Thursday, September 25, 2014

Old dogmas get another chance to pee on the post ...

An excellent question, and luckily the pond has the answers.

For starters, it doesn't do to be gay or TG, you just can't trust them:

He also questioned, in a book published in 2004, whether gay, lesbian and transgender teachers should teach sex education in schools.

And it should be a nation of smokers:

Dr Donnelly has previously attracted controversy for designing an anti-smoking program funded by tobacco company Phillip Morris for Australian and New Zealand schools.

Well at least it should be a nation of quislings who take money from big tobacco and never mind the damage or the harm tobacco does to the health of the nation.

And it certainly should be a nation in love with violence and physical punishment:

"What would you, as you've been involved with this for so long, describe as the best punishment you can come across even if it is one that has gone away?" asked 2UE host Justin Smith. "I'm not alluding to the strap here. I don't think you would ever resort to that. You would never advocate bringing that back surely?" 
Dr Donnelly responded by saying, "Well" followed by a pause – an answer that surprised Mr Smith. Dr Donnelly continued: "I grew up in Broadmeadows, a housing commission estate in Melbourne, and we had a Scottish phys-ed teacher. 
"Whenever there were any discipline problems he would actually take the boy behind the shed and say, 'We can either talk about this or you can throw the first punch'. 
"That teacher would probably lose his job now but it was very effective. He only had to do it once and the kids were pretty well behaved for the rest of the year." 
Dr Donnelly went on to say "those days are gone". But questioned further on the merits of corporal punishment, he said: "If the school community is in favour of it then I have got no problem if it's done properly. 
"There are one or two schools around Australia that I know where it actually is approved of and they do do it. I'm sure they only do it very rarely." 
Dr Donnelly contrasted corporal punishment with "time out" zones which he said do not work because children can relax and avoid class work. (the rest here, with forced video)

Yes you certainly don't want a nation of relaxed children enjoying life.

Better to take them down behind the shed and give them a taste of the biff and the what for, so they can learn about power imbalances for the rest of their life, and how to physically bully someone into conformity and ...

Yep, that was the illustration to Jacqueline Maley's Kevin Donnelly on a hiding to nothing, in which she invoked Roald Dahl's school daze ...

Meanwhile, what do you get if you can be bothered clicking on Donnelly's doddering How to teach what it means to be Australian?

Well it's wreathed in dreams of long ago, and memories of Empire and the British, and yearning for long lost times ...

Now that Islamic State terrorism has arrived on our soil it's time to ask the question: what does it mean to be Australian? 
There's no denying that during the 1950s and 1960s the prevailing mood was nationalistic and pro-British. When I was at school, for example, every Monday morning at assembly we neatly lined up in rows, saluted the flag and sang God save the Queen. With our hands on our hearts children would then recite the oath of allegiance and promise to "cheerfully obey my parents, teachers and the law". 

Who knows what school Donnelly went to, or when, but here he commits the sin of omission.

The standard routine in NSW public schools was "I honour my God, I serve my Queen, I salute my Flag". (Trust the monarchists to remember it aright, and to yearn for the days when there weren't any "brawny females" and "sissified males" here. Oh the horror of sissies. Thank the long absent lord Prof David Flint is no sissy.).

Never mind, the marching and the flag waving and the god talk was a fine example of indoctrination. It was rampant religious fanaticism, rampant worship of a foreign Queen and rampant worship of jingoistic imperialism, with a Protestant twist that saw Catholics as likely Fenian deviants.

And that's what Donnelly yearns for, as its swept away by the wicked socialists and that flamboyant Al Grassby with his hideous ties (yes there are two "s's" in Grassby, Greg Hunt him here, which just goes to show the dangers of historians rabbiting on about spelling):

The world map on the back of our workbooks was covered in red, proving that the sun never set on the British Commonwealth. 
Fast-forward to Al Grasby (sic) and the Whitlam government in the early 1970s when multiculturalism was born and everything began to change. Against the background of Vietnam moratoriums and the counter-culture movement, what Geoffrey Blainey described as the "three cheers view" of history became superfluous and representative of a bygone era. 

Yes just like spelling someone's name correctly.

Australia had to cut the umbilical cord to Westminster and assert its independence. As a result of waves of post-war immigration we were now a nation of diverse cultures where those who came to live here were free to celebrate and hold on to what makes them unique. 
Governments spent millions resourcing classroom materials and programs to celebrate diversity and difference. Saluting the flag was jingoistic, the bronzed ANZAC a caricature (or, at worst misogynistic) and British settlement an invasion. 
At its extreme, multiculturalism championed the view that all cultures are equal and that embracing tolerance and respect meant that it was impossible to discriminate and argue that some beliefs or practices are un-Australian. 
Initiatives like the Howard Government's Discovering Democracy and Values Education programmes, where children were taught to appreciate the institutions, values and beliefs that make us unique and bind us as a nation, were derided as conservative, Anglophobic and binary. 
The result? Generations of young people are ignorant of the nation's history and fail to see why democracy, for all its limitations, should be preferred before all other forms of government.

It's the stupidity of these mournful conservatives that they don't have the first clue - about Gallipoli as a military exercise, or red ragger Simpson and his socialist donkey, or the result of their desire to put religion back into schools, the way that once free and secular education, has now become radicalised by government funding, and turned into contending religious forces. Education as a tower of religous babel ...

Yet when it comes to the crunch, these days these conservatives always resort to secular values to support their case:

Cultural relativism, like the argument put by the Green's Senator Peter Whish-Wilson that it is wrong to use the word "terrorism" as it demonises people, also fails the pub or barbecue test. 
Forcing child brides to marry, female circumcision, refusing to accept the division between church and state and believing that anyone not of your religion or faith doesn't deserve to live are cultural practices that Australians reject. 

Well abusing gays, supporting corporal punishment or doing the dirty work for big tobacco doesn't cut the mustard either, but it's always pick and choose when it comes to the secular values that attract conservatives.

Celebrating diversity and difference is only feasible when there is a willingness to commit to and protect the values and beliefs that underpin and sustain tolerance and accepting others.

Except of course that it's the conservative way not to underpin and sustain tolerance and to accept others but to blame the likes of Gough and that Grasby man,

Oh heck,  just take them down behind the shed and give them a good thumping.

...such beliefs, values and institutions have not developed by accident or in a vacuum. 
They are associated with a unique form of government that has evolved from Westminster, a legal system based on common law and a moral code of behaviour drawing on Judeo-Christian beliefs and significant historical events like the Reformation and the Enlightenment.

And there you have it. The standard confusions and conflations.

No mention of the ancient Greeks, just Westminister, no mention of Roman law, just common law, no mention of the weird and wonderful mix that sees Christians celebrating pagan festivals at Xmas time ... no coherent understanding of the way the Renaissance helped end the sort of failed understanding offered up to the world by a genocidal god and a delusional garden of eden ...

Just the usual nostalgia for lost empire and the British, as if those days will ever come again in these rapidly changing days that we live in ...

As for Judeo-Christian beliefs?

Enough of that jibber jabber. Off to Cambodia with you, and think yourself lucky for peddling that codswallop about the good Samaritan ...

But then what would you expect of a man who signs himself off as a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University?

Well there's a good reason why the pond rarely bothers with Fairfax opinion pages these days, and there it is in a nutshell:

If that's what it means to be Australian these days, it seems it means silly old buggers rabbiting on, with Sheehan doing his jihadist stuff, and Donnelly boxing the ears of the newcomers, just like the proddies used to box the ears of Irish Catholics in the old days.

Well, if that's what it means to be part of Team Australia, count the pond out ...

As the immortal real Dorothy put it, you can't teach an old dogma new tricks ...


  1. Hi Dorothy,

    I'm a bit confused by this;

    "Initiatives like the Howard Government's Discovering Democracy and Values Education programmes, where children were taught to appreciate the institutions, values and beliefs that make us unique and bind us as a nation, were derided as conservative, Anglophobic and binary."

    Surely he meant to say Anglophilic????

    And what does binary mean in this context..two of what?


    1. Oh dear DW, you pedant you, delicious, but clearly he meant say Agoraphobic, thereby hinting at an explanation as to why Australians cluster in urban settings, afraid of the bush. This sets up a simple binary, city and bush, the English language and Donnelly, sense and Donnelly, spelling and Donnelly, grandma's grammar and Donnelly, and well ... bugger it, just binomial, the sum of two terms in which Donnelly and silliness amount to polynomial folly ...

  2. Flitton, Sheehan. Donnelly, the 3 (Agoraphobic) stooges of Fairfax.

  3. For those who can't be bothered to do a GHunt, here it is...

    Agoraphobia (from Greek ἀγορά, "open space" and -φοβία, -phobia) is an anxiety disorder characterized by anxiety in situations where the sufferer perceives certain environments as dangerous or uncomfortable, often due to the environment's vast openness or crowdedness. These situations include wide-open spaces, as well as uncontrollable social situations such as the possibility of being met in shopping malls, airports and on bridges. Agoraphobia is defined within the DSM-IV TR as a subset of panic disorder, involving the fear of incurring a panic attack in those environments. In the DSM-5, however, agoraphobia is classified as being separate from panic disorder. The sufferer may go to great lengths to avoid those situations, in severe cases becoming unable to leave their home or safe haven.

  4. Thanks Dorothy for another wonderful rant.

    "their desire to put religion back into schools, the way that once free and secular education, has now become radicalised by government funding, and turned into contending religious forces. Education as a tower of religous babel ..." - Sure, except when it comes to claims on the state of exceptionalism and cash when all are on song.

    "Multi-culturalism" alternately spelt "divide and rule."


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