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Monday Message Board, late again

January 26th, 2004

I realised as I was going to bed that I’d failed, yet again to open up the Monday Message Board on time, though it is still Monday in Queensland, just. I can only plead that a long weekend does not get me into a Monday mood. As we all return to work, please vent your frustrations on any topic (in a civilised fashion and without coarse language, of course).

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  1. Dave Ricardo
    January 27th, 2004 at 08:41 | #1

    I see New Zealand has accepted 20 Nauru asylum seekers. When, in due course, they become NZ citizens, they could then settle here anytime they like, just like all other New Zealanders.

    This doesn’t bother me, but, as H.G. Nelson would say, it’s a joke.

  2. Homer Paxton
    January 27th, 2004 at 08:55 | #2

    Correct Dave.

    It is not unusual for a blogger to write an article criticizing an article from a fellow blogger usually one whose political instincts are different.

    However I think I am on safe ground when I say it is unusual for a blogger to write an article about a comment made on a blogsite and this has happened to me on three occasions I know of.

    Sometime ago Geoff Honnor on TA wrote an article which criticised my comments on opposition to Gay Marriage that I made on Gareth Parker’s blogsite. My memory is somewhat hazy but I think it provoked comments of homophobia and bigotry from people when the issue of whether homosexuality was sinful from a biblical perspective.

    I recall Geoff’s comment were measured and thoughtful whereas a lot of comment perhaps didn’t reach those heights although to be fair once I clearly stated my arguments the pejoratives ended somewhat. Although I do remember Dave Ricardo giving an almighty spray saying he didn’t like me because I was a ‘God botherer’!

    Somewhat a little over a week ago Bernie Slattery let go both barrels ( pun intended) at me on a comment I made on Tim Blair’s blogsite which was to the effect that anyone who believed Iraq had WMDs that threatened neighbouring countries was a wood duck of the first order.

    Bernie believes peoples belief was evidence of WMDS and further stated Iraq threatened their neighbours however at no time could he actually specify what type of WMDS were threatening these countries.

    He also accused me of being a US hater. Unfortunately the only evidence to back this statement up was a meaningless cliché.

    Bernie abused me and used the usual profanities when he defended the discovery of artillery shells, thought at that stage to be laced with poisons, to be evidence of Iraq’s WMDs.

    It was in fact Niall that made the obvious comment that how could old corroded shells from the Iraq/Iran war still be useable. Unfortunately for Bernie a little research showed no artillery officer would ever use such shells and also the alleged poisons weren’t there. I guess David Kay’s and Colin Powell’s recent comments have him loudly quacking at present.

    Then last week Robert Corr let loose at me accusing me of being bitter, ignorant and inconsistent when arguing that the Bible declares homosexuality is sinful. This started off when Rob argued for George Pell’s cousin who had been a nun and was now in a lesbian relationship.

    Unfortunately Rob never gave me any evidence for his assertions but merely said my comments were evidence enough.

    Rob eventually agreed that adultery and fornication were sinful acts but homosexuality wasn’t. This deconstruction left me almost speechless. He might agree with Bill Clinton that oral sex outside of marriage is not sinful since it isn’t prescripted.

    I probably was inconsistent as I think most people probably are when arguing a position at times however I do think when the pejoratives of ignorant and bitter are used you really do need to substantiate your case.

    What has all this taught me?

    When you are the basis for a column you do get defensive and it takes a lot of your time as you want to see who is the next person having a go at you.

    In terms of the homosexuality debate there is a problem on both sides. On my part I have often assumed the critics have more knowledge of what the bible says when this is clearly not the case. I must also put my head on the block as well. Quite clearly my writing has not been clear enough and has created confusion.

    On a personal level my regard for Geoff Honnor has increased indeed if he has commented on a blog then I will examine his arguments closely. He is the best contributor to TA and I hope He continues there for sometime to come.

    Bernie Slattery should read any publications of the Janes stable. Eliminating abuse and swearing would be a good start as well.

    I did lose some respect for Robert Corr. He must be a bright young man to be doing honours. So I don’t think it is too much to ask for to say if you make accusations against someone then provide some evidence. Frequently I have found problems exist because of simple misunderstandings. During all my writings if I have said something badly and someone has taken offence I have apologised. If I had done so in this instance I would have done so again.

    Here endeth the lesson!

  3. Mike Hunt
    January 27th, 2004 at 10:15 | #3

    Dave, I remember Pauline Hanson saying something about that many years ago and she was howled down as a racist.

  4. Dave Ricardo
    January 27th, 2004 at 10:35 | #4

    The difference, Mike, is that it doesn’t worry me if they end up here. It does however make a mockery of the Man of Steel’s proclamation that they will never set foot in Australia.

  5. January 27th, 2004 at 10:38 | #5

    That’s an interesting development, Homer. As a frequent commenter, particularly with a distinctive moniker, you have achieved a kind of sub-identity with a real presence but not quite as solid as a site owner. So your words are being moved around by people who want to place you in their arguments.

    In some ways we are all fair game – we have stated something in public. At the same time we have chosen our context, which has rules. The “no slagging and cheap trash” rule here is very strong, so there is an implied contract: I will think my argument through as carefully as possible within a fairly spontaneous context, and in return my position will be treated in the same way.

    I don’t think moving ideas around is a problem – we are very promiscuous in this way anyway. There are two reasons to object..

    1. all movement of whatever kind must travel with attribution.. (Homer Paxton, in his comment on… said that..) so it leads back to the original thread.

    2. transported ideas move with the rules attached. No one can take a reasoned remark and slag it off; we can move an insult around and either reply in kind or take it to pieces in a reasoned way.

    Of course none of us can enforce these rules, but when it happens to me, as I am sure it will, those are the ethical naughties I would raise..

    The ethics of all this is interesting and worth discussion. I noticed quiggin got linked on his “one hour” rule..

  6. Homer Paxton
    January 27th, 2004 at 12:26 | #6

    Dave, I am not complaining perse lets face it I can be as wrong as the next guy or as silly. Moreover you are entitled to be ‘set upon’ if you wish to state a case. This is why blogging is so enjoyable. I learn something particularly when it is clearly shown I have said something wrong.

    In my three episodes it was only Geoff who laid out the whole argument and then proceeded to say why he thought I was wrong.

    I have no problem with this.

    It is very hard to argue your case when you have little idea of the accusations against you.

    even when one is lead back to the original thread as it was with Rob.

  7. Jill Rush
    January 27th, 2004 at 21:25 | #7

    On a completely different topic.

    Last week there was a diversion about the issue of education which also showed how easy it is for the Prime Minister to act as a divisive force in society with only a few well chosen words.

    There is a talent in being able to blame whilst appearing to be reasonable.

    What I do find hard to understand is why the views of the Prime Minister have credibility with anyone at all. Why is the idea that the most important value in education is the choice between public and private as opposed to a number of choices within the public system which certainly exists in my area. There are more choices than the stark 2 presented by the PM.

    Why also is there no questioning of the assumption that private schools have every right to public funds without the need to provide public service or any kind of accountability.

    Why should schools which have the value that girls are second class receive any funding at all? We should make values as one of the criteria for funding if this is really a critical issue ie if girls have to sit at the back or not engage in sport in public this is demonstrably treating them as second rate.

    Another example – if private schools accept public funds then there should be conditions such as accepting disruptive children on scholarships within that system. Private schools have less behaviour problems which is attractive to many parents – public schools do not have the luxury of this choice.

    As the private schools are semi public – but with higher fee structures they are arguably in a better position to assist the troubled children who disrupt others.

    The Catholic education system is one which shows these values as it does find a place for troubled and disabled children and therefore is deserving of public support.

    The educational debate is one which will continue to grab attention – however there are many parents who have no choice but whose taxes still support those able to pay more for schooling with greater resources. It is only fair that the burden of troubled children is shared around along with the dollars. If in fact the values at private schools are superior then it could only be for the benefit of the greater society that troubled children are helped in this way.

    Of course the comments made by the PM did keep the issue of the shortage of increasingly expensive university places out of the paper for the week. One wonders what the aspirational parents in marginal electorates, who appear to be the only ones who any commentator thinks count, make of this.

  8. January 27th, 2004 at 22:42 | #8

    All schools, regardless, are “entitled to” a certain level of funds corresponding to the public benefit they provide (perhaps “deserving of” would be better). This is in terms of the spillover general value of having educated people around.

    The difficulty is in assessing the amount of this level, to apply it in practice. I personally believe that primary education is almost entirely worth it, secondary education really only provides a small general benefit (less than half, even in the earlier age ranges), with other benefits going to the individuals involved, and tertiary education is only of general value up to a small level of tertiary educated people – and that we are well above that level, with the paradoxical result that creeping credentialism is making evrybody run to stay in the same place, a negative externality.

    I’m talking about the desirability of education in developed countries and those aspiring to that, of course. I wouldn’t pass the same judgment on historical situations.

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