The new conservative youth?
Thursday October 13th 2005, 11:55 am

(image: National reported on a joint study by the University of California, Berkeley, Indiana University and the University of Maryland not long back that some young’uns appear to be more conservative than their parents who grew up in the 1970s. My experience certainly agrees. The RN story tried to hang that difference on the rebellious nature of teenies, but I think it’s simpler than that.

‘Leftism’ is the political domain of thinking people. In almost all cases I can think of, the leftie position will be based in evidence, not simple or popular belief. Conservative views are frequently based in fears of the unknown (i.e. racism, nationalism based in xenophobia) or in religio-moralist beliefs (anti-abortion, drug wars), none of which require one independently acquire knowledge and apply critical analyses. These lines of thought merely require unconditional, unquestioned belief; blind faith, if you will.

At the risk of offending the younger people reading this, I have to say that the older you are, the more likely you are to be educated and thus able to apply a deeper analysis. Every time I hear a teen-20 person come up with something of a ‘conservative’ bent, I find that these notions would be cured with a little infusion of thought and established fact. The ‘youth’ we’re talking about here are generally pre-university age.

Universities are frequently derided by hardcore conservatives as hotbeds of poisonous liberal thought that should be dismantled. Many conservatives are suspicious of educated people. I still can’t work out why being ignorant and believing faerie tales is somehow a desirable thing, outside of the fact that people who will believe anything without deeper consideration are quite easily led and don’t give much trouble to elected leaders. However, exposure to uni doesn’t actually teach one what to think as much as how to think.

Outside of racism/nationalism, probably the nuttiest stuff I hear is young Australian and American women expressing anti-feminist views, despite women still being significantly underpaid compared to men and heavily discriminated against in the workforce, not to mention being dictated to by men as to how to operate their sexy bits.

These young women often equate feminism with dykes, cheesecloth skirts and hairy armpits, as though feminism were a fashion choice. Of course, once young women gain some knowledge of the recent history of how the world has changed for women, that history just outside of their own life experience, they begin to appreciate what feminists really are and exactly why they should be one. Of course, this requires that one be open to learning.

Some younguns never see the bigger picture… the result being the sort of person you find in Sophie Panopoulos and Phyllis Schlafly… and the silly, overprivileged able-bodied 20-something cow that I evicted from a disabled parking space at Woolies yesterday evening when I caught her parked in an access space without a permit (with lots of other carpark spaces available only 3 metres further from the shop entry).

The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that right-wingers in Australia wanted to dismantle VSU to keep students off campus. It’s true that if students don’t congregate and network, there’s fewer opportunites for them to organise resistance to the status quo. In example, one US uni I attended was in a major city, an expensive private school, where most students were commuters and did not live in university housing on campus. The other was a large state operated uni where most students came from families of modest means and also lived on campus due to the distance to the uni from their home residences. The latter was a decidedly more leftie/small ‘L’ liberal community.

No, Virginia, using the title "Ms." does not indicate a woman is divorced and all peace activists are not necessarily unbathed hippies.


Grab your ankles, Australia
Thursday October 13th 2005, 1:42 am

use 'em, abuse 'em & lose 'em

John HoWARd’s idea of workplace ‘flexibility‘ involves you, the worker, being able to assume the position. 

The blogosphere is rightfully ablaze. Every worker is Billy.

Don’t let HoWARd get away with it.



RSS fixed
Monday October 10th 2005, 12:10 pm

Unbeknownst to Suki and I, the RSS feeds for mgk/b & SHAO quit working when I moved ops to our new hosting service.

I had to comment out a line in the wp-rss2.php and  wp-commentsrss2.php files:

<!–<?php echo ‘<?xml version="1.0" encoding="’.get_settings(‘blog_charset’).’"?’.’>’; ?>.–> 

You should now be getting the RSS2 feeds for posts and comments on mgk/b and SHAO. If you have any problems, let me know.



Ruddock & Vanstone: hit & run
Saturday October 08th 2005, 10:51 am

It was the car's fault. Philip Ruddock and Amanda Vanstone were in charge of DIMIA when Australian citizen Vivian Alvarez was deported to the Phillipines and when legal permanent resident Cornelia Rau was unlawfully incarcerated for 10 months. Only about 200 other people suffered unlawful incarcerations, as well! How is it that that Ruddock and Vanstone can exercise the authority of their positions but absolutely disavow responsibility for their own actions?

It’s a bit like them driving merrily down the road, wantonly smashing into other people and their cars, then walking away, shrugging their shoulders and blaming their cars for the crashes.

Ruddock and Vanstone either were or are in the position of Minister for Immigration, undeniably at the wheel of the portfolio, yet they are being permitted to walk away from the absolutely catastrophic Rau, Alvarez and many other smash-ups… scot-free!

Worst, Rau & Alvarez are only the tip of the iceberg. The latest revelation is that DIMIA unlawfully held one legal Australian resident for nearly three and a half years!

Bollocks! Absolute bullshit! Ruddock and Vanstone should be escorted to the bus stop, sans keys. If HoWARd doesn’t sack these two, he should be escorted to the bus stop with them!

Pardon me while I go fry the phone lines with my fax machine. 

Parliamentary addresses and fax numbers, for your convenience:

John Howard – Liberal Party
Electorate Office:
230 Victoria Road
Gladesville NSW 2111
Fax: (02) 6273 4100

Kim Beazley – Australian Labor Party
Electorate Office:
1/18 Council Avenue
Rockingham WA 6168
Fax: (02) 6277 8495

Bob Brown – Australian Greens
Electorate Office:
9th Floor, Marine Board Building
1 Franklin Wharf
Hobart TAS 7000
Fax: (02) 6277 3185

Lyn Allison – Australian Democrats
Electorate Office:
1st Floor, 62 Wellington Parade
East Melbourne VIC 3002
Fax: (02) 6277 3235

Andrew Bartlett – Australian Democrats
Electorate Office:
Suite 14 B1
7/421 Brunswick Street
Fortitude Valley QLD 4006
Fax: (02) 6277 3087

The letter:  

Dear Senator/Representative,

I am deeply disturbed by the lack of ministerial accountability in the cases of the former Minister for Immigration, Phillip Ruddock and the current Minister for Immigration, Amanda Vanstone. Ruddock and Vanstone were given the powers to incarcerate and deport people- and they did so, with absolutely no regard for the rule of Australian law. If one is given such weighty powers, all with the innate ability to wreck people’s lives, those in charge absolutely must bear responsibility when they foul it up.

There’s no question that the Bakhtiari, Rau, Alvarez and many other cases of unlawful imprisonment or deportation are indeed catastrophes- for which Ruddock and Vanstone bear full responsibility. If Ruddock and Vanstone can escape responsibility for the train wreck that is DIMIA, it is equally logical that no driver may be held responsible for a crash. Clearly, one should be able to blame their car and just walk away.

Ministers Ruddock and Vanstone must resign. 


(your signature) 

Lock & load the paper tray.  


We’re baaaaaaack
Tuesday October 04th 2005, 7:52 pm

It’s taken a couple of days to move stuff over from the old hosting service due to some difficulties shifting the SQL database.

In any case, mgk & SHAO are back up & running. I’m working on upgrading mgk to WordPress MU. Once that’s done, we’ll start getting a few WordPress blogs going for those who have expressed an interest.


Please stand by.
Saturday October 01st 2005, 1:20 am

mgk and Suki Has An Opinion may wink on and off for a day or so. We’re moving to a much bigger chunk of webturf. 3 gigabytes worth, to be precise.


This move comes in the wake of interest shown in WordPress blogs on mgk:powerhouse. I’ll be installing WordPress MU to support numerous independent blogs, but be able to upgrade the whole schlemozzle with a mouseclick. WordPress is constantly evolving and upgrades are frequent. Despite being a functional single installation, WP MU allows users to have their own themes, stylesheets and individual settings.

Back in a day or so.