The Good. The Bad. The Asinine.

An open letter to Cory Bernardi

Dear Cory,

Man, if only I had a dollar for every time I started a letter with “Dear Cory”. I’d have at least three dollars now. I wrote my first “Dear Cory” to Cory Haim to tell him how much I loved The Goonies. My second “Dear Cory” was also to Cory Haim, to apologise for confusing him with Cory Feldman. At that stage I probably should have written to Cory Feldman to tell him that I loved The Goonies, but I found the whole thing quite embarrassing, so I didn’t. I can’t confuse you with those Corys though – you weren’t a famous actor in the 80s, and Cory Haim doesn’t write awesome books like you do (because he’s dead), and Cory Feldman was married by MC Hammer. Were you married by MC Hammer? I don’t think you were, because then you would have written a book about how awesome it is to be married by MC Hammer, and how it doesn’t undermine the sanctity of marriage at all.

Anyway, I haven’t bought your book yet, because it’s $27, and I already gave all my money to Hillsong. But even though I can’t buy it, I won’t download it illegally, because that would be wrong. As my married biological parents always said, “It’s wrong to download shït books using BitTorrent”. That’s one of the things that I love about my married biological parents – they know stuff that unmarried non-biological parents don’t. Things like “Don’t steal” and “Only deny rights to minorities” and “The floppy skin on your elbow is called a weenis”.

And that’s what it’s all about, right? The fact that children do best with their married biological parents? It’s like your identical twit Bill Muehlenberg said, when he quoted the American Sociologist, Sara McLanahan:

Children who grow up in a household with only one biological parent are worse off, on average, than children who grow up in a household with both of their biological parents, regardless of the parents’ race or educational background, regardless of whether the parents are married when the child is born, and regardless of whether the resident parent remarries.

Like you, Bill is just “following the evidence where it leads”. It’s just a shame that it didn’t lead him to the rest of Sara’s paper, where she said that:

While living with just one parent increases the risk of negative outcomes, it is not the only, or even the major, cause of them… Low income – and the sudden drop in income that often is associated with divorce – is the most important factor in children’s lower achievement in single parent homes.

I guess that means that children might do best with their two married biological parents and a steadily-employed live-in lover named Cerise (or Pablo, I’m not here to judge). At the very least it means that, if we’re so concerned about child welfare, we should give single parents all the help they can get. What they really need are sanctimonious lectures by people who have no idea what they’re going through, but all they keep asking for is money and time and cigarettes. Actually, maybe we should ignore the bit about loss of income being the biggest detrimental factor – Sara’s a single mum herself, and she’s probably just looking for handouts. We can also ignore the part where she said “regardless of whether the parents are married when the child is born”. But the rest of it supports our preconceived ideas, so it’s fine.

When did you find out that the people who raised you were your biological parents? I still remember when I found out. It was a few weeks ago, when I received the DNA test results. My life had started to fall off the rails a bit. I stubbed my toe, and I lost my Renegade DVD box set, and I had the sudden urge to yell “FIRE!” in a crowded cinema. I suddenly realised that the best way to make myself a better person would be to confirm that my DNA came from the two most loving people I have ever known, and not some fückwits who didn’t know you shouldn’t yell “FIRE!” in a crowded cinema. But it was all OK. The test results came back fine, and I turned back into a good person with lots of friends and nice furniture. It was the second best day of my life. The best day was yesterday, when I found my Renegade DVDs.

What we really need is a plan. You and Bill and I know that children do best with their married biological parents, but what are we going to do about all the weird families with shït kids? Bill Muehlenberg reckons they should be “frowned upon”, so I’ve started walking around the city frowning at parents who look non-traditional. You can tell they’re non-traditional because they have nose-rings and their kids are stealing cars. It’s a bit weird at first, but after a while you realise that it feels good to express displeasure at your inferiors. I think I’m pretty good at it, but it doesn’t feel like I’m doing enough. That’s why I’m happy you rail against abortion, too. Because if you think married biological parents raise the best kids, you should see what happens when parents have kids they don’t even want.

I really admire you, Cory. It can be tough finding rationalisatons for untenable, faith-based prejudices. These days, it’s not enough to just say “It’s true, because I cherry-picked it from the bible”. People want evidence, and it’s quite annoying.

But don’t despair. We must battle on, despite the evidence. It’s what we conservatives do best.

Yours sincerely,

Tim

Children Need a Mother and a Father – The Sequel

Same-sex marriage is a bad, bad thing, because children need a mother and a father. We’ve all heard the argument, and we all know it’s stupid. Or at least, we should.

As I’ve pointed out before:

  • Same-sex marriage and same-sex parenting are two completely separate issues; and
  • Even if we accept that the two issues are inextricably linked, if you’re going to start preventing people becoming parents there are plenty of better places to start; and
  • The whole argument crumbles when you look at how the children of same-sex couples actually fare against their heterosexual equivalents.

How anyone can still persist with the “won’t someone think of the children?!” hysteria is beyond me – and yet there are plenty of people who do. If you happen to be one of those people, and you’ve somehow contrived to find my arguments above unconvincing, perhaps you should consider this.

According to your logic, the introduction of same-sex marriage will lead to this:

With Marriage Equality

But if you manage to prevent same-sex marriage, and maintain your bigotry and stereotyping, things will continue to look like this:

Without Marriage Equality

Well that’s interesting. It looks like those poor little babies have been replaced with Harleys and pink poodles. But that’s OK, because they really needed a mother and a father.

Although, when you think about it, a bit of existence would also come in handy.

People are weird

Well, they are. Look at these three, for starters.

1
Over in NZ, a lawyer has solved a problem that has been baffling women since we first climbed out of the trees. His client, a bouncer, allegedly promised a female patron that he could get her into his bar. He led her down a side alley, and then allegedly raped her. At the subsequent trial, the lawyer was apparently quite brilliant, leading a number of people to draw a comparison with Atticus Finch, or possibly even Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee. He saved his most brilliant argument until last, however, when he remarked that if a woman didn’t want to get raped (and I’m pretty sure most don’t) then:

All she would have had to do [is] close her legs… it’s as simple as that.

I think I’ll just leave that there.

2
Back in Australia, Bernard Gaynor, a white married heterosexual Catholic Army reservist who hates everyone who isn’t a white married heterosexual Catholic Army reservist and is even too wacky for Bob Katter, wrote a blog post proclaiming that transgendered people don’t exist. The source of his proclamation was Dr Joseph Berger, who also believes that we should encourage the bullying of transgendered children, because it might learn ‘em some good. When reader Troy asked Bernard whether he also shared this view, he responded with this:

Sure – kids that are put in cotton wool because of their delusional feelings end up growing to think that the taxpayer should fund their cosmetic surgery. It’s not teasing. It’s letting them know that they need to grow up, not live in a fantasy land.

There’s enough weirdness in that to be going on with, given that it’s coming from someone who believes that every Sunday he eats the flesh of a temporarily-deceased Jewish zombie bastard. But the really weird thing is that Bernard has five children of his own. And he’ll continue to have five children, as long as none of them turn out to be transgendered, possibly because they would cease to exist, but most likely because they would realise their father is a wanker.

3
Meanwhile, in NSW, a parliamentary vote on same-sex marriage failed by 21 votes to 19. The loyal disciples of Fred Nile’s Facebook page were overjoyed, despite the vote being largely meaningless, and the legalisation of marriage equality in Australia being an inevitability delayed only by a white married heterosexual Catholic volunteer fire fighter. One disciple, Jillian, even saw fit to tell the rest of us that it was tough luck, because:

this is how democracy works the majority wins. If you know a better way please tell us all love to hear your ideas?

Yes, a living, breathing human being somehow thought it sensible to use “majority rules” as an argument against same-sex marriage, when 70% of her fellow citizens disagree with her.

Oh well, I guess it is only 70%.
_____

Don’t let the weirdness get you down. I’m sure they’re the only three.

Mark Rabich. Mark Rabich, Mark Rabich, Mark Rabich, Mark Rabich, Mark Rabich, Mark Rabich. Mark Rabich!

For those that have repressed the memory, I introduced Bill Muehlenberg’s blog to you last year. Since then, I have read pretty much every post. And the more I read, the more I realise that Bill’s thoughts are not only an endless source of self-affirmation, but also wildly amusing. Even funnier than Bill, however, are the kindred simpletons who agree with him, and come to his blog to tell him he’s fighting the good fight, feed his rather significant persecution complex, and scratch his impressively undeserved ego. And his beard, probably, which is also impressive.

And so it came to pass, that when the NSW Greens proposed a motion highlighting the dangers of so-called reparative therapy, and NSW Labor spoke out against the expulsion of gay students from ostensibly Christian schools, Bill became outraged, and wrote a post about how the banning of so-called reparative therapy and the expulsion of gay students from ostensibly Christian schools is something the Nazis would do (see I told you he was funny!). And a reader named Mark Rabich stepped forward to dazzle us all with his wisdom. And by that I mean he asked a whole bunch of poorly-considered questions for people like me, that he hasn’t thought through, and doesn’t want the answers to anyway. Well, Mark Rabich, Ima answer them for you anyway.
_____

What evidence is there that people are ‘born homosexual’ as you claim? Surely your thinking needs significant scientific evidence to back it up?
No one is born homosexual, Mark Rabich. People are born as babies. And just as babies can’t be Christians, Republicans, neo-Ricardians, generous, arseholes, or good at sports, they also can’t be gay. Because they’re babies.

Now yes, it’s true, some of those babies go on to become homosexual, or Republicans, or arseholes. And sometimes even homosexual Republican arseholes. The reasons for any of these outcomes aren’t exactly known, because they all involve the complex interaction between genetics, hormones and a myriad of environmental factors. The one thing we do know is that homosexuals aren’t just faking it to piss off the rest of us. They really, really, really are attracted to the same sex.

You would know this if you spent two minutes on Google.

After all, everybody has a mother and father, so the fundamental assumption of your thinking goes against the life experience of 100% of people on the planet, including yourself. How do you justify this disregard for straightforward facts about human sexuality?
This really is an intriguingly nuanced argument, Mark Rabich. I’m very impressed. If everyone on the planet is the product of a heterosexual union, then obviously that must mean that everyone is heterosexual. And a happy corollary is that everyone on the planet must also be fertile. Which is of course true. Right? Yaaaaaay!

You are the one with the completely unscientific viewpoint, aren’t you?
No, Mark Rabich. That would be the one who believes that a 900-year-old man built an oceanic zoo. (that’s you.)

What does this word “homophobic” mean?
I feel a little embarrassed pointing this out, Mark Rabich, but we now have these big books called dictionaries. And dictionaries allow you to– actually never mind. I don’t want to confuse you. Homophobia is a fear of or contempt for lesbians and gay men, or behavior based on such a feeling.

Phobias are generally debilitating and life-impacting fears of various ordinary things in life (flying in planes, enclosed spaces, dogs, etc.) and need professional expertise to diagnose and deal with. Are you a medical expert? Are you a psychological expert?
Oh, Mark Rabich, this makes me very happy. I couldn’t agree more. Homosexuality is indeed fairly ordinary, and a fear of homosexuals can be quite life-impacting (especially for the homosexuals), and chronic homophobia probably would be dealt with best by a psychiatrist.

But to answer your question, no, I am not a medical professional. I mean sure, I’ve watched a lot of House and Grey’s Anatomy, but, let’s be honest – if anyone came in with undiagnosed homophobia, House would have it figured out before the first ad break, and given he normally needs 43 minutes to diagnose whatever weird medical condition the writers googled that week, the rest of the episode would be kind of boring. As for Grey’s Anatomy, it’s been pretty light on medicine since Katherine Heigel left to throw herself at every rom-com she could find. OK, maybe… maybe if I’d watched E.R., I could say I was a medical professional, but I didn’t, and I can’t be bothered downloading it now. So I guess I’ll just have to listen to the real doctors like everyone else.

I am glad, however, that you are as eager as I am to defer to the experts on these kinds of issues. It will come in handy later.

Isn’t this worthless word ‘homophobia’ simply an invented word?
Why yes, Mark Rabich. Like every other word on the planet, ‘homophobia’ is indeed an invented word.

Isn’t the usage of this word purely a political tool to stir up hatred against people who are merely stating simple facts about human biology that the two sexes are complementary and compatible to each other?
No, Mark Rabich, it’s a very useful word that accurately describes the motivation for one particular type of discrimination. But we can call you a dickhead if you prefer.

Why are you stirring up hatred against others? What place is there in Australia for the kind of collective bigotry you are whipping up? Anybody who has a different concept of homosexuality than you, you wish to outlaw!
Firstly, Mark Rabich, no one’s trying to outlaw people, because that makes no sense. We would, however, like to do everything we can to protect the vulnerable from persecution. And in this case, the vulnerable are homosexuals, and the persecution is coming from homophobic bigots like yourself. See, this is where it would be really great if you knew how to use a dictionary, because you’d soon find out that the bigot is the one doing the persecuting, not the one trying to stop it.

I’m tempted to compare you to Hitler, sitting in his Berlin bunker about to commit suicide, asking “Why is everyone picking on me?”. But I won’t do that, because it’s a little early for Godwin, don’t you think?

Are you Nazis? Are you brownshirts? Are you the new gestapo?
Dammit! You beat me to it.

Once again, Mark Rabich, I feel a little embarrassed pointing this out, because it’s something pretty much everyone knows, but, um, the Nazis kind of hated gay people. They definitely would have sanctioned the expulsion of gay school students, if anyone was brave enough to come out at a Nazi school, that is. And sure, they may have banned reparative therapy, but only because therapists are a lot more expensive than bullets.

Calling a gay person a Nazi makes as much sense as calling a Jewish person a Nazi. Actually, why don’t you wander on over to Tel Aviv and do that? Let me know how you get on.

Why are you demonising people who simply think differently to you? You don’t really champion ‘diversity’ do you? You just use the word ‘homophobic’ to force people to think the same as you, don’t you? You’re just bullies, aren’t you?
This is the thing, Mark Rabich. If all you did was think differently to us, that would be fine. I have no problem with you sitting by yourself at home, thinking about how much you hate gays, and imagining all the vile sex things they do to each other, over and over and over again. But you’re not content to just think about how much you hate gay people, are you? You’re on a mission to make them miserable. And it’s getting a little tiresome.

So no, Mark Rabich, I don’t use the word ‘homophobic’ to try and force you to think like me. Not only is changing the way you think predicated on your ability to think in the first place, but, as I said above, I really don’t care about you think. I care about what you do.

What difference does it make to you if someone decides they want to change their own life? How does it affect you? How does it influence your life even the slightest?
These are very good questions, Mark Rabich. Write them down, so you can re-read them when one of your children comes out as gay, or wants to become an atheist. Also write down the word “IRONY”, in large capital letters. You won’t know what it means, but it will make me giggle.

If you disagree with the work of some people, you don’t need to see someone who engages in this kind of work, do you? So why does it concern you?
Tell me, Mark Rabich… how do you feel about gay prostitutes? Write that word “IRONY” down a few more times.

Australians generally value freedom – why do you think people should not have the right to make their own decisions and employ someone to help them with those decisions? Do people not have the right to run their own lives? Why do you want to shut down freedom?
OK, Mark Rabich, cross out “IRONY”, and write down “BONE HEAD” instead. According to your professed creed, no, people do not have the right to run their own lives. If they did, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, because homosexuality wouldn’t bother you.

Many people – with numbers into the thousands – have in fact changed their life in a way that you claim is “harmful and unscientific”. How can your claim be true when these people actually exist?
Just to clarify, Mark Rabich, are you suggesting that because thousands of people have been harmed by an unscientific theory, then the theory can’t possibly be harmful or unscientific? That’s an interesting way to look at things, Mark, but I know how much you like to consult the experts on these kind of things, so I just have to ask, are you a medical professional? Are you a psychology professional? Oh, you’re not… well that’s disappointing. You know who is though? The American Medical Association, and the American Psychological Association.

How do you like your experts now?

Do you realise you are claiming these people are liars – either about their lives before, or their lives now? Why do you think these people are liars?
Actually, Mark Rabich, it is you who claim they are liars. After all, you’re the one who insists that everyone on the planet is heterosexual, that no one is “born gay”, and that same-sex attraction is either a choice or a mental illness, depending on your mood. So anyone who claims they’re gay must be faking it, right?
_____

To my readers – I hope you enjoyed this brief foray into the deranged, obliviously ironic thinking of a homophobe.

And to Mark Rabich, if you ever happen to stumble across this post, I invite – nay, beg – you to comment. I’m always up for a giggle.

You Are a Dancing Bear

Judging from recent comments on television and the internet, it would seem that I was the only person in the country who had not met and fallen in love with Thomas Kelly prior to his tragic death. That alone could explain the level of outrage at the criminal court daring to hand out a proportionate and just sentence.

Or is there, perhaps, another reason? Could it have something to do with the fact that the nation’s media picked it up and was able to find enough elements of ‘human interest’ to keep the ball in the air for long enough that the story sticks in our minds?

That might explain why nobody seems to give a shit about the man who was shot a week after, or the rather nice man who was beaten senseless and left in a coma the week before. Or the thousands who are assaulted, some fatally, every year.

It can’t just be that we remember who he is. There must be something else going on here, to explain why we’re all so outraged at the criminal justice system so arrogantly daring to simply do its job in spite of all our feelings.

I have an idea. I believe it might have something to do with the fact that mass media, over a couple of hundred years of operation, has discovered that there is nothing the middle class punter enjoys more than a little bit of self-righteous indignation. So, on the principle of giving the public what they want, they ensure that we are outraged by just verdicts, lenient verdicts, heavy verdicts, illegible street signs, the war in Afghanistan, anti-war protesters, or whatever else they think we’re incapable of perfectly understanding.

FACT: The criminal justice system has no remit to pander to public opinion. It’s only job is to deliver justice as defined by the law, without fear or favour, and without regard to pressure from any source, political or otherwise.

FACT: The sentence handed down in a criminal court has everything to do with the court’s assessment of the defendant’s culpability and almost nothing to do with the value of life.

FACT: What happened to Thomas Kelly was a tragic waste of life. Joining in with a media driven three ring circus, however, simply cheapens his memory.

FACT: If you are outraged at the Loveridge sentence and cannot claim to understand how the criminal justice system works or even what it is for – you are a dancing bear.

Tasty, Tasty Murder

There is a video that has been going around the interwebs recently that has seriously annoyed me. Or rather, I should say that reactions to this video have been making my fists itch.

It shows what appears to be a combined abattoir and meat packaging plant, staffed entirely by Asians, processing chickens for sale. The staff wear white coats, face masks and gloves, all the surfaces are antiseptic stainless steel and all the equipment, from the conveyor hooks to the filleting knives, looks shiny, sharp and clean. This is all very much as it should be. Problem is, though, that all this highly professional paraphernalia makes the whole process look slightly horrific, which, from a certain point of view, it probably is.

Many people have chosen to use this video to inveigh against factory farming. Firstly, the enterprise shown is not a factory farm or anything like it. You can tell by the fact that no farming of any kind is going on. It’s a slaughterhouse. Secondly, it doesn’t make a lick of difference whether your chickens are force-grown in tiny cages or hand-reared in individual fields on virgin milk – unless you are going to kill them yourself, they will end up in a place like this.

Another stupid comment that crops up frequently refers to a promise to cut meat from the diet in favour of fish. Presumably this will only hold good until another video, showing a fish filleting plant, is released online.

The stupidest thing by far, however, about reactions to this video, is the outraged surprise that seems to be universally expressed by those moved to comment. In reaction to this surprise I have several key questions to ask the world at large.

1. What in the diddley ding dong fuck did you think mass meat production would look like?

2. When you pick up a neatly shrink-wrapped pair of chicken breasts on a styrofoam tray, how in fuck’s name does it not occur to you that there might be a somewhat grisly process involved in getting them from the chicken to your supermarket?

3. Just how fucking stupid do you need to be to spend decade after decade buying meat in industrial quantities without ever suspecting that industrial scale butchery might be going on somewhere in the world? And why oh why does it take a Youtube video to awaken this suspicion in what you are pleased to call your mind?

You know what I think will make the world a better place? Forget factory farming, conflict coffee and all that other crap. The one most important thing that allows large-scale naughtiness to go on in the world is a general and almost complete lack of mindfulness. If we exist in the world in a mindful manner, doing the five seconds of thinking required to understand how the world around us works, we might just be able to make choices that will help to create the kind of world we want to live in.

Failing that, we can just go on being momentarily scandalised by glimpses of the blindingly fucking obvious.

The enemy of my enemy can’t write media releases

The world has many religions, and despite all of them being completely true, they somehow seem to find a lot to disagree about. Whether it’s the primacy of the Pope, the divinity of Baby Jebus (or the virginity of his mother), who gets to interpret the bible, whose revelation was last, or whether a thin, tasteless wafer is actually human meat – starting a fight with another religion is as easy as yelling “TRANSUBSTANTIATION”. Which, once you learn how to say it, is actually pretty easy.

Thankfully, however, there are a few things they can all agree on. Masturbation, for example, appears to be universally considered a bad thing. Although I suspect this may just mean they’re not doing it right (and by “it” I mean themselves). And nipples. Nipples seem to be naughty, as long as they’re attached to a woman (and they usually are). But the one thing that really intrigues me is that, even though they can’t agree on who god actually is, somehow they all know that he hates queers, and wants them to be miserable.

Which of course is why an imam, two pastors, a rabbi, a bishop, a monsignor and some kind of Mormom get together to write a media release condemning the ACT’s Marriage Equality Bill. And boy, is it good. And when I say it’s good, I mean it’s a specious, lazy, disingenuous, self-serving, dishonest pile of crap.

Specious because it appeals to the fact that 70% of people identify as religious, while ignoring the fact that an equal number support marriage equality.

Lazy because it talks of marriage equality’s long term risks, without mentioning any of them.

Disingenuous because it says they recognise the “inherent dignity of all human beings”, even while they seek to deny some people the very thing that makes them human.

Self-serving because it admits that their view of marriage is a “faith tradition”, which by definition means the rest of us are free to ignore it.

And dishonest because all it asks is for the bill “to be subject to community consultation”, implying they will cease their objections if the community approves.

All of which goes to show, whenever a diverse group of people get together to compose a religious document, the result is illogical, contradictory, inconsistent and, I have to say, a little boring.

I can’t imagine where they get that from.

‘Ismism’ – The Silent Killer (of intelligence)

Are you into Feminism? Or Islamism? How about Atheism? Or Pacifism? Catholicism anyone?

I have decided that what I am into is Anti-Ismism. Let me explain.

Let’s say that I am a good, patriotic Australian who believes in the war on terror and the need to root out and destroy the pernicious influence of extreme Islamism around the world (this happens to be true). Knowing that, it would probably not surprise you to hear me say something like “Islam is a dangerous and repugnant cult that hates technology and women”. Many of you are possibly nodding in agreement as you read. Such a statement would fit neatly within a certain orthodoxy, and be a predictable and acceptable component of an easily recognisable belief system, or ‘Ism’. Such a statement is also galactically stupid, mostly incorrect and breathtakingly ignorant. It is, in fact, just as stupid and ignorant as the statement: “Islam is a religion of peace that does not accept violence or the mistreatment of women.” Once again, easily recognisable, predictable and commonplace as a component of a different “Ism”.

So neither of these statements is true, yet to engage in dialogue on the issue, it seems necessary to espouse either one view or the other. It seems that the many shades of truth – its uncomfortable and intellectually taxing ambiguity – can be easily sidestepped by simply adopting the pre-fabricated armour of an “Ism”. Once we have plumped for one side or the other, we can do away with the melancholy and laborious business of independent thought and simply rifle through the Daily Telegraph or The Australian’s grab bag of stock phrases, stock factlets and stock opinions in order to meaningfully participate in political or social debate.

It always used to confuse me the way that sane, intelligent and articulate people could so consistently and frequently broadcast the same mindless, ill-considered points of view, only to be genuinely surprised when thirty five seconds of close examination brings the whole sandcastle of thoughtless generalisation crashing to the ground. I now know that it is the result not of blindness, or ignorance, or defective mental process. It arises wholly and solely from the comfortable laziness of Ismism.

Find a viewpoint that closely matches what you think you should feel, making careful note of how this viewpoint matches your friends, socio-economic status and wardrobe, and then simply adopt, adorn and parrot any data that issues from the aphorism factories appropriate to your chosen Ism.

Just don’t be surprised if, when doing this in front of me, I stab you in the eye with a pencil. As an Anti-Ismist, this will be my orthodox way of expressing the statement: “If you’re not going to use your brain for thinking, you may as well make yourself useful and store my stationery.”

Stop the Boats

As a political debate, the discussion around the arrival of asylum seekers by boat is roughly comparable to a cream pie fight between blind, deaf and mentally retarded circus clowns. In a pit full of jelly. So much venomous half-truth and blatant un-truth is flung gauchely, clumsily and senselessly round as soon as the topic is raised that any possibility of sane discussion is extinguished in a flurry of bleeding hearts and sub-human, barely veiled racism.

I however, think that there are powerful reasons for stopping the boats. None of them, however, have very much to do with the reasons I see being bruited about in the popular press.

Let us first deal with the xenophobes, who believe that our culture and way of life is threatened by the unchecked arrival of asylum seekers.

Dear Xenophobes,

Less than 2% of all arrivals in this country are by boat. If you think that this tiny drop in the ocean is likely to extinguish your culture and way of life, you must have a population comparable to that of a pristine, Amazonian Rainforest Tribe.

As we know very well that this is not the case, please drop the pretence immediately and just admit that you’re racists. Once this is done, we can shut you the fuck up and put you back in your holes, as is right and proper.

Then, of course, there are the people that argue that taking asylum seekers is ruinous to the economy. Firstly, leaving aside the fact that the portion arriving by boat is actually negligible, I would like to point out that the entire refugee spend for the last quarter of 2012 was 4% of the welfare budget. That is, 4% of the 20% of public spending that was allocated to welfare. Now, I’m no mathematician, but I think that comes to 0.8% of the budget. I am open to correction on the exact figure, but stick staunchly to the point that it is diddly squat of fuck all.

I was able to find this out because it is a matter of public record and I know how to use Google. So why do these people remain in a constant state of fiscal ferment? Well, I’d suggest that it is because these are the same sort of people who will declaim virulently about the size of the budget deficit without being able to explain what a budget deficit actually is.

So, Mr It’s Too Expensive, you can shut the fuck up, too.

Then there are my favourites: Those who say that they welcome immigrants, but are not willing to welcome illegal immigrants. For these people, my instructions are as follows:

Directly after school you are to go to your rooms, take a clean sheet of paper and write, in your best cursive:

“ASYLUM SEEKERS ARE NOT ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS”

one hundred times.

As a supplementary step, you may also wish to discover the definitions of the following terms:

Asylum Seeker

Refugee

Illegal Immigrant

Until this is done, please, for the love of sanity, shut the fuck up.

So, none of these reasons stand up as rational motivation to stop the boats. Some of these reasons, in fact, are being dealt a lavish courtesy by being referred to as ‘reasons’. So why, then, should we stop the boats?

Two reasons, and two reasons only.

  1. Coming to Australia by boat in wooden craft with shitty engines and less than half a foot of freeboard is dangerous. Not for us, but for the asylum seekers. Ever since this subject became a press circus, confirmed losses of asylum seeker boats have been bruited all over the news. I, however, have sat there on the line, listening to MARPAT reporting boats that never materialised. Nobody else gave a shit then, but then I guess it wasn’t an election year.
  2. The practice of coming to Australia on these craft funds an illegal and morally reprehensible industry. People smugglers, in general, are the scum of the Earth, and we should try to put a stop to anything that puts money in their pockets.

There. It’s that simple. So, xenophobes and amateur economists – you are supporting a policy position that has its only logical bases in concern for foreigners, and in the desire to choke an industry.

All that remains now is to deliver my message to those people who made of this issue a banner with the strange device ‘stop the boats’, behind which political troglodytes, racists and various other bigots could loudly rally behind.

Dear Sensationalist Fucktards,

I am so angry with you that I would not piss on you if you were on fire. If you arrived at my house on a boat seeking asylum, I would have you towed back.

 

 

I am Angry Face

“I think he just got carried away and did the wrong thing.”

Juror B37

“Not guilty”

Juror B37

I have nothing to say about the rights and wrongs of the Trayvon Martin case. If the yanks are happy with a big, fat, wannabe cop randomly shooting inappropriately dressed people in the street, that’s their business, though I strongly suspect many of them are not.

I do, however, have a great deal to say about the juror B37. I won’t inflict all of it on you, just the executive summary.

Executive Summary of my Opinion of Juror B37:

  • She’s a fucking moron.

Unfortunately, she is also a fair sample of juries all over the Western world. People who are clever enough to understand the law are often also clever enough to get out of jury duty. There is a small number of intelligent, high-minded people who relish the prospect of doing their civic duty but, statistically, they are what can be described as a negligible quantity. The majority of jurors are of average intellect or below. As a person who is involved in adult education, I know what this really means. It’s horrifying.

An ex-girlfriend of mine once served on a jury in Britain. She talked to me about the experience, saying that she had argued very hard in favour of finding the defendant guilty. This had been in spite of the fact that the evidence in the police case was not so much inconclusive as lacking entirely. So what had convinced her that the man in question had been guilty of this particular crime? Well, the Police Prosecutor had accidentally on purpose let slip the fact that this young man had stolen cars in the past. The jurors had been told to disregard this but, apparently, the concept that the man was only on trial for the offence in question proved far too subtle for this particular middle class professional female.

The comedian James O’Loughlin once delivered this quite sound advice to me, in his guise as a Legal Aid lawyer, when I was contemplating a Not Guilty plea for a youthful indiscretion:

“Juries are generally full of people who like Pauline Hanson because she ‘talks straight and tells it like it is’. I doubt that a jury trial would be your best bet.”

Now, we may not care whether criminals deserve better than to be judged by a committee of subhuman idiots, but we should care about justice. Justice deserves better. In fact, justice cannot possibly be served by halfwits, illiterates and the unemployed, applying their prejudices and glacial, A Current Affair trained logical processes to evidence, half of which they did not understand and the rest of which they slept through.

We live in a society that has very rightly abrogated direct participation in government to elected representatives. And why is this? Because government is a complex and highly involved business. Look at any local council and you’ll see that amateurs attempting to use their ‘common sense’ in the application of government are not exactly the last word in effectiveness and intelligent action. Most people are incapable of costing multi-billion dollar projects, conceptualising and drafting legislation, forming and enacting policy or balancing the competing interests of powerfully backed and boderline extremist interest groups. What we are all perfectly capable of, however, is complaining endlessly about the process of government and casting an ill-considered vote every few years. Happily, the system reflects this.

But what about the legal system? How many of us understand the rules of evidence, their application in the pursuit of justice, the deep principles of legal theory, opinion and assumption? How many of us are able to weigh and sift evidence, reach logical conclusions or separate emotion from the opinions and impressions that we form? I’m not exaggerating when I say that many of my students, far from being able to do all these things, actually struggle to divide round numbers by ten. And yet, these people – these solid citizens of average intelligence – are an ideal jury pool. Prosecutors love them because they will probably do whatever the judge tells them, Defence Counsels love them because they believe pretty much everything they’re told by a man in a suit (or a wig, as the case may be) – the only people who really have cause to fear them are the defendants, whose futures hang on the tortuous mental processes of twelve people they have never met, and who already think of them as ‘The Accused’.

Unlike our political system, the legal system does not reflect the capability or suitability of the average citizen for direct participation. As a result, trial by jury – which I understand is a central pillar of democratic justice – is a hollow mockery of itself.

I had suspected this well before B37 gave her interview. After she had opened her stupid fucking mouth, however, it was confirmed.

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