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THE NATION’S CARBON SCHIZOPHRENIA

13 Jul

On the weekends I attend the library which was made difficult a few weeks ago on account of the protest in favour of a tax! This, in an English-speaking country! The Anglosphere is traditionally resistant to taxation. Obviously a good deal many of us still are, but still hundreds of thousands of people actively support this. Figures. Right now the governing party is backing the ‘yes’ campaign (funny that) and it’s a much better organized effort than those for opposition. Still, this conflict is marked by an hysterical antipathy one side for the other. The country is mentally ill. Isn’t it obvious:

Carbontaxyes

Carbontaxno

The people at the ‘yes’ protest were (for me) likable. Lots of friendly dogs. The band was cool, finally someone’s got a clue: speeches are dull. Still, there were speeches. There always are. I caught speech-bytes between talking to people who handed me stuff: a pamphlet encouraging me to unite to end mandatory detention for refugees, a glossy booklet covered in oranges: easy vegan recipes. Another says Veganism is the solution: the organic way from crisis to peace.

The speech-bytes kept referring to bad polluters. Polluters. Those polluters, aren’t they bloody awful? Reminded me of lunch at the Hare Krishna restaurant, there was an(other glossy) ad on the table promoting a talk at the Krishna centre: Global Warming: Who’s To Blame. I remember looking up at the lights, hearing the citar drone over the surround sound speaker set, the fan turning. People buying their meals with money given in trade for labour that requires ubiquitous information technology. Stripe-shirt/club tie guys eating spoonfuls of spinach-garnished lemon and garlic chickpeas while checking Facebook, checking email, checking text messages, sending sales reports, uploading software updates, checking movies and absently scanning the net for beautiful shining things they want to buy.

Who’s to blame? The stripe shirt guys? The producers of the carbon based energy that drives their industries? Are the Hare Krishnas innocent because their food is organic? Are those billions who cannot be fed in such a way guilty? Do you solve this problem by demonizing an industry or a type of person? How do you solve this?

I must confess I laughed when I saw this. The ad is very simple of course. That is its virtue, simplicity. Something that could’ve been set up on a soundstage and shot in less than a day. And the scenario illustrated is absurdly simplistic. There are a lot of problems with it. Shifting to sustainable energy consumption is really is not such a simple matter. Truly. And, as in America, actors have entered the realm of political discourse. Is that a good thing?

To clarify: my position on AGW is now and has always been that it is happening, hence cause for serious concern. I believe we will be forced to deal with the consequences of global scale human economic activity this century. I also believe that introducing a huge political apparatus is both useless and one more nail in the coffin of liberty. My children will be raised to bear this in mind. Sincerely hope this disclaimer is to everyone’s dissatisfaction.

The political ‘solutions’ to the AGW problem are, in my irrelevant opinion, thus far, ridiculous at best and at worst a cover for some battle of interests or other. My experience of the ALP disinclines me to believe that they’ve all suddenly come over with the love of the planet. I’m skeptical of any proposition that the Gillard government’s war with the mining industry is entirely an ecological matter. On that I shan’t elaborate. No substance, just a hunch.

Who’s responsible for cooking the planet? Everybody. O’ course if you’re an Australian citizen you’re likely to be about 2000% more responsible than the average African. But they would if they could and they want to… so bad. So do the Chinese, and they’re gonna do it. Indians too. Brazil, Russia. These places are getting richer. You can’t stop that. And why should they remain in the throes of pre-modern squalor? The lack of in-depth consideration of these matters on behalf of those who believe it imperative to act immediately is appalling.

Equally appalling, tho’ much more effective in the mainstream media, is the assault on the very science of AGW. In this the scientists and the advocates on the opposition have been most useful idiots. There is something sinister of course about the unknown parties who hacked into the Climatic Research Unit’s data in order to sabotage the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. Amongst the denials of the denialists is the vehement refusal to see that powerful interests are waging a propaganda war against policies that mitigate carbon pollution. There’s something totalitarian about the tactics.

But, no matter the bad manners, the CRU’s data reveals a bunch of scientists who violate the very principles of science in order to advance a political cause and a personal interest. This is venal. The human race needs science now and yet it displays an absence of its central discipline which is to remind yourself of your ignorance: how do I know that? But in the realm of politics the facts are irrelevant, or putty to be shaped and trimmed. The CRU acts thus and in response the anti-AGW crew declare the rest of the (solid) data in support of the AGW hypothesis immaterial. It’s not happening. The issue is over, they say.

Meantime the weather patterns change and no-one notices. No-one notices the sky anymore. Do you know what phase the moon’s in right now? Doesn’t anyone think it’s funny to hear mosquitos buzzing around your ears in late May?

Oh never mind, leave that for now.

The discourse of the ‘yes’ campaign, the ad appearing above, link ‘social justice issues’ with sustainability. This despite the the argument that making power more expensive and switching to organic food production etc are the indulgences of the wealthier classes and will hurt the poor. This is only the first contradiction in a miasma of bitter choices coming up over the horizon at us. What about the people of Bangladesh? Millions of poor and uneducated people who live in a land that is already subject to flooding from the mountain monsoonal waters. If the sea rises they will be swallowed up. A levy will only assist disaster. What about the millions who live in the tropics? Millions? Billions perchance? There are places that could become uninhabitable.

Adam Smith posited a scenario that asks what would you do if faced with the following choice: cut off your hand or a thousand people die? I think his figure was actually higher. But let’s make it a thousand, or maybe a million. One? The choice is, objectively speaking, obvious. Your hand is clearly worth less than even one life surely. But… would you do it? If a thousand strangers were wiped out by earthquake would you be more upset than if you lost your hand in a traffic accident? What about a scenario in which millions must die if you are to avoid medieval impoverishment?

I’m not saying that will happen, but what if?

Modern civilization requires energy. This is obvious. As a personal choice I support the slow food, back to the Earth, permaculture vibe. I’m totally down with it and want to be more so. I want to live in a Earthship house and collect fresh eggs in the morning from chickens that wander free fertilizing the garden. But that’s what I want. Other do not. And I won’t force anyone to live a certain way. It’s been attempted on me. Forget it! And also, again the inconvenient fact: 6 billion people plus can’t live on food grown in this fashion. It’s impossible. I can, because I’m privileged.

Modern civilization requires energy and our current methods of harvestation are unsustainable. Sustainability’s a word much maligned, it makes some people retch. But it’s important. To sustain civilization is to make it last. This basic idea, surely, is worthy to the vast majority of us. Still we argue about what to do and whether it’s necessary to ‘do’ anything. And the volume’s up so high we can hear none but our own voices. I think it is important to ‘do something’, sure.I also think the public policy solutions thus far are myopic, useless, a front for a rort. Many things but ‘effective’ ain’t one of ’em.

Modern civilization requires energy. We can’t go back. The peasant’s life would kill most modern urban dwellers. Ask anyone who was in the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Anyone who survived that is. How do we acquire sustainable energy sources? Obviously the Sun’s ideal but there are problems. For example, the production of the world’s best photovoltaic cells would not be lawful in this country. Why? The toxic by-products of the process are prohibited by our environmental laws. Just one problem, not even the main one.

There are others. But at the heart of the ‘solution’ problem is science and innovation. Technological innovation is not something that happens well in a governmental department. Scientific breakthroughs never happen because of political decree. The capitalist behemoth might be partially or entirely repulsive to some reading this but, it works. For producing innovative new technology there’s not been anything remotely close. So is the solution to be accomplished by regulation and taxation? By the State taking control of a process it’s ill-equipped to manage or even facilitate. Should we leave ecological sustainability to politicians? Are lawyers the ones who will save us?

I support a carbon tax policy but not the one that is going before the House shortly. That carbon tax is simply an introduction for a cap and trade system (which seems to me a rort designed to keep developing nations from developing), it is (yet again) over-complicated and targeted squarely at the resource and energy concerns. (Those bad polluters). I don’t think that’s smart. They are actually powerful you know. Do this and you get a war; war is destruction.

The solution is technological and scientific. The solution is ethical, the choices you make everyday, the way you act. The solution is savage: ‘there’s gonna be sorrow try and wake up tomorrow’. The solution is in the minds of brilliant entrepreneurs and engineers we haven’t heard of yet. The solution is stop blaming ‘them’ and realize there’s no Justice there’s just us. The solution is… as simple as that. And infinitely more complicated.

THE SCHIZOPHRENIC HEART OF PIG NATION

7 Jun

My position on AGW is now and has always been that it is happening, hence cause for serious concern. I believe we will be forced to deal with the consequences of global scale human economic activity this century. I also believe that introducing a huge political apparatus is both useless and one more nail in the coffin of liberty. My children will be raised to bear this in mind. Sincerely hope this disclaimer is to everyone’s dissatisfaction.

The country is mentally ill. Isn’t it obvious:

Carbontaxyes

Carbontaxno

On the weekends I attend the library which was made difficult this last on account of the protest in favour of a tax! This, in an English-speaking country. The Anglosphere is traditionally resistant to taxation. Obviously a good deal many of us still are, but still hundreds of thousands of people actively support this. Figures. Right now the governing party is backing the ‘yes’ campaign (funny that) and it’s a much better organized effort than those for opposition.

I must confess I laughed when I saw this. The ad is very simple of course. That is its virtue, simplicity. Something that could’ve been set up on a soundstage and shot in less than a day. And the scenario illustrated is absurdly simplistic. There are a lot of problems with it. It really is not such a simple matter. Truly. And, as in America, actors have entered the realm of political discourse. Is that a good thing?

The political ‘solutions’ thus far on offer are, in my irrelevant opinion, at best ridiculous and at worst a cover for some battle of interests or other. My experience of the ALP disinclines me to believe that they’ve all suddenly come over with the love of the planet. I’m skeptical of any proposition that the Gillard government’s war with the mining industry is entirely an ecological matter. On that I shan’t elaborate. No substance, just a hunch.

I liked the people at the ‘yes’ protest. Lots of friendly dogs. The band was cool, finally someone’s got a clue: speeches are dull. Still, there were speeches. There always are. I caught speech-bytes between talking to people who handed me stuff: a pamphlet encouraging me to unite to end mandatory detention for refugees, a glossy booklet covered in oranges: easy vegan recipes. Another says Veganism is the solution: the organic way from crisis to peace.

The speech-bytes kept referring to bad polluters. Polluters. Those polluters, aren’t they bloody awful? Reminded me of lunch at the Hare Krishna restaurant, there was an(other glossy) ad on the table promoting a talk at the Krishna centre: Global Warming: Who’s To Blame. I remember looking up at the lights, hearing the citar drone over the surround sound speaker set, the fan turning. People buying their meals with money given in trade for labour that requires ubiquitous information technology. Stripe-shirt/club tie guys eat spoonfuls of spinach-garnished lemon and garlic chickpeas while checking Facebook, checking email, check text messages, send the report, upload software updates, check movies and absently scan the net for beautiful shining things you want to buy.

Everybody is soooo full of shit.

Who’s responsible for cooking the planet? Everybody. O’ course if you’re an Australian citizen you’re likely to be about 2000% more responsible than the average African. But they would if they could and they want to… so bad. So do the Chinese, and they’re gonna do it. Indians too. Brazil, Russia. These places are getting richer. You can’t stop that. And why should they remain in the throes of pre-modern squalor? The lack of in-depth consideration of these matters on behalf of those who believe it imperative to act immediately appalling.

Equally appalling, tho’ much more effective in the mainstream media, is the assault on the very science of AGW. In this the scientists and the advocates on the opposition have been most useful idiots. There is something sinister of course about the unknown parties who hacked into the Climatic Research Unit’s data in order to sabotage the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. Amongst the denials of the denialists is the vehement refusal to see that powerful interests are waging a propaganda war against policies that mitigate carbon pollution. There’s something totalitarian about the tactics.

But, no matter the bad manners, the CRU’s data reveals a bunch of scientists who violate the very principles of science in order to advance a political cause and a personal interest. This is venal. The human race needs science now and yet it displays an absence of its central discipline which is to remind yourself of your ignorance: how do I know that? But in the realm of politics the facts are irrelevant, or putty to be shaped and trimmed. The CRU acts thus and in response the anti-AGW crew declare the rest of the (solid) data in support of the AGW hypothesis immaterial. It’s not happening. The issue is over.

Meantime the weather patterns change and no-one notices. No-one notices the sky anymore. Do you know what phase the moon’s in right now? Doesn’t anyone think it’s funny to hear mosquitos buzzing around your ears in late May!

…..

The discourse of the ‘yes’ campaign, the ad appearing above, link ‘social justice issues’ with sustainability. This despite the argument that making power more expensive and switching to organic food production etc are the indulgences of the wealthier classes and will hurt the poor. This is only the first contradiction in a miasma of bitter choices coming up over the horizon at us. What about the people of Bangladesh? Millions of poor and uneducated people who live in a land that is already subject to flooding from the mountain monsoonal waters. If the sea rises they will be swallowed up. What about the millions who live in the tropics? Millions? Billions perchance? There are places that could become uninhabitable.

Adam Smith posited a scenario that asks what would you do if faced with the following choice: cut off your hand or a thousand people die? I think his figure was actually higher. But let’s make it a thousand, or maybe a million. One? The choice is, objectively speaking, obvious. Your hand is clearly worth less than even one life surely. But… would you do it? If a thousand strangers were wiped out by earthquake would you be more upset than if you lost your hand in a traffic accident? What about a scenario in which millions must die if you are to avoid medieval impoverishment?

I’m not saying that will happen, but what if?

Modern civilization requires energy. This is obvious. As a personal choice I support the slow food, back to the Earth, permaculture vibe. I’m totally down with it and want to be more so. I want to live in a Earthship house and collect fresh eggs in the morning from chickens that wander free fertilizing the garden. That’s what I want. Other do not. And won’t force anyone to live a certain way. It’s been attempted on me, forget it. And also, inconvenient fact: 6 billion people plus can’t live on food grown in this fashion. It’s impossible. I can, because I’m privileged.

Modern civilization requires energy and our current methods of harvestation are unsustainable. Sustainability’s a word much maligned, it makes some people retch. But it’s important. To sustain civilization is to make it last. This basic idea, surely, is worthy to the vast majority of us. Still we argue about what to do and whether it’s necessary to ‘do’ anything. And the volume’s up so high we can hear none but our own voices. I think it is important to ‘do something’, sure.I also think the public policy solutions thus far are myopic, useless, a front for a rort. Many things but ‘effective’ ain’t one of ’em.

Modern civilization requires energy. We can’t go back. The peasant’s life would kill most modern urban dwellers. Ask anyone who was in the Cultural Revolution. How do we acquire sustainable energy sources? Obviously the Sun’s ideal but there are problems. For example, the production of the world’s best photovoltaic cells would not be lawful in this country. Why? The toxic by-products of the process are prohibited by our environmental laws. Just one problem, not even the main one.

There are others. But at the heart of the ‘solution’ problem is science and innovation. Technological innovation is not something that happens well in a governmental department. Scientific breakthroughs never happen because of political decree. The capitalist behemoth might be partially or entirely repulsive to some reading this but, it works. For producing innovative new technology there’s not been anything remotely close. So is the solution to be accomplished by regulation and taxation? By the State taking control of a process it’s ill-equipped to manage or even facilitate. Should we leave ecological sustainability to politicians? Are lawyers the ones who will save us?

I support a carbon tax policy but not the one that is going before the House shortly. That carbon tax is simply an introduction for a cap and trade system (which seems to me a rort designed to keep developing nations from developing), it is (yet again) over-complicated and targeted squarely at the resource and energy concerns. (Those bad polluters). I don’t think that’s smart. They are actually powerful you know. Do this and you get a war; war is destruction.

That just about brings to the end this wet day’s spray of wild generalizations. I’m just a monkey on a rock trying to fish a few beans of truth from a mountain of bullshit.

I don’t know. Still I have a few convictions. I think we’re gonna get it. I think we should take a chill pill and ‘start disagreeing without being violently disagreeable’. I think we should re-acquire scientific discipline: what do you know and how do you know that? I think we should face all of the problems, consider them thoroughly, and refrain from expressing strong views on matters we haven’t considered. And I think we should maybe stop once in a while, turn off our gadgets and clear our minds (can we?).

The solution is technological and scientific. The solution is ethical, the choices you make everyday, the way you act. The solution is savage: ‘there’s gonna be sorrow try and wake up tomorrow’. The solution is in the minds of brilliant entrepreneurs and engineers we haven’t heard of yet. The solution is stop blaming ‘them’ and realize there’s no Justice there’s just us. The solution is… as simple as that. And infinitely more complicated.

No matter. It’s mostly not under your control. Here’s what is: inhale, breath deep, look up at the sky. In a city it’s the only real nature you ever see.

SUCH PEOPLE IN IT

1 Jun

Iran Rave

From: The Guardian, UK.

I sit here in a postmodern annex of a neoclassical building listening to a compilated playlist of the musical underground of a country that is, technically, the enemy of mine. The newspapers in my city tell me these people are all backward savages but they are heirs of once-great multiple market-place a culture of long standing. And they are young raised in the shadows of a theocratic revolution that brought back the rule of old men with beards.

They are so sick of it.

So behind closed doors they are modern people who listen to modern music, write it and play it. The styles are a dialectic blend of commercial pop music (European mostly) and the multifarious musical tradition of the Levant from a viewpoint centred on what we have long-called Persia. It’s quite… commercial.

What a piece of work is a human monkey, how noble in faculty and not quite infinite in reason. How quickly the spoilt, fat, lazy rat it becomes. How base and venal and sometimes gracefully sublime in the face of hardship. What folly in these craven beasts who remember and yet fail time and again to learn.

Today I am in love with my fellow species, what rare fun we are. The sky is blue and I feel like smiling.

But let’s be serious for five minutes. Last week the US President, a man that ‘liberals’ admire, ordered an elite group of his soldiers into the territory of another country. A nation that is technically an ally. Sorta. And without its permissision taken human life and retrieved information thereby. Yet it is the smaller nation that has been publically shamed in the discourse of geopolitical theatre. Well the human life taken was that of a man who has precipitated the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. He challenged the world’s hyper-power.

According to the law of the-way-things-are, he had it coming. Interesting finale, stranded in an Islamabad fortress, jaded and regretful. Yet another man who’s realized too late that he’ll never know his children. An isolated false Messiah, catching up on a lifetime’s worth of masturbation.

Never stop making you laugh these monkeys. Rare fun amidst the grim smoking corpses.

As usual, only the radical Left can call it like is: an explicit act that extends and consolidates the American Empire. And it was carried out by a man who stood against this expedition way back when it was most unpopular to do so. He had no choice. The true Machiavels amidst the dreaming neocon crew saw that. They understood that future ‘American interests’ (which Americans?) lay in securing certain territories and resources. They got the States into a war it could not extricate itself from. And somewhere today they are smiling to themselves. At the ranch maybe, sipping a tumbler o’ the Macallan perhaps, awaiting a phone conversation that will change lives. Smug in a truth that is never spoken aloud.

There’s a Punisher graphic novel by Garth Ennis. I won’t summarize but one of characters is a much-feared Russian general who commanded in the Afghanistan theatre. At one point we see him ordering his men to behead a ponytailed journalist on the tarmac of Khabul airport. The dude had written a book that wasn’t appreciated. Anyway, this guy has a bit where he philsophizes about the American Cold war victory. His take on their strategy was that they’d bomb places flat and build McDonalds amongst the rubble. Some over-simplification, but apt. Mostly America rains fire down on people by remote control. Domestic casualties have, since Vietnam, become increasingly unacceptable. Bombing Usama bin Laden’s house was an option available to Obama. He chose a helicopter drop instead. He sent in human individuals, an act that required personal courage (on the part of the soldiers) in a way that remote explosion does not.

This is the first time I’ve approved of Barack Obama’s foreign policy.

I knew he would not withdraw the troops. That to do so would be so detrimental to American interests – increased terrorism, oil price spikes and shortages – it would be electoral suicide. Considering the economic situation the States was in when he took office, considering the solutions he’s chosen, his second term is already far from assured. To withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan would create a Jihadist power base. Possibly Pakistan would fall and then we would be dealing with a nuclear-powered enemy that prefers the herafter to this life. Dig it, you boho free spirits o’ the world. When that happens the party is over. These are the facts. I don’t like ’em, but, like, so what?

I knew Obama was basically a highly skilled technocrat. I just hoped he wasn’t as much of a creep as Tony Blair. And no he ain’t. (Hard call that.) But when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize whatever skreck of ‘hope’ I may have harboured was dispensed with. Obama got the prize essentially for not being a Texas good ol’ crony-capitalist cracker. For actually knowing how to be internationally polite. He had done nothing to earn a peace prize (even the Nobel which, after Kissinger, is a joke). But if he hadn’t accepted, if he’d said thanks but no thanks, I don’t deserve it just now. Well then I would’ve been impressed. But he calculated: another paragraph on his WikiBio? Why not? He’s just another player just like the rest of them, go figure.

But, if he had to raid a Pakistani house without permission (and yes he did) then it was noble to send in American individuals to face their public enemy #1, to demonstrate personal, physical courage. He showed that he understood the military message of 9/11. A message that has been receieved with obtuse denial in Western public discourse. Point out that it takes physical courage to go wilfully go your death in furtherance of a cause, that furthermore such courage is in short supply domestically… do that and you get demonized by people who don’t understand why the Romans really fell.

If you’re going to do Empire you might as well get it right.

Ah! enough let us stop making sense. The song’s in Farsi but it’s a classic rock song. Funny when you realize that the rock song’s structure derives from the tradition music of the region. He really likes the Rolling Stones this guy.

Next an indigenous style, I wouldn’t know what it’s called. It’s like hip-hop, chants and beats, but it ain’t hip-hop. It’s derived from antiquity. And sure, there’s hip-hop on the disc, electronica too. And punk rock! The playlist veers East and West. It lurches into the past and back to the future. Some of it is MOR schlock that’d make fills you with the urge to find Celine Dion and vomit on her dress. But some it makes you move man. It’s funky, get you right down in your belly and balls. The lyrics are sometimes Farsi, sometimes English. Cultural imperialism o’ course. But the English songs decry the Military-Industrial complex bullshit in a form that’s straight outta Detroit! All you flag wavers out there, do you get that? All you post-structuralist pseudo-radical demonizers of the Evil socio-economic demographic, do you understand?

Arrghh! Again, forget about it! Be stupid, be a child. Persian metal is really beautiful, a style that really suits the Farsi tongue.

Now it’s Euro-Soul like Sade or Grace Jones. I’m warm again. There’s an empire, there’s a lot of them. And who knows what evil lies in the human heart. But, today, forget about it. The sun is shining and we should be making hay. I wanna party with these guys. Now!

What time is it in Tehran?

THE REVOLUTION BEGINS HERE

26 May

They’re on about solar power. They say the revolution begins here. Of their sincerity I have no doubts. But what I want to know is, what I want to know is what happens after the revolution? Who will be in charge? And how do we stop them from grinding us into the ground.

In one corner the Left who after two centuries of rapid change propelled by a cycle of constant change made possible courtesy of the perpetual innovations of capitalist technology that make manifest this form of writing and publishing, this style of music. That produces the liquor we drink and the food we eat and the spliffs we blow… that makes all this possible – in that corner are the avatars of those who would change it without understanding that this is change. In the other the Right who just keep singing the same old tune, indifferent to those who get crushed, who are left out, who lose.

Congo slum

The music goes back to the beginning. It’s a new global style harking way back to the fractured tribes of pre-history. A stomp, a clap and a chant: words that testify. Full circle we’ve come and now the tribes are transcontinental associations connected by the internet, the phone and the camera.

Outside on the street the scents of an ancient and most useful herb blend in with the familiar braggadoccio jive viz slicin’ and dicin’. An impro freestyle rap session. But no-one stomps. There’s no machine to tell them what to do. The revolution starts here? I sense the same old instincts, the same aggression that took centuries to control and channel constructively enough to get here to this point where the different tribes can blend in peace and harmony. Inside on the dance floor there’s a greenhair’d heavy metal dude who likes to push people around on the dance floor. To my left a couple of sophistos you’ll never see anywhere near the floor dismissing an acquaintance: he’s a junkie.

You can smash the state, it’s been done. Tho’ these days methinks it a might more difficult than once it used to be. You can put the oil barons and media lords and mainstream party politicians up ‘gainst the wall. You can murder the tax department, the cops, the soldiers and anyone who works in a human resources department. You can make laws of peace but you can’t change the monkey…

After the revolution – what?

LETTER TO A YOUNG ORWELLIAN

24 May

Dear Y-

We all do the politics/ethics thing quite badly. Our culture is schizophrenic. And too complicated. The good ideas that will save the world are organized into armies. Armies dominated by obtuse boneheads (like all armies). Thus the good ideas unite with a million bad ideas that share a worldview and fight.

One of the good ideas advocated by the Left over the 20th century is the notion that human diversity is desirable and that people should not be impaired by socio-biological characteristics: race, sex, sexuality(?) etc. This has been pushed to a radical edge and manifests in the more ridiculous aspects of identity politics (eg the English teacher who refused to let her class attend Romeo And Juliet because of its heterosexism.). The Right have their own bad ideas of course but I’d only need to write of them if you were a conservative. You aren’t. But if you agree with the points above then obviously people of different worldview are not to be castigated or demonized.

They simply just think differently and about different things. Progressive policy is often disastrous because the Left simply refuse to think economically. The Right’s error is in that accepting the injustices of society as natural. They persist in doing that but accept change once proved final and beneficial.

Margaret Thatcher once said the Left open doors, the Right walks thru them. She personified this. During the 1970s what is known as the feminism’s second wave raged thru the modern world. The ‘patriarchal right’ would have scoffed at the idea of a woman wielding power. They would say that she could not lead a political party, could not enforce caucus discipline, could not inspire fear in her enemies and allies alike, could not make the hard decisions, could not lead a country in times of war. These are not the Left’s ideas of good politics but they are the very basis of politics and you cannot transcend them by ignoring the truth of them. The old sexist farts would say all that stuff about women. And the feminists in the streets and lecture halls only talked of that stuff as a vestige of the ‘patriarchy’. They weren’t much interested in economic reform or geopolitical strategy. But they had their impact in the 70s, enough to put the heebees into the misogynist crew.

In 1979 Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister and spent the next ten years putting paid to every single objection that patriarchy threw at a female head-of-state. Her policies, of course, were repulsive to the Left, but she did every single thing the forces of reaction said a woman could never do. And she did it in a way that earned the eminent respect of the Establishment. The Left opened a door but the Right walked thru it and because it was the Right that walked thru it. It changed things – permanently.

There’s a Ying/Yang movement here. It’s not some Mungabean Aquarian Group Hug scenario. There are some very nasty people on the Right and the Establishmentarian Rule of the Toffy Gits is like small pox, to be eliminated sometime. However, there are also some very nasty people on the Left and when they take power, millions die. The human race has a tendency to split along some kind of Backward/Forward line. There will be animosity. But it has been, should be and can be a lot more constructive then it is.

Thing is, this is all a religious war. Literally. The modern Left/Right fandango is the direct descendant of centuries of dichotomous bollocks. It goes back in a twisted and incestuous way to the 17th century wars of religion, underpinned by a conflict of interests. Socio-eonomic interests – the old tug of war between haves and have-nots as always. This will not be eliminated tomorrow morning and for those of us who may seek to nevertheless move in that direction it’s incumbent to assess the lessons of the past before deciding which way that is. And in the meantime to ‘first do no harm’. This is what I mean by switching to ethics.

The rent-a-crowd mob’d say that I was advocating apathy in the face of the Capitalist Machine they hold responsible for everything from racism to prostitution. But their one contribution to political history is compiling data on progressively minded citizens (sign the petition!). Anarchists have succeeded only in enabling the government to turn major cities into jail when a Confab of the Masters of the Universe is coming to town. The real forces for change are underground and quiet. They exercise power but do not draw attention to it. And they do so as sovereign individuals. Much more powerful than the Moo Bah-Bah Crowd.

Regards
A

ANY JOBBER GOT THE SACK

4 Apr

Sunday afternoon, still early enough in Autumn for the sun to break out late and make a difference. You can tell the season by looking at the lawn, if the sun’s shining and people are on it, it’s not summer.

The skanks hit the streets on Sunday afternoon, hungry. There’s the guy I don’t know what to call him. He’s short, compact, wiry. He has no lips, his mouth is like a faultline under pressure. He’ll sidle up to you, glares from the corners of his mean little eyes; says: ex-ccooose me… d’ya hava spare dollar? Translation: I hate you and want to tear your head off, pay me to go away. I never gave him shit, and I ain’t gonna. I don’t know what his story is but if you want to be free you must stand up to coercion with vigilance. And anyway, who owes him a fix.

Sunday morning I saw Ratwoman, you remember Ratwoman. I’d seen her Saturday morning and said hello. I’ve been meaning to a while now. She asked if I had 50 cents and I said maybe later. I had it, just didn’t know if I could spare it. Even tho’ I drink too much coffee.

So Sunday morning I give her a dollar. And there’s three early morning skanks. They have a bottle, some mixer. They’ve got a new pouch of tobacco. Must’ve scored some moolah. Big moolah to them, a trip to Woolworths and two plastic bags’ worth a goodies: 4 litres coloured sugar water and two types intoxicating substances with addictive qualities. Yeah they scored and big. I hope no-one was seriously hurt.

They have a new pouch still one of ’em asks me for a cigarette anyway. Habit I guess. I just shake my head firmly, no. Been doing it for years, stern, harsh, the stainless steel thick face you wear at street-level. Then they go over to Ratwoman.

I’m checking it out, what are they doing? Are they gonna hit her up for money? She’s a target for all of ’em. But she just leaves. Before, when I gave her the dollar, I saw her hand shaking. Parkinson’s? The cold? Such big blue eyes, wise and kind and forever glazed over. I gave her a dollar, so what? How does someone end up like this? I can guess I’ve seen the smudgy, artless home tats on her arms. Inept pictures of who knows what from early in the Collingwood 70s. The days of the Blue Collar Stampede to the heavy metal thunder and gunga vibe. They dropped acid and saw Ragnarok.

Ah she’s got the mullet and the very contemporary chemical creases from her eyes down the worn-leather flesh of her face, framing the mouth that still somehow resists the entropy that drags it down to the comfortable slackness of permanent bitterness. Goodbye Ratwoman, ’til we see each other again. Don’t ask for change next time. Let’s just talk.

Well I’m alright Jack, tho’ I don’t know it half the time. What a whingy white boy shit I am. But still stiff upper-lip’d, it all happens on the inside. Sunday was good, shit doesn’t get to me anymore. Sunday afternoon I go for a long walk and end up on a bench discussing politics with a young dude. Night has fallen.

Hiroshigemoon

He thinks over-population is The Problem. He advocates a strong state to handle the problem. But then he also sees that the solution to the energy problem is a free market (?). he doesn’t like labels, he likes Socialist Iconography. He believes in the re-assertion of tradition. He knows there’s a good chance a war is coming. He doesn’t understand how people can back Israel’s actions.

We click, we talk for quite a while. He’s writin’ stuff down, Michael Oakeshott’s “Rationalism in Politics”, Friedrich von Hayek’s The Road To Serfdom. But we talk Marx and Nietzsche. And Machiavelli. And how you can’t hold Israel’s actions against them but how it’s still fubar anyway. That’s what I think, I don’t think he agrees.

Then this guy approaches, in ordinary street-wear. Instinctively I harden my face. It’s Sunday night, and they hit the streets in the afternoon. Sometimes it takes ages to get what they want. This guy he doesn’t look like he’s on the streets but not all of ’em do. And he’s got hunger in his eyes.

Now when he rocks up my new friend and I’ve just got to the Subject. We’ve done that ‘click’ thing both realizing significant encounter, maybe. And this dude shows up, I think he’s intruding so I give him my thick face. But he’s known to my young companion and I do the cordial acceptance thing and turn back into the conversation. In this town, you wanna be included in the discussion you’ve gotta be a contender. You have to impress.

In other words we’re all stuck-up arseholes.

We were talking tradition. So I’ve got my art out, it’s about tradition after all. And my friend’s not all that impressed but the new dude… He flips out! He’s really into it. I haven’t had a fan for a while, not for my drawings. And some have seen it and aren’t much impressed. So I felt the warm buzz inside…

Oh but he needed help. This city’s harsh. The guy’s come all the way from the states to drink latte with Disappointment. I don’t know what. We didn’t get to that. He needed help and I couldn’t give. Yet.

THE WORLD IS BLEEDING

28 Mar

angrypeasants

Oh the protests in the city over the week-end. Saturday morning there was the campaign to change the law so that same-sex attracted couples can commit to their relationships legally. Funny that there’ such a fuss. Given that objections to gay marriage are something that stems in part from the high levels of promiscuity amongst gay men (lesbianism has been relatively accepted) one would think a traditional conservative would affirm monogamy amongst these wild people.

Oh well it stifled my ability to conduct an intelligent conversation, all that chanting of ill-baked slogans, but it seems to me the final step to a truly liberal society. Why disrupt love? Perhaps it has something to do with the little Drama Queen who included gratuitous humour viz loss of bowel control on a dance floor in his speech. I liked his joke myself but I doubt it’ll do anything to persuade Tony Abbott’s circle of acquaintance.

After that, yes after the gay marriage rally came another (is there a roster?) Anyway, after that there was small group of Libyans whose slogans were so pathetic that they stopped and simply sang their national anthem which is moving because melodically lugubrious. How appropriate. But what purpose does it serve? Their protest is useless. I know, I know, it’s only… human. It’s human to resort to ineffective symbolism in the face of that that makes one helpless. But it will change nothing.

Are they asking for my money? For what? Guns? Guns and bullets are what helps the Libyans now. I’d say they’d be in contravention of the law if they asked for money for that. But they shouldn’t be, it’s hardly the act of a terrorist to strive to rid one’s country of the kleptocratic nutbag that’s been running it into the ground for decades now is it? Still they can’t. And, because they can’t, their protest is useless. Would they get it if they asked for it? Something tells me that those inclined to pony their cash to alleviate the plight of foreign people in distant lands would also be very uncomfortable about buying tools for killing. But that’s what it takes.

Feel the power, it’s inside you. It’s in every single one of us. The power to bind and to loose. The potential to do; or not to do. And yet the world is bleeding.

Who else was there? There were the Trots. There’s always the Trots. They do the work. (Do they?) You know there’ll be a protest when you see their A3 photocopied posters taped to everything. They campaign for action on climate change, they campaign for the queer set’s marriage rights, they advocate on behalf of the Iranian people and their struggle against US imperialism. They never mention how the Iranians deal with the gay marriage rights issue.

Irangayhanging

Next day it’s the Japanese. Students in matching yellow shirts, lots of conspicuously pretty girls. Very polite and very much in earnest. Japan needs money they’ve been wrecked by a tsunami. New Zealand needs money, Christchurch got wiped. The Africans need money. We/they’ve fucked up their world and armed them to the teeth. We gave them inoculation against disease and their profit on’t is AIDS. The Libyans need money and we are donating an extra 15 million dollars or something, so Kevvie tells us. That’s the best part of a dollar from each of us.

Doesn’t sound much but it adds up. We got payments on this, that and the other thing. We got children who need a fighting chance and we got a million people out there ready to make a buck on that. We got desperate people on the streets. They cut off the dole or it doesn’t last like it used to and they just wanna know if you can spare a dollar. No really! I can hear it jangling in yer pockets. Spare a dollar? Cunt!

All thru your life man aaaaarrrrrrrrgggghhhhhh!!!!!!

This is all happening on the streets of every city in the world. Every modern developed city. Just what does that mean? Modern? Developed?

Well for one thing it means that beggars don’t qualify for a disability pension. For another there’s little by the way of matching t-shirts. Those Japanese, they’re so po-mo daddy-o, they know how to operate in the Modern Market Economy. They should, they’re the second largest in the world. Oops sorry, third.

The second is a nominally communist dictatorship. Innovative, those Chinese (don’t laugh). They raided Western culture, Western techniques and Western intellectual property and combined the worst aspects of socialism and capitalism. Great! Works a treat. Especially if the world’s largest economy is into you for three-hundred zillion very large.

Japan seems to’ve gone from world power to sinking slowly in record time. Finally they beat the Americans at something besides cheap cars. And their kids are here collecting for their countrymen. Remember, they’re still rich. As a country very rich. And even their tins a jingling on the streets of this still very lucky country’s cultural capital. Are we still lucky. Do we notice the sinking? Do we do anything more than indulge in the usual religious warfare. All are flotsam in the angry face of Nature.

The rich bleed too.

Oh dear. Dear, dear, dear. The shark and his pearly teeth.