in recent decades. Surely the founders would have opposed globalization that destroyed US industries and left American workers unemployed. They would have regarded as delusional: the transfer of US capital and technology to China in the hope it would become a liberal democracy; the payment of billions of dollars to North Korea in the hope it would abandon its nuclear ambitions; wars in the Middle East in the hope those countries would embrace democracy—the first democratic elections in Egypt resulted in the election of Mohamed Morse of the Muslim Brotherhood. One of the founders, John Adams, wrote that the principles of the American Revolution were “the principles of Aristotle and Plato, of Livy and Cicero” of “nature and eternal reason”. So what would they make of universities today that routinely censor free speech and shut down opposing points of view? The philosopher Roger Scruton wrote: “The spirit of free inquiry is now disappearing from schools and universities in the West… A single theme runs through the humanities as they are regularly taught in American and European universities: the illegitimacy of Western Civilization.” In Australia too, the “black armband” of history prevails. Scruton writes that academics like Foucault, Derrida and Rorty share “the view that truth, objectivity, value, or meaning are chimerical” and “no argument, however rational, can counter the massive ‘will to believe’ that captures their normal readers.” Marxist-inspired academic Herbert Marcuse’s paeans to “polymorphous perversity” and “primary narcissism” and his attacks on “procreative sexuality” were another solvent of Western traditions. His ideas and the idea of sexual identity being plastic have been absorbed by large sections of Western culture. In the US, the majority of college graduates can’t recall “the substance of the First Amendment” (freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly). So when black student Kmele Foster tried to justify free speech by quoting Martin Luther King Jr., he was shouted down by a Black Lives Matter protester with “I don’t need no facts.” Then there’s European stupidity. Post-war Holocaust guilt saw them embrace mass immigration as their penance for their 20th century failures. But the beneficiaries are Muslims with the Jews on the receiving end, yet again. Chris is correct to say it’s hard to ascertain what the truth is. The Western media has long been corrupt. Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen wrote in 1990 how they would use the media to engineer a change in the public’s attitude to homosexuality: “through a planned psychological attack in the form of propaganda fed to the nation via the media…our effect is achieved without reference to facts, logic or proof.” Simply use emotive terms like “equality” “justice” and “fairness” and ignore rationality based on science, philosophy and anthropology, and Australians will vote for it. The media showed why it is so mistrusted when it even falsified a fish-feeding story. CNN published a story, “Trump feeds fish, winds up pouring entire box of food into Koi pond” to portray his actions as a gaffe, without pointing out that he had simply mirrored the actions of his host, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Similarly the mainstream media ignores everything positive in Trump’s term: Unemployment at a 16 year low; food-stamps use lowest in 7 years; consumer confidence at an all-time high; stock market at an all-time high; petrol prices lowest in 12 years; reduced illegal immigration by 70% just by enforcing existing laws; gutted 800 Obama-era regulations that inhibit growth and created a million jobs; mortgage applications for new homes at a 7 year high; changed the rules of engagement against ISIS resulting in numerous wins; etc. etc. etc. And he’s done it without the help of Congress and with a media out to destroy him. Then today I read Philip Adams in The Weekend Australian Magazine criticizing Trump as the most “stupid person on the planet.” Adams is the champagne socialist who cheered on Hugo Chavez and invited him to Australia as “a source of inspiration and ideas” for us. Venezuela, with the world’s largest oil reserves, is now bankrupt and its people starving. Adams has learned nothing of value from his 78 years on this planet. Hollywood’s endless sermonizing from the podium at various ceremonies took a hit when the open secret about Harvey Weinstein’s reprehensible sexual behaviour became public. It was followed by a flood of sanctimonious denial and condemnation giving new meaning to the Grouch Marx adage: “Sincerity is the key to success. Once you can fake that you’ve got it made.” The churches are just as bad. An Anglican theologian writes, “Is Pope Francis a Liberal Protestant” because “it seems Rome itself has been infiltrated by the sexual revolution.” This mirrors criticisms by Catholics of the pope’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia which appears to be “intentionally ambiguous” on grave moral and doctrinal matters. It is an old philosophical truth that once you abandon the principle of non-contradiction, you can prove anything you want. But all this disaster has happened on OUR watch. We have let Marxism, the greatest failure in all history, dominate educational institutions. The communist propagandist Willi Munzenberg boasted almost a hundred years ago, “We must organize the intellectuals and use them to make Western civilization stink.” The Culture of Death that now pervades Western society stems from the mindsets from people such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Alfred Kinsey, Margaret Sanger, Jack Kevorkian and Peter Singer, who are all lauded in Western academic circles. Yeats was right: “The best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” Ed notes how the Chinese stress the importance in “maintaining stability and good order in society”. Hardly surprising then to read that the head of Zimbabwean military visited China the day before the coup. China is the new colonial master in Africa owning diamond, gold and platinum mines in Zimbabwe and giving loans which propped up Mugabe’s corrupt regime, allowing him to last longer than Nkrumah, Nyerere, Kenyatta, Kaunda and the other Afro-Marxist kleptocrats. Finally, poor old Jeremiah get another bad press. Fundamental Christians embrace him a prophet of doom, but Phillip has commandeered him to the environmental cause. I prefer him as the bloke who said, “They have eyes and do not see, they have ears and do not hear.”
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I think you’re right Chris that we probably are in broad agreement on most things. I feel terribly sad at how corruption is eroding PNG, just as I feel sad at the pathetic state of the West. I have no idea if Trump will be successful. But I see him as a revolutionary. He used his own money to run his campaign so he is not indebted to any of the vested interests than hamstring American politics. But in doing so, he’s earned powerful enemies who are trying to bring him down. However we live in a time of crisis, and at such times a braggart might succeed where a gentlemanly type would fail. I’m sure we could both agree that a hard-drinking Winston Churchill is preferable to a teetotal Adolf Hitler. Ross Howard
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While I generally like Chris Overland’s writing, in this article he displays an ability to spin words to mean the exact opposite of what was said, an ability that would be envied by those masters of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels and Willi Munzenberg. Chris writes: “we are once again in an era where capitalism is in mortal danger if it cannot adapt to the needs and expectations of those whom Donald Trump might describe as losers. Trump and others seem to have forgotten an important lesson of history which is that, when placed under sufficient duress, the losers can decide to grab their AK47's and do a little wealth redistribution all on their own.” Trump specifically used the word “losers” while referencing terrorists who had just targeted young teenage girls for murder using a nail bomb. These terrorists were “evil losers in life” said Trump. For decades, the West’s pathetic leaders have crafted rhetoric that circumvents Islam completely when talking about terrorism. How we talk about terrorism is important. The whole topic has been obscured by euphemisms and feel-good talk supposedly to win hearts and minds. Think that’s worked? A bit of straight talk in front of Islamic leaders just might. Trump hasn’t forgotten history’s lessons at all Chris. It was capitalism’s losers in the USA who voted for Trump in the hope that they could share in some of the wealth they have missed out on for decades. They hope Trump can give that to them without resorting to grabbing AK47’s. Conversely, it is the corrupt status-quo that has led to this state of affairs—the wealthy, multinationals, bankers, media, entrenched bureaucracy—who all opposed Trump and Brexit. And I’m continually incredulous how people can continue to suggest Marxism as a solution to anything after the blood-soaked, failure-ridden history of Marxism and communism. Talk about not learning history’s lessons! I’ve no doubt that Chris and I would like to see the same thing—an end to the rampart corruption in PNG that is depriving the nation of so much of its wealth. How to achieve this goal is usually the perennial problem.
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I certainly agree with Chris that PNG citizens should be deeply concerned about corruption, and I agree that a revolution is possible. I also know that the fruits of any revolution would be short-lived. The latest example of a failed state is Venezuela where, despite it having more oil that Saudi Arabia, its people are starving after years of the socialist dream. It would be pointless to get into an argument over what postmodernism is. But in the end it is nothing more than sophism, just as the emotional force behind Marx’s prose was more evident than the argument. In his book “Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left”, philosopher Roger Scruton writes of “a shared duplicity of purpose: on the one hand to undermine all claims to absolute truth, and on the other hand to uphold the orthodoxies upon which their congregation depends. The very reasoning that sets out to destroy the ideas of objective truth and absolute value imposes political correctness as absolutely binding, and cultural relativism as objectively true.” In other words, it accomplishes Gramsci’s Cultural Revolution, and totalitarianism, by the back door. It’s unsurprising then, that I read this morning of Hillary Clinton blaming the “domination of the media by the Right” for her failure. This is completely deranged! I recently pointed out the enormous anti-Trump bias of the media where the percentage of negative coverage of Trump was: CNN-93; NBC-93; CBS-91; Fox-52; New York Times-87; Washington Post-83; Wall Street Journal-70. I also pointed out CNN collusion with the Democrat Party. But then Hillary’s view conforms to a recent book “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires behind the Radical Right” by Jane Mayer, which criticises conservative billionaires, Koch brothers. However this book completely ignores reality—that most money is actually behind the Left/Democratic side of politics: Labour unions spend more money per year on lobbying and elections than the Koch brothers, and many of the wealthiest families are liberal Democrats. Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Michael Bloomberg, George Soros and Jeff Bezos all support liberal causes and the Democratic Party. In addition, the large liberal foundations like Mellon, Bloomberg, MacArthur, Hewlett and Soros’s Open Society outspend conservative foundations “by a factor of at least thirty to one each year.” So here is a woman who proclaims to support the poor, in reality being supported by big money, big media, big multinationals, and the big ‘Deep State” bureaucracy. In fact the same wealthy and powerful people who opposed Trump opposed Brexit. Yesterday also, the black US Housing Secretary, Ben Carson, said that poverty was largely a state of mind. Carson ought to know. He grew up in a poor inner-city home with a single mother who had a third-grade education, but he became a world-renowned neurosurgeon. Other black Americans have pointed out how the socialist welfare state so beloved of the Left has destroyed blacks. Walter Williams, a George Mason economist has said: “The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery could not have done, the harshest Jim Crow laws and racism could not have done, namely break up the black family.” These black Americans could see how Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, which sought to eliminate poverty, spend trillions of dollars only to produce a permanent underclass dependent on welfare. I have showed previously how one bishop, in one generation, turned a society of violent, uneducated drunks and prostitutes into the nation’s finest citizens, without government money, simply by inculcating them with Christian virtues. https://www.city-journal.org/html/how-dagger-john-saved-new-york’s-irish-11934.html All the American Founding Fathers knew that the democracy they were creating could only remain successful if the citizens were virtuous. George Washington: “Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society.” Benjamin Franklin: “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.” James Madison: “To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea.” And that is why the Marxists devised methods to destroy Western culture and morality from within, using instruments like the Frankfurt School which combining Marxism and Freud. Philip is also correct that short-sighted capitalism has assisted in this destruction. But Marxism/Socialism only destroys, and then destroys some more. The best advice I could give the PNG people would be to follow successful blacks like Ben Carson and Walter Williams, rather than deluded white socialists still living in la-la-land.
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Chris raises an important, if difficult, issue. Capitalism/Free Enterprise systems may be the best way to generate wealth. But what is the proper purpose: To make us all rich and selfish; or a moral system that allows us to become the kind of people who have the deep satisfaction of earning our own success by serving others, while making the world a better place for everyone? For me, some of these issues came to a head with the debates on globalisation in the 1990s. Both Paul Keating and Peter Costello were promoting the “inevitability” of globalisation. Opposition to globalisation brought together some strange bedfellows: former bitter enemies like Left-wing firebrand Clyde Cameron and social conservative Bob Santamaria. Opponents to globalisation pointed out that the destruction of industries would create unemployment and increase welfare dependence, and might even destroy the middle classes which were the backbone of Western democracies. It brought to mind Sir Hubert Murray’s fight against capitalists wanting to profit in Papua regardless of the cost to Papuans. He’d even written to his brother of “a gang of capitalists interested in Papua who want to get rid of me in order to have a free hand with the natives.” Laissez-faire capitalists seemed to forget that the foremost capitalist nation, the USA, had introduced anti-trust legislation in the 1890s, and that restrictions on trade could be traced as far back as the Roman Empire where, under Diocletian, violating a tariff could result in the death penalty. Capitalists also forget that their ability to operate effectively depends on the health of their own societies (this is not necessarily true for multinationals who can move capital around). I remember reading about a frustrated social conservative who had been rebuffed by businesses when he sought finance to publish a conservative magazine. Business could see no need for one. Yet he pointed out that almost all publications at that time had a left-wing slant. W. B. Yeats wrote: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” We now see the complete dominance of Marxist postmodern theories in the arts/social science faculties of almost every Western university. These theories are inimical not only to capitalism, but to the very Enlightenment values that have sustained Western democracies for over 200 years. Karl Popper said that the emancipation of the individual was the great spiritual revolution which led to the breakdown of tribalism and to the rise of democracy. Today’s identity politics are returning us to tribalism. And sure, there are other major problems. Western welfare and no-fault divorce laws have created a permanent underclass. Some 50% of Australians pay no net tax. And if demography is destiny, traditional European societies with their negative birth rates are finished. PNG doesn’t have these problems. I agree that many leaders are living in “an alternative universe”. Every day politicians mouth various inanities in their efforts to justify the failing status quo. Some of them seem completely unhinged. George Orwell got most things right because he always put experience before theory; believed that the ordinary person had a stronger sense of common decency than the highly educated; and believed that human beings mattered more than abstract ideas. The Biblical Rich Man wasn’t condemned because he was evil, but because he was negligent. It had been within his power to relieve the suffering of Lazarus. The fact that he probably never even thought about Lazarus didn’t save him. Ross Howard
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Ed, I get my news from a variety of sources—newspapers, magazines, radio, television, selected internet sites—and within those sources, naturally some writers are more reliable than others. I don’t completely discount the ABC, it has some good programs. And I sometimes a look at totally “fake news” sources such as Green Left Weekly. I’ve always found it prudent to know what the enemy is up to. And of course there are books. In my post I mentioned Willi Munzenberg, and I have several books referencing him including: “Double Lives: Spies and Writers in the Secret Soviet War of Ideas Against the West” by Stephen Koch; “The Red Millionaire: A Political Biography of Willi Munzenberg, Moscow’s Secret Propaganda Tsar in the West” by Sean McMeekin.
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Chris may be correct to suggest that Bryan Kramer’s exposing of corruption in PNG could be dismissed as “fake news” and thus fabrication. But in this era of advocacy journalism, what you perceive as “fake news” may well depend on the source of your news. A Harvard Report of 18 May showed the enormous anti-Trump bias of the media in Trump’s first 100 days. The percentage of negative coverage of Trump was: CNN-93; NBC-93; CBS-91; Fox-52; New York Times-87; Washington Post-83; Wall Street Journal-70. In addition to bias, there is flat-out collusion, as when staffers for newsmen Jake Tapper and Wolf Blitzer of CNN contacted the Democratic National Committee to seek questions they might put to Republican presidential candidates. And let’s not go into the anti-Trump leaks from the Washington Swamp to the media. But the mainstream media has become increasingly corrupt over the last few decades, for example: In 1998, homosexual Matthew Shepard, aged 21, died after being beaten, tortured and left to die by two men. In 1999, Jesse Dirkhising, aged 13, died after being kidnapped bound, drugged, tortured and raped by two homosexual men. In the month after Shepard’s murder Nexis recorded 3007 stories about his death. In the month after Dirkhising’s murder, Nexis recorded 46 stories about his. “This discrepancy isn’t just real, it’s staggering” wrote Andrew Sullivan, a conservative homosexual. Nor was Goebbels the first person to master “the big lie”. During the Weimar Republic, Goebbels served in the German Reichstag alongside Willi Munzenberg who had been recruited by Lenin. The Leftist magazine “Jacobin” states, “Goebbels regarded him as a nemesis but learned the dark arts of media strategy by watching him work.” Munzenberg set up hundreds of ‘Front’ organizations to suck in the “Useful Idiots” to do his bidding. His media empire was known as the “Munzenberg Trust”, and his operatives included Otto Katz who went to Hollywood and became a lover of Marlene Dietrich. He mastered the art of throwing shadows with articles, mass psychology, and deceit. Munzenberg helped organize the Reichstag Fire, but before the Nazis could bring their accused to trial, he organized and publicized a counter-trial in London which found the defendants not guilty, and he then spun the blame onto the Nazis. Although Stalin had Munzenberg murdered in 1941, he did not abandon his methods. A 1943 Communist Party directive stated: “Members and front organizations must continually embarrass, discredit and degrade our critics…When obstructionists become too irritating, label them as Fascist or Nazi or anti-Semite…The association will, with enough repetition, become a ‘fact’ in the public mind.” So when Hillary Clinton labelled Trump supporters as “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic” and a “basket of deplorables”, she was following the well-worn path of the extreme Left. Chris may think that Trump “promised to make America great again without any semblance of a coherent or even feasible plan for doing so.” Others believe he has delivered, or attempted to deliver, on all his plans: Appointment of distinguished people such as General Mattis and Rex Tillerson; No border wall yet, but border crossings down 60% simply because he is enforcing existing law; In the midst of replacing a collapsing Obamacare; Freeing business from oppressive regulations by requiring the elimination of two regulations for every new one, with a zero-dollar net increase in the cost of regulations; Nominating a Supreme Court justice who subscribes to an originalist interpretation of the Constitution; Working on tax reform to attract business and jobs; Infrastructure spending proposal in train; Reversed Obama’s “leading from behind” in world affairs; Generated confidence resulting in massive stock exchange gains. And all this done with a completely obstructionist Democratic Party opposition, and a colluding media deliberately promoting negativity and trying to delegitimize his administration. Chris may rely on the “elite media” for his news. I don’t. I rejected our ABC as a reliable source of news about the same time I read that British sailors aboard the Ark Royal rejected the BBC as the default source for their news. One sailor described the BBC news “indistinguishable from enemy propaganda.”
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I have a friend who, like Phil, abandoned her Catholic religion. In the 1960s she had been training to become a nun, but when the nuns started to abandon their traditions she left the convent and has not set a foot inside the Church since. I have more respect for her ethics and her moral reasoning than I have for those Catholics who have stayed inside the Church but who have conformed to changing fashions by simply rejecting every Church teaching that didn’t suite them. Philosophers like Alasdair MacIntyre have noted how modernity has revolutionised Christianity from within so that it has become pseudo-Christianity, and our lack of awareness of this fact is part of the problem. But then in every age how many people are truly committed to their beliefs? The psychiatrist Leo Alexander found that the most common reason that Christians became Nazis, was simply that it had become fashionable. I suspect their shallow faith had been more a matter of habit or culture than of any real conviction! So it’s illogical and unfair for Phil to blame the churches for complicity in PNG corruption just because most people are nominally Christian. The Sicilian Mafia might have been nominal Catholics who attended the funerals of those they had murdered, but the Church hardly caused or approved of this. Not that churches are blameless. St. John Chryostom famously said “The road to Hell is paved with the skulls of erring priests, and bishops are the signposts.” He thought few bishops would be worthy of an eternal reward. Phil states, “Papua New Guineans don’t really get much out of being Christians”, and he mentions education and health services, as if this material welfare was the only concern of Christians. He might care to read how one Catholic bishop turned an uneducated generation of violent drunkards and prostitutes into the nation’s finest citizens in one generation, without government assistance, simply by instilling into them Christian virtues. https://www.city-journal.org/html/how-dagger-john-saved-new-york’s-irish-11934.html And yes, it is “really cynical” to suggest that Christian missionaries uphold government neglect of health and education in order to keep people subject to their own teaching. Furthermore, Christianity invented the hospital and the university, not the state. It was Jean-Jacques Rousseau who wanted to replace the existing order with the State taking over all responsibility. His utopian State was not merely authoritarian, it was also totalitarian, and was the forerunner of the totalitarian systems of the 20th century, the most bloody century in history. What was Rousseau’s motivation for wanting the State to takeover parental and Church responsibilities? Much of his reputation rested on his theories of bringing up children, yet shockingly, he had abandoned all his own 5 children. Historian Paul Johnson writes, “It is unlikely that any of them survived long.” Could it be that this heartless man was seeking justification for his own abominable behaviour? Could it be that Karl Marx hated capitalism because he himself rarely worked, and he spent his life bludging on his wife’s family and on Frederick Engels? Phil then suggests that Australian secularism has resulted from dissatisfaction and a realisation of religion’s “true motives”, just as he has, and he can’t understand why Papua New Guineans, who are “rational human beings” like himself, are still religious. Could that possibly be because they don’t buy your arguments Phil? One of the characteristics of modern atheists seems to be preening self-righteousness. However most lack the intellectual rigour of the likes of Nietzsche who had the courage to confront the implications of his renunciation of Christianity. Nietzsche, says philosopher David Bentley Hart who takes on noted atheist Richard Dawkins, makes “the atheist chic of today look fairly craven by comparison.” Europeans have abandoned Christianity and have few children. In their deluded impotency, they seem unable even to see how they are being replaced by Muslim outsiders. It’s called civilizational collapse. Most days one can read of free speech and free inquiry being shut down by Leftists on US universities, and students seem completely indoctrinated into a belief that you can be whatever you say you are in terms of gender, race etc. New York City has already criminalized “Failing to Use an Individual’s Preferred Name or Pronoun” including the made-up transsexual pronouns ‘ze’ and ‘hir’, as a ‘human rights’ violation. A few months back a reporter visited several US universities and proclaimed that he was a 7 foot tall, black Asian female, even though he was clearly a 6 foot white male. However not a single student interviewed would refute his claims. Most agreed that he was whatever he said he was. I have pondered at some 6 foot tall, white male entering a Kukukuku village and proclaiming that he was really a 7 foot, black, female local person. I have no doubt he’d quickly learn that the Emperor has no clothes, and that Kukukuku’s don’t take kindly to Orwellian ‘Newspeak’. So who has the real wisdom? Ross Howard. hrhoward@optusnet.com.au
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G.K. Chesterton said it best: "It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it." Ross Howard. hrhoward@optusnet.com.au
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Chris Overland is certainly correct to suggest that a determined few can easily dominate the majority. The Nazis and communists proved that. But when he tries to draw Donald Trump and PNG in with the likes of Stalin and Mao, he draws a long bow that would be the envy of any Kukukuku. Paul Oates correctly notes that Nazi thugs were often highly intelligent people. Conversely, the psychiatrist Leo Alexander who was attached to the Nuremberg Trials, found that the most common reason Christians became Nazis was not because of any profound intellectual conviction, but simply because it was the current fashion, which goes to show just how pathetically weak are the convictions of the majority when the chips are down. But intellectuals were particularly gullible to communist propaganda. Malcolm Muggeridge lamented how his Leftist friends like George Bernard Shaw displayed “toward Stalin an imbecile credulity which an African witch-doctor would have found enviable.” Marx and Lenin regarded themselves as intellectuals. Italy’s communist “Red Brigades” of the 1970’s drew most of their members from universities, especially from the University of Trento’s sociology department. Peru’s “Shining Path” communist party, one of the most vicious guerrilla movements of the 1980’s, was led by Abimael Guzman, professor of philosophy, and was staffed mainly by students. UC Berkeley Law School alumnus Ronald Cruz justified the recent violence at that university by simply branding the speaker as “Fascist”, and the student-run newspaper wrote an opinion piece, “Violence as Self-Defense”. These as the same tactics that Nazi Brown Shirts and communists have long used. Ideologues are impervious to truth or facts. European Marxist Georg Lukacs, who had seen all the communist violence and failures of the 20th century, still proclaimed in 1968 that even if every empirical prediction of Marxism were invalidated, he would still hold Marxism to be true. Marxism has survived because of a few dedicated ideologues. But it has survived most strongly in Western universities where it has been dominant for decades now. That, I suggest, is the real story of how a dedicated few can dominate the majority. Herbert Marcuse promoted “repressive tolerance” being “intolerance against movements from the Right, and toleration of movements of the Left.” Political Correctness (Cultural Marxism) now infests all Western universities which are increasingly inimical to free speech, free inquiry and free minds. George Orwell knew that the purpose of speech restrictions, which he termed Newspeak, was “to make all other modes of thought impossible.” Decades ago, the US Senate condemned a history syllabus by 99-to-1 for being anti-American; At George Washington University a student can major in history without studying US history, At Marquette Jesuit University, Professor John McAdams was sacked for standing up for a student who was prevented from disagreeing with gay-marriage in a philosophy class. In Australia the “Black Armband” of history holds sway, so you don’t see books by famous writers like Mary Durack, A.B. Facey, Xavier Herbert, Les Murray, Thomas Keneally or Clive James on the NSW HSC English syllabus. Not one. Instead we have gender fluidity theories promoted under the banner “Safe Schools” devised by the Marxist Roz Ward. Facebook has variously listed between 51 and 71 gender options. Now that Trump promises to wind back this madness, activists have promised to make America “ungovernable.” And those who have allowed this madness to ferment over 50 years simply blame, you guessed it, Trump. It was 17the century writer Balise Pascal (“Pensees”) who wrote that people hate having to admit their own negligence: “He conceives a mortal hatred against that truth which blames him and convinces him of his faults.”
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Like Phil, I can decry PNG government corruption. If someone like Gary Juffa can solve that, he’s got my full backing. But unlike Phil, I certainly hope Juffa doesn’t become a rusted-on socialist like Bernie Sanders. Socialism has now notched up one hundred years of failures. The latest example is Venezuela, a country with more oil that Saudi Arabia, but bankrupted by the socialist policies of Hugo Chavez, and whose people are now starving. The welfare state has also wreaked havoc amongst black people in the USA. As George Mason University professor Walter E. Williams puts it: “The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn’t do, what Jim Crow couldn’t do, what the harshest racism couldn’t do. And that is to destroy the black family.” Economist Thomas Sowell concurs: “The black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and discrimination, began rapidly disintegrating in the liberal welfare state that subsidized unwed pregnancy and changed welfare from an emergency rescue to a way of life.” Bernie Sanders was lionised by “progressive” New York mayor Bill de Blasio. When de Blasio took office in January 2014, he pledged to fix New York’s 53,600 homeless. But by last December there were 61,000 homeless individuals in New York’s shelters. You get the same BS with “progressive” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel who has overseen a soaring murder rate in his city. Everyone else is to blame but him. Same thing when you look at things like education, under the sway of Left-wing ideologues in both the USA and Australia. Although more and more money is poured into education, standards continue to decline. But Leftists refuse to believe there is anything wrong with their narrative, and their only answer is to demand ever more money. This is the BS people are rejecting. So I can agree with Hugh Mackay that all organisations can become corrupt, just as people, families and nations can become corrupt. But this corruption has happened on our watch—“the educated baby boomers, now in their sixties and seventies.” It’s too easy to say scrap the lot and start over—that’s what communism, socialism and fascism sought to do. The answer is to reject what it is that has caused the corruption in the last 50 years—rejecting much of our own legacy. Cartoonist Scott Adams suggested that the whole anti-Trump fraternity “look as though they are protesting Trump, but they are not. They are locked in an imaginary world and battling their own hallucinations of the future.” Since the sixties, the Left-liberal consensus has worked to undermine traditional notions of decency, order, merit, and achievement. The election result was a sudden reversion to normality which came as a terrifying disillusionment.
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Chris makes some interesting observations, however I see Brexit and Trump as indicative of the failures of my generation. Brexit was a rejection of a utopian scheme which gave power to unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels, and which disregarded the aspirations of ordinary citizens in member countries, rendering them powerless. Communism was never “scientific” as Marx had said, so it could only ever operate by repression, something that was evident as far back as the 1930s, if one was not blinded by propaganda. International organizations such as the UN have become a joke when tyrannical governments such as Saudi Arabia, Algeria, China, Russian and Cuba can be elected to the Human Rights Commission. Multinational corporations that destroy local jobs but pay negligible tax by hiding profits in tax havens were seen to be untouchable. Both Brexit and Trump were opposed by this establishment—by multinationals, bankers, media, the wealthy. In fact, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders had a lot in common. So I don’t see current events as a return to some pre-WW1 squabbling nationalism, but rather a taking-back of power by the people. It’s not Left-v-Right, but localism, where ordinary people exercise some control, against internationalism, over which ordinary people have no control. PNG can only succeed if it gets its own house in order. And I agree with Philip that PNG needs real leaders. Leaders who are prepared to tackle corruption and work for the people who elect them. As for Pope Pius XII, there is a lot of information on this subject, some true and much untrue. I’ll quote from a book by Rabbi David G Dalin, “The Myth of Hitler’s Pope: How Pope Pius XII rescued Jews from the Nazis” published in 2005: “When ‘Hitler’s Pope’ was published in 1999, it became a bestselling international sensation…Readers of Cornwell’s bestseller were led to believe that before assuming the papacy Pacelli had been a devoted follower and supporter of Hitler. In fact, as we shall see, he was one of Hitler’s earliest and most consistent critics.” Israeli historian Pinchas Lapide wrote in his book “Three Popes and the Jews” that Pius XII “was instrumental in saving at least 700,000, but probably as many as 860,000 Jews from certain death at Nazi hands.” Hungarian Jewish historian, Jeno Levai, “was so angered by accusations of papal ‘silence’ that he wrote ‘Hungarian Jewry and the Papacy: Pius XII Did Not Remain Silent’ (published in English in 1968) with a powerful introduction by Robert M.W. Kempner, the deputy chief U.S. prosecutor at Nuremberg.” “Levai’s magisterial work, sadly ignored by most papal critics, rebuts all the major accusations against Pius XII.” Rabbi Dalin says that in 2004, “Cornwell acknowledged that he had erred in his book ‘Hitler’s Pope’…Cornwell’s about-face received only slight notice in the liberal media, which of course had completely ignored previous scholarly refutations of ‘Hitler’s Pope’.” However long before Cornwell’s book appeared, the 1963 play “The Deputy” written by Rolf Hochhuth, had a profound effect in changing people’s attitudes to Pius XII. Then in 1978, Lieutenant General Ion Mihia Pacepa defected from the communist Romanian secret service. In 2007, he revealed that he was involved in a KGB plot to depict Pius XII as an anti-Semite who had encouraged Hitler’s Holocaust. The operation was codenamed Seat-12 and was to portray the pope “as a cold-hearted Nazi sympathiser.” The scheme was hatched after the pope died in 1958 because “dead men cannot defend themselves.” According to Pacepa, on a visit to Bucharest in 1963, General Ivan Agayants, chief of the KGB’s disinformation department, told him that Seat-12 had materialised into a powerful play attacking Pope Pius XII entitled ‘The Deputy’, and that Agayants took credit for the outline of the play. With the mass media becoming so partisan these days, one needs to be very careful of one’s sources.
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“I'm not sure the Catholic church has much to be proud about, except perhaps for some of its overseas missionaries. One of their popes supported Hitler for instance.” I’d be interested to know which pope supported Hitler, and the evidence to support this?
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When speaking about enthusiasts for Fidel Castro, it’s misleading to state that, “Pope John Paul II and the present Pope, Francis, were also great admirers.” Pope John Paul II’s visit to Cuba in 1998 was an attempt to strengthen the Catholic Church after years of persecution under Castro. Shortly after that visit, Jorge Mario Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) compiled “Dialogues between John Paul II and Fidel Castro” in which he criticized socialism and Castro’s atheist revolution. The first chapter, entitled “The value of dialogue”, shows that Bergoglio believed, as did John Paul, that dialogue was the only way to end Cuba’s hostility to the Catholic Church. Before Castro took power, Cuba had been 90% Roman Catholic. The Jesuit-educated Castro even had his life saved by the church after an aborted coup attempt at the Moncada Garrison in 1953. He fled and sought sanctuary with Archbishop Monsignor Perez Serantes who extracted an undertaking from Batista that Castro’s life would be respected and that he would receive legal due process according to the constitution. But true to communist tradition, once in power Castro viciously attacked Christianity. Castro-controlled mobs attacked worshippers emerging from church; all Catholic radio and TV programs were cancelled; all Catholic publications were halted; churches were vandalised; about 350 Catholic churches were expropriated; thousands of priests and nuns were forced into exile and many sent to concentration and labour camps. In 1969 Castro officially abolished Christmas and its celebration, and Catholics were described as “social scum.” It was only in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union which had been Cuba’s main financial backer, and facing an economic crisis, that Castro began loosening some restrictions on the church. That atmosphere improved after visits by John Paul, Pope Benedict XVI, and Francis. However it was not until 2014, 55 years after Castro’s take over, that the first new church was authorised. However none of this should surprise. The realities of communism, its brutality, mass murder and poverty, were revealed long before Castro by writers such as Malcolm Muggeridge, George Orwell and Arthur Koestler. But people love to believe myths, and communist propaganda was, and is, very good at perpetrating myths. The feeble excuse that Cubans got free health care and education is a bit like Fascists excusing Mussolini by saying that he made the trains ran on time. Indeed health services are not so free. Patients have to bring their own medicine, bedsheets and even iodine, which they have to purchase on the blackmarket. And Cuba has sent so many doctors abroad, especially to Venezuela in exchange for oil, that the island has a doctor shortage. As for Venezuela, it’s another failed socialist experiment where the people are now staving in a nation that has more oil than Saudi Arabia—but of course both Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro died millionaires. Typical of Cuban government duplicity, when Melia International was engaged to manage Cuba’s hotels, it said it wanted to pay workers a decent wage. The government agreed and the company paid $8-$10 per hour. But they have to pay it to the government, and the government only pays the workers 67 cents a day - a child’s allowance - and pockets the rest. Cuba was one of the world’s richest countries before Castro destroyed it, and the wealth was broadly spread. Alfred Cuzan, professor of political science at the University of West Florida writes, “Contrary to the myth spread by the revolution, Cuba’s wealth was not the purview of a privileged few…Cuban society was as much of a middle-class society as Argentina or Chile.” In 1958, Cuba had a higher per-capita income than much of Europe. Castro was not “a great man.” He was just another communist thug who sought power and impoverished his country.
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Philip, I too liked the Skyvan—until I had to fly in the bloody thing. It was 1969 and I was returning to POM from Hagen in, I think, a Navajo. Just after take-off from Mendi an engine shut down and we had to go back. While waiting for a replacement aircraft, I spent a few pleasant hours with John Wallis of DASF, but the only replacement was a Skyvan in which they’d fixed a few seats. It was the nosiest thing I’ve ever been in, and when the pilot dropped it into Kerema, I suffered terrible ear ache. Got to POM and had to see Jacobi and couldn’t hear properly for several days. I reckon it would have given the cargo a headache. Chris, I too have fond memories of Bert and Wally Kienzle, even though I only met them a couple of times in 1970/71. I was working for Peter MacNab, then with Minjur Mines but better known for discovering Lihir, and we were walking into the old gold fields on the Aikora River, several days walk from Kokoda. When at Kokoda we were always invited over to Mamba for lunch. I found them to be pleasant company and gracious hosts.
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Sorry for that omission Keith. I had thought it was somehow automatic if I was signed in. ________ Thanks Ross - all good now - KJ
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Brexit and Trump might be an omen for Bougainville’s referendum on independence, given PNG’s political corruption. Globalisation and culture wars were paramount issues in Trump’s victory. Like Brexit, Trump was opposed by the wealthy, multinationals, media, and the political class. Yet he correctly predicted the vote would be Brexit all over again. The old Republican Party is dead; the Democrats were nearly taken over by socialist Bernie Sanders; socialist Jeremy Corbyn took over Britain’s Labour Party; in the NSW Orange by-election, the National Party suffered the largest swing in history against it; Paul Keating has blasted the ALP for straying too far from the political centre; in Europe minority parties are on the rise. Why? Brexit was essentially a vote against an elitist and dictatorial EU, whose power without accountability, threatened Britain’s democracy and long-held freedoms. Notwithstanding Europe’s immigration and terrorist problems, Angela Merkel invites a million Muslims into the country without asking the German people. In Orange, voters rebelled against a dictatorial government which was forcing council amalgamations against the wishes of the people, and which destroyed livelihoods by banning the greyhound racing industry. In the US, the people revolted against the injustices of globalization pursued by both Democratic and Republican establishments. China undervalues its currency to gain an unfair trade advantage, and currency manipulation has been blamed “more than any other subsidy” for destroying American manufacturing jobs. On the cultural front, Clinton smeared Catholic beliefs as “backward”, and smeared Trump supporters as “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and Islamophobic.” The Democratic Party has adopted poisonous identity politics which creates divisions and which turn people against each other. They lost the Rust Belt states because they abandoned blue collar whites in favour of identity politics. Clinton campaign chairman, John Podesta, even lamented that the San Bernardino gunman who murdered 14 people was not white. That would have fitted the Left-wing narrative where “whiteness” is now synonymous with “evil”; where “Whiteness Studies” flourish in universities; annual White Privilege Conferences are held; white kids as young as six are taught they’re born racist and made to feel terrible, while “kids of colour” are taught to feel proud about their race. Identity politics renders social life intolerable—where students wearing sombreros at a party are committing an “act of ethnic stereotyping” and where it’s considered inappropriate for white people to eat Pad Thai. We see similar nonsense in Australia where cartoonists and students are hauled before the so-called Human Rights Commission. Ordinary people are starting to revolt against those who condone these injustices.
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