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Know your Premier

As NSW records over 22,000 new cases of COVID and the number in hospital races towards a thousand, it’s worth getting to know the man who decided to “open up” just as the Omicron strain was taking off.

At 39, Dominic Perrottet is our youngest premier. He is one of 12 children and is about to become a father for the 7th time.

His younger brother gave an interesting defence to police when he faced allegations of rape in 2017.

Mr Perrottet, who comes from a large family belonging to the conservative Catholic order Opus Dei, later told police there was no way they had sexual intercourse. “It’s against my religion,” he said.

Dom was born in 1982 and was preselected in 2010 for the NSW seat of Castle Hill. Prior to that he had completed a commerce/law degree which takes 5 years. He apparently worked briefly for a law firm but it was purely a stepping stone as his political ambitions were clear, serving as the President of the NSW Young Liberals Movement in 2005 and on the NSW State Executive of the Liberal Party from 2008 to 2011.

Perrottet is an electorate hopper, moving from Castle Hill to Hawkesbury to Epping, wherever he sees the cushiest path.

In 2019, he voted against decriminalising abortion in NSW, saying anyone who believes women should have a right to an abortion are on the “wrong side of history”. He has also spoken out against same-sex marriage., saying “Marriage is about every child’s fundamental right to grow up with their own mum and dad.” On voluntary assisted dying he says “The answer to suffering is not to offer death, but care, comfort and compassion.”

There are still unanswered questions about Perrottet’s involvement in very dodgy dealings at icare, the state’s worker’s compensation scheme, which had underpaid up to 52,000 injured workers by up to $80m in compensation.,

The Information and Privacy Commission NSW found that icare had not publicly registered 422 contracts since 2015, each worth more than $150,000. These contracts include some being awarded without a competitive tender to companies associated with Liberal Party figures, such as marketing firm IVE Group being awarded millions of dollars in contracts. IVE Group is run by former NSW Liberal party president Geoff Selig.

An internal note among senior figures in the NSW Treasury in 2018 raised a concern that “a direct line to [Perrottet] means icare often bypasses Treasury”. Other concerns raised included icare’s non-compliance with recruitment policies and limited disclosures of capital expenditures.

Perrottet has decided he knows better than the health authorities how we should handle this pandemic. Back in July, when the vast majority of people were not fully vaccinated, he fervently opposed lockdowns and restrictions, saying, with zero regard for our health workers or the health system, we just had to learn to live with it.

This absolute certainty that he is right, this determination to impose his will, is truly scary.

And if you really want to know the type of man who is now our Premier, this was what he posted on Facebook in response to the election of Donald Trump:

Some people seem surprised by Donald Trump’s success in the US election.

But this result is a victory for people who have been taken for granted by the elites in the political establishment for too long.

There is a silent majority, a forgotten people, who feel like the values they hold dear are no longer being represented by the political class.

In fact, these values and the people who hold them are looked upon with contempt.

If you stand for free speech, you are not a bigot.

If you question man-made climate change, you are not a sceptic.

If you support stronger borders, you are not a racist.

If you want a plebiscite on same sex marriage, you are not a homophobe.

If you love your country, you are not an extremist.

These are mainstream values that people should be free to articulate without fear of ridicule or persecution by the Left.

It’s time for a new political conversation that reflects the concerns of everyday people.

It’s time for a conservative spring.

 

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170 comments

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  1. Phil Pryor

    Fascist frauds abound in politics lately, and Perrotet, a serial self deceiving liar on any matter of truth is a severe case, a penalty on us all. “Belief” in absurd fantasy ancient myths, mystery, murk, is the driving force in this anti-intellectual movement. Romanist ratbags have polished up the line of faith, submission, belief. What have these in common..? Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Salazar, Horthy, Pilsudski, the Ustasha, Peron, Pinochet, hordes of other minor figures like Degrelle, Mosley, etc. Raised as lay catholic youth, they never developed much awareness, decency, ability to think clearly, to reason, use logic, accept science, understand analysis, But, they resorted to brainless aggression, hatreds, prejudices, intolerance, any stupidity to collect support and retain power. MURDEROUS IGNORANCE, GROSS NEGLECT, STUPID DOGMA, RATBAG RITUAL, RIGHTEOUS RAVING, THAT IS THE FASCIST WAY. With such as Trump, Johnson. Morrison, Perrotet in office, we are doomed, for religious ratbaggery and a lack of reason is killing the planet. Their stupid lying beats service and duty to us.

  2. Terence Mills

    Bring Gladys back (please) !

  3. corvusboreus

    I druther an electable NSW Labor party, but I’d settle for a return of Berejiklian, who at least displayed occasional competence.

  4. Harry

    An ideologue is now imposing his dubious beliefs on New South Wales. The health system is under increasing strain due to his social Darwinism.

    How will the parrot’s experiment end?

    S

  5. Bryony Fearn

    The truly disturbing thing is that this recalcitrant bigot and religious zealot will have his eye on the ‘top job’ – god forbid

  6. Kaye Lee

    It’s all a conundrum to me.

    He spruiks personal responsibility, yet wants to tell me who I can marry, what I must do with my uterus (and the rest of my life), and that I must endure agony at the end of my life.

    He rails against the “political elite” having spent his entire life as one of them.

    I agree with him that “If you question man-made climate change, you are not a sceptic” – you are either an ambitious politician on the make, a greedy capitalist who puts profit in front of everything, or a dangerous ideologue who thinks it’s all God’s will…..or, in the case of our DoPe, all of the above.

  7. Josephus

    What, Terence, bring Gladys back? What use were the angry womens’ marches if this pathetic woman can claim she was allegedly deceived by an ugly crook named Daryl? She was compliant with her male master , as were Ghislaine and her repulsive consorts. Gladys was not a child. She should have reported the ugly man she was sleeping with.

    I suspect god may yet bring the cleansing ordeal of covid to Mr Perrotet ; if for no other reason than to atone for the selfishness of breeders of nonentities when already this planet is grossly overwhelmed with human billions, at the expenses of trees, other animals, clean water and plastic free seas… Boris the entitled upper class twit is another such, so to be fair it is not just catholic fanatics who think they are entitled to flourish at the expense of the weak and poor , but, oh how Christian that is too it seems ! Perrotet condoned the vagaries of Gladys and should be judged, not by the lord but by learned humans.

  8. Chris L

    Regardless of what “Political Party” is in office, a personal agenda, by a leader, should never have the power to override a properly thought out course of action. A leader, should not have the authority , in their own right to install their own beliefs and ideals – there should still be a 24/7 sub committee to decide significant decisions. This includes taking advice form experts in the know… from best advice available…

    There is a danger of any one “power play” person, whether it be personal beliefs, or off the cuff decisions, based on preferences, to make poor choices on behalf of the public good.

    Our demographic political system, needs looking at , if it allows a potential leader, personal choices in their leadership. If they are corrupt, have a hidden dictator streak, or ultra conservative, or too radical views, they pose a great danger, to a society we live in… and history around the world proves UNDOUBTEDLY that ! Our CURRENT state and national system, dictates leaders, MUST WIN at ALL COSTS! …and we let them!

  9. corvusboreus

    As I gaze upon gangrenous ulceration, I recall scabacious excema with a certain fond nostalgia.

  10. Kaye Lee

    Would it be wrong of me to remember Abbott with nostalgia as the predictable village idiot?

  11. New England Cocky

    @Terence Mills: No thank you Terence, we are attempting to restore competent honest government to NSW and Gladbags is anything but either of those objectives.

    @Kaye Lee: Uhm ….. a most uncharacteristic major slip in discriminating thinking that would ruin your impressive reputation at AIMN.

    Perrottet is the Vatican Puppet Primer, angling to sell off about $5 BILLION worth of NSW Cemeteries to the Roman Church … as consideration for a dispensation for betraying the Australian voters in NSW?

  12. corvusboreus

    KL,
    Funny thing is, amongst the people who question the validity of scientific orthodoxy regarding climate change, they often take offense at the term ‘denier’ and demand to be called ‘sceptics’ (or ‘skeptics’)

    If you question the mainstream science of human-driven climate change then you are, by definition, a sceptic, and if you dismiss it outright then you are, by definition, a denier.

    Ps were you to start expressing nostalgia for Abbotts malevolent idiocies, I would probably recommend you take an EEG scan.

  13. GL

    Kaye Lee,

    No, it would not, the mad monk was the country’s village idiot. Scummo went one better and became the worlds village idiot.

  14. GL

    Kaye Lee,

    No, it would not, the mad monk was the country’s village idiot. Scummo went one better and became the worlds village idiot.

  15. Kaye Lee

    Moment of madness. The spectre of Abbott was what got me writing in the first place. He was inadequate when we were 20 and that was his peak.

    I didn’t mean it…honest. The fact that ScoMo and his lot are even worse is NO reason for me to lower my standards but hells bells and cockle shells, it’s hard to find politicians who live up to them.

    I don’t need them to be perfect. Honest would be a great start.

  16. Michael Taylor

    The AIMN is nine years old tomorrow.

    In those nine years Abbott stands out as the politician that people liked to read about the most.

    We owe him. 😁

  17. corvusboreus

    GL,
    Remember back in 2014 when Abbott, although in NY at the time, skipped the UN climate conference to have dinner with Murdoch, and simultaneously tried (unsuccessfully) to convince the UK, Canada & NZ to form an axis of odium to oppose any meaningful climate mitigation measures?
    Abbott was another globally exported idiot.

    KL,
    Honest, intelligent, competent, decent, sane.
    I’d settle for 1 out of 5.

  18. IWick

    Kaye Lee – Abbott was weirdly amusing.

  19. Kathryn

    The LNP is being over-run and overtaken by crass, judgemental, homophobic, misogynistic bible-thumping hypocrites! Not only are these whacko, sanctimonious RWNJs totally unsuitable to be in ANY position of political power in a nation as historically (and, thankfully) SECULAR, multicultural and egalitarian as Australia, they are a very dangerous indication that these self-serving, narrow-minded members of mad, bad and intolerant religious, paedophile-protecting cults really believe that they are “sanctioned by God” to lead our nation down a path of “paternalistic self-righteousness”.

    The FACT is that these nauseating religious hypocrites, Morrison and Perrottet are living PROOF that a sick, twisted combination of religion and politics make a very intolerant, paternalistic and dangerous mix! Morrison has proven himself to be a self-righteous, insufferably smug political parasite who is a signed-up member of the internationally notorious CULT of Hillsong. Hillsong is NOT a religion, it is widely regarded as a dangerous CULT currently misled by Morrison’s up-close-and-bestie, Brian Houston! Right now, Brian Houston is now facing international condemnation for the role he is playing in protecting his disgraced predatory father, the convicted, recidivist paedophile, Frank Houston. Now, we have Dom Perrottet, who is regarded as “unelected swill” in the dysfunctional NSW State branch of the LNP. Perrottet is nothing more than a pompous, totally regressive, insular, homophobic RWNJ who has proven himself to be a medieval critic of just about anything and everything relating to women’s rights and equality of the sexes, actively opposing contraception and abortion. The self-righteous hubris of Morrison and Perrottet is breathtaking because, shockingly, they both truly believe that they, and they alone, have some indefinable God-given right to “lead our nation out of the darkness” by dragging our nation back to the bad old days of the 1950’s!

    The FACT is that these medieval, bible-thumping hypocrites are mad, bad and very dangerous! They are BOTH unspeakably regressive, climate-change-denying Neanderthals who believe that any form of progress, egalitarianism or female leadership is to be actively discouraged with Morrison barely tolerating no more than seven heavily censured women in his male-dominated cabinet. Compare THAT to the front Labor cabinet led by Anthony Albanese which contains a MAJORITY of more than 52% of intelligent, foresightful women!

    The LNP-led State of NSW is regressing faster than a speeding bullet with Perrottet in charge! Perrottet – being an Opus Dei educated member of the far-right, lunatic edge of conformist, insufferably misogynistic Catholicism – is living proof that the ONLY position HE believes women should maintain is being completely silenced, disempowered and ignored and/or being kept bare-foot and pregnant in the kitchen!

    Can anyone with ANY level of intelligence (especially women) REALLY believe that these two self-promoting, chest-beating, white alpha male misogynists and bible-thumping hypocrites (Morrison and Perrottet) have the intelligence or egalitarian foresight to lead our nation throughout the 21st century? Really? Morrison and Perrottet are rusted-on, insufferably hypocritical and stone-cold Conservatives who maintain a medieval stance of misogyny and feign religious piousness by worshipping a poor, homeless man (Christ) every Sunday but later choosing to ignore the poor, homeless and most vulnerable members of our society every other day!

    Morrison, Perrottet and the other shrieking, regressive, totally intolerant racists, bible-thumping hypocrites and skirt-lifting misogynists that line the cabinet of the LNP – at State and Federal levels – are a pack of TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE and callously inhumane miscreants and not fit to lead our nation. The LNP have been drowning in appalling scandal, non-stop lies and an increasing level of self-serving corruption that belies their insufferable claims to “religious superiority” – KICK THEM TO THE KERB at the next federal (or State) elections because THAT is where they really belong!

  20. Kaye Lee

    Another thing I find bemusing is how all these religious guys use religious-like devotion as a pejorative implying detrimental blind acceptance:

    Dominic Perrottet – “Another example of gratuitous waste is the almost religious devotion of the political Left to climate change. Whatever your opinion on the causes of climate change, once again the facts are these: Australia’s responsible for about 1.5 per cent of global carbon emissions. If we achieved a target of a five per cent cut in emissions this would reduce the world’s temperature by 0.0038 of a degree by 2100.”

    Tony Abbott – “Primitive people once killed goats to appease the volcano gods, we are more sophisticated now but are still sacrificing our industries and our living standards to the climate gods to little more effect.”

    John Howard- “I chose the lecture’s title [One religion is enough] largely in reaction to the sanctimonious tone employed by so many of those who advocate quite substantial, and costly, responses to what they see as irrefutable evidence that the world’s climate faces catastrophe, against people who do not share their view. To them the cause has become a substitute religion. Increasingly offensive language is used. The most egregious example has been the term “denier”. We are all aware of the particular meaning that word has acquired in contemporary parlance. It has been employed in this debate with some malice aforethought.”

    George Pell – “Some of the hysteric and extreme claims about global warming are also a symptom of pagan emptiness, of Western fear when confronted by the immense and basically uncontrollable forces of nature. Belief in a benign God who is master of the universe has a steadying psychological effect, although it is no guarantee of Utopia, no guarantee that the continuing climate and geographic changes will be benign. In the past pagans sacrificed animals and even humans in vain attempts to placate capricious and cruel gods. Today they demand a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.”

    PS IWick, Abbott was weirdly amusing when we were at uni – an inconsequential bovver boy. Had I ever in my wildest dreams thought he would become PM, I would have been way more proactive way earlier in publicly saying WTF are you doing!!!!!

  21. Jon Chesterson

    Another corrupt contemptuous arrogant ignorant entitled and privileged right wing prat in town – No words or shame for the depth of their batting order. No enlightened youth here, more of the same dogma, lies, dishonesty, recalcitrance and upbringing; securing the future with the next generation of political snobs and bigots. When will this sick Liberal dynasty ever end? Religious freedom must come with personal and public responsibility, political non-interference and social tolerance or intelligence. We must have closure on religious rule for good?

  22. Al

    The Catholic church has shown itself in its 2000 years to be a despicable organization interested only in self-glorification, self-protection, and subjugation of its adherents by fear and abhorrent abuse. That any modern politician can side with this monstrous organization should beggar belief. In fact, really, being a member of any established church or religion should be an automatic exclusion from politics. What if you have to make a decision that goes against your church’s teaching? (Such as, for example, all Catholic teaching on sex and sexuality.) And how do you convince all the “others” (protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc etc) that you are standing equally for them? And a problem with all religious nutters is that they don’t have to take responsibility for anything, as there’s always the big sky daddy looking after them.

    It is also a matter of simple observation of 3000+ years of recorded history, that the more religious a society is, the worse it treats women, and minorities. (Texas SB 8 – need I say more?)

    The self-glorification and self-protection I mentioned means that churches must also work hard to preserve the status quo; which is why all churches have been fervent enemies of progress throughout history.

    You only have to look at the antics of the Mad Monk, and also happy-clappy Scomo, to see how fast we can move backwards when religion gets mixed into politics. Both of these people were/are totally unfitted for their positions, and it seems as though DoPe is working hard to become just like them.

  23. Kaye Lee

    Perrottet spoke vehemently about the sanctity of the confessional saying it transcends laws to report child sex abuse.

    He has previously warned Australia should stop “throwing money” at welfare because it is contributing to rising divorce rates and single parent families.

    “Some have argued that social security replaces the role of children in old age by socialising the traditional duties of the family,” he said. “As one commentator has asked, why have children at all when the state will take care of you in your old age?”

  24. Brad Black

    If you mixed the genes of porloiyne, barmy j, craig ‘crackers’ kelly, the mad monk, slippery scott and the mayor of manilla you’d wind up with with a clone of the NSW premier. Poor NSW – again.

  25. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, Kaye.

    Another example of your amazing command of facts and sensible commentary. You’ve sure poked a stick in the bull-ants’ nest.

    I hadn’t known about Perrotet and Opus Dei, but when I read that bit, I nearly panicked! To quote someone much older and wiser than me, ‘Such men are dangerous.’

    Al,

    The Catholic Church is a very broad community/spectrum. At one end you get the likes of Perrotet, Pell, et al. But at the other end, you have people who devote their lives to change in the church and in the world, to the care of others and of our Planet A. At this end of the spectrum, the job is to love one another, to ‘do unto others’, and to leave the world a better place than they found it. I’m not a Catholic myself, but some members of my family are, and the work they, and others like them do in the world is quite extraordinary.

    Isn’t it time we stopped making disparaging generalisations about other groups of people – like ‘men’, ‘women’, ‘Jews’, ‘Muslims’, ‘dole bludgers’ … ? Haven’t we learned that lesson yet?

    P.S. Happy Birthday, AIMN. Well done!

  26. Harry

    Whilst Gladys was a liberal she was relatively moderate compared to the parrot. I agree with Kaye on this point. I hope this noxious amalgam of libertarian and authoritarian never gets to be PM.

    Notice how his type are libertarian on economic matters but ultra authoritarian on social matters?

  27. Phil Pryor

    Kate A has made sensible points which should have been clear and generally accepted. Every religion, culture, society, nation, subgroup usually has a great range of types. and many are admirable participants and citizens. Extreme bad types need to be clearly identified with some factual basis. But, training, submission, doctrine, ceremony, supernatural freakiness, fantasy as fact, lies as truth, ritual, prohibitions, lack of empathy, righteousness, exclusivity, MAY produce too many poor types.

  28. Roswell

    Kate is always good value.

  29. corvusboreus

    When denigrating aspects of Islam, I make sure to sort Sufists from Salafists.

    Similar applies to Christians. I was christened RC, and I reckon Catholicism is at the more extreme and distorted end of the Christian spectrum.

    Weird additional constructs like immacculate conception, transsubstantiation, transmogrification, papal infallability, and a hell of a lot of extra guilt for the gilding.

    At the worse end of Catholic variants is the cloistered cult (opus dei) that taught Dom about god.

    Under such indoctrination, confessional admission of child rape becomes sacrosanct against investigation or punishment by authority of law, a simple ‘sin no more’ suffices.

    I believe that is a sick, perverted and societally unacceptable viewpoint.

    I also believe that someone espousing such view is fundamentally unfit for high public office, and deeply resent their elevation to premiership through cynical party processes.

    I make no apology for holding or expressing such views.

  30. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, Roswell. Your banana cake is in the mail.

    Phil and CB,

    There are big changes afoot amongst Catholics at this moment in history – big challenges to many of the old teachings and die-hard attitudes. So when you mention things like ‘fantasy as fact’, it might amaze you to know that there are many Catholics these days who don’t espouse the virgin birth, for instance, as a literal fact. There’s a lot more to it, but I’m no expert. Suffice it to say that literalism is under fire, not just amongst Catholics, but in many other religions as well. The old attitudes and beliefs are under scrutiny from within.

    And CB, Fact check: Opus Dei is actually not a ‘cloistered’ cult. Most of its members are lay people. Actually, CB, You seem to be doing the very thing that worried me in the first place – tarring every member of a group with the same brush.

    Of course, there ARE groups that we can legitimately apply this attitude to. Not ‘politicians’, but ‘lying politicians’ is certainly one I can think of!

  31. corvusboreus

    Kate,
    Yeah, I initially thought ‘closeted’, but that seemed to have vaguely homophobic connotations, so I went with ‘cloistered’ instead.
    Less accurate but more punny.

    To the lack of subtle differentiation of complexities between the various worthy actions and enlightened viewpoints of individual Catholics contrasted with some of the more abhorrhent binding doctrines of the religious orginisation with which they affiliate: comment, not thesis.
    As a basic guideline, the more people deviate from the Catholic dictates, the less Catholic they become.
    Of course, these days when membership declines or dissent escalates they tend to elevate a relatively reformist pope, which is of course infinitely preferable to the historical option of unleashing inquisition.
    Yay progress!

    Anyways, I still resent and detest the fact that, through internal party political machinations, I am lumped with a state premier who statedly believes that priests have divine justification in concealing child rape from legal repercussion.

  32. Kate Ahearne

    CB,

    You say, ‘Same applies to the lack of further differentiation of complexities between the worthy actions of various individual Catholics and some of the abhorrent binding doctrines of the religious organisation with which they affiliate.’

    This brings us to what one of my most important points was all about. Many of those binding doctrines’ are no longer considered ‘binding’ by an increasing number of Catholics. And many of those people will tell you that this shift does not make them less Catholic/Christian, but more so.

  33. corvusboreus

    Kate,
    I would argue that people who ate increasingly ignoring the orthodox Catholic doctrines and more leaning towards their own interpretation of the atributed teachings of Christ are becoming more non-denominational Christian than Catholic in practice.

    That would, however, be straying more and more into semantics on esoterics and further and further from the problems with the current premier of NSW, who, through his strict adherence to hardline Catholic dogma, resists prevalent societal progression on issues like women’s reproductive rights, although, to be fair, his disdain for science is more of an individual interpretation.

  34. Al

    A quick response to Kate Ahearne’s comment on my comment – yes indeed the “Catholic Church is a very broad community/spectrum” – no disagreement from me there! – and there are people within it doing great work indeed. But I still stand by my position that the Church, as an organization, does far far more bad than good, and always has done. The good work is by individuals who would do good work in whatever situation they found themselves. As to my comment about “others” I simply meant from a Catholic perspective. All churches have their “others”. This is very much not my own view.

    But thank you Kate, for your wise and considered comments!

    I take Bertrand Russell’s view, that all religions are intrinsically harmful (no matter that there might be extraordinarily good people in them), and that “as they all disagree, it is a matter of simple logic that at most one can be true.”

  35. Kate Ahearne

    Al and CB,

    Thanks for your interest and input into this conversation. I believe that attention to these questions is vital if we are to stop hurting and misunderstanding each other and get on with the business of living useful, creative lives. This is that moment in history.

    Just a couple of quick points. In the end, it comes down to who we are as individuals that matters most – not the groups we belong to.

    Also, what matters most is not what we believe, but that we don’t try to force others to submit to our beliefs. So, if you don’t believe in abortion, fine. Don’t have one. But you’re not entitled to prevent me from having one. If you don’t want to be vaxxed, fine. But don’t force yourself on others. Don’t visit your old Mum in the aged-care facility. Go home and stay there.

  36. Kaye Lee

    It just seems unlikely to me that an omnipotent omniscient supernatural being who created the universe would be needy enough to want me to waste time and money worshipping them.

    I love banging out a good hymn more than most (if I don’t pay attention to the words), but the dressing up, incense and chanting really gets to me. I was voluntarily religious for a long time because I liked the community connection but one day the ceremony of it all just seemed so silly, particularly communion. I just couldn’t pretend that was normal any longer.

    Each to their own, but I really do not like a prayer starting parliament. Nor do I like scripture and school chaplains in public schools. I would prefer an ethics class and a trained counsellor.

  37. Kate Ahearne

    Kaye,

    My story is similar to yours. I was a convent boarding school kid for most of my childhood. Towards the end of my first year at Uni, I was walking across to the chapel for Sunday Mass when a picture popped into my mind of the priest, dressed up in flowing robes, holding up the host and saying, ‘This is my body’. That was the beginning of the end of literalism for me. I turned around and went back to my room.

    For me, one of the most worrying aspects of the idea of God that many people have, is the idea of an interfering God – a God who pulls strings, who answers some prayers but not others, blesses this one but not that one, smites this one and not that one, is ‘on our side’ and so on. As far as I can see, God’s work is done. Creation Is. The Laws are in play. (And I don’t mean the Ten Commandments. I mean the laws of physics, chemistry, biology and so on. Consequences, etc.) After that, it’s up to us to experience the joy and the awe and the angst of it all, and to take a very serious view of our responsibility to the natural world and to each other.

  38. Michael Taylor

    My poor niece – a NSW resident who isn’t much younger than me – gives me the disturbing news that her husband, her mother-in-law and her four-year-old granddaughter all have Covid. The poor girl is distraught.

  39. Kate Ahearne

    So sorry to hear that, Michael.

    How many families are facing this worry today? And how many more tomorrow?

    It beggars belief.

  40. GL

    If you want to see good satire watch Charlie Brooker’s “Death to 2021.”

  41. margcal

    Kate Ahearn: “Isn’t it time we stopped making disparaging generalisations about other groups of people – like ‘men’, ‘women’, ‘Jews’, ‘Muslims’, ‘dole bludgers’ … ? Haven’t we learned that lesson yet?

    Kate … Thank you!
    This is the area that most lets down articles and comments on The AIMN, to the extent that there are some writers whom I choose to no longer read.

  42. andy56

    As i gaze into the article and absorb Pit’s utterances, i am drawn more and more to George Carlin’s point, its a fucking scam. People are concerened, they are sick of being conned into believing in a system that sucks the very life out of them. So lets go back to back yard abortions , shall we? For every unwanted child, let these fuckwits pay for their upbringing from their own fucking pockets. Their cry will be heard from here to kingdom come. I for one am cheering on the omicron, its the only thing thats managed to get the liberals to have any sort of plan, as wrong as its been. These bumble shits should never ever be given power again, totally, stupidly inept.

  43. andy56

    is it just me or are the liberals deliberately trying to prove/implement incompetent government theory? Its like they wanted to form government but then what? Its like the dog chasing the car tyre, now what? NFI except that more of the same is required, even though, more of the same will hasten our demise.
    Last time Abbott promised to cut red tape and bureaucracy, then imposed another form and $50 take to prove who bought my house was australian. He should be in gaol for fraud band, remember this fuckwit said 20mb/s was all we would need for broadband. Robodebt should have The marketing fool in gaol too. Democracy in australia is a scam.

  44. Andrew J. Smith

    Sydney has become or recaptured its conservative Christian dominance, with QLD, in Australia after the Liberal Party’s soul migrated to Sydney from Victoria the former ‘jewel in the crown’, in the ’80-90s with Howard and Murdoch in the ascendancy (implementing imported ‘Kochonomics’ – Rundle), backgrounded by ageing electorates and especially Anglo-Celtic becoming more conservative, and being catered to as ‘Australian’ (while all others, even if born in Oz are still ‘immigrants’).

    Like the radical right libertarian policies promoted by Koch think tanks, it’s dependent upon forming conservative voter coalitions round socio-cultural issues, as many of the economic policies are simply not palatable to broader society e.g. constraining services for young generations like JobSeeker, HECS, NDIS etc., while firewalling pensions and self funded perks for retirees.

    Our own monocultural media are so conditioned to nativist and/or conservative libertarian tropes they let so much pass unchallenged e.g. MPs like now SCOTUS talk about ‘freedom & liberty’ and sanctity of ‘life’ but place all responsibility on mothers without ability to manage their own bodies, e.g. simply put any baby up for adoption while totally ignoring the paternal responsibility of any father, -> protecting the American GOP style patriarchy?

    Or, the lazy trope that’s been around for centuries i.e. foreigners or immigrants take jobs or suppress wages, like the ‘trickle down effect’ there is no evidence whatsoever, just another ‘divide the electorate, multiply the vote’ (Mike Moore, FrontLine), avoiding wage & award compliance. The big ones, immigration, population and NOM obsessions under the guise of environmental care virtually replicating Trump’s border wall; predicated upon the ‘great replacement’ (after Christchurch embarrassing to watch our dog whistling MPs and media types avoid any linkage, but blaming the ‘internet’ or ‘BigTech’).

    Former PM Howard had the gall to describe both Brexit and Trump as ‘tremendous news’ but for what or for whom? Both were achieved through populism, nativism and collective narcissism yet still supposed ‘conservatives’ now avoid talking about the same…..

    Finally, what is sad is how good conservative or Lib voters have become anodyne or robotic and passive almost in fear of their own side’s authoritarian instincts and speaking up for the less well off may lead to sliding down the greasy pole vs. eugenics based libertarian ‘survival of fittest’.

    For example, apart from a few glib one liners many conservatives are not for anything but defined by what they are against (helped by the ever present whiteanting of Labor policy, real or made up, by LNP media monopoly)….. but makes Australians look uninformed and unempowered while their leaders act out their white Christian nationalist authoritarian fantasies to scare their own side?

  45. corvusboreus

    Any concerns voiced over so-called ‘environmental issues’ allegedly being exascerbated by so-called ‘human overpopulation’ are actually just thinly veiled racism.
    Based on both locally observed and broadly documented trends, the planetary biospheric processes are doing just fine coping with the burden of 8 billion people, so packing in a few billion more by the end of the century shouldn’t hurt our planet’s future too badly.
    This is why currently observed climate shifts are not being scientifically described as ‘anthropogenically driven’, and why the hockey stick graph of recent human population growth bears so little resemblance when overlaid with the hockey stick graphs of CO2 levels & temperature variation over the same period.
    The fact that humans comprise >30% of total planetary mammalian biomass, and our domesticates comprise >60% (leaving wild mammals as <5%) gives absolutely no cause to pause.
    Anyway, the very notion of protecting unique endemic biodiversity is actually just another form of nativist bigotry.
    Oh yeah, I almost forgot, David Attenborough is actually deeply into racist eugenics, his superficial focus on biological conservation is just a convenient front.

  46. RosemaryJ36

    As an English/Australian whose childhood included celebrating Guy Fawkes Night, I find it strange that Australian governments are so influenced by Catholicism. In fact the influence of religion on government is, IMHO, nhighly disturbing!
    WE HAVE A SECULAR GOVERNMENT, DIRECTED BY ITS CONSTITUTION TO STEER CLEAR OF RELIGION!!!

  47. Fred

    corvusboreus – either your tongue is firmly planted or what a total load of BS. Out of the total crock, the standout comment of “The fact that humans comprise >30% … leaving wild mammals as <5% gives absolutely no cause to pause” caused me to choke. While the percentages you state are near the money the “no cause to pause” is troubling. It will be a sad day when mammalian diversity consists of only humans, cattle, pigs, goats, sheep and companion animals.

  48. Max Gross

    Never put a religious fanatic in charge of anything, especially public health and safety!

  49. corvusboreus

    Fred,
    The actual numbers are 36% humans, 60% domesticates (mostly 10 spp) & 4% wild mammals.
    The figures are from a ‘bio-audit’ study published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2018.

    Funny thing is that the wild category comprising 4% of total mammalian biomass includes human vectored/associated ferals & vermin (eg Rattus rattus).

  50. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, Margcal.

  51. Kaye Lee

    NSW figures

    18,278 new cases. Before anyone rejoices at the drop in numbers (hard to believe I am saying that), there was a drop in tests to 90,019.

    A quick bit of maths shows that over 20% of people tested positive.

    With 1066 in hospital and 83 in ICU, that’s a hell of a lot of resources not available to other sick people.

  52. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks for the maths, Kaye.

    Can we infer that on top of the 20% of people who are actually testing positive, there is an unknown percentage to be added if we want an assessment of the actual numbers in the community?

    But it’s all OK because we’re ‘learning to live with the virus’, so we don’t need to even bother going for a test! At this point, I’m daring to dream of a drubbing at the polls.

  53. corvusboreus

    According to popular wisdom, if you do less testing then you get fewer cases.

  54. margcal

    RosemaryJ36 – another deplorable undifferentiated generalisation.
    But to the extent there might be an element of truth in it…. It goes back to the days before Henry Parkes’ free secular education when Irish Catholic nuns started educating the children of poor immigrants, mostly Catholic. The doors to some professions were closed to Catholics so those who managed to get an education were steered to paths where they escaped bigotry, ie predominantly medicine and law. Doctors and lawyers run in families just as other occupations do, as indeed does unemployment. We don’t have many doctors or any unemployed in parliament but we do have a lot of lawyers.

    In terms of influence, an extremist of any faith is no worse than an extremist atheist. But for some reason we don’t criticise extreme atheist beliefs.
    I would argue that a politician whose motivation is his personal ambition is just as bad as either. We have quite a few of these in parliament – Morrison, Frydenberg, Dutton, Tim Wilson, all who have come via the IPA, etc.

    We have both religion (of sorts) and personal ambition in the case of both Perrottet and Morrison.
    Perrottet belongs to Opus Dei which most Catholics believe is an extremist sect within the church, so is far from fitting any religious generalisation.
    Morrison is a member of Hillsong, an organisation that most Christians do not recognise as Christian, an organisation that preaches personal wealth and property which is the opposite of the Christian gospels, in other words a (non-Christian) sect masquerading as a religion (like Scientology).

    Perrottet seems sincere in his beliefs, whatever you think of them.
    However I do wonder to what extent Morrison is simply using his “faith” as a vehicle for political advancement. I recently listened to a Vic Lib Party member saying how Hillsong and similar sects are, in political terms, capturing the outer Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. I don’t know if that’s the case in Morrison’s seat in NSW but Prosperity Gospellers are as alive and well in NSW as in Vic.

    Bottom line… there are people of all religious persuasions and none in Parliament, most of whom are reasonable and rational in the practice of their beliefs. If we get a dominant leader with extremist views, should we blame the beliefs or the personality…. and those who voted such people into power?

  55. Terence Mills

    In recent days Scott Morrison has redefined a close contact as someone who has spent four hours or more with a confirmed case in a household or household-like setting.

    Mr Morrison said the new definition would come into effect from Thursday 30 December) in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT.

    Tasmania will follow on January 1, while the Northern Territory will make announcements about its plans in the coming days.

    Mr Morrison said a close contact will need to isolate for seven days from the date of exposure, and take a rapid antigen test on day six. Confirmed cases will also only need to isolate for seven days, and take a rapid antigen test on day six.

    Clearly there is confusion in the broader community with the states now adopting their own approaches and, where I am in Queensland, we have a mask wearing mandate for all places of human interaction : public transport, shops, shopping malls, clubs, pubs, hospitals, aged care facilities, movie theatres and so on.

    I read this morning that a food shop in Brisbane had a public reaction against police who were enforcing mask use – bearing in mind that Qld has not previously had a mask use mandate before….certainly not state wide.

    It seems that Morrison has adopted a Boris Johnson approach of ‘let it rip’ but in Australia the states and territories still do their own thing – very confusing.

    As I am reading it, the daily infection rate is largely irrelevant : it’s the hospitalisation rate and intensive care rate that we need to focus on – is that correct ?

    Incidentally, I was due for my booster on 31 December based on the previous six month criteria, having had my second AZ jab on 30 June 2021 : my GP tells me that I can’t have the booster jab until early February due to supply limitations but that I could phone around pharmacies in the interim if I’m concerned !!

  56. corvusboreus

    Should any “extremist atheist” of influence start loudly spouting intolerant extremist rhetoric (eg make irreligious instruction compulsory!), demanding special dispensation for their faith-free status (eg exemptions from taxation and laws against discrimination) or committing atrocities in the noname of their nongod(nemo el akhbar!) then I will stand and oppose them.
    Until then, I will direct my efforts towards existent problems, like having a premier whose ‘faith’ leads him to believe that priests can defy law to conceal knowledge of child rape.

  57. David Higham

    Christopher Hitchens : “Many religions now come before us with ingratiating smirks and outspread hands, like an unctuous merchant in a bazaar. They offer consolation and solidarity and uplift, competing as they do in the marketplace. But we have the right to remember how barbarically they behaved when they were strong and were making an offer that people could not refuse.”

  58. corvusboreus

    Terence,
    Amidst political games and contrarian messaging, basic advice holds true.

    Avoid touching communal surfaces, and thoroughly clean your hands if you do (petrol pumps are particularly filthy).
    Stop touching your face!
    Avoid sharing enclosed spaces and close proximity with other people.
    Wear an properly fitted mask when around other people.
    If you start feeling sick, quarantine yourself and get tested.

    Political messaging may have vaccilated confusingly, but basic advice on biological hygeine hasn’t.

  59. David Evans

    A wise young parrot once said: “It’s time for a new political conversation that reflects the concerns of everyday people”. Who was that? Where is it now?

  60. Kate Ahearne

    David,

    Just to pull one thread from the thicket offered up by your quote from Christopher Hitchens:

    We often hear people refer to the appalling ways that religions have behaved in the past, and you’ll get no argument from me about the facts. But let’s not overlook the importance of context. At the same times in history that religions have been behaving barbarically, so have monarchs, governments, armies, justice systems, ‘charities’, ‘settlers’, ‘businesses’…

    We all belong to many different groupings, including families, neighbourhoods, political persuasions, religions, businesses, book clubs, schools, electorates and so on. It’s up to us as individuals to do what we can to look after the health of the groups that we belong to.

    Of course, there are some groupings that are toxic in their very nature, and there may be religions among them. (I don’t have the knowledge to say for sure, but I can’t help wondering about Hillsong.) I suspect, though, that there are very few individuals who would willingly belong to an organisation or group that they knew to be toxic.

    I do think that it’s very dangerous to make generalisations like the one you have quoted from Christopher Hitchens. So many people who are striving to lead good, useful, loving lives belong to religious groups. They mightn’t like everything about their particular religion, but they keep striving. Part of the battle for many of those people is the reform of their particular religion. Reform needs to happen as a constant in all our lives and all our groupings.

  61. David Higham

    No argument will ever covince the religious that we would be better off without it. Morality exists despite religion,not because of it.
    (is that a Hitchens quote as well ? It might be. ) We don’t have to go far back through history to find sickening examples,do we?
    The events of the last decade should have been enough for people to say ‘enough is enough’, As expected,though,nothing will
    change . Best wishes to you.

  62. corvusboreus

    Kate,
    Probably the greatest form of reform that could occur within any brand of the Abrahamic branch of monotheism would be to do away with the anthropomorphic genderisation of their deity.

    Narrowly defining ultimate divinity as a solo male god of humanoid form (HIS image) has not only proved detrimental to the station of human females, but tends to completely sideline other lifeforms as well.

    This indoctrinated meme has permeated society to the point that even expression of disbelief tends to be masculinised (god? don’t believe in ‘him’.)

    An examination of extant creation shows that genderisation (aka sexual dimorphism) requires female for male, whilst going solo is the realm of asexual or hermaphroditic beings.

    ‘He’ needs a ‘she’, thus becoming a ‘they’.
    Only an ‘it’ can go it alone.

    Of course, this attitude shift would require some serious modification of torah, bible and koran, but it wouldn’t be the first time that scriptures have been fundamentally altered.

  63. Kaye Lee

    Kate and margcal,

    Most religions require belief in, worship of, and eventual judgement by a supernatural being. That is something some people cannot accept, hence the generalisation.

    Understandably, they also try to increase their support which can be intrusive when not invited.

    I don’t think anyone is suggesting people of faith are all bad people but we should learn a salutary lesson from the dangers of assuming they are all good too.

    I enjoyed the church as the community coming together to support people in need. We visited old people and disabled people and lonely people and bereaved people. We had camps and fellowship groups and Sunday school to give young people fun things to do. And I got to sing and play piano – both of which I do badly but with enthusiasm.

    The other sticking point is when any of us try to impose our beliefs, or lack thereof, on others. Look at the polarisation Israel Folau caused.

    Religious people deserve tolerance – as do those who do not share their beliefs We aren’t very good at that though. Both sides seem to feel the other needs to wake up. It’s not an argument anyone can win.

    Choose for yourself and allow others to do the same, but we should be able to still work together for the common good.

  64. Kate Ahearne

    Kaye and CB,

    I do agree with so much of what you both say.

    Thus the importance of the move away from literalism, including, as CB points out, the notion that God is a ‘he’, or even that God is a particular person, such as Jesus. If we can begin to make this move away from literalism, we can see that the ultimate judge of our actions can only be ourselves – ourselves in connection with the whole of Creation, of which we are part.

    We still have such a powerful tendency to mistake the metaphor for the reality that it attempts to encompass/suggest/reveal/convey. And you don’t have to be religious for that.

    As Kaye says, ‘Choose for yourself and allow others to do the same, but we should be able to still work together for the common good.’ That means an emphasis on connection and common ground, and a more tolerant attitude towards difference. That doesn’t mean that sometimes those differences are such that they need to be addressed with gusto.

  65. Michael Taylor

    Choose for yourself and allow others to do the same…

    My thoughts exactly.

    I have no discrimination against anybody for their beliefs. It is their choice, and it is their right. It is when they try to push their beliefs down my throat that I get my gander up.

  66. Kaye Lee

    I have mentioned before, my father told me when I was about 16 that it wasn’t always my job to tell people when they were wrong. It was wise advice that I still struggle to follow.

    The thing is, none of us are the same, which is fine as we go about our individual lives – diversity is a plus.

    But when we need each other collectively to achieve something, we need to concentrate on the views and values and goals we share instead of getting stuck on the things we disagree about. We need our collective talents to bring people together to move forward.

    And if we expect better from our politicians, then we should expect better from ourselves as well. They can’t exploit our differences or drive wedges if we don’t let them.

  67. corvusboreus

    IT is, and i is part of IT.

  68. Kate Ahearne

    Yes. As Kaye says, ‘And if we expect better from our politicians, then we should expect better from ourselves as well. They can’t exploit our differences or drive wedges if we don’t let them.’

    A New Year’s resolution, if ever I saw one.

  69. Jan

    Kaye, Kate, Michael,
    Interesting, to encourage us to choose when choosing is the actuation of polarising. The reality is we all “choose”, in other words, jump to conclusions. We wouldn’t function otherwise. Its not important, it may even be counter productive. It strikes me that the problem is the quality of our memes (Dawkins: “units of cultural transmission”). Leaving aside the variable nature of innate mental processing ability and the unfortunate reality of the current malignant propagation of evolutionary “dead end” memes, it seems prudent for the progressives such as those who write here to focus on amplifying foundational memes and outright avoiding spurious ones. Much like peer reviewed science, perhaps we could have a system that examines cultural memes defining their measure of merit to society. This can be challenged in the same way as any scientific hypothesis, by peers. Much like evidence based decision making, it should inform policy makers and perhaps only those skilled in the art of memes should be allowed anywhere near the power of governing.
    Just a thought.

  70. Kaye Lee

    Jan,

    Choosing doesn’t have to be an act of polarisation if you respect the other person’s right to choose. As a simple example, purple might be my favourite colour. Green might be yours. Having a different opinion in that trivial example doesn’t evoke emotional divide.

    As for memes, one person’s foundational may be another person’s spurious as I feel is the case with religion. But few would disagree with the golden rule concept which appears in pretty much every religion (except maybe Pentacostalism?).

    To “define the merit to society” of different cultural practices would be an impossibly subjective task most unlike scientific peer review.

    If I had to think of one essential criterion for a politician I would say integrity.

  71. Michael Taylor

    Interesting, to encourage us to choose when choosing is the actuation of polarising. The reality is we all “choose”, in other words, jump to conclusions.

    Jan, I’m not sure I get your drift here. It is a very broad statement.

    I can’t see that the choices I make are polarising.

    I choose to wear a mask. What is so polarising about that?
    I choose to vote for a progressive candidate. What is so polarising about that?
    I choose not to go to this or that church. What is so polarising about that?
    I choose not to listen to rap music. What is so polarising about that?
    I choose to live in the country. What is so polarising about that?

    I could go on.

  72. margcal

    Kate, you say: “… If we can begin to make this move away from literalism….

    Sigh.

    This move started a good century ago and really took off mid-20th century. It is generally accepted by all mainstream Christian churches, Catholic and Protestant. There are exceptions: Sydney Anglicans stand out.

    The bulk of Biblical literalists belong to the evangelical churches and sects. Those that preach the Prosperity Gospel don’t put their hands up though to help the sick, poor, widowed, stranger, prisoner. Quite the opposite. Which is why they are often regarded as non-Christian.

    Part of my complaint about generalisations of a religious nature is that people here seem to be commenting on the religion/s of their childhood, many decades ago. In some respects churches are stuck in the past but in many respects they are not. This is not to deny evils that exist in church structures* and individuals. But they exist elsewhere.

    *If I describe an organisation as secretive, autocratic, unaccountable, lacking transparency…. can you tell the difference between the Morrison government and the Catholic Church (as an organisation). Elections are the only difference and who here is confident that we will shortly have a change of government? Morrison is the consummate bullshit artist, the MSM are controlled by Merde-och, either directly or in his shadow to maintain sales or ratings, and there are brain dead blind followers of political parties and/or the MSM just as there are brain dead non-thinking followers of religion.

    So I say to you anti-religionists here, your outdated criticisms show up your ignorance; your gross over-generalisations show bigotry rather than informed opinion; the misrepresentations amount to abuse. You turn off any but the like minded. And you need the people of religious faith if the government is to be turfed out at the coming election. If only you looked, you would see you have more in common than you realise. Why drive such a blunt wedge?

    So I further say to you, if you want to criticise religion/s go right ahead. But look to Kaye Lee and Kate Ahearne to see how it’s done effectively: with knowledge, respect and style, playing the ball not the man or woman and definitely not the whole group. On the last, go back and read Kate’s first post.

  73. LOVO

    Some wonderful thoughtful comments in this thread (Cod youse ppl are smart buggers 😉). My main take-away thought from the comments, is ‘tolerance’. Tolerance of our fellow humans and acceptance of the differences we all have.
    (But having said that…..I truly don’t believe in any religions and think the ‘believer’s’ of ANY religious or spiritual belief are nuts.)
    It would seem that most religions are on the wane for most Aussies and across most demographics, yet it seems that a lot of Pollies are religious nut bags….WTF is going on?
    How can Dom and Scumo even think that they represent the majority when the majority are moving away from religious clap trap that they’ve infected themselves with. Anyhoo…discuss
    Happy Birthday AIMN 🎂

  74. Jan

    Michael,
    Try to see it as a yin yang thing, there is one side and then the other side you choose. You choose to wear a mask therefore establishing a position opposite to not wearing a mask. Knock me down with a feather if this is not the polarity motivating the anti-vaxer/anti mask mandate frenzy. What I try to say, perhaps clumsily is that your “choice” to wear a mask (and I could list a few more) does not matter at a societal level. What we should be talking about is the meme, “wearing a mask is being subservient to Nazi style oppression” or “mandating seat-belts has seen a decline in vehicle collision injury severity”, Stop talking about memes that have no value to our society and start amplifying the ones that do. Can you pick the meme that is higher on the merit scale?
    Just a thought

  75. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks,margcal,

    Just a small quibble. I wasn’t just thinking of literalism in the religious or biblical contexts. It is a problem that applies to us all. Otherwise, your point, as it does apply to religion, is very important. We’ve seen a lot of comment here from people who clearly haven’t noticed that, for instance, there are plenty of Catholics who no longer believe that the birth of Jesus was actually a virgin birth, or that Joseph and Mary were not husband and wife in every sense. As you point out, as far as matters like those are concerned, the times are a’changing, and have been a’changing for many years.

    Jan,

    I struggled to understand most of your comment, but the first bit seems pretty clear, and I have to agree with Michael and Kaye. For a start, so many of our choices are not binary, either/or propositions. And of those that are, like the examples that have been given in response to your comment, few could be called ‘polarising’. That’s not to say that there are not some choices that ARE polarising. ‘If you do that, I’ll write you out of my will’ would be pretty polarising!

  76. Jan

    Kaye,
    Yes, depending on how we define polarizing and of course yes, emotions play and important role in focusing the lines of the force-field being polarized.

    Think of foundational as established principle on which we can build more complex ideas. There has to be an existent facet to the meme and and acknowledgement of its level of merit to society. It is not subjective. For instance if you rank the memes “Any person holding a senior position in government shall not tell a lie and if found to have done so will be removed from their role” and the meme “God works in mysterious ways and he has chosen this prime minister and as such his lies have a good reason”. I would hope that there would be little disagreement among us.

    I am not sure about golden rules in religion but it sounds like another meme.

    Did you mean to suggest the golden religious rule to be “defining merit of society’s foundational principles, represents an impossibly subjective task due to different cultural practices”? I suggest that is a meme with low merit no matter how true it may seem.

    I remember a conversation with my daughter about respecting cultural practices and we both agreed that “There is no honour in honour killing” was a good meme, despite the grounding in cultural practice.

    Are social sciences a thing anymore?
    Just a thought.

  77. Jan

    By the way Kaye, I love your meme busting work, I’m hooked.

  78. corvusboreus

    Kate,
    Playing Nicean council 2.0 again.

    The next literal biblical interpretation I’d prefer dropped from belief by the Christian faithful would be the last book of the tome.

    It might sound giggly-hypocritical coming from ‘comrade doomsday’ corvus, but apocalyptic prophecy woven into poetry is not helpful to policy and strategy discussion on disaster mitigation (especially when cited as gospel truth).

    Biospherically speaking, we have a looming potential ELE catastrophe on our hands, and Revelations offers nothing but hindrance to practical solution.

    Ps, You have presented some very reasonable points about potential improvement within both individuals and groups.

  79. Kate Ahearne

    CB,

    I can’t say anything sensible about The Book of Revelations. I do seem to dimly remember that there had been some talk about dropping it.

  80. corvusboreus

    To return to something raised by the author, but little addressed in general comment.

    Premier Perottet has previously stated that he believes sanctity of Catholic confessional overrides rule of law regarding disclosure of matters like the rape of children.

    There is no record of him retracting or clarifying this position.

    As far as I know there is no explicit biblical precedent on this specific issue, but did Christ not say ‘render unto Caesar’?

  81. Al

    What a remarkably interesting conversation this has been. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it, and enjoyed also throwing my 2 cents into it.

    I will say that I think it’s a danger to adopt a “live and let live” attitude towards religious belief, which seems to be a prevailing theme. Not all beliefs are created equal, and some are actively harmful – especially in their curious attitudes towards health and medicine. To be a member of a modern industrial society, with everything on tap, all of us have certain responsibilities, as well as rights. And one such responsibility is to act in a way that will not injure others. I would say that all of us have a responsibility to be vaccinated, as that slows down and inhibits the spread of the virus. Nobody has a “right” to be unvaccinated. (Some – a minuscule number – may have very good medical reasons to be unvaccinated, but that’s something else entirely.)

    The notion “I have a right to my opinion” is a philosophical fallacy; nobody has a right to any opinion (aside from an opinion of preference, like chocolate ice-cream being better than vanilla), that they can’t argue for. This setting of all opinions as equal has been ruthlessly exploited by the American religious right in teaching creationism as somehow equally worthy of attention as evolution. This is something we all need to be on guard against – and it is a danger, it seems to me, when you have people like DoPe, Scomo, and previously Abbott, in positions of power, in which they can influence opinion and policy.

    Thomas Jefferson said “It does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are 20 gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” This is true, and wise. But DoPe, Scomo, are not neighbours going about their business quietly, they are powerful leaders, and what they say and believe is a huge concern to us all. As I said earlier, I believe that they are woefully unsuited for their positions.

  82. corvusboreus

    AI,
    Broadly agree, but will add…

    Firstly, people should definitionally differentiate between ‘faith’ and ‘religion’.
    The first is optimistic belief without proveable evidence.
    The second is assumption of sole possession of absolute truth regarding spiritual matters through adherence to a certain set of ‘binding’ doctrines and/or rituals.

    Secondly, I believe people are entirely entitled to possession of personal opinion.
    It is only when they start to broadcast or act upon such opinions that they should expect and accept being subjected to ‘critical peer review’ (within reason).

  83. Kate Ahearne

    This discussion has all been extraordinarily interesting and important. So many bits and pieces I would like to address, but my brain is bruised. So I’m going to sleep on it.

    Meanwhile, a glaring example of the evils of failing to proof read what one has written:

    ‘As Kaye says, ‘Choose for yourself and allow others to do the same, but we should be able to still work together for the common good.’ That means an emphasis on connection and common ground, and a more tolerant attitude towards difference. That doesn’t mean that sometimes those differences are such that they need to be addressed with gusto.’

    Should have read: ‘As Kaye says, ‘Choose for yourself and allow others to do the same, but we should be able to still work together for the common good.’ That means an emphasis on connection and common ground, and a more tolerant attitude towards difference. That doesn’t mean that sometimes those differences are NOT SOMETIMES such that they need to be addressed with gusto.’

  84. corvusboreus

    Kate Ahearn,
    Our brains are all too frequently bruised, but sometimes other factors are also at play.

    Writers routinely employ proof readers, mostly because self-assessment sux (so sez the work of Pffrs Dunning + Krueger).

    Additionally, in physiological terms, when we post-assess our own writing, the ‘remembering’ part of our brain tends to skip over physical details (like gramatical fidelity in the sequencing of letters and words) and see what we think we meant to say (saves on eye strain).

    Post-proofing my own comment @ 9:34, I shouldn’t have included the word ‘sole’; variant religions sometimes compromise or agree to disagree.

    Anyways, here’s hoping you sleep soundly and wake with brain unbruised.

  85. Kaye Lee

    cb,

    This is part of what Perrottet said in 2020 regarding compelling priests to report child sex abuse…..

    “we need to be clear about what this kind of law does, it compels at the threat of imprisonment, ministers of religion to violate their conscience, in a way that is so grave that will result in their summary expulsion from the church. That isn’t just a matter of preference. It’s a matter of deep theological conviction that the confessional seal is sacrosanct, for every priest in every penitent, no matter who, no matter what sins are confessed.”

    The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommended that ” there be no exemption, excuse, protection or privilege from the offence granted to clergy for failing to report information disclosed in connection with a religious confession.”

    Queensland Catholic priest Michael McArdle, in an affidavit, said he had confessed to child abuse as many as 1500 times to 30 priests over a quarter of a century. He was regularly told to go home and pray, which lifted his guilt “like a magic wand”.

  86. corvusboreus

    KL,
    Thank you for the additional information, such is always (kinda?) welcome.

    I currently have little to add beyond reiteration of previously expressed viewpoint articulated into far stronger terms, so I invite others to offer input into the NSW premier’s stated stance regarding priests concealing pedophilia, as contrasted with the findings and recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

  87. Kaye Lee

    It’s an interesting argument that a priest’s conscience would be more violated by mandatory reporting of child rape than by granting absolution to the perpetrator.

    “The priest is the sign and the instrument of God’s merciful love for the sinner.”

    Suffer little children….I forget the rest….

  88. margcal

    Thank you again, Kate Ahearne. You are a beacon of light, as is Kaye Lee.

    If I may … on literalism in Catholicism in particular, it’s not that many Catholics don’t believe many things. It is that so many things are no longer taught as being literally true and haven’t been since the revolution in biblical studies. What much of the bible is recognised as is myth, a story that has meaning but is not literally true.
    Probably the classic is the creation narrative which still causes heaps of problems in the US, particularly the South. It’s an answer when you don’t really have an answer to the question, where did we come from? At primary school in the 1950s I was taught that the six days of creation are “not” days as we know them. They would fit more with Darwin’s theory of evolution, which was not taught in RE but was in science – not hard to connect the dots.
    In a similar vein, Indigenous Australians have the Rainbow Serpent.
    These days the secular world has the Big Bang, science rather than myth. It’s when you start asking what caused the Big Bang and what caused that cause etc etc that the unanswerable question gets answered, for some people, with God, or whatever the gods of other religions are called. It’s one way of sitting with the unknowable.

    But like you Kate, my brain is done in 🙂

  89. corvusboreus

    Kaye Lee,
    Were one bound in cloth by vow
    to remain silent whilst children are defiled,
    What cost to soul in holding one’s tongue?

    I am honestly weeping.

  90. wam

    Domb and his ilk are trapped by words like ‘sanctity’ and ‘faith’. A simple directive of the pope that absolution for child abuse is the province of god alone making priests unable to grant absolution. This would remove the protection for priests or anyone who abuses children and seeks absolution. Murder could be next?
    ps Wow, Al, why has someone not a right to an opinion? Opinions need no facts or knowledge and the good the bad the ugly the unintelligent the clever, everybody has them and is entitled to have them.

  91. Al

    wam – It depends on what sort of opinion you’re propounding, and the seriousness with which you expect other people to take it. See https://theconversation.com/no-youre-not-entitled-to-your-opinion-9978 for a better explanation than I can give. Of course everybody’s entitled to their personal likes and dislikes, but the issue arises when a reply to an argument is “I’m entitled to my opinion”. Well yes … but your opinion has no weight unless you can mount a cogent argument for it. You might also like to check out https://heidisamiam.medium.com/youre-not-entitled-to-your-opinion-or-the-aggressive-ignorance-of-the-21st-century-944071418e84 A web search will produce further readings.

  92. margcal

    Kaye, the question of confession is a red herring, although I agree it certainly shows the warped thinking of some priests. Generally speaking, the formation of priests has not kept pace with studies in scripture and theology, particularly in Australia where Pell and the heirs of Pell hold sway.

    However …. for confession to “work” some penance or reparation must be made. In the case of a rapist that would be to hand themselves in to the police. It’s why no priest I’ve ever heard of has heard the confession of a rapist.

    In fact, those most likely to hear “confessions” of rape are defence lawyers and there has never been any suggestion (that I’m aware of so could be wrong) that lawyer-client confidentiality be abandonned.

    What would be much better, Kaye, would be people such as yourself joining people like me in challenging churches on those same things we are challenging governments about ….. transparency, accountability, etc – the structure of the church – and in the case of the Catholic church, giving lay people a say in decision making, including the appointment of priests. I could mention women priests but that’s a whole other question, too much for now.

    Kaye, thank you too. As mentioned above, you’re a beacon of light in this place.

  93. corvusboreus

    All good.
    Tears have ceased to trickle.

    “no priest I know of has heard the confession of a rapist”

    OK, now i am banging my friggen head on the phuqqen tabletop.

    Goodnight internet people.

  94. Kaye Lee

    margcal,

    “no priest I’ve ever heard of has heard the confession of a rapist”

    Aside from the fact that they’re not allowed to tell you, there were many examples given in evidence at the RC.

    Above I mentioned Michael McArdle.

    There was also former Victorian priest Paul David Ryan, jailed in 2006 for 18 months for indecently assaulting one victim, who revealed during a 2015 private hearing that he confessed his sexual activity with adolescent boys to his confessor on multiple occasions.

    Asked if that was the way he reconciled his actions with God, he said: “Yes. Well I thought I was. I know that was very seriously flawed.”

    The commission also heard the Melbourne pedophile Father Victor Gabriel Rubeo used a confessional situation to “take out” his confessor, who had been alerted by one of the priest’s victims.

    “I gave absolution and, as he walked out the door, he laughed at me,” former priest Philip O’Donnell told a 2015 hearing. “In other words, he made sure that I couldn’t speak to anyone. I felt totally entrapped by that situation.”

    PS People I love dearly and respect a great deal are/were very religious. It meant a great deal to them and gave them great solace. They were very good people in every sense of the word. My mother-in-law tried very hard to address the issue of women in the Catholic church. As you say, too big a topic for now.

  95. corvusboreus

    I guess we can join premier Perottet in completely disregarding the findings and recommendations of the RC into IRs to CSA. Inconsequential.
    Forgotten.
    Never heard of it.

    Back to more immediate matters like the differentiation between literally and literarilly.

    So, if what we assume that most Christians, and especially Catholics, view The Holy Bible as more poetic advice (Aesops for grownups) than immutable divine revelation (aka something to swear upon), what underlying messaging is enfolded within all the parable and metaphor?

    Why does man look at lot like god, but woman much less so?

    How does eating fruit of knowledge between good and bad lead to menstruation and snakebites?

    Given the seemingly inherent reproductive urge that drives much of our behavior, is ‘go forth and multiply’ really such necessary advice?

    Can people petition to change commandment, or did that privelige die with Moses?

    Was the ‘eye of the needle’ quip merely an observation regarding the laxity of security at a Jerusalem postern gate?(the hillsong interpretation)

    Questions to ponder on a rainy Monday morn. 🤔

    Ps, I’ll not question the bit that says to ‘strap a paddle to thine girdle’ and walk away from the tents when you need to take a dump, that’s just sensible camp hygeine 👍.

  96. Kaye Lee

    cb,

    I think the answer to most of your questions is linked to what margcal brought up about there being no women in the power structures of most religions. The bible was written by men for men to maintain male dominance.

    There’s a lot of weird shit involved in that. Men want to know that a baby is theirs so women can’t just go around having sex willy nilly like they might do if they just enjoyed it rather than realising their place as owned vessels and vassals. Who wouldn’t want to protect having free domestic staff to do all the cooking, cleaning and child-rearing? Not to mention sex on tap. Offering virgins as a reward for violence feels like a throwback to alpha male animals fighting for the right to root all the females in the pack.

    PS Looks like DoPe has annoyed Ray Hadley.

    https://www.news.com.au/world/coronavirus/australia/thats-insane-ray-hadley-tees-off-at-nsw-premier-dominic-perrottet/news-story/e5433fae3f84c2473b5345d57b5fe3a5

  97. corvusboreus

    Another biblical parable to ponder (and very relevent to current events):
    is sticking a spear through a copulating couple still an effective remedy for plague?

  98. Kate Ahearne

    My head still hurts.

    Let’s not forget that the Bible is a historical document – written by many hands over many centuries. We can’t reasonably expect that people in those good old days shared all of our values.

    Those were the days when men were dominant, probably for no other reason than that they were physically stronger than women. They were therefor better able to kill beasts for food, fight off enemies, and, yes, physically/sexually dominate women. No wonder they thought they were superior, and not much wonder that women agreed with them.

    There were all sorts of other assumptions that we no longer make today – for instance, about what is good and what is evil. If we bear all this in mind, and set aside all the stuff that no longer applies, there are left some very valuable stories. I still like the Garden of Eden story, particularly in the way it applies to the pollution of our planet. We did eat the apple of greed and disregard for our beautiful habitat, and now we’re in grave danger of being thrown out of the Garden of Earth.

    A couple of other thoughts:

    Jan,

    Are you really suggesting that we should base our politics on a raft of aphorisms/proverbs, or as you say, memes? Or have I misunderstood?

    About the confessional – this idea of confession is one of the old ideas that many Catholics no longer adhere to – partly at least, for the reasons people here have mentioned.

  99. corvusboreus

    Kate,
    If the forbidden fruit represents greed, why does the bible say it represents knowledge of good and evil?
    Very confusing messaging.

  100. Kaye Lee

    They lost me when they said “Everything in the waters that has not fins and scales is detestable to you.”

    Same as when the doctor gave me a list of foods not to eat because of cholesterol – it started with oysters. I said I’d rather have high cholesterol than give up my shellfish.

    Kate,

    I cannot agree with you re ” No wonder they thought they were superior, and not much wonder that women agreed with them.”

    I think growing a human being in your belly and squeezing it out between your legs is pretty amazing stuff worthy of some sort of kudos. I don’t think physical intimidation engenders agreement so much as submission. Women were more than capable of finding their own food.

  101. corvusboreus

    Plants before sun is a serious sequencing error.
    Plants need sunlight: so sez science.

  102. corvusboreus

    You know, I’m suddenly starting to remember why I ended up spending the alloted school scripture time in the library reading Asterix & playing dominoes.
    (we weren’t allowed to have secular ethics back then)

  103. Kate Ahearne

    CB,

    Surely the knowledge of good and evil includes greed? And irresponsible disregard for the planet? And wilful ignorance? Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.

  104. wam

    Thanks, Al,
    In this company, I am dumb, but for me, there is no doubt that opinions, that Holmes defines are ‘bull dust’, are accepted as true by the people who have them?
    The relations and lovely christians, mentioned by Kaye, are not allowed to have opinions on anything related to their religion. Her too big for here is a valid opinion by a concerned woman for her women trapped in a religion that has no base input from women. She has seen women subjected to indoctrination by men faithfully indoctrinating their children.
    There are 4 Jesuit colleges in Australia and shorten, the rabbott, his Joey, pine and Joyce are graduates.
    Butt now the pentecostal plague abounds(mairead shanahan has some great opinions) and they have some great opinions backed up by god’s truth – climate is god’s province not man’s, flora and fauna are for men and women know fuckall are a trio of opinions.
    Come to think of it religious opinions should be just accepted, left out of political discussion and kept for personal political decisions.
    Solace is an important aspect for those who have faith that a man who forgives and rewards pedophiles, murderers of women and children has made a heaven for them to bonk for eternity.
    ps
    I often get this stuff from my deeply religious sister whose god has got her through two awful marriages but her strength is her hard work, her overcoming a school opinion that she is unintelligent and her personal strength nothing to do with a god who can do nothing.

    Aussie Professor Graeme Clarke https://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/2019/08/12/graeme-clarke/ via @wordpressdotcom

    Perhaps no one more than Australia’s bionic ear pioneer Graeme Clark exemplifies the definition of faith found in Hebrews 11:1: “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

    Hugs & love
    LEE STROBEL – The Case for Christ
    781,227 views • Jul 4, 2018 • Lee Strobel spent two years of his life studying, researching, learning everything he could in order to disprove the resurrection and deity of Christ.

    This week, Lee Strobel takes us through the four main points he found that shifted his mind and heart about the truth surrounding the resurrection of Jesus.

  105. corvusboreus

    Kate,
    So knowledge that greed is evil is fruit we shouldn’t eat.
    Goddit

    As for overexploitation of this rock that we call home, didn’t God give man dominion?

  106. Henry Rodrigues

    Enough said. When the lying rodent endorses someone, anyone. its goes without saying that they are expected to follow the philosophy and the political mindset that has permeated and characterized the coalition since the rodent was in charge. This one actually looks and feels like the rodent more than any of the others.

  107. Kaye Lee

    Corinthians 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

    1 Timothy 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence

    Good luck with that boys!

    PS 21.5% of people tested in NSW returned a positive result. Well done DoPe who said he wouldn’t have done anything differently re his decision to scrap QR codes and masks for a week. This is a man who is VERY sure of himself.

  108. corvusboreus

    Another handy hint from the Good Book:
    If your runaway slave comes crawling back, stick an awl through their ear 👍😉

  109. Kaye Lee

    At the peak of the Delta outbreak on 21 September, there were 1,266 people hospitalised with Covid infections in NSW. Today there are 1204 and rising. So much for she’ll be apples.

  110. LOVO

    God is black and she doesn’t care who knows it.

  111. Jan

    Good morning Kate,
    Unpack “base our politics on a raft of aphorisms/proverbs” or as you say I say “memes”
    No and yes

    Take a meme to represent a unit of cultural transmission in the evolution of society it may help our conversation.
    What I propose is that it is worth developing our collective understanding of the elements that point the vector of our evolving society. We progressives lament the apparent retreat of democracy. What causes this decline?

    Dawkin’s sets forth meme’s to explain the explosion in human achievement vastly out of sync with the rate evolution of the human brain. But what is a meme? Is it an aphorism? Yes. If as Dawkins sees it, memes are there in plain sight, that which has transformed human society. If so is it worth understanding better?

    Units of transmission, language. It is about what we say.

    What are our current principles that underpin policy if not cultural units of transmission?

    Where do I go to make an informed decision about the party I would like to “choose”? Policy? Aboott’s IPA wish list of “memes”? Kaye’s tremendous work here? Labor has supported the fracking of land in the Northern Territory and approved coal mine expansions recently, absolutely incongruous with the reality of the science of anthropogenic warming. Can we choose Labor over the policies of the Greens? Many do. Do we keep pointing the ship at the iceberg and carry on rearranging deckchairs?

    If we had a “school” that confirmed a rudimentary alignment with agreed worthwhile principles, memes, as a prerequisite for any person allowed to participate in government we could avoid the worst of the knuckle draggers we see in our parliaments. We have driving schools that set the standard for people on the road, why not leading our nation?

    Just some thoughts

  112. margcal

    Thank you Kaye. I stand corrected. One of the reasons you’re such good value 🙂 More power to you!!

    Kate, starting to look at the bible in its historical context 100 or so years ago is the ‘revolution’ I referred to.
    Historical criticism also identifies various passages added after the original was written down (remembering that it started as oral tradition), often-times to modify texts that were seen as too radical or progressive for their times. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose 🙁

    And now I’m done for this round.
    Off to have a bit of a read of Guardian Oz.

  113. Kate Ahearne

    Jan,

    I’m afraid your language is often opaque to me.

    But having said that, the bits I do think I understand seem to be impracticable, and maybe not even desirable.

    To begin with, is there any relevant ‘meme’ that we can all agree to? And how does it work? A massive conference of the entire voting population?

    It seems to me that it might be more possible and desirable if a charter of accountability/integrity could be drawn up, and an overseeing body with the appropriate teeth appointed. What we don’t have at the moment, is any effective way, other than the ballot box, to require what Kaye calls ‘integrity’ of our politicians.

  114. Al

    Kaye – in respect of Corinthians 14:34, I believe there are now a great many different interpretations of that passage, some based on feminist scholarship; others on a closer examination of the translation. Apparently Elsa Támez (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elsa_T%C3%A1mez) has written on this, but I can only find references to her work, such as at https://www.reformation21.org/blogs/1-corinthians-1432-did-god-rea.php. At any rate, taking any passage in the bible at face value is almost always a mis-read! (Also, most Christians simply pick and choose the bits that seem to most agree with their own personal prejudices, and ignore the rest.)

    From my admittedly very superficial reading, I understand that in early church history women were as important – possibly even more so – than men. Many of the apparently anti-women comments (such as in Timothy, which you quote) were written not by Paul, but by followers, who were keen to establish a patriarchy. It’s possibly a great pity that these are now accepted as canonical.

    Anyway, every passage in the bible has to be carefully considered in light of its history, translation, meaning at the time, and meaning for its followers now. The notion of biblical inerrancy has been a root cause of immense misery and suffering.

  115. Kate Ahearne

    margcal,

    I was well aware of what you were referring to. My apologies. I thought I’d been clear about that.

  116. corvusboreus

    Kate,
    What necessary qualities for the hands at the helm?

    Integrity is one quality that should mandatory for our ruling betters.

    The ALP have actually made a recent positive shift in this regard, with their former idea of an ‘integrity’ body being replaced with more firm wording calling a National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

    Competent sanity that is grounded in reality of science and law should be another biggie.
    A fatalistic nihilist who is both gravity-sceptical and vertigo-afflicted would make a piss-poor posting as the pilot of a plane.

    Perhaps a basic psyche evaluation and an entry-level exam on practical science, civics and law would be useful parliamentary prerequisites?

  117. corvusboreus

    Re The Holy Bible:
    Just so I know that we are all looking at pages from the same book, everyone here is aware of Constantine’s Council of Nicaea (325 CE/AD) ?

  118. margcal

    No, my apologies Kate. I thought “I” hadn’t been clear enough.
    Oh dear, conversation can be difficult, can’t it? Misunderstandings are too easy :-/

  119. Kaye Lee

    Al,

    I was once given a prize of a bible reader’s concordance. It was fabulous – google for bible readers before computers existed. I could argue every side of the coin and back it up with a bible quote. I loved it.

    Timothy had some advice for bishops in 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity.5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

    Seems the job description has changed in many regards. Not sure when wives and kids got dumped.

  120. Jan

    Kate,
    Apologies for my clumsiness. Is it my version of English or the concatenation of elements?

    Can you help me with what you think you understand that may be undesirable, I would like to avoid that if possible. I recognize that what I propose would not be easy. Science isn’t easy but worth entertaining.

    Charter of accountability/integrity overseen by appointed body with teeth? More desirable? OK.

  121. corvusboreus

    Jan,
    “what are the current principles that underpin policy”

    My first answer would be: Pavlovian (deliberately habituated drool reaction to sound of dog-whistle)

    Here’s to copacetic concatenation.

  122. Kate Ahearne

    Jan

    Very good advice given to me many years ago: When in doubt, plain English is best. Not only does it help others to understand what we mean, it helps US to understand what we mean.

    P.S. Can’t imagine what you might mean by ‘ concatenation of elements’ in the context.

  123. Kaye Lee

    From the AFR….

    “Morrison actually is beginning to challenge McMahon as one of the country’s least-convincing prime ministers….The Morrison government is occupying, not governing…..

    I don’t get Scott Morrison.

    There is something not quite right with him. There is a falseness about him, a lack of empathy, a coldness that I find very odd, set against his professed deep Christianity. I do not know how he reconciles his hard politics with his professed belief in the teachings of Jesus.”

    https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/it-s-time-for-scott-morrison-to-govern-except-he-never-will-20211227-p59kaj

    Well worth reading the whole thing.

  124. Jan

    Kate,
    Is my English not plain enough? Language is not my strength, especially not my second language.

    What I am trying to say is that when we try to talk to each other we do that by transferring packets of meaning. This can be a few words e.g. “Geez it’s hot!” But how to I talk about Dawkin’s idea of meme in plain English in a way that helps others to understand but also helps US to understand what we mean requires iterative interaction between US.

    So, What did you think you understood about what I wrote that may be undesirable?
    Cheers, Jan

  125. Jan

    corvusboreus,

    “what are the current principles that underpin policy”
    Beats me, hence my feeble attempts here to start a conversation.
    I would like to think fairness is one of them, honesty, compassion, these sort of things.

    If we have principles that resonate at the worthwhile end of the spectrum, we should perhaps Kaizen them.

  126. Jan

    corvusboreus,
    Povlovian, yes it is what sends memes viral

  127. Henry Rodrigues

    Kaye Lee…. Mike Carlton’s assessment and conclusion of Scummo’s brand of leadership has struck the bull’ eye. Scummo is absolutely the worst PM. But then Rupert picks em so he can control and manipulate them. The shallower the character, the more devoid of decency truthfulness trustworthyness. the more pliable the candidate is and therefore better for the purpose. Rupert’s purpose, that is.

  128. corvusboreus

    Memes (as I understand them)

    Put simply, ‘memes’ are the abstract theoretical ‘particles’ by which ideas can vectored and reproduced in the collectivised perceptions of populations (particularly human).

    The idea goes that just as genes are passed downward through generations (genetics), memes are passed sidewards through populations (memetics).

    Memes are basically thoughts and ideas, of which the more successful ones get consolidated into ‘facts’ or ‘memories’ which can then replicate vertically down through generations in forms of ‘tradition’ (including systems of politics and religion).

    Hope that helps.

  129. Jan

    corvusboreus,
    Yes, memes are functionally similar to genes except that they express characteristics on populations not via the coding in our DNA put coding of our culture. But what do the C-T-G-A of memes look like? What mutation should we aspire to propagate and which mutation would we rather avoid?
    That is a field of study I would love to see in our universities.

  130. Jan

    corvusboreus,
    If Brains are Computers, Who Designs the Software? – with Daniel Dennett
    Worth giving this one some time if the memes are of interest

  131. Kaye Lee

    A lot depends on whether you prioritise collective responsibility or personal gain/’freedom’/ambition. Our government is an example of the latter. Selfishness is encouraged.

  132. corvusboreus

    Jan, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, was a French biologist living contemporary with Charles Darwin.

    Lamarck’s postulations on biological evolution included the idea that repeated behaviors could alter physiomorphology, and that behavioral imitation within a population could normalise those physical changes.

    Building upon this principle, he theorised that physical changes could be amplified through generations, eventually leading to fundamental changes in form (speciation).

    Orthodox scientific knowledge of genetic processes saw Lamarck’s ideas completely sidelined/shunned (the giraffe DID NOT stretch it’s own neck!), a trend that continued through the 20th century, but recently his notions have received a little bit of a Frankenstein jolt within the emerging scientific field of ‘epigenetics’ (the study of how behaviors and environments can affect and alter genetic function).

    Memes meet genes?

  133. Kate Ahearne

    Jan,

    ‘Is my English not plain enough? Language is not my strength, especially not my second language.’

    All the more reason to keep it as plain, simple and clear as possible. ‘Iterative interaction’?

  134. Jan

    Hi Kate,
    Sorry, iterative is an approach of looping through the content of a discussion, adapting it as you go. Interaction is communication or direct involvement with someone or something, but I hazard a guess that you did not need me to look that definition up for you.

  135. Jan

    corvusboreus,
    Thank you for the Jean-Baptiste Lamarck comments, I will look him up 🙂
    What Dawkins notes is that for evolutionary traits to propagate through genes requires trial and error through generations and that is way to slow for the “progress” our species have made in say 100 generations. Lateral movement of traits via memes providing a short-cut to incorporating these traits in genes would not surprise me. I wonder if we would give Jean-Baptiste a better go today. Would he survive cancel culture.

  136. corvusboreus

    Jan,
    Today you have thrown me a completely new word (concatenation: a series of interconnected things), and resolidified a half-remembered-but-had-to-check one (zenkai: ‘good-change’ or ‘constant improvement).
    That makes this a good day for me.

    A nod to Lamarck is the least I could do in return.
    By the way, re Lamarck’s cancelling, apart from the fact that JBL’ s ideas didn’t really tally with existent knowledge of how genetics works, he might possibly have suffered from some negativising cultural factors.
    Lamarck was a Frenchman during the time of Napoleon.

    Ps, I will degust the full (hour+) Dennett speech after dinner (possibly with scotch).
    Within a broad curiosity, I am especially interested to see if he touches on neuroplasticity.

  137. Jan

    corvusboreus
    he does deal with neuroplasticty, termites in our brains
    and the scotch will help.

  138. corvusboreus

    Daniel Dennett with a dram it is.

    Slainthe

  139. leefe

    I always miss the really good discussions. But there’s one point briefly raised here I feel a need to address.

    margcal:

    “This is not to deny evils that exist in church structures* and individuals. But they exist elsewhere.”

    First, ‘they do it too’ is not a valid defence for bad behaviour.
    Second, it is particularly egregious when that bad behaviour is committed by members of an institution which sets itself up as a supreme moral arbiter and further compounded when the institution makes a habit of protecting its own reputation and status by protecting those guilty members rather than insisting on them being brought to justice as swiftly and openly as possible.

    You can’t say “do this” and then do something contrary and bitch about being pulled up for the hypocrisy.

    Jan:

    It’s starting to sound a lot like deliberately engineering a society through thought control and thorough regulation of education. And that cuts both ways; it can be used to make a freeer and more equal society but also to create the opposite. As the old saying goes “be careful what you wish for; you might just get it.”

  140. Kaye Lee

    Having flashbacks to the 1975 HSC biology exam where we were asked to draw a cartoon illustrating Lamarck’s theory of evolution where I did indeed attempt to draw giraffes. I was tramatised because I am crap at drawing. Ask me to write about it no problemo, ask me to draw and I was too naive to understand my depiction of the giraffe was less important than the message that he was stretching to reach the high uneaten branches.

  141. Kaye Lee

    I think a common thread through all of this is the importance of leadership, whether in the church or politics or the community.. The standards you walk past are the standards you accept.

    George Pell, when asked at a Wold Youth Conference in Canada how Catholics should react when faced with questions about the sexual abuse crisis, replied that: “Abortion is a worse moral scandal than priests sexually abusing young people.”

    There endeth the lesson.

  142. margcal

    leefe: “You can’t say “do this” and then do something contrary and bitch about being pulled up for the hypocrisy.”

    I didn’t. And if you read what I said in context, especially the following paragraph, in response to both the type of government/s we’ve got as per the article and some following comments, you would see that I was saying that our current government has many similarities to the deeply flawed structure of the Catholic church and should be pulled up on it as the church has been (to no effect, more’s the pity).
    It was not an exercise in “look over there” denial and blame shifting. Elsewhere, including under my own name in both Catholic publications and The Age, on many occasions I have called out the Catholic church on exactly that point, including what you say about protecting itself and the hypocrisy of not practising what it preaches and having a higher level of culpability on that account.

  143. Jan

    leefe,

    “deliberately engineering a society through thought control and thorough regulation of education”
    Wow, is that what it sounded like? Maybe my language is that appalling as was put earlier.
    “deliberately improving society” resounding yes
    “through thought control” well, yeah but is that not what we are doing here, sharing thoughts to find a common thought synergised to one more worthwhile than the one we started with?
    “regulation of education” is that not already so?
    or was “thorough” important?
    Anyway, I appreciate you responding 🙂

  144. margcal

    No, Kaye. The lesson doesn’t end there. If only.
    I’m assuming you read about Pell in Canada.
    I heard “with my own ears” the following ….
    Not arguing which is worse …. so bad such a debate is meaningless.

    Many moons ago when Pell was archbishop of Melbourne, a panel discussion evening was held for local parishes in the hall of Camberwell High School. One of the speakers, a lay man big on social justice, gave, in part, a spirited argument about why women in Africa (poverty, a culture of not being able to say No to their husbands, etc) should be able to protect themselves from AIDS, as it then was, by using condoms.

    Pell, in his respose, said, and I quote the words seered into my brain,
    ” The Church needs more martyrs.”
    It was absolutely chilling.

    I identify as Catholic in the line of its progressive theologians and its social justice teachings going back to the 19th century.
    I don’t go to Mass for a number of reasons, one being that, to me, I could be counted as a “bum on seat” statistic in support of the church hierarchy.
    I will defend what is good in the church when the anti-church/faith/religion brigade condemn all people of faith as one evil, deluded homogenous mass.
    I will call out all that is bad in the church when I see or experience it.
    I welcome legitimate criticism when delivered courteously, including discussion of same.

    Sorry Kaye, the “all about me” statement isn’t directed at you. It’s for the “benefit”? of some others. Just needed to vent/say it after some of the stuff I’ve read here over the last 24 hours, and in AIMN articles and comments over the years.

  145. Kaye Lee

    margcal,

    I spoke to my darling m-in-law about Pell. She tried to say his social ineptness made him come across as arrogant. It was one of the few times when I said no to her. He is a bad man.

    Re my “there endeth the lesson”….that was a comment my mother would make in a disparaging sense when she felt she had been mansplained to long before mansplaining had a name.

    I am lucky to have had such women in my life. We could discuss things and disagree, but always come away feeling we had been listened to and that we had learned something.

  146. Al

    I see George Pell has made an entry into this conversation. Read this: https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/02/28/the-monster-pell-has-been-caged-at-last/ and weep. The author does warn of “heavy stuff”, and it may be triggering for some. Approach with care.

    At one stage I read part of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report of child abuse in the church. I couldn’t read all of it – or even much of it – as it was sickening and awful. However, there’s a wikipedia page with links for the curious (and the strong-stomached).

    The Catholic Church is of course not alone in its abhorrent mistreatment of the vulnerable, but it has the longest history of mistreatment, and an equally long history of avoiding any external review, and of protecting its clergy. For a modern adherent like DoPe, I think it must take a certain amount of doublethink to be a “good Catholic” while at the same time keeping distant from the Church’s many violations of human rights.

    The American theologian H. Richard Neibuhr said that “religion makes good people better and bad people worse.” This may be true. But the world being what it is, it seems that it’s easier for a bad person to have a greater and more baleful influence than a good one.

  147. corvusboreus

    Margcal,
    So now that you are seemingly aware of some the findings and recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse,

    and have been hand-led and spoon-fed enough examples to have heard and acknowledged that, despite your protestations to the contrary, numerous Catholic priests have indeed heard confessions of the serial rape of children (often by other priests) and chosen/been forced to sit silent,

    (aka that the church with which you voluntarily identify has plumbed depths beyond the lower end of your expectations),

    do you have any further words of censure regarding either your church’s confessional ‘policies’ systemically causing inaction over the reporting of child rape, thus enabling further in-house pedophilia,

    or premier Perottet’s verbally expressed belief that such pedo-protecting policies trump secular law?

    Beyond ‘I stand corrected’?

  148. Kate Ahearne

    CB,

    Steady on. Your tone comes across as quite offensive in this latest comment. And your remarks read as though you haven’t actually paid any attention to what margcal has written.

    Disagree, by all means, but please, let’s be careful that we’re not just spouting off without regard to the consequences.

  149. corvusboreus

    BTW, it is absolutely digusting that the ‘anti-faith/church/religion brigade’ indiscriminately define others within arbitrary but imprecise groupings.

  150. corvusboreus

    Kate,
    ‘I stand corrected’.
    I obviously either wasn’t paying proper attention to her iterative concatenations, or I took her words too literally and missed the underlying metaphors.

    Anyways, I’m off to watch some godless human pontificate about recent scientific takes on how brains might work.

  151. Kate Ahearne

    CB,

    Thanks for your apology. We all dislike having to do it, but sometimes it’s necessary. It’s good to know that you meant no personal disrespect, and I’m sure margcol will appreciate it.

    I do understand that making a genuine, sincere apology is particularly difficult for some men. It seems to shrivel their cigars.

  152. corvusboreus

    Kate,
    Men & cigars, eh?

    ‘Far easier for an XY Homo sapien to offer sincere apology, than for a Catholic to admit that entrenched institutions within their religion are enabling priestly pedophilia’.

    #notallmen
    #notruecatholic

  153. leefe

    Must admit, I’m with cb on this. It’s bloody hard to avoid a certain amount of sneer in the tone when confronted with stubborn and blind allegiance to an institution that has done so much wilful damage to the most vulnerable people.
    It’s something I cannot understand, can not relate to at all, not emotionally, not intellectually.

  154. Kate Ahearne

    leefe, and CB,

    If you look at what margcal has written, you will not find any ‘blind allegiance’. You will find a person who is deeply interested in profound reform in the Church. Sometimes the ‘blind allegiance’ is in oneself – ‘blind allegiance’ to what we think we know. One’s inability to understand does not entitle one to sneer at the genuine striving of another human being. (I searched for the bits in margcal’s remarks where she excuses paedophilia in the Church, but I couldn’t find them.)

    Now I have to admit to a spot of hypocrisy. I was seriously tempted myself yesterday to indulge in a bit of sneering. I badly wanted to suggest that CB and Jan ‘get a (chat) room’, It was a struggle, but I realised that it would be the ‘smarty pant’ thing to do, not the smart thing – in view of the New Year’s Hopes we have had in recent days, of treating each other with more respect. (Except when we can’t, which is why I’m so deeply and hopelessly in love with Rossleigh.)

  155. corvusboreus

    Kate,

    Margcal never excused priestly pedophilia, and was never accused of such.

    She did however express doubt about the author’s assertion that priests in confessional duties were exposed to disclosure of sex-crimes and dictate bound to remain silent (directly after an evidential citation noless).
    More citations were provided, so she ‘stood corrected’ and said no more on the subject.

    ‘The standard you walk past’ meme particularly applies to groupings we choose to identify with, thus I have invited her to offer further commentary on an issue raised by the author (confession of rape concealed by clergy) which she had previously dismissed as a ‘red herring’.

    I would also prefer a less indiscriminate definitional smudging of the terms ‘faith’ and ‘religion’ (a cat is a mammal, but not all mammals are cats) but that’s probably pushing a bridge too far.

    As for the conversation that occured between Jan and myself, if you find a brief exchange of information about ‘memetics’, evolutionary biology and neurological processes (including recommendation of a fascinating speech) to seem overly affectionate or sexually suggestive (presumed meaning of ‘get a (chat) room’), then that one’s strictly on you.

  156. Kate Ahearne

    CB,

    I’d have to write half a book to answer all the bits and pieces that are sticking out of your most recent comment, but I do have other stuff to get on with today. I’ll keep an eye on AIMN, but I’m pretty much exhausted with this thread.

    Thanks to everyone for their thoughts, and thanks to Kaye for getting us all going.

  157. Kaye Lee

    The discussion about the purpose and practice of confession is worth pursuing.

    How can an imperfect man grant absolution for crimes? How can chanting a few decades of the rosary make it ok? I get the idea that the sinner must repent but how is that verified? How come you can confess to commiting the sin again and get a whole new absolution?

    They say the sacrament “washes us clean” – who washes the victim clean?

    “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained’” – absolve the sinner and keep it a secret is hardly best practice. No consequences other than saying a few Hail Marys with some Our Fathers for good measure – off you go, see you next week. I’ll keep your secrets if you keep mine.

  158. margcal

    Kate, thank you for your defence of me, kinder than I deserve. But I’m glad you’re not writing half a book. Not even a whole one would be acceptable to anyone entering a conversation while lacking good faith.

    Kaye, I have real problems with the notion of forgiveness at a personal level. I’d be happy to enter a discussion about the purpose and practice of confession, now called reconciliation in Catholic circles which hints at historical practice which would be worth returning to. In a way, our court systems have some element of that in restorative justice programmes. Except for secular/Church differences, I suspect we would come up with very similar thoughts and conclusions.
    However, beyond those comments I’m not prepared to engage in a thoughtful discussion where a person of bad faith can derail proceedings.

  159. Kaye Lee

    Courts don’t keep things secret. A person is forced to face the consequences of their actions. If they embark on some sort of restorative justice program, they would have to admit their wrongdoing and be monitored and supported to modify their behaviour. None of that is done with confession. The secrecy is corrosive. The penance does nothing to atone for the crime.

    I am also very cynical about name changes if the actual practice hasn’t changed. I remember when the Holy Ghost became the Holy Spirit. I presume reconciliation still begins with bless me father for I have sinned. I’ve always found that incongruous.

    And why did they dump St Anthony and St Christopher….the two most useful saints from my childhood.

    And where did the souls of all the unbaptised babies go when they dumped limbo? If limbo no longer exists, then how can we be sure that they weren’t wrong about heaven too? Is heaven just a metaphor for having done more good than bad during your life? Sort of like being remembered fondly? Or at least not harshly?

  160. Kaye Lee

    I don’t think it is fair to accuse people of acting in bad faith. There are survivors of clerical abuse here. With the revelations that have shocked us all, how an institution can carry on without immediate radical overhaul is unfathomable. This secrecy and idea that they are above the law must stop. It is dangerous in the hands of fallible men.

  161. margcal

    OK Kaye. For me “bad faith” is shorthand for the attacking, sneering, perceived by me as assuming I’m stupid, generalisations that tar everyone/me with the same brush …. and the more words I use to describe how some people’s approach comes across to me, the more ways I expect to be attacked by such people.

    So, you raise interesting points, well worth discussing, but much as I’d like to participate in that discussion, except to say that in your comments on restorative justice you have pretty much answered your own question, I’m not prepared to have that conversation in this particular environment, as it is now.

    I’m going to the beach. Have to pack in case it’s assumed I’m staying overnight.

  162. Kaye Lee

    Enjoy. Sorry for the scattergun approach.

  163. corvusboreus

    In the beginning there was darkness,
    but the one that can be known is not the unknowable one,
    and the nature of existence is suffering borne of desire.

    Golden rule applies to all three.

    Corvus clearing airwaves, exiting thread.

  164. Michael Taylor

    Things are ramping up at the hospital where my stepdaughter is a doctor, with staff already positive or in isolation. The compound effects on the hospital system are immeasurable.

  165. Pingback: 2022 has begun – Following News & Politics

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