Thursday 22 August 2013

Kevin Rudd [Mark 1]

Shortly after the ALP’s resounding victory in the 2007 federal election, psychologist-activist Steve Biddulph wrote a triumphalist missive for the Sydney Morning Herald assuring us that “Rudd and Gillard are not in power for power’s sake” and that together they would make Australia “a better place for the people in it”. Moreover, the irresistible charm of “Kevin and Julia, as Australia already calls them”, might actually “herald the end of the Liberal Party itself”. According to Biddulph’s scenario, by 2013 federal politics would be a battle between Labor and the Greens, conservative politics having “withered away". Sideshow: Dumbing Down Democracy is Lindsay Tanner’s take on why the fairytale went wrong.

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Sunday 18 August 2013

Love in the Age of Choleric

Throughout the 2007 federal election campaign Senator Penny Wong declared herself to be in total agreement with the ALP’s anti-same-sex marriage policy. She argued – rather persuasively – that that “there was a cultural, religious and historical view of marriage between a man and a woman.” This past week Tony Abbott said the very same thing. While acknowledging that for many people, including his sister Christine, gay marriage represented “an important issue”, he believed in “evolutionary change” and did not want to be stampeded into a “radical change based on the fashion of the moment”. Senator Wong, who turned pro-gay marriage after the 2007 election, gave him a serve: “Note to Mr Abbott: Equality is not a fashion item.”

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Monday 12 August 2013

Roger Sandall, More Right Than Ever

Sunday, August 11, the day of the Rudd-Abbott debate, marks the first anniversary of the passing of one of Australia’s greatest thinkers, Roger Sandall (1933-2012). Sandall’s The Culture Cult (2001) is a relatively slim tome and yet it provides the sharpest of insights into an ideology that has, over the past half century, hijacked the Left in Australia and throughout the entire Western world. Marx is dead – long live anti-bourgeois bohemianism!

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Friday 2 August 2013

The Opium of Terry Eagleton

One of the more disturbing moments in Terry Eagleton’s Why Marx Was Right—no small thing in a treatise teeming with disturbing moments—is this:

Was capitalist modernity really necessary? How does one weigh the value of modern science and human liberty against the spiritual goods of tribal societies? What happens when we place democracy in the scales along with the Holocaust?  

It might take a second for the full implication of Eagleton’s last question to sink in, but when it does the reader finds himself confronted with an allegation both absurd and without any moral seriousness. Like some kind of malignant Quincy McGoo, Eagleton actually believes that democracy and the Holocaust are two sides of the same modern capitalist coin. How could a fellow who is the current Distinguished Professor of English Literature at the University of Lancaster entertain such a notion? How can a man who entertains such a notion be the current Distinguished Professor of English Literature at the University of Lancaster? If nothing else, Why Marx Was Right more than adequately explains Terry Eagleton.

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