May 12th 2012

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Articles from this issue:


CANBERRA OBSERVED: Julia Gillard's fatally flawed judgement

DEFENCE OF MARRIAGE: More than 500 attend Perth rally to preserve marriage

EDITORIAL: French election may decide future of the EU


CONSERVATION: Liberals blueprint to speed up environmental approvals

BANKS: Microfinance: money for the people that banks ignore

SOCIETY: Impact of internet abuse on the young

POLITICAL IDEAS: How individualism can beget totalitarianism

PHILOSOPHY: Abortion and personhood in one easy lesson

OPINION: The demise of Aboriginal self-determination


CINEMA: A pleasant but forgettable taste

BOOK REVIEW Scientific rejoinder to green hysteria

BOOK REVIEW More historical myths dispelled

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News Weekly, May 12, 2012

Era of catastrophes

Around the turn of the 21st century, a paradigm shift in our thinking took place: we decided that the era of revolutions was over and that the era of catastrophes had begun.

How did this change happen? Over the last half-century, leftist intellectuals have identified two great scapegoats for the world’s woes. First, Marxism designated capitalism as responsible for human misery. Second, “Third World” ideology … targeted the West, supposedly the inventor of slavery, colonialism, and imperialism.

The guilty party that environmentalism now accuses — mankind itself, in its will to dominate the planet — is essentially a composite of the previous two, a capitalism invented by a West that oppresses peoples and destroys the earth.

So the planet has become the new proletariat that must be saved from exploitation — if necessary, by reducing the number of human beings, as oceanographer Jacques Cousteau said in 1991….

The language of fear does not include the word “maybe”. It tells us, rather, that the horror is inevitable.

In a secular society, a prophet has no function other than indignation. So it happens that he becomes intoxicated with his own words and claims a legitimacy with no basis, calling down the destruction that he pretends to warn against. You’ll get what you’ve got coming! — that is the death wish that our misanthropes address to us.

These are not great souls who alert us to troubles but tiny minds who wish us suffering if we have the presumption to refuse to listen to them. Catastrophe is not their fear but their joy.

Extract from Pascal Bruckner, “Apocalyptic daze”, City Journal (New York), Vol. 22, No. 2, Spring 2012.


California and Texas: a comparison

From his first days in office, President Barack Obama has held up California as a model state. In 2009, he praised its green-tinged energy policies as a blueprint for the nation.

But California, a trend-setter in the field, has yet to reap such benefits. Green jobs, broadly defined, make up only about 2 per cent of jobs in the state — about the same proportion as in Texas.

California has simply refused to exploit much of its massive oil and gas resources.

Does this matter? Well, Texas has created 200,000 oil and gas jobs over the past decade; California has barely added 20,000.

Instead, California has forged ahead with ever-more extreme renewable energy mandates that have resulted in energy costs roughly 50 per cent above the national average and expected to rise substantially from there. This tends to drive out manufacturing and other largely blue-collar energy-users.

A recent Public Policy of California study shows that since the recession, the gap between rich and poor has widened more in California than in the rest of the nation. Lower-income workers have seen their wages drop more precipitously than those of the affluent.

Extract from Joel Kotkin, “As California collapses, Obama follows its lead”, The Daily Beast (New York), April 27, 2012.


Weapons of family destruction

Tomorrow, a High Court family judge, Sir Paul Coleridge, will launch a foundation to promote marriage and to warn of the catastrophic consequences of family breakdown.

Sir Paul does not mince his words. As he so rightly says, family breakdown is the “scourge of society”.

Families do not recover from the fundamental shock it administers. Children dragged into such cases may never recover from the emotional upset, and the cost to society of clearing up the mess is calamitous.

Yet as he also says, obtaining a divorce is “easier than getting a driving licence”.

People think they can just dispose of a spouse because they fancy someone new or different. And he calls upon couples not to have children unless their relationship is stable — which means not cohabiting but getting married.

How refreshing to hear someone in public life so robustly tell the un-PC truth like this. As a family law specialist barrister for some three decades before becoming a judge in the family courts, Sir Paul has personally stared into the heart of this particular darkness.

The courts and the legal world … are directly complicit in this disaster.

Indeed, Sir Paul even likens his own profession to “cynical arms dealers” making a living from weapons of family destruction. All credit to them [Sir Paul and other lawyers who have joined him], therefore, for biting the hand that has fed them.

Extract from Melanie Phillips, “At last, a judge tells the truth about divorce”, Daily Mail (UK), April 30, 2012.


Thousands of Armenians mark genocide anniversary

Thousands of Armenians staged a procession to a hilltop memorial above the capital on Tuesday to mark the 97th anniversary of the genocide of their kin by Ottoman Turks during World War I.

From early morning, crowds of people joined the annual procession, carrying candles and flowers to lay at the eternal flame at the centre of the monument commemorating the mass killings.

“Today we, just as many, many others all over the world, bow to the memory of the innocent victims of the Armenian genocide,” President Serzh Sarkisian, who led top officials laying wreaths at the monument, said in a statement.

“This day is one of those moments when the entire nation rallies around the unification of our homeland,” he said.

Extract from “Thousands of Armenians mark genocide anniversary”, AFP/Al Arabiya News (Dubai), April 24, 2012.

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