Jan 24, 2017

Respect!

I attended to a couple of school functions late last year and at both there was an acknowledgement of traditional Aboriginal ownership of land and a statement of respect for Aboriginal culture and elders.

I found this puzzling. I initially wondered about the tradition of reference here. Obviously it was not mine, and not incorporated in any residual tradition that is significant in Australia generally, to my knowledge. It must, I conclude, be a purely Aboriginal tradition and therefore referentially irrelevant to most us who were in the room and to the culture that we have inherited; the one that provides our education, science, mathematics, art, literature, productivity, system of law, industry, economic capability and other social benefits. Nor is “ownership” meaningful in this context. Indeed it is completely misplaced and its use would seem to teach children that non-Aboriginals possess the land wrongly. I protest most strongly at this.

Whatever past events were, there was no ‘invasion’ as is popularly characterised by some, including, in a great display of political opportunism and historical ignorance, the current Prime Minister. Rather, the history is occupation by diffusion and absorption, indeed, by sharing, which has been universal in human history. In no way does this support the fantasy implied in the ‘respect’ homage. It may be worthy to recognise the Aboriginal occupants who predated the school’s use of the site, but suggesting that they ‘owned’ the land in the meaning of ‘owned’ we use today is erroneous, and not fitting for a major private school to entertain or promulgate, unless it is a contra-positive object lesson in culturally transmogrified anachronism.

Nor is it fitting to uncritically impose Aboriginal religious beliefs on our children, noting that Aboriginal people claim to have a ‘spiritual’ relationship with the land; whatever that could mean. Probably it simply indicates that it was ‘home’ to them! However, if we accept their concept of ‘spiritual’ then this is a religious matter. The school should eschew general imposition of religious matters without informed parental agreement.

Then there is the approbation of Aboriginal culture. This is irksome. No, revolting! Historically, and even today, Aboriginal culture features systematic enslavement and abuse of women (the first European settlers noted the ubiquitous disfigurement of Aboriginal women from the violence of their males), near universal abuse of children, including the pack rape, violent genital abuse and extended humiliation of young girls abuse of both boys and girls in parental neglect, and inter-tribal wars of annihilation. The idea of respecting this culture is idiotic and the elders who permitted this warrant our contempt, not acknowledgement.

A few relevant quotes:

Captain Tench wrote “They [women] are in all respects treated with savage barbarity; condemned not only to carry the children, but all other burthens, they meet in return for submission only with blows, kicks and every other mark of brutality”

He also wrote “When an Indian [sic] is provoked by a woman, he either spears her, or knocks her down on the spot; on this occasion he always strikes on the head, using indiscriminately a hatchet, a club, or any other weapon, which may chance to be in his hand.”

Peleopathologist Stephen Webb in 1995 published analysis of over 4500 individuals’ bones from mainland Australia going back 50,000 years. In the tropics female head trauma injuries, suggestive of deliberate attacks were evident in 20-33% of individuals, in contrast to 6.5-26% for males. In the south rates of female injury were higher at 40-45% of individuals.

Stephanie Jarrett in her introduction to “Liberating Aboriginal People from Violence”, says. “It is important to acknowledge [the] link between today’s Aboriginal violence and violent, pre-contact tradition, because until policy makers are honest in their assessment of the causes, Aboriginal people can never be liberated from traditional norms and practices of violence”

Bess Nungarrayi Price adds: “My own body is scarred by domestic violence...We Aboriginal people have to acknowledge the truth. We can’t blame all of our problems on the white man...This is our problem...”

Joan Kimm wrote: “The sexual use of young girls by older men, indeed often much older men, was an intrinsic part of Aboriginal culture, a heritage that cannot easily be denied.

And here’s an anthropologist’s description from the 1930s of how that ‘intrinsic part’ plays out:

“...when a Pitta-Pitta girl first showed signs of puberty, ‘several men would drag her into the bush and forcibly enlarge the vaginal orifice by tearing it downwards with the first three fingers wound round and round with opossum string. Other men came forward from all directions, and the struggling victim has to submit in rotation to promiscuous coition with all the ‘bucks’ present.”

This continues today:

The atmosphere in Aboriginal communities was described as one of “continuing fear from which there is no escape...Sexual abuse is an inadequate term for the incidence of horrific sexual offences committed against young girls and boys in a number of Community locations in Queensland over the last few years”

The elders who failed and continue to fail to lift Aboriginal people from the parlous lives they often lead and to protect children from abuse, neglect, fear and suffering deserve our condemnation. Naturally the Aboriginals working to bring the benefits of modern civilisation to this group deserve our support and applause. But enough of this misplaced and gullible celebration of a dead-end stone age culture: it is no more than one of those ‘stationary’, spook infested, unproductive, degrading and toxic primitive cultures that we are better off without. It has contributed nothing to anyone and deserves its evolutionary fate of complete expiration. Indeed, that is the benefit of evolution: eliminating the ineffective. Aboriginal culture cannot survive as a functioning culture and we should do nothing to prevent that outcome.

Jan 13, 2017

Same sex marriage bill

The Australian Senate committee on this Bill is seeking submissions from mere mug punters. Here's one that I came across.

The exemptions contained in the Bill in relation to ministers of religion, religious organisations and marriage celebrants are appropriate, but insufficient.

The free exercise of a religious view, or a moral or philosophical view held for other than religious reasons should be a part of normal civil society and should not be penalized in any way (except of course where the rights of others to freedom of speech, association, and freedom from malicious or negligent acts detrimental to their persons or affairs would be directly breached).

The Bill should also exempt from legal action any person who declines to trade with some one where that trade could reasonably be construed to suggest support for same sex marriage. This could include for example, a builder not wanting to build premises for people who were in a same sex marriage, or a real estate agent not taking instructions from persons in a same sex marriage, if that would offend the trader's views about marriage. This is pertinent given the long standing operation of marriage to be in respect of a couple of the opposite sex where marriage is in the normal course of events likely to result in procreation. Procreation is of course impossible for a same sex couple, they being sexually inert, making the social role of same sex marriage to be entirely different from that of marriage as it is historically known and practiced.

Moreover, section 116 of the Constitution of Australia precludes the Commonwealth of Australia (i.e., the federal parliament) from making laws for establishing any religion, imposing any religious observance, or prohibiting the free exercise of any religion.

The Bill, if passed in its present form would prohibit the free exercise of any religion by any adherent of that religion where their religious belief denied the possibility of same sex marriage. This law would be oppressive to vast numbers of Australians and permanently change the face of Australia introducing into our society a level of suspicion, resentment and distrust that would be damaging, if not disastrous.

The protections I support above would prevent opportunistic and vexatious use of the law by same sex marriage activists making 'targeted' approaches to businesses known to be operated by people opposed to same sex marriage for either religious or moral reasons. Such approaches are not to genuinely seek to trade, but are as retaliation against their reasonable views and to cruelly destroy their business, as has occurred in other jurisdictions.

Jan 10, 2017

Cyclists

We all have to be extra polite to cyclists now, keeping 1m from them. Fair enough.

Cyclists would assist their own safety if they

  • rode in single file, and
  • dressed in conspicuous clothing.

They often fail to realise that dark clothing  makes them invisible in most cases, but particularly in shade and when drivers see them against the background of the road.

Knuckle-heads!

Driving dozen

There are a few basic rules of the road that make driving pleasant and safe. From my limited experience these should be drummed into every driver, maybe every time registration and license are renewed:

1. Pedestrian crossings: slow down at them, stop for person crossing, don't pass a car stopped at a crossing.
2. Emergency vehicles: give way to them, pull to the left and stop.
3. STOP at amber traffic lights unless it is unsafe to do so and NEVER drive through a red traffic light.
4. ALWAYS stop and look both ways before you drive cross a pedestrian footpath.
5. Be patient with other drivers, its not the end of the world if you are delayed a few seconds.
6. NEVER use a mobile phone hands on while driving or in traffic.
7. Keep as much air as you can between the car in front of you and your car.
8. Keep left unless overtaking in multi-lane roads.
9. Don't park over footpaths, even if you think you are on a driveway.
10. Slow down in wet weather.
11. Don't drive on flooded roads
12. Keep checking in your rear vision mirrors (see 2 above).