The Occam’s Razor test of leadership

Sometimes how a person answers a simple hypothetical question tells us all we need to know to understand their character. Take this one, for example, which cuts to the core of the qualities of leadership;

Scenario; You are Prime Minister of country. The press break a story that your Deputy has been having an affair with a member of his staff, has deserted his wife and family, jerrymandered the recruitment and selection process twice to ensure his new partner remains employed in good roles, received a “gift” of a rent-free apartment to house her and they are now expecting the birth of their child in 2 months’ time. Previously, the Deputy Prime Minister has been a vocal supporter of “family values”.

Do you;

A) Confirm that there are no impediments to removing him from his post and replacing him with a more suitable candidate based on pre-existing codes of conduct relating to bringing parliament and the office of the Prime Minister in to disrepute and then do so with immediate effect?

B) Give him the benefit of the doubt, gracefully allow him a suitable period of time to state his case and to show some level of contrition but then, with a heavy heart, remove him from his post in order to maintain the gravitas of parliament and the office of Prime Minister as paramount?

C) Dither about for a week or so, force him to take a long weekend paid “leave” and then make a public statement to “update the ministerial code of conduct” to explicitly state that knocking up your staff and dumping your wife is not acceptable these days but do nothing tangible about the situation in the hope that Donald Trump will tweet something inflammatory over the weekend that diverts the news agenda?

Bill’s Opinion

There’s a special place in hell for people who claim to be leaders but soil their underwear the first time they are faced with a difficult decision which requires some level of consistency with previously-stated moral positions.

If you feel that this is a trivial point, remember that the person in this job has the ability to send troops to fire live rounds, both internationally and, in extremis, domestically.

“Over the top lads, I’m right behind you!”.

The best women are men

Remember the transgender Aussie Rules player trying to play in the women’s league?

(Hannah Mouncey, not to be confused with a bricklayer from the 1970s)

Well, “Hannah” Mouncey has just been given the green light and is eligible to compete as a woman.

Readers outside Australia will probably find coverage of the league on satellite television channels or via the watch again facility on Australian tv channel seven. I’m sure most matches will be fun to watch but there will be an extra frisson of vicarious adrenaline rush if they show footage of the recently-female “Hannah” smashing in to an originally-female player.

See also; Fallon Fox.

Who has agency?

Those unfamiliar with the principled, intellectual and classy world of Australian politics may have missed this current affair (s’cuse the pun); the Deputy Prime Minister has left his wife and family for a member of his staff and has subsequently had a child with her.

As always, there are some other periphery issues to be aware of; the staffer was recently moved into a new tailor-made taxpayer-funded position and the Deputy PM, Barnaby Joyce, has previously been a drum-beater for such things as “family values”. Whoops.

Well, nepotism and hypocrisy are nothing new in politics. Hand out the appropriate penalties, hoist him by his petard and move on.

What is more interesting, however, is the left’s take on all of this. There is a concerted effort to compare and contrast the situation with a hypothetical gender role reversal, obviously to bring our old nemesis duh patriarchy in to the firing line.

The link above has a TV monologue piece by veteran broadcaster (one hesitates to use the noun, “journalist”), Lisa Wilkinson, where she poses questions about how the story might have been handled should the genders have been reversed.

We’ll answer that question in a moment, first let’s look at one of the facts that are being touted in the list of reasons to damn the, already fucked, Barnaby Joyce; his paramour is 15 years his junior.

How do we feel this is relevant? Is she under the age of consent?

Not exactly, she’s 35 years young.

So why would the feminist, Lisa Wilkinson, think this is a relevant fact?

Bill’s Opinion

It’s subtle but the inference we are being offered is that a 35 year old woman was taken advantage of by the Deputy Prime Minister. Let’s rephrase that; a 35 year old professional woman does not have enough agency to make an informed decision about selecting her sexual partners.

That’s a fairly damning report card for the outcomes delivered by 3 waves of feminism.

Lastly, we can answer the “what if the genders were reversed, how would the press report it?” question with three words;

Julie “bicycle” Bishop.

Every Australian journalist reading this will be aware of the in-jokes, rumours and innuendo surrounding the Foreign Minister’s complicated and “busy” personal life. They will also be aware of how much of that has been investigated and reported on by the Canberra press corps – zero.

Hypocrisy is contingent on the observer’s viewpoint, it would seem.

Sorry seems to be the easiest word

Anyone who has been involved in rearing human infants will understand that the word “sorry” is the coda to the process of reconciling a malevolent or negligent act, not the start.

It’s also totally meaningless for the word to be said by anyone other than the person who committed the act, unless it’s used in the context of sympathy (“I’m sorry that happened to you”) instead.

Australian politicians don’t seem to have learned this important life lesson, however.

A decade ago the then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, apologised for previous Australian governments’ treatment of the Aboriginal people of Australia.

This year, the current Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, will apologise for child abuse committed in various institutions.

In addition to the word “sorry”, these apologies have a significant commonality; they are both meaningless because the speaker was not responsible for the crime. In most cases, the speaker was not even born at the time of the crime.

This new apology will receive much gushing news coverage and several soundbites will be carefully crafted to ensure their future use in television documentaries.

But let’s be clear; it will change nothing.

Fortunately, I’m not a victim of institutional child abuse (or any other kind of child abuse for that matter) but I am able to empathise with those who are. I assume that, if an apology were to be offered to the survivors, it would be far more likely to give them “closure” if the apology was delivered by the perpetrator.

If the perpetrator refused to give the apology or was unable to (most are dead now), perhaps it might give some satisfaction if their direct manager apologised for their part in the problem.

But there seems to be a rapidly diminishing law of returns in play as the apology moves further and further away from anyone actually involved at the time to the point that, when we reach the Prime Minister (in just his 3rd year in the job), it may as well be delivered by an out of work actor. At least the dramatic delivery would have a good chance of seeming genuine.

Bill’s Opinion

Apologising for history is virtue signalling nonsense.

We can understand why it is attractive to politicians however; it’s far simpler to say sorry for something you weren’t responsible for than to competently oversee the investigation and prosecution of criminals and assisting any living victims.

In other news, on behalf of the whole of western Christendom, I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for the sacking of Constantinople in 1215. Hopefully we can all move on from here and find common ground.

Team Australia – World Policepersons

Two former Australian Defence Force Academy cadets are claiming they were discriminated over their transgender status.

Reading the article in the link may be difficult for some readers, this is due to the fact that the Sydney Morning Herald is quite imprecise in the language used throughout. Depending on one’s point of view, this confusion may be thought to be due to either a genuine desire to be sympathetic to the two subjects OR to deliberately cloud the truth.

After some re-reading, it becomes clear that a female (now called Joel) and male (now called Sarah) both joined the Australian armed forces as a woman and a man. Quite soon afterwards, they announced that they were “transitioning” to the opposite gender.

It should come to no surprise to anyone who has ever met a human that this this caused significant issues for all concerned.

For example, the woman now known as Joel found the physical training regime of her male colleagues somewhat inconvenient, as she was the only one running around with a large pair of functioning mammary glands tightly strapped to her chest. It takes some re-reading to realise that the issue was due to the fact that she was training alongside men, not women. It’s not clear from the article whose choice that was.

The selected quotes throughout the article reek of cognitive dissonance or at least an unhealthy lack of self-awareness.

Some favourites;

“I don’t know what person in their right mind would think, ‘oh great, I’ll join the Defence Force for a free transition’.”

“It would be much easier to work in a civilian capacity and save money and transition than it ever would socially to try and transition in Defence.”

Or, in English, “I joined an organisation which demands the highest physical strength, fitness and discipline standards along with a strong esprit de corps resulting in a lethal and highly-effective defence service to the nation. Apparently, being confused about one’s gender dilutes this somewhat“.

The man now know as Sarah seems similarly confused about the purpose of the military;

Miss Bowley said when she joined the ADF in 2011 she was overcompensating with extreme masculinity.

“I was so masculine I was described as the epitome of aggression,” Miss Bowley said.

“I went so far to prove to everyone and myself that I was masculine.”

But that changed after she attempted suicide twice.

Again, this might be translated in to vernacular English along the following lines, “Imagine my surprise to discover my employer was less than impressed, after hiring me in part due to my aggression, to discover I wanted to wear dresses and be known as Miss Sarah. Unreasonably, they felt this might be an unhelpful diversion in the field of combat“.

This is quite an interesting point and one which our diligent journalist, Kimberley Le Lievre, has either accidentally missed or deliberately missed;

Both Miss Bowley and Mr Wilson were medically downgraded against their wishes and despite their physical ability. A spokeswoman for Defence said members who were transitioning gender were not automatically downgraded.

Sounds terribly unfair, doesn’t it? Except, at the time, transgenderism had its own DSM-5 category as it was considered primarily a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association. This was amended in May 2013 to merge the categories of transgender and depression to infer that people who are transgender and depressed are depressed regardless of their transgenderness not necessarily because of it. Regardless of where one stands on this assertion, it’s clear the Australia Defence Force were acting on current medical advice by diagnosing both subjects as medically-unfit.

Another hilarious quote;

“You might identify as male but you might say ‘hang on a minute, I don’t fit all of those’. That’s going to lead you to question things.”

Again, the last thing a fighting unit requires in battle is someone who is living in an existential flux status. You want to trust the person fighting next to you implicitly, if you know they don’t feel comfortable in their skin, one assumes that trust is going to be reduced.

And;

“Any organisation that has more diversity does better.”

That’s a claim with highly-dubious scientific sources but, even if proven correct in the world of commerce or pubic sector administration, I’d be willing to bet the defence budget on the fact that there isn’t a single corroborating study for fighting forces, especially ones that have fired live rounds any time recently.

Lastly, this gem;

“It was the scariest thing I’ve done, to be honest,” he said, of coming out while in the defence force.

Let’s have a moment’s silence for those who gave their lives on the Normandy Beaches while we consider the relative scariness of experience.

Bill’s Opinion

Being transgender is a personal tragedy for those concerned. The suicide rates within that demographic are the highest in society and do not drop for those who have the reassignment surgery.

These people should be supported and helped but with the realisation that, but for a recent capitulation by the APA, the professional opinion was agreed that they were suffering from a mental disorder, not some magical third gender yet to be explained by science.

Let’s support these people but for fuck’s sake keep them away from live weapons and in no way give them responsibility for the defence of anything so important as national security.