Tuesday, July 22, 2003


An email from Rafe Champion:

A few months ago the Institute for Public Affairs in Australia launched a new book by John Hyde on the recent rise of classical liberalism and economic rationalism in Australia. A summary of the book, and instructions on how to obtain the book are at this link. The published work represents about half of John's manuscript and the whole work is available on line at this address.

John Hyde, now in active retirement, was a wheat farmer in Western Australia who entered politics with the Liberal [Conservative] Party and spent some years on the back benches of the Commonwealth Parliament in Canberra. He fortunately came under the influence of Bert Kelly, "the modest member" who for many years was a lone voice of economic sanity from the back bench and others outside the House such as Austin Holmes.

The greatest advancement of the aims of the "backbench dries" came ironically during the early years of the Labor administration which began in 1983. With Hawke and Keating in economic reform mode the nation had a government of national unity on economic policy for a short but invaluable period. We are still reaping the benefits of that time, though they may be frittered away by the vandalism of the small parties and the resurgence of Big Government aspirations in the major parties.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

What Am I Missing Here?

By Arlene Peck

So folks, let me see if I understand the world situation correctly, in as basic terms as possible. There is a "cease-fire" at the moment in place. Now, what exactly does that mean? The Arabs will promise to be good, not all of them, mind you, but most of the terrorist organizations. Cute, how the Los Angeles and New York Times, and other papers, never say that these are "terrorists" and make Arab “senior leadership” sound like corporate yuppies. Is it all smoke and mirrors? Every time Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas threatens to relinquish some of his power the United States rushes in to pour more money into the "peace process" which surely ends up as guns and not butter. I'm confused.

I recently spoke with Father Keith Roderick who is the umbrella head of about sixty-five Christian organizations. He just returned from Lebanon and was appalled how the terrorists were using that country as an "al Queda" base. He told me about rapes and terror against Christians in Bethlehem and the desecration of Christian holy sites . Where is terrorist-favoring Tracy Wilkinson of the LA Times on this story?

Christian land in Bethlehem is systematically being taken over by Muslims to build their mosques. Imagine the coverage from Ms. Wilkinson and others of her persuasion when Israel tears down olive groves that have been used for cover by terrorist bomb throwers. What am I missing here?

Back to Israeli concessions. For three months most of these upstanding Arab citizens of Gaza and neighboring villages are going to be “good” and not attach bombs around their children. In return, all the Israelis have to do is open the jails and let out all of those misplaced poor downtrodden Palestinians who have been misjudged and incarcerated for doing nothing more serious than killing innocent civilians in buses, cribs and pizza parlors . Hey, they were just carrying out requests of their religious leaders!

Now this I understand. Even one well known for presenting the left-wing viewpoint, legal commentator Moshe Negbi, is on record as saying that Israel should not release even those terrorists whose attacks did NOT result in deaths. He said, "Terror attacks against civilians constitute war crimes." Well, golly, I know that and you know that. But, I wonder what the duo of Bush and Powell have to say about that? Funny, I used to write about the infamous duo of Baker and Bush. It's shades of his daddy, "Do as I say, not as I do." Let him give Texas back to Mexico since we're the occupying force there.

Oh, and is Sharon jumping high enough to please Bush and Powell? They have ordered Sharon, who seems to be acting like the Bush administration's puppet, to see to it that Israel tears down a multitude of "illegal" settlements and allow millions in funds to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority for “policing.”

I wonder? Will Peres stand at the gate and pass out the new arms as he did before? Did Arafat and Abbas think up this wonderful new plan of transferring more millions and more guns to these terrorists who are now once again policemen and politicians?

Naturally these residents of Gaza must rebuild all those homes that those nasty Israeli soldiers ripped down while chasing Arab “militants”. And didn't the Bush administration National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, mention something about a fence that was erected by Israel? She wants it torn down. Name me another time in military history when a defense line is torn down because of demands from the enemy under the guise of those demands coming from our government? I’m not even sure it’s Bush calling the shots any more . Could it be that Hamas is demanding the jails be opened to let the murdering terrorists loose to do what they do best, bombing and killing?

With all the demands heaped upon Israel, where are the demands to collect those thousands of guns that Peres delivered to them? These terror organizations have had fifty years to plot Israel's disappearance from the Middle East and teach their children from vicious anti-Israel textbooks that it is patriotic to "kill the Zionist entity." Now with the vaunted Road Map, will things be different? I'm not holding my breath. This is the brotherhood that can't even bring themselves to accept Israel’s right to exist. The United States attitude towards Israel seems to be, when in doubt, just appease. Israel tried for the past fifty years to bring the Palestinian Arabs into the mainstream. Israel built them universities, hospitals, and put in sewer and clean water service. They made them a large part of the work force so they could feed their twelve children who were being raised to become "suicide" bombers.

Now the Bush administration is calling the shots and threatening to cut off aid, oil, whatever it takes, to break the spine of Israel and to build their terrorist state in and around the Jewish one. Bush demands? Powell orders? Excuse me! When did Israel become the 51st state? He's not doing such a terrific job here. Worry about your own problems before causing more somewhere else!

I seriously doubt if there is anyone in the Bush administration that isn't aware of the Greater EU plan made to Blair to support a Palestinian State in place of Israel. Not to mention the continued goodwill that Europe wants to have with the Arab countries. This, despite the fact that we all know that the Saudis and the rest of these good friends have been teaching Islamic insurrection against America. Hey, it's been good for business, at least in the oil industry.

It is going to be interesting, if nothing else, now that our American soldiers are being picked off every day by the same people who are being delivered into the hands of these same Islamists. They want a state? Fine. It's called Jordan which the Balfour Declaration at one time decreed was to be a part of a Jewish national home. And now is the time to think of winning this war and repeating the mantra, Transfer! But not of Jews from the biblical Land of Israel.

Saturday, July 05, 2003


By Rafe Champion

As we celebrate the anniversary of one of the most honest and courageous men of the 20th century it is important to temper our praise with the recognition that he had a very serious limitation. He was an economic illiterate. In company with may other intelligent anti-totalitarians of his time, like Bertrand Russell (to the age of 90) and Leonard Woolf, he called himself a socialist.

In their eyes, all that could be expected of "unfettered competition" were boom and bust cycles, monopolies, exploitation of the workers and unemployment. (In fairness to Bertrand Russell, his first serious engagement in politics was to defend free trade from opponents in the British Liberal Party, circa 1905.) This is Orwell's comment on Hayek's "The Road to Serfdom".

"Professor Hayek is probably right in saying that in this country the intellectuals are more totalitarian minded than the common people. But he does not see, or will not admit, that a return to "free" competition means for the great mass of people a tyranny probably worse, because more irresponsible, than that of the State. The trouble with competitions is that somebody wins them. Professor Hayek denies that free capitalism necessarily leads to monopoly but in practice that is where it has led, and since the vast majority of people would far rather have State regimentation than slumps and unemployment, the drift towards collectivism is bound to continue if popular opinion has any say in the matter".

Orwell's criticism of free trade under the rule of law is pure nonsense. It is not made into sense by the fact the it simply reflects the way the majority of intellectuals have thought for 200 years. Economic competition in the marketplace is not a battle between employers and workers, it is a battle for the consumer's dollar. The winner is the consumer, as demonstrated by the price and quality of cars in Australia under partial reduction of tariff protection. Can someone point to a monoply that is not created or protected by the State? Can someone nominate a country where there was unfettered free trade during the 1930s?

We can learn a lot from George Orwell, or at least the fellow travellers with the Soviet Union could have learned a lot, but we do not learn anything about markets and free trade. We learn, yet again, about the harm that is done by good men who are not prepared to keep on learning, to revise their ideas, to challenge the prejudices of their generation. Tragically, it was not until the 1970s that the free trade movement in Australia gained a public profile. It was only in the 1970s that the almost forgotten Austrian School of economics staged a revival. Left-leaning intellectuals who like to think that they are the heirs of Orwell's legacy may be correct, but if they want to be part of the solution to the problems of freedom and dignity in the third millenium they had better escape from Orwell's flat-earth economics.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Ashamed to be the Press

By Arlene Peck

A long, long time ago, when I began writing for the newspapers, I felt I was a little "special" identifying myself as a member of the "Press." It granted me entry into some great parties and I was able to meet some very influential people.

Since then I'm afraid that I've become jaded and more than a little disappointed with the outright lies that come across the pages of my morning paper: The Los Angeles Times has been this particular source of my disgust. However, I suppose the same can also be said about the New York Times and a hundred more papers across the country. It just amazes me how, in this day and time, there are still reporters who strive to glorify the"life" of a terrorist. And, to minimize the suffering of its victims.

A New York Times journalist/reporter casually and without any feeling described the recent murder of grocery owner Avner Mordechai, and the vicious killing of seven-year-old Noam Liebowitz, as "low level violence."

If that weren't deplorable enough, shortly thereafter the LA Times featured a story with a heading about the "fatherless" daughter of the terrorist Abdullah Kawasme. However, instead of speaking about the scores of Jewish children who are now fatherless because of his being the mastermind in many homicide bombings, the article focused away from the real victims of this terrorist. This was accomplished by having a photo of Kawasme's little daughter holding a photo of her dead father. Below was the caption explaining how she is now fatherless because of an Israeli "targeted assassination."

How disgusting that the American press, or any branch of the media for that matter, portrays bloodthirsty Palestinian "homicide" bombers as ordinary family men who sadly leave behind loving families. Where are pictures of fatherless Israeli children? These terrorists, who are prepared to take their own lives in order to kill as many in their wake as possible, are animals! There is no "cycle of violence." Yet, the Los Angeles Times manage to use that phrase on a regular basis. Hell, they don't even name the victims. The Times just reports them as "low level violence." Hey, instead of the fatherless children, I have an idea. Why not show a few dozen pages filled with the pictures of the Jewish children who have been crippled, maimed and disfigured for life following vicious Arab terrorism?

I am not very good at being politically correct. I tend to tell it like I see it. When I comment that the Arabs in general, and the Arab "Palestinians" in particular, are a violent, unrelenting people, I'm called racist. Yet, out of the billion or so Muslims around the world, where are the words of self- condemnation? I'm not reading that in my NY Times or LA Times.

What I found ironic about the one-sided coverage regarding Israel and their alleged mistreatment of "poor downtrodden Arabs," was how on the same front page there was a story about eight British soldiers who were ambushed and slain by the Iraqis. I wonder, will the LA Times, NY Times and the rest of the biased press refer to those who are in our hair trigger sites as "activists," "militants," or "organizational leaders"?

In fact, someone ought to tell the NY and LA Times that Hamas is actually listed as a real honest-to-G-d terror organization by our very own government. And while they're at it, they should inform the Bush administration of this fact! When Israel targeted Hamas co-founder Abdul Azazs Rantisi for his part in planning and ordering hundreds of murderous attacks upon Israeli citizens, George Bush "the son" called the action "troubling."

Oh, really? Would he answer in the same way if we were able to do the same o Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden? Actually, we've bombed the hell out of many civilian areas for such purposes but always had the excuse that "civilian deaths are unavoidable because the Iraqi military was breaking the rules of the Geneva Convention by deploying in civilian areas." Unless, of course, it is Jews that are being killed in which case a different standard applies. The same goes for his philosophy of, "There is no negotiating with terrorists."

Frankly, I've never understood how the "Palestinians" and their fellow-Arabs, who want nothing less than to wipe Israel off the map, get a free pass from the world and, indeed, the press. When the Los Angeles Times writes about the fate of a Hamas leader, they make him sound like it was a corporate killing. He is usually referred to as a "senior Hamas militant leader," "official," or "spokesman." PU-lease. Condoleezza Rice, the Bush administration National Security Advisor, has said that Hamas should be outlawed.

No darling, it is jaywalking that should be outlawed. As should bias in the media. And Hamas needs to be destroyed.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

From an email exchange with Father Mike Walsh of the Maryknoll Roman Cathlolic missionary organization. Fr. Walsh writes:

For an atheist, you display a remarkable interest in Christianity. However, in your remarks about the state of the Church in Queeensland, your remoteness from the life and theology of the (RC) Church is telling. Actually, I cannot comment knowledgeably about things there per se, but your Rx for the dismally low number of ordinands this year is a familiar one, and familiarly wrong-headed. To suggest, as you do, that abandonment of the ancient discipline of celibacy would restore the Church's fortunes (or numbers) is to miss the point. Given the truth-claims of the Faith, the lack of vocations points to only one cause. If Queensland's reality is similar to other parts of the Church that have similar numbers, then lack of priests will be only one of their concerns. In places where religious vocations are few, for example, one invariably finds a divorce rate among the nominally Catholic that equals that of the secular average. These and related phenomena indicate far more fundamental problems. We are not looking at a vibrant Church that, but for adherence to an outdated discipline, would have a vibrant clergy, too. In those parts of the world where the faith is strong -- and the bishop is a good leader --vocations are not much of a problem. There are few vocations in France, to cite a different example, and that is because there is little faith. And one usually finds among those within the Faith who would abandon clerical celibacy a desire to abandon many aspects of orthodox Christianity as well, for which their concern for vocations is only a pretext.

I replied

Good to hear from you. A name like Mike Walsh is certainly one I would have expected among the Maryknolls. Odd that Walsh is Irish for Welsh, that Walsh is one of the commonest surnames in Ireland and yet Wales is solidly Protestant! Perhaps Ireland is where all the Catholic Welshmen went. WAS there a Welsh diaspora to Ireland at one stage?

Yes. My interest in eccelesiastical matters is pretty eccentric for an atheist. I also like religious music a lot -- particularly Bach. I probably would have been a cleric if I could have seen any logic in the notion of God. I did have a fundamentalist Protestant phase in my teens but that is nothing unusual in these parts. My son had an RC phase in his teens -- which I encouraged -- but he is just about to turn 16 and now says he is merely a monotheist. I never tried to rock his faith but I think atheism is just around the corner.

Yes. Your point about vocations reflecting faith is well taken. I will blog it.

MY point, however, is that without priests of some kind the church may have no future at all. Abolishing celibacy would certainly bring in a lot more priests -- even if we look only at those many traitorous ex-priests around. You may protest that the quality of the priests so obtained would be low but since when were all priests high-quality? We all know about the number of whisky-priests and boy-fanciers around. Would substituting women for whisky and boys be such a bad thing?