Rebirth of Reason


That Expectant Hiss
by Peter Cresswell

People my age or older (down, Josephine) might remember the shiver of anticipation they once felt when putting the needle down on an eagerly awaited new record - the expectant hiss as the stylus cut through new, unplayed vinyl in that brief but magical moment before the first note is heard gave goosebumps in places that the more digitally convenient CDs don't even know exist. Waiting in hushed expectation for that first note of a new record, that hiss always seemed to whisper of something important and delightful about to happen; it is the same frisson of excitement felt in a theatre when the lights begin to dim, the hum of voices lowers, and your breath catches in your throat as the curtain gives its first rustle in anticipation of its rising. What will be revealed?

Once every two months my letterbox now offers me a similar thrill when a new copy of The Free Radical appears in in my letterbox. This simple pleasure is unavailable to the Editor or his assistant, who - having proofread every article and every page until they can see every paragraph in their sleep - greet the birth of a new issue instead with pride, relief, and with a few days worth of sleep to catch up. But now that I'm no longer able to help edit TFR myself, I can enjoy that shiver of eager anticipation again as I greedily rip off the wrapper, smell the ink, and consume the contents - each page a new and welcome pleasure.

I plucked the latest issue of The Free Radical from my letterbox on Wednesday, and I find that issue 54 is no exception - indeed, it is exceptional! I think I can say this is the best issue yet!

I plunged between its pages immediately I saw that cover - how could I not? - to find that my anticipation was to be richly rewarded! From Marc Geddes roundly trashing the Earth Summit and its attendant hypocrites and watermelons (but I repeat myself), to James J. Campbell excoriating Canadian Premier Jean Chretien for his 9/11 immorality; from Peter Osborne providing ammunition to understand New Zealand's so-called 'leaky-buildings crisis' to Michael Newberry uncovering a major and hitherto uncelebrated new art talent - this issue has everything!

Who would have thought that in New Zealand you could be fined large piles of cash and face a dawn raid from a government goon squad for receiving an unsolicited book catalogue through the mail? I didn't, but you can read that story here. Who would have known that Ayn Rand's Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology was one of the two most profound influences on exercise science in the twentieth century? I certainly didn't, but I do now.

Who would have thought that former libertarian Deborah Coddington would be wavering on supporting the legalisation of prostitution? Well, I must confess on that question I did think 'Roundtable Belle' might well be wavering, but she certainly shouldn't be after she reads Jim Peron's rejoinder to her nannying maunderings from top to bottom. One could not disagree with him, or with the 'Light of Liberty Award' given to ... well, you should read that for yourself! But keep your hair on fire while you do. :-)

We are reminded by editor LIndsay Perigo that the battle for liberty is at least 2,500 years old, and that one of the most powerful weapons in that struggle enjoyed a comparatively youthful 45th birthday only last month - find out more inside!

But the very best of this new issue, in my humble opinion, is in its revelation of what's going wrong with education. Even better, not only does it give us the education horror stories - which are all too prevalent - but it reveals two heroes who point the way forward. One is Robert White, just beginning a career in academia, and the other is Graham Crawshaw, who has devoted his life to 'slaying the whole-language dragon.'

I learnt that Graham is successfully undoing the work of Nanny's brain-washing centres - in six days giving youngsters the keys to learning that Nanny is intent on keeeping from them. My hat is off to him, and to Sally O'Brien for her masterfully written story. Bravo!

Proof that Nanny can be beaten back can be found not only in the story of Graham's many successes, but in the further evidence presented by Robert White of some shining new stars about to explode into the world. Not only is Robert proof in himself that even three years at the University of Political Correctness can't keep a good man down, but the three prize-winning essays he presents from the nationwide Fountainhead Essay Competition he ran this year is striking proof that independent thought still exists in New Zealand's high schools, and that three brilliant young minds have grasped the fundamentals of liberty and seem destined for great things. On the evidence presented here, who could possibly doubt it?

To all the contributors (and editors) of Issue 54 of The Free Radical: 'Salute!'

And to those who have yet to rustle the pages of the latest Free Radical: Feel the thrill for yourself - track down a copy at a good bookseller near you, or subscribe at www.freeradical.co.nz . Then rip off the wrapper, and enjoy it with a new record and a good red!

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