Call me cantankerous

The statue of Edward Colston was toppled in a Black Lives Matter protest and tossed into a river in Bristol. He had been a merchant who amongst many other activities was involved in the Royal African Company which traded in slaves. It had been founded at the instigation of King Charles II in the 1600’s.

The slave trade was outlawed in 1807 in Britain and slaves were emancipated by in 1833.

Colston also supported and endowed schools, houses for the poor, almshouses, hospitals and Anglican churches in Bristol, London and elsewhere. He died at age 84 in 1721. A statue was erected in his honour.

A jury recently found 4 people clearly identified as perpetrators to be not guilty – they argued that the presence of the statue was a hate crime and it was therefore not an offence to remove it.

Perhaps statues of King Charles II should also be tossed? Perhaps it’s time to give the Queen and Royalty the heave-ho ? After all, their ancestor founded the Royal African Company.

If society does not allow the discussion of ideas and issues, people descend to shouting. Shouting is offensive and leads to confrontation. Those people who deny platforms to those who express opposing opinions and topple statues rely on the civilised reticence of the majority who will withdraw and avoid confrontation.

We have seen how demonstrators attack the police, deface buildings and defy regulations.

How far should they be allowed to go? What is peaceful demonstration?

Not so long ago – in my lifetime, unruly demonstrators were orderered to disperse. If they defied these orders, shots were fired over their heads, if they persisted, ringleaders were shot by marksmen. That always did the trick.

Can’t say I fault the process.

How do you do, 2022?

It is the time of year one reviews and previews.

The highlight of 2021? – Undoubtedly watching the Boks beat the All Blacks.

From the anthems to the seething happy crowd, to the joy and exhilaration – all amidst a plague! Who would believe it?

I cannot overlook the joy of meeting my grandson! I have already worked out that I will only be 92 when he will be playing in the Rugby World Cup!! Now there is an objective in life! Hope some of my mates will still be around to join me.

Just a mention of the plague, now entering its third year: will it fizzle out once we have all contracted it ? Does not seem likely, with another variant in France being mentioned …

With a growing groundswell of feeling against mandates and restrictions, the politics become decidely difficult for those in office.

But if we keep getting new variants and requiring more jabs and hospital beds and ventilators for the sickest run out… some hard decisions on who gets admitted will arise. I bet the politicos will leave that to the doctors.

Looking ahead my predictions for the near future are:

  • I think the Coalition will survive the Australia election.
  • A Trump will run for President
  • We will have a new King
  • China and Russia will become more menacing
  • EV’s will begin to proliferate
  • Cash will disappear
  • The All Blacks will rise again

Finally, I urge you all to consider carefully before you condemn, do not blindly follow the media mob, hear what the other side has to say.

That is freedom and it is being trampled by the populist views of identity politics. Do not discard institutions to accommodate extreme views.

Become a freedom fighter

Happy new year and may the Covid die!

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?

Retirement – permission to misbehave?

Suggested by Debra Hall Thursday 18 March

It’s not so much what you can do, when you retire, but how much you can’t do before you do.

From before memory what we hear is: “No” “you can’t have that” ”do what I say” “this is the way we do things here” with sub text “and if you don’t then we are not for you”.

So one would think that retirement would be like letting go of a wound up elastic band: Twwwaaangggg!!! Don’t stop me now…!

Thinking about what you’re going to do when you are free to do it is quite fun. No-one said it better than Jenny Joseph in her “Warning”.

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple

With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.

And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves

And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.

….and learn to spit

But she didn’t really know, she was only 29 when she wrote the poem.

It isn’t like that, immediately anyway. Stopping the engine from continuing to run at working speed takes time. You can’t just start sleeping in because you are retired. The dog still wakes you at five, your eyes open and your heart starts fast and you leap up to get the day on the go because you know if you don’t you’ll be late for work…. Oh, Duh!. 

Retirees struggle to fill their day. Retirement is a new job; you have to start from scratch again. Finding things to do when you’re used to trying to find time to do things is the world upside down. Getting things done when there is no structure and deadlines is difficult.

Learning to sit and relax and read or do nothing without guilt only comes after years of practice. When you can have cake everyday, it doesn’t taste so good.

You don’t have to shave, but you do. I wear my comfortablest (and tattiest) old clothes quite often. 

I say things which I expect to provoke, but they don’t! Somehow it seems to be expected from the older generation. Anyway what we oldies think is provocative or challenging is not seen as so. 

As we grow older and age, so do the values and attitudes we held. So being provocative is not easy. Its not easy to find that you have not moved with the times and whilst you might have been progressive or even radical when you were young, you find that you are far more conserv ative now.

 I mean I wasn’t quite  a Trotskyite but I was threatened with deportation once. (Mind you that was South Africa in apartheid heyday, so the bar was not very high…) Bit like Australia: if you are naughty we’ll deport you …plus ca change plus c’est la meme chose?

So I am not going to dye my hair (haven’t got enough left) or get a tattoo (so common these days and they look ghastly on flabby old bodies)

But I do have a floppy tatty hat which I love and a canary yellow waistcoat and salmon pink trousers and blue vellies!

I am such a rebel!

Orson Welles suggested: I don’t say we all ought to misbehave, but we ought to look as if we could.

That sounds good to me.

New Human Rights

It has been some time since 2042 when duty to community prevailed over individual rights.

After the almost impenetrable smog of fakenews in the early 2020’s, there were many hard fought court actions seeking ways to promote the truth. The right to the truth was first espoused in the Senate Impeachment trial of US President Donald Trump and later entrenched in the AllNations Declaration of Rights of 2031.

Now in 2060 it has long been accepted that there is great harm to society for an individual to fail to disclose the truth. The historical sacrosanct right to silence had led to far too many injustices; tragedies which could have been avoided; vicious murderers, rapists and pederasts who escaped liability to strike again and again.

Ways to obtain the truth from alleged criminals are strictly controlled and are under direct supervision of a judge who only orders the administration of truth serum after clear supporting evidence of involvement in crime.

The veracity of elected representatives including the Universal Head of State is monitored by truth sensor apps which display signs if speakers are deliberately not accurate in what they say.

It has become very difficult to prevent the actual truth from disclosure. Marketing was prohibited. Information is accurate and individuals easily obtain relevant information they require, tailored to their needs from GlobalTruth, Google’s successor..

Many of the old rights contained in the United Nations Declaration in 1948 have become obsolete and removed or changed over time.

GlobalRule which was enabled after Universal Surveillance meant privacy was obsolete; warfare became impossible as hostile intent was soon detected and could be stamped out by WorldForces and human tragedy could swiftly be addressed.

The universal carbon tax had effectively extinguished global warming. Universal Basic Income had diminished the poverty gap and world population was declining. Famine was extinct.

Death from disease was eradicated and human longevity increased to 120 years placing great burden on the WorldCommunity to produce sufficient food.

 Since the rebellion of the middle-agers, refusing to serve the mandatory 30 years as pioneers on New Australia (Mars), finding more living space on Earth has become impossible.

Global Rule has eliminated conflict: wars are no more and the Global Surveillance Judicial system has made crime almost impossible – so our numbers are no longer reduced by the death sentences on major criminals or banishment to outer planets.

However, quality of life had declined and community costs to support the elderly increased exponentially after 130 years of age.

The dominant duty to community ethos over individual rights had led to universal acceptance of mandatory euthanasia.

The celebration of life of a family elder has become a major rite of family culture and is keenly anticipated.

I accepted mandatory death and cremation at 133 years of age, long ago. Nevertheless, it is quite startling to think that next year I will reach my Celebration Day.

I will sleep happily knowing my ashes will feed an apple tree in our family orchard.

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

The revolution has started

I am not without hope.

At the very start of the global depression when the outlook for continued prosperity and peace is looking bleak, I believe that there are opportunities for change.

It is opportune that the depression has coincided with a global plague which has enabled most governments to revert to more directive, prophylactic action anticipating the future and persisting in tough policy moves ignoring the squeals of libertarians and the newly empowered.

We are coincidentally where the 3rd Industrial Revolution (3IR) is beginning to have impact. Some even call it the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0).

I have been reading and listening to Jeremy Rifkin on the above. This guy advises the European Union and China on a smart green 3IR economy.

Combined with the communications infrastructure necessary to connect all of humanity to these breakthroughs, the result is the potential for a truly global society.

If you are concerned about what may happen in future and how it can be brought about, watch Rifkin on youtube – I found him rivetting and easy to understand.

 The technological revolution rewrites the material conditions of human existence and can reshape culture. It can play a role as a trigger of a chain of various and unpredictable changes

What distinguishes a technological revolution from a random collection of technology systems and justifies conceptualizing it as a revolution are two basic features:

1. The strong interconnectedness and interdependence of the participating systems in their technologies and markets.

2. The capacity to transform profoundly the rest of the economy (and eventually society).

We could be on the cusp of a new world order.

Dream on, you silly old fart; change is not that easy!

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/

This riot is brought to you by Nike

Daniel McCarthy

https://spectator.us/riot-brought-nike-looting-minneapolis-new-york-dc/

In Chicago last weekend 82 people were shot, 22 of them fatally. Between May 2019 and late May 2020, homicide claimed the lives of over 300 black men in the city. That’s not a police brutality problem, that’s a problem of insufficient police power being deployed to stop violent criminals. If the death of one man, George Floyd, while under arrest in Minneapolis is cause for nationwide protests, why don’t the deaths of hundreds of George Floyds every year prick the conscience of protesters that much more?

Better yet, why don’t the antifa kids who are mighty bold with the police go and toss bricks at the gangbangers in Chicago? Because unlike the police, the gangs will shoot them dead. The rioters setting America ablaze are cowards: they riot only because they know they face no danger from the police.

These protests and riots are not a revolution, they’re a celebration. This is a victory lap for a moral revolution in education, one that has created a mythology in which police and other traditional authorities are automatically assumed to be evil while young vandals who riot on the pretext of social justice are holy innocents. A change in religion often means the heroes of the old faith become the demons of the new while yesterday’s vices become today’s virtues. Intersectionality, to give the new faith just one of its legion of names, has replaced Christianity, particularly the bourgeois, patriotic Christian morality that supplied America’s elite institutions with their ethos until rather recently. The revolution didn’t take place on the streets — and nothing is as stupid as conservatives who think they need to learn Saul Alinsky’s organizational tactics. That’s just theater. The real power lies not with protesters or rioters but with the moral authority that creates protesters in the first place and that prevents police from suppressing the rioters.

Why are police reluctant to put down the mayhem in the streets? Because they’re not allowed to: they answer to politicians who are afraid of being called bad names in the press and who need the support of the rioters’ upper-middle-class enablers. Those enablers include not only Democrats but also a great many elite libertarians and non-Trump Republicans; and not only the media and academy, with their known liberal bias, but also corporate America. 

Take Nike. You might think the sneaker company would be upset about having its stores ransacked. But think again. You’re stealing Nikes? That just proves that Nike is the footwear brand of the revolution. That cool, edgy looter you see with his liberated Nikes is a walking advertisement, better than any money can buy. Others who admire the authenticity and passion and living purity of the looter — white suburban teens, for example, or progressive Ivy League lawyers — will now go out and buy Nikes so they can be part of the revolution, too.

Anyway, it’s not like the revolution is going to expropriate the sneaker factories — those have already been profitably relocated to countries under communist rule. Woke capitalism and the communism that employs the most brutal policing imaginable against the likes of Uighurs and Tibetans make perfect allies. Of course, corporate America wants you to know it totally rejects imperialism and racism. Just not the Chinese variety — or any other non-Western kind. As the Financial Times reports, amid this week’s riots, ‘Some companies devoted their advertising resources to responding to the crisis, with Nike — whose usual slogan is “Just Do It” — distributing a video telling Americans: “For once, Don’t Do It. Don’t pretend there’s not a problem in America.”’ Yes, Nike, there is a problem in America. Thank God we have corporations to watch out for our consciences.

A nation like ours has many power centers. The alignment of those power centers is what determines cultural force and, in the long run, political success as well. Corporate executives, celebrities, academics, editorialists, and even many religious leaders — not at all exclusively from liberal denominations — in general oppose the police and support the protests, and if they think the rioters go to excess, they’re inclined to think it’s just a case of misplaced zeal or an excusable response to oppression. The master framework that applies before any facts are considered — facts like the real cause of most violent deaths among blacks in America today, or even investigation into the facts about George Floyd’s death — is a moral framework that designates saints and sinners, victims and oppressors. 

(Regarding Floyd’s death, according to TMZ the Hennepin County medical examiner determined that he suffered a heart attack during the arrest, with fentanyl in his system. Floyd complained about being unable to breathe before he was pinned down by the arresting officers — and shortness of breath certainly seems like a plausible effect of fentanyl or a heart attack, or both. That by itself doesn’t mean that Officer Chauvin didn’t use excessive force, but it’s not the scenario that most of the protesters’ supporters seem to take for granted. An examiner hired by Floyd’s family disputes the findings. Both examiners say homicide was the ‘manner of death’.)

Police and the men and women of all colours who own small businesses that can’t profit from a looting the way that Nike can are not part of the ruling cultural coalition. What old institutional protections the police do have — qualified immunity, strong unions — are under attack. The result of reducing the protections of the police will very predictably mean that police become more reluctant to take the risks necessary to uphold the law — which is exactly the opposite of what should be happening if the violence in places like Chicago, where 20 or more George Floyds can die in single weekend, is to be quelled. 

Voters turned to Republicans after the riots of the Sixties, but the revolution in religion and public morality was only in its early days then — it was still a revolution, not the establishment. Even ordinary voters who are not part of the elite may feel that it’s easier to go along with the new morality than to resist it in the name of the old, especially when the old Christianity and the old America knew they were flawed. The new elite morality is hypocritical, often counterproductive, but it has no self-doubt and admits no flaws. That confidence has not only won the new faith of the streets: it long ago won the centers of power.

Yet the victory has not been total, and even winners can overreach. In 2016, the public did the unthinkable and elected Donald Trump. In 2020, it has the opportunity to surprise the oligarchy and secular priesthood once again. But it will take more than an election or two to reverse the institutional balance of power, and without that, political victories will amount to little more than holding the line while the riot spreads around us. 

Daniel McCarthy Published in Spectator June 2, 2020 10:16 am

Thank you – I couldn’t have said it anywhere as well

Also read: https://spectator.us/roots-riot-antifa-minneapolis-atlanta-cnn-george-floyd/

I guess this confirms that I am a redneck after all!!

We are history makers

I must confess to being addicted to Downton Abbey, which my wife and I have binge-watched over the last few weeks.

I revel in the furnishings and costumes and displays of the times. The fashions and the cars have been wonderful. The treatment of the themes and developments of the day and the changing technology, culture and traditions has been well done.

In perspective, the series covers approximately the period from my father’s birth year in 1910 to just before the Great Depression. To think that at the start, there were no telephones and motor vehicles were new-fangled.

How lucky students of history have this rich live display of the times to better understand the context and concepts of values and societal change … and how close we are to history as it happens.

Yikes!! That is a sobering thought! So much has happened since my Dad was born … 

In his lifetime:

  • the horse largely disappeared
  • there were two world wars, his father served in one and he in the other.
  • the atom was split
  • a man stood on the moon
  • telecommunication enslaved the world
  • the degradation of the world was accelerated by oil.
  • the balance of power moved eastwards

I think what we are left with is that change is constant and it is better to anticipate it and embrace it, rather than resent and deny it.

Martin Luther King was wrong: we are the makers of history; we are not its product. Its time we accepted this.