May 17th 2003

  Buy Issue 2657

Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Ethanol - behind the disinformation

EDITORIAL: New situations demand new policies

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Government sets itself a trap on Medicare

Will South Australia Upper House hold the line on life issues?

STRAWS IN THE WIND: We get the rights / Rap festival / Bogus leftists, fairy luddites

QUEENSLAND: Beattie challenges Nationals over sugar deregulation

Iraq fallout may end multilateral trade deals

HEALTH: Stopping feeding and hydration is true euthanasia

EDUCATION: Surviving the latest classroom fads

LIFESTYLE: SARS, AIDS and public policy

FAMILY: Bush and Howard diverge on life and family

BOOK REVIEW: The World We're In, by Will Hutton

BOOK REVIEW: Growth Fetish, by Clive Hamilton

ARTS: Melbourne Comedy Festival: A comedy of political errors?

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We get the rights / Rap festival / Bogus leftists, fairy luddites

by Max Teichmann

News Weekly, May 17, 2003
We get the rights, you get the duties

Those of us still hoping that the UN might at least be towed off the rocks and beached to await repairs are striking some very heavy weather with the UN Human Rights Commission. There was the case of Cuba, mentioned last issue, when, as the Miami Herald put it, "The failure of the UN Commission ... to mention the recent wave of repression by Fidel Castro" [76 political dissenters jailed for long terms, and three executed for hijacking a ferry to escape to America] poses the question, "If the Commission can't use diplomacy to fulfil its most basic mandate - to spotlight aberrant international behaviour and use diplomatic means to redress such behaviour - of what use is diplomacy?"

Indeed - and of what use is the Commission?

Of course, "The fact that the Commission's chair was Libya and that several countries with soiled human rights were on the panel, obviously hindered its actions."

Similarly, the Commission threw out an EU resolution criticising Zimbabwe's rights records which concerned assaults, torture, cases of rape, arbitrary arrests, and attempts to clamp down on the judiciary. Twenty-eight mainly African and Asian countries supported a South African proposal for a "no action motion". Which stopped debate.

They would have all been thinking, "But we do this or might want to, so no thank you".

And EU leader Jacques Chirac is a loyal and grateful friend of Mugabe - as was D'Estaing of Emperor Bokassa.

This consistent voting pattern in the Commission and elsewhere also reproduces the split in the Commonwealth along lines of culture and colour, as Samuel Huntington would have expected. But does it make sense to have the Commonwealth Games, when there is no Commonwealth, or two? Have two separate Games?

North Korea was censured for executing political prisoners, and using torture, although 14 Committee members abstained. They were afraid it "would anger Pyongyang".

So ... a law abiding, exemplary international citizen like Australia can be criticised as denying human rights (to the jackass cries of support from our local neo-Stalinists); or, theoretically, our soldiers be charged with war crimes by a War Crimes Commission with the same double standards or political divides as the other Commissions? That is, judged by countries with soiled rights records who would never be arraigned because it "would anger them".

We should simply ignore such bodies - until they are reformed.

Finally, Greenpeace "has mocked America's 'Iraq's Most Wanted' deck of cards by replacing Saddam Hussein with President George W. Bush as Ace of Spades." Greenpeace says the cards are meant to focus attention on the dangers posed by nuclear arsenals. Yes; of course.

Greenpeace was an organisation set up and supported to direct attention to environmental matters, but long before its recent disgraceful antics around HMAS Sydney, and this piece of collaborationist humbug, it had been assigned by most of us, with a political education, to that class of organisation arising in the 1930s and recurring in the 50s viz the golden age of Left-front organisations, with titles like the World Peace Council. Greenpeace is only one of the NGOs relocated to this limbo of Left fronts. They had depended on the UN to legitimise them - and thereby gain great tranches of money; but even were the UN still possessed of a legitimacy now deserting it, it couldn't any longer provide respectability for what the Brits call the Loony Left.

Rap festival: whited sepulchres meet branch stackers

The stomach-churning posturing of the Federal and Queensland ALPs, together with the twitching remnants of what was once my old church, the C of E (alias the Anglicans) conjoined with media survivors of the republican debacle, are reheating their old vendetta against Peter Hollingworth. It was quite predictable. The rise of John Howard, Labor's endless leadership fights, and the various terminal ailments of small parties in the Coalition of the Irrelevant has made a reversion to McCarthyism and the changing of the subject away from politics, virtually mandatory.

So we are hearing people who have condemned the very existence of the post of Governor General, for its royal associations, saying that this "continuing controversy is harming the integrity of the institution". A controversy which they started and are maintaining.

Frankly, if I were Peter Hollingworth, with a wife who has just had a mastectomy, I would most certainly return my cards and move to re-engage with normal, uncompromised human beings. Life is too short and, in the end, no amount of danger money can suffice.

Hollingworth and Howard would know that the same depraved antics would start up over any new appointment, whomsoever he or she might be, then around the office itself, then the monarchy, the Queen ... ad nauseum.

But the obvious rapport between a Brisbane diocese and what has always been regarded as the most corrupt wing of the ALP set me to hunting for my old copy of Frank Hardy's Power Without Glory. Perhaps the notion of a provincial concordat might be more appropriate - one between those whom Kim Beazley Senior described as the dregs of the middle class, and the ghostly functionaries of a "Pub with no Beer". Because de-licensed.

Bogus leftists, fairy luddites and other national treasures

Albert Langer put in a bravura piece in the May 1 Australian to celebrate May Day. It was headlined "It's the festival of the distressed!" And I'm afraid that's where it all ended. Here, on loan from the Comedy Festival, the same glowering, fist-shaking old method actors of the building unions.

In Berlin, the yearly rioting where the police are attacked, windows broken and cars set alight. This revolutionary drama has been re-enacted in Berlin every May Day since 1987. The lumpen Left's Kristalnacht.

Langer thinks that for two decades a pseudo-Left has taken over, "Their hostility to capitalism is reactionary not progressive; opposing modernity, development, globalisation, technology and progress, they opt for obscurantism, relativism, romanticism, even nature worship."

Of course these backward reactionary views don't have anything to do with the Left, or Socialism, or parliamentary democracy - and Langer is right. But they are the raison d'etre of the Greens and the Democrats - whereas mainstream Labor, the other part of the bogus Left, do embrace capitalism, globalism, free trade. They share Keating's contempt for the fairies at the bottom of the garden but have learnt not to express it. They seek power to milk the social product, to enjoy capitalism along with their pals; and sod the others.

The fairy luddites come along for the ride - with similar intent. Both, by their behaviour in parliament and their contempt for tolerance and liberal pluralism, identify themselves as fair weather friends of democracy - at best.

Langer, who supported the war in Iraq, thinks the Left - or rather his designated pseudo-Left - have blown their last chance. For, as soon as Bush talked of liberating the Iraqis, of introducing democracy and self-determination for Iraq - Woodrow Wilson with a big stick - the Left, here and everywhere, should have got in behind him. But they didn't, and won't - for they see nothing wrong with the Taliban, or al Qaeda, or Saddam, or Assad. They hope Khomeini's clerical-fascists can frustrate Bush's Wilsonian approach in Iraq and everywhere.

So how could they be genuinely Left or liberals or democratic? And the same applies to the luddite fairies and goblins.

Langer is right - but of course, his reactionary Left and those who have turned to fairy luddism, also preferred the Soviets, Mao, Pol Pot and North Korea. It's a long tradition and one always anointed by sections of the low churches.

This anti-democratic preference started much earlier than two decades ago. Solzhenitsyn saw it as at the very heart of Socialism, while people like Jacob Talmon believed that the fairy luddites, stemming from Rousseau, always had the propensities for anti-liberal, anti-intellectual intolerance; buttressed by cosmic denial. Both political pathologies have been forced in recent times to don the attire of democracy and act tolerant; but the war against Saddam and friends and the deeds of Bush, seduced them into declaring their real character. Just watch the Left perform over the rest of this year.

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