Saturday, August 14, 2004


I may be wrong but I have the strong impression that the ideal image of a tropical beach that most people have in mind is an image of a deserted beach. "Getting away from it all" largely means freedom from having to deal with other people all the time. Yet, as far as I can see, that does not happen with most tourist destinations. The crowds follow you. Yet in Australia's far North you can find plenty of long, wide, white, tree-lined, sandy beaches with hardly a soul on them for most of the time. That was certainly true yesterday when I looked in at Cowley beach, Kurrimine and Mission beach. And the smaller beaches in between them are normally absolutely deserted. The dream CAN become reality. Australia certainly makes a laugh out of the Greenie idea that earth is "overcrowded".

My vacation reading has been pretty weird. I have just read (well, most of it) the Papal encyclical Centesimus Annus by John Paul II (1991). Have you ever heard of any other atheist who reads Papal encyclicals on his vacations? There was for me one surprising bit in Centesimus Annus. The Pope supports Sabbath observance: "In this regard, one may ask whether existing laws and the practice of industrialized societies effectively ensure in our own day the exercise of this basic right to Sunday rest". I wonder why we never hear of that?

Like the famous encyclical it commemorates (Rerum novarum), however, Centesimus Annus is a thoroughly conservative balancing act. It says Communism is no good but neither is unbridled capitalism. It says there is a right to private property but not an unrestriced right. It says the State should interfere to look after the poor but it should not interfere too much. As I point out elsewhere, conservatives have always undertaken that difficult balancing. Simplistic all-or-nothing theories and systems are only for the ideologues of the Left. Because Centesimus Annus is a balancing act, however, both Left and Right can find bits in it that they like. It does nothing to check the increasingly Leftist nature of the church hierarchy. The hierarchy can use it to defend any degree of Statism except outright Marxism as being for the good of anyone who is at a disadvantage in any way. So I would call Centesimus Annus an unsuccessful balancing act. It is too vague to be useful. At least Rerum novarum took on Marxism at a time when it was a growing threat. I cannot see that Centesimus Annus does anything similarly useful.



John Kerry gets his Vietnam comeuppance from Vietnam Veterans - and a reporter squeals Now that the truth is coming out about John Kerry's Vietnam war record his sycophantic media groupies are losing their grip
The mass media's love affair with the traitor Wilfred Burchett The mass media's favourable treatment of traitors like Wilfred Burchett helps explain its hatred of President Bush
Green economist wrong on globalization and free trade Free trade (aka globalization) always gets a bad press from greenies"
Keynes fails North Korea and Kim Jong-il Last year Kim Jong-il decided to take his cue from Maynard Keynes and attempted to inject some life into what is jokingly called the North Korean economy
The Japanese economy: A lesson for the US economy? Some commentators thought there was an ominous parallel between the US economy and the state of the Japanese economy in the late '80s
Oil: Where does it come from? How, one may ask, can coal arise in one place and petroleum in another?

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