The spectre of Spring 2021

Foreboding lurks at the back of my mind, almost continuously. It’s not so much the plague, but how people are behaving. Society is being strained at its seams and frayed edges begin to appear.

As you may recall, my world context retains strong ties to Southern Africa and I am a child raised during the Cold War, when the spectre of the time was Communism driven by totalitarians. Then, as now, simple maxims were used to sway the masses. Freedom and equality for all!

Isn’t it ironic that these are the underpinnings of the woke movement, demanding representation and retribution for any cadre with some identifiable characteristic, practice or habit.

The process of promotion of the interests of minority groups has attacked current institutions, individuals and laws on the premise that their existence has been achieved to the disadvantage of minorities who were discriminated against in history.

At the same time, the prevalence of conspiracies and their adherents is challenging democracies’ability to govern and is widely being used as a political tool to fuel fire in followers. The old name for conspiracies was propaganda. Its purpose was to galvanise popular belief, without challenge.

An alarming feature of recent campaigns of identity movements like #metoo and Black Lives Matter is that mere allegations are accepted as facts. Now that’s okay when allegations are admitted, but when they are disputed, there has always been a process to ascertain the most accurate version of the truth.

Corroboration is essential. But nowadays, every accused person is deemed a liar unless they admit their guilt.

Capitalism has created a huge disparity in earnings with the super rich becoming the aristocracy of old.

Marketing and Kardocumentatries, scripted reality shows and social media exaggerate and glorify lifestyles impossible for all but the rich. Tension, envy and outrage brew amongst those who can never indulge in champagne cruises, drive Porsches, wear silk shirts and eat caviar.

Attributions for the London rioters’ behaviour in 2011 included social factors such as racial tension, class tension, economic decline, and the unemployment that decline had brought. Well that is also an accurate picture of what happened in South Africa and eSwatini. Put a lid on a boiling pot and eruptions are certain!

I am trying to say that world wide we are at a stage that reasonable judgment has been suspended and gut feeling is carrying the day. This means that democracy is dead, it cannot be sustained in the face of ever-increasing individual demands for unique treatment. Capitalism in its present form has also failed. The poor are increasing and want more.

The task is to find new inviolate principles by which all agree they can be governed.

Tragically, all we need to do is look at organised religion to see that so many prophets arise to lead that there is continuous alienation and conflict.

I hoped that the plague would give rise to strong, credible leadership but fear there are too many critics, not enough followers.

So, sadly it seems that fragmentation will continue until another global catastrophe arises to force us together, maybe a world war – any bets on how soon and who will oppose the Chicomms?

Having an opinion in this politically correct world.

Title suggested by Michelle Craik Friday 26 March

My mother was very “proper” and her sternest reprimand was “that is not done (in good society)!”  My father was big on chivalry and respect.

Their ethos was maintaining the status quo. They would have been aghast by today’s cancel culture, the bastard child of political correctness.

Social media has weaponised the assault against anyone right of centre. Freedom of speech is drowned by the floods of woke activists; intolerant of differing opinions, they publicly shame and punish dissenters. 

Sadly  politicians have all submitted to the tyranny that political correctness now promotes.

When a faceless mob starts dictating what can be said and what cannot be said, then democracy is at death’s door.

Thus the woke mob has enabled conviction upon mere allegation, the disregard of due process and the immediate destruction of reputations without allowing defence. Debates are reduced to memes and emojis, dissent is dissed.

The fear of being pillored makes us inhibited and afraid to address even the most banal issues directly. We have taken a knee and will be obliged to do so until we get brave enough to challenge the mob.

We have ourselves to blame.  Our society has forgotten that freedom must be cherished and enjoyed responsibly. We have forgotten that freedom extends to everyone and we have become prisoners of populism.

The mob has grown and has immense power and influence. So much so that governments tailor their policies and actions to conform.

And in the naked light, I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools”, said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls”
And whispered in the sound of silence

Paul Simon, 1964

Newsflash! Neckties are dead

Our current campaign is a global war against that yoke of uniformity, the neck tie. There can be no logical explanation why people continue to tightly tie strips of cloth round their throats and then dangle them on their chests.”

This was blogged on 16 October 2005, but the real campaign against the necktie started in practice in the 90’s with the wearing of silly socks on Fridays. The more radical followers of the movement also began wearing outrageous and unseemly ties to draw attention to the folly of the fashion convention.

The recent (2017) neck-naked appearances of those prisoners of convention and foremost icons of the stiff upper lip Society, HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, KG, KT, PC, ADC(P), HRH Prince Henry of Wales, KCVO and the Obamas indicates their clear support for the campaign and clearly demonstrates that the campaign is all but won. (The speculation that they read this blog can not be confirmed.)

no necktie nobles.jpg

New Zealand’s Parliament has now ruled that ties are no longer requires as part of men’s appropriate attire in Parliament – presumably a standard which could be applied nation-wide.

At last we are unshackling the yoke of obsolete convention!

Sieg HEIL – The Trump Fanfare

I must point out that we are indebted to Trump for at least one huge lesson about humanity. He has shown us that most of us will follow anyone who strikes a chord that resonates  … and keeps repeating that message. Someone who shows that it’s NOT our fault – that they (clearly identifiable others) are the ones who have caused our pain.

It helps if they live amongst us and appear to be richer, stronger or more effective than us.

Inevitably, the media are liars and on their side (which is not to say some of them aren’t …)

Conspiracies explain everything … even though we are not quite sure what they are.

I say us because it includes friends and family members

Not long ago – in our parents and grandparents day, Hitler was believed, admired and followed blindly by millions of Germans and European nations even the Duke of York, once King of England!

It doesn’t seem to matter that the demagogue is not consistent, sounds deranged and makes outrageous claims. At that last “March to save America” rally, Trump looked and sounded deranged; frantic, repetitive, unrestrained. Just appearing at that rally smacked of civil mischief, but no-one stopped the President. He was unstoppable, despite increasing incoherence and blatant lying, ranting and raving … in between a few rounds of golf.

On the other side of the political spectrum lemming like behaviour is also prevalent. Democrats in Congress all took the knee recently – a blatantly populist obeisance to the political movement condemning Police, condoning the eradication of historical and cultural icons and accepting the blame for slavery.

One can only see this type of populist endorsement inflaming conservatives who are also suffering under the economic malaise of the midWest and Deep South US.

All of these people on both sides proclaim the virtue of their beliefs and decry the baselessness and immorality of the others cause.   

It is no good pointing out misconduct and precedents. We have to find ways to do things better.

Impeachment will not help – it will merely reinforce the conspiracy and turn a maniac into a martyr.

Biden has it right – extending the hand of friendship to all. Somehow he needs to find a way to distract the Right and Unite.

Somehow faith must be restored in the electoral system. Blockchain may be the answer. Certainly technology exists that could do this.

Maybe China policy will do it – revive manufacturing lost to Asia, promote fossil free fuel technology, make hemp production an agricultural priority, ban neckties ….

Oh Come On!! Its not often I get the chance to advise a new head of state!

The Social Dilemma

 Be afraid, be very afraid!

I suspect some of you think I am a bit of a drama queen or a wolf-crier. Maybe both – but I urge you to watch The Social Dilemma, it is currently on Netflix.

Especially if you have children.

This documentary presents the views of a number of people who were intricately involved in designing Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest and other mainstream social media.

Reviewers have said this film is the “single most lucid, succinct, and profoundly terrifying analysis of social media ever created”

“(it) carefully details the skyrocketing levels of depression among children and teenagers; the flat-earthers and white supremacists; the genocide in Myanmar; the Covid misinformation; [and] the imperilling of objective truth and social disintegration”.

Harvard University professor Shoshana Zuboff speaks quite clearly about the profit -making orientation of digital companies like Google and Amazon (which) represent a new form of capitalist accumulation that she calls “surveillance capitalism

 Surveillance Capitalism “unilaterally claims human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioural data [which] are declared as a proprietary behavioural surplus, fed into advanced manufacturing processes known as ‘machine intelligence’, and fabricated into prediction products that anticipate what you will do now, soon, and later.”

These new capitalist products “are traded in a new kind of marketplace – behavioural futures markets.

Through the lens of surveillance capitalism’s economic and social imperatives, she lists many issues that plague contemporary society including:

  • the assault on privacy and the so-called ‘privacy paradox’,
  • behavioral targeting
  • fake news
  • ubiquitous tracking
  • legislative and regulatory failure
  • algorithmic governance
  • social media addiction
  •  abrogation of human rights
  • democratic destabilization, and more are reinterpreted and explained

As I said: be afraid….

Cancel Culture Culture

The National Library of New Zealand recently decided to dispose of 600 000 books including prized first editions of English literature classics  to make way for the growing New Zealand, Maori and Pacific collection.1

This may be a budget thing: ’a not enough space’ type of argument but I smell cancel culture and the identity politics creed that has been woodworming academica and bureaucracy for some years now.

The rationale that has become fashionable since black lives now matter, is that policies, laws and icons that stem from the past must be eradicated. This is because the colonists, rulers, inventors and developers of the most successful technological societies in modern history were almost exclusively European males; now invalidated by the lack of indigenous participation.

It is propounded that the general oppression and inability of most people of colour from Africa and the Pacific to get rich, get educated and successfully contribute to society is directly attributable to and caused by these white despots.

Hence the re-writing of history and the toppling of statues, renaming of roads and places with European names.

So how should we paint our past for future reference?

I know, let’s name places and roads and raise statues to historically famous and clever African and Pacifica people of colour!

We will need to look at historical records of these peoples. Oh! So we can only go back about 180 years which is about when the colonial oppressors taught these peoples how to write. They are now able to tell us how we misspelt the names of people and places, isn’t that nice?

Well, I am sure we can rely on their oral history…

Are there any great inventions of these societies? Well, since the Pyramids there’s been …maybe the iklwa, boomerang, trench warfare, shrunken heads and an app for hair inventions?

How about great leaders? Nelson Mandela of course, Hone Heke, the great Maori warchief, Shaka Zulu (a tad despotic, perhaps?), Nasser, Gaddafi, Nkrumah, Mobutu, Mugabe, Idi Amin (these two are a bit like Shaka?) – mind you, it’s likely the colonial oppressors oppressed leaders, that’s possibly why there are so few.

Whatever?! Just take a knee people, and bow to the inevitable, because otherwise you’ll be labelled a racist, misogynist, gay bashing, petal plucking redneck. Don’t worry about most of history – it is no longer relevant.

Wikipedia says: The burning of books has a long history as a tool that has been wielded … to suppress dissenting or heretical views that are believed to pose a threat to the prevailing order…(and) can become a significant component of cultural genocide.

Iconoclasm is a very basic and powerful political tool which demonstrates radical defiance of the commonly held norms of society – it is a challenge to the middle of the road look awayers and I-say-nothingers.

Note to self: stop shooting yourself in the foot!

1The Guardian, 11 September 2020

Was that a mockingbird?

“Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mocking bird.”[1]

What happens when a society starts to loathe itself   with a quasi-religious fervour? … when its citizens…. Feel obliged to get down on their knees in a gesture of supplication to persons unspecified… nothing less than a cultural revolution … ritual denunciations of anyone expressing the slightest disagreement with the ever changing orthodoxies of the identity politics creed …[2]

… we see the obsessive desecration and destruction of monuments and symbols of an irredeemably tainted past and an absoloute intolerance of dissent

…The goal … is not to bring to an end to relations of dominance and subjugation between the races … but to establish a reversed racial moral hierarchy,

… everything has to be subsumed to the narrative of privilege and oppression[3]

This narrative sanctifies the disorder and mayhem perpetrated in its name.

In an attempt to mollify riotous mobs we admit that we are guilty of the newly identified wrongs of economies and society of yesteryear, when slaves were the prime commerce of African potentates and provided much of the labour in the development of new colonies.

We genuflect to demonstrate our solidarity with the outraged people who proclaim their continued oppression and victimisation by white society.

What shallow intellect we have to think that bending the knee will suffice?

There will soon need to be appeasement in more substantial form and accommodation of those who claim unfair discrimination by the colour of their skin, or their gender, or their sexual preference, minority ethnicity, physical disparity or whatever has a rhetoric of historical disadvantage.

In the meantime we dig up the corpses of the past, denigrate them and cast their gravestones into the sea

This blackmail of liberal conscience will continue until Western society disintegrates and follows the path of Africa once liberated from oppression and subjugation. Arabs and Africans who initiated slavery and still practice female subjugation and genital mutilation applaud. Chinese communists who practice ethnic cleansing and brutal suppression of dissent actively support this mindless mob.

It could not have happened at a worse time as the democracies face the most serious challenge since the high noon of totalitarianism in the 1930’s with the rise of the Chinese Communist Party regime as a potentially dominant global regime, intent on leveraging modern technology to create a perfect totalitarianism beyond even George Orwell’s nightmares within its own society, and to extend its power and influence to the wider world[4]

George Floyd, whose brutal arrest was manipulated for mayhem, by media hungry for news, was not a mockingbird. He became a lever by which to manipulate the sympathies of an overfed, restless middle class eager to embrace something that gives them a change from from the broken liberal democracy and economic models we have.

Change is gonna come, but I will fight it if it means we must kneel to those that want to break and take.

… you can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation,
And marches alone can’t bring integration,

When human respect is disintegratin’,
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Eve of Destruction PF Sloan 1964… it made my Mum cry 50 years ago

Play song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfZVu0alU0I


[1] Harper Lee To kill a mockingbird Lippincott 1960

[2] Greg Sheridan Weekend Australian 11 July 2020

[3] Peter Baldwin Weekend Australian 11 July 2020

[4] Ibid

Post Truth, et cetera… (again)


deeducate

I thought it was about time for me to have a rant again. Enough of these pretty birds and gorgeous sunsets schmaltz … although I must say people seem to enjoy that type of stuff more than they do my rants. Does that signify anything? Not really … read on

It’s official: there is such a thing as post-truth – cheword-of-the-yearck it out, it’s in the dictionary, nogal!

This is the post-truth era! Suddenly dishonesty and inaccuracy are fashionable and accepted!  American author Ralph Keyes says: Dishonesty inspires more euphemisms than copulation or defecation. Well, that’s putting it roughly, but it pretty much sums up the state of articulation that is accepted by the all-consuming public.

post-truth

Kathleen Higgins writes in Scientific AmericanWhen political leaders make no effort to ensure that their ‘facts’ will bear scrutiny, we can only conclude that they take an arrogant view of the public. They take their right to lie as given, perhaps particularly when the lies are transpareart-of-the-lient. Many among the electorate seem not to register the contempt involved, perhaps because they would like to think that their favoured candidate is at conspiracyleast well-intentioned and would not deliberately mislead them…

Much of the public hears what it wants to hear because many people get their news exclusively from sources whose bias they agree with.

 

Stand up for truth: check the facts before you spread them; never believe politicians ever, and reject crap!

Post-truth is a disease which must be challenged before we lose reality and all honour.

truth

Media morality

time-for-lies

Slightly off the point but …what really got me going today is the lack of  ethics and creativity of television. I saw that “Married at First Sight” has become a series.

run-by-ethicsWhat morally bankrupt, banal, conscience-less executive producer agreed to that? How can these people justify the immoral drivel they feed into people’s heaaww-newsds .  Tempting people with TV exposure and cash to perform questionable, objectionable, offensive and immoral ceremonies is disgusting. Do you remember the film of the Depression-era dance marathon of the desperate for the amusement of spectators:“They shoot horses, don’t they?”  Why don’t they re-open the Colosseum in Rome and feed Christians to lions?

That’s post ethics, not just post-truth!

Is there no social responsibility or is it just ratings and ad dollars?reportedly

 

Media Creativity

The other morning there was a riveting item on a traffic jam in Melbourne. We are in Queensland – if there were no traffic jams here, why can’t we celebrate that fact, instead of scanning the country for newsworthy items like a traffic jam? No house fire, car driving into a house, lost hiker, corner store robbery – no worries, some other state is bound to have one…

Surely there are some creative journalists that can break out of the formulaic mould of car chase, brawl, house fire, criminal court case …?

Really horrifying!

  • Genocide
  • Holocaust
  • Ruthless Extermination

These are the labels that came to my mind when I started reading about organ transplants in China.

The source was Epoch Times, a patently biased publication by the Falun Gong movement. So I did a Google search – oh my goodness! I was dumbfounded by what I read.

In 2006, China reportedly performed over 20,000 organ transplants. This is big money business: “….traveled to Tianjin, China, where he obtained a liver for $130,000 USD after waiting for just 20 days.

“… the website of the China International Transplantation Network Assistance Center posted the following price list on its website in 2006: Kidney: $62,000; Liver: $98,000–130,000; Liver+kidney: $160,000–180,000; Kidney+pancreas: $150,000; Lung: $150,000–170,000; Heart: $130,000–160,000; Cornea: $30,000.

“recorded admissions that organs could be procured from Falun Gong prisoners.

Since 1999, hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been detained in re-education through labor camps, prisons, and other detention facilities in China, making them the largest group of prisoners of conscience in the country

Clearly the Chinese government has better business acumen than the Nazis.

They imprison people for their membership of a specific group, execute many of them and sell their organs to a willing international market!

China executes more people each year than the rest of the world combined, with its state-sanctioned system cloaked in official secrecy, said a report released by Amnesty International (in 2017)

How do we justify the fact that China is a major trading party of most major world countries? They are permitted and encouraged to invest in our countries.

It took the world a long time to wake up to Nazi Germany’s exterminations and that was without internet technology.

We are far more tolerant, liberal and sophisticated now – extermination is fostered and patronised and its sponsors are major players in the world.

Hmmm … Maybe they did instigate the Coronavirus pandemic! They will probably sell us a vaccine soon

What do you say, buddy? Come back Adolph, all is forgiven!

Ozymandias

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

In the US, public offices like the Governor, Mayor, Police Chief and Attorney General are elected. So they need to listen to what the electorate tells them – which the media says it does. So they do what the media says most people want them to do.

Who owns the media?

The rich own the media and control what we see and think. What happens is that the media make the laws that the rich tell them to.

Good election policies are: “cleaning up the streets, reducing the drug problem, eradicating crime…”

To do that you have to have more police with wider powers and stricter judges….

The supposed beacon of democracy, the US has the highest prison population in the world. 75% of people arrested are unable to afford bail – Less than 2% of those charged  receive jail sentences!  

About 2.8% of adults (1 in 35) in the U.S. population were under correctional supervision (probation, parole, jail, or prison) in 2013. *

(Isn’t that a gulag by another name?)

There were 10.3 million arrests in 2018 in the US . ** There are bound to be some tragedies along that road.

The media know what we think before we do and can work us up to a pitch until we spontaneously combust – just crafting and channelling the news.

Well now, it’s time for a change – polls show that the viewing public wants something different to police chases and drug murders on the news…

Look at the media sensation that “taking the knee” picture has created – maybe it is the match that starts the revolution that throws out the current western capitalist led democracy and heralds a new economic model.

Some are even saying more than “Black Lives Matter”, they are saying silence over a black criminal’s death is racism, they are saying political candidates should commit to de-funding police forces.

So … what am I saying? I think it is something like this:

  • Democracy as we know it doesn’t give society a good outcome
  • The reliance on the creation of crimes and punishment to regulate society is wrong
  • The freedom of the individual must be subordinate to the best interests of the community.
  • With universal surveillance cameras, privacy is obsolete (this may be part of the solution)
  • The stranglehold that the media has on public opinion makers must be broken. We have been under the sway of media sensationalist newsmakers for too long.
  • All lives matter, not just black lives. This type of slogan gives rise to value systems which promote the interests of a class of people to the disadvantage of the rest. It is apartheid and is reprehensible.

Are we watching an Empire beginning to crumble?

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarceration_in_the_United_States

** https://www.statista.com/statistics/191261/number-of-arrests-for-all-offenses-in-the-us-since-1990/