Thinking for ourselves — precious and threatened

Today in The Australian

Seventy-five years ago, as the war raged with unrelenting ferocity, Australia’s daily papers reported, typically in a snippet at the bottom of page 4, that on what is now Australia Day a “terrible concentration camp” had been captured at Oswiecim, in southwestern Poland.

 

About Henry Ergas

Henry Ergas AO is a columnist for The Australian. From 2009 to 2015 he was Senior Economic Adviser to Deloitte Australia and from 2009 to 2017 was Professor of Infrastructure Economics at the University of Wollongong’s SMART Infrastructure Facility. He joined SMART and Deloitte after working as a consultant economist at NECG, CRA International and Concept Economics. Prior to that, he was an economist at the OECD in Paris from the late 1970s until the early 1990s. At the OECD, he headed the Secretary-General’s Task Force on Structural Adjustment (1984-1987), which concentrated on improving the efficiency of government policies in a wide range of areas, and was subsequently Counsellor for Structural Policy in the Economics Department. He has taught at a range of universities, undertaken a number of government inquiries and served as a Lay Member of the New Zealand High Court. In 2016, he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia.
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28 Responses to Thinking for ourselves — precious and threatened

  1. Rafe Champion

    Hannah Arendt was sleeping with the enemy (Heidegger). I don’t recall what she ever said about that afterwards. As for the Holocaust being the ultimate horror, in numerical terms it was almost an order of magnitude short of the Red Terror that started in 1917. Think about the deliberate starvation of millions in the Ukraine, not to mention their activities undermining peace, freedom and prosperity in every country in the world.

    Still the ABC gives respectful access to ex-c0mmunists to talk about their experiences, imagine them extending that courtesy to ex-nazis.

    Alan Ashbolt led the communist charge in the ABC news section and actively recruited fellow travelers.

    Tony Thomas is informative, as usual.

  2. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Communism is intensely evil, and communist and other reigns of terror where people were ideologically ‘expendable’ deserve our absolute condemnation for their criminal inhumanity and the suffering they caused.

    But Auschwitz stands alone as the very symbol of intended industrial-scale mass killing of people regarded as ‘vermin’, not worthy of life and not human as others were. The final definition of ‘a crime against humanity’.

    Lest we forget. Never Again.

  3. Cassie of Sydney

    “1735099
    #3303513, posted on January 27, 2020 at 8:06 am
    Lest we forget. Never Again.”

    Agree racist…it will never happen again….despite what you desire. Remind me..how many dead Jooos have you fantasised about today?

  4. mark jones

    A slippery slope that started with Germany’s doctors. My fear is that small line has been crossed again with the introduction of euthanasia laws. First the terminally ill, then there will be the old and infirm, then badly deformed, then mentally ill, then…whatever the state deems not worthy of life.

  5. Professor Fred Lenin

    I distinctly remember seeing the skeletal liberated victims of national SOCIALISMon newsreels at the movies,I think it might have been Belsen ,I musy have been about 7 or 8 years old ,I can still see them in my minds eye . And the younger generation thinks socialism is a great idea tell thst to the victims of it .
    Hitler and Stalin both called themselves Socialists,I suppose Mao,the Korean Kims ,Pol Pot Castro Guevara Mugabe and the rest of the murdering dictators did too.
    Socialism if fot the benefit of the people ? It benefits some people and grinds the majority into the dirt.

  6. Cassie of Sydney

    “I see that the Jooo hating racist from Toowoomba has already been here to offer his “two bob’s worth” of piffle….but here is just a smidgen of interesting reading of growing Jooo hatred from the left….

    https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/antisemitism-on-the-far-left-has-overtaken-antisemitism-on-the-far-right-according-to-research-1.493759

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/08/13/rise-anti-semitism-left/

    https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/corbyn-s-labour-party-might-lose-u-k-elections-anti-ncna1099046

    I also note that the Jooo hating racist from Toowoomba has nothing to say…..and I mean nothing…..over the attacks last month of Jooos in New Jersey (fatal…two dead) and in New York…but that’s because the attackers don’t fit the far-right narrative. The attackers were black….how terribly inconvenient.

    Let we forget….never again.

  7. Rafe Champion

    How come I forget to mention that the nazis were socialists as well, so chalk the Holocaust up to hard leftism.

    Oserve the Jeremy Corbyn phenomenon and the growing partnership of the radical left and radical Islam.

  8. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    From Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare at 7:56 am:

    “Communism is intensely evil … .

    But Auschwitz stands alone … .

    Lest we forget. Never Again.”

    I heard of Auschwitz and the other death camps as a young man, from post WWII European refugees (Poles) who did not gild the lily.

    A close mate and his wife visited there 15 or so years ago. He entered the army as a teenager in the ’60s and retired a lifetime later at Canungra, as a widely experienced, dispassionate sergeant major. A big, brave, confident bloke he got to the gate and baulked, spooked by the feel of the place. “Off you go Lizzie, I’ll have a smoke and wait for you here.”

    The evil practised by the Germans was deliberate master race arrogance. I have yet to meet a German who has anything to be arrogant about – they are ill mannered and ignorant. Their reaction to a jolly good mocking, and to sarcasm, makes bullying them worthwhile. They deserve to suffer for their inhumanity until it is clear that they know what they did was unforgivable.

    The Russians? Uncivilised, cruel, vulgar peasants who rehearse their brutality on each other. Do they universally revile Stalin? I doubt it.

  9. Tom

    Henry, you write that the lessons of history mustn’t be forgotten — a fine sentiment. But those who want us to forget history are everywhere, even among the moderators of readers’ comments at The Australian.

    Because of their reputation for censorship of views they don’t like, I hadn’t tried to comment online at the Oz since the current editor in chief, Christopher Dore, took the job in November 2018, even though I have been a subscriber for many years.

    However, this morning I wanted to respond to “Jim”, who commented:

    Unfortunately the type of groupthink , hatred of traditional views and demands for a different more inclusive society that led to the Nazi regime is apparent on Twitter which is also devoid of that sense of humour Henry suggests has saved us.

    I replied:

    It’s not just on Twitter. Look at the violence of the “Antifa” mobs in Australia and around the world that claim to be “anti-fascist”, but are a replica of the Hitler’s Brown Shirts of the 1930s. Their only objective is to intimidate, silence and physically injure anyone who does not go along with the mindless groupthink of the political left on issues like global warming and open borders.

    My comment was not published.

    The conclusion is inescapable: those who do not wish to learn from history are censoring reader comments about the subject at The Australian.

  10. stackja

    Did Hitler learn from Stalin? Or vice versa?

  11. stackja

    Tom – It seems News people don’t like contrary comments.

  12. min

    Hitler was mates with Mussolini who was a Socialist and his manifesto for Fascist party was written by Gentile who was a Marxist. So all based on Marxism . In Italy they did not like Russian style of Communism
    and even during WW11 there was Mussolini , Italian communism and I would think the partigiani were basically Communists.
    Not from experience but what I learnt from my professor, Italian born, when I majored in Italian and Don Camillo.

  13. mem

    Meanwhile in our current world we have 35,000 people per year which is approximately 95 per day being murdered in a country that attracts no international scrutiny from the UN or its comrades. I’m speaking of Mexico.Trump went out on a limb to offer support last year but the offer was rejected and barely covered in media. How many more deaths will it take before journalists and organizations such as the UN take up the matter seriously. We spend so much time and money on the fictional doomsday climate change whilst turning a blind eye to real suffering.
    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/mexico-murder-rate-hits-record-high-2019-200121053841365.html

  14. Roger

    Meanwhile in our current world we have 35,000 people per year which is approximately 95 per day being murdered in a country that attracts no international scrutiny from the UN or its comrades.

    Would you believe Mexico currently sits on the UN Human Rights Council?

  15. Cassie of Sydney

    “Tom
    #3303597, posted on January 27, 2020 at 9:55 am

    The conclusion is inescapable: those who do not wish to learn from history are censoring reader comments about the subject at The Australian.

    Great comment Tom….I just wanted to let you know that every week I am sending off a complaint to The Australian about a rejected comment….almost all of which are very benign comments that are oddly rejected. What I am noticing more and more is that the moderators at both The Australian and The Telegraph frequently (and I mean frequently) let through offensive comments so long as they are offensive about conservative/right-wing politicians, climate deniers, Isr**l and so on. Another thing I have noticed is that they allow “leftist” commentators to comment rather frequently on one piece…something that they don’t allow anyone else.

    So last week I was reading a piece on Tim Blair’s blog. Blair clearly no longer moderates his blog. I made a comment but I also noticed that there was a commentator by the name of “Dennis” who had made about eight to ten comments…all of which were utterly offensive about Donald Trump…saying that he would die in goal and so on….but there was one particular putrid comment made by Dennis where he described Donald Trump as “as crooked as a swastika”. I could not believe it….that the moderators had allowed the comment through. Do you think that a moderator would have allowed a similar comment describing Obama, Merkel, Macron as “as crooked as a swastika”? Nope. So I posted a comment questioning why the comment by Dennis had been approved… and my comment was rejected. I then wrote to the deputy editor of the Telegraph…it took her a few hours to respond….she apologised about Dennis’ comment being approved and that she would have a word with the moderators…which…as far as I am concerned….was a tacit admission that there is a problem with moderation. This is what I wrote….

    “I am stunned that this was “accepted” by a moderator…..as well as various other comments by that commentator named “Dennis”. That particular piece that Blair uploaded called “Bernie’s Burner” is awash with offensive comments by Dennis….and I can guarantee you that if a right-wing person posted similar comments about President Obama or any other leftist politician for that matter…they would be rejected…and rightly so. I am growing increasingly concerned about political bias exhibited by moderators both at the Telegraph and at The Australian and yesterday’s comment about “swastika” confirms my uneasiness and suspicions. For the record I am Jooooish but that is irrelevant. However there is one thing I know and that is love him or loathe him….President Trump is NO anti-S*mite. President Trump has a Joooish daughter, Joooish grandchildren, Joooish relatives and is a longstanding and stalwart friend to Jooish causes and Isr**l. But I guess a young, progressive, leftist moderator is not interested in facts…just feelings….particularly when it comes to Donald Trump.”

    Of course the end of this will be the collapse of The Australian and The Telegraph….as I said in my email to the Deputy Editor of the Telegraph…if I want to read hard-left rubbish I will subscribe to the SMH or read the Guardian free. Why should I pay my hard earned dollars to be censored and yet then read a comment where Donald Trump…the most pro-Isr**l president in history….is described as “as crooked as a swastika”?

  16. Boambee John

    Roger

    Would you believe Mexico currently sits on the UN Human Rights Council?

    Why not, look at the other members. Mexico is probably better than the average.

  17. Alan

    Interesting clip from 25 Jan 2020: Melbourne – Arrested for wearing Australian Flag.

  18. Thanks Cassie for your contributions.
    The anniversary of Soviet troops reaching Auschwitz leads me to ponder why the west had not bombed the monstrous death factory camps and their transport links wherever they were found.
    True I think that deaths in Stalins gulag, purges & executions plus State sponsored famines would total way more than Hitlers murdering but I agree the industrial scale killing involving tens(100’s?) of thousands in planning & operations sets the German killing in a place of its own.
    It is also worth pondering a different path for the end of WWII in Europe. In 1943 the western armies reached the north of Italy and could have re-grouped and invaded the “soft underbelly of Europe” instead of following Stalin’s wishes that we invade France. That might have saved multi millions from spending a lifetime blighted under USSR rule. Facts are that the US Govt and Depts even the White House were so penetrated by USSR agents from ~1933 onwards that post Pearl Harbor the western allies war effort was often subordinated to helping good old Uncle Joe. This “white anting” was more pronounced as FDR grew weaker.
    Interesting too that all this history did not prevent Mao from writing his own chapters in the killing of people in mind numbing millions.

  19. John A

    min #3303614, posted on January 27, 2020 at 10:13 am

    Hitler was mates with Mussolini who was a Socialist and his manifesto for Fascist party was written by Gentile who was a Marxist. So all based on Marxism. In Italy, they did not like Russian style of Communism
    and even during WW11 there was Mussolini, Italian communism and I would think the partigiani were basically Communists.
    Not from experience but what I learnt from my professor, Italian born, when I majored in Italian and Don Camillo.

    Min, have you forgotten the old maxim: 35% of Italians vote Communist in the elections, and then go home and worry about whether the Communists will win? Whatever flavour, it’s all totalitarian collectivism and completely antithetical to individual freedoms.

    My wife and I have many of the Guareschi books. Loved them all. I still remember the adventures of Don Camillo in the USSR as a Party representative on the grand tour – not one foul or angry word but so much of the middle finger to that corrupt regime. Classic!

  20. John A

    wazz #3303761, posted on January 27, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    Thanks Cassie for your contributions.
    The anniversary of Soviet troops reaching Auschwitz leads me to ponder why the west had not bombed the monstrous death factory camps and their transport links wherever they were found.

    As some previous thread here commented, the key is that German socialism is thoroughly demonised and beyond the pale but Russian and other forms of socialism are still highly regarded among the lefties/progressives.

    I have posted here before that the book-length answer to that puzzle is found in Diana West’s American Betrayal
    where she documents the way in which Stalin’s agents in the USA managed to influence Roosevelt’s war strategies to result in a lengthening of the war and a delay in launching the “second front” assault on German-held Europe so that the Red Army could occupy Eastern Europe. The Iron Curtain represented the eventual desired outcome (for Stalin) of the German-USSR deal (Molotov-Ribbentrop Non-Aggression Pact) to carve up Poland.

    For later stuff on the anti-Trump “Russian connection” see The Red Thread.

  21. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Tom, please do complain very strongly about your comment being rejected. They do reverse their judgements if you make your case against their censorship of a valid and discussion worthy opinion. Both Hairy and Cassie have been warriors on this front.

  22. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Mick Gold Coast, Hairy has often suggested to me that we visit one of the Nazi camp sites when in Europe, especially Auschwitz. I have said no each time. I just could not bear it and to turn it to tourism of a sort worries me. Yet – I did pay my respects at many military graveyards and battle sites in Europe and in the US. Seems different somehow.

  23. Cassie of Sydney

    “Both Hairy and Cassie have been warriors on this front.”

    Thanks darling Lizzie….we have to fight…we just can’t turn the other cheek.

  24. Rafe:

    As for the Holocaust being the ultimate horror, in numerical terms it was almost an order of magnitude short of the Red Terror that started in 1917.

    And still not admitted by the Collectivists.

  25. mark jones
    #3303520, posted on January 27, 2020 at 8:15 am

    A slippery slope that started with Germany’s doctors.

    It seems to be the way, doesn’t it? We appear to have particular groups of people who care so much about others that they don’t seem to be able to slaughter those who get in the way of their virtuous acts, quickly enough.

  26. DP

    @ Tom #3303597, posted on January 27, 2020 at 9:55 am
    .

    “The conclusion is inescapable: those who do not wish to learn from history are censoring reader comments about the subject at The Australian.”

    “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”
    George Orwell Nineteen Eighty Four
    .
    DP

  27. 1735099

    Meanwhile in our current world we have 35,000 people per year which is approximately 95 per day being murdered in a country that attracts no international scrutiny from the UN or its comrades.

    Yes US gun deaths are staggering, but I think it’s closer to 30000 than 35000 annually.

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