November 30th 2002


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Free Trade: what's in it for us?

EDITORIAL: Let East Timorese refugees stay

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Medicare a 'sleeper' issue for Liberals, Labor

HUMAN CLONING: Research Involving Embryos Bill stalls in the Senate

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Pub with no beer / Sheep in sheep's clothing

AGRICULTURE: US free trade deal: will it help sugar farmers?

MEDIA: Bali "interrogation" photo sends wrong message

REFLECTION: Clyde Cameron on Archbishop Mannix and Bob Santamaria

LETTERS: Ted Serong (letter)

EDUCATION: Schooling SA-style: an exercise in planned mediocrity

EDUCATION: Dumbing down: the saga continues

ASIA: How many missiles are needed to make one China?

COMMENT: British media's royal flush

BOOKS: Rule Britannia: The Victorian and Edwardian Navy

BOOKS: Rethinking Peter Singer

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STRAWS IN THE WIND:
Pub with no beer / Sheep in sheep's clothing


by Max Teichmann

News Weekly, November 30, 2002
The pub with no beer - only vinegar

The parlous condition of the Federal Labor Party is becoming more and more apparent - and it is not easy to come up with a solution. There seems to be less and less corporate loyalty because there is less and less common ground between members of the Party.

There are at least three spokesmen on foreign policy at any one time - one speaking for the official policy, and another two self-appointed, promoting themselves, or else mouthing off on behalf of a faction or to an outside audience. At the moment there is Mr Rudd, the Shadow Foreign Minister; Laurie Brereton, barnstorming the Sahara to promote his image; and Wayne Emerson, another Labor frontbencher, putting his own abusive spin on these important matters. Although one would never guess their importance by just reading Emerson's vulgar, mischievous nonsense.

Simon Crean is in an impossible position, so many Labor figures - including frontbenchers - ignoring him whenever they feel like it, while revealing for all to see where their true allegiances lie. More and more outside the Party. But just as some parsons use the Church as a hotel and a legitimiser, while they get on with self-promotion, so are many Federal Labor MPs using the ALP as a cover; so that they can lobby for groups and philosophies that are anathema to most Australians. Some of these foreign groups and leaders are our enemies.

There are signs that the Labor Feds could be going the way of the Democrats, believing in virtually nothing, split along faction lines, based on personalities and outside interests, and suicidally dependent on the propaganda of the vulgar Marxists and infantile Communists of our now clueless media and "advisers".

Australian journalists, with a few exceptions, almost literally don't understand how much the world is changing, and has changed; and how differently most Australians are now seeing things, and judging their opinion formers from the position they occupied only a few years ago. Ships that pass in the night.

Hence the hysterical regression of the Left to political childhood - the 1950s and 60s - when things, they think, were simpler and easier ... and they possessed a political understanding superior to that of the deluded, unwashed masses: "We dreamt about the buttercups and daisies, but the buttercups were filled with margarine" (Max Miller, 1935).

But meantime, a great hole is opening into which our Left is falling, piece by piece.

These are early days, but Labor has split three times, quite dramatically: in 1916, in 1931, and 1955. If the Lathams, Emersons, Lawrences, Alabaneses, etc, were to make the future running for Labor - urged on by senior apparitions from the past (Labor and ex-Liberal) - and if they talk the talk of the Greens, and the radical Jimmy Hoffa-type unions, a perhaps substantial part of traditional Labor may decide to move house, and leave the spivs and hallucinators and the anti-Australians to play alone.

This traditional realistic part of the Left has walked three times already.

It only requires leading Laborities to keep sending signals to Saddam to hang on, dig in, defy the Yanks; to give some of the most corrupt, politically-backward, and trigger-happy elements in South-East Asia free propaganda that Howard is "anti-Asian" and we mistreat and victimise Muslims; while undermining our military at every opportunity - for Australians to see Labor as they did in 1949; Chifley good man, but his Party ... a nest of vipers.

We don't want to play in your yard

Through pure accident, Australia and the USA have stumbled upon a quite powerful incentive to get the countries of South-East Asia to put their houses in order; to deal with their terrorists and stop covertly assisting them.

Warnings to Australians, Americans and British "not to go there" except for important reasons, are devastating the local tourist industries, along with the many sleazy sub-cultures which feed off them. This is really going to hurt those Asian sub-economies, and especially the local generals, police chiefs, politicians and smiling criminals who control all these hotels, bars, casinos, etc, etc.

Predictably, there is much squealing and many threats of retaliation. In kind, presumably. Our neighbours know the way out of this, and it is not by threats.

The fact is - without the hated foreigners moving around their countries, many Asian societies would go back to seeming like cow towns. While pretending to hate modernity and its white cultural missionaries, they in fact envy it, and them; covet it and, given a chance, openly prefer it. Perhaps they shouldn't - for late capitalism and the fruits of modernity repel many of us, but not Asia's new class. Hence the hypocrisy of its principled hatred of the "Great Satan" - the snake in the Garden of Eden. They would feel very lost if we sailed away or didn't come any more. For then, they would be left with the Internet, and be at the mercy of their own traditionalists.

Even the ugly Australian overseas has his uses ... apparently.

So keep up the travel bans and take your holidays in West Footscray. Visit the birthplace of Steve Bracks, and return to Sufferer's Palestine. (Sorry, old Jewish joke). Surfer's Paradise.

Sheep in sheep's clothing

A footnote in Martin Amis' Koba the Dread on Norman Cohn's Warrant for Genocide (p. 219):

"It was in the 12th Century that [the Jews] were first accused of murdering Christian children, of torturing the consecrated wafer, and of poisoning the wells. It is true that popes and bishops frequently and emphatically condemned these fabrications, but the lower clergy continued to propagate them, and in the end they came to be generally believed" [Rather like the chronology of the Witch Craze cult].

But, "As in his other classic work, The Pursuit of the Millennium, Cohn identifies the semi-educated clerisy as the natural constituency for militant utopians as well as anti-Semites." (My italics)

The anti-Semites are no longer a problem, but militant utopianism has virtually replaced, or hopelessly compromised, the religious content of many of our latter-day clerics. They are in the wrong game - so try to bend, or dissolve, the rules of their church, even their faith.

Most of the radical, demonstrative sub-cultures whose pleasure it was to have me as a supporter, had their resident, peripatetic men of the cloth on strength - like armies, with their chaplains and rabbis. I must say that if you pricked such a clergyman, you would quite frequently find a militant utopian - a full-timer. And often just a part-time Christian.

There is no easy solution to this state of affairs, other than the periodic urgings of senior clerics like George Pell, or an Anglican bishop I've heard, who sends his best young clergy to an English seminary for a decent religious education, which he believes is not available here. That is, to somehow insist on the incoming clergy and lay teachers being properly educated in matters spiritual and secular. Is this to cry for the moon?

If so, we can expect our churches to be overrun by half-educated militant utopians, as are our schools, universities and public media. No place to hide then.

However, underpinning all this wide-eyed love for humanity, hatred of violence and boundless optimism as to Man's engineered perfectability, is a quite dark story, running like an underground river: a story of wicked men, of noxious forces, of conspiracies, often headed by a dark figure who could be ... the Antichrist! Bush. Reagan. Or, in his salad days, Menzies.

Alas, for the moment, we have to content ourselves with Reith, Howard, Abbott. Which is why our "Left" are constantly trying to coopt Bush and Amerika, to tart up the morality play. But their real conspiracy is about bankers, super-capitalists who pull the strings. Jewish maybe?

I must say that at this point the fear and anger of our militant utopians is a good deal more authentic than the overlaying façade of love and weary reasonableness.




























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