Author: Peter Smith

  • What To Do, Hollowed Out and Still Spewing CO2?

    Our obsessive minister for climate change and energy Chris Bowen seems intent on ridding Oz of manufacturing. All unintentional mind. Collateral damage, as it were, from demolishing foul CO2-spewing coal-power stations, and marginalising and driving out its fellow pollutants oil and natural gas. Incidentally, history will thank him because it will be written current-day university…

  • Hairless Apes

    Just been rereading Tom Wolfe’s wonderful book The Kingdom of Speech (2016). Read it if you haven’t already. You won’t be disappointed. It’s all about why and how human beings developed the ability to speak and whether there are rules which apply across different languages. Wolfe entertainingly covers the debate between naturalists Charles Darwin and…

  • Being gay isn’t anything to write home about

    I see that a new museum has just opened in Darlinghurst in Sydney in a disused police station. Its focus is queer history and culture. Qtopia it’s called. Apparently some gay demonstrators were thrown into the cells at the very same police station in 1978. So it’s a bitter-sweet sweep of history which, no doubt, will…

  • A dunkelflaute day in Sydney town

    It’s Monday 1pm in Sydney. My flat is dark as the rain comes down from a heavily clouded sky. I look out my window. It’s still. There is no movement of leaves on the trees. I’ll guess. Any wind and solar power in the vicinity is generating a fat zero. I am in the dark…

  • On a trivial trial of aging

    Age and indignities go together. In the grossly overregulated state of NSW I’m now required to have my doctor sign off on my fitness to drive each year. Hoons on the road requiring institutionalisation are however free of medical or psychological restraints. Anyway, I learned to my shock that my doctor had retired at Christmas.…

  • Maybe things aren’t (really) falling apart ?!?

    Our side is too quick to celebrate the odd battle won. The enemy is infinitely resilient; unflaggingly indefatigable; obsessively single-minded; never asleep forever awake. The referendum victory against the mass of federal and state governments, giant corporates, sporting codes, churches, celebrities and assorted elites, was indeed singular. To borrow from Paul Keating it might be…

  • Misery Ahead

    Pretence of knowledge is a phrase coined by Friedrich Hayek to describe the psychological predilection of those who believe they know enough to plan a path to economic plenty and who inevitably produce economic and social misery. John Maynard Keynes a contemporary of Hayek illustrates the mindset. A few years after The Road to Serfdom…

  • Teals cushy in cloud-cuckoo land, disappointing about those poor sods out of work in Kwinana

    I read, more or less at the same time, material which emanated from two places whose fundamental laws of economics appear to be quite different. I’ll call them down-to-earth land and cloud-cuckoo land. In down-to-earth land, ASIC reported that 243 manufacturers and 1387 construction companies went into administration in the second half of 2023; an…

  • Neither Islam (bad) nor Christianity (good) have materially changed

    I have a piece coming up on Quadrant Online about hate speech, free speech and Islam (now up). Henry Ergas covered a similar theme in Friday’s Australian newspaper under the heading of “Hate Speech underlines how Islam has changed.” Surprise-surprise, his is more erudite. On the other hand, mine is understandable by the common man…

  • Winning a War versus Paying a Ransom

    You may have seen the 1996 movie Ransom starring Mel Gibson playing Tom Mullen. Tom’s son is kidnapped and suspecting that even if he pays the ransom his son will be killed he gives the kidnappers two options. Return his son and that will be the end of the matter. Alternatively, if his son is…