Wednesday, 18 January 2017

White lies. When are they ethical?

Lying to convince others of a point of view.

Is it ethical?  Is it moral?  

What if you are really and truly convinced you are right?

This came up recently when I objected to an item on our local news.  It said that 90% of rural people surveyed agreed that human caused climate change is not only real, but a big problem. Now I know for a fact that that is bunkum. I am not arguing in this discussion whether climate change is real or not, what I am saying is that we should not be told lies about how many people believe it.  

This is a copy of the facebook discussion - 
Me - According to something on our local news, 90% of rural people believe that humans have caused Global Warming. The 'survey' was done by the Climate Council. According to what I hear when talking to the rural folk all around me, maybe 1% believe that humans affect the environment, though as many as 25% think there could be some changes in the climate - fewer even than that among older people, who have seen more seasons, good ones and bad ones.
In my view, our local news repeated the lie given to them by the Climate Council.

3rd person:  Humans have been affecting the climate ever since the industrial revolution it's just that they didn't realise it.

Me:  I am not arguing whether or not. I am saying that this '90% believe' is frankly untrue. Unless, of course, they polled ten-year-olds who'd just had the lesson at school - they teach it as fact at schools.

 Colin:  Well, good, because a fact is what it is.

And if we convince 90% of rural people that 90% of rural people accept climate change as a fact, that can only speed the day when they actually do.

Me:    So tell lies in order to get your 'truth' across? Is that ethical in your view? It seems to be in the view of the Climate Council. A large part of the reason that so many are sceptical is that various of their lies have been exposed.

Colin: It's not a "truth", it's a straight fact. "Truth" implies that human damage to the environment is subject to opinion; a fact simply is.

The worse lie here is perpetuating the notion that it's anything but a fact. If reiterating the self-evident truth of the fact is not efficacious, but a white lie will (in this situation) better overcome the persistent and literally pernicious lie in question, then the white lie it'll have to be.

If the dichtomy here is the facts vs what a majority of people choose to believe, then convincing the majority that they believe the facts is a sound approach.

 It might be a white lie now, but the facts underpinning it are true and will be seen to be so. Therefore, the white lie will become retroactively true. It's only temporarily unethical, it'll sort itself out when everyone's over their confusion vis fact vs opinon.

Me:  (You said that)  "More people will accept the facts if they believe that the majority accept the facts. "
That is not ethical in my view. In fact, I think it a shameful thing to do, even if far too common.
I believe in telling truth, not lies.

A bit more discussion including posts for others, and then this from Colin -
The vast majority of scientists do agree on this. The notion that it's in any doubt is a literally pernicious lie.
Besides, we see this particular method of popularising ideas used all the time.  How do they sell clothes?  Well, they tell Demographic X that Fashion Y is popular with people like them. How do they sell politicians? By saying that Demographic X generally agree with Policy Y. 

How do they detract from a rival politician's or policy's support base? By saying that Demographic X generally do not accept Policy Y.
All they've done here is use that to say that, actually, Demographic X are coming to agree that climate damage is real, and we're responsible.

As you see, Colin (not his real name) considers that it is reasonable and ethical to try and convince people that everyone else already thinks that. He agrees that lying is fine as it is only trying to get more people to agree with what he terms fact.

So is it ethical?  I believe not. Lying is lying.

Australian beaches
There have been other instances I can think of.  In the 70s, politicians and the media, those recently termed 'the elite'  (goodness knows why) were constantly telling us (Australians) that we were a part of Asia, and must deal with it.  They said that the 'Asianisation of Australia'  was inevitable, thus trying to avoid arguments from those of us who preferred our own Australian culture, thank you very much. There are now some suburbs of Australia very much ‘Asianised,’ but that push has become quiet, and Australia is not part of Asia.

Australia is changing
Multiculturalism.  We ordinary folk think that immigrants should learn to get on in Australia, respecting Australian laws, Australian customs, Australian people - integration, not ‘multiculturalism.’  

Around the 1980s, a new term was coined - 'Multiculturalism' - that all different cultures can live together, that there is no need for immigrants to adapt, and that the old expectation of 'assimilation' was something close to wicked.
The argument used so often at the time was that Australia was already a  multicultural nation, had been from the beginning, so there was no point in discussing the business further. 
Well, we certainly had immigrants from many countries, especially after WW2.  But care was taken that these ‘New Australians’ did not have a radically different culture. It was not the sort of multiculturalism that has mosques springing up and bastard imams calling women not in a burqa ‘Uncovered meat.’  Telling us that we were already a multicultural nation was a lie.

The politicians no longer bother telling us that Australia has always been a multicultural nation, now there is the lie that we are the most successful multicultural nation in the world, totally ignoring the very big problems that are getting worse and worse.

Is it ever good to mislead people like this?

I saw a blog post once, something about the 'myths' concerning a certain human function. I was in a dilemma there, as what she termed 'myths' were not so at all. But I very much agreed with  her aims.  So I did not challenge that author. 
Should I have done in the interests of honesty?  I do not know.

I am interested in comments about this issue – not comments arguing the facts of climate change, nor the merits of Asianisation or Multiculturalism, but whether people believe that it is all right to tell lies in the cause of the truth – or in what they believe the truth to be.

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Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Soldier Settlement after WW2

This post is purely so that students or researchers might more easily find a useful resource.

 Though covering a small area and a very specific part of history, it is important.

There is a book -  'On the Block - Rocks, Rabbits and Reptiles.'  It was compiled by one of the soldier settlers,  Merv McRae, and contains contributions from many others,  It covers Darlington, Pura Pura and Mortlake, in the Western District of Victoria, Australia.  

The books are priced at the minimum possible. 

 On the Block -

 This is the new edition of the book.

To the left is the front cover of the original book, published in 1987.

To the right is the back cover.

Standard house provided by SoldierSettlement Commission

These are the people who contributed to this book:

Austin, T.   Badham, Greta.   Badham, R.   Banks, J. & M.   Biggin, B.   Biggin, Marj.   Biggin, Rob.   Blain, Mick.   Blain, Marg. (nee Reichman.)   Brewer, Doris.   Buntine, L. & E.   Burgess, T.   Chambers, J.  Cumming, E. & L.   Creen, Ethel.   Edmunds, J.   Erwin, J.   George, D. (nee Watson)   Gill, Lena.  Gladman, Joyce.   Gleeson, W. & P.   Gleghorn, Mary.   Grant, L. & M.   Gray, B. & J.   Gray, D. & Y.  Gray, R. & P.   Grills, L.& L.   Guthrie, L. M.   Hamilton, A. & J.   Hannah, J.   Harding, Jean.   Harrison, J. & E.   Hebbard, E. & M.   Hill, Iris.   Inglis, Louise (nee McRae)   Jackson, Joanne.   Kennedy, F.   Kidman, J. & J.   Krepp, G. & A.   Lade, D. L. & W. L.   Lade, M.   Lawson, Pauline, (nee Piper)   Lavery, J.   Luckock, Jean.   Lyon, W. P.   Lyon, Molly.   Maconachie, G. R.   Menzies, J.   Monds, A. & M.   Moroney, Iris.  McRae, A. M.   McRae, M. A.   Muir, Freda.   Murray, G. & N.   Price, J.   Proctor, G. & M.   Rogash, Lorna.   Robertson, J.   Ritchie, N.   Schafer, A. & M.   Scott, T. & M.   Sullivan, Bonnie (now Kennedy)  Tonkin, A.   Turner, Elsie, (now Christie)   Walker, A. K. & L. J.   Wentworth, M. & I.   Wentworth, J. And Nance,   Whelan, Gary.   Williams (nee Rogash.)


Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Are you thinking of having a breast implant? Think again.

Are you thinking of having a breast implant?  Think again.  There is a new report published of a particular type of cancer - Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL)  It is particularly associated with 'textured' implants. Apparently, that type becomes part of the body more easily, and so they are used in around 90% of such operations in Australia. 

Bacteria contaminated breast implant.
Image from ABC story
They had estimated that ALCL occurred in maybe one in fifty thousand cases, then maybe one in three thousand, and now they are thinking maybe one in a thousand. It was an ABC report that I was watching, (reference below) and the chap interviewed was telling women not to panic. 'It takes around eight years to show up.' 
WHAAAT!?   So a woman should not panic because the potential cancer will not manifest for some years?

This problem is in addition to the other problems we already know about - implants rupturing and spreading their contents throughout the body. There was a scandal a few years ago when a French company was using industrial silicone instead of higher standard medical silicone in the breast implants they were manufacturing and selling. There were more ruptures than usual, and when they did rupture, there was a rather nasty substance free in the victims' bodies. Scandal. But what struck me was an 'expert' at the time who said that it was not a thing to panic about as in the normal course of events, around 10% of breast implants rupture each year. !!!  So that means 100% chance in 10 years?  Luckily, that is only the law of averages, and maybe individual women will never have a problem.  
The thing is that, except for a few women who do it to enhance their careers, for most it is only a question of vanity. Large breasts are not better than small breasts in any way that counts.

Feeding the baby? No difference.  Feeding a baby when you have 'enhanced' breasts. It depends on what other surgery you had such as changing the position of the nipple. Definitely not worth the risk, and almost every mother prefers to feed her own baby for the first weeks, when those vital antobodies are passed on, and many like to breast feed for much longer.

You want bigger breasts so that clothing fits better?  Well, that's a tiny reason, and you could always buy a padded bra. When a padded bra breaks, there are no health effects.

Note that this is not
an advertisement for cleavage

Because you think that men like women with larger breasts? Have some self respect.. Your health is more important than the shallow sort of man who would admire you merely for big breasts!   

And think of breast cancer. Do you have a routine mammogram? The big blob of a breast implant makes the X-Ray more difficult to perform, and more difficult to interpret. The radiologist is more likely to miss possible marks that should be investigated. 
Do not risk your health for foolish reasons. You do not need big breasts.


Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Do you see sexism 'every day?' Or racism maybe?

Really?   Think about it.  Could it be you? 
The facebook post that prompted this article was from someone who’d rediscovered some old Brownie memorabilia, including the Brownie vow -  I don’t know which exact promise she referred to, but here is an example from the 1970s.  "I promise that I will do my best, to do my duty to God, to serve the Queen and help other people and keep the Brownie Guide Law."  

 Probably the poster referred to a slightly different promise as she said they were supposed to put others ahead of themselves.  At any rate, she interpreted it as deliberately designed to influence girls to become passive and obedient.  It was sexist, she felt. Terribly, terribly sexist. I disputed a little – it was for children, and children were encouraged to be obedient to adults in those days, though less so these days. 

I said that probably the boys had similar vows as members of  Cubs and Scouts.  They do - The Scout Promise -
On my honour I promise that I will do my best—
To do my duty to God and the King (or to God and my Country)
To help other people at all times and
To obey the Scout Law.

There was another similar vow I remember reciting at school, morning assembly. It included the words ‘to cheerfully obey our parents, teachers and the law.’ I didn’t actually like it much – I was prepared to be obedient – generally, but I reckoned ‘cheerfully’ was a bit much to ask, so always omitted that word.
Her reply was adamant. The vow was sexist. It was aimed at making compliant, obedient, passive women. And further that she saw sexism ‘every day.’ 
Now that is an odd thing to me. There is the occasional sexism visible, for instance, when a man talks over a woman simply because he can, or a woman’s opinion is treated as less worthy than a man’s,  but who knows when it is sexist or when it is simply that a particular man is particularly rude?  Maybe he talks over other men as well.
We hardly ever see frank sexism these days. I remember many years ago,  I had a temporary job as ‘the girl’  in a small English hotel over Christmas – cleaner/assistant cook/washer-up, etc. The male cook said that women were inferior because once a month they became very bad-tempered. Now that was funny, I thought, since that cook was the worst tempered man I’d ever known. I didn’t say anything, I was only ‘the girl.’ Or maybe I did. I don’t remember so long ago. 

These kids, all colours.
They could represent my fictional Penwinnard kids.
Racism – the belief that some races are inferior to others only because of that race. That is so rare these days that I have never, ever seen it. And yet, people constantly bleat that we are such a ‘racist’ nation, that they see racism everywhere. Another long ago memory. I was in London, by myself, wandering around most days, just a sightseer. I was constantly being harassed by men wanting to strike up a conversation, (and presumably more.)  In response and in self defence, I became ruthless. A man would say ‘Hello,’ and I would respond with ‘Goodbye.’ It worked well. But one day, the man said, wounded, ‘Just because I’m black.’ 
I looked back at him. So he was. I hadn’t noticed and was about to say so when I remembered that I really didn’t want to have to deal with him, and went on. If he remembers, he probably still thinks it was just because I was being racist.
If you look hard enough for something, you will find it. If you interpret any minor rudeness or lack of respect as an ‘ism’ you will find it more and more. Even ten years ago, I scarcely noticed a person’s race when I had dealings with them. These days, there is so much talk about racism that I have started to notice. It used to be non-racist not to notice a person’s race. Now, oddly, that is no longer so. What did Martin Luther King say? I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.’ 
It appears that, for some, that is no longer enough.  We have to work out a person's race (not always easy)  and be 'sensitive' in order to avoid 'micro-aggressions.'
What utter nonsense!  How about we simply treat people as people and stop looking for insults. Those who look hard enough will always find it.
It reminds me of something I wrote in one of my books. The manager of the Boys’ Home was accused of raping one of his boys. (The boy made it up.)  It refers to the woman who was to investigate the case.
‘She regarded her note-pad, greyish, recycled paper. Catherine Milne seldom had a thought that had not been first passed through a filter of political correctness, and 'green' was politically correct. In her world, men were suspect, white men especially so. Children and women were victims, and also those 'of ethnic origin' who had to be given every consideration, always remembering the shameful way they'd been treated in the past and probably still were.’
Milne was quite sure that the man in question was a rapist of boys, simply because he was accused. She wore blinkers, and so do many, many of us these days.  
In other words, stop looking so hard for an ‘ism’  and probably you will not find it. And if people are nasty to you, remember that it could always be simply that they don’t like you, and not because you are female or black or Muslim or gay or fat or anything else that has become an ‘ism.’

Look for my books in any online bookshop such as Amazon and Smashwords.

Could it be that democracy is under threat?

Is democracy  under threat?  It is hard to think that it would be.  It is agreed (in civilised countries)  that while it may not be the perfect system, it is the best available. 

In past times, kings ruled, which usually meant the warlord with the biggest army and the most ruthless tactics. Peasants had no say.

But kings were always under threat by other warlords with big armies and ruthless tactics. 

One way of pacifying the powerful, and hopefully retaining the crown, was to offer them some power, enough to make them more wealthy, and less likely to challenge for overall leadership. So the ‘nobles’  were granted some power.  
With time, partly maybe from idealism, more likely to reduce the incentive for revolution, some say was granted to property owners by means of voting. Eventually, the right to vote was extended to all adults, usually aside from those in prisons or deemed incompetent for other reasons.
This is a brief and very much simplified background to the concept of democracy.

Abraham Lincoln said it best.  Government of the people, by the people, for the people.’  

And that is democracy, and so it has been for many, many years. It has never been perfect, those elected to power are too often susceptible to bribes, and too often, they use their power for self enrichment rather than for the benefit of the people.

          And yet, it is fairly obvious to those of us who are not among the powerful, the ‘elite’ as they have taken to calling themselves, that we are better off with the power to vote than we would be under a frank tyranny. It is a strange thing that recently, some of those ‘elite’ have stopped pretending that they are in favour of  democracy. They are actually saying - out loud - that maybe the majority should not be allowed their say, that instead, those who know best should be permitted to have their way whether or not ‘the people’ agree with them.  

Some examples :
Tony Blair and Sir John Majors seem to think that the Brexit vote should be discounted, one of them even referring to 'the tyranny of the majority.'
For the full article, refer to:

According to Brietbart, the new UN chief,  António Guterres, said that the will of the people should be ignored. See the full statement here.  (  

            Andrew Bolt writes –  ‘We already have journalists who laugh at the idea of free speech. Now we have the chief economist of the Economist magazine's Intelligence Unit asking if democracy is much chop either.’  

Andrew Bolt is an influential conservative commentator. You find good sense at the blog of Andrew Bolt. 

            There was a recent article in the Australian,  (6/12/2016)  in relation to the Austrian presidential election (the ‘far-right’ contender lost.)  The German foreign minister was quoted as saying  the result was ‘a good omen against populism in Europe.’
They speak of ‘populism’ as if it is a creeping disease spreading, rather than simply a popular and perfectly valid point of view.

It was when a clear majority of British voters stated they wanted Britain out of the European Union, that anti-democratic calls started to be more widely heard. Most of the world was very much surprised to see that in Britain, that most civilised and democratic of nations, there were widespread demonstrations calling  for the government to ignore the vote. That somehow it was a mistake, and that those who voted for ‘Brexit’  just didn’t know what they were saying. They were ‘ignorant,’  maybe ‘angry’ or ‘frightened.’ 

So now there has been a challenge in their High Court, and again, it is in doubt. The court ruled that the parliament must vote in favour before anything is done, even though the vote of the people should theoretically mean more than the vote of the individuals in parliament.

America. Donald Trump has been elected to the uttermost fury of the noisy ones who seem to rule politics, plus the media and the educational system. More demonstrations, more protests, and some frank riots, destroying property and endangering people. 

What are they protesting? Democracy? 

Some are now complaining that America is not a democracy because the voting goes through the ‘electoral colleges,’ a system devised to ensure that the populous states do not overrule the wishes of the less populous states. Most democracies have their checks and balances like that. And they are saying that ‘the popular vote’ was not in favour of Trump.
But this is just an excuse.  If the results of a democratic election are overturned, there would be chaos and civil war. Who wants that?
Well, it is said that certain billionaires want that. It appears clear that George Soros, for one, wants open borders and globalisation, and is willing to spend some of his billions bribing world leaders to sway things his way. I cannot, for the life of me, guess why he would want that.
But more and more, it becomes clear that the majority of the people prefer a safe country with secure borders, a country that looks after the interests of its own people first. It is older people and country people who are saying it most clearly, those less exposed to the indoctrination that is so very, very common in schools these days. In America, incredibly, some colleges are offering counselling for college students upset by the win of Trump. Some institutions have been accused of encouraging their students to protest against the win. Who is controlling these institutions? It was a democratic election!  Civilised people accept the results of a democratic election! 

So people may not like the results of the election. It is democracy. It may not suit you, but it is still better than chaos, and a lot better than a dictatorship. I think it vital that democracy be protected – even when you might think that the ‘majority’ are ignorant, foolish, bigoted, whatever. It is still the majority.   

And any person in power who says that the rule of democracy should not be respected should never, ever be again in power. Such an opinion renders him unfit for power.

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