Looking at the species of self-confessed modern conservative in the Anglophone world, it’s quite likely they are mostly also self-confessed people of religious faith.
After weeks of reading about the Michelle Guthrie-Justin Milne battle for the soul of the ABC, I finally watched the 12 November Four Corners programme featuring interviews with both former senior ‘knobs’ at the public broadcaster.
Which political parties in Australia today embrace any or all of the following traits and characteristics?
When the coup against Malcolm Turnbull was inevitable, some in the Liberal party room thought Scott Morrison was a better choice than hardline reactionary Peter Dutton. They may have been wrong.
A curious set of facts I came across as part of my recent studies makes it certain that any Australian looking for career advancement needs to be able to demonstrate a high degree of literacy.
Most people I know, even those with post-graduate degrees, tend to be dismissive of grammar and spelling as important, even in professional communication. But only some professionals get away with cavalier attitudes like that, and only if they are exceptionally brilliant in other areas. Most of us aren’t that fortunate.
‘Is you woke, bro,’ the twenty-something going on 14-year-old asked me. ‘Is that English or some other language?’ was my not so friendly reply.
‘Harsh, dude. I’m not up for dat.’
I walked away suppressing the urge to slap the kid. Such a bad impression of an accent he didn’t understand. Something he extrapolated from a music video.
In a nutshell, it’s dogmatism, religionism, stupidity. And a bit of Lord of the Flies savagery.
There is a social media practice, recently unleashed into the real world, sometimes called virtue signalling, which is really just a re-branded bien pensantism.
How a leisurely Sunday afternoon read two weeks ago confirmed that the bien pensant left is the biggest asset of the far right, and more destructive of Western ideals than anyone cares to admit.
The reading session started out with Tasmanian author Richard Flanagan’s scathing condemnation of the Brisbane Writers Festival (BWF).
I’ve not read Flanagan’s novels, but I am aware they have been well-received by critics, and he’s won awards for some of them. His prose as a commentator certainly turned out to be smooth, and his arguments impeccable.
The following is an edited excerpt from a letter in which I was putting forward my position on why social media deserve to be censored; an about face on my long-time opinion that censorship is always wrong.
Painful though I think it is, I don’t think Australia is really a liberal democratic society anymore. I think we are closer to an oligarchy, moved in that direction since the 1990s, and still moving there. Not as bad as the USA, but heading in the same direction.
Nor do I believe we have an environment anymore in which voices of reason and authority can effectively counter voices of hate, mischief, or mayhem. The old argument about a marketplace of ideas is dead and ridiculous in the era of social media and anonymous user accounts.
What anonymity on social media platforms has done is enable the most scurrilous hate campaigns because there is no consequence. The coarseness of such behaviour, over time, has begun to legitimise it even for people whose identity is known, like the current US president. It is a devaluation of all that might have been considered liberal democratic, putting us back at the political chicanery of the mid-18th century.