The Advanced Society
In his book The Road to Serfdom, Freidrich Hayek asserts that the economic freedom of capitalism is a requisite of political freedom … with continual growth being the mechanism that feeds such “economic freedom”.
So we have to propose the question: What makes an “Advanced Society”?
Could it be that as proposed by Hayek above? Or is it something more basic … more durable … more sustainable than the capitalist notion of continuous growth/continuous consumption? Can it be presumed that a technological advanced society holds greater ethical dominance and therefore deserved racial dominance over the more stable tribal structures that once were spread throughout the Australian environment for tens of thousands of years?
Consider these examples:
Eucalyptus Largiflorens (Black Box): Distribution and occurrence: Local community dominant, in grassy woodland on heavy black clay soils in seasonally flooded areas;
In this area of Sth Aust, primarily restricted to ex swamp-lands. This tree, like many that have evolved to an environment-specific location can be found near my residence in the Mallee. Like the Mallee trees everywhere, it has evolved in a stable, static environment over many thousands of years .. indeed, you can see that a multitude of trees and understory in the Mallee bio-forest were reliant on such a stable environment for them to spread so wide, so far in such profusion. Any extreme disruption of climate or landscape would have changed the appearance and bio-diversity of the entire forest and it’s denizens … that is a “given”. We have to accept: The very existence of such a bio-forest system proves beyond argument that the geography where they settled, took root and evolved was stable, static and sustainable for a very long period of time.
This is an important point to my thesis … we have to understand and accept that the Mallee bio-forest, from the dry-lands to the swamp-lands, from the canopy to the forest floor is a unique interconnected species specific/environment specific entity that relies upon a stable, static geophysical situation to maintain it’s integrity. Certainly, that integrity has been corrupted over the last two hundred years since settlement to the point where we cannot truthfully claim that pristine Mallee exists anymore at all. It has become a victim of “continual economic growth” … and one has to logically conclude that in the last resort of sustainable life; if the environment fails, then so too will the society that killed it.
Likewise, if we look at the Indigenous peoples who lived and thrived for many thousands of years along the Lower Murray and The Coorong in South Australia. I will not even attempt to disassemble the complex tribal structures that existed along the lower Murray River … it would be presumption on my part and liable to insulting error. Enough to point out that settlement is proven for many thousands of years. Indeed, carbon dating of one site of middens (discarded mollusc shell-heaps along The Coorong) alone put it back to 2.500cal BP (2,500 years old) … so we have evidence that of the many sites scattered along the seaward-side of The Coorong there was regular gathering and consumption of a reliable food source by the indigenous peoples for thousands of years. I have seen these middens many years ago … scattered amongst the site were numerous camp-fire circles, denoting the practice of stopping, gathering, cooking and consumption of the food and presumably the social intercourse that accompanies such moments.
For such feasting to have taken place (these middens are huge!), would prove the reliable, regular supply of the molluscs and the reliable, regular harvesting by a group of peoples familiar with and capable of attending to such a chore on a continual basis for thousands of years. I know the geography of The Coorong well … on the seaward-side we have bountiful harvest of shell-fish, on the landward-side we have bird and mammal life … the evidence of indigenous people’s fish-traps on The Coorong, indicate regular harvesting of food there, the abundance of fresh water from the natural South East drainage system then in place, guaranteed the presence of kangaroos, emus and sundry wildlife for food and clothing … in all, one must admit, that along with the temperate climate, not a bad place to reside … indeed, it could be considered almost an idyll … and reside here people did … undisturbed for many thousands of years … mark that! … food, clothing, shelter of a quantity and quality that remained in-situ for many thousands of years … used but not over-exploited … harvested but not depleted … lived with but not dominated … and perhaps it could have gone on for time immemorial … like it already had … if not finally destroyed by the kind of “advanced society” lauded by Mr Hayek at the start of this article.
So tell me: What constitutes an advanced society Is it the one who uses its developed technology to invade, subjugate, desecrate and finally, perhaps, annihilate that very environment it relies upon for it’s life … or is it the other who, with astute observation recognises a “line” between sustainability and destruction, and by managing it’s population, refuses to be tempted by the possibility of a gluttony of temporary riches and maintains a judicious, salubrious lifestyle and culture for many thousands of years, visiting the same locations for food, clothing, shelter without desecration nor selfish accumulation?
So you tell me: Who has the most “advanced society”?
“For so many in the techno-elite … the notion of perpetual progress and economic growth is somehow taken for granted. As a former classicist turned technologist, I’ve always lived with the shadow of the fall of Rome, the failure of its intellectual culture, and the stasis that gripped the Western world for the better part of a thousand years. What I fear most is that we will lack the will and the foresight to face the world’s problems squarely, but will instead retreat from them into superstition and ignorance.” (Random quote from the internet).
Above, I questioned the presumption of what constituted an “Advanced Society”, ie; the notion of perpetual progress and economic growth is somehow taken for granted vs. the concept of creating a deliberate stable, sustainable social environment.
While the notion of “perpetual progress” demands a laissez faire economy, the latter would encourage a more “softly, softly” approach. To say that the latter would constitute a kind of “anti-intellectualism” is wrong. I would say that it is more of a steering of intellectual prowess toward community relevant advances, rather than toward that which enriches and can be utilised only by a wealthy elite. The barbarian idea of plunder and rapine to enrich the few rather than the most is anti-intellectualism … a degree of thought would prove that, like a garden, a sustainable harvest brings greater wealth in the long run rather than a one-off slash and burn approach … ”softly, softly catchee monkey”. But that is not to say that the Barbarian class hasn’t learned by their mistakes.
In ancient times, the Scythians – a most barbaric nomadic tribe from the Steppes of Eurasia – would contract the Grecian artists and artisans to manufacture works of beauty in plundered gold for their own vanity. The barbarian hand, while being adept at wielding a weapon, seems always to lack the finesse and temperament for cultured art. One cannot sing through gritted teeth nor distribute equal share of wealth with a clenched fist!
The IPA (Institute of Public Affairs), considered in these days as being the voice of the right-wing think tanks in Australia, is one such example of “Barbarian Intellectualism”. Reading articles from personalities of this institution, one can visualise through the chosen jargon and clichéd phrases, them trawling through their university days learned texts with “join-the-dots” simplistic logic that is more borrowed-intellectualism by rote-learning than by inquisitive enquiry. They will even cunningly reach to progressive writers and themes to give ‘legitimising cred’ to their words by quoting from very dissenting sources, as if the reader cannot discern their cunning … just like the schoolchild trick of the older boy offering the younger child: “One big ‘gob-stopper’ for all those little ‘jaffas’” … we’ve all witnessed that scenario and it’s nothing but insulting to have such juvenile methodology foisted upon us in our old age … But then perhaps that is the limit of their imagination.
Truly, many of the arguments put up by the “Barbarian Intellectuals”, no matter who they quote, are little more than excuses for barbaric behaviour, rather than a seeking to discover better ways.
If there is one famous quote that could embrace the entire Barbarian Intellectualism ethos and moral direction, it would have to be that ghastly logic from the Vietnam War, where one “ … must destroy the village to save the village.” And we have seen just how far such insane logic has taken the governance of this once well-administered country .
The social-suicidal implementation of the IPA “wish list” has driven both the object and the integrity of conversation in this country to a depth never before plumbed. To have to listen to the childish babbling of its creators is to give too much valued-time to too little thought. The influence of such puerile philosophy on the ministers of the current LNP government demonstrates the even lower level of capable discourse amongst the front bench of that government.
To call this government “capable” is to outright lie. To call the government of the day “culpable” is to be somewhere closer to reality. As to what they are “culpable” of is for a future commission to ascertain … but the least charge that can be levelled is the one of “cultural barbarism”.
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