What is it all for?

This essay is a companion piece, or a sequel, to my second one this year, on ‘mating’, which I see as the basic dynamo of human societies — not so much the meeting and mating of boy and girl, but the collective consequences of those matings, the growth and shape of human populations over time. This essay takes the argument a little further.

My work on political attitudes and behaviour suggested that most young people acquire a more or less tepid version of their parents’ political attitudes while they are at home. Things change when they go out into the wider world, where they are also affected by their job, the people they meet, the great events of the time, journeying abroad, and so on. When they meet and mate another set of influences comes to bear: the needs of their children and what is right for them. We do care about our children and, almost universally, we work to ensure they have a better life in some respects than the life we had, or the life others have, at home or abroad. That causes us to develop new political attitudes, which may offset, or reinforce, the ones we grew up with.

What we see as possible in achieving that better life depends a good deal on the prevailing culture of our society. In a traditional village society, things are done a particular way because they have always been done that way, and there are traditional explanations for them, and for the meaning of great events and disasters. In our contemporary, rather secular, research-oriented Western society, problems are thought to have solutions, and great events and disasters have ‘real’ explanations. Even if we disagree about them, our disagreements will be about why we should prefer one evidence-based explanation over another, as is constantly the case in the issue of global warming.

My reading over the summer brought me to think hard about two ways of looking at political possibilities, based on two different cultural frames of thought. I prefer one over the other, and that may be because I am used to it. One of them says that humans cannot design perfect societies and no matter how well we do things there will always people who miss out. There will always be relatively disadvantaged people, people disastrously ill, some damaged in various ways, and we need to accept that. Ultimately, all of us need to take responsibility for ourselves and our own life. Government can’t do everything, and shouldn’t try, because it will make things worse by creating new problems while being unable to finally solve the original ones. I think I have grown up with that set of ideas, and it has its origins in Britain. There are similar perspectives in the other Anglophone societies, Canada, the USA and New Zealand.

There is no single author, but you can find bits and pieces of this tendency in people like Hume, Mill, Burke, James Madison in the USA, de Tocqueville (who admired the political cultures of both Britain and the USA), and more recently theorists like Oakeshott and Popper. The core of this set of ideas is that liberty is the most important criterion of a good society, and each of us needs to act with restraint, so that our liberty does not encroach on the of our fellow citizens. We need liberty and order, and that combination requires understanding and restraint.

Its rival is the set of ideas about possibilities that, while not exactly putting forward the proposition that human beings can design perfect societies, insists that there are grievous problems to do with social structure. If these are dealt with the world will be a much better place for everyone. The people who are the progenitors of this set are by and large not British but Continental. Man was born free, but is everywhere in chains (Marx). Or humans are naturally good, and it is institutional structures that deprave them (Rousseau). In contrast to the perceived importance of ‘liberty’, the Continental goal is ‘equality’. The desire for the equality of everyone leads naturally to centralisation and standardisation, to unitary states rather than federated ones, to the importance of the centre rather than the importance of the locality, and so on.

It leads also to revolutions which, for the most part, replace one set of bad rulers with another, which is why Burke and those who follow him today see the move to overthrow the existing order, the ‘demands’ for this or that, the rush to occupy Wall Street and elsewhere, as the mindless urge to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The Continental set of ideas has been popular everywhere for at least a century. It is at the heart of most ‘universalist’ political cries. In the 19th century it underlay the move to provide male suffrage then adult suffrage. It was behind the notion of ‘free, compulsory and secular’ education for everyone, first at the primary level, then at the secondary, then at the tertiary. It is behind universalist notions like the NDIS and the NBN in our country — the belief that it is possible to provide everyone everywhere with the same access to the Internet, or to care for all people who are disabled, whatever the disability and no matter where they live.

These ideas have been popular in our time and before in part because of the growth of the nation state and the growing power of technology. There are good reasons to standardise, to deliver services centrally, to tax centrally, to provide uniform  educational provision and health services. It is often cheaper to do so. We are able to do some things today that were beyond the imagination of most of our grandparents. I expect that we today have little understanding of what may be possible at the end of this century.

The Australian Labor Party, which was never in any real sense ‘socialist’, was the first political party in our country to see the world in these universal terms. The Greens today have imbibed it too. So have the conservatives in politics, to a degree. The UN and its myriad agencies are of course unaware that there is an alternative. But there is. It is the old-fashioned view that our job as parents is to educate to maturity children who see the need for self-reliance, for generosity and help to others, and act that way as citizens in a community.Yes, if there is a catastrophe, then our government has to step in, at whatever the level of catastrophe demands. But from day to day we need to act in a self-reliant and forward-looking way, earning our living, insuring our house, not building on a flood plain, and all the rest of it.

The trouble with the Continental perspective, in my view, is that it leads quickly to the view that each of us would be so much better off if the world were organised differently. And that leads to expectations which again in my view, can be unreasonable. There is no money tree, though plainly many people think there must be one, or some similar pot of gold that is perpetually replenished. I may be wrong, but my feeling is that much of the electorate now has something of a cargo-cult attitude to life. If there is a problem, then it is the government’s job to fix it. If a car firm decides to go elsewhere, that is government’s fault. We have seen many examples of this in the last decade, and political parties act on that assumption, hence the submarine-building endeavour in South Australia.

It may be that we are moving to the right, slowly but steadily, away from the Continental perspectives and back towards the old-fashioned British understanding of life. I do think it is time that we had a political leader who spoke simply and well about the lack of a money tree, about the need for all of us to be as self-reliant as we can be, to say that the national government has a small range of things to do and needs to do those well — and it is not a universal Bandaid. We don’t seem to have one at the moment, but I think the feeing is there within the body politic, and we may get one soon. Of course, we may just go on as we are, with the major parties less and less trusted.

I do not reject either Marx or Rousseau. Marx saw the horror of 19th century industrial life better than anyone and Rousseau offered an alternative to an ancient regime in France that was so bad it would dissolve in its own blood within a generation of Rousseau’s writing. But they spoke of their times. Ours is incomparably better for all people who live in societies like ours. What they left behind is a perspective on life, and what is possible, that seem to me rather irrelevant today. I do not reject the national systems we have, but want to emphasise that the more universalist their ambition the less satisfactory they are likely to be.

My view is that where there is a problem that needs a social solution (and not all do), the best approach is incremental. Make a few little changes, and see if a good result occurs. If it does, make a few more. But do not start with a grand vision and ask government to implement it. That way embarrassment and failure lie.

220 Comments

  • margaret says:

    “The core of this set of ideas (taking personal responsibility and not expecting governments to do anything for you, my words in brackets) is that liberty is the most important criterion of a good society, and each of us needs to act with restraint, so that our liberty does not encroach on the of our fellow citizens. We need liberty and order, and that combination requires understanding and restraint.”
    VS
    “The Continental set of ideas has been popular everywhere for at least a century. It is at the heart of most ‘universalist’ political cries. In the 19th century it underlay the move to provide male suffrage then adult suffrage. It was behind the notion of ‘free, compulsory and secular’ education for everyone, first at the primary level, then at the secondary, then at the tertiary. It is behind universalist notions like the NDIS and the NBN in our country — the belief that it is possible to provide everyone everywhere with the same access to the Internet, or to care for all people who are disabled, whatever the disability and no matter where they live.”
    Give me a break! Those who take the first view, the Leyonhjelms, the followers of Ayn Rand, the proponents of ‘trickle down’ economics are hypocrites. They know nothing of ‘restraint’. They don’t practise it in their lives and they lobby governments for everything they can get. They sit in their ‘castles’, be they mansions or relative shacks and they draw up the drawbridge both in their lives and in their minds saying, I’ve done it, all by myself so fuck you leaners, it’s everyone for themselves.
    Go and see a Springsteen concert instead of sitting in your comfy armchair listening to Bach or whatever.
    Liberty. The Statue of Liberty? Liberte egalitie fraternite?… what is liberty?

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Margaret, I’m sorry to say that what you have written on your own behalf is a rant.

      Do you really mean to say that ALL those people who take the first view are hypocrites, and that they ALL lobby government for all they can get, and that NONE of them help or donate in a voluntary way, and all the rest of it? If you really do, you live in a world unknown to me. You seem to think there are two kinds of people, your kind, ‘the goodies’, and the nasty other ones, ‘the baddies’. There are indeed lots of families who think that self-reliance is a good thing, whatever their income. Most of those known to me, through family and friends, are of this persuasion, and none of them is wealthy. A high proportion of Australians help other, in all sorts of ways.

      I agree that this is difficult stuff, but simplifying it the way you have done is no help to anyone, not even to yourself, in my view — unless it is just to let off steam. If that is the case, please do it somewhere else.

      • margaret says:

        “Do you really mean to say that ALL those people who take the first view are hypocrites, and that they ALL lobby government for all they can get, and that NONE of them help or donate in a voluntary way, and all the rest of it? If you really do, you live in a world unknown to me. You seem to think there are two kinds of people, your kind, ‘the goodies’, and the nasty other ones, ‘the baddies’. There are indeed lots of families who think that self-reliance is a good thing, whatever their income. Most of those known to me, through family and friends, are of this persuasion, and none of them is wealthy. A high proportion of Australians help other, in all sorts of ways.”

        No, I don’t. Do you really think that ALL those people who take the ‘Continental perspective’ ALL want personal assistance from the government of the day and don’t think they should be self-reliant as much as possible? Who could possibly argue against self-reliance as a positive? I’m not arguing against it.
        Leyonheljm however and his ilk are hypocrites. So is anyone who argues for ‘restraint’ and then in their personal life doesn’t practise it.

    • John says:

      Margaret
      You need to read a little more widely – “the Leyonhjelms, the followers of Ayn Rand, the proponents of ‘trickle down’ economics”.
      The followers of trickle down economics cannot be equated with the first two. For a start ‘trickle down’ is a pejorative term used to condemn different vie, rather than formula.
      What makes a difference is economic growth, which lifted millions from poverty in England in the nineteenth century and hundreds of millions more recently in China. Poverty in England in the first half of the nineteenth century owed as much to the protectionist corn laws as to industrialisation. Certainly the corn laws killed more in Ireland (where there was no industrialisation) than they did in England. And lets not forget (as Tony Blair did) the cornlaws were repealed with the leadership of a Conservative PM, Robert Peel, who also promoted factory reforms.

      • margaret says:

        Don writes:
        “One of them says that humans cannot design perfect societies and no matter how well we do things there will always people who miss out. There will always be relatively disadvantaged people, people disastrously ill, some damaged in various ways, and we need to accept that. Ultimately, all of us need to take responsibility for ourselves and our own life. Government can’t do everything, and shouldn’t try, because it will make things worse by creating new problems while being unable to finally solve the original ones.”
        So, equally, there will always be people who are paid obscene and outrageous amounts of money when Government decides to let the market rule. Who are these beneficiaries and how does a child aspire to become one? Should we encourage our children to aspire to being paid $5 million per year as a CEO or a PM who is paid one tenth of that?

        http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/senate-committee-denies-austr alia-post-attempt-to-keep-ahmed-fahours-salary-secret-20170207-gu7n05. html

  • Not wanting to waste space on all the important points of agreement I want to question a significant detail regarding Marx and the horrors of the industrial revolution. As far as I know Marx had next to no personal observations to work on as he was mostly engaged in reading in the library. He read muck-raking accounts of social conditions but never paid attention to the progress that was made during that time. It was a period of great progress despite the ravages of the Napoleonic wars but that has been obscured by the Labor/left mythology which has been largely exposed as misleading anti-business propaganda by the likes of Bill Hutt. Check out his account of the “stolen generation” type of report that was written on the cotton factories! http://www.the-rathouse.com/Revivalist4/RC_FactorySystem.html

    • margaret says:

      Oh please! Just get real.

      http://listverse.com/2014/02/01/10-historically-dangerous-jobs-done-by -children/

      Cotton Mills, tell us about ’em! In 1973 (yes when you guys were enjoying the ‘sexual revolution’), the REAL Norma Rae was fighting for some dignity and conditions of employment that you have never had to endure, for herself and fellow workers in cotton mills. At least Marx was on the side of those who were literally the means of production for the progress of ‘society’. Expendable labour.
      But Don says:
      “Make a few little changes, and see if a good result occurs. If it does, make a few more. But do not start with a grand vision and ask government to implement it.”
      Oh yes, that really applies to the expendables in the industrial revolution.
      And before someone starts to lecture on what a Luddite I am – I’m FOR progress.

      • spangled drongo says:

        Marg, a bit of reality from you wouldn’t go astray either.

        Do you really think that changes from the early days of the industrial revolution weren’t incremental?

        Do you think that kids in the 1930s depression era had it that much better?

        The age of entitlement didn’t arrive until the end of the 20th century and if it keeps going it will be the end of democracy.

        We are just about there.

        • Ross says:

          The mine owners screamed that they would me sent broke if they couldn’t send small children down the tunnels.
          How kind of them to continue operating, when the practice was outlawed.

    • Ross says:

      Read some Dickens, Rafe. It’s all good! And a fun time was had by all.

      Triangle Shirtface Factory? Just a warm inner glow.

      • Ross says:

        …Shirtwaist… (sigh)

      • Rafe says:

        Dickens was a great novelist. And when he was 12 with his irresponsible parents in the debtors prison he supported himself on the money he earned doing safe indoor work in a bootpolish factory.
        Can you refute any of the arguments in Hutt’s paper?

        • margaret says:

          Really? Both of his parents were irresponsible? I don’t think so.

          http://www.historyinanhour.com/2012/02/07/dickens-and-debt/

          • margaret says:

            His father was a “jovial opportunist with no money sense”.
            “When John Dickens first met Elizabeth she was “a small pretty girl of about sixteen, with bright hazel eyes, an inordinate sense of the ludicrous, and remarkable powers of comic mimicry, cheerful, sweet-tempered, and well educated”. In 1810 Elizabeth’s father, who also worked for the Navy Pay Office as Chief Conductor of Monies in Town, was found guilty of embezzlement.”

          • margaret says:

            Seems it is all in the mating game after all.

        • margaret says:

          A quote used in the Hutt essay:

          “Spain, the most ignorant, degraded, and uncommercial of all countries pretending to civilisation is, in respect of crimes against property, three times less vicious than France, and more than seven times less vicious than England. This fact is a fearful one and speaks volumes. Spain ranks cannibalism among her list of crimes, but robbery is rare, and petty theft still rarer.”
          Hmmm.

        • Ross says:

          The Lords committee in 1818. Doctors giving evidence before the committee… “it is doubtful wether it would hurt them (children) to work 23 hours out of twenty four” !?!
          Now anyone with a gram of common sense would assume that they were paid advocates of the factory bosses(“…such were their shifts evasions under questioning…” to quote the people present.
          But 200 years on, the learned Mr Hutt sides is defending the doctors!!!
          Give us all a break, Rafe. Seriously.

        • Nga says:

          “Can you refute any of the arguments in Hutt’s paper?”

          Can you prove Hutt is right and all the mainstream histories are wrong? If you make an extraordinary claim it is up to you to prove it.

      • margaret says:

        Yes, pick just one day in history, name any day – say March 25, and you’ll see the ‘expendables’ having a ball.

        http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/triangle-shirtwaist-fire-in -new-york-city

  • Ross says:

    I see the government has a grand plan for ‘Clean Coal’ power generation, throughout Australia.
    Even going to use tax payer money to get it ‘working’. Private sector not interested in investing their own money, I guess. All this AND a corporate tax cut!
    ‘This way embarrassment and failure lie.’

  • margaret says:

    I apologise for all the cutting and pasting and the ranting and anger … or, do I? No, just for the cutting and pasting – but this has relevance. From Hugh Mackay.

    “Let me remind you of some of the factors that have been propelling us in the direction of becoming a more fragmented, more individualistic, more competitive, more aggressive, less co-operative and therefore more anxious society.
    First, the most obvious one: the rate and the relentlessness of social, cultural, economic and technological change. Ever since the Industrial Revolution radically changed the way we live and work, we have struggled to adapt to those changes.
    And while, as a species, we are still – after 250 years – trying to absorb the impact of that revolution, we have had many more recent revolutions to cope with: the gender revolution, an economic restructure amounting to revolution, an information technology revolution, and even a revolution in our sense of who we are – our cultural identity as Australians.”
    https://theconversation.com/hugh-mackay-the-state-of-the-nation-starts -in-your-street-72264

    So it goes.

  • Malcolm says:

    Research shows that most people’s political views are primarily based on their parents’ views. Later in life people may change their views but this is usually due to personal experience rather than persuasion by politicians or pundits. There is also a small group of swinging voters who may be persuaded by day-to-day issues. Most people’s experiences in life lead them away from socialism as they get older. This is because they have a better understanding of human psychology, and they also gain experience with the financial and economic realities of work and raising a family. Many shopfloor workers do in fact gain a good understanding of the world from an employer’s point of view. A key psychological concept which socialists do not understand is that of moral hazard, as initially described in the insurance industry. Moral hazard is the key reason that communism never works. One other interesting aspect is that supporters of carefully regulated free enterprise understand why some people vote for socialism, but socialists never seem to understand why anyone would support any type of free enterprise.

  • Nga says:

    Don says:

    “But do not start with a grand vision and ask government to implement it. That way embarrassment and failure lie.”

    I suppose it depends on what you mean by a “grand vision”. Universal public education, electrification, healthcare, sanitation, a professional police force, democracy and so on were all grand visions at one time. I’m rather glad some folk had those grand visions, ignored the whingers and mockers, and pushed for their implementation.

    “There is no money tree, though plainly many people think there must be one, or some similar pot of gold that is perpetually replenished. “

    There may not be a money tree but the government can create as much money as it likes. In spite of the fears of oddball elements on the Right, like Jo Nova, QE made plenty of extra money available but it did not cause an outbreak of inflation let alone hyperinflation. All western economies have been stagnant for decades, resources are underutilised, unemployment and underemployment are intractable and in the biggest western economy, the USA, the working class hasn’t had a pay rise since the late 1960s/ early 1970s. I’m siding with the MMT adherents, government will need to fix this problem and it will need to create money to do it.

    “I do think it is time that we had a political leader who spoke simply and well about the lack of a money tree, about the need for all of us to be as self-reliant as we can be, to say that the national government has a small range of things to do and needs to do those well — and it is not a universal Bandaid. “

    This would be a disaster and it is based on the falsehood that self-reliance is possible for everyone in an advanced capitalist economy that is apparently incapable of providing anything like full employment. The means of self-reliance is just not available to everyone when they need it. It also ignores the fact that government has in its hands the macroeconomic levers and the power to redistribute income and opportunities and thus the fate of us all depends on how it acts.

    A parsimonious government will always mean a massive inequality in wealth and opportunity and it will also mean vast untapped productive resources. Provided the bulk of working class people are fractured and disorganised, such governance ensures power is concentrated in wealthy hands, which is why such an idea appeals to the conservative elite and those who do its bidding.

    • margaret says:

      Thank you for articulating that Nga.
      Four Corners tonight peeps. I’m pretty sure Michael Brissenden will show us why Trump got the deplorables/expendables/disposables to vote for a very rich owm who cannot solve their problems but promised them they would never be forgotten again.

  • Nga says:

    Thanks, Margaret. BTW, MMT = Modern Monetary Theory.

  • beththeserf says:

    Achieving the better life, looking at different cultural points of view, Karl Popper
    in ‘The Open Society and Its Enemies’ (Ch 9,) ‘Utopianism’ has this to say on
    Plato’s view of clean-slate reconstruction of society and social engineering for
    the ‘ideal’ state rather than piecemeal reform of specific social problems:

    ‘This sweep, this extreme radicalism of the Platonic approach (and of the Marxian
    as well) is, I believe, connected with its aestheticism, i.e. with the desire to build
    a world which is not only a little better and more rational than ours, but which is
    free from all its ugliness: not a crazy quilt, an old garment badly patched, but an
    entirely new gown, a really beautiful new world. This aestheticism is a very
    understandable attitude; in fact, I believe most of us suffer a little from such
    dreams of perfection …

    Nowhere do we find this aestheticism more strongly expressed than in Plato.
    Plato was an artist; and like many of the best artists, he tried to visualize a
    model, the ‘divine original’ of his work, and to ‘copy’ it faithfully. A good number
    of the quotations given in the last chapter illustrate this point. What Plato
    describes as dialectics is, in the main, the intellectual intuition of the world of
    pure beauty. His trained philosophers are men who ‘have seen the truth of
    what is beautiful and just, and good’, and can bring it down from heaven to
    earth. Politics, to Plato, is the Royal Art. It is an art—not in a metaphorical
    sense in which we may speak about the art of handling men, or the art of
    getting things done, but in a more literal sense of the word. It is an art of
    composition, like music, painting, or architecture. The Platonic politician
    composes cities, for beauty’s sake.

    But here I must protest. I do not believe that human lives may be made the
    means for satisfying an artist’s desire for self-expression. We must demand,
    rather, that every man should be given, if he wishes, the right to model his
    life himself, as far as this does not interfere too much with others. Much as I
    may sympathize with the aesthetic impulse, I suggest that the artist might
    seek expression in another material. Politics, I demand, must uphold
    equalitarian and individualistic principles; dreams of beauty have to submit
    to the necessity of helping men in distress, and men who suffer injustice, and
    to the necessity of constructing institutions to serve such purposes.’

    ‘The open Society and its Enemies. ‘ Vol 1 ‘The Spell of Plato.’

    • margaret says:

      I enjoyed that poetry and its message Beth.
      In the allegory of the cave it’s interpreted that,
      “The goal of education is to drag every man as far out of the cave as possible. Education should not aim at putting knowledge into the soul, but at turning the soul toward right desires. Continuing the analogy between mind and sight, Socrates explains that the vision of a clever, wicked man might be just as sharp as that of a philosopher. The problem lies in what he turns his sharp vision toward.”
      http://m.sparknotes.com/philosophy/republic/section7.rhtml
      If only all those necessary cogs in the wheels (human beings) of the industrial revolution had been given conditions that allowed them a smidgin of the dignity that their employers enjoyed.
      Don’s essay evokes for me the clash of ideals in E.M Forster’s Howard’s End.

      • beththeserf says:

        Margaret, guess no one who read Dicken’ Bleak House or Oliver Twist
        can forget their opening chapters, the sooty fogs in London streets,
        precarious beginnings for children born in the workhouse – and then
        there’s the satanic mills of the early Industrial Revolution. But the
        times also need to be seen in the context of what went before and
        what followed. The Industrial revolution revolutionized human
        productivity and put an end to seasonal famine in the West, the last
        seasonal famine was in Finland and Sweden in 1866. Twenty years
        prior, famine in China killed 45 million people. In London, by 1810,
        mortality rates of children under five more than halved pre-industrial
        levels… And not much of a life for peasants in medieval times.
        Brueghel, elder and younger, in their paintings catch those Little ice
        Age scenes of peasants’ precarious existence and the dancing manias
        of mass hysteria that occured between the 14th and 17th centuries
        in Europe, likely a response to harsh times, famine and The Plague.
        More on how i see trial and error western development compared to
        top-down Platonist planning what is good for us here.
        https://beththeserf.wordpress.com/2016/01/24/36th-edition-serf-under_g round-journal/
        https://beththeserf.wordpress.com/2016/01/24/36th-edition-serf-under_g round-journal/

        And also my on my post, A Tale of Cities – Jane Jacobs and Cities and
        the Wealth of nations.’

        • margaret says:

          Oh Beth – you have such a wide breadth of knowledge, it’s impressive and daunting.
          I wasn’t under the impression Plato wanted to prevent change, rather improve and progress from … whatever it was that was going wrong at the time (you see, I’m not a great brain like yourself -If your blog posts were not so f…… full of it I might be able to concentrate on the wisdom of the content), and where is the ‘free will’ in Matthew Perry’s black ships invasion of Japan? Everything you believe in has been done by ‘great’ men.
          But Beth we now live in the 21st century. Everything you believe in – individual free will, man’s infinite cleverness and ability to mimic nature – red in tooth and claw has been transformed by the new technology so cleverly invented by us.
          What have you invented Beth? How have you helped humankind?
          I ask myself this question also and the answer I come up with is – nothing and not enough.
          At least I am honest and I think for myself.
          First do no harm.

          • beththeserf says:

            Jest a past teacher, Margaret, who tried to foster curiosity in students
            and some skills as tools to satisfy curiosity … and a love of literature to
            expand horizons. We wrote lots of our own drama impromptus too.

            Innovation, not, all but some, manage it. I jest write some poems about
            birds and such, but my father and nephew both invented significant tech,
            something western civilization has enabled to happen in science, in
            engineering and the arts. Lots of it came from the hoi-polloi and factory
            floor. Serfs like that.
            bts

          • margaret says:

            I like teachers.

          • beththeserf says:

            PS: 🙂 …

            Dance of the Grebes.

            We think with delight of the flight of birds,
            Of aerial acrobatics on high. Closest we get
            To birds is hang gliding, or bungee jumping
            Off cliffs. But birds aren’t limited to
            Flight dispay or rite of passage epic
            Journeys across oceans. Sometimes,
            On land, they dance, sometimes even
            Walk on water.

            Grebes meeting on a lake, rippling, watery
            Rings inter-acting and over-lapping
            As they begin the ancient ritual of attraction.
            Tentative courtship, circling and departing,
            Over days. The gift of pond weed from the male
            ‘I’m good for providing – take these weeds!’
            And if she does, the dance steps up,
            Necks arch and inter-wine in sync, beaks
            Cross like twin swords – uncross and cross again
            And suddenly in a flurry of silver spray
            They’re off, running on water – together –
            Heads and slender necks tilted towards each other.

            Oh, it’s a dance like no other –
            Defying gravity,
            Defying imagination!

            There’s a scene in a sixties movie where
            Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time
            In a formal dance.
            Arm extends to arm, glancing No running on water.
            gesture of attraction.
            Hands touch, palm to palm, feet move in
            Patterned sync to reedy music.
            Social mores of the time, however,
            Preclude the gravity – defying
            Ecstatic finale.

            bts.

          • beththeserf says:

            Doncha’ hate it when wordfpress lines go amiss and key-lines
            like ‘no running on water’ yer final line, git whooshed to another
            place irrelevant.

            “There’s a scene in a sixties movie where
            Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time
            In a formal dance.
            Arm extends to arm, glancing
            gesture of attraction.
            Hands touch, palm to palm, feet move in
            Patterned sync to reedy music.
            Social mores of the time, however,
            Preclude the gravity – defying
            Ecstatic finale.
            No walking on water.”

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Beth, Thanks for a lovely extract from the Open Society… You’ll find more in this essay of mine if you haven’t read it.

      http://donaitkin.com/karl-popper-on-climate-change/

    • margaret says:

      I read somewhere that Plato thought ideally, to banish from The Republic all those over the age of 10.
      Would that have resulted in philosopher kings or Lord of the Flies I wonder.

      • margaret says:

        https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/amp.canberratimes.com.au/comment/the-w isdom-and-virtue-of-living-in-canberra

        “This is when Plato’s Republic is useful as a way to understand Canberra’s merits when compared to Sydney’s razzamatazz and oh so refined Melbourne.

        Plato recognised that cities are essential to any civilisation because they generate wealth and creativity. But for him they were also places of great danger, especially when unplanned and mismanaged. He warned of the feverish city, when citizens become infected with desire and thereby turn into racing rats, gluttonous pigs or savage wolves.

        The key challenge for a city’s leaders, said Plato, is to ensure that the people love one another and in turn love the city.”

  • Peter Kemmis says:

    Many of the comments above illustrate the polarisation of which Don has written in this post. It’s likely that were one to scratch under the surfaces of proponents on both sides, good intention and altruism mixed with self-interest would be found to similar extents on both sides. That indicates to me that the issues are not about the end objectives, but finding the best means to their achievement. Dividing us mostly is not the “what”, but the “how”.

    Are we more polarised today in the West, than was the case in the 1950s? I’m not sure. I recall that as I started to gain some political awareness in my high school years, I observed and soon became impatient with the frequent complaints about one thing or another – not impatient with the complaints, but the cry “the gov’mint should do something about it!” It seemed to me that the little bit missing in that formula was so often any suggestion about what might be done, and who would do it.

    Perhaps what is different now is that the desire to “fix the problems” is espoused more effectively by those with a higher level of formal education than was the case in the 1950s. (I do not mean that those folk in the 50s were uneducated, as I distinguish between a well-educated and thinking person, and someone who has received a good formal education but has yet to realise its value.) So while it may seem so, the polarisation today may be no greater.

    As I think more about it, I do see one other change in recent years: the conservative approach is making itself heard more, probably in a delayed reaction to the articulation by the progressive side of the social and political divide. Almost an intellectual and political war zone – look at the tone of some of the comments above!

  • Alan Gould says:

    To invoke the title of this essay, “What is it ALL for?” I would observe that ‘all’ is inarguable, and from the human point of view with its meagre 2 million years of ‘window’ on the Creation, probably makes Don’s question quite unanswerable.

    Liberty and equality are issues of human house-keeping, conditions by which we seek to live rather than any account of What it is all for. Rousseau, Marx etc make observations on how we have been arranging our household and, by highlighting our stink and squalor, infer measures we can take to make our living conditions better.

    But our living conditions do nothing to explain the fact of the living itself, and so impinge on the quality of our living, and do not, cannot address the question posed, ‘what is it ALL for?” Two things need to be meditated before that question gets taken on directly. 1). Why is there Being at all? 2). What might (for want of a better term) The Creation look like from the viewpoint of some intelligence able to see it in its entirety.

    That is to say, we cannot address the question ‘What is it all for?’ until we have identified what we mean by ‘it’ and ‘all’.

    And as I say, as a species with but a small window of duration in a vaster unfolding and likely to be casually extinguished long before all being is extinguished, we do not have a good vantage to provide answers. But we can, and do, frame (and modify) the questions.

  • margaret says:

    “It is impossible to see modern life steadily and see it whole, she had chosen to see it whole.”

    Others, including Mr Wilcox in the amazingly excellent novel Howards End, see it steadily.

  • Ross says:

    Hi Don.
    Slightly off topic, but one close to your heart. Orwell.
    Australia’s chief scientist Alan Finkel has compared US president Donald Trumps move to censor environmental data, with former Soviet Dictator Josef Stalins control of science in the USSR.
    His comments came at the end of a short speech that focused on how he had been managing the review of the National Electricity Market.
    Speaking at the ANU, yesterday, Dr Finkel made his comments saying he was “going off topic” because “science is literally under attack”.
    “The Trump administration has mandated that scientific data published by the EPA (Enviromental Protection Society) must undergo review by political appointees before they can be published.”
    In his first week of his Presidency, Mr Trumps administration informed the EPA it could not send out press releases, and no blog messages could be published.
    The EPA was also told that “no new content can be placed on any website”.
    Dr Finkel said: “It was reminiscent of (!) the censorship exerted by political officers in the old Soviet Union.
    Every military officer commander there had a political officer second guessing his decisions.”
    The chief scientist said “There was no place for such political control of science!”

    And yet, here we are!
    A dark cloud is rolling across the world. Politically vetted science, is the new black. (This is happening right now!)
    Orwellian, Don? Or simply the ‘conservative’ approach to science.

  • Don Aitkin says:

    Ross, If Finkel said that, then I think he is overstating things. But I haven’t the right links and you don’t give any. It is common for a new administration to make new rules on what can be done, and while I don’t have explicit links, I don’t thinks there is anything unusual about what Trump has actually done. If you have good links to it all, I’ll do my best to read the material. But it’s your afea of interest, not mine.

    • Ross says:

      Link for The Chief Scientists speech.. Tuesdays, Sydney Morning Herald. But being an former head of the ANU, I’m sure someone can get you a full copy.
      On Trump and the EPA. Don’t have a specific link for You. Suggest Googling ‘Trump vets EPA science.’
      It’s not a secret, Don. It probably just isn’t high on WUWT list of concerns. Cast a wider net, Don.
      Nothing unusual in what Donald Trump has done? Vetting science by politicians? Censoring all material.
      Don…are you mad??? What does it take?
      You say “Freedom of speech with rules”. This is ‘Rules with no freedom of speech’ by government decree!
      You really disappoint me, Don. “I see nothing unusual”
      Shouldn’t that be “I choose to see nothing”?
      Orwellian, indeed. Forget reminiscent.

    • Ross says:

      Link for The Chief Scientists speech.. Tuesdays, Sydney Morning Herald. But being an former head of the ANU, I’m sure someone can get you a full copy.
      On Trump and the EPA. Don’t have a specific link for You. Suggest Googling ‘Trump vets EPA science.’
      It’s not a secret, Don. It probably just isn’t high on WUWT list of concerns. Cast a wider net, Don.
      Nothing unusual in what Donald Trump has done? Vetting science by politicians? Censoring all material.
      Don…are you mad??? What does it take?
      You say “Freedom of speech with rules”. This is ‘Rules with no freedom of speech’ by government decree!
      You really disappoint me, Don. “I see nothing unusual”
      Shouldn’t that be “I choose to see nothing”?
      Orwellian, indeed. Forget reminiscent.

    • Nga says:

      “Australia’s Chief Scientist Alan Finkel has compared US President Donald Trump’s move to censor environmental data with former Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s control of science in the USSR.

      Speaking at a Chief Scientists’ roundtable discussion at the Australian National University on Monday, Dr Finkel made his comments saying he was “going off topic” as “science is literally under attack”.

      Dr Finkel said: “The Trump administration has mandated that scientific data published by the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] must undergo review by political appointees before they can be published.”

      In the first week of his presidency Mr Trump’s administration informed the EPA it could not send out press releases and no blog messages could be published. The EPA was also told “no new content can be placed on any website”.

      The Chief Scientist told an audience at the ANU’s Crawford School of Public Policy that this political control was comparable to Stalin’s promotion of Trofim Lysenko’s ideas on genetics and evolution in the USSR from the 1920s.

      Dr Finkel said: “It is reminiscent of the censorship exerted by political officers in the old Soviet Union. Every military commander there had a political officer second-guessing his decisions.”

      http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/donald-trump-like-stalin-say s-chief-scientist-alan-finkel-as-science–literally-under-attack-201702 06-gu6f5w.html

      Don says: “It is common for a new administration to make new rules on what can be done, and while I don’t have explicit links, I don’t thinks there is anything unusual about what Trump has actually done.”

      Utter rubbish. How about you give us examples of Reagan, Clinton, Bush I, Bush II or Obama taking similarly drastic action in regards to science? You can’t because you are making things up. Just for the sake of novelty, how about surprising us with a truthful comment once in a while.

      • bryan roberts says:

        I think Obama tweeting the absurd 97% claim by Cook did more damage in influencing public opinion, and undermining real climate science, than anything Trump could possibly do.

    • Ross says:

      Link for The Chief Scientists speech.. Tuesdays, Sydney Morning Herald. But being an former head of the ANU, I’m sure someone can get you a full copy.
      On Trump and the EPA. Don’t have a specific link for You. Suggest Googling ‘Trump vets EPA science.’
      It’s not a secret, Don. It probably just isn’t high on WUWT list of concerns. Cast a wider net, Don.
      Nothing unusual in what Donald Trump has done? Vetting science by politicians? Censoring all material.
      Don…are you mad??? What does it take?
      You say “Freedom of speech with rules”. This is ‘Rules with no freedom of speech’ by government decree!
      You really disappoint me, Don. “I see nothing unusual”
      Shouldn’t that be “I choose to see nothing”?
      Orwellian, indeed. Forget reminiscent.

      • Don Aitkin says:

        Ross, I was unaware that you were a former head of the ANU; must be before or after my time.

        More seriously, I don’t need a link to Finkel but to what Trump’s directive to EPA has been. There seems to be no direct copy, and the best I could find is at this site (I couldn’t copy it):

        http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/315876-trump-bans-epa-emp loyees-from-giving-social-media-updates

        You will notice that the directive is in place until the new team is in place. It isn’t yet. There is another such directive about no new grants.

        To the best of my knowledge there is nothing unusual about such directives. When Obama replaced Bush and Bush replaced Clinton and Clinton replaced Bush senior, there would have been similar directives. It is what happens in the USA, since the heads of all agencies are appointed by the new President. Now if you have direct and contrary evidence to the contrary then please provide the link.

        And just one last answer to your one last question. My area of interest here is the subject of the essay above, not my other concerns. I try to stay relevant.

        • Ross says:

          Ha ha, funny, Don. But seriously…
          So directives to scientific organizations to cease releasing information is quite common…”to the best of my knowledge”.

          Do tell, Don. Do tell.

          • Don Aitkin says:

            Do you know anything at all about American government and politics, Ross? Read up a bit. But a short bite just for this point. The President appoints heads of agencies, ambassadors and lots of other officers. When he goes, they go. It is not like our system. Furthermore (and I kept saying in the context of SST and Bates and Karl), those heads of agencies hire subordinate heads, and when their boss goes they expect to go too. Sometimes that doesn’t happen. But it is the expectation. A new administration says to the agencies — slow down, people, we are about to take over, so don’t keep doing what the old administration based you to do. We’ll tell you soon what we want you to do..’

            That’s as much as I’m telling. Your turn to do a lot of reading.

          • Nga says:

            “Your turn to do a lot of reading.”

            Says the King of cut-n-paste.

        • Chris Warren says:

          Don

          Where is there any suggestion that:

          “You will notice that the directive is in place until the new team is in place. ”

          Instead it says:

          “until further direction from the new Administration’s Beach Team.”

          https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C29EFWNW8AExm-p.jpg

          There is no limitation on the Directive staying in place. It could well be expanded “further”.

          • Don Aitkin says:

            Yes, indeed, though if you think about it nothing whatever would then happen, which is not what the new administration would have in mind. I think my reading is sensible. And see my reply to Ross above.

      • Chris Warren says:

        Ross

        As I recall;

        Chubb went to ANU
        Aitkin went to UC

    • Chris Warren says:

      Just enter

      trump epa finkel

      in any search engine and all the links will pour out.

  • Ross says:

    And just one last question Don. My area of interest, not yours?
    Which area would that be ? Science, or freedom of speech?
    I thought you had an interest in both.

  • Chris Warren says:

    According to Joe Davidson in the “Washington Post” – 3 Feb ….

    After Trump was inaugurated, a few agencies restricted, at least temporarily, the amount of information available to the public. An Environmental Protection Agency memo, for example, said that “no press releases will be going out to external audiences, no social media will be going out . . . no blog messages . . . no new content can be placed on any website.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/02/03/bipartisan -hi-leaders-warn-white-house-on-whistleblowers/

    One can only wonder where a copy of this memo is???

    • Bryan Roberts says:

      Banning the issuance of “press releases” or “blog posts” is not the same as banning science, or the generation and publication of new knowledge, and no-one has yet shown that either of these is the case.

      • Ross says:

        No one said they were banning science Bryan. Just the freedom to release and discuss it freely. You know…freedom? Scientific inquiry? Government says….no.
        At this point, you’d think any sane individual would be agreeing withThe Chief Scientist of Australia, that this is Stalinist style attack on science. He even went public with his fear.
        But perhaps, like Don, scientific data and stuff eminatting from the EPA is of no particular interest to you. Fair enough, I guess. Your choice.
        It’s just that in America right now, Trump and his cronies have decided that you know longer get that choice. Only the government does.
        So no worries then, Bryan.
        Orwellian? The pigs and farmers will drink well, tonight.

        • bryan roberts says:

          I do not have any words sufficiently vulgar to describe Chubb. ANU and Australia would have been far better off without him. “Chief Scientist’ was a sick joke.

        • bryan roberts says:

          As far as I am aware, Ross, Trump has not hindered publication of research in appropriate scientific journals, so the “freedom to release and discuss it (information) freely” has not been compromised.

          If you know different, please cite the relevant information.

      • Peter Kemmis says:

        Agreed, Bryan ,

        Given the history we have seen over the last two or three decades of selectively-reported science on the climate, the distortions, the failed predictions, the failure of the climate models that support this house of cards, the successful infiltration of academia and scientific bodies by ideological convictions about climate and our human society . .. yes, the EPA is simply another body that has become highly politicised. The EPA is due for a makeover. From that we should start to see some evidence-based policy emerge.

        For Finkel and others to equate this curb on press releases and blog posts as similar to old Soviet Union political control, is to demonstrate how unaware they are of the underlying corruption within the climate science establishment.

        • Chris Warren says:

          Trump is a distortion.

          Trump is corruption.

          Trump ignores evidence.

          Trump’s ideological convictions contradict the interests of climate and human society.

          • bryan roberts says:

            Chris, what Trump is saying is what many people are asking: “Why should I believe you?”.

            97% is not an answer. Tuvalu has not sunk. The weather is doing what the weather has always done. Changed. Even a dim alien would conclude that the population was in the grip of a mass religious hysteria.

            Sensation! 2016 hottest year ever by 0.02 of a degree!!!

            Temperature differences of hundredths of a degree over decades or centuries are reasons for world-wide panic? … and thousands of feet of typescript and newsprint. There are people begging in the streets of Oslo, a wealthy first world country, where the temperature is below freezing, and you’re worried about the temperature a hundred years hence.

            Get (expletive deleted) real.

          • Ross says:

            Bryan, your arguing with the wrong people. The man you want is Australia’s Chief Scientist.

          • bryan roberts says:

            Ross, the people I’m arguing with are dumb c***ts like you.

          • Ross says:

            Apologies, Bryon. I didn’t realize you were that close to doing your rag. I don’t want you to injure yourself.
            But as the Chief Scientist of the country we live in says…
            If you agree with what Trump is doing, Byron, you are reminiscent of a Stalinist.
            I think he flattered you.
            X.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Better link to Washington Post article;

    http://archive.is/crLT1

  • bryan roberts says:

    Chris, you’re living in Fantasyland, and Fantasyland died many years ago. Even Annette Funicello, my first real crush, is dead, and it’s humbling to outlive your dream. The world is beset my many real problems, and your enthusiasm for change might be more usefully directed into avenues that could be realised in your lifetime.

  • margaret says:

    I’ve been thinking about the phrase What is it all for?, Part two of The Mating Game (my renaming). Neither of the two cultural frames of thought that shape our political stance are particularly concerned about the well being of children and that’s because all the philosophers have been men pushing barrows influenced by their own (ab)normal childhoods.
    Children have never had real rights and are born into the world unwittingly – they might be lucky, and the ones who are not might become ‘resilient’ (really that has become a buzz word) enough to overcome poverty, bad parenting, abuse by religious and other institutions, diseases and disabilities. So when I read this blog, one of the few I visit because I don’t want to be in an echo chamber, and I’m positively not neo con right wing, it still seems to be full of people stuck in preserving traditions and prejudices based on their own rights that they’ve walked so comfortably through their lives with.
    So then I read this blog that is written not by an owm but by an oww and what do you know I agree with her. She has no children.
    Despite that, she understands that children are literally the future and if government is there for anything it should be there for them. Women in the workforce are an economic benefit and so the benefits for them and a good society should be paid parental leave (for men as well), excellent childcare that doesn’t cost a fortune and excellent free primary and secondary education.
    Cory Bernadi sure isn’t leaving the LNP to do that. We need a Zebra Party.
    Of course you old white guys don’t want change. Everything is and has been, just hunky dory for you.
    http://www.booksbycarolinemiller.com/musings/i-am-a-member-of-the-zebr a-party/

    • dlb says:

      I tend to be in agreement with the article you link to. I also can’t see why most OWM would want to disagree.

      I certainly disagree with your assumption that being white and male means being a stick in the mud. Conservatism cuts across all races and sexes. Some cultures are definitely more conservative than others, and funnily enough modern “white” cultures are probably the most liberal ones in the entire history of civilisation.

      Age is definitely a factor, the youth tend to be more up for change and open to risks than the older generations. Pluses and minuses in both attitudes to life.

      • margaret says:

        No dlb, not white and male – old, white and male. They are more likely to be, as you say, ‘stick in the muds’ – they can make mud pies and sling them at each other like Malcolm and Bill who are currently engaged in classic ‘politics of greed’ vs ‘politics of envy’ stuff – just to distract.

        • bryan roberts says:

          Well, margaret, it can’t have been too long since you saw the last killing by a spear gun-wielding surfie shouting “Aussie, Aussie Aussie, Oi, Oi Oi.

          Now can it?

          • margaret says:

            For Bryan:
            Que?
            … some more for you.
            Mrs Richards: “I’ve booked a room with a bath and a sea view.”
            Manuel: “Que?”
            Mrs Richards:”K?”
            Manuel: “Si.”
            Mrs Richards: “C?”
            Manuel: “No. Que, ‘what’.”
            Mrs Richards: “K. Watt?”
            Manuel: “Si – Que, ‘what’.”
            Mrs Richards: “CK Watt? Is he the manager?”
            Manuel: “Ah! Manaher! Mr Fawlty.”
            Mrs Richards: “This man is telling me the manager is a CK Watt, aged forty.”
            Manuel: “No, Fawlty.”
            Mrs Richards: “Faulty? Why? What’s wrong with him?”

    • bryan roberts says:

      Margaret, what annoys ‘ordinary’ people (call us the old white males, if you will) is the assumption by our ‘betters’ that we are evil, and everything is our fault, despite obvious evidence to the contrary.

      ‘Our’ ABC ran with the ‘burned hands’ story for weeks, despite it being physically impossible. Try it – you might bet burnt knuckles, but you won’t get burnt palms.

      Illegal immigrants suddenly became ‘asylum seekers’, and when it became obvious that at least a significant proportion of asylum seekers were in fact, illegal immigrants, obfuscation went into top gear. Suddenly, more than 90% became refugees.

      Australia has had migrants for years, but when they started killing people, it had nothing to do with who they were or from where they came.

      The defining characteristic of our civilisation at present is a refusal to accept reality, and reality is something that old white people are forced to face.

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Margaret,

      No one has rights, children or adults, unless they are conferred by legislation. Even the right to an education is in fact a law compelling parents to ensure that their children either go to school or received a proper eduction at home. If you want changes you need to think what it is you want, and how you would construct a law that provided that outcome (and not a lot other stuff you didn’t want). It’s not easy. For more on rights, you should re-read:

      http://donaitkin.com/what-are-rights-anyway/

      • margaret says:

        Oh blah. I reread it and I reread the comments, sort of, all by owms with odd monikers except for my own comments which I agree with completely … 🙂
        Gosh you are pains in the neck!

      • Nga says:

        > No one has rights, children or adults, unless they are conferred by legislation.

        Utter rubbish. Rights can exist in customs and social norms and a breach of the these can lead to social sanction. An example might be equal food sharing in a pre-literate tribal society.

        It isn’t hard to think of how Rights operate in modern social interactions, even if they aren’t consciously thought of as Rights. Try hogging all the dips and not letting anyone else talk or have an opinion at a party and see if you get invited back, for instance. Of course, the legal conferring of rights and the values and norms of the citizenry, or some portion thereof, are not without connection. Legal Rights don’t mysteriously emerge from the aether, fully formed and magical.

        Conversely, a law conferring Rights might be on the statute books but never enforced. The People’s Republic of China Constitution Article 35 guarantees “freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession, and of demonstration” but good luck with getting that enforced if you are an ordinary citizen.

        I’m sorry, Don, but you are a very shallow man with empty thoughts.

        • Don Aitkin says:

          Social norms are not rights. They are expectations (as in the examples you offer) or aspirations. A real right, like one’s capacity to attract the old age pension, is embodied in law, in a society where that law is observed. The rest is mostly talk, hopes, wishes and aspirations.

          The USSR also had rights of that kind in its constitution.That one country has laws and does not observe them is not a reason to say that all laws are worthless.

          • Nga says:

            From Stanford U:

            “Hum<an rights are norms that help to protect all people everywhere from severe political, legal, and social abuses. Examples of human rights are the right to freedom of religion, the right to a fair trial when charged with a crime, the right not to be tortured, and the right to engage in political activity. These rights exist in morality and in law at the national and international levels … Human rights could also exist independently of legal enactment by being part of actual human moralities. All human groups seem to have moralities: imperative norms of behavior backed by reasons and values. These moralities contain specific norms (for example, a prohibition of the intentional murder of an innocent person) and specific values (for example, valuing human life.) “

            https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rights-human/#HowCanExi

            Sorry, Don, but your definition of rights is too narrow to be useful. You are conflating Rights with the legal entitlements that enshrine rights in law , which is not in the least bit illuminating.

            However I don’t agree with the idea of natural rights and I don’t like natural law arguments, in part because conservatives have traditionally used them to excuse slavery, anti-women and anti-gay laws. They also seem contrived. We concur on this.

        • bryan roberts says:

          Who confers the ‘rights’?

          ‘Norms’ are not rights. “good luck with getting that enforced if you are an ordinary citizen”.

          You’re an ordinary citizen, babe. Tell us what you’re going to do. Ranting on a blog is about as ineffectual as you can get. You’ve reached possibly one millionth of the population, about half of which disagree with you.

          So you and 13 people can lead the charge. Go for it.

          • margaret says:

            Goodnight Bryony.

          • bryan roberts says:

            I would have liked to be Bryony, but then, I would have had to be far more attractive than I am.

          • margaret says:

            This is a misconception Bryan. You would not have HAD to be far more attractive than you are to be Bryony, you would just have had to be a different gender (although even that is no longer necessary in the C21st).
            Germaine Greer copped some flak for a book she wrote about the beauty of boys but I suggest that she was trying to show that beauty expectations have been foist upon women when in reality both sexes actually possess pretty much the same amount of ‘beauty’. It’s just that only one of the sexes has expectations attached to it, and capitalism, Hollywood and Madison Ave have furthered the wasp waists and corsets foist upon women in the C18th (or whenever).

    • bryan roberts says:

      margaret, you are by your own admission, a racist and a bigot. Your comments should be read in that context.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Don

    Surely, to some extent, Trump (and the crass populism he exploits) is demonstrating a “mindless urge to throw the baby out with the bathwater”. First victim – health care, then science, then EPA, then Mexico, then Middle Eastern Muslim nationals with more throwing out to follow?

    The “Continental” perspective for a better organised world was a profound mindful urge based on a broader “Enlightenment” that produced the Constitution of the United States and Arther Phillip’s famous rejection of slavery for the new settlement in New South Wales.

  • Don Aitkin says:

    Chris, it depends on what you mean by ‘some extent’ and what you think is happening/has happened (and I guess what you think is the baby). At the moment the new administration is getting going, but many of the people to run the agencies are not yet in place. Most of the talk is scary ‘what-might-be’s, not actual decisions.

    Re Phillip, he was almost certainly influenced by Wilberforce and the long political opposition to slavery in England, plus the ruling by Mansfield in Somersett’s case in 1772. There is no need to assume anything more than that.

    • Chris Warren says:

      Its just an attempted measurement of “throwing the baby”. Throwing out the TPP, challenging agreements with Australia, rethinking over torture and nuclear weapons, plus the points already covered suggest a wanton urge to throw out babies of the previous social and political decorum.

      Trump is ram-rodding his concept of a perfect society into America – but he uses the term Great (but the thrust is the same). Make America Great is the banner of his Grand Vision.

      He has thrown away previous standards of conflict of interest and seems to be challenging the separation of powers over Muslim travel bans. He is certainly reveling in his centralised power exercised through executive orders, presidential memoranda and appointments.

      Trump represents a nasty opportunistic corruption of civilised political processes. One that could well end in a social nightmare or worse, hot wars in South China sea, Middle East or on any number of Russian borders.

    • margaret says:

      And then came the wonderful Lachlan Macquarie – we did get beautiful Georgian architecture but his humane treatment of the convicts didn’t extend to the people who were here first.
      “All Aborigines from Sydney onwards are to be made prisoners of war and if they resist they are to be shot and their bodies hung from trees in the most conspicuous places near where they fall, so as to strike terror into the hearts of surviving natives (X)”
      -Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s orders to soldiers in 1816. Macquarie is one of NSW’s earliest governors who was proclaimed a visionary and the state’s finest leader by the Sydney Morning Herald.

      http://www.smh.com.au/comment/lachlan-macquarie-shaped-by-the-same-soc ial-idealism-scotland-seeks-through-referendum-20140917-10iaf5.html

      • bryan roberts says:

        Have you a comparable quote from one of the Aboriginal leaders of the time?

        Guess not.

        margaret, you post the most virulently racist opinions of any of us. If they were directed at others, you would be (rightly) banned.

        • margaret says:

          Que?

        • Don Aitkin says:

          Bryan, While I would agree that Margaret is often sexist, racist and ageist (attacking old white males, as an example), you don’t have to take her too seriously! Besides, as my mother said of me, she means well…

          • margaret says:

            Omg you are an unbelievably arrogant person (note I did not say man – however it seems a common trait in many owmen). Is Bryan a good mate as well as Spangled? Because Bryan gets away with blue murder on this site.

          • spangled drongo says:

            Marg, yes, sexist, racist and ageist but never gets around to mention any basic rights these poor women may be entitled to:

            http://www.heraldsun.com.au/blogs/andrew-bolt/islam-on-show-women-blot ted-out/news-story/639cead48535e9d490ea466f090bc465

            Marg, why don’t you, enge, Germaine et al ever kick up a fuss?

          • Don Aitkin says:

            Look, if you couldn’t see that you were being repaid in kind, and light-heartedly, you do need a sense of humour. Look back at what you have said about old while males, and me, for that matter, over the past little while. I don’t take it too seriously. But you bristle if anyone does the same to you.

            As for Bryan, no I don’t know him or SD, for that matter, or Neville. I chide SD and Neville for sending too many comments, as I have done to you, but at the moment I’m not too fussed. Rudeness, well, if i started there where would I finish. What I won’t tolerate is coarse abuse. That’s not your thing. But you are pretty free with your own sort of abuse.

            Arrogant? Exactly how, where and when?

          • margaret says:

            The thing is I am sexist because I criticise males on this site and other ‘great’ men’s reputations. I am ageist because I call them old, and yet not all are and some who are, seem more open minded while those ones who would appear not to be ‘old’ seem to have less gender expectations of ‘normalcy’. I am racist because I ‘pick on’ people with white skin (Anglo celts?).
            That’s all very interesting since I am old and Anglo Celtic by heritage. But of course I came from Adam’s rib and made him eat a pomegranate. I am a very nasty woman.

          • margaret says:

            Oh, there are women here … Nga who knows stuff – and BTS who knows stuff that I don’t agree with … but I’m sure she means well.
            There was tripitaka for a while but she got fed up with SD. Who doesn’t?

          • Don Aitkin says:

            Margaret,

            It’s the use of labels as quasi explanations, isn’t it? What would you expect from an old white male? equates, in explanatory terms, to something like this: old people are X, white people are Y, and men are Z. So old white men are X, Y + Z. But of course there is variation in all groups, so labelling misses it. Labels are full of assumptions, and assumptions won’t apply to most cases. I give up. I guess one doesn’t add anything to a discussion by using labels, even if it allows the labeller to let off steam.

          • margaret says:

            Never give up.

          • margaret says:

            I don’t like labels so much but they are rather inevitable – baby boomer for one. Owm has possibly sprung from Dead White Males. I thought that was an interesting play by Williamson and I went to see it (but to be honest I would find it impossible to recount it).
            Anyway I am despite my age an Activist Egalitarian according to the quiz I took. Some would say – Que?

        • margaret says:

          “Have you a comparable quote from one of the Aboriginal leaders of the time?”

          Que?

          “Wara wara”

      • Don Aitkin says:

        Margaret,

        I’m not aware of the quoted statement attributed to Macquarie. Do you have a reference?

      • bryan roberts says:

        margaret, I will accept justified criticism of my beliefs, but not the non-specific ratbaggery that you dispense so freely.

        If I respond in kind, you have only yourself to blame.

  • spangled drongo says:

    The progressives who claim we should have endless “rights” are the ones taking all our hard won rights away:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiVQ8vrGA_8&feature=youtu.be

  • spangled drongo says:

    Speaking of Arthur Phillip and the days of his first governorship, I wonder if during this current “record” heatwave we will see thousands of dead “perouquettes” and “rosehillers” awa bats littering the ground around Parramatta as he observed back in this month, 226 years ago?

    Pity they didn’t have a thermometer at the time…..

    • Chris Warren says:

      Drongo doesn’t know what its talking about.

      Of course they had accurate thermometers and all their data is has been published by Bureau of Meteorology.

      • spangled drongo says:

        “….and all their data is has been published by Bureau of Meteorology.”

        …..and all their data has been either ignored, removed or adjusted by the bureau of meteorology.

        There, FIFY!!

        But who knows, maybe someone will come forward with some personal observations similar to Phillip’s of 226 years ago.

        Otherwise chrissie will carry on living alternately in Fantasy and Fairy land

        • Chris Warren says:

          More falsification by the drongo

          the early Colony’s data has not been ignored

          the early Colony’s data has not been removed

          the early Colony’s data has not been adjusted by BoM

          the early Colony’s data was not collected by Phillip

          It is unlikely that someone will come forward with observations similar to 226 years ago because the 1780’s were years when the Earth was emerging from the Little Ice Age.

          Drongo made 5 points – all of them false and trying to spread conspiracy within the BoM theory.

          • spangled drongo says:

            “It is unlikely that someone will come forward with observations similar to 226 years ago because the 1780’s were years when the Earth was emerging from the Little Ice Age.”

            That statement sounds somewhat unhinged but I have lived and worked in temperatures that were 50c in the shade but I have never seen Rosellas and Lorikeets drop dead in flight.

            Weather patterns of extreme temperature are capable of happening any time in this country and if you stopped living in your fantasy world you would man up and acknowledge that it has been going on probably since the end of the big ice age, not the little one.

  • spangled drongo says:

    “…..and all their data has been either ignored, removed or adjusted by the bureau of meteorology.”

    Here are some of those:

    http://jonova.s3.amazonaws.com/graphs/maps/australia-map-heat-waves.gi f

    Here is an extract from Watkin Tench’s journal 226 years ago. Feb 1791.

    No thermometer as I mentioned but chrissie denied:

    “But even this heat [of 27th Dec 1790] was judged to be far exceeded in the latter end of the following February, when the north-west wind again set in, and blew with great violence for three days. At Sydney, it [the temperature] fell short by one degree of what I have just recorded [109F]: but at Rose Hill, [modern day Parramatta] it was allowed, by every person, to surpass all that they had before felt, either there, or in any other part of the world. Unluckily they had no thermometer to ascertain its precise height.”

    • spangled drongo says:

      I think they are all very brave to be speaking their minds with our present RDA.

      And I would love to know why women who hold forth about misogyny, owm etc don’t support these people who speak out about Islamic culture that excludes women in so many respects.

      You know what that’s called, marg?

    • bryan roberts says:

      “If there’s one person I just cannot abide it’s Larry Pickering.”

      margaret, that comment defines you. I still have a copies of his cartoons surrounding the Dismissal.

      The sardonic Australian is a species that is rapidly disappearing.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Drongo

    Looney stuff from Nova is irrelevant.

    They certainly had a thermometer at Rose Hill on occasions and it would be cherry-picking to observe they might not have had it at the place or day where and when bats fell. As Collins later noted, fires in adjoining forests “much increased” thermometer readings at Rose Hill.

    The early Colony’s data has not been ignored

    The early Colony’s data has not been removed

    The early Colony’s data has not been adjusted by BoM

    The early Colony’s data was not collected by Phillip

    Tench’s recording of 109F was from a large thermometer exposed to hot wind from the North West. Modern measurements are not. Early readings were not standardised by Stevenson screens.

    The BoM reports that today’s most recent month weather represents record breaking temperatures for Sydney and Parramatta.

    So we can ignore the antics by Nova and Drongo.

    • spangled drongo says:

      You can waffle on all you like, chrissie, but what you are deliberately avoiding is the fact that it takes enormous heat to kill birds in those numbers. There are always fires around in that sort of weather but BoM and warmists don’t use that excuse these days. I wonder why?

      Arguing the toss about exactly where the thermometers were situated in a pathetic argument when BoM simply adjust anything they choose.

      And while that data may be archived, BoM ignore it in their regular data supporting their claims of global warming simply because it destroys their argument.

      Those birds are still about in big numbers but I have never seen ONE drop dead from heat, let alone thousands.

      That Watkin Tench report was included in warmist Joelle Gergis’ peer reviewed paper which also said there was no thermometer so don’t show your ignorance.

      And try the real world for a change.

      • Chris Warren says:

        More Drongo trash…

        The fact that there were a few thermometers that necessarily moved is CERTAINLY the key point that exposes drongo statements;

        “they didn’t have a thermometer at the time…”

        No one said they had thermometer under whatever tree on a particular day in 1791. But Tench does record that they had a thermometer at Rose Hill presumably around this time.

        I doubt whether Drongo even read the paper it referenced, and more than likely the reference is just a REPEAT of Tench’s comment – so this could be yet another falsification by Drongo pretending there is a second source for his denial of thermometers.

        So Drongo, what is the page number and title of this “peer reviewed paper”??????

        BoM early meteorological data is not archived. It was published openly as Historical Note No 2 in 1981 and is available through any library.

        Do we now have 6 falsifications by Drongo?

        • spangled drongo says:

          More chrissie crap:

          “No one said they had thermometer under whatever tree on a particular day in 1791. But Tench does record that they had a thermometer at Rose Hill presumably around this time.”

          Tench’s own words:

          “Unluckily they had no thermometer to ascertain its precise height.”

          So now you can show us your proof of your statement that he had one.

          And then you can provide his quote where he says there was a thermometer reading during those bird deaths.

          And don’t forget to give us the reading.

          And do stop trying to make out that BoM approve of this pre 1910 data. They have discarded very good data that goes back much earlier when many Stevenson screens existed and record temps of that time would put current temps in the shade.

          Just because you warmists approve of this fakery doesn’t make it acceptable to rational people.

          • Chris Warren says:

            Yet more double falsification by Drongo….

            I never said “…that he had one”. The Drongo falsific ation count is now 7.

            So I assume Drongo has now confirmed 6 previous falsifications.

            Tench indicated that settlers at Rose Hill had a thermometer but the exact dates are sites are vague. But as they only settled Rose Hill in late 1789, it seems likely that it was there during the summers of 1790 when they recorded temperatures over 100F for between one or two hours.

            Does all this mean that Drongo has no knowledge of Tench and Gergis and is just just apeing stuff from looney websites.

          • spangled drongo says:

            Instead of making sh1t up, chrissie crap, just stick to Tench’s own quote:

            “Unluckily they had no thermometer to ascertain its precise height.”

            and stop duckshoving.

            There were thousands of birds dying and dead, witnessed by many and chrissie is suggesting that temps were merely “over 100F for between one or two hours”.

            Get real!!!

            It now shows where all the falsifications are coming from.

            When are you going to get a job with the BoM?

          • spangled drongo says:

            You said:

            “Tench does record that they had a thermometer at Rose Hill presumably around this time.”

            But then you say:

            I never said “…that he had one”.

            Bit hard to find that reading, hey, crappie?

            Maybe you already work for BoM.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Drongo doesn’t know that “he” is a falsification of “they”. Only Drongo inserts the false “he”.

    Drongo has not read Tench, p264 of Fitzhardinge edition (1961). All explained there. They (not Tench) had a thermometer at Rose Hill. Probably under custody of whichever Captain or Sergeant rostered on to serve there.

    It is easy for me, but too difficult for Drongo.

    Falsification count is now 8. Ignorance count is 1 for Gergis and 2 for Tench.

    • spangled drongo says:

      Silly old chrissy is getting desperater by the minute.

      To infer that “he” had a thermometer means I claim that he had one on his person shows the extent he will go to to win a desperate point.

      D’ya think he was an anal retentive too?

      Grow up, chrissie crap, stop the semantics and deal with the subject which is about the sort of temperatures it takes to kill a thousand “Perroquettes”.

      How many have you seen die lately?

      Or haven’t you been outside for a while?

  • […] to adapt some themes from my last essay, Australian political discussion is now a mixture of two rather incompatible perspectives on the […]

  • Chris Warren says:

    More Drongo falsification.

    There was no thousand “Perroquettes”,

    Falsification count is now 9.

    What Drongo calls semantics is actually fact checking, truth and rigor – the basis of science.

  • spangled drongo says:

    “There was no thousand “Perroquettes”,’

    No? the ground was just “strewn with them” as with bats.

    I have read other reports that quote there were “thousands per mile”

    But as usual you duck the details and dodge the issue.

    What temperature does it take to kill lorikeets and rosellas in flight in big numbers?

    Have you seen any die recently?

    When your scientist mates at the BoM bury these historical data and fake the modern narrative they are doing the country a huge disservice.

    And for the alarmist sheep who follow along bleating it doesn’t help with your real world attitudes even though it may give great ideological comfort.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Drongo

    What is the primary source for “thousands per mile”.

    I don’t duck details – this is a falsification.

    I don’t dodge issues – this is a falsification.

    I am not claiming anything about lorikeets and rosellas.

    No body at BoM buried historical data – this is a falsification.

    I don’t have scientific mates at the BoM – this is a falsification.

    Falsification count now 12.

    I await details as the report of “thousands per mile” and I am sure you will not want to dodge your own issue?

    • spangled drongo says:

      Why don’t you simply deal with “the ground was just strewn with them” as per Tench’s original report.

      But there have been other reports that I have read describing the scene as a “writhing carpet of birds and bats” etc.

      And then answer the question instead of ducking, weaving and denying as you are.

      Just as BoM have denied these and many other essential facts re our past climate by starting our official temperature data from the coldest period in 1910.

      But you obviously ok this fakery.

    • JimboR says:

      “Falsification count now 12. ”

      I hope you’re using a 64-bit counter there Chris, otherwise in this post-fact world, it’ll be wrapping in no time.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Sometimes with Drongo’s you have to punch data into them twice to get sense….so here goes:

    Drongo

    What is the primary source for “thousands per mile”.

    Please don’t duck, weave or deny.

    What is the primary source for ““writhing carpet of birds and bats” .

    Please don’t duck, weave or deny.

    • spangled drongo says:

      There have been several reports over the many years since it happened and I can’t locate them but you have yet to deal with any of them.

      Or are you saying it never happened?

      Your own list of falsification far outstrips mine.

      Simply answer the question.

      But you do seem to have difficulty answering any of my questions, hey chrissie luv?

      It’s over a week since I asked you this:

      I wonder how many days it takes for chrissie to work out what or if there are different causes here:

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1910/to:1940/trend/pl ot/hadcrut3gl/from:1970/to:2000/trend/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1910/to:200 0

  • Chris Warren says:

    So was this just drongo falsifying dirt?

    “thousands per mile”.

    ““writhing carpet of birds and bats” .

    The world of Trump-land “alternative facts” – the essence of climate denia;?

    • spangled drongo says:

      Stop telling blatant lies chrissie.

      You have read some of these articles yourself. You said so.

      Are you denying that this widely acknowledged and well reported situation actually happened now?

      And if you are at all fair dinkum also answer my questions.

      BTW, have you checked outside for dead birds yet?

  • Chris Warren says:

    So there is no basis for:

    “thousands per mile”.
    “writhing carpet of birds and bats” .

    So I will have to put this down as 2 provisional falsifications.

    So the total is 12 confirmed, 2 provisional falsifications and 2 is ignorance count.

    Falsification is not true skepticism at all.

    • spangled drongo says:

      You already said that multiple times you blitherer.

      You are perfectly aware of the deaths of these birds from extreme heat as it has been reported by several sources.

      So stop obfuscating and acting like you have had too much to drink.

      I know it’s been hot but I think you started too fast and too early.

      If you choose to make a complete denial please do so, so we know where we stand.

      Or if you’re too drunk I can understand and we can put it off till tomorrow.

      But otherwise stop blithering and answer my questions.

  • Hey, Margaret,
    A serf back again, late into the fray.
    Say, re the Industrial Revolution,
    ‘Stopping famine in the west
    is no little thing .’ – ‘Halving ‘n
    soon reducing more, child
    mortality in the west,’ – is no
    little thing.’ – ‘Getting the VOTE
    fer women, in the west- is no
    little thing.’ – Yey ha!*

    *Used ter be beth the cow-girl
    but now I’m beth the serf. 🙂

  • Chris Warren says:

    Drongo

    The deaths are recorded in Tench – that is not the point.

    I make no denial. This is another falsification. So the count is 13.

    So is there no basis for:

    “thousands per mile”.
    “writhing carpet of birds and bats” .

    OK this suggests that the provisional falsifications are really confirmed falsifications.

    It seems you just made up Trump-Land alternative facts or merely channeled nonsense from looney websites.

    I may have to increase the count another two, but there is time, they are just provisional at the moment.

    • spangled drongo says:

      ” So is there no basis for:

      “thousands per mile”.
      “writhing carpet of birds and bats” “.

      That is completely false and you know it. You have read it yourself but won’t admit it.

      When are you going to stop with your desperate falsifications, obfuscations, ducking and weaving, outright denial and man up about the true situation.

      And then answer the simple questions you have been dodging for days.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Drongo

    What does this mean; “You have read it yourself ”

    So we have another falsification. I have not read such weird claims except when Drongo fabricated this as one of its so-called “alternative facts”.

    Falsification count is now 14 confirmed plus 2 provisional, but given Drongo’s failure the score is 16.

  • spangled drongo says:

    So we have another denial from chrissie.

    Chrissie equates his denials with my falsifications. LOL.

    16 denials now, hey chrissie?

    Stop blithering and duck-shoving and answer the questions.

    • Chris Warren says:

      16 denials now, hey chrissie?

      Yes.

      • spangled drongo says:

        Well, that’s a relief. At least you admit that you completely deny that flocks of birds died during the heat wave at Rose Hill in Feb 1791.

        We all know how wrong you are there.

        But we’re slowly getting somewhere at last.

        Now, what about the next question?

        • Chris Warren says:

          “you admit that you completely deny that flocks of birds died during the heat wave at Rose Hill in Feb 1791.”

          FALSE – it is in Tench.

          Count is now 17

          • spangled drongo says:

            So you now deny that you now deny that you admit that?

            Now you are confirming what I have been saying all along?

            That flocks of birds died at Rose Hill in Feb 1791.

            That’s not what you started out saying.

            But are you quite certain this is what you now don’t deny?

            Not gonna change your mind again or duck dodge and weave?

            OK. So now answer those questions.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Drongo

    It seems you have a problem – maybe English is not your preferred language.

    I have never said anything about flocks of birds dying at Rose Hill in Feb 1791 nor ever questioned this report by Tench.

    This is another falsification by Drongo.

    Count is now 18.

  • spangled drongo says:

    “….nor ever questioned this report by Tench.”

    More lies from chrissie.

    Tench said:

    “Unluckily they had no thermometer to ascertain its precise height.”

    Chrissie said:

    “Tench does record that they had a thermometer at Rose Hill presumably around this time.”

    But though stating Tench is wrong doesn’t give any details.

    Not questioning Tench’s report? Oh, dear!

    Until you are prepared to deal with the question of how hot it was to kill those large numbers of birds at Rose Hill that day and stop duck shoving, please stop embarrassing yourself with these silly, fake comments.

    • Chris Warren says:

      Drongo doesn’t make sense. He is displaying ignorance because he hasn’t read Tench.

      Tench said both that they did not have a thermometer on the day bats fell (Tench pg 265) but they did have a thermometer on another occasion to record a drop of 50F in nine hours (Tench p264).

      So this is ignorance number 3.

      I never stated “Tench is wrong”. This is a clear falsification.

      So Drongo digs deeper. I can only suggest it learns how to use a library and not regurgitate trash from looney websites.

      Falsification count now 19. Ignorance count is now 3.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Whether Tench had none or twenty thermometers isn’t the point, chrissie luv, you questioned Tench’s report.

    You’re now telling lies about telling lies.

    But this is good fun, hey, chrissie?

    Seeing just how many comments you can make and still dodge and duck the subject under discussion?

    After all your avoidance to date can you now address the questions, do you think?

    It will only take a fraction of the time….

  • Chris Warren says:

    Drongo

    “you questioned Tench’s report.”

    Evidence ????????????????????

  • spangled drongo says:

    Chrissie, try reading what you write.

    And try answering a question or two for a change.

  • Chris Warren says:

    OK, two more falsifications – given the lack of evidence.

    1) “You’re now telling lies about telling lies.” FALSE

    2) “you questioned Tench’s report.”

    Count is now 21 Ignorance count is 3.

    • spangled drongo says:

      More lies from chrissie.

      Tench said:

      “Unluckily they had no thermometer to ascertain its precise height.”

      Chrissie said:

      “Tench does record that they had a thermometer at Rose Hill presumably around this time.”

      That’s what’s known as questioning his report.

      You’re now telling lies about telling lies about telling lies.

      It would be much more to your advantage, chrissie, to give up with the lies and duckshoving and answer the questions.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Just for slow learners….

    ““Tench does record that they had a thermometer at Rose Hill presumably around this time.” is TRUE.

    Tench wrote:

    “The thermometer has been known to alter, at Rose Hill, in the course of nine
    hours, more than 50°; standing a little before sunrise at 50°, and between
    one and two, at more than 100°.”

    I wonder if Drongo can see the word “thermometer” and the words “Rose Hill” and come to a sensible conclusion?

    Tench is available online for those with the necessary wit to refer to.

    There is a reason Drongo refused to provide evidence for his claim that:

    Bats died in:
    “thousands per mile” and produced a “writhing carpet of birds and bats”

    because this had nothing to do with Tench. This could have been a report from Africa, Mexico, Sudan, or from the 20th Century. There is no evidence it happened in Tench’s time at Parramatta. By deliberately confusing either geography or time, Drongo launched another provocation.

    Flying foxes become stressed and in some cases die in Canberra today when the temperature exceeds 40C.

    We know that temperatures over 40C are perilous for bats so there is nothing unusual about Tench’s report.

  • spangled drongo says:

    More lies from chrissie.

    Tench said:

    “Unluckily they had no thermometer to ascertain its precise height.”

    Chrissie said:

    “Tench does record that they had a thermometer at Rose Hill presumably around this time.”

    That’s what’s known as questioning his report.

    You’re now telling lies about telling lies about telling lies about telling lies.

    Stop dodging, ducking, weaving, obfuscating and being generally obtuse and answer those questions.

  • Chris Warren says:

    In fact the numbers of bats and flying foxes dying from heat events is increasing.

    This suggests that our climate has warmer episodes than when the First Fleet sailed into Botany Bay or when they first settled at Parramatta.

    So the whole exercise Drongo has been running is futile and irrelevant.

    • spangled drongo says:

      Stop with the lying obfuscations and the ducking and weaving, chrissie.

      We are not discussing flying foxes [even though you have absolutely no proof of what you just claimed] we are discussing what temperature it takes to kill flocks of perroquettes, rose hillers and other birds.

      Plus other questions you are also dodging.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Oh dear of dear, Drongo dear

    You have stepped in it yet again.

    “you have absolutely no proof of what you just claimed” – FALSE

    It was not a claim. It is a fact. I always have proof of what I report.

    Falsification count 22. Ignorance 3.

    You do realise there is no prize for reaching 100 don’t you?

  • Chris Warren says:

    Drongo’s ignorance count has to go up one.

    It said:

    “We are not discussing flying foxes” which is FALSE as Tench specifically reported:

    “An immense flight of bats, driven before the wind, covered all the trees around the settlement, whence they every moment dropped dead, or in a dying state, unable to endure the burning state of the atmosphere”

    It was Drongo who asked:

    ” I wonder if during this current “record” heatwave we will see thousands of dead “perouquettes” and “rosehillers” awa bats littering the ground around Parramatta as he observed back in this month, 226 years ago?”

    We now have an emphatic – YES and more.

    What is a “rosehiller”???? What is meant by “awa bats”?????

    So it look like Drongo is ignorant of its own words.

    Of course this could all be more Drono falsification but it could be just Drongo ignorance of what Tench wrote which included bats, and what Drongo itself wrote.

    So fasification count stays the same – ignorance count is 4.

    • spangled drongo says:

      Stop your incredibly unscientific blithering, chrissie.

      We all know that bats die at much lower temperatures than birds so why would any rational person be using the bat deaths as the temperature gauge?

      Bats died in their tens of thousands at that time but it is the bird deaths that are the true indicator of extreme heat.

      And you have absolutely no evidence that bat deaths from heat stress have got worse.

      Just the fact that bats have been human targets for so many reasons, putting their habitats in jeopardy and lives at risk whereas birds have become cherished and protected animals should give any rational person a clue that what you say is blither.

      But then chrissie is not even aware that a rosehiller is the modern Rosella so perhaps he can be somewhat excused for his ignorance and stupidity here.

      And also for his hysterical numbering of his own delusions.

      LOL!!!

      So now I ask you again, chrissie luv, how many birds have been observed dying in flight in recent days?

      Answers to that and those other questions are now needed from the blitherer for him to exonerate himself.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of bats die from modern extreme heat across

    Parramatta, South Creek, Emu Plains, Centennial Park, Wolli Creek, Fig Tree, North Avoca, Bomaderry Creek at Nowra, Bega and Yatte Yattah on the south coast.

    See: archive.is/hnQJI

  • Chris Warren says:

    “We all know that bats die at much lower temperatures than birds”

    Evidence?

    “Bats died in their tens of thousands at that time”

    Evidence? What “time”?

    “And you have absolutely no evidence that bat deaths from heat stress have got worse.” – FALSE, this is available to anyone who can use internet search engines like an adult.

    So falsification 23, Ignorance 4.

    More adjustments may follow depending on any (expected) failure of Drongo to justify its statements:

    “much lower” and

    “tens of thousands at that time”

    • spangled drongo says:

      “We all know that bats die at much lower temperatures than birds”

      “Evidence?”

      Your own statements should be evidence enough. You obviously don’t believe in what you write:

      “Thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of bats die from modern extreme heat…….”

      We already know that, chrissie..

      But birds, very rarely.

      You just supplied more evidence that you claim doesn’t exist.

      Unlimited blither from the blitherer par excellence.

      And then there’s this:

      “Governor Arthur Phillip elaborated on the
      staggering scale of the scene. ‘From the numbers that
      fell into the brook at Rose Hill,’ he wrote, ‘the water
      was tainted for several days, and it was supposed that
      more than twenty thousand of them were seen within
      the space of one mile.’”

      And then there’s this from Gergis:

      “Imagine strolling through
      Sydney’s Botanic Gardens to be met by a writhing
      carpet of bats and birds dying of heat stress!”

      Then chrissie says:

      ‘“And you have absolutely no evidence that bat deaths from heat stress have got worse.” – FALSE, this is available to anyone who can use internet search engines like an adult.”

      Give me a link that proves it, chrissie luv.

      And try answering those questions…..

  • Chris Warren says:

    Oh dear oh dear, what have we here;

    Not more falsification … unfortunately there is more ie;

    “You just supplied more evidence that you claim doesn’t exist.”

    This is FALSE

    This just repeats, like a drongo, a previous false claim – so it is only worth a half. Sop the count goes to 23.5.

    However Drongo does ask for a link. It would have been better if it asked before making false accusations. Antway, here it is.

    An Australian bat-ecologist, Micaela Jemison, now working with the Smithsonian, says, concerning a similar event, at lower temperatures in 2014…

    “This however is not an isolated incident, with similar events having occurred across the country in past summers with increasing frequency over the last decade.”

    Can Drongo understand the words “increasing frequency”?

    This bat expert goes on to say:

    “Between 1994 and 2008, more than 30,000 flying foxes died in colonies across Australia from heat stress in 18 separate extreme heat events.”

    but since then

    “… we have seen larger and seemingly more frequent fatal heat events, with 15,000 flying foxes dying in Sydney alone in 2013 and up to 100,000 across Australia in the last few days.” [ie 2014].

    So what does Drongo make of the words “more frequent”???

    The bat expert then adds a note about:

    “… great concern to scientists not only due to the increased risk of these “die off” events, (but also long term impacts)”.

    So Drongo what does “increased risk of die off” mean to you?

    You can see the full story at: http://archive.is/jgsVz

    And of course the amount of heat destroying bats, has increased since 2014.

    I find Drongo’s belated citation from Arthur Philip very interesting. If (and only if) Drongo provides a reference, I may have to reduce the falsification count by 1.

    As to the unreferenced Gergis stuff. What nonsense is this, anyone can “imagine” whatever they like.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Stop telling more lies, chrissie.

    Bat deaths don’t mean extremely hot weather. You are perfectly well aware of it.

    To quote you upthread:

    “Flying foxes become stressed and in some cases die in Canberra today when the temperature exceeds 40C.

    We know that temperatures over 40C are perilous for bats so there is nothing unusual about Tench’s report.”

    Tench’s report on bat deaths, no. But his report on bird deaths is quite unusual.

    We are quite aware that bats die in milder conditions than birds.

    So stop blithering and deal with the bird deaths that Tench and others reported on.

    And your link says exactly what I say. That current bat deaths are due to habitat loss:

    ” However habitat loss and urban encroachment has restricted the number suitable roost sites near water, forcing many colonies to take up roost in areas with little water close by.”

    What a waffle artist you are!!!

    Gergis is a warmist like you but wrote that after studying what took place at the time.

    This is about bird deaths which only occur in much more extreme heat which obviously was happening 226 years ago at Rose Hill.

    So tell me how many bird deaths you are aware of in-flight today and at what temperatures?

    And stick to the point for a change. Plus stop dodging those other questions.

    • Chris Warren says:

      What a confused rant that was.

      I haven’t said anything about birds. I have always stuck to the same point. Your statement:

      And stick to the point for a change. Is a false accusation.

      And only desperate fools would read http://archive.is/jgsVz

      and pretend that the explanation of bat deaths is: “That current bat deaths are due to habitat loss”.

      This is another falsification. So we go from 23.5 to 24.5 but Drongo has not justified:

      “much lower” and

      “tens of thousands at that time”

      So these two falsifications move the total to 26.5 (ignorance count stays at 4). False accusation count is 1.

      • spangled drongo says:

        “I haven’t said anything about birds.”

        Well not much anyway.

        In spite of my pointing out that it was the bird deaths at Rose Hill that factually indicate just how hot it must have been, you have been ducking, dodging and weaving to turn it back to the bats because they die in less extreme heat much more often and for lots of other reasons [like human-caused loss of proper habitat].

        Tench said:

        “Nor did the perroquettes, though tropical birds, fare any better; the ground was strewn with them in the same condition as the bats.”

        Which, as I have said all along, indicates how extreme this heatwave was.

        But maybe you are just too obtuse to get this simple point?

        If you get it now, chrissie, could you tell me how often lorikeets drop dead in flight these days?

        There are still huge flocks of them around, from the tropics to Victoria.

  • Chris Warren says:

    This is a Drongo diversion.

    IN Tench’s time bats died due to heat and today bats die due to heat.

    In Tench’s time birds died, possibly due to heat, and today birds die due to heat.

    Drongo seems to be ignorant of several instances of birds dying from heat in Australia, India, and elsewhere since WW1.

    Drongo did not let us know that thousands of parrots died near Alice Springs when a heatwave struck in modern times.

    So it could be that the instances of bird deaths is increasing since Tench’s era.

    So the ignorance count goes up 1. Now 5.

  • spangled drongo says:

    “In Tench’s time birds died, possibly due to heat,,,”

    So, chrissie, multi thousands of bat died due to heat but the birds that were writhing on the ground beside them were only there “possibly” due to heat?

    What a denying ducker and dodger you are.

    And you expect me to hold your little hand and tell you when every bird dies of heat stress?

    Stop acting the galah and realise that if a bird dies of heat stress it is seriously hot.

    And if a tropical Lorikeet dies of heat stress it is probably more so.

    I’m fully aware that various birds have died of heat stress in Australia throughout history.

    And this is precisely my point.

    If it was happening 226 years ago, regularly, in heat waves, what has changed?

    And supply evidence of any change.

    • Chris Warren says:

      “If it was happening 226 years ago, regularly, in heat waves, what has changed?”

      We are now experiencing record temperatures.

      • spangled drongo says:

        “We are now experiencing record temperatures.”

        Says little chrissie, with not a shred of evidence.

        But just his large amounts of cognitive bias protruding.

        Where and when did the last flock of Lorikeets die from heat stress, chrissie luv?

        And what was the temperature recorded?

  • Chris Warren says:

    Drongo

    I have not said anything about lorikeets. Do your own homework.

    WE are now experiencing record temperatures.

    http://www.nsstc.uah.edu/climate/2017/january/Jan2017_tlt_update_bar.p ng

    • spangled drongo says:

      “I have not said anything about lorikeets”

      So at last you admit you have ducked, dodged and denied that lone piece of evidence for the sum total of this discussion.

      In case you have forgotten, we are discussing the likelihood of the 1791 heat wave being as hot as anything we experience today.

      Just as you do likewise with your graph that totally avoids the period we are discussing.

      Cognitive bias is one thing but duplicity should not be part of this.

      Your cred is totally shot.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Drongo

    I repeat for slow learners, I have not said anything about lorikeets. I do not use “one lone piece of evidence” This is unsound. And the Drongo keeps piling falsification on top of falsification. This time it makes-up:

    ” multi thousands of bat”

    Drongo also makes false accusations. Nothing has been denied.

    Falsification count now 27.5, ignorance count stays at 5, accusation count now 2.

    We know thousands of parrots have been killed by a heat wave since WW1 and other bird species have fallen out of the sky due to heat in the summer of 2015. But only fools rush in to use this to assess temperature differences between modern times and Tench’s era when experts have already conducted this exercise and published their work in refereed journals.

    If you want to compare the temps of 1791 to today, then use the various thermometer data (corrected to a modern standard) plus other anecdotes as analysed by Gergis.

    But climate change is a global warming and we are now experiencing record temperatures in SE Australia (0ver 2C anomaly).

    http://www.nsstc.uah.edu/climate/2017/january/JANUARY_2017_map.png

    Heat is killing off other species too – such as turtles.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Stop waffling and deal with the only relevant piece of evidence that compares extreme temperatures of both eras.

    The fact that “scientists” of the same cognitive bias as you also waffle on as you do, you have provided no proof whatsoever that extreme heatwave temperatures have increased.

    And all that in spite of the incredibly sparse data of 226 years ago which indicates that long before humans had any influence there were extreme heatwaves.

    So stop displaying your ignorance and wasting my time.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Drongo

    1) there is not ” the only relevant piece of evidence ” This is FALSE

    2) I have not considered or mentioned “extreme heatwave temperatures”

    3) You have been wasting your own time.

    Falsification count has to go up by 1 yet again. Now 28.5.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Chrissie luv, please recall how all your ducking, dodging and weaving started over 6 days ago in response to my evidence of an extreme, unmeasured heatwave of 226 years ago. The discussion ever since has been in response to that original statement of mine. As the birds require higher temperatures than bats to be killed they then provide the best evidence of exceptionally hot conditions.

    You are now denying that you “considered or mentioned “extreme heatwave temperatures”’ when you have been replying to this precise point for over 6 days.

    If you weren’t discussing comparable “extreme heatwave temperatures” of the two eras, what have you been waffling about?:

    “spangled drongo says:

    February 10, 2017 at 9:14 am

    Speaking of Arthur Phillip and the days of his first governorship, I wonder if during this current “record” heatwave we will see thousands of dead “perouquettes” and “rosehillers” awa bats littering the ground around Parramatta as he observed back in this month, 226 years ago?

    Pity they didn’t have a thermometer at the time…..”

    So now, finally, can you answer this simple question:

    If these birds are not dying from today’s heat as they did 226 years ago, by what logic is it hotter today?

    If you can’t answer this simple question we will know who is doing all the time wasting.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Drongo

    It is not required that every time temperature goes over 40C that birds and bats die.

    You cannot use “unmeasured heatwaves” to deduce anything.

    Global warming is a global issue and there is little point trying to compare modern to past temps in Australia. In any case this has been covered by Gergis.

    It is obviously hotter today based on global measured temperatures.

    This is a simple fact that is a clear as clear as can possibly be by anyone who just thinks for a second based on this:

    http://archive.is/TsleK

    You do not move from blue to red unless it gets hotter.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Your graph is highly adjusted data.

    Here is the unadjusted data:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1850/to:2017/plot/had crut3gl/from:1850/to:2017/trend

    Well under 1c of warming.

    Which, over 166 years, is about half the rate of Nat Var.

    Neither of them cover the era under discussion.

    And this is precisely my point.

    When observations run counter to assumptions as with glacial melt, sea level rise, bird deaths etc, where there is nothing happening other than what’s always been happening and sometimes not even that, then it is most likely Nat Var.

    Your favourite claim is that ACO2 warming has only occurred since the satellite recordings began in ’79, agrees mostly with what I say.

    I simply add that those recordings possibly include some greenhouse effect but as no one’s been able to quantify it, it could be from other man made causes and it is still below Nat Var anyway.

  • Chris Warren says:

    There is no point to any of this. The BOM data has practically the same long-term trend, but the current trend is much higher. In the satellite era [from 1979] it is well over 1C per century.

    The amount of GHG’s in the atmosphere has changed since 1850.

    Natural variation would be a slow cooling except for GHGs.

    • spangled drongo says:

      “In the satellite era [from 1979] it is well over 1C per century.”

      But this century with the greatest amount of emissions there is statistically nothing.

      “Natural variation would be a slow cooling except for GHGs.”

      Firstly, following the long period of the LIA, why would Nat Var be cooling?

      And secondly, do you not consider the fact that with huge land change where all the thermometers are kept, temperature rise is almost certainly to be far in excess of that tiny [less than 1c] rise in temps for the last 166 years.

      That is the total period of serious industrial activity on this planet.

      Those are adjustments that are truly needed [thoroughly proven at up to 6c] yet are almost completely overlooked.

      If that were honestly accounted for then GHGs could be shown to be cooling us considerably.

      When this situation is looked at so dishonestly in this way it demonstrates the politics and ideology involved.

      Certainly not the science.

  • Chris Warren says:

    You cannot pick various periods as there is a rising sinusoidal tendency.

    You must compare trough to trough, or peak to peak.

    This was illustrated by Don when he posted this chart:

    http://donaitkin.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/image021.jpg

    The cycle is around 60 years, so any trend “century” or “166 years” will always be wrong.

    If you use Don’s chart, a suitable trend is the 60 years from 1944 to 2004. This is 0.76C century.

    The trend for the previous 60 years was 0.61C century.

    The latest 60 year trend [1956 – 2016] is 1.28C per century.

    These are global trends and the Northern Hemisphere cops more of the increase than the Southern.

    • spangled drongo says:

      166 years happens to be the total period of data collection but Nat Var also follows any climate cycle that may apply and the simple fact is there is only ~ 0.8c [half of nat var] increase over the total period which is also the almost total period of the industrial revolution.

      With all the warming that poorly sited thermometers combined with phenomenal levels of development would most certainly cause.

      In today’s cities what would you estimate just the added warmth of A/C exhausts during a heatwave would add to thermometers kept just around the corner?

      As I said before, GHGs could actually be causing cooling based on this huge oversight alone.

      I have a neighbour who is a retired University lecturer who believes as you do in AGW and is not the slightest bit sceptical. He is a scientist yet his thermometer always reads these heatwaves up to 5c warmer than mine does.

      When you leave your thermometer outside in the atmosphere it is impossible to under-record heatwaves but it is very east to over-record them particularly if you are of a certain persuasion.

      Our ABC regularly tells us that the temp is “four degrees above average” when it is only one, etc.

      Why do I get the impression that this practice also occurs on an official level when these officials have such a strong belief awa a COI.

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