Thursday, March 16, 2017

Why Coopers boycott is a disgrace

WHAT is happening to this country? There isn’t anything more Australian than two people sitting down, sharing a drink and having a yarn. Our core culture is built around this activity.

Our diversity and inclusiveness as a nation — by far one of the friendliest and most tolerant on the planet — has long been lubricated by people sitting down and sharing a drink together as they explore their differences, sort out their differences or just accept their differences.

And now we have this travesty. A beer boycott by inner-city hipsters who think they are right-on but actually are just outing themselves as ignorant twats.

If you haven’t heard, a bunch of pubs and bars in the “progressive” parts of Sydney and Melbourne have banned beers made by Coopers after the Bible Society produced a video featuring a debate about gay marriage.

Released last week, “Keeping it Light” features Liberal MP and former human rights commissioner Tim Wilson and Andrew Hastie having a “light discussion” on the “heavy topic” of gay marriage over a Coopers beer.

Wilson, who supports gay marriage, and Hastie, a conservative Christian in favour of traditional marriage, are each asked to state their case and then say which element of the other’s argument they found most convincing.

Coopers has released a statement saying it didn’t have any involvement in the video featuring its beer.

The video shows two perfectly respectable people offering two perfectly respectable but differing points of view.

The aim of the video is to foster rational and measured discussion about an important issue. What it’s done is flush some bigots out of their beard-grooming salons.

Bigots are people who are intolerant of other people’s points of view. The majority of Australia’s population can’t cop bigots.

The actions of the pubs and bars who have boycotted Coopers beer because of its appearance in the video are disgraceful. It is bigotry, pure and simple.

These venues are attacking an innocent party. They are having a hissy fit because an alternate view to the one they hold was given equal weight, and are punishing a neutral bystander to the exchange.

A cynic might say it is a marketing exercise to ingratiate themselves to their customer base. If that’s the case, shame on them.

What they should do is invite Tim Wilson and Andrew Hastie to their venues and use the occasion as a vehicle to promote inclusion, tolerance and recognition, the very things the gay marriage lobby are pleading for, and what the Bible society was hoping to foster. A society that accommodates opposing points of view is an admirable one.

Coopers will survive this. It is one of Australia’s great businesses and is a good corporate citizen. People love the company’s beer, and it is the largest Australian-owned brewery.

When Thomas Cooper first started making beer in Adelaide in 1862, Australia was a young country full of promise. The old codger had a beard that would make him feel right at home in the pubs and bars banning his beers. If he knew how prejudiced they were he wouldn’t be seen dead in them.

Beer has helped Australia recover from a dozen wars. Beer has helped people from dozens of nations assimilate into a country far from their original homes. Beer has been witness to our country’s greatest triumphs.

To ban a particular beer for no reason at all is bloody well un-Australian.


ABC has not learned the Trump lesson

Slavish devotion to minority causes tends to piss off the majority

IT seems to me the ABC is trying its hardest to become redundant. It focuses on progressive causes at the expense of reporting the news. No wonder it’s haemorrhaging viewers.

While the Brisbane ABC newsroom presents reasonably straightforward reports, the national shows like Q&A, Insiders and even the 7.30 Report have a distinctive left wing twang. It panders to the inner-city elites and leaves the rest of us scratching our heads.

I no longer turn to the ABC for the facts. I know I will not get balance and depth of coverage free from political influence.

And today ABC is again making the news rather than reporting it.

It has declined to apologise to the family of cartoonist Bill Leak for an on-air outburst in which an activist interrupted Monday’s Q&A program by calling him a racist,

Senator Seselja, who is Assistant Minister for Multicultural ­Affairs, yesterday labelled the protesters “a disgrace”, accusing them of “dancing on the grave of Bill Leak”.

“You really have a continuation of some of the Twitter ­hatred that’s been directed ­towards Bill Leak in his death, and I would just say to those individuals to perhaps have a little bit of decency and a little bit of compassion,” he told Sky News.

Senator Seselja said the pursuit of Leak over the cartoon through a complaint to the Human Rights Commission under section 18C had highlighted failures in the way the law dealt with race-hate allegations.

It is further proof the ABC has lost the plot and should be defunded.

Its broadcasters remain in denial about the threat of Islamic extremism and everything it touched reeks of political correctness.

Aunty, meanwhile, continues to pander to unions by giving them too much airplay. The ABC fuelled the hate campaign against Tony Abbott until his authority was so weakened he had to be removed.

It’s time our national broadcaster went back to its roots and did some in-depth reporting on the union underbelly controlling state and federal governments.

And I would like to see Aunty should stick to its original charter of providing radio and television and get out of digital this and online that. The ABC pays people to run no fewer than 350 websites. Why? It’s overkill and costly and you are paying for it.


Battery storage may have its place but this isn’t it

South Australia’s emergency power plan proves that battery storage is a fringe response rather than a durable solution to the state’s electricity woes.

Silicon Valley billionaire Elon Musk has milked South Australia’s problems for plenty of publicity to coincide with the launch of his new Powerwall 2 battery in Australia.

But Musk’s money-back guarantee always was on meeting a 100-day installation deadline rather than actually fixing South Australia’s problems caused by its over-reliance on intermittent wind and solar.

To the dismay of armchair electrical engineers, Premier Jay Weatherill yesterday confirmed the solution to South Australia’s blackout problems would overwhelmingly be gas.

Showing the hide of a rhinoceros, Weatherill cast the blame for South Australia’s predicament far and wide.

But the cost of the latest instalment in a decade of electricity adventurism will be paid by South Australian taxpayers and long-suffering electricity users.

Sure, South Australia will deploy a big bank of batteries to smooth out the peaks in demand — equal to several minutes of total state requirements, but the heavy lifting will be done by a new taxpayer-owned peaking gas plant and a raft of state impositions. Electricity consumers will be forced to buy a set ­portion of state-generated gas-fired power rather than cheaper coal-fired power from Victoria.

This is supposed to encourage private investment in more gas-fired power in the state.

To get the gas, South Australia will give a share of taxpayers’ royalties to landholders where the gas is drilled.

More state regulation will mandate that new gas stays in South Australia.

This all adds up to an expensive fix and slippery slope to further ­nationalisation.

With the heavy emphasis on peaking power, it still begs the question of what will happen when doldrum conditions again strand wind turbines for long periods over summer?

Batteries may have their place, but this is not it.

The incredulity shown by a new army of battery fetishists to the South Australian plan’s emphasis on gas shows how tough it will be to find a durable fix for energy ­policy nationally.


Education's 4C's do not exist without the 3R's

Jennifer Buckingham

Almost every day, a new evangelist for so-called '21st Century' learning makes a heartfelt plea for schools to throw off the shackles of having to teach children to be proficient readers and fluent writers, competent in arithmetic, and knowledgeable about the world they live in.

Instead of the 3 'R's, which is code for old-fashioned and fusty, these visionaries argue schools should focus on the 4 'C's -- creativity, critical reflection, collaboration, and communication (what a stroke of luck they all start with the same letter!).

Apart from the obvious observation that the 4Cs came in quite handy prior to the current century, there are a couple of problems with this argument.

Foremost, the 4Cs depend upon the 3Rs. A person cannot think creatively or critically if they don't know anything to think creatively or critically about. Likewise, a child who cannot read will not easily acquire knowledge and a child who cannot write will struggle to effectively communicate what they know and think. Sadly, there are hundreds of thousands of Australian students who cannot read or write.

Furthermore, it is a serious but common misconception that the 4Cs are generic skills, whereas cognitive science research has shown they are domain specific. That is, thinking critically and creatively about physics is different to thinking critically and creatively about English literature. Sophisticated levels of communication require explicit knowledge of the subject matter in question.

The generic skills misconception derives from the constructivist theory of learning -- that children are naturally disposed to seek knowledge and understanding, and only require adults to facilitate their self-guided journey of discovery. This is the 'learning how to learn' trope that was invalidated by scientific research not long after Vatican II.

Nonetheless, constructivist theory continues to lead many schools to embrace inquiry-based learning pedagogies, even though there is copious evidence that they are much less effective than other methods for children learning new and difficult concepts and facts, especially when compared to explicit instruction.

And, despite the evidence, new multimillion dollar, architect-designed schools are being built specifically to encourage and accommodate inquiry-based learning pedagogies. (Meanwhile, high performing primary schools are putting the walls back into open classrooms because they know they don't work.)

It is easy to be seduced by the idea that children only need a wifi-connected tablet computer, a bean bag, and a caring adult nearby to gain all the complex knowledge the best brains in history labored over for centuries. But the reality is that children will always need the 3Rs, and expert teaching -- and by extension, expert teachers -- are still necessary.


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

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