The closing of the Australian mind
Much that Paul Collits says below is true and relevant. He identifies much that is wrong with dominant strains in Australian thinking. But what he says is overgeneralized to the point of being misleading. Perhaps he is being polite to cast blame so widely but that obscures what is really going on.
The basic problem for us all is a near-catastrophic one: The political Left have lost their marbles. They have taken a thoroughly schizophrenic flight away from reality. They see as true whatever they wish to be true. On issue after issue they have lost reality contact -- and their dominance of our intellectual and political life means that we all have to bear the consequences of their delusions
A prime example is their horror of something that every human being breathes out all the time: carbon dioxide. They are on a thoroughly quixotic mission to stamp it out. And that has meant the destruction of a thoroughly efficient and reliable electricity generation system and its replacement by hugely expensive but grossly inefficient windmills
Why the Left has lost its marbles is a topic for another time but we need to realize that there are many people who are not taken in by all the hokum. There is still a substantial body of conservatives in Australia who should not be blamed for the excesses of the Left.
That they count is shown by the rise of the Albanese government, which is in many ways a conservative government. It has backed substantial tax cuts for high income earners and only marginally increased the token climate ambitions of the previous government What we have avoided courtesy of Albanese can be seen in the sweeping climate ambitions of the Bandt-led Green party. In Australia, the Greens and the nominal Left are substantially at odds
Menzies' Forgotten People are still there and still voting. And that matters. Their influence is there and clever politicians heed it
The quietly resurrected Alan Tudge, now Shadow Education Minister in the freshly minted Opposition, probably hopes the Albanese government won’t reverse the decision to increase the cost of liberal arts degrees at our universities.
Whatever the justification for the original unfortunate decision (announced by Dan Tehan for the Morrison government), I hope the new government doesn’t listen to him.
The Albanese government has its own motivations, and these will be just as misplaced as the original decision. While the Liberals wished to punish leftist indoctrination in the universities, Labor will want to egg it on. Both miss the bigger point while trying to implement a political fix – perhaps wilfully.
I do not come to praise our bloated, corporatist, ideological, and over-subscribed universities. But nor should we want to bury them.
Unpacking the problems of the Australian academy is fantastically difficult and perhaps impossible now that the damage has been done to our higher learning over two generations.
Universities have contributed to the Australian polity’s second biggest problem. The biggest, I contend, is executive government overreach verging on soft totalitarianism. The second, which facilitates the main problem, is the closing of the Australian mind.
The closing-of-the-mind thesis was first articulated by the mercurial American scholar, Allan Bloom, back in the 1980s. Bloom was both embraced and excoriated for his views, before being immortalised in the Saul Bellow novel, Ravelstein. Bloom’s achievement was to document the emerging campus culture that we now call ‘Wokeism’.
Many on the right, and those wedded to the late Christopher Pearson’s idea of ‘club sensible’, will understand that the awful institutional and (largely Millennial) individual buy-in to Wokeism is but one leg of the 21st century’s abandonment of intellectual rigour, rational argument, evidence-based thinking, explanation over assertion, and of placing a brake on lunatic Utopianism and ideological misadventures.
It turns out that Wokeism is a manifestation, not a cause, of the closing of our collective mind.
Other current stand-out examples of this problem are Covid madness and climate lunacy. These could, respectively and permanently, crush our freedom and destroy our economy. Together, the medical industrial complex and Net Zero ideology will sink the West and its core values, without question. Many of the Marrickville class, no doubt, cheer this very outcome.
What would Bloom make of the roaring 2020s, I wonder?
The recently returned Prime Minister opined that Climate Change caused the floods. Really, Albo? The problem is that absurd claims like this are believed, repeated ad nauseam, and casually absorbed into the public mind.
Then there is the unthinking acceptance of the vaccines-as-saviour mantra. Increasingly hysterical and untrue commentary is reinforced by relentless propaganda in the media and among tame academics who are dragged out for a press conference.
Blind acceptance by the masses is of far greater concern. We seem to have collectively outsourced our critical faculties and our once innate wariness. The question is, how has this happened? That the Australian mind is closed is clear and disastrous, but what was the mechanism that enabled it?
Baby Boomers and (especially) their children have been seduced by the Sixties’ mindset of easy relativism, the feel-good reassurance of hyper-tolerance, and the comforts of the Nineties’ technological revolution and its subsequent fun-toys. It is technology such as the smartphone and endless distraction from real thought by social media that does our thinking for us and diverts us endlessly. The civilisational consequences are there to be seen at every turn.
We have abandoned our critical faculties without noticing what has happened. When it is pointed out, most don’t even care!
We are far too comfortable and entertained. We are two generations removed from the ability to use our minds to think our way out of our existential dilemma. We have given up the whole of the ancient regime – God, tradition, the wisdom of the ages, and prudence. Even science in the true sense has been lost.
How else can we explain that no one seems willing to argue persuasively that outlawing the internal combustion engine by 2030 might be a bad idea? How else to explain the mindless blue and gold flags? The clapping of the British NHS? The embrace of disaster-predicting models which have no credibility or basis in fact? The lemming-like surge over the cliff to embrace the (now recognised-to-be) farcical lockdowns and vaccine mandates? The willingness to give over our personal data to billionaires who use it to create China-style surveillance models? The acceptance of the ludicrous claim that a slight warming of global temperatures has caused the droughts, floods, and the bushfires?
It isn’t a mystery why clueless politicians absorb and propagate these fabrications. The mystery is why we allow them to continue to make such claims. It is not clear why our culture has sacrificed so much and why no one is making the case for policy sanity. Rational arguments gain little traction.
We embrace all the rubbish of this age? Are we idiots? Ideologues? No, we are intellectually lazy and sublimely contented with our techno-toys, abandonment of worries about the after-life, and our ever-expanding material comforts.
Why have we closed our minds? The late American economist Anthony Downs spoke of our ‘rational ignorance’. He argued we had decided that the examined life was, contra Socrates, for most of us, not worth leading after all. We left the running of the public square to those we thought would do right by us, not realising that they wouldn’t. Those in charge have experienced their own transformation into self-serving policy oligarchs with little use for rational actor decision-making in service of the public.
The damage done to our civil society by these forces is palpable. As the Irish poet WB Yeats saw a century ago when modernism was emerging, the centre will not hold. It has been the brutal coincidence in the late 20th century of ill-education, civilisational ennui, turbo-charged elites, fatal conceits, and the abandonment of history that have conspired to seal the deal.
We have surrendered our chief weapon – our nurtured smarts. Propaganda is universally recognised to be a powerful tool for the duping of the masses. But we only believe the tosh because we have abandoned our innate capacity to question myths. We left our intellectual curiosity at the door. We no longer know what we do not know, and we do not know how to find out what we don’t know. We are not only a low information cohort but we have no access to the tools of acquiring reliable knowledge. Given how often the phrase ‘critical thinking’ is mentioned in job specifications and university prospectuses, it is remarkable how little of it is done.
Back to the funding of the liberal arts in our universities.
No single act of education policy can correct the damage done to our teaching and learning culture over the past half century. Certainly not one executed by our present political overlords. But it is possible, just possible, that the coming generation of students might, by embracing the liberal arts, however imperfectly they are, these days, taught in our debauched universities (and schools), begin to see in the use of their critical faculties a way out of the mess. No other idea currently presents itself.
Boris was good for Australia
Mr Johnson was forced to leave because he had succeeded in galvanising the broadest coalition seen in Britain for quite some time, united only in the conviction that the prime minister must go. Miserable ‘Rejoiners’ rejoiced and immediately began plotting a return to the corridors of Brussels. Conviction conservatives, many the readers and writers of the Speccie were bitterly disillusioned by Johnson, summed up by Toby Young who damned the PM for governing like ‘Tony Blair in a blond wig’.
Yet in less than three years, Johnson, with former Australian prime minister Scott Morrison, and US President Joe Biden, came up with Aukus, an agreement that locks Australia into a security pact with the undisputed leaders of the free world, and which comes with a commitment to sell nuclear-powered submarines to Australia, which it urgently needs to secure the sea lanes vital to our trade.
In his defence of Ukraine, Johnson demonstrated that the UK is a far more reliable security partner than too many fickle European leaders.
While the EU continues to snub Australia, Johnson’s delivery of Brexit opened the way for a British Australian free trade agreement making it easier for people in both countries to trade and invest. And despite his commitment to economy-killing climate change pieties, when Russia turned off the gas spigots this year, Johnson adeptly reopened coal-fired power plants to keep the lights on.
Johnson’s hero, Sir Winston Churchill famously said, ‘History will be kind to me for I intend to write.’ The same will be true of Johnson. Indeed, many of his critics, who gloat at his downfall, will likely be remembered only in the footnotes of his bon mots. In one hundred years, even if they have no idea who he is talking about, people will still chuckle at Johnson saying, ‘My speaking style was criticised by no less an authority than Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was a low moment my friends, to have my rhetorical skills denounced by a monosyllabic, Austrian cyborg.’
To the horror of his detractors and the delight of his fans, Johnson may yet return to politics, as did Churchill.
Protester stands his ground against 'corrupt' cops
Nick Patterson has vowed to take his 'fight against police corruption' all the way.
The former gym owner was jailed for 29 days after confronting photo of him appearing to punch a police officer made headlines across the nation.
While the mainstream media aired the perfectly-timed image to portray Patterson in a negative light, police bodycam footage later corroborated Patterson's version of events.
He was released on harsh bail conditions and charged by police.
Victoria Police later even threatened me with jail if Rebel News didn't remove the bodycam footage from our website.
Now with a 10-day trial set to begin on November 14, Patterson said he is more committed than ever to seeking justice.
"I've held a very strong position against the government's mandates from the very beginning through the whole Covid scenario and I've been targeted for that reason," he said.
"I really believe that I've been put in this position for a reason because I won't back down and I'll go all the way with this and I want to change the system."
Patterson said that he is confident that, with the public behind him, he has an extremely strong case and wants his case to set a precedent.
"I can prove their systemic failure. I can prove that the police have been writing false statements to put people in jail, they did that to me, I can prove that they've used bail as a way to silence political dissenters," he said.
"I can prove it, there's no way that they can deny this.
"They're still trying to charge me which ... it's ridiculous to pursue those charges because there's no evidence of them."
You can follow Nick's case in detail at FightCorruptPolice.com, a website he's set up to detail and provide updates on his legal fight.
ABC Queer under fire for highly sexualised Insta post
A Liberal Senator has slammed the ABC for an “absolutely insulting” video posted on a channel funded by its regional and local division and aimed at young Australians
An ABC Instagram page aimed at a youth audience and funded by its regional division has come under fire for a highly sexualised video asking viewers when they last masturbated.
The video, posted on the ABCQueer platform, shows ABC Health’s Dr Naomi Koh Belic providing analysis on potential health benefits of masturbation while parading a handful of different vibrators.
In one section of the clip, Dr Belic explains the difference between the number of men who masturbate compared to women, while referring to “sausage strokers” and “taco touchers”.
She then urges female viewers to “close that gap whether you drive manual or auto”.
Instagram is available for users who are as young as 13 years old.
ABCQueer has also come under fire for another video posted to the platform which highlights the falling rate of condom use in the ACT due to the anti-viral aids prevention drug, PrEP.
Some users voiced their concern about the dangers of other sexually transmitted infections which could be prevented with the use of a condom.
One commentor said it was a “dangerous way” to present the information around PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis).
“Condoms prevent more than HIV transmission, with a number of STI’s that also stay with you for life or are becoming increasingly resistant to anti-biotics,” they said.
“This is terrible. Did you consult with any sexual health workers when you made this?” another person added.
According to the public broadcaster’s 2020-2021 annual report, ABCQueer aims to share content “most useful and accessible to young, queer” audiences.
“ABCQueer joined the Regional & Local division and continues to cover a diverse range of stories and perspectives from both metropolitan and regional Australia,” the report said.
Meanwhile, the ABC has recently announced its “regional” journalism has benefited from a cash splash following commercial deals struck with Google and Facebook.
After announcing the new funding arrangements, ABC’s Managing Director David Anderson said the new revenue stream would be re-invested into its regional division.
“We decided at the very start of these negotiations that any net revenue we received from these deals would go where it is needed most – and that is in regional Australia,”he said in a statement in December.
Liberal Senator Hollie Hughes slammed the public broadcaster for its decision to fund content with sexually explicit references aimed at young Australians through its Regional and Local budget.
“The ABC can play a critical role in rural and regional Australia,” Senator Hughes told Sky News. “It is absolutely insulting to all Australian taxpayers who fund the ABC that this is how they choose to spend money allocated to regional services.”
Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said the ABC had editorial independence. “Concerns about the ABC content may be lodged through the ABC complaints process,” she said.
The ABC said the content was originally funded for its “Health” coverage and republished by ABCQueer. “There is nothing highly sexualised or offensive about this content,” it said in a statement.
Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:
http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM -- daily)
http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)
http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)
http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)