There is nothing new under the sun

Don’s Diary

I once saw an oldish man being threatened by a young “hood” in a pub. The man, with his hands still at his sides and looking firmly in the eye of the aggressor just said: “You had better make your first punch a good one, mate”, and the “hood” immediately backed off. The “hood” realised that even if he could beat the older man he would be likely to lose at least some skin and hair in the process. He might have ended up in hospital at best. This illustrates the use and power of a sanction.

I remember the debate after WW2 which was brought to a close with two nuclear bombs dropped on Japan. There was concern about the likelihood of nuclear proliferation. The older, wiser military chiefs knowing the power of a sanction, because that is the best role of the military, advised that the best defence was a strong second-strike nuclear capability coupled with arms control. That advice was taken, and rather than an arms race, we have so far averted the further use of nuclear weapons but we have had limited warfare and the advent of terrorism. However, the desire remains by some nations and groups to use military force and the politics of violence. With today’s terrorism you could be excused for thinking the world has gone mad.

But take heart. As Shakespeare said “If there be nothing new, but that which is hath been before, how are our brains beguil'd,……”, or as a Freemason you may prefer Ecclesiastes 1.9: "The thing that hath been is that which shall be; and that which hath been done is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun."

The bequeathed culture that I saw as a boy growing up in Victoria has regrettably gone. I used to like saying how lucky we were having benefited from the legacy of 600 years of political and cultural turmoil in the now United Kingdom – the reformation, the separation of church and state, our liberties and our Constitutional democracy. Older Australia’s have paid a price for this with family losses in at least two world wars, the privations of those wars and especially the Great Depression. Many in more recent generations and newcomers seen to want to destroy the very reasons that they find attractive in our country. We see our inherent liberties replaced with political correctness and license. We feel the threat of terrorism as has occurred overseas.

The way to deal with these threats is of old: the threat of sanctions for the malcontent and potential offenders as it will never be possible to police every movement and threat. Threats to our security and safety must be excluded ideally or interned as we have done before. We must accept that regrettably there may be some over-reaction in our defence but this is the price of our liberty – “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”. You will hear the “bleeding hearts” scream and the “Do-gooders” complain – some opportunist and naïve politicians will use an issue to illegitimately advance their cause. However we need to remember that there is nothing new under the sun, our predecessors went through similar problems and we must be prepared to do the same if we are to leave our successors the beauty of our Western culture in Australia.

Yours fraternally,

Don Paterson