Tuesday, 2 June 2015


I have been neglecting you dear blog.

Various reasons including desultory health but also standing back and watching the energy so many people put into having opinions and wondering if somewhere there is some mechanism, some magic ingredient to make the utterances of more and more mean anything more than addition to mass brass instrument cacophany. Do a web search for number of books published to see the explosion just in books... but books are a declining element in public writing.

Perhaps this metaphor is apposite because I am writing this in often quite noisy Mexico City.
Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. 
Man is the only being who knows he is alone, and the only one who seeks out another.
Octavio Paz, The Labyrinth of Solitude
This may have greater meaning now that the internet becomes as noisy as a Mexican street. But do those of us who write to the web write for others, to engage with others? Or to express the urge to utter?

There are a number of my generation who have been active in government policy who write about their past fields, repeating what they said before or with l'esprit de l'escalier what they wished they'd said before. But I do not sense a connect to younger generations who must be the ones to find sensible new international policies.

I'd just recommend that younger generations reject a lot of the silly and dangerous adventurist and posturing baggage of Australian strategic utterances and deployments. We have been shown by Ireland just how slow and backward we are on equality issues.

Generations seem to be getting both dumber and more cautious, their world full of threats, disemployment, apprehension about saying the wrong thing. As I said in a 2004 speech about the Iraq war, the right to speak is reduced, vocabulary is reduced, distorted:

In 1914 and over the years that followed, as in 2001 and years that follow it, we see political leaders create a situation where they must remain consistent with already failed strategy. They must chew up more lives, because to do otherwise risks not just their own positions but the whole posture and shape of state power they have built up to reinforce their strategies. So much so, that rivals... have to speak the same language, have to say yes they will fight the War on Terror, otherwise they themselves fear being political losers because the whole political vocabulary has been distorted by fear and misinformation. We say to ALL political leaders this: we reject the macho thick-skull notion that you can’t change your mind. We will support you in any pursuit of sane new policy directions to other than war.

In Washington in the 1970s and next in writing speeches for the Labor Party in opposition I thought I made some way with the argument that a good ally is one which helps a big friend to see some course of action is unwise, rather than trotting behind. Huh! It seems so blindingly obvious. Why grasp the coat-tail of someone who won't listen. Why imagine you are more than a doormat if all you do is say yes.

Meanwhile my partner and I have been finding happier times visiting family in the USA and going on for several weeks in Mexico. From which two blogs. It's a slog but good for the brain to try to write up a day's travel or a moment's something. And you can change yourself and be fully alive by thinking freely. There is so much to learn and if you don't take it in you won't learn, won't change.

Here are the two current blogs:
Seattle to San Francisco

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