BOOKS: by John R. BarichNews Weekly
Memo for a Saner World, by Bob Brown
, July 31, 2004
MEMO FOR A SANER WORLD
By Bob Brown
Penguin, RRP: $24.95
Greens Senator Bob Brown's book, Memo for a Saner World
, contains most of the beliefs of the Greens. Appendix II is the "Charter of the Global Greens", adopted in Canberra in 2001.
It contains the usual new age mantras by calling for:
- Elimination of "the causes of population growth by giving men and women greater control over their fertility". (One would have thought that the major cause of population growth is the legitimate desire for children. Control over fertility, of course, is a euphemism which includes abortion).
- Respect and recognition for sexual diversity and sexual minorities. (Once again respect is appropriate but recognition implies endorsement which takes the form of teaching homosexual practices in sex education, and granting legal recognition to same-sex unions).
- Opposition to nuclear power even though it is the least damaging to global warming. Recently the International Atomic Energy Commission, a UN body, called for more nuclear power stations as partly the answer to global warming.
- The decriminalisation of homosexuality, and support for the right of gay and lesbian people to their lifestyle, and the equal rights of homosexual relationships. (In the West this is mostly in place, therefore the statement is aimed at India and the Muslim world where sodomy is still illegal.
- Opposition to the US Missile Defence System which is of vital importance to Australia, as a defence against any possible nuclear threat from India and China. As part of ANZUS Australia is obliged to co-operate with the USA on such defence issues.
Senator Brown is willing to quote the Pope when it suits him, but never once in the 300 page book does he mention what the Pope calls "the scourge of abortion" which in Australia destroys 70,000 lives every year.
He makes a strong case for preserving the wilderness but does not try to justify this against the needs of people in the world who are starving. He himself highlights the disparity between the rich and the poor of the world but does not recognise that preserving the wilderness is a luxury only rich countries can afford.Canberra fires
During the devastating Canberra fires, Brown, who usually hogs the media, avoided TV like the plague because he knew that Green opposition to burn-offs was partly to blame for the disaster.
In the book he acknowledges (p.54) the role of the high volume of flammable fuel but does not concede that it was in part due to Green opposition to fuel-reduction burns.
Brown wants to assure "every youngster in this clever country a free tertiary education" when he well knows that at most 20-30 per cent seek such life-choice. The rest are content with being professional sportsmen, tradesmen, entrepreneurs and so on. A university education is not a panacea.
It is surprising that Brown supports the discredited Paul Ehrlich whose dire predictions have not eventuated. India has not had a famine for over 20 years and while Brown decries the poverty of North Korea he does not seem to object to their wasteful expenditure on armaments, including nuclear technology.
Brown's call (p.65) for a "global parliament" is risible given the abject failure of the UN especially in curbing persecutors of Christians in the Sudan, Indonesia and China. What is the point of a world parliament if we do not have a world army or police to carry out the decisions of the parliament?
He is quite intemperate in claiming that the Vatican has called for a world of 40 billion people who, in his words, would have "just enough room to copulate", when the Pope has repeatedly taught that responsible parenthood is the ethical way to slow down the birth-rate without recourse to abortion and other anti-life practices.
Brown is satisfied that the Australian birthrate, which is below replacement, "has had a healthy fall". He is wrong in saying that immigration is "our main source of population growth". We receive 100,000 immigrants but we lose 40,000 by emigration while the number of births is almost 250,000.
His optimistic view of the world forces him to ignore the devastation caused by Hitler, Stalin and Mao while not giving the US any credit for financing the destruction of thousands of Russian nuclear warheads.
Brown's amateur effort at anthropology and theology is arresting. He can see value for every part of the human anatomy including the anus (p.76), but refuses to admit that it is not designed for copulation!
He speaks with some authority of the Big Bang and the beginning of life on earth, but is not able to hazard a guess at how all this came about.
He repeats the tired old claim that acre after acre of forest is being harvested but makes little estimate of the extensive replanting that is taking place. In Australia over one million trees are planted each year.
Brown supports (p.158) the creation of indigenous territories within Australia although he does not explain where their funding would came from - presumably from the rest of Australia.