Australian Politics 2019-09-21 15:42:00


The psychology of hate

Sandro Galea has come along way since his origins in Malta.  He has authored over 800 academic publications and is now Dean of the School of Public Health at Boston university, a large private university with a strong research orientation.  He is a registered do-gooder, having spent some time in his youth "helping" the benighted people of New Guinea.

Below is a press release announcing his talk on hate.  I will have some comments at the foot of it.

Global experts to examine hate as a public health issue

Professor Sandro Galea, a global expert on public health, talks about the under-represented topic of hate as a contributing factor in health and health equity.

The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre (the Prevention Centre) hosts world-leader in research and discourse on public health, Professor Sandro Galea from Boston University. Professor Galea will lead the conversation on hate as a public health issue at an event on 30 September 2019.

His research shows that hate is a contributor to poor physical and mental health at both the level of the individual and then at societal level.

“Hate such as the kind we witnessed in the aftermath of the Charlottesville violence is like a disease, spreading among populations and undermining health in a manner eerily similar to that of a pathogen,” said Professor Galea.

“When a society is infected by hate, it is not hard to see how it can affect our bodies and minds. Being hated is stressful. It makes a person fear for her safety, resent her lack of respect, and worry about what the future holds for herself and her family. People who feel hated are more likely to experience major depression, and the fruits of hate – prejudice, discrimination, segregation, and interpersonal antagonism – sicken and kill Americans every day,” he said.

“Chronic disease, mental illness and drug use,” said Professor Galea. “None of these can be successfully addressed without discussing the injustice and racism that may be at their source. No matter how great our hospitals or advanced our technology, health is limited by the world in which people live.”

“The first step is to change the way we talk about health at a grassroots as well as at a policy level. Seeing health for what it is – a result of factors embedded in everyday life – is just as important as investing in a new hospital or MRI machine.”

So what a fine person Professor Galea is -- talking about what is undoubtedly an important issue.  As I often put up on my blogs news articles about hate, I was greatly interested to hear of him.  I looked forward to seeing his research on the subject. So I checked his list of publications on ResearhGate but, lo and behold, I could not find any!  There were articles in the popular press which consisted largely of bloviation and virtue signalling but that was it. He does do proper scientific articles but not on hate.

Nonetheless, I do agree with him that hate is toxic.  But I also think he is missing the elephant in the room.  And what a big elephant it is!  A veritable mammoth.  We see a virtual  torrent of hate being poured out constantly at Donald J. Trump by the Left. The disapproval of Third World immigration coming from the Right is very pale stuff compared with the hate that seems to come from every pore of the Left.  Hate is what they do these days. They seem to hate just about everything.

And it seems clear that their chronic hate has completely deranged the Left, if the recent Democrat primary debates are anything to go by.  Most of the policy proposals put forward there seem completely out of touch with reality.  And loss of reality contact is the prime symptom of psychosis.

The hate motivation of the Left is all too obvious to need much research but I am sure Prof. Galea could find something to research there if he got serious about the topic.

I give below a moderate and balanced comment on the current political scene from a prominent Leftist commentator.  The Right would have a hard job of matching it.  But perhaps Prof. Galea could find an example of a prominent conservative being so eloquent:

The way the Left describe as hate even the mildest expression of disapproval coming from conservatives is an example of projection that Freud would celebrate.  The Left assume that others have hearts as black as theirs

Cardinal George Pell's legal team has lodged an application for leave to appeal in Australia's highest court

The 78-year-old former adviser to the Pope is currently serving a maximum six-year prison sentence for the sexual abuse of two former choirboys at St Patrick's Cathedral while he was the Catholic archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s.

The Cardinal's legal team had been thoroughly examining the court's judgment after a 2-1 split decision was handed down by the three judges.

The two proposed grounds for appeal focus on that majority decision to dismiss Pell's case.

"The majority erred by finding that their belief in the complainant required the applicant to establish that the offending was impossible," the application states.

The proposed second ground is "the majority erred in their conclusion that the verdicts were not unreasonable".

Pell's legal team is seeking for his convictions to be quashed.

If leave to appeal is granted it will be his final opportunity to challenge the convictions, but there is no guarantee the High Court will agree to hear the appeal.

The court can decide to grant leave to appear from the written application, or may request a short hearing — which is unlikely to be heard until next year unless the case is expedited.


A small comeback for the classics

Less than a year ago, Aadita Menghani knew nothing about Latin. "I had never even heard of it before," she said.

But the 13-year-old Blacktown Girls High student is discovering the ancient Roman language in the first NSW class to be offered Latin outside the fully selective or private school systems in more than 20 years.

More than 80 per cent of Blacktown's students are new or recent migrants, and their native tongues - Mandarin, Arabic, Hindi - have little crossover with the 3000-year-old language that influenced modern English.

But advocates of the classics say that's exactly why they should learn it, as new research suggests students with the least access to Latin and Classical Greek are the ones who benefit most.

Blacktown Girls' High, a partially selective school, was able to offer Latin to year eight this year thanks to the arrival of Lance Shortus, a second-year teacher who studied the language as part of his ancient history degree at university.

Like most teachers of the classics, he embeds the language in wider lessons about ancient Roman culture. This year's course is open to students from the selective and non-selective but gifted streams, but if it succeeds, he hopes to offer it to more.

"It would be great to see it appearing in more public, non-selective schools," he said. "Please don't call it a dead language. Latina est immortalis. It's an immortal language."

Emily Matters, the president of the Classical Languages Teachers' Association, said Latin could be instrumental in developing a category of vocabulary that was particularly useful to students from a non-English speaking background or disadvantaged community.

While they were already bi-lingual, had a rich understanding of conversational words, and learned scientific, technical words such as 'photosynthesis' or 'hypotenuse' at school, they often had little exposure to the complex English vocabulary found scholarship and literature, she said.

The children most likely to pick up this type of vocabulary - largely derived from Latin and Ancient Greek - were from highly-educated, native English-speaking families, giving them an advantage in high school or university, said Dr Matters.

"By the age of 10, the division [in vocabulary] is quite clear," said Ms Matters.

"For some children, if they can't learn these words at school, they are not going to learn them. That's the kind of thing that learning Latin will give children - that enrichment of their English vocabulary."

A single Latin word can unlock many English ones. For example, if a student knows ardere means 'to burn', they can work out the meaning of ardent, ardour or arson. The word tractare, to drag or pull, is a clue to words such as subtract, attractive, and detractor.

Arlene Holmes-Henderson from Oxford University is finishing a longitudinal study into the impact of classical languages on children's cognitive development.

"Initial and interim findings suggest that learning Latin can unlock significant literacy gains for certain pupils, but not the ones who traditionally have had access to the study of classics," she told the Herald.

Dr Matters said the last comprehensive school to teach Latin was Turramurra High School, which closed its course in the early 1990s.

Fully selective schools were more likely to be able to offer Latin or ancient Greek because they could attract enough interested students to fill a class, while private schools had the resources to teach smaller groups, she said.



Four current articles below

Fact-free prophet takes vicious turn

Andrew Bolt

GLOBAL warmists are turning vicious. Now guru Tim Flannery likens me to a paedophile.

Has Flannery, our former Chief Climate Commissioner and now a professorial fellow at Melbourne University, become unhinged? For me, his outburst confirms that Flannery represents the death of reason.

In the taxpayer-funded Conversation, Flannery claims that man-made global warming and dwindling resources may wipe out most of the Earth's nearly 8 billion people. "British scientist James Lovelock has predicted a future human population of just a billion people,” he writes. "Mass deaths we predicted."

Typical Flannery. In fact, Lovelock later admitted he was too "alarmist", and Flannery was, too: "We don't know what the climate is doing."

But Flannery, undaunted, rages over the slaughter he imagines is coming: "The climate crisis has now grown so severe that the actions of the denialists have turned predatory: they are now an immediate threat to our children. "My children ... will probably live to be part of that grim winnowing -- a world that the Alan Joneses and Andrew Bolts of the world have laboured so hard to create."

Then a third suggestion that I'm a child abuser. "They are threatening my children's wellbeing as much as anyone who might seek to harm a child."

How low can Flannery go? If I thought there was the slightest chance of our emissions killing my children, I'd work day and night to cut them. But I don't think they're at all threatened by global warming. What really threatens them is the monstrous, self-righteous unreason that Flannery represents. In 2004, Flannery, actually a mammal expert, said man-made warming would cause such droughts that "there is a fair chance Perth will be the 21st century's first ghost metropolis".

Yet Perth is flourishing, and Professor Andy Pitman, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, says "as far as the climate scientists know there is no link between climate change and drought".

In 2009, Flannery warned "this may be the Arctic's first ice-free year". Not even dose. In 2015 Flannery predicted more cyclones: "We're more likely to see them more frequently in the future." But the following year we had the fewest cyclones in decades, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change agrees cyclones have become rarer.

In 2017, Flannery claimed global warming was drowning Pacific islands like Tuvalu and this was a "widespread phenomenon". In fact, TuValu has grown by 2.9 per cent over four decades, and Professor Paul Kench found 43 per cent of Pacific islands have also grown, and just 14 per cent shrunk.

And now Flannery claims "global hunger has increased for the last three years because of extreme weather events". Really? In fact, the Food and Agricultural Organisation reports that world grain crops have been at record levels for the past three years.

What an extraordinary record of false claims, yet Flannery is still treated as an oracle by the Conversation, the ABC and Melbourne University.

But the worst of it is that this false prophet has cost Australians so much. In 2007, Flannery falsely claimed our dams would run dry: "Even the rains that fall will not actually fill our dams and our river systems." He added: "In Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane, water - supplies are so low they need desalinated water urgently, possibly in as little as 18 months."

State Labor governments freaked, and raced to build desalination plants not just for those cities, but Melbourne, too. The cost was massive — some $12 billion. But this was another Flannery fail: the rain kept falling, and those desal-plants were essentially mothballed. What a waste.

Here's another example of the cost of Flannery's flummery. Flannery also urged us to scrap our reliable coal-fired electricity plants and use more geothermal power instead. "There are hot rocks (underground) in South Australia that potentially have enough embedded energy in them to run Australia's economy for the best part of a century," he said. "The technology to extract that energy and turn it into electricity is relatively straightforward."

The Rudd Government believed him, and gave a $90 million grant to a geothermal plant in which Flannery was a shareholder. Yet another Flannery fail. The plant was a technological nightmare and was scrapped.

So how should I describe Tim Flannery, who misquotes experts, misstates science, makes dud predictions, urges us to waste billions of dollars and scares children with absurd claims of "mass deaths"? I won't do a Flannery and call him a "predator". I'll stick to the facts. The man is a crank.

From the Courier Mail, 19/9/19

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg overruled department to block wind turbines on scenic island

The former environment minister Josh Frydenberg went against the advice of his departmental experts when he blocked two wind turbines on Lord Howe Island in 2017, consigning the world heritage-listed island to relying on diesel fuel for the bulk of its electricity.

A freedom of information request by the Guardian has uncovered that the minister took the unusual action of blocking the project under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, deeming it “unacceptable”.

It was one of two projects that Frydenberg rejected while environment minister, the other being a nursing home at Sydney’s Middle Head on federal land.

Now the Guardian can reveal that his decision was taken despite the advice of his own department, strong support from the majority of residents on Lord Howe Island, the governing board of the island, and even another federal government agency – the Australian Renewable Energy Agency – which had offered $4.6m in funding towards the renewable energy project.

The department’s natural heritage section 23 November 2016 advice was that “the proposed action is unlikely to significantly impact the Island Group’s world heritage values” and that moving the island away from reliance on weekly deliveries of diesel would help secure its Unesco world heritage status.

The department went on to say: “The proposed turbine site was selected because it is in close proximity to the existing powerhouse and electricity network and is one of the least visible cleared pieces of elevated land on the island.”

“Practical access and operation considerations limit the turbines’ physical size. The turbines are not permanently fixed but can be lowered for maintenance and other purposes.”

It said the proposed turbines were a similar scale to the existing aviation towers near the project site.

There was some concern expressed from the migratory birds section of the department about whether the turbines might harm Lord Howes’ bird population.

But the final recommendation from the department was that risks could be mitigated by the Lord Howe Island board’s proposal to shut down the turbines at sunset when shearwaters returned to their nests.

“The department considers that impacts on listed migratory birds could potentially be mitigated, for example through development and implementation of the adaptive management approach proposed in the referral,” it said.

But having outlined the reasons why the project should be given the go-ahead, the department, perhaps pre-empting the minister’s attitude, advised that he could still oppose it, and included the paperwork for him to do so.

At the time, [radio jock] Jones was regularly railing against windfarm projects, and there was opposition to windfarms within the Coalition. In 2014, the then treasurer, Joe Hockey, called wind turbines “utterly offensive”, while former prime minister Tony Abbott said in 2015 they were “ ugly” and “noisy”.

A spokesperson for the current environment minister, Sussan Ley, said then minister Frydenberg considered that “the proposed wind turbines would create a considerable, intrusive visual impact and that this would affect the spectacular and scenic landscapes for which the island group is recognised”.

“The minister concluded that the proposal would be an inappropriate development for Lord Howe Island and that the impacts on the island group’s heritage values could not be sufficiently avoided or mitigated,” she said.

The spokesman said the minister had given “thorough consideration to a range of matters” before deciding that the wind turbine proposal would have clearly unacceptable impacts and that the decision did not affect the solar component of the island’s energy project.

Lord Howe Island’s Unesco listing has identified “human-caused climate change” as a key threat. The organisation has a policy which calls on world heritage sites to investigate renewable power options.

Lord Howe Island is now exploring what can be done with solar and batteries to meet the island’s needs. New South Wales spends $750,000 a year on shipping diesel to the island to provide power for its 350 residents.


New coal mine that would have provided 1,100 jobs to hard-pressed families is scrapped after green activists from Sydney's north shore sent 2,530 objection letters

The construction of a controversial coal mine has been blocked after planners received a series of objection letters from city-based environmental activists.

The multi-million-dollar Bylong Valley coal mine was commissioned by Korean company Kepco, which claimed the mine, north-east of Mudgee, would generate $300million for the New South Wales economy and create 1,100 jobs.

After a large amount of opposition from the community, the project was given to the  NSW Independent Planning Commission for review in October last year.

But today it was revealed the project's demise came after a spate of complaints by residents of Sydney's northern beaches, 250 kilometres away from the proposed mine site.

Out of 3,193 comments to the commission, 2,530 objections came from Lane Cove Coal and Gas Watch, The Daily Telegraph reported.  'These people should not be allowed to comment on something that is not on their doorstep,' Mid-West Regional Council mayor Des Kennedy said. 'People here want those jobs, but at the public meetings they were bussing in activists from all over the place.'

While 350 submissions received by the commission were largely objections, most of them came from people living more than 60 kilometres away.

Lane Cove Bushland and Conservation Society vice-president Ron Gornall said the  environmental group maintain their objections.  'Our group was opposed to the mine … like a lot of environmental groups, we look at other areas,' he said.

None of the 14 government agencies consulted objected to the construction of the mine.

While the commission acknowledged the economic benefits the mine would bring, they also said it was not an ecologically sustainable development, ABC reported.

'The commission found the mine's predicted air quality, biodiversity, noise, subsidence and visual impacts are acceptable and/or can be effectively managed or mitigated,'the commission said in its determination.

'It raised significant concern about other longer-lasting environmental impacts.'

'The predicted economic benefits would accrue to the present generation but the long-term environmental, heritage and agricultural costs will be borne by the future generations.'

Kepco began working on the project in  2010 and construction was supposed to start this year.


Our universities have caved in to lazy groupthink

In the lead-up to Friday’s Global Climate Strike, enlightening emails have found their way into staff and student university in­boxes. These communications are as illuminating as they are disheartening, as they once again reveal the extent to which our institutions of higher education have been captured by ideologically driven activists.

The array of carefully crafted messages that have been doing the rounds at Notre Dame, Queensland, NSW, La Trobe and Melbourne universities range from the subtle suggestion that staff may like to “accommodate” striking students, to robustly and actively encouraging students to ditch their studies and take to the streets to yell about climate change.

Without exception, all students have been informed that they will not be penalised for absenteeism and that there will be absolutely no repercussions for non-attendance. This is completely at odds with standard university attendance requirements, which are markedly unforgiving.

Perhaps the most telling of all emails, however, has come from the desk of Stephen Trumble, head of the department of medical education at the University of Melbourne, who writes: “All students are encouraged to consider joining with staff in participating in the Global Climate Strike on Friday 20th September. The medical school supports sustainable development and mitigating the effects of climate change.”

It seems that the priorities of Melbourne University’s medical school are misguided. Australians want doctors who are trained to diagnose and cure illness, not doctors who are trained to be eco­-warriors. “One of our course outcomes,” Trumble concludes, “is that Melbourne MD graduates should practise medicine in an environmentally sustainable manner so as not to contribute to this immediate problem.”

One wonders whether this might look like a surgeon turning off the operating theatre lights and poking around inside the unfortunate patient by candlelight.

It smacks of ideological totalitarianism, where staff and students at our universities are being compelled to conform to the orthodoxy prevalent on campus.

The question is, what will become of the rebels who choose to go to class? Their presence in the lecture theatres will single them out as dissidents and they will be judged accordingly as climate change deniers. Never mind what they may think about climate change in private, their public inaction will condemn them in the eyes of their peers.

As it turns out, the same fate is awaiting those Victorian public servants who, rather than joining their colleagues on the streets of Melbourne, have chosen to remain at their desks.

Unsurprisingly, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, who this week achieved the honour of being the highest paid premier in the country, is encouraging his employees to ask for “flexible working arrangements” so they can help bring his city to a standstill.

Taxpayers are essentially paying public servants to take the day off. It is unlikely that the Department of Premier and Cabinet would display the same degree of leniency towards staff if they were to down tools on a Friday afternoon to attend an anti-abortion rally.

What we are seeing on campus and indeed in government is the spirit of the mob at work. This concept is explored by Douglas Murray in his latest book The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity. “We are,” he observes, “going through great crowd derangement. In public and in private, both online and off, people are behaving in ways that are increasingly irrational, feverish, herd-like and simply unpleasant.”

One of the most profound impacts that postmodernism and identity politics have had on our universities is the crippling of intellectual inquiry. When universities are fiercely and repeatedly advocating diversity as a fundamental academic value, the reality is that diversity of opinion has been all but banished from many classrooms and lecture theatres, where the predominantly liberal-left world view, once concealed within the humanities, has become the wider orthodoxy.

The fact remains, students want diversity of opinion on campus. In a recent survey of 500 domestic students commissioned by the Institute of Public Affairs, 82 per cent of respondents, no matter what their political persuasion, said university was a place where they should be exposed to different views, even if those views are challenging or offensive. The results also showed that students were looking outside the university to be challenged or to find out alternative points of view, with 58 per cent of students saying they were more exposed to new ideas on social media than on campus.

Things must be dire indeed if students are finding greater diversity of opinion on the notoriously skewed platforms of Twitter or Facebook.

The Global Climate Strike shows that universities are no longer the chief institutions through which knowledge is preserved, generated and disseminated. Australian campuses are rapidly becoming places where intellectual inquiry is being crippled and the free exchange of ideas is severely limited. Collectivism and groupthink have no place in our universities, which to all intents and purposes are failing in their purpose.


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here