Archive for August, 2011

Thoughts on “black face”

August 30, 2011

They must believe it is shameful to have black skin

This story from last week is yet another tedious example of the eager protectiveness of the “racist” bureaucrats and well meaning fools in our midst that imagine being black is somehow shameful.

QANTAS apologised yesterday for a publicity stunt on Twitter that backfired. The airline had awarded free tickets to the Bledisloe Cup on Saturday night to twoBrisbanemen who ”blacked up” to impersonate their favourite rugby player.

To win, competitors had to tell Qantas via Twitter how they intended to show their support for the Wallabies at the match. Charles Butler, promised to ”dress as Radike Samo. Complete with Afro Wig, Aus rugby kit and facepaint”.

Not only did Radike Samo think the complaint stupid — he posed with the two “offenders” — but an Age on-line poll also found, to the question “do you think the photo is racist?” that 82 per cent said no.

Many reasons are given for explaining the motives for these accusations of racism. For some people, it is an effective way of closing down debate or a way of painting their opponents as morally inferior. However, the very basis of the power of the accusation is the implicit assumption that being black is, ipso facto, shameful. Clearly, Radike Samo does not think so, nor do 80 per cent of Age readers, and indeed, most Australians.

Which leaves only those obsessed with racism — the Equal Opportunity zealots creating work for themselves, or the Human Rights Charter industry and those governments who pass Racial Vilification Laws — who somehow believe being black must be inferior or in some way sub-human, and thus shameful. After all, what feelings and ideas are they protecting? It is as if they imagine that Samo doesn’t know he is black or that Samo may not have ever seen himself in the mirror.

Maybe these embarrassed do-gooders should go and live with a coloured family and note that the colour doesn’t come off on the towels or sheets, that colour is natural and is considered “OK”. Surely, it is they who suffer from a type of racism that sees blacks and coloureds as somehow different, and thus in need of protection.

How else to explain these moral guardians’ sensitivity to people with a different coloured skin.

England and the deficit addiction

August 28, 2011

“Politicians are thus like drug dealers, profiting from their clientele’s dependence”

Theodore Dalrymple, writing in the City Journal, has a long and revealing article on Britain’s addiction to welfare and government largesse.

This Dalrymple article goes into some detail as to why Britain is a rather sick looking country.

The previous years of fool’s gold—asset inflation brought by easy credit—had allowed the Labour government to expand public spending enormously without damaging apparent prosperity.

During Brown’s years in office, however, three-quarters of Britain’s new employment was in the public sector, a fifth of it in the National Health Service alone. Educational and health-care spending skyrocketed. The economy of many areas of the country grew so dependent on public expenditure that they became like the Soviet Union with supermarkets.

As Mark Steyn claims in a new and depressing book, After America: Get Ready for Armageddon, one wonders if any government in the West, including the Ballieu government in Victoria and Tony Abbott, if elected Prime Minster, really has the appetite to show any tough love and stop the rot. The impression given by Steyn is a firm No.

Combet uses racist slur

August 23, 2011

Against sharia? Racist. Against carbon tax? Racist
We have two examples this week of the easy use of the “racist” label to close down debate. Both, predictably come from the Left to suit their purposes.

The first is from a news item about the Australian visit of Maryam Namazie concerning her British campaign against sharia law.

Her group, One Law for All, is concerned about sharia’s effect on the fundamental rights of Britain’s Muslim citizens. Unsurprisingly, her message is frequently ignored by the British media and avoided by the British government.

Ms Namazie, who is an Iranian exile, said any form of legal accommodation with sharia “is like trying to incorporate apartheid into a non-racist system of law — they are simply incompatible.

A lot of the media that is considered liberal does not want to touch it because it is seen to be racist. As a result, she says parts of the British media have inaccurately been portraying the fight to stop sharia as a dispute between two extremes: right-wing racists and Islamists who wrongly assert that sharia is demanded by all Muslims.

“Human rights are not Western — they are universal. Can we please just have the same rights, thank you very much,” Ms Namazie said.

Indeed.

Now, in Australia, the government is getting desperate about the rejection of the carbon tax. Extraordinarily, Greg Combet, is accusing the Leader of the Opposition with racism because he has warned that Australian businesses buying carbon permits under an emissions trading scheme could be conned by unscrupulous “international traders”.

As Andrew Bolt points out:

The man is mad. I wonder how many poor Nigerians he’s helped out with his banking details. Combet’s plan involves sending an insane $57 billion a year to carbon traders overseas by 2050. Does he really not know that such a torrent of cash could be scammed? Has he really not heard of this:

The European police agency Europol has today revealed that the fraudulent trade in carbon credits that affected a number of countries over the past few months is far more widespread than previously thought and could have cost EU taxpayers up to €5bn in lost revenue over the past 18 months.

Greens and unintended consequences

August 21, 2011

A neat example of how Green policies work

Here is a simple and predictable tail of unintended consequences.

Characteristic of policies like this one is an inability to imagine the consequences, a refusal to listen to what people want or the Productivity Commissions report explaining its futility, and an inability to change the policy once it has been shown to be a failure. More expense, an effect opposite to the one intended and by their own intentions, a worsening of the environmental outcomes.

BIN liner sales in SA have doubled since free plastic shopping bags were banned more than two years ago.
And most bin bags are made of thicker plastic than traditional bags, which means they take longer to break down in the environment.

As for the democratic impulse, a vote line run by Adelaide Now has, out of 930 votes, has nearly 80 per cent of respondants saying that they do not support a ban on plastic bags.

This is just for el cheapo plastic bags. Just imagine what Bob Brown is going to do with his $10 billion budget for green renewables.

UPDATE

Andrew Bolt nails all the crazy detail. To think, in spite of the evidence, two more states are about to introduce this worse than useless ban.

London riots and Leftist denial

August 16, 2011

Chavs, welfare, fathers and family breakdown

As if the polarisation and hardening of debate in Australia isn’t bad enough, even explanations for the riots in far away London have become predictably polarised .

There have been many outstanding pieces from conservatives — and one notable Marxist — but equal distain and withering contempt and mockery from the Left when these people blame the Welfare state and “the long-term intellectual torpor, moral cowardice, incompetence and careerist opportunism of the British political and intellectual class.”

The always reliable Theordore Dalrymple has some scathing words on the utter failure of British society to educate sections of society.

No sensible employer in a service industry would choose a young Briton if he could have a young Pole; the young Pole is not only likely to have a good work ethic and refined manners, he is likely to be able to add up and — most humiliating of all — to speak better English than the Briton, at least if by that we mean the standard variety of the language. He may not be more fluent but his English will be more correct and his accent easier to understand.

British youth leads the Western world in almost all aspects of social pathology, from teenage pregnancy to drug taking, from drunkenness to violent criminality. There is no form of bad behaviour that our version of the welfare state has not sought out and subsidised.

An article in the latest Spectator by Harriet Sergeant [no link] quantifies the failure of the education system.

Teaching a child to read and write is not difficult or expensive. Much poorer countries manage to do it. The statistics in the UK are staggering. A full 63 per cent of white working-class boys and just over half of black Caribbean boys at the age of 14 have a reading age of seven or below … Humiliated in lessons by 14, the young men … turned up to school only to sell drugs or stolen goods.

Even with our dismal educational results for our poorest children — only one in six white boys on free school meals have mastered the three Rs — just 12 teachers out of a workforce of 450,000 have been suspended for incompetence in the past nine years.

Peter Saunders also comments on other plausible reasons for the social breakdown. He poses a fundamental question: “The real question,” he said, “is not why some break the law. It is why we don’t all break the law.” His view will be be predictably unpopular.

In the schools, there has been a 40-year revolt against structure. Gone are the rows of desks, all facing the front. Gone is the concern for spelling rules, the rote learning of arithmetic tables, the laborious phonic reciting of the alphabet. Teachers in jeans emphasise creativity, self-esteem and child-centred learning, which means students’ desires are paramount. In place of the last-resort threat of physical punishment, trouble-makers are excluded, which means they are passed around schools, repeating their mischief-making while attracting no meaningful response.

… about one-third of British children grow up in single-parent families, most of which are female-headed. Despite repeated protestations to the contrary, this is not a viable or desirable way to raise children, especially boys.

The problem has little to do with money. A middle-class friend who is a single mum told me last week how she is finding it impossible to control her 14 year-old boy. He recently called her a “f . . king whore” and threatened to knife her when she attempted to punish him. She is a teacher. Boys need adult male role models, and (although it is unfashionable to say it) paternal authority.

Several years ago in an article I wrote on the importance of marriage and the family, I quoted research from the United States that demonstrated dramatically the effect of fatherless homes in that country. 

In America, official departmental figures show that 90% of all homeless and runaway children, 80% of rapists, 75% of all adolescent patients in drug abuse centers and 85% of all youths sitting in prisons, grew up in fatherless homes.

Nevertheless, we have inane questions aired on the ABC’s QandA just this Monday. A viewer asked:

The criticism of Senator Wong is based on the homophobic idea that children are entitled to both a father and a mother; yet when increasing divorce rates leave more children with only one parent, how can this argument stand? How is the divorce or separation of a heterosexual couple more acceptable than having two loving homosexual parents?

So, presumably, any suggestion that a father is important is simply “homophobic”. Follow the logic?

But then there was another question from South Australia:

After the London riots, people like Miranda Divine and Alexander Downer suggested they were due to people growing up without fathers. Isn’t it sexist to assume that children need a male present in their upbringing?

Turnbull — raised by a single father — gave a much finer response, saying it had nothing to do with sexism. However, Tony. Burke, Laughlin Harris and Stella Young, all side-stepped the issue, implying that “Kids just need parents who love them”. Yeah, right. As for Miranda Devine she was pilloried. The ABC “cue” was Crikey which said her column was “rambling, inconsistent, incoherent dribble”. Back on  QandA, Stella Young thought Devine “was trying to, you know, establish a career in satire”. Turnbull, to his discredit, agreed. Tony Burke thought all the comments about the London riots “had been just plain weird”.

Reading Miranda’ Devine’s column, it is hard to understand what all the vitriol was about.

However, this morning Janet Albrechtsen published a timely piece supporting my contention that there is a hardening and polarisation on this debate too.

LAST week’s coverage of the London riots by our national broadcaster provides yet more evidence of the deep and damaging divide between mainstream Australians and the so-called intellectual class. The term “so-called intellectual class” is deliberate. Many of its apparently well-educated members are more ideologically blinded than they are intellectually curious.

As the commentators quoted above note, clearly, fathers do count, along with a few other old fashioned values like order and discipline, manners, respect and the will to maintain them. What is the point of denying it.

Rule Britannia …. Not!!

August 10, 2011

Make your bed …. sleep in it

Two scathing commentaries on the state of England following the riots have appeared. One by Theordore Dalrimple, who has had for quite some time a jaded view of British yoof, neatly describes the decomposition of British society.

Consider for a moment the following: although youth unemployment in Britain is very high, that is to say about 20 per cent of those aged under 25, the country has had to import young foreign labour for a long time, even for unskilled work in the service sector.

No sensible employer in a service industry would choose a young Briton if he could have a young Pole; the young Pole is not only likely to have a good work ethic and refined manners, he is likely to be able to add up and — most humiliating of all — to speak better English than the Briton, at least if by that we mean the standard variety of the language. He may not be more fluent but his English will be more correct and his accent easier to understand.

This is not an exaggeration. After compulsory education (or perhaps I should say intermittent attendance at school) up to the age of 16 costing $80,000 a head, about one-quarter of British children cannot read with facility or do simple arithmetic. It makes you proud to be a British taxpayer.

Another piece, by Greg Sheridan looks at the broader implications of a Western world that seems paralysed and incapable of governing itself out of catastrophic failure. 

At no time since its core societies were stabilised after World War II has Europe looked so ratty, so impotent, so much at the end of its tether. It still lectures the world on everything from the correct label for cheese to the urgent need to impose more taxes, carbon or otherwise. But it can no longer run its own still fabulously rich societies with even a modicum of efficiency or legitimacy.


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