It’s not that I was surprised to read Peter Dutton making Coalition policy by media statement on Friday. It’s more that he would do so for the Indigenous Australians portfolio. It signals to the public and the party that the responsible minster, Ken Wyatt, is thus publicly stripped of any authority by the LPA’s extreme right wing, presumptively led by Home Affairs Minister Dutton after nihilist-in-chief Tony Abbott was voted out of Parliament.
Reading about the solidarity between the USA and UK about pointing the finger at Iran for the oil tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman recently, and the haste with which Western media uncritically reported these pointed fingers, I couldn’t help letting my mind wander a little. Why were Western analysts so quick to endorse ‘official’ statements? What should they be doing instead?
‘Teleology!’, I thought. The analysis of phenomena not by looking for causes, but by examining who benefits.
Australian Federal Police (AFP) raids on the public broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), and News Corporation journalist Annika Smethurst’s private residence, are clear indications the AFP is being used to intimidate journalists and ‘whistleblowers’, meaning public servants willing to leak information about questionable government activities.
Ideologies always assume that one idea is sufficient to·explain everything in the development from the premise, and that no experience can teach anything because everything is comprehended in this consistent process of logical deduction. The danger in exchanging the necessary insecurity of philosophical thought for the total explanation of an ideology and its Weltanschauung, is not even so much the risk of falling for some usually vulgar, always uncritical assumption as of exchanging the freedom inherent in man’s capacity to think for the strait jacket of logic with which man can force himself almost as violently as he is forced by some outside power.
— Hannah Arendt, 1951, The Origins of Totalitarianism.
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.
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.
In a nutshell, it’s dogmatism, religionism, stupidity. And a bit of Lord of the Flies savagery.
When Tom Switzer has something to say, he deserves to be read with a healthy dose of skepticism. No Left ideologue could have invented a more stereotypical reactionary: Sydney’s North Shore; private school; Sydney University; conservative think tanks; climate change denier; and obligatory ‘other side’ presenter for the ABC radio’s Between the Lines.
Switzer, like many others, claims to be a conservative when really he is a reactionary. The difference seems to be lost in uncritical repetition of self-representations. It has never been conservative tradition to oppose progressive reforms, including welfare measures. Traditional conservatism merely opposes revolutionary change, seen as too rapid to gauge harmful impacts on established institutions and practices. That is, today, much more nearly the ideological position of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) than of the Coalition–the peculiar post-war alliance between the horribly misnamed Liberal Party of Australia and the National Party of Australia.
Only today I yet again had cause to link political decline to simpleton journalists.
This time the obvious candidate is the ABC’s Queensland commentator, Chris O’Brien, turning out two stories that are so shot through with ignorance, and an absence of a single clear thought, the ABC should feel cheated to have paid O’Brien this week.