Free The Five
Name: Antony Loewenstein
Home: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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posted by Antony Loewenstein at 1/26/2006 12:31:00 pm
What a great speech. Forceful yet insipid, uplifting yet depressing, innovative yet stagnant, unitive yet divisive.Howard will go down (and down) as one of the greatest philosophers of our time.Here is one of his gems:And too often, history, along with other subjects in the humanities, has succumbed to a postmodern culture of relativism where any objective record of achievement is questioned or repudiated.This was Howard's Straussian moment. He has managed to pack 'postmodern' and 'relativism' into the same sentence! What an educational moment for the kiddies! The church crowd will be pleased. These two words are code words for everything that Fundamentalists despise - secular values, independence, and critical thinking. Howard is reworking that old bogey of the "black armband view of history", except he is giving it a Christian twist. All that was missing from his speech was a plea to reform science teaching so that it will include Intelligent Design.But wait ...Whether our ancestors were here thousands of years ago, whether they came on the First Fleet, in the 19th century, or whether we or our ancestors are amongst the millions of Australians who have come to our shores since the Second World War, we are all equally Australians – one no better than the other. That is a postmodern relativist sentiment! Then President Bush said:We know what our enemies think and what they are capable of. They hate our freedoms and our way of life.Translation: They hate our postmodernism and our moral relativism.In sum, his speech is quintessentially Australian. I feel like wrapping my head in the flag and using it as a hajib.
Invasion Day? Surely you mean Welcome To The Real World and move aside as the world's most advanced civilisation takes over Day!
progressive athiestAs an athiest and budding historian I think Howard's speech was bang on the money: and so will the vast majority of Australians.
Hmm progressive atheist I feel like wrapping my head in the flag and using it as a hajib.You appear a little confused about your religious alliance. An atheist cannot be a Muslim or even a pretend Muslim. You see there is no religious/political freedom in Islam to be either of these things.This isn't to say you wouldn't look delightful in a red, white and blue hajid.and this...We know what our enemies think and what they are capable of. They hate our freedoms and our way of life."Translation: They hate our postmodernism and our moral relativism."Earlier in your diatribe you quoted Howard as complaining of moral relativism and postmodernism, but here you are claiming that our enemies "hate" the same thing. I think you're a little confused (again).
Why do lefties still live in Australia when they seem hate it so much?Is it because it just cool to hate it and deep down you really wont to vote for Johnny ;)
Why do zionists still live in Australia when they hate everyone else?Israel awaits them!John Howard's nationalist speech is reminiscent of the apartheid government's rhetoric in South Africa between 1948 and 1994, and was really unbelievably crass and boring. But then, what else could one expect from someone who has delusions of grandeur, and walks in the shadow of a certain US president!
mannieYou are a moron and a fool. Like all anti-semites and bigots.
Neo calling people bigots. Now that's comedy gold.And Anthony, I love Australia, which is why I don't leave. But I reserve the right to criticise a PM who wants to define an entire nation with sickeningly simplistic and sentimental tripe.
Wow Neo, good to see intelligent, civil and thoughtful debate is still abounding on this blog - yeesh!An atheist cannot be a Muslim or even a pretend Muslim.I'm sorry Violet, but I think it might be you who is confused. The fact that an atheist cannot be a Muslim has nothing to do with any lack of political freedoms in Islam. It is simply a given based on the fact that the two terms are mutually exclusive. To be a Muslim is to believe in Allah. If you believe in Allah, then you're hardly an atheist are you? I don't even know what a pretend Muslim is, but I would imagine they can be anything they like.It seems like you're trying to say 'someone living in an Islamic state cannot be an atheist'. And that may be true, I wouldn't know. But it's certainly not what your words convey.
davidHow would YOU have "defined" us if not "But I reserve the right to criticise a PM who wants to define an entire nation with sickeningly simplistic and sentimental tripe."By the sounds of this you have a lot of personal issues that you like to project onto the rest of us.
stevWrong. a Muslim is not somebody who merely "believes in Allah" anymore than a Christian is merely somebody "who believes in god."Talk about simplistic.
True, a Muslim is not somebody who merely believes in Allah. But I didn't say that. I simply said that if you are Muslim, you believe in Allah. Are going to try and claim that this is untrue? Belief in Allah is one of the things that constitutes being a Muslim. It is also the only part of Islam that directly contradicts atheism.But then, I think you knew that. I think you were just trying to be difficult.
violet said... "Earlier in your diatribe you quoted Howard as complaining of moral relativism and postmodernism, but here you are claiming that our enemies "hate" the same thing. I think you're a little confused (again)."What a wonderfully unique interpretation of Progressive Atheist's observation; an interpretation utterly disconnected from the author's own thoughts and intentions. Truly, the Author Is Dead. Harrah! Long live Foucault!How deliciously postmodern.
Mannie said... Why do zionists still live in Australia when they hate everyone else?Israel awaits them!Because they don't bother with people like you who continue to ape the zundel's of the world.
violet said... Hmm progressive atheist:"I feel like wrapping my head in the flag and using it as a hajib."You appear a little confused about your religious alliance. You dill. That was a joke.An atheist cannot be a Muslim or even a pretend Muslim. 1. An atheist CAN be a Muslim if s/he changes her/his mind, but can't logically be both simultaneously.2. An atheist can PRETEND to be whatever s/he feels like. S/he can even PRETEND to be Batman if s/he so desires.You see there is no religious/political freedom in Islam to be either of these things.Gee - but for some reason Christmas in Indonesia is a major event on the calendar. 'Ahh, but what about those bomb threats against churches?' I would hear you ask if you had bothered to do just a few seconds of research. Yes, yes, a good point. 'But,' I would reply, 'who was it that sent out guards to protect the churches from potential attacks? Why, none other than the youth wing of Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest Muslim organisation in Indonesia.' Yes, I know violet, things are always more complicated than your ignorant one-liners.Perhaps you should stick to the religious role you know best: fallen Popist. See - even you can go to church and pretend.
Delusion is a wonderful thing.John Howard believes our standing in the world has never been higher when in fact it has probably never been lower.We are almost a laughing stock in Europe .... considered no more than a 'yes sir' sycophant to the US. In the Middle East we are hypocrites, along with the US and the UK, espousing democracy and freedom while supporting an illegal and murderous war of occupation .... the list is long.Howard is right about Australia's quality of life but he does not take into account the fact that such a small population with such a large amount of space must have an edge. And, having lived in Europe and North America, the sun helps .... something that Governments do not control.But Howard is a politician and all politicians put their 'spin' on things .... it is the nature of the beast. Howard will probably go down in history as the least honest Prime Minister we have ever had and so his speech should not be taken too seriously.But, having lived around the world, in the First and Third I have to say Australia is fortunate in that not only does the sun shine, not only do we have a great deal of space, but the country functions with a level of efficiency that I never found in Europe, the UK or North America. Australia does work and it works well in terms of organisation, and service. It may not work as well as many would like but it works better than anywhere else I have lived. We should be grateful for that.Australia is not as good as it should be and in some respects is not as good as it was, but, many of the things which are happening in the country today are happening worldwide. There is a universal trend toward conservatism and those elements of nature defined as right-wing. In some ways it represents a natural swing back from too much liberalism and those qualities defined as left-wing.One can only hope the pendulum reaches a place of balance. It is important to recognise what is wrong in Australia and seek to rectify it but it is also important to recognise what is right, and there is a lot that is right as anyone who lives overseas for long periods of time will know.Amongst First World nations Australia ranks amongst the best .... if you include the sun shining it probably is the best. Our task is to make it better.John Howard may have acted in ways ranging from amoral to immoral but even he is no more than a glitch in history. There is nothing that cannot be set to rights in time. There is nothing so bad that we cannot learn valuable lessons from it.Yes, one can understand that Aborigines see this as Invasion Day. It was. But while we have not succeeded as we must in regard to them, we have done as well as other modern colonising nations in trying to resolve this problem. No, it's not good enough but it isn't all bad either. It is important to celebrate Australia Day if only to say thankyou, to be grateful for the good fortune to be citizens of a country which is one of the nicest places in the world to live. Still.With all of the wrongs there is still a great deal that is right.
Well said RH,travelling between Canada and the US as I do a the moment, I could not agree more. The people in Canada are great but the place really lacks the spice and joie de vive that Australia has. It's liek Australia without the grat weather, without the beaches and without the national pride.The US on the other hand is a little too diverse too generalise, but there is certainly great unrest and disunity in that country. If you think this blog has venom, you ain't seen nuthin.Austtralia'\s saving grace politically is that it has never taken it's leaders too seriosuly. People retain a healthy scepticism and doen't suffer from the hero complex that afflicts Americans.It's been 3 years that I have spent more time abroad than in Oz and I am appreciatingit more and missing it more every day. it; sthe only place in the world where I would wake up every day and be grateful to be an Ozzie.
hey addamoyes, I agree about Canada. I have also been living in Canada but amabout to go back to the UK. I Have lived in the States too.I agree with everything you say about Canada. Over the years it has become more American. I think the television has a lot to answer for but it has always had a drift to the South rather than West to East or vice-versa. I also think it is more British and that reflects in the lifestyle... or lack of it. Australia is lucky that for whatever reason it has developed a more European lifestyle and as you say a joie de vie, an appreciation of food, wine, fun.I think Oz is a good mix of the European life style, the British sense of order and regulation and the American can do attitude.... without being excessive in any of it.The US is diverse and I actually find the South more welcoming than the North where I spent most of my time. What is not diverse though is the media and I think there is a more homogenous quality to Americans than even they recognise.It's a very self-obsessed sort of culture.... quite adolescent in many ways but I guess that comes from being powerful very quickly and from being somewhat isolationist. 80 percent of Americans don't own a passport.Australians, per capita, travel more than anyone else. I guess we have to because we are so far away and not very important. But I think we are curious too.Mostly though I miss the sense of humour in North America. Australians mock everything, including themselves and I like that. Nothing is sacred. That irreverence is I think healthy. The Brits do it too, but not as much as we do.
Yes Rh,With the exception of NY, Americans don;t seem to get irony.I think much fo that somes down to the Irish and Jewish influences there.
addamoI agree about irony, and yes, probably is the Irish and Jewish influence.The Irish, like the Jews, take themselves very seriously indeed. They also have a similar sort of 'we was wronged', victim mentality, forever hearking back to ancient wrongs.There's an aggression in Irish culture too which is masked by the 'hail fellow well met' image they have of themselves. Only the Irish could use an euphemism like The Troubles for the murderous slaughter they have waged against each other. It's interesting to compare cultures with histories of 'victimhood.' The Armenians have a similar capacity to take themselves too seriously.Interestingly the Russians have a very dry sense of humour and despite being victimised both by Tsars and Stalinists don't have a sense of victimhood.Maybe you get back to religion and orthodox Catholicism, the Irish kind, and orthodox Judaism are the problem.
I tend to think that with the brashness of the Irish also comes he good. I would say that the Australian character is heavily influenced by the Irish.The Jewsih influence in NY has definitely contributed to the razr shapr wit they are famous for.
Thanks Shab,Yeah old news mate. Let's see where it goes.
O/T but confidential to Addamo: Re our discussion of Galloway, check this out, from the Guardian no less.Happy Oz Day one and all!
Shab,A tad coincidental that this is taking place when Gllaoway is unable to be contacted, don't you think? Rather reminiscent of the stunt Coleman pulled by calling a press witout informating Galloway of the so called new "evidence" against him.Anyway, let's see how it plays out. If he's guilty, then he should face the consequences.
C'mon now, not EVERYTHING is a conspiracy! Sheesh. Perhaps rather than look at this (dum-dum-DUM) "coincidence", it might not be a bad idea to look at WHY Galloway is unable to be contacted - being a fame-whore in a trashy TV show - and wonder what that says about the man?As Galloway famously said about Saddam, "Sir: I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability."
Ok so the Big Brother thing might be a coincidence, but Coleman has abitions and was being groomed for a future Presidency. Galloway humiliated him and may have thrown a spanner in the works of his image ascension.Yes I did knwo that Galloway said that to Saddam. Here's a thought. Bush has been described as ntoucheable and unreacheable. His handlers make sure he only hears what he needs to hear and that what he does here is always positive. Now tell me, if someone wanted was able ot get a face to face with Bush and wanted to get him to co-operate with letting a binch of innncents at Gitmo go, what chance woud lthey have if they were to call him a draft dodging frat boy? Not much right?Saddam is also a prick and given his penchant fopr taking disagreeable people into roos and shooting them, perhaps Galloway's appraoch was not such a bad idea.Just a thought.
addamo,I agree, Australia has strong Irish flavours in its makeup. Interestingly while watching a programme on an Aboriginal family some years ago I could see a source for our dry wit.Cultures are fascinating and I guess that's the thing about assimilation where everything mixes and marries to create something new.And parts of New York are very Jewish and parts are not. Jewish humour has predominated in film because the industry has been predominantly Jewish. The humour in other parts of the US is different.The important thing is is all good.
Except, Addamo, the speech was not made in the presence of Saddam, but to a bunch of cheering rabble in the Gaza Strip!
rhrossIt is a pity that while the Arabs were stealing Jewish religion and Christian lands they did not take some Jewish humour as well.
neoThe Arabs didn't need to, they already had a good one.I guess if the Jews can steal religion from the Egyptians the Arabs can filch it from the Jews.
Hey Shab,Did yo usee this?http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/legal/article340917.eceHe won this round.
rhrossOne thinmg I have noticed in mystudy over the past year of these issues is how bizarrely ignorant of both history and international law the pro-Palestinian lefties are. Before I started studying I was very pro-Palestinian and mildly anti-semitic. What got me obssessed with the issue was when I started realising I had been conned by a very slick PR campaign that basically lies about both historical events and international law.It says a lot about the contemporary Left that it allows these lies to slide.
Why do zionists still live in Australia when they hate everyone else?I'm sure you believe that load of crap.John Howard's nationalist speech is reminiscent of the apartheid government's rhetoric in South Africa between 1948 and 1994, and was really unbelievably crass and boring.Our PM's a nationalist- good. I certainly wouldn't vote for any Federal polly who isn't a nationalist. The latter bit of your comment is just a desperate grab for applause from the blind Howard-haters.That said, I for one will be celebrating the fact that I am an Australian and a Westerner, I'll even be nice to those of you who come from convict stock, but just for today.Atheist:The church crowd will be pleased. These two words are code words for everything that Fundamentalists despise - secular values, independence, and critical thinking [...] All that was missing from his speech was a plea to reform science teaching so that it will include Intelligent Design.That would make life easier for you wouldnt it? You'd be able to label Howard a crazy Christian and actually have some evidence- 'He invaded the ME to conquer their lands and force Christianity down their throats- he's a crusader!' The Howard Government has virtually ignored the 'debate' on intelligent design because (at least) most of the Cabinet realises what a waste of school resources and time introducing it would be. Do you really believe that Hillsong Christians hate secular values, independence, and critical thinking? If so, you're an idiot. Pure and simple. Christians appreciate critical thinking, enjoy their independence (individualism, I take it?), and at the worst tolerate secular values. In any case this country is built on Christian values, not some secular utopian ideals, and as ol' Kekovich said last year, if you dont like it, you know where the airport is. Hehe.I feel like wrapping my head in the flag and using it as a hajib.Thanks for sharing. On this blog, I usually just feel like wrapping my head in a pillow and screaming until my lungs burst.
I'm an athiest Australian. I love Australia, the United States and Zionists Rock!
Anthony,I never mentioned Hillsong church. Your slip is showing.Hillsong is motivated by greed anyway. God wants you to have good things, says Pastor Brian Houston. The Hillsong church should really pull down their sign and put up an Amway sign, because that's where all the Amway diamond distributors hang out. They provide all the "good things" for the downline Christian flock.
Neo,You said you did research and yet you say that the US rocks? What are you on darl. To much of the bubbly stuff? Feeling amorous today?
addamoI hate to break it to you but the US is the most exciting, dynamic, and significant empire humanity has ever known.
Neoleftychick,The first gospel written was Mark. It can be dated to AD 70 at the earliest but, from internal clues, more probably to about AD 90.The very earliest Christian writings come from Paul and others. The writings of these earliest Christians, however, paint a dramatically different picture of Jesus from the Jesus of the later gospels.The early Christians corroborate virtually nothing that we have previously taken for granted from the gospels!None of the very first Christians know anything about an annunciation to Mary by the angel Gabriel, a virgin birth, star of Bethlehem, wise men, Herod, slaughter of the innocents or the flight into Egypt. In fact they know nothing at all of a Mary, Joseph, Bethlehem or Nazareth. They know of no disciples, friends or earthly enemies nor of any baptism by John in the Jordan. They don’t mention or quote any teachings, parables or sermons or morals; in fact they attribute no ethical instruction to the earthly Jesus at all.Nor do they seem to know of any healings of the blind or lame or lepers; neither do they mention any of Jesus’ especially spectacular miracles like bringing the dead to life, changing water to wine, feeding five thousand, stilling the storm or walking on water.They know of no temptation in the wilderness or dialogue with the Devil, no exorcisms nor evil spirits falling down in fear before Jesus.The early Christians again know nothing of the times, places or circumstances of the crucifixion. They mention nothing of Gethsemane, no betrayal by Judas (they merely say Jesus ‘was delivered up’ for crucifixion), no denial by Peter or the disciples, no trials, no scourging, no judgement by Pilate, no Roman soldiers, no Golgotha or vigil at the cross, no last words – nothing!Paul appears to have believed that after three days Jesus ascended directly to heaven without any intervening time on earth, and he certainly doesn’t cite any empty tomb.If the very first Christians knew so little about Jesus, what possible grounds do we have for believing he ever existed?Don't mention Josephus. The authenticity of the Josephus passage has been under suspicion for centuries. In light of modern research, it must be dismissed as a clumsy Christian forgery inserted into Josephus’s work.Another Jewish historian of the same era, Justus of Tiberias, made no mention of Jesus whatever and yet he, like Josephus, came from Galilee.You need contemporary historians to build your case, but what have you got? Nothing, only a forgery.http://www.jesusneverexisted.comI don't need your dodgy websites.How do you know it's dodgy if you won't even look at it? Hmm? Nice try.Jesus never existed. Get over it.I am more than sufficiently well educated on these matters to debate you off the top of my head if you think you are up to it.Prove it!And while you're at it, prove to me you're an atheist.
Atheist,I was using Hillsong as a metaphor for the Australian Christians you refer to. I'm sorry you didn’t get it.Hillsong is not motivated by greed. It's changing the face of Christianity and accepting, in fact, the opposite of what you say. ‘God doesn't want the worlds people to be poor, nor humble’. It is a reconciling of Christianity with free market values (i.e., spending enhances the wealth of all society)
Dear neo,what were these lies you discovered? I am not pro-Palestinian I am pro- human rights, integrity, principle and justice.I am not anti-semitic at all, not even mildly. I am not anti anything.As I said, please enlighten us as to thelies you discovered.
But neoleftychick never claimed Jesus existed. So you just wasted your time and everyone else's with your diatribe.Most interestingly, if Jesus never existed, it necessarily follows that Mohammed, who propagated the second coming of "Isa", was lying.
Just so you don't get confused this Anthony has a _ at the end of he's name. Funny thing is I agree with alot of what the other Anthony is saying so yeah :P
Great Minds think alike! =D
Antony, you do realize that all people in every part of the world came to be where they presently are via violent migration, don't you?Perhaps not many blacks in the USA, but their relatives back in Africa fought ceaseless wars over territory. Territory which changed hands countless times.You can't accept evolution and hope to just edit out the whole "competition for scarce resources, survival of the fittest" thing. It is as part of nature as is any other naturally occurring process.
Invasion day, oh what a day when we slaughtered a population from 700,000 down to less than 70,000 in little over 100 years.Oh how we love the invading British colonial forces, oh how they are Australia's true decendency.FUCK AUSTRALIA DAY AND ALL THE IMPERIALISTIC BULLSHIT IT REPRESENTS.Give me reconcillation and new flag anyday of the year and we can call it Australia. Otherwise the name remains : January 26 1788, Invasion of Australia Day.
neoleftychick said... "Before I started studying I was very pro-Palestinian and mildly anti-semitic."What's going on here? Is this Antony Loewenstein's or Oprah's blogsite? First we had Melanie's Road to Damascus story about how she was with the pro-Palestinian "Women In Black" before seeing The Light (yeah, riiiiiight), and now we have neoleftychick's Road to Damascus story. Should everyone else be inventing a story too?
I'm sure everyone is waiting to hear how you fell in with the IHR crowd.
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