Monday, 9 January 2012

Logic Never Was their Strong Point

Antiquities dealers' paid lobbyist Peter Tompa seems only now to have noticed Raimund Karl's text "">On the Highway to Hell: Thoughts on the Unintended Consequences for Portable Antiquities of Section 11 (1) Austrian Denkmalschutzgesetz". He does not indicate what drew his attention to it.

He notes that Karl "concludes that a change in Austrian law has led metal detectorists to stop reporting finds they would otherwise report" before adding a comment of his own:
After reading his article, one might conclude that Professor Karl seems to be blessed with common sense that has detoured him away from the "highway to hell" that has been taken by some of his more ideological colleagues in the archaeological community.
Yet, not so long ago Tompa was advocating, was he not, that in order to fight looting and illicit antiquities, instead of the dealers and collectors it was precisely "metal detectorists" that should be "regulated" (here for example, here too - where metal detecting is equated with lax control due to government "corruption"). This is what he was telling coineys to write to the CPAC too. So if Tompa now agrees with Professor Karl that this regulation of detectorists is in some way a "Highway to Hell", it seems to me that he should be staying by the original concept of cleaning up the antiquities market and encourage responsible and transparent collecting. What is "ideological" in that?

It seems to me however that to get his pay cheque from the dealers' associations, writing what is internally logical is not a requirement, the idea is apparently to write just any old stuff to keep the dealers' clients from asking too many questions of the dealers. Create a fog-screen, and for that purpose the more confusing his own position is, the better. After all, the intention is not to engage in debate and dialogue, but avoid that at all costs.

As for getting information from those in a given country who are carrying out an activity illegally, I rather think that is a matter for the police.

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