Allan Takes Aim Blog

Archive for November 2012

In 1689 two momentous acts occurred in England’s Parliament that would echo down the ages: it passed a Bill of Rights that granted ‘freedom of speech in Parliament,’ and made the ‘Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.’ Article 11 of the declaration provides for freedom of expression thus: “The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law.’

Exactly one hundred years later in 1789, the French Revolution also affirmed freedom of speech as an inalienable right.’ And as many people will know, later still, the American Constitution also carries the same right.

Most Australians and Britons probably think human rights legislation was introduced by either the American or French Republics and have no idea that human rights and freedom of speech legislation was the idea of upper class English men who were Members of the English Parliament because of their wealth.

Silly as it is Britons became so obsessed by class that moving up the class system became a burning goal. This accounts for why countries that Britain had added to its possessions as it sought to bestride the world have much the same system. And despite the resounding words of professed egalitarianism in many of those societies the class system still flourishes.

Unfortunately some countries became more class obsessed than the English, or British as they became later. As imitation is the sincerest form of flattery they were paying tribute to the British class system.

It is still happening in Australia because many older Australians and later migrants are people brought up in a British type culture. Not that Australia is alone in this. While other countries deny it, examination of American, Canadian, New Zealand, Australian and most African countries show a class system modelled on Britain’s. That some of them are republics and some want to be is of little import.

Indeed Monarchies and Republics are two sides of the same coin; like the farthing they are redundant. Indeed since time immemorial countries have changed from Monarchy to Republic much as people change their mind, although not for the same reason.

In most cases ambition for power was the driver of change. Xerxes, Alexander, Caesar, Various Vikings, Genghis Khan and more recent leaders such as Hitler, Stalin. Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi (and that’s only a few of them) wanted power so much they became dictators. In my opinion todays leaders are driven by the same ambition.

Despite alleged advances in civilisation many ambitious people still actively pursue power. Will such ambition ever die? I suspect not. A thousand years from now no matter on how many planets humanity lives, people will still be pursuing power.

In an article ‘Deadly decision of man or machine’ by Tom Malinowski (Opinion 9, November 27) posited that ‘Science is catching up to fiction.’ Malinowski makes mention of science fiction and films such as The Terminator and The Matrix.

Malinowski’s proposition raises some interesting questions. Will robots like the Terminator become reality? We already know that some robots have extraordinary skills. They perform delicate surgical operations, defuse bombs, operate complex machinery and also undertake domestic work that humans think beneath their dignity to undertake.

Indeed many tasks that humans once performed have succumbed to the advance of robots. This is not science fiction but reality. And nor is it inconceivable that in the not too distant future when, as Malinowski says, science has caught up to fiction, perhaps robots will not only have caught up with fiction but also started to create science fiction of its own and be making decisions on behalf of humans.

When that happens what will happen to freedom of speech? Will owners of a robot with decision making powers be answerable if it breaks the law? And what will happen if robots become self-replicating? While these are theoretical scenarios it seems likely that a whole new section of laws will need to be thought about and written to meet the possibility of a world with a population of robots almost indistinguishable from humans.

Bearing this in mind you might need to start making preparations now?

Blog: Allan Takes Aim; web: https://donallan.wordpress.com

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When talking about Global warming I use the word dissenter because the word sceptic doesn’t mean the same, not that you’d think so from what climate change experts say. For the Apostles the word sceptic means total non-believer or, more precisely, people without belief in Climate Change whereas dissenters are doubters that Thomas the Apostle would be proud of.

According to the IPCC the Apostles of Climate Change, the majority of people in the world know that the climate is changing. But I wonder if the 1.3 billion Chinese or the 1.2 billion Indians or the multi millions of Bangladeshis, Africans, Indonesians, Malaysians and other peoples in the world think as the Apostles do? I suggest not.

It seems to me that as they go the Climate Change Apostles are writing their own version of the climate change bible. And as happened with the bible stories of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John, the stories in their Climate Change bible will support their theses.

Unfortunately over time many IPCC scientists have donned the mantle of zealots; for them, tomorrow is either doom day or a day that is bringing doom ever closer. The Climate Change Church puts great faith in fear and uses it at every possible opportunity. The result: even when some of the Church hierarchy said stories of Hurricane Sandy and other major storms were not caused by global warming, they persisted with spurious stories that they were

Now I don’t know what you think about bankers but when you think of the mess brought about by the worlds’ major finance organisations at the time of the Global Financial Crisis, you might find it difficult to accept their views about climate change.

That said, a few days ago these gurus of finance posited that the world is headed for ruin unless the use of fossil fuels is curbed. Part of its message was that curbing them made good economic and environmental sense. Now I can understand the World Bank making an economic statement but am at a loss about its environmental knowledge. Perhaps the GFC happened while gathering climate change experience in the physical environment.

Of course the real truth is the bank they merely commissioned the report which is only another way of saying, if you don’t believe the report don’t blame the Bank. As to why the Bank thought it should enter the climate change debate is not clear although its report was prepared by Germany’s Potsdam Institute of Climate Research Germany

Perhaps the Bank’s report, signed by President Dr Jim Yong Kim, President of Harvard’s Dartmouth College, who had been nominated for the post of bank president by President Obama, was issued to support President Obama, who was having difficulty with his climate change policy. His words that he hoped ‘this report shocks us into action’ suggests as much.

But I hope the IPCC itself is shocked into action and drops it science is settled approach. When I read that phrase I am reminded of my high school Maths Master, Dr John Lunny who, when examining my answer to a problem asked: quod erat demonstrandum? In other words: had I proved that which was required to be proved?

A final opinion: I wish the intellectual snobs of the IPPC, fearful of their status, who malign global warming and its son climate change, had been students of Dr Lunny.

Blog: Allan Takes Aim; web: donallan.wordpress.com

A Cornucopian Celebration

AS it is being touted as one of the world’s great food bowls, it seems odd that Australia doesn’t have a national day of celebration similar to, but not a copy of America’s Thanksgiving Day. I thought of Bounty Day but dropped it because bounty in Australia has more association with the sea than with food.

Garden Of Eden Day also came to mind. However, I discarded this too, because the religious associations attached to that name attribute Australia’s creation to God. That said, I think the name would not have national appeal and nor would it appeal to atheists or agnostics or people whose religion contains no reference to the Garden of Eden.

Trying to find a suitable name was turning out to be harder than I thought although I knew there was a word lurking in the back of my mind that would fit the bill if only I could remember it. And so I continued tapping away at my keyboard all the while wishing the cloud of forgetfulness that was obscuring my thoughts would let a ray of remembrance light up that forgotten word.

However, the delay remembering the word did some good because as I was tapped away at the computer keyboard I remembered the saying: ‘be careful what you wish for’ because if your wish comes true it might bring with it a number of unintended consequences. I can testify to the apparent truth of that saying because on more than one occasion without and getting my wish, I got more than I bargained for.

But nothing ventured, nothing gained and so I carried on wishing. Although it took more than a day I am pleased to report the word did come back. I hope you like it?

The word was ‘Cornucopia,’ which I like not only because it carries the connotation of Australia as a land of milk and honey but word that in essence also described its resources such as iron ore, copper, aluminium, timber, uranium, rare earth metals and the tourism resources that are part of the Cornucopia loked up in itas vast and spectacular landscape.

And as I kept saying Cornucopia Day to myself, I liked it even more.

A second reason for like Cornucopia Day is that it would be would be a day of celebration different to Australia Day which on 26th January commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 in Sydney Cove. It would be different because Cornucopia Day would be a celebration of all the things discovered and being added to since then, and into the future, that has made Australia, and will continue to make it, a desirable country in to live in.

A third reason I like the idea of a Cornucopia Day is that it is not an imported ceremony but a home based creation based on creations of its first people and the creations of a continuing flow of migrants, whether refugees or asylum seekers. This is a ceremony that could make its home in Canberra (the meeting place) as an example to all Australians and also make them aware of the value of their bounty.

The first Cornucopia Day could be celebrated in 2013, Canberra’s centenary year.

Blog: Allan Takes Aim; Web: https://donallan.wordpress.com

Situations Vacant: messiah wanted for Greens Party

Environmentalism is both a political and religious movement. As with Socialism, Communism, Zionism, Fascism and a range of other political movements, it has given birth to sects that share some common beliefs but differ widely on others. In Australia one of its better known offspring is the Greens Party, which is making an attempt to establish itself as a mainstream political party.

With politics growing in importance political parties seek messiahs to preach and convert voters to their cause despite history showing that, except on odd occasions, the success rate of messiah led parties has been poor. The cause of this is that unless a chosen messiah has the charisma to keep voters thinking every word they utter is wisdom revealed, parties find themselves heading down Rejection Road, a thoroughfare well known to many politicians.

Even established parties suffer if their chosen messiah dies, retires or suffers political assassination as happened when Australia’s Liberal Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies retired after 21 years in office, the Democrats when Don Chipp retired and when Labor’s Kevin Rudd suffered political assassination.

It is unlikely that any future Prime Minister will equal or beat Sir Robert’s prime ministerial run because improved technology will make political messiahs un-necessary. Crystal balls also will disappear from a politician’s tool kit while political oracles will be replaced by pollytech robots.

This will happen in the distant future but in the near future the Greens seem fated to head down Rejection Road partly because they seem pre-occupied by environment preservation and climate change/global warming.

This first pre-occupation seems foolish. What particular environment do they want to preserve? Some supporters say they prefer the environment of five, ten or twenty years ago. A lovely idea but let me ask: would they want to live in an environment bereft of what makes life better today?

In any case such a want cannot be realised because environmental change does not happen daily, weekly or yearly, but minute by minute. So, for example, when a leaf drops from a tree it makes irreversible changes to the environment that are beyond the powers of any political party to reverse.

The Greens problem can partly be attributed to the recent retirement of party leader and messiah Bob Brown. Indeed without Bob Brown, I suspect the Greens would already have been consigned to the dustbin of history.

That they have adopted Labor party policies shows also that not only do they they realise this but also know that a couple of emotionally charged issues such as same sex marriage and euthanasia are not issues about which voters will go to the barricades on their behalf.

Unfortunately for the Greens, Bob Brown’s replacement Christine Milne, is capable but is no messiah. Even more unfortunately for them, when the dissenting views about alarmist climate warming from an increasing number of highly respected climate scientists receive the volume of publicity afforded the IPCC and themselves, having nowhere to hide their red faces they will need to put on hiking boots to prepare for tramping Rejection Road.

NB. Dissenters believe in climate change but not the alarmist predictions of the IPCC and Greens

Blog: Allan Take Aim; web: https://donallan.wordpress.com; e-mail: dca@netspeed.com.au

A difference problem

As I write this piece I look back to the distant past then look ahead and try to imagine the distant future. Unfortunately too few people have any real idea of the past and not enough imagination to conjure up a realistic image of a distant future. However, the past that many people think they know is a created past they feel comfortable with that is set in a society that never existed.

This caused many problems when, following the advent of mass travel and in hope of advancing themselves materially they decided to travel and settle in Australia, America, Canada and Africa. Like Alfred trying to stem the tide the residents of these of lands objected when the travellers tried to impose on them their customs and cultures. This caused confrontation and its accompanying brutality and, as has been the case for centuries, the people who came to dominate were the people best prepared for confrontation.

In the case of Australia the dominant people at the time were the British, the less dominant, people from Asia and Europe and Australia’s Aboriginal inhabitants. I am in doubt either that what accounts for some of the internal problems America and Australia are experiencing today, is due to the fact that they started life as British penal colonies.

It is also natural that they would use the British system of society with its attendant racial class and creed problems, as the role model for Australia. Had they been able to see into the future they may have done things differently. That said, it is unfortunate that, as Australia has progressed and its society changed, some people continue to exhibit those original cultures of race, class and creed.

If only a country had existed that Australia could have copied where those problems have been solved. That said, there is no use Australia looking back at those days through rose coloured glasses and wishing things were different.

At the same time Australians would forget the history of the land from whence past generations had come and so too would Australia’s Aboriginals. Thus it was inevitable that, over time, Australia would develop new customs, culture and to some degree language and as was common in many cultures would experience miscegenation. The result: as time went by it would become very difficult if not impossible to recognise some people as Aboriginal.

Sadly this has resulted today in a man who would fight tooth and nail to ensure that every person, white, black, brown or any of the various shades of white such as Arabic would be treated as he himself would like to be treated, being called a racist.

This man is not an Aboriginal but Indigenous, having been born, brought up and educated in Australia. His genetic background would be celtic, perhaps with viking genes. His colour is white.

To help flesh out the picture I am an Indigenous not an Aboriginal Scot (I only wish I could claim that distinction) whose genetic heritage might be the same as the accused man but without the same dose of the intelligence gene.

The fact that this man is being sued for $6 million for having passed a comment that he couldn’t see his accuser as other than white would put him among millions of other Australians, including non miscegenated Aboriginals, who think the same.

The only thing this suit will achieve is to further widen the divide between Aboriginal Australians and Indigenous Australians that the accused man has spent a good part of his life trying to eradicate.
I think his accuser should think carefully before going further.

What say you?

Blog: Allan Takes Aim; web: https://donallan.wordpress.com

Plus ça change plus c’est la même chose

In the fifth century BCE Heraclitus a Greek philosopher said the above . In the centuries since, the sentiment of this phrase “everything changes but everything stays the same’ has been expressed by many people in many different languages. My personal preference are the words of French journalist Alphonse Baptiste Karr if only because I can say it in French whereas I cannot say it in either Greek or Latin both of which I was taught in my seminary days and both of which, I say with shame, I have forgotten.

This phrase is important because its truth becomes obvious when one compares the past with the present. Not that one need go back centuries to make comparisons; read old newspapers or google up history of fifty years ago. On the other hand if you google up ancient history I’m sure you’ll find it more interesting than the history of fifty years ago.

But what you’ll find also, is that the world hasn’t changed nor grown bigger in circumference; all that has happened is that just as we re-arrange our domestic and physical environment from time to time, Mother Nature re-arranged her earth, her environmental home and home of humanity in the same way.

The big difference between Mother Nature and humanity is that she will have good reason to make changes whereas history shows our changes are often done without good reason. In fact humanity’s many attempts to change earth have been carried out for the meanest of reasons, the acquisition of wealth, fame, other people’s property and what many people consider the meanest of reasons, to prevent other people acquiring them.

A consequence of this meanness is that it has brought little benefit to humanity unless you can call never ending military wars a benefit. Fortunately, however, this meanness is only displayed by individuals whose objective is the acquisition of power.

These people worship power not for any good reason but simply for power’s sake. And as they set out to acquire power they care not that they manufacture famine, allow disease to proliferate, and prevent children being educated or protected from unnatural sexual practices that destroys them. In some cases their quest for power induces property wars that help fuel poverty, homelessness and mental problems.

More dangerously they foster imitators, many of whom become politicians who exude a caring image as a disguise for their love of power. Even more dangerously they object to free speech as most people know it.

These people come from many disciplines: academia, the Arts, agriculture, environment industry, finance industry, the law, manufacturing industries and medicine; in fact they come from too many disciplines to list.

And while politicians are curtailers of free speech the major practitioners are the climate change scientists who brook no dissent from what they say is settled science. Let me say from the outset I am not a scientist but from my constant reading of this group’s writings when they say the science of climate change is settled what they mean is because they think it right then it must be right and cannot be questioned. Effectively they suffer from the God syndrome.

It worries me that these people won’t tolerate dissent because in doing so they demean some of the greatest scientists of the past and scientists still with us. Indeed had Einstein, Copernicus, Galileo and many others not been dissenters the world today would likely be less interesting.

Based on my reading about climate change it seems to me that many of the scientists proclaiming its dire effects are much like those ancient biblical prophets of doom who regularly forecast the end of the world if people didn’t follow their advice. Fortunately many people dissented from their prophecies. Unsurprisingly, the world is still with us, and thankfully so are many dissenters ad if the influence of these people ever comes to dominate I can see the dissenters growing in numbers.

Let me end by saying that if the foregoing proves anything it proves Heraclitus and Karr are right: everything changes but everything remains the same.
Blog: Allan Takes Aim; web: https://donallan.wordpress.com



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