So it’s over; the Coalition has triumphed in the contest of ideas and will (eventually, one hopes) form a government.
Tony Abott has been described as the most effective opposition leader in a generation. This may or may not be accurate, but it cannot be argued that he has achieved his goals with a combination of balls-to-the-wall confrontation and maintaining a small target on his weakest points. The question now becomes what kind of a Prime Minister he will make, and what his collection of Howard-era ministers will do now they’ve reached power in 21st century.
The first thing we need to understand is that what the Coalition government will do, now it’s in power, is not what they said they would do while they were in opposition. Continue reading
The human species is evolved to be supreme risk analysts. We have no thick pelts to keep us warm in winter; we do not have talons, or armoured skin, or poison glands. Despite these handicaps we have survived harsh environments, we have outlived diseases, we have evaded and avoided and defeated predators, and turned the tables to become the planet’s quintessential predatory species. We have achieved all of this thanks to our unparalleled ability to think through problems, to develop strategies to mitigate risks, to build tools and alter our environment to our own advantage. Oh, and opposable thumbs have helped as well.
Evolution has gifted us with supremely honed survival traits. We can survive extremes of heat and cold – not in our own physical resilience, but with the aid of our ability to artificially cool or warm ourselves. We can cope with the turn of the seasons, because we have learned to harvest and store and preserve. Sometimes our evolutionary heritage turns on us and reminds us that it is the product, we are the product, of harsher, bygone ages – thus the human race, in an era of untrammeled prosperity, grows fatter and ever more sedentary. But we are clever. Given enough time, we can even notice this trend in ourselves, and some of us fight against it. We are slowly becoming masters of our own destinies, rulers over the tyranny of our own heritage. We are fighting against the pressures that cause mankind to evolve, and we are winning.
Nonetheless, our own victory over nature, over our environment, and over our own evolutionary destiny may yet be our undoing. Continue reading