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.
Watching events unfold from far away sometimes offers a fresh or detached perspective. At other times it is confusing because salient facts obvious to those close to ground zero are hard to make out.
Then there are events that are so simple and obvious that it’s hard to mistake them, even if doubts are raised about the culpability of many who refuse to draw the obvious conclusions.
The obvious conclusion drawn all over the world, and by large swathes of the American population, is that President Trump must be deposed for the good of the country. Why is there still hesitation?
Islam is not a source of feminism or liberation for women. Secular liberal democracies are.
Arguing the former might be trendy, but plays into the hands of Australia’s worst xenophobes. Arguing the latter might defuse that xenophobia, but only if we stop reifying Australian Mulsims just for being Muslims.
Jack Waterford’s editorial for syndication by the Fairfax press on Department of Human Services’ baleful chief, Kathryn Campbell, is a rare pleasure to read.
In the era of inarticulate, anti-grammatical social media clicks and grunts that has subverted even nominal writers, Waterford’s considered prose paints a fairly stark picture of a narcissistic, sociopathic, top-down manager unduly influenced by her career as a defence force reservist general.
Instead of repeating Waterford’s excellent points, they are taken as read here, though extended beyond his intentions.
Some semi-random thoughts on where to from here, and why.
What could be more predictable than a news media looking to fill column inches/actuality minutes with blamestorming the election of a vulgar nincompoop by finding fault with his opponents.
Australia has an opportunity right now to emerge from the shadow of a moribund American imperium and become an independent centre of influence in South East Asia.
It is a narrow window of opportunity the squabbling children who call themselves our leaders probably don’t even recognise. But it’s there, beckoning us to act.
As late as 15:30 this afternoon I was trying to persuade myself that there had been a miscount and Clinton would win by a narrow margin. Like the ending of some nail-biting thriller with too many plot twists. But I was guilty of wishful thinking. And of having ignored a friend in the USA who had forecast for me quite consistently that the forces of barbarism she has lived with for decades would triumph with this improbably vulgar, buffoonish candidate. That Trump was just the logical next step in the obliteration of American post-war civilization. That Americans were just balefully malicious enough to summon the demon.
Is Rodrigo Duterte the Filipino Trump? Brash. Vulgar. Homicidal. And now allied to America’s traditional foes?
Or is it that America’s monotone rhetoric of free trade, and its supposed benefits, has worn too thin, at home as much as in its colonial outposts?