Cop to stand trial for murder after an Aboriginal teenager was shot dead as prosecutors allege he was right to pull the trigger once - but not three times
What the Never Trumpers are saying
The summary below turns on the definition of conservatism. The Never Trumpers are correct in saying that Trump has overturned what American conservatism has meant since Reagan. It should be remembered, however that Reagan was by his own admission as much a libertarian as anything else. He once said: "If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism..... The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom".
So, wonderful as Reagan was, taking your definition of conservatism from him is very narrow.
The big failing of libertarians is that they see liberty as the solution to all problems. That is very dogmatic. We certainly could have much more liberty than we do but part of the reason why we do not is that there are other factors that are influential on human decision-making. Open borders are for instance a libertarian ideal but conservatives foresee many problems with that -- increased crime, increased load on the welfare and health systems, support for Fascist politics -- and Trump has clearly acted on that reasonable fear, which is one of the big factors behind his huge popularity among Republican voters
So what we are looking below at is what a small group of post-Reagan intellectuals think is good policy and what the big mass of conservative voters think is good policy. Trump has created a new definition of what conservatives stand for and the old guard can't accept that. They cannot accept what the mass of conservative voters have shown to be conservatism in the present era. They dismiss as "populism" the verdict of the people.
And the Trump gospel is both crystal clear and with much traditional conservatism behind it. The one thing it is not is libertarian.
Trump is patriotic, gives foreigners no unearned credits and will use whatever means are available to him to advance America's interests as he sees them. And that includes tariffs and trade deals. It should be noted that, contrary to all libertarian assumptions, America's great thriving in the 19th century took place behind high tariff walls.
Tariffs are in fact a great insult to libertarians. Free trade is one of their most basic beliefs. And they have orthodox economic thinking on ther side. Tariffs do clearly to some degree jack up the prices that Americans pay in their supermarkets. So in ignoring that Trump has simply reminded us that money is not everything, which is a thoroughly Christian view. If paying a bit extra at the supermarket helps troubled communities a government may well consider that worthwhile
And Trump's patriotism is very conservative. Patriotism may seem crass to many intellectuals but it means a lot to many ordinary Americans. And notable British conservative philosopher Roger Scruton has argued that patriotism is at the heart of conservatism. So Trump is not breaking new ground in his emphatic patriotism
Isolationism too is traditional in American conservatism and Trump's largely succesful efforts to bring American troops back home from the Middle East is a vivid expression of that
And Trump's tough stance abroad has had amazing results. Three peace deals in the Middle East and the Balkans is exactly three times more than anybody else has accomplished. The success of Trump's economic policies in creating jobs is a legend and he has now added to that achievement a stellar record of achievement in international politics. So his form of conservatism works wonders. The Never Trumpers should swallow their pride and their outdated assumptions and recognize that Trump has revived real conservatism and shown that it works wonders
The future of American conservatism will be decided at the coming election with the two options being the self-destruction inherent in a Trump victory or the long agony of reinvention necessitated by a Trump defeat.
Both will be chaotic — but in their different ways. From his 2016 presidential victory Donald Trump has throttled and then recreated the American conservative movement under new values and ideas — yet the Trump revolution remains bitterly contested and the movement is divided against itself. This election is about the destiny of American conservatism. Trump is the most important transformative figure for conservatism since Ronald Reagan, with The Wall Street Journal’s Gerald F Seib saying of Reagan’s 40-year inheritance: “He personally made the Republican Party into a conservative party and his legacy inspired the movement’s leaders, animated its policy debates and stirred its voters’ emotions long after he left the scene.
“Then four years ago it all changed. Donald Trump ran in 2016 and swamped a sprawling Republican field. In doing so, he didn’t merely win the nomination and embark on the road to the White House. He turned Republicans away from four decades of Reagan-style national greatness conservatism to a new gospel of populism and nationalism.”
Seib calls the political revolution that saw the Reagan legacy buried in the Trump upheaval the “most important political story of the new millennium”. This is hard for Australians to grasp since there is no organised conservative movement in this country able to take command of a party like the Republican Party.
In America conservative ideology constitutes a throbbing, rampant, powerful coalition with ties to churches, corporates, small towns, middle-class virtue, blue-collar workers, the military, the flag and national pride. The thesis in Seib’s new book, We Should Have Seen It Coming, is self-explanatory — his story is the collapse of the Reagan foundations and Trump’s storming of the fortress.
In retrospect, it looks so obvious; it always does. The Reagan legacy hit the wall when the conservative movement turned against the Republican Establishment with the Bush family in its sights. In truth, the Reagan legacy was sandbagged by a changed world.
It came in unsuccessful wars after 9/11, the 2008 global financial crisis where Wall Street was saved and Little America punished, the arrival of China’s trade power at the cost of jobs in Middle America while poor services, compressed wages and skyrocketing incomes at the top end fermented a store of grievance. Seib says that when George W Bush left the White House in 2008 he identified three threats — isolationism, nativism and protectionism. They became the troika that Trump mobilised.
After Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election the Republicans faced an internal revolt. Trump’s one-time political guru, Steve Bannon, wanted to burn the edifice — he wanted to make rejection of immigration and free trade into the two biggest issues. Trump was neither a true Republican nor a reliable conservative. But the times suited a rebellious outsider who looked beyond the party establishment and exploited a rebellious conservative base. By contrast, the conservative power structure was aghast.
Trump offended at every level. Where Reagan had been a “morning in America” optimist, Trump warned of carnage as he raged and insulted; Reagan had a core of deeply held beliefs while Trump’s essential outlook was what suited his instincts and interests; where Reagan had an expansive view of US global leadership, Trump saw America as a victim being ripped off; where Reagan’s confidence saw him back immigration and free trade, Trump was a passionate double protectionist.
True conservatives saw the real threat. Hillary Clinton might defeat the Republicans but she could not betray their purpose. Trump could and he did. Yet Clinton had another role — along with the lurch to the left of the Democrats, she frightened many moderate conservatives who had no time for Trump. Seib said Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus swallowed his misgivings and “turned the keys to the party’s entire infrastructure over to the Trump campaign”.
“Still, even most people in Trump world didn’t think he would win,” Seib said of the 2016 contest. “Indeed, some of his campaign managers put Trump’s chance of winning at only 15 per cent.” But it was how Trump won that mattered — he largely repudiated the past policies and behaviour of Republican presidents as he exploited a grassroots hostility to nearly all forms of established power.
The core of Trump’s appeal lay in tribalism and nationalism. His message was the bankruptcy of old conservatism — it was too global, too Wall Street, too economic libertarian and out-of-touch elitist. Trump said what mattered were national borders, government intervention, cultural traditions and national pride. That meant knowing the differences between citizens and foreigners, jobs in China and jobs in America and honouring the difference between a man and a woman.
But Trump’s campaign against the system in 2016 was much easier than his 2020 campaign as an incumbent President. Four years in the White House have proved Trump does not possess the discipline, consistency and focus to entrench a new settlement based on populist and nationalistic conservatism.
Trump is a rebel, not a governor. He is a shooting star, not a policy builder. He cannot turn populist sentiment into a governing model. A narcissist obsessed by his own needs cannot create a new structure for his country. Every stakeholder quickly learnt Trump was a compulsive deal-maker.
Anything could be traded. Everything was negotiable. No principle would stand in the way of Trump’s advantage. His governing model violated every notion of conservative principle.
Companies, churches and Republicans — anyone who dealt with Trump — knew that trying to strike bargains was the only language he knew. Trump even told the Chinese that if they fixed the North Korea problem they’d get a trade dividend.
Classic conservatism is wary of executive power but Trump was addicted to executive assertion. He ran on instinct, not analysis. He saw history as bunk. He criticised allies and threatened to walk out of NATO. He was attracted to dictators with whom he could do deals.
He was obsessed with tariffs, cared nothing about budget deficits (before the pandemic) and had no interest in reforming government programs.
Seib quotes the “Never Trumpers” in the Republican Party saying: “Trump has blown up what used to be the ideological core of the party.” Can it be put back together? No, the Trump experience has changed American conservatism forever. It has been seduced by Trump’s success and the corrupting prospect he offers — that only Trump can resist the progressive tidal wave seeking to cancel every aspect of US cultural values and traditions.
By throwing in their lot with Trump, conservatives have turned their movement towards tribalism, populism and government intervention, rejecting both Adam Smith and Edmund Burke in favour of Trump’s “only I can fix it” narcissism. History will show it’s a bad deal.
Populism is the antithesis of conservatism. It rests upon stirring up passions, fuelling division, promoting polarisation and policy based on “reward and punish” transactions. Seib does a brilliant job in describing with detachment the transition from Reagan to Trump and the existential dilemma that confronts American conservatives regardless of who wins this presidential contest.
US dictionary Merriam-Webster redefines the term 'sexual preference' as OFFENSIVE after Amy Coney Barrett used it and was criticized by Democrat senator who said sexuality is not a choice
As many people have pointed out, 'sexual preference' was for a long time the normal Leftist way of referring to homosexuality but suddenly it has become "wrong". Mazie Hirono is very radical so she is shifting the whole discussion in a far left direction
The new term appears to be "sexual orientation" but I imagine that will become incorrect too -- because it fails to stress that homosexuality is inborn
Merriam-Webster dictionary has updated its definition of 'sexual preference' to an 'offensive' term one day after Amy Coney Barrett's use of the phrase was slammed during her SCOTUS hearing.
The reputable dictionary's fifth definition of the word 'preference' cites 'orientation' and uses the example of 'sexual preference'.
On Wednesday, this definition was updated to explain that the use of preference in relation to sexuality is 'offensive'.
The change came hours after Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono said Barrett's appointment to the Supreme Court would pose a threat to LGBTQ rights and used the judge's use of the term 'sexual preference' as evidence of this concern.
Hirono said the phrase is highly offensive to the LGBTQ community and is used by 'anti-LGBTQ activists' to suggest sexuality is a choice rather than an unchangeable part of an individual's identity.
The Great Barrier Reef has lost half its corals
The heading above -- from a Warmist outfit -- is most implausible. If it were true,it would have been widely noted by now but it appears to be the first such claim. And the journal article they rely on contradicts it:
"The relative abundances of large colonies remained relatively stable"
And the reference to"greenhouse gases" is also not in the original reoprt.
There has undoubtedly been some loss of coral cover in some places in recent years but the cause is conjectural. Many things affect coral abundance, not the least of wich is heavy weather in the form of cyclones etc.
One of the largest declines happened during a fall in the sea level in the general area. And that exposed corals to unusual dessicatory and other damage
And, finally, even research by doomsayer Hoegh-Guldberg has revealed that bounce-back of damaged coral is very good. So the mere fears in the article below are unpersuasive
Journal abstract included below
A new study of the Great Barrier Reef shows populations of its small, medium and large corals have all declined in the past three decades.
Lead author Dr Andy Dietzel, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoralCoE), says while there are numerous studies over centuries on the changes in the structure of populations of humans—or, in the natural world, trees—there still isn’t the equivalent information on the changes in coral populations.
“We measured changes in colony sizes because population studies are important for understanding demography and the corals’ capacity to breed,” Dr Dietzel said.
He and his co-authors assessed coral communities and their colony size along the length of the Great Barrier Reef between 1995 and 2017. Their results show a depletion of coral populations.
“We found the number of small, medium and large corals on the Great Barrier Reef has declined by more than 50 percent since the 1990s,” said co-author Professor Terry Hughes, also from CoralCoE.
“The decline occurred in both shallow and deeper water, and across virtually all species—but especially in branching and table-shaped corals. These were the worst affected by record-breaking temperatures that triggered mass bleaching in 2016 and 2017,” Prof Hughes said.
The branching and table-shaped corals provide the structures important for reef inhabitants such as fish. The loss of these corals means a loss of habitat, which in turn diminishes fish abundance and the productivity of coral reef fisheries.
Dr Dietzel says one of the major implications of coral size is its effect on survival and breeding.
“A vibrant coral population has millions of small, baby corals, as well as many large ones— the big mamas who produce most of the larvae,” he said.
“Our results show the ability of the Great Barrier Reef to recover—its resilience—is compromised compared to the past, because there are fewer babies, and fewer large breeding adults.”
The authors of the study say better data on the demographic trends of corals is urgently needed.
“If we want to understand how coral populations are changing and whether or not they can recover between disturbances, we need more detailed demographic data: on recruitment, on reproduction and on colony size structure,” Dr Dietzel said.
“We used to think the Great Barrier Reef is protected by its sheer size—but our results show that even the world’s largest and relatively well-protected reef system is increasingly compromised and in decline,” Prof Hughes said.
Climate change is driving an increase in the frequency of reef disturbances such as marine heatwaves. The study records steeper deteriorations of coral colonies in the Northern and Central Great Barrier Reef after the mass coral bleaching events in 2016 and 2017. And the southern part of the reef was also exposed to record-breaking temperatures in early 2020.
“There is no time to lose—we must sharply decrease greenhouse gas emissions ASAP,” the authors conclude.
Long-term shifts in the colony size structure of coral populations along the Great Barrier Reef
Andreas Dietzel et al.
The age or size structure of a population has a marked influence on its demography and reproductive capacity. While declines in coral cover are well documented, concomitant shifts in the size-frequency distribution of coral colonies are rarely measured at large spatial scales. Here, we document major shifts in the colony size structure of coral populations along the 2300 km length of the Great Barrier Reef relative to historical baselines (1995/1996). Coral colony abundances on reef crests and slopes have declined sharply across all colony size classes and in all coral taxa compared to historical baselines. Declines were particularly pronounced in the northern and central regions of the Great Barrier Reef, following mass coral bleaching in 2016 and 2017. The relative abundances of large colonies remained relatively stable, but this apparent stability masks steep declines in absolute abundance. The potential for recovery of older fecund corals is uncertain given the increasing frequency and intensity of disturbance events. The systematic decline in smaller colonies across regions, habitats and taxa, suggests that a decline in recruitment has further eroded the recovery potential and resilience of coral populations.
The student below is pretty on point but he misses out on the breadth of things that literary studies can contribute. Such studies are in fact one of the best time machines we have. The canon of English novels starts with Richardson and Fielding in the 1740s and has a wealth of contributions from then on.
And as the decades roll by we see an ever-changing world described.
The main interest in a novel is the story it tells. But to make the story as persuasive and engaging as possible, the novelist tends to make the setting of his novel as true to the times as he can. So the interest in literary studies tends to move from the story to its setting. We marvel at the different customs and beliefs of the times that the novel is set in. It is sociological history
It can be almost a laboratory for social ideas. We see how different beliefs about society play out. That is very explicit in the novel “Mr Midshipman Easy” an 1836 novel by Frederick Marryat — where socialist ideas are powerfully satirized and mocked.
So the novel introduces you to different social ideas in a vivid way — a way with far more impact than dry sociological statistics. And in any era there is a variety of novels so you get quite a survey of how the world looked directly from those who lived in that era.
There is much more that I could say about the value of classical litrature and its studies but I think I have made the case that it desrves respect for what it is in its own right. Studying novels originating in other cultures may have its own value but the value of the existing English canon is great and well worth experiencing and studying by and of itself
As we university students return to campus, we are bracing ourselves for the New Normal. For the majority, lectures will take place over laptops, tutorials will be reduced to sad, spaced-out affairs, and, for some, the academic day will end at eight in the evening to ensure adequate social distancing.
What we learn could soon change, too. I’m doing an English literature degree at the University of Edinburgh, which is not immune to the identitarian pressures facing other places of learning across Britain. The rallying cry that has been gaining mainstream traction is that of ‘decolonising the curriculum’.
The phrase ‘decolonise’ might make a bit more sense when applied to history courses, which deal with Britain’s colonial past and the atrocities committed in the name of Empire. I don’t imagine that university staff rooms are filled with rabid apologists for racial injustice, and the Atlantic slave trade was hardly portrayed in glowing terms when I learnt about it at school. But the less savoury aspects of our island story should never be brushed under the carpet.
It is more complicated with literature, however. Edinburgh’s English faculty recently received two letters from members of the student body, calling for the curriculum to be revamped to include more ethnic-minority voices. The suggestions offered illustrate why ‘decolonising’ English might not be so easy.
The first letter, calling for the diversification of first- and second-year core texts, suggests including The Souls of Black Folk by WEB Du Bois – undoubtedly a seminal work of sociology and American literature. But American is the key word here. The letter admits that the texts these students want included are ‘all written by American nationals’. And it is worth remembering that the subject in question is called ‘English literature’, not ‘literature in English’. While our course contains the odd novel, poem or play from the United States and the Commonwealth, the focus is on the British Isles.
While one can specialise in the honours years of an Edinburgh degree, the first two years are dedicated to grounding students in the English literary tradition, and that includes all the big hitters taking us up to the 20th century. Without this grounding, students would not understand the influences of today’s authors – of all backgrounds. Contemporary BAME writers take inspiration from Emily Brontë and John Donne as well as Phillis Wheatley and Olaudah Equiano. We should avoid the patronising assumption that undergraduates from a minority background can only identify with figures who share their skin tone.
Ultimately, a survey of English literature can only accommodate a certain number of authors, and each work should be sufficiently influential and studied to justify its inclusion. The ‘whiteness’ of the canon stems from historic, rather than present, inequalities, and we should look at the history of literature in this context. But including historical black authors on the basis of race, rather than their influence on literature, is an act of tokenism, and a denial of how literature has progressed in Britain. Literature is often political, but the calls to decolonise the curriculum seek to make the discipline inseparable from contemporary debates about identity.
The other letter sent to the Edinburgh English department goes further, accusing it of being ‘racially and culturally exclusive’. It complains that there was an entire term in which no ethnic-minority writers were studied. The period covered in that term was 1300 to 1700 – not exactly a golden age for black writing. The letter decries ‘colonialist’ texts by Daniel Defoe (Robinson Crusoe) and Aphra Behn (Oroonoko: or, the Royal Slave), assuming that their inclusion is somehow an endorsement of Empire. But English students can surely admire the craft of these works while condemning the attitudes they express, just as an art student can rate Caravaggio without supporting murder.
One of the letter’s most laughable claims is that the very concept of ‘books’ (its scare quotes, not mine) is indicative of a colonialist mindset. The letter demands that we study comic books, cartoons and other variants of media. As someone who came to university to learn about Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, George Eliot and TS Eliot, the thought fills me with horror.
The word ‘whitewashing’ is thrown around a lot in this debate, as if university curricula are part of some grand conspiracy – masterminded by racial supremacists, masquerading as educators, desperate to exclude Chaucer’s Afro-Caribbean contemporaries. In truth, the academic sphere is a remarkably progressive one.
Though the English faculty could not publicly comment on the letters, except to acknowledge their receipt, a statement released by Edinburgh’s senior management in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death shows us which way the wind is blowing. The university vows to ‘interrogate the role of the university in slavery and colonialism’ and ‘embed culturally relevant pedagogy by critically examining our work from a decolonial perspective’. The decolonisation crew appear to have a receptive audience.
The canon should not be rigid, but it should be organic. Important new writers emerge all the time from a variety of backgrounds, and old ones can regain relevance after years out of favour. We can also view traditional writers through modern lenses: Shakespeare’s plays are ripe for postcolonial and queer interpretations, for instance.
Minority fiction is currently enjoying a purple patch, with four out of this year’s six Booker-shortlisted novels written by non-white authors. Years from now, we may be discussing the lasting importance of Zadie Smith and Bernardine Evaristo, and we would be doing so because they are among the most talented novelists of their time, not for purposes of diversity.
Decolonising the curriculum is, at its heart, a deeply authoritarian project, in which the past is twisted and reshaped to fit the present. Every individual, every item of knowledge, becomes racialised, which only serves to further ‘Other’ black students. This campaign is not simply a bugbear for conservative hacks – it is a worrying prospect for those who study and love literature. The decolonisers should leave our books alone.