The buggered country

Caption: The lucky country closes up shop.

When Donald Horne wrote The Lucky Country, he didn?t exactly mean it as a positive. What he meant was that Australia was lucky enough to be so endowed with resources and dynamic people that it was naturally resilient to the cluelessness of its leadership. Unfortunately, Australia?s luck could only run so far.

Sooner or later, our politicians and elites are going to screw up so badly that not even Australia?s famed luck will be any use. That time may be upon us. Quote:

A British observer [in 1975 or so] noted ?Any fool can bugger up Britain but it takes real genius to bugger up Australia.?

Australian politicians are again showing real genius. End of quote.

Once upon a time, Australia?s leaders encouraged the nation to build useful things: hydro-electric schemes, railways, industries. But, back then, politicians were people who had had other lives, where they learned useful skills. Australian politicians were former railway workers, drovers, miners, printers, farmers, businessmen and clerks. Many of them saw active military service.

Today?s politicians are almost entirely made up of professional politicians. Most of them (especially the left-wingers) are the children of middle-class privilege and private educations. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these silver-tailed, insular professionals brain-fart out a concatenation of useless, ruinously expensive boondoggles: the NBN, Gonski, and of course, dodgy ?renewables?. Quote:

Now, we have incredible tri-partisan plans to cover the continent with a spider-web of transmission lines connecting wind/solar ?farms? sending piddling amounts of intermittent power to distant consumers and to expensive battery and hydro backups ? all funded by electricity consumers, tax-assisted speculators and foreign debt.

We are the world?s biggest coal exporter but have not built a big coal-fired power station for 11 years. We have massive deposits of uranium but 100% of this energy is either exported, or sterilised by the Giant Rainbow Serpent, or blocked by the Green-anti?s.

Australia suffers recurrent droughts but has not built a major water supply dam for about 40 years. And when the floods do come, desperate farmers watch as years of rain water rush past to irrigate distant oceans. End of quote.

Australia has a lot of challenging natural conditions, such as its intermittent rainfall ? it?s not for nothing that Dorothea Mackellar wrote about ?drought and flooding rains? ? ancient, poor soils and their associated salinity, but many of these can be conquered by human ingenuity. If only the ?geniuses? in charge didn?t persist in buggering it all up. During the Millennium drought, John Howard had all but sewn up the first version of a Murray-Darling Basin plan ? until Labor state governments shot it all down, out of pure political spite. Quote:

Once, Australia was a world leader in exploration and drilling ? it is now a world leader in legalism, red tape and environmental obstructionism.

Once, Canberra and the states encouraged oil and gas exploration with geological mapping and research ? now they restrict land access and limit exports.

Once, Australia was a world leader in refining metals and petroleum ? now our expensive unreliable electricity and green tape are driving these industries and their jobs overseas.

Once, Australia?s CSIRO was respected for research that supported industry and for doing useful things like controlling rabbits and prickly pear and developing better crops and pastures. Now CSIRO panders to global warming hysteria and promotes the fairy story that carbon taxes and emissions targets can change the world?s climate. End of quote.

Despite protestations about ?science? and ?evidence-based policy?, much of the mindset retarding development is driven by a ?Gaia-ist?, semi-religious devotion than hard-headed scientific thinking. It?s no accident that Kevin Rudd babbled about climate change as ?the greatest moral challenge of our generation?: too much of the baloney peddled about climate change is moral posturing designed to win public acclaim, rather than actual science.

In Isaac Asimov?s Foundation series, the degeneration of science into semi-mysticism is one of the principle signs of civilisational decay. Another is the increasing abandonment of ?difficult? subjects like science and engineering, in favour of the most frivolous end of the humanities. Quote:

Once, young Australians excelled in maths, science and engineering. Now, they are brain-washed in gender studies, green energy non-science and environmental activism.

Once, the opening of a railway or the discovery of oil, coal, nickel or uranium made headlines. Today?s Aussies harass explorers and developers, and queue at the release of the latest iPad. End of quote.

It?s not that the arts and humanities are entirely useless ? H. G. Wells scathingly described a character who wanted to abandon ?novels and poetry swipes? for wall-to-wall science texts ? but, as writers like Wells and Asimov knew, such things are luxuries that must be earned. Today?s ruling class is content merely to luxuriate in the fruits of the hard work of the past, while simultaneously sneering at their ancestors who built their idle world.

Science fiction visionaries like Wells were also historians (Wells? The outline of history was a classic of its time), who were only too aware of how many civilisations had become ossified, and eventually disappeared. Quote:

As Australia?s first people discovered, if today?s Australians lack the will or the knowledge to use our great natural resources, more energetic people will take them off us. End of quote.