Monday Message Board

It’s time for another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language. Lengthy side discussions to the sandpits, please.

85 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. The asylum seeker issue remains the most difficult, especially for Labor, and as a sympathetic person my instinct is to let any boatful stay – but what would be the consequences of such a welcoming policy? – something the Greens and other proponents don’t want to elaborate on.

    It’s not reasonable to insist that people fleeing imminent danger can traverse a series of countries and then settle here because that is their preference – it’s not equitable that criminal organizations and corrupt officials in Indonesia can facilitate the dangerous voyages of those with a little cash while equally deserving families struggle to survive in deplorable conditions – it’s not responsible to advocate a policy that will surely result in even more rotten overloaded hulks setting out for Christmas Island.

    And Bob Carr is right to point out that many of those arriving are economic migrants who did not flee persecution.

    If we were to be as liberal as the Greens suggest, how many should we take – 100,000? 500,000? a million?

    I think we should substantially increase our refugee intake, but that they should come entirely from the transit camps, and none at all by informal boat arrivals – I think that is the only way to stop this awful, cynical trade – and that appears to be the intent of Rudd’s deal with PNG.

    The alternative (and one we may yet face) is to elect Tony Abbott, and see how he deals with this issue – the Greens have the luxury of being able to advocate policies without the risk of having to implement them, but Labor must be pragmatic, and choose the battles it can win – this is not something to die in a ditch over.

  2. I have nothing but pure contempt for the ALP and all its ‘travellers’ and apologists, mind you I hold the LNP in identical contempt.

    Kevin Rudd (“Faith In Politics”: The Monthly [the journal that will excuse absolutely anything the ALP does, and they really will abide anything, scary] – 2006):

    Another great challenge of our age is asylum seekers. The biblical injunction to care for the stranger in our midst is clear. The parable of the Good Samaritan is but one of many which deal with the matter of how we should respond to a vulnerable stranger in our midst. That is why the government’s proposal to excise the Australian mainland from the entire Australian migration zone and to rely almost exclusively on the so-called Pacific Solution should be the cause of great ethical concern to all the Christian churches. We should never forget that the reason we have a UN convention on the protection of refugees is in large part because of the horror of the Holocaust, when the West (including Australia) turned its back on the Jewish people of Germany and the other occupied countries of Europe who sought asylum during the ’30s.

    I am coming to the view that we, as a democracy and a purportedly humane society, would actually be better off with Abbott.

    At least an Abbott government would have some balances (such as Turnbull). The ALP has a lock-step insanity drive where all that is allowed is the occasional hypocrite like Cameron to whinge about the wrongness of some policy and then vote for it anyway.

    Vomit.

  3. People sometimes ask if the ALP will ever become the party of the left-of-centre imagination, or at least, no longer a party ethically and politically indistinguishable from its major centre-right rival.

    The short answer is no. This is because those who favour such a course are willing to vote ALP despite the lack of interest in the ALP in doing so, or, these days, even winking at the left. As an old and repurposed aphorism runs: why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free?

    Until the ALP needs left|sts to support it in order to defeat its rival centre right party, it will happily accept free and unconditional left-of-centre support in defeating that party.

    The problem lies with us left-of-centre folk. We say we want progress, but what are we willing to live with to get it? Are we willing to withhold our effective preferences and see the ALP defeated until the ALP is forced to deal with us. Will we continue to do that until the ALP sees that being a progressive party is a necessary (though perhaps not a sufficient) condition of success? Do our principles imply anything substantive at all? Do they bind us to act?

    It seems to me that there is only one adequate warrant for advocating that someone exercise authority and discretion over public policy — and that is that in some measurable way, the triumph of that person will approach, at optimum speed in all of the constraints, a condition in which policies that best serve the common good will be realised.

    Anything else makes one an accomplice to the very things one claims to oppose. Anything else is thus mere hypocrisy of one form or another.

  4. Megan :
    Ben Saul has a piece in “The Conversation” about the legality of the PNG Final Solution – in a nutshell he doubts it will survive challenge.

    Ben Saul spends most of his time discussing international law. That is of no moment unless that law is incorporated into immigration law.

    The last High Court challenge to the administration of the immigration laws succeeded because the minister’s declaration about Malaysia as a qualifying destination was faulty at law and because the minister has obligations under a separate Act to be the guardian of unaccompanied child migrants and to act in their best interests.

    At all times, the matter is of statutory interpretation. Can parliament express its wishes clearly enough to survive passive resistance by judges. That is the job of the courts: the slow the impassioned majority down.

    Plenty of asylum claimants are settled in third countries. Australia takes thousands who make asylum claims in other countries to the UN through its processes.

  5. Fran Barlow :
    Instead, as our esteemed Professor shows, the “neoliberal” crowd picks and chooses its causes — here liberal and there xenophobic populist in order to serve the greater goal of maintaining the kind of ignorant and angst-ridden coalition needed to protect the privileges of the wealthiest people against any development that might subvert them. Given that the wealthiest 300 people have more than the poorest 3 billion, this fight is a key to their politics.

    know anyone who self-identifies as a neoliberal?

    In Neoliberalism: From New Liberal Philosophy to Anti-Liberal Slogan, Taylor C. Boas & Jordan Gans-Morse look to find anyone who self-identifies as a neo-liberal at http://people.bu.edu/tboas/neoliberalism.pdf

    They did not uncover a single contemporary instance in which an author used the term self-descriptively, and only one—an article by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman (1999)—in which it was applied to the author’s own policy recommendations.

    Digging their archives, they did find that while Friedman (1951) embraced the neoliberal label and philosophy in one of his earliest political writings, he soon distanced himself from the term, trumpeting “old-style liberalism” in later manifestoes (Friedman 1955).

    The paper is “Neo-liberalism and its Prospects.” Milton Friedman Papers, Box 42, Folder 8, Hoover Institution Archives. 1951. Hardly a smoking gun?

    They do find, based on a content analysis of 148 journal articles published from 1990 to 2004, that: the term is often undefined; it is employed unevenly across ideological divides; and it is used to characterize an excessively broad variety of phenomena

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  7. see http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/west/kitten-nearly-dies-from-vegan-diet/story-fngnvmj7-1226682108386?utm_source=Herald+Sun&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=editorial&net_sub_uid=10147177 for a picture of a cute kitten – an obligate carnivor – saved from the clutches of the force of anti-science. please adopt.

    The owners — who were believed to be vegan — had been feeding the kitten a strict vegan diet consisting of potatoes, rice milk, and pasta.

    After resuscitating the kitten with a fluid drip, she immediately fed the feline meat. After three days on a carnivorous diet, it completely recovered.

  8. On Friday night I had to run an errand and when I hopped into Hubby’s car #theirABC was on covering the football. Normally I’d have switched stations, but on this occasion the commentary was different. Instead of the commentary being composed entirely of loudmouthed men trying to iterate their masculinity, there appeared to be a female commentator as well.

    I say “appeared to be” because I wasn’t entirely sure. “Her” voice was, at the very least, effeminate and rather reminiscent of the character in that episode of Blackadder in which a young woman contrives the most unimpressive of disguises to present as a young male soldier in the trenches in World War 1, complete with a fake low voice. This might have been “her” real voice, or perhaps “she” really was male.

    After a few minutes listening I was no closer to determining “her” sex-gender but “she” certainly was making an effort to bond with the blokes, doing her very best to appear engaged with the football and to share in the blokey humour that is de rigeur in these settings. Somehow though, it didn’t seem entirely authentic — rather an affectation or adaptation.

    Perhaps this was because those who were uncontroversially men gave an excellent impression of entirely resenting “her” presence. For the most part, they entirely ignored her contributions, or simply talked over the top of her. At one point after some footballer had apparently suffered an ankle injury she apparently specified the wrong ankle and they piled on to humiliate her. Clearly, this person was there on sufferance, the result, one inferred, of some PC-based whim of management to achieve gender inclusion in sports commentary.

    I’m still not sure if she was a man or a woman — (shades of the character in Lemony Snicket‘s book series A Series of Unfortunate Events!) — but the attutude of the men inclined me to think so. This is exactly how boorish men behave in the presence of women who are in places that the men think should be peculiar to men.

    It struck me that here was an excellent public example of the context in which the last PM attempted to go about the business of being PM. Yes the woman, if she was a woman, fluffed her lines and was unable to “sell” her commentary, but really, she was always going to have to jump a higher bar than any man because she was not regarded as having standing to be there. This is what misogyny often looks like in practice, and that will be true even if the commentator I heard actually was a male.

  9. @Jim Rose

    Jim were you once scared by a ‘greenie’ and you are now suffering from PTSD?

    You do seem somewhat obsessed and very ‘concerned’ in a very weird way with the vagaries of this type of person.

    You also seem to mistakenly think that your ‘clever’ anti-ridicule of what is a ‘normal’ human response to the problems of living a life, provides some sort of evidence or justification for your neo-liberal worldview?

  10. @Julie Thomas do you know anyone who self-identifies as a neo-liberal? you would have neo-liberals killing kittens given half a chance.

    In Neoliberalism: From New Liberal Philosophy to Anti-Liberal Slogan, Taylor C. Boas & Jordan Gans-Morse look to find anyone who self-identifies as a neo-liberal at http://people.bu.edu/tboas/neoliberalism.pdf

    They did not uncover a single contemporary instance in which an author used the term self-descriptively, and only one—an article by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman (1999)—in which it was applied to the author’s own policy recommendations.

    Digging their archives, they did find that while Friedman (1951) used the neoliberal label in one of his earliest political writings, but he soon distanced himself from the term, trumpeting “old-style liberalism” in later manifestoes (Friedman 1955). The paper is “Neo-liberalism and its Prospects.” Milton Friedman Papers, Box 42, Folder 8, Hoover Institution Archives. 1951. Hardly a smoking gun?

    when the Left gets on its high horse and goes on about Hayek and Friedman running neo-liberalism, with Hayek as Friedman’s mentor, it is refreshing to remind how little they had in common on macroeconomics, and Chicago economics did not offer Hayek a job when he applied soon after the founding of the Mont Pelerin Society in 1947 despite an outstanding record at LSE since 1932.

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