Last week’s eloquent Saturday Paper cover photo of the two well-fed and very conservative politicians congratulating each other (Rick Morton, “The week Australia failed on climate change”, September 28–October 4) was augmented by the editorial about their debt to the venomous mammoth whose publications are essential to the success of both in their wars against inconvenient truth (“Bully mammoths”, September 28–October 4). Despite a crushing polemical loss to a Swedish teenager, both these men are justifiably confident that massive plutocratic injections guarantee their continued dominance of their respective political patches. Those Australians hoping that overwhelming logic might persuade their main opposition party to kick their money addiction and embrace survival had to witness its foreign affairs spokeswoman summarily rejecting the idea in a recent Insiders.
– John Hayward, Weegena, Tas
Rick Morton’s and Paul Bongiorno’s commentaries on Scott Morrison, Australia and climate change policy (“Morrison receives metal of honour”, September 28–October 4) points to the possibility that we are caught in a death-making pincer movement. On the one hand, because democracies find it hard to do difficult or painful things, it requires crisis (real or pretended) to induce dramatic policy change. This mightn’t be such a problem if we were not dealing with a life-threatening crisis that involves profound irreversibilities in the damage being done. By the time the crisis awakens the public, it might be too late. This is climate change. On the other hand, we have a generation of political leaders that has never known real devastation or even hardship. The baby boomers are possibly the most indulged generation in history. It is this that helps to explain the frivolousness and policy recklessness of people such as Trump and Morrison. There could hardly be worse politicians to confront this crisis. John Maynard Keynes once commented, disparagingly, about those people who think that “nothing really serious ever happens”.
– Tony Aspromourgos, Bondi Junction, NSW
A character lesson
In her interview with Mona Eltahawy (“Fiery resistance”, September 21-27), Miriam Cosic writes that when they broached the topic of burqas “she draws a firm line beyond which I, as a white woman, cannot trespass”. I find it alarming how far this lurches away from the gold standard of participation in public discourse: the content of character (not skin colour). Intersectionality demands that we think and speak strictly from within boundaries delimited by congenital features such as race, gender and sexuality. It drives us apart by narcissistically focusing on piddling differences between groups rather than the vast ocean of similarity binding all humans. Allyship won’t be achieved if it’s not possible for a white woman to empathise with a Muslim woman wearing a burqa. Intersectionality, like any other ideology, is toxic when consumed at certain concentrations. The quantity that has been swallowed by Miriam Cosic demonstrates why it is the opium of the woke left. It’s a repudiation of Dr King’s dream.
– Mallory Barnes, Ainslie, ACT
Pell trial still causing pain
Gadfly’s legal expertise and humane reasoning have never been more opportune (“Pell melee”, September 28–October 4). Even as I am conscious of being duly observant of the rights of anyone convicted of a serious charge having the right of appeal, I am nevertheless angered and saddened in equal measure by the convoluted efforts of Cardinal George Pell’s legal team in this most distressing of trials. Many victims of sexual abuse have psychologically entered into the drama unfolding for Witness J and it is a perpetual and exhausting effort to maintain some measure of disinterest.
– Pam Connor, Mollymook Beach, NSW
Connected to the grid
Mungo MacCallum’s crypticism is brilliant. His crosswords offer such incisive wit, I find myself leaping to that page for my Saturday morning coffee ahead of the news. The Saturday Paper offers a vital antidote to the roiling sugar-coated hatreds, manipulations and corruptions that your thorough investigative journalism brings to light.
– Alison Lyssa, Bondi Junction, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Oct 5, 2019. Subscribe here.