Home > Oz Politics > Some interesting quotes

Some interesting quotes

October 5th, 2009

Glenn Milne

Any other outcome than the endorsement of Dutton by the Gold Coast Liberals would render the party not worthy of a vote across the country.

(Dutton lost).

Tony Abbott

The argument [on climate change] is absolute crap. However, the politics of this are tough for us. Eighty per cent of people believe climate change is a real and present danger.”

Malcolm Turnbull

I am very committed to my service to the people of Wentworth and I’ve got no plans to leave,

(on this, see JK Galbraith)

Miranda Devine

the fact is that you can articulate a position on climate change that does not dispute man’s contribution without buying into a complicated ETS,

lunka ??????? zoo ????? ???? ??????? ? ? ???????????? ????

Categories: Oz Politics Tags:
  1. October 9th, 2009 at 17:30 | #1

    jquiggin#34 October 8th, 2009 at 09:25 says:

    Jack, you’re spraying pretty widely there (”aid and comfort” rings very much of McCarthyism). I don’t know much about Joan Robinson’s politics, but neither Glyn nor Galbraith was an apologist for Stalinism and no such apologist is beloved by me.

    There is some “black-kettle” calling pottiness going on here. Brazenly accusing Hayek of complicity in “Pinochet’s mass-murders” may not “ring very much of McCarthyism” to Pr Q’s ears. But to my possibly tin ear it strikes a distant chord. It’s certainly “spraying pretty widely”, and wildly for that matter.

    Hayek’s abstract point about the general preferability of liberal dictators to totalitarian democrats should hardly raise an eyebrow, given his personal experience comparing the performance of Emperor Franz Joseph to that of Fuhrer Adolf Hitler. Not all supporters of Hayek’s general theory of government are fascist “criminals”. Here are “some interesting quotes” from his peers:

    In my opinion it is a grand book…Morally and philosophically I find myself in agreement with virtually the whole of it: and not only in agreement with it, but in deeply moved agreement.

    Keynes

    in the negative part of Professor Hayek’s thesis there is a great deal of truth. It cannot be said too often — at any rate, it is not being said nearly often enough — that collectivism is not inherently democratic, but, on the contrary, gives to a tyrannical minority such powers as the Spanish Inquisitors never dreamt of.

    Orwell

    The Road to Serfdom is also a polite book that hardly ever attributes to opponentsanything beyond intellectual error. In fact, the author is polite to a fault; for not allrelevant points can be made without more plain speaking about group interests than he is willing to resort to.

    Schumpeter

    Quite a testament, no? Its significant that it took years of digging through the dusty archives of the internet before Hayek-haters finally emerged with a couple of damning admissions from the doddery old aristocrat.

    FTR I am not accusing Pr Q of the crime of being, or ever having been, an “apologist for Stalinism”. Or of being a conscious and deliberate belover of such folk. And I sigh with impatience if any such inference is (fallaciously) drawn.

    I find it strange that a self-confessed “man of the Left” would want to go in for this kind of ideological opposition research this late in the game. During the 20th C intellectuals on the Left buried alot more of those bodies than comparable intellectuals on the Right. So its not a game that Leftists would want to encourage, as I demonstrated with my little shopping list.

    Pretty much every side (and each individual player) with any serious history is tainted by nasty political operators within one degree of separation. It could hardly be otherwise given the inevitable partisanship that goes with ideological intellectuals, their embarrassing pedigrees and the bloodthirsty nature of politics in the last century.

    This goes in spades for Pr Q’s intellectual poster children. Clearing Robinson, Galbraith and Glyn of the charge of being “apologists for Stalinism” is damning them with very faint praise, and more or less wrong in any case. They were all occasional apologists or sympathisers for the Soviet Union whilst it was a totalitarian power and an enemy of our state.

    Glyn was an illustrious economist and no doubt a nice man. But he was not very squeamish about his political comrades. He was an advisor to Scargill and seems to have been a long-time supporter of the Soviet experiment, going by “the three greatest men who ever lived were Lenin, Trotsky and Charlie Parker”.

    Robinson was a fellow-traveller during the thirties and for some time an enthusiast for Mao’s cultural revolution. Galbraith was somewhat more circumspect. Still, in 1984 he wrote an (embarrassingly ill-timed) tribute to the Soviet Unions economic system:

    That the Soviet system has made great material progress in recent years is evident both from the statistics and from the general urban scene…One sees it in the appearance of solid well-being of the people on the streets… and the general aspect of restaurants, theaters, and shops.

    Even Keynes had some encouraging words to say about Hitler’s economic arrangements. In the preface to the German edition of the General Theory he wrote that

    the theory of output as a whole, which is what the following book purports to provide, is much more easily adapted to the conditions of a totalitarian state.

    And so on. But, to make it clear once again, I don’t think they were guilty of hanging offences given the times and the fact that (apart from Keynes) no one with any real power was moved by their words.

    Even-handedness suggest the same courtesy should be extended to those guilty of ideological indiscretions on the other side of the ideological spectrum, such as Hayek. (Of course it goes without saying that no such slack should be cut to straight-out ideological apparatchiks such as Goebbels, the post-war Zhadanov or even Laurie Aarons.)

    The denunciation of the elderly Hayek as some kind of latter day Torquemada is even more bizarre when you consider the guy spent the better part of his life battling the enemies of freedom both Right and Left. He renounced his Austrian fatherland when the Nazis took over and remained an unswerving critic of the Bolsheviks even when this was an unpopular position. Would that we smaller, lesser men have done even a fraction as much for our fellows.

    And thats not even beginning to do justice to his intellectual contributions, which were monumental. My friends and colleagues at the cutting edge of AI engineering all insist that Hayek’s cybernetic theories were decades ahead of their time. Likewise his analagous neurological theories.

    Hayek’s economic critique of socialism was thunderously vindicated by the End of the Soviet Union’s History. Even today with the GFC, it seems that “Austrian” theory is an indispensable part of explaining its causes, even as Keynesian policies are invaluable tool in mediating its cure.

    More generally, we live in an age of intellectual pygmies posing as giants (Leavitt as a intellectual rock star, gimme a break fer crissake!). So I am not all that keen to topple the real giants of yesteryear from their pedestal. The economics profession is not so blessed with talent these days that it can afford to declare an anathema on one of its few genuine polymaths.

    I suggest we bury the hatchet jobs. The Cold War finished almost 20 years ago. A policy of “let old sleeping dogs lie”, rather than eternal vigilance, seems fairer to all concerned.

  2. jquiggin
    October 9th, 2009 at 17:50 | #2

    @Jack Strocchi

    Hayek’s abstract point about the general preferability of liberal dictators to totalitarian democrats

    There was nothing abstract about it. The statement was made to a Chilean newspaper, in justification of Hayek’s support of the Pinochet regime.

    More generally, as regards sleeping dogs, two gigantic polemics in response to a one sentence comment and a two sentence rejoinder is OTT, even for you Jack.

  3. Monkey’s Uncle
    October 9th, 2009 at 19:10 | #3

    Jack, thanks for supplying the Galbraith quote praising the Soviet system. It is important to remind others of such things in light of how many people like to quote Galbraith as some sort of authority, both here and elsewhere.

    Galbraith also opposed reducing the top income tax rate from 91% to 70% in the US during the early 1960′s. When taxes are above 90%, it really is no longer taxation but instead expropriation of property rights. Anyone who believes taxing the well-off at 70% is letting them off lightly is hardly a social democrat or even a socialist, but surely a communist.

  4. gerard
    October 9th, 2009 at 19:28 | #4

    Hayek’s economic critique of socialism was thunderously vindicated by the End of the Soviet Union’s History.

    If you went into a coma on December 31st 1991 you might well have drawn that conclusion. If you had stayed awake for the next few years and watched what Russia looked like after the Hayek-fan Chicago Boys got their hands on it, you would have drawn precisely the opposite conclusion.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/77/Population_of_Russia.PNG

    http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2809%2960005-2/fulltext

  5. gerard
    October 9th, 2009 at 19:32 | #5

    In fairness Moneky’s Uncle, Galbraith’s quote was not much more than a statement of fact. In 1917 Russia’s economic condition was comparable to Brazil’s; the difference that Russia made up with the developed world between that time and time of Galbraith’s quote did, in fact, constitute “great material progress”.

  6. Michael of Summer Hill
    October 9th, 2009 at 19:44 | #6

    Jack Strocchi, from what I can gather the so-called neo-liberal reforms and Chilean miracle was exaggerated for the experiment failed to improve the economic disposition of the working class and only made those well off richer. By 1982 the Chilean economy had entered into its worst economic crisis since the great depression of the 1930s. And don’t forget that during the so-called economic reforms there was the Caravan of Death whereby thousands were literally murdered, tortured, raped and/or imprisoned for having leftist views. I fail to see how anyone could uphold Pinochet as an upstanding citizen worthy of being praised for there was no economic miracle for the working class only a people brutally repressed. In otherwords Pinochet was both a dictator and mass murderer.

  7. Chris O’Neill
    October 9th, 2009 at 22:00 | #7

    Ken:

    JQ Of course there is or should be a debate about some aspects of AGW.

    For practical purposes, i.e. whether we should stop generating CO2 into the atmosphere, there is no need for any further debate. With a 50% probability of doubling CO2 causing at least 3 degrees C of warming ultimately, which you presumably accept is mainstream science, the only thing we need to think about is how to stop increasing CO2 as soon as economically possible. The way things are going, we are taking our time about doing this.

    I know some scientists who squirm with embarrassment at some of Hansen’s statements

    I don’t know what you’re referring to but if it is Hansen’s estimate for ultimate climate sensitivity with ice-sheet melting, perma-frost melting, and clathrate decomposition then you’d be a fool for assuming it’s very unlikely because these things have happened in the past.

    But my friends will not say “I think you are going a bit too far” for fear of being accused of giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

    How much do they know about climate science? Even a small number of climate scientists don’t have a good understanding of the subject of global warming so it’s not surprising that a large number of scientists in general have the same shortcoming.

  8. Ken
    October 10th, 2009 at 01:08 | #8

    JQ I will dig out my list of links to strange claims about the effects of climate change. My favourite is the claim by an American urologist that it will increase kidney stones. (You can find that in Scientific American of 15 July 2008).
    Of course what is happening is that lots of people realize that there is publicity and possibly money in linking their field to AGW. As a result, everyone wants to get into the act.
    I do not object to you using “delusionist” or any other epithet to describe those who do not agree with the scientific consensus. My original objection was to you suggesting that all members of that group were venal or otherwise morally defective. That is a rhetorical technique of a politician but not, I think, a scholar.In the areas of scholarship I am familiar with “wrong” is the preferred term.
    And let me say again that I accept fully the consensus view of the causes and probable consequences of climate change. But I am glad that there are some who do not -just as I am glad that there are some political economists who, in face of overwhelming evidence, do not accept that in a free society a free market is the best way of allocating resources and satisfying wants.
    Debate and discussion, even with those who seem to be crackpots can lead to better understanding.

  9. Ken
    October 10th, 2009 at 01:18 | #9

    Chris – what makes many scientists squirm is Hansen’s “plants of death” hyperbole and the like.
    If, as seems to be happening, the populace at large is becoming more sceptical about AGW it is probably a reaction to such over the top statements, much more than the statements of the sceptics, which have not poenetrated far beyond the blogs and a few op-ed pieces. Plimer’s book has for example sold very few copies.
    I think that is a great pity that scepticism is increasing as governments will be needing to ask for significant sacrifices from all of us when they finally get serious on the subject – if they ever do.
    So, I believe you are wasting time chasing the wrong enemy. The person causing most harm is within the camp.

  10. October 10th, 2009 at 06:54 | #10

    More generally, as regards sleeping dogs, two gigantic polemics in response to a one sentence comment and a two sentence rejoinder is OTT, even for you Jack.

    That was a hint, but, I’ll spell it out. Nothing more on Chile in this thread, please.

  11. Michael of Summer Hill
    October 10th, 2009 at 07:26 | #11

    Jack Strocchi, you seem to be putting the cart before the horse for Pinochet did not have an economic plan, it was the Chicago Boys led by de Castro who gave the mass murderer the failed economic plan which led to the 1975 Chilean recession whose free market economy declined by 13 percent. No Jack there was no economic miracle just more suffering.

    Let’s call a halt on Chile, please

  12. Fran Barlow
    October 10th, 2009 at 09:00 | #12

    @Ken “plants of death”

    But that’s just it, Ken. Although the phraseology was intentionally sharp, the substance of the claim is arguable. The operation of coal plants is a source of substantially increased morbidity, realtive to the most viable contemporary policy alternatives, and not merely as part of their contribution to the pernicious long term consequences of the current climate anomaly.

    I would invite you, if you are going to hunt down indefencible claims made about the likely impacts of anthropogenic climate change, to ensure that these are adequately sourced and specified and come from those with standing to discuss policy rather than being tendentious claims from pro-b-a-u blogsites.

  13. Gerard
    October 10th, 2009 at 10:09 | #13

    Is it just me or does anyone else think Allende’s reckless and irresponsible political strategy was “worse than a crime, it was a mistake”?

    It’s just you

  14. Gerard
    October 10th, 2009 at 10:11 | #14

    Sorry John just saw your edit

  15. Michael of Summer Hill
    October 10th, 2009 at 10:16 | #15

    No Gerard, it is not just Jack Strocchi but the whole conservative side who have the same mind set.

  16. jquiggin
    October 10th, 2009 at 10:39 | #16

    As I said, enough on Chile and follow-ups, please

  17. jquiggin
    October 10th, 2009 at 17:02 | #17

    @Ken

    In the areas of scholarship I am familiar with “wrong” is the preferred term.

    “Wrong” is preferred to “dishonest” or similar, on the basis the rebuttable presumption of good faith. In the case of the leading AGW delusionists (Milloy, Singer, Seitz, Michaels and others), this presumption has been thoroughly rebutted. The evidence is clear and in such cases, the primary scholarly commitment is to truth, not politeness.

  18. Chris O’Neill
    October 10th, 2009 at 23:09 | #18

    Ken:

    what makes many scientists squirm is Hansen’s “plants of death” hyperbole and the like.

    It’s not hyperbole at all. As he said:

    “I estimated that in its (Kingsnorth power plant) lifetime it would be responsible for the extermination of about 400 species – its proportionate contribution to the number that would be committed to extinction if carbon dioxide rose another 100 ppm.”

    As I said before there are many scientists that don’t have a good understanding of the subject of global warming so if some of them squirm then it doesn’t say much for their understanding.

    If, as seems to be happening, the populace at large is becoming more sceptical about AGW it is probably a reaction to such over the top statements, much more than the statements of the sceptics, which have not poenetrated far beyond the blogs and a few op-ed pieces.

    It’s certainly penetrated very deeply into conservative political parties in Australia as it has been for a long time. In their statements, they like to bring up arguments that are propagated on blogs.

    So, I believe you are wasting time chasing the wrong enemy. The person causing most harm is within the camp.

    Hansen is not the one that conservative politicians in Australia are quoting in their statements. They’re just repeating credulous arguments that circulate on blogs. As for the populace at large, we’ll see what happens to the conservative parties in Australia at the next election, if, as expected, the science-denialists succeed in throwing out their current leader who wants to negotiate with the government on emissions trading. Somewhat ironically, one of the failings of their previous leader was that he was wishy-washy about global warming issues, so maybe the conservative parties are presently in a self-destructive mode regarding global warming.

  19. Fran Barlow
    October 11th, 2009 at 08:42 | #19

    Interestingly, it now seems that the last time in Earth’s history that CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere were this high was about 15-20 million years ago, during the early to mid-Miocene. ‘Scary’ climate message from past

    At the the time, they were 400ppmv, give or take 14 ppmv and temps were about 3-6 degreesC higher, there were no ice caps and sea levels were 25-40m higher. Luckily there weren’t 6.8 billion humans about, so we humans weren’t affected.

    Yes, the Earth’s biosphere recovered and somehwere during the last 9 million years humans evolved from, lower primates, so we can all rest easy.

Comment pages
1 2 3 7155
Comments are closed.