Sir: As one of the multitude of Victorians affected by a near-statewide power blackout on a day of forty-four-degree heat in January, I am angered by the misreporting of this dangerous event.
All sides of the media responded by fixing on the logistics of electricity generation. But the blackout was caused by excessive population growth. Australia has sufficient energy—however, due to the federal government’s increased immigration levels, Melbourne and Sydney are stuck with far too many people. It is beside the point whether we use coal-powered turbines, solar arrays, wind farms, or armies of pensioners pedalling dynamos—our urban infrastructure cannot cope with how population is being forced up.
Energy blackouts, dire water shortages, insufficient housing, squeezed medical services, congested schools, deteriorating public transport, cluttered freeways, and more are the inevitable future for Australia’s cities until there is change.
Sir: I was interested in “The Serious Decline of the Common Language” by Robert Solomon (March 2019). He couldn’t include every horror of course.
My own is the Dislocated Adverb. Thus: “Hopefully the weather will improve.” “Regretfully we shall have to close.” “Thankfully it wasn’t as bad as expected.” These words are adverbs and must qualify a verb. Perfectly adequate verbs are available, as in “We hope …”, “I regret …”, “They are thankful …”.
This pernicious misuse is daily on parade on the ABC. I suppose that English grammar is no longer taught in most of our schools.
Alan N. Cowan
The Scholarship of Eric Voegelin
Sir: Reports have noted the decline in History majors in American colleges and the decline in the faculties needed to maintain and enhance the discipline.
If I had the opportunity (see Tolstoy’s How Much Land Does a Man Need?) I would try to master Eric Voegelin’s eight-volume Order and History.
Voegelin was a “total curriculum” scholar, one in quest of the grand narrative. I was introduced to his short and challenging 1958 work The New Science of Politics when studying Philosophy at the University of Western Australia in 1972.
I think he really did read just about everything, not for quantitative mastery but to identify forms or types of human consciousness. Some were to be liked, valued and striven for, and some were to be evaluated from within the record of history as dangerous and murderous and corrupt, for all their millennial fantasies and false hopes, delusions held out to the masses in return for a little cruelty, murder, imprisonment and surrender of freedoms. These of course can be dressed up and disguised as a pure divine or secular will that excuses evil acts.
Voegelin was a master on the misplaced millennium, and the false drawing-down of God into history, of giving history a weight of existence and value it cannot carry, and of turning the permanence and eternity of God into a falsely permanent human realm in historical time. The Party becomes the fulfilment of history and the highest metaphysical authority that shapes it forever.
All the Party members do is surf that wave, as directed by the Great Leader of the day.
Churches have not been immune to fallible infallibilities too and have at times excused the inexcusable and tried to hide what cannot be hidden.