Leftism is fickle

The most notable thing about the article below is the casual demonization of a once-respected feminist, J.K. Rowling. The Left had a long love affair with feminism but that is over. Feminism has now been abandoned in favour of a new lover: transgenders. And any disrespect for the new lover causes the old lover to be subjected to domestic violence. The old lover is now tolerated only if she bows down before the new one.

But the old lover does have a new suitor: conservatives. In their disgust with the idolization of transgenders, conservatives hear much sense from feminists. Is a marriage on the cards? Joanne Rowling is at least good-looking

image from https://www.pedestrian.tv/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/26/hogwarts-legacy.png?quality=80&resize=1280,720

"Hogwarts Legacy" is set to be released in Australia on February 10 and people are torn about it. On one hand, Hogwarts Legacy, set in the magical school back in the 1800s, looks like an incredible game and an absolute must-play for anyone who has read a Harry Potter book or watched a Harry Potter movie. On the other hand, buying it gives profits to the Wizarding World’s creator — card-carrying transphobe J.K. Rowling. It’s the ethical dilemma that many Harry Potter fans have faced over the past few years. How could the person who created the beautiful, fantastical universe we immersed ourselves in as kids (and continue to consume as adults) be so evil, so narrow-minded? And how can we keep enjoying J.K. Rowling’s art without endorsing her as a human being? It seems somehow easier to distance yourself if you already own the books / audiobooks or stream the movies on your TV. It feels less like a direct deposit into J.K. Rowling’s bank account if you read a book you purchased years ago, or pay a streaming service for the pleasure of watching The Prisoner Of Azkaban. But the prospect of buying a brand-new game created by Portkey Games studio — which is directly owned by Warner Bros. and Wizarding World, J.K. Rowling’s media franchise — is making some people feel torn. Do you boycott the game because of Rowling’s views? Or do you buy it to support the talented game developers behind it?

Back in 2020 when the game was in development, it was reported that Rowling’s views made the development team “uncomfortable.” And this week Hogwarts Legacy director Alan Tew has kinda, sorta touched on the discourse during an interview with gaming site IGN. “I think for us there are challenges in every game we’ve worked on,” Tew told the publication when asked about the ethical “discrepancies” surrounding Hogwarts Legacy. “This game has been no different. When we bumped into those challenges, we went back and refocused on the stuff that we really care about. “We know our fans fell in love with the Wizarding World, and we believe they fell in love with it for the right reasons. “We know that’s a diverse audience. For us, it’s making sure that the audience, who always dreamed of having this game, had the opportunity to feel welcomed back. That they have a home here and that it’s a good place to tell their story.”

IGN points out that Tew never addressed J.K. Rowling’s views or named her directly during their interview (who is she, Lord Voldemort?). Writer Luke Winkie notes that when he asked the director about Rowling, Tew “reiterated his earlier statement: That the team made Hogwarts Legacy for everyone.” For what it’s worth, IGN notes that the game’s character creator section is “broadly inclusive” and allows for “gender variance”, in which players can choose their vocal tone, body type and whether they want to be referred to as a witch or wizard in separate sliders. As in, you could choose to have breasts and be called a wizard. Hmm, wonder how they got that one past J.K. Rowling?



The Left turns on Australian of the Year, Taryn Brumfitt

It's rare that I agree with Mike Carlton but I do this time. As he did, I first said "who"? in response to hearing of the award. Although I am something of a news hound, I had never heard of her. And her name sounds like it might be a spoof so that's what I intially thought it was. The whole thing would seem to be some sort of feminist infiltration into an otherwise more reasonable awards committee

As to her claim about the inevitability of women getting fat as they get older, it is true that there is such a tendency but my partner is 74 and is still slim. But she works on it. She watches her diet and does daily exercise. Picture of her from this month below

Left wing journalist Mike Carlton has been slammed for his 'ignorance' after tweeting his low opinion of body image campaigner Taryn Brumfitt being made the 2023 Australian of the Year.

In a tweet posted after the announcement of Ms Brumfitt as the winner of the top Australia Day gong in Canberra on Wednesday night, Mr Carlton made his view of the decision known on his account with nearly 194,000 followers.

'My Australian of the Year would be a doctor or nurse working nights in intensive care or the ED, dealing with COVID and daily death. Real, compassionate work. For very little money. NOT someone who makes a buck out of saying it’s ok to be a bit fat. Good night.'

His tweet was supported by left-wing male television reporter, Paul Bongiorno, who tweeted 'Indeed' underneath Mr Carlton's post.

Brumfitt has revealed how she regularly walks around naked in front of her two sons - Oliver, 11, and Cruz, 9 - and daughter Mikaela, 8.

The former bodybuilder turned activist believes it's vital for them to know how a woman's body changes with age and insists they are all comfortable with her nudity.

'It's something I do mainly for my daughter's benefit,' she says. 'I know that, as a girl, it's especially important she sees me unclothed — it facilitates an ongoing dialogue between us about the female body, and the way it changes throughout the course of a woman's life. 'In fact, I believe that every little girl should grow up seeing her mother naked on a regular basis.'

Carlton also tweeted 'Who ? ? ?' when news of Ms Brumfitt's award first broke on Wednesday night.

But the tweets were met with a fierce response from women.

Sharna Bremner, the founder and director of End Rape on Campus Australia, tweeted in response: 'Eating disorders are the third most common illness among young women in Australia & have the highest mortality rate of all psychiatric disorders,' she posted.

'These two should be ashamed of their ignorance & s****y remarks.'


Outrage after Novak Djokovic's dad posed with fans wearing Putin's 'Z' symbol and allegedly said 'long live the Russians' in Serbian

Some background is needed to understand this. There has long been a big-brother/little-brother feeling between Russians and Serbians. Russia once started a world war in defence of Serbia. And that feeling is not going to be cancelled by Putin's great folly.

And whence free speech if that feeling is not allowed to be expressed? I have always admired the enduring Russians, even while deploring the Soviets. I also have a patriotic Serbian girlfriend so may be a bit biased because of that

image from https://i.dailymail.co.uk/1s/2023/01/27/02/66980645-11681267-Tennis_superstar_Novak_Djokovic_left_with_father_Srdjan_After_wa-a-15_1674785363102.jpg

Ukraine's ambassador to Australia has demanded Novak Djokovic's father be banned from the Australian Open after he posed for photos with fans waving Russian flags which are banned from the tournament.

Srdjan Djokovic was seen on video posing with fans waving Russian flags emblazoned with President Vladimir Putin's face on the steps of Rod Laver Arena.

He was standing next to one fan wearing a t-shirt with the Z symbol of the Russian military and appears to tell him in Serbian: 'Long live the Russians.'

The star's father was warned over his conduct by Tennis Australia bosses, but Ukraine's ambassador to Australia Vasyl Myroshnychenko has demanded he be banned from attending the Open and branded the incident 'such a disgrace.'

He wants Djokovic's father kicked out of the tournament, and at least the player's box, with an apology from his grand slam legend son.

He said allowing Djokovic's father to sit in the high-profile player's box for Friday night's semi-final against Tommy Paul would send the world the wrong message.


Shock! Church of England refuses to back same-sex marriage

This latest decision is a typical Anglican compromise -- with "blessing" ceremonies over homosexual weddings still allowed.

It is less of a compromise theologically, though: it recognizes marriage as a sacrament and denies that sacrament to homosexuals. So 2,000 years of Christian teaching are still honoured.

Cantuar's celebration of "diversity" is however both mindless and a defiance of Christ. Christ said: "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life" (Matthew 7:13-14). Not much diversity there.

"Diversity" came into vogue as part of a SCOTUS decision authorizing racial discrimination: The Bakke decision of June 1978. In current American usage, "diverse" mostly means "black"

London: The Church of England says it will allow blessings for same-sex, civil marriages for the first time but same-sex couples still will not be allowed to marry in its churches.

The decision follows five years of debate and consultation on the church’s position on sexuality. It is expected to be outlined in a report to the church’s national assembly, the General Synod, which meets in London next month.

The decision to not allow same-sex marriages follows five years of debate within the Church of England.
The decision to not allow same-sex marriages follows five years of debate within the Church of England.CREDIT:AP

Under the proposals, the Church of England’s stance that the sacrament of matrimony is restricted to unions between one man and one woman will not change.

However, same-sex couples would be able to have a church service with prayers of dedication, thanksgiving or for God’s blessing after they have a civil wedding or register a civil partnership.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in England and Wales since 2013, but the church did not change its teaching when the law changed.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Church, acknowledged that the proposals “will appear to go too far for some and not nearly far enough for others.”

“This response reflects the diversity of views in the Church of England on questions of sexuality, relationships and marriage. I rejoice in that diversity and I welcome this way of reflecting it in the life of our church,” Welby said.

“I hope it can offer a way for the Church of England, publicly and unequivocally, to say to all Christians and especially LGBTQI+ people, that you are welcome and a valued and precious part of the body of Christ,” he added.

The church said bishops plan to issue a formal apology to LGBTQ people on Friday for the “rejection, exclusion and hostility” they have felt from within the church.

It said it would issue pastoral guidance to its ministers and congregations and urge them to welcome same-sex couples “unreservedly and joyfully.”

Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell apologised for “the way LGBTQI+ people and those they love have been treated by the church which, most of all, ought to recognise everyone as precious and created in the image of God.”

“We are deeply sorry and ashamed and want to take this opportunity to begin again in the spirit of repentance which our faith teaches us,” he said. “This is not the end of that journey, but we have reached a milestone, and I hope that these prayers of love and faith can provide a way for us all to celebrate and affirm same-sex relationships.”

Cottrell said the proposals will not be “what everyone wants,” but further changes will require a legislative overhaul and there was currently no majority supporting such change.

Jayne Ozanne, a prominent campaigner for LGBTQ people in the church, said the bishops’ decision was “utterly despicable.”

“I cannot believe that five years of pain and trauma has got us here. We have had countless apologies over the years but no action to stop the harmful discrimination,” she tweeted.

The General Synod is expected to discuss the proposals in detail during its February 6 to February 9 meeting.


Low-rent behaviour by greedy landlords is feeding the rental crisis

I guess I am wasting my time commenting on the screed by the Leftist Jenna Price below but I would like to point out a few things anyhow. The key to her plaint is in the very title of her article: "Low rent".

It is absolutely true that low rent properties are often of a poor standard. Landlords who keep their properties at a high standard CANNOT AFFORD to charge low rents.

Let me give an example: In my days when I had 6 properties to rent out, I kept them all at a standard that I would myself be happy to live with. And I always brought them up to a high standard before I put them into the hands of agents

My reward for that? In one YEAR my income from one 5 bedroom house after all repairs and maintenance had been paid for was $500. And I had many thousands invested in that house. I sold it. It was an impossible investment.

It's an extreme example but costs are a big problem for a landlord and emptyheads like Jenna Price have no idea of them. So the idea that landlording is a lucrative racket is way off. Do I sound "greedy"? It's just Leftist hate-speech below.

So "you pays your money and you takes your choice". If you are ready or able to pay only low rent, you will get a property that the landlord cannot afford to keep up to a high standard. He would do his dough if he did. The rent is low BECAUSE the property is undesirable

"Forcing" the landlord to upgrade the property would almost certainly lead him to increase the rent he asks -- so he can get a return on his investment -- and that might be exactly what poor people do NOT want. It would REDUCE their options. Government "protection" can easily worsen rather than help the situation. But in her Leftist mental straitjacket, Jenna Price has not thought of that

My mother’s advice was that I should buy a house. That was 1983. That advice is no longer fine or even possible for most, Bank of Mum and Dad notwithstanding. Many mums and dads are now still paying off their own mortgages.

We were desperate to avoid increasingly rapacious landlords or their proxies, otherwise known as real estate agents. Toilets only flushed by bucket. Floorboards on the verge of perishing. Terrifyingly unpredictable electrical faults. Forty years on, stories from some renters are the same as my own.

I’ve watched generations deal with some rentals barely fit for human habitation. How long will it be before a renter sues a landlord for the harms caused by black mould or because the ceiling has fallen in because of unrelenting rain? Many landlords and agents have no interest in spending money to maintain the properties which generate their wealth. There is hardship for those who inhabit these cash castles and too many distressing cases for our collective good conscience.

Landlordism has gone wild in this country, enabled by real estate agents. The state government ignores the problem. It’s been in power since, what, 2011 and finally “outlawed” unsolicited rental bidding in November. That stops the agent from explicitly soliciting but doesn’t prevent accepting higher bids from prospective tenants.

What governments should do is ban “no grounds” evictions (code for we are getting rid of you because you can’t afford our rent increase). That’s at least a NSW Labor election promise (and one Victorian Labor has – more or less – legislated). Is the NSW government planning on anything at all after a decade? It’s like pulling teeth trying to get a commitment.

“These laws are currently under review and an announcement is expected shortly,” a spokesperson for Fair Trading tells me. Every time governments introduce the prospect of reform, vested interests go ballistic. “It will force landlords out of the market,” they may cry. “It will discourage property investors.” None of that’s happened.

We have a terrible rental crisis in this country, worsened by the slow rate of construction completions during COVID. But the real problem is this – owning investment property is a sure way to turn a profit. Landlords don’t recognise their responsibility in providing a basic human right – the right to have somewhere safe to live. Here’s the bigger problem. Most tenants only have relationships with real estate agents who rarely act in the tenants’ best interests. Their responsibility is to the landlord. No one has the best interests of tenants at heart.

An exaggeration? In August last year, one real estate agency bragged about its biggest rent increase of the week. It later apologised because it was sprung for bad behaviour. In October, another agency urged landlords to consider raising rents by more than 20 per cent.

Ask around for rental stories: homes which can’t be locked, gas leaks, water leaks from baths, showers, toilets, broken windows, mould, faulty wiring, ovens which never work, not even on day one, no insulation. Comedian Mark Humphries tweeted he was in his second-straight rental property where the owner refused to bear the cost of connecting to the NBN. A reminder that improvements to the property remain with the property, owned by the landlord.

Then we’ve got the behaviour of the agents. Readers have supplied horrific examples of rudeness, of refusal to respond to urgent requests and, creepily, of agents wandering around the rental property taking photos willy-nilly. Contracts professor at the University of Melbourne Katy Barnett says renters have a right to be worried.

“I doubt agents are even considering privacy concerns,” she says. Sure, you can ask how the photos are stored and how long they’ll be kept for but if someone can’t get back to you about your broken toilet, doubt you’ll be getting a response on privacy breaches.

One in three Australians rent. The rules which surround renting are wafty as. It should be a scandal but states and territories are clearly beholden to Big Landlord (and federal governments are sadly cowed by the “negative gearing is my wealth right” crew).

Michael Fotheringham, managing director of the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, says rental vacancies are the lowest they’ve been in 20 years. A three per cent vacancy rate is healthy. Right now, it’s about one and a bit. Queues at opens are right out the door.

Complaints to the NSW Tenants Union have doubled in 12 months. Complaints to Fair Trading have increased by 10 per cent in 12 months. But complaint numbers mean little – most tenants are too terrified to complain in case they get booted. As NSW Tenants Union CEO Leo Patterson Ross says, consumers can’t do the enforcement themselves. That should be an independent third party (also promised by NSW Labor but let’s see if it can stand up to Big Landlord).

Landlords are addicted to profits and not to a sustainable housing model. OK, #notalllandlords but too many to mention. They don’t get to face the heartbreak of the people who make their money for them. Landlords didn’t get into the business to provide a basic human right, they did it to make money. And that’s our problem right there.


A racist medical regulator?

Rubbish! It is easy to cry "racism" when a minority person suffers harm but the facts in the case below mainly suggest a communication breakdown and the doctor concerned was unfairly treated.

The authorities in the matter of Aboriginal Miss Dhu were not negligent. Seeing that she was ill, they took her to hospital several times. The doctors however had difficulty finding what was wrong, not because of ill-will but because of the characteristic difficulty Aborigines have in communicating with whites.

For instance, it is a reflexive custom for Aborigines to say what they think their questioner wants to hear. So a question such as "Are you OK now?" would get a Yes reply even if such a reply were inaccurate.

And it does appear that her repeated unsuccessful visits to hospital had made the guards impatient and suspicious, which is why they were a bit rough with her towards the end but which is also an understandable response in the circumstances.

Clearly, nobody was aware of the difficulties that communication with Aborigines can pose. So if there are any lessons to be learned it is to improve that understanding, either by employing experienced Aboriginal intermediaries or by having all staff trained by people who really know Aborigines and their culture well. It really is an art.

I note that the doctor who saw her was from India. That could well have amplified the communication difficulties. One often hears of problems arising from a "communication breakdown" but this would appear to be a particularly unfortunate example of it

The doctor who declared a young Indigenous woman fit for police custody shortly before her death was almost cleared of professional misconduct by the national healthcare regulator, in what insiders say is one example of systemic racism within the organisation.

Noongar woman Hannah McGlade, a former board member at the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), is one of those concerned about the case and said she was speaking out to draw attention to “double standards” in the way Indigenous patients and practitioners were treated.
Former AHPRA board member Hannah McGlade has accused the national healthcare regulator of racism.

Former AHPRA board member Hannah McGlade has accused the national healthcare regulator of racism. Credit:Tony McDonough

McGlade resigned from AHPRA about five months ago after an unsatisfactory response when she raised concerns internally. She is now calling for reform, including the implementation of a separate investigation process for medical complaints involving Indigenous people.

“Aboriginal people are dying in this country because of racism in healthcare,” McGlade said. “AHPRA has a long way to go in addressing its own culture of racism.”

The allegations come after The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald revealed this week that AHPRA is grappling with ongoing claims of bullying, a “toxic” workplace culture and pressure to work through a backlog of complaints that investigators fear is putting the public at risk.

AHPRA chiefs declined an interview on Tuesday, but a spokesman said the organisation was half-way through implementing a strategy to improve the system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

McGlade was the only Indigenous representative on AHPRA’s national medical board during the regulator’s investigation into the medical treatment of Dhu, a 22-year-old Indigenous woman who died in police custody in South Hedland, Western Australia, in 2014.

The death of Dhu, whose first name has been withheld for cultural reasons, triggered national protests and debate around institutionalised racism.

After being arrested and detained for unpaid fines, Dhu complained about pain and was taken to the hospital where her symptoms were dismissed as exaggerated or faked.

One treating doctor involved in assessing her, Vafa Naderi, failed to check her vitals or order an X-ray but instead noted “behavioural issues” and declared her fit for police custody.

The 2016 coronial inquiry would later find an early prescription of antibiotics to treat her broken rib, which had become infected, could have saved her life, and the doctors had made judgments based on preconceived ideas about Indigenous people.

However, when AHPRA conducted its own investigation into Naderi, an independent expert found while his conduct was unprofessional, it did not constitute professional misconduct, according to McGlade. There was disagreement between AHPRA boards about how to proceed. A legal firm was prepared to accept the expert’s advice, and pursue lighter disciplinary action, until McGlade intervened.

“I was the only member of the medical board who said: ‘This is not right. His conduct was so serious, it contributed to the death of a young woman. This is professional misconduct’,” McGlade said in rare public comments on AHPRA’s board deliberations.

McGlade had challenged the board and AHPRA’s commitment to reconciliation and had been asked to leave the room, accused of having a conflict of interest because she was Aboriginal, she said. But McGlade persisted and eventually persuaded the board to push for harsher action.

“It took the only Aboriginal person with a backbone to say – is that fair? Is that the right decision?” she said.

AHPRA ultimately referred Naderi to the WA State Administrative Tribunal and in June last year, Naderi was fined $30,000 – the highest penalty available under the law.

But he was not deregistered, nor were the nurses involved in Dhu’s treatment, who similarly failed to take her concerns seriously.

“That doctor got a slap on the wrist and he was still working,” said Dhu’s grandmother, Carol Roe, who gave permission for Dhu’s image to be used.

“My granddaughter was in agony. They should have looked after her, treated her with respect.”

A spokesman for AHPRA did not respond to questions about McGlade’s comments or penalties for the nurses who treated Dhu, but said her death “demonstrates the serious and tragic consequences of racism in our health and justice system”, and highlighted the regulator’s work to penalise Naderi.


The Conundrum of Measuring Authoritarianism: A Case Study in Political Bias

By Thomas H. Costello

In the book "Toward a Science of Clinical Psychology" pp 395–411

Costello is a younger researcher. He received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Emory University in 2022. So he is in a good position to trash the work of his elders. And does he trash it! There is much to trash. In my 20-year research career from 1970 to 1990, I trashed it often. Costello does cite one of my iconoclastic papers. In the final words of his chapter, he summarizes the research field concerned as "interesting noise". I concur.

I won't attempt to summarize the chapter. It is an extremely thorough coverage of the issues in political psychology research. Psychologists are overwhelminhgly Left-leaning and the characteristic Leftist predilection to be believe only what they want to beieve has emerged strongly when they have studied political psychology. Costello sets out ably the ideological biases in their work. He shows that to the extent that you remove the bias you are left with no firm conclusions at all.

He has a major focus on what is still a beloved piece of political psychology research: "The authoritarian Personality" by Adorno et al. Practically every claim in that book has been shown to be faulty but its conclusions -- that it is conservatives who are authoritarian, not Communists -- is just too delicious to abandon.

But I doubt that Costello will influence any political psychologists much. Leftism is usually deeply entrenched in the personality so facts and logic are not going to shake that much

Costello's work is a great contrast with the paper by Kranebitter & Gruber that I mentioned recently. Kranebitter & Gruber treat with respect precisely what Costello has shown to be rubbish. Leftists never learn

The Abstract to this book chapter rather undersells it. Perhaps it has to:


In this chapter, I review key conceptual and methodological sources of bias in psychological measurement, emphasizing those with particular relevance to political phenomena and providing relevant examples of measurement bias in political psychological research. I then review the case of authoritarianism, which until recently was predominantly assessed among political conservatives. This emphasis on right-wing authoritarianism and the paucity of research concerning left-wing authoritarianism have led to widespread conceptual obstacles to understanding the psychological underpinnings of authoritarianism, illustrating the degree to which measurement bias has key implications for theory development and testing. In closing, I provide several recommendations for reducing political bias in psychological measurement.

There were 5 years warmer than 2022

Since the global temperature peaked in 2016, the temperature has been essentially flat. Global stasis! Yet CO2 continues to rise -- showing that it is at best a minor influence on temperature

NASA, NOAA and the UK Met Office have released the global temperature for 2022, showing it to be a warm year, ranked sixth warmest year. It was subdued, the researchers say, because we have had the third consecutive year of La Nina conditions.

The announcement was accompanied with the usual proviso that the past nine years were the warmest recorded. But anyone thinking about the claims and numbers should also look behind the headlines.

Fig 1 shows the global temperature anomaly this century: blue is HadCRUT5, Orange is NASA and grey is NOAA.

image from https://www.netzerowatch.com/content/uploads/2023/01/Global-2048x1086.jpg

What is quite apparent is that the global temperature record in the 21st century spends long periods relatively flat. The so-called hiatus, for instance, lasted from circa 2001 and 2013 and was ended by a very strong El Nino. Since then there has been another period of relatively unchanging temperature. Noticeable increases in temperature occur in the lead-in to an El Nino, such as the increase of approx. 0.3°C between 2011-2015.

The stepwise influence of El Nino events on the long-term trends seems very apparent. It was the strong El Nino of 1998 that marked the jump of global temperature to the hiatus, and the 2015 El Nino may have done the same.



The Catholic Church must free itself from this ‘toxic nightmare’

Shortly before he died recently, Cardinal George Pell wrote the following article under the above heading in which he denounced the Vatican’s plans for its forthcoming ‘Synod on Synodality’ as a ‘toxic nightmare’.

I am not a Catholic but I did think enough of Catholicism to send my son to a Catholic school. So I have considerable sympathy for what Pell wrote below. He is plainly an unapologetic advocate for traditional Catholic teaching

What he is up against is the South American "liberation theology" that Pope Francis brought with him to the Vatican. It is neo-Marxist claptrap that now seems to be spreading throughout the church. One can only hope that Francis soon fades from the scene one way or another. He is very infirm

The Catholic Synod of Bishops is now busy constructing what they think of as ‘God’s dream’ of synodality. Unfortunately this divine dream has developed into a toxic nightmare despite the bishops’ professed good intentions.

They have produced a 45-page booklet which presents its account of the discussions of the first stage of ‘listening and discernment’, held in many parts of the world, and it is one of the most incoherent documents ever sent out from Rome.

While we thank God that Catholic numbers around the globe, especially in Africa and Asia are increasing, the picture is radically different in Latin America with losses to the Protestants as well as the secularists.

With no sense of irony, the document is entitled ‘Enlarge the Space of Your Tent’, and the aim of doing so is to accommodate, not the newly baptised —those who have answered the call to repent and believe — but anyone who might be interested enough to listen. Participants are urged to be welcoming and radically inclusive: ‘No one is excluded’.

The document does not urge even the Catholic participants to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:16-20), much less to preach the Saviour in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2).

The first task for everyone and especially the teachers, is to listen in the Spirit. According to this recent update of the good news, ‘synodality’ as a way of being for the Church is not to be defined, but just to be lived. It revolves around five creative tensions, starting from radical inclusion and moving towards mission in a participatory style, practicing ‘co-responsibility with other believers and people of good will’. Difficulties are acknowledged, such as war, genocide and the gap between clergy and laity, but all can be sustained, say the Bishops, by a lively spirituality.

The image of the Church as an expanding tent with the Lord at its centre comes from Isaiah, and the point of it is to emphasise that this expanding tent is a place where people are heard and not judged, not excluded.

So we read that the people of God need new strategies; not quarrels and clashes but dialogue, where the distinction between believers and unbelievers is rejected. The people of God must actually listen, it insists, to the cry of the poor and of the earth.

Because of differences of opinion on abortion, contraception, the ordination of women to the priesthood and homosexual activity, some felt that no definitive positions on these issues can be established or proposed. This is also true of polygamy, and divorce and remarriage.

However the document is clear on the special problem of the inferior position of women and the dangers of clericalism, although the positive contribution of many priests is acknowledged.

What is one to make of this potpourri, this outpouring of New Age good will? It is not a summary of Catholic faith or New Testament teaching. It is incomplete, hostile in significant ways to the apostolic tradition and nowhere acknowledges the New Testament as the Word of God, normative for all teaching on faith and morals. The Old Testament is ignored, patriarchy rejected and the Mosaic Law, including the Ten Commandments, is not acknowledged.

Two points can be made initially. The two final synods in Rome in 2023 and ’24 will need to clarify their teaching on moral matters, as the Relator (chief writer and manager) Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich has publicly rejected the basic teachings of the Church on sexuality, on the grounds that they contradict modern science. In normal times this would have meant that his continuing as Relator was inappropriate, indeed impossible.

The synods have to choose whether they are servants and defenders of the apostolic tradition on faith and morals, or whether their discernment compels them to assert their sovereignty over Catholic teaching. They must decide whether basic teachings on things like priesthood and morality can be parked in a pluralist limbo where some choose to redefine sins downwards and most agree to differ respectfully.

Outside the synod, discipline is loosening – especially in Northern Europe, where a few bishops have not been rebuked, even after asserting a bishop’s right to dissent; a de facto pluralism already exists more widely in some parishes and religious orders on things like blessing homosexual activity.

Diocesan bishops are the successors of the apostles, the chief teacher in each diocese and the focus of local unity for their people and of universal unity around the Pope, the successor of Peter. Since the time of St Irenaeus of Lyon, the bishop is also the guarantor of continuing fidelity to Christ’s teaching, the apostolic tradition. They are governors and sometimes judges, as well as teachers and sacramental celebrants, and are not just wall flowers or rubber stamps.

‘Enlarge the Tent’ is alive to the failings of bishops, who sometimes do not listen, have autocratic tendencies and can be clericalist and individualist. There are signs of hope, of effective leadership and cooperation, but the document opines that pyramid models of authority should be destroyed and the only genuine authority comes from love and service. Baptismal dignity is to be emphasised, not ministerial ordination and governance styles should be less hierarchical and more circular and participative.

The main actors in all Catholic synods (and councils) and in all Orthodox synods have been the bishops. In a gentle, cooperative way this should be asserted and put into practice at the continental synods so that pastoral initiatives remain within the limits of sound doctrine. Bishops are not there simply to validate due process and offer a ‘nihil obstat’ to what they have observed.

None of the synod’s participants, lay, religious, priest or bishop are well served by the synod ruling that voting is not allowed and propositions cannot be proposed. To pass on only the organising committee’s views to the Holy Father for him to do as he decides is an abuse of synodality, a sidelining of the bishops, which is unjustified by scripture or tradition. It is not due process and is liable to manipulation.

By an enormous margin, regularly worshipping Catholics everywhere do not endorse the present synod findings. Neither is there much enthusiasm at senior Church levels. Continued meetings of this sort deepen divisions and a knowing few can exploit the muddle and good will. The ex-Anglicans among us are right to identify the deepening confusion, the attack on traditional morals and the insertion into the dialogue of neo-Marxist jargon about exclusion, alienation, identity, marginalisation, the voiceless, LGBTQ as well as the displacement of Christian notions of forgiveness, sin, sacrifice, healing, redemption. Why the silence on the afterlife of reward or punishment, on the four last things; death and judgement, heaven and hell?

So far the synodal way has neglected, indeed downgraded the Transcendent, covered up the centrality of Christ with appeals to the Holy Spirit and encouraged resentment, especially among participants.

Working documents are not part of the magisterium. They are one basis for discussion; to be judged by the whole people of God and especially by the bishops with and under the Pope. This working document needs radical changes. The bishops must realise that there is work to be done, in God’s name, sooner rather than later.


Andrew Tate does offer something that many men need

Sadly. And going easy on the feminist hate speech about men would help to moderate his appeal. Nobody likes to feel hated and despised, including men. Tate is a response to anti-man hate. He throws the contempt back. And those who see themselves as victims of a feminized society like that

Unless you’ve been hiding under a pile of unrecycled pizza boxes for the past month, you’ll no doubt be wearily familiar with the name Andrew Tate. At the time of writing, the 36-year-old former kickboxer remains in custody in Romania, after being arrested alongside his brother as part of an investigation into human trafficking, rape and organised crime. But despite the horror of his alleged offences, it’s Tate’s public position as an influencer and internet personality that has sparked concern across the UK.

As far as both sexists and grifters go, Tate is audaciously honest about his game: as well as describing himself as “absolutely a misogynist”, he can also be found on camera admitting that the brothers’ webcam business – in which models take calls from fans in exchange for money – is a “total scam”. He claims that victims of sexual assault should “bear responsibility” for their attacks, that women are men’s property, and so on; views that are becoming so popular among boys that many schools are now hosting special assemblies to try and tackle them. In some ways this can be viewed as the endgame of the Trump era, where traditional right-wing dog whistles have been replaced with explicit calls to bigotry and violence.

Where Tate’s philosophy is more insidious – and where he arguably shares an allyship with other lifestyle influencers who might publicly baulk at the comparison – is in what it claims to offer the young men who encounter it. You know the one: the capitalist wet dream that tells men that they too can amass a collection of sports cars, supermodels and tedious podcast appearances if they just follow the advice of the magic bald man – at a price, naturally.

Ali Ross is an existential psychotherapist who often speaks to men struggling to find their place in the world. Despite the aggressive language of such influencers, he believes that what makes them so appealing to men isn’t just the invective, but the comforting message that sits at the heart of their narratives: it’s not your fault. “The reason why men connect with what people like Tate are saying is because they’re feeling disenfranchised and misunderstood,” he explains. “But like many men, they don’t know how to be vulnerable, how to review their choices or take responsibility for their lives.”

Even weapons-grade shade like Greta Thunberg’s isn’t likely to change the minds of their acolytes, but instead often reinforces the idea that the other side – in this case, essentially, left-wing women – are hostile and threatening. Whether the promise is money, fame or happiness, self-appointed “alpha male” influencers like Tate offer vulnerable young men a hand on the shoulder (“no homo, obviously”) when they perceive the Thunbergs of the world to be offering a barrage of slaps to the face.

When the thing you need most in the world is to hear someone say that they feel your pain, that becomes an addictive drug that influencers are keen to peddle. In fact, it’s essential for the scam to work. Ross explains: “When you have somebody saying, ‘It’s not your fault, it’s the system, men need to go back to their true primitive role,’ it invites the suggestion that there is certainty; that there’s something men are supposed to be and supposed to do.”

Being understood takes away some of that rage

Generational divide is a key storytelling facet of almost every corner of the “manosphere”, the loose web of right-wing, acronym-obsessed groups who oppose feminism and claim to advocate for men – these include MRAs (Men’s Rights Activists), MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way), PUAs (Pick-Up Artists), and incels (involuntary celibates). As they tell it, men were once “real men”, who stalked the earth in an unspecified halcyon era of masculine dominance, chain-smoking cigars and coming home to subservient, family-oriented wives who also understood their place in the world.

While many men may feel confused about how to express their identity within the complex framework of masculinity today, the conservative fantasy that older generations were happy and secure in their roles remains a potent myth. “In fact, if you ask men of a generation or two further back who are willing to be open and honest, a lot of them didn’t actually have very happy relationships being in that clear fixed role,” Ross says. He cites Willy Loman, the protagonist in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, as an example of the lives that frequently played out behind closed doors: “He’s utterly miserable, but determined to be the provider, this embodiment of the American dream. And it’s killing him.”

Part of what can make MRA narratives so appealing is that they acknowledge the rates of depression, suicide and incarceration in men – figures which are real and terrifying – but then weave a fictitious global conspiracy around them. Tate occasionally talks, in paranoid terms, of “the matrix” coming to get him, implying an Illuminati-style conspiracy in which the world is neatly divided into heroic truth-tellers (such as the ones who throw money at bored-looking women in bizarrely low-budget rap videos) and the shady liberal elite who want to silence them.

With that in mind, the most powerful weapon in our arsenal remains our compassion. “That’s where therapy can come in so well: to help people recognise that uncertainty is a part of being alive,” Ross says. “You don’t have a role, and even if someone does prescribe a role to you, there’s nothing to say that’s going to fit you just because of your sex or gender. It is actually down to you, so let’s look at what you actually want for yourself.”

It’s also going to require men speaking to other men about their feelings, as daunting as that prospect may be. School interventions are a great idea, but maybe we need to be taking a more proactive approach to offer that hand on the shoulder from our educators – before the millionaire grifters get to them first. Let’s shout it louder, for the people at the back, that the patriarchy hurts men too, and the twin goals of feminism and men’s mental health can and should be working to uplift each other. They’re not in competition.

The battle won’t be won on the soft liberal platform of hugs and therapy alone. It’s vital that misogyny is called out and fought wherever it’s encountered, and not always in polite, hand-wringing niceties. But if there’s to be any hope of pulling young men back from the brink of perpetually viewing women as the enemy of their wealth and happiness, it’s going to take earlier and kinder interventions too.

“In being vulnerable with men as another man, it helps to show them that it’s possible to be emotional, and that there is something beautiful and courageous about being vulnerable, rather than believing you’ve got it all figured out and it’s just the system that’s not giving you the space to flourish,” Ross says. “Being understood takes away some of that rage; it makes them feel connected and even loved. I would like to think that when people experience love in the face of feeling overlooked or misunderstood, their venom dissipates.”


Are private school fees worth it?

The discussion below is fairly reasonable but omits a lot and is too generalized.

What it omits are the SOCIAL as distinct from the educational advantages of a private schooling. Pupils tend to form lasting friendships from their school days and the friends from private school are often VERY advantageous.

And while private schooling may not greatly help every pupil it can be very advantageous as an escape hatch from a bad government school. The latter point is mentioned but needs emphasis

The experience of overseas travel, a new family car or 12 months’ tuition at a top Sydney school?

Private school fees breaking through the $45,000 a year barrier, as reported by this masthead last week, will leave some parents weighing up what is the tangible value of an elite education if it means trade-offs in other areas.

University of New England lecturer in education Sally Larsen said the difference in academic performance of students at public and private schools was negligible.

“There’s no difference in primary school, and it’s just a segregation effect in high school, where kids from more wealthy families are being funnelled into private schools,” she said.

Glenn Fahey, director of the education program at the Centre for Independent Studies, said there was little overall value added from a non-government education once students’ backgrounds, including socioeconomic status, were accounted for.

“What the data tells us is that students’ backgrounds, largely parental education and employment status, make a big difference,” he said.

But Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research associate professor Greg Marks said there were some tangible benefits in terms of ATAR scores for students who attend a private school.

“There is an incremental benefit, beyond that of socioeconomic status, of going to a private school, to an independent school, followed by Catholic schools, followed by government schools,” he said. “Top ATAR students often come from private schools, and they tend to get into university more, which makes a big difference to employment and lifetime income.”

Marks’ research in Victoria found that students who went to a private school achieved an ATAR rank five or six points higher than those who went to a public school.

He attributed this discrepancy to standards of teaching, discipline and a subculture of strong academic performance.

“I think in private schools, they teach at a higher standard and pitch the lessons at a higher standard so that kids are expected to reach them and therefore do,” he said. “There’s probably more of a subculture of doing well at school, and if kids are causing problems, they can get expelled.”

Marks said while the data was sparse, private school students tended to experience less unemployment, earn higher incomes and hold higher status jobs. But he also said it largely stemmed from the benefits of getting a university degree, and that paying a premium for a private school education would not benefit students of different abilities in the same way.

“Ability is quite stable, so if your kid is a top performer or isn’t going to do very well, sending them to a private school won’t make much of a difference and probably will not be worth $45,000,” he said. “For kids in the middle to top of the class, it might give them a bit of a boost to their ATAR to go to a private or selective school, which would make a difference getting into a prestigious course at university.”

While there are some international studies that show private schools can also benefit students in terms of a “peer effect”, Larsen said that impact was probably “smaller than people think,” and that the cost of private school wasn’t worth its benefits.

“The school sector that kids go into is one factor among many that help to explain where they get academically and socially,” she said. “Personally, I don’t think the benefits justify the costs.”

Marks said that eschewing a private school education and investing the money elsewhere could be better for some people, but rejected the idea of spending it on things such as overseas trips.

“There’s a reasonable argument to put the money that you would have used in the bank and get a return on that,” he said. “But taking them on trips overseas to give them ‘life training’ doesn’t make sense.”

In a Centre for Independent Studies survey of more than 1000 parents, those who chose a government school were more likely to indicate that they would have made a different choice (43 per cent) if it weren’t for the cost than parents who chose a Catholic school (30 per cent).

Redfern resident Maria Vlezko saw an immediate improvement when she moved her daughter from a public school to the International Grammar School in Glebe two years ago.

“I was highly dissatisfied with her old school,” she said. “Kids weren’t receiving as much attention in class, they got teased by other children if they did well and my daughter became very uninterested in school.”

Vlezko said the extracurricular offerings and multicultural component of Anastasia’s school were important factors in her decision to move towards private schooling.

“There’s music, drama, chess, coding, and there are kids from lots of different backgrounds, which aligns with my values and how I want my kids to grow up,” she said. “It’s an investment in our children’s future, and we only have one chance.”

Despite cost of living pressures, Vlezko said the fees of nearly $30,000 a year were worth it for 11-year-old Anastasia.

“There was massive progress straight away,” she said. “Teachers were easy to reach, they identified Anastasia’s strengths and areas for improvement straight away, and she made lots of friends with the same interests who help each other with lessons. It’s worth the sacrifice for us.”


Push for more male teachers fails to increase numbers

False accusations against male teachers by female students have been badly handled in the past and few potential male teachers would be unaware of that. Being a male teacher is simply risky. Feminist demands to "believe the woman" are a part of that problem.

And it's a pity. My son had male mathematics teachers in his private High School and it inspired him to major in mathematics for his B.Sc.

Indemnifying male teachers against all the costs of false accusations might help

There has been no increase in the number of male teachers in public school classrooms, despite a push by the NSW Department of Education targeting them for recruitment into the profession more than four years ago.

Education experts said boys and girls benefit from more male teachers in schools because they were less likely to have stereotypical views about traditional gender roles, but recruiting men into a female-dominated field where teacher pay tops out after about 10 years is difficult.

The proportion of males employed in the public school system remained stagnant over the past four years, falling slightly from 23 per cent in 2018 to 22 per cent last year, according to the latest Department of Education data.

Numbers were steady despite the department’s diversity and inclusion strategy 2018-2022 which included an “obligation to address the gender imbalance in our teaching population, attracting and retaining more male teachers”.

The department’s latest move to draw more men into the profession was to use male teachers in social media advertisements and deploy them at careers fairs.

“High school careers advisers are also encouraged to promote work experience placements in government schools to male students,” a department spokesman said.

Data from the Universities Admissions Centre shows just 210 graduating year 12 schoolboys put primary school teaching as their first preference for university study this year.

That figure, which does not include students who applied directly to universities, is a 24 per cent decrease on the year before and is the lowest number recorded in the past seven years.

Schools across all sectors are grappling with chronic teacher shortages, with the federal government projecting a shortage of more than 4000 secondary school teachers by 2025. A national plan to address the shortage was released last month.

Independent researcher Dr Kevin McGrath, who has investigated the gender composition of the teaching workforce in Australia, said the pandemic and a workforce shortage had made it harder to attract and retain male teachers.

“Men benefit from a broad range of occupational choice in Australia which provides opportunities to avoid particular types of work and to seek out employment that provides more flexibility,” McGrath said.

Salaries for NSW teachers start at $73,737, and hit a maximum of $117,060 if they are accredited as a “highly accomplished” or “lead” teacher. Pay jumps to $126,528 if they take on more responsibilities and become an assistant principal.

“Male teachers face a greater opportunity cost for choosing a female-dominated profession, compounded by potential negative perceptions or ridicule for doing work performed predominantly by women,” McGrath said.

Research indicated that in schools with fewer male teachers, students tended to hold more stereotypical views of gender than in schools where male and female teachers were equally represented, he said.

University of Tasmania school of education lecturer Dr Vaughan Cruickshank said male teachers worked in a predominantly female environment and could struggle to find common interests with their female peers. He also said salary, low professional status, as well as fear and uncertainty about physical contact put men off becoming teachers.

A breakdown of the proportion of male teachers in primary and secondary schools for 2022 is not yet available, but last year men constituted 18 per cent of primary school teachers and 40 per cent of the teaching workforce in high school.

Private schools fare no better when it comes to attracting men, where male teachers made up 20 per cent of primary school teachers and 40 per cent of secondary school teachers.

“The percentage of male teachers in NSW independent schools has not changed significantly in recent years,” Association of Independent Schools of NSW chief executive Margery Evans said.


Education Department pushing for number of schools teaching First Nations languages to exceed 100

What a waste of effort! What does it achieve? Very undesirable if it derails students from learning a European language such as German, French and Italian. That would cut them off from vast cultural heritage. I have gained hugely from my studies of German and Italian

The Department of Education is pushing to increase the number of Queensland state schools teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and more than a hundred state schools are primed to jump on-board in the coming years.

According to the most recent department data, current as of February 2022, only five state schools teach First Nations languages – Mabel Park State High School in Logan, Mossman State School in the Far North, and Tagai State College’s three campuses in the Torres Strait.

However, in early 2022, the Department of Education launched a dedicated program to help schools with extra resourcing in co-designing and delivering First Nations languages.

“In 2022, 44 state schools have reported that they are working collaboratively with Language Owners to teach 26 different Aboriginal language or Torres Strait Islander language in their schools,” a Department of Education spokesman said.

“Demand for teaching an Aboriginal language or Torres Strait Islander language is increasing. Currently, a further 113 state schools are in the early stages of developing a program to teach an Aboriginal language or Torres Strait Islander language.”

University of Queensland Associate Professor Marnee Shay has done extensive research on Indigenous education in her role as an academic. She is an Aboriginal woman with connections to Wagiman Country in the Northern Territory and Indigenous communities in South East Queensland.

“Many Indigenous leaders and education advocates have been championing the inclusion of Indigenous language and culture in the curriculum for many years now. It has been slow, but we finally see change and commitment at a policy level,” she said.

“As an Aboriginal person who was denied the opportunity to speak my language, I think it is excellent that the Department has made a policy commitment to increasing the number of schools teaching First Nations languages.

“Having Indigenous language as part of the curriculum at their school is identity-affirming for Indigenous students. “For non-indigenous students, it is an opportunity to learn not only the language, but the history and culture of the people who have been here for tens of thousands of years.”

However, Professor Shay said there are not enough First Nations language teachers. “We have Elders and community people that might have the knowledge and skills to teach language, but this is not always recognised by the system, which often requires people to hold university degrees,” she said.

“Indigenous people must be involved in the teaching of our own languages. You can’t teach language without culture – Indigenous people are the best people to be teaching this.

“Expanding the number [of schools teaching First Nations languages] is important, but not at the expense of process and cultural protocol – which can take time.”

All state schools are required to teach a language from at least Years 5 to 8. The four dominant languages in state schools are Japanese, French, Chinese and German.

The Department of Education spokesman said schools looking to teach Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages are advised to gain permission from local community elders first, and work closely with them in designing the program.


Migration increase should be directly tied to population growth, business says

Immigration is in principle beneficial but both the quality of the immmigrant and the readiness of the economy to receive him/her is a big question in deciding if there is in fact a net benefit from it.

Allowing immigration of parasitical Muslim "refugees" is a clear mistake and failing to build sufficient housing for the new arrivals is also limiting. The proposals below glide over such issues

Permanent migration into Australia should automatically rise each year as a percentage of the nation’s population, with the current cap boosted from 195,000 to 220,000 for the next two years, business argues.

The Business Council of Australia is also calling for employers to be allowed to bring in any skilled worker from overseas for jobs with an annual salary above the average wage, currently $92,000 a year, and to make it easier for temporary visa holders to gain permanent residency.

In its submission to the federal government’s migration review, the BCA is urging a post-pandemic “reset” to migration policy, warning that without major reform Australia risks missing out in the global fight for talent.

“Australia should aim for a reset on migration that not only attracts migrants back to our shores and tackles workforce shortages, but also helps set the country up as a high productivity, high-skill and high-wage frontier economy,” the submission says.

“The system as it stands is highly complex and has become increasingly unattractive for skilled migrants and their employers.

“Short-term two-year temporary skills shortage visas with no pathway to permanent residency do not encourage experienced workers and their families,” it says. “And eligibility for skilled migration is restricted by outdated and inflexible occupational lists.”

The BCA highlights the significant impact migration can have on the economic fortunes of the country, saying the net loss of around 450,000 temporary and permanent immigrants to Australia during the pandemic is projected to cost the economy $55bn a year in economic output and $17bn in government revenues.

It proposes a significant increase in migration, arguing more new migrants will be a social and economic boon as they help fill the current significant skills gap, offset the ageing population and bring in expertise in industries of the future.

“To give certainty for long-term planning, the government should consider setting Australia’s permanent migration intake at a percentage of the total population over the long term,” the submission says. “This government should also provide a four-year ‘look ahead’ for permanent migration numbers, in line with typical government budget cycles.”

The BCA also reiterates its call at Anthony Albanese’s jobs and skills summit last September for an uplift to permanent migration in the next two financial years to 220,000 from the current 195,000, recommending that 70 per cent of the places be allocated to the skilled migrant stream. The submission notes Canada’s migration policy aims to take just over one per cent of its population across the next three years. Australia’s current 195,000 a year is about 0.75 per cent.

“Australia faces stiff competition as a migrant destination from other advanced economies that are also experiencing severe skills and labour shortages,” it says.

The size of the permanent migration program is determined by the federal government each year. It was reduced by the previous Coalition government from around 190,000 in the years prior to 2016-17 to 160,000, citing population pressures in the big cities, and hit a record low in the first pandemic year when 140,000 permanent migrants were accepted.

The Albanese government bolstered the 2022-23 intake to 195,000 to alleviate skills shortages in areas like healthcare and technology.

“Migration is an easy scapegoat for lack of infrastructure delivery and poor planning, but it is too important for us to continue down this path,” the BCA says.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil announced the review of the migration system in November, saying it would “focus on enhancing Australia’s productivity and providing businesses with the skilled workers they need, while assisting migrants to build new and prosperous lives in Australia”.

“The review will also address some of the challenges facing Australia, including our ageing population, climate change and emerging technology,” she said.

After the release of the federal government’s population statement last week, which found Australia’s is likely to be around one million fewer than expected by 2030 as a result of the pandemic, Jim Chalmers said increased migration was just one of a number of tools available to fix the nation’s significant workforce shortages.

“Migration has been a secret to our success as a country, making us more dynamic and more lively, strengthening our society and economy,” the Treasurer said.

“(But) lifting the migration cap alone won’t fix the challenges we face in the long term. We need to invest in our people and the productive capacity of our economy.”

BCA chief executive officer Jennifer Westacott told The Australian reforming the skills and migration systems in Australia had “never been more important”.

“A properly functioning migration system will be critical to attracting the skills we need to build new industries, develop new ideas, innovate across the economy and deliver a new wave of prosperity for Australians,” he said. “The right workers with the right skills get key projects and investments off the ground. You can’t employ hundreds of Australians on a construction job if you don’t have a surveyor and you can’t deliver an infrastructure pipeline without engineers.”

The BCA submission calls for the current requirement for both temporary and permanent employer-sponsored visas to match a skilled occupation list to be removed and replaced with open eligibility for jobs with a salary above average earnings, currently $92,000 a year.

It also proposes “streamlining” the current labour market testing that is required of employers before they sponsor a skilled migrant, saying there should still be “an onus on businesses that benefits from skilled migrants to demonstrate they are giving the first opportunity to suitably qualified Australian workers”.

“Skilled migration must remain a complement, not a substitute, for training and hiring Australians,” it says.

The submission proposes smoother pathways to permanent residency for temporary migrants on work visas, such as cutting the time period for sponsored employment.


Allowing for Ambiguity in the Social Sciences: Else Frenkel-Brunswik’s methodological practice in "The Authoritarian Personality"

As I have had around a hundred research papers published in the academic journals in this subject area, I suppose I should comment on this rather nauseating bit of hagiography under the above title by Andreas Kranebitter and Fabian Gruber

Frenkel-Brunswik was one of a mid-20th century group of far-Leftist American Jews who loathed the society they lived in and were dedicated to denigrating it. How did they do that? In a nutshell, they portrayed American conservatives as potential Nazis. American Leftists still do that.

The hilarity was that they wrote in 1950, when mainstream Americans had just been instrumental in wiping out the regime of the "National SOCIALIST German Workers party" (the Nazis) and that the "Union of Soviet SOCIALIST Republics" (the USSR) was the big authoritarian threat of the day.

So it was clearly then -- as now -- that socialism that was the big authoritarian beast in real life. It is intrinsic to socialists that they want to tell other people what to do and to rely on coercion if they cannot get their way by voluntary co-operation. If that is not authoritarianism what would be?

So how did Frenkel-Brunswik and her collaborators place the mark of the beast on American conservatives? What had American conservatives done to deserve such denigration?

Basically, nothing. F-B and her colleagues worked up a Freudian theory about what underlay authoritarianism and tried to show that American conservatives displayed the psychological characteristics concerned. There was NO MENTION of socialism as the major source of authoritarianism

They demonstrated their claims in two prime ways, by subjective interviews with educated Californians and by distributing questionnaires that encompassed what the authors thought were authoritarian attitudes.

Amusingly, Pflaum's work showed that their alleged list of "authoritarian" attitudes were simply mainstream American beliefs of the prewar "progressive" era. So their theories did in fact point to progressivism as authoritarian -- not what they intended at all. So their work was a major sociological failure.

But what they showed does coincide with what we know of political history in the first half of the 20th century -- the American "progressive" era. It was an unshamedly racist and antisemitic era. So it is no surprise that F-B et al. found progressive attitudes to be racist

In conclusion, there are two ways that the work of Kranebitter and Gruber is helpful.

1). They showed that the subjective interviews were biased and no proof of anything, which is pretty much what one would have expected

2). They showed that F-B and co, were aware that sociological questions loomed over what they were doing but that they touched on that only very gingerly. Had they given sociology the sort of reverence they gave to dubious Freudian theories they might have discovered something useful.

I give the abstract of the Kranebitter and Gruber paper below and you can read it in full at:

This paper gives a micro-sociological view on the methodology used by Else Frenkel-Brunswik in the famous study "The Authoritarian Personality" (Adorno et al. 1950). A thorough reconstruction of the theoretical and methodological concepts of Else Frenkel-Brunswik eventually allows for a full appreciation of her works from a today’s social research perspective, especially of her role in the field of authoritarianism-research. The paper deals with (i) Else Frenkel-Brunswik’s role in the research team of The Authoritarian Personality, (ii) the way she followed up on her earlier work, (iii) the question of in which ways her parts of the study were object of criticism by the numerous critics of TAP, and (iv) the ways she herself responded to these critics. The material basis for such an approach is the archival material available in the “Archive for the History of Sociology in Austria (AGSO)” in Graz, Austria, which holds parts of the estate of Else Frenkel-Brunswik, most of all her correspondence and unpublished typoscripts of later publications, as well as at the Institute for Jewish Research (YIVO) in New York, which holds the papers of the American Jewish Committee, i.e., draft reports, memoranda, and some interview protocols of the TAP study.


How Political Bias Explains Everything

This is a very well-informed article which confirms everything I learned during my research career. I long ago learned that facts will not dislodge Leftist belief so have focused in recent years on trying to understand the often weird things that Leftists believe.

And in a nutshell, it is basically approval-seeking. Leftists will accept any belief that they think will make them look good (kind, wise etc.). The obvious strategy for conservatives in that case is to focus on the bad consequences that normally flow from Leftist policies. An example of that we are beginning to see something of in the now frequent reports from de-transitioners -- who report horrors from the Leftist encouragement of surgical trans-sexual procedures

According to the dogmas that currently rule America’s elite institutions, the single most important fact about any individual is their racial and gender identity. This quasi-religious belief results in conflict between the new identity-based framework and the older ideal that people are rational actors capable of arriving at an objective truth, independent of their personal background. But both of these views are wrong according to the attitudinal model, a paradigm that is popular in political science but widely ignored outside that discipline. Though it is not well known, the model almost perfectly explains the current “crisis of experts,” without resorting to the gaslighting and moral panics that so many “experts” have used to deny or explain away their failures.

Simply put, the attitudinal model is the codified idea that political preferences, especially when combined with a few other variables, generally predict how individuals will behave. The concept was first introduced by the political scientists Jeff Segal and Harold Spaeth, in their 1993 book The Supreme Court and the Attitudinal Model. Segal and Spaeth assert that the notion that decisions by leaders capable of independent action, a category that includes SCOTUS justices, “are objective, dispassionate, and impartial [is] obviously belied by the facts.” Clearly, “different courts and different judges do not decide the same issue the same way,” and even decisions from the same court are invariably larded with concurrences, dissenting opinions, and so forth. A key point these authors make is that there will generally be enough respected precedent cases available on all sides in a major legal matter—or enough potential variables available in the context of an academic model—that anyone intelligent could find “no dearth … to support their assertions.”

What, then, determines leadership-level decisions? Personal attitudes, albeit somewhat constrained by individual rules and norms. “Decisions of the Court are based on the facts of the case in light of the ideologies, attitudes, and values of the Justices,” Segal and Spaeth write. The authors test this claim empirically—that is why the book is famous—and find that the position of individual judicial decision-makers on a standard (-1 to 1) scale measuring personal conservatism/liberalism predicts roughly 80% (.79) of all of their votes. Across a set of prominent death penalty cases, the political-ideology metric – that is, a measure of the individual justices’ ideological leaning compiled from their past voting behavior, “newspaper editorials,” and “off-bench speeches and writings”—predicted the behavior of every SCOTUS Justice in 19 out of 23 situations.

Attitudinally driven behavior among leaders stretches far beyond Supreme Court justices or appellate court judges. Segal and Spaeth also find that ideology is a near total predictor of executive branch nominations of judges: 87% of all Supreme Court nominees (126/145 at the time of writing) have come from the sitting president’s party. In theory, we might like to believe that a president selects the judge they believe is most qualified for a position, but in practice we know that they simply pick the person whose political attitudes are closest to their own. This trend dates back to the very beginning of the United States, apparently: George Washington at one point nominated 11 highly partisan Federalists for the bench in a row.

Indeed, partisanship is a better predictor of being an elite judicial nominee than is “being a qualified judge,” as determined by past judicial service and players like the American Bar Association. Only 91 of the 145 Supreme Court nominees—73% of Republicans and 48% of Democratic picks—met the American Bar Association’s standard, Segal and Spaeth write. Similarly, basic ideological variables predict 95% of the Yes/No votes of senators deciding whether or not to confirm these presidential judicial nominees. Within the court system, the attitudinal model is measurably predictive beyond a few top benches: Segal and Spaeth note very early on that the model “will fully predict other courts to the extent the environment of those approximates that Supreme Court.”

The largely undisputed fact that ideology shapes the behavior of solo leaders matters because of the extreme trend toward siloing in modern upper-middle-class life. Within my field—the academic social sciences—a 2006 survey found that about 18% of all faculty members identified as Marxists, another 24% as radicals, and 20%-21% as activists. In contrast, perhaps 5% of American soft-scientists are conservatives. In an environment this politically slanted, the odds are good that many shifts of focus attributed to new theory or empirical data—and indeed many overall social science conclusions—are largely the products of ideology.

What are some examples of such conclusions? For decades, academics believed that authoritarianism was an almost exclusively conservative trait. The idea dates back to Frankfurt School scholar Theodor Adorno’s book The Authoritarian Personality, and dozens of studies have “confirmed” it over the years. However, in 2021, skilled Emory Ph.D. student Thomas Costello noticed something simple but key: Tools used to measure authoritarianism tend to be “designed from the left,” and to focus on social problems which a right-winger would be more likely to oppose.

A typical survey question might read: “How important do you feel it is that American society harshly control (Communists)?” Costello realized that scholars could as easily frame nearly identical items from the other direction, asking—hypothetically—about the need to crack down on “Insurrectionists” or “anti-maskers.” His published article, containing a left-wing authoritarianism scale more complex than what I have described here, but based on similar principles, was just published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. It now appears likely that left-wing authoritarianism is one of the more common forms of authoritarianism.

Then there is “racial resentment.” For decades now, many political scientists have argued that citizens giving affirmative answers to questions like “Most Black people who receive money from welfare programs could get along without it if they tried (Yes or No)?” or “Italian, Irish, and Jewish ethnicities overcame prejudice and worked their way up—do you think Black people should do the same without any special favors?” provide a meaningful measure of the subtle racism that supposedly pervades American society. However, in recent years, skeptical scholars have begun administering the same racial resentment scales to minority Americans—most of whom score quite high on metrics of racial pride, and obviously almost none of whom are conventional bigots.

Results have been telling. According to a recent survey sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation and CNN, 42% of Black respondents believe “lack of motivation and willingness to work hard” is a “major cause” of hardships within the Black community, compared to 32% of white respondents who believe so. 61% of Black respondents, meanwhile, believe that “Breakup of the African American Family” was a “major cause” of those hardships, compared to roughly 55% of white respondents. Still another study, by Riley Carney and Ryan Enos, found rates of agreement with the provocative questions on the racial resentment scale did not change at all when lower-income or immigrant-origin white groups (i.e., Lithuanians) were substituted in for Black people. Dislike of affirmative action and welfare, it seems, correlates with conservatism and traditionalism across all groups, rather than with white racism.

The Assault on Empiricism

In a thousand subtle ways, ideological bias can not only shape whole disciplines and domains of knowledge, but it can also weaponize scholarship against reality. To provide one example from my field: While the large numerical majority of police shooting victims in the U.S. are Caucasian, Black Americans are disproportionately likely to be shot by cops. We make up 13%-14% of the U.S. population, and roughly 25% of those fatally shot by law enforcement personnel in a typical year. However—and far fewer citizens know this—the Black violent crime rate is almost exactly 2.5 times the white violent crime rate, and any adjustment for this or for the racial difference in police encounter rate eliminates the discrepancy.

But many leftist academics have begun to argue that the crime rate disparity is simply itself more evidence of racism. Dr. Ibram Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist and a professor at American University, famously contends that any gap in performance between large groups must be due to systemic bias somewhere, and there are points that can be made about (say) differential enforcement of the United States’ drug laws. Though badly flawed, as I have noted elsewhere, nevertheless these arguments are widely accepted. And, whether a particular scholar concludes that patterns of American police violence are racist or not might well depend on whether or not she believes these claims and so excludes differential crime rates from her models as a predictor variable.

In this environment, a smart skeptic would expect that “solo leaders” in academia and the media will behave in much the same fashion as those sitting in the courts. Rather than presenting impartial empirical evidence, research results will often strongly reflect the ideological priors of those producing the research. Taking the very simple “crime rates” example given above, in a situation where the vast majority of academic sociologists lean to the political left, we would expect a comparable percentage of researchers to drop the crime-differential variable from their equations and thus conclude that American police operate in a racially biased fashion.

Let’s say that 90% of conservatives and Libertarians believe in a paradigm X (“Most policing is fair and nonbiased”), while 90% of leftists believe in paradigm Y (“All Western institutions are corrupt”), we would expect 87.3% of sociologists (.97 x .9) to believe in paradigm Y and to reason forward from it. As the examples and data given above indicate, considerable evidence exists that essentially this is true.

In a thousand subtle ways, ideological bias can not only shape whole disciplines and domains of knowledge, but it can also weaponize scholarship against reality.

But there is a bright spot to the discovery of entrenched ideological bias in academia. We can actually use attitudinal analysis to determine, with some accuracy, which ideas are truly bad. Citizens are frequently told that “the majority of the scholars in (Z) field” support one thing or another—with “gender affirming care” for minors being a recent example—and that the hoi polloi should not question the expert consensus. However, from an attitudinal perspective, whether such opinion majorities are relevant depends heavily upon the ideological priors of the experts in question. If field Z leans 85% to the left, and 90% of American leftists support transgender surgeries for minors, but only 60% of the .85 leftist pool of experts does, this actually indicates that gender affirming care is probably a terrible idea: Those most aware of the potential risks of the procedure are far more opposed to it than ideological peers with less empirical “inside information.”

Interestingly, something like this just occurred in the real world. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently drew headlines after publicly reaffirming support for gender surgeries and hormone treatments for teenagers. However, the very left-leaning organization did so only after a hotly contested vote on an opposing resolution (“Addressing Alternatives to the Use of Hormone Therapies for Gender Dysphoric Youth”), which received 57 public endorsements from AAP members during the very brief period leading up to the referendum. Whatever their own politics may be, the nation’s leading academic pediatricians are by no means as actually unified on this issue as MSNBC makes them sound.

More broadly, a technique that could be used to develop a general attitudinal adjustment for field-specific bias is as follows: Simply determine (1) the L/R ideological breakdown of a particular academic field or sector, (2) the level of support for thing A within that sector, and (3) the level of support for thing A across all of the L/R ideological groups in society. This allows the calculation of (4) what level of support for thing A would almost certainly look like if the field ideologically matched society as a whole. Overall, we can probably say that popular niche ideas (“Defund and disarm the police”) that would be roundly rejected by any group that resembles the actual population are likely to be bad ones—and that ideas which are more often rejected than one would expect, even by partisan but experienced experts, are very likely to be bad ones.

But, in any case—while we’re calculating percentages—recall that there is a 100% chance that the output of any field at any time heavily reflects the ideological tastes of the very human people who make it up. We should recognize this, try to shift ideological monocultures at the extremes, and never ignore reality.


The male response to Andrew Tate

I suppose it is obvious that Tate is a product of feminism. Feminists have so devalued men and masculinity that there had to be a backlash among men. That Tate has gone to an opposite extreme is also obvious.

The sadness is that the attitudes to women among men were once much more benign -- kind and courteous. But feminists destroyed that as "paternalistic", as "chavinistic". Opening car doors for women became "oppression". I still do it but I am old.

Daisy Turnbull below thinks that the onus is on women to repudiate Tate. I agree in part but I think there is a greater need for feminists to repudiate toxic feminist attitudes towards men. If feminist thought became rejected insofar as it is anti-men, Tate's ideas would be deprived of the energy that is driving them

It’s easy to hate Andrew Tate. Rebuking his rantings as misogynistic and violent is not difficult because they are. But me telling you this is not going to change young men’s adoration of him. There is a more difficult question: where are other men on this?

It makes sense that Tate has attracted the admiration of so many young men. He speaks to the generation after the devotees of “podcast bros” Jordan Peterson and Joe Rogan: males who feel feminism has done them wrong, who believe that women gaining more rights has taken away theirs.

Not every boy will think Tate is right, as this article showed. Some may “test out” his ideas around family or friends and be so shocked by the reaction that they never mention him again.

But for those that do get hooked on his ideas – and see his problems with modern life as their own – we need to ask ourselves why? How can he become a de facto mentor to so many young men?

It is easy to say that what we are lacking for young men are male role models. It might be argued this has been caused by an increase in the proportion of female teachers (over 71 per cent in 2019), or by absentee fathers working too hard or being constantly distracted on their phones. But the fact is there are many male role models around for young men – whether it be in sport, politics, business, media or even on social media.

The problem seems to be the silence of these role models. Where are the men discrediting Tate? When I Googled Tate’s name, I found dozens of articles criticising his toxic masculinity. But only a handful were written by men. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of criticism and discrediting of Tate comes from women.

Why is it on Greta Thunberg and podcasts like The Guilty Feminist to discuss these issues? Although hilarious, being “murdered” on Twitter by Thunberg doesn’t help young men see how objectionable and destructive Tate is. While it sings to the choir of his objectors, it does not speak to the young men who follow him. Ultimately, it galvanises his base.

As a vertically challenged teacher, I know I don’t have the same ability to project my voice across an oval to tell students they need to go back to class as some of my colleagues. I also know that as a mother, there are some things I won’t be able to communicate as effectively to my son as his father, grandfathers, or other men in his life. I don’t see this as a failing on my part, but part of life. Young boys need strong male role models.

Part of that role modelling must help them understand how corrosive someone like Tate really is. There are two ways this needs to be done.

The first is explicitly – men must tell their sons, students, nephews, family friends, and their broader communities that what Andrew Tate says is wrong, violent, misogynistic and unacceptable. Explain why it is so, have awkward conversations. Lean on the “how would you feel if someone spoke about your sister/mother/friend like that?” if you must: whatever you need to do to get the message across.

One friend told me his teenage daughter made it clear that she and her friends would have absolutely nothing to do with a guy who spouts Tate’s ideas, even as a joke. Because as we all know, in every joke there is a grain of truth.

Young men need to know that it doesn’t matter if Tate’s workouts are good, or his points about getting a job or starting a business are somewhat inspiring because they come from the same person who says women can be owned by their partners. They come from an alleged human trafficker. Everything he says must be coloured by that.

Just as we shouldn’t go to politicians held hostage by the gambling lobby for advice on helping families bankrupted by poker machines, we shouldn’t go to Andrew Tate for relationship advice.

The second way is implicitly – support women in equality, and in authority. When young men hear their male role models use derogatory language about young women in the media, (like that the woman is being “harpy”, “shrill” or “bossy”) it can echo what Tate has said, surrounded by takeaway pizza boxes when apprehended by Romanian police.

Instead, promote the women around you. Support equality; follow female sports teams as well as their male counterparts; discuss these issues with your sons.

There are some amazing men who are already doing this work – including Zac Seidler at Movember, Darren Saunders, and Steve Biddulph, but we need more men to speak up now so the next generation hears them.

It is only when a teenager watches an Andrew Tate video and sees it as diametrically opposed to everything in their daily lives that his irrelevance will become obvious, and they will happily scroll to the next clip.