17 November 2014

Wavo Bowlo too.

Haiku prolixia.

Swallows swirling in a swaying sky,
Yachts creak on moorings of rust, 
Lycra clad grunts on swathes of green, and
"Howzat?" intruding from far off fields.
' I declare that I reside outside a 5 km radius of this club ...'
Do we sign? 
Alan, master of the barefoot bowls, knoweth all mysteries here:
sliced white, espresso, doily, egg, teapot, ditch and jack.
Spiritual direction and art non-appreciation are our fare, 
for gods would be present too.
Thing achieved.

Bob 15.11.14 

Wavo Bowlo

Since early days.
Time, toast and labradors.
Bob and me.
Talking, laughing.
Throat singing.
Iambic pentametre melts on tinfoil.
Tea grows colder.
We grow older.
Than we were. 
I am an author!

Fiona 15.11.14

09 November 2014

Capitalism; the price of freedom

This was a Sunday morning's musing. Why do so many of my friends hate capitalism? It is in a large part what is responsible for their prosperity and freedom, even if it is harsh and impersonal. Why not just treat it as a thing. An inevitable consequence of the responsibility of the luxury of choice.

 Hell capitalism's infuriating indifference to our fate is the price we have to pay for having freedom of choice. It seems that many of us are not prepared to pay that price. They rail against it and plot its demise perhaps not realising that they are undermining the delicate fabric of freedom as they do so. Or am I wrong?

04 November 2014

The greatest achievment in history

Yes. That's what this is being hailed as.

Well, at least as the kind of achievement in history you've never heard of, since most of us have at least heard of Western Civilization and many of us (though we could now be a minority) still think that it is a pretty impressive achievement.

So what's all the non-fuss about? See below.  

Warning there is a terrible "C" word used that educated people in the West are taught to despise.


Extreme poverty fell to 15% in 2011, from 36% in 1990. 

Credit goes to the spread of Capitalism.



Lid dip to Instapundit (again)

21 May 2014

The Hexham Principle

"If you commit to a course, stay that course to its end."

 This is not a new thought. As a heuristic it seems a tad trite, even old hat, so I have neglected to date to make any attempts to re-articulate it in writing. A recent lunch with some old uni mates breathed some new life into it however, as we fondly reminisced on its origins in our small circle. The tale of this old principle's re-genesis as the "Hexham Principle" seems worth repeating so it might not be entirely lost to posterity.

Back in around April of 1979 two car loads of 4 uni students each set out from Sydney to drive to Crescent Head on the New South Wales north coast for a week's holiday. Each car had 4 passengers and it was decided to drive up in semi convoy so we would reduce the chances of getting lost. This was well before mobile phones and GPS navigators. The trip was expected to take 5 or 6 hours. The plan agreed to as we loaded up the cars, a Beetle and a Mazda, was "let's make the first stop the Oak milk bar at Hexham if we lose each other on the way up". And so we set off through the heavy traffic up the Pacific Highway through Sydney's north shore. After the convoy left the Newcastle expressway at about Wyong, the Beetle veered left at a turn and headed North inland whilst the Mazda sailed on without following keeping a heading towards Newcastle. The convoy had been broken. This was immediately commented on in both cars. In the Beetle there were pleas to turn back and follow the Mazda, but the driver stuck to the route declaring that "Hexham was the agreed first stop and to Hexham this car is going". Meanwhile in the Mazda there were also questions put to the driver that the car should turn back and follow the Beetle, to which the driver responded "Hexham is where we agreed to meet, so Hexham is where we are going." And so it was that each car, by its own route, converged about an hour later on the Oak milk bar in Hexham. There was much fanfair and joshing about the route choice the other car had made, but with a consensus that, by each car sticking to the plan to meet at Hexham, the holiday was on track and we were on course to a fine holiday. And a fine holiday, with many fond memories, it proved to be too.

And thereafter, if any of that group have seemed in the eyes of another to be wavering in sticking to a task, they have been exhorted by the others to "remember Hexham". And so the legend of that journey morphed over time into the "Hexham Principle"

There have been some glosses on the Hexham principle experimented with over the years. The most recent of these is the suggestion that by committing to a choice and staying with it, a person often obtains the benefit of self-fulfillment from the power of owning that choice. This seems to apply even if, by others' lights, the choice seems wrong. By buying into your choice, you make your choice work for you. Sure, this has more than a flavour of pop psych, but it still is potentially a useful tool for navigating a world in which the array of potential choices facing young people is now almost infinite.

It might be a powerful thing to teach and learn such a heuristic in a world in which you can do almost anything you decide to put your mind to. It is not now how to do something that limits someone these days. It's what to do at all, that seems to limit so many. If a person can learn to self affirm a choice by buying into what the act of chosing itself gives them, they are less likely to be crippled by indecision in the face of the vast array of undifferentiated opportunities.

And so it is that I have now followed through on my commitment to my friends at lunch to write up the Hexham Principle. It works.

Go Hexham!

07 March 2014

Necessary conflict in free societies

This week's freedom quote of the week on "ideas@theCentre", the Centre for Independent Studies weekly email is:

 "In any free society, the conflict between social conformity and individual liberty is permanent, unresolvable, and necessary."
Kathleen Norris                 

I'd not heard of Kathleen Norris until seeing this, so I looked her up on Wikipedia. Turns out there's more than one famous Kathleen Norris. One's a living American poet and another is a popular dead American novelist and columnist from the first half of the 20th century.

According to Wiki the latter Kathleen Norris:
 "... used her fiction to promote values including the sanctity of marriage, the nobility of motherhood, and the importance of service to others....Norris became involved in various social causes, including women's suffrage, Prohibition, pacifism, and organizations to benefit children and the poor."
 I'm assuming it's this latter Kathleen Norris who is quoted. I like her quote. A lot. It helps me come to terms a little with the fact that I often find myself in inevitable conflict with people I respect and admire over seemingly obvious events and policy. It's nice to know that someone thought that that the conflict is necessary, even if unresolvable. I feel slightly better about my tendency on occasions to plough into the thick of the prevailing wisdom in a discussion and make myself disagreeable.

Maybe I should read some more Kathleen Norris sometime.