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Out with the Olds

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With a bit of luck and good management we all might live a long life, even if as a medical miracle, so it would be beneficial for all of us to mind how we treat elders. One day we will be one of them.

Those in their seventies and eighties (or older) – the silent generation – have experienced history: depressions, recessions, World War II, the threat of nuclear war and Vietnam are part of their living memory, or what’s left of it in the frontal lobe.

Resilience has been challenged as they adapt to changes in values, technology and materialism, from a base of thrift. They miss manners, respect, behavioural standards, empathy, compassion, understanding and kindness.

Global working families may mean they are remote from children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Even in proximity, disconnectedness may be a function of the busyness of families combined with capture by devices intended to enhance communications.

Expectations held by the silent generation are modest, born of their history and experience: usually a measure of attention, respect and kindness is all that is required by this resilient lot.

We are not alone

Society has yet to adjust to address the needs of elders at every level. The disjunction leaves many of them vulnerable to many forms of abuse: physical, emotional, sexual, financial, exploitation, neglect, even indifference. As the condition of elders declines, it seems difficult for younger people enculturated to self-absorption to treat elders with dignity and respect, even kindness and affection (the latter might be a stretch).

According to the UN, around one in six older people experience some form of abuse that can lead to physical injuries and long term psychological consequences. Much goes unreported. Estimates of global population indicate that people above the age of 60 will exceed the number of younger people by 2050, rising from 900 million in 2015 to about 2 billion. Current elder abuse issues are likely to increase in line with demographic changes. How well we adapt to care of our elderly will become an indication of our maturity as a person, family and society.

Regulate or resolve

Elder abuse is known to be significantly under-reported, hence the theme “Lifting up Voices” for this year’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. It is so easy to write off the importance, knowledge, wisdom and stories of our elders merely because of their accumulated years and diminishments, especially when it takes time to listen – time that others may not have, or be prepared to give. Much can be lost.

Higher incidence of abuse is reported against elders in residential care, as the current Royal Commission in Australia is finding out. Many of the findings will lead to increased monitoring of treatment and regulation to raise standards of care. All this will cost money that will be shuffled down the pile of priorities, relying for resolution on the dedication of carers and family members.

Abuse of elders in family and the community is likely to be under-reported, especially when the perpetrators are family members. Embarrassment, denial, shame and powerlessness become overwhelming.

In families, abuse takes many forms, or combinations that cannot necessarily be regulated, yet need to be resolved. To name a few along the spectrum:

  • Financial – coercing elders to hand over money and assets, even eviction, leaving the aged parent bereft, likely to be followed by indifference, neglect or threats of withholding grandchildren
  • Psychological – constant berating, humiliation, bullying and manipulation
  • Physical – actual or threatened physical menace to assert domination
  • Sexual – taking advantage of relative powerlessness
  • Weaponising of grandchildren – preventing access to grandchildren deprives all parties of love, knowledge wisdom and affirmation of the worth of life
  • Neglect, indifference, isolation – demonstrating laziness, inconsideration and ingratitude for the gift of life and the opportunities current generations enjoy that were not possible for the olds they now abandon. Loneliness has become a major issue for elders, which, for some lends to depression and suicidal tendencies.

Some regulation may be necessary, though resolution is more likely to achieve better outcomes by breathing fresh life into proven traditional Christian principles that seem to have dissipated along with the practice of religion.

Christianity

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’d be aware that rugby player Israel Folau has found himself in a lot of bother and out of a $4 million contract for quoting his Christian tenets on social media. So I am sticking my neck out by mentioning a couple myself:

  • Honour your father and your mother – one of the ten commandments that have guided western civilization, invoking respect for elders, along with the concomitant obligation that parents also honour their children;
  • Love one another as I have loved you – evoking empathy, kindness, compassion and love;
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you – a call to treat elders how you would like to be treated when you are old;
  • Love thy neighbour as thyself – setting the gold standard for behaviour towards others and towards care of self.

Today’s elders were raised on Christian principles and honoured them, if imperfectly, over a lifetime of service, generosity and respect. They become confounded and dismayed with the deterioration of values that parallels their own decline. They wonder what the world is coming to, what their grandchildren will have to contend with and what they can do about it.

What elders can do

Firstly, they can confine concerns to caring for themselves. Having despatched their duties over a lifetime, they can take a cue from Jesus or Jordan Peterson and care for themselves first. Following the Maturity Model outlined in my book Becoming, they are responsible only for themselves at the later stage of life. Blessings of good will can be projected to all others, while focusing on their own lives.

Be cheerful and positive as possible in all communications. State your case simply and listen carefully. As far as possible remain independent and in charge of your own life. Be mindful, though not responsible, for the quandary that many adult children confront as they are compelled to deal with the multiple crises presenting in midlife. How midlifers deal with the crises will largely determine how generative (or not) their own later years will be. In this era of corporate social responsibility, elder abuse may not look good on a CV.

Governments recognise the commonality of problems and provide a range of services as outlined at the bottom of this blog to help alleviate concerns. Elders under pressure need to know that their problems are recognized and help is available.

The five in six

While the emphasis of this blog has been on abuse experienced by the one in six elders (common enough), there are another five in six who, thankfully, are exemplars of how things could or should be for elderly. Families including elders in events, celebrating their lives, sharing with grandchildren, phoning and visiting occasionally to let you know they care, bringing them along to grandchildren’s’ sporting events and performances, looking out for them with household assistance and meals where needed. None of these is spectacular or challenging – just thoughtful and considerate.

In doing so, benefits accrue both ways: a family can be enriched by the wisdom of elders and the elders themselves are affirmed in the value of their life, even in decline.

 

How to get help

https://www.jagranjosh.com/general-knowledge/world-elder-abuse-awareness-day-1560584147-1
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Upping the Ante

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For many people struggling to pay their power bills or having to close their business because of rising energy prices, saving the planet is a vague concept, secondary to their own financial survival.  In fact, economically viable countries demonstrate best care of the environment. Getting the balance right between development of resources and environmental stewardship presents a challenge for people, businesses and government, especially when for many youth climate change is their number one concern (surpassing terrorism, poverty and unemployment).

How policy affects Energy prices

Clearly Queensland Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk was counting on a Labor victory in the recent federal election. Labor would then be able to banish the Adani coal mine to trumpet climate change credentials alongside Al Gore. Palaszczuk paid $324,000 to bring Gore to Australia to promote his doomsday prophesies, already discredited.

Voters amongst the productive “quiet people” of this country rained on that parade, preferring jobs and development rather than empty virtue signalling. When Labor lost the election, largely thanks to Queenslanders, Palaszczuk was put on the spot. Within days the Premier ramped up the rhetoric to finalise Queensland government approvals for Adani, already languishing eight long years under a hail of green law fare, so that mining may soon be able to start.

Al Gore is in Queensland to conduct climate change training for 1,000 people from across Australia and the Pacific during Climate Change Week, where he is running a three day strategy workshop.

Therein lays the problem. We can expect more of what was voted against when inspired activists once more take to the streets and the airwaves, influencing people, business, bureaucracy and government.

What’s in store

What won’t be promoted is Al Gore’s part in the global non-profit industrial complex the Climate Reality Project, comprising 292 Global Shapers, committed to delivering leadership training in SHAPE  events around the world (such as the one in Brisbane) to learn how to lead the global fight for climate solutions. Over ten years global warming, now climate change has been systematically promoted.

For the next ten years focus is to be redirected from oil, gas and coal, to biodiversity of land and forests. The stated intention of the Intergovernment Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPCC) report in Paris in May 2019 is to set biodiversity on equal footing politically with climate change by promoting a climate emergency, catastrophe and crisis. Furthermore, eco systems are to be capitalised (i.e.financialised).

For most people, being able to pay the power bill seems a long way from inner city elites who champion the new climate economy and climate finance partnerships, of which Al Gore is a prominent front. The global non-profit industrial complex is influenced by 350.Org, Rockefeller Foundation, Global Challenge, Avaaz (active in Libya and Syria), Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Ceres, World Bank, WWF, World Economic Forum and the European Commission, amongst other partners of the Climate Reality Project: Coca Cola, Salesforce, Procter and Gamble, Reliance Industries, Oando, GMR Group, Hanwha Energy Corporation, Rosamund Zander and Yara International.

Care for the environment and protection of nature is a cover for more sinister intent: a 10 year social engineering effort using environmental and climate crisis/catastrophe/emergency as a means to achieving full blown undetected cultural change to the financialisation of nature. Companies will be able to capitalize on their implementation of the Social Capital Protocol by ensuring the finance community and capital market recognise and reward social value creation. As understood, the value of services provided by nature and biodiversity in conserving our environment will be quantified in financial terms to become an essential part of any deliberations.

Methods

Methods to be used by the global non-profit industrial complex to drive the crisis are already in evidence, including, and not limited to:

  • Weaponising children as sacrificial lambs in the destruction of their own future, reminiscent of abuse meted out to elders by the Red Guard of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. That was a great success! Terrorising children with threats of immanent global destruction is a form of child abuse that has led to an epidemic of depression;
  • Driving and targeting female youth to lead protests (e.g. Sweden’s Greta Thunberg) – femography – to enhance appeal and reduce critical comment, while driven by adults in the background. Greta’s mother is an awarded Swedish environmental activist and Greenpeace representatives are nurturing Greta’s progress and publicity;
  • Extinction Rebellion Movement – sit down protests in central cities blaming humans for the alleged destruction of the planet, ignoring ongoing improvements in environmental stewardship being undertaken in responsible economies;
  • Green New Deal being pushed by particular legislators in the United States as the Trojan horse for the financialisation of nature in the new climate economy which aims to unlock institutional capital;
  • Green shaming to silence firms and organisations that do not comply with demands, de-platforming and coercing banks not to fund significant projects like Adani as has already happened here;
  • Climate eugenics – belief, especially amongst youth, who have been convinced that human impact is far greater to ecological devastation than corporations, the economic system itself or even the global war industry. This belief may be manifest in legislation for late term abortion and euthanasia; claims of the end of the world from population explosion and promoting the concept of humans as an existential threat to nature and biodiversity.

The quiet people going about their daily business may wonder what all this has to do with them. Well, participants in the global non-profit industrial complex are major investors in renewables, capturing much of the taxpayer subsidies, gouging profits, while being quite dishonest about the lifecycle costs of the technology they install and the environmental, biodiversity and aesthetic harm caused by large scale installations.

As a consequence of their action, energy bills go up, energy supply becomes less reliable, businesses close or move off shore, and households struggling with rapidly increasing costs default on payment. The environment may questionably be better, but the impact on ordinary families and business is quite damaging.

Cost/benefit of renewables

Most of us want to conserve the planet and the best way of doing so is to have a healthy economy. Methods for conservation need to be based on facts, rather than emotion or the religion of climate emergency.

Market manipulation is evident in coercion – green subsidies for renewables and penalties for fossil fuel users. Upfront costs of renewables are significant, the life span limited to 10-20 years with ongoing maintenance costs and the toll on birds, bats, insects and humans within range not inconsiderable for those professing to support biodiversity conservation and wellbeing.

Then there is the opportunity cost of the $3billion+ taxpayer subsidies annually invested in renewables that could go to other options – new HELE coal fired power plants for more reliable supply being built all around the world, new schools, hospitals and debt reduction.

Reality bites

Reality meets futility when 25,000 British steel workers lose their jobs because of inability to meet European carbon credit demands. Britain will still need and use steel that will now be sourced from countries with less stringent environmental standards. Similarly, Queenslanders voted for jobs and development over empty climate change virtue signalling that placed workers interests and the need for power of 300 million Indians of secondary importance.

Climate has always changed. Today is no more catastrophic than at other times, even those predicted by the great prophet Al Gore, whose prophesies failed to materialise.

On a more practical level, successful investor Warren Buffett is taking a US$10 billion punt on the future of oil and gas, buying into a US shale oil leader Anadarko at a time when the value of green technologies are rising and sentiment on hydrocarbons is bearish. (Mark P Mills, The Wall Street Journal, 20 May 2019).

Mills goes on to say that in fact, hydrocarbons are the source of 80 per cent of America’s and the world’s energy and are likely to remain so for decades to come. Wind and solar paired with batteries, are unlikely to add the 250 percent more energy to the world over the next two decades than American shale has added over the past 15 years. Energy starvation is an unacceptable market risk, as demonstrated by power failures in South Australia.

Even a 100 fold growth in electric vehicles wouldn’t displace more than 5 per cent of global oil demand in two decades.

While green advocates hope to persuade governments (taxpayers) to deploy a huge tax on hydrocarbons to ensure more green construction, wealthy nations are unlikely to be willing to subsidise expensive green tech for the rest of the world.

At least with the information above you will be forewarned, able to recognise the signs of pressure for action on climate catastrophe in the techniques used. Understand the impact it will have on you and your family, as the great climate zeitgeist ups the ante. See facts rather than be caught up in the momentum. And where possible, speak out.

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Religion for rich atheists

Many people in this post-Christian, post-truth era still feel the human need to believe in something to make their time here on earth seem meaningful. Having moved up Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs, the ultimate self-realization beckons. Passionate engagement in climate change fits the bill, with the reassurance of emotional group belief, chanting, protest and action against the devil of unbelievers under the ominous threat of great global catastrophe. As passions mount, facts and reason fade.

History tells

History is instructive about evolution of the climate change religion in the context of other waves of mania.

In the previous century the Australian government sponsored the Energy R&D Corporation, which was converted overnight in 2000 to the Australian Greenhouse Office. The AGO sought to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by implementing 20% renewables by 2020 from a zero base.

Channeling the 1990 Copenhagen conference, environmental sustainability became the new catch cry. Everyone wanted to save the planet: just how to do so became the issue as best brains committed to finding solutions.

But wait, in no time environmental sustainability morphed into global warming, orchestrated by scientists noting minor variations in temperature that caused some bleaching across the 2400km longitude of the Great Barrier Reef and regularly occurring droughts that are a natural, if unwelcome feature of Australia’s climate.

Zealots claimed that temperatures would continue to rise, ice caps would melt, the dams would never be filled, the GB Reef would be destroyed, Pacific islands would be inundated displacing populations, and we would be unable to feed the billions of people on the planet.

When the temperature and Pacific islands stabilized, world food production increased, global warming lost out as a religious brand to climate change, which is reaching high fervor in the election campaign.

Fry and Die Urgency

We will fry and die in 10 years ill-informed protesting children shout and lament, while child actor Stella Brazier, an activist supporting Zali Steggall’s bid against Tony Abbott in Warringah, breaks down and weeps on cue for the TV cameras, whipping up the frenzy for the media. Norwegian child activist Greta Thunberg lectured world leaders at Davos, the Pope in Rome and the British parliament about her concerns for the planet. So called independent candidates all claim action on climate change is their priority, adding to the momentum.

The ineffectual United Nations and the discredited International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is driving the global Gaia. At considerable cost to the economy from subsidies in renewables and higher energy costs, Australia is doing its bit to reduce global emissions before it’s too late. Never mind that USA, China, India and Africa haven’t signed up for the same commitment to economy crippling action and budget stretching payment.

Follow the money. Under the guise of saving the planet, Australia and other responsible nations are asked to pay $hundreds of billions to the UN to be channeled to developing countries to help them deal with the effects of climate change, without ever so much as getting an accounting of how that money will be spent. Opportunities for corruption abound.

Not only that, whipped up urgency to save the planet means great pools of research funds have been directed into finding solutions, corrupting science. The IPCC has been discredited for falsehoods. A study by Professor Ian Plimer of the 97% of ‘settled science’ claimed by devotees of the religion showed most research papers merely reaffirmed each other, rather than replicated science to prove hypotheses. Prof. Peter Ridd was sacked by James Cook University for suggesting as much regarding the Great Barrier Reef science.

The Climate Change Religion

In a pattern of suffocating cultural conformity, money, power, research and politics swirl in the great corruption go-round of the climate change religion, featuring :

  • Fervent beliefs undeterred by facts, costs, futility or harm caused (20,000 recorded as dying from the cold in the UK);
  • Irrelevant consequences, dismissive of the damage it wreaks as mere detritus on the path to salvation (Ergas)
  • Demagogy and fanaticism
  • Appeals to emotion and backs turned on reason
  • Apostasy, proselytizing zealots and climate change prophets
  • Champions and inspirational, saintly child prophets
  • Judgment and public shaming for lax adherents and deniers as immoral and unworthy
  • Money for indulgences sent to the UN and never seen again (shades of seeds of the Reformation, when absolution could be bought)
  • Overseas carbon credits
  • Bottomless subsidies to business and those who can afford installation of solar panels
  • Black Tulip like mass mania for investment in renewable technology, with taxpayer subsidies, without any assessment of the life cycle cost/benefit of manufacturing, transport, building, operating and disposing of wind mills, solar panels and batteries, all of which have a use-by date. A future waste recycling /disposal issue threatens.

Respect, facts and reasoned debate have gone by the board in this religion. No seeking of truth or valuing of difference.

Not the first time the end of the world is nigh

Climate Change is not the first time the end of the world has been deemed nigh. Mania follows the money.

  • Inconvenient Truth:Al Gore became a billionaire traipsing around the globe spouting his Inconvenient Truth, which is still promoted to vulnerable children in schools.  Gore claimed that if we did not take “drastic measures” to reduce greenhouse gases, the world would reach a “point of no return” within ten years. He declared it a “true planetary emergency.” Gore’s ten years are up!
  • Gore predicted increasing storms, more and larger hurricanes, melting ice, rising seas, dying polar bears and dangerous increases in deadly CO2.  Every one of these predictions is demonstrably wrong. In fact, increased levels of CO2 act as a fertilizer. Indeed, commercial greenhouses use carbon dioxide generators to increase growth and production.  Carbon Dioxide is NOT a pollutant, it is a plant nutrient!
  • All this is a result of ignorance on the part of the people and a willingness to accept, even desire, an ever increasing and demanding federal government.
  • Peak oil: This imminent catastrophe has been raised on a regular basis for 139 years. Maybe one day the catastrophists will get it right. Peak Oil is the point at which oil production, sometimes including unconventional oil sources, hits its maximum. Predicting the timing of peak oil involves estimation of future production from existing oil fields as well as future discoveries. The most influential production model is Hubbert peak theory, first proposed in the 1950s. The effect of peak oil on the world economy remains controversial.
  • Since 1880 there have been 36 estimates of peak oil production, the latest in 1995 and more recently near 2000. Human innovation has resulted in changes in the mix of fuel, energy efficient cars and natural gas.
  • Y2K Apocalypse: in the year 2000, at the start of a new millennium, catastrophists promoted the belief that dramatic turn of the century signalled tremendous upheaval in the world and that a period of chaos would prevail. Families and businesses invested heavily in new IT equipment under the belief that anything before the turn of the century would not “roll over” on 1 January 2000, causing calamitous disruption to life and commerce. Nothing happened!
  • Population Explosion: In 1968 American biologist Paul Ehrlich gained a lot of money, followers and prominence when he vividly described how the Earth’s population, then growing by 95 million people a year, would rapidly deplete the planet’s resources, resulting in famine, global warming, acid rain, and other major problems. As we know, the population has continued to increase, innovation has spurred production of food and environmental stewardship and hundreds of millions of people have been brought out of poverty.
  • Tulip mania: The speculative bubble of tulip mania occurred during the Dutch Golden age when contract prices for some bulbs of the recently introduced and fashionable tulip reached extraordinarily high levels and then dramatically collapsed in February 1637. Get the drift? A lot of group think amongst interests who do not want to miss out on the band wagon and heavy investment leading to implosion.

Truth has no agenda

In all the examples of impending global catastrophe heralding the end of the world (these are only a few), emotion overrides facts, a lot of other people’s money is consumed and group think prevails in a tsunami like tide towards a reckoning that can only end in disruption and disaster.

As my Maturity Model shows, when truth is not present, burdens are loaded onto those with little choice, all parties become less mature and there are enormous social and economic costs as dissension and division ensue. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than climate changers’ manic opposition to the Adani mine in central Queensland. Those behind the goats’ cheese curtain of the inner cities, impose demands that deny Adani the right to mine, deny jobs for desperate workers, deny power to 300 million poor Indians.

Righteous rich atheists self-indulging emotionally in the religious cult of climate change may have momentum with them at the moment. Yet like all other previous catastrophic predictions, the end of the world is not nigh.

Only knowledge of the truth will reverse this. TRUTH HAS NO AGENDA.

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Democracy or Bureaucracy

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Daily we should give thanks to the front line workers – the defence personnel, health workers, educators, police and fire men and women who work on the front line to keep our country secure and safe, teach our children and look after our health. Many do a great job under what can be trying circumstances. Pensions get paid and housing is found for the needy. All good stuff!

Traditionally the role of the public service was to give “frank and fearless” advice to the Minister of the day in support of the elected government’s stated policy. Today the bureaucracy has become politicised and proactive in pursuing elitist social agendas of its own that have little relevance to the people they are being paid to serve (e.g. climate change, same sex marriage, gender fluidity, colonisation, western civilisation, vegetation management, unconscious bias). From the luxury of assured public sector employment, pay and benefits without responsibility, it is all too easy to become creative, snobbishly influencing the direction of the lives of others to carve a niche and meaning for one’s own life.

Just do the job

We expect that public servants will do their job, make timely, relevant decisions serving the public interest and maintain the purpose of the agency. In simplest form, health services should deliver health outcomes, educators should teach, police should protect people.

Unfortunately that is not always the case. For example, the National Disability Insurance Agency is ripe for bureaucratic exploitation, with its open ended financial structure and bottomless client base. Clients of the NDIA report public servants show reluctance to move outside their swanky new offices or have face-to-face consultation with them about the critical issues being faced. Instead, severely disabled clients and their carers have to deal with “hot lines” that never warm up to a response and are beset with pages of unintelligible bureaucratic discourse that demands ever more “evidence” to be obtained at ever greater expense to the client. Why send 20 pages when a 15 minute conversation would do?

The job is not being done; useful decisions are not being made; and the purpose of the Agency is being distorted to become a sheltered workshop for public servants as they ponder the gazette for the next promotion, bitch about each other and the clients and fill in time till retirement on full benefits at 55 years. The best of democratic intent is being undermined by bureaucratic self-interest and no one is being called to account.

Financial regulators

An examination of recent history shows how bureaucratic regulators either fail to exercise their proper authority or use it punishingly to destroy business initiative.

With even a smattering of knowledge of the Royal Commission into Banking most of you would be aware of the over reach and harm done to customers’ financial position by the banks and financial services industry as unmitigated greed ruled. Neither of the regulatory authorities – APRA (Australian Prudential Regulation Authority) or ASIC (Australian Securities and Investment Corporation) – charged with responsibility for looking after citizens’ interests were shown to be effective in doing their job.

Furthermore the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) had been using its enormous powers to destroy legitimate small businesses and decimate selected research efforts by refusing ABN numbers. Perhaps the greatest achievement of this government has been the establishment of the small business tax tribunal, to be responsible to the court system and not the ATO. In doing so, the playing field has been levelled to give business initiatives a fighting chance of survival against bureaucratic authority.

As part of a suite of efforts to redress the balance of power towards business rather than bureaucrats, democratically elected Minister Michaelia Cash and assistant Treasurer Stuart Roberts have enforced fair contracts and implemented requirements that government and other large corporations pay small business within 20-30 days, encouraging cash flow lending. As someone who has waited 5-6 months for University or government to pay up to $20K, good luck with that one!

Financial commentator Robert Gottliebsen says all these actions are required to create an environment for people to develop new ideas. We need many more of them, if only to pay for the expanding numbers and cost of the bureaucracy.

Bureaucratic decision-making

Those familiar with my Maturity Model will be aware of the healthy tension required between key elements of choice, responsibility and expectation if we are to achieve harmony and productivity and avoid fragmentation of individuals and community.

Examining bureaucratic decision-making against the Maturity Model shows that too often performance falls short of value for taxpayer investment, mostly by failing to assume responsibility for the task in hand. Take the following examples:

  • Transactional decisions are routine determinations and the most common, prone to complacency that ends up costing the country dearly, as patterns of slack conduct evolve – e.g. ASIC and Centrelink – the latter subject major retrieval in excess of $4 billion. No one is responsible.
  • Committee decisions, being shared decisions, relieve everybody of responsibility and accountability. For the Queensland Health system IT upgrade the committee decision against advice ended up costing an extra $1 billion.
  • Circle of death non-decisions occur when genuine enquiries are hand-balled between people and agencies with no decision being made. Either the issue dies or the proponents do. I have personal experience of a simple matter requiring a definitive decision being passed around for 18 years without resolution or shame, the actual and opportunity cost being borne by the unsatisfied public.
  • Regulatory decisions intended to bring order and certainty can become skewed when the authority of the regulator also becomes the accuser, judge, jury and executioner. Changes at the ATO are intended to address this distortion to give small business a hearing and a chance at least cost. Much the same is needed in the environmental area where ill-informed and ill-willed bureaucrats can destroy a business, employment, a farm or a mine and efforts at environmental stewardship, virtually without redress.

There are so many more instances where implementation of democracy favours the interests of the bureaucracy:

  • Family Court where the interests of the child are supposed to be paramount finds the court cabal rules and children are low order considerations;
  • Aboriginal industry and education soaking up $35 billion a year to little avail, largely because bureaucratic self-interest, dishonesty and reluctance to deal with the real issues, or challenge recipient communities to responsibility;
  • Education bureaucrats who push the curriculum formula loaded with social agendas that cause distress when so little deference is paid to the cognitive development of the target children. No wonder so many children are stressed and medicated and educational standards continue to decline, when the purpose of such a major investment – the education of children – is a lesser issue than the power and internal wrangling of an intransigent educational bureaucracy.

More of them

But wait, like the Demtel man, there is more. The Palaszcszuk government has appointed more than 30,000 additional public servants in Queensland without any noticeable improvement in efficiency or effectiveness.

After eight years and countless law fare challenges, the Adani mine has still not been approved to proceed, stalling another 5 mines in the Carmichael area, as well as the shared railway line to the port. Ambulances are still ramping and waiting lists for surgery grow. No one is responsible. Palaszczuk has merely bought an additional voting block of 30,000 for Labor at taxpayer expense. What does that do for democracy?

Flow-on effects

It doesn’t stop there. The public servant attitude of never lifting one’s head above the parapet, never making decisions or owning responsibility for them, not doing the job properly and the complacency, carry over into their private lives, where criticism for those who are responsible and make decisions is rife. Neither do they settle well into business, where workers are expected to add value to the business, not become a cost sink.

It’s time the reward structure within the bureaucracy honoured those who take responsibility, show initiative and add value to the taxpayer investment in keeping with a knowledge economy. Only then will the people’s democratic will be expressed by the bureaucracy.

 

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Connectedness

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Tongan Dancers at 70th Commonwealth celebrations

British Commonwealth 70th Anniversary

Marking any significant anniversary is an important time for celebration and reflection. The 70th anniversary of the British Commonwealth of nations on 12 March called to mind the importance of Britain in establishing the modern Australia and the other 52 nations which form the loose “family”.

Celebration, because 70 years is a long time for so many diverse countries to hang together, however imperfectly, through wars and disruption, internally and internationally. Through sanctions and corrections, aberrations, decline, disasters and mutual support, the spirit and intent of the Commonwealth has held firm. That is worth celebrating!

How this could be when the European Union, established with such noble intent a mere 25 years ago, shows signs of crumbling. On reflection one looks to the leadership, language and law bequeathed by Britain to all its “dominions”.  We should be grateful.

Leadership

The leadership of Queen Elizabeth II has been impeccable: stable, reliable, intelligent, non-partisan and gracious (as in the British national anthem), with a deep sense of events in the context of history – a remarkable example for every head of family.

Language

While each country has added its own inflection, nevertheless the English language remains a valuable means of “connectedness” (the theme of the anniversary celebrations) between the Commonwealth countries and with the rest of the world. That language allows us to advance understanding has no doubt contributed to the relative cohesion of the member nations, despite the diversity of cultures, local language, religion and dance. Representatives of the different faiths spoke in English about the connectedness of their faith amongst the faithful and throughout the Commonwealth. Music and dance performed at the celebration showed both cultural diversity and universal joy of singing, movement and music.

Law

Alongside language, perhaps the most enduring bequest to each country is common law derived from iterations of the Magna Carta (Great Charter) which embed the rights of citizens to due process under the law. Separation of powers between the government and the law, together with freedom of speech, religion and the press, underpin rights, responsibilities and respect that together create cohesion within and between countries.

Rightness of the spirit of the Charter was evident in a British Library exhibition marking the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta by King John and the council of Barons on 15 June 1215. The exhibition showed the flow of the influence of the Charter to the new world of the Commonwealth and to America, to be described as “the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot”.

Although implementation of the law may be imperfect from place to place and from time to time, there is an assuredness that ultimately justice will be served.

Those who exploit such hard won freedom to spout collectivist notions of failed socialism and communism, and who trash our history, are blight on the spirit and initiative of free countries of the Commonwealth. Freedom and the enterprise it fosters are the primary attractants for refugees and those fleeing failed, despotic or communist regimes. Not many are lining up to migrate to North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, China, Russia, or Brunei, where, with the introduction of Sharia law, one could easily lose an arm or a leg or be stoned to death for alleged offences.

Getting together

It wouldn’t be a family that didn’t get together occasionally. War and sport are two arenas that have strengthened bonds between Commonwealth countries – i.e. dealing with serious issues of threats to our freedom and occasionally getting together for fun and games.

In many arenas of war, Commonwealth countries have stood alongside British leadership, with all its flaws, to defend our freedom. In doing so, the spirit of our nation has been forged as “standing by your mates”, from time to time further reinforced during natural disasters. Daily we ought to be grateful and honour what has been achieved, even as together we commemorate those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Lest we forget!

Every four years we come together as a family to play in the Commonwealth Games, most recently on the Gold Coast in 2018. National pride is on display, from even the smallest of nations of the Commonwealth, as each performs to its geographic and physical strength: speed from Caribbean countries, endurance from African nations and swimming from Australia’s natural water advantage.

Then there are other very hotly contested sports bequeathed by Britain, from which much delight is found in defeating the originators – cricket, rugby and tennis. Sub-continent countries have taken to cricket with a passion and now excel, while small South Pacific nations produce large, tough, speedy rugby players who thoroughly enjoy the contest. Fun sure beats fighting!

Loyalty

Loyalty to a faith, country and Commonwealth demonstrates a respect for the religious and political traditions that have produced law and order and attendant benefits of a relatively peaceful society. Appreciation is deep amongst those who have firsthand and even second hand experience of totalitarianism, socialism and communism with their murderous outcomes that cost the lives of over 100 million people in the 20th century. So recent in history, yet so easily cast aside when values change.

Today the weight of moral authority comes from the left. As Marxism became no longer credible, western leftist intellectuals transformed the terminology so that today’s values are social factors of gender, race and religion couched in terms of oppressor and oppressed – always divisive; always about power, ever destructive!

We must never be blind to the flaws of the history and traditions derived from being a member of the British Commonwealth, just as we must be ever alert to the threats to the very best of language, law and culture that we have inherited. Together we must be willing to stand up for those precious values in the public square, or we will forget.

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Hero or Victim

Jordan PetersonTo many Jordan Peterson is a hero, to others a villain. As Professor of Psychology at Toronto University, Peterson came to public prominence when he refused to abide by the University’s edict to use gendered pronouns, which he described as “compelled speech” reminiscent of totalitarian states. In doing so he belled political correctness prevalent in Canada and other western nations that inhibit the airing of ideas to debate and resolution in the public square, in case they offend the precious sensibilities of those of particular identity (race, gender, religion).

Peterson’s following grew when he began recording his course lectures and putting them on YouTube. As a consequence of the extraordinary following, he published books Maps of Meaning and 12 Rules for Life: an antidote to chaos. The latter has sold over 2 million copies in the west and is about to be translated into 50 languages. Sellout tours have been conducted all around Australia and many other countries. To many young men he has become a hero who has given them hope, direction and purpose, filling the void of absent fathers and reassuring them as their masculinity comes under attack. That his messages are so enthusiastically received is indicative of a gap in moral leadership being met.

Much of what Peterson has to say, in his quiet, thoughtful manner, is a bit “old fashioned”, like the moral, inspiring stories in the school readers of the past. Chapters in his book are indicative of lessons grandparents of old would have passed on, with titles: Stand up straight with your shoulders back; Tell the truth – or at least don’t lie; Don’t let your children do anything that makes you dislike them; Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient). I can remember my father saying shoulders back! (he was tall with very straight posture) and eat your veggies! Though grandchildren did retort you become what you eat!

More than anything Peterson challenges people to take up individual responsibility, in truth, to deal with what is a grueling life. Those who have read my book Becoming, will recall that responsibility and truth are critical elements of my Maturity Model for making confident decisions. When reading Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life, I find many similar topics are covered – his more erudite psychology; mine more applied, especially around matters of women and family, better encompassing what the demographic changes in longer life mean for each of us.

Though Peterson has become a hero to some, he has also been a reluctant victim of many who have misrepresented him, labelled as racist, Nazi, homophobe and much worse, for simply stating enduring truths. As a victim he should be lauded by those who clothe themselves in glory defending the “downtrodden”. Yet as a (now) wealthy white male, he is pilloried as an oppressor by the mob.

Snowflake victims abound in ever more narrowing identity groups, be they illegal immigrants, the bullied, abused children, Aborigines, Queers, Muslims, women or ethnic minorities. Each identity attracts organisations providing oversight and support, all with their hands in the taxpayers’ pocket. Without diminishing the impact on victims, they are heralded as heroes, given prominence, consolation and compensation. Taxpayer money is thrown at the problem. Yet ultimately they have to pick up their own bed and walk – i.e. own responsibility for making the best of themselves in this life, regardless of the challenges. A spirit of gratitude for benefits bestowed would be a start. After all, life is tough for all of us and as each is imperfect, so will be the circumstances dealt us.

It may be that the generous, sympathetic taxpayer also becomes a victim of decisions to tax beyond their capacity to pay and care for themselves and their family, as well as prepare for their own future.

Peterson’s popularity emerges when moral leadership from our churches and government has lost credibility. Parenting skills have deteriorated over 50 years and school teachers report increased bullying and physical violence from students and parents. Respect and deference are all but gone. Education funding has increased as standards have declined, historical knowledge replaced by depressing social activism based on ideological absolutes, rather than inspiring stories of heroism: global warming/climate change catastrophe; animal rights, colonization of Aborigines, refugee sympathies, gender fluidity, destruction of the Great Barrier Reef, stop Adani. Where is there space in a crowded curriculum for facts anyway, after all the various ideologies of the day have been grafted into every lesson? And why bother learning when the world is going to end in 12 years?

Dogmatic pursuit of ideologies through the institutions makes victims of us all, especially the children falsely indoctrinated. Truth and balance are absent factors. What is missing is knowledge of the outstanding record of achievement of this country, western civilisation and its institutions that have produced a prosperous, advanced society: respect for the individual, separation of powers, freedom of speech and ownership. Nothing is mentioned of the benefits that have accrued to each of us; only contempt for what is imperfect, bolstered by misrepresentation and untruths.

Peterson asks, “Are you better off than your grandparents?” Twice recently I have heard of children telling their grandparents it was time they “dropped off” and left all their hard earned assets to them. No understanding of the history of toil involved in assembling the assets, nor the institutions that helped make it possible; just entitlement!

Billions of people have been brought out of poverty by liberal democratic market economies. Outside China’s centrally controlled command economy (success of which depends heavily on trade and technology from democratic USA); it is hard to name a country that has done as well as those in the west.

While the global impact may represent mere news items flashing across our screens, Jordan Peterson, hero and victim, brings life down to manageable proportions with suggestions: make you bed, look after your family, do your job. What’s not to like?

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Back to School

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Significance of Australia Day

Celebration of Australia Day occurs around the same time as students return to school. Both raise similar hoary issues subject to political activism.

The chosen date for celebration on 26 January acknowledges the day in 1788 when Captain Arthur Philip, with nine ships of marines, convicts and supplies, landed in Sydney Cove and laid the foundations of one of the world’s most successful liberal democracies. According to detailed records of the first fleet documented by Trent Dalton, Philip was charged with a mandate to establish a colony based on equality of all under the law, in keeping with the tenets of western civilization.

Despite human imperfections in the process, Philip and those who followed have been largely successful. Unprecedented levels of personal freedom and social equality since achieved continue to attract people from over the world.

For instance, we don’t see illegal immigrants setting off on dangerous journeys in small boats to settle in restrictive dictatorships where there is no separation of powers between the ruling elite and the law, no freedom of speech, thought, religion or movement. For that we have to thank the Enlightenment and the constantly refining traditions of western civilization. That is worth celebrating, regardless of the rewriting of history. First Australians have been presented with opportunity to step up and join the world, as many already have.

Let’s leave the self-loathing behind to acknowledge and celebrate our achievements, however imperfect. Have a happy Australia Day!

Beware the curriculum

Parents need to be aware of, and able to counter, the post-modern leftist themes of class, race and gender that, with climate change, permeate virtually every curriculum. History especially is being rewritten through the prism of political activism rather than linear facts and knowledge.

According to Bella d’Abrera,[1] we need to examine the way Australian history is being taught if we are to understand the self-loathing narrative pushed onto us by some Australians about the date of our national day.

D’Abrera draws a direct correlation between the version of our history taught in our universities and the story trotted out to Australians in the lead up to 26 January. Themes based on class, race and gender are all pervasive according to Australian History’s Last Stand, an audit of Australian history teaching at universities conducted by the Institute of Public Affairs. The report found that of 147 subjects taught across 35 universities last year, a total of 102 either focus on, or make reference to class, race and gender, ensuring our past is viewed through the lens of identity politics.

Historical evidence, objective truth and knowledge have been overtaken by political activist academics and social commentators, self-proclaimed champions of empowering minorities and the oppressed by rewriting history. In doing so, history is distorted to advance contemporary political agendas, or worse, ignored completely. D’Abrera found that the story of our success as a modern nation based on the ideas of liberalism is almost absent from the university curriculum and completely omitted from the narrative being pushed by the anti-Australia Day lobbyists.

Parental knowledge and responsibility

The issue for those returning to school is that they are likely to be taught historical distortions. Parents need to know differently if they are to present a countervailing point of view that enables students to be proud of what has been achieved in this country, yet still prepared to work on continuous improvements.

And parents are up for the task. A recent poll undertaken by the Institute of Public Affairs shows a significant divide between elite academics and commentators and the rest of mainstream Australia. Results showed that 75% of Australians want to keep Australia Day on 26 January; 76% are proud of Australia’s history; and 88% are proud to be Australian. Moreover, 92% think freedom of speech is important and 77% believe freedom of religion to be an important value.

Anyway it won’t be too long before the self-loathing elites turn their disdain to Anzac Day, pollute the hearts and minds of children pushing onto all the notion of gender fluidity that affects only a small percentage; traffic environmental falsehoods on climate change, the Great Barrier Reef and Adani; seek to deny protection for religious freedom; and violently punish through social media anyone choosing to exercise freedom of speech by presenting a different point of view to the elite gender, race, class and environment themes of the left.

Deciphering it all to become confident in our beliefs requires effort, especially in this year of disruption. But it can be done by seeking sound knowledge and challenging political activism.

It’s not going to be easy though. Makes one hanker somewhat for the “old days”. Back then the simple pleasure of the whiff of a new exercise book and a sharpened pencil were enough to stir excitement in anticipation of a new year of knowledge acquisition.

The effort will be worth it, as the politicisation of the learning of history, short on facts and devoid of humour, betrays our children, their education and their future.

Happy Australia Day! And best wishes for the year of learning ahead.

 

[1] Director of Foundations of Western Civilisation at the Institute of Public Affairs

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Towards a Happy New Year 2019

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Let’s ensure that 2019 is a great year for us and our country. At election time we can do this by making sound rational decisions, rather than emotional ones about an issue, a person or a party. Alternatively, failing to make a decision means that decisions will be made that may not be to our liking, especially when Australia is signatory to international agreements that can all too readily rob us of choice at home.

Impact of international agreements

Our politicians compelled to make decisions on matters on our behalf, tend to be swayed by emotional activism of selective compassion. Look no further than the following examples:

  • Paris agreement on Climate Change that makes high demands of some countries and relieves others of responsibility, while handing over $billions from compliant nations into the bottomless pit of corruption;
  • Migration agreement which opens up borders for the free flow of human traffic, denying local sovereignty over who, and how, people may come to a country, regardless of the cost to us in settling them and stumping up for legal action that clogs our courts;
  • Human Rights agreements that seem to apply only to compliant nations who are judged by countries abusing Human Rights like Saudi Arabia;
  • Family Law which places international law of the Hague Convention above the interests of Australian children; and
  • Environmental laws which forever pillory Australia for its conservation efforts regarding the Great Barrier Reef crossing 2,400 km latitude, linking its survival with a coal mine 600 km away.

The importance of our vote can be understood when we realise Australia’s participation in these agreements has been driven by local activism by individuals, groups and green/left-leaning media (as in their ABC), all of whom operate in an emotional, fact-free environment. Action here drives global decisions that often impose inordinate costs upon those least able to carry them. For instance, pursuit of renewable energy under the Global Warming/Climate Change agreements has increased the cost of energy and reduced reliability of supply, hurting the poor and business, as more power is disconnected for inability to pay the bills on time.

The Maturity Model for decision-making

Those who have read my book Becoming: the ordinary person’s road map to life’s big decisions will know that Choice, Expectation and Responsibility are three elements of decision making that help clarify a sustainable pathway to good personal and policy decision-making.

My Maturity Model clearly shows in visual form that when expectations increase by one party or parties, responsibilities increase on others, whose choice is diminished. In a democracy, this poor outcome is unsustainable. Eventually both parties become less mature and the potential for dissension and division increases, with attendant high social and economic costs. The model applies at a personal relationship level, as well as in a work situation or policy setting.

Policy outcomes of global decisions

In addition to unaffordable and unreliable electricity here, a clear example of such a policy outcome is demonstrated in the “yellow vests” protests in France against the high costs of fuel. Virtue signaling by President Macron increasing taxes on fuel that ‘outsiders’ of the population cannot afford, led to riots and destruction for weeks, and eventual back down by Macron. High social and economic costs were expected to be paid by people without a choice in the decisions affecting them.

Similar imposition of taxes on transport and herd reduction in agriculture is coming our way as the global compact on climate change reaches further into our economy to reduce CO2 emissions in those sectors. Destruction of people’s livelihoods and the economy are mere sacrifices to be made on the altar of the great ‘religion’ of climate change.

Yet the science of global warming is not settled and costly action is taken fact free because politicians face the wrath of the electorate stirred emotionally to “do something” about climate change without accounting for the high, useless cost of doing so. The folly of it all can be put in perspective when we confront the reality of Australia’s minuscule 1.3% contribution to CO2 emissions and the even more minuscule amount 0.04% of CO2 trace gas in the global atmosphere, only 3% of which is contributed by humans, the rest by nature. Emotional virtue signaling rules and we all pay, whether we like it or not. Dare to question or deny and you are likely to be trolled on social media or sacked from your job like Professor Peter Ridd. Play the game, as in socially controlled China, if you wish to prosper in this post-truth society. No wonder politicians fall for it, or at best, take an each way bet.

Our electoral decisions

In the current situation, the importance and value of our vote at the coming elections become clear if we are to make 2019 a happy new year in which we overcome disruption and set upon the path to continued prosperity.

To do that we need to take a more considered approach to voting for candidates who stand to represent us. Respect the candidate who does what we don’t have the courage to do. Seek facts about the person and policies. Truth is another element of the Maturity Model for decision-making.

Look beyond emotion and selfish interests to the national interest. Should both interests coincide, then great. Increasing benefits and subsidies may appeal to those dependent on government, but someone must pay for them. How much do we take from the major tax contributors before they no longer invest here, especially when treated with such contempt as evil by a large section of the community? We would then be in a declining position to afford essentials like health care and education.

Make a rational choice, rather than and emotional one at the last minute as you walk past the sausage sizzle on the way to the booth. Don’t be lazy by lodging a donkey vote. Value the privilege you have in this country to have a say in the outcome of the election and future policies, especially when the conduct is relatively civil, without bloodshed.

On a train between New York and Jacksonville I sat next to an African American woman of my own vintage and asked if she would be voting in the coming (2016) election. “Never miss,” was her answer, “the right to vote was too hard won!”

Learn from history. Socialism is a failed experiment that claimed generations of lives. Creeping socialism where ever more people are dependent on government, means the government intrudes further into everyone’s lives. Individual responsibility is relinquished to unelected bureaucratic power – in Australia, Europe and the failed United Nations.

As mentioned, responsibility is another element of the Maturity Model that calls each of us to step up in truth to make the very best decisions in our own lives, especially as we vote. And we should do so in a spirit of willingness and gratitude.

Make it a Happy New Year!

 

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Hope at Christmas

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I love the end-of-year children’s performances – the massed choir and orchestra, glorious music and singing, the polished dances, glittering costumes and shining faces of children, excited to be involved showcasing the year’s efforts. For a grandparent, delight is manifold: there is at once joy in the moment, affirmation of the value of life and hope and promise in the future – an exemplar of Christmas.

Hope in Crises

Experiences such as these are invaluable in restoring hope at a time when so many countries lurch towards crisis, a tipping point – for the countries, for democracy, for freedom of speech, religious freedom, parental rights, as the 30% expert elite insiders try to assert their will over the 70% of we outsiders.

Author Mathew Lesh in his book Democracy in a Divided Australia, shows how this country (and others) is no longer divided politically between left and right, Labor and Coalition, but across parties between the educated elite, powerful insiders in government and institutions, and the powerless “outsiders” who tend to be subject to every more narrowing regulation leaving little freedom or choice. Satisfaction of the needs at the lower level of the Maslow hierarchy achieved through growing prosperity and comfort seems to have stirred ambitions in the faithless. Self-actualization at higher levels of Mazlow’s hierarchy are sought by doing zealous work for new age ‘moral’ causes and make-work schemes that impinge upon the daily lives of people merely trying to go about their business.

For instance, British who voted for Brexit see democracy betrayed by the deal with unelected European bureaucrats, who refuse to return control to the British people. For weeks ‘yellow shirts’ in Paris protested the high cost of fuel as a result of the virtue signaling President Macron’s climate change tax not voted for, which they cannot afford. Ukraine struggles under the yoke of an invasive Russia, which once more must fence off people to “win” loyalty, land and water. China draws a long bow to assert towards global dominance by stifling democracy and dissent at home and encroaching upon the lives and opinions of Chinese abroad by buying power, land theft, direct intrusion and menace to relatives at home. The failed bureaucracy of the United Nations appears to have become merely a platform for failed states, forever berating and punishing democracies trying to do the right thing by accepted global rules.

Need for hope in Australia

What has all this to do with us in Australia? You might ask. Quite a bit, when the same pervasive patterns of behaviour also infect our bureaucracies and agencies, especially those tied to international bodies like the UN, or protocols and threats of catastrophes on migration and what is now known as Climate Change (as distinct from previous brand iterations as “environment”, “greenhouse”, then “global warming”, evolving for better marketing as alarming catastrophes prove baseless).

In the same way failed bureaucracies at home beat up on people trying to do the right thing.  Why, for instance, would a farmer be fined a $million for building too wide a fire break, when recent Queensland fires were said to be caused by failure to affect adequate clearing.

As well we have our own failed bureaucracies that are supposed to protect and support people like us, our families and our assets. This year’s Royal Commission into financial services in Australia revealed banks and insurance companies’ appalling contempt for customers in the ripping off of their savings, overcharging, even of the dead. Furthermore agencies like ASIC and APRA dismally failed in their job of oversight. Again in the financial sector, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has shown contempt for business in the way it handles alleged debt, sending to the wall many firms who do not have the resources to fight the weight of government, even when the government is wrong.

In every instance the cost of bureaucrats failing to do their job properly runs to $billions. We could balance the budget in an instant if they all performed to reasonable standards as expected by the taxpayers and customers.

Expert intrusion

As if these non-performances were not enough, ordinary Australian outsiders are daily assailed by the ‘insider’ expert class who believe they know what’s best for us. Predictably, though same sex marriage passed into law a year ago allowing those of the LGBQTI community to marry the person they love, it is not enough. The law has been taken as licence to intrude into the minds, bodies, classrooms and families with advocacy for gender fluidity. Ninety-nine percent of the population must be subjugated to the 1% of those of indeterminate or fluid gender or be charged with criminal offence. Sex is no longer male or female but transient to be assigned as one wishes at any stage of life. Good luck with that!

Despite the efforts of many dedicated teachers, schools have become propaganda factories through which to push elitist theory, as shown by the children’s political demonstrations on populist topics of climate change, anti-Adani and refugees. Add to these the “black armband” history of colonization that demonises western civilisation. Truth, the only factor on which a future can be built, is sadly missing in this capture of young minds. There is little hope when young people are being terrorised and fearful.

Is there a need for God?

As Australia has become more secular, the Judaeo –Christian traditions on which our culture, civilization and prosperity have been built are trashed in favour of failed socialism that cost over 100 million lives in recent history.

Democracy is imperfect because we are imperfect. Yet as a system of governance it towers above dictatorships that rely for survival on crushing, starving and limiting its people. God of faith is supplanted by an all-powerful supreme being who must be adulated. Think Kim Jong Un, Putin.

In Australia the faithless elite assume the power of God (or Kim Jong Un) on issues of climate change, refugees, Adani, gender and aborigines, claiming the high moral ground, virtue signaling, demanding adherence to the “faith” and shaming and de-platforming anyone daring to pose a different perspective, even within their own family.

With so many contending for honours, it seems people do need a God in secular Australia. Pity the new versions have none of the truth, love, respect, good will or hope offered by the traditional One, especially at Christmas.

That is why hope for the future shines through in the gleaming, excited faces of children who have worked hard (with their parents) all year to achieve so much. Congratulations and best Christmas wishes to you all! You have done your job faithfully and deserve the rewards. Peace and joy be with you.

 

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The Changing Meaning of Words

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Letters from the front during WWI were scribed in beautiful copperplate handwriting in sensible sentences expressing love, thoughtfulness and yearning for home, tinged with a strong sense of duty, selflessness, of honour.

Prosperity and diversity since have brought changes in values and language, so that today, from the trenches of privilege, text and emoji may be the ultimate expression of emotional depth.

Yet language is constantly evolving: Macquarie Dictionary annually introduces new words or phrases that have become part of the lexicon of Australia. Decline in moral leadership in government, major institutions and churches has left a vacuum willingly filled by people pursuing particular causes, reframing morality and virtue as they go. As a result, some significant changes in the meaning of words often reflect a change in “insider” morality imposed upon us by those trumpeting their virtues. At the same time those who have lived and remember history, are condemned for holding values that stood us in good stead in earlier times.

Honour

Nowhere is the divergence of the meaning of the word “honour” more evident than in the Bourke Street terrorist attack. To the attacker acting according to his Koranic edicts, honour meant slaying “infidels”, never mind that they were people merely going about their business in a country that had welcomed and supported the immigrant in need. To us there is no honour in such violence and ingratitude. The victim was also responding to his inner values of honour, going out of his way to help someone who appeared to be in trouble. The outcome is something to ponder: as our values and the meaning of our words are challenged, how alert must we be to potential harm to us and our community?

Virtue

In a more homogeneous society, when Judaeo/Christian leadership informed our legislature and way of life, we knew what virtue was: kindness, caring, doing the right thing by your neighbour, children and your parents, being honest, sexual propriety, obeying the laws of the land. Now the moral vacuum has been filled by the faithless, who nevertheless, play God, signalling their own virtue while denouncing publicly and widely through social and any other media, alleged sins of those who may merely have a different opinion on issues such as: race, aboriginality, refugee placement, climate change, energy generation, gender preference, religious freedom, marriage and family and the contribution of western civilisation. Without allowing into the debate the countervailing influence of alternative opinions, we could find ourselves on the way to totalitarianism similar to that defeated by the brave, pragmatic defence personnel a hundred years ago. Lest we forget!

Judgemental virtue signalling has replaced the essence and meaning of virtue.  As our basic needs at the bottom of the Maslow hierarchy have been met, thanks to hard work that achieved greater prosperity for us, powerful “insiders” seek self-realisation in the promotion of self in virtue – in seeking to do something wonderful for the planet, refugees, women, LGBTQI community. Denunciation and de-platforming of others of differing opinion goes hand in hand with self-promoting virtue signalling. Misrepresentation and sensitivity to offence is rife. After all, the privileged elite know what’s good for the rest of us.

Always there is the contradiction in their words and action. Whether or not they are astute enough to realise it, in a totalitarian state there would be no freedom to express their emotional, irrational views. Furthermore, hatred is a multiplier that too easily can become self-consuming, as demonstrated in a longitudinal example in Jordan Peterson’s book 12 Rules for Life that ended in self destruction of the passionate pursuer of fruitless “worthy” causes.

Love given also has the power to be a multiplier, a truth the compassionate virtue signallers would realise had they more knowledge and experience of history of western civilisation and valued the Judaeo/Christian contribution to it. Original sin has been replaced by original virtue.

Truth

Even truth has taken a battering in this post-truth world. For instance, how hard is it to work out whether the planet is warming and if we are to blame, or whether the failure of the climate to correlate with sophisticated computer modelling is a function of poor science, failed hypotheses, or hoary virtue signalling. Be assured that money, power and greed are contributors to the groundswell of opinion. Just ask scientists on the funding gravy train, Al Gore, John Hewson and others adept at riding financial waves, how they have surfed to prosperity on the backs of ordinary people, the outsiders without a say.

Most of us just want to pay a fair price for the essential service of reliable power. Simple as that! Bureaucratic and government interference has clouded the market on behalf of the global Gaia on the corruption merry-go-round: corrupted science that feeds corrupt global bureaucrats to transfer money and power to corrupt failed states. Go figure! One of the worst things about this state of play is the troublesome inversion of truth and virtue. Challengers (deniers) and countries/people trying to do the right the by the planet are pilloried as evil. They lose their jobs like Bob Carr and Professor Peter Ridd who dared to challenge scientists to prove their hypotheses. Where is the truth in that? If we want to conserve a clean planet, we might ask the violent, feral left whether they make their bed and dispose of their rubbish properly. Just for starters!

Love

‘Love is love’, or so we were told during the lead up to the referendum on same sex marriage. Seems to me that the love professed does not extend to others who hold a more traditional view of marriage, as it should in the Christian tradition of “loving their neighbour as thyself”. Though SSM has since been embedded in legislation, latent hatred manages to find expression in attempts to demonise and neutralize any position adopted by “outsiders” holding true to known and proven traditions, by which they choose to live and raise their children. That is not to pass judgement on those who have successfully captured the words ‘gay’, ‘pride’ and ‘rainbow’ as brands – their choice should be respected, as should others who choose differently.  Get the pattern? Only one point of view (theirs) is allowed and without the context that might introduce reason. Lest we forget the horror of totalitarianism!

 Political correctness

Overlaying these distortions of language is political correctness fuelled by the grievance industry. I wonder what the WWI soldiers slogging it out in the trenches would think of today’s humourless snowflakes who are ever ready to be offended. Certainly pervasive PC has coerced us generally into becoming a more respectful, tolerant and welcoming society, careful to watch our Ps and Qs in discourse with others. There is no harm in that. However, like all good things taken too far, the virtue of intent becomes harmful under control of the emotionally incontinent disconnected from the real world.

Having achieved so much already, of necessity they must look for ever more ways to control the ignorant “outsiders” by creating make-work bureaucratic schemes that engorge the state.  “Unconscious bias” when recruiting; the decline in merit and reward for effort when diversity is the priority over competence; the amount of sugar, fat, drugs and alcohol consumed; how much exercise we do; adherence to, and payment for utopian “green” schemes; blame for inevitable colonisation 240 years too late, for which we must be forever sorry, unable to move forward to take advantage of 21st century benefits; forever ingratiating and apologetic to those self-invited immigrants who prefer to adhere to the laws and values of the country of origin rather than enter into the spirit of this country that has given them succour. Gratitude is one word that appears lost on all those sensitive souls demanding others to behave in a PC way. Nothing is perfect. Best if those trolls standing in judgement on we mere mortals showed some appreciation for how far we have come, practised the respect and tolerance they demand of others. Lest we forget how!

Sense of humour

Perhaps one of the most outstanding characteristics of the WWI diggers was their sense of humour.  In the grimmest of circumstances, they were able to make light of the pommy officers and the desperate situation as they worked together to get the job of winning our freedom done. Perhaps we need to conscript that spirit today, a century on, to spare us from the horrors of infinite regression into pervasive totalitarianism that has distorted our language and threatens to diminish our freedoms. Lest we forget!