Notebook

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The new tyranny

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

Tennesse Williams, I think, once commented about the thin veneer of civilisation over barbarism. Alan Ramsay in a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald (12 Nov 2005) highlights some of the signs of tyranny in contemporary society. He quotes from a speech by Dr Davidson Loehr, a US pastor with the First Unitarian Church in Texas. He also quoted by an essay by Dr Lawrence Britt a politcial scientist ‘Fascism Anyone?’

Britt identifies 14 identifying characteristics of fascism. ‘These included the constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs. Flags are seen everywhere. Disdain for human rights: because of fear of enemies and the need for national security, people are persuaded human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of ‘need’. People tend to look the other way or even approve. Identification of enemies and scapegoats: people are rallied into a unifying patriotice frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe - racial, ethnic ore religious minorities; liverals, communists, socialists adn terrorists.

Supremacy of the military [which receives] a disproportionate amount of government funding. Obsession with national security: fear is used as a motivational tool. Corporate power is protected, labour power is suppressed. Uniosn are either eliminated or severely suppressed, the industrial and business aristocracy are often the ones who put the government leaders into power. Disdain for intellectuals and the arts.

It is too easy to think never in Australia but …

Chopsticks - an environmental hazard

Monday, December 12th, 2005

Chopsticks

It is hard to imagine that the humble chopstick is an environmental problem. But it does become one when chopsticks are the principal eating implement for a country such as China and when the use of disposable chopsticks is rising rapidly. A recent article in the China Daily suggested a return to fingers. Why?

China has 300 plants with 60,000 workers exporting some 140,000 to 165,000 tons of chopsticks. China itself uses 45 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks per year. That consumes 25 million fully grown trees per year - about 2 million square meter of wooded land. Yes a problem indeed.

The world’s largest museum exhibit

Tuesday, April 12th, 2005

Qantas jumbo longreach

Longreach aerodrome. What’s a jumbo doing there. It has been donated to the Qantas Museum by Qantas and must be one of the largest museum object in the world. But what of its long term future. How will it be conserved. And what of public access.