Along with thousands of others my wife and I are currently bushfire evacuees. In my case at least this is not an entirely novel experience since I was first evacuated at the age of four – along with a sister aged eight – at the start of the second world war. Somewhat inconveniently our parents had elected to live between the main road and railway linking London and Dover and – such targets aside – the wily German airforce were also extremely keen to knock out the first radar towers in history which were situated on Boughton Hill not far up the road from our home. I am probably blessed with unusually accurate recollection of past events and at Morthoe in North Devon I first discovered I also had weirdly accurate long sight. Early in our stay with benign farmers named Yeo I found I could see roughly three times more ships proceeding up or down the Bristol Channel than almost anyone else. Two drowned merchant seamen were washed up on our nearest beach signalling that war, after a brief quiet period, had really begun. Within a year or so – after a brief spell at home – my sister and I were evacuated once again to High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire whence from the nearby hill village of Terriers we witnessed London Docks heavily ablaze about 60 kms away. A relatively minor bushfire in Corsica apart, I have never seen a blaze to compare with that of London Docks until the present epic blazes in NSW which have caused my wife, dog and I to evacuate from Echo Point in the Blue Mountains – where we have spent 15 years totally renovating a lovely large house and garden – to Bowral where we may still as I write not be entirely out of the woods. The air is currently dense with smoke. I feel almost embarrassed to announce therefore that we are not apparently overtly at war here in NSW with anyone at all other than other Australians who seem to have rather different beliefs about the beneficial running of our country. Changes of emphasis in civic procedures regarding national parks can apparently put thousands of worthy Australians on footings of almost wartime severity for months at a time. Yet who dares question whether human shortcomings might be at least partly responsible for our presently unending-seeming collective plight? Luckily for some, Tim Flannery and novel armies of student activists for instance feel content to attribute our predicament – if not to God – then at least to seemingly malign international climatic forces.
But could this be the same Mr Flannery who forecast an imminent grassing over of the whole of Antarctica not so many years ago? Perhaps the latter should therefore practise dairy farming over there providing that cows, milk and Mr F himself have no particular objection to the still extreme and omnipresent discomforts there of endemic snow and ice?
In a recent interview an eminent fire officer agreed that no structure could be built to withstand the fiery forces currently at large at the moment in NSW so I am slightly mystified why such extraordinarily complex fire regulations apply very generally to all attempts by any of us to improve our properties. No house I can ever imagine building could withstand some of the fires I have seen nightly on television or on my laptop or phone. The excuse that so-called ‘global warming’ is solely responsible for the devastation already of areas of land greater in size than major European countries remains incredible to me if not apparently to armies of virtually uneducated but heavily-brainwashed schoolchildren. How can Australia have fallen behind so far even in the quarter century I have lived here? For sure the answer does not lie with our admirable volunteer fire-fighters, most of whom will be as unaware of the true and complex factors which really lie behind our present impossible-seeming position as many of the rest of us. My wife and I have just exercised our dog in a local park presided over by a bright red sun at six in the morning plus recent, seemingly inevitable acrid air. For us at least the fiction that this is all a consequence of global warming won’t even begin to wash: we continue to prefer proper science to propaganda in short and are not thrilled either to be fed a very questionable diet about Australia’s mysteriously vanishing water supplies. A story exists about these that may well be worse than anything affecting our present fires yet where precisely can anyone access this?
In spite of the views of armies of relativists who infest tertiary education today in much of the West, truth will always remain a vitally different concept from mere opinion. In days when I taught I tended to use archaeology as a simple means of illustrating this. Thus most of the world’s leading experts may imagine a famous ancient city lies buried in such and such a location yet all be wrong because the city lies somewhere else. Indeed even if no one ever discovers where this is a truth will evidently exist about the matter which is forever independent even of apparently ‘expert’ consensus. Where does such an argument leave the armies of juvenile ‘global warming’ activists in terms of credibility? Very few such have any worthwhile scientific training and, if that were possible even less training in traditional reasoning. Would even one in a hundred be capable of understanding any of Ian Plimer’s books? The sense, expertise and humility of the latter’s Heaven & Earth. Global Warming: the Missing Science (Connor Court 2009) cannot in my opinion be improved upon. He concludes the last chapter of a 500-page book in the following way: ‘We are facing the greatest global threat in my three score and two years. It is the threat of policy responses to perceived global warming and the demonising of dissent’. Has the time come at last for all of us to grow up?