Sunday, December 25, 2016
A Lucky country?
The late Donald Horne wrote a book about Australia called "The Lucky Country" in 1964. He was acclaimed for it despite almost nobody reading his book. Australians took the title as justified praise of their country and felt no need to read the details. But it was not praise. That's how I know that few ever read it. I have read it. It is a miserable, carping book which claims that Australia has done well purely out of luck. He calls Australians second rate and unworthy of their good fortune to live in one of the world's most peaceful, advanced and prosperous countries. It's not so peaceful now with the advent of Muslim and African "refugees" but it was very peaceful, calm, and orderly when Donald wrote.
And Donald committed the common Leftist error of thinking and writing about a country while somehow not realizing that he was not thinking about a country at all but rather about the people of that country. Leftists tend to talk about the evils of "America", "Australia" etc. as if those evils were an aspect of a geographical location rather than the evil deeds of people. They deal in abstractions. It seems to be comforting to them to do that.
So why was Donald so jaundiced about his native land? Why did he loathe his fellow citizens? I knew him slightly and he seemed to me to be a clever but rather mixed-up person. He was a conservative in his early years but later gravitated to various Leftist positions. That is of course unusual. The more usual movement with age is to greater conservatism.
So why that movement? It could have had something to do with his education. He never completed a degree and I detected some insecurity in him about that. And that lack would have been a handicap in the highly educated elite he wished to be part of.
But once he turned Left, everything fell into place. His Leftism earned him all the acceptance he could have wanted. He was a smart man so once his unacceptable ideology was out of the way he gained admittance to the gods. He became one of the great and the good. And benefactions and honours showered down on him. I noted in 1974 that conservatism was already a heresy in Australia by that time so Donald had to ditch it if he wanted to be heard.
And his book would have been an important part of his "rehabilitation". It was the sort of haughty thing that any Leftist anywhere would say about their own society. Australian Leftists would agree with much of it to this day.
But I don't think the book was just for show. It is so relentlessly negative that it does seem heartfelt. I suspect that Donald was always an unhappy man.
But unhappy or not, was he right? Is the relaxed, civil and prosperous Australian population, the product of many generations of lazy dolts?
Hardly. I am a 5th generation Australian who has taken an interest in family history and the early days generally. And I know how hard our forebears worked and what they took on. Most of the land was cleared with axes and crosscut saws. There were no chainsaws. Land in Europe was cleared for human use over centuries. Our men cleared it in a few generations. And the only supplement to human muscle up until about a century ago was the bullock team. My grandfather was a "bullocky" and I have pictures of his team and what he accomplished with it.
And the construction of a prosperous society started from surprisingly early on. Even while Australia was a military dictatorship in the early 1800s much was achieved. I have read a lot of old newspapers over the years and one account of the early days is instructive. The account is in a report of 1828 in "The Australian" newspaper of the day.
We read that the Indiaman (ship) "Margaret" arrived from England with smallpox on board, which was immediately notified to the appropriate authorities. The ship was sent to Neutral Bay in quarantine and the Sydney population warned. Thousands of people had cowpox vaccinations as a result. After official investigations, the ship was allowed to disembark on August 5th. So Sydney was a pretty sophisticated place already by that time.
A "visiting English gentleman" also writing in "The Australian" around that time was surprised to find Sydney comprised of substantial brick and stone buildings instead of the mud huts and log cabins he had expected. He found it "a bustling, elegant and extensive city" with shops as good as London's but with much cleaner air. So the early settlers (many of whom were convicts) had built well in just 40 years. More details here. I personally am descended from a convict who arrived on the ship just mentioned
An important thing to realize is that England at that time was undoubtedly the most advanced society in the world. So when they came to Australia, they brought all that was modern with them. Australia had a flying start into the modern age. And they built well on that. By the year 1900, Australia was, in many accounts, the richest country in the world.
But probably most important of all was the character of the early settlers. Only 3% of our ancestors were convicts. The rest were brave and enterprising men who risked the long and dangerous sea voyage from England in search of economic opportunity. Very few were from smart London society. They were people from the regions: Quiet tough people with an instinctive moderation in their behaviour and a belief that you had to work for what you got. Nothing was handed to you on a plate.
And if you blasphemed against Jesus and their God, they wouldn't want to kill you for it. They probably did a fair bit of blaspheming themselves at times.
So the plain truth is that Australian society was created by many generations of Australians and what it is today reflects what they were. Australia is indeed lucky -- with the sort of luck you get when you work hard, think ahead and are resourceful and tough and considerate of others.
Henry Lawson knew what the Australian pioneers were like so I will close with his poem about a class of men from whom I am descended and whom I remember. My grandfather was very like the men described below. Strong quiet men:
THE TEAMS by Henry Lawson (1867 - 1922)
A cloud of dust on the long white road,
And the teams go creeping on
Inch by inch with the weary load;
And by the power of the greenhide goad
The distant goal is won.
With eyes half-shut to the blinding dust,
And necks to the yokes bent low,
The beasts are pulling as bullocks must;
And the shining tires might almost rust
While the spokes are turning slow.
With face half-hid 'neath a broad-brimmed hat
That shades from the heat's white waves,
And shouldered whip with its greenhide plait,
The driver plods with a gait like that
Of his weary, patient slaves.
He wipes his brow, for the day is hot,
And spits to the left with spite;
He shouts at "Bally", and flicks at "Scot",
And raises dust from the back of "Spot",
And spits to the dusty right.
He'll sometimes pause as a thing of form
In front of a settler's door,
And ask for a drink, and remark, "It's warm,"
Or say, "There's signs of a thunderstorm;"
But he seldom utters more.
But the rains are heavy on roads like these;
And, fronting his lonely home,
For weeks together the settler sees
The teams bogged down to the axletrees,
Or ploughing the sodden loam.
And then when the roads are at their worst,
The bushman's children hear
The cruel blows of the whips reversed
While bullocks pull as their hearts would burst,
And bellow with pain and fear.
And thus with little joy or rest
Are the long, long journeys done;
And thus - 'tis a cruel war at best -
Is distance fought in the mighty West,
And the lonely battles won.
I first posted the above on Facebook. An old friend, Alfred Croucher saw it and commented as under:
Before he became too leftist, Horne was hired to lecture on Australian history by the famous conservative political science department of UNSW run by Doug McCallum. His lectures were composed it seemed, by a collage of newspaper clippings and I don't recall any cogent analysis.
In addition to being his student I used to mix with him at faculty social evenings so I thought it appropriate to ask him for a reference. Now I was an advocate of more progressive ideas and frequently criticized the department's conservative agenda. But even so I was shocked to receive the reference worded thus:
"Alfred Croucher was a student of the Political Science Department of UNSW from January 1974 until Dec 1976."
Sadly I threw it away when I should have framed it as a tribute to a mean spirited man. -- JR
Rebel Greens faction to fight police, capitalism
This is not exactly new. Rhiannon was a Trot long before she was a Green. And she's not the only Trot who went Green when they saw a chance of more influence there. Why they have come out openly now is a bit of a mystery, though. Frustrated at achieving so little, I guess.
A newly formed hard-left faction within the Greens has publicly stated it does not believe in the rule of law or the legitimacy of the Australian state and says it will work to “bring about the end of capitalism”.
Formed around federal NSW senator Lee Rhiannon and NSW upper house MP David Shoebridge, the “Left Renewal” faction has published a statement of principles that is at odds with its own party and contradicts the Greens’ national policies in several key areas.
In forming the faction, Left Renewal said the Greens were failing those with liberal beliefs.
“Positions of power and influence within the party are falling to those with liberal politics, who manipulate party processes and abuse their resources to take and solidify their control,” the new faction’s Facebook page says.
The group opposes market-based mechanisms, such as a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme, as methods to address climate change, and will have a binding caucus in which members will be forced to follow the majority view expressed within the faction.
Candidates supported by the hard Left have lost in recent state preselections in NSW, prompting the unified group looking to wrest power from what it sees as a right-wing body.
In a statement of principles, the group describes itself as “advocates for peace” and rejects the authority of the police.
“A rejection of class antagonism, and capitalism, also depends on a rejection of the state’s legitimacy and the right of it, and its apparatuses, to impose oppression upon the working class,” it says.
“We further rejected state- mediated oppression in all of its forms, and recognise that violent apparatuses like the police do not share an interest with the working class.”
Former Greens leader Bob Brown previously has called for Senator Rhiannon to bow out of politics to make room for “renewal”.
The Premier of Victoria is borderline insane
Lack of contact with reality is the defining symptom of schizophrenia. Daniel Andrews says that the terrorist attack below planned by a Muslim group "was not religious"
Police have disrupted a terrorist plot to detonate improvised explosive devices at locations in central Melbourne, possibly on Christmas Day, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says.
Seven people were arrested overnight at properties in Flemington, Meadow Heights and Dallas in Melbourne over the alleged plot, which police said was inspired by the Islamic State (IS) group.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews described the plot as an "act of evil", while Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said police had seized "the makings of an improvised explosive device".
Speaking at a press conference today, Mr Turnbull said: "Overnight our police and security agencies have disrupted a very substantial terrorist plot.
"Overnight, the Victoria Police, working with the Australian Federal Police and ASIO, have arrested seven persons, five of whom are still in custody, searched five premises and are continuing to search them.
"What they have uncovered is a plot to explode improvised explosive devices in central Melbourne in the area of Federation Square, on or about Christmas Day. "This is one of the most substantial terrorist plots that have been disrupted over the last several years."
Commissioner Ashton said it was believed a number of people were intending to carry out an attack involving explosives and other weapons.
"Over the last fortnight … we have had to conduct a criminal investigation relating to the formation of what we believe was a terrorist plot," he said.
"We believe that there was an intention to conduct what we call a multi-mode attack, possibly on Christmas Day. Police believe the locations to be targeted include Federation Square, Flinders Street Station, and St Paul's Cathedral.
Commissioner Ashton said: "We believe [the plot] was going to involve an explosive event, the use of explosives, and we gathered evidence to support that.
"There has also been evidence that we will lead around the possibility of an intention to use other weapons. That could include knives and/or a firearm.
"Certainly these [people] are self-radicalised, we believe, but inspired by ISIS and ISIS propaganda."
A 24-year-old man from Meadow Heights, a 26-year-old man from Dallas, a 22-year-old man from Campbellfield, a 21-year-old man from Flemington and a 21-year-old man from Gladstone Park remain in police custody.
A 20-year-old woman and a 26-year-old man, both from Meadow Heights, were released without charge.
The five people in custody were expected to face court this afternoon, charged with acts in preparation of a terrorist event, Commissioner Ashton said.
Commissioner Ashton said four of the five were Australian-born with a Lebanese background.
"The age groups range between 20 and 24 or 25. There is another suspect in this matter who will be charged that was an Egyptian-born Australian citizen. All the others were Australian-born," he said.
Premier Daniel Andrews said there would be an increased police presence at large gatherings in Victoria over the Christmas period.
"This is not an act of faith. What was being planned, what will be led in evidence, what the police will allege, was not an act of faith, not an act of religious observance, it was, instead, in its planning, an act of evil, a criminal act," he said.
Commissioner Ashton said he spoke to Cricket Australia about providing additional security at the MCG during the Boxing Day Test, which starts on Monday.
Lazy Victoria police again
Black guy tries to blow up service station in probable terrorist attack. Victorian Police again just don't want to know about black crime. With a delusional premier as their boss, you can't entirely blame them
Hero tradie to the rescue to stop service station disaster. The hero sprung into action when he saw a potential disaster unfolding at a St Albans a service station at 5pm last Wednesday.
CCTV footage shows a man walking up to service station bowser.
He picks up the fuel pump, and holding a cigarette lighter in his right hand, tries to set the bowser alight.
When it fails to ignite, he angrily throws the pump onto the ground and moves to another.
A tradesman spots him on his second attempt, and launches into action. The good Samaritan pulls a fire extinguisher from the front of the bowser, walks up to the man and douses him with fire retardent foam.
He then chases the offender away from the service station in a haze of foam.
The 30-year-old hero, who doesn't want to be named, said he believed the man's intent was to kill or injure bystanders. "It looked like he was trying to burn the place down," he told 7 News. "If he had have lit the petrol, I imagine most of us probably would have died or been pretty severely injured."
While the would-be arsonist was forced out of the service station, he remained nearby. That is, before the tradie launched a second counter attack.
"He was still standing over the fence outside the 7-Eleven, so I ran over and gave him another couple of sprays," the man said.
He said he tried to report the incident to two different police stations, but was told they were too short-staffed at the time to take a statement.
He later reported it to a third, in Melbourne's north west, but the tradie said the response he received was inadequate. "I think [the potential arsonist] is a risk to the public and I do think it needs to be followed up on. "And I just don't think the response I got from that particular officer - not against the station or the force in general - that particular officer, wasn't adequate."
Police told 7 News they would not be investigating the incident as nobody was injured and no damage was reported.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here