Animal Nature

Janet-ThompsonHumans are a part of the animal kingdom and act accordingly, writes Janet Thompson.

Over the course of the past year, our children have befriended a few “feral” cats.  We now have 3 adult cats hanging out on our back veranda, eating our sparse table scraps.  The kids are thrilled to have pets.  In between scraps, the cats eat mice.  I am thrilled with this portion of the arrangement.

Since our business shut down, however, there is not any grain lying around for the mice, so our rodent population is severely diminished.  All of a sudden, the cats, which had been the best of friends, now fight viciously for the few scraps thrown out to them.  There is no courtesy…no cute and cuddly “you go ahead and have it…I’ll just starve,” make love, not war mantras.

In times of abundance, animals enjoy the luxury of being able to morph into unnatural, uncompetitive creatures that can sleep and play together without animosity. 

But in leaner times, reversion to nature is manifested in the speedy abandonment of the all-loving commune in favour of fighting to eat to live.  Survival of the species depends on it.

In scientific classification, humans belong to the animal kingdom.  And rightly so, for we are neither plants nor single-celled creatures (although some politicians might provide justification to re-assess). 

All animals have some form of protection or strength that gives them a fair go in the wild.  Turtles are slow and could not get away from predators by running, so they have a hard shell into which they can retract their soft, fleshy bodies.  Big cats are exceptionally fast.  Antelope run in herds and share “lookout” duties.  Bob-tail lizards walk backwards when under attack, so the predator will go for the tail, thinking the thick end of the tail is actually the head.  Chameleons camouflage themselves.  Well, you’ve seen the nature docos and get my point.  Every animal has “their thing.” 

Humans have no shell, we’re not fast (okay, there’s Usain Bolt), we don’t move in herds (spectators at sporting events excluded), we don’t have any cool trick body parts (no comments, please, gentlemen) or the natural ability to blend in with our surroundings (aside from Labor’s power brokers attending a Shakespearian play).

Humans’ “thing” is our brain.

And just as survival of the fittest ensures that cheetahs, as a race, get faster, the use of our brain over the last 6,000 to 8,000 years has ensured progress.  Were humans are still only hunters and gatherers…had we never left the stone age…had we never used our brains to improve our lot, we would not simply exist as we did in the stone age.  We would be extinct.  Our brain is our weapon, and we have improved and honed our weapon continually to present day.  Hence our ability to support almost 7 billion people, with present-day carry-over stocks of grain taken for granted.

Species continually evolve.  New species are discovered, while others become extinct.  I’m told by people smarter than I that extinctions occurred prior to humans inhabiting Earth.  That’s nature’s way.  Humans, too, will eventually become extinct, likely due to some event of which no one of us has ever conceived.

We are now forbidden, however, by members of our own species, to clear trees for food production because those trees might, in future, be habitat for the Carnaby Black Cockatoo.  We are not allowed to engage in efficient livestock production because people’s sensitivities might be affected.  Human elitists insist on defining life-giving gases as pollutants and chasing non-problems in the apparent void of real ones.  They dictate that fresh water must travel directly to the ocean, rather than being used to produce food and fibre.

These policies are not just hostile to progress.  They are fundamentally in opposition to nature.  At their core, they are anti-life.  Anti-human.

Taken to their logical conclusion, these policies will lead to human deaths.

Only in the affluent western world do we have the luxury of engaging in policies that are antagonistic to our own race. 

In times of abundance, animals enjoy the luxury of being able to morph into unnatural, uncompetitive creatures that can sleep and play together without animosity. 

But in leaner times, reversion to nature is manifested in the speedy abandonment of the all-loving commune.  Survival of the species depends on it.

Janet H. Thompson is an economist, primary producer, mother of four, and co-founder of the Coalition for Agricultural Productivity.  She is a proud student of the Austrian School of Economics.

Get The Ashes to The Ashes!


As some Menzies House readers who follow internet trends may be aware, a little bruhaha errupted on Twitter recently whereby an American with the Twitter username of @TheAshes… well… discovered what exactly The Ashes were.

An online campaign has been started up by some to, well, get The Ashes to The Ashes, a campaign Menzies House endorsed instantly upon hearing about it, and has also called on @LavartusProdeo to join us and make this a truly bipartisan effort. Because this truly is above politics! So, since we all need a break from political hackery every once in a while, if you're on Twitter, we urge you to join the campaign and let QANTAS and VAustralia know! 

UPDATE: QANTAS has agreed to fly her, and @Vodaphone_au to provide tickets and a phone. You can even buy the T-shirt!  Menzies House takes full credit for all of this. 

UPDATE 2: I should note that @LavartusProdeo has not responded to our calls and has not joined in the campaign, once again demonstrating how our side of politics is the truly representative one! 

(Posted by TVA. Who notes that this endorsement will be revoked if she decides to support England)

Our Perfidious Prime Minister

Cory-BernardiJulia Gillard's government is like a rudderless boat, writes Senator Cory Bernardi.

Julia Gillard has promised to break her promise.

During the election campaign, Miss Gillard promised there would be no Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and no carbon tax. In fact, there was to be no price on carbon whatsoever. It was an iron clad, rock-solid commitment made by the 'real Julia' who supposedly emerged, chrysalis like, during the election.

Unfortunately, it is now clear that what emerged from the chrysalis wasn't a beautiful butterfly but just more garden variety dishonesty that is now, unfortunately, a core characteristic of Labor politics.

While post election moves to impose a price on carbon dioxide (that's the stuff we all exhale) were mooted by Labor as a verbal pacifier for their new pals in parliament – the Greens – Miss Gillard ramped up the rhetoric this week.

Claiming that it is 'crunch time for a carbon price', the Prime Ministerial dissimulator wants to legislate for her new tax in the new year.

This raises many questions, not least of all how can we have faith in a Prime Minister who regards such blatant dishonesty as a measure of her 'conviction'?

While Miss Gillard may be ideologically dedicated to higher taxes and the desire to impose more government control on every Australian, her commitment to a carbon price defies common sense and the latest scientific evidence regarding climate change.

Every day, new evidence emerges that the climate alarmists have got it wrong. The earth is no longer warming and the alarmist camp has been exposed as riddled with scoundrels, shysters and snake oil salesmen.

The facts simply do not fit the climate change alarmist theories, no matter how loudly and for how long the discredited deliver their Cassandra-like prophesies.

So why is Miss Gillard so eager to put Australian industry and Australian families at a disadvantage compared with their global peers?

The answer is rather disappointing for the people of Australia. Unfortunately our government has no real agenda and they are desperate to appear strong and decisive – whatever the cost to our nation.

Consider for a moment the legislative priorities for the Gillard Government thus far. They are having public spats about euthanasia and gay marriage – hardly top order issues for our national government.

They are desperately pursuing their broadband plan even thought the cost is now estimated to have blown out to over $55 billion. How they can expect the Parliament to endorse such a plan without releasing the business case or conducting a cost-benefit analysis beggars belief.

Recent news that suggests comparable broadband speeds are now being achieved over wireless networks at a much lower cost should alarm every Australian taxpayer concerned with our growing national debt levels.

So denuded of a policy agenda is this government that they have only scheduled four weeks of parliamentary sitting before the budget in May of next year!

Government without an agenda is like a boat adrift on the open ocean. It is at the mercy of the elements and cannot chart its own course. Such circumstances are a danger for passengers and crew alike.

And like the boat adrift, a rudderless government, led by a perfidious Prime Minister, is a danger to us all.

Senator Cory Bernardi is the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary Assisting the Leader of the Opposition and a Senator for South Australia. This article is courtesy of his personal blog which can be found at

How the nanny president sees himself — and us –

What’s it like inside the Obama White House? A lot like what you’d guess from outside the Obama White House.

In “Revival: The Struggle for Survival Inside Obama’s White House,” MSNBC analyst Richard Wolffe, a writer sympathetic to the president, reports the prosaic backroom details of the White House struggles from early this year, but occasionally stumbles upon an off-the-cuff revelation that’s much more interesting.

One staffer was conspicuously overweight. The president, in an incident that Wolffe believes proves how caring the man is, took it upon himself to present the aide with a salad for lunch — “then listened to him protest that he could take care of his own health. ‘I love you, man,’ Obama said. ‘I want you to look after yourself. Eat the salad.’ ”

I love you, man. Eat the salad. That is the Obama presidency in a plastic see-through clamshell. (Hold the ranch dressing!) The president loves us. He knows what’s best for us. We should bow to his superior wisdom.


As always, hit the link to read the whole thing.

h/t Tim Blair

(Posted by TVA)

NBN’s benefits grossly overstated, study reveals

THE federal government has been accused of misusing research to build the case for the National Broadband Network in an international study that finds the claimed benefits ''grossly overstated''.

Released in London ahead of today's vote in Canberra on legislation to support the NBN, the study finds evidence to support the claims made for fibre-to-the-home ''surprising weak'' and cites Australia as a key example.

''All else equal, faster is better,'' says the study, prepared by British telecommunications consultant Robert Kenny with Charles Kenny from the US Centre for Global Development.

Read the rest at

Posted by Chris

2011 year of carbon price, says PM

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has vowed there will be nowhere to hide on carbon pricing with a firm and final decision next year.

In a speech to the Council for the Economic Development of Australia in Sydney, Ms Gillard outlined an ambitious agenda for the remainder of her term, declaring 2011 a year of delivery and decision.

She said Australians wanted their government to govern.

Ms Gillard said the government had to decide a way of pricing carbon that was supported by a broad enough consensus to be legislated.


New political lingo – ‘broad enough consensus’ is also known as ‘Greens holding the balance in the Senate’.

Posted by Chris

Aussie public policy? Dodgy, dodgy, dodgy

CAN the NBN pip Joe Hockey for the top gong in dudding the dismal science?

WITH the end of the year fast approaching, frantic preparations are under way for the 2010 Dodgies, to be awarded, at a star-studded ceremony, for confused economics in the service of poor public policy.

This year's field is outstanding. Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan's efforts with the resources super-profits tax have set a new benchmark in the public speaking category.

Treasury, despite a slow start, dominates the field in the figurative arts awards, thanks to its chart comparing mining profits with mining taxes (which forgot to include company tax payments) and its follow-up graph claiming to show that countries with large stimulus packages out-performed initial growth projections (which conveniently omitted all the countries that would have messed up the straight line through the dots). As for Penny Wong's explanation of why billions of dollars in tax increases constitute a spending reduction, betting markets show she has the guerilla poetry prize in the bag.


Continue reading for Henry Ergas's full list of mistakes in Australian public Policy.

H/T Catallaxy

(Posted by TVA)

Mutual Responsibility takes a step forward in the UK


Recent welfare reform in the UK will encourage more people in to work, writes Stephan Knoll.

In recent times, the coalition government in the UK has taken significant steps forward in reforming the nation’s welfare sector.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, an active and outspoken member of the new government has announced a ‘claimant contract’ for those receiving benefit payments. A sliding scale of penalties is to be implemented for those who refuse offers of employment, do not actively seek employment or who simply fail to turn up for mandatory work placements.

In doing so, Smith is attempting to address and rectify much of the moral hazard that has existed in the British welfare system for decades. The idea that someone can be financially or socially worse off for having gone to work as opposed to staying home is quite simply perverse and unjust.

In Australia by and large we have a welfare system that promotes preferred outcomes. Significant assistance is given to those seeking employment, ‘work for the dole’ and training programs are available for those in between work and penalties do apply for those unwilling to comply.

All care must be taken to ensure that we never create a situation where delinquency is incentivised. The outcomes of such a situation would be bad for both individual and society. In many cases, work can and does provide a sense of purpose and achievement, and in a first world country such as Australia, paid employment often surpasses its original purpose of simply providing the necessary finances with which to live, and rather provides the individual with the means to achieve personal self fulfilment – acting as a tool for profound personal growth.

Iain Duncan Smith, although a conservative, has provided a significant reformist and progressive influence on the UK’s new coalition government. Years in opposition have readied him for the challenges of governing, which he has managed to meet head on. His willingness to stand up for reform in the face of stiff opposition from varying sectors of the community is a credit and is in stark contrast to the political cowardice witnessed in Australia’s current government.

After the great reformist governments of the past two decades this government does not do justice to the hard work of its predecessors and further diminishes public respect for political office.  The sooner this is rectified by either a complete change in approach or at the ballot box, the better.

Stephan is General Manager of family meat and smallgoods business Barossa Fine Foods. He is also heavily involved in the Young Liberal movement in South Australia.