Sunday, 4 June 2023

Who's Really Responsible?

Ben Roberts-Smith was awarded the Victoria Cross for an action in Afghanistan. Most Australians are happy to accept that he is a hero who deserves our respect. However there has always been some who did not feel that way about him. Both within the military and the media. He was accused of bullying behaviour towards other soldiers and more seriously of mistreating prisoners, at least one of whom it is alleged was killed upon his orders. 

In fact the Australian SAS (Special Air Service) has been accused of mistreating prisoners and even of 'blooding' soldiers. Blooding is where a less experienced soldier is ordered to kill a prisoner to prove that he is capable of killing and that he is loyal. It has been alleged that 39 Afghans were murdered in 23 separate incidents. Now accusations are not proof and far to often in these stories accusations have been treated that way. But these are serious accusations and they tend to get laid at the feet of just one man. 

I do think that the SAS was given too much leeway in Afghanistan. That the supervision and oversight that should have existed, existed in theory but not in practice. That they were stretched and overused, that they were burdened with too much responsibility. Responsibility that lay elsewhere. Wars of insurgency are political wars that require that military force be used to support political solutions. It appears that the SAS was instead used as if it were fighting bandits. 

Why is it that it seems that the more junior, the more responsible someone is held to be?

Why were the SAS given so little oversight?

Why weren't these problems picked up while they were going on?

Why was the debriefing of soldiers so poor?

The question that I have most of all, is where was the senior leadership?

Why aren't Generals and politicians being asked these questions?

I have heard it said that a soldier gets in more trouble for losing his rifle than a general does for losing a war and it's all true. No ones responsible unless the system wants you to be responsible and then it doesn't matter if your responsible or not. 

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Thursday, 11 May 2023

Is The Liberal Party Dying?

Apart from Tasmania every state and territory has a Labor government as does the Federal government. In Victoria last year the Liberals couldn't win against a premier nicknamed Dictator Dan. At the last Federal election seats that in the past had been regarded as safe Liberal seats were lost to Liberal party types who decided that they weren't into climate change and divisive social issues enough. It makes you wonder about what is going on in the Liberal party.

The Liberal party has always been a strange beast, it was, as is the tradition in Australian politics, the anti-Labor party. Made up of people with very different views but who all agreed that Labor must be opposed. For decades it worked, but there has always been the question, 'what does the Liberal party stand for'?

In the past it stood for individual liberty, small government, fiscal responsibility and social conservatism. 

But the true was that it has always been ready to drop support for one or more of these if it was convenient. In fact a common theme in the history of the Liberal party has been it's attempts to out Labor the Labor party. Which of course fails, because when people have a choice between the real thing and the fake thing they will choose the real thing.

Which leads me to the Victorian Liberal Party, a party that couldn't win against a government that locked it's citizens up for 200 days in 2 years. It has no plan for what it will do once it is in government. It claims that it opposed the tyranny of the state Labor government, but if you took the time to look you found out that they only mildly disagreed with that government. If they had been in government the only difference might have been that things were not so bad because they lacked the backbone that Dictator Dan possessed. Dictators have backbones, not something that can be said for the Liberal party.

It expelled one of it's members for going to a pro-women rally.

That same party is now looking into having more ethnic minorities and more female members of parliament. So a party that claims that it values the individual is looking at quotas. It just cannot decide what it really believes or stands for. 

That extends to finances, it used to be accepted that Labor ran up debt and the Liberals were responsible with money. But that is simply no longer true. Neither are responsible with money, both run up debt, both print money. I still encounter people who think that the Liberals will sort out the debt, but I have to wonder in what world are they living in?

This decade Victoria is going to relive the 1990's, were the state nearly went bankrupt. Labor is spending money that we simply do not possess and that will come back to bite us. In the 1990's the Liberal party saved Victoria, at least financially, but today we cannot rely upon them even for that. 

Maybe it is a good thing if the Liberal party does die. It has no answer but more to immigration, the same answer it has towards debt. If this country is to survive it should die and why not at it's own hands.

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Sunday, 7 May 2023

The Coronation of Australia's New King

A new King of Australia has been crowned, although you might think of him under a different title. Which got me to thinking about the role of the monarchy in Australia and within Liberalism more generally. 

When I was growing up it was very common to be told by the talking heads of the media that we should enjoy the monarchy while it lasted because no new Monarchists were being born.  In other words it was old fashioned and in time it would die out. Most commenters said that Queen Elizabeth II would be the last monarch of Australia, because it was only her personal popularity that kept it alive. A King Charles III was an absurdity that was just laughable, he had neither the charisma nor the popularity to keep it going. Yet here we are with King Charles III and no popular movement towards becoming a republic. 

Sure there are people who are Republicans, there are those who think an inherited head of state is weird and there are those who aren't that interested at all. And yet every commercial television station, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Sky news broadcast it live. It obviously generated a great deal of interest. There are a lot of people out there who do think that this is important. 

Because monarchy has a strength that other forms of government do not have, it is centred around family and individual people. Not for an election cycle but for their entire life. The life of both the royal and of the non-royal. That personal connection is a rarity when it comes to politicians and when it exists much more fragile. 

I was expecting much more criticism and hostility but both have been quite subdued. Republicans came out of the woodwork, but I still got the impression that the media was more interested in generating controversy than anything. I hear that a commentator on the BBC said that the royal family was too white. But all par for the course. 

For decades rumours have circulated that this coronation would be very multicultural and multi-faith, so I was half expecting the worse. But to be honest I was pleasantly surprised with how traditional it was, including how White, British and Christian it was. I also heard some say that the ceremony was a break from tradition, but the truth is that every coronation has features that are unique to it and this one was no different in that regard.

The coronation proves something that we on the right should always take to heart and that is that no matter what we are told the things that we love can go on and all that we have to do is to keep faith with what we believe. Never give up.

So let me say


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Monday, 1 May 2023

The Rise of Slogans and Emotionalism

When I was a teenager back in the 1980's one of things that impressed me about Liberalism was that it was prepared to debate issues. Controversial issues were regarded as controversial and they were debated, even on television. Back when everyone had a very limited choice about what they could watch. 

Even back then I noticed that there was real opposition to debating issues openly and honestly, I also noticed that the debates were biased. One side always seemed to get the better deal, yes the Left side. As I watched more I started to realise that these debates were not open and honest. They were instead a way of letting people know what the correct opinion was. A way of short circuiting any opposition, look we gave this a fair hearing and it just couldn't make it's case, time to move on and get with the program. 

It was also a lesson to watch the men and women who ran these programs become increasingly side lined as debate became unfashionable. In it's place was something that Left-liberalism had been playing with for a while, sloganeering. Instead of having a debate or an argument you had a slogan. This way the rational part of the brain was bypassed and you could engage with the emotional part of the brain. 

This was a big thing for Liberalism as it had always prided itself on it's rationalism. Liberals championed the idea that their philosophy was logical and rational and that it was these factors that would lead to it's inevitable triumph It's opponents however, had always noticed its emotionalism. That it often sort to use emotions and to then claim that that was rationalism.    

Since the 1960's rationalism has been in decline, although it really declined from the 1990's onwards. In it's place were slogans and emotionalism. Arguments were required to counter the middle class and the institutions. Once they had largely been won over then they moved on to using a weapon that people find hard to fight. How do you fight a slogan?

"One man, one vote"

"Love is love"

"All men are equal"

"Equality between the sexes"

It is incredibly difficult because it is so light it can avoid any blow. A slogan becomes a mantra, something that can be said without any understanding of the issue and yet it gives the speaker the feeling of knowing everything. What else can there be to know?

Slogans appeal to the emotions, it bypasses the intellect, which is what gives it its strength. As the saying goes, you cannot argue someone out of a position they were never argued into. 

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Sunday, 16 April 2023

Should You Buy Gold?

Recently someone said to me that they were planning to buy some gold which many people talk about. But is it a good idea?

Well like many things in life there are good reasons and bad reasons for buying gold. So why is gold valuable?

For two reasons, firstly it is rare, if all of the gold ever mined was put into the middle of a football field, the type of football is unimportant, you could sit in the stands and look at it all. If you tried the same thing with Silver, it would fill to the brim multiple football fields. Secondly gold does not rust, which means that it's durable. 

Until the Twentieth Century weddings rings were gold because they didn't rust and it symbolically meant eternity. But in times of trouble it had great value as gold rises in price during such times. So you can sell your wedding ring at a good price to help you through bad times, then when good times return and the price of gold goes down you could buy a new gold ring. Gold is a good, although imperfect, way to measure the health of the economy and of the international situation.

Which leads on to why you should buy gold, gold becomes more valuable in times of crisis and goes up in value. It's small and even shavings of gold can have value. It's also easy to hide and to carry and the worse things get the better it is to have.

However there are quite a few downsides to buying gold, as an investment, unlike nearly every other form of investment, it costs you money. You need to store and protect it. It does not earn investment and if times don't get worse you can lose money. A lot of money. And if you have gold how much is enough?

That is a very difficult question to answer.

However there is also another issue that I never hear people talk about when it comes to gold, what happens if the government decides to make the private ownership of gold illegal?

Now you might be thinking that that would be a pretty extreme situation and you would be right. But that exact thing happened a number of times in various countries during the Twentieth Century. Including in Britain and the United States. The private ownership of gold was illegal in Britain during both World Wars and it was illegal in the United States for 21 years, 1933-1954. Gold had to handed in for bonds or cash and you didn't get a choice about it. 

Gold as part of a balanced portfolio is I think a good thing, but most investments should be in things that will provide a financial return. If your investing more than 10% of your portfolio in precious metals I think your doing yourself a financial disservice.

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Monday, 10 April 2023

Upon Hope The Book

 In reply to my tenth birthday post Lindsay Byrnes posted this:

There are many excellent essays that could form the basis of a book that can be self self published using Amazon for only a very token cost. You might be able to promote it and get some modest sales, but more impotently preserve 10 years of your thoughts and best efforts on an important political philosophy as an enduring legacy.
By registering copies with both national and state libraries you afford future generation the opportunity to read about a traditionalists view at that time..

Which was both a very nice thing to say and an interesting idea. So after much thought I have decided to see how far I can go with this idea. I spoke to an editor that I know and he said that a book of around 100 articles is doable, I want to do 120 articles, one from each month. But at the same time I don't think I'm the best person to decide what should be cut. I have started recruiting people that I know but there may be people here who would be interested in helping out.

What I want is for me to select a random month and for people to number the articles from 1 (the best) to whatever number there is for that month. In reality the first and second are the most important. 

If anyone is interested send me an email: uponhopeblog(AT)

Tuesday, 4 April 2023

Why Are They Doing All Of This?

Yesterday I received an unexpected phone call, a friends wife called to talk to me about the WEF, the World Economic Forum. She has had a rapid, in her words, awakening. Over the past few months she has started to notice their agenda and how it affects us. During our conversation she said 'it's all about money'. But is it?

I mean she certainly isn't the only person to make this claim and it has a certain logic to it. People like money and one interesting thing about having money is that you notice that no matter how much you have someone else has more. Even if your the richest man on Earth there are still institutions and governments richer than you. Which can give some people the impetus to get richer, even when they are already absurdly rich.  Greed certainly has a place in answering the question, why are they doing all of this.

However it also has it's limits, it might explain how greed plays it's part, but how does it explain people who can never benefit financially?

Why are they going along with these ideas?

I think the answers lies in two areas, non-involvement and belief. Non-involvement is all those people who are complacent, scared or otherwise doing nothing. They go along with it because they don't want to be involved, they don't rock the boat. So they just do whatever they need to do, no matter how bad that is.

But many people do it because they believe it. They believe that these ideas or actions will lead to a better world and that they are one of the things that will create this better world. Amongst those who believe they can be further divided into two further groups, true-believers and ideologues. True-believers are those who truly believe in the ideas that they are pushing, They believe that it is urgent and viral, that others are naive and even evil for not believing as they do. The ideologues also believe what they push but they are more cynical. Because while they believe they also support other ideas and causes and they will betray any particular idea or cause for what they regard as the bigger cause. Their ideology.

Finally these ideas are not exclusive, it is possible for someone to believe and for them to be greedy for example. But what you can be certain of is that they are not doing for no reason at all, they always have a reason.

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