The swimsuit issue

Reading or watching the news this week will have enlightened you with the fact that the Miss World competition is dropping the swimsuit element of the pageant and will be focussing instead on the achievements and character of the contestants rather than physical appearance.

….which is not dissimilar to existing competitions in the real world such as university entrance exams, job interviews, and other merit-based selection processes.

“How very progressive”, I don’t hear you say.

Of course, the coverage of the news aligns with whichever agenda the news outlet prefers to push; the NY Times piece linked above, for example, makes great mention of the female majority on the organisation’s board.

Statistics that seem to be lacking, on the other hand, include the viewing figures of the current competition. Perhaps my research is flawed but it would seem that, in the USA, only 172,000 tuned in to the 2016 broadcast, which is probably only a few more people than the extended families and friends of the contestants.

This chimes with the anecdotal experience too; think about it, have you ever had a conversation with a family member, friend or acquaintance about the Miss World competition? If so, was it at a time before or after the original Dukes of Hazzard tv series was still in production?

Bill’s Opinion

News articles helpfully informing us of changes to the Miss World competition format are about as relevant to most people’s lives as a 3 hour documentary on the relative merits of the viscosity of engine oil.

As for the future of Miss World now that the diversity balance has been addressed on the board, time will tell. It would seem that the prime objective of the competition (bringing an acceptable level of soft porn and glamour to mainstream TV viewing) has been somewhat usurped and trumped by the vast range of porn available on the internet.

Whether or not the competition can re-launch itself as a merit-based competition where physical beauty isn’t a factor will be interesting to observe, given that’s how most of the rest of human endeavour is judged anyway.

Of course, now that looks don’t matter, it surely won’t be long before the gender requirements will be challenged and dropped and the various attention-seeking types will enter the competition. A prediction for the archives; by 2025 a transgender person will be lauded for winning Miss World.

What other subjects are men not allowed an opinion on?

The other gift that keeps on giving*, Clementine Ford, offered another couple of hundred words in Sydney’s Morning Herald last week. The subject was the Irish referendum which resulted in abortion being legalised for a more wider range of reasons than previously. To be more accurate, the column would have probably been just fifty words if one could filter out “misogyny“, “toxic masculinity” and “rape culture“, i.e. Clementine’s default reasons for anything she finds offensive in the world.

As always with La Ford’s ramblings, she links multiple subjects (the war in Syria, border disputes in Israel, etc.) with the point she’s trying to make (“abortion should be legal and free on demand“), but there were two sentences that leap out as indicative of the mental gymnastics that must be performed to maintain a level of certainty as rock solid as Clementine’s.

This is the first;

Abortion is an issue of reproductive health-care, not morality.

Wait, what?

A useful epistemological technique to test the truth of a position is to look at the very extremes to see if the statement still holds true. In this case, we could imagine a situation where a full-term pregnant woman requests a termination whilst the baby is in the birth canal and in the process of being born, let’s suppose for reasons of her mental well-being.

If La Ford’s statement is correct, the midwife would have no need to hesitate before, sorry for the mental image, suffocating the baby as its head emerged from the woman’s vagina. It’s doubtful anyone sane reading this would disagree that there’s a moral element to that decision.

If we can agree on that, La Ford’s statement might still be true if we can find a point between conception and birth that the termination of the foetus doesn’t require a morality question to be answered. Birth minus 1 week? 5 weeks? 10 weeks? It seems hard to find a reason or trigger for her no morality decision required position.

The second sentence that indicates a contortion of logic is this one;

Men who cannot get pregnant need to learn that their opinions on this issue are irrelevant.

There’s quite a lot going on in those 16 words, let’s unpack them shall we?

Men who cannot get pregnant“. At first that seems a tautology; of course no man can get pregnant so why add the extra 4 words? Unless…… she’s making a very subtle point that there are some men who can get pregnant; men who used to be women but are now, in La Ford’s mind, men. Being a man and carrying a foetus to full term are not mutually-exclusive in Clementine’s mind. Okaaaaay.

Those “men” who weren’t born with a uterus and the other physical requirements to conceive and give birth, i.e. the people we used to call “men” in those halcyon days when all of us understood the term,  aren’t allowed to express an opinion on abortion, according to Clementine, and if they were to express an opinion, it would be deemed irrelevant.

Bill’s Opinion

At the risk of wasting my time writing an opinion that will instantly be dismissed as irrelevant because of nature of my genitalia, I’m going to anyway.

Abortion is a highly-nuanced and difficult issue and one that many very intelligent people have struggled with over several decades in many jurisdictions. That La Ford feels so certain that it is not an issue of morality and that a male’s opinion on the subject is irrelevant says more about her intellectual dwarfism rather than the correctness of her opinion.

As for men being able to give birth, that’s simply a land grab of language to suit a Cultural Marxist agenda.

As Bertrand Russell eloquently put it;

Fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves.

Of course, Russell’s opinion is not relevant to La Ford because, in all likelihood, he had a penis.

 

 

*Herpes is the original gift that keeps on giving.

Australia’s NBN; where taxpayer’s money goes to die

National Broadband Network chief executive Bill Morrow has warned there may never be a time when all Australians get the fastest available internet speeds, as such a project would cost “billions and billions” of dollars.

For those unaware of the Australian National Broadband Network, it is a national government initiative to deliver fibre optic internet to 90% of homes and business in the country and satellite or high speed wireless internet to the remainder.

No, really; that was the ambitious stated deliverable of the programme when it was launched in 2009 and it would only cost 43 billion dollars and take 8 years to complete.

So, imagine everyone’s surprise to learn, a year past the original scheduled completion date, NBN won’t actually deliver its objective and won’t be able to connect everyone.

In fact, the scope of the deliverable has atrophied whilst the cost has increased. Most dwellings won’t be receiving fibre to their home but that bleeding edge technology known as copper wire, the stuff Alexander Bell used to summon Mr. Watson over.

In addition, depending on which source you go to, the cost has blown out to nearly double the original estimate. Then there’s the lived experience of those consumers who have been connected; a Google search illustrates a potential systemic level of service delivery failures.

If only this fiscal disaster at the expense of the taxpayer could have been predicted in some way….

Bill’s Opinion

Australia’s NBN is a case study of why government spending is always, I repeat; ALWAYS inefficient and results in sub-optimal solutions. There is a list of mistakes as long as the cables they aren’t installing with this programme, but some stand outs include;

  1. The wrong “exam question” was asked. Instead of, “how will the government provide high speed connectivity to the entire country?“, the question should have been, “how does the government provide high speed connectivity to the 3% of the population that the telecommunications providers will find uneconomical to connect?
  2. The politicians behind the creation of the programme determined the solution not the problem statement by initially stating that the high speed connectivity would be via fibre optic cable. In the meantime, the global market in wireless technology has introduced 5G which is capable of speeds close to those selected by most NBN customers.
  3. Rather than deregulate the telecommunications market and local planning laws to allow multiple new telecommunications providers to compete for business and then oversee their services to ensure quality and value, the NBN programme opted for a central planning approach. The clear evidence around the globe of large, centrally-planned programmes is that they spiral out of control.

Government programmes take on a life of their own, regardless of the good intentions at the outset, and eventually become a siphon direct from the wallets of the taxpayers to the employees of the programme. The NBN is likely to be the case study of this in future.

Everything is racist.

Even how one pronounces the name of a consonant is racist.

No, really it is;

No research has conclusively established….” seem like the most relevant words in that paragraph.

I heard a talk radio show once. Extrapolating the comments by the callers is a valid and reliable scientific approach“.

By pronouncing the letter H in the way that you do makes you responsible for the extinction of other languages“.

…and, not content with driving other languages to extinction, you are also responsible for historic and current violence against minorities“.

“Sinister. Yes, it may seem harmless but you’ve killed other languages and dealt violence on the innocent with your language pedantry, you monster. Look at what you have done. Happy now?

Bill’s Opinion

Voltaire didn’t actually write the quote being paraphrased and re-purposed above, his biographer did.

….he is also an utter cockwomble with a complete disregard for critical thinking, investigation of fact and application of logic.

He must be very comfortable and well at home in academia.

Meaty, Beaty, Hannah Mouncey

Our old friend Hannah Mouncey was back in the legacy press this week, on IDAHOBIT Day (yes, that’s a real “day”). The Grauniad gave him her some column inches to write about transphobia.

There’s no need to read the complete article, it’s mainly self-serving guff about how the AFL are tying themselves in logical knots trying to work out what to do with a “woman” player who has been on testosterone treatments (i.e. they were a man) for their entire life until their mid-twenties but wishes to compete in the female league. The picture Hannah and the Grauniad chose (above) to illustrate the injustice might not be quite as persuasive as they would hope. Nice guns there, Hannah, what do you bench?

The key part of the entire column is here;

But with latest figures showing 80% of young trans people having self-harmed, 48% reporting having attempted suicide at some point in their lives and rates of depression and anxiety approximately 10 times higher than other young Australians, it is important that people are aware of the impact their actions have. Those commenting on trans people and their place in society – as Chris Judd has recently – really need to be careful about the potential impact this has, as well as ensuring that what they have to say is informed.

Firstly, the comments by Chris Judd are here and are about as balanced an opinion as one is likely to see on any subject and has several academic studies referenced in support of the opinions. In summary, the physical advantages of a male athlete over a female athlete are not negated simply because they have recently reduced their testosterone levels and increased estrogen; the bone and cell advantages remain. For a less scientific version of this view, refer back to the picture above.

Secondly, Hannah seems to have jumped to the conclusion that transgender folk are depressed as a consequence of societal factors, rather than than a more inherent cause. It’s worth repeating that the only groups of people with documented rates of suicide approaching those of transgender people were prisoners in Soviet gulags and Nazi death camps.

For there to be a societal cause to the transgender suicide problem, we would have to agree that transgender people are being brutalised at a comparable scale to those two groups. Let’s just pause for a second and, if need be, go to Google and search for images and video footage of the liberation of Belsen.

Can you honestly claim western society is treating people like Hannah in a way that is similar to those war crimes?

Hannah also raises the issue of the perceived irresponsible use of speech that risks “harming” young transgender people. Apart from the balanced and academically-referenced article by Judd, the only evidence of this “harmful” speech offered was a news article reporting some signage on a bathroom door in a restaurant in the US (i.e. another continent away from Hannah’s house). What was the signage?

This;

Bill’s Opinion

Using our patented razor, it’s most likely that transgender people are depressed and suicidal due to their internal existential conflict rather than the reaction of the outside world to the outward displays of their internal existential conflict.

Regarding the irresponsible use of language, of course it is important that we consider carefully how we discuss the problems of others but it’s a dangerous path that leads from suggesting we can’t discuss facts. Hannah currently benefits from free speech; there are many locations in the  world where he she would be unable to write a newspaper column such as the one in the Grauniad simply due to who he she is. Be very wary of restricting what others might say, regardless and especially if you disagree with what it is they are saying. The true test of your belief in free speech is that you specifically allow and defend the right of opinions you reject to be expressed.

As for the bathroom signage…. well, I think it’s quite funny actually.

In fact, why would a Grauniad reader feel that it is offensive given their firm assertion that Bruce Jenner was a man and Caitlyn Jenner is most definitely a woman. If that statement is correct, what is inaccurate or offensive about the doors?

 

Luxurious lamb

Welsh farmers will need protecting against evil foreign farmer following Brexit.

It’s obvious isn’t it, really?

The poor farmers of Wales will have to contend with the unfair competition from New Zealand farmers once the UK has exited the EU and struck trade deals with its former colonies.

This is indeed an economic tragedy on a scale of which there is no precedent.

Imagine the devastation to the British consumer of cheaper, market-priced food appearing in the supermarkets.

The Welsh Assembly is correct in its assertion that government intervention is required to ensure that no farmer is negatively impacted by this loss of EU subsidies and market protection from superior or cheaper imported products.

Or perhaps we are being sarcastic.

Bill’s Opinion

Why would the Welsh Assembly prioritise a small group of farmers above every carnivorous UK citizen?

The best interests of everyone in the UK who enjoys eating lamb is for them to be able to source a quality product at the best possible price.

Protecting a particular special interest group at the expense of the consumer is a return to mercantilism and the Corn Laws. Of course, this is precisely what the EU has been increasingly implementing over the decades following the UK’s entry into “The Common Market” (that was the name of the entity of which the 1975 referendum confirmed continued membership).

Perhaps feminists should talk to Jerry Hall

My mother said it was simple to keep a man, you must be a maid in the living room, a cook in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom. I said I’d hire the other two and take care of the bedroom bit.

Jerry Hall

Jerry was wildly off the mark with her infamous quote. No, what the world really needs can be summed up by this classic piece of critical thinking;

But until men are doing, on average, half of this daily work (housework) worldwide, and finding the joy and benefits in it, we will not achieve the full equality that women and girls deserve.

Hopefully that’s cleared things up for everyone.

Of course, there’s a few assumptions inferred in the article linked above, none of which are explicitly called out or tested with those annoying things we sometimes refer to as “facts”.

Assumption 1

Men and women are equally-suited to whatever task they decide they wish to undertake.

Whilst it’s true that there are many areas of human endeavour where women and men are able to perform at equivalent levels of competency, there are surely countless areas where this is patently untrue. Anything requiring physical strength, real-time mental assessment of a parabolic curve, endurance, etc., as evidenced by the difference in Olympic records.

Yes, there are some women who are stronger, faster, more skillful at judging parabolas than many men, but these are on the extremes of the female distribution. A difference of one standard deviation results in almost 100% of the best humans at those tasks being male.

Assumption 2

Men are lazy bastards lying on the sofa while their wives clean the house.

Perhaps the author, Gary Barker, is guilty of this but the majority of men are busy working, often in more physically-demanding and dangerous jobs than women.

Assumption 3

All or most women actually want men to do half of the child caring and housework.

Sure, there will be some women who want there to be a perfect split of domestic duties but anyone who has met other humans recently would also realise that most women would rather not get up on a ladder with a bag of tools and fix the roof or sit on the laundry floor with the washing machine in bits as they hunt a rogue sock stuck between the drum and the filter.

Assumption 4 

The gender pay gap is significant and is a result of duh patriarchy.

Oh Uber, not only are you destroying vested interests and rent-seekers in the taxi industry, but you’ve chucked a big rock in to the previously-placid lake of feminist logic.

Bill’s Opinion

Gary Burton, CEO of Promundo Global and author of the article linked above is either guilty of mendacity in his avoidance of the 4 elephants in the room OR he’s unable to think critically about a subject without allowing his inherent biases to intervene.

What inherent biases?

Well, Promundo’s business model requires that there is gender injustice for it to justify taking the begging bowl to a plethora of governmental bodies for its funding each year. Click that link and go to page 16 – Financials and look at the number of different United Nations’ agencies so generously handing out other people’s money for us to be lectured about our domestic choices.

Oh, and it should surprise nobody that Gary’s utter bollocks was published on the website of our friends the World Economic Forum.

Dear Gary, do your own fucking vacuuming, you Cultural Marxist.

The tyranny of the many

There is a theory know as the Overton Window that suggests there is a finite range of political opinions which are acceptable for public discourse and any ideas which fall beyond this are the political equivalent of the “third rail” (the one carrying the fatal current on electric railways).

When Overton first suggested the idea, the Internet was in its infancy, a very different group of first adopters were engaging in online discourse in the mid-1990s than today. His theory was that societal norms policed the range of discourse and kept those opinions outside the “window” to the fringes.

This builds on observations by, among others, John Stuart Mill and De Tocqueville. In the latter’s work “On Democracy in America” he examines the risk of replacing tyranny from a despotic leader (the King of England) with a tyranny of the many. He gives the example that, in 1830s America, there was no law preventing a white man from marrying a freed African slave woman but the weight of societal pressure meant that this was prevented as surely as if there were a jail sentence.

This example is a useful compare and contrast opportunity for the present day; very few people would be willing to heap public condemnation on a mixed race marriage in the USA today. Those few that still do fall into two opposite sides of the Overton Window; white supremacists or those African Americans who condemn relationships with white partners.

This is a great example of what we instinctively know; “acceptable” opinions change over time. Mixed race relationships are now nothing to pass comment on, cross-dressers and those with gender disphoria are no longer considered as suffering from mental illness, and same sex relationships are given equal worth as traditional marriages.

We have a problem, however. The velocity of the movement of the Overton Window is leaving a large number of people with the “wrong” opinion on a subject exposed to the risk that they are on record (on social media, for example) expressing a sentiment that, just a few years later, is stranded on the windowsill outside of the Overton Window.

The change to the DSM rating of gender disphoria, for example; 10 years ago an opinion that it was a mental disorder would have been underpinned by the the work of the American Psychiatric Association. Today, you risk being subject to a social media “pile on” for exactly the same sentiment.

Why is this an issue? I offer a personal example;

I recently changed employer. Part of the pre-employment checks was the agreement that I could be subject to an Internet search for unacceptable opinions. The contract was a little more vague than that, claiming to look for information “unfavourable” to the organisation’s public reputation, but the interpretation is vague enough to prevent my hiring for “wrongthink”.

Fortunately, although it’s not difficult to identify me if the searcher was motivated, I have always kept my online discussions behind a pseudonym. In hindsight, this was a smart move as the Overton Window has moved and left me stranded in many subject areas.

Bill’s Opinion

Perhaps the Overton Window is another recipient of the Matthew Principle, “For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” or a Pareto distribution where opinions accumulate in an ever tighter space.

Regardless, teach your children the important lesson that nothing on the Internet is biodegradable and that what might seem a perfectly acceptable opinion today is unlikely to remain so tomorrow.

We screwed up. You pay.

We shouldn’t be surprised by this news, after all, the modern response to a political scandal is always to make the taxpayer suffer and never for the responsible to resign or be fired;

The Northern Territory government’s response to a Royal Commission’s damning findings on juvenile criminal custody is to throw more money at the problem.

Perhaps most galling for those few suckers taxpayers who are net contributors in the Northern Territory is that this recent splurge of their cash is being pitched as an “investment”.

If that noun were truthful, perhaps it’s not unreasonable for those taxpayers to ask what the return was for previous such “investments” and whether or not they were receiving value for money?

Let’s examine the “investment” claim a little further, what will they get this time?

The money is going to buy;

  • Upgrades to two existing detention centres ($71.4m)
  • An IT system ($66.9m)
  • “Improvements” to detention operations ($22.9m)
  • “Coordination hubs” ($11.4m)
  • “Support for kinship and foster carers” ($5.4m)

I bet the NT taxpayers must be so excited, like a year full of Christmas and birthday mornings have arrived at once…..

Speaking of taxpayers, how many net contributing taxpayers (i.e. those who put in more than they receive back in benefits, childcare vouchers, medicare, etc.) are there?

Numbers are hard to ascertain but we could make an informed guess that it’s probably about 50% of the total population (supported by this article), so about 100,000 souls.

Bill’s Opinion

The press conference announcing the response to the Royal Commission’s findings could have been shortened considerably by reading out the following statement;

Good afternoon taxpayers of the Northern Territories.

The Royal Commission has found that this government and our predecessors have consistently failed to achieve our stated results, regardless of how much of your money we threw at the problem. Therefore, we will be removing another $200 each from your wallets and will be buying more stuff with it. We haven’t made any material changes to how we measure return on investment so please do not expect any change to the outcomes.

Nobody responsible for the past mistakes will lose their job or be subject to further investigation“.

If you are a Northern Territory taxpayer, you may want to consider the possibility that you are being farmed.

When intelligence is trumped by gullibility.

Regular readers of this organ will have realised that our assertion is freedom to choose and follow (or not follow) a religion is a very important principle, with the only caveat that doing so doesn’t impact on others’ freedom to live.

Therefore, if one chooses to believe that your prophet visited the moon on the back of a winged horse, you are most welcome to. If, however, you also believe that you must slaughter non-believers, we’re going to disagree quite robustly.

It could be argued and has been by various parties that not believing in a creator is also an act of faith; proving a negative is a particularly difficult task after all.

There are those who feel that a belief in something for which you have little to no proof other than the word of a third party (i.e. the definition of “faith”) is a form of mental illness. There’s certainly an argument to be made there but, given that existential questions of creation are unlikely to be solved to a high degree of scientific proof and we’d need to solve the problem of infinite regression, we all live with that unresolved internal discussion. We generally function on a day to day basis however.

Some religious adherents clearly are suffering from a dangerous delusion though and are a danger to themselves and/or others. When your religious beliefs require you to act out the crucifixion on Easter weekend, self-flaggelate for Ashura, murder Cathars for having the wrong version of Christianity or fly planes into tower blocks, there’s clearly a problem of the mind that is impacting physical reality.

Consider then what mental illness might look like from an atheist regressive progressive point of view;

New York lawyer self-immolated in protest against climate change.

Full disclosure; I have no evidence of what David Buckel’s religious views were at the point of death but, given his acceptance of two of the key tenants of the Cultural Marxist agenda and the extremely rare instance of anyone only believing one or two of the dozen or so must-believe doctrines, we’re guessing he didn’t believe in a creator.

Chances are he probably said, “Oh God” or “Jesus fucking Christ” at some point quite soon after flicking the flint on the Zippo though.

Bill’s Opinion

Unless he was an extremely modest polymath, it’s a safe assumption that the gay and trans rights lawyer David Buckel did not have a full and detailed understanding behind the science of climate change.

Yet he’d fully-accepted the impending doom of climate change as a solid fact based only on the testimony of third parties, like an illiterate peasant in medieval Britain blindly following the village Priest’s encouragement to join the crusades to liberate Jerusalem from heathen rule.

Perhaps he was suffering from an underlying mental illness, but perhaps the religiosity of the climate change pantechnicon and its followers is indistinguishable from religion?

Either way, the outcome is that he’s toast.