Saturday, August 13, 2016

Census Processes, Birthdays and Peace

A census can reveal many things about people, and about the world, including why the world is in a mess.  This is particularly the case when a census process is developed and implemented in an atmosphere of secrecy and incompetence.  That process may sometime even simulate totalitarianism.

In a democracy, a census is meant to map inequalities and injustices.  It is also meant to reveal how those inequalities and injustices can be diminished fairly.  A census is also meant to improve democracy itself.

A census should, ideally, reveal accurate knowledge about a society.  The purpose of the knowledge is to assist the improvement of society.

To expect people to provide the knowledge through methods likely to diminish the quality of that society, and possibly even the long-term quality of their own lives, is therefore ridiculous.

No justifiable census is meant to increase inequalities, injustices, and/or mistrust, yet the ongoing authoritarian census process in Australia is quite likely to do immeasurable harm.  The 2016 Australian Census of Population and Housing has already diminished public trust in government practices considerably.

With privacy, there is freedom.  With secrecy, there is usually abuse.

Statistics, economics and demography are intertwined.  This is why privacy must always be upheld and secrecy prevented. 

In a reasonably intact democracy, self-respecting, reasonably well-informed individuals will, as is their right and duty, protest whenever anyone, particularly someone with an authoritarian personality, attempts to coerce reasonable people to behave unreasonably.

It is unreasonable to expect people to give up their privacy.  To do so is to ask them to give up their freedom, which no reasonable person would ever do, except in relation to a greater good, such as world peace.  But few people are that brave.

Governments frequently fail to uphold reasonably acceptable standards.  They fail to enforce reasonably acceptable laws.  They fail to provide reasonable oversight of the duties and responsibilities they delegate.  That is why you and I and Queen Adelaide must lead the way, dear guest.

Today is Queen Adelaide's birthday.  As you may be aware, Adelaide grew up during the Napoleonic Wars.  She had a relatively enlightened education and a clear sense of morality and frugality.

As a religious young woman, Adelaide was manipulated into a marriage to a much older man.  She was required to migrate to a country far away from her own and learn a different language.  From 1830 onwards, she had a high profile career on the world stage.

In 1831, the year after Adelaide became Queen of Great Britain, a census in that part of the world revealed there were 16.54 million people within the combined area of England, Wales and Scotland.  Meanwhile, migration to Australia continued.

The first census in New South Wales had occurred in 1828.  There was a census in the United States of America in 1830.   The German Confederation conducted a population count through the German Customs Union in 1834.

It can be seen, from 19th century census results, that rapidly rising populations in unsustainable societies have tended to cause civil unrest.

In addition, whenever there are authoritarian power structures within families, and in societies more generally, including in the state itself, then social and political instability, mob violence and poverty are likely to be consequences.

Add to this the economic pressures on large families in poverty and the results become easy to predict.

When vital knowledge is available, it is usually in a format unlikely to be comprehensible to the average person. That is why individuals with the ability to convey that knowledge have a responsibility to put it into a format likely to be understood by the vast majority of the public.

When vital knowledge is difficult to obtain, why is that?

Authoritarianism is an unfair and unjust way to deal with social problems.  It does nothing to prevent social, political and economic problems from occurring.  It merely suppresses those problems and punishes reasonable protesters.

Social conflict causes prosperity to decline and when prosperity declines there is social conflict.  It is a vicious circle authoritarian figures want to stop through force and emotion, not through reason and evidence.

Social deviance is any action statistically at odds with social norms.  What happens, then, when a society becomes unsure of the norms to be upheld?   Who are the leaders reflecting widely acceptable, reasonably respectable norms?

In Australia, many government ministers were indoctrinated as children into a prejudiced, reactionary view of the world.  In many families, abusiveness is still considered normal, whether it involves threats or physical abuse or rude remarks or a misguided ideology.

Unenlightened individuals often gain pleasure at the expense of other people's misfortunes.  They are bullies.  They are also cowards.  They enjoy seeing other people suffer because it suppresses their own fears and sense of worthlessness.

Psychological difficulties are exacerbated when people are stressed, which is why I do my best to diminish everyone's stress.  Being able to think well, find useful information and make good decisions is the greatest wealth anyone can possess.  Those are also the most useful resources to share.

The nastiness of authoritarianism is prevalent in all societies in the 21st century.  It is also widespread in most cultures within those societies.  We all have a duty to put an end to that nastiness and be nice to each other, even though satire will probably still be required in several instances.

Authoritarianism occurs whenever someone thinks they should have more power than anyone else.  It often begins in the dark, abusive depths of intolerant religious bigotry.  That bigotry encourages secret perversions to thrive in an atmosphere of fear, anger and obscurantism.

Privacy and security are intertwined, yet abuses often occur when there is a lack of openness about what is acceptable and what is not.  In Australia, there continues to be much abuse of children, and of adults.  Yet abuse occurs in every country.  It is certainly prevalent in Adelaide, just as it is in cities, towns and country areas across the globe.   The reason why it is happening is rarely examined accurately.

Few people have an adequate amount of knowledge, skill, financial resources and political support to provide their own children, and other children, with the start in life they need.  Both the poor and the middle class have children they have an inability to support adequately on their own, while wealth and other resources are concentrated towards supporting the children of the rich.

Just as Queen Adelaide married Silly Billy in order to maintain peace and political stability to the best of her ability, it is your duty to understand how your own leadership can be put to best effect.  Have you just arrived here from the parlour meant for you and your enlightenment?

As Queen Adelaide, Queen Alexandra, and I have decided that your future birthdays should be peaceful, sensible and in keeping with statistical norms, we wish to ensure that you are aware of our concerns for your future.  We already have a form for you to fill in.