Dr Peter White's Blog

Thoughts and comments from Dr Peter White -- political, philosophical, spiritual, musical and more

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Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

I am retired from the Uni. of Queensland, and have numerous interests inside and outside of the uni. I play classical, bluegrass, country and folk guitar (hows that for a mix?) I am a member of the Australian Labor Party and am currently branch secretary of the Mt Coot-tha branch. I'm also involved in developing virtual reality builds and websites. Never bored!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

A word for the Alt Right

I read today in the ABC site that the so-called Alt Right in Australia have developed a strategy to take power.  They are doing this by infiltrating political parties (or at least one of them), and forcing motions through branches to substantially change the party platform. 

They are pushing for a "White Australia", among other things, and want to stop immigration other than from  Europe or the USA completely.  That's just for starters.  They are  more or less following the Steve Bannon Textbook on Destroying Modern Democracy, as followed relatively faithfully  by the current President of the USA and his fellow bigots. 

This might come as a bit of a shock to my reader, but I can relate to their platform.  If they are as thin skinned as their American cousins, they will have a serious inferiority complex, they  will be very angry, and they will want a totally homogeneous society  that represents their views and beliefs.  Orthodoxy to the letter.  But just reflect on the outcomes of this approach: Soviet  Russia, Nazi Germany, various fundamentalist religions, Jim Crow, etc. 

In the Land of  Oz, these folks are infiltrating the National Party, and stacking branches and pushing their  agenda.  They will have kindred spirits there.   However, it would be interesting to see if the other major parties are seeing the same sort of push: the Liberals, Labor and the Greens.  Beware.  These folks can be pretty strategic and subtle, even though their messages aren't., 

On further  reflection, though, I feel sad and concerned for these folks.  When I was younger, I did a lot of reading about the Third Reich and watched numerous documentaries and films.  I even managed to watch Leni Reifenstahl's Triumph of the Will, and other short films on the Nuremburg Rallies. 

They  were very stirring for a young guy.  They really  grabbed one by the gut and you could see the might and power of the massed troops, and the masses raising their right arms into the air giving the Nazi salute.  A part of you wanted to  be a part of that.  The  genius  of Dr Goebbels and Ms Reifenstahl could not be denied. 

And so the world marched to war. 

Four and a bit years later, it was all over.  I would recommend to our new  Neo-Nazis, the Alt Right, to forget about the Triumph of the Will.  Just  look at the aftermath.  Just look at what this hypnotic insanity, based on generations of bigotry and bias, did to the world.  Look at the films made in the ruined cities of the Reich.  And reflect, if you will, your march  to glory will end the same way.  Why?  Hate begets hate, and it never ends well. 

And you won't either. 

Monday, October 01, 2018

Welcome to the Age of Unenlightenment

Centuries ago, with such notables as Sir Francis Bacon, Isasc Newton, Voltaire, Liebniz, and many others, ushered in the vaunted Age of  Enlightenment.  The scientific method was invented and refined.  Mathematics, astronomy, early medical discoveries, philosophies, and political economy were all grist to the mill for these people.  Some of them got into serious trouble (cf. Galileo vs. the Vatican), others were burned at the stake, and so on.  But the ideas, once released and published, prevailed. 

Our democratic institutions emerged from this often bloody and chaotic age.  We have been riding on the coattails of the Enlightenment -- until now? 

Welcome to the Age of Unenlightenment.  Now we have the anti-scientists, the rise of the religious right, the anti-vaxxers, etc. ad nauseam.  Centuries of civility appear to be out the window.  Opinions are rigidly held despite all the proof to the contrary. 

We now have a strong push to isolationism instead of globalisation.  Mind you, one can certainly sympathise with some of the opinions of the anti-globalists, but we'll discuss this at a later date.  What seems to be happening is the baby is being flung out with the bathwater in regards to trade, and migration.  In some of our  countries colonised and settled by white Europeans, it would appear that the catchcry is: "Go back to where you came from", despite all the evidence that shows that migration has made these same countries what they are today: rich, powerful, free, and forward looking. 

We are shrinking into little isolated boxes.  Bigotry and fear of the Other are raising their ugly heads once again, and are pushing policy makers, some of whom are right up there with the KKK, anti-anything that isn't us brigade. 

It's sad, really.  Because what we will be morphing into will be our smaller selves, those of us that will survive the coming hateful war, that is, if climate change doesn't get us first. 

Good luck, kids, you are heirs of  your forebears' cupidity, ignorance and hate.  May you do better than us.