Thursday, April 19, 2012

Be careful what you wish for ... you might get blinded by the light.

(Above: go on, make a wish, provided it's a wish that doesn't involve a sense of entitlement, or any return on the taxes you paid the federal government).

Time to go down the rabbit hole again with Jolly Joe.

Reports are arriving from London in which Jolly Joe is quoted as saying Australians will be better off returning to the paddy fields to make a decent living:

Speaking in London, Mr Hockey said that by Western standards the highly constrained public safety net in Hong Kong and other Asian places might seem brutal ''but it works and it is financially sustainable''.

Well it might work for Jolly Joe, but if the long absent lord returned, here's hoping she'll see Jolly Joe shipped to Hong Kong and forced to make a decent living, instead of telling others that their attachment to Medicare arises somehow from a sense of entitlement rather than thinking people should get a fair shake of the raw prawn when it comes to health care.

It gets even better:

''Contrast this with what we find in Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States. All of them have enormous entitlement systems spanning education, health, income support, retirement benefits, unemployment benefits.'' (here)

Contrast this rhetoric with a party that has as one of its highlights an exceptionally generous paid parental leave scheme, enthusiastically promoted by its fearless leader (Angry MPs in Tony Abbott ambush as leave attacked).

Given that his mindset seems to be somewhere back in the eighteen nineties, Jolly Joe probably didn't expect the news of his fearless speechifying to reach down under, what with carrier pigeon and the telegraph slow to deliver the news that supporting education and health shows signs that the peasants are now luxuriating in a sense of entitlement.

And just a little while ago, the question was asked Is Joe Hockey up to the job?

Well if a mindless, pampered, clearly well fed, boofhead headkicker is what's required for the job, Jolly Joe is more than qualified.

''Perhaps the real problem is the exuberant excesses of politicians who do not seem to understand or care about the fact that, like a household, a nation needs to balance its budget over time,'' he said.

Oh go talk to the hand, or perhaps Tony Abbott, and while you're at it remember to fling some more taxpayer money at private schools and the private medical insurers ...

Meanwhile, over at The Punch, Matt Busby Andrews is busy sinking the slipper into Charles Darwin and Richard Dawkins, in Charles Darwin, biologist, botanist and racist. It's the standard sort of rant you expect of The Punch from angry Christians, angry this time that Darwin conformed to conventional Victorian standards when it came to indigenous people.

Andrews gets as far as charging Darwin with setting up the categories of "Social Darwinism" but strangely fails to draw the logical conclusion. Darwin = Adolf Hitler! Could Godwin's Law at last be having an impact?

Anyhow, there was a whiff about the piece - a desire to hang Darwin and his science by any means to hand - and if you can't nail him on the science, then blame the treatment of aborigines in the lucky country on him!

I wuz only doing it m'lud, because Darwin told me so. But weren't you doing it before Mr. Darwin wrote and published his main work? Ah m'lud, before Mr. Darwin, the settlers in Australia treated the aboriginal folk with decency and concern, and we always smiled before we snatched away the land.

Sure enough if you head off to the Sydney Anglicans, there you find a more extended version, with the curiously unpunchy header Darwin, Dawkins and the Law of Unintended Consequences. Yes, Andrews is a senior copywriter but also a member of St. Andrew's Cathedral (here), acting like a stealth bomber at The Punch. So many angry Anglicans, so little time.

The message?

Australia and New Zealand’s academics should have been much more critical of evolutionary thinking – especially as it was applied to every day life.

Actually there's a good case Australians should be much more critical of angry Anglican thinking, at least if they happen to be women and/or gay. Still, it would have been a good stealth bomber routine, if only the Anglicans, always short of copy, decided to cross-publish on the very same day, with bonus quotes and blather, and thereby showed the Anglican fix was in.

The funniest thing then is to jump over to The Drum, pounding away in its bid to get the punters foaming, and read Uthman Badar getting agitated and putting Atheism in the dock. Uthman is the media representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a global Islamic political party, determined via exclusively intellectual and political means, to re-establish the Caliphate in the Muslim world.

Naturally he too has a go at atheist bashing.

Has he ever thought about joining the Sydney Anglicans? If he does, Uthman might get some help with his copy and his arguments:

So if the universe is not eternal and could not have come from nothing, the atheist is left with naught but to acknowledge that he or she is without explanation, but not without the faith in science and its ability to possibly provide an explanation at some point in the future. Fine. But is not a reasonable explanation, even if not absolutely conclusive in your mind, better than no explanation?

Say what? Naturally it sent the punters in the comments section into a frenzy, but how can you argue with this sort of sentence?

Negating the existence of God also leaves the atheist with little choice but to adopt secularism and humanism, which are affirmative propositions, requiring positive substantiation, of which nothing rigorous has been presented.

Uthman rounded it out with a flourish - We're all ears, but we're certainly not holding our breath - but by this point the pond had been blinded by the light, revved up like a deuce, at the sight of another runner in the night.

Meanwhile, since we're on a streak, it's truly joyous to discover Paul Sheehan getting agitated about prostitution in Camperdown, the pond's home suburb, in Successful brothel bid would be a stiletto to inner-Sydney's heart.

Sheehan doesn't buy that prostitutes should be dignified as sex workers, presumably because they should continue to be judged as harlots and whores, and driven out, or perhaps turned into pillars of salt. An expanded Stiletto's on Parramatta road will drive a stiletto through the heart of community life in Camperdown, proposes Sheehan from the eerie of his remote life in a Fairfax-funded suburb, seemingly unaware that Camperdown is surrounded by brothels.

Just take a walk along Enmore Road, or south King street, or other bits of Parramatta road, or heck, just use the internet guides available on the intertubes (here for example). There's nothing particularly noble about prostitution, but it happens, and if it happens, it's better happening in a well-regulated (that's to say government-regulated, for benefit of the IPA) environment, and the silly rhetorical flourishes of Sheehan - carping about progressives, as if progressives were responsible for prostitution - belong back in the days when conservatives tried to sweep it under the carpet and pretend it didn't exist.

As it is, the brothels around Camperdown are discreet and don't drive a stiletto through the heart of community life ... as Sheehan might discover if he ever cared to move to Camperdown instead of rabbiting on like a remote landlord determined to screw the renters.

And finally since we mentioned government regulation and the IPA, surely that's a cue to note that Chris Berg is at it again in The Drum, with Sport as propaganda: Bahrain's vile Grand Prix.

Now the pond couldn't care less if there was never another Grand Prix, but what was amusing was the way in the comments section, the punters got agitated about big tobacco being linked to the Grand Prix for years, and the IPA being local apologists for big tobacco. (Remember their scare stories about plain packaging, as in this media release here).

Berg gets very high horse about the Olympics - and yes it's true the pond will not have a single thing to say about the London Olympics:

The granddaddy of international sporting contests, the modern Olympics, has long been a friend of tyranny. Virtually from birth, the Olympics was studiously, and shamefully, neutral about the political environment in its host countries.

Now maybe sport is political, and maybe athletes should never play against athletes from countries run by commies, fascists, dictators and perverts - you know like invaders of Afghanistan and Iraq - but the lesson from the Bergian piece seems to be that columnists living in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, especially if the glass house is sponsored by big tobacco, mining companies out to degut Australian taxation laws, and big business determined to screw workers and consumers.

Now if only we knew who financed/sponsored/subsidised the IPA so we could put those scurrilous rumours to rest, and Chris Berg could maintain his rage about Formula 1 and the Olympics in a purer than pure way ...

Get government out of sport, ban the United States from the Olympics, and get the shadowy private sector sponsors out from under the IPA bed? In your dreams ...

(Below: and since we're now fully blinded by the light, here's an acid flashback to the seventies).


  1. Love your work, Mr/Ms? Loon. Never miss.

    Please excuse the pedantry, but it's eyrie, not eerie.

  2. We live for pedantry, and love it, and have retired to wear a cilice for a full day.


Comments older than two days are moderated and there will be a delay in publishing them.