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
MY OTHER SITES
EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL
FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC
EYE ON BRITAIN
IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL
Of Interest 3
There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here
Mirror for "Dissecting Leftism"
China Mirror for "Dissecting Leftism"
Longer Academic Papers
Academic home page
Academic Backup Page
General Backup 2
MONOGRAPH ON LEFTISM
CONSERVATISM AS HERESY
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.
(My frequent reads are starred)
10 o'clock scholar
11 Day Empire
American Indian Movement
Anthropology & Econ
Blogs against Hillary
Blood & Guts
Brian Leiter scrutinized
Campus Newspaper Confab
Candle in dark
Civilian Gun Self defense
Common-sense & Wonder*
Discover the networks
Elephants in Academia
Enter Stage Right
Everything I Know
Fighting in the Shade
Gates of Vienna
Gay and Right
Ghost of Flea
Global warming & Climate
One Good Turn
GOP & The City
Grumpy Old Sod
Gust of Hot Air
Hall of Record
R. Hide MP
Hummers & Cigarettes
Junk Food science
Just One Minute
Keeping it Simple
Kim Du Toit
Knowledge is Power
Let it bleed
Little Green footballs
Lost Tooth Soc
Midwest by DC
More Sense than Money
Museum of Left Lunacy
My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
Neo Con Blogger
Never Yet Melted
New Media Journal
New Zeal Pundit
Norm Quantum Weatherby
Northeastern Intelligence Network
OC Register blog
On the Right Side
Political Theory Review
Regions of Mind
Rhymes with Right
Right Wing news
Sine Qua Non
Stop and Think
Stop the ACLU
Talk Climate Change
Truth Laid Bear
Voices in Head
Watt's up with that
Winds of Change
World of Reason
Write Wing Warrior
You Big Mouth
Early Childhood Education
No 2 Pencil
Environmental Economics & Sust. Devel.
Truck & Barter
Aussie Political Report
A E Brain
L. Hissink's Crazy World
Little Tin Soldier
Tao of Defiance
Voice of Pacific
Paul & Carl
It's A Matter of Opinion
The Dog Blog
Welcome to the Asylum
BNP and Me
Britain & America
Burning our Money
Campaign Against Political Correctness
Campaign for English Parliament
House of Dumb
IQ & PC
Right to be Free
Walking the Streets
Freedom & Whisky
A Place to Stand
Brit Nats in Wales
Hot Air Forum
Ice & Fire
Not A Fish
The Portuguese connection
A Razao das Coisas
Avaliando o mundo
Boticario de Provincia
Nadando contra a mare
O Blog do Alex
European Family Health
Le Guerre Civili
Best of Web
Business Review Weekly
International Business Times
Sydney Morning Harold
12/30/2001 - 01/06/2002
08/11/2002 - 08/18/2002
01/26/2003 - 02/02/2003
03/02/2003 - 03/09/2003
03/09/2003 - 03/16/2003
03/23/2003 - 03/30/2003
04/06/2003 - 04/13/2003
04/13/2003 - 04/20/2003
05/04/2003 - 05/11/2003
05/11/2003 - 05/18/2003
05/18/2003 - 05/25/2003
05/25/2003 - 06/01/2003
06/01/2003 - 06/08/2003
06/08/2003 - 06/15/2003
06/15/2003 - 06/22/2003
06/22/2003 - 06/29/2003
06/29/2003 - 07/06/2003
07/06/2003 - 07/13/2003
07/20/2003 - 07/27/2003
07/27/2003 - 08/03/2003
08/03/2003 - 08/10/2003
08/10/2003 - 08/17/2003
08/17/2003 - 08/24/2003
08/24/2003 - 08/31/2003
08/31/2003 - 09/07/2003
09/07/2003 - 09/14/2003
09/14/2003 - 09/21/2003
09/21/2003 - 09/28/2003
09/28/2003 - 10/05/2003
10/19/2003 - 10/26/2003
10/26/2003 - 11/02/2003
11/02/2003 - 11/09/2003
11/16/2003 - 11/23/2003
11/23/2003 - 11/30/2003
12/21/2003 - 12/28/2003
12/28/2003 - 01/04/2004
01/04/2004 - 01/11/2004
01/11/2004 - 01/18/2004
01/18/2004 - 01/25/2004
01/25/2004 - 02/01/2004
02/01/2004 - 02/08/2004
02/08/2004 - 02/15/2004
02/15/2004 - 02/22/2004
02/22/2004 - 02/29/2004
03/07/2004 - 03/14/2004
03/14/2004 - 03/21/2004
03/21/2004 - 03/28/2004
03/28/2004 - 04/04/2004
04/04/2004 - 04/11/2004
04/25/2004 - 05/02/2004
05/02/2004 - 05/09/2004
05/09/2004 - 05/16/2004
05/16/2004 - 05/23/2004
05/23/2004 - 05/30/2004
05/30/2004 - 06/06/2004
06/06/2004 - 06/13/2004
06/13/2004 - 06/20/2004
06/20/2004 - 06/27/2004
06/27/2004 - 07/04/2004
07/04/2004 - 07/11/2004
08/29/2004 - 09/05/2004
09/05/2004 - 09/12/2004
09/19/2004 - 09/26/2004
09/26/2004 - 10/03/2004
10/03/2004 - 10/10/2004
10/10/2004 - 10/17/2004
10/24/2004 - 10/31/2004
10/31/2004 - 11/07/2004
11/07/2004 - 11/14/2004
11/21/2004 - 11/28/2004
12/12/2004 - 12/19/2004
12/26/2004 - 01/02/2005
01/09/2005 - 01/16/2005
01/23/2005 - 01/30/2005
03/06/2005 - 03/13/2005
04/10/2005 - 04/17/2005
04/24/2005 - 05/01/2005
05/01/2005 - 05/08/2005
06/19/2005 - 06/26/2005
07/10/2005 - 07/17/2005
07/24/2005 - 07/31/2005
07/31/2005 - 08/07/2005
09/18/2005 - 09/25/2005
09/25/2005 - 10/02/2005
10/16/2005 - 10/23/2005
12/25/2005 - 01/01/2006
01/01/2006 - 01/08/2006
01/22/2006 - 01/29/2006
04/09/2006 - 04/16/2006
04/16/2006 - 04/23/2006
05/07/2006 - 05/14/2006
05/14/2006 - 05/21/2006
06/04/2006 - 06/11/2006
06/18/2006 - 06/25/2006
07/23/2006 - 07/30/2006
08/06/2006 - 08/13/2006
08/13/2006 - 08/20/2006
09/24/2006 - 10/01/2006
10/22/2006 - 10/29/2006
12/24/2006 - 12/31/2006
02/18/2007 - 02/25/2007
03/04/2007 - 03/11/2007
05/13/2007 - 05/20/2007
07/01/2007 - 07/08/2007
08/05/2007 - 08/12/2007
03/30/2008 - 04/06/2008
12/05/2010 - 12/12/2010
Friday, April 29, 2005
Reminiscences about an enormously influential leader of an Australian State government
Under the heading “How Joh kept his chooks well fed”, Allen Callaghan reminisces about a man whom I am proud to say I voted for repeatededly – the Premier of Queensland, Sir Johannes Bjelke-Petersen
Joh Bjelke-Petersen was one of the first television politicians in Australia. Unlike most of his state and federal counterparts in the 1960s, to whom media meant print, he grasped the potential of TV and, equally importantly, that of radio.
In a decentralised state such as Queensland, where the metropolitan media's sway ended at Brisbane's city limits, he could reach the bulk of Queenslanders through 10 regional daily newspapers, six TV channels and 13 radio stations. All were locally owned and independently minded.
The politician and premier often derided as a country hick and stumbling speaker showed a talent for innovation and remaking his image that others, including Premier Peter Beattie, criticised in opposition but emulated in office.
His firsts included his own radio talkback show, street walks, TV reports, newspaper columns, a Telex news service, twice-daily press conferences and a portable public address system.
He was accessible to journalists and the public in a way few politicians today can match. The result was a grasp of what Queenslanders were thinking that left five Opposition leaders and four Liberal leaders in his wake in his 19 years in office.
This was the more remarkable given that he came to the premiership almost by accident when his predecessor, Jack Pizzey, died suddenly after only six months in office in 1968. Within two years his own party tried to depose him after serious doubts over his political and media profile.
Joh survived but realised he had to come to terms with the visual media. His first move was to hire Hugh Bingham, a former editor of Brisbane Truth, a public relations expert and later head of public affairs for Carlton & United Breweries.
Bingham's first move was to try to soften the wowser image with outings to Eagle Farm racecourse and pictures of Joh patting a horse. Ironically, I wasn't impressed with this and while the ABC's political reporter for Queensland put one of these photos up on the newsroom bulletin board with the caption: "Joh's new entry in the expediency stakes. His last starter, Integrity, fell at the first hurdle."
I had interviewed him often while he was works and housing minister and insisted on short, sharp answers when he started to ramble. At that time only the ABC had a full-time TV journalist on the political round and when Joh later wanted a media adviser he asked me. I thought hard about jumping from the senior position in the ABC newsroom to a premier whose future looked decidedly dicey. However, I relished the challenge and took the plunge in 1971.
The Liberal leader and treasurer, Gordon Chalk, warned me: "You know it won't last." I was there eight years.
Work in print, radio, TV, government and public relations, including helping introduce the ABC's Canberra TV news, gave me insights into the requirements of each medium that proved invaluable. The chief advantage was that Joh was a man willing not only to listen to ideas but to adopt them. Despite entrenched opposition from the Premier's Department, which didn't think he would last, Joh's first innovation was a media room and twice-daily news conferences. The room had cabling so that the TV interviews could be beamed straight back to the newsrooms and phone outlets for the radio stations.
The premier sat a metre away from the journalists and took all questions and all comers -- including the Daily Sun's Max Jessop, who wore his ALP tie. He gave separate interviews to the (then) three TV channels and to the radio stations.
Every journalist had Joh's direct office line and his home number at Kingaroy, which he or Florence always answered. I invited any journalist who didn't believe I could speak for him to ring Joh and put the query direct.
But it was in radio and TV that he was to excel. Talkback radio was a new development and he took it up with a proposal to station 4BH to go live in a one-hour session weekly. The response was immediate. Joh was no shy violet on air and he had no hesitation in meeting head-on the panel of callers the ALP recruited. But there were a lot of genuine callers with problems and it was my job take down their names for replies in between providing him with statistics and information largely from memory, because there were no computer monitors, only headphones.
Like the daily media conferences, it gave him immediate feedback on political issues. Joh became so confident on radio that he was one of the few I know game to hang up on AM or PM with remarks such as "Well I think you've had a good go" or "You're just a Labor fella". Radio loved him because he was accessible, feisty and good ratings value.
He took coaching in TV but instead of waiting for the channels to turn up, took the initiative with his own program, The Premier Reports. This five-minute show, immediately dubbed The Joh Show, produced by me and shot by the government cinematographer, Brian Benson, ran on bought time on Channel 9 in Brisbane and all regional TV stations. I edited a radio tape from the soundtrack and that went to all radio stations in Queensland. I also turned it into a newspaper column, which went to the regional dailies but particularly to the large number of bi-weekly and weekly newspapers.
In the 1970s, only the regional dailies had a syndicated news feed through Country Press and even they relied heavily on material provided, preferably for free. We remembered every newspaper no matter how small and they in turn remembered us. Joh used to tell public rallies: "You don't only see me at election times." It was the same with the media.
We also recorded each year Joh's talking Christmas card to Queenslanders. Another innovation was the taped voice grab for radio. The ALP railed against Joh's "media machine", but it consisted solely of me, my secretary and the government cinematographer out of the premier's total staff of eight. The State Public Relations Bureau produced information, books and other promotional materials but not political material.
I bought a clock radio that had a built-in tape recorder so I could tape news bulletins. I've still got it. I monitored all news bulletins from 6am to 9pm and the radio enabled me to tape them for replay. I also had one of the first video recorders, which I kept at home for the evening TV bulletins. I also bought a small tape recorder and a friend made me up a lead, which plugged into it. The other end was a jack so I could unplug my phone and plug in the recorder. When I had a news release, I would write three versions -- one for print, one for TV and one in radio style. If Joh was busy and unable to give a live interview to radio, I would tape a short grab, ring the radio station to offer it and then send it down the line. This is standard procedure today but it was groundbreaking then.
Following complaints from regional media that they were not getting news items in time for their deadlines, I started my own Telex news service. This was pre-computers and had to be done manually. I would write the three versions and then cut a paper tape. Because I could only send a broadcast call to six addresses at a time, this meant my sitting at the machine on a Sunday afternoon for three hours to reach all regional newspapers, TV and radio.
Joh put great store in personal contacts. When we travelled, I always offered the TV channels and radio stations live studio interviews. Few passed up the opportunity, particularly as Joh was willing to take his chances direct to camera.
Because of the habit of This Day Tonight of intercutting interviews or using them as a short introduction to opposing attacks, Joh would only go on it live. His view was as he had to take his chances straight to camera, so could they. He also refused debates and panels -- "they can get their own platform".
He also heeded my advice after he had walked out of a press conference about his Comalco shares: "Stay to the end and smile, until your teeth ache."
Joh perfected the street walk, which gave him the double benefit of directly meeting people and good TV footage. Street walks had a limited life and eventually were kept for special occasions.
Joh's great love was the public meeting, where we would hire a hall, invite all comers and sit back and wait for the onslaught. There were always hecklers and some were highly organised but Joh gave as good as he got. In Mt Isa, the miners gave him a hard time and often the boos drowned out Joh's speech but afterwards they came up and told him: "We won't vote for you, Joh, but we respect you for coming." The National Party eventually won what had been a safe Labor seat.
He could ramble if it suited him but he could also be concise and direct. He knew that no matter how many people he spoke to at a public meeting or how well he answered a question in parliament it meant little unless it was reported next day in the press and on radio and TV.
Joh's approach to the media was one of mutual respect. He knew some hated him and he made no secret of his feelings in return, but he treated all fairly, rarely ducked hard questions and gave as good as he got. The premier and the media chooks fed off each other. His motto was: "It's your right to ask your question your way and it's my right to answer my way."
The only journalist he banned was Mike Willesee, for persistently breaking his undertakings in order to secure interviews. Joh's attitude to the national media was that they had little influence in Queensland and that there were no votes south of Coolangatta.
Joh's ability to learn was demonstrated when the ABC asked him to take part in a TV series called An Evening With, in which a personality sat in an armchair on a bare stage and spoke to an audience live for half an hour about him or herself. He was at ease, lucid and candid and displayed a seldom-seen sense of humour. It was a long way from the man who I had told during an interview in 1969 that his answers on housing were too long, too rambling and no good to anyone.
Allen Callaghan was Joh Bjelke-Petersen's media adviser from 1971 to 1979
April 28, 2005
Monday, April 25, 2005
ONE AUSTRALIAN'S ANZAC-DAY DAWN SERVICE
By Helen Chambers
Morning assembly on an asphalt playground, salute the flag, sing God Save the King, recite the Lord's Prayer, then the bell for morning lessons, then a half-holiday... the memories of my lastAnzac Day ceremony more than 50 years ago.
Never having been to a dawn service and now living in Perth, I decided to go to the ceremony at the War Memorial, Kings Park. Brenda offered to go with me. "How many people will be there?" she asked. "I expect about 200. We should have no problem seeing each other."
I had no trouble getting up and even managed to convince my teenager to come with me. Once on the road I asked myself why I didn't get up early more often. The stars glittered in the sky and the eucalypts rustled in the bush as I drove from the Darling Point range to the city. We drove across the Causeway over the Swan River and on to Kings Park and that's when I realised more than 200 people would be there. Cars were parked on the main road and along the side streets.
The night was dark and still but along Kings Park Road I could see the shadowy figures of people, lots of them, walking towards the park. Some had torches and those beams danced a pattern along the road and beside the great lemon scented gums lining the park's Fraser Avenue. We joined this silent torchlit procession.
With so many people about, we could not find Brenda. We walked across to the war memorial, our shoes dampening with dew. There were so many people we could not see or hear the dawn service, not even the final bugle call. Nonetheless, surrounded by others as silent as ourselves, mere shadows in the dark, still predawn, I felt a part of something special - special for me and for the history of my country. At dawn we could see better the great eucalypts lining the park's roads and saw with poignancy the plaques in front of the trees, commemorating a solder, a sailor or an airman killed in service for his country. There we met Brenda and her two teenage daughters, who had also stood like us in darkness and silence.
I had brought a Thermos of black coffee liberally laced with whisky and a pink-iced bun loaf. We walked together to the lake's memorial to pioneer women and ate this unorthodox breakfast there.
There the spirit of Anzac, the memories of those who had died in war, and a realisation of the courage of pioneer women, many of whom had lost those men, merged in my mind with the solace of friendship. The following day I read that 5000 people had attended the service; no wonder we couldn't find Brenda.
Yet I am so glad that I made that small sacrifice to get up early to celebrate the lives of those who made the supreme sacrifice.
(Reproduced from "The Australian" newspaper of 23 April, 2005)