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11 July 1997. Thought for the Week: "Every year that passes it becomes less possible, for money reasons alone, to make a money-living by any work of former quality, care and honesty, and this in a world of ever-increasing productive power which is becoming a threat to the planet. The churches themselves have given outstanding examples of slavish devaluation of their service to people by the merging of parishes, surrendering the spiritual values of the parish priest and his parishioners, including those outside the inner ring of devout churchgoers.
There has been not a whisper of challenge to the taken-for-granted assumption than when money-values are devalued, all other values must follow them, nor any realisation that now that money has become a symbolism based only on faith, the power which enslaves us all is of the spirit and not material.
Dr. Geoffrey Dobbs in 1984 Postscript to "The Just Tax".
BUT IS OUR FUTURE IN THE STARS
Eric D. Butler
doubt one of the major factors was the fact that the Greeks had no experience
of work as is generally understood today. The Greeks lived in a leisure state
where activities essential to produce the basic requirements were performed by
slaves. This did not result in Greek citizens lolling around in a slothful state;
rather the opposite; Greek society was one in which enormous mental and physical
energy were constantly being poured out. It was not unusual to have an outstanding
philosopher training to take part in the numerous games, which were held.
The stars have always had a special fascination for Mankind. Literature of all kinds is full of references to the moon and stars. Romantic references will be found in the works of Shakespeare and other artists. But then came the visionaries like H.G. Wells who wrote of man conquering space. The planet of Mars has long been a subject of intense interest. It is not surprising therefore that the successful arrival of the appropriately named Pathfinder on Mars and the transmission of films back to earth has seized the imagination of people everywhere.
There can be no doubt that this latest space exploration project is yet another great technological achievement, following upon those early pioneering space projects. But these very achievements highlight the disturbing truth that these achievements are in stark contrast with the disturbing truth of the growing failure of man to solve the problems he has created on Earth. These problems are the result of asking the wrong questions.
Early in the history of space projects I was invited by an American friend to accompany him to a Seminar near Chicago where economists were presenting papers on the economic implications of space programmes. Two economists, whom I was assured were regarded as being distinguished, seriously advanced the view that the main value of the space programmes was not the scientific fall out, but that it would help to solve the U.S.A's. most pressing problems: how to achieve what the economists call a "favourable balance of trade". Space projects offered unlimited opportunities to export into outer space without any other nation trying to export anything back! In simple terms, the view was that by blasting materials into outer space, this would help to create incomes to purchase the abundance of consumer production available on earth.
Some years after this incident I read with interest the report of a Sydney Seminar being conducted by a group of criminologists. I was fascinated with the contribution of a visiting American criminologist, who argued that a "reasonable" amount of crime was beneficial for society. It provided work, and incomes, for policemen, judges, court officials and others involved in attempting to maintain law and order.
the American criminologist who offered this viewpoint is still alive, it would
be instructive to know what he thinks of an American society in which there is
a rising tide of violent crime. In Australia the police are now openly conceding
that they are losing the battle to contain the growing use of hard drugs, the
victims generally being a young generation which has progressively lost faith
in its politicians and their institutions. Youth unemployment in Australia is
now estimated to be as high as 40 percent in some areas.
The spirit of adventure and exploration is a natural attribute of much of Mankind. It was this attribute that resulted in Captain Cook and his scientific entourage of scientists sailing around the world in their relatively small ship the Endeavour. But, as the author of Social Credit, C.H. Douglas, said many years ago, while it perhaps is technically possible to extract sunbeams from cucumbers, such a project was a waste of time and energy if the objective was to distribute incomes to people to buy what had already been produced, or could easily be produced. Why not distribute the incomes without so much waste and destruction?
The gospel of "growth" and "expansion" is the result of asking the wrong questions about the true purpose of man and his economic system. Anyone who thinks it is farfetched to suggest that exploration into outer space may be exploited to try to keep Man controlled on earth might consider that the controversial American guru LaRouche, whose followers think he is a great economic genius who offers some weird theories about the British Royal family, has outlined a major project for colonising Mars! This is the way, says LaRouche, to re-generate the economy on Earth.
Any such project must be considered against the question of why undertake unnecessary projects to make the economy serve the individual. Man's real destiny will not be found on Mars or any other part of the Universe, but within himself. The Kingdom of God, said Christ, resides within each and every individual. Within that Kingdom Man can solve his problems, once he is clear what those problems are.
CHALLENGE FOR THE CHURCH
In language that is sure to provoke conflict with government, Mayor identified the problem with vigor and frankness. 'Without compassion, this nation will not deal with the problem of youth unemployment. At 27% across the nation and up over 40% in some areas, it is having a devastating effect," he said. "It is seen as one of the factors leading to 5,000 attempted suicides by young people per year."
While squadrons of "rationalist" economists continue to preach the virtues of the global market, the elimination of tariffs, and economic "efficiency", alternate views of dissenting economists are unheard, and the plight of the victims appears mainly as a government laundered statistic. The morality of what is being done to the individual in pursuit of a kind of ideological puritanism fully merits harsh criticism from the church, and Rev. Mayor should be congratulated for speaking up. But while the Moderator of the Uniting Church condemns "economic rationalism", he attributes the pursuit of Market-driven economic policies to a general lack of "compassion". This is not entirely the case.
Many politicians agonise over issues like unemployment and poverty, without a clue about alternative policies. It is the lack of alternatives, or the lack of courage to fairly consider alternatives that leave the field clear for the economic rationalists to dominate. The dreadful human fall-out will continue while ever there is a lack of courage and vision, not "compassion". The challenge for Reverend Mayor is whether he is prepared to consider alternatives? Lamenting unemployment is easy; finding alternatives will test his vision and commitment.
POWER SELL-OFF COULD BE SHORT-CIRCUITED
N.S.W. Premier Bob Carr faces increasing difficulties in attempting to follow the Victorian lead in selling off the State's power generation and transmission industry. Carr faces solid opposition, but it does not come from the Liberal-National Parties. Liberal leader Peter Collins maintains that the Coalition Opposition fully supports the "privatisation" of the power system, but would achieve it more "efficiently and profitably" than the A.L.P.
Opposition to the power sell-off comes instead from inside the Labor Party itself, and also from the N.S.W. unions. Such is the dissatisfaction with the corporatisation of N.S.W's. power supply, that the State Government appears to have postponed the sell-off until after the A.L.P. State conference. It is the State conference which claims the right to set A.L.P. policy, and a large proportion of delegates will be instructed to vigorously oppose privatisation. Carr and others fear that those opposed may have the numbers to prevent the Government proceeding.
is a source of some embarrassment to Mr. Carr that his Victorian counterpart,
Mr. Brumby, is scathing about the Kennett Government's handling of the power privatisation.
Brumby was alarmed by the results of a confidential survey, which claimed that
the State Government was prepared to "put the interests of the market ahead of
The survey, conducted by Coopers & Lybrand, revealed that one-third of Victoria's privatised power companies believe they will provide a less reliable service than previously experienced, and that power failures were necessary to teach Victorians to "appropriately value" their power supply! The doubtful companies do not believe existing legislation can empower the Victorian Power Exchange (V.P.X.) to "keep the lights on". Further, any attempt by the V.P.X. to intervene to ensure a reliable power supply would constitute an "unacceptable market distortion". Thus, the needs of the Market are more important than the needs of consumers.
In fact, Victorians need to be taught to value the Market's function: "Customers need to experience some disruptions in order to correctly value supply and demand side responses," said the report. Consumers in the new "privatised" electricity system need to know where they stand: they exist to serve the Market, and assist the Market in the pursuit of profits!
ABORIGINAL "AFFIRMATIVE ACTION":
N.S.W. Attorney General, Mr. Jeff Shaw, used the Canberra ministerial summit on Aboriginal deaths in custody to call for "practical and radical" solutions to Aboriginal problems. In particular, Shaw suggested that "indigenous Australians" should have seats set aside in State Parliament to which they could elect their own representatives directly. Fortunately, a referendum would be necessary to implement a dedicated seats system in N.S.W., but may not in other States.
Shaw's suggestion is certainly radical, if not very practical. How would it operate? In New Zealand, where four Maori-only seats offered Maoris their own voice in Parliament, it was found necessary to maintain a Maori electoral roll. Would Mr. Shaw envisage an Aboriginal electoral roll? Would part-Aborigines be permitted to enrol, as part-Maoris were in New Zealand? What tests would be applied to ensure that the system was not abused by non-Aborigines purporting to be Aborigines? What definition would Mr. Shaw suggest for "indigenous".
Shaw's suggestion is exactly the type of ham-fisted approach that is jeopardising any chance of achieving "reconciliation' between Aborigines and others. One law for Aborigines and another for other Australians simply generates further resentment. A kind of "reverse racism" is nevertheless still "racism" to those who have felt the lash of the politically correct. Any new race-based initiative will be seen to undermine the grassroots demand for one Australia, irrespective of background.
Meanwhile, a "high-level" Aboriginal delegation begins to tour Europe, Africa and the United States this week to highlight Australia's "human rights abuses". Six delegates from the National Indigenous Working Group on Native Title will condemn Australia at the United Nations and elsewhere, until their demands are met. It is not clear who is funding this treasonous jaunt, but we will be amazed if it is not the Australian taxpayer. The delegation has conceded that if their demands are ignored, boycotts of Australian companies overseas, and trade sanctions on Australia would be considered.
ERIC BUTLER REVIEWS IAN SMITH MEMOIRS
A major part of the July issue of The New Times is devoted to a review of the recently published memoirs of Ian Smith, former Prime Minister of Rhodesia, now known as Zimbabwe. Few people are better qualified to write such a review. At one time Eric Butler was known internationally as the unofficial international ambassador for Rhodesia.
Eric Butler recalls how after traveling to Rhodesia immediately following the dramatic declaration of Independence on November 11th, 1965, where Lord Graham, the Duke of Montrose, who is described as the best informed of the Smith Cabinet, made arrangements for Eric Butler to do an exclusive interview with Ian Smith, he wrote an assessment of the Rhodesian stand in the context of global power politics. Originally published by Ron Gostick's Canadian Intelligence Service and Australian League of Rights publications, this assessment was then published internationally in a large number of non-English language papers. It has been estimated that the assessment reached tens of millions of readers.
Eric Butler interviewed Ian Smith a number of times and often appeared on Rhodesian television. He finds the Ian Smith memoirs far from convincing in explaining the progressive retreat from the original stance taken by the Smith Government, with the ultimate disaster of the installation of the Communist Robert Mugabe. Eric Butler does not doubt Ian Smith's personal courage, but expresses the view that it was his blind spot concerning the realities of finance economics, which resulted in his failure to face certain realities.
He finds it extraordinary that Ian Smith should find some hope for Southern Africa
in the election in South Africa of former Communist leader Nelson Mandela, whom
Ian Smith describes as a "statesman".
FALSE OPTIMISM FOR "GREAT CHINESE TAKE-AWAY"
With the deluge of press interest in the demise of British sovereignty over Hong Kong, it would appear that the West has largely forgotten that China is still a Communist country. If not, we have certainly become alarmingly complacent about communism, and have perhaps forgotten any lessons ever learned about diplomacy with communists.
Many years ago the Australian Christian, Rev. Fred Schwartz, wrote an invaluable little book, "You Can Trust the Communists" - to be communists. That is the West can depend upon the communist to lie, steal and murder without the least scruple, so long as it serves the objectives of communism.
The ends completely justify the means to the communists, and any methods are moral in the service of communism. Why, then, do we deceive ourselves that the Red Chinese who have taken control of Hong Kong are any different? Do we really believe Peking's promise of 50 years of stability in Hong Kong as the British left it? Even as Britannia sailed out of Victoria Harbour, the Chinese were confirming that the new democratically elected legislature would be swept away.
Do Mr. Downer and Mr. Howard really believe that there will continue to be free elections in Hong Kong? Do they really believe that anti-communist protest meetings will be permitted to be held? Perhaps they also believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden?
What we are witnessing in China
is merely another step towards the long-range objectives of China, which include
gaining control of all foreign possessions that the Chinese regard as their own.
China may be prepared to go to war in order to conquer Taiwan, Macau, and the
Spratley Islands, as they have warned that they will.
FROM THE PRESSIn defence of Geoffrey Blainey: Former student's attack unfair and ill founded The Australian, 4/7/97
"The Geoffrey Blainey of my acquaintance, a highly intelligent, thoughtful and gentle man who expresses himself in a manner reflecting such virtues, hardly deserves the criticism leveled by his former student, David Day ("Blainey's Role Not So Innocent," Letters, 1/7).
"In my view the strident tone of Mr. Day's letter would more fairly attract the references 'rabid' and 'outbursts' than would any observations by Professor Blainey.
"One's view on the highly emotive matter of immigration can hardly be summarised in a few words, but for what it's worth may I add my two bob's worth? If an established society is to welcome into its midst people who happen to be of totally different backgrounds in terms of such fundamentals as religion, political system, legal system and cultural mores, then it is important to manage the quantum in a sensitive manner if disturbance to the accepted and cherished way of life is to be minimised.
"Earlier experience suggests that it takes a generation or two before the 'older' and 'newer' members of society happily amalgamate, with consequent enhancement of the quality of life of the community at large. I expect that this process will continue, but even so, in my view there is sufficient evidence available to justify the concerns of those who believe that current policy is putting undue strain on the process."
G.R. SELLARS-JONES, Tylden, Vic.
|© Published by the Australian League of Rights, P.O. Box 27 Happy Valley, SA 5159|