Flat White

Activism is destroying 'truth'

22 June 2022

11:00 AM

22 June 2022

11:00 AM

Maybe it was personal reasoning, but much more likely it came from the guidance of a very wise father…

As a questioning teenager, I came to accept that ‘rational exposure of truth tied to moral decency has been the most powerful force for good ever devised by man’ was a very powerful truth. 

Bungling through life and learning by mistake piled on blunder, I became more and more secure in the knowledge that truth once established would prevail.

When I left home and made my way to working in shearing sheds on the black soil plains of central Queensland, I found myself thrust into an egalitarian working environment that relied on team effort. It was a team made up of many races and often very diverse backgrounds.

In the shearing shed your race, skin colour, religious beliefs, or personal prejudices were of little interest to anyone. From the dust-coated wool classer to the newest rouseabout and including ‘the Boss’, everyone had a job and everyone else’s output was dependent on you pulling your weight. Any slackness would result in a very loud ‘wool away’ or ‘Sheepo’ from an angry shearer, keen to get on with his job of shearing wooly jumbucks.

In this very hard-working environment, your word was your bond. Everyone trusted other members of the crew to be honest from the ‘count-out’ to the weight stencilled on each bale and to the fact that the Billy would be boiling by Smoko at 9:30 AM. Deception in any guise was not tolerated and truth was paramount.

When I came back south and began working on irrigation developments in the Murrumbidgee and Lachlan valleys, I was in regular discussion with water administration bureaucrats and Ministers involved in closer settlement and water distribution. All these discussions were respectful, with participants recognising and respecting other’s views and knowledge of the subject.

We all quickly accepted the basic truths of water in Australia and they were; that its availability was widely variable and this unpredictability varied from state to state, from valley to valley, from month to month, and even week to week. Having accepted these facts we also knew that water ran downhill and found its own level and that man was yet to devise a better way of storing excess water for later use than the building of dams.

These were the facts (the truth, if you prefer) and we all accepted the facts of what we were dealing with.

And so it remained as I developed my agricultural skills, often learning from the truth that variety ‘A’ was a better yielder than variety ‘B’ as demonstrated by trials run by the Department of Agriculture. The truth of what we were observing was immutable and formed the basis of our decision-making as to which variety would best reward us for our stewardship.

I was by now a firm disciple of Edmund Burke, he who identified ‘The Fourth Estate’, and who was astute enough to recognise that without fiercely independent commentators and their robust questioning, reporters always seeking not just the truth but the whole truth, our democracy would soon be imperilled by cronyism and corruption.

Burke was right, I believe, and for a little over two hundred years mastheads of the media established themselves based on their independent reporting of the truth. They forced governments to fall and reforms to be implemented. Honesty in public life was sacrosanct to these sticklers for the truth and as a result, they gained the respect of the people and the ability to influence public opinion. While proprietors recognised this power and certainly played favourites, they used it cautiously and for the most part responsibly.

But in recent times, I have found myself doubting that responsibility. I now question if there is any truth at all in most dissertations and I believe that most daily media headlines are deliberately misleading at best and likely false much of the time.

So, what went wrong? Why do I and many others no longer trust the media for information? When was truth replaced by sensationalism and hype?

I believe that the rot started with the advent of editorial independence granted to journalists, associated with less managerial oversight of their work. When often inexperienced writers involve themselves with prognostication and not investigation, we see wildly speculative headlines that become the mantra of the masses and it mostly travels around the world several times before truth gets its boots on. The result is that questioning of this almost sacred hymn of silliness is not allowed.

The governing class are now, not just in control of your life, but decide what you should think and how you should react to what they think.

As an example, look at the hastily assembled policy of the Teals who successfully got several members into Parliament under the banner of ‘fighting Climate Change’.

Of course, there was no party alignment and they were all independents… Now I ask, just what are these people fighting? Why are they fighting at all? I see no destructive hoards rampaging across our country carrying aloft a banner ‘Climate Change’. And if the Teals are to fight, how do they intend to do battle? We have not been told.

To this old Bushy, it sounds more like ‘tilting at windmills’ where the only body lying on this battlefield is truth. Truth is unknown to and unconsidered by modern political movements.

They, and much of their media, support base promote lies and these are just a few examples.

Mankind and our modern lifestyle is responsible for ‘Climate Change’.

So-called renewable energy can supply our energy needs.

Australia can change the temperature of the world by shutting down fossil fuel industries.

Renewable energy will be cheaper than present baseload power.

We are destroying our native timber plantations.

We can have abundant water without building new dams.

Snowy 2.0 will provide for future power needs.

These unsupportable assumptions cannot withstand rational scrutiny and rather than being morally decent they fall into the cesspit of moral decadence. When we fail to demand truth in public discourse, we lose not just respect for one another, but for our land, our heritage, and our history.

The greatest truth is that we are the product of the devotion and enterprise of previous generations who recognised that the food we eat, the water we drink, and the power we use for so many endeavours are only there because our forebears invested their know-how, their money and their enterprise in the future.

They believed in the future, a future built on the immutable foundation of freedom of speech and truths of previous endeavours. This stands in stark contrast to so many idle activists intent on disavowing the truth of our past and condemning our civilisation to the grave. But truth will survive and the people will have victory over the sensationalist ravings of false profits.

Truth has a sting for those who would discard it.

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