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What we trained for

And didn’t know it

The coronavirus crisis is a classic example of how global matters have personal impacts. Even though it may not always be clear, that is why, in each blog, I try to interpret the personal implications of broader national and international policy issues that seem remote, yet affect us, by providing sound principles on which to base personal decisions and actions.

Disruptive times tend to show up how we’ve been training. It seems many of us have spent a life time training in panic and self-interest, if behaviour in the supermarkets and pharmacies is any guide. Yet the facts are that Australia produces enough food for everyone with production and delivery logistics reliable and well established. What’s to be concerned about, even if we don’t have a Mormon cupboard stocked for two years of famine?

Learn from history – use initiative

Whatever happened to Australian initiative and enterprise? Or sense of history? Or the military tenet to improvise, adapt, overcome?

It seems we’ve trained a bunch of unresilient selfish sooks who panic first.

For the like of me I can’t get my head around the dunny paper fixation and whatever it has to do with Coronavirus. I’m old enough to remember Lord Mayor Clem Jones’ commitment to sewer Brisbane City, then subject to weekly collection from the outside dunnies by Hunter Brothers; on the farm digging a hole to bury human waste from the can; cutting newspaper into squares to hang on a wire hook for essential services; gathering apple paper wrappings (much softer) for the same purpose. And what’s wrong with using water, a cloth and sanitised bucket like parents once did with cloth nappies?

Hoarding toilet paper is not new: in my youth there was an elderly miser neighbour named Bill who used to steal that awful shiny toilet paper from government buildings. His home was piled high with toilet rolls along with newspapers reaching the ceiling, with just a narrow aisle to walk through. Back then his behaviour was considered eccentric: today it is sufficiently commonplace to warrant a TV reality show.

Yet by training ourselves to take the time to glean the facts on delivery of goods from the manufacturers and shops rather than from Twitter, to understand the context and show tolerance, we can feel confident the shelves will be stocked again. In this land of plenty there will be enough for all.

The Mormons have the situation covered. Under an edict from the Prophets, Mormons are encouraged to build a store of goods to last for two years, so that they will be self-reliant during hard times. Furthermore, it is incumbent upon them to care for themselves, their family, their neighbour and their community. Something to be learned from everyone!

Olds in isolation

 “Stay at home!” is the main message to limit contagion. For many elderly, this will not be a new experience. In keeping with demographic changes where many more of us are living longer, we have been in training for this moment for some time. Busy adult children and grandchildren, sometimes separated by distance or attitude, have become consumed with work, business, sport and other activities, with little time or inclination to engage with the olds.

Where family disruption has further isolated grandparents, the olds have drawn on long-developed resilience, built their own networks and refreshed a sense of humour to maintain perspective. Digital grandchildren have become the norm, a situation which disallows latent love, wisdom and support, but what can we do? Go with what you’ve got! Having trained for this situation (however unwittingly), we are able to put obligatory isolation into practice without too much difficulty.

Furthermore, Olds have long training in being frugal from weathering wars, depression and recessions, raising children when credit was not readily available, so tightening the financial belt will be relatively easy.

Still, it was heartening to receive calls from a family member who delivered a food parcel and offered of assistance with essential errands, and to hear from a bright young colleague who was interested in my welfare. Regular communications with the outside world will keep connected olds who are abiding by the isolation edict, so that they do not monopolise life-saving equipment that might be needed by workers.

Positive training

Not all aspects of the COVID crisis are bad, though we feel for those whose livelihood, income, health and routines are being severely disrupted, as well as for the front line health professionals who daily face risks to their own health. We pray that they remain safe and feel the depth of our gratitude.

Firstly, the immediate crisis has put other putative longer term crises in perspective: the global warming/climate change catastrophe has been put on the back burner, along with Greta Thunberg, Extension Rebellion and other rabid proponents; the gender industry has faded from the headlines; colonisation and indigenous victimhood give way to the imperative of immediate survival.

Secondly, woke business leaders have to earn their huge salaries and bonuses by turning their training and talents to help the country survive economically. Paying SME suppliers on time would be a great help.

Thirdly, Public servants from key departments are being stirred into action in response to government initiatives supporting public health and incomes. Unconscious bias, gender equity, diversity and female advancement have been subsumed by overwhelming demands just to do the job – what they have been trained to do and paid for.

Relationships with key trading partners and failing global organisations like WHO and the UN taken over by China and other rogue nations will have to be reset, providing western democratic leadership is up to the challenge. And it has been a wake-up call to Australia to ensure that essential supplies are produced locally, with stocks conserved for local use.

This global pause in normal activities can be turned into positive at a personal level if we are prepared to use the time wisely to review what we have been training for. Where improvement would be beneficial (in attitude, mind or body), set our minds and our plans towards achieving just that. Make sound decisions based on facts and context and perhaps use my Maturity Model as a guide.

Communication

The Rush to Judgment

The good and bad of social media

Like all innovations, social media has both a good side and a bad side. On the good side, Facebook allows people to stay connected, to spread messages of hope and invite participation in a simple, opt-in way. On the bad side some people feel free to commit their very worst judgements to the cyber world forever, with little consideration for what this may mean for them or others down the track.

Twitter especially seems to invite expression of the very ugliest side of ourselves in 140 key strokes. President Trump has turned Twitter to his advantage, able to circumvent an adversarial media to speak directly with supporters. Not every one of his much publicised tweets has merit, though many cut directly to issues and the people. Leadership tends to be imperfect in this complex world where the Pharisaic righteous of the new moralities of climate change, right-speak and identity politics hold sway.

Old wisdom holds still

Should we care to look, wisdom for the present can be gleaned from ancient sources. When Solomon became king, he prayed, not for gold nor power, but for the ‘wisdom of discernment to administer justice’.

Wisdom of discernment seems to have dissipated with the decline in knowledge of history and the practice of Christianity. Whereas once we would have been advised ‘not to judge lest we ourselves be judged’, today people gain instant emotional gratification in tweeting horribly damning assertions against others whom they do not even know. Ill informed! Unwise! Extremely harmful – to the target in the first instance, yet also to themselves!

Social media and the impact of offence archaeology

Any online search can pull up comments made 10, 20 or 30 years ago, to be held against a person’s character today, to disadvantage them in their life and career. The same thing happens in the Family Court where actions as a teenager can be condemned by today’s adult standards of a woke society.

Take the case of Britain’s Toby Young who stuck his neck out to make a difference in educational outcomes, founding four ‘free schools’ by influencing discipline and raising expectations. His efforts were recognised and successful techniques copied, eventually leading to his appointment to several educational advisory boards.

All that proved to no avail when an offence archaeologist trawled through his personal history to find a 1987 article of his able to be quoted out of context in the fake news. As a result of the ensuing blood-crazed feeding frenzy, unwarranted attention was attracted, not just to his life and career, but also to the five organisations with which he became associated. Young resigned from all of them, weathered the storm and began a new organisation, the Free Speech Union, to support and defend others who find themselves in a similar position having their reputation, career and life destroyed in the twitter sphere and other public forums.

Then there is Alistair Stewart, an honoured forty year veteran journalist of ITV in Britain, for whom the pile-on came after a few misjudged tweets quoting a Shakespearean comparison ended his career in humiliating resignation. A mentally fragile Stewart ended his life. Meanwhile those piling on, rushing to judgement, carry on devastating the lives, reputations and careers of others unimpeded, on the way to destroying the ordinary person’s belief in a just society.

We are all familiar with similar cases within our own circle. What can be a positive medium for generating crowd funding for worthwhile causes proves devastating when used destructively against those around us.

Woe to you who load up packs too heavy for people to carry.

Attaining wisdom of discernment

My book, Becoming, invites readers to make more considered decisions than is evident in the emotional, reactive trend on Twitter and other social media. Using my Maturity Model, truth (fact) is as essential as the courage to be honest. Expectations must be reasonable otherwise responsibilities increase to cause dissension and division, with high social and financial costs. Context is crucial to sound decision-making that we can live with.

Yet even scant analysis of cases where reputable people are ‘cancelled’ (e.g. Young and Stewart) clearly shows that context is either absent or distorted, facts are optional, good humour that could provide balance is missing, as the cowardice of emotional tweeters prevails in the empire of offence taken in the rush to judgement by the righteous of the new moralities.

Yet victims of such hatred could be spared if the tweeters took a little time to reflect. In time, facts emerge that may render judgement unnecessary. A little self-reflection may reveal the contradiction of one’s own prejudice. I’ve found that allowing matters to settle often diminishes the need to make any judgement at all, allowing people, situations and hurt to pass with minimum disruption to life, as we all do or say something silly at some stage. Of course, there have been occasions when my tolerance has been misplaced and people have taken advantage of the generosity of spirit and rushed to baseless negative judgement anyway, that has cost me dearly.

Being confident and mature, understanding that context and dealing in facts certainly contributes to the wisdom of discernment that enriches lives. It just takes more than 140 keystrokes.

Reclaiming a just society

In hindsight, Toby Young recognised his naivety in believing, as do many of us, that if we do the right thing by ourselves and others, the universe would be just. I was once told by my son that what he valued in my teaching children to be decent people was these days seen as an opportunity to exploit. Through misused social media and the rush to judgement it encourages, he has been proven right. Be thou chaste as ice or pure as driven snow thou shalt not escape calumny.

Out of the crucible of suffering experienced by Young has come the foundation of the Free Speech Union. The organisation aims to counter the ‘cancel’ culture and support those wronged by campaigns of ill-informed negative judgement with countervailing campaigns on social media and email. Supporting legal advice will challenge interference in a contract when a target has been sacked as a consequence of a concerted and baseless rush to judgement.

Young’s Free Speech Union is an organisation desperately needed for the quiet, decent people trying to do the right thing by themselves, their families, community and colleagues, who are piled upon by those committed to new morality values of political correctness, identity politics, climate catastrophe, only to find their lives destroyed, quite unwittingly. In the mindless rush to wrong judgement may the Free Speech Union deliver on its purpose and may you never have to seek its support.

Where a decision must be made, judge with wisdom of discernment.

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Acceptance

That periods of difficult challenges and tragedies are part of life are one of the main reasons we should be nurturing in children a strong capacity for resilience, however unfashionable that may be in expert child development circles.

Of course we want to protect the vulnerable from harm, at least until they are old enough to manage difficulties themselves. However should a child reach adulthood without experiencing responsibilities and limitations, without addressing the adolescent tasks of tolerance, empathy and intuition, unable to accept life’s sometimes harsh realities, then there is a fair chance they will become a problem – for themselves, their families and the community at large. Furthermore, the personal becomes the political, regularly illustrated in intransigent demands of the various green cults and political positions demanding action by, and funding from, others.

In my book Becoming, Chapter 4 Making Straight the Way and Chapter 5 Becoming Adult outline tasks to young adulthood in greater detail. My Maturity Model for decision-making helps guide self-assessment of efforts towards personal growth through responsible decision-making.

Self-acceptance

To be effective in the world we need a healthy level of self-acceptance, regardless of what our critics may say. That may mean acceptance of our limitations and diminishments, especially as we age. After all responsibilities also decline.

Shifts in relationships with adolescents and adult children also need a high level of acceptance, particularly when their relationships struggle. Real virtue may be found in letting go of responsibility for, and involvement in, adult offsprings’ mid-life struggles, accepting only they have the ability to change their circumstances, no matter how much it pains us. The same can be said of what is happening in our grandchildren’s lives that may appear less than favourable. In this we would do well to take a leaf out of the Abdallah family’s spirit book of gracious acceptance of the unchangeable tragedies of life. Inner and outer peace may be the reward.

As a product of a poverty stricken family, it became imperative for me to strive for better outcomes, making the most of every opportunity. In many areas, success favoured me, though not everything can be changed. Similarly, efforts for justice and political change don’t always bear fruit. Peace comes from acceptance of the results, celebration of the effort and release from striving.

Democracy requires acceptance of the vote

Our freedom is based on a functioning democracy. Essential to democracy is acceptance of the outcome of majority vote. Yet recent votes in three democratic countries show how powerful insiders and media obstructed the people’s surprise choice. In each case, insiders believed they knew better than the outsiders – the deplorables, the quiet Australians. 

  • Brexit: Even though a majority of the population voted for Britain to exit the European Union, elites in government and the bureaucracies of Britain and the EU sought to confound delivery on the result, supported by a partisan media who made wrong calls. For over three years wrangling continued; the courts joined in; the Speaker of the House John Bercow defied convention by going against his party and favouring “stay”; the media piled on. Failure to accept the vote placed Britain’s whole democratic system at risk. Yet the will of the people prevailed through the election of Boris Johnson, who ultimately delivered Brexit.
  • Trump: Again, the surprise election of Donald Trump as President of the United States has not been accepted by the Democratic Party, partisan media or Hollywood celebrities. Each has used their ample platforms to discredit Trump quite malevolently. Mark Levin in his book The Unfreedom of the Press cites pages of quotes in which media called Trump everything from a demagogue, anti-Semite, threat to security, psychologically troubled, unhinged, not fit to be president, a destructive virus created by Putin, Nazi like tendencies, racist, white supremist and a liar, amongst other things. His impeachment, mooted the day of inauguration and advanced three years later, resulted in Trump’s acquittal, much to Democrat and media chagrin. Under a relentless hailstorm of slander and disruption, Trump continued to deliver on his platform, now showing stunning results in economic terms, employment, trade, life opportunities and international relations – enough to warrant another term.

Through this entire debacle Trump called out the “fake news” and spoke directly to his base via Twitter (often foolishly), yet kept focused on doing what he promised. Like him or hate him, Trump is making America and the world a better place. He is not perfect, certainly irregular, but as one of ‘the deplorables’ said in a spirit of acceptance, “I didn’t vote for him to be my Pastor”.

  • Morrison: A ‘miraculous’ electoral win by Scott Morrison was the third upset of the media and elite applecart which had expected a Shorten Labor win. Since then the pile-on has been relentless, deprecating “Scotty from Marketing”, calling “ScoMo must go”, ostensibly for: daring to take a promised few days holiday just as the fires began to accelerate; for alleged poor management of the bushfires, though services are the responsibility of the states; for failing to link the fires to climate change (for which there is no evidence); and for alleged mismanagement of the coronavirus situation.

In each case, untruths, distortions and deceit compound the inability to accept the outcome of democratic votes. When assessed against my Maturity Model, dissension and division increases, both parties become less mature and social and economic costs accrue. Whereas acceptance allows people to move on.

Consequence of non-acceptance

This blog began highlighting the grace of acceptance demonstrated by the Abdallah family in their moment of unfathomable tragedy, and the inner and outer peace flowing from that acceptance.

All of us can take a leaf out of their ‘acceptance’ book when called upon to deal with the trials and tragedies in our own lives if we are to attain a measure of inner and outer peace, avoiding long term unproductive conflict.

Likewise the elites in government, bureaucracy and media who think they know what is best for us are compelled to realise that outside their privileged bubble, beyond the goats cheese curtain, there are many deplorables and quiet Australians who think differently and who vote. De-platforming and unwarranted social media shaming restricts personal freedom on the way to totalitarian control and loss of democracy. Amongst elites the grace of acceptance of the results of the democratic vote has been missing, overtaken by the arrogance of baseless superiority.

Striving for betterment is virtuous, as is awareness of when to let go and accept the unchangeable.

Productivity, prosperity and freedom can flourish with the greatest gift of all – acceptance and forgiveness.

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Confidence of the hunt

It seems that all who have arrived in Australia since 26 January 1788 have drunk the same water of trust in abundance, as the Aborigines who have inhabited this land for some 60,000 years. In that there is much to celebrate.

Our trust in abundance – that there is plenty to share – enables so many to come forward with money, goods and support for those so badly affected by the fires, the floods and the drought. The same spirit embraces the newcomers who take the pledge of allegiance as they become Australians on Australia Day.

According to anthropologist Marshall Sahlins, in his seminal study, The Original Affluent Society (1966), aborigines lived their nomadic life and economy in the spirit of confidence in the hunt.  Affluence derived from neither needing nor seeking to accumulate possessions. Sahlin’s study showed that aboriginal knowledge and management of the land, water, resources and seasons, coupled with skills in hunting and gathering ensured they would always be able to acquire adequate food and water.

Experience with bushfires

Experience of recent and previous fires has brought into sharp relief Aboriginal knowledge based on management of the land. Seasonally, fire sticks were used to cold burn fuel of dried leaves and bark that built up in the understory of forests. Such practice helped prevent larger fires ignited by dry lightning strikes, conserve the animals on which they relied for food and stimulated regrowth to service both indigenous, animals and other biodiversity.

What aborigines new naturally was confirmed on Fox’s Credlin show by two old blokes with over a hundred years of experience in forestry and bush fire management. Roger Underwood, a 60 year forester and David Packham, a former CSIRO bushfire scientist of 50 years’ experience, explained in simple language.

Australian forests differ from northern hemisphere forests in that in Australia, trees shed leaves and bark which build up. Drought dries out the fuel burden. Normal fuel build up is one ton per hectare per year. Double that and the fire risk is four times higher; double again and it is 16 times, and so on. A fire in a 50 ton/hectare burden cannot be stopped. As the aborigines before them knew, hazard reduction burns work.

Under normal bush fire conditions, the fire burns at 3 megawatts per metre. During Black Saturday, fires reached 70 mw/m. Fire intensity is now around 100 mw/m and fuel loads have never been higher as a result of a 30 year build up. At the current intensity, heat is so great that it is impossible to withstand.

Follow the wisdom

What the aborigines know and the two experienced old blokes tell us is not news. Recommendations coming out of previous Royal Commissions have all said the same thing – hazard reduction by seasonal cool burning of the build-up of forest debris.

Several reasons for universal failure to do so can be attributed to flawed green policy based on landscape ecology aimed at conserving all forests and biodiversity by leaving it alone.

Anyone with any gumption knows that saving children from everything makes them good for nothing.  Whereas reasonable admonishment, direction and support through difficult experiences helps them become productive citizens.

Similarly, reasonable known land and forest management practices could have saved the loss of forest, biodiversity, people, homes, buildings and tragedy. Responsible agencies which have not done their job need to be called to account. Policies need to be changed and rigorously implemented.

Who benefits?

To the question about ‘who benefits?’ posed by Peta Credlin to Roger Underwood and David Packham, they replied “the Greens”. Not only has flawed Green policy become so entrenched in local and state government land management regulations, preventing hazard reduction burns, but it has extended to punishing farmers and property owners from reducing hazard on their own property – a policy that has cost farmers dearly. The Greens have benefited politically by being able to blame climate change (and ScoMo) for the unfolding disaster; an opinion the experienced men dismiss. Greens could learn from the teachings of Buddha that ‘the greatest weakness in life is lack of awareness’.

Other beneficiaries identified were the fire agencies, who, having failed to control the fires, demand more resources. In the aftermath of crisis, challenged governments stump up with more resources which will again fail. How many times over the last twelve months have we seen damage and desolation caused when taxpayer funded agencies fail to do their jobs and get off unaccountable to anyone.

Trust in abundance

In keeping with the ‘trust in abundance’ Sahlins recognised in the aborigines, out of the ashes has come tremendous support – financial, practical and emotional – for those affected, for whom nothing will ever be the same.

From old wisdom we know that ‘man is tried in the crucible of suffering’. Certainly that has been the case with the bushfires. Intense heat in a crucible can produce fine, strong outcomes. Let’s hope that such is the case as people travel the troubled pathway to recovery.

The public and politicians have responded generously. Here’s hoping the charitable organisations and government agencies do their job delivering abundance properly and promptly. Those afflicted do not need more hurdles to overcome in their distress.

Fire, flood, drought and cyclones are part and parcel of the nature of this abundant land which we celebrate this weekend. We must learn from our indigenous brothers and sisters how to manage and respect the land, rather than be taken in by the false prophets of climate doomsday. Together we can celebrate our capacity to adapt and rejoice in the spirit of generosity that prevails in Australia.

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Good Intentions

We have environmentalists to thank for raising awareness of green issues to mainstream, where people, policy and payment have come under capture to the green zeitgeist.

Over the last thirty years an ever-increasing crescendo of demand for improved environmental management of land, resources and biodiversity has seen the headline calls evolve from:

  • Environmental sustainability – looking at attaining inter-generational equity in resource management; to
  • Greenhouse – a misnomer as a risk, because greenhouses are pumped with CO2 to accelerate plant growth; to
  • Global Warming – when predictions failed to appear over 20 years; which led to:
  • Climate change – where every weather event is interpreted as a “climate change” in this land of historical fire, drought and flooding rains. We end up with social media morons when the Bureau of Meteorology is accused of fudging historical data and children are taught gender fluidity and evils of colonisation rather than history and geography based on facts; which now becomes:
  • Climate catastrophe – the latest headline call to action signed up to by so many from the Global Shapers heads of industry preening their green virtue instead of minding their business, to the hyper-anxious child climate strikers, many who can’t make their own bed, give up their phone or responsibly dispose of their Macca wrappers. If their protest signs are anything to go by, many can’t spell either.

Going too far

Good intentions taken too far end in disaster, sometimes evil. What previously stimulated genuine concern for the environment and innovation has evolved to become a new climate change religion in which emotion over-rides facts. Virtue signalling takes hold. That is certainly true of the green zeitgeist which has captured all levels of government, especially the air-conditioned bureaucracies and nervous politicians.

Nowhere is this better borne out than with the bushfires. Many allege bushfires are caused by Australia failing to mitigate CO2 emissions said to be causing climate change, despite this country being one of the few meeting targets set for reduction and undertaking comprehensive environmental measures at great cost to the economy, every business and household.

The green narrative of climate change bushfires is spoiled when we realise there are already 183 charges of arson (with more pending) for starting the fires, ignition being one of the factors.

Another factor is fuel. Again green intentions have paved the way to hell for so many:

  • Creating more national parks, locking them up, not allowing fire wood collection or grazing to reduce undergrowth, failing to maintain fire breaks, not allowing, or failing to conduct cool burns in winter; and
  • Preventing farmers from managing their land sustainably, from widening fire breaks and reducing undergrowth, under threat of bureaucratic charges, legal process and massive fines.

We can’t change Australia’s known propensity to drought, which has made the unmanaged build-up of understory tinder dry, except by building dams, again objected to by the Greens. None has been built for 30 years, despite plans for a modified Bradfield scheme to channel to the interior flood waters from the east coast and Gulf of Carpentaria through the centre of the country into the Murray Darling Basin.

All too sensible for the latte sipping Greens of the inner cities hiding behind the goats cheese curtain, not out fighting the fires like much vilified former PM Tony Abbott. Note particularly, that virtually every Green policy prevents what the Quiet Australians would call sensible action to improve lives and livelihoods.

The hell of Green good intentions

While bushfires bring the hell of green good intentions into sharp relief, their Marxist influence marches an endless road through all our institutions:

  • Renewable energy is yet another farce – a good intention the results of which we have yet to realise.

Touted as cheaper than base load (coal, gas) power and bolstered by $3billion/year subsidies, renewables attracted investment to feed at the public trough. Trouble is the renewable energy is intermittent and unreliable, requires back up batteries and generators, and causes untold environmental damage to birds, bugs and bats while blotting the landscape with ugly structures unfavourable to biodiversity.

That’s before even taking into account the actual and opportunity cost of their lifecycle: manufacture (one windmill takes 220 tonnes of coal and 300 tonnes of cement); transport; installation; maintenance (efficiency declines with age, especially solar, needing repair or replacement); lack of plans for recycling, especially of batteries. Then there are the health effects on those living in the vicinity, not to mention the transmission costs and inefficiencies where energy is lost. Most renewables are dispersed without ready access to the electricity grid, which is ill equipped to manage fluctuations in supply, whereas baseload tends to be located close to fuel source, with energy generated fed into the established transmission grid.

We are yet to realise fully what lies at the end of the road paved with renewables good intentions. So far it has cost South Australia days of blackouts without any power, has increased the cost of energy for us all, causing businesses to close and households to be disconnected for failing to pay their energy bills on times. Hell enough already for many of us.

  • Protecting the Great Barrier Reef is yet another Green intention that has caused hell for many farmers and tourism operators who are intelligent, informed and best placed to protect the land, reef and waters on which their livelihoods depend. Under pressure from Green bureaucracies, farm practices have been modified to comply with the latest edicts to protect from runoff, the Reef located 100km east of the coastline. Tourism operators bend over backwards to comply with requirements for preservation of this ever evolving World Heritage site, that has shown amazing resilience in the face of occasional bleaching and naturally occurring cyclones.

Yet unfavourable reports of the reef’s condition emanating from cashed up researchers who’ve drunk the climate change kool-aid, discourage visitors who do not realise that the GBR stretches 2,400km longitude across several temperature zones and varies kilometres in width. Hell for the businesses relying on tourism dollars to show off our global icon, especially when the person challenging the veracity of reef science (Prof Peter Ridd) has been sacked by James Cook University, which has been found wanting by the Courts on 17 counts.

  • Adani coal mine, located in the Galilee basin some 400 km inland from the coast (and an estimated 500km from the Reef) has been the headline target for greenhouse and reef activism. A better understanding of the geography of distance should allay concerns, but it seems nothing gets in the way of emotional green activism and their good intentions. Mine proponents have persevered through hell during the nine years it took them to walk the road to environmental approvals. In the meantime, poor Indians for whom the coal is intended to bring much needed electricity, have continued their short, disadvantaged lives, people wanting work have been thus far denied, development of the railway and other mines have been hampered.

Yet again, the Marxist Greens’ policy undermining our economy and social fabric by preventing progress, sensible development and jobs with their “good intentions” tends to hold sway. Quiet Australians need to speak up, loudly, sensibly, and often, to raise the banner on the valuable

environmental work being undertaken by the productive people of our society: the miners, farmers, firies and tourism operators.

For 2020

So in planning intentions for 2020, it would be wise to think through to the bounds of tolerance and goodwill and be prepared to call out flagrant extremes.

One practical way, would be to become a member of Green Shirts (https://www.greenshirtsmovementaustralia.com.au/, the organisation supporting farmers with factual information and lobbying government with sensible policies, respective of both the farms, the farmers, the reef and the environment. They need city members to join with them in their fight for better consideration. Peter Ridd is helping them to bring truth to the debate.

We know from experience that indulging a child creates an insatiable monster and that political appeasement allowed Hitler to flourish. Inevitably both eventually reach a point of violent realisation.

We now have proof of the bushfires to show that green good intentions which initially had value in raising awareness of environmental issues have been pursued too far along the road to hell for so many. No amount of sensible action, commitment of funds or good will ever satisfies ever escalating Greens’ insatiable demands. Like the people of Germany under the influence of Hitler, people have become swept up in the climate change mania. Time the public became aware that it is only responsible democracies like Australia that have shown any aptitude for saving the planet.

Let’s ensure that out of the disruption of 2019, in 2020 hope can be generated for those facing hell as a result of green good intentions and ensure that future plans for managing our environment are more sensible and less bureaucratic, to bring us all along.

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Christmas Presents or Presence

Christmas promises peace on earth to people of good will. In the spirit of the season we are encouraged to be of good will: put aside differences and grievances to celebrate together in hope for replenishment that peace and celebration can bring.

Tidy up time

Life is messy, making it a challenge to get everyone on the same harmonious page for a day, even with the best intentions.

At this later stage of life people in my cohort of family and friends are beginning to pass on, compelling retrospection. In tidying up their lives, several have recanted to me previous firmly held negative judgements that have long affected relationships. Where hostility is unwarranted and unresolved, a lot of good life is wasted unnecessarily. People are damaged. Christmas offers an opportunity for reconciliation far loftier than waiting till one is dying to make good on wrongheadedness.

Co-dependency counsellor, Roslyn Saunders, author of the book Emotional Sobriety, offers advice and support for those putting themselves “out there” to be present with family at Christmas. Roslyn recommends setting up a personal structure in our own best interests, with limitations and gracious exit strategy and supports should circumstances on the day work against your best interests. Useful tools that Roslyn offers help people stay in charge of their own emotional wellbeing rather than be negatively affected by the ill will of others – an important factor in keeping alive the spirit of joy and hope of Christmas.

Why wait?

Why wait to be present to those we love and who love us? My earlier blog on Forgiveness elicited a number of responses, a few of whom said there were some people they could not forgive. Each is a person of high integrity and goodwill who has been badly harmed by devastating actions in family and business. No remorse has been forthcoming from the perpetrators, hence no forgiveness. Such suffering cannot be spak-filled: it needs to be named and owned, at all times holding onto hope in our own integrity that should be celebrated at Christmas.

Australian cricketer Steve Smith had the self-inflicted troubles in his life put in perspective by an eleven year old cancer patient he was visiting in hospital. Even under the shadow of death, the young person radiated positive spirit and energy. No point in wasting precious life in bad humour. Smith was visibly affected when the young girl died days later, as we all should be when what promises to be good in life is destroyed by cancerous attitudes. Why wait to concede error and speak words of affirmation (another of Chapman’s love languages) when the joy of reconciliation can overflow into the rest of life and experiences shared?

Presence in three ways

Unlike the presents we buy as Christmas gifts, presence is both costless and priceless, truly in the spirit of hope in the season. We can demonstrate presence in three main ways:

  • Firstly, we can be present by communicating with loved ones to heal differences, whether or not we are the offended party. Keeping the door ajar to healing, redemption and forgiveness does not mean we agree with wrongs; merely that we are no longer under capture to them.
  • Secondly, as we gather together with family and friends, be truly present in the company of others in the spirit of mutual enrichment. Quality time is another of Chapman’s love languages that means so much to those who have been isolated. Put aside electronic devices, along with pre-held resentments, to allow others to be themselves. We might find we enjoy the people and the occasion far more than expected, fulfilling the spirit of the occasion. Above all, don’t be a dog in the manger.
  • Finally, and most importantly, be present to self. Be mindful, as Roslyn Saunders advises, of your own needs and limitations, so that you may also be aware of how you may be affected by others. Christians and Buddhists favour meditation to attain mindfulness.

How good is dis!

An illustration of how a happy disposition we hope for at Christmas has been achieved by poor Indian children taught by Hugh Van Cuylenburg, appears in an article, How Good is Dis!, published in the Weekend Australian Magazine (November 23-24 2019). Hugh found the children’s resilience could be attributed to three principles they practised daily:

  1. Gratitude – the ability to pay attention to what you have instead of worrying about what you don’t have. Title of the article represents the locals’ inability to pronounce “th” sounds. “How good is d’is” was a constant refrain of gratitude with the present. When even the grace of thanks for a meal and for our good fortune living in this wonderful country is drowned out by criticism and demands for ever more money, concessions and action, gratitude would be a welcome relief.
  2. Empathy – the ability to feel what another person is feeling. Empathy is all but a lost grace in an era of self-interest, yet remains essential to the good relationships we hope will prevail at Christmas; and
  3. Mindfulness – the ability to focus on the present moment. That means putting aside what may have preceded and what may be coming down the pipeline, to focus on the joy and wonder of the present.

Merry Christmas

Whether you focus on the presents, the presence, or both, I wish you a merry Christmas and the restoration of spirit, self and family. May peace and joy be with you. I’ll drink a toast to that.

Roslyn Saunders’ book: The Power of No: finding raw courage to reclaim you – https://www.facebook.com/groups/431772140315381/

Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages?

  1. Words of affirmation.
  2. Quality time.
  3. Receiving gifts.
  4. Acts of service.
  5. Physical touch.

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How Dare You!

Great Barrier Reef resilience showing recovery from a bleaching event, photo taken from the same spot 2 years later.

The title for this blog is drawn from the speech by wondrous child climate prophet, Greta Thunberg, to the UN Convention on Climate Change recently in New York. Greta challenged the world for daring to pursue economic development while failing to take action on climate ‘catastrophe’.

Leaders and the media fawned on her and her every word. More rational beings became concerned about her mental wellbeing, how she was being manipulated by self-serving individuals and organisations, as well as the absence of factual information in her dare.  Largely, though, people were reluctant to criticise the child openly, which is why children, especially girls, are being used globally as front-liners in the climate catastrophe wars.

The climate strikes back

Rather than being “settled”, the science claiming the earth is warming and we are all set to fry and die from a human induced warming planet inundated by rising sea water, is being challenged.

Credible science enlightens. Distance of the earth from the sun, variations in the tilt of the earth on its axis, and absorption of CO2 in the oceans have more impact on heating and cooling of the planet than anything we mere mortals can do, though gods of the new religions presume greater powers. In basic terms, the closer you are to the heater, the warmer it gets; the further away you go, the cooler it gets. Simple!

The northern hemisphere is now experiencing record snows (not heating) while we are experiencing a common, though difficult drought period, exacerbated by mongrels deliberately lighting fires and Greens’ failure to allow timely cool burning of fuel. Over a century of records, water levels at Fort Denison in Sydney Harbour show mere millimetres of variation and satellite data proves Pacific islands are mostly growing or stabilised, not sinking. No need for corrupt payments.

Informed media are responding to the challenge with facts. People buckling under the burden of guilt, responsibility and high energy bills (27,000 households had power disconnected in Queensland in 2018-2019) are beginning to shift the debate, putting forward their own ideas of what is important, just as the “Quiet Australians” elected the Morrison government. How dare you!

Global daring

A good dose of realism from ordinary people is beginning to have an impact globally. As righteous Pharisees of the new religions engage even more outrageous claims and actions, those who have been silenced and de-platformed are calling it out.

  • USA: For over three years relentless challenges by the Democrats, Washington and New York elites and the fake media against the unexpected democratic election of Trump as President have mostly damaged themselves. Like him or hate him as a person, Trump was elected to do a job and deliver on promises. He is doing that. Taxes are down, businesses are upbeat, more people are employed, the wall is being built, troops being brought home, defence revitalised, the US has pulled out of the Paris climate agreement, the country has become self-sufficient in oil and trade conditions have been renegotiated. So far around twenty mostly very left wing Democratic candidates have nominated to stand against him in 2020, with little more than trashing Trump to add to their CVs.
  • Canada: Serial celebrity activist Jane Fonda got more than she bargained for when burning oil flying into Fort McMurray in the freezing boonies of Alberta. Her plan was to stand with First Nations people to protest against the global emissions of the oil sands industry that fuels the Canadian economy. Fonda’s hypocrisy knows no bounds. Like our miners in Clermont chasing Bob Brown’s anti-Adani convoy out of town, locals fired up and told her to blow through (or words to that effect; Canadians are very polite). Similarly with the oil pipeline that has been a focus of green activism for years. First Nations people are speaking up for themselves, the business and jobs they have in the oil industry and “are tired of fly-in, fly-out celebrities who think they know everything then go tell the world what bad people the locals are”.
  • UK: For over three years, elites in the British and European parliaments and media have thwarted the will of the majority of British people to leave the European Union. Partisan Speaker of the House defied convention, favouring remainers in debates on Brexit. Boris Johnson has leadership of the Brexit charge against those who seek to subvert democracy and has a chance of delivering on this goal following the 12 December election.
  • Hong Kong: For months the people have turned out in millions, daring to challenge the might of the Chinese Communist Party seeking to deny them freedoms and subject them to arcane extradition laws. Who knows how this ends. Yet they have dared!

Australia dares

Green Shirts gather for action

Not only did the Clermont miners shout out for themselves, their jobs and their industry, they contributed to Scott Morrison’s unexpected electoral win in Queensland. How dare they!

  • Freedom of speech and belief are seen as under threat. Other quiet Australians have been stirred by Rugby Australia sacking their highest scoring player Israel Folau, for quoting an excerpt of the Bible on his Facebook page. Over $2.2m towards Folau’s legal fees was raised in a couple of days on a go-fund-me page sponsored by the Australian Christian Lobby. People contributed, not because they necessarily believed what Folau quoted, but because the decision heralded a trend that anyone could be sacked for their beliefs or for what they say. They could be next.
  • Similarly Professor Peter Ridd was sacked by James Cook University for his views on the robust health of the Great Barrier Reef that countered the prevailing catastrophic global warming mantra that is demoralising farmers and destroying reef tourism reliant businesses. A go-fund-me page supported by the Institute of Public Affairs raised nearly $300K for Ridd’s legal fees. Judgement found against the University on all 17 counts and awarded damages and costs. How dare Ridd call for greater research rigor and suggest the reef was resilient!  
  • The Green Shirts Movement has been established as a voice for rural, regional and reasonable people, to protest 2018 amendments to the Queensland Vegetation Amendment Act. Under the Act farmers are restricted from clearing vegetation on their land, having to defer to bureaucrats and remote ideologues their knowledge of management of the environment on which their business and livelihoods depend. Imposition of $100K fines for knocking down mulga to feed hungry animals shows how remote from reality is this law.
  •  Right to Farm law has been introduced to counter the misleading Aussie Farms’ vegan ideology and action. Activists hunt in a pack, organise deliberate encroachment and aggravated trespass on farms causing disruption, destruction and distress. Public outrage now means that fines of $22k each and 3 years in prison await.
  • Advance Australia stands for values and freedoms, including freedom of speech and freedom of religion, individual initiative and safety and security. AA dares to direct campaigns to counter GetUp!-led attacks on sitting conservative Liberal MPs, and support candidates who campaign on mainstream issues. How dare they!

The foregoing shows a groundswell of action, individual and collective, as ordinary people dare to reclaim values in the public arena.

Hollowness of virtue signalling

Two issues illustrate the hollowness of virtue signalling:

  • Big banks in Australia flaunted their green credentials by saying they would not finance the Adani coal mine or any coal fired power stations which would prove a boost to the economy, keep the lights on in Australia and bring light to 300 million poor in India. While preening on gender equity and green virtue, they weren’t averse to facilitating international money laundering and child porn in the Philippines until publicly challenged by AUSTRAC – 23 million times.
  • The Medivac Bill introduced to federal parliament by independent Kerryn Phelps to bring to Australia refugees needing urgent medical attention has been a sham. Less than 10% of those transferred ended up in hospital, some refusing medical attention. Opening the back door to $100K costs for constipation treatment (pardon the pun) and self-administered penile enlargement for an abusive child groomer is not what taxpayers expect of government. A Bill to withdraw the sham awaits passage through the Senate.

Foundation to dare

Principles and values are the structures on which to build productive individuals, families, communities and countries. Deceit, lies, manipulation for greed, power or self-aggrandisement will not last. Best to do your job well (tell that to the banks and the bureaucrats) and let others get on with their lives, work and business in the way they know best.

By daring to challenge the popular virtues of the new religions progress is being made on many fronts. Get together and back yourselves!

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Forgiveness

The new cult-like religions have many of the characteristics of the old fire and brimstone ones: fervent zealots following a belief system coercing others to the cause, prominent global leaders, wondrous child prophets to berate and inspire elders, guilt, condemnation and ostracism for the questioners and deniers, as we all face the end of the world in a few years. What’s not to like?

Much activism tends to be based on blind faith rather than facts. Lives yearning for spirit and purpose have become dulled by the decline of influence of Judeo-Christian religions upon which our western democracy flourished. Over-indulgence in consumerism brought about by 28 years of economic growth has further contributed. Perhaps we just have it so good we have to make up “bad”, though a glance down the annals of history show a litany of other threatened ”catastrophes” that failed to eventuate.

No wonder groups like Extinction Rebellion gather together in thrall to the occasion and their own importance, chanting mantras while disrupting those more reasonable amongst us who have jobs to do. The media lap it up.

Though blame, guilt and condemnation abound, absent from prayer sheet of the new religions is the pathway to redemption and forgiveness. I would also add gratitude. Had the new zealots any knowledge of, or deference to history, tradition or scripture, humility would discern a wiser way that recognizes that “we all stumble many times” (James 3:2).

A quick overview of the pervasive messages emanating from activists, often funded by overseas interests, shows no end of extortionate financial demands, no credit for ameliorating efforts, and condemnation without a path to redemption.

Climate change

As the climate change religion escalates globally, led by the Marxist head of the United Nations, the name changes to climate catastrophe to up the ante, $, alarm and capture. Of course we should take best measures to care for our environment, as we are. Guilt and condemnation directed at countries like Australia which invests heavily into renewables and employs intensive environmental measures to the detriment of our economy, can never win redemption and forgiveness, because of the absence of truth in (a) the extent of environmental efforts Australia takes; and (b) scandalous manipulation of research data by vested interests in the research community capitalising on the global warming financial gravy train. Only total sacrifice of the economy by closing all mining, agriculture and travel will satisfy the joyless, hungry gods of catastrophe. Shades of the devil’s command to “Jump down from the tower and be subject to me”. No option but totalitarian obedience! And no forgiveness!

Animal rights

Vegan activists of the animal rights religion assert their moral superiority by invading legitimate businesses and farms en masse to disrupt operations, steal animals and terrify people living and working there. Humanization of animals to them has resulted in valuing animals above people. Their right to consume a meat free diet is respected. Forceful imposition of their values on others is rampant as this joyless cult seeks to close down legitimate activities that ordinary people gather together to enjoy – horse and dog racing, conviviality around a barbecue, cattle and sheep farming, camp drafting. Redemption for “sinners” is only available to those willing to comply totally with the tenets. A lot of hate, but no compassion! No forgiveness!

Colonialism

The alleged sins of colonialism now gain high profile in the aboriginal industry, despite the original goal of Arthur Philip’s arrival in Australia 26 January 1788, to establish a settlement on the other side of the world where all people would be free and equal. Life for aborigines at the time was short and brutal, as it still tends to be in those remote communities hanging onto past traditions. We know from historical records that it was pretty terrible for soldiers and convicts as well. That Indigenous, settlers and immigrants have grown together to found a largely peaceful, advanced economy is a miracle owed largely to the original goals, British law transferred and the universality of the English language.

Guilt imposed for imperfect colonial implementation fail to acknowledge what has been achieved for, with, and by the original inhabitants.  Investment of $35 billion annually in Indigenous interests means that 75% of them now experience life and work as most other Australians. Life span has increased by 50%; infant mortality and morbidity have been dramatically reduced; Indigenous natural speed, skill and capacity to entertain find profile, careers and financial returns in colonial sport, theatre, media, art, dance and politics. Land rights have been granted them to large swathes of Australia; and original inhabitants are acknowledged at every public function; Sorry day, NAIDOC, GARMA festivals; special bursaries afford fully paid educational opportunities that poor whites could only dream of; dedicated teachers and health professionals venture into communities to help educate and heal. 

Where is the gratitude for the advances and privileges Indigenous can reap if it is their desire? A crescendo of hatred against colonial white patriarchal males does absolutely nothing for Indigenous progress. After apologies, efforts and redemptive payments made over decades, our Indigenous brothers and sisters are challenged to respond with the greatest gift in life – acceptance and forgiveness (No.12 of the Fourteen Teachings of the Buddha). Perhaps the constant rehashing, resentment and misunderstanding make it hard to forgive? Letting go is the prerequisite for moving forward.  Rehashing hatred is a multiplier that promises no peace – for anyone.

Feminism and gender

In this country, women, men and other pronouns have equality under law, in politics, sport and business. Same sex marriage is a fait accompli, and gender can be self-determined where biology challenges clarity. Instead of celebration and gratitude for momentous social changes of acceptance, identity politics encourages victimhood and division, seeding hatred against the dominant white male patriarchy, whose sins are allegedly manifold. Nobody is perfect, especially it seems, you blokes.

It is nearly 100 years since my mother and her sister, Nelly and Rita Dean, challenged stereotypes in women’s sport with their stellar achievements in track, field, netball and hockey. They didn’t complain, just got on with it – and wrote the copy to show what they could achieve. Male patrons supported them in their endeavours. The public were entertained, as we are, today rejoicing in the magnificent athleticism of Elyse Perry, Ash Barty and Sam Kerr in cricket, tennis and soccer. As a nation we continue to evolve, if imperfectly.

Can we just move on in relative harmony? Dampen offence taking, “for the taking of offense is the mark of a fool” (Ecclesiastes 7:9). That does not mean condoning; it just means letting go, if only for the benefits of greater calm, better health and happiness. By all means raise issues for civilized debate; name wrongs; and seek resolution. That is how environmental and social change has been accomplished in the past, and can be in the future. Having named the wrong, raised the issue and sought resolution, be prepared to let go, move on and forgive those who express genuine sorrow, remorse and redemption. Like confession in the old religions, forgiveness is peace making.

Maturity Model

My Maturity Model for decision-making clearly shows in visual form that to load responsibility and expectation diminishes choice. Truth is not present and continuing in this vein is unsustainable, leading to fragmentation and division of individuals and groups, with high social and economic costs.

Applying the MM to each of the topical issues – climate catastrophe, animal rights, colonialism, feminism and gender – we can see that blame, responsibility and expectation falls heavily on the “quiet Australians” who are busy going about the business of their life. It is surely time that the noisy evangelists of the new religions embraced truth (facts), showed more respect for others in their proselytizing and offered a pathway to forgiveness for those they believe have wronged.

We can practice in our own lives. Rehashing a wrong makes it hard to forgive and to do so we would have to relinquish power, resentment, disappointment and misunderstanding. We should not hurry to be offended, as we all stumble many times. Forgiveness does not mean we condone wrong, merely that in love we are prepared to let go and move on, remembering that “the greatest enemy in life is the self” (No. 1 of the Fourteen teachings of the Buddha).

Blessings to you all!

Uncategorized

Weaponising Children

All credit to those parents who front up daily to deal with the challenges of raising a family in this disruptive era. May they continue to be encouraged in their efforts, to find direction and satisfaction in how their children mature.

That many fail is not surprising. During 2017-2018, 159,000 (28.7 per 1,000) Australian children received child protection services and/or were in out-of-home care. (https://www.aihw.gov.au) For many, neglect, abuse and abandonment will have distorted their psychological and/or physical growth that will be hard for them to overcome.

History has form

Throughout history, due to the distortion of power between adult and child, children have been misused and weaponized, deprived of normalcy.  Child soldiers kidnapped from families in Liberia were forced to fight a mindless war. Girl students in Nigeria were kidnapped from school and deprived of education to become breeders for Boko Haram. Rules of engagement in the Middle East mean little to adversaries who use women and children as shields for military action. Rapidly industrializing Britain used child workers in their factories until concern was raised that the supply of able bodied adults would be insufficient to meet future needs. Though the UN outlaws child labour, children are still exploited in developing countries. From kindergarten onwards, the PLA brainwashes children with a hatred of Jews and promotes the honour of killing them, distorting any hope of peace and progress for their people. In China, Mao Se Tung weaponized children against their parents and other adults, resulting in the death and re-education of tens of millions. Globally, the deplorable sexual exploitation of children is commoditized by deep web commercial activities.

The Family Court

Smug as we may feel in Australia about how well we’ve done as a developed nation, the tide seems to be turning as families fragment. Take, for instance, the Family Court, which is supposed to hold the interests of children paramount. All too often children are weaponized by parents trading blows to assert power. Shared parenting often means the conflict continues in undisguised hostility till the children become adults. On unproven allegations of domestic violence, the Family Court is known to deprive the alleged offending parent of access to children, while payment for child support remains compulsory. Legal endorsement by the Family Court for weaponisation of children for financial gain is not uncommon. How else could a psychologically abusive father claim inability to pay netball fees, while buying himself a Maserati?

All strength to Senator Pauline Hanson for pressuring for an enquiry into the processes and outcomes of Family Court operations! Let’s hope that people come forward with their stories, so that the costly, complex processes are addressed to become more simple and the outcomes fairer, more truly in the interests of children.

Grandparents

One of the areas of concern that Senator Hanson intends pursuing is the loss of access to grandchildren that grandparents experience as a result of a divorce. Understanding where you come from is in the interests of children. For the grandparents it is important to their sense of family and continuity that affirms the worth of their lives. Deprivation of access to grandchildren – the weaponisation of children against elders – is not restricted to those divorcing; it is common enough practice amongst those grown busy and successful on the back of elders’ investment in their lives. While abandoning elders may suit parents’ present interests, little do they realise that in time, they may find themselves in a similar position. Tolerance and respect would be preferable: affection may be a step too far.

Education

It is a while since I’ve been to school or even university, so my idea of education may be somewhat outdated. Education, I believe, should support the parents’ efforts in bringing the child to productive adulthood by inculcating literacy, numeracy, fact seeking skills and a life-long love of learning.

Whereas that is the case in many instances, educational edicts embedding political and social issues into every element of learning has diluted both the quality of education and the outcomes. Literacy and numeracy standards have stalled or are falling and capability to seek out facts has been subsumed by indulgence in conspicuous compassion and privilege pain.

  • Climate catastrophe strikes by children globally and extinction rebellion activists exemplify just how feelings trump facts and how far children have been weaponized by educators and global elites. Follow the money. Elites stand to profit from renewable investments and educators gain power by weaponising children – other people’s children – even if those children are short on literacy and lack facts. Berating the government and responsible adults takes on shades of Mao’s Red Guard. Next may come public humiliation and a spell on the re-education farm for the olds!
  • Gender fluidity: Publicly funded Safe Schoolsprogram, supposedly to deter bullying, ends up being a weapon for promotion of gender fluidity, sex change and LGBTQI+. Normalcy for the 1% is pitched as normal for the 99%, creating confusion amongst those trying to find their way into productive adulthood. Again, other people’s children are weaponized by recruitment to the cause. Respected professionals can be sacked for daring to question the intent.
  • Colonialism portrayed as damaging to aboriginal culture and lands fosters guilt for actions by people long gone against those long dead. No amount of apologies, recompense or care can erase the guilt now used by educators to weaponise children in the cause.

Facts, context and forgiveness

Every one of these social issues drives a nail into the heart of western civilization, in order to destroy it in the best socialist/Marxist tradition, with children weaponized to expedite. Whether the family (children against parents), environment (against parents and government), gender (against biology and religion), or colonialism (whites against blacks), the focus is on division and virtue signaling rather than coherence of people of the nation and celebration of (imperfect) achievements in progress.

Children are being weaponized to believe virtue signaling on any or all of the issues has higher moral value than any other morality recognized under western traditions. Issues presented lack truth (facts) and context, so the virtue and compassion they are being called to are deeply flawed, and, according to my Maturity Model, unsustainable, with high social and economic costs.

Of course western civilization is not perfect: its value has been in open, honest debate to determine issues or take an alternative path, rather than unquestioning authoritarian, dictatorial bullying now used with hatred and condemnation by drivers of the current social issues.

Absent from the repertoire of hatred and condemnation of the dictatorial virtue signalers is the power of redemption and forgiveness, a central element of the Judeo-Christian traditions from which western civilization emerged. Douglas Murray, in his book The Strange Death of Europe, talks about “the tyranny of guilt” foisted on “denialists” of any of the new religious cults. If offered no other options than slavish adherence to the latest belief in the end of the world, the end of family, of culture, if you no longer know whether you are male or female, no wonder children suffer anxiety, depression and distress.

Weaponising children is just another form of child abuse that has abuse of others as collateral damage.

Uncategorized

Enquiry before accusation

In this era of emotionally charged activism and hyper-sensitive victimhood nearly everybody can be offended or offensive at previously unimagined missteps that have little bearing on reality.

Increasingly we are seeing decisions for action, whether in personal, social or political matters, being made based on emotions, prejudice or group think, rather than facts.

Those acquainted with the Maturity Model for decision making outlined in my book Becoming, will recognise that such a pattern of decision-making is unsustainable. As the model shows, inevitably action based on emotion rather than fact leads to fragmentation and division with high social and financial costs, whether in relationships in families, firms, government or in communities. Recovery from such devastation is fraught and may take longer than a lifetime. Best to become informed and avoid social and financial devastation.

Being well informed about an issue, situation or person leaves us in an advantageous position to assess the best way to respond, or not. Indulging emotions may be momentarily self-gratifying, but does not augur well for downstream results.

Climate catastrophe

Take the case of global protest against inaction on what privileged children believe is a coming climate catastrophe that will end the world in a matter of years. Why study for a future that won’t exist?

Not enough is being done they claim, without awareness of the facts about what is being done, how much it is costing economies and how futile the exercise is proving to be. Missing is the evidence upon which rational decisions can be made. Passion runs as high as the media profile of leaders and groups, stirring anxiety along with challenge. No proper enquiry has been made before final judgement has been reached. Context is missing, as is the courage to confront truth.

My Maturity Model shows that the situation is less sustainable than the planet. Predictably fragmentation of individuals and groups is already occurring. Cost of attending to the belief in climate catastrophe and extinction is already damaging the Australian economy in unaffordable energy prices, financially crippling the elderly, the poor and small business. Tourists are staying away from the Great Barrier Reef because of widespread alarmism that it is damaged by bleaching and runoff, as farmers and graziers face increasing regulations that are remote from scientific reality. A farmer is fined $100k in a city court for the common farming practice of knocking down mulga on his own property to feed his starving cattle. The mulga grew back before the court completed its ridiculous exercise in law.

The cost to individuals, families and businesses at the mercy of bureaucracies justifying their existence is devastating, personally, socially and financially. We have yet to count the cost of the emerging havoc of treating global child protestors for anxiety, medication, indifference to education, inability to seek out facts or context, and therefore patterns of poor decision-making.

The planet, meanwhile, has shown a remarkable capacity to revitalize and continue to produce, at the same time that mankind has shown every bit as remarkable capacity for innovation to solve problems. Of course, hope, inspiration and knowledge are necessary elements for resolving global challenges.

Sexual abuse

Feminism, institutional sexual abuse of children and the #metoo movement have each contributed to heightened social awareness of what is acceptable sexual conduct by exposing practices that had been kept pretty much under the radar in past eras.

Had perpetrators been familiar with my Maturity Model they would have realized much earlier that loading unbearable burdens onto less powerful people is not sustainable and can lead only to financial and social disintegration. Woe to you who load up a pack too heavy for (wo)man to carry. Churches are floundering financially paying compensation and members depart as a result. Powerful men are being tried and sent to jail. Moral leadership of the ‘message’ has lost out to higher virtues of conspicuous compassion and privileged pain.

Distressing as the exposure of sexual abuse has been, expectations for better behaviour in interpersonal relationships have resulted. Recognition of hurt, compensation and counselling go some way towards healing those traumatized, though can never entirely “make good” for disturbed lives.

All this is fine progress. But some individuals and media take licence and go too far, contriving sexual or physical abuse where none has occurred, often to satisfy personal agendas.

Extremes betray us

While a victim’s account of abuse is now more readily believed, as with climate catastrophe, it is wise to reserve healthy skepticism, as can be demonstrated in recent cases. 

British peers and their families had their lifetime’s work and reputation destroyed by a young man who claimed he had been sexually abused by them. The accuser now is in jail for being a pedophile himself and admits to lying about those he previously accused. Fifteen minutes of fame for lives destroyed, when skepticism would have demanded more intelligent investigation!

Publication of 40 year old sexual abuse allegations against newly appointed US Supreme Court Judge, Brett Kavanagh, is a case in point. That the alleged “victim” had no recollection and was not party to the allegation seemed of little relevance to the political and career damage intended by publishing the story.

Families and reputations can too easily be devastated by allegations of sexual abuse, which are hard to disprove. When small children and improbable circumstances are involved, management of the situation is best handled quietly and directly in a way that does not cause more problems than would the initial allegation. Context is important, as is the courage to seek facts to inform the “wisdom of discernment to administer justice”. Otherwise families, lives, work and reputations can be sacrificed, quite unnecessarily and uselessly, on the altar of orchestrated emotional self-interest. Again the high social cost of intolerable burdens roll out like tsunami taking out the target and anyone else within reach.

Family Court

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson is to be commended for persistence in pressing for a review of Family Court processes in which, under the perception of “toxic male”, women have successfully been encouraged to perjury, claiming domestic violence for higher leverage in gaining access to children and assets.

As with any lack of truth, there are consequences. Firstly a man’s reputation may be damaged forever; he is likely to lose his family, home, children and the majority of his assets; and the cost, injustice and length of such a damaging process may result in the ultimate fragmentation ending in his suicide. There is a further unfortunate consequence in that attention to genuine claims of domestic violence may be diminished.

A review of the Family Court should at least shine a light on the suitability of processes from the lived experiences of people who have been through them, including women and children who have been seriously disadvantaged. Hopefully the review can achieve a greater element of truth that would balance expectations, choice and responsibility, as shown in my Maturity Model, so that fairness will be better served by the “wisdom of discernment”, allowing people to move on more productively with their lives.

The principle of seeking enquiry before making accusation holds true.