Okay, got a couple of things to rant about.
Oh noes! It's Science! Run for your lives!
For those of you living under a rock, you may have missed the NSW Governments Leader in the Upper House sallhying forth on the nature of scientists. This little gem is an excellent example of the sort of leadership we're going to expect over the next 8 years.
"Government money is given to agitate for specific ends. Why are we surprised when the ocean acidification project suddenly finds that—guess what?—oceans are acidifying.
But we should not be so surprised that the contemporary science debate has become so debased. At the heart of many scientists—but not all scientists—lies the heart of a totalitarian planner.
One can see them now, beavering away, alone, unknown, in their laboratories. And now, through the great global warming swindle they can influence policy, they can set agendas, they can reach into everyone's lives; they can, like Lenin, proclaim "what must be done". While the humanities had a sort of warm-hearted, muddle-headed leftism, the sciences carry with them no such feeling for humanity."
Sorry, but do you get the impression that Dr Phelps never actually got over the whole Science vs Humanities thing at University?
This really is an A Grade conspiracy theory though. I mean it's got all the hallmarks, Government control, evil unfeeling nameless people in white labcoats, communism and national socialism (which is very different to communism despite what people tell you) and portents of Dooom!(tm). It's enough to drive anyone to check out the latest in this winters tin foil hat styles.
Oh and one more thing before I move on. Dr Phelps, that great student of history, might want to remember that while some scientists supported Totalitarian regimes(as did some priests, some teachers, some plumbers, etc, etc), it was politicians who ran them. Hitler was democratically elected and while soviet communism only supported one party, people like Stalin, Mao and Ho Chi Mihn had to politik just as hard to achieve and maintain their positions within the party.
I've written about mandates before (long, long ago on a blog far, far away), but since I accidentally read a Paul Sheehan piece (warning contains words assembled by Paul Sheehan) on the recent debate of the NSW Governments new IR legislation I thought I would summarise it again.
Every single member of parliament has a mandate. Their mandate is derived from the people who voted for them. So while the Government has a bigger collection of mandates (and hence a bigger voting block in the lower house) the other parties have their own mandates to act as they see fit. This means that while the Governments mandate is bigger, they don't get and should not get carte blanch approval of all legislation.
Freedom of Speech
While we're re-iterating basic facts let's have a look at this piece on the recent adshel/rip-roll/ACL bus shelter fuss.
For those of you to busy/lazy to follow the link, it's a post by Lyle Shelton, the Chief of Staff at the Australian Christian Lobby. It really is a piece of work. In it he manages to claim that the ACL really isn't against the gays and that they were only doing it for the children, while at the same time trying to insinuate that "homosexual activists" were against the children.
Here's an excellent example of the latter:
"Incensed at the success of this advocacy on behalf of children, homosexual activists started mobilising, as is their right in a democratic society."
Can you see what he did there? Oh those wicked gays are mobilising against the children!
Oh and he does seem a little confused about whether the ACL did or did not campaign against the Rip/Roll ads in the first place (emphasis mine):
"She complained to the company, Adshel, and phoned a few friends who did the same. She didn’t activate the ACL data base or orchestrate a campaign because she didn’t need to. Adshel did the right thing and removed the ads overnight."
This was followed only a paragraph or two later by this (again emphasis mine):
"Our campaign against the Rip and Roll condom bus shelter ads had nothing to do with the fact that it featured a homosexual couple."
This is then followed by the inevitable complaint that because people were incensed by the Campaign(or not as the case may be) and chose to speak out, that the ACL and "concerned citizens" were having the right to freedom of speech removed.
"Where has tolerance and freedom of speech gone?"
Lets do this one more time, sing along at home if you wish:
Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from criticism.
It's not that hard a concept to understand. You have the percieved right (not an actual legal one in Australia but that's another discussion for another time) to express your thoughts and opinions. I support that right wholeheartedly. However I have the right to disagree with you and tell you so. Whether I inform you through reasoned debate (the preferred option), name calling or insulting (often more humourous but certainly less constructive) or interpretive dance (this may be illegal, you haven't seen me dance) it doesn't matter.
By the way this also means that I support your right to disagree with me. Last time I checked, arguments weren't illegal.