212 thoughts on “Sandpit

  1. Someone said something about “Labor walked away from their values” and was taken to task.

    In my view it isn’t just a throwaway ‘anti-Labor’ line. I don’t speak for the other commenter but here are some examples to my mind:

    Pro war.
    Anti refugee.
    Pro expanded uranium mining and nuclear waste storage in Australia.
    Free-market fundamentalist/neo-liberal economics and policies.
    The solution to climate change must be a market mechanism rather than regulation.
    Blurring of church and state (eg: chaplains, education and health).
    ‘Pragmatic’ on the environment.
    Pro ‘intervention’.
    Anti Assange.
    Beefed up security state (eg: using ASIO to spy on activists, war on terror).
    Kow-towing to Murdoch.
    (specific Qld example: Asset privatisation even though very unpopular and without campaigning on it).

    This isn’t meant to be exhaustive at all, it’s just that my view is that there is some substance to the idea that ALP today has “walked away” from values it had, or only ever pretended to stand for to attract that segment on the electorate who also hold such values (‘whatever it takes’).

  2. The ALP has abandoned distributive justice which was their core value and the reason for their existence. Everything else flows from that one abandonment, whether it’s their absurd environmental approach, their oppression of refugees, their denial of rights to Aborigines, or their conviction that micromanaging everything will lead to good outcomes.

  3. Actually, Megan, HECS for TAFE is comparatively progressive – at the moment, the fees are up-front (and large enough to discourage a lot of people).

    Of course, it should be free, as should university, but we’re unlikely to get another Gough in my lifetime.

  4. @Alan

    Spot on Alan. Labor are traitors to the working class. Vote Green or vote Socialist but never vote for that treacherous sellout Labor mob again.

  5. Terry McCrann in The Australian:-

    BOB Brown has been an unremittingly destructive force in the political life of this nation. His career in public policy has left not a single redeeming consequence.

    That this has not been more universally recognised can be placed at the collective feet of the Canberra press gallery, the broadcast media in particular more widely, and the assorted current affairs programs led by the ABC’s Lateline.

    I think he is right about the media going soft on the Greens. Some sections of the media treat the Greens like they have God on their side and so they don’t need to be tested on whether they have the actual facts on their side. And now when they do start to cop a little heat from the media they want a media body to regulate things. The Greens are not especially nice people. They deserve much more solid scrutiny by the media.

  6. McCrann’s rant about Bob Brown, like much commentary from his ilk, says nothing about the target and much about the assailant.

    There is rarely much information from his ilk. Always you think “Well.He would say that.”

  7. I agree with you @Alan. What intrigues me is why a group of intelligent and socially aware individuals would collectively decide to abandon the core principle of social justice for their opponents world view and expect to be rewarded for it. The key to all this is economics, and I suspect the Labor party has gone down this route because collectively they don’t understand economics. Far from being able to sniff out real world zombie theories from a country mile away, the poor people’s representatives are continually bombarded from both within Treasury and academia by an economic conceptual model and its restrictive language that of itself exclude alternatives. Take for example the DSGE model. Here is an intellectual construct of theoretical beauty that as far as I can determine has no relevance to any real world economic scenario, but like a house built on sand totters on the unsightly foundations of fanciful assumptions that underpin all equilibrium models.

    But if a pointy headed person from an important institution tells you that your NAIRU is 5.3% and your current unemployment if 5.3% then we can expect the correct policy response, which is to ignore the unemployed. A classic case of the language limiting the response.

    There appears to be plenty of empirical evidence around that ‘business as usual’ economics has failed miserably to bring social justice and advancement to wealthier societies (being, I suspect, somewhat different to the bootstrap out of poverty case, though I may be wrong). Since the GFC we have seen an ongoing determined trend to wind back distributive policies and accelerate wealth concentration at a global scale. It is like China now has the ideal GINI coefficient, and the west is playing catch-up.

    This of course leaves Australia’s unemployed (and even greater number of under-employed) struggling on a paupers hand-out with no policy in place to either get them into work or to allow them to participate in the fantastic wealth this country produces. BTW, I disagree with the dole, I think everyone should work (or be pensioned), and if the private sector cannot provide the jobs, then the public sector should do so.

    But this of course is irrelevant when it comes to inflation numbers and interest rates, productivity, GDP and financial stability. The unemployed have been reduced to collateral damage in the new economics, and the lie that trickle-down in any of its obscene variants will rectify their plight has well and truly been put to rest.

    So now the Labor party face annihilation at the polls, like cattle to the slaughter yard, and yet almost like innocents in their lack of understanding. As to economics itself, the ideological capture of the profession at both the academic and institutional level will continue to run amok, and continue delivering its fore-ordained outcomes.

  8. The standard model “they” work with does not admit unemployment. As markets clear and the labour market clearly doesn’t, unemployment refutes the theory – shows the theory wanting. Unemployment has therefore always been a painful embarrassment. With all the ingenuity of theologians, natural unemployment, the natural rate of unemployment, ‘voluntary’ unemployment, and then the natural rate of unemployment were invented. They are the unemployment you have when you are pretending there isn’t ‘really’ any unemployment.

    One may wonder why they are taken seriously on this one, but then no sillier than the average religious explanation, and those explanations seem to satisfy many.

  9. @Freelander
    Of course with your cherished alternative,the standard model of communism, there is no unemployment,the theory works beautifully.The dead have never been an embarrassment,they are simply removed from the record,but one does wonder why it is taken seriously by the ‘intelligent,thinking’ people of the left.Then again many of them are religious cranks led by high priest Flannery “I think that within this century the concept of strong Gaia will actually become physically manifest.”
    No sillier than the average religious explanation, and those explanations seem to satisfy many.Personally I have trouble believing people like that actually exist.

  10. @James

    Party inversion is actually not all that uncommon. In the US it was Lincoln who founded the Republicans and the Republicans who fought the Civil War, but now they have inverted those positions to the extent that you can talk about the party of Abraham Lincoln becoming the party of Jefferson Davis. The Liberals in the UK did something similar during the First World War.

    The ALP has done it faster and more throughly because, I suggest, of the almost complete absence of democracy within the party. There was simply no way for progressives to have opposed the takeover by opportunists.

  11. Good points Alan and James.

    I think the idea of being dazzled by neo-liberal economic theory and lack of internal democracy allowing the destructive takeover are correct, especially in the ranks. But rather than simply opportunists, I think it’s fundamentalist ideologues of the neo-con stripe who did the taking over (and thoroughly successfully, too) at the power core.

  12. You’re 17. You like politics. A faction leader offers you lifetime employment as union/ministerial staff, then MP, then consultant to the stars (MacBank). All you have to do is get out your soul and hand it to the faction on a platter. Initially I would agree many were dazzled by the neoliberal flashbuzz. More recently I think employment prospects have become much more central.

  13. @TerjeP

    Nobody in politics is ‘especially nice’. But until the major parties get real about actual equality of opportunity (not just paying lip service) and global warming/environmental sustainability, they don’t have a realistic model of society and economics, and therefore have no strategic credibility at a party-line level, regardless of what individual MPs/Senators may think. I know plenty of highly-informed Labor voters or even members who despair that the Labor Party is such a neoliberal washout, so you can imagine what they think of the Libs. And I’m not talking about cranks or former Communists here – in fact, far from it. Andrew Leigh, for instance, strikes me as far brighter and forward-thinking than focus groups and party strategists really allow.

  14. “A classic case of the language limiting the response” as well as the argument.

    I wish people who make statements about ‘equilibrium’ would be a bit more careful. They write as if there would be only one thought and one model and it is a 19th century macro-model.

    I also wish people would recognise that the GFC is the consequence of previous institutional changes as well as some still unresolved interesting questions.

    What is happening to the young people? Don’t they want to have work to do? Do they only want to “learn” – “be informed by” – be “instructed to do” the work done by previous generations?

    The entertainment value of those who screem “communism” in response to any empirically founded questioning of contemporary phenomena is very limited.

  15. Freelander :
    McCrann’s rant about Bob Brown, like much commentary from his ilk, says nothing about the target and much about the assailant.
    There is rarely much information from his ilk. Always you think “Well.He would say that.”

    hah, McCrann might wear a hideously feeble excuse for a beard, but I can guarantee you what’s there is extremely well fertilized! Seriously, his editorial content makes Bolt’s look very truthful and credible. His interest rate predictions have an even worse record than Chris Richardson’s 95-2005 decade. The man is a clown.

  16. @Ikonoclast

    Things are far more complicated than this. If the ALP is a traitor of the working class – then so are the universities, journalists, middle class, most trade unoins, and the ACTU.

    The ALP’s policy for workers is essentially – boost capitalism as much as possible and hope that some of the gains can be fed back to workers to placate the majority of them.

    In fact, the real traitors to “the working class” are all those workers who have been placated by delivery of minimum and above wages, superannuation, education and health services and the rising living standard that comes in the form of fancy cars, plasma screens, microwave ovens, mobile phones and so on.

    If fact, Australian society generally has been living “in the best of all possible worlds” where the necessary exploitation of workers is moved offshore (or imported through 457 visas). What plasma TV, mobile-phone addicted worker would ever expect that they too will have to work under the same conditions as Third World workers? Only Royals under fuedalism and plantation owners under slavery lived better.

    I don’t blame the ALP as the ALP just reflects the views of firstly, the electorate, but also significantly, unions and the ACTU. If the ALP was a real ‘traitor’ the unions would disaffiliate. The real blame has to passed through to Keynesians descended from such as Colin Clark who intend that Australia is to become an efficient, productive, competitive, low wage country based on ‘hard working conditions’. This may well be the view of some within the ALP and the ACTU. In the past the ACTU has run its policy almost in tandem with the ALP – see for example the policy on core ILO labor conditions and free trade generally.

  17. @Ernestine Gross
    “empirically founded questioning of contemporary phenomena’
    Just for the record,you do know that the cloudy stuff pouring forth from the chimneys so prominently featured in the propaganda,is water vapour and not carbon dioxide.
    How’s that for empirically founded questioning of contemporary phenomena?

  18. @Chris Warren
    So if we take away “the real traitors to “the working class” (Now where have I heard that terminology before?)what part of “the working class” are left?

  19. @JB Goode

    How do you propose to do that?

    Why would you do that?

    In essense workers, misled by consumer baubles and a unsustainable welfare state, are traitors to their own selves. They revel in short-term circumstances and close their eyes when looking at the future.

    So if you take away all these, you would probably be left with no-one or possibly a few cranky wannabe vanguardists whose only solace would be that they outnumber the ALP representation in Queensland Parliament.

  20. @Chris Warren
    Thanks for the clarification Chris and the ALP ref was real funny,but I am still confused.
    How can a worker be a traitor to himself if he is free man, secure in mind and body,and fully capable to decide what is in his best interest.You seem to be saying that the ‘working class’ are so stupid that they don’t know what is good for them.You obviously don’t think of yourself as a traitor ,so what “class”are you from?

  21. I think Prof J.Q. needs to begin mass deleting of flippant, sniping and trolling comments. Unfortunately, this site has gone down hill badly.

  22. @Ikonoclast
    What sort of response do you expect when you are coming out with tripe like”traitors to the working class”You don’t even know what the working class is.When was the last time you drank your latte out of a jam jar,when was the last time you had to sleep four in a bed with only an old army coat for warmth?When was the last time you had no soles in your shoes?
    Gimme a break!

  23. Let me try again.
    Do you know that the cloudy stuff pouring forth from the chimneys so prominently featured in the propaganda,is water vapour and not carbon dioxide.
    Do you know that ‘carbon pollution’ refers to the life giving gas carbon dioxide.
    If the case for CAGW is so strong and settled,why the deceit?

  24. @JB Goode

    You are a slow learner – all addicts are traitors to themselves. Australians are addicted to the baubles of consumer society produced by oppressed offshore workers. In this manner, all Australians are traitors to their selves

    It is obvious and clear to all – but you.

    Only you think others are stupid. But this just reflects your guilt.

  25. Now, now, JB Goode – suggesting kinky stuff like foursomes under an old army coat goes a bit far.

  26. @Ernestine Gross
    Well we had to have some fun Ernesto,after all we were living in an old boot at the bottom of a lake,and every day had to get up half an hour before we went bed and clean the lake out with a handfull of warm gravel etc,etc

  27. @Ikonoclast
    As I said before, we could achieve the same effect as JQ deleting the troll’s comments if we simply ignored them. Nothing good will ever come to your life from responding to JB Goode, so what’s the point?

  28. I mean, we could be quite happy if we left him here chanting, “Greens are silly, CO2 is necessary for life, everyone else is stupid except me.” Who is he convincing? Let’s all agree to just mentally mark him as spam; pretend he is advertising herbal Via%&*ra or something. It’s just a small extra effort to scroll past his comments.

  29. @Sam
    Sam,how could I ignore such a cry from the heart of a fellow earthian,I will have extincted myself by the time you read this so consider me exstunk.

  30. @Sam

    Just so. As I’ve noted a number of times, responding to trolls is like scratching mosquito bites. Reason and experience recommends against it, and the satisfaction though great initially, is very shortlived.

  31. I won’t speculate about what motivates Ayaan Hirsi Ali to make a fool of herself. But the effects of her efforts to do so are clear for all to see: 


    WESTERN liberals, crippled by political correctness, guilt and a romanticised view of Islam, are leaving atheists and Christians bereft in the ”Arab winter”, human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali says.
    Ms Hirsi Ali, no stranger to controversy, told an audience of several thousand at the Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne, that it was Christians and conservatives who led the way in defending free speech and rights. ”Why is it that secular liberals in the West fail to help? Are they so insecure about the morals they live by and by which they raise their children?”

    She said elections following the overthrow of dictators had produced Islamist governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco, with Islamists also gaining power in Libya and Yemen. ”The plight of Christians is going to be dire. They are killed, their churches destroyed, the women are raped. This is also the plight of Muslim minority sects.”

    She blamed political correctness, white guilt over former colonialism that was actually racist because it did not hold non-whites to the same standards, and a view of Islam as romantically primitive (the noble savage).

    What does she expect “Western liberals” to do?

    Beyond acting as enablers of Bush’s disastrous Middle Eastern follies, what have Western conservatives done? In fact, these flying monkeys have acted as recruiting officers for the Jihad.

    I’m surprised that Australia’s atheists provided the oxygen of publicity to this intemperate, irrational woman.

  32. @Katz

    The existence of Christians among the populations of the middle east has forever been marginalised in the dominant narrative. It suits the purposes of both Israel and the Islamists for them to be persecuted away from the glare of publicity. Only in Lebanon, where they participate in government and fought a civil war, is the plight of Christians the subject of much official and media interest. In both Iraq and Palestine, Christian and other religious minorities have been disproportionately represented among refugees and emigres.

    By contrast, the existence of Christians in Sudan is emphasised in efforts to garner support for the continuing series of wars to partition the country, overthrow its governing regime and get down to the serious business of oil exploration.

    Back OT, I must confess to being gobsmacked by the assertion that ‘Christians and conservatives … led the way in defending free speech and rights’. It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it.

  33. @Hal9000

    Yes, wasn’t it the Christian militia who destroyed Beirut and perpetrated the Sabra and Shatila massacres. Only Christians are bombing abortion clinics in the US. Ireland was totally destroyed by Christian factions. It was the Christian Masonic Lodges that appear to have driven the terrorism in Italy particularly the 1980 bombing of Bologna railway station.

    Christians have been the most blood thirsty, rapacious and self-deluded of all religions as exemplified in the Inquisition, and Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Today’s Moslem terrorism is just a type of Christianity with different labels.

  34. Ms Hirsi Ali has had a tough life. Sadly she seems somewhat of a libertarian bigot. She is a fan of Haywire and the American Heritage outfit is currently buttering her bread.She will be quickly out on her ear from that’s outfit if she moderates her views.

  35. Half-remembered guilt at the appalling treatment of eastern Christians by the crusaders probably lies somewhere down in the background to accepted wisdom in the Clash of Civilisations narrative. The Muslim hordes had to be portrayed as bestial slayers of babies and defilers of churches, while the massacres by crusader forces of eastern Christians along the Turkish coast and in Palestine were inconvenient to the ‘saviours of Christianity’ slogan. More recently, it suited the US for the Iraqi Shiites to be supported in the post-invasion civil war, and so the Assyrians and other ancient Christian minority sects were forgotten, and their fate sealed.

  36. christian masonic lodges? you mean like black chapters of the kkk? or jewish afflilates of aryan nations? i think you mean “neo-fascist” or “radical right-wing” masonic lodges. the christian democrats were heading the government at that time. also, have you forgotten the “red brigades”?
    alfred venison

  37. Isn’t the support for Israel by many in the Christian Right Moral Majority because they believe some bible based prediction that the return of the Jews will result in some sort of Armageddon and the second coming of Christ?

    The greater the suffering, strife and conflict in the middle east, presumably, the happier these Christians must be? A nuclear conflict there will simply be “Mission Accomplished!”

  38. @Freelander
    ‘Isn’t the support for Israel by many in the Christian Right Moral Majority because they believe some bible based prediction that the return of the Jews will result in some sort of Armageddon and the second coming of Christ?’
    No it isn’t.It’s because Israel is something that is hated and feared by all fringe dwellers,
    a democracy!

  39. Joey. Yes. Israel is a democracy, the same way that white south africa was a democracy. But you are somewhat more ignorant than I thought if you are not aware of the prophesy based support of many in the Christian Right Moral Majority for Israel. Not out of any love of its inhabitants.

  40. I don’t need to be aware of anything except your mindless hate speech.”The greater the suffering and strife the happier these Christians must be”.Is that what you really think? And I am somewhat ignorant?

  41. Joey, as the greater strife means to them that we are closer to the prophesy being fulfilled and as that’s what they want of course they are happier. So you are not only ignorant but none too bright if you can’t follow that one.

    Quick Joey! Back in the pouch! I see a dingo coming.

  42. By the way Joey, when adults use quotation marks, the text in between is supposed to be an actual quotation.

  43. What am I on about now?It just struck me on reading your demonising of christians that religious bigotry usually goes hand in hand with racial bigotry.
    By the way have you seen the exiting new greens lineup,Motly Crue watch out!

  44. Yes Joey. You’re right. Religion does often go hand in hand with racial bigotry. But I suffer neither defect. Now give your mother a chance, back in the pouch, and get some sleep!

  45. ‘The greater the suffering, strife and conflict in the middle east, presumably, the happier these Christians must be?’
    Sorry sir my mistake in believing my lying eyes,anyway it’s been such a pleasure to engage with my first caring,intelligent ‘thinking’ person.We could have done with you in the Balkans.Say hello to Lee for me(how dare they produce evidence that she is a communist,just how dare they!) and all the very best in your quest for world domination.

  46. Joey, it’s not your lying eyes in this case, given your improved use of quotes, but it’s your lying mind.

    You convince no one but yourself with your distortions.

    But why not give everyone a rest?

  47. the feds have disallowed state legislation like this before in the recent past but but the mood is shifting. i think canadian pm harper’s statement yesterday at the oas meeting that the war on drugs was a failure was a testing of the waters for the yanks.

  48. @JB Goode

    Are you a Zionist?

    Israel was born of Stern Gang terror and maintains itself through persistent terror against original inhabitants. It is a theocratic state that bans political parties opposed to the Jewish nature of the State. No independents are allowed to stand for election.

    Israel secret agents regularly roam the globe sabotaging opponents and assassinating them. Israel threatens its neighbours with covert nuclear weapons. It recently tried to get UN support for a war against Iran.

    Israelis continually and regularly oppress the original owners and violently assault protestors. Members of the youth group Sharek were recently attacked by Israeli military. One Israeli commander was videotaped rifle-butting a demonstrator. He has been nominally suspended as a cosmetic response by the authorities.

    See: http://english.pnn.ps/index.php/politics/1388-high-ranking-israeli-officer-assaults-danish-activist

    Israel is only democratic for Jewish people – the rest receive jack-boots.

  49. if you read david climenhaga at the link & understood him you’d know that he says the charter protects the rights of the 99% better than common law & parliament alone and that its the friends of the 1% who aspire to roll it back or undermine it.

  50. @a.v.

    It’s notable that what the Canadian article describes as the far right’s attitude to the charter of rights is identical with the ALP’s attitude to a charter.

  51. @Alan

    Right wing libertarians infiltrated the labor party a long time ago. The anti-rights is one of their bugbears. The don’t want awful things like ‘human rights’ infringing on the sacredness of property rights and undermining the sanctity of the market economy.

  52. I don’t think it’s just an issue of recent infiltration. The ALP has been slightly tunnel-blind about the supremacy of parliament since its foundation. But certainly neoliberals don’t like human rights.

  53. @Alan

    The infiltration is not at all recent. It began as far back as the seventies and maybe even the sixties. Remember who pushed free trade, dismantled tariffs and turned the Tariff, Board from proTariffs into antiTariffs and then renamed the board Industries Assistance Commission,which became Industry Commission, and then Productivity Commission.

    Similar infiltration across the ditch resulted in Rogernomivdn. Revolution from above. A massive sellout of the working class now almost complete.

    Mission Accomplished!!!

  54. Assessing evidence for a causal link between cannabis and psychosis: A review of cohort studies

    Whilst the criteria for causal association between cannabis and psychosis are supported by the studies reviewed, the contentious issue of whether cannabis use can cause serious psychotic disorders that would not otherwise have occurred cannot be answered from the existing data. Further methodologically robust cohort research is proposed and the implications of how evidence informs policy in the case of uncertainty is discussed.

  55. Blah, blah,blah…

    Now were going to be subjected to a parade of climate change denial selective quoting to do lord boogellie eyes Moncton proud.

    While, I’ll leave you to it Gerard.

  56. By the way, carefully read what I said and ignore what you think I said.I am not going to bother with you seriously if you can’t at least get that right.

  57. it’s a peer-reviewed assessment of the available evidence – I’ve never seen Monckton come out with one of them. what more do you want, smackhead? you don’t accept the Australian government’s own assessment of the evidence either.

  58. You’ve got your own facts. You can’t even read the literature properly and you don’t even understand the concept of an overdose.

  59. Morphine is quite safe. As long as you don’t try to boost the effect with alcohol or as long as you don’t take an overdose.

  60. presumably you think the government’s own National Drug Strategy report can’t read the literature properly either.

    most people would regard the risk of death as having something to do with how dangerous a drug is. thousands of people have died of heroin overdoses – too bad you weren’t present to help them dose safely.

  61. What I’m saying is you can’t read the literature. As for a particular report, haven’t looked at it and won’t bother. But I can say this in relation to government reports generally, many of them are complete garbage, and simply peddle the hobby horse of some well connected clown who gets to sign off on it. If you had worked on a few you would know that.

  62. Radio National has been running a debate on the issue of cannabis use and psychosis. The most recent point of view is from Dr Matthew Large who

    “responds to a critique of his work on pot. Specifically the suggestion that rates of psychosis have gone up because more young folk are indulging. The argument against being that so many, all over the world, are smoking joints, that you’d expect a gigantic surge of psychosis everywhere and, it seems, there isn’t one.”

    Robyn Williams http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/ockhamsrazor/mulling-up-cannabis-and-psychosis/3620244

    Large is quite sure that there is a link and his evidence is fascinating but equally the earlier program by a ‘denier’ is convincing.

    Personally, I am sure there is some sort of link, but it will be ‘multi-factorial’; the effects of pot and any other drug – legal or otherwise – are mediated by individual differences in brain chemistry and also by the way that brain chemistry is modified by environmental experiences.

    The benefits to some of us, from using cannabis, are also undeniable.

  63. And morphine not dangerous unless you are silly. Drug addicts do try to kill themselves and they are quite silly. Not a property of the drug but of the user.

  64. So the ABC gives air time to a contrarian with fringe views.

    There are good studies that have demonstrated that what he is saying is cr*p.

  65. I can say this in relation to government reports generally, many of them are complete garbage, and simply peddle the hobby horse of some well connected clown who gets to sign off on it.

    Now that sounds like something Monckton would say about the IPCC. There’s a conspiracy inside Australia’s National Drug Strategy to downplay the risks of cannabis! The report doesn’t come to the conclusions you want, it is therefore garbage.

  66. It seems to em that if you want to advocate continuing the prohibition of drugs you need not only to show that particular drugs are more harmful than others, but that prohibition works for those drugs. Freelander may or may not be doing a good job of advocating the relative safety of heroin. He does not seem to be telling us why he does not then advocate the legalisation of heroin and the continuing prohibition of cannabis.

  67. If monkton was making a general statement about government reports he would be right but the ipcc is something else.

    Under George bush us gov reports couldn’t tell the truth.

    Peer review ed lit not gov lit is the standard and not all lit or studies are equal.

  68. Freelander won’t read this either, but others might; I thought it had some funny moments.


    Freelander you might find this book interesting, “Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind” in which Robert Kurzban “shows us that the key to understanding our inconsistencies lies in understanding that the human mind consists of many specialized units designed by the process of evolution and these modules don’t always work seamlessly together, so it’s quite easy to develop impossibly contradictory beliefs, to violate our supposed moral principles, and overinflate our opinion of ourselves.”

  69. The reason to ban drugs doesn’t rely on the harm to the user.morphine, although benign when used sensibly should not be allowed as a rec drug because drugged people are a danger to others, including their kids if they have any. I pointed this out way back.

    Some seem to think ganja is fine.it is not.

  70. @Alan

    Quite so.

    Say Freelander is right that there is a knock-down case for cannabis being as harmful a drug as alcohol. Obviously, there isn’t, but supposing there were.

    Under these circumstances: why is alcohol legal but cannabis not?

  71. I’m sorry but you seem Freelander to argue your convictions about the dangers of drug abuse (or nuclear power for that matter, if my memory serves) about as plausibly as would Ian Plimer.

  72. Peer review ed lit not gov lit is the standard and not all lit or studies are equal.

    so the editors of the International Journal of Drug Policy, the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs and the International Review of Psychiatry are as bad at reading the literature as the government’s National Drug Strategy.

  73. @Freelander

    I have very limited knowledge in the fields of medicine and biology to have a say on the issues discussed. I have a bias view against drugs however I did follow up on the links gerald and others have provided and gave a thought about it. Unforunately, even though I have not been convinced to support drug legalisation yet, I do suggest you to analysis the evidence they provided fairly. In the end, we don’t want ourselves to end up like the right-wing extremist.

    @gerald and others that supported drug legalisation

    Thanks for the evidence provided, they’ve provided me with new understandings on this issue. Although Freelander’s attitude is not to be appreciated, I believe his (and mine) sceptism about drug legalisation can be understood. In the past, although there may not be evidence that cannabis links to psychosis problems. It did create painful history for user’s families, whether it is safe or not is an important issue. However the other issue can be that, even if it does not cause psychosis problems, it may cause some social problems? (I’m not too sure how to describe it) to families. With that being said, I fully understand cannabis can be a useful drug for medical purposes. As for alcohol………. even though I agree that it is very dangerous substance, I don’t see a possibility of a government able put fourth a law to ban it without them getting thrown out by the public in Australia.

    @Julie Thomas

    Most certainly true about inconsistencies. I have found inconsistencies in the things others say and do quite a lot of times, and I have also found inconsistencies in the things I say and do as well sometimes (not always easy to recognise self-inconsistencies). Most of inconsistencies of myself have caused me to think back like “why the hell did I say that (or do that)?”. It might be because people got used to react a certain way if they did so in the past, so that even if they knew they were wrong and wanted to change, they acted the way they did in the past unconsciously. It might also be that the person does not have full understanding of the things they say. Unforunately it is difficult if not impossible for people to actually think about everything they say or do, just my two cents worth.

  74. Some seem to think ganja is fine.it is not.

    Says you Freelander. In my experience, it is fine and even better, it is dandy. Your certainty on this issue reminds me of arguing with a libertarian about whether welfare harms people.

  75. Corrections in my moderated post “It did create painful history for user’s families, whether it is safe or not is an important issue. However the other issue can be that, even if it does not cause psychosis problems…”

    Should be “It did create painful history for abusers/addicts’ families. Safety of the drug is an important issue, however the other issue can be that, even if it does not cause psychosis problems…”

  76. @Julie Thomas

    In the end, eating food will ensure you die. So too will breathing. These things do “harm” you in the long run.

    In the short run, not eating and not breathing will ensure you die a lot more quickly. There will be no long run. What to do?

    Enjoying your life entails risk of harm. Death is the only way to be sure one is minimally harmed. It’s a paradox, but most of us prefer the risks of life.

  77. I find this thread a little amusing. Maybe drugs do not cause mental illness in itself. Is that what is important.

    Back on the dark ages when I worked in the welfare field, I do know, I did not find any situation that was made better by the used of drugs, including alcohol in many cases.

    Now I might have been unlucky , plain blind or bias for this.

    I also found, no matter the situation, little could be done until the drug use was dealt with.

    Drugs, often were a secondary cause of the dire straits many found themselves in.

    I worked in child protection and family support. This also meant that mental illness was often present.

    Yes, some may be able to control their drug habit. I believe most cannot.

  78. Sillier and sillier, with the only redeeming feature you’re not also climate change deniers; although that appears to be a consequence of chance rather than rational deliberation.

    Well one of you wondering why one might be reticent to ban alcohol? Well maybe some of you bright sparks can work that one out all by yourselves?

  79. @Freelander

    No need to be patronising; I know precisely why alcohol isn’t banned. However, I note that when it was banned, things got worse, not better. I also note that the same arguments for why we don’t ban alcohol would apply to marijuana if it happened to be on the other side of the prohibition fence.

  80. @Catching up

    Back in the dark ages when I worked in the welfare field {…} I did not find any situation that was made better by the use of drugs, including alcohol in many cases. (minor typos corrected)

    This is almost certainly correct (assuming by ‘drugs’ one is describing non-prescription medication), but it’s not really pertinent here. Nobody, AFAIK, is arguing that self-medication with currently illicit or proscribed substances is a good answer to challenges in one’s life. Neither for that matter, is watching TV, or self-harming or eating to excess but these, like getting drunk, are all legal. The question is — what behaviour should be permitted by the state, or at any rate, not punished by the state when detected.

    Yes, some may be able to control their drug habit. I believe most cannot.

    This is the language of the Daily Telegraph. Alcohol and tobacco dependence rarely gets the designation “drug habit”. Such people are not demonised as “druggies” and losers.

    What we have with illicit and illegal drugs is a morally-augmented instant of afirmation bias. Almost by definition, only those with substance abuse problems come to our attention and so they define the group. Sometimes, precisely because of the co-morbidities, poor and marginalised folk are disproportionately represented and cum hoc ergo propter hoc kicks in. A nice tidy narrative in which moral or ethical bankrupts who are become the authors of their own misery and anti-social conduct. Because suffering mental illness is widely seen as moral illness, the coextension tends to fit very nicely — a real cultural synergy and is perfect for the Daily Telegraph crowd.

    Lots of people drink alcohol without it running their lives. Most can gamble without going nuts. I daresay most illicit drug users likewise fit it into a niche in their recreation — and perhaps if it were legal, more would do so more easily.

  81. Anyway if instead of responding to what I’ve said you all insist on slaying phantoms of your own delusion don’t expect me to continue playing. At some point your accumulated silliness ceases to amuse.

  82. @Freelander

    Settle down, matey. You and I are usually on similar pages so let’s see why we diverge here. Tell me what you think I’m missing:

    1) Alcohol – unequivocally causes illness, contributes to violence. Physically addictive. No medicinal benefits. Regulated, taxed, still available on the black market but no-one bothers.
    2) Marijuana – possibly causes illness, users do not become violent. Not physically addictive. Medicinal benefits. Only available via the black market, representing lost potential public revenue, not to mention incurring enforcement costs.

  83. I can’t see how anyone has provoked Freelander’s chip-on-the-shoulder antics. Seriously mate, settle down and grow up. We don’t all have to agree with you on everything, even if you are convinced that you’re yet another anonymous keyboard genius.

  84. What a rabble!

    There are some big differences between alcohol and ganja, which explain why a sensible policy maker would be reticent to ban one but not the other.

    Come on now, think! Show that you intellectually tower over the likes of cardinal Pell!

  85. BTW I’m undecided on the prohibition matter. I used to favour prohibition of most currently illicit drugs but I’m currently not so sure.

  86. @Dan

    Dan, that is some very biased and untrue view of alcohol. Alcohol by itself is a substance that has benefits if not consumed excessively like the binge drinkers. Unfortunately it is true that it is an addictive substance that does affect people’s ability to decide how much they’ll consume the substance hence it is dangerous because excessive consumption (that doesn’t mean OD, just simply getting drunk) causes a lot of the problems you’ve stated which contribute to violence and cause brain impairments as well, there is no denial what so ever of that.

    The benefits? Alcohol is very effective when it is used to treat wounds and injuries. Very moderate consumption of red wine (1-2 glasses maximum a day) provides quite some benefits to health (However beer is complete rubbish which does no good to human health at all). Alcohol is also widely used in cooking as well as traditional Chinese medicine.

    The addictive attribute itself is very dangerous, but we shouldn’t be so biased on alcohol as a substance if we want to keep ourselves fair and balanced.

    P.S I’m in no way arguing that alcohol is not dangerous, I just hope that we would not be so biased in analysing certain things.

  87. I don’t care if you agree with me or not. If anyone looks at the beginning of the exchange I indicated that we will have to agree to disagree. But if I disagree I don’t have to agree that I was wrong. Or that your ‘facts’ are facts.

    Sad that instead of sensible debate there has been a torrent of sophistry. And some who have knowledge of the subject including personal knowledge have been shouted down by the ignorant horde.

    Personally, I love to see the ignorant horde in full flight. And I love to rile that horde with what the horde interpretes as arrogance or even conceit.

    The horde knows when it’s wrong; that’s when it bellows loudest.

    Bellow away!

  88. Alan :
    An individual can know when they’re wrong; that’s when they bellow loudest.

    An individual has today speak loudly and with vigor to be heard amongst a bellowing horde.

    If you think correctness is established by a larger number shouting down a smaller number, fine.

  89. @Tom

    Very moderate consumption of red wine (1-2 glasses maximum a day) provides quite some benefits to health

    It seems that even this claim is somewhat suspect as some people who aren’t drinking any alcohol are doin so because of existing illnesses where alcohol is contra-indicated. Moreover, some people drinking two glasses per day are also pursuing other health promoting activities and are generally better of financially.

  90. What is sad is most are clever enough to work answers out themselves but are impeded by a variety of emotional baggage. That is also why it is a total waste of time laying the answer before them. The same impediments stop them from accepting it.

  91. That is why debate has little value as a means to inform. And why democracy has been such a serial failure.

  92. @Alan

    Then there could be no suggestion that I’ve bellowed.

    You can’t have it both ways. But then,based on prescident you probably imagine you can.

  93. @Fran Barlow

    That is true, if people drink red wine moderately for improving their health; it is more likely that they will pursue other activities that will improve their health as well. However it is one of those things where it is debatable just like cannabis, although there might be correlation between psychosis and cannabis consumption; it is not definite as well. In the case of red wine, it may well be that it is because of the other activities they pursue, or red wine itself does have benefits to health when consumed moderately.

  94. If it was disagree that’s all, then my “we’ll have to agree to disagree” way back at the start would have been the end of it.

  95. Well you certainly are a rude and ignorant twit, Freelander. I also see very little evidence of intelligence so accordingly I will ignore you in the future. I would like that courtesy returned, thank you.

    I believe Fran is correct about alcohol. Rosemary Stanton, whom I respect a great deal, and many other researchers, have made the same point about many of the epi studies being flawed because they ignore the fact that ill people are less likely to drink and that people who stop at one or two drinks a night are qualitatively different from nondrinkers and heavier drinkers.

  96. @Freelander

    Nice try, but as defective in logic as the rest of your claims in this thread. You wont address factual issues beyond Monktoning them. You repeatedly accuse anyone disagreeing with you of stupidity, sophistry or worse. Hard to see that as the exercise of sweet reason.

    There is no logical ground why the absence of bellowing on our side means that you are not bellowing at us. But then for some reason you seem to have abandoned logic for asseveration in this thread.

  97. @Alan

    No I don’t. I simply accuse them of what they are guilty of. Nothing to do with them disagreeing with me.
    Like, for example, when they make a fanciful claim like the one you just made.
    If you don’t know when you talk nonsense, that’s sad.

  98. @Freelander

    You are suggesting that you think those who agree with you are guilty sic of the same things? Perhaps you could point to a comment where you accuse someone of stupidity for agreeing with you.

  99. @Alan

    If you are not stupid,Alan,you would recognize that your last request is both sophistry and stupid.

    If people want to take a monkton approach to evidence I am not going to forensicly dissect all their flaws. They are acting in bad faith, as are you. If you don’t know that, then that further confirms the wisdom of my avoiding forensics.

  100. @Freelander

    Re: emotional baggage – that’s exactly what I see when I see this thread. More precisely, yours.

    I don’t give a fig whether pot is legal or not as I’m not a user (though like anyone else in their 20s in the inner city would have no trouble acquiring it illegally if so inclined). I am however a moderately, erm, dedicated drinker despite the health risks that entails. If the substance was banned that would be okay with me too.

    What I don’t get (rationally! I get the history) it why one is illegal and one is not. In fact it seriously seems to me that the less harmful of the two is the illegal one.

    When I tried to raise this as clear-sightedly as possible, I had to face ad-homs. wtf.

    I know perfectly well I’m not stupid, so that response is not only facile, it’s also incorrect.

    Freelander, I urge you to step up the quality and content of your argument. As someone who genuinely doesn’t give much of a toss, I implore you: change my mind.

  101. If you can’t work through why one is legal and one is not and the relevant ways the two differ, then that can be for either of two reasons.

    One, lack of intellect; or two.some impediment to thinking rationally.

    Neither problem I can cure even if I wanted to. And providing those differences would also be a waste of time.

    Hence,I hope I leave you in bliss (that is, in ignorance

  102. @Freelander

    I can only surmise that the reason you’re acting like a twit is because you have no argument.

    I’m very disappointed; I thought far more of you until this thread.

    You’ll no doubt say – even think – you don’t care, because you’re obviously so much more clever and rational than me, etc. etc. That remains poor form; if you can’t even win over someone who doesn’t feel strongly about an issue, and is certainly getting feedback from other parts of their life suggesting they know an antecedent from a consequent, then I’m really sorry but that’s 100% on you.

  103. @Dan

    That sounds like a concession to me.

    He conceded ages ago on the other thread when he dug in his heels and started saying he didn’t have to prove anything, failed to point to any peer reviewed study supporting what ought to have been a simple thing to prove, if the causal chain he alleged existence was there, and instead started baiting those who disagreed with him as self-deluding.

    He retreated constructively to “let’s call it a draw” — when that is a logical impossibility. That is a concession.

    As I said there, I suspect he is annoyed at having been suckered into buying into an urban myth sourced to the “war on drugs” but having painted himself into a corner, sees no honourable way out. Sad really.

  104. Reminds me of the Nihilists in The Big Lebowski: “Okay. So we take ze money you haf on you, und ve calls it eefen.”

  105. When I pointed you to the literature and you then claimed it supported you I knew we were through the looking glass!

  106. @Freelander

    I’m afraid I didn’t even realise that you had pointed me to the literature (thus utterly, as a matter of logic, negating your claim that I though it supported my position) and I still can’t see where you have done so. Link right here, please.

  107. IUn any event, at no point have I denied that it can be harmful. I’ve just asked for a rational explanation of why it’s illegal but alcohol isn’t.

  108. @Dan

    Interesting species, somewhat lazy and very demand ing.

    Just like an infant.

    If you need guidance for that task no wonder there seems little hope for you.

    Isn’t it time for you to pass the baton of stupidity to one of your fellows?

    And do try to up the entertainment level least I tire of this sport.

  109. Were I in your position, I’d step up (and have). So I’ll leave it to others to decide who’s lazy.

  110. @Freelander

    Bit of a barney here, it seems.

    I note that our culture appears to extol the virtue of booze in all its ubiquity. Why, there’s almost a bottle shop or alcohol purveyor on every second corner. If we’re going to get all angst-ridden about “drugs”, we should surely begin by questioning why one is sanctioned and the rest are not?

    In my little city of late, the two biggest constructions have been a new Catholic cathedral and a huge bottle shop – guess which one attracts the most patrons?

  111. @Wooster

    Yes. The opium of the masses is not doing great business of late despite it favoured tax status.

    Maybe alcohol us now providing what the Catholic church once did? The world needs something more substantial than belief in an after life where you sit around forever sustained by praising some old dude.

    Hope Dan Monckton isn’t running out of puff? Puff being requisite for ‘safe’ and fulfilling pasttimes.


  112. You’re acting like a troll. I can only surmise that you or someone close to you has had a lousy experience with weed. If that’s indeed the case, I’m sorry. But it’s still a different issue from the prohibition one.

    As impervious to rational debate as you’ve demonstrated yourself to be on this thread, let me try – this is my final attempt! – to get some sense out of you.

    Imagine a scenario in which both alcohol and marijuana are and have always been banned (although both are used illicitly). For some reason – religious edict, whatever you like – you have to decriminalise one. Which one do you pick? And moreover, why?

  113. I had a lovely beer (Balmain Pale Ale) and a glass of wine (SA pinot noir) tonight, if that’s what your thrust is…?

  114. @Dan

    And a good drag? Puff, puff …

    You’re dragging long and hard here .. cough, cough. Where are those fumes coming from? Those fumes that seem to make the imagination run rampant!

  115. I don’t smoke pot or do any other drugs. Alcohol and caffeine is it. Back to the question at hand, now…

  116. You do realise that you’re behaving in a ludicrous, childish and mindless way, do you not?

    If you’d prefer not to discuss the issue, just say: ‘I’d prefer not to discuss the issue.’

    If you’ve got anything constructive to say, say it.

    If neither of the above, go jump.

  117. Well here we are with the latest from the repugs …

    First, a rare thing — a repug who accepts the science of climate change:

    Paul Douglas: Climate Change has nothing to do with Al Gore

    Needless to say, there were the usual denier trolls in response, though they were more polite that Douglas said he got privately. It must have annoyed many of them that he quoted Matthew from the Bible on “stewardship of the Earth”.

    Now someone more in the mainstream of the Repugs:

    Apparently, smoking regulations are just like the Star of David provisions under you know who

    He’s also in favour of child labour laws, abolishing the minimum wage, lasers in space and says he got his wealth the old-fashioned way — inheriting it. Nice.

  118. Dan :
    You do realise that you’re behaving in a ludicrous, childish and mindless way, do you not?
    If you’d prefer not to discuss the issue, just say: ‘I’d prefer not to discuss the issue.’
    If you’ve got anything constructive to say, say it.
    If neither of the above, go jump.

    A sequence of self-referential statements, methinks!

    Boundless puff in this new species. Maybe it, rather than cockroaches shall inherit the earth. (Lets face it, the meek were never in with a chance!)

    Humble suggestion: try to raise the entertainment factor. Your fans are failing…

  119. I really don’t know how under the circumstances I could have been more reasonable or patient. Would you act like this if we met in person? (Maybe don’t answer that.)

    You have behaved foolishly and somewhat mean-spiritedly here – certainly failed to engage with the issue – and I have lost all intellectual respect for you in short order.

    Ironically I am now more convinced that my original position was correct; if someone on the opposing side is limited to blowing raspberries and resorting to ad-homs then their case must be weak indeed.

  120. @Dan

    Can I just register my dislike for the use of “ad hom” as a synonym for abuse or vituperation? It seems to me that the term ad hominem (really argumentum ad hominem) ought to be limited to situations in which someone says that a person’s claim ought to be rejected merely because of the character or standing of the person. I blame the deniers for the corruption of this usage, but there’s no reason for us to copy their fashion trend.

    If someone becomes abusive, let’s use that word or a bona fide synonym.

  121. Dan :
    … Would you act like this if we met in person? [Please answer that.]
    You have behaved foolishly and somewhat mean-spiritedly here – certainly failed to engage with the issue – and I have lost all intellectual respect for you in short order. …

    More of the self referential.

    I really don’t know how under the circumstances I could have been more reasonable or patient.

    Endless puff!

    This new species is more impressive than the Everready battery!

    I bet it’ll never claim that it never inhaled! (Oh, that’s right. It already has.)

  122. Speaking of poker machines as a health problem alongside smoking and alcoholism, Charles Livingstone at Croakey makes the following point:

    The worst aspect of this is that poker machines are disproportionately located in disadvantaged communities, such as the NSW federal electorate of Blaxland, where in 2010-11 $177 million was spent on poker machines and $2.5 million (1.4%) claimed by clubs as providing a community benefit. The median individual weekly income in Blaxland is about $396 per week so, allowing for that proportion of the population who actually play poker machines (around 24% in NSW) the average pokie user in Blaxland spends more than a third of median income on that pursuit.

    This may understate the problem as that 24% takes into account places where poker machine use would be quite low. It also takes no account of how heavy the usage is for those using machines. Still, even as it stands, that puts poker machines right up there with housing for the middle class as a proportion of after tax expenditure.

  123. @Dan

    Just a little word of encouragement, young Dan. I have no criticism of the way you have chosen to use the term ‘ad hom’. Seems a fine use to me, even if misdirected in your choice of target.

  124. @Fran Barlow

    Yes. I would ban pokie machines too. And have young James thrown in prison for using his money in such a corrupting way. Young James – ‘im that got his money the old fashioned way. Him that seems to be showing how you can end up with a small fortune – inherit a larger one.

  125. Fran Barlow :Well here we are with the latest from the repugs …
    First, a rare thing — a repug who accepts the science of climate change:
    Paul Douglas: Climate Change has nothing to do with Al Gore
    Needless to say, there were the usual denier trolls in response, though they were more polite that Douglas said he got privately. It must have annoyed many of them that he quoted Matthew from the Bible on “stewardship of the Earth”.
    Now someone more in the mainstream of the Repugs:
    Apparently, smoking regulations are just like the Star of David provisions under you know who
    He’s also in favour of child labour laws, abolishing the minimum wage, lasers in space and says he got his wealth the old-fashioned way — inheriting it. Nice.

    People might actually only agrees with a certain political stance (e.g. Democrats or Republican in the US) for a certain issue, e.g. economics or politics. Whether if they are wrong or right (although I hardly find them to ever be right in economics), they can actually have a fair view on other issues e.g. climate change.

    From my personal experience, quite a lot of people do easily get persuaded by mainstream media. However, some that have actually went and looked at the otherside of the debate do get convinced. Most likely thats what happened in the case you have presented. Unfortunately through my understands in US politics, climate change denial is a pre-requisite and a must for the Republican Party. So what will happen to Paul Douglas politically from now on is the interesting part.

  126. @Freelander

    I’m not sure about banning poker machines, though I wouldn’t lose much sleep over such a move. Some of the enemies of regulation rhetorically challenge the government to do that much as deniers challenge the government to ban coal exports.

    I think you could do enough by regulation to cap damage and delegitimise them to get the clubs to phase them out as of too little benefit. Capping payouts to some comparatively small sum — say the median weekly income in the bottom two quintiles rounded up to the next $100 along with slowing the cycle down, randomly having machines switch off and stay off for 30 minutes, maximum value $1 bets with no stacking, no ATMs withing 20 minutes walk of poker machines etc

  127. Yes cap payouts for a start and make the maximum bet 5 cents. And start taxing sports clubs and RSLs. Make a rule a minimum of 5 metres between machines. And no drinking or eating while in the pokie machine room. I am sure there could be other improvements but they could do as a start.

    Oh, thats right. Ankle bracelets for users of pokie machines…

  128. Ban pokie machines? What a waste of thousands of perfectly good Skinner boxes! Instead of banning them, I suggest that in addition to gambling, all pokie machines also contain educational programs that a person must study in order to continue gambling. Basic probability would seem a logical place to start. Properly implemented we could end up with one of the best educated populations in the world. Well, we already are one of the best educated populations in the world, but we could end up one of the best educated populations in the world even betterer.

  129. @Freelander

    I don’t quite get your antipathy to Dan.

    Although I have to say that I’ve recently struck the same phenomenon on another forum – a perfectly reasonable leftish type adopts the most exquisite high dudgeon, the equivalent of a posse replete with rhetorical pitchfork and burning torch – at the mere mention of someone “inhaling” a drug as the preferred method of consumption.

    Or have I missed something?

  130. @Ronald Brak

    Great idea. We could feed them puzzles to solve. Like folding proteins and so on. (Already being done by industry to willing participants over the internet.) Finally put their addiction to some beneficial use.

  131. @Wooster

    No antipathy toward young Dan. Just a measure of fascination.

    I’m particularly impressed by his stamina on what seems inevitably futile.

  132. Freelander, I’m not sure if you’re upset over Bob Brown’s retirement, or something, but on this thread you’re coming across as even more Catallaxian than the recent visitors from Andrew Bolt’s blog – all snark, no substance. What gives?

  133. @Ronald Brak

    Not a bad idea. Perhaps there could be random questions about the world, facts of climate change, income distribution, gambling losses and so forth. For every correct answer you get one free spin and if you save them up and get five in a row correct, you get 10 free spins.

    I’m liking that one.

    Note that the word g*mbling* triggers automoderation – JQ

  134. @Tim Macknay

    Not at all.

    I am not saying you are wrong. Simply opening you to consider that possibility.

    Perception is not quite the passive process “come across ” implies.

  135. Freelander: “I’m particularly impressed by his stamina on what seems inevitably futile.”

    I think Freelander probably intended something different from what I read here, haha.

    My predictions – in ten years:

    1) marijuana will have been decriminalised in Australia.
    2) the sky will not have fallen, much as it has not fallen in places where it has been decriminalised.

    Anyway, enough of that.

    Here’s one for Mel: http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/04/20/at-the-pearly-gates/

  136. @Dan

    My predictions – in ten years:

    1) marijuana will have been decriminalised in Australia.
    2) the sky will not have fallen, much as it has not fallen in places where it has been decriminalised.

    I’m not so optimistic, Dan. Cannabis possession was decriminalised in WA around a decade ago, and the policy was a success in all its intended aims – it reduced the pressure on the courts and the wasting of police time, avoided pointless criminal convictions for moderate cannabis users, and cannabis use declined during the period of decriminalisation. However, cannabis was subsequently re-criminalised by an incoming conservative government running a ‘laura norder’ campaign. No consideration whatsoever was given to the fact that the policy was effective.

    I’m afraid that rational drug policy is just too easily pushed aside by political expedience.

  137. Well, it was decriminalised for personal use in Canberra for a while, so in a sense what I’m proposing has already happened. But I’m happy to wait and see.

  138. @Tim Macknay

    However, cannabis was subsequently re-criminalised by an incoming conservative government running a ‘laura norder’ campaign. No consideration whatsoever was given to the fact that the policy was effective.

    People say that women are too soft to be good campaigners — witness that adviser in QLD just recently, but has there ever been a male lobbyist in the same ballpark as Ms Norder? She approaches the two parties with the knowledge that “all your minds are belong to me”.

    Poor little Mary Jane never had a chance. 😉

  139. @Freelander

    But it was women who, given the vote, managed to get alcohol banned.

    I know I was being light-hearted above, but this does no justice to the history. The movement towards prohibition started a very long time before women got the vote. Prohibition laws were passed in many states (though then typically repealed). In so far as women were involved in the campaign it might well have been the case that prohibition was an entree into official politics for them — an area in which it was hard to object, as christian campaigning on the matter was of longstanding.

    The reality of prohibition is that it was the most brilliant of wedge issues because it had massive cross-demographic appeal. Conservatives saw it as a devils’ tool. “Progressives” saw it as just one of the many obstacles to progress. Employers thought unionists were more likely to push for higher wages if they were sauced up. Soc|al|sts thought being inebriated weakened the struggle. And some women thought that the very fact men denied women “pleasures of the flesh” that they allowed themselves meant that they would always be seen as inferior while men could drink. As Frances E Willard of the WCTU had it in 1874:

    Drink and tobacco are the great separatists between men and women. Once they used these things together, but woman’s evolution has carried her beyond them; man will climb to the same level . . . but meanwhile … the fact that he permits himself fleshly indulgence that he would deprecate in her, makes their planes different, giving her an instinct of revulsion

    Interestingly, the WCTU also had a wider agenda:

    We believe in a living wage; in an 8-hour day; in courts of conciliation and arbitration, in justice as opposed to greed in gain; in “Peace on Earth and Good Will to Men

    From there they moved onto “a better Indian policy” and “wiser civil service reform”. In effect, they were asserting through these policies that women deserved the vote. To the extent that women were involved, causality ran the other way. They were advocating temperance in order to get the vote, rather than wasnting the vote so they could have temperance.

    Yet the thing that most won the day for the 18th Amendment was probably WW1 with its associated xenophobia and r@cism. As Joseph Gusfield noted in The Symbolic Crusade Americanism became an issue in the debate:

    The saloon appeared as the symbol of a culture which was alien to the ascetic character of American values

    James Timberlake (citing John Marshall Barker in The Saloon Problem quoted:

    The influx of foreigners into our urban centers, many of whom have liquor habits [sic], is a menace to good government. . . . [T] he foreign born population is largely under the social and political control of the saloon. If the cities keep up their rapid growth they will soon have the balance of political power in the nation and become storm centers of political life

    It helped a lot that as WW1 approached patriotism could be adduced against prominent German brewers (Pabst, Schlitz, and Blatz ) operating in America. Diversion of resources to alcohol was subverting the capacity of America to defend itself. Drinking beer prmomneted Germanism and soc|al|sm, according to some.

    So while your claim is a commonly advanced claim, it’s hard to justify.

  140. Yes. Women had been campaigning for that and the vote long and hard. A double success!!!

    Women are great campaigners!

  141. “Lips that touch liquor, shall never touch mine!”

    The Pledge!

    And who said husbands never listen to their wives?

  142. Great how widespread Moncktonism and Plimerism are when straight reporting of facts and history will not do.

  143. This site would be a lot more pleasant and informative if we didn’t have Freeloader felching all over it.

  144. this article is interesting in light of the statement at the oas meeting last week by canadian pm stephen haper that the war on drugs is not working:-


    the article shows marijuana reform is now being openly discussed / canvassed by all canadian federal political parties & leaders, as each seeks approval of young voters. yes, the article says the liberals are lambasting the ndp over its leader’s mixed message on the issue earlier this week with the pitch that even stephen harper agrees the war on drugs is not working why is the ndp confused.

    the genie is out of the bottle. all over is evidence that prominent members of the ruling elites, political, intellectual & operational, are no longer unanimous on this policy. the top knows it cannot win without unanimity and is seeking the best way to make an accommodation with reality. its a matter of time/timing.

  145. @Mel

    Yes. Freedom to talk nonsense, unchallenged would be asserted.

    Popular nonsense, is, well, … popular. And popular, if not true, is truthy. And that’s what matters.

    I wonder why liquor manufacturers spent so much trying to stop women getting the vote if they didn’t think the vote might lead to prohibition?

    Very silly of them.

  146. On another of the delusionals talking points for action — that warmer is better for us …

    Global Warming Causing Heat Fatalities

    According to Knappenberger:

    “longer, more intense and more frequent heat waves” may actually improve the public health and welfare {…} more frequent exposure to heat waves will lead the population to adapt to them, better preparing them for their occurrence, and ultimately reducing the rate of mortality and morbidity”

    Read a debunking at Skeptical Science …

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