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Monday message board

December 19th, 2005

It’s time, once again for the Monday Message Board. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language, please.

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  1. December 21st, 2005 at 16:32 | #1

    Andrew Fraser appeared on ‘Talking in Tongues’ on SBS last night. Catch it if you can.

  2. Ian Gould
    December 21st, 2005 at 16:46 | #2

    >On the other hand, Morgan Freeman is highly regarded in the US and his comments about Black History Month seem spot on (and part of the 20 year PC wars). He sounds disillusioned about the usefulness of more debate about race.

    >I’ve always admired him as an actor, but have never taken any interest in that Irish guy or read anything he’s said.

    Bono actually talks a great deal more sense than many people would like to think.

    He’s consistently argued in favor of free trade as a key development strategy and has personally contributed millions to African charities.

    It might be nice for some people to be able to dismiss him as a sanctimonious hypocritical twit but it simply isn’t true.

  3. Jill Rush
    December 21st, 2005 at 20:29 | #3

    Mike Pepperday,
    Having values is not racist but believing your own to be superior to all others can be. Mr Howard has a track record and there is no reason to believe that his values aren’t being imposed on others through legislation such as NoWorkChoice legislation. Women are being treated as second class citizens and other groups are also being sacrificed to values from another era.

  4. Ros
    December 22nd, 2005 at 07:41 | #4

    Interesting little story re Harper. My recall of last night’s ABC late news was that Administrator Steve Parbury stated that there were some minor claims not concluded as yet, and that is all. Also made it quite clear that Harper was clean. Can’t find it on ABC site though. Just the initial shrieks of gotcha from Swan and Burrows. I would hope that Swan was unaware of the actual circumstances when he impugned Harper.
    Oh well.

  5. December 22nd, 2005 at 08:30 | #5

    C Link, we saw the Andrew Fraser performance on the terrific ‘Talking in Tongues’ programme on SBS Monday night.

    Fraser was remarkably dumb with his arguments and propositions. He looked flustered throughout, and his logic was at best cloudy.

    He must have known that Safronwas going to criticise his views, but Fraser appeared very unprepared.

    Fraser clearly has only one, poorly thought out idea. And this guy was a senior academic!

    Our recent experience with ‘some’ academics’ at one leading Melbourne university seem to confirm these doubts.

  6. Will De Vere
    December 22nd, 2005 at 10:28 | #6

    Ian Gould has said

    ‘It might be nice for some people to be able to dismiss him as a sanctimonious hypocritical twit but it simply isn’t true.’

    And duly noted. I’ve simply never heard or read him. My only excuse is a personal aversion to performers as political figures. It’s a minor emotional tic and I’m talking to someone about it.

  7. jquiggin
    December 22nd, 2005 at 11:53 | #7

    I know Ian Harper and I’m confident of his personal integrity. Even without personal knowledge, it seems clear from the public record that there was nothing untoward in his actions regarding ADX.

  8. Mike Pepperday
    December 22nd, 2005 at 12:50 | #8

    Jill
    “Having values is not racist but believing your own to be superior to all others can be.”

    If one doesn’t believe one’s values are superior to all others how can one hold them? Not even the insane could take the view “my values are inferior but I hold them anyway”. Racist???

    Certainly Mr Howard’s values are being imposed. That is why he strove to get the job. That is pretty much the point and purpose of representative democray.

    Women being treated as second class is racist?
    So now women are a different race from men. This is the loopiest of the innumerable misapplications of “racism” that have been expressed on this blog.

    You there Katz? See what your degrading of the meaning has come to?

  9. Jill Rush
    December 22nd, 2005 at 21:43 | #9

    Mike Pepperday,
    The point is not whether values are superior or not, it is a mindset which believes that one set of values must be imposed rather than adopted because they are self evidently right.

    Those who are rigid in their belief system are usually divisive, bullying and repressive of women. John Howard is an excellent example of someone who struggles with women leaders, and who also creates distrust of others. The one difference between now and the eighties, when he opposed the Vietnamese boat people so vehemently, is that now he has got rid of the Industrial Relations protection for workers, Asian and other foreign workers can be brought in to the country to work cheaply. We have been globalised where the bosses are paid like Americans and everyone else can be paid like Asians

    What racism and sexism have in common of course is the value that some are created as inferior. I am not sure why those who aren’t white males could be happy with that set of values being imposed. I have noticed however that inevitably when there are sexist and racist comments the outrage is about the racism not sexism – Nowhere have I said that racism is the same as sexism – this confusion is yours. Representative democracy isn’t about one view being imposed on many people – but about the ability of all to have a voice and a balance being established.

  10. Ernestine Gross
    December 22nd, 2005 at 23:58 | #10

    Jill,

    I thought the point you were making originally was that it is useful to look for a common factor in a range of issues. For example, both, racism and sexism are forms of discrimination and the underlying ‘mindset’ becomes a problem only when people have the power – or think they have – to act upon it.

    A simple but clear cut example of an attempt by some ‘idiot’ who thinks he or she may have the power to benefit from discrimination arrived today in my mailbox. A corporation with a mailbox address in Melbourne and the name “Direct Share Purchase” (DSP) offers to buy my shares in IAG for $3 per share. The share price today is $5.35. This is a nice example where one can numerically measure the effect of discrimination – $2.35 per share. It also illustrates at least one motive – personal benefit from discrimination. The funny part is that the idiot seems to believe he or she is not the only idiot in this world. The annoying aspect is that the corporations law allows DSP to have access to my private address.

    I might have misunderstood you. The ‘mindset’ which is at issue, is surely not confined to ‘white males’ (or males in general). Moreover, not all events and actions by people can be ascribed to ‘mindsets’ unless one were to implicitly ascribe to some people some ‘super human’ ability to ‘know everything’ and ‘analyse everything’ instantaneously without error. In this regard, the following statement by Professor Alf van der Poorten comes to mind:

    “I used to think it was University policy to annoy me, but then I realised that the process was so successful that it could only be a series of accidents.”
    Source: Alf van der Poorten’s home page, http://www.math.mq.edu.au/~alf/realalf.html, 2002.

  11. Mike Pepperday
    December 23rd, 2005 at 09:40 | #11

    Someone offers to buy for $3 your property worth $5.35 and this is discrimination? I’m baffled.
    And then this is grounds for calling that person an “idiot”? It looks to me like a perfectly intelligent, if optimistic, attempt to do business.
    And this alleged discrimination is somehow equivalent to racism and sexism?
    I wonder what epithets would describe the generalisation “white males”.

  12. Ernestine Gross
    December 23rd, 2005 at 20:28 | #12

    1. Yes. It is discrimination because the offer is not made to all shareholders of IAG in the open market (ie the stock exchange) but only to a subset of the shareholders of IAG (offer received in my private mail box). The subset consists of ‘small shareholders’ (in terms of percentage of ownership rights). The technical term is ‘price discrimination’; it necessitates ‘market segmentation’. It is the type of problem people are talking about in relation to individually negotiated work place agreements. The problem is a little easier to illustrate in Finance than in Labour Economics because the alleged ‘quality’ differences among workers who are employed to provide services of a particular type (the justification for differences in pay for people employed to do the same type of work) does not exist between identical sheets of paper on which a financial contract is written, called equity shares. It is also easier to find empirical examples because – at least for the time being – the institution of an open market for equity shares (share market with stated trading and issuance rules) has not as yet been abolished to match the abolition of a central wage fixing authority. Hope you are no longer baffled.

    2. Yes, it seems to me to be fair to use the label ‘idiot’ for those who act in a manner consistent with the assumption that they treat others as idiots. But, I could be a little more precise. The ‘actor’ in question is a private corporation. I find your sentence “It looks to me like a perfectly intelligent, if optimistic, attempt to do business.� interesting. Are you suggesting that doing business typically involves an attempt to transfer wealth from ‘small people’ to ‘business people’ – like a welfare transfer? If so, would it not be cheaper for society to pay unemployment benefits for these people? I am not sure whether all business people would agree with your sentence.

    3. I suggest the equivalence problem you introduce goes away if you note that I did not impose an ordering on the set of all discriminatory actions.

    4. I don’t understand the sentence : I wonder what label would describe the generalization ‘white males’ .I used the label ‘white males’ as contained in Jill’s post. I assume it is a descriptive label. For the purpose at hand the distinction between ‘with sun tan’ and ‘without sun tan’ would change anything.

  13. Ernestine Gross
    December 23rd, 2005 at 20:32 | #13

    Correction: “… would change anything” should read “… would not change anything.
    Sorry.

  14. Will De Vere
    December 23rd, 2005 at 21:29 | #14

    Oops. Oh, gee.

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  16. Mike Pepperday
    December 24th, 2005 at 13:31 | #16

    Ernestine
    In no way were you discriminated against. I thought you were going to come back and tell me they’d singled you out because you were female. You might have had a case. But as you tell it – nothing. The offer to buy your shares was an ordinary business proposition.

    You didn’t understand when I wondered what epithets would describe the generalisation “white males�? Given the prior sentence I didn’t think I was being at all subtle. But I can spell it out: in two words it is racist and sexist.

    It puts John Quiggin, John Howard and Jack the Ripper in the same basket. It distinguishes them from Colin Powell, Dorothea Mackellar and the people who perpetrated the rape of Nanking.

    Of what use is such a grotesque categorisation?

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  18. Ernestine Gross
    December 24th, 2005 at 17:53 | #18

    Mike,

    Your post seems to be addressed to the wrong person because none of what you say has anything to do with what I wrote.

    Can’t help you with your question. It seems your question follows from your own theorising or hypothesising. It has nothing to do with what I wrote.

    Ernestine

  19. Jill Rush
    December 24th, 2005 at 23:34 | #19

    Thanks Ernestine,
    You summed up my views very well.

    Of course there are many white males who are wonderful people. There are others who behave as bullies and believe that by virtue of being part of the ruling class that they have special privileges and dispensation from rules which apply to others.

    Mike, what Ernestine has explained is that discrimination can come in a variety of bundles with those at the top manipulating others through laws and secret services whilst reducing legal protections such as the NoWorkChoices legislation- these skills are described by Machiavelli.

    Discrimination helps keep people in their place -The Hindu caste sytem is one example. Communism and Fascism are others. Howard’s version is developing but is acting against women’s interests whatever their religion. Hopefully Australians can celebrate a Christmas where we celebrate the birth of a child and new life which is always a miracle. Women don’t want this fact of life to mean that they can be shafted in the workplace.

  20. December 26th, 2005 at 17:57 | #20

    Good point Mike Pepperday, when it comes to discrimination & orneriness to their women folk, white males just ain’t a patch on the Asian male. Now THOSE fellows are real experts, with a sense of entitlement extremely uncommon among the comparitively benevolent white males.

  21. Mike Pepperday
    December 26th, 2005 at 21:43 | #21

    Very supportive of you Steve, but not quite the point I was making which was – as Jill has actually pretty well admitted – that the designation “white males” is useless.
    You could usefully speak of “black males” if it was in the context of, say, the prison population, but unless there is some equivalent to that, “white males” is simply a racist and sexist generalisation.
    Your partisanship leads you to overstate your case, Jill. Machiavelli recommended rule through fear and guile. Howard employs these no more than usual in our kind of politics. You could say all politicians are Machiavellian but Howard is not noticeably so.
    For example commentators seem to agree that he recently did in his rival, Costello, fairly neatly.
    But it was not Machiavellian. For that he would need to have left Costello’s body chopped in half in a public place as a warning to others. There was no warning to others in his action. He saw a chance of shafting Costello and skewered him, but I don’t think anyone suggests the action contains an implied threat.
    Politicians are professional power brokers. Their life’s purpose is to acquire and hold power. They only give it away when they die (and then to their children). They exercise their profession to the limits of what they can get away with. Some also have ideals, reasons why they are in parliament above and beyond the lust for power. Perhaps some, like our current federal Labor MPs, just do it as a job but some have ideals and Howard is one such.
    He has been lucky in his opportunities and he has taken advantage to push an agenda he has held for a long time. You could have accused him of being less than honest if he hadn’t.
    We will presumably have to put up with this as long as the public only get to vote for personalities once every three years. There was a system in place to inhibit extremism but it failed when the Coalition won the Senate majority. Instead of railing against the incumbent as being not a nice man, it might be appropriate to ponder how the citizenry could be protected from extremist policies.

  22. December 27th, 2005 at 16:52 | #22

    jill rush,

    christmas isn’t about birth or the creation of life as miracles. the birth of jesus was miraculous specifically because it defied nature, and because of the kid’s future. in christianity there really isn’t much place for the female ability to incubate life being hailed as sacred, or even worthwhile beyond the fact that it breeds new christians.

    however it DID rape and usurp a holiday celebrating the beginning and creation of life in relation to the natural world. it was a cool holiday, and some people in australia do celebrate it. (the solstice, dude. http://www.wicca.com can tell you more.

    sorry. brainfart. have a nice day ^_^

  23. SJ
    December 28th, 2005 at 21:20 | #23

    steve at the pub Says:

    when it comes to discrimination & orneriness to their women folk, white males just ain’t a patch on the Asian male. Now THOSE fellows are real experts, with a sense of entitlement extremely uncommon among the comparitively benevolent white males.

    steve reveals himself unequivocally as a racist jerk.

    Good job, steve.

  24. December 30th, 2005 at 07:10 | #24

    Interesting little story re Harper. My recall of last night’s ABC late news was that Administrator Steve Parbury stated that there were some minor claims not concluded as yet, and that is all. Also made it quite clear that Harper was clean. Can’t find it on ABC site though. Just the initial shrieks of gotcha from Swan and Burrows. I would hope that Swan was unaware of the actual circumstances when he impugned Harper.

  25. January 3rd, 2006 at 22:56 | #28

    I’ve read with pleasure. Maybe it’s offtopic, but i just wanted to say, that it’s really interesting to read everything this… You discuss here a lot of interesting things on different useful themes. Thanks for that =)

  26. January 12th, 2006 at 13:49 | #33

    >>>steve reveals himself unequivocally as a racist jerk.

    Oh dear dear dear, SJ, you have used the “R” word, you lose! Tsk tsk tsk!!

  27. jquiggin
    January 12th, 2006 at 14:49 | #34

    “Oh dear dear dear, SJ, you have used the “Râ€? word, you lose! Tsk tsk tsk!!”

    It’s a standard assumption on the Right that any use of the term “racist’ is illegitimate. It should be obvious that this assumption can only serve one of two functions
    (i) to make the (obviously false) claim that racism is non-existent
    (ii) to give political cover to racists

  28. January 12th, 2006 at 15:21 | #35

    Perhaps some people are confusing the words “racist” and “racialist”. Either way, use of the word in the blogosphere is generally on a par with use of the words “hitler” and “nazi”.

    Standard assumption of the “right”? Hmmmm, stereotyping is an interesting concept.

  29. Steve Munn
    January 12th, 2006 at 21:11 | #36

    Sue At The Pub says: “when it comes to discrimination & orneriness to their women folk, white males just ain’t a patch on the Asian male. Now THOSE fellows are real experts, with a sense of entitlement extremely uncommon among the comparitively benevolent white males.”

    So how many asian boys have you dated SATP? Does it constitute a random sample?

  30. January 12th, 2006 at 21:47 | #37

    Sue Munn: Not yet dated all asian males, have encountered some holdups in Malaysia & Indonesia due to Hari Raya. Am currently trying to fit in chinese males in advance of the impending new year.

    Not interested in random samples, I am going to date them all.

  31. January 17th, 2006 at 00:01 | #38
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