Category Archives: reflective writings

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I Have Learned #17


I have learned 17

And I Have Always Been Told


That He was born in Bethlehem.

Or is Bethlehem the City of David?

It does say “IN” the City of David, not “Near” the City of David.

Perhaps we got the wrong Saviour for Christmas

Bethlehem

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I Have Learned


I have learned 7

Rant on Abusers and Bullies


I wrote this last night for Facebook. It a rant about the abuse in institutions, specifically military institutions, in Australia. My “overseas” readers may or may not, find parallels in their own countries.

 

Sometimes I have incorrect thoughts and wild, unsubstantiated imaginings. This is one of them. So you have been warned.

Back in the 70’s there was a rather insensitive game played in football and cricket clubs. It was claimed that one person in twenty was gay and the game was to try to work out who it was in any group, team or club.

I am playing a similar game at the moment.hat

Different criteria. This time it is “Who are/were the abusers at the various Military training and intake facilities?” Information released today indicate that over a thousand abusers are still in the ADF. There would be many more who have left the military. Yet there seems to be little action on historic offending.

My “game” involves trying to spot the abusers in their post-military occupations.

How many ex-military are there in the assorted police forces or spy agencies in Australia? How many have gone into teaching, into social services, into the Public Service?

With the knowledge that a person is ex-military, we will now look at him/her with a little suspicion and that is unfair on the majority of ex-servicemen.

Yet, statistically, some of them WERE abusers and bullies.

With our ex-military now occupying positions throughout society, up to and including the Governor-General,  I wonder just how many of our elected representatives or appointed vice-regals throughout the country are ex-servicemen or women.

I’ll let YOU ask the next obvious question.

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I Have Learned #2


I Have Learned 2

The Free Market; Maggots and Tapeworms


We keep hearing about “The FREE MARKET” capitals included as though it is some sort of Holy Grail.

The Institute of Public Affairs keeps extolling its ancient and venerable beauty. Its ineffable desirability.

In my perverted mind I sometimes ask unwelcome questions and so, with some inevitability, I asked these questions.

Just when was the time in human history when the FREE MARKET ruled in its sublime wisdom and , secondly, should I support the FREE MARKET?

It led me to think seriously about humanity’s march from the Hunter Gatherer society to the modern Nation State. How has society changed and are there any lessons hidden in history?

In the dim distant past, our ancestors cooperated with each other. Had they not, then sabre toothed tigers would have sent us extinct before our ladies had a chance to learn about agriculture.

Then, without a need to hunt for food, we blokes muscled in on the agricultural scene and found a way to regulate it, to help it grow and to control it. Women could now be locked up inside the cave, for their own safety of course. This great new way of life also led to other human tribes invading and killing us which wasn’t the best thing for the cropping cycle.

Kings and Emperors and petty Princelings began to rule over us. Gods were invented and had to be fed, just as the other Rulers were. Of course there was a warrior caste whose job was not to farm but to protect the farms. They had to be fed as well. “Tax” was invented so the leaders, the soldiers and those who talked to God were able to do their thing without having to actually produce anything. The farmers were a bit of a problem but they bred freely so were always replaceable.

There was a lot of confusion about just how society should be ordered so a very wise King named Hammurabi wrote everything down in the world’s first set of Laws. Now everyone was happy so the status quo lasted for thousands of years.

OK. We are up to the Middle Ages

Still no sign of a “Free Market”

Then the peasants in France got upset and cut off the heads of everyone who had bullied them in the past. Suddenly there was the French Revolution and the American War of Independence. In an orgy of Democracy, and in a two hundred year blink of humanity’s eyelid, Rulers and their class lost their heads and were swept away.

In that tidal wave of Democracy, everyone was free. Well, almost everyone. Slaves were not really human so they could not be free and women were definitely inferior to humans so they didn’t get a say in anything. But everyone else was free!

Democracy is in a museum.
Is it extinct?

No! Of course the Orientals couldn’t be free. They weren’t proper humans either. If they were they would have invented Democracy.

So everything became free. And everyone had a vote. And of course the Market had to be free as well. Please don’t ask me why, it just had to be. Everyone still had to pay taxes. To themselves, of course since it was all democratic. Even your business had to pay taxes. That was something sacrosanct. It had been so since time immemorial when Pharaohs had to finance wars against Hittites.

Just as it had become a human tradition to attempt to reduce the amount of tax they owed to God, the King or to themselves. Even at the risk of losing their head or their liberty.

One problem with all this Democracy and Free Thinking was that the rate of invention went up and there were suddenly lots of new stuff around. Some of it was quite big new stuff and needed lots of cooperation to create. Sort of a throwback to the cooperation of the distant past when it was needed to create a dead mammoth. Lots of bloodthirsty savages temporarily working together.

So big ships, big telephone systems, big railways all got built by these cooperating savages. And everything got faster. And spread further. So the biggest of the bloodthirsty savages from all over the world finally got to cooperate with each other. But that is only a difference in scale. Not something new.

Perhaps there was something I missed. Something very early on I hadn’t seen.

Uh Oh.

I just spotted an example of the Law of Unintended Consequences. Hammurabi’s Laws needed someone to explain them. Throughout this Body of Law, some maggots began spreading. And they became known as “Lawyers”!

Through ages of interpreting, re-interpreting and, when all else failed, by rewriting the Law, Lawyers became the only ones who could understand it.

For much of civilised time, we ordinary mortals just shook our heads and got on with life. Male mortals, of course because women, slaves and Orientals could not hope to understand important stuff like that.

Lawyers noticed that Democracy had made everyone “free” and so some of them set their mind to determine the ramifications. If people were free, and we have a free market, then obviously the inhabitants of “The Market” had to be free as well. And so Lawyers determined that the Companies within the Free Market were as free as people. In fact that determination led to the conclusion that Companies are People as well.

Now, finally, we have found something new.

The Gods had been sort of people, incorporeal but existent, for millennia, yet they only lasted for a while before being replaced. Now we have Companies which are an incorporeal construct yet being treated as though they have a mind and a soul of their own. They must be people for they grow and grow and now cover the world.

Now is not the time to go into the 127 real, born of woman, human people who control those Companies.

Instead we should look at the consequences of these Companies being People. These Companies are the Free Market. The Free Market, according to the Institute of Public Affairs, I should be supporting. Supporting totally because I am free as well.

  • Just as people in a Democracy have a vote, the Free Market Members have a vo – –

NO THEY DON’T! But they can lobby and bribe and corrupt.

  • Just as people in any Governmental system pay taxes, the Free Market Members pay taxe – –

NO THEY DON’T! Well, yes they do, within the limits that they allow the Government to tax them.

  • Just as people in in any jurisdiction who break the law go to jail, the Free Market Members go to ja – –

NO THEY DON’T! They do not go to Jail, except for an occasional “human person” scapegoat. They become too big to fail. They are certainly never executed for all the deaths they cause.

If Lawyers are the maggots in our body politic, then these Free Market Members have become the parasitic tapeworms within that body!

And so, my answer to my question is a double “NO“.

 

No! There never was a time when the Free Market was the norm for Human Society”

and

No! I do not support the Free Market.”

My question to you, my discerning reader is, “Do you support the right of tapeworms to suck the life out of you?”

Adapted from a post previously published on the archive.

Rolf Harris and Lang Hancock


Perth’s St Georges Terrace has lots of interesting features. Possibly the least noticed are the plaques of prominent West Aussies which are set into the footpath. They were a part of the 150th celebration of the founding of the swan River Colony.

I was walking along the the Terrace other day and I spotted this.

rolf

I instantly felt anger at the man who has betrayed all his fans, of whom I was one. I wondered how long this plaque would remain where it is. The Perth City Council has already spoken of removing it. The Rolf Harris plaque in his hoime town of Bassendean has already been stolen.

And now I know he has received a gaol term in excess of five years. One which is almost certainly a life sentence. Yet I am hearing a lot of people complaining that it isn’t severe enough. What would be a suitable sentence? Possibly one of the Texan sentences of 1,000 years? Sorry, folks, at 84, five years is almaost as effective. Once he dies, it doesn’t matter how long his sentence was.

Anyway that is just a personal thing. I agree he needed to be given a custodial sentence. Execution is possibly to strong a sentence but more that a life sentence? Why?

So I walked on. Just a few paces on and two years later I spotted this plaque.

lang

Lang Hancock, mining entreprenuer. Gina’s Dad. Owner and developer of the Wittenoom Blue Asbestos Mine.

You know Blue Asbestos. The mineral which causes mesothelioma, the totally incurable and extremely aggressive cancer. Blue Asbestos which has killed thousands of people and will continue to kill thousands more. When it was proven that Blue Asbestos was a poison, back in the 1930’s, Hancock continued business as usual for decades. When the outcry became too great he did not close the mine down. He sold it!

Yet Lang was never charged with murder. There has never been a move to have his plaque removed. He is still treated as some form of God in the history of Western Australia.

I was struck by the irony. Harris has molested a “few”, almost certainly less that 100 women. None of whom died because of that molestation. Hancock, a murderer,  inserted a poison into the environment which will end up killing 10’s of thousands of people because of that poison.

Harris, the sexual predator, will have his plaque taken away. Hancock, the murderer, will have his plaque remain.