Saturday 20th of December 2014

apathy is the sought result of the cultivation of confusion in ignorant people who don't care...

apathy

An apathetic and uninformed citizenry, electing clueless second-rate politicians to govern us, is sending Australia to the dogs, writes uni student John Ray, who says we must reform our faux democracy.

Ignorance is slowly killing our country. Ignorance has landed us with the government and prime minister dubbed ‘Australia’s George Bush’.

I’m a 24 year old university student, and most people my age in my life have no idea about politics. They find it boring. They find it petty and dull.

They’d rather discuss sport, or Facebook – stuff more pertinent to their own lives. I don’t really blame them, this farce of a democracy we have at the moment is enough to deter even the most seasoned political reporter.

This is nothing new. But something my friend said really set alarm bells ringing. He remarked that we should go to Antarctica, because there’s "mad swell there, bro".

I mentioned that it was probably due to melting ice caps, rising sea levels and its associated impacts, and he looked at me as if I were an alien. He had never heard of climate change.

Whether you agree with it or not – but seriously, come on, the evidence is overwhelming – man-made climate change has been in the public forum for decades now.

I never blame someone for not knowing something — I mean, if you don’t know something, you don’t know. There’s no shame in that.

But how did an Australian human live 22 years in this country without taking the slightest notice of the news? To me, the fault lies not with the individual, but with the culture in which that individual was raised.

He seemed concerned as I told him about melting ice caps, the soon to be open water at the North Pole and rising sea levels likely to wipe out many coastal cities. He relaxed when I told him it probably wouldn’t happen in our lifetime.  

"Ah well, too late to do anything about it now I guess," he said.

There it was. It doesn’t affect me, so why should I care? Such an attitude pervades many levels of Australian society.

As long as we’ve got shelter, access to internet, food and whatever else essential services / creature comforts – and beer – it's no worries, mate.

But what sort of attitude is that? It’s one steeped in ignorance. It’s lazy. It speaks to our isolated little continent, the Lucky Country.

Lucky in the sense we feel it’s okay to wash our hands of the world’s problems.

Asylum seekers are a prime example. Another friend of mine, a little more politically attuned, commented that we need "strong border protection" so that we don’t end up "like England". But he has never been to England — nor anywhere else, for that matter.

Speaking about asylum seekers, he said:

"I feel sorry for them, I really do, but we can’t afford to have them here. I don’t like how they come here and try to enforce their culture onto us. We should just stay out of it."

Young Australians seem to have developed historic amnesia – or, perhaps more accurately, went through school around the centenary of Federation, where patriotism was mandatory and the ills of our past were glossed over (but that’s another issue) – about our past, where we came from, and the circumstances under which we came.

On Indigenous Australians:

"The Government keeps throwing money at the problem, but they just waste it. We tried."

These facile, reductive arguments, which paint white Australians as innocent and blameless, are commonplace here in Queensland.

So too are emotional appeals to justify horrendous breaches of human rights. I’m of course referring to the state where people can be arrested for grabbing a beer, or getting an ice-cream together on their holiday. Where else but Queensland?

"But I’m glad they’re doing something about the bikies," they say. "They’re out of control."

Campbell Newman has painted bikies as a scourge, a threat to everyday people. But I know for a fact that most people in Queensland will never have any sort of meaningful contact with anyone from a motorcycle gang. In fact, most ‘bikies’ are not even part of such gangs.

Yet there the law stands. Much and more has been written about this incredible breach of justice, but most people reading the Murdoch press stand by their heroic premier in his steadfast resoluteness against the bikie menace.

They say:

"I’m not a bikie, I don’t have anything to worry about."

The downed flight MH17 is another example of what we’re fed. Tragic as it is – and I don’t wish to downplay the loss and grief that families of victims must be going through – did you know that 108 of the world’s leading AIDS researchers died on that flight?

You wouldn’t have known from looking at Australian newspapers and televisions. All I’ve seen and read about is the shocked, grieving families. And good on the media for seeking out the families and shoving microphones and notepads in their faces. I’m sure they really appreciated it.

The deaths of those scientists marks a tremendous loss to not just the scientific community, but the world. But we’re in Australia, so who would really want to read about that anyway?

We’re an ignorant bunch, aside from a minority (and it is a minority) of politically active, interested people. You know, the type who see voting as a privilege, not a draining chore which takes them away from the beach or beer. 

When a 22 year-old Australian has never heard of climate change, it’s worrying. It affects my generation — and future generations most of all. It’s not good enough. It’s especially concerning given this individual graduated from a private school.

There’s no easy solution, but here are some suggestions.

Firstly, we must introduce direct democracy.

Representative democracy made sense in 1901. Australia is massive, there was no other way for people in Perth to have their voices heard in the Federal parliament. But it’s ridiculous now in 2014.

We get to choose a mob once every three years that, as my political science lecturer put it, is "the least hated’. That mob then dances a fine line between doing things, saying they’re going to do things and then doing something else entirely.

Short-sighted policies designed to win the next election are generally the order of the day. And we have no say about what our government does during their time in office. None.

Sure, we can vote them out at the next election if we don’t like them — but what if we don’t like the next lot? There’s very little accountability. Tony Abbott now has free reign to do as he pleases with our country.

I wasn’t especially happy to read that we’re buying a bunch of fighter jets – because we can afford it – but we’re scrapping essential Gonski education reforms because ... we suddenly can’t?

Bullshit.

In Switzerland, their government faced the same situation — but they have direct democracy. The Swiss public were sent out a brochure outlining the pros and cons of buying the jets, why they were deemed necessary and what various interest groups were saying about it.

There it was, a little bit of information about what decisions the nation faced, all in one easily readable document. With some quick Googling, more information could easily be found.

Then they put it to a vote — which vetoed the plan.

What a novel idea, that taxpayers get to actually decide what happens with taxpayer money. Not some corporate puppet residing in Canberra thanks to mining dollars, bound to party lines and the polls.

It makes our system seem like such a joke. It’s just so obviously broken now that it demands attention. We make everyone vote once every three years, in a system best described as ‘set and forget government’.

The majority of politically apathetic Australians enjoy such a system, because they don’t have to worry about keeping themselves informed. They might glance at the front page of the local News Corp rag in the weeks leading up to the election, but apart from that, nothing.

We must abolish compulsory voting — you should be allowed to not care, if that’s your wish.

We should give those who do care a greater say in where we head as a nation. At the moment, our voices simply aren’t being heard. How many Australians can put their hand on their heart and say they really want the Great Barrier Reef dredged? Or that our government continues to do absolutely nothing to address climate change?

So please, can we as a nation have a serious conversation about democratic reform? Let’s end the ignorance.

see more at: http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/ignorance-is-killing-australia,6777

 

grading the political parties

 

Liberal/National (LNP CONservative) Party:      -2 out of 20

                     (total rubbish — these bullies should be thrown out of school !)


Labor ("social democrat") Party:    5.5+ out of 10

                      (can do better)

 

Media (Australian Apathy Party on behalf of the neo-fascist capitalists or MMMM) : 0 out of 100

                     (detention PLUS severe caning for spreading lies and encouraging confusion)

 

Others: PUP (LNP puppy dog), Greens (it's hard to be green: a carrot) and Petrol sniffing (enthusiastically) parties : distinction for playing in the sand pit 

                      (note: there is more to life than playing the sand pit — and no pissing in the corner)

 

the woof of time is every instant broken...

 

We often consider ourselves (perhaps appropriately) the most isolated generation in American history—a people whose individualism has been significantly perpetuated by technology and urban detachment. But this isn’t necessarily a modern problem—Alexis de Tocqueville, brilliant 19th-century thinker and author of Democracy in America, believed Americans’ isolated and individualistic demeanor was largely cultivated by democracy itself:

Amongst democratic nations new families are constantly springing up, others are constantly falling away, and all that remain change their condition; the woof of time is every instant broken, and the track of generations effaced. … Aristocracy had made a chain of all the members of the community, from the peasant to the king: democracy breaks that chain, and severs every link of it. As social conditions become more equal, the number of persons increases who, although they are neither rich enough nor powerful enough to exercise any great influence over their fellow-creatures, have nevertheless acquired or retained sufficient education and fortune to satisfy their own wants. They owe nothing to any man, they expect nothing from any man; they acquire the habit of always considering themselves as standing alone, and they are apt to imagine that their whole destiny is in their own hands. Thus not only does democracy make every man forget his ancestors, but it hides his descendants, and separates his contemporaries from him; it throws him back forever upon himself alone, and threatens in the end to confine him entirely within the solitude of his own heart.

What solution did Tocqueville propose to this isolation? “The Americans have combated by free institutions the tendency of equality to keep men asunder, and they have subdued it,” he wrote. It was the free institutions—the “little platoons”—that encouraged people to congregate, serve, and steward. They kept community alive. “…To earn the love and respect of the population which surrounds you, a long succession of little services rendered and of obscure good deeds—a constant habit of kindness, and an established reputation for disinterestedness—will be required,” Tocqueville said. “Local freedom, then, which leads a great number of citizens to value the affection of their neighbors and of their kindred, perpetually brings men together, and forces them to help one another, in spite of the propensities which sever them.”

Today’s traditional private associations are not as strong as they once were. The church, for instance, has seen attendance steadily decline over the past couple decades, especially amongst young people. People may attend town meetings and political rallies sporadically, but most often display a partisanship that thwarts holistic community flourishing. A few may volunteer at a local shelter or help with a civic cause—but sadly, even these organizations have grown increasingly partisan and schismatic with time.

So where do we congregate? How can we gather across party lines, in a way that helps us flourish as a community? How can we rebuild the “severed chain”? There probably isn’t one perfect answer—there are a variety of associations that, hopefully with time, will begin to cultivate a wider array of community attention and support. One hopes that churches will discover new ways to build rapport amongst their communities. Maybe tools like Facebook can actually draw citizens back to town meetings and civic involvement, by connecting them in a way they understand and identify with.

read more : http://www.theamericanconservative.com/the-tocquevillian-farmers-market/

Gus: democracy should eliminates slavery... Democracy should remove idiotic hierarchy... Democracy should give everyone the power to connect with everyone else...

We have not been educated to understand democracy yet. We still waddle in the pool of pseudo-democracy because the greedy profiteers do not want us to see that their model of "democracy" is still the old model of aristocracy with a VERY THIN coat of "freedom for all" capitalistic paint: Welcome to the neo-fascist conservative THIEVES kingdom...

 

the neo-fascists, IPA and murdoch, against the ABC...

 

The IPA and The Australian have commenced a spurious attack against the ABC over its coverage of the fossil fuel versus renewables debate, writes Dr Kerrie Foxwell-Norton from Griffith University viaThe Conversation.

It’s tempting to view The Australian’s latest broadside at the ABC as just another salvo fired between our nation’s two biggest media organisations.

But the coverage, based on an Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) report analysing the ABC’s coverage of energy issues, also serves as a fascinating case study of how we should define bias in environmental journalism.

The IPA is a think-tank broadly identified with the most conservative elements of the public policy debate, and its findings were given prominent coverage in The Australian.

Titled ''Public broadcaster or green activist? How the ABC spins Australia’s energy choices'', the report argued that the ABC was more favourable in its reporting of renewable energy resources than of coal mining and coal seam gas (CSG).

It’s worth noting that the numbers could have been spun differently.

For example, according to the IPA’s figures, the ABC’s coverage was either ''neutral'' or ''favourable'' in the majority of its stories on coal mining and CSG: 68.3% for coal mining and 56.4% for CSG.

read more: http://www.independentaustralia.net/business/business-display/ipamurdochs-nonsense-claims-of-abc-anti-gascoal-bias,6799

Meanwhile in the new local paper:

cgs st peters...