Friday, October 9, 2015

How the West lost the Cold War

The one real achievement that conservatives can point to in the last fifty years is winning the Cold War. But did conservatives really win the Cold War? I would suggest that the Cold War was won by liberals, and that it represented yet another defeat for conservatives. Conservatives lost because as usual they were fighting the wrong war in the wrong place against the wrong enemy.

The real enemy was not the Soviet Union. Do not misunderstand me. I am no admirer of Soviet communism. But the real enemy was not the Soviet Union, it was the enemy within - liberalism. It was liberalism that sought to destroy everything worthwhile in western civilisation. The end of the Cold War strengthened liberalism enormously. 

In fact the end of the Cold War was the best thing that could ever have happened for liberals. As long as the Soviet Union existed its existence served as a rallying point for conservatives, and it served as a dire warning of the realities of socialism. We have now seen several generations grow up in the West who have no idea what totalitarianism is really like. They have no clue what it means to lose freedom. Liberals are now imposing a creeping soft totalitarianism on all of us because people today have no notion that totalitarianism might be a bad thing. They do not see a problem in imposing political ideologies by coercion and bullying. They do not see a problem in stigmatising dissent as Thought Crime and then banning it.

And what does the West look like today, after our “victory” in the Cold War? A society overrun with drugs, pornography, sexual perversion and violence. A society that measures everything by money. A society riddled with irrational guilt, bent on self-destruction. We have the freedom to do anything we want to do, except think for ourselves or express our opinions. We have prosperity, or at least we’re told we do. In reality that prosperity is based largely on debt. We have nothing of real value because we do not know how to measure real value - if we cannot put a monetary value on something we regard it as worthless. 

We have lots of bread and lots of circuses.

Maybe winning the Cold War wasn’t such a great thing after all?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

revisiting Forty Thousand Horsemen

I recently watched one of the greats of Australian cinema, Charles Chauvel's 1940 wartime adventure Forty Thousand Horsemen. Of course like every Australian I'd seen it before (it used to get screened every Anzac Day on Australian television). It was interesting to look at it today from a slightly different political perspective.

The movie tells the story of the exploits of the Australian Light Horse Brigades in the campaigns against the Ottoman Empire in Palestine and Mesopotamia in the First World War.

It's a wartime propaganda movie and the propaganda isn't exactly subtle. The propaganda is however quite interesting. The intention was clearly to drum up support for Australia's involvement in the Second World War. As you would expect there's a hysterically anti-German tone. What's more surprising is that the Ottoman Turks (the people we were actually fighting in these campaigns) are portrayed very sympathetically indeed - they are shown as brave and honourable men doing their duty. The Arabs are portrayed sympathetically as well.

Which of course is fair enough - I doubt if even the most jingoistic Australians had actually hated the Turks in the First World War. My grandfather fought them and he certainly didn't hate them. In fact most Australians must have been somewhat bewildered to find that we were at war with the Ottoman Empire, a state that would not have ranked very high on a list of potential threats to Australia's security. In fact it's difficult to think of any major power that would have been less of a threat to us.

The French come out of it well also. Oddly enough the British are largely ignored, apart from one scene in which Australian soldiers cheerfully loot the baggage of a senior British officer! It's interesting that the movie makes no attempt to whip up pro-British fervour. That might not be so surprising. Again I can cite my grandfather's views - he felt no bitterness towards the Germans and Turks against whom he fought but he sure did hate our British allies. The makers of the movie may have felt it to be a safer choice to concentrate on the dastardliness of the Germans and to ignore the British altogether. It's easy to assume that Australians in 1940 were intensely pro-British but perhaps this is not quite so true after all. There are times when the past turns out to be not quite the way we always thought it was.

Apart from all this and whatever one thinks of war movies Forty Thousand Horsemen is still an exciting and fairly well-made example of the breed.

A fuller review of this movie can be found on my movie blog here.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Australian conservative blogs

It's great to see that posting has resumed at the excellent Oz Conservative blog. We now have a few Australian conservative blogs - there's also Upon Hope and Suburbanite among others.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

puzzling aspects of refugee crisis

There are some things that puzzle me about the refugee crisis that Europe is currently facing. Since we know that there is absolutely nothing that is better for a nation than diversity, that diversity is all gain, why are the western Europeans suddenly wanting to institute border controls? Doesn’t this mean that they are depriving their citizens of the golden opportunity to gain lots and lots of extra diversity?

The attitude of the United States is even stranger. No country is more enthusiastic than the US in trumpeting the benefits of diversity. And yet by comparison with the Europeans they are only taking a tiny handful of Syrian refugees. Germany, a country of 80 million people, will be taking a million or so refugees. The United States, a country of 320 million people, should easily be able to accommodate four times as many refugees as Germany. Why is the government of the United States allowing Germany to take advantage of the crisis to enrich itself with so much diversity and yet refusing to allow its own citizens to reap similar benefits?

Even more puzzling is Israel’s attitude. The Israelis share a border with Syria. They have all that wonderful diversity just sitting on their doorstep. And yet they won’t allow any Syrian refugees at all into their country. Perhaps this is just a noble gesture on the part of Israel - they want the Europeans to gain as much benefit as possible from this situation so they are generously allowing the Europeans to take more refugees. This would be entirely consistent with Israel’s track record of noble generosity towards other nations.

It’s also odd that western Europe, especially Germany, is annoyed at eastern European countries like Hungary that don’t want refugees. If those stupid Hungarians choose to allow such an opportunity to slip past them surely that’s good for Germany? It means Germany can take even greater numbers, thus gaining even more of the advantages of diversity.

This is the beginning of a golden age for western Europe. With all this extra diversity Europe will forge ahead economically as well as enjoying all the wondrous social and cultural benefits. Europeans today just don’t realise how lucky they are.

And those countries that haven’t yet experienced the full benefits of diversity need not worry - with the population sub-Saharan Africa estimated to increase from 926 million to 2.2 billion by 2050 there will be plenty of diversity to go around. Europe is likely to become very very diverse indeed. Lucky Europe!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

the future of marriage equality

Roxxxy demands marriage equality now!
There’s an interesting minor kerfuffle happening in the UK on the subject of sex robots. Interesting, because it says a very great deal about the society we have become. It also says quite a bit about the liberal mindset.

A company has recently announced a new and highly advanced sex robot, Roxxxy. And a feminist academic, Dr Kathleen Richardson, wants the government to ban the robot. Now whether or not you find the whole idea of sex robots to be disturbing or even disgusting isn’t really the point. I’m not saying there might not be an argument that such robots are a bad idea, but that’s a separate issue. The issue I’m addressing is this - on what basis can liberals argue for banning them?

They can’t argue for banning them on the grounds that they’re physically dangerous. They’re not dangerous at all. They can’t argue they should be banned on the grounds that sex with robots is unnatural. Homosexuality is unnatural but liberals think we should celebrate homosexuality. They can’t argue that the robots are being exploited - you can’t exploit a machine. They could argue that such robots encourage the “objectification” of women but in that case they’d have to argue for banning pornography and prostitution, subjects on which liberals and feminists tend to hold contradictory views. They’d also have to argue for banning sex toys for women, which surely objectify men to an even more serious degree - reducing men to nothing more than a sex organ. I don’t see much likelihood of any liberal or feminist doing that.

The feminist academic has chosen to oppose the sexbots because they “reinforce traditional and damaging stereotypes of women.” But do they? And what does that even mean? She is also concerned that the sex robot “perpetuates the view that a relationship does not need to be more than simply physical.” On that basis I assume that Dr Richardson also believes the government should outlaw vibrators and casual sex?

The really big problem here is that liberals always tell us they believe in choice and autonomy. Apparently they only believe in choice and autonomy when it suits them. What could possibly be more autonomous than choosing to buy a sex robot? It’s the absolute ultimate in autonomy. 

There are other issues to consider. This sex robot is not in fact intended to be merely a sex toy. The company hopes that she “will eventually be able to learn on her own, and begin to pick-up on her owner's likes and dislikes.” In other words she’s intended to be a companion. A combination of pet and sex toy. The ultimate aim (as outlined in David Levy’s intriguing book Love and Sex with Robots) is to create a robot with whom one can have an emotional relationship. Which of course raises the issue - will we see a campaign to legalise marriage with robots? I mean, do we believe in marriage equality or don’t we? It will be fascinating to see how liberals react to that idea. Surely only a bigot could oppose the right to marry robots. We should be free to love whomever we choose!

Please understand that I am not suggesting that any of these things are good ideas. They will however provide us with an amusing opportunity to see liberal hypocrisy in action as liberals confront the logical end point of their ideology.

Monday, September 14, 2015

a shameful day in Australian politics

For the third time in five years an Australian prime minister has been knifed in the back by his own party. Even worse, for the third time in five years the Australian people have voted for a prime minister only to have their choice overruled. Worse even than that, in this case we have a prime minister who was elected by the people on the understanding that he stood for certain definite positions on important issues has been replaced by a prime minister who is likely to pursue diametrically opposed policies on those same issues. 

This raises serious issues about the survival of democracy. Australians already regard their politicians with cynicism bordering on contempt. Today’s tragic farce will merely increase the contempt factor.

Perhaps the cowards in the Liberal Party who perpetrated this travesty mighty like to reflect on how well the same tactic worked for Labor last time around when they knifed Julia Gillard only to see their new leader Kevin Rudd annihilated in the general election a matter of a few weeks later.

We now have a prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, whose main qualification for the job is that he has demonstrated a high aptitude for disloyalty and treachery.

This is truly a shameful day in Australian politics.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

patriotism and its complications

There’s an interesting post at Upon Hope about patriotism vs nationalism. Mark makes some good points about the essentially emotional nature of patriotism.

This post got me thinking about a number of things in relation to patriotism. For example, were the Australian soldiers who went off to fight in the Great War in 1914 inspired by patriotism? If so, what kind of patriotism? Was it love of Australia, or love of Britain or love of the British Empire (loving Britain and loving the British Empire were not quite the same thing).

My grandfather fought in the Great War, at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. After he came back from the war he expressed no hatred for the Germans or the Turks but with a burning and venomous hatred for the British. I have no idea how widespread such feelings were among Australian First World War veterans but if they were at all common it tends to suggest that Australian patriotism was a rather complicated thing. We went to war for Britain rather than for Australia and that is the kind of thing that is likely to create some contradictory feelings. The First World War may have played a major role in undermining the traditional identification of Australians as being both Australian and British.

My uncle fought in the Second World War in the Western Desert and in the Pacific. I never heard him express any particular animus towards the Germans or the Japanese but he certainly had an intense dislike for our American allies. That of course is the problem with getting mixed up in a war fought by an international coalition - the various partners in the coalition inevitably have different and often conflicting aims. Such wars are often disastrous for the junior partners in the coalition - the Second World War made the US a superpower but it reduced Britain to the status of a third-rate power. It’s difficult to see what exactly Australia gained from that war. The US insistence on the destruction of European colonial empires dangerously destabilised our region and as a result we found ourselves fighting wars in Malaya, Bornea (the Confrontation between Malaysia and Indonesia), Korea and Vietnam. Becoming involved in international wars can put strains on patriotism. A patriot should be prepared to fight for his own country but does he have any duty to fight for someone else’s country? Does a patriotic Australian have a duty to fight a war in Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Iran?

Patriotism also gets complicated in other ways. The uncle I referred to above had a certain love for Australia but his love for Britain seemed rather stronger and his love for Scotland overwhelmed everything. His Scottish ancestry was somewhat distant but on an emotional level he identified very very strongly as Scottish. In a country such as Australia patriotism does tend to be ambiguous and to a certain extent artificial. 

Given enough time of course a genuine Australian patriotism would develop. The descendants of the Norman conquerors of England eventually came to develop an uncomplicated sense of Englishness but it took centuries. Australia is unlikely to be given the necessary time as the forces of liberalism work tirelessly to destroy and manifestations of Australian patriotism.