Sandpit

A new sandpit for long side discussions, idees fixes and so on. Unless directly responding to the OP, all discussions of nuclear power, MMT and conspiracy theories should be directed to sandpits (or, if none is open, message boards).

271 thoughts on “Sandpit

  1. @TerjeP

    Contention is potentially interminable. At some stage we will stop debating and simply hold a vote. Thank goodness for democracy.

  2. I have some informal connections with central Australian Aborigines ,by chance I got to know people as friends thru someone I met in Melb 25 years ago .He is still one of my best friends and moved to Melb to live 2 years ago. He is an unusual guy as he is white and grew up in, and continued to live in, an Aboriginal community (Yuendumu) and surrounding communities. He speaks Walpiri and some Luritja ,got initiated ,married and had kids etc. Police hate him even more than blackfellas as he is seen as a traitor. The people I’ve met there know even less about the Constitution than I do ,but they do care how people look at them if they go into town (Alice Springs). If Constitutional recognition would be a small step toward changing that, then they would be in favor. Bush people dont have the strident sense of entitlement that most Aussies have .I am worried that the current controversy about ‘lifestyle choices” is just about terminology. When politicians talk about choice and opportunity via education, home ownership, and jobs they are only talking about opportunity to be white. They say there is no choice because we are broke. If we are broke ,they are more broke. I think people would be amazed how many special laws and rules there are in those areas that seem to be aimed simultaneously at civilizing but also at keeping people out. They are trying to force people into town but then they are not welcome there. People feel they are being forced to change but are not welcome. I think mainstream society needs a complete redesign- not realistic I know.

    Aborigines were active but — ” interspersed with the daily rest periods so necessary to maintaining high levels of fitness.” (Iko) — I think there is a lot in that , I’ve often thought it strange that all the animals physiologically like us seem to have regular rests and naps whereas we just go constantly for 16 hours and then crash.

  3. After the PM Tony Abbott’s most recent comments stating we shouldn’t be paying for remote communities to survive, as living there is a lifestyle choice, I think he needs to be strapped into a chair, eyelids held open and head locked to look at a big screen session of First Footprints. If, after seeing the cultural and spiritual significance of the incredible artwork which has survived 40,000 years intact, if after seeing that he still thinks tribal Aboriginal people are making a lifestyle choice by living in connection with physical artefacts of their heritage, then there is no hope for him.

    Honestly, after hearing these comments of his, a re-baking of previously aired sentiments, I personally find PM Tony Abbott to be the most ignorant and offensive PM we’ve ever had the disgrace to have. I’m in total agreement with Rolf de Heer’s response. If I could renounce the (very) few times I voted Liberal, I would. It won’t ever happen again.

  4. Just saw this story from ABC Queensland:

    The Townsville District Court heard 65-year-old Neville Douglas Welsh was frustrated with cleaning up after homeless people who slept in the city’s Dean Park.

    Welsh’s trial heard he left iced coffee bottles in the park containing methylated spirits and weed killer.

    Witnesses told the court they heard Welsh say he would brew up medicine for the itinerants, that he wanted to “make them sick” and that the “Abos at the park should be shot”.

    Welsh’s lawyer said his client was not on trial for saying such things.

    “We don’t live in perfect world – who hasn’t heard these sorts of racist comments?” he told the court.

    Welsh had pleaded not guilty to two counts of attempting to injure by noxious substance.

    The jury found him guilty on both counts.

    He was sentenced to 12 months in jail, suspended after six months.

    In handing down the sentence, Judge Anthony Rafter said Welsh has shown a distinct lack of remorse.

    This country needs to come to terms with the reality of its racism and ongoing attitude to the First Nations people.

    Fiddling with words on a document will do nothing unless this is addressed at a very deep level.

  5. Malcolm Turnbull is distancing himself from some things Abbottian, and flat out slapping down the ridiculous thought flatulence of the treasurer. I guess this means he feels the time is right for getting some clear air between himself and the other ministers. I wonder how long before he gets sent an official cease-and-desist letter from the PMO?

  6. @Megan
    Back in the seventies it was a bit of local sport for Townsville’s finest to throw Molotov cocktails at the people who slept under a bridge; I forget which bridge.

    City people just don’t understand how close to the surface racism is in the bush. And racially motivated violence. It is still a form of social currency; it is a way for the lowest dregs of non-Aboriginal society to identify with their betters by claiming racial solidarity with them.

    Anyway, your man there, Neville Douglas Welsh will get a comeuppance. Anyone who would poison people wouldn’t think twice about poisoning dogs and no-one like a dog poisoner.

  7. I heard Geoffrey Blainey on Phillip Adams’ Late Night Live spruiking his new book.

    Professor Blainey talks about how he “has re-examined his previous works on Indigenous Australians and explains how he’s changed some long held views about Australia’s past.
    His new book is called The Story of Australia’s People.” Phillip was very nice and respectful to him.

    Blainey was the historian who is said to have started the history wars with his use of the term ‘black arm band view’.

    “In 1985 he delivered a public lecture in which he spoke of the ‘vocal, richly subsidised multicultural lobby’ and of the need for Australia to be ‘one nation’ rather than ‘a nation of many nations’. Blainey alleged that the Labor Party was the captive of the ‘multi-cultural industry’ which had ‘little respect for the history of Australia’. Together with the ‘socialist’ elements in the Hawke government, the ABC, and schools and universities, elite groups were spreading the view that Australia’s history was ‘largely the story of violence exploitation, repression, racism, sexism, capitalism, colonialism and a few other isms’.”

    It seems that Blainey has been changing his views for a while. He gave an interview in 2009 on PM with David Mark that included this exchange, in which he praised PM Rudd’s comments.

    DAVID MARK: It’s very easy to say the history wars should end, how does it actually happen?

    GEOFFREY BLAINEY: I think the phrase history wars is exaggerated but there’s widespread disagreement about the interpretation of Australian…Australia’s past and we’re more likely to reach agreement if we have some of the balance that I think I can see in Mr Rudd’s speech.”

    Then he says:

    “If people who belong to one side are willing to look at the other point of view and even if they disagree with it, listen carefully and likewise the same goes for the other side. It’s a matter of listening as much as talking. ”

    It is good and to be applauded that he has realised that he was wrong but so typical that he can’t see that the lack of balance was and still is, all on his, the conservative side.

  8. @Julie Thomas
    One of the biggest mistakes of the broad left in Australia has been and still is a tendency to take on the fascists, the retards and illiterates of the right, the openly fascist, with a sort of avuncular generosity. Blainey is a t*rd, and he knows it, like Henderson and Bolt and Jones and Albrechtonson and Devine and the whole shower of sh*te of them, the genteel right in this ars*hole of a nation.

    Don’t give them an inch.

  9. This conversation has taken a hilarious turn, in which we see the credulity and subtextual racism of the left in Australia.

    First, we have Julie Thomas reproducing the worst kind of racist trash about Tasmanian Aborigines: apparently they lost the ability to produce fire because they just didn’t need it. This is such a joke, that has been roundly dismissed by scholars, that it is no surprise to find it being regurgitated at a website like this. You know your theory is on solid ground when it is being used as a defense of creationism! Then we have someone up above telling us that the Maori exterminated the previous residents of New Zealand, which would make them a more powerful force in ethnic adjustment than even our friends the N-zis. Unfortunately, this is also a completely unfounded myth. Next we’ll be hearing that Aborigines killed off the megafauna as if it were settled fact, not under scientific dispute …

    How is it that leftists are so capable of sophisticated critiques of so many systems of injustice, but will believe any old trash printed about the indigenous people of their land? I wonder …

    Then we get this silly idea that Aboriginal people chose not to live a capitalist life of exploiting the environment, as if they met a fork in the road and at one end was a coal-fired powerplant and at the other end a goanna, and those simplistic and lovable magical n=groes chose the goanna. I don’t know why my comrades here at JQ haven’t figured out that this kind of theorizing is the worst kind of new age reductionism, but apparently it’s all the rage hereabouts. If only there were a body of scholarship about how negative this kind of magical n=gro ideal is for the people it is applied to, and if only one of our 4wd-riding experts on all things native were familiar with that body of thought …

    Next we have the use of the term “blackfella.” Anyone who has seen American comedy in the last 30 years knows that one doesn’t gain street cred by calling black people by the “n” word, one just ends up looking like a racist idiot. Yet somehow this simple lesson has slid by those white Australians who think they can make themselves cooler by referring to Aborigines as “Blackfellas.” Those of us who have actually met Aboriginal people are unsurprised to discover that 50% of them are actually women, and the term “blackfella” strangely excludes that 50%. How can it be that the white leftist “friends” of Aboriginal people have decided to use such a deeply sexist term over a word – such as “Aborigine” or “Aboriginal people” – that actually represents their relation to the people they are describing (i.e. not part of them)? Pro tip, jungney: they are not your brothers either, because none of them are your relatives, and 50% of them are women.

    The words we choose to use to describe people, and the things we choose to believe about them, tell others a lot about our attitudes towards those people. I think what I’ve seen here tells me all I need to know about the attitudes of many white leftists towards Aboriginal people.

    Terjep strikes me as the most honest commentator on Aboriginal issues on this thread, and the mistakes he has made in describing Aboriginal issues are a crapton less embarrassing than if he had decided to refer to people he has nothing in common with as “blackfellas,” or recycle out of date racist trash as fact. And yet here you are, misrepresenting things he said and telling him he needs to learn more about Aboriginal people…

  10. @faustusnotes

    I call “concern troll” on your post. You implicitly claim to be concerned about aboriginals and aboriginal women as well as claiming to be concerned about racism in general. You are not concerned about these things. Your feigned concern is simply a smokescreen to assist your right-wing agenda of attacks on left-wing people sympathetic to the aboriginal cause. I can only assume that you, like the right-wing Libertarians you clearly completely identify with, are concerned that granting even a few aboriginal rights inteferes with the “rights” of rich white guys to own everything.

    Your timing is interesting too. In the week that Abbott calls remote indigenous communities a “lifestyle choice” you have nothing to say about that. “Tony Abbott’s key Indigenous advisers have slammed his description of living in remote communities as a “lifestyle choice”, saying the statement is “hopeless”, “disrespectful” and simplistic.” – ABC News.

    Instead, you attack people who on this site express solidarity with the aboriginal cause and want to advance it. The same cannot be said for Tony Abbott who thinks that the way people live after over 200 years of oppression is a “lifestyle choice”.

  11. @faustusnotes

    “First, we have Julie Thomas reproducing the worst kind of racist trash about Tasmanian Aborigines: apparently they lost the ability to produce fire because they just didn’t need it. ”

    Read this far and thought “What a dickhead Faustnotes is”. Poor man can’t even read what is on the page. Just making stuff up so he can be a smart arse and show us how superior he is.

    So FN show me where I said that or anything like it. Pity da fool as Mr T used to say. 🙂

    Do point to the part where I said that they lost the ability to produce fire?

  12. And FN just in case you are interested in understanding where you have gone wrong, your analysis is so fundamentally flawed by your own neediness to appear more intelligent than everyone else.

    The idea in contemporary anthropology, is that it was a choice the Tasmanian Aborigines made to abandon the use of fire and many other technologies they once had. This would seem to be a bad choice but societies do make bad choices.

    There are a number of times according to the archaeological record when an Aboriginal group abandoned a technology that had been in use for many decades (and when I refer to technology dude I am not talking about computers and things; I mean the way they made spears and woomeras. You do understand that huh?) and went back to an earlier way of doing things.

    Have you read the psych studies on how deluded people can be about what they ‘see’ and read when they want to believe something else? The human mind is so very susceptible to the sort of bias that you show here.

  13. @jungney

    Somebody said they wanted to be there when karma catches up with these right wing warriors and I think this is happening.

    It was Blainey’s karma that he had to go on Phillip’s program at this stage of his life, to sell a book that tries to restore his reputation as a scholar rather than a partisan warrior. So old and doddery and with a quavery voice and sounding like a real loser a leaner in fact!

    And to try to find some shreds of respectability with which to wrap the asshattery that is his contribution to the debate.

    Phillip who usually sounds so old seemed positively youthful and absolutely magnanimous in his attitude toward Blainey who supported the liars in the Liberal party and who should take some responsibly for the creation of so much division and distrust in our country.

  14. Read this far and thought “What a dickhead Faustnotes is”. Poor man can’t even read what is on the page. Just making stuff up so he can be a smart arse and show us how superior he is.

    Julie – Well you would know. On a regular basis you make stuff up regarding what other people think or what they have said. You see what you want to see and hear what you want to hear.

  15. I can only assume that you, like the right-wing Libertarians you clearly completely identify with, are concerned that granting even a few aboriginal rights inteferes with the “rights” of rich white guys to own everything.

    You should broaden your horizons if that is the only thing you can assume about libertarians.

  16. @TerjeP

    I have broadened my horizons and what I stated about modern US-style Libertarian political economy is correct. When put into practice, as in the USA, it results in vast and ever-increasing disparities of wealth between a few super-rich people and the masses of the poor and indeed now a declining middle-class. Don’t try the argument “USA isn’t Libertarian.” No, it isn’t purely Libertarian yet but as it becomes more so every year the situation re inequality is rapidly worsening. The USA is a perfect example of where right-wing Libertarianism leads in practice.

    Now, you know I try to be personally non-insulting. However, I remain radically opposed to what I call right-wing US style Libertarianism. I think you don’t understand political economy at all. No doubt you think the same of me. Our views will never meet on fundamentals. We probably shouldn’t tangle on them. We would both be wasting our time.

  17. Terje the point is that I make these judgements or assessments about behaviour based on the knowledge that I have from the many years I was studying and working as a psychologist.

    Do you not accept that psychology and related fields like neuroscience have anything to offer in the way of understanding why people do things? Or is it just that I misunderstand this knowledge?

    The calling people names bit is for sure me making stuff up but really! what is one to do when FN actually makes stuff up about what I wrote.

    Well, he made it up, or was deceived as many studies show people are, by his desire to see what he wanted to see. If one is aware of how significant our motivation is – and the research shows this clearly – in determining what we see, one is more careful about relying on ones’ feelings and beliefs.

    The difference between us could be that you really believe without understanding the research and the evidence, that you are capable of objectivity. I don’t believe this about myself. I know I need to check what others from all perspectives are saying about the problem.

    Look at yourself; look at what Blainey has become because of his refusal to see the other side for so long. He’s a failure and had to go on Phil Adams show and recant and try to save some of his dignity and reputation.

    I can see your side. I have explained that I come from a family of libertarians of all kinds. I do understand how well off right wing business owning or aspiring to own one libertarians think and feel and how it is just plain wrong for other people who don’t want to be this type of person.

    So I’m comfortable with the conclusion that my personal experience of your type of person and many years of studying all that we western people know about how the human brain works and how personalities develop does give me some authority to question your assumptions and gives me the right to be dismissive of them.

    If I am making up stuff about what you say, why do you not answer my questions to you?

    Have you noticed that whenever I reply to you, I ask you questions so that you can clarify your meaning because I do want you to reveal the thought processes that you go through when you come to your conclusions. And it is disappointing that you prefer to respond to the gratuitous insults that I do like to add, and that I fail to censor appropriately rather than answer the questions I ask.

    Do you understand why you choose to do – what motivates you to do that – that rather than to defend your statements with a rational argument?

    I am very aware of how inappropriate I am but as I said to you previously I am not stupid and can understand some things – not economics – far better than you it seems, and it seems from the way that so many people are waking up to the lack of any realism in the Libertarian story that you are on the wrong side.

  18. @Julie Thomas
    Really? The auld shyster had to eat some humble pie in front of Adams? I’m so glad that I’ll look for the podcast and let it soothe me to sleep.

    FN:

    Then we get this silly idea that Aboriginal people chose not to live a capitalist life of exploiting the environment, as if they met a fork in the road and at one end was a coal-fired powerplant and at the other end a goanna, and those simplistic and lovable magical n=groes chose the goanna. I don’t know why my comrades here at JQ haven’t figured out that this kind of theorizing is the worst kind of new age reductionism, but apparently it’s all the rage hereabouts. If only there were a body of scholarship about how negative this kind of magical n=gro ideal is for the people it is applied to, and if only one of our 4wd-riding experts on all things native were familiar with that body of thought …

    Get a grip and stop babbling man. If you’re going to tar people with he broad brush of dabbling in ‘new age reductionism’ then some evidence to substantiate the allegation is needed. What you are arguing against are the echoes of the notion of the ‘noble savage’:

    The term noble savage is a literary stock character that expresses the concept of an idealized indigene, outsider, or “other” who has not been “corrupted” by civilization, and therefore symbolizes humanity’s innate goodness. In English, the phrase first appeared in the 17th century in John Dryden’s heroic play The Conquest of Granada (1672), wherein it was used by a the son of a Christian prince, believing himself a Spanish Muslim, in reference to himself. However, the phrase later became identified with the idealized picture of “nature’s gentleman”, which was an aspect of 18th-century sentimentalism. The noble savage achieved prominence as an oxymoronic rhetorical device after 1851, when used sarcastically as the title for a satirical essay by English novelist Charles Dickens, whom some believe may have wished to disassociate himself from what he viewed as the “feminine” sentimentality of 18th and early 19th-century romantic primitivism.

    But I’ve never seen a view on this blog that comes anywhere near advancing that notion about Aboriginal Australians or anyone else for that matter.

    As to matters of properly addressing people: I’ve heard numerous Aboriginal people describe themselves, men and women, as ‘blackfellas’ so I suggest that the term is gender neutral to their ears. If anyone is letting loose red herrings, it is you. You really ought to come up to speed on Aboriginal women’s criticisms of non-Aboriginal feminism. Kelly Briggs, a Gamilaroi woman from Northern NSW had this to say recently at the Graud:

    My passion is feminism – specifically, black feminism. Sexism, racism and classism are very tightly interwoven in our social fabric. To believe that all women everywhere experience oppression evenly is an entire mountain of bullshit. Feminism that doesn’t take race, financial status and a myriad of other factors into consideration is detrimental to reaching true equality. The feminist conversation in Australia is stagnant and operates from a framework that is actively exclusive to women of colour (and I would go so far as to say people of colour). The feminist topic of “women on company boards” is particularly repugnant, as it assumes that all women are now in positions wherein the main obstacle they’re facing is to advance their careers. It completely ignores the fact that systemic and institutional racism in this country still plays such an enormous role in people’s lives, and that even obtaining a job is a battle within itself, let alone being on a board.

    She may be right but it is not as if this is new analysis:

    Postcolonial feminism is a subset of feminism that developed as a response to the fact that feminism seemed to focus solely on the experiences of women in Western cultures. Postcolonial feminism seeks to account for the way that racism and the long-lasting political, economic, and cultural effects of colonialism affect non-white, non-Western women in the postcolonial world.[1] Postcolonial feminism originated as a critique of feminist theorists in developed countries. The critique points out the universalizing tendencies of mainstream feminist ideas and argues that women living in non-Western countries are misrepresented.

    See that, references, quotes, no babbling?

  19. I’m calling a halt to this thread immediately. Any further comment will lead to a ban, as will attempts to restart this debate on another thread. Could everyone please read the comments policy and abide by it.

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