Monday, March 18, 2013

More Leftist racism -- as of 1975

Following is a Letter to the Editor from me which appeared in the "Sydney Morning Herald" on 2 October, 1975.  It refers to a play I attended in Sydney called "The Floating World" written by Australian playwright, John Romeril.  The play is his most notable work and displays the usual Leftist double standards.  More history of Leftist racism here.

"The Floating World" is a derogatory Japanese term describing the life of the pleasure-oriented idle rich in Tokugawa and Meiji Japan.  Romeril was at the time of the performance aged 30 and I was 32.  The play was written in 1975

A recent picture of Romeril (as of 2013)

"The Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre", edited by Colin Chambers, says of Romeril:

"Socialism and a determined anti-imperialism have led him to champion the cause of the underdog and to examine contradictions in class, gender and racial conflict as well as Australia's geopolitical identity. This is evident in his version of "Love Suicides" (1997) and his involvement in the Landmines Project (from 1999)."  -- JR

The letter:

2 October, 1975

Play accused of stirring up hatred  against the Japanese

SIR, I wish to make a protest against a particularly deplorable piece of racism being perpetrated in Sydney theatre. I refer to the anti-Japanese play "The Floating World" being presented at the Nimrod in Surry Hills. The racism starts even in the play's program notes. These feature several excerpts from anti-Asian diatribes written in Australia around the turn of the century.

When I attended the play, I at first took these ludicrous utterances about the "poor moral character of Asiatics," etc. as being something intended to amuse. The content of the play, however, suggests that they were meant to be taken seriously. Although the play is essentially about the reminiscences of an ex-digger survivor of the Burma railroad, the play starts out with a prologue attacking the involvement of Japanese business in the Australian economy. The only common element between the World War II incidents being recalled in the body of the play and the prologue is the common theme of anti-Japanese sentiment.

While the incidents paraded in the play did no doubt take place, while the World War II Japanese Army was no doubt brutal to Its prisoners, surely there is no point in stirring up these old hatreds and resentments now. Surely incidents such as the My Lai massacre convince us all that all armies are brutal to the defenceless from time to time - even the armies of the supposedly moral West. Who are we to criticise? And yet this play has the gall to parrot the old saws about how immoral it is for 350,000 Australians to drive Toyota cars because of  what the Japanese did in the war. If I had been asked to conceive of a more anti-Japanese play than this one, I would be hard put to do so.

It explicitly engages in the "stirring up of racial hatred and resentment" which in Britain is now illegal and which in Australia there have been some attempt to make illegal. Given the usual liberal commitment to encouraging one another to treat people as individuals rather than as instances of a race or nationality, this anti-group, anti-race propaganda seems something we can do without.

Given the undoubted sensitivity of the modern-day Japanese to foreign criticism, and given their undoubted importance to us as partners in developing a better world,  this play can have only negative effects. It is an example of the worst sort of taste. We must surely look to the future and not go on stoking up the resentments of the past. One gets the impression that among the trendies it is all right to be racist as long as the group criticised is successul and powerful - the Japanese. A play devoted to portraying the uglinesses of Aborigines would presumably never be presented in Sydney theatre. And yet the Jews can testify that racism directed against a successful and powerful group is every bit as destructive and dangerous as racism directed against the oppressed.

Lecturer in Sociology,
University of NSW.


Liberal politicians make rules for others -- exempting themselves

 I'm of the opinion that self-dealing amongst our political class is the worst of all possible crimes. It's the thing that has done the most to undermine the credibility of our American system in the last two decades.

Take, for example, Obama's real estate deal with Tony Rezko.  Obama was paid off on a real estate deal by Illinois fundraiser Tony Rezko, even though Rezko was already facing indictment for political corruption.

The deal only happened because Obama was a United States Senator at the time. As Obama told the Chicago Tribune's editorial board when he threw himself on their mercy saying it was a "bone-head" mistake, he was already having a hard time buying the house without the cash sweetener that Rezko brought to the table.

Obama knew that Rezko was bad news, but he did the deal anyway knowing: 1) the hometown paper would give him a break, slapping him for poor judgment but not veniality; 2) the "party of the people," the Democrats, instead of holding their own to high standards decided a long time ago that they would hold their leaders to no standards at all, thinking it the same thing.

Morals and ethics and such are just for us little people.

Harry Reid never spent a day working for anyone but the government but yet has an estimated net worth of between $3 million and $6 million.

And that's not all.  As Senate Majority Leader, Reid dumped his holdings in energy companies in 2008, right before the energy market crashed and bought healthcare stocks with the proceeds. Within 6 months Reid was heavily involved in re-writing healthcare laws.

You want to get the money out of politics? Then get politicians out of the business of regulating everything.

Living under different laws than the rest of us is so ingrained in our national leadership, that it seems they hardly give it a second thought.

"The present era of incredible rottenness is not Democratic," wrote Mark Twain, "it is not Republican, it is national."    

And that's the paradox that all of us must grapple with seriously if we wish to preserve both our free markets and our free people.



The Left are coming for you

They came to "clean up" the healthcare mess. They would take the sick and poor off our hands. We would no longer have to join together as a community to provide for those who can't provide for themselves; dear, benevolent government would do this for us. First, with Medicare for the old. Then, with Medicaid for the poor. Then, the definition of poor would expand . and expand . and expand ... and nobody would speak up because who wants to come out against the old, the sick and the poor?

And then it wasn't just the poor. It also was the uninsured. Some were uninsured because they were unemployed. Others because their income level didn't permit them to buy health insurance. Can't be for allowing them to just hang there. No convincing evidence they were dying in the streets or were significantly underserved by the healthcare system regardless of their health insurance status. And plenty had the money to buy health insurance and chose not to.

But hey, when you're a Progressive, and you've tried for a half-century to take over health care, who are you to let minor details such as this stand in the way? And when you get your chance - so much disaffection with a spendthrift Republican president that Democrats could grab control of both houses of Congress and both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, you grab that chance and you pass the most sweeping Progressive legislation since the New Deal - Obamacare.

And when the rest of us find we can't afford our health insurance because of all the new requirements placed on it by our Progressive friends and their enlightened legislation, nobody can do much more than complain. Who defends greedy insurance companies? Who defends faceless corporations when costs finally reach the point where they drop their plans, forcing their employers into the Obamacare system where Progressives have wanted them all along, or even drop their employees?

The secret is the impact is felt gradually. It's like a boa constrictor. By the time you realize you're in trouble, it's too late.

Now, they come for our guns. It's for our own good. Otherwise, we'll have more school shootings, such as the terrible incident in Connecticut. Never mind the guns used that day were stolen. We hear about the need Newtown illustrates to limit weapons and ammunition clips that can fire several rounds per minute. We are never reminded the killer at Newtown shot 24 people in 22 minutes. Speed or power of the weapon was not an issue. One person somewhere in that school with a weapon would've saved many lives.

But most of us don't think of those details, and we don't own guns . particularly the geniuses in Washington who make these decisions. So we don't complain sufficiently, and the Progressive agenda advances.

They also have come for the rich people. I'm not rich; what do I care if the rich get taxed a little more? Never mind that I might like to be rich one day or that almost certainly a rich person pays my salary. Never mind what it might mean to him paying salaries that his taxes keep going up. He is indefensible. He's taken more than his fair share. Tax him. And tax him some more. And when that's not enough, tax the rest of us . but do it in a way we don't really see it. Not income taxes. Payroll taxes. They're gone before we even get our checks.

If there's one thing progressives love it's a power grab in the name of "doing good," and the "good" they most often wrap themselves in is "for the children." When they eventually discover the "good" they sought to accomplish by quashing a little piece of our personal liberty did not come to pass, they never reverse course and retract their government intrusion. Instead, they offer a solution that seizes a little bit more. It's a never-ending cycle of self-fulfilling prophecies, a Yellow Brick Road that leads to an Emerald Prison of mini-tyrannies populated by a disconnected people who stood by doing nothing because the power government was exerting did not affect them.

But sooner or later government will run out of other people to tax, other things to ban, other choices to regulate and, like a caged tiger, it will turn on the hand that feeds it. It's its nature.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg doesn't want his people to be fat. So he tried to ban "sugary beverages larger than 16 ounces" but was rebuffed by a court, at least temporarily. Progressives do not quit, or get deterred, when voters reject their ideas, what chance does a court have?

He's now going after Styrofoam containers to leave a "better" planet for the children. This will lead to higher costs to restaurants, which will lead to higher prices for customers. Customers will ignore it or blame the restaurants. There's always another kabuki dance.

What do the non-rich care if taxes were raised on people who were not them? What do those with health insurance care if government enacts a requirement that everyone who doesn't have it buy health insurance?

Tyranny seldom comes all at once, it comes slowing, incrementally, in small doses cloaked as something else, something good. Each thread appears innocuous and unimportant but is part of a tapestry rarely recognized as what it is until too late.

You may not care about any of the targets progressives are pursuing now or in the near future, but they will run out of things you don't care about before they run out of will to control. Sooner or later they will come after something you like or do. If you sit by do nothing as the individual liberty of others is continually limited, you'd better hope there are enough people left able and willing to speak up when they get around to you.



The Continuing Wimpification of America

I've reached the point where I can't even get agitated any more.

The anti-gun ideology in government schools has led to so many stupid incidents that all I can do is shake my head and be thankful my kids somehow were spared this nonsense.

Our latest story comes from Michigan, where a third grader brought some cupcakes to school for his birthday. That seems innocuous, but the boy's mother (gasp!) decorated them with toy army men.

The school decided "to remove the Army soldiers from the cupcakes" and called the boy's family to inform them that they had committed a thought crime.

Last week, Casey Fountain's third-grade son had a birthday party at his school in Caro. His wife decided to whip up 30 cupcakes for the boy's classmates. She topped the treats with plastic army guys like the ones countless boys and girls have played with for decades. Fountain says he never thought his innocent act of party planning would lead to controversy. Fountain says the principal of Schall Elementary School called him personally and told him that dressing the cupcakes with soldiers was, in the principal's words, "insensitive" considering recent gun-related tragedies.

This definitely belongs in the Hall of Fame for brainless political correctness and hysterical overreaction. Other members of this distinguished Hall of Fame include:

    Bureaucrats suspended a little boy for taking bites out of a pop tart in such a way that it was shaped like a gun.

  Bureaucrats suspended a 7-year boy for pretending to throw a non-existent grenade on the playground.

    Bureaucrats suspended a 6-year old boy in Maryland for making a gun shape with his finger.

    Bureaucrats busted a 5-year old girl in Pennsylvania for having a pink plastic gun that shoots bubbles.

    A teacher in Rhode Island caught an 8-year old boy with some plastic toy army men.

    Bureaucrats evacuated a school because an 11-year old boy made a motion detector for his science experiment.

    Bureaucrats in Florida kicked an 8-year old boy out of school for a year because he had a plastic gun in his backpack.

    A dual award in Virginia, with half the prize for the bureaucrats who suspended a 10-year old boy for a toy gun and half the prize for the cops who then arrested the kid.

At some point, you have to ask whether sending your kids to a government school not only puts them at risk of a substandard education, but also is a form of child abuse.

P.S. Actually, I am getting agitated the more I think about this. For all intents and purposes, the principal was equating soldiers with crazy mass killers. Why hasn't this person been fired?




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