Emails and articles of interest are posted here by John Ray to make them more widely available
"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3
My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.
I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.
Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.
America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course
The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"
Why are Leftists always talking about hate? Because it fills their own hearts
Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left
The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left.
Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.
Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.
The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here
Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies
The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.
Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt
I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful
The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel
"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises
The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.
Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses
Among well-informed people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists hate success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.
A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.
Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.
Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.
Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.
“Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics.” -- C.J. Keyser
"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus
THE FALSIFICATION OF HISTORY HAS DONE MORE TO IMPEDE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT THAN ANY ONE THING KNOWN TO MANKIND -- ROUSSEAU
"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.
Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.
Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance
Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state – capitalism frees them.
MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate.
Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).
The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.
Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.
Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.
IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.
If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!
And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!
The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned
"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.
Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel
Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.
Conservatives, on the other hand could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.
Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists
The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.
Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable
A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931–2005: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.
"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama
The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges
The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.
The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload
A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here
Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16
People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average black adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.
Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.
Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."
R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. He pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason
Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?
The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.
Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?
Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable
I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.
As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.
Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)
First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean
It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were.
I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.
The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"
UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.
Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide
I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.
I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.
I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address
Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.
"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit
I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.
It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.
If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.
COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.
My academic background
My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here
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There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here
Mirror for "Dissecting Leftism"
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MONOGRAPH ON LEFTISM
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Fascism is Leftist
Hitler a socialist
What are Leftists
Psychology of Left
Leftism is authoritarian
James on Leftism
Irbe on Leftism
Beltt on Leftism
Pyszczynski et al.
Cautionary blogs about big Australian companies:
St. George bank
Bank of Qld.
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Thursday, September 28, 2006
I very rarely bother to fisk Leftist articles. It is much more interesting to spend my time looking at articles that endeavour to consider all the facts of a matter rather than looking at the very selective attention to the facts that characterizes Leftist writing. A reader has however drawn my attention to a typical bit of Leftist hate by Australian columnist Amanda Blair and offered some comments on it. I reproduce both the column and the comments on it below. I thought however that I might make a few comments in passing on the column myself:
Our wonderfully caring Amanda is unhappy with the way senior members of the Australian government have repeately told Australia's Muslims that they should shape up or ship out. In response to that, dearest Amanda puts forward the hoary argument that since not all Muslims are the same we should consider them only as individuals and not as a group. That most Leftist discourse consists of NOTHING BUT talk about groups ("The poor", "Minorities", "Women", "Zionists" etc.) does not of course embarrass Amanda one bit. And according to Amanda's logic we should all in fact be struck dumb -- since all words in our language are words for categories. There are for instance large dogs, small dogs, black dogs and white dogs, tame dogs and fierce dogs so obviously we should not talk of dogs -- right?
Allowance should of course always be made in official policy for the characteristics of individuals (something that Leftists seem to find extraordinarily hard to do) but Prime Minister Howard has repeatedly done just that -- stressing that the problem lies with a minority of Muslims only, not with all Muslims. And yet it is of Mr Howard that sad Amanda is most critical.
What would you say about someone who was careful to speak slowly and clearly to someone who appeared to be of immigrant origin? Would you describe them as polite, considerate etc.? Amanda does not. When Mr Howard did that she made the very large leap of saying that it showed him to be a "little Englander". Since he is Australian, not English, that would appear to be a snide accusation of racism. The irony of the fact that the original little Englanders of the 19th century were radical opponents of imperialism is of course quite lost on our Amanda. She appears to be one of that fortunately rare but very amusing ilk who like to use big words and expressions without really knowing what they mean. She is, most probably, the product of a modern journalism education.
She also seems to be claiming that Australians are much less happy with their immigrants than are Americans. Since Australia has had for around 60 years now a policy of deliberately encouraging immigration -- something that only Israel could rival -- that is as fact-free as the rest of her diatribe.
To say any more about her pathetic outburst would, I think, be to take it far more seriously than it deserves. I have however interpolated a few more comments in italics. The text of Amanda's column follows, followed in turn by comments from a reader:
Muslims, myths and fear mongering
By Amanda Blair
Who'd want to be a Muslim in Australia? John Howard has decided to identify a "very small section" of Australia's Muslim community for not integrating. Of course, it beggars the question, if it's so small, why bother highlighting it? But, no, he feels it proper to single them out and suggest they learn English and learn also that in this country, there's equality between men and women.
John Howard is Prime Minister of one of the world's most multicultural countries. And I think he's totally without understanding for what it is to be multicultural. I realised this some months ago, seeing footage of him at a function. He was speaking to a woman wearing a Muslim headscarf, asking her how long she'd been in the country. It was classic Basil Fawlty stuff, speaking quite deliberately as though she were deaf. She replied: "I was born here."
Howard is a Little Englander. Not a Modern Australian - nor, for that matter, a man of the modern world. His comments on Friday were akin to the sort of stuff my grandfather came out with while talking about "the Japs in 1942". Can you imagine the backlash if Tony Blair made these remarks in modern Britain? Or even George Bush? America has its problems, but it cherishes the fact it was built on migrant populations and God help anyone who doesn't respect it.
Of course, I can already hear some of you chuntering on about "political correctness" - that everyone has a right to free speech. Well, sure, but Howard has a responsibility to be fair to ALL Australians, not just those who subscribe to his fantasy of a quarter-acre-block and a Commodore station wagon for all.
The problem is, there's fear in this country and overseas about terrorism. And I think John Howard is quite simply vote-getting by playing - all very subtly - to those fears. Muslims have become the bogeymen in the closet, at least for those thong-wearing, beer-drinking barbecue jockeys griping about people who "aren't like us". The "equality to women" thing is a classic hot button, one that appeals to a dimly-perceived image of suppression under a veil.
Let's put that straight. There are a billion Muslims in the world operating under a string of regional and national interpretations of the Koran. Oxford-educated Benazir Bhutto was able to rise to the No. 1 job in Pakistan [Only as heir to her popular father]. A suppressed woman? Hardly. There are nations where Muslim women have the option to wear the veil, many of them freely choosing to do so, saying how it's liberating to be removed from the vanity and self-consciousness that prevails in other nations. But yes, the Taliban made second-class citizens of women, although it's an extremist group that has happily been ousted.
(While we're at it, I know Catholic women who are suppressed. [Typical Leftist moral equivalence. Catholics are hard on women in some ways so that excuses the much crueler Muslim oppression of women, apparently. And two wrongs make a right, I guess] I know women from atheist households who are suppressed. And if this Government cherishes equality, how about some legislation that guarantees equal pay and conditions for women?) But that's the point: Howard is governing a nation that loves to watch Border Security, its most popular TV show - a foul, fear-mongering take on Fortress Australia, where dinky di Aussies take out bad guys - brown guys with poor command of the language, here to take our jobs and our women.
John Howard, this is what you're doing to modern Australia. [Now comes the typical elitist contempt for ordinary Australians, complete with mimicry of a working-class accent] I know two Anglo-Australian women. Recently, they were on the Gold Coast enjoying their Kath and Kim-style holiday, all fake tans and "cardonnay". They were waiting for a hotel lift to go to the top floor. "And, we were standing there - roight? - and then the lift arrived and then - then - we looked and saw there was a whole heap of Muslim women in their headscarfs an' that. An' Mum an' Oi looked at each other and we thought, we thought, 'Aww hell, they're probably terrorists', so we didn't get in with them.' Oi don't wanna get blown up." Like I said, who'd want to be a Muslim in Australia?
And one of Amanda's readers offers some carefully referenced comments:
I was intrigued by your piece in the Sunday Mail of September 3, and your follow up `Here's a Thought' in the September 10 issue. Mostly I find your writing pretty close to the mark, but in this case unfortunately you are wrong on many counts.
Re. your question "How many of them do you know". I know, and have met, and have read letters, comments, and articles from many hundreds of `them' of all sorts of persuasions.
THEM AND US
Your question about us and them, and what exactly is our way of life in this concept can be answered quite simply. Yes of course there is an `us' and there is a `them'.
The `us' includes the modern Christians, Judaists, Buddhists, Shinto's, moderate Muslims etc. that accept freedom (of speech, religion etc.), equality (of sexes, races, colours, religion, sexual orientation, size, etc.), and the rule of law where those laws are based on the above principles (but it doesn't include people and organizations that claim moderation when speaking in English, French, German, Japanese, etc., but preach the opposite when speaking in Arabic, Indonesian, etc.).
The `them' includes the Fascists, Communists, IslamISTS, and other totalitarian ideologies that do not accept the Rule of Law, or accept only a rule of law based on principles diametrically opposed to the above `us' legal principles.
Next we need to get a few things straight. If you have studied the Koran and the Hadiths you will know that the sanitized version of Islam that is being peddled by much of our media (5) (9) (19) is not the version portrayed in the Koran and the Hadiths. That sanitized version is the version we would all like Islam to become, but it is not the mainstream version. The true Islam is the Koranic version as printed in the Koran and the Hadiths. This is the version being taught in nearly all of the Muslim schools and Mosques. (15) (16) (Do you own a copy of the Koran? Is it a true translation or one of the sanitized versions?)
In fact senior Islamic teachers and religious leaders regard followers of moderate versions of Islam to be infidels - unbelievers. And don't be fooled by the claim that some that the more peaceful and moderate clauses in the Koran prove that the religion is peaceful. Those claims are based principally on texts from early chapters (suras) originating from Muhammad's Mecca period, but these clauses are abrogated by the later chapters written in Medina. (2) (15) (16)
All of these situations need to be fixed, and we need to support the truly moderate Muslims, and to shut out and delegitimize, and remove from positions of influence those that preach intolerance, murder, terrorism, etc.
The situation you portrayed in your `Kath and Kim' example is counterproductive to the above aims and should not have happened.
Being a person with access to overseas media, you should know that your claim that Tony Blair and George Bush would not be able to make similar comments to those made by John Howard is totally false. Both of those leaders (and many others) have been very critical of immigrants and residents that don't accept their host country's laws and moral imperatives.
Your comments about John Howard's method of speaking when talking to a woman wearing a head scarf are also off the mark. If you have conversed with as many people from non-English speaking background as I have, then you find that whenever you see evidence that the person may be from that background, you automatically speak slowly and deliberately to avoid embarrassment to them. When you have ascertained their English speaking skills, you revert to a method of speaking appropriate to their skills level.
It does however speak volumes to the fact that many people (especially females) from certain backgrounds have limited or non-existent English speaking capability.
In this case the person had adequate English speaking shills, but the Prime Minister would not have known that until she answered him.
Of course our leaders and we make mistakes, but we should learn from them. Invaluable learning and analysis tools are history and overseas experiences. Unfortunately many of us seem unwilling or unable to learn from these sources. Fortunately there has been a steady positive shift towards realism from some of the world's leaders in response to the above pressures. (1) (12)
As for xenophobia, increasingly we see `home grown' second and subsequent generation young people being radicalized by the teachings of the propagators of the true Islam, with the result that home grown intolerance, intimidation, and terrorism is increasingly becoming the problem in many countries. (4) (8) (10) (11) (12)
There is ample evidence that contrary to popular opinion, rather than becoming more moderate, most Islamic countries are becoming more traditional/fundamentalist/extreme in their attitudes and lawmaking. (13) One of a multitude of examples is the recent law changes in the formerly moderate Malaysia, where it is now legal for husbands to have more than one wife, where husbands now have even more control of their wives, and where free speech has been further curtailed, etc.
With this trend in mind, we can see that there is a decreasing, not an increasing likelihood that someone like Benazir Bhutto could rise to power in these countries in the future.
I note your claim that John Howard was just `vote getting' when he made comments about terrorism dangers. Do you honestly believe that there is no danger? If you do then you are ignoring all of the available evidence. If you don't then you are being dishonest in your writings.
I find it unconscionable that leaders like Simon Crean can say on national TV that there was/is no danger to Australia or Australians from terrorist activities when they should know this to be untrue. (As you will remember Crean said that a couple of days before the Bali bombing).
I would very much like the followers of that and similar religions and ideologies to forsake the intolerant and violent parts of Koranic and other teachings, and become peaceful additions to our and similar communities. Unfortunately the trend is in the opposite direction. An examination of what has happened and is continuing to happen overseas reinforces this opinion. (3) (5) (7) (13) (17)
Those who do not accept the `us' principles above and whose ultimate aim is to replace our laws and moral principles with their own should instead settle in countries that do accept their principles.
Before you make pronouncements on other people's attitudes and actions in this matter you need to learn a lot more about Islam, and the real `war on terror' (21) (23). Sure there are a lot of people who are xenophobic, intolerant, and prejudiced, and there are a lot that adopt the ostrich `head in the sand' principle but there are also a lot that have made a concerted effort to understand the multitude of challenges that face us in this modern world.
We all also need to examine and learn from what has happened in overseas countries, because if we don't, the same disasters that have befallen them will be visited on us in the future. (24)
(Please note that these are only a few of the many available - some others I have read are more relevant, but I don't have them in my local listings).
(10) Chicago Tribune Sept 19 2004 "Struggle for the Soul of Islam".
(12) "Public Statement, Release of 9/11 Commission Report, the Hon. H. Kean and the Hon. Lee H Hamilton", July 22, 2004.
(13) News Max Magazine June19, 2004, "Saudis, heads-in-sand, saw no evil".
(15) The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades, by Robert Spencer, Regenery Publishing.
(16) The Sword of the Prophet, by Serge Trifkovic, Regina Orthodox Press.
(17) Eurabia, The Euro-Arab Axis, by Bat Ye'or, Fairleigh Dickson Press.
(18) Islamic Imperialism: A History, by Efraim Karsh, Human Events Books
(20) Jordanians turning against terrorism, Associated Press, Nov 14 2005.
(22) The Course of History is Changed, Paul Sperry, FrontPageMagazine.com, December 14, 2005
(23) MEMRI, Special Report No. 24, December 26, 2003.