LETTERS News Weekly
, May 26, 2012
Afghanistan and Christianity
I fail to see the logical connection between the Obama administration’s anti-religious initiatives which Patrick J. Gethin lists (News Weekly, May 12) and my own argument that the US war in Afghanistan serves Russia’s interests (News Weekly, March 31).
Nothing that Mr Gethin says contradicts the points I have made. I have no objection to my argument being debated, but any contrary argument should be related to the subject under discussion.
I did not suggest there was a conscious conspiracy. I believe, however, that the facts are worth examining.
I have written frequently in a variety of places about anti-Christian persecution in Western countries.
Hal G.P. Colebatch,
In the late 1960s, not long after the demise of literary censorship in Britain, a play was performed on the London stage in which a group of teenage boys killed a baby by throwing stones into its pram.
In the media coverage there was some disgust, but progressive intellectuals applauded this public overthrow of an icon of morality — the sanctity of infants.
Two decades and countless depictions of violence later, the media professed shock and horror when, in 1993, two pre-teenage boys similarly murdered two-year-old James Bulger in Liverpool.
What did they expect? It was surely a wonder that it hadn’t happened sooner and more often.
Similarly, the Russian/American writer Vladimir Nabokov, in his novel Lolita (1955), proclaimed to the Western world that pre-teenage girls welcome the sexual attentions of middle-aged men. A decade or so and numerous literary replications (even bringing in father-daughter incest) later, paedophilia emerged as a disturbingly frequent phenomenon of our times.
Do Melbourne academics Drs Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, and their mentor Professor Peter Singer, not realise that their proclamation that killing babies is ethical (News Weekly, March 17), at a time when more infants are abused and killed by their parents than at any other time in history, will have no influence on this tragic situation?
Is it really worth the cheap notoriety won by their shallow irrational iconoclasm (for it is irrational to leave social effects out of ethical argument) to encourage deranged parents to think it progressive or liberating to brutally (for it will be brutal) kill their children?
And it will not just be newborn infants, for there is no “rational” line to be drawn marking when the infant acquires “those properties that justify the right to life of an individual” that they have drawn out of the hat of utilitarianism, a philosophical ethical system that, like any other, is entirely unproven in its premises.
Plight of Aborigines
I refer to Michael T. O’Callaghan’s article, “The demise of Aboriginal self-determination” (News Weekly, May 12).
I have read several commentators in various journals saying how terrible it is that some Aboriginal people have part of their welfare “quarantined” in order that the money can be spent only on food and clothing.
Every one of those commentators condemns the process and complains that we are mistreating Aborigines and undermining their dignity.
In a short space of time I happened to speak with three individuals who had first-hand knowledge of the problem — a person who had recently returned from a work stint “up there”, a friend who now works in the Northern Territory, and an Aboriginal community leader (there are about 300 Aborigines in his particular community).
I asked each of them what they thought of compulsory income-quarantining of part of some Aborigines’ regular incomes.
Each one that I asked said the same thing: they all said that the arrangement was great and that it ensured families would always have food and clothing.
They each recalled how, in the past, when welfare payments arrived, family members would appear and demand that the money be shared, with the result that the welfare was spent on gambling and grog. Children and women always went hungry.
The three individuals reported that Aboriginal women whose families have been in the scheme for quite a while think it is wonderful.
Now, I have not personally been there to check out the situation for myself, but I know I can trust the word of my informants.
The Aboriginal community leader with whom I spoke told me: “You tell those whitey do-gooders to stay out of this matter and leave us alone as this new system does help many people who could not manage previously.”
The friend of mine who is currently working in the Northern Territory is amazed at the amounts of money Aboriginal children have to spend each day, and how they “blow” it all on drinks, lollies and ice creams.
This backs up the comment by Michael T. O’Callaghan about there being no incentive for self-improvement.
The easy money is just dragging down people who have no idea or incentive to save for a rainy day.
Wagga Wagga, NSW