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.
The night was awful. Nightmarish. I didn’t attempt to sleep until close to midnight. The sounds around me of old men in pain or discomfort were psychologically disturbing.
I could understand why. I think some of my humanity was stripped away by my experience in the evening, when I insisted on taking a shower. This meant being assisted into the shower, with nurse Breena holding my piss bag and tubes, while I wheeled the drip stand, holding two big three liter fluid bags that were constantly flushing my bladder.
There’s a strange kind of intimacy between a shattered man and any woman standing in for mother, helping him to peel off a blood-soaked hospital gown, paying no attention to his penis, sprouting the obscene catheter tube branching out into three–the input, the output, and the capped channel used to inflate and deflate the saline-filled balloon in the bladder that keeps the whole thing in place.
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.