March 31st 2012

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Articles from this issue:

QUEENSLAND: After the deluge: Anna Bligh's legacy

CANBERRA OBSERVED: The origins of Labor's visceral loathing of Abbott

EDITORIAL: Swan's budget surplus to depend on mining tax

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Radical green strategy to sabotage Australian coal-mines, railways and ports

CHILDHOOD: Same-sex marriage set to transform our schools


EAST TIMOR: Election swing against Gusmão government

HUMAN RIGHTS: Academics who rationalise post-natal murder

POPULATION: Seven billion reasons to celebrate

OPINION: America: Russia's Afghan catspaw

OPINION: School textbook misleads about Crusades

WEIMAR GERMANY: Why art flourished and democracy perished


DOCUMENTARY: Lifting the veil on the global sex industry
Nefarious: Merchant of Souls (96 minutes)

CINEMA: Nihilism filtered through teen angst

BOOK REVIEW Rescuing history from Christianity's detractors

BOOK REVIEW The great class divide in the United States

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News Weekly, March 31, 2012

Abolishing Sundays

It fell to capitalism (which Karl Marx had praised as the destroyer of tradition and established, old things) to destroy the Christian Sabbath in Britain.

You can’t observe it now even if you want to. It’s a human right, apparently, for everything to be open — and therefore it is no longer a human right to have the day off and spend it with your family. This is typical of “Human Rights” — they conflict with each other, hurt as many people as they help, and invariably have side-effects less loveable than their stated purpose.

It was simply swept away, in this country at least, by greed and pleasure-seeking, and as usual with really horrible anti-Christian, anti-British measures, by a supposedly “Conservative” government, which battled furiously to crush a powerful rearguard action by the churches and the trade unions, whose prediction that Sunday work would pretty rapidly become compulsory in large parts of the retail trade has been borne out in practice.

The truth is that any competent person can get all his or her essential shopping done in six days. If he or she is shopping for pleasure, than can that justify making some other creature spend Sunday at work, when he or she should be at home?

Extract from Peter Hitchens, “The Sabbath Day”, Daily Mail (UK), March 19, 2012.


Chaotic legacy of the classroom radicals

According to the doctrine of child-centred education, we teachers should prevent misbehaviour by honing our lessons and teaching style. We are endlessly told that a good teacher is tough on the causes of misbehaviour, not misbehaviour itself. In practice, this translates into placating pupils and never really pushing them to achieve.

Exhaustive efforts are made in [British] schools to introduce new “behaviour management solutions”. Fast-paced lessons; interventions; CCTV surveillance; behaviour tracking; child therapists; more assessment; less assessment; motivational training; bribes; even bouncers: a constant merry-go-round of “cutting edge” methods trying in vain to compensate for the abdication of authority in schools.

The paradox which afflicts schools such as mine is that when teachers are relaxed on discipline, discipline becomes their overriding concern. In strict schools where rules are consistently enforced, pupils know the expectations for their behaviour and teachers can focus on teaching. In schools where discipline is relaxed, ensuring good behaviour becomes an all-consuming battle.

Extract from Matthew Hunter, “Chaotic legacy of the classroom radicals”, Standpoint (UK), March 2012.


French presidential race: a secret memo

Dear friends,

Our agency, under the many different names it carries, advises the major candidates for the French presidential election. And we can take great pride in this fact. All of this is the fruit of extensive efforts, which have been deployed for many years, to gain the confidence of all these people and those close to them.

This is also the result of the extensive work of your advertising, sociologists, specialists in polls, interactive marketing, internet teams, and all the other techniques, constantly renewed, so necessary for your work, which I would remind you the lofty and noble mission: to convince.

For now, the French presidential campaign is unfolding smoothly and perfectly, in accordance with our recommendations and our interests.

As we have required, all the serious candidates are carefully refusing to talk about their record and even less about their programs. We managed to convince them that voters are amnesiac and myopic, that the campaign is just a show for them and that they are not interested in the past or in the future.

It was easy then to demonstrate the necessity to come up with a new idea every day, blotting out the idea of the day before.

No subject should remain a dominant news story for more than 24 hours. It is up to you to offer every day to every campaign team, depending on the outcome of your studies, new and different subjects. It is up to you to create controversy, to test moods, words, gestures, attitudes, smiles and slogans. Everything except projects.

Extract from Jacques Attali, “Secret memo, on the management of the campaign in recent weeks”, L’Express (Paris), March 19, 2012.


The “Istanbul process”

The ease with which Muslim diplomats outdo their Western opposite numbers is impressive…. Muslim spokesmen are equally brilliant at exploiting international forums like the United Nations and its committees, or the Arab League, to misrepresent reality and lay a smokescreen of blame over the West….

The so-called “Istanbul process” is the latest development in these sinister apologetics. This seems to be the brainchild of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation — of all 57 member states.

Some of these countries have long tried to maintain that any criticism of their despotism, tribalism, oppression of women, anti-Semitism and war-mongering has no relation to morals or humanism but merely signifies Western bias against Islam. In short, they hope that a ban on free speech in the West will enable them to carry on with the exercise of historic power.

They have scored many a diplomatic success, for instance getting the American government to substitute the ridiculous phrase “man-made disaster” for an act of Islamist terror. Although its proceedings are hardly reported in the press, the “Istanbul process” is evidently the latest attempt to censure truth-telling as un-Islamic and so prohibit it.

Extract from David Pryce-Jones, “The ‘Istanbul process’: a success for Muslim diplomacy”, David Calling blog, March 12, 2012.

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