all right

Occasionally adding corroborative details to add verisimilitude to otherwise bald and unconvincing,
but veridicous accounts
with careful attention, indefatigable assiduity, and nice discrimination.

24 May, 2017

As in the Blitz!

In the wake of yet another attack (which had nothing to do with Islam, obviously, by a deluded lone wolf), some people (the same folk, for the most part, who blether of tolerance and the pressing need not to blame our Mahometan neighbours who are, as ever, the real victims here) urge Britons to carry on as normal—as in the Blitz!—in order to defy evil terrorists.  Of course, though Londoners, for example, did do their best to live their lives as normally as possible during World War II they did so whilst their military forces were actually fighting the Axis powers by, say, constantly bombing the enemy.
Things would be very different if the politicians of today had been in power during WWII:
BBC announcer: Here is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, speaking from the smoking ruins of the Palace of Westminster.
Prime Minister: Good evening. I speak to you tonight, grief-stricken by the horrid events of this day. As you are probably aware, waves of aeroplanes of the Luftwaffe, Nazi Germany’s airforce, again dropped thousands of bombs over south-east England today, many over the great city of London, and many hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent civilians are dead and many, many more are grievously injured.  There has been great destruction of property, including damage to our most beloved buildings of outstanding cultural worth.
But we cannot allow loss of life and heritage—which is just part and parcel with living in a modern city, really—to fill our minds with hate.  Not all Germans are Nazis, and not all Nazis are evil.  Furthermore, National Socialism is a great political ideology, with many peaceful adherents, and a long and rich history.   Nazism has absolutely nought to do with war or terrorism.  Many (or, at least, some) Nazis, according to reliable surveys, are quite moderate and are not entirely supportive of the total abolition of democracy, the brutal repression of “non-Aryan” peoples, and the pitiless extermination of Jews.
We ought to send only good wishes to our enemies, as we send our thoughts and prayers to those in sorrow, and we must let Nazi Germany know that we shall welcome them all, with loving, open arms, not with force of arms, whenever they choose to visit our rich and hospitable, borderless land.  We shall welcome the Nazis on the beaches, we shall welcome them on the landing grounds, in the fields and in the streets, we shall welcome them in the hills; we shall never surrender to hate.  The way to stop conflict is to refuse to participate in conflict!  We must shew the good people of Germany, in word and deed, that we shall not stoop to similar acts of destruction and intolerance.  Instead, let us send messages of peace and good will to the ordinary people of Germany whilst shewing those who attacked us that they cannot triumph over us.
We will live our lives as if Herr Hitler and his arrogant but wrong-headed cohort of intolerant National Socialists had not declared war on peaceful democracies and completely subjugated the citizenry of France and Poland and several other countries which few have heard of.  We will keep our streets well lit, we will impose no curfew, we will continue to work and play as if nothing untoward occurred and, in short, we will bravely carry on as usual.
It won’t be long before the leadership of Nazi Germany realises that diversity beats uniformity, open-hearted liberalism overcomes narrow-minded provincialism, tolerance defeats intolerance, and love vanquishes hate and no one ever achieved anything with violence.
Good night from what was, once, the House of Commons and the home of representative government.
UPDATE I:  see “‘Dangerous Woman’ Meets Dangerous Man” by Mark Steyn:
“Carrying on exactly as before”, as The Independent advises, will not be possible.  A few months ago, I was in Toulouse, where Jewish life has vanished from public visibility and is conducted only behind the prison-like walls of a fortress schoolhouse and a centralised synagogue that requires 24/7 protection by French soldiers; I went to Amsterdam, which is markedly less gay than it used to be; I walked through Molenbeek after dark, where unaccompanied women dare not go.  You can carry on, you can stagger on, but life is not exactly as it was before.  Inch by inch, it’s smaller and more constrained.  […]
All of us have gotten things wrong since 9/11.  But few of us have gotten things as disastrously wrong as May and Merkel and Hollande and an entire generation of European political leaders who insist that remorseless incremental Islamisation is both unstoppable and manageable.  It is neither—and, for the sake of the dead of last night’s carnage and for those of the next one, it is necessary to face that honestly. Theresa May’s statement in Downing Street is said by my old friends at The Spectator to be “defiant”, but what she is defying is not terrorism but reality.  So too for all the exhausted accessories of defiance chic:  candles, teddy bears, hashtags, the pitiful passive rote gestures that acknowledge atrocity without addressing it—like the Eloi in H G Wells’ Time Machine, too evolved to resist the Morlocks.
On the supposed inutility of violence, see Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (New York, 1959), Chapter II:
One girl told [the teacher of History and Moral Philosophy] bluntly:  “My mother says that violence never settles anything.”
“So?”  Mr. Dubois looked at her bleakly.  “I’m sure the city fathers of Carthage would be glad to know that.  Why doesn’t your mother tell them so?  Or why don’t you?”
They had tangled before—since you couldn’t flunk the course, it wasn’t necessary to keep Mr. Dubois buttered up.  She said shrilly, “You’re making fun of me!  Everybody knows that Carthage was destroyed!”
“You seemed to be unaware of it,” he said grimly.  “Since you do know it, wouldn’t you say that violence had settled their destinies rather thoroughly? However, I was not making fun of you personally; I was heaping scorn on an inexcusably silly idea—a practice I shall always follow.  Anyone who clings to the historically untrue—and thoroughly immoral—doctrine that ‘violence never settles anything’ I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and of the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it.  The ghost of Hitler could referee, and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon.  Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst.  Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms.”
UPDATE II (25 May):  Mark Steyn writes a sequel to his article quoted supra:
My thoughts yesterday did not meet with universal agreement.  Linda Cianchetti emails:
The killer was the queen of England’s clan.
Rothschild Soros club.
Stop zionist Israel jews from manufacturing all this illusion. They are the banking cartel around the world. Stop blaming everyone but the culprits, themselves. Or we will have no respect for journalists and the tales they put out.
Well, thanks for clearing that up.
I get a lot more of this than I used to.  I suspect Ms Cianchetti would blame “zionist Israel jews” and “the queen of England’s clan” whatever happened, but it’s a close call whether she’s any more detached from reality than, say, Newsweek fretting about “reprisals” against Muslims or the nincompoop diversicrat who serves as Chief Constable of Greater Manchester sternly warning that we must not “tolerate hate”—by which he means not the hate of people who shred little girls’ bodies with nail bombs but the mean-spirited Tweets of people who get angry at the people who shred little girls’ bodies with nail bombs
The Official Lies are getting more ludicrous, and (with respect to the investigation of Fleet Street columnists for entirely innocuous observations) dangerous and totalitarian.  One further danger of the Official Lies is that their obvious fraudulence bolsters the confidence of Ms Cianchetti and the similarly inclined in their derangements.
UPDATE III (25 May):  see “After Manchester: It’s Time for Anger” by Brendan O’Neill:
As part of the post-terror narrative, our emotions are closely policed. Some emotions are celebrated, others demonised. Empathy—good. Grief—good. Sharing your sadness online—great. But hatred? Anger? Fury? These are bad. They are inferior forms of feeling, apparently, and must be discouraged. Because if we green-light anger about terrorism, then people will launch pogroms against Muslims, they say, or even attack Sikhs or the local Hindu-owned cornershop, because that’s how stupid and hateful we apparently are. But there is a strong justification for hate right now. Certainly for anger. For rage, in fact. […]
The post-terror cultivation of passivity speaks to a profound crisis of—and fear of—the active citizen. It diminishes us as citizens to reduce us to hashtaggers and candle-holders in the wake of serious, disorientating acts of violence against our society. It decommissions the hard thinking and deep feeling citizens ought to pursue after terror attacks. Indeed, in some ways this official post-terror narrative is the unwitting cousin of the terror attack itself.  
[…]That the post-terror narrative is fundamentally about taming our passion and politics is clear from its sidelining of all issues of substance. We are actively warned against asking difficult questions about 21st-century society and why it has this violence in it, this nihilism in it. Question the wisdom of multiculturalism, of refusing to elevate one culture over another and instead encouraging people to live in their own cultural bubbles, and you’re racist. Wonder [whether] the obsession with combatting ‘Islamophobia’ might have given rise to a situation where some Muslims, especially younger ones, cannot handle ridicule of their religion, and… well, you’re ‘Islamophobic’. As for immigration:  this is the great unmentionable; you’re a fascist even for thinking about it. The post-terror narrative that barks ‘You must empathise!’ also says, implicitly, and sometimes explicitly, ‘You mustn’t think! […]
It is wrong to have core values in a society built on diversity, apparently, and we mustn’t ever suggest that any particular ideology poses a threat to those values, because that might involve ‘punching down’, singling people out, etc. We end up with a unity of shallow feeling, a union of highly individuated mourners, not a unity around real ideals and things and vision. Their cry of unity is a lie. The fact is there are people in our society willing to attack us, others who will think those attacks are justified, and others still who will apologise for those attacks by saying they’re a product of ‘Islamophobia’ or Western intervention overseas.  
[…]
Stop and think about how strange it is, how perverse it is, that more than 20 of our citizens have been butchered and we are basically saying: ‘Everyone calm down. Love is the answer.’ Where’s the rage? If the massacre of children and their parents on a fun night out doesn’t make you feel rage, nothing will. The terrorist has defeated you.  You are dead already.

13 May, 2017

Potato, Sweet Potato & Misnomers

If I were given some sugared flesh when I asked for a sweetmeat, or supplied peas after I ordered some sweet peas I should be disappointed almost as much, I warrant, as a diner who asked for a plate of sweetbread with some sweet corn on the side and was instead served a slice of bread and honey, say, with some sugared wheat or barley; similarly, if I ordered some mashed potato or fried potato chips and was instead given some mashed sweet potato or fried sweet potato chips I should be rightly peeved.  The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is not the same as the potato (Solanum tuberosum), and perversely providing a dish of sweet potatoes instead of a dish of potatoes when potatoes were ordered is insultingly wrong.
On a recent episode of MasterChef Australia a contestant, Benjamin Bullock, deliberately provided a meal featuring sweet potato beignets (which he called “doughnuts”) though the meal was meant to feature potatoes—it was a “potato challenge”—wherefore he failed entirely to supply a meal which had to feature (in the words of Gary Mehigan, one of the judges) potato as “the heart of the dish”; that mischievous contestant should have been soundly horse-whipped and sent home in disgrace.  The contestant who was instead eliminated from the competition, Josh Clearihan, had prepared inadequate gnocchi (which he insisted on pronouncing “nocky”); he ought to have been punished for his wilfully wayward pronunciation of a classic Italian dish but at least he used real spuds in the potato challenge.

quite appropriate for a potato challenge
quite inappropriate for a potato challenge

See the the first paragraphs of Chapter One, “Misnomers”, from Thomas Love Peacock’s novel, Gryll Grange (London, 1861):
‘Palestine soup!’ said the Reverend Doctor Opimian, dining with his friend Squire Gryll; ‘a curiously complicated misnomer.  We have an excellent old vegetable, the artichoke, of which we eat the head; we have another of subsequent introduction, of which we eat the root, and which we also call artichoke, because it resembles the first in flavour, although, me judice, a very inferior affair.  This last is a species of the helianthus, or sunflower genus of the Syngenesia frustranea class of plants.  It is therefore a girasol, or turn-to-the-sun. From this girasol we have made Jerusalem, and from the Jerusalem artichoke we make Palestine soup.’

Mr. Gryll.
A very good thing, doctor.

The Rev. Dr. Opimian.
A very good thing; but a palpable misnomer.

Mr. Gryll.
I am afraid we live in a world of misnomers, and of a worse kind than this. In my little experience I have found that a gang of swindling bankers is a respectable old firm; that men who sell their votes to the highest bidder, and want only ‘the protection of the ballot’ to sell the promise of them to both parties, are a free and independent constituency; that a man who successively betrays everybody that trusts him, and abandons every principle he ever professed, is a great statesman, and a Conservative, forsooth, à nil conservando; that schemes for breeding pestilence are sanitary improvements; that the test of intellectual capacity is in swallow, and not in digestion; that the art of teaching everything, except what will be of use to the recipient, is national education; and that a change for the worse is reform.

14 February, 2017

If You Need to Lie anent an Opponent’s Supposed Lies…

Speakers of Lies in Hypocrisy*

I should have hoped that
decent people would not need
this explanation:

all those who condemn
liars on moral grounds have
an obligation

to ensure their own
claims are based on facts and true.
A declaration


which merely repeats
another man’s fallacious
representation,

unchecked, is as wrong,
morally, as a willful
calumniation.

Still, it’s good to see
that even liars dislike
tergiversation.

*    “ἐν ὑποκρίσει ψευδολόγων…” (I Tim., iv:2).
†  I say this because the leader of the world’s most powerful nation is called a liar by the most flagrant liars; their denigration seems moved by hatred for popular policies on immigration (and the like) which, they assert falsely, are quite fascist in motivation.

UPDATE I (16 Feb. 2017):  see John Nolte’s “24 Pieces of MSM Fake News in 5 Days” and Daniel Payne’s “16 Fake Stories Reporters Have Run since Trump Won”; see also “If You Just Started Caring about Political Scandals Again, You’re a Brazen Hypocrite” by Matt Walsh:
The truth matters.  It matters now just as it mattered for the past eight years.  So when Dan Rather claims that Trump may already be guilty of the biggest political scandal in his lifetime, and the New York Times insists that Obama had a scandal free White House, and USA Today along with many other outlets echo that absolutely ridiculous assertion, it behooves those of us who value the truth to calmly respond: UM, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT?
UPDATE II (16 Feb.):  see “When Lying about Secret Meetings Was OK” by Jack Cashill.

UPDATE III (16 Feb.):  watch “Lying to America” written and directed by David Gray:


UPDATE IV (17 Feb.):  Katty Kay, an alleged journalist for the BBC, posted a series of complaints on Twitter mocking Pres. Trump including this inaccurate assertion:


I posted a response:
Katty Kay is dissatisfied.
“Some people say we’re fake,” she cried,
“and then Mr. Trump said ‘They lied’!”
(BBC folk cannot abide
being criticised; they may chide
leaders but it’s undignified
for a president to deride
the world’s self-appointed news guide.)
Katty Kay, have you really tried
to be more honest and less snide
and, for once, to try to provide
accurate news, not of one side,
but with fairness strictly applied?
No, you are completely one-eyed.
Chuck Todd, an alleged journalist for NBC News, posted this complaint on Twitter:


I responded:
If delegitimizing the press be so heinous, @chucktodd, perhaps the press should stop delegitimizing itself with crazed bias.
UPDATE V (2 March):  watch the NRA’s “Truth Doesn’t Matter to The New York Times”:

16 October, 2016

Soundtrack: Excerpt from Jane Austen’s Love & Friendship

See the Love & Friendship Movie blog for details of the forthcoming short film, “An Excerpt from Jane Austen’s Love & Friendship”, which constitutes a pitch for making a full-length motion picture based on Jane Austen’s epistolary novella.


17 November, 2015

The Easy Way to Stop Troubles: Ignore Them

Facebook is full of people repeating such silliness as this:
“Everyone is worried about stopping terrorism.  Well, there’s a really easy way:  Stop participating in it.”

—Noam Chomsky
How wise and true! Here’s what will surely happen:- 
In a back street of a large, major city a jihadist grabs a passing stranger, Joe, and holds a scimitar to his throat.

Jihadist:  Die, crusading bastard!

Joe:  Hey, stop! I’m not involved.

Jihadist (holding his scimitar away from Joe’s throat but still holding Joe in a strong grip):  What?

JoeYour struggle has nought to do with me.  I don’t participate in terrorism.  I believe in live-and-let-live and, to the extent that I have any awareness of the issues, I support your freedom to follow your religion in any way which seems best to you for I am a man of cultured reason and tolerance.  I have “an audacious confidence in the fundamental goodness of others”, including your good self.*

Jihadist:  You’re not a tool of the oppressive, imperialist crusader dogs?

Joe:  No, not I.  I am the very definition of a non-participant.

Jihadist:  Wait, I don’t kill you?

Joe: If it’s no trouble.

Jihadist (releasing Joe):  Oh, well, sorry to have bothered you.  I’ll go grab another victim to behead then.

Joe:  Nice chatting with you.  Good luck with your endeavours. See ya.

Jihadist:  Thanks.  Bye.
*  the words from “I am” to “self”, featuring a quote from the ABC’s jihadist-loving Jonathan Green, were suggested by a poster, Rabz, at Catallaxy Files.

Remember, you too can gain an underserved reputation for wisdom simply by voicing similarly quotable admonitions; for example, try “There’s a really easy way to stop x: stop participating in it”, wherein x = “murder”, “rape”, “burglaries”, “the heat-death of the universe”, “poverty”,
“rough, dry elbows” or “superhero sequels”.

26 October, 2015

The Great Heritage Highway Walk


Please print and display these posters wherever it is appropriate and legal to do so.
For more information, see the Great Heritage Highway Walk website and blog. 
The first and fourth posters are by Jonty Dalton; the second and third are by Basil the Scribe.
PDF versions can be found here, here, here and here.

18 September, 2015

“Marry, this is miching mallecho; it means mischief”

Illuminating Mischief

Turnbull’s light-bulb ban
was, I say, emblematic
of the statist man.

His awarmist views
suggest that Turnbull’s present
restraint is a ruse.

Awarmists can’t be
rational, logical or
prudent* fiscally.

* earlier, at Catallaxy Files, I posted this comment:
As I have suggested elsewhere it it impossible to be an awarmist and a fiscal conservative at the same time.  To believe in the pseudo-scientific conjecture of AGW a person has to reject logic and science in favour of immoderate irrationality; to support the supposed solutions to the non-existent problem of global warming—which involve massive spending, increased taxes and illiberal statist controls—believers perforce deny personal liberty and freedoms in general; such a person cannot reasonably be expected to consider other issues logically, scientifically or prudently.
The egomaniacal, amoral and seemingly psychopathic Turnbull is evidently more dangerous than Rudd and Gillard combined.

04 September, 2015

“Death or Liberty”

Bás nó Saoirse (2015):


The docudrama (in two parts) will be screened in Eire on 6 and 13 October.  A screening of both parts (with a panel discussion, as part of Parliament Week) will be at the People’s History Museum, London, on 19 November.  Australian broadcasting dates have yet to be announced.  A shorter “Death or Liberty” will be screened on ABC1 on 5 January Sunday, 24 January, 2016 at 10:00 pm (see updates III and IV) Thursday, 14 January at 9.33 pm.
Many scenes were filmed in Tasmania and I was an (uncredited and unpaid) extra in a few:


UPDATE I (15 September):  Another trailer:


UPDATE II:  The BoFA festival has announced that it will feature the world premiere of Death or Liberty on 5 November in Launceston.  (A strange world premiere that would be of a documentary which had already been broadcast on television.)  In The Mercury, Kane Young—being a modern sort of journalist who, seemingly, cannot distinguish between journalism and rewriting media releases—not only agrees that the screening in Launceston will be the world premiere, and neglects to mention a co-director, but also gets the date wrong; he writes:
BOFA’s five-day program […] kicks off on November 4 with the world premiere of new Tasmanian film Death or Liberty, directed by Steve Thomas.
The documentary is co-directed by Keith Farrell and Steve Thomas.


UPDATE III (18 September):  co-director Steve Thomas kindly explained that there are now three versions of Death or Liberty:  the version which will be broadcast in two parts (of 50 minutes each) on Irish and Welsh television; the abbreviated film version of 80 minutes which will be screened at the BoFA festival; and an even more attenuated version of 57 minutes which is all that the ABC would accept.  (The longest version, in two 50 minutes parts, has itself two variants:  the English and the Irish.)

UPDATE IV (5 October):  the Australian version of Death or Liberty will be screened on ABC 1 on 5 January, 2016, at a time yet to be announced on Sunday, 24 January, 2016 at 10:00 pm Thursday, 14 January at 9.33 pm.

UPDATE V (7 October):   from the broadcast by TG4 this morning (our time) of the first part of Bás nó Saoirse, I pull a coal-cart; I follow and then precede Llion Williams as Zephaniah Williams; I also listen to John Xintavelonis as Sir John Franklin admonish Zachary Lennon as Linus Miller:


UPDATE VI (14 October):   from the broadcast by TG4 this morning (our time) of the second part of Bás nó Saoirse:

UPDATE VI (27 October):  Death or Liberty will be shewn at Melbourne’s Sun Theatre on 29 and 31 October and on 3 November.

UPDATE VII (3 November):  I asked the director of the BoFA festival why it still calls its screening of Death or Liberty this Thursday as the “world premieresince the film has now been screened elsewhere; he kindly responded, writing (inter alia): 
We are the World Festival Premiere. We’ve changed that on our website.
UPDATE VIII (3 November):  recently, on ABC Radio National, Micheal Cathcart discussed Death or Liberty with Steve Thomas, Dr. Tony Moore and Mick Thomas; you can listen to “Death or Liberty: Australia’s rebels and radicals on Books and Arts”:
A new documentary film by Steve Thomas [and Keith Farrell] tells the story of the rebels and radicals transported to Australia as political prisoners during the convict era.
UPDATE IX (11 January, 2016):  ABC TV (with no one within that vast organisation, apparently, who knows not to capitalise conjuctions) has announced a new time for screening the shortest version of Death or Liberty:
A stirring lyrical journey into the heroic lives of the Empires rebels exiled to Australia the prison without walls.  They were martyrs to the cause in their homelands but their convict lives are an amazing untold story until now. 

08 July, 2015

“Don’t Overestimate Threats,” Shriek Scaremongers

In “Don’t overestimate Islamic State threat: Malcolm Turnbull” David Wroe (of the seditiously scaremongering, awarmist SMH) reports the soothing words of Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, the former federal Minister for the Environment and Water Resources:
The threat posed by the Islamic State terror group should not be overstated, and critics of new national security measures should not be denounced, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said.
The threat posed by the Islamic State terror group, judging only by its murderous acts and not by its quite minatory pronouncements, is great; the threat posed by a very slight increase of average temperatures around the world, in contrast, is extremely slight.  When Malcom Turnbull was Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, however, he banned incandescent light-bulbs in Australia, “in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”, and because of his deep but groundless fear that their extremely slight contribution to supposed global warming would doom us all:
“A normal light bulb is too hot to hold—that heat is wasted* and globally represents millions of tonnes of CO2 that needn’t have been emitted into the atmosphere if we had used more efficient forms of lighting.”
On his own department’s projections (at the time), his banning of incandescent light bulbs was expected to reduce Australia’s total output of allegedly threatening “emissions”—i.e. beneficent CO2, essential for life—by as much as 0.1%.
So, a real, murderous regime trying to impose a barbaric caliphate—meh; a fantasy of doom predicated on a pseudo-scientific conjecture insisting that the world’s climate might warm by as much as half a degree—run for the hills after destroying industry!
The man is a nincompoop.

* in cold weather, in many homes, the heat from internal incandescent light bulbs was not wasted: it helped warm living spaces.

20 June, 2015

Entering the Sixth Mass Hysteria

Meanwhile, Paul R. Ehrlich—notorious doomsayer and anti-Cassandra, predestined to be wrong but believed, famous for inaccurately foreseeing all manner of catastrophes, who predicted in the ’60s (in The Population Bomb) that “[t]he battle to feed all of humanity is over” and that we’d all die of starvation in the ’70s—has co-authored “Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction”.
Hysterical, credulous, unsceptical journos naturally cover such stories as, for example, “Earth’s Sixth Mass Extinction Has Begun, New Study Confirms” [using the word “confirms” in its rare meaning of “asserts”]; note the cool, unemotive, scientific language:
This latest research tells us what we already knew.  Humans have in the space of a few centuries swung a wrecking ball through the Earth’s biosphereLiquidating biodiversity to produce products and services has an end point.  Science is starting to sketch out what that end point could look like but it cannot tell us why to stop before we reach it.
If we regard the Earth as nothing more than a source of resources and a sink for our pollution, if we value other species only in terms of what they can provide to us, then we we will continue to unpick the fabric of life. Remove further rivets from spaceship earth. This not only increases the risk that it will cease to function in the ways that we and future generations will depend on, but can only reduce the complexity and beauty of our home in the cosmos.
UPDATE (21 June)the BBC has uncritically reported the alarmist findings of the “sixth mass extinction” paper—disingenuously describing it as “a study by three US universities”—and, of course, the awarmist, misanthracist, duplicitous misanthropes who infest the “progressive” movement are incoherently wishing that mankind perish very soon whilst simultaneously lamenting all the other species whose final days are supposedly nigh.

28 May, 2015

A New Protector of Marriage

The battle for same-sex marriage has been won.  Now the winners must defend marriage as fiercely as we conservatives tried.
And their first test comes now.  Before they get our politicians to take the final step and change the Marriage Act, they must help to maximise the good — and minimise the damage.  […]
Moreover, the Yes vote in Catholic Ireland last week broke the back of any real resistance here, too.
We can, no doubt, expect to hear discussions, in defence of marriage, like this very soon: 
Bi-bloke:  Hey, Gay-chap, old friend, you were allowed to marry your boyfriend for two reasons according to you:  “love” and “equality”.  Well, I want to marry both my boyfriend and my girlfriend for the same two reasons:  “love” and “equality”. 
Gay-chap:  Nah, but you could just live together and call yourself whatever you like.
 
Bi-bloke: Isn’t that what people said to you? 
Gay-chap: That was different.  My man and I wanted a big, fancy wedding, with all our friends and family there to witness our eternal commitment to each other, and lots of wedding presents, and lots of flowers.
  We also had a big cake.  Admittedly, we had to sue the baker because, though he made and decorated a lovely cake to our exact specifications, he didn’t enthusiastically support our marriage, the bastard.  We did get a nice out-of-court settlement.  Anyhow, cake, flowers, presents, and friends and family! 
Bi-bloke: We want a big fancy wedding too, with all our friends and family.
Gay-chap:  You can still have a ceremony—just without State sanction.

Bi-bloke: But we want State sanction; we want what you got. 
Gay-chap:  Well, you can’t.
 
Bi-bloke:  Why the hell not?
 
Gay-chap:  Because marriage can only be between two unrelated, adult human beings, to the exclusion of all others.
 
Bi-bloke:  Yeah?  Says who?
 
Gay-chap:  I do.

Bi-bloke:  See, I want to be able to say that.  Tee hee.  Seriously, what’s the basis for this old-fashioned, bigoted and narrow notion that marriage must be between only two people?
Gay-chap:  Tradition, and, and, and that’s just the way it is.
Bi-bloke:  Isn’t that what opponents of your same-sex marriage said?
Gay-chap:  There is no similarity and, anyway, it’s the Law.  And it’s different.  Because, well, becauseSo there.  You can shut up now. 
Bi-bloke:  Now, look—
Gay-chap:  Homophobe!  Racist! 

Bi-bloke:  But—

Gay-chap:  Fascist!  Hater!  Misogynist!
 
Bi-bloke:  Hey, steady on, I’m not the one who won’t touch women
Gay-chap:  Police!  Help, Police!  I’m being oppressed by an opponent of same-sex marriage!
Constable Sonja:  Is, uh, there, uh, a, a, oooh, is there a, uh, problem?  Sorry, I, ooh, just had to, uh, jog nearly seven, oooh, yards then, uh, in full rig.
  So, uh, wot’s goin’ on here, then?
Bi-bloke:  I give up.

Gay-chap:  Yay!  I have successfully defended marriage!  I’m a hero!

17 April, 2015

The ‘Marriage’ Game the Whole Family Can Play

Richard Griggs, the Tasmanian director of Civil Liberties Australia, has argued (for want of a better word) in favour of same-sex marriage in The Mercury.  His assertions in favour of same-sex couples marrying could just as well apply to siblings or other closely-related people (even by adoption*) who might wish to marry each other but, under current, bigoted laws, may not thus ‘express their love’.  Accordingly, here is Richard Griggs’s article only slightly amended:
Talking Point: Same-family marriage simply gives each person equality in law
[No one] recently argued in these pages that same-family marriage was not a civil rights issue.
Same-family marriage, [no one] said, did not equate with the historic civil rights movements which gave women the vote or dismantled whites only zones in public places.
These are examples of civil rights campaigns but a full explanation of what actually constitutes a civil right needs to go much deeper.  When we do that, same-family marriage clearly becomes a civil rights issue.
Civil rights are about giving everyone the same opportunities to participate in civil society.
When we change legislation in recognition of civil rights we give more people full participatory rights in society.  We open the door and let more people in.
You can tell it is a civil rights issue when an identifiable group in society is prevented from accessing a public institution for no reason other than their membership of that particular group.
Public institutions can be physical, like shopping centres or public transport, or they can be rights of passage or rights of citizenship, like voting.
Surely marriage must sit alongside voting as an important part of civil society and should actually outrank shopping and transport in terms of its importance.
Marriage is a central part of civil society and, therefore, to exclude some couples from marrying is a civil rights issue.
Marriage has been with us for centuries and parliaments have elevated the institution of marriage into law.
Marriage is entered into by many couples.  Some marry for good reasons, some for poor.  Some marriages last a lifetime and others less than a year.  And of course some people are perfectly happy never marrying at all.
It is the freedom to choose to marry which is important.  The freedom to have the same options as other couples [or, surely, triples or quadruples, etc.].
For some readers marriage is a religious institution of long standing that only in more recent history (the past few hundred years) became enshrined in law by parliament.  There is historical debate in some quarters about which came first, marriage or organised religion.
Current marriage laws passed by our Commonwealth Parliament make clear that marriage is now owned by the people and Parliament, not any single religion.
The law allows non-religious couples to marry in a non-religious location with a non-religious marriage celebrant.  It also allows for people of two different religions to marry.
There will be some religions which do not support same-family marriage and they should be free to choose to practice [sic] their religious beliefs.  But those same religions shouldn’t assert ownership or control over marriage for the remainder of society.
They should be free to practice [sic] their beliefs but not free to mandate their beliefs on others.
Earlier this year my wife and I were married on a summer afternoon in the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.  Gathering together our friends and family and making a public declaration of shared loved and commitment in front of them was a very proud and emotional moment.  It was a beautiful day which I will never forget.
My wife and I were lucky to enter our marriage with the support of the law and the love of our family and friends.  I feel deeply sad that same-family couples are denied the same opportunity to share such a wonderful life event.
One day the law will be changed in Australia to allow same-family couples the same freedom to choose as unrelated couples.
Why am I so sure?  Civil rights movements grow in momentum over time until most in society no longer see the particular issue as a threat any more.  We are very close to that point in Australia.
Once society thought it best if only men could vote and only white people could use public transport and enter the shops.  One day we will also see the error in denying same-family couples the freedom of choice to marry, just like everyone else, and have their marriage recognised by society, just like everyone else.
*  see §22B of the Australian Marriage Act 1961:
(2)  Marriages of parties within a prohibited relationship are marriages:
(a)  between a person and an ancestor or descendant of the person; or
(b)  between a brother and a sister (whether of the whole blood or the half-blood).
(3)  Any relationship specified in subsection (2) includes a relationship traced through, or to, a person who is or was an adopted child, and, for that purpose, the relationship between an adopted child and the adoptive parent, or each of the adoptive parents, of the child shall be deemed to be or to have been the natural relationship of child and parent.
†  for example, in Massachussetts, since at least 1784, no man may marry “his mother, grandmother, daughter, granddaughter, sister, stepmother, grandfather’s wife, grandson’s wife, wife’s mother, wife’s grandmother, wife’s daughter, wife’s granddaughter, brother’s daughter, father’s sister or mother’s sister”.

‡  yet see, say, the Code of Hammurabi which, oddly, only a mere 3,370 or so years ago, featured many civil, secular laws relating to marriage.

UPDATE I (2 July):  see “German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government” by Lizzie Dearden:
Germany’s national ethics council has called for an end to the criminalisation of incest between siblings after examining the case of a man who had four children with his sister.
Patrick Stuebing, who was adopted as an infant and met his sister in his 20s, has launched several appeals since being imprisoned for incest in 2008 and his lengthy legal battle has prompted widespread public debate.
Sexual relations between siblings or between parents and their children are forbidden under section 173 of the German criminal code and offenders can face years in prison.
But on Wednesday, the German Ethics Council recommended the section be repealed, arguing that the risk of disability in children is not enough to warrant the law and de-criminalising incest would not remove the huge social taboo around it.  […]
The Ethics Council’s recommendation only covered incest between siblings and members did not recommend decriminalising sex between parents and children.
UPDATE II (11 July)Virginia Utley (according to Charles Moore in The Spectator) has written to both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the United Kingdom:
‘Please could you tell me what a family is?’  Nowadays, she goes on, you teach us that a family can be made up of men who love men or women who love women, who must therefore be equally entitled to marry one another.  ‘Now,’ she continues, her sister and she ‘both think boys are very nice but neither of us met one we quite liked enough to marry…  So my sister and I have bought a house together and have lived happily there for years and years and years.’  So, ‘Please can my sister and I get married?’  If not, the sisters themselves, and Virginia’s sister’s daughter, will not get the benefits which accrue to married people.  ‘I am sure,’ she entreats Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne, that ‘you will not say “No” to us when you said “Yes” to all the others…  Because that wouldn’t be fair, would it?’
UPDATE III (21 November):  Hon. Will Hodgman, Premier of Tasmania, made a speech in the Tasmanian House of Assembly supporting a motion to legalise same-sex “marriage”; an edited version of that speech was published in The Mercury and here is part thereof only slightly amended:
I have supported changes to the law that remove legislative provisions that were discriminatory of incestuous couples and polygamous groups or that did not adequately provide for incestuous couples and polygamous groupings—for example, where a partner was unable to attain a legal entitlement to a partner’s estate, property or financial or superannuation benefits, or indeed better provision or protections for children who are part of an incestuous or polygamous relationship.
While it is true that in the early 2000s when I supported this legislation I did believe that significant relationship registration adequately dealt with the interests of those in same-family or polygamous relationships, in 2015 my perspectives and views have progressed.
Reflecting on what I said in this place in that debate in June 2003, a year or so after being elected, predominantly they are things I still hold true, such as promoting a fairer, more accepting, tolerant society.  As I said, I believe our society these days is more understanding and accepting as a community and I believe today that extends to incestuous and polygamous marriage.
In 2003, I expressed a view that registering incestuous and polygamous relationships would not jeopardise the concept of marriage.  I do not believe that incestuous or polygamous marriage will either; in many respects it will strengthen it.  Particularly when any couple or other group upholds the values and the integrity of their marriage vows, they are displaying great commitment and their relationship is strengthened by doing so.
Our community contains many healthy and stable de facto relationships and, as I said in 2003, these so-called non-traditional relationships can and do involve perfectly committed and secure individuals.
The fact I am married does not automatically attribute greater standing or make less significant the relationship between those de facto or less traditional relationships, many of which have far outlasted formal marriages.
We live in a world that contains non-traditional relationships, de facto, single parents, significant relationships, same-sex relationships.
If I paraphrase what I said in 2003, I do not believe that the legislation before us then, nor do I believe that same-family or polygamous marriage in 2015, will affect the sanctity of the institution of marriage and those who choose that institution, like myself, and I would sincerely hope that many more will continue to embrace and revere it.  For those who do not or cannot, why should we judge their relationship as any less valid or important?
I intend to vote in support of the motion today.  I intend to vote in support at the national plebiscite in support of incestuous and polygamous marriage.
I believe it will allow an incestuous couple or polygamous grouping to strengthen their relationship and validate it in a way that [wife] Nicky  and I are able to do.  It will provide the same responsibilities, protections and entitlements that Nicky and I have, and in my view, it will strengthen the institution of marriage.
I am offended by the notion that our community says same-family couples or polygamous groupings are less capable of love and commitment and marriage than heterosexual or homosexual people.
It will remove a disadvantage that exists for incestuous couples and polygamous groupings who want to marry and it will allow them to be treated equally.
I believe it will also provide better protections for children being raised by incestuous couples and polygamous groupings who want to marry.
I believe it will remove discrimination and inappropriate community attitudes that incestuous couples and polygamous people suffer by accepting their diversity and validating their relationship, their choice, their decision and commitment to marry a lifelong partner or number of partners.
I will table an amendment to the motion that will incorporate key elements of the matters I raise today.  We recognise marriage is defined in the Commonwealth Marriage Act, that every Tasmanian should enjoy full freedom of belief and freedom of expression and a respectful debate leading to the national plebiscite proposed by the Australian Government.
I give my in-principle support to same-family and polygamous marriage and the proposed amended motion which I now table.