Tuesday, May 27, 2014


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is pleased that the limp security at Parliament House is being tested.


University of Queensland (UoQ) stumbles into self-inflicted ethical dilemma by issuing legal threats to block scrutiny of a celebrated but now discredited global warming study. The infamous  "97 percent  consensus" paper created by cartoonist and self-styled climate expert, John Cook,  on behalf of UoQ has been shown to be fraudulent after independent analysis.

An open letter addressed to the university from lawyer, Rud Istvan JD, on behalf of the public interest details how it betrayed its own openness policy in what appears to be a self-serving ploy to avert exposure and ridicule. Istvan’s letter to UoQ in full below:

Prof. Alistair McEwan, Acting-Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of Queensland

Ms. Jane Malloch, Esq. Head Research Legal, University of Queensland

Mr. Graham Lloyd, Environmental Editor, The Australian

Prof. Richard Tol,  University of Sussex


Prof. McEwan:

On May 20, 2014, you issued a formal statement concerning the controversy published byThe Australian on 5/17/14 surrounding Cook et. al, 2013 Environ. Res. Lett. 8 024024, ‘Quantifying the Consensus’, hereinafter QtC. That statement presents the University of Queensland (UQ) with an ethical and legal dilemma. I call your attention to it expecting UQ will do the right thing.

Your statement makes it quite clear that UQ considers QtC was done under the sponsorship of and with support from UQ. This is indisputable. The solicitation for volunteer raters for the analysis that became QtC was: survey.gci.uq.edu.au/survey.php?c=5RL8LWWT2YO7. UQ released a statement about the importance of QtC in the UQ News on January 16, 2014 headlined, “UQ climate change paper has the whole world talking.”

Your 5/20/14 statement said in part:

“Only information that might be used to identify the individual research participants was withheld. This was in accordance with University ethical approval specifying that the identity of participants should remain confidential.”

And that is precisely your dilemma.

The published paper itself identified all the individual research participants (raters). They were either named authors (with affiliations provided, for example second author Dana Nuccitelli affiliated with UQ associated website SKS, as noted in UQ’s 1/20/14 news release, or were specifically named without affiliation in the paper’s acknowledgement. Lest you doubt this, following is that portion of the paper as originally published.

Your dilemma is this. If the UQ ethical approval exists as you officially stated, then the paper as published grossly violated it. QtC is therefore unethical according to UQ policy, and should be withdrawn forthwith.

We need not cite here all the governing Australian principles that UQ is obligated to follow under such unfortunate circumstances. Those include but are not limited to www.uq.edu.au/research/integrity-compliance/human-ethics

There is 2014 retraction precedent concerning another unethical climate related paper from the University of Western Australia. If, on the other hand, there was no such ethical approval, or that approval did not require concealing rater identities, then you have officially misrepresented grossly invalid grounds for withholding the anonymized additional information needed for replication, such as date and time stamped ratings by anonymous rater. Said information has repeatedly, formally been requested by Prof. Richard S.J. Tol (Sussex University (U.K.), and an IPCC AR5 lead author) for his legitimate research purposes concerning what UQ said is a seminal paper. That data should still exist, and should be provided to Prof. Tol under UQ Policy 4.20.06a §8.2 and §9.1 (as last approved 11/28/13).

Either way, you and UQ both appear in a very bad light. It appears that UQ congratulates itself on gross ethical breaches (especially when basking in so much notoriety), while at the same time withholding anonymized primary data underlying a self admitted important research paper in contravention of UQ written research data policy. Either retract the admittedly unethical paper, or retract the grossly mistaken excuse and release the requested data to Tol.

I note in passing there is a third possibility, to wit Tol’s requested data does not exist. In which case, QtC should be retracted for being unsupportable if not also unethical. As you are probably aware, there have been many recent instances of unsupportable research subsequently retracted. These include but are not limited to papers from Ike Antkare in 2010, and many recent papers from the SCIgen group (which interestingly bears surficial similarities to SKS) now being retracted by Springer and by IEEE. Those two precedents may be particularly germane to UQ’s instant dilemma.

This letter is as copyrighted as those Ms. Malloch writes concerning this matter on UQ behalf. You and anyone else in the whole wide world are hereby granted permission to freely reproduce it in whole or in part. I suspect some may.

I look forward to whichever decision (retraction or data provision) you think best for UQ under the aforesaid circumstances.

Sincerely yours, s/s

Rud Istvan, Esq., JD/MBA


Medical body not interested in the scientific facts when it comes to wind turbine noise

Australian Medical Association rebuked by leading acoustics expert, Dr Bruce Rapley, for their latest “cherry-picked” assessment of the dangers of noise emissions from wind farms.

In a comprehensive and worrying letter of rebuttal Dr Rapley accuses AMA of turning a deaf ear on the best science on the biological reception of low-frequency sound. Principia Scientific International herein publishes Dr Rapley’s letter to demonstrate how AMA is lying by omission to the general public about the health impacts of wind turbines.

28 March 2014

Dr Steve Hambleton, President,

Prof. Geoffrey Dobb, Vice-President,

Australian Medical Association,

P.O.  Box 6090,

KINGSTON, A.C.T.  2604

Dear Dr Hambleton, Professor Dobb and AMA members,

I recently became aware of your position statement on wind farms and health dated 14 March, 2014.

I have to say that this public statement has given me great concern with respect to a number of points which I will outline for you.

Your opening statement:

“Wind turbine technology is considered a comparatively inexpensive and effective means of energy production. ”

This raises a number of issues that I feel are inappropriate for a medical organisation to comment on.  Firstly, line one is a statement regarding the economics of wind turbines which has no place in a statement regarding potential health effects.  It is not within your organisation’s professional competence to comment on economic matters and to do so raises questions regarding your credibility and apparent bias.  How would your organisation feel about the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) making statements about medical practice?

Secondly, your position statement then passes comment on acoustic immissions:

“Wind turbines generate sound, including infrasound, which is very low frequency noise that is generally inaudible to the human ear.”

To the best of my knowledge, medical practitioners are not generally known for their skill or expertise in acoustics, other than that directly associated with audiometry.  To pass comment on areas beyond your knowledge is dangerous and leaves you wide open to serious challenge.  Purporting to be experts in areas outside of medicine does not serve your credibility well.

The statement goes on to comment on infrasound, comparing immissions from different sources, yet lacking any sort of scientific credibility because of the significant lack of detailed evidence.  Rather, the statements are reckless generalisations that provide no basis for comparison, let alone comprehension, other than in the broadest sense.

“Infrasound is ubiquitous in the environment, emanating from natural sources (e.g.  wind, rivers) and from artificial sources including road traffic, ventilation systems, aircraft and other machinery.”

Such broad comparisons do not enhance scientific debate and offer little enlightenment to the uninformed, rather, they are more likely to mislead due to their lack of specificity.  It is a well-established fact that low frequency and infrasound immissions from industrial wind turbines differ significantly in a number of critical ways, compared to natural sources like wind and water.  Further,  man-made sources such as road traffic all differ significantly from natural sources of infrasound.  The most significant difference relates to the amplitude modulation of the signal due to blade pass frequency.  This phenomenon is not apparent in natural or many other man-made sources: your comparison is without scientific foundation.

Next you appear to have become experts in engineering:

 “All modern wind turbines in Australia are designed to be upwind, with the blade in front of the tower.  These upwind turbines generate much lower levels of infrasound and low frequency sound.”

The first statement is factual.  The second statement leaves out an important fact; when turbulent air is fed into the ‘modern’ upwind-bladed industrial turbines, they can generate significant quantities of infrasound and low-frequency noise.  This was established in 1989 in Hawaii by NASA researchers Hubbard and Shepherd.  Turbulence resulting from wind turbines being installed too close together, without complying with the international standard for turbine separation distances, is thought to be contributing to the infrasound and low-frequency noise problems at number of Australian wind development sites. Based on the evidence, it would not be unreasonable for the general public to assume that wind developers and turbine manufacturers are more concerned with maximising profit and income from renewable energy certificates (RECS) than from achieving engineering efficiency and safeguarding public health. 

While the profit motive is an integral part of normal, accepted business practice, profiteering at the expense of public health is unacceptable.  When profit overrides public health and well being of the general public, in the face of clear scientific/medical evidence, the practice is doubly damnable and ethically indefensible.  To quote the obvious:  “The devil is in the detail”.  The fact that upwind industrial turbines create sounds that affect animals and humans is abundantly obvious and to compare this version of industrial wind turbine to older technology is of no benefit to those who suffer from the acoustic immissions from the current machines.

Your second paragraph alludes to such ‘devils’.  While you state that:

“Infrasound levels in the vicinity of wind farms have been measured and compared to a number of urban and rural environments away from wind farms.  The results of these measurements have shown that in rural residences both near to and far away from wind turbines, both indoor and outdoor infrasound levels are well below the perception threshold, and no greater than that experienced in other rural and urban environments.”

the reality is that these statements misrepresent the facts.  In essence, what you have done is to ‘cherry-pick’ the data.  Further,  your statement leads the reader to believe that as long as sound levels are below conscious, and perhaps audible perception, there is no problem.  This could not be further from the truth.

A significant problem with the determination of environmental noise relates to the inappropriate use of the A-weighting, still so commonly applied.  As it significantly underestimates frequencies below 1,000 Hz and above 3,500 Hz this negates its usefulness in measuring low frequency and infrasound.  The point should be obvious.  Unfortunately regulation so often lags behind scientific knowledge.

Medicine, while based on a good deal of science, remains, as practiced, an ART.  The reason for this is that the practice of medicine involves human beings.  Human beings are not simply a collection of chemicals, cells and tissues, randomly existing in the biosphere.  Rather they are sentient beings that are subject to multiple stimulatory mechanisms.  This is one instance where a holistic viewpoint is nearer the truth than the traditional reductionist viewpoint.  The consequence of this view needs further elaboration which you have chosen to omit . . .

The scientific method is something which is much talked about, but little understood, even by some scientists!  The fact of the matter is that science begins with observation.  This observation then gives rise to a question: how is that so?  What caused that? How does that work?  How did that happen?

The question, which usually has some practical relevance, leads to the creation of a ‘model’ of the ‘how’.  That model is referred to as the hypothesis.  And of course a hypothesis leads to the development of a testing methodology to see if it can be used to explain the facts.  The testing usually takes place in a controlled environment where the idea (hypothesis) is put to test by way of practical experiments.  With good design, these should attempt to limit the number of variables (things that can be manipulated/changed) and keep all other factors the same.  In an ideal world, a control situation could be used to compare the test circumstances to the ‘normal’ condition. 

A perfect example is a drug trial.  Subjects would be randomly assigned (so as not to bias the results) to one of two groups.  One group would receive the ‘test substance’ while the other, the control group, would receive a placebo.  That is, they would receive a substance (for example a pill) but it would be inactive, that is, lacking the chemical species under test.  The strength of the findings is further enhanced if the experimenter and the subjects are both blinded as to who got the real drug.  That is the basis of the modern scientific method.

Another perfectly legitimate and accepted method of study for obtaining comparative data is that of the case crossover design, where people act as their own controls.  This design is used to demonstrate a causal relationship in situations like allergic reactions to some foods and particular drugs, for example.  People living with industrial wind turbines are conducting this experiment all the time.  They go away, and notice their symptoms ameliorate.  They come back home, and under certain predictable wind and weather conditions, their symptoms recur.  This is a clear demonstration, using the scientific method, of a direct and causal relationship between exposure and response.  This is why some doctors are advising their patients to move away.  It is clear that the exposure to wind turbine noise is damaging their patient’s health, and there is nothing else they can suggest.

A common mistake, when selecting scientific data, relates to a process of choosing what to include.  When selection bias exists in data selection, this is colloquially known as ‘cherry-picking’.  When this occurs, it necessarily introduces a bias that affects the results.  This is apparent from your statement above relating to human perception of sound.  If you scan the literature more widely, then a plethora of papers appear which contradict the basis of your argument.  To only present one side of the argument is to short-change the readers and the general public. It also facilitates the generation of false impressions.

To return to the scientific method for a moment: when an observation has been made; a question arisen;  a hypothesis created; a series of experiments formulated to test the hypothesis and ultimately the results analysed, there are two relevant tests that need to be applied.  First, the results have to either support or reject the hypothesis.  That means that the hypothesis needs to be able to be falsified and results obtained which are relevant to support or rejection the hypothesis’s claim.  Variables need to be measurable. 

The second test, and equally important, is that the consequences of the results, i.e.  acceptance or rejection of the hypothesis, have to be consistent with what is already known.  To take an example: If the results of an experiment lead to the conclusion that the ‘conservation of momentum’ did not always occur, then there would be a great deal of concern.  Physicists are most unlikely to let go of such a well-supported observation as the conservation of momentum.  So, the new findings of an experiment have to fit with our existing reality.

In order to fit with our current reality, or paradigm, there needs to be both internal (within the experiment) and external (in relation to what is already generally known and accepted) consistency to be valid.  This is not to say that one day we might not reject the generally accepted view of the conservation of momentum, only that there would need to be extraordinary evidence to cause us to reach that conclusion.

What assists us with comprehending new knowledge and integrating it into our existing understanding of how the universe works is the existence of a mechanism.  That is, a way in which we can explain the circumstances we discover through our experiment within the current bounds of knowledge.  For your stance to be accepted, there would need to be not only no evidence to the contrary, but also the lack of any understandable mechanism of action.  Neither are in fact the case.

Many scientific papers expound the observation that stimuli below conscious perception do, in a number of instances, result in physiological response.  This is the case for the effects of low frequency and infrasound, and was noted by Kelley 1987, Chen, Qibai & Shi 2004, Swinbanks 2012, and Schomer 2013  in addition to the work of Professor Salt, a leading neurophysiologist working in this area.   Further, there are many plausible mechanisms to explain how sub-conscious perception threshold stimuli may interact with living organisms.  The old notion that perception is the threshold above which biological effects occur is not only out-dated, it is a non-sequitur.  Take x-rays for example, they are not readily consciously perceivable yet can be quite harmful.  Light is in a similar category.  Sound is another physical phenomenon that does not need conscious perception to be received by an organism or for that organism to react.

The work of Professor Alec Salt has done much in recent years to elucidate theory on the biological reception of low-frequency sound, complimenting this with extensive laboratory experimentation.  To ignore this work is a travesty and is tantamount to lying by omission to the general public.  It is another example of cherry-picking the data that effectively distorts the final impression.  To add to this work, the research of Dr. Carey Balaban has done much to throw light on the neuronal mechanism of sound reception by the human body.  We now have theory, experimental evidence and empirical observation, all pointing in the same direction.  To blithely ignore such a body of science and come up with a generalisation of ‘no harm’ is not only lying to the general public but supports a point of view that is largely sympathetic to the commercial, industrial profit motive.  This commercial bias has no place in medicine or public health.

The most recent article to come out of  Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, from Professors Salt and Lichtenbaum is worthy of mention here.  Their landmark paper appears in Acoustics Today,  Volume 10, Issue 1,  pp 20-28, Winter 2014.  In their paper: How does wind turbine noise affect people?, they succinctly describe the results of their recent work on the effects of low frequency and infrasound on the cochlea mechanism.  It appears that the roles of the inner and outer hair cells differ in many significant ways.  In particular, the outer hair cells account for only 5 % of the afferent nerve fibres in the acoustic nerve and are of  Type II in comparison to the inner hair cells which equate to 95% of the acoustic nerves and are of Type I.  Further, the inner hair cells, which are largely responsible for the faculty of hearing in the accepted frequency spectrum of 20 to 20,000 Hz, do not touch the tectorial membrane.  They operate by way of transducing movements in the fluid below the membrane into nerve impulses.  The outer hair cells, by contrast, are directly connected to the tectorial membrane and are far more responsive to low frequency and infrasound.

The point that Salt and Lichtenbaum are making is that the energy that enters the ear canal as low frequency and infrasound is readily translated into neural impulses which reach the brain, albeit they may not be consciously interpreted as sound, but they still reach the cognitive engine.   Another critical point concerns their findings that biologically generated amplitude modulated signals occur in the pulse trains of nerve impulses from the inner hair cells as a result of stimulation from a 500 Hz tone summed with 4.8 Hz. (Their Figure 2.)

Their work is a clear demonstration of a biologically-generated modulation to a non-modulated stimulus.  The cochlear microphonic response is generated by the outer hair cells,responding to both the high and low frequency components.  This occurs either by saturation of the mechano-electric transducer or by cyclically changing the mechanical amplification of the high frequencies. Being insensitive to the lower frequencies, the inner hair cells detect only the high frequency component, which is amplitude modulated at twice the infrasound frequency, in their example.  Thus, the inner hair cells essentially ‘see’ the effect of a high-pass filtered version of what the outer hair cells perceive. This is the most clear demonstration of the effect of infrasound on the cochlea.  The biophysics of the ear creates an amplitude-modulated signal from a non-amplitude modulated source of two pure tones.  This is a neurophysiological explanation of the effect reported by subjects who complain of adverse effects from living too close to industrial wind turbine installations.  To ignore such clear evidence is to deny the very substance of the scientific method in favour of a biased commercial approach to public health.

The deliberate exclusion of empirical data, failure to acknowledge existing scientific knowledge and theory is to effectively lie by omission.  Such distortion of reality is to degrade science, medicine and discredit the practitioners of those disciplines.  I take exception to such biased reporting and the distribution of such misinformation.  It is to degrade my profession as a scientist, researcher and consultant.

I urge you and your colleagues to rethink your position with all due speed.  Simply put: do not comment on areas beyond your own boundaries of knowledge.  Do not tell half-truths, present commercially biased information in the name of health care and stop lying directly and by omission to your patients and the public at large.  This matter needs to be urgently addressed to minimise the fallout and retain the respectability that the practice of medicine deserves and the good name of your organisation.

Sincerely yours,

Bruce Rapley BSc, MPhil, PhD.

Principal Consultant,  Acoustics and Human Health,

Atkinson & Rapley Consulting Ltd.


A vision for higher education

Christopher Pyne

With images of protesters – who were strangely quiet for the past six years despite massive cuts to education by the previous government – splashed across the newspapers, many people must be wondering what all the fuss is about.

The Abbott government has a host of new initiatives in education. We are planning to expand opportunities for more people to attend university and we are planning to extend access, particularly for disadvantaged and regional students. Whether through HECS-backed diplomas and pathway courses, or increased support for young people wanting to take up a trade, this government is making it easier to learn than ever.

Our plan massively expands opportunities for Australian apprentices and non-traditional students, ensuring apprentices have access to HECS-style loans of up to $20,000 for everyday costs through new Trade Support Loans. They won’t need to repay a dollar until they earn a decent living, just like university students.

Our plan provides that vocational education and training students – also not at university – will be able to borrow for course fees. They will no longer have to pay an unfair 20 per cent fee that is charged to them but not to undergraduates in public universities.

Under this federal government and for the first time   there will be support for all students studying for higher education diplomas, advanced diplomas and associate degrees, not just those in public universities. Students can go to a public or private university, or a so-called “non-university provider” such as the higher education section of a TAFE or a private college approved to offer university level courses. This is a massive expansion from the current system, which concentrates support on undergraduate students in public universities.

Our plan supports more than 80,000 additional students each year through these new measures. If that is not expanding choice, it is hard to imagine what would satisfy those calling for greater access to tertiary education.

Diploma students will be the big winners. Diplomas, apart from being qualifications in themselves, are great for students who are not fully prepared for university study but who ultimately want to get into a university from somewhere other than after completing high school. This could be a mature-age student wanting to retrain to move to a better job, or a bright student who missed out in year 11 or 12 for various reasons. Students who enter university with a diploma typically do better than many less-prepared students who go from school straight to university – too many of whom drop out. This massive expansion of support for diplomas should help to reduce that drop-out rate in our universities.

Traditional university students, meanwhile, remain protected. The government will continue to support all 750,000 or so full-time and part-time Australian students studying for a regular bachelor degree by offering what we believe is the world’s most generous loans scheme. Not a cent of university study needs to be paid for by Australian students upfront. Students borrow their share of the cost of their education through the Higher Education Loan Program (otherwise known as HECS). They don’t start repaying until they earn over $50,000 a year. It’s the best loan deal a student will ever get, especially given the interest rate is protected – it just matches the government’s cost of borrowing.

There’s an ever bigger win for university students.

Freeing universities to set their own fees, rather than having them dictated by government, will encourage competition between higher education institutions – and that means better courses, better teaching and more competitive course pricing. It will result in a greater focus on students than ever before in Australia.

Students from low socio-economic groups and regional areas will have more opportunity than ever before. New Commonwealth scholarships will be available to support those students. Higher education institutions will be required to spend $1 in every $5 of additional revenue they get from fee deregulation on Commonwealth scholarships and other forms of support for those from low socio-economic backgrounds and regional areas.

This massive expansion of opportunity for Australians responds in part to rapid growth over recent years in the number of university students, which has meant a growing cost to taxpayers – an additional $7.6 billion over five years.

Any debate about  this package is a good thing. It brings out the fact that university students, on average, pay just more than 40 per cent of the cost of their education, and the taxpayer pays the rest. It acknowledges that university graduates benefit from a significant personal advantage, earning about 75 per cent more than non-graduates – or about $1 million more over their lifetimes. It reminds us that 60 per cent of adult Australians who will never hold a degree are subsidising the other 40 per cent.

It goes without saying that people who benefit so greatly from their university education should be making a reasonable contribution to the cost of it.

We need our university graduates. They keep our economy strong, viable and able in the new world economy – but only if education quality is high and our university system works. As Universities Australia itself has highlighted through its new advertising campaign, we must not be left behind. We must set our higher education providers free –to compete, grow and be excellent. We can create the best higher education system in the world.

It's a win for students, a win for education and a win for Australia.


Memo to uni fees protesters: stop being selfish thugs and bullies

Amanda Vanstone

Recent street protests by students should give us all pause for thought. As much as many in my generation may harbour a special place in their hearts for Gough Whitlam, in our heads we retain memories of the economic shambles his government became.

Whitlam is remembered fondly by many as the man who introduced free university education. The principle that anyone who is capable of university education and wants to pursue it should be able to do so seems universal to me. But the implementation was a disaster.

In the first instance, it is just too late to say to kids in year 12, who haven’t had a fair go in life, ‘‘Oh, by the way, your university education is free.’’ Kids need to have confidence and hope well before then.

Not surprisingly, there was no dramatic change to the socio-economic make-up of university students. This grandiose gesture did not let more poor kids in to university. What it did was pay for all the so-called rich kids who were going to uni anyway. In an effort to help the poor, taxpayer dollars were shovelled into the mouths of the rich. Not surprisingly, they liked it. A lot.

Making students pay a fair share of the cost of their university education, but only when they have a job and some income, was the brainchild of economics professor Bruce Chapman. His policy is pure genius: anyone who is capable can go to university, and pay back slowly as their income rises.

It is a mark of how deeply entrenched our expectations of government have become that some students think paying their fair share is some sort of outrage. Not all students, but some very vocal ones think they should be given more from other taxpayers. They expect to get heaps more than other kids their age who don’t go to university, and this is apparently because they are our future. I cringe at their naivety. Putting aside thoughts of all the successful people who were high school dropouts, one wonders if the protesters’ intellectual skill has allowed them to reflect on the lower ATAR scores required to gain university entrance in 2014.

Only a few of the hundreds of thousands of people who go to university each year will end up being our leaders. The rest will just have higher incomes and more job security and social status than many who do not get the opportunity to go to university.

Many in the past, having won a university place at the exclusion of others, lacked the ambition or application to earn enough to ever pay back their HECS debt. It might sound harsh to say that, but it is more attractive than thinking they arrange their work and income to ensure they pay little back.

It might be an idea, before anyone gets too sympathetic, to reflect on the billions of dollars in HECS debt left unpaid. These protesters say to all the tradies, cleaners, sales workers and others whose taxes have funded their education, ‘‘Thanks for the loan, suckers.’’

Their protests, however, reveal something much more than misplaced self-importance. Their actions run counter to the very thing for which universities are meant to be a haven – namely, civilised debate.

This gaggle of would be's if could be’s are just louts in disguise. They are bullies of the highest order. If you want to say or do something with which they disagree, they believe they are entitled to censor your speech by drowning it out in protest or making those responsible for your safety feel so uncertain as to require that you leave a venue.

To cap off their me-me-me attitude, they expect to be able to use force of volume and numbers to get their way but think it completely unreasonable when security personnel step in and bring their little drama to an end. It’s pathetic in one sense, and a complete outrage in another.

Protests are, in my view, a good thing. They are a sign of the freedom we all enjoy. But what some protesters fail to understand is everyone else’s right to go about their business undisturbed. Sadly, the right to protest has become for all too many the right to ruin anyone else’s day just because they want to be on telly.

Universities should not tolerate the type of thuggery we have seen over the past few weeks.

It seems odd that university students, the very people who should be excited by debate of ideas, should be the ones who seek to drown out any voices but their own. When their voice is used to protect their own self-interest rather than to advance the rights of those without a voice, we can see the ugly face of the me-me-me generation. This kind of behaviour has direct parallels with dictators in one-party states who use their power to silence any criticism.

Everyone who is unhappy with the decisions of a properly elected government, not just the students, might care to reflect on life in a one-party state. In such states planning is often much longer term, welfare is inevitably much much leaner, and the views of dissidents are often silenced in a manner we find unconscionable.


1 comment:

Paul said...

"To the best of my knowledge, medical practitioners are not generally known for their skill or expertise in acoustics, other than that directly associated with audiometry."

I think even that's being too generous if my recent experiences are anything to go by.