It would be easy, at this point, to dismiss Jerome’s attack on socialist egalitarianism as a whimsical satire, especially after his guide reveals that in this new socialist England, good looking and intelligent people are subjected to mutilation and brain surgery to prevent them rising above the human average. But that would be a mistake. Jerome deliberately regales us with these absurdities to bring home the fact that the socialist project is necessarily coercive and totalitarian because it flies in the face of human nature and the human condition. What is more, the truthfulness of Jerome’s analysis has been abundantly confirmed by the experience of socialism in the 20th century. In Communist China, for example, during the dictatorship of Mao Tse-tung (1949-1976), conformity of thought, behaviour and dress was rigorously enforced, and during the infamous Cultural Revolution (1966-1969), anyone who was considered to be of above average ability or education was denounced as an enemy of the people and subjected to savage humiliation and .persecution. (See: Clarence B. Carson, Basic Communism, American Textbook Committee, Alabama, 1990, chapter 17).
Born: August 1972
Educated: James Ruse High School, University of Sydney, Harvard University.
Books: Disconnected (2010), Imagining Australia: Ideas for Our Future (2004), The Prince’s New Clothes: Why do Australians Dislike Their Politicians? (2002).
Offices, past and present: federal Labor MP for Fraser (ACT); Professor of Economics, ANU; Frank Knox Scholar, Harvard University; researcher, Progressive Policy Institute, Washington; trade adviser, federal opposition; associate, Justice Michael Kirby; lawyer, Clifford Chance, London, Minter Ellison, Sydney.
Studying my then-and-now image pairs for signs of a changing climate, I find evidence of recent forest fires, loss of river flow, and natural and unnatural geomorphologic changes such as destruction of meanders and disappearance of sandbanks. I also see the growth of invasive and water-consumptive plant species like tamarisk and Russian olive, along with an incredible greening of river valleys that were barren in the 19th century. And there are many signs of the conceit of human engineering, from ditches to dams, transforming once pristine rivers throughout the southwest into sportsmen's paradises—in other words, reservoirs—frequented by loud motorboats, harboring the gasping Asian carp and invasive quagga mussels, and heavily stocked with sport fishes; and irrigation canals, contaminated with pesticides and agricultural runoff, that largely serve dairy cows (60 percent of the water used for irrigation, or about a third of the river, goes to grow hay and forage crops , according to the Pacific Institute).