WAR ON TERROR: ISSUING FROM CULTURE OF FEAR OR DANGER FROM OMINOUS ATTACK?

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The respectable and cerebrally sharp Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former National Security advisor to president Carter, mounts an intellectually and strategically disrespectful argument, in the Washington Post on March 25, 2007, that the war on terror has created a culture of fear in America, and has a pernicious impact on American democracy and its psyche, and on US standing in the world. He contends, that the war in Iraq, could never had gained the congressional support it got, without the psychological linkage between the shock of 9/11 and the postulated existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Further, that terrorism is not an enemy but a technique of warfare. And he caps his contention by stating, that the war on terror “defines neither a geographic context nor our presumed enemies”, and also creates a “sense of a pervasive but otherwise imprecise danger”.

It’s apparent that Brzezinski’s points are instigated by his experience of the Cold War era and Soviet communism–of which he was an exemplary acute observer and had identified clearly the dangers emanating from Soviet expansionism–and it’s precisely for this reason that are completely inapplicable to the undeclared “Hot War” that fanatical Islam is waging against the USA and the infidel West generally. To replicate the policies that were successful in eroding Communist power and finally casting it into the waste bin of history and apply them to an “ unidentified”, shadowy, religiously inspired fanatic enemy is not merely a lapse of historical nous but a totally inept and faulty strategy against such a foe. The fact that Communism was a limpidly identified enemy and precisely dangerous, was the cause that united the countries of the West and rallied them to stand behind the leadership of the USA. In contrast, it’s precisely because our present “presumed enemies” are lacking a “geographical context” that makes them nationally unidentifiable and hence an “imprecise danger”, is the reason that disunites Western countries and makes them reluctant, if not inimical, to stand behind the American leadership and strategy against global terror. Moreover, a false and unimaginative sense pervades many European countries that they are not equally endangered by global terror, like the USA is, and that they can wriggle themselves out of this danger by not engaging in the war against it and indeed, by appeasing the Islamic fundamentalists.

Further, Brzezinski’s psychology does not pass muster with the 9/11 portentous event. The latter was not, as he argues, the “psychological linkage” between its “shock” and the “postulated existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction” that led to war and which “had gained congressional support”, but the reasonable reaction of the Bush administration, or for that matter of any historically responsible administration, to a future ominous and more devastating attack by terrorists armed with WMD, and indeed, with “portable” nuclear weapons, supplied by rogue states such as Saddams’, on the United States. The war on terror, therefore, did not create “a culture of fear in America” (e.a.), as he contends, since this fear was an instinctual fear on the part of Americans of the great danger hovering over their lives in the aftermath of 9/11. This was illustrated by the fact that nearly ninety percent of Americans initially supported both wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and this was the basic reason why it was also almost unanimously endorsed by congress. Hence, Brzezinski’s contention that this culture of fear had a pernicious impact on American democracy and on America’s psyche is baseless. Not to mention the fact that a culture does not spring up like a crop at the first droplet of rain. His culture of fear therefore is nothing else but a figment of his exuberant imagination.

Moreover, Brzezinski sublates to use a philosophical term, he assimilates the terrorist who is a real entity into a “technique of warfare”. Averring that terrorism is not an enemy but a technique of warfare. Who then is the enemy? Is he a disembodied being who uses this technique? Can one separate an enemy from the war technique he uses? And is the US led coalition in Iraq that is trying to deprive the terrorists of the wherewithal of this technique, i.e., factories that manufacture car bombs and IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices), not fighting an enemy? The fact is that the terrorist who is the mortal enemy of civilians knows only this technique and uses it effectively and lethally to achieve his goals, in the case of fanatic Muslims, against the Great Satan America and the infidels of the West.

Brzezinski also states that the war on terror has tarnished the US standing in the eyes of the world. But is this surprising when so many people in the world, and especially in Europe, wrongly believe and presuppose that it was American policies toward the Middle East and ultimately its “adventurism” in Iraq that fomented and increased global terror? What people under such gargantuan misconception would be congenial to US involvement in the war against global terror? And especially when US actions are perceived to be unilateral and lack the backing of other major nations and the UN? Is it conceivable that under such misperception–not to mention the serious tactical errors committed on the ground in Iraq by US strategists in the aftermath of Saddam’s defeat that justified to a certain extent the wrath of the critics of the war–that America would not have eroded its standing and tarnished its reputation? Besides, who would expect that a powerful nation such as the USA, especially being the sole superpower, in conditions of world peace when nations are not threatened by another superpower and are in no need to be protected by the US as in the past, would have the respect and affection of the rest of the world and not the enmity and hostility that rises from the curse of envy against the great and the powerful?

By all historical standards the war against global terror in the wake of 9/11 was fully justified and prescient in its aim to prevent a future ominous and much more devastating attack on the United States by terrorists, who would use weapons of mass destruction and indeed nuclear ones in their irreversible goal to destroy the Great Satan. And if America could be attacked so easily by al Qaeda and its affiliates then European nations that are saturated with Islamic fifth columnists and activated jihadists would be sitting ducks.

It’s this great existential threat to America and Western civilization that has prompted the US to mobilize its military might and its brave soldiers in a long war against global terror. But in spite the clarity and awareness of the Bush administration about the real stakes of the war, it made a grave psychological error with devastating consequences to its overwhelming public support of the war by deflecting the invasion of Iraq which was quintessential to the defeat of global terror to the issues (a) of finding the elusive weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and (b) building democracy in Iraq. When these two issues had apparently foundered and were at the same time associated with the difficulties the US led-coalition countenanced in suppressing the insurgency, the war ineluctably lost its popularity among the US electorate, and reached the levels of unpopularity of the Vietnam War. The American electorate didn’t give a damn about whether WMD would be found or not, everyone believed at the time that Saddam was in possession of them, nor had they a modicum of interest in building democracy in Iraq. What they were concerned with was their security, and on this basis they were prepared undeviatingly to support the war both in Iraq and Afghanistan and to endure the pain and sacrifices that it would entail. This was the stupendous blunder that the Bush administration had committed. By substituting the war in Iraq as an essential part of global terror with building democracy in Iraq, it lost the support of the American people in the face of the arduous and tough difficulties of the war.

However, notwithstanding the serious errors of the Bush administration its original war plan to fight al Qaeda, its affiliate bodies, wherever they raise their hydra’s head, and the rogue states that support them, remains historically unblemished and is a tribute to the strong leadership of the triumvirate of Bush, Blair, and Howard. This was a historic decision, to stand up and fight the religious fanatics that threatened the viability of Western civilization and its freedom. And not to fall to the historically and politically naïve and supine blandishments of the nipple-fed liberal intelligentsia that terrorism and its state sponsors, like the Soviet Union, could be contained or that their Allah anointed grievances could be negotiated. It’s for this reason that the judgment upon Bush, Blair, and Howard, not to mention the indomitable, but so maligned by the media, Vice-President Cheney, whether their stand against global terror and their involvement in the Iraq war was right or not, will be made by history and not by political opportunists and leadership pretenders, such as Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and our own, Kevin Rudd.

I rest on my oars:Your turn now

MOUNT GLOBALIZATION OR BE ITS PREY

By Con George-Kotzabasis

A tiger is stalking the world the tiger of globalization. Nations and peoples who, gazelle-like, are frightened and take flight before the huge ferocious “life-threatening” leaps and bounds of this tiger, are to be mauled and be eaten, as no swift flight can make them escape from the lightning speed with which globalization pursues its quarry.

For this will be the fate of nations and peoples who chose to be the prey instead of being the “hunter” of globalization. To be the hunter however, does not imply that one has to slay the “beast” of globalization. Instead, it implies that like a consummate broncobuster, one has to mount the tiger and adapt to its fast and sinewy movements while at the same time “taming” it.

This is the only way that countries can save themselves from the threatening onslaught of globalization. More importantly still, to be among its winners. But it’s fundamentally important to be prudent winners, that is, the winner does not take all. No clever country or wise person would desire to be an absolute winner. Only gamblers would crave to be so. But the wins of a casino are ephemeral wins, and soon and inevitably are followed by loses. Hence, if the winners of globalization wish and aspire to keep and to augment their gains, it’s necessary that they look after and take care of the losers of globalization. As the latter can only be politically sustained and continue to succeed and be beneficial to mankind if it’s a “caring globalization”, if its heart is the “make –up” of its robust mien. If not, it will face the freezing winds of a backlash of a ‘winter of discontent’, of all the countries and peoples who are fearful of its storming of the globe. Its losers therefore will be diffident and distrustful of the touted benefits that could accrue to them, and hence reluctant to admit the Lexus into the groves of their olive trees, to paraphrase Thomas Friedman, of the New York Times.

The currently unstoppable revolution in technology, finance, and information, has made all nations vulnerable to the waves of global competition. Only those nations that swim on the crests of these waves will survive and be the winners in this relentless struggle. This implies moreover, that no nation can economically survive in isolation even if it possesses unique and an abundance of natural resources. Nor can it appeal to the bungled remedies of the past, such as the provision of subsidies to defunct industries. Nor can it depend on the invention of new populist nostrums, such as “fair trade” proposed by the dinosaur delegates in a Labor Party Conference in Hobart. On the contrary, only through the process of creative reconstruction in the economic, industrial, commercial, and social structures of a country, is the “waydrome” to success. In this context, to talk about fair trade is to live in dodo fairyland. Indeed, it’s like asking Olympian super athletes, like Cathy Freeman, to be fair to their lesser competitors.

How to Deal with the Challenge of Globalzation

Thomas Friedman in his book, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, argues, that ‘the revolution in technology, finance, and information did three things. It lowered the barriers of entry into almost any business, and it rapidly increased competition and the speed by which a product moves from being an innovation to being a commodity.’ Technology expands production to global dimensions, ‘knitting the world together.’ Finance with the collapse of regulated exchange rates, penetrates all the profitable niches of the world in its avaricious dynamic drive for profit. No raising of granite protective walls or the setting up of any barriers can prevent the ‘ “Electronic Herd’s” ‘ power to move its capital on world markets. Furthermore, information technology ‘brings home to everyone how ahead or behind they are in contrast to other countries.’ This provides a cue and spurs people to invest in countries where lucrative profits can be made by ‘investing through the internet on a global scale.’ Hence, the world is no longer carried on the back of the slow moving Atlas, but on the back of the swift electron-moving Microchip. In such a world all kind of barriers have the strength of a plastic balloon. But even if it were possible to erect impenetrable barriers, the countries that did so would bring upon themselves “the day after”, the consequences of “nuclear” economic and social devastation. That is, the result for these countries would be to throw themselves into the abyss of poverty and squalor, and hence unwittingly deprive their people the opportunity to become wealthier by being on the trajectory of globalization.

It’s by accepting the challenges of globalization with imagination and boldness that countries and their peoples will not only be strengthening their intellectual and moral fiber that will position them on the launching pad of globalization, but will also be transporting them to the land of cornucopia, to material and spiritual abundance. It’s imperative therefore, that political leaders deliberately and consciously decide to prepare their people to enter into this benign circle of feedback. That is, the intellectual and moral strength and knowledge of their people will maximize the benefits accruing from globalization and minimize its disadvantages. And the successes of actively being engaged with the cutting-edge of the globe will in turn further enhance this intellectual and moral vigor and knowledge of their people. In such a brave new world, one has to tell people to ‘remove their belongings’, to use a phrase of Vladimir Nabokov, of moaning. There is no room for resentment and gripe against countries and peoples who succeed. Success itself will be redistributed and will not remain in the same hands. Everyone will have the opportunity, endowed with grit, chutzpah, and entrepreneurial flair, to succeed.

For the first time in human history, globalization has the potential to bring in its wake the “democratization of success”. No scion of elites will be able to capture its benefits and lock them up ever safely and ever after in their vaults. The microchip is sovereign. Hence the corridors of wealth will be accessible to all who have the knowledge and ambition to use it. And if Shakespearian sovereigns could trade their kingdoms for a horse, business scions, like James Packer, will have to trade their wealth and power for a microchip.

Globalization also has the potential to usher in the empowerment of all classes and creeds. Ironically, capitalist globalization might realize Marx’s dream- the fulfillment of the individual who performs his practical affairs during the day, fishes in the evening, and writes and “practices” poetry during the night. And to cap it all, the Communist Manifesto’s slogan, “workers of the world unite”, could be accomplished by globalization. The only difference being that the unity of workers will not arise out of enmity against capitalist entrepreneurs, but out of the benign desire to emulate the achievements of the latter, as every worker with the required training and knowledge will have the ability of doing so.

How to Raise all Boats and Canoes in this inundation of globalization

We need however to be critically aware of the downside of globalization and treat its blemishes effectively. It’s a truism that not all people will benefit from globalization. There will be losers! In all civilizations there have been winners and losers. The human race cannot jump over the shadow of this accursed fact. Either as a result of individual propensities or lack of resilience and ability to adapt to the new, and strenuous circumstances of globalization, many people will fall behind and will be disadvantaged. But because of globalization’s vast production of wealth, it has the capacity to compensate the losers, and indeed, to pull them out of their disadvantaged position. In this task governments will play a decisive role.

First, they will have to deal with the backlash that arises from people who are struck with the dire effects of globalization. While globalization shortens the distances of the world and makes it accessible to many people and improves economically their well-being, at the same time it lengthens the rusty chain of un-economic and defunct industries in many developed and developing countries. Many workers, therefore, who for years worked in these industries, are thrown out of them and find themselves unemployed and unemployable. The direct beneficiaries of globalization therefore, not only have a moral responsibility, but also a vested interest, to take care of the disenfranchised from the advantages of globalization, if the latter are to be prevented from being converted into modern Luddites, and start smashing the machine of globalization, by means of war, terrorism, and computer hacking.

Secondly, to head off and pacify this backlash, governments will have to prise open new thinking horizons, and to transform this resentment into support for globalization. Since inequality among human beings, as well as of other primates, is nature’s regime, governments must contrive clever policies to redress and reverse this order of inequality and bring some sort of balance in this inequity of nature. In the “clever” country, prosperity does not have to be equated with “equality”. People do not have to be equal in certain natural endowments with those who generate wealth and prosperity, to share the fruits of this prosperity. The process of globalization begets such huge wealth that it would not be difficult for governments to impose the burden upon, and indeed persuade, its producers, that it’s to their own interest to share part of this wealth with the disadvantaged of globalization. Especially, when this divestment of wealth will not diminish the capital investment funds of the former, as we will show below.

Thirdly, governments will redistribute this part of wealth by the following international multilateral policy mechanism, by imposing a levy or surtax on the profits of all “globetrotting” corporations, financial institutions, and foreign currency speculators. Once, these funds of the levy are collected by governments, they will be transmitted to an international body set up by these governments. Let us name this body the International Globalization Fund (IGF). The central task of this entity will be (a) to identify those nations and peoples whose livelihood has been affected negatively by globalization, and (b) to subsidize the buying of shares in multinational corporations and world financial institutions, by these nations and peoples. In the case of some people who might not have any financial savings of their own, the IGF will provide them with special securities or bonds, thus enabling them, despite their lack of savings, to be shareholders in this international economy. Moreover, such a policy will not engender any disincentives to private enterprise. As the funds accruing from the levy will not be spend by governments in fuzzy, boondoggle industrial plans or in subsidizing defunct industries, at the expense of the private sector. The build up of a “hydraulic pipe” between the international economy and the disadvantaged of this economy, will allow the funds that are transmitted to the latter in the form of subsidies and securities by the IGF, to be sluiced back through this pipe to the multinational corporations in the form of equity capital. Hence, the investment funds of these entrepreneurial entities will not be diminished.

Thus, the eyes of all, not only of those who gain directly from their engagement with globalization, will be focused on the screens of the computers. Even people who lack knowledge and adeptness to use the modern technology will enter and be denizens of this brave new world of the internet, as equity holders. Sharing the wealth that is spawned by the Midas microchip touch of globalization. The magic flying carpet of globalization will have everyone aboard.

It depends on the creative thinking, imagination and Thatcherite will and determination of governments whether globalization will be politically and economically sustainable. And whether by riding it, the fruits of its wealth will also be distributed to all those nations and peoples whose livelihoods are going to be lost in this process of ‘creative destruction’. Whether the opening of the floodgates of globalization will raise all boats and canoes in this global inundation of its waters.

HIC RHODUS HIC SALTA

The article was written on September 17, 2001, and was first published in the English supplement of Neos Kosmos on the same date

The Pride of Superiority is Hidden Behind The Hijab

By

Con George-Kotzabasis 

 

All veils in Muslim culture cover the “sexual abandon” and profligacy that womanhood embodies, and the temptation to man can only be stifled by not being able, at least temporarily, to see it. But in our modern times with the exodus of many Muslims from their own countries into the sexually promiscuous West the headscarf has a second life with a new meaning. It has become a sexually pure sublimated projection for Muslim women for their real oppression. In contrast to the apparently promiscuous women of the West, Muslim women can feel proud of their sexual “purity” and display it by wearing the hijab. Thus, being slaves in their own households they feel to be “queens” in the domain of the Western world.

Further, it’s a projection of their real inferiority, that has been rendered to them by the Words of Allah inscribed in the Koran, for an idealistic dud superiority. While Muslim men chase heavenly virgins since the earthly ones are evanescent, Muslim women pretend to keep intact their earthly vulnerable virginity by wearing the hijab.The pride of being sexually pure has an invaluable price, even if at the end, because of the nature of women provided they are not sexually mutilated, has to be paid with a “promiscuous coin”.

This is Shakira Hussein’s irresolvable problem as a “Muslim secular feminist” as she claims to be. But the solution is very simple: Cast away this sublimation by throwing out the hijab and be a free woman.

I rest on my oars: Your turn now

LABOR IS OUTSOURCING THE SOVEREIGNTY OF AUSTRALIA

The following paper was written on May 2000. It’s republished here to remind readers that the detachment of the Labor Party from the political “sins” of its past is still to come, as it continues to relish them by increasing them. It’s clear that a Rudd government would sign up to the UN declaration on indigenous rights whose article 3 gives aborigines the right to  freely determine their political status, and article 4 the right to autonomy or self government, thus championing indigenous separatism that would lead to the fracturing of the unity and strength of one nation, without bettering the political, economic, and social status of aborigines with their separation from the nation. Once again Labor under the populist leadership of Kevin Rudd, who by this definition will be too feckless to deal with the critical issues of the economy and security of the country in these dangerous times, will embrace all the external remedies and shibboleths that issue from the politically incompetent and morally corrupt UN and apply them to the internal affairs of the nation that with mathematical precision are bound to be so destructive to it.  

Con George-Kotzabasis

There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify the evils, of the present time. Edward Gibbon

A curse is haunting the Labor party, the curse of Paul Keating’s ‘Banana Republic’. Whereas for the latter, however, the Banana…was merely a slippery future economic threat under the feet of the country, for Kim Beazley, the banana republic is virtually a political reality. It’s for this reason therefore, that he is implicitly calling, and more explicitly supporting, the individual and institutional cries for the United Nation’s Human Rights Commission (HRC) to intervene and redress the plague of inequities and injustices that has inflicted the country, as a result of an unjust and uncaring government. The lack of compassion by the coalition government on two issues, (a) its unwillingness to utter the word “sorry” to the aborigines of this land, and (b) its “stand-aloofness” in regards to mandatory sentencing, its reluctance to intervene directly and abrogate a state law that jails children for apparently minor offences.

It’s ludicrous to believe that the word sorry has some magic quality that could sanitize or make less bloody any injustices or atrocities of any scale that have been perpetrated by institutions and governments in the past against aborigines. Within such a context the word sorry would be a crude joke, as it’s not a matter of someone stepping over the toes of another and apologizing for this. No human apology can exculpate criminal actions committed against humanity. This is “God’s bailiwick”. (One can only wonder that associate professor Robert Manne, a brawny votary of the “sorry” campaign accepts, with apparent philosophic equanimity, the apology of the German government for the gassing of the Jews.) The demand for such an apology arises from pious, soft thinking. Furthermore, the official expression of such an apology, could lead to “wealth by inadvertence” for some groups and professions in a society that inchoately moves more and more toward a litigious state, at the vast expense of the taxpayer.

Also, on mandatory sentencing, Labor’s accusation that the government is heartless and inhumane in its refusal to abrogate laws that are targeting aboriginal children, is political theatrics and is not serious. The abrogation of these laws by the federal government would be an infringement of states’ rights and would add another plank to the coffin of these rights, which Labor during its tenure in office had been carpentering, furthering thus the advance of the centralization of power in Canberra. The coalition government therefore, has acted prudently in refusing a casting role in Labor’s “play”. But to Labor, it’s this remissness of government on these two issues that shames and censures Australia in the eyes of the world and irretrievably damages its international reputation.

The Federal Opposition, like so many Mr. Feelgoods, is self-appointing itself as the conscience of the nation. Heavily burdened by this conscience, it can only alleviate it by invoking the External Affairs Power in the internal affairs of the nation. But like most politicians, it has a further and more valuable interest in this exercise that goes beyond its moral ken. By tarnishing the government as inhumane and unjust it hopes to put it beyond the pale in the electorate’s eyes and hence augment its own political stocks in the coming election. Its libido dominandi, its surge for power is so virile that it hardly baulks at the prospect of prostituting the sovereignty of the nation and its inalienable right to determine the laws of the land.

As the intervention of the United Nations HRC in the internal affairs of the country would be no less than the defloration of the nation’s sovereignty, as it would inexorably have a corrosive effect on the legislative power of government. The latter would be looking over its shoulder for Big Brother every time it passed a bill in parliament in regards to its domestic affairs, which might not be in accord with the letter and spirit of international conventions and treaties that Australian governments had signed in the past. Moreover, such intervention would be adding insult to injury in respect to the nation’s mores, as it would imply that Australia is a “crooked nail” on moral and human issues, like a truly banana republic, and would need the vise of the HRC to straighten it and hence making it fit to enter the family of civilized nations. Therefore Australia is not fit from its own record and reputation on human rights to have its place among civilized societies and needs an “usher”, the HRC, to find its seat among these societies. 

Labor’s Mental Blindness

It’s mind-boggling that Labor is so myopic and cannot see that the invocation of the External Affairs Power would open a Pandora’s box. It would place parliament under a  “spooky” surveillance, as all legislation in relation to human rights laws will have to be written under the shadow of the HRC. In other words, the legislative power of  government will be held to ransom. It would also open the floodgates of litigation and provide a gluttonous banquet to lawyers and their clientele as the menu of human rights would be in the hands of all interest groups and individuals who have an inordinate appetite to be seen as trailblazers of social and political change, like Senator Bob Brown, or who more prosaically would settle for a substantial financial payment. Moreover, it would spur a promiscuity of legal activism among judges from the lower courts to the High Court, and would widen the windows of opportunity for active “progressive” judges to throw their flat earth judicial stones from their glass-house existence-like that avatar of “creative” activism Justice Kirby of the High Court of Australia. Such creative activism by the judiciary however would be the usurpation of the legislative power of government. Hence, it would strike a sledgehammer blow to the cornerstone upon which the separation of powers rests.

Two cases of the High Court illustrate this whittling down of the constitution by the judiciary. In the Commonwealth v. Tasmania (1983), the Commonwealth prohibited the construction of a dam by the Tasmanian Hydro-Electric Commission under the provisions of the World Heritage Properties Conservation Act (1975). (Chief Justice Gibbs, with his characteristic wisdom, dissented against the majority decision 4-3 maintaining some basal distinction between external and internal affairs to ensure the integrity of the Constitution’s federal division of authority.) Also, in the Koowarta v. Tasmanian Dam (1983) the laws upheld treaty obligations. That triumvirate of goody-goodies Justices Mason, Murphy, and Dean, all considered that the External Affairs Power extended beyond obligations and embraced benefits and rights. 

That this raid of the judiciary, not to mention others, on the Constitution, leaves Federal Labor under the leadership of Kim Beazley insouciant and unconcerned speaks volumes of its poverty of thought, its lack of foresight, and political dilettantism. Of course Labor may deceive itself and believe that it will have a safeguard against the intrusions of the judiciary in laying the latter on a Procrustean bed. It can always cut to size its appointees to the courts of the land (this equally applies to the Coalition) as it has done in the past , to fit its own agendas. Judges, however, like all others appointed to high positions by government, whilst they might owe their positions to the latter, they own their reputations and amour proper. This fact alone does not bear good news for governments that judges will toe the line.
 

Academics Toe the Line of Labor

What is startling, if not alarming, however, is that this poverty of thought finds solace and support among some academics. But on second thought it may not be so surprising. As what else could one expect from the mass production lines of most universities than the entry into its teaching faculties, especially in sociology and law, of a stream of intellectual usurpers who are more proud of displaying their radicalism than the rigor of their mind?

Professor of international law at the Australian National University, Hillary Charlesworth, in an article in the Australian subtitled “The Victory of States’ Rights over Human Rights has Impoverished our Social and Political Culture”, remarks, that the UN’s legal opinion is, “that Australia’s mandatory sentencing laws violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention of the Rights of the Child”. On the pivot of this opinion she mounts (molehills?) her own argument that because “Australia has freely agreed to abide by the principles set out in the relevant human rights treaties” we are bound legally and morally to accede to them. Furthermore, she continues, “under the human rights treaties, it’s the Federal Government that bears the international responsibility to ensure that all Australian laws ( this is no diminutive, this is “matronly-sized” outsourcing of Australia’s sovereignty) conform to our treaty obligations…Internal political or constitutional arrangements can be no excuse for failure to live up to its treaty commitments”. Capping her argument, she claims that even in the event that mandatory sentencing is popular, “public policy cannot be driven by political popularity alone or on purely utilitarian grounds”. 

No sensitive and sensible person can defend mandatory sentencing—except perhaps if she/he is a victim of the particular offence—especially if it applies to children. It’s obviously a “desperate” legislative action by the Western Australian Government and the Northern Territory to protect mainly household residents from a spree of serial burglaries and break-ins that previous laws were unable to stop or abate. An impartial objective evaluation of this situation however, sans academic metaphysical nonsense, would consider not only children’s rights but the rights of the victims as well. More importantly, a deeper probing of the matter, would consider children’s rights in the continuum of their life, and the repercussions of the social conduct and behavior and the successes and failures of juvenile life upon adulthood. It’s essential therefore to make children not only conscious of their rights but also of their responsibilities and duties. Indeed, to shield them from self-punishing failure in later life, it’s necessary to make them aware that punishment is the price one has to pay for unsocial, law-breaking actions.

The bone of contention therefore should be, and is, what kind of effective punishment should apply to these minor crimes committed by juveniles that would prevent major ones committed in their adulthood. Academics therefore who passionately emphasize and advocate the rights of children would have been more fecund in their deliberations if they were just as passionate in their search and discovery of programs and laws applying to children, laws that not only would protect victims from the crimes of children, but more crucially protecting children from failure in their adult life. As even petty crime committed by minors, especially when it takes a serial form and is inadequately punished, ensures with certainty the “success of failure” in later life.

Professor Charlesworth with enviable Olympian athlete’s ease jumps over the hurdles of these issues. Neither the erosion of the Constitution, nor the plight of the victims, or the double jeopardy that children would be placed in by their serial petty crime nor the punishment in the present and the more severe serial self-punishment that hovers over their future, concerns her. All these things seem to be peripheral, indeed, satellites to her fixed universal position. But to respond to the basal argument of her article, that the government should adopt international laws and implement them in our internal affairs, one cannot do better the great German jurist philosopher Friedrich Savigny. “The legal institutions of a nation are part of its individual life…and of the whole of its historically determined situation. They fit as does the skin of the human body. And to replace them by a rationally excogitated code is like tearing off a body’s skin in order to replace it with a synthetic product”. He denounced theories of rationalism which deduced legal theories from general and universal principles, irrespective of past history and national peculiarities. This illustrates tellingly why some professors of jurisprudence in this country are dusted off and drop from the shoulders of giants.

But let us return back to the leader of the Opposition Kim Beazley. The definition of a strong and farsighted political leader is an “animal” that protects its own territory from the incursions of foreign assailants. Beazley as leader of the Opposition and as potential Prime Minister (God forbid) does not fit this definition. Instead of  vigorously protecting and making unassailable our sovereignty from the incursions of foreign bodies, in this case from the United Nations HRC, he prostrates himself before it and willingly and wantonly out sources the sovereignty of our nation to alien bodies.   

I rest on my oars: Your turn now