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Noam Chomsky über den Klimawandel und die Zukunft des intelligenten Lebens auf der Erde

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

 

 

Noam Chomsky, der berühmte Wissenschaftler und Politik-Kommentator, in einem Interview mit dem ‘Freitag’ im MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

Auszüge:

“Noam Chomsky: Die USA sind ein Schurkenstaat, Europa ist extrem rassistisch”

“Hoffentlich gibt es endlich einen Volksaufstand gegen die vernichtende, zerstörerische Wirtschafts- und Sozialpolitik, die von den Bürokraten und den Banken kommt.”

“Die menschliche Spezies gibt es schon vielleicht seit 100.000 Jahren und sie steht jetzt vor einem einzigartigen Moment in ihrer Geschichte. Diese Spezies ist jetzt an einem Punkt, an dem sich sehr bald entscheiden wird, in den kommenden Generationen, ob das Experiment des sogenannten intelligenten Lebens weitergehen wird oder wir fest entschlossen sind, es zu zerstören. Überwiegend erkennen Wissenschaftler, dass fossile Energieträger im Boden bleiben müssen, damit unsere Enkel eine Zukunft haben. Aber die institutionellen Strukturen unserer Gesellschaft versuchen, jeden Tropfen aus der Erde zu pressen. Die Folgen, die Auswirkungen der vorhergesagten Effekte des Klimawandels für die Menschheit in nicht sehr ferner Zukunft sind katastrophal und wir rasen auf diesen Abgrund zu.”

 

Vollständiger Artikel hier:

http://de.euronews.com/2015/04/17/noam-chomsky-die-usa-sind-ein-schurkenstaat-europa-ist-extrem-rassistisch/

Solar activity and new “little” ice age, and another interpretation

Monday, July 20th, 2015

The Lomonosov State University Moscow has published a press release that presents evidence for the possibility of a small “little” ice age developing in about fifteen to twenty years. The evidence is that the sun undergoes cycles in activity indicated by the number of observed sun spots (50 per year during the previous little ice age lasting from 1645 to  1700, and 40 – 50 000 during the warmer period after it), and that we are approaching a point when activity should decrease.

 

“In 17th century, though, there was a prolonged reduction in solar activity called the Maunder minimum, which lasted roughly from 1645 to 1700. During this period, there were only about 50 sunspots instead of the usual 40-50 thousand sunspots. Analysis of solar radiation showed that its maxima and minima almost coincide with the maxima and minima in the number of spots.”

“If the similar reduction will be observed during the upcoming Maunder minimum this can lead to the similar cooling of the Earth atmosphere. According to Dr Helen Popova, if the existing theories about the impact of solar activity on the climate are true, then this minimum will lead to a significant cooling, similar to the one occurred during the Maunder minimum.

However, only the time will show soon enough (within the next 5-15 years) if this will happen.”

 

Full article here:

http://astronomynow.com/2015/07/17/diminishing-solar-activity-may-bring-new-ice-age-by-2030/

 

I have asked Professor Michael Box, a renowned climate physicist from the University of NSW, Sydney, to comment on this post and he has given me permission to add his comments here.

Klaus,
Yes, it is causing quite a stir, isn’t it? Let me see how much light I can shed.

The analysis techniques used to underpin the prediction of very low sunspot numbers (principal component analysis) is well known and ‘valid’ as to what it does. Using it to project into the future is somewhat less valid, as other factors which have not shown up in the past data may be waiting in the wings. I guess I would rate the chances of very low sunspot numbers in the 2030s as less than 50-50, but certainly not at, or close to, zero.
So that brings us to the more important issue of the impacts. The Little Ice Age (so-called) is certainly ‘real’, although many questions remain.
When did it begin? I’ve seen dates of anywhere from 1300 to 1450 – both well before the start of the Maunder Minimum in 1645.
When did it end? Again I’ve seen dates as late as 1850 (well after the end of the MM in 1715), which might well imply that the only reason it did end is the onset of global warming!
Was it global, or regional? There is plenty of evidence from Europe and some from North America. I’ve seen a suggestion of some evidence from New Zealand. However there do seem to be many questions around the uniformity of the cooling.
So that brings us to the really key question of the causes/drivers. Solar activity is certainly one possibility, although as I’ve indicated the MM certainly couldn’t have started it. It may have made things just a little bit cooler – say 0.2 C – but it wasn’t the cause! Other suggestions have been a slowing of the Gulf Stream (it has slowed significantly in the past. ~11,000 years ago); volcanic activity (a couple of major eruptions followed by some feedbacks); and ‘orbital forcing’. We know that changes in the Earth’s orbit are the drivers of the glacial-interglacial cycle (something one of the authors of the paper in question is clearly ignorant of!), and these drivers don’t stop and start, but are on-going. We probably are heading ever so slowly for the next glacial.
Like most scientists who have made ‘meaningful’ comments, my view is that, if it does happen, it will reduce global warming by ~0.1 C – or delay it by ~10 years. And that delay would only be temporary, and temperature would zoom ahead in the years that followed.

 

Interesting to compare this critical account with a story published in news.com.au (a Murdoch site), in which the ‘coming ice’ age is more or less presented as a fact (“Earth heading for ‘mini ice age’ within 15 years’) and rounded up with drawing attention to the present cold front affecting SE Australia:

“Tropical-style thunderstorms, accompanied by heavy snowfalls, roared through the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, and towns as far as Orange on Saturday night.”

Full story here:

http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/earth-heading-for-mini-ice-age-within-15-years/story-e6frflp0-1227439329592

Marching into the Past: Cutting down on Renewable Energies and the Freedom of the Press

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

From the Sun Herald ( a Fairfax weekend newspaper) 12.July 2015:

“Tony Abbott has been warned he is putting international investment at risk after ordering the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation not to finance new wind power projects.”

Both the Prime Minister and the Treasurer have repeatedly claimed that wind farms are noisy and ugly. No such comments about a new open cut coal mine in fertile agricultural lands in NSW, just approved by the Federal government.

According to the ABC on 13.7.15, “small scale solar power” projects are also banned.

 

“Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been accused of unprecedented political interference in the ABC by demanding the broadcaster move panel program Q&A into its news division before he lifts a boycott of the program.

In a letter sent to ABC chairman Jim Spigelman on Friday, Mr Abbott said he would be happy to lift a ban on his frontbenchers appearing on Q&A if the ABC transferred the program from its television department to news and current affairs.”

Abbott had previously banned his ministers from appearing on the TV show, and the Minsiter for Communications Malcolm Turnbull, as well as the Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joice, who had agreed to appear on the show, complied.

Urgent action necessary: Contrasting futures for ocean and society from different anthropogenic CO2 emissions scenarios

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Director of the Global Change Institute and Professor of Marine Science at The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Deputy Director of James Cook University’s Centre for Excellence in Coral Reef Studies, and an ARC Laureate Fellow in 2013, is one of the authors of a paper just published in Science vol. 349, 3 July 2015, no. 6243, DOI: 10.1126/science.aac4722: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/349/6243/aac4722. in which the effects of climate change on the oceans are discussed under two scenarios, one if we continue as now, the other if we reduce temperature rise to 2 degrees.

Professor Hoegh-Guldberg has also published an article in Conversation accessible to the wider public, in which he emphasises the need for urgent action if we want to avoid disaster: “……..the ocean system could not be more important: it regulates the global temperature and atmosphere, feeds 3 billion people, and largely determines our weather. The ocean also has lots of “inertia” – which means that getting the ocean to change takes a lot of energy, but once it begins to change, slowing it down becomes more or less impossible…..” . Full article here:

https://theconversation.com/new-report-the-chance-to-rescue-the-worlds-oceans-from-climate-change-is-drifting-away-43257

 

The President of the Australian Human Rights Commission on Changes to the Citizenship Laws

Saturday, June 6th, 2015

The President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs, according to the Sydney Morning Herald 6-7 June, 2015, “has warned that Australian democracy is under threat” by “government moves to expand discretionary powers that may be exercised with limited or no judicial scrutiny”.…… “The overreach of executive power is clear in the yet to be defined proposal that those accused of being jihadists….will be stripped of their citizenship if they are potential dual nationals”.

The Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, had earlier attacked Professor Triggs “for making outrageous and offensive claims that were a ” ‘complete disgrace’ “. Similarly, he attacked Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young who had visited the detention centre on Nauru and had complained of being spied upon during her visit.

Also from the Sydney Morning Herald 6-7 June: Nepalese parents with her 5 year old baby were forced to return to the detention centre on Nauru to live in large tents, where children as young as two had been assaulted, according to a former child protection worker for Save the Children Victoria Vibhakar.

 

See also:http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jun/06/gillian-triggs-slams-scores-of-laws-threatening-fundamental-freedoms

In this article (The Guardian), attention is drawn to warnings by Professor Triggs about repeated moves not only by the federal parliament and government, but by those in various states, to introduce ” ‘scores of laws’ threatening fundamental freedoms”.

A snapshot of Australian politics 5th June 2015: Jail for reporting abuse in detention centres, free ride in climate change, loss of citizenship without recourse to law, no ethics lessons in schools, no tax disclosure for billionaires!

Friday, June 5th, 2015

 

Some quotes from the Sydney Morning Herald 5th June 2015, which provide an interesting insight into the political situation in Australia run by the right-wing Liberal/National government under Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

1) Australia has chosen an extreme hardline policy on refugees arriving by boat from various Southeast and South Asian countries, mainly Indonesia, turning boats back and imprisoning those refugees who made it to Australia in detention centres on Manaus Island, Papua New Guinea, and the “independent” Pacific Island nation of Nauru. It has now introduced a law that would make it a criminal offense to report abuse in these centres (reports of such abuse including sexual crimes had made it into the press in the past):

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/doctors-and-teachers-gagged-under-new-immigration-laws-20150603-ghft05.html

“Doctors and teachers working in immigration detention facilities could face up to two years in prison if they speak out against conditions in the centres or provide information to journalists, under sweeping new laws to gag whistleblowers.

The Border Force Act, which was passed quietly on May 14 by both major parties, clamps down on “entrusted people” in detention centres recording or disclosing information about conditions in centres such as those on Nauru and Manus Island.

Under the heading of  “secrecy and disclosure provisions”, the act says releasing information is only permitted by the secretary of the department responsible for detention centres.”

“In a media release last month, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the new law would “further strengthen the government’s ability to protect Australia’s border.”

According to Dr. Richard Kidd, one of the founders of the Doctors for Refugees, “the new law was taking away all transparency and accountability”, and  “it is absolutely clear that doctors and nurses are expected as part of their registration to put the best interests of their patients first and that includes advocating for [people] being denied appropriate health services or being abuse in some way” .

 

2) Soon after taking over government, Tony Abbott abolished the carbon tax, reduced the renewable energy target, tried hard but ultimately failed to exclude discussion of climate change politics at the G20 meeting in Brisbane, etc.

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/australia-singled-out-as-a-climate-change-freerider-by-international-panel-20150604-ghgbde

“Australia has become a climate change “free-rider”, dropping off the list of nations taking “credible” action to curb greenhouse gas emissions, according to a panel led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.”

 

3) The government wants to introduce a law (supported by the Labor party)  to deprive “terrorists” with (potential) dual citizenship of their Australian citizenship without recourse to the law. Potential dual citizens include those who do not actually possess but qualify to obtain a second one.

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/hundreds-could-face-deportation-under-proposed-terror-laws-peter-dutton-20150604-ghgyik.html

“Potentially hundreds of Australians could be stripped of their citizenship and then deported, without recourse to the courts as to the merits of their defence, once the Australian Parliament passes tough new counter-terrorism laws with the support of the opposition.”

 

4) The Liberal/National government in the largest Australian state, NSW, is attempting to  weaken access to non-religious ethics classes for those who do not wish to take religion lessons, an option introduced by the previous Labor government:

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/premier-mike-bairds-friend-calls-proposed-ethics-changes-misleading-and-deceptive-20150604-ghgn9w.html

 

5) The previous Labor government had introduced a law which obliged rich companies to disclose their income. The present Liberal/National government, in draft laws just released, made 700 private (but not public) companies exempt from that disclosure, because public knowledge might expose them to potential losses in commercial negotiations.

http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/james-packers-consolidated-press-holdings-among-700-exempt-from-tax-disclosure-20150604-ghgyz4.html

“James Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings is among about 700 private companies that are excluded from having their tax details published by the Tax Office under draft laws released by the Abbott government.”

“Public companies with more than $100 million turnover will still be required to report  taxable income, total income and tax paid. “

“Shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh said Labor’s rules would have allowed for an “open and informed public discussion” about how much tax Australia’s biggest companies pay.”

 

 

 

Karl Kraus: The Last Days of Mankind. God created Man not as a Consumer but as a Human Being

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015

We are living in a world in which conflicts, be they economic, military, cultural or religious, are getting worse with little inclination of the various “players” to compromise and find a solution acceptable to all. Each side believes or pretends to believe that it has the right on its side, or, in other words, that it has reached the pinnacle of history. In this, the world situation closely resembles that just before the first world war. If we want solutions, it may be helpful to look at how the world situation 100 years ago was reflected in intelligent/perceptive minds. One such mind was Karl Kraus, the famous Viennese satirist and critic who died in 1936. The “grumbler” or “begrudger” (original German “der Nörgler”, a character based on himself), in his satirical antiwar play “The last days of mankind” (Die letzten Tage der Menscheit, 200 loosely connected scenes largely based on actual events and characters, written during and in the first years after the first world war) says, according to http://www.thebaffler.com/salvos/hail-grumbler

God created man not as a consumer or producer but rather as a human being. That the means of life should not be the goal of life. That the stomach should not outgrow the head. That life is not exclusively based on the profit motive. That a human being is allotted time in order to have time and not to arrive somewhere faster with his legs than with his heart.

And, according to: http://thelastdaysofmankind.com/, referring to Kraus’s readings of portions of the play,

organized group travels to the battelfields of the war and the graves of the dead are a disgrace:

“The dead in their millions are hardly cold in the ground. What Kraus reads invokes the sacrifices made in passing, barely, cynically, tritely, before the details of itineraries, highlights, hotels, travel arrangements, their great advantages and pleasures of first class seats and tickets, etc., are expounded with an extraordinary gusto. This is some holiday! It is as grotesque and shameful as Kraus’s reading makes it.”

The play terminates in an apokalyptic scene, the extinction of mankind. Mankind in its entirety is the “antihero”, unworthy of life on earth because it has permitted the cruelties of war.

Kraus had written earlier in the play: “Lord forgive them for they do know what they do.”

 

Not to forget, Kraus wrote for German/Austrian readers and audiences. I am not aware of any English writers, excepting perhaps Thomas Hardy on  a much milder note, who attacked their leaders and compatriots with a similar degree of causticity.

 

Karl Kraus has been largely neglected in the anglophone countries, but translations of some of his works are now becoming more frequent. And considering the situation in the world today, his insights are of considerable importance. Indeed, it seems that little has changed over the last 100 years. The political situation worldwide is now as unstable as it was before the first world war when Karl Kraus wrote his play (conflicts between Russia and the EU over the Ukraine, between China and the USA over Southeast Asian islands; almost total collapse of social structures in Libya/Syria/Iraq/Afghanistan/some African countries largely as the result of wars; overpopulation pressure in Bangladesh and many other countries in Africa and elsewhere leading to mass migrations of refugees into more affluent countries). And: the economic outlook of the populace and its rulers in the so-called “Western”countries is similar: consume! consume! steered into this fallacy by much of the media which are largely under the thumb of the rich “elite”. Elections are won or lost not because of the merits of a policy concerning the future of the nation and indeed of mankind, but because of promises of short-term profits. – The results of the first world war were disastrous, directly leading to the vastly more devastating events of the second world war. However, what is happening now may be even worse: the survival of mankind is under threat if the effects of overpopulation, overconsumption and enviromental destruction, particularly that caused by climate change, are not brought under control.

Abridged English translation: The last days of mankind; a tragedy in five acts. an abridgement translated by Alexander Gode and Sue Allen Wright. New York: F. Ungar Pub. Co. 1974. ISBN 9780804424844.

In the preface to the book edition Karl Kraus wrote ” Die Aufführung des Dramas, dessen Umfang nach irdischem Zeitmaß etwa zehn Abende umfassen würde, ist einem Marstheater zugedacht. Theatergänger dieser Welt vermöchten ihm nicht standzuhalten.” (The performance of the play, which would comprise about ten evenings, is meant for a Mars theatre. People of this world would not be able to take it).

Booms and busts in the global economy. Fuzzy Chaos Modelling in Ecology and Economics

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015
This is an article published originally as a Google knol and later transferred to wordpress.com, © Klaus Rohde. It addresses the important question whether globalization increases the likelihood of chaotic fluctuations in the economy, i.e. excessive booms and busts. It is re-published here with the intention of stimulating a discussion.

 

4 Comments

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  1. Gerd Zeitler

    November 27, 2008

    Your comment to my knol “Aussenhandel” — Dear Mr. Rohde,yes, a very unusual but convincing approach to view economic problems in a globalized world. Although the causes of todays recuring problems are very obvious in economic terms. Nevertheless, there seem to be synergies between the two scientific approaches.Best regardsGerd Zeitler

  2. Peter Greenfinch

    January 4, 2009

    Is less fluctuation a goal? — Hello, Mr RodheI’m not too sure that many subpopulations make things more stable, among human beings at least, as the more populations, the more divisions there are, and the more source of interpopulation conflicts might arise. Another thing, quite contradictory to what I just said I admit: the less fluctuation in a system, the more static it is, therefore the less it can evolve and make progress.Where is the truth ? Where does that lead ? I’m all the more interested in your topic that I wrote two related knols: “fuzzy logic” and “democratic globalization” http://knol.google.com/k/peter-greenfinch/fuzzy-logic/2m7299842u04v/44#http://knol.google.com/k/peter-greenfinch/democratic-globalization/2m7299842u04v/50#Peter

  3. Klaus Rohde

    January 30, 2009

    Empirical evidence for my suggestion — Here is empirical evidence for my suggestion that globalization can lead to synchronized global recessions. The Economics Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald writes in “What started the global crisis rolling” on January 31 – February 1, 2009.“This is the most synchronized world recession we’ve had since the mid-1970s. In the world recessions of the early’80s there was a lot of variation in timing between countries. In the world recession of the early ‘90s the US went in first, with Europe following later. – In the mild world recession of 2001, not all countries had a recession.”“Question is, why is the world economy now more synchronized? Is it a product of globalisation – the greater integration of national economies, particularly through greatly increased trade and flows of funds between countries?”He gives the answer in the last paragraph of his article:“ So, yes, globalisation probably has a part to play in propagating the global recession we’re about to experience. But the most obvious bit is media globalisation.”

Deutscher Widerstand gegen Hitler/ German Resistance against Hitler

Saturday, May 9th, 2015

Freedom of speech in Australia 2015

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

Where is the limit of free speech in a Western democracy? A recent example.

Since the Liberal-National took over government with Tony Abbott as Prime Minister in 2013, worrying trends have emerged to make media reporting even more one-sided than it already had been. Two thirds of printed media are controlled by Rupert Murdoch (of Fox News in the USA fame), whose reporting is ridiculously one-sided, supporting right-wing economics and politics, but this was to a certain degree balanced by the two public broadcasters, ABC and SBS, which followed a more or less “neutral” line. The Liberal/National government, soon after taking office, reduced funding for the two public broadcasters, leading to the dismissal of many staff, changed the rules with the intention of making government appointed members of he boards more directly responsible for broadcasting policy, and forced the broadcasters to rely more on private advertising. Most recently, the Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, “drew attention” of the Chairman of SBS to some tweets by Scott McIntyre, a prominent sports-commentator employed by SBS. He claimed not to have asked for the firing of McIntyre, but the result was that he was immediately fired, without discussion, without warning. What were these “offensive” tweets?

ANZAC day commemorations throughout Australia, which commemorate the landings at Gallipoli, Turkey, in 1915, by morning services in (more or less) all towns, even small ones, by marches, flights of airforce jets etc. were particularly elaborate this year, the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the failed campaign which led to 10,000’s of deaths of British, Australian, New Zealand, French, Indian, Canadian soldiers, as well as over 90,000 deaths on the Turkish side. They were the culmination of months of almost daily reporting on the first world war, with stories of heroism etc. on t.v. and in the printed media. Scott McIntyre did not like this reporting and published some tweets objecting to it.

According to The Australian, a Murdoch-run newspaper, 27.4.2015:

“An SBS presenter has been sacked over a vicious public attack on Australian Diggers in which he implied that Anzacs were rapists and terrorists. SBS managing director Michael Ebeid labelled the remarks inappropriate and disrespectful, saying they breached the broadcaster’s code of conduct and social media policy. “It’s not tenable to remain on air if your audience doesn’t respect or trust you,” he said. Soccer reporter Scott McIntyre, who has a Twitter following of 30,000 people, shocked followers with a post which implied that Australians commemorating Anzac Day were “poorly-read … drinkers and gamblers”.
He began his tirade about 5pm, calling Australia’s involvement in the World Wars an “imperialist invasion of a foreign nation”.
Later tweets read: “Wonder if the poorly-read, largely white, nationalist drinkers and gamblers pause today to consider the horror that all mankind suffered.” “Remembering the summary execution, widespread rape and theft committed by these ‘brave’ Anzacs in Egypt, Palestine and Japan,” said another post.”

Here are his tweets as reported by some newspapers:

“The cultification of an imperialist invasion of a foreign nation that Australia had no quarrel with is against all ideals of modern society.”

“Wonder if the poorly-read, largely white, nationalist drinkers and gamblers pause today to consider the horror that all mankind suffered.”

“Remembering the summary execution, widespread rape and theft committed by these ‘brave’ Anzacs in Egypt, Palestine and Japan.”

“Not forgetting that the largest single-day terrorist attacks in history were committed by this nation & their allies in Hiroshima & Nagasaki”

“Innocent children, on the way to school, murdered. Their shadows seared into the concrete of Hiroshima”

According to The Australian, “The tweets sparked outrage from Australian leaders, including Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull who labelled his comments “despicable”. “Difficult to think of more offensive or inappropriate comments,” Mr Turnbull tweeted. “Despicable remarks which deserve to be condemned.””

“SBS issued a statement today from its managing director Mr Ebeid and its sport director Ken Shipp that McIntyre had been sacked: “Late on Anzac Day, sports presenter Scott McIntyre made highly inappropriate and disrespectful comments via his twitter account which have caused his on-air position at SBS to become untenable,” the statement read.
“Mr McIntyre’s actions have breached the SBS Code of Conduct and social media policy and as a result, SBS has taken decisive action to terminate Mr McIntyre’s position at SBS, with immediate effect.”

According to The Guardian, 27.4. 2015, “However, some criticised SBS for firing McIntyre, including journalist Hugh Riminton, who is also a board member of Soldier On, an organisation that supports injured soldiers. Riminton said the tweets were untimely, immature and in one case offensively wrong. “But lest we forget, our diggers also died for free speech,” he said.
The human rights commissioner, Tim Wilson, said McIntyre’s freedom of speech was not being curtailed.
“We’re talking about political interpretations of history and that is open for debate,” he said. “And he will be judged very harshly.”

Most comments in various newspapers strongly condemned McIntyre and did not object to his dismissal. For example, the comedian Merrick Watts wrote: “Today’s comments by @mcintinhos are as sad as they are ill informed. Gutless. Stupid. Disgraceful. I am truly furious.”
According to The Guardian, McIntyre had not deleted his tweets by Sunday morning and had favourited several which supported his views including one that said: “Good on you @mcintinhos for posting this. Usual twitter shit storm, as one would expect, from white Aussie bogans.”

Interestingly, a professor of journalism said that McIntyre had the right to free speech but not to keep his job for it.

John Pilger, the well known Australian writer living in Britain, strongly defended McIntyre’s remarks and agreed with the essence of them. Here are some excerpts of an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald 29.4.2015, in which he “saluted not only Scott McIntyre but also the aboriginal freedom fighter Ray Jackson:

“He exposed cynical drivel by offending in the best tradition of freedom of speech.” “Aboriginal campaigner shone a light on deaths in custody for 30 years. Following a week in which the words “heroes” and “heroism” bobbed on a tsunami of raw propaganda, a tribute is due to two unrecognised Australian heroes. The first is Ray Jackson, who died on April 23.
Ray spoke and fought for a truth…… He said this was a land not of brave Anzac “legacies”, but of dirty secrets and enduring injustices that only a national cowardice could sustain. “Conformity is widely understood and obeyed in Australia,” he wrote to me, “freedom is not……… Australia incarcerates black Australians at a higher rate than that of apartheid South Africa……Ray loathed warmongering and would approve of my second hero. This is Scott McIntyre, the young SBS soccer journalist who, in four now famous tweets, set out to counter the authoritarian sludge that demands we celebrate the criminal waste of life in the British imperial invasion of Turkey a century ago, rather than recognise unpalatable truths about our past and present……..Why? Australia, a nation without enemies, is spending $28billion a year on the military and war and armaments in order to fulfil a tragic, entirely colonial and obsequious role, as Washington’s “deputy sheriff”……..
Scott McIntyre drove the Twitter equivalent of a five-ton truck through such maudlin, cynical drivel. He tweeted the unsayable, much of it the truth; and all decent journalists – or dare I say, freedom-loving Australians – should be standing up for him. That Malcolm Turnbull, who made his name unctuously shouting about freedom of speech, should have been involved in the saga with McIntyre’s employer, SBS, in whatever form, is a measure of the state of public and media life in Australia.
That a journalism professor of long standing, John Henningham, can tweet that “freedom of speech meant that journalists had the right to speak without breaking the law but did not have the right to keep their job when offending others” is a glimpse of the obstacles faced by aspiring young journalists as they navigate the university mills.
Many young people reject this, of course, and maintain their sense of the bogus, and McIntyre is one of them. He offended in the highest tradition of freedom of thought and speech. Knowing the personal consequences would be serious, he displayed moral courage. When his union – the MEAA – locates its spine and its responsibility, it must demand he is given his job back. I salute him.”

Professor Gillian Triggs, the Human Rights Commissioner, who a number of weeks ago was asked by the Attorney General to resign from her post because she had criticized the government’s policy concerning children in detention, but refused to do so, is a very distinguished academic lawyer. Her opinion on freedom of speech in Australia, arising from the sacking of a sports reporter by the SBS for tweets he had published on his personal twitter account, was published in Fairfax newspapers including The Age (Melbourne) and The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney).

http://www.theage.com.au/comment/right-to-freedom-of-speech-cannot-breach-employment-contract-20150430-1mwn9f.html

Some excerpts:

“The disciplining or sacking of employees whose emails breach industry codes of conduct – most recently of Scott McIntyre, who alleged crimes by the Anzacs – raise the vexed question of the proper constraints on freedom of speech. Does an employer have the right to sack, demote or otherwise sanction an employee for speech that both breaches its code of conduct and may be substantially inaccurate, in bad faith and deeply hurtful to most Australians?”

“Ask any citizen if they have a right to freedom of speech and they will robustly assert “yes, of course” . However, under Australian law, there is no such formal legal right. While, in practice, everyone is free to say and write whatever they like, this freedom is significantly qualified by exceptions. Prohibitions abound in respect of statements that are libellous or slanderous, in contempt of court, a breach of copyright, obscene or seditious, or that incite mutiny, commission a crime or disclose official secrets.”

“It is probable that …….. decision reflects Australian law in the absence of any legislation confirming the common law right to freedom of speech. While we may say what we please, subject to defined prohibitions, a practical, chilling outcome of freedom of speech is that we must suffer the consequences if that speech is also a breach of an employment contract.”

“……. Public officials, government agencies and contracted service providers will be guaranteed anonymity and immunity if they disclose an abuse of public trust, corruption, acts that endanger the environment, or unjust, oppressive or negligent conduct, among other wrongs. However, the act is significantly limited and does not cover judicial conduct, ASIO or ASIS, politicians or the private sector.
Scott McIntyre may not have the benefit of the “whistleblower’s” law, but it is at least arguable that to be peremptorily sacked is disproportionate to the reasonable interests of his employer. These are matters of judgment in light of all the circumstances.”

Concerning the truth of what Scott McIntyre wrote, see the article by Professor Philip Dwyer, Director of the Centre for the History of Violence, School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Newcastle:
https://theconversation.com/anzacs-behaving-badly-scott-mcintyre-and-contested-history-40955?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The+Weekend+Conversation+-+2707&utm_content=The+Weekend+Conversation+-+2707+{0}CID_3c5b7c063d17861725846adb514b29fe&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=Anzacs%20behaving%20badly%20Scott%20McIntyre%20and%20contested%20history

Returning to our question at the beginning of this post “Where is the limit to free speech in a Western democracy?”, the example discussed seems to suggest that for journalists there is such a limit, at least if they do not want to lose their job. Is this acceptable? Should an academic, for example, fear for his job because he/she publishes posts with which the university does not agree? I know of a case in which an Australian academic was asked by his university to remove a post in which he had criticized the teaching of homeopathy (for which there is no scientific evidence) at his university, which had plans to introduce such a course.