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Cultural warriors and civilized societies

It's amazing how a week is a long time in current affairs. This time last Friday people were preoccupied with the carbon tax, the vaguely comprehended budget deliberations in the USA and the continuing and painful saga of asylum seekers – and perhaps Cadel Evans' emerging Tour challenge.

Above all, they were subject to an unravelling story involving the autocratic and unscrupulous media tycoon, Rupert Murdoch, a person many blame more than any other single person for the dumbing down of press and media and consequently, communities through pap at best, wilful disinformation on an industrial scale, at worst.

We mused, where would people end up if it kept up, they were already "superstitious" over science and ecology, or freaked on asylum seekers, for example – before returning to the contemplation of weightier matters, such as the Tour de France.

Bit by bit, a new story began to percolate up, involving a bombing, then a shooting in civilised Scandinavia. The death toll rose with each report, along with the story of an innocuous looking young fellow arrested at the scene, Anders Breivik, who had unabashedly confessed to the outrage, justifying his actions on the basis that he was a Nordic cultural warrior, descending upon his victims, largely very innocent looking young people at a Norway Labour Party youth outing.

In a strangely Quixotic way, this self-professed Christian (fundamentalist) had somehow come to think of these fresh-faced young kids as personal demons – "Cultural Marxists" – thus traitors, out to pollute Nordic racial purity and somehow responsible for the global people movements that have brought vast numbers of war and economic refugees from the developing world to Western Europe. He bragged at being involved with other right wing cells across a now turbulent Europe- more and more he resembled what we are used to calling, a "terrorist".

I ignored the comments about his right wing politics to contemplate the look and it came to me at last, Martin Bryant, the Port Arthur killer. Like Bryant he planned his action over some time and executed it coldly and without empathy.

Others have challenged me. They think him a terrorist (also – I agree) and feel that a mentally deranged person would not have been "together" enough to do something on the scale of the outrage. But people with personality disorders, as against emotional disorders, do seem capable of these crimes – there is a spectacular history of them – think McVeigh, a dozen other outrages in the US alone over time, Bryant.

Another factor has also since emerged also, that the fellow was likely actually hunting the Norwegian PM, the rest would have been just collateral damage, people who had asked for it any way, simply for being Labour.

As Andrew Bolt reminded us this week, Breivik's feelings about the Left are not confined to Norway. Breivik's apologists suggest he has been sorely provoked by immigration to Norway, like Hansonists here as to Asians or some less educated Brits as to Jamaicans, Indians and Pakistanis. Seems he admires Australian cultural warriors like Keith Windschuttle and Rupert Murdoch, he'd be happy with a copy of the Australian in his jail cell, right now. He fears "cultural annihilation", through an influx of the Great Unwashed and through some very vague concept of "socialism" , has had deeply inculcated in him that hatred of Muslims driven by tabloid media over recent times, for political reasons in the west.

Now, what I wonder is, is he an isolated mad dog, a patriot (as he probably imagines himself to be), or was he a pawn and foot soldier in a wider conspiracy emanating from the disgruntled fringe right, based on an incomplete or misunderstood reading of centre left politics and a tabloid understanding of "Muslims".

This cuts to international relations, globalisation and its realities in the neolib form (welfare/ infrastructure cuts as population increases and jobs are exported; big "C" capitalism and its divisiveness) and what to what extent his thinking was warped not only by his hard right confrateres, but the so-called "respectable" tabloid press and media run by people like Murdoch, who have so sucked meaning from news that the susceptible will rush off to commit violence, in the emotional and informational resulting vacuum.

Or the economic rationalist politicians who's divide and conquer sado- economics keeps the masses at each other’s throats, while everywhere from Africa, to America, to the Middle east to Australia itself, is plundered by the corporate string pullers, anxious to avoid overdue scrutiny as to their own machinations-witness the lock-down in Washington.

So I look back on the week somewhat amazed, both at the events and the strange treatment of them in the press and wonder what lies in the future, as a sort of lawlessness now permeates once civilised societies.

No doubt others have different ideas – let's talk!


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Yes, I see Alan Curran's point. I'd just say that some times things get so blatant that even the media can't ignore it.

The Murdoch press's latest adventures caused them to stymie coverage of these at their own sites, but to no avail, because it is a big, relevant story about how society operates and others carried the story, instead.

It's just a shame that some situations reach the point they reach, before someone finally has the intestinal fortitude to "sound the alarums", before further damage is done.

Am emphasising a point Michael Talbot-Wilson made - that if folk understood what really goes on concerning vague events in faraway places, their toes would curl!

The asylum seeker saga is another such situation - a situation where politics involves an ugly race to the bottom from populist politicans, fed off and fuelled by tabloid media at the expense of an adult and bipartisan approach that could have prevented $billions in lost dollars on substandard "solutions", the ramping up of ignorance and hysteria here. and the ongoing suffering and sometimes death for many "other" people, who feel and suffer just as we do.

The job of civilised societies is to stay civilised

This killer has reminded the world that religious/political industrial scale psychopath mass murderers come in all types and can be as Christian, blond and "Aryan" as they get. Hello?

Beyond that it has reminded us how vulnerable in particular open liberal societies are, with an unarmed population and no visible police or military presence, to  a determined lone wolf attack deploying just medium technology and automatic weapons. It is confronting to see how easy it is to stockpile the fertiliser needed to blow up a city block by simply fronting as a farmer.

An organic farmer no less.

What else? The pathology of terrorism (and make no mistake, this was most definitely a terrorist attack even if it transpires, as seems likely, that it was inspired, planned and executed entirely by a gang of one) is just as baffling. It is not insanity in any broad sense but only in the sense the Nazis or the Islamist suicide murderers are not insane. Like them this thing is potentially infectious but it seems more likely to trigger "retribution" attacks by Islamists than sympathetic attacks. Nevertheless this killer will have his admirers.

It should be noted that the targets of this attack were not Muslims. In a way there is an eerie echo of Islamist attacks the innocent victims of which are usually other Muslims.

The sheer ordinariness of this killer is chilling but no surprise. They usually are. The banality of evil has been noted before. I see closer parallels with Baroch Goldstein than with Martin Bryant.

What else? Terrorists are dangerous. Ahuh. Lone wolf terrorists can be especially dangerous because they can be harder to detect than organised terrorists.

Anything else? We are right to be concerned about the spread of extremist notions based on bigotry and hate of the foulest kinds and which celebrate violence and death.

Such as radical Islam.  Not just radical Islam. But the authorities, including immigration authorities, must screen for this.  To ignore or discount the threat, simply because the carriers are less likely to be white, if that is the reason, is outright racism.

Might is Right

Justin Obodie: Breivik's behaviour is no more abhorrent than those who planned and executed the  Afghanistan and Iraq debacles.

Or those who bombed Libya to manipulate the natives into civil war to get rid of one man.

Interestingly, predictably, women in Egypt are now saying they were better off under Mubarak.

The dictators, Mubarak, Saddam, were secular, protecting the citizens from the malignancy of Islam.  Dictatorship, control of a nation of millions, attending to its social and economic progress, is serious practical work, leaves no room for religious inanities, is above that nonsense and is able to control it.  Libya is reportedly (reported by some to be) the heartland of violent Islamic extremism, but its extremists have found their outlet in Afghanistan, not locally.  There will need to be a strongman like Gaddafi to replace Gaddafi or things will be worse for Libyans without him, and the masses of foreign workers who were there before "democracy" broke out, who fled from it, won't return.

But Breivik is bad, and Rudd, calling for a no-fly zone over Libya, is good, because Breivik was not one of the mighty, and so was not right.

Likewise, relatively, Gaddafi is not mighty, just a shrimp dictator in a  shrimp dictatorship.  Therefore he too is bad. 

Gillard is the bravest of all though

She bravely sets the dogs onto unarmed terrified refugees to forcibly remove them from the country in the name of "stopping the people smuggling".

And she gets away with that sort of filthy tripe because we have the laziest and dumbest media in the world. 

The dogs

Marilyn Shepherd , so Prime Minister Gillard set the dogs on to terrified refugees, which arm of our dumbest media did you get this little gem from?

Being the federal police

The dogs in this instance are the Australian federal keystone kops out in the jungle training to shoot at, taser or tear gas innocent refugees if they "disobey" the facist bitch and as with the Iraqi invasion our murderous media goad them on to greater and greater stupidity.

Two stupid lies underpin the entire load of old bollocks our filthy racist media prattle on about in line with our filthy racist pollies.

1.  it is not illegal to come by boat and the resettlement program is voluntary and nothing to do with the refugee convention - it's on the DIAC website but not one of the lazy pricks have bothered to notice.

2.  it is not people smuggling yet even when they get the copies of court cases which all say just that, the 6 treaties that show there is no people smuggling they still won't tell the truth but day in and day out they prattle like screaming brainless fucking gnats about "people smuggling.

Even when they find that Indonesian children are being illegally jailed in adult prisons with pedophiles it takes the lazy fuckers four years to report it.

And so inexorably we fall off the cliff of human trading and the fucking media are silent.

Remember Robert Byrd and that speech "we are marching into history and the congress is silent" and now with over 1 million dead our lazy fucking media will not stop whining about refugees from wars we started.

The first person murdered by the AFP will be on the hands of our pollies and worthless media and I hope the mangy bastards choke on their lies and garbage.

Monkey see monkey do

"Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example."

Think about those words and have a guess who quoted them?

Now read this essay.

Tim was a bloody ratbag, deserved what he got, but his essay on hypocrisy makes sense, it's reasonable. 

You see, McVeigh used his very own government's illegal, deceptive and hypocritical behaviour as justification for his own depravity.

I suppose in a world where governments find it reasonable to exercise their will to power by using weapons of mass destruction, then why not the individual?

If it is noble (and necessary) for governments to bomb the shit out of those who stand in their way, then why not the individual.

Breivik's behaviour is no more abhorrent than those who planned and executed the  Afghanistan and Iraq debacles.

Breivik was only aping the behaviour of those we choose to lead us.

Thank gods most us already know that our leaders are lying, cheating, rotten, two faced bastards and provide no role model whatsoever for the decent peace loving soul.

reading it a better way

Mike and Marilyn, I of all people agree with the sentiment, but the stories do have a tenuous link to reality.

Winehouse, a smart, brilliant kid for whom success came too much, too young sacrificed on the altar of fortune, fame and consumerist fairy tales-ism, how much crap are young people's heads filled with and are we "eating our children", once they've been fattened on pop culture?

Evans involves a superhuman effort and the overcoming of adversity - a classic narrative. People need to be inspired and Evans' win captured Australians' imaginations. If an Aussie can do some thing hard, perhaps we can do other things that hard, like growing up about refugees and working with other people to finally come up with answers to deep-seated conflicts in places like the Mediterraenean.

Evans' story is of overcoming adversity and a good antidote to the sleazy stories of human failings, sex, corruption, and so forth.

The stuff that takes longer to get out comes with stories involving issues of substance like the role of press in forming or reinforcing people's mindsets.

In London, with the tabloid press, for example, Murdoch editor Rebekah Brooks, could be in strife over a particularly callous hack on the mother of another murder victim, while they were using her to peddle "get tough on crime stories".

Also the truth is now coming out to as to the Murdoch papers, great tabloid rival, the Mirror: no, it's not just Murdoch, the whole tabloid culture is rank.

Prof. Wendy Bacon has a story out where she's critical of the failure of local tabloids in reporting the London events (adequately), so people in hick towns like Adelaide still think media and press can be trusted, and this gives power to people likely to exploit the ignorance, in the choices of the herd as to consumption and at election time.

Fiona: Given that almost every tabloid in Australia is owned by Limited News, Paul, this is hardly surprising.

Marilyn's comment

Yes you are absolutely correct on this one, Marilyn. It was pathetic how the news was dominated by that bicycle race and that mediocre singer's apparent O.D. given the other events.

"Home-grown terrorist"

Port Arthur resulted in John Howard appearing in public in a bullet-proof vest and a de-arming of the Australian civilian population.  I'm hoping Norway will have the strenght to maintain its philosophy of inclusion rather than incarceration.

Mind you, I'm worried that the media-milking will create copycats in other countries.

 As soon as I read the words "home-grown terrorist" my blood ran cold. 

Bikers and Winehouse

Australians are more interested in some prat riding a bike in the world's most drug crazed and corrupt race and Amy Winehouse dying than anything to do with starving kids in Africa or DIAC shooting at refugees again.

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