I am sure you all want to thank me for all my work promoting freedom throughout the year, so now you can- by getting me a Christmas Present from my Amazon Wish List!
So what are you waiting for?
I am sure you all want to thank me for all my work promoting freedom throughout the year, so now you can- by getting me a Christmas Present from my Amazon Wish List!
So what are you waiting for?
Good news from today’s SMH:
A MAN has been found guilty of manslaughter over the death of Peter Savage, 16 years after the schoolboy was killed while walking home from school.
Peter was 16 when he was stabbed on Mills Street, Lidcombe, in August 1995 after refusing to hand his wallet to two teenagers who confronted him as he walked home after rugby training.
The case remained unsolved for more than 10 years until a childhood friend of one of the killers came forward to police in 2006, sparking an undercover police operation that brought a 33-year-old man to trial last month.
It is difficult to express in words the acute sense of sorrow – indeed heartache – I feel in the knowledge that, in all probability, the next time I go online and open my browser, I shall be confronted with my default page opening up and showing either a “page not found”, or a redirection to the interface of the wildly unpopular Google Plus.
The decision by Google to effectively destroy Google Reader, without any consultation with its loyal and dedicated userbase, is a significant blow to me, on so many levels, and I wanted to take this opportunity to explain just why it is important enough for me to have been spamming facebook with news of it, and even helping arrange for a protest outside Google DC’s office.
I have previously mentioned how vital Google Reader is to my political activities – and this is certainly true; I genuinely do not know how I shall be able to keep much of the advocacy I do at the same level of effectiveness without it – specifically, without the functions that are being destroyed in the transition to Google Plus. To call it vital would be an understatement. But there is a lot more to it than that.
To me Google Reader was always so much more than a tool to receive news and information: it was a social network beyond par that was a significant part of my life, and that I shall miss deeply.
In contrast to the facile commentary that dominates facebook, or the flippancy of twitter, it was a forum for discussion, for the cultivation of ideas and where you could deeply get to know members of your community in ways that other social networks made physically impossible. The degree of camaraderie it inspired and fostered, the intimacy it necessitated, the manner in which it was like being in a room talking with all your closest friends from around the world at the same time, the organic development of idiosyncratic little in jokes in different groups, the petty joke squabbling, and all the tactics I satarised some time ago that made up the race to “win” google reader” – these were all things that became such an important part of my life. It is no coincidence the number of close friends I have that developed through Google Reader. And how close they all are to me.
And this, at its core, it what I shall miss the most. The friendship and the intimacy. The things I learned from people, and how it influenced me and changed me as a person (and make no mistake: google reader really has impacted upon the evolution of my political beliefs for starters, but I also my character as a whole), and these are things that shall not be able to occur anymore. Even the minor things – the little jokes (watching Team BEAR! longstanding squabbles with upstarts perhaps being the most longstanding one I’d had the pleasure to both observe from the outside and occasionally mock) – had the opportunity to brighten up my day, and put a smile on my face. It was certainly not a substitute for a social life, but it was a damn good complement to one.
And, to twist the knife in deeper, there is the fact that I am convinced that without Reader I would be not so fortunate as to be dating the brilliant and wonderful girl that I am. It is like finding that the special romantic place whose memories you cherish deeply is being torn down and destroyed and replaced with a car park.
There is no doubt that this comes across as overly melodramatic to an outsider, but I can not deny just how utterly devastated I am by this, how much I relied on it in my social life, and how much a gaping void has appeared in my life that I do not know how to fill.
Vale Google Reader, you were killed long before your prime.
This is an extended version of an article initially published on Menzies House. I would strongly recommend everyone just read that article, and not the one posted here, as this version is rather long-winded and rather ranty!
To provide a bit of comic relief to our readers, I thought I would let you all know that, in response to Menzies House’s efforts to stand up for Australian families and oppose the Federal Governments unnecessary and economically damaging tax hike, a group of bitter radical leftists decided to launch a facebook hate-page to “Alert Australians about the Agenda of the Administrator of the Original *stop the levy* page. He is a strident member of the religious right living in the USA, and an advocate for the Tea Party Movement within Australia.”
This was, of course, rather of news to us:; Menzies House being administered primarily by Chris Browne, who lives in Adelaide, and the other Admin on the Stop The Levy site, John Humphreys, himself had his house destroyed in the Queensland flooding (although they initially actually claimed he was an imposter and refused to accept this). As for me, I freely admit that I live in the U.S. for the time being (hardly an expose, you would think, as it is plainly listed on the MH website), and, of course, despite my personal religious beliefs, as an ideological classical liberal, as anyone who has read more than one piece by me would be aware, I can hardly be classified as “religious-right”, nor do I have any links to the Australian Tea Party Movement whatsoever. (The website, in a spectacular example of left-wing logic, also put two and two together, and ended up with 17, claiming claimed I renounced my Australian citizenship (I didn’t) and swore an oath of allegiance to the U.S. (also untrue – my dual-citizenship is simply due to my father being American, and have had it from birth.))
There are deeper issues at hand here, though, than the simple mouthing off of a few disgruntled leftists, which I shall go into in greater detail later in this piece, but, just to provide the background as to who exactly we are dealing with, you ought be aware that almost all of the comments on their website consists of little more than juvenile self-congratulatory gutter attempts at toilet humour (seriously, how many times can you chuckle about “Koch-suckers” (referring to the philanthropic activities of the CG Koch Charitable Foundation) before it gets old? (also, laughingly, they claimed Menzies House receives secret Koch money – I wish!), and attacking my physical appearance (which, I concede, is probably a fair point, my modelling career has gone rather rapidly downhill considerably since I won Baby of The Year – I peaked too soon! ). And, of course, there are the death threats.
Now, due to the family-friendly nature of this site, I shall not begin to catalogue the vitriol and abuse poured our way by members of this page. With that being said, at the adamant insistence of one of their members, a Mr. Jonathon Ring, I am instructed to pass on the message that apparently we are “heartless scumbags, mental midgets, f**lheads, dips**ts, spoons, tubes, tools, d**kheads, a***holes and c**ks.” Which is rather charming (John Humphreys – again at their request – did compile a slightly more comprehensive anthology of “the left-wing definition of polite”, which you can read here). Personally, I support their right to freedom of speech, because not only is free speech a bedrock of our free society, it also gives me great mirth, and besides, I follow Oscar Wilde’s prescription to always forgive your enemies, as “nothing annoys them so much”! Besides, I certainly do support their right to freedom of speech, and it gives me great mirth!
What is interesting, however, is the fact that in the last few days they have directed their bile at the U.S. Tea Party movement, a term used to describe a decentralised grassroots movement comprising several thousand independent local organisations, united around reducing the size and scope of government, through eliminating wasteful spending and opposing unnecessary tax hikes. From my perspective, my only real involvement with Tea Parties was attending (more observing really) a rally on September 12, 2008. Where I saw hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens come out and oppose bad economic policies. And, like David Boaz from the libertarian Cato Institute, I came to the conclusion that, you know, these Tea Party’s were ultimately a force for good (if you want further information, here’s a good clip of my former boss, Grover Norquist, analysing the Tea Parties on Lateline with Leah Sales). Getting everyday, ordinary people engaged in the political process, to oppose bad economic policy was a great step forward for civil engagement, and I thoroughly support this. So, I am more than happy to identify, in spirit, with the Tea Party movement, and to support their small government aims, as I think most of our readers ought.
This vitriol was running through the back of my mind, when I saw this clip, filled by Ann McElhinney of Greener Horizon Films, producer of the expose on the true close of Global Warming hysteria, Not Evil Just Wrong (full disclosure, I previously worked for Greener Horizon Films as the Australia-NZ representatives for NEJW):
You would think such foolishness a parody, if it wasn’t for the fact that these are the exact same views espoused by the left in Australia. In all seriousness. Indeed, Upon watching this, I immediately thought of the abuse by representatives of the hate-site, and in particularly, this message that seems to underpin all their work: “This right-wing American style of politics needs to be shut down in Australia and only you the public can stop it.”
Ahh, the left. Free speech for everyone, except if you disagree with them.
Now, personally, I find their page hilarious, and I can’t stop laughing anytime I see it; heck, I frequently visit the site just to get a bit of a laugh whenever my day gets too stressful. Yet, beneath the humour that is the pathetically pitiful nature of their bitter obsession (and it can only be called an obsession), is a far darker point to be made. Because lurking beneath their abuse is a hatred of Australians, and a fear and desperation.
As we have explained, the tea party movement is simply ordinary people expressing their belief in small government, so, why all the hate? Indeed, as someone who believes in grassroots empowerment, in getting as many people involved in the political process as possible, and in creating a strong and dynamic civil society, this call to “stop” freedom of speech, is something I find baffling.
The only explanation I can think of for these calls, the only explanation I can find for the hate-filled smears of the left, is that they are terrified of the people. There is a real, palatable of Australians getting engaged in the political process, and this scares the hard-left witless.
Why? Simple. Because the multi-billion dollar left-wing industry relies on a quiet populace. The millions they receive, whether it be to their NGO’s, to Unions, or even – yes, I’ll say it – to their media arm, the ABC, is reliant upon the Australian people being docile. And I think it’s time for us to be frank about this fact. There really is a multi-billion dollar far-left industry out there, reliant upon our taxpayer, and I am sick of tip-toeing around the issue for fear of alienating a special interest group.
Whether it be fat cat public ‘servant” bureaucrats, safe and secure in their tenure, knowing they will never be able to get a non-taxpayer funded job in the real world. Or so-called “climate scientists”, who, without millions in funds for scaremongering would face the unemployment queue. Those reliant on sustaining a culture of welfare, so they can keep on leeching off the public purse, “helping” the less fortunate, despite all the evidence that their big-government plans never have worked. The artsy types, who live off taxpayer dollars to propagate their hate – sorry, “art”. “Multicultural organisations”, the ABC, Unions – the list goes on – I am only just scratching the surface. Australia has entire left wing industry entrenched through all levels of government, that up until now has never been challenged. And ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
Sure, not everyone in these professions is guilty. Most are probably hard working, diligent, good people. But I direct this to the top levels of their hierarchy, those who are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer funds a year, and, if anyone dares to tell me with a straight face they don’t have their snouts in the trough, I’d tell you that no, they don’t only have their snouts in it – they have their two front trotters as well!
If Big Left really were unashamed of their actions, they would welcome debate. They would welcome Australians getting involved in their civic duty and taking action upon their beliefs. They would, indeed, encourage this debate in the battle of ideas.
Ye shall know them by their fruits, and the frenzied actions of the left expose says all that we need to know. Their frantic efforts to silence all debate, to quash all opposition, reveals their true nature.
They do not want debate, they want power. And are willing to do anything to stop the Australian people from waking up to their radical agenda.
The problem is, for the left, that it’s probably too late. The freedom that the internet brings has allowed the Australian people to learn about their game (any wonder why Labor is so desperately trying to censor it from political thoughts they do not like?)
The Australian people have woken up, and are sick of the left. They can no longer put the genie back in the bottle. We will no longer be intimidated, and we are standing up for our rights. And the left see the end of their multi-billion dollar industry is near.
And that is why they are frothing at the mouth.
Don’t even bother visiting their hate site – not even for a laugh. For all you will see is the last, desperate gasp of a discredited ideology, and witness its adherents collapsing as they view the entire corrupt edifice that supports them crumble before their eyes.
We are seeing the end of a dark, dark, era.
A few days ago, the Menzies House team put up a quick website expressing our concern at the macroeconomic implications of Julia Gillard’s plan to increase taxation at a particularly volatile time for the Australian economy, specifically noting the negative effects it would have upon aggregate demand as consumption declines, and that this would lead invariable to business reducing expenditure to recoup lost revenue through reducing employment, which in turn would lead to further downward pressure upon consumption, and economic growth spiraling downwards. Of course, we supported the reconstruction efforts – how could you not? – and indeed encouraged charitable donations, but the argument rested upon the most effective fiscal response.
We specifically framed our argument in as broad a way as possible, and in such a way to bring in not only the more free-market argument against it, but also the numerous Keynesian critiques from the left; although our obvious preference is that reconstruction be paid for through redirecting other government expenditure (such as scrapping the White Elephant NBN), to try to be as cross-partisan as possible, we also included the possibility of financing through government borrowing and stressed affects on AD.
Now, obviously we expected a bit of pushback both from Labor hacks, and from people who don’t understand economics, don’t understand how decisions are made on the margin, don’t understand aggregate effects saying “but $5 a week won’t change my spending, I can afford it”. Which is quite okay, there are a lot of economically illiterate people around, and the fault lies with the education system, not with them.
What I did not expect, however, was waking up to this:
I am laying down five thousand dollars to whoever does a hit on any of the owners of this webpage.
Or to to receive well over 100 emails and messages and facebook comments calling me a “f**khead”, a “c**t”, telling me I ought “swing from a tree”. Indeed, I, Chris (who should be enjoying his well-deserved holiday right now and instead is holed up in a backpacker’s hostel netcafe somewhere) and John (whose uninsured house itself was destroyed by 1.7m of floodwater) have been forced to deal with a torrent of vitriol and abuse on fb after Young Labor directed their members to attack the page, the majority of whom didn’t even bother critiquing the argument, and simply engaged in, well, abuse.
To stress: this was all triggered not by my saying all Queenslanders should suffer, nor even by my arguing against government spending, but simply my questioning the precise nature how these were financed.
Now, as someone who has been through the fire of student politics, believe me, I can deal with this easily – I’ve certainly had a lot worse thrown at me, and my skin is not particularly thin. And, to be honest, I’m kinda flattered by a site that was just set up warning people about how “dangerous” I am (although I really wish they’d be accurate and call me libertarian right, not religious right).
But, considering the nature of political discourse here in the last few few weeks, the next time a leftist hack dares to complain to about civility on the right, I will, very politely, very civilly, tell him exactly where he can go shove it.
One of the downsides about my blogging on numerous websites in recent months has been my neglect of my dearly beloved Inside The Mind of Tim, the blog that started it all. While such things can’t be helped (well, they can be, I could be less lazy, but as if that’s going to happen), it is hardly the best look for a blog to be lacking in updates for such a lengthy period of time. As such, simply to fill up space, I thought I would cross-post my last Menzies House Missive, which was on the very very best of Best Of the Web (for those of you unaware, I do a semi-regular roundup of quirky online stories, you see, and this is what I considered the ones from 2010). So, hope you enjoy!
Politics, Economics & The Law
Best Analysis of U.S. Mid-term Elections: Last Remaining Politician Must Rebuild Entire Government Following Bloodiest Midterm Election in Recent History.
Best Use of Government Resources: 7 year old has lemonade stand shut because she didn’t have a temporary restaurant license.
Best Satirical Story: Candidate May Have Lied About His Heroic Death in Vietnam
Best Politico Twitter Scandal: UK Labor Candidate Tweets “You know I think I might be completely sober for the first time in 4 days” Runner Up: CA Gubernatorial Candidate Meg Whitman links to cross-dressing Asian pop dubbers.
Best Hot or Not: The US Congressional version!
Best Use of Race Card: The NAACP call greeting card about the universe, solar system and black holes “racist” Runner Up: Scottish Retailer HMV has removed banners reading “Anyone But England” for promoting racial hatred
Best Moment in Perverse Incentives: Chinese officials try to solve the problem of cigarette butts by offering residents money for each butt collected.
Best news for caffeine addicts: Coffee is Good For Your Brain
Best Article Against Health Fetish: This one
Best news for alcoholics: Heavy drinkers outlive non-drinkers Runner Up: Drinkers earn more than teetotalers. First Honourable Mention: World’s oldest twins say alcohol is the key. Second Honourable Mention: Top 5 Most Inspiring Thigns Ever Accomplished (while being drunk). Third Honourable Mention: Alcohol doesn’t kill your brain cells after all. Forth Honorable Mention: The smarter a woman is, the more likely she is to drink.
Best Scientific News for Newlyweds: Science proves you must have lots of sex to ensure a happy marriage
Best Development in Mental Health Industry: Proposal to classify happiness as mental disorder
Best lies by smoking nazi’s: This list
Arts, Sport & Entertainment
Best film parody: Generic Movie Based On Every Movie Ever Made
Best New Beverage: Bourbon Milkshakes!
Best New Vending Machine: Mojitos every 30 seconds
Best Nightclub Theme: Margaret Thatcher
Best Moment in Sport: This This College Gridiron trick play
Best Book Trivia: Size of Books Determined by Size of Sheep
Best Copyright Warning: ”May he who steals this book suffer the pangs of death infernal!”
Best Chapter from Political Anthology: The Smokers’ Code
Best Blogger Alive: Alex Balk
Best Now-Defunct Blog: Look at this f**king Hipster
Best News Channel: Fox News with the top 13 shows on cable news.
Best Underwear: Metallic type lets you send a message to the TSA
Best P**sed off Employee: This guy who writes printer cartridge ads
Best Suicide Prevention Moment: Caller So Angry At Person Suicide-Prevention Priest Falling Asleep He Doesn’t Kill Himself to Complain
Best Facebook Graph: Relationship Breakdowns by Date
Best Horny Woman: This one
And finally, the Best Use Of Aminals: Para-sailing donkeys
What better way to understand culture than through the prism of mass marketing?
Well, there are five – what ought I have chosen?
PS: Yes, the decore ad has no relevance to Australian cultural literacy whatsoever, other than as an object of mockery and derision, but seriously, who can forget it? Also, the Toyota ad is presented not so much as a cultural symbol, but simply because of the effect it had upon the lexicon…
PPS: Never got into Louis the fly, so stop messaging me about it. Not putting it up.
So! I think the time has come for me to once again alienate everyone who reads this blog, and raise the ire of conservatives and libertarians alike!
I do this for a very simple reason. Specifically, I do not think most conservatives understand just why achieving their aims through the coercive power of the state is totally counterproductive, and, more pertinently at the moment, I am rather convinced that libertarians in Australia don’t realise the importance of social conservatism to achieve their aims. Which is not only strategically to our detriment, but something that, on the random off chance of a libertarian revolution, will lead to a social catastrophe of epic proportions.
Allow me to explain. Even if we ignore the fringe elements of the now thoroughly-discredited liberaltarian movement (those people who seem to advocate rank hedonism as a necessary lifestyle choice) almost all libertarians have taken a very similar position on social matters: “You run your life how you want to, it is no business of mine as long as the state is not involved.” Which is a nice ideology in theory, but in practice, I worry that it is one that shall degenerate into total and utter failure. Because with the moral vacuum caused by the exodus of government, unless something comes in to take its place, society shall go to hell in a handbasket. In the same way that the years immediately following the collapse of communism in the USSR led to morally repugnant economic practices, I fear the same may happen in social matters if we achieve our aims, but are not careful about how we do so. Indeed, the older I get, the more I find the traditional libertarian position unsatisfactory, and somewhat of a cop-out. To deny the real problems of broken families, of drug abuse, of the consequences of actions – this is naivety at the extreme. Which is why the only possible way libertarianism can succeed in the political sphere is by combining it with social conservatism in the personal/societal one. For if we do not do so, we shall have a world without shame, a world where everything goes. And a world that shall rapidly become a nightmare.
Following recent developments, and the poor performance of certain candidates in debates, I have amended my forecasts, and now confidently predict that there is a 40% chance of a historic Republican takeover.
(Follow the link for more background)
I have written previously about our risk-averse culture, and the obsession in public policy circles to eliminate even the possibility of any form of suffering, and that happiness may not be the be all and end all that we ought strive for, however, today I thought I’d wade even deeper into this matter, and deal with that great taboo – death.
With apologies to Rowan Atkinson, I find this rather morbid fascination with death quite disturbing. We seem to live in a society where death is the great be all and end all. Public policy seems to be geared in so many fields – and I’m not just talking about healthcare here – about the avoidance of death. As if it is the only thing that matters. As if there are no other considerations to take place or other factors to weigh. Apparently death is everything.
Except I’m not so sure.
Throughout history, cultures have been built around the concept that there are things far worse than death. Dishonour, for one (perhaps best exemplified by the Samurai culture in Japan). Our modern society scoffs at such notions, to hold one’s sense of being and the reputation one has as greater than life seems quite absurd. But is this really the case? After all, death is finite, but your name is immortal.
Perhaps a better case than Japanese Honour Suicides, however, is the history of martyrdom in the West. Whilst unfortunately now associated primarily with some rather reprehensible practices, it can not be denied that not only does the concept of the “good death” have a long role in Western civilization, but that for achieving centuries martyrdom was seen as one of the highest expressions of faith. For what greater thing could there be than to die for your beliefs? When atheists like Stephen Lansburg writes that he can not accept Christians as genuine as they exhibit fear of death… well… he kinda has a point. But this is a point that transcends religion – what greater end could there be for anyone than to die as a principled martyr, for your political beliefs or otherwise. In doing so, you achieve true immortality, not only for you, but perhaps for your cause. Surely such things are greater than life. And there is a way to die that is even better than life.
(This is perhaps why, although I personally oppose euthanasia, I have a lot more sympathy for its proponents than many on my side – the idea of wanting to die with dignity has something to it. In contrast with its proponents, however, I am unsure that the alleviation of suffering is necessarily the best argument in favour.)
At the risk of repeating myself ad museum, existing is not living. And dammit, at times, death is what makes life.
These thoughts, of course, would matter little, and would be confined to my own private life if not for the fact that the pathological fear of death has permeated our legislators so thoroughly that they are attempting to reshape all of society around it. Not content to allowing individuals to make up their own minds, they have decided to impose their terror of death upon us all.
And that’s ultimately the issue here. I would happily acquiesce to others living their lives in a bubble, free from all risks, and prolonging their existence as long as possible (their “life”, their choice), but they’ve started to impose this on me. And that’s a real problem. Because, dammit, there are things worth dying for. There is such a thing as a good death. And to simply say that we should focus all our resources on forestalling death – which, let us not forget, is inevitable, is just foolishness.
Whether you are a person of faith or not, I think it ought be self evident that, as with all things, there are trade-offs when it comes to the end of our existence. Ironically, when it comes to the final absolute, there are no absolutes. And, ultimately, it is death that makes life living.