Thursday, August 30, 2018

You CAN write at length and yet still tell only half the story

Under the heading "It’s OK To Be Right, But Careful What You Wish For Lauren Southern" there is an article in the far-left "New Matilda" by Dr Petra Bueskens, a Melbourne feminist, who offers several criticisms of Lauren Southern.  Her article is very long-winded, like most offerings in New Matilda, but I will try to pick out a few salient passages to reproduce below.

She has obviously been collecting for a long time examples of female assertiveness going well back into history and she spends a lot of time giving us those examples.  She uses those examples to claim that feminism is not a new thing and that it has always been influential in the development of Western civilization.

But there are two problems with that. The examples she gives are NOT representative examples of thinking in those times so any influence they had is purely conjectural.  The second problem is that she assumes that her feminine protesters in the past were similar to feminists today. I would argue that they are a totally different ilk.

Female protest througout history was protesting about formal rules and customs that limited the opportunities for women to show all their talents.  They protested discrimination against women.  Modern-day feminists are not like that.  They achieved equal opportunities long ago.  Testimony to that is the fact that there are now more female graduates than male coming out of our universities.

So modern day feminsts, having overcome discrimination, now discriminate against men.  They want equal numbers of males and females in all walks of life and are not at all slow to discriminate against men to achieve that.  If there is, for instance, a vacancy on a company board, feminists clamour for a female to be appointed, even if there is a male available who is better qualified for the post.  It is now males who are denied opportunities to show all their talents. Females are a privileged caste.

So modern-day feminists are hateful bigots.  And that is what Lauren protests about.  Dr Bueskens says Lauren cuts her nose off to spite her face when she criticizes feminists.  She does not.  She simply dissasociates herself from a gang of angry Harpies.  Females do perfectly well without the "assistance" of female haters.

And the follies go on.  Dr Bueskens says that the emergence of successful colonial societies such as Canada and Australia proves that multiculturalism is a good thing. It does not.  It proves that SOME immigrants can form an integrated society.  But that was never in question.  What disturbs many conservatives is that all immigrants are not equal and that some immigrants -- mainly Africans and Muslims -- just create problems for society while contributing little that is positive.  A big majority in the two groups mentioned are welfare dependent so do not even contribute their labour.

All men are NOT born equal nor are all immigrants . And all societies that I know of have criteria for who can be admitted and who cannot.  So Lauren is not going far in arguing that "indigestible" groups should be excluded where possible and their influence minimized.

Dr Bueskens sees Lauren only though the lens of her conventional Leftist prejudices, blindnesses, and contestable assumptions and therefore misses the real person.  I could go on to challenge more of her assertions but I am  in no doubt that I will never be able to clean out the Augean stables. But I think I have shown that, despite her lengthy article, she leaves out a lot of the relevant arguments and considerations.

Southern arrived in Australia wearing an ‘It’s okay to be white’ t-shirt, designed purely to stir controversy and point out what she identifies as an asymmetrical discourse on race. Her core message on this tour is that “multiculturalism doesn’t work”, with little attention to the fact that colonial settler societies like Australia (like her home country of Canada) were built on immigration.

One of the key platforms of Southern’s videos is that the discourse of “political correctness” has become an orthodoxy shutting down free speech, and that the left should respond with ideas and debate rather than with protest, aggression, public take-downs and no-platforming. On this we can agree!

It is something the globally famous intellectual Jordan Peterson has forcefully put on the map in the last two years. However, I invoke Peterson not because of his position on free speech or because, like Southern, he is a “darling of the alt-right”, rather it is to point out something he often says about people at the very beginning of adulthood: you know nothing!  While I am not in full agreement with him on this (I have a daughter Southern’s age), it is clear, for all her defensive protestations, she knows nothing about the history of “western civilization” and nor, for that matter, do Peterson or Molyneux if they cannot see feminism as an integral part of it. 

From Christine de Pizan’s The Book of the City of Ladies to the Querelle de Femme, from Mary Astell’s A Serious Proposal to the Ladies to Mary Wollstoncraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, from the bluestockings to the fight for the Married Women’s Property Acts, from the Seneca Falls Convention to J.S. Mill and Harriet Taylor’s The Subjection of Women, from the suffrage movement and the New Woman to Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex; from Betty Friedan’s ‘problem with no name’ to Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch we have the clear articulation of a feminist voice invested in reason and rights that is the very epitome of free speech marshalled against the prevailing orthodoxy.

In Southern’s infinite wisdom – though here she is following the ignorance that characterises the alt-right’s approach to feminism – she assumes that feminism had nothing to do with the creation of “the west”, by which she is mostly referring to the transformations in society and culture associated with the European Enlightenment. In fact feminism was an integral and defining voice! You weren’t anybody unless you were invited to Madame de Staël’s salon and all the well-known philosophes, with the notable exception of Rousseau, were “feminists” (though this of course was not a term in use at the time).

The other assumption – again commonplace on the right – is that feminism is anti-rationality and illiberal. This is patently absurd since it was the desire to have “Woman right” (as it was then called) and the vote enshrined in law that was central to early modern feminist campaigns, as was the desire to own property, including property in the person, and enjoy equal civil rights. 

It is interesting to me that Canada is producing so many of these social media stars: people who were once on the left or saw themselves as liberals and have now undergone a YouTube conversion and seen the alt-right light  – Jordan Peterson, Janice Fiamengo, Lindsay Shepherd and Karen Straughan, as well as more established stars such as Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux. In the US there is Sam, Harris, Dave Rubin, Ben Shapiro and, more recently, Candace Owens.  The so-called “intellectual dark web” of left-to-right converts (as well as left-to-critical left converts) is growing apace.

In any event, the twist in this narrative is that with the institutionalisation of progressive agendas, the new right emerge as the “radicals”, the one’s “shaking the joint up”.  Conversely, those shutting down free speech, the supposed progressives, become the face of the establishment, the arbiters of what is and what is not allowed to be said.  Hence the concerns – that I too share – about the left’s more recent propensity to shut down free speech on contentious issues.


New immigrants will be forced to settle in regional areas for FIVE YEARS under plans to stop all foreigners moving to Sydney and Melbourne

New immigrants would be forced to settle in regional areas instead of metropolitan cities for up to five years under a federal plan to ease congestion in Melbourne and Sydney.

A decision on the time period for mandatory settlement was due to go to the Turnbull cabinet last week, but the leadership spill put that discussion on hold, The Australian reported on Wednesday.

The proposal has yet to be put to Scott Morrison's new cabinet, and the prime minister's office would not comment on the development of the policy.

It is understood a new visa class would apply to the skilled and family migration program but could also apply to refugees.

Almost 90 per cent of new migrants are settling in metropolitan areas such as Melbourne and Sydney.
Video playing bottom right...

A population package put before Government before last week's leadership spill included the proposal for new migrants to be settled in regional areas for a period of up to five years - after this migrants could choose to relocate.

The newly appointed PM has created a separate portfolio of population to be lead by former Citizenship Minister Alan Tudge.

Department of Home Affairs figures revealed by The Australian showed that of the 112,000 skilled migrants that arrived in the country over the previous financial year, 87 per cent settled permanently in Sydney and Melbourne.

Mr Tudge has previously said that the number of incoming migrants was not the only factor in growing population pressures, but rather where these migrants were settling and the distribution being focused in major cities.

'If the population was distributed more evenly, there would not be the congestion pressures that we have today in Melbourne and Sydney,' Mr Tudge told a forum in Melbourne. 'Nor would there be if the ­infrastructure was built ahead of demand,' he said.


It was climate policy that sank PM Turnbull

Turnbull was a Global Warming believer.  Most of his party were not

Chris Kenny

Readers of The Australian will not have been surprised that Malcolm Turnbull ran into internal strife over climate and energy policy. The media voices Turnbull and his supporters blame for fuelling moves against him surely were the ones warning him. His handicap was not in having critics but in ­ignoring them.

Political commentary is abuzz as journalists, especially from the public broadcasters, offer the absurd proposition that this crisis was about nothing, came out of nowhere and failed because Peter Dutton, the original challenger, didn’t get the leadership.

As with any leadership coup, a range of factors was at play, including resentment, ego, polling and ambition. Turnbull failed the Newspoll test he set, making him vulnerable from the day he lost his 30th in a row. The Longman by-election, where a Liberal National Party primary vote below 30 per cent put the fear of obliteration into Queensland MPs, supercharged anxieties.

All the while, Tony Abbott and his loyalists had worn their sense of injustice like blue ties pulled too tight around their necks. With flushed faces and bursting veins, they were always going to erupt if an opportunity arose.

In this climate, Turnbull must have known he needed to avoid provocations. Yet he walked into this conflagration in the most predictable way. A party voted into office largely on a pledge to repeal costly carbon emissions reduction policy (axe the carbon tax), led by a man who previously had lost the leadership for trying to do a deal with Labor on climate policy and was trying to bed down another costly emissions reduction plan by striking a deal with Labor — this was ­always going to end in tears.

This is not hindsight. On radio, television and in the pages of The Australian, Turnbull was warned his national energy guarantee would test internal accommodations. The NEG was conceived in the wake of such a fright, almost two years ago, when environment and energy minister Josh Frydenberg floated an energy intensity scheme. Turnbull had to move quickly to repudiate it and reassure MPs.

Editorials in The Australian have long warned of potential disruption over the NEG. “The prime minister and his team must act decisively to put solutions in place — which, to be fair, they are working towards — as they battle disunity within the Coalition on this issue,” the paper said in April. In July concerns were raised about the leap of faith involved: “Regardless of the former prime minister’s personal motivation, it is alarming but true, as Mr Abbott said on Monday, that the Turnbull government will be relying on the support of Labor states to back its national energy guarantee at next month’s crucial COAG meeting.”

Early this month I wrote that the Coalition was in dire strife and that “government MPs are torn between enjoying the ride as they go over the cliff and mustering the courage to do something about it”. The main problem was obvious. “In a twist of self-harm difficult to believe given Turnbull’s history on the issue (in 2009 he lost the leadership over climate activism), the Coalition is shrinking from a ­potential contest with Labor over climate and energy; preferring to appease the gods of Paris rather than reclaiming the nation’s cheap energy mantle.”

Turnbull’s media boosters at the ABC and elsewhere either didn’t see the looming problem or underestimated it because they supported the policy — wishful thinking. My columns were not informed by any plotting but, rather, assessments of policy and political trajectories. Given I worked for Turnbull when he lost the leadership in 2009 over climate policy, perhaps I was more sensitive to the dynamic. But a clutch of commentators was vigorously attacking the policy and Abbott and his backbench ally Craig Kelly were openly opposing it.

As far back as April 7, I wrote: “The prime minister has been given an opportunity to retreat in the name of common sense, economic sanity and political advantage. But he stands in a no man’s land of stranded coal assets and stored hydro schemes where he risks another insurrection on the same futile battleground.”

Nine days before he called last week’s first spill, my column said Turnbull would “face open revolt over his national energy guarantee; the outstanding questions are how widespread it will be, whether it derails the policy and/or his prime ministership”. A week later I wrote about the “climate and energy debate that is so volatile it could yet destroy Turnbull’s prime ministership and/or the Coalition government”.

On that day this newspaper’s editorial warned: “Malcolm Turnbull needs a circuit-breaker to rescue his national energy guarantee, revive his government’s direction and protect his leadership … The Coalition was elected in 2013 largely on a promise to defend electricity prices from conceitful climate gestures. (Turnbull and Frydenberg) will abandon that policy and political ground at the grave peril of their own positions and that of the Coalition.”

Turnbull and his cabinet persisted with the policy too long. Even after the Coalition partyroom approved it a fortnight ago, MPs’ concerns deepened as they realised Australia would become the only country to write the Paris targets into law. It became an issue of economic sovereignty.

The policy fell apart and on ­August 20 Turnbull effectively shelved it, saying he would not put the legislation to parliament, ostensibly because it wouldn’t pass but more likely because it might pass with Labor support while a dozen or more government MPs crossed the floor to oppose it.

Announcing this capitulation, the prime minister looked broken and a challenge suddenly appeared inevitable. Until a few days earlier, it had been all about changing the policy, not the leader. Now it would be both.

This week the ABC’s Media Watch portrayed the event as a media-driven panic. Host Paul Barry failed to mention the critical energy conflict that triggered the crisis or report the detailed warnings about Turnbull’s perilous path. Barry, in line with much of the gallery, drew other lessons that entirely missed the point. “Well, one is not to let a cabal of conservative commentators persuade the Liberal Party to do something the public hates — knifing an elected prime minister.”

This is an extraordinary distortion. Media Watch argues loud ­voices antipathetic to Turnbull from the moment he seized the prime ministership from Abbott — Andrew Bolt, Alan Jones, Peta Credlin, Ray Hadley and others — killed off a prime minister by spooking his party. Other commentators have promoted media conspiracy theories. This not only insults the MPs and grossly exaggerates the role of open and honest opinion, it also ignores the majority of media voices at the ABC, SBS, Fairfax Media, commercial TV and radio, online publications and many in News Corp papers who have been supportive of Turnbull and sympathetic to his energy and climate aims. Turnbull’s problem was not (admittedly aggressive and relentless) conservative commentators polluting the minds of his MPs but green-left journalists insulating him from reality.


Australian student writing standards plummet to a new low: One in three Year 7 students are still learning to read and almost half of 15-year-olds need help to construct a sentence

Students have recorded the lowest ever scores since NAPLAN testing began - and the alarming slide has experts calling for urgent classroom reforms. 

The National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) are a series of basic skills tests given each year to Australian children.

A third of Year Seven students are still learning to read and almost half of 15-year-olds need help constructing sentences, according to this year's test scores.

A staggering 20 per cent of Year Nine students in New South Wales failed the writing test, the Daily Telegraph reported.

About 40 per cent of Year Nine students across the state need help from a teacher in putting a sentence together as they only just met the minimum standards for writing.

The performance of NSW students has been getting worse since 2011.

Writing results in Year Five and Year Seven were also below those when testing began.

Students who are unable to reach minimum standards - 22 per cent in NSW - may require 'additional assistance' from teachers, according to the Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority.

Pete Goss of the think tank Grattan Institute said the results were disappointing, and added schools should be focusing strongly on teaching students how to write well.

'National benchmarks are not set very high and that's just not good enough,' he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

'In a typical to slightly disadvantaged secondary school, one-third of Year Seven students are still learning to read, they're reading at a Year Three or Four level,' he said.

University of Technology Sydney education professor Rosemary Johnston said the poor results were due to a lack of practice.

'I don’t think it matters if it is handwriting or written on a computer, we need children to read more and to write more, otherwise it is a skill that is going to be lost,' she told the Daily Telegraph.

Students are given a picture or phrase in NAPLAN tests and are asked to write a 'persuasive or narrative' text in 40 minutes, which is then marked against ten criteria including vocabulary, spelling and sentence structure.

NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes defended the state's results, saying it performed above the national average when numeracy and reading were included.


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


Paul said...

Lock your doors and ammo up. The Diversity is on its way to rural Australia with its Mosques and Machetes.

Paul said...

As far as education outcomes go, no-one will acknowledge the 500 pound gorilla in the room and that is the flooding of Australian schools with vibrant diversity. There's your falling Naplans right there.