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And I thought Tony Abbott could lie!

A. In my view Tony Abbott still wears the crown of the greatest liar ever to have soiled the plush red carpets of the House of Representatives. However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, depending on his eventual time in parliament, might just take his crown.

I have written much on the subject of lying. In 2013 I wrote a piece titled “Being conned with bullshit” in which I said:

“There was a time when Australians didn’t like being conned.”

“Don’t listen to him, he’s a con artist, my folks would say.”

I can vividly remember that phrase. As a teenager we seemed to apply it to everything. We sort of instantly knew when someone was bullshitting.

Now it seems we have lost that instinct and are now a gullible lot ready to believe whomever and whatever we are told.

It was just three months ago that I wrote another piece in which I said:

“When did all this lying start? Well I could go back to Reagan and his decision to allow the fundamentalist churches into politics and perhaps bring it up to date with the ascension of Trump.

We have inherited it from US politics that “The press is the enemy of the people.”

Lying in Australian politics has reached an unprecedented level. The Prime Minister and his Cabinet took lying to such depths in the recent election that it is not disingenuous to suggest that government under Morrison no longer has a moral compass or understanding of truth.

Undoubtedly the rise of the right, imported from the United States, has been the major and most worrisome aspect in the decline of the Liberal and National Parties where once small ‘L’ Liberals had residence, but have now been purged.

Neo-liberalism/Conservatism – aided by an inheritance of lying as a political weapon from the US – infiltrated the Coalition and gave birth to extremism.

Lying has and will probably always exist but it reached its zenith during the 2012 Presidential Debates. I watched all of the debates and in the first I agreed that Obama under-performed and was under-prepared.

But in the background of that first debate I had the sneaking suspicion that he was rocked by all the lies Romney was telling. He recovered in the other debates and won them easily.

In that campaign Romney told an astonishing 2000 provable lies and lying has now become part and parcel of American politics.

Whilst I would credit John Howard with modern political lying, people of my vintage could easily take it back to Robert Menzies “Reds under your beds.”

The Prime Minister cons the people by saying he believes in the science of climate change, but his actions don’t back his words.

But the greatest con of all is when Rupert Murdoch says:

“I have always been a firm believer in providing the public with choice and access to quality content – it was the driving force behind the launch of Sky, Fox News and, particularly, The Australian”.

That then brings me to the point of this article, which is to highlight the fact that lying by our current Prime Minister is as much an everyday affair as were Tony Abbott’s.

You can tell lies for many reasons. Sometimes it’s because you want to cover things up that would otherwise embarrass you. That being said, they must have a lot to be embarrassed about.

On that basis let’s take a look at his current spate of lying.

An SBS journalist asked Morrison why it was racist to question Gladys Liu’s connections to China but not racist to call Mr Dastyari ‘Shangahi Sam’.

“I didn’t use either of those phrases. He bluntly answered.”

It was a blatant lie. He had used the term 17 times.

He had accused Labor of being racist toward Ms Liu, which is but another lie.

B. Next we have this from the Bernard Keane writing about the infamous National Press Club in February of this year.

“It takes real effort to stand out as a liar in Australian politics, but Scott Morrison yesterday lied so egregiously and offensively it was a triumph of political bulls–tery.”

They were into the Q&A part and talking about Financial Services.

Thus, that difficult issue didn’t arise until the Q&A part of proceedings, when the Prime Minister was asked about Labor’s plan to try to extend parliamentary sittings. Morrison responded with a lie of Trumpesque proportions.

C. The Morrison government kicked one of the biggest own goals on record criticising the Labor Party’s electric car policy when the Liberal’s own policy is basically the same.

D. Worth a look: Government Lie List – May Weeks 1 & 2 – twitter.com.

Here’s a some sample via Sally McManus:

About Scott Morrison’s litany of lies. 1 in 3 of new jobs are second or third jobs for someone already in insecure work or needing a second job because the wages in …

E. And this headline in The West Australian on 12 April this year from Gareth Hutchens:

“Scott Morrison caught out lying about Labor again.”

“Mr Morrison claimed overnight that Treasury had costed seven of Labor’s policies and the costing’s showed Labor would be the highest taxing Australian Government on record.”

F. Mark Butler in the SMH (and other publications) regularly complains about Morrison’s and Minister Taylor’s unvarying lying on climate emissions and meeting our Paris commitments, but seriously, what I am trying to fathom here is the why of it.

It is of course not just confined to Australia. It is a worldwide phenomenon that has resulted in the profession of politics now being synonymous with untrustworthiness.

Why are Morrison and his government telling so many lies? The only thing I can think off is that they are trying to hide their own incompetency. Their own stupidity.

You wouldn’t have to if you were a government of integrity, transparency and honesty.

I keep on asking myself why it is that the Australian people are so satisfied with liars to lead us.

One thing we do know is that politician’s lies undermine the very democratic processes that enable them to function. In doing so they deny the public an informed consent and you cannot have a democracy without it.

What is truly astonishing though is the assumption that they believe it is OK to lie and they know that we are silly enough to believe them.

It is such a condemnation of our political discernment and the reason why we treat our gift of the right to vote so badly.

And to think that at his early morning briefings surrounded by his many advisers, all they can discuss is what lie to tell to get him out of his or the governments latest mistake.

You would be forgiven for thinking that modern day politicians feel they are immune from speaking truth. That somehow they were above truth and the need of it.

The most intriguing thing though is that a man so obviously devoted to his faith can so easily lie.

Former US President Jimmy Carter was a most devout, righteous, Baptist. I wonder what he thinks of the current crop.

How utterly dispiriting it is when the hearts and minds of our politicians are so utterly corrupted by this virus of political lies, but more demoralising it is that ordinary people catch the same infection.

Let me finishing by quoting psychologist Tahnee Schulz:

“For a pathological liar, lying is innate. There’s a genetic predisposition, perhaps activated by trauma, personality disorder, or brain injury. Compulsive lying is more a learnt behavior. A pathological liar is a compulsive liar but a compulsive liar isn’t necessarily a pathological liar.”

 Just what classification the Prime Minister fits into I’m not sure but he can certainly tell some biggies.

My thought for the day

Has Australia ever elected a Prime Minister so ignorant of truth, so ill informed of science, so oblivious of the needs and aspirations of women and the needy – so out of touch with a modern pluralist society?

 

26 comments

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  1. Baby Jewels

    My thoughts. Grown men who lie seem to be to a large extent, people who haven’t grown up. People who have no conscience. People who can defy reality by replacing it with their own, oblivious or uncaring that people know they’re lying. That Australians elect these people says a lot about who we are and our own shortcomings.

  2. John Lord

    “Most problems that society faces arise from the fact that men have never really grown up”

  3. Arthur Tarry

    Morrison comes from a marketing background so therefore loseness with the truth is inbuilt to the extent that he doesn’t think it’s lying. Its his modus operandi.

  4. Awashwithcolour

    The lies are so frequent from the politicians in power, on a daily basis and l can’t stand it. Even watching the news l wonder why journalists don’t bother checking the facts before reporting the lies we are hearing.
    There’s no one seeking the truth and if they did the lying government would go after them baying for them to be sacked or prosecuted.
    I agree with your article whole heartedly and I too wonder how we got here with those religious nutters in the top jobs in government. I wonder how they can lie straight in bed they’re all so crooked!
    It’s a never ending diatribe of bullshit we’re being fed.
    We used to have ABC fact check. What happened to truth?

  5. Terence Mills

    When politicians front up at the ABC they usually get some in-depth questioning and non-answers and spin are probed like a sensitive tooth cavity. Hence they avoid the ABC as much as possible and prefer the gentle caress of Sky-after-dark and 2GB : I understand that Dutton rehearses all week for his appearances with Ray Hadley.

    Dutton is currently promoting his demand that dual citizens who are suspected of nefarious activities abroad be stripped of their Australian citizenship before even being charged, let alone found to be guilty of those ‘suspicions’.

    When he first started thumping on about this, it was generally agreed that you could only strip somebody of their Australian citizenship after they had been convicted of a crime and with the agreement of the country where the individual held his second citizenship and to which he would inevitably return : we had the unedifying situation with Neil Prakash who Dutton wanted to strip of his Australian citizenship as he was claimed to also hold Fijian citizenship – Fiji denied that to be the case so Prakash stood the chance of being rendered stateless.

    Now Dutton is back on his hobby-horse but conveniently overlooks the need for anybody who is stripped of citizenship to have another citizenship to fall back on : international law prohibits a state from making a citizen of that state stateless !

    On the media : there is only one genuine journalist at Murdoch television plus a host on commentators who incestuously interview each other constantly. The one good journalist, David Speers, will soon depart Sky as evidently he has seen the writing on the wall that there is no future for independent journalism at Sky or any other Murdoch outlet. He will join the ABC shortly and bring his talent to Insiders.
    What an insult to him and others that Morrison chose the Murdoch lackey Paul Murray for a one-on-one interview with Trump rather than one of the several talented journalists accompanying the PM in the US – inevitably that one-on-one was fawning and obsequious offering no value whatsoever.

    How Good is the UK Supreme Court and Lady Hale with her spider brooch !!

  6. Kathryn

    Lying is so ingrained in the black hearts of unconscionable LNP politicians, that it is almost an “automatic response” to the most trivial questions. Deception, lying, ignominious character-assassinating slander of anyone opposing their warped views and callous inhumanity, steadfastly REFUSING to answer questions truthfully and/or arrogantly ignoring any form of interrogation is now a loathsome characteristic of just about everyone (male and female) in the ranks of the LNP since John Howard’s HUGE porkie about the “children overboard” fiasco. Abbott was such a serial liar, he would lie even when he didn’t have to! In fact, if Abbott was caught out on one of those very rare occasions he told the truth, he would lie about THAT just for the hell of it!

    The smug smirk that Morrison gives after he has spewed out yet more verbal diarrhoea and unadulterated BS, is proof of the stratospheric contempt he has for the truth and for the people of Australia. It seems that the ONLY source of pride experienced by these unspeakably evil miscreants – especially Morrison, Howard, Abbott, Frydenberg and Cormann – is the fact that (they believe) they have succeeded in pulling the wool over the (almost blind) eye of the electorate! Of course, the TRUTH always has a way of revealing itself – by way of video recording of their indiscretions. Time and time again, Abbott, Howard and Morrison have been caught out in the act of obscene and criminal dishonesty. The people of Australia continue to be lied to with increasing frequency; lied to so convincingly, so habitually and with such abandon it has now removed what little trust, respect or confidence we had in politicians. Politicians now rank below car salesman, real estate agents and mass murderers as the most despised, contemptuous people in the nation!

    It is OVERTIME that Australians DEMAND the dismissal of politicians who are pathological liars, especially when such lies and deception are used to win an election. Who can ever forget the way Clive Palmer lied, lied and lied in order to get Morrison over the line at the last election and then bragged about lying afterwards! This is a disgraceful indication of just how low ultra-conservative politicians are prepared to stoop in order to wrest political power and retain it!

    Sadly, the LNP are also backed by the Mother and Father of all Liars, ie the staggering propaganda and unending lies that, on a daily basis, pour out of the Z-rated rags owned by the Murdoch dynasty. Surely, only the most stupid, gullible people in the nation continue to purchase these rags or allow their minds to be polluted by the undiluted crap constantly pervaded via the deceptive, totally biased hacks employed by Murdoch, especially those mendacious sociopaths on SkyNews? Wake up, Australia! We MUST demand a much higher standard of politicians (and our media). We MUST insist on honesty and credibility because the current batch of loathsome, unconscionable liars and callous sociopaths have now “infected” us all and turned our nation from hero to zero in less than six years. What lessons are we passing on to our children and grandchildren?

    The ALP and the Greens are not perfect but, at least, they actually HAVE a plan and maintain policies that bring compassion and egalitarianism to the table and address urgent issues relating to climate change! If Australians had voted for Shorten at the last election instead of believing all the contemptuous lies by Murdoch, Clive Palmer and disingenuous members of the LNP, we would not have the worst, most repugnant, climate-change-denying liar and bible-thumping hypocrite (Morrison) misrepresenting our nation on EVERY issue and strutting around like a fawning, obsequious lapdog to Trump, one of the biggest, most deluded liars in American history.

    Donald Trump, Scott Morrison and Boris Johnson are PROOF that just about EVERYTHING that falls from the mouths of morally bankrupt members of the rusted-on neoliberal capitalists on the extreme right-wing and ultra-conservative side of politics, is a deliberate lie used to keep themselves in a job, to satiate their own self-serving agenda and/or to increase the wealth and power of their billionaire donors in the Top 1% or the relentless rapaciousness of multinational corporate predators. WE have the power to stop them – at the next election, DO IT!

  7. Wobbley

    Media Terrence, are you joking???? David Speers is just another lackey of the right. There’s not one journalist in MSM worth their salt since this country was dragged to the extreme right by Coward. Anyone who’s slightly left of centre is a communist in the MSM’s eyes he’s just the same as the rest of them. Regarding the ABC, it’s nearly complete, full of Turdochs agents or former. Sorry Terrence, trees and Forrest’s and all that.

  8. Matters Not

    All this outrage over lies, untruths, deceptions, and the like is all so yesterday – it’s laughable. Folks, we live in a post-truth world where people don’t have the time, inclination or skills to be bothered with detail. And it’s across the political world.

    Take Trump and the broader body politic in the USA as a classic example:

    MORE THAN ever before in Donald Trump’s presidency, the U.S. political system faces a fundamental question: Does truth still matter? Our democracy depends on a positive answer. But the evidence of the past few days offers reason for worry.

    … Congress and the public now have before them an indisputable set of facts … Trump has thrown up a smokescreen of denials, insults — and blatant lies … the president just goes on peddling it. … Through most of our political history, such a contest between documented facts and proven lies would be lopsided. … (yet) in the past few days Mr. Trump’s propaganda has been embraced and echoed …

    Despite the abundant proof to the contrary … Trump wants to leave Americans with the impression that there is no discernible, objective truth about his behavior, only rival claims by bickering politicians and media …

    You can fill in the gaps here. (But most won’t – being too busy and not really interested in reading in depth – preferring to just howl at the moon.)

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/the-ukraine-facts-are-clear-but-does-truth-still-matter/2019/09/27/6bcaa38e-e134-11e9-8dc8-498eabc129a0_story.html

    As Pogo reminded: We have recognised the enemy and it is us!

  9. Ken Fabian

    It is not any one thing, nor even a new thing but I do think some causes stand out in the current context. In the past it was lying to maintain religious and cultural norms but now I think we are seeing the triumph of truth-is-whatever-people-believe cynicism – and of the growing maturity of opinion shaping as a commercially available service within a News and Entertainment industry, an industry that makes what people believe a product to be sold to the highest bidders. Which are almost entirely self interested commercial and political entities – with most News organisations being self interested commercial entities in their own right, with more self interested cause in common with other commercial and political entities than with their readers and viewers. Whom I suspect are seen as contemptible for their gullibility and therefore deserving of being lied to.

    Appeals to self interest – without regard to truth – may simply be used more because opinion shapers get better reach and effectiveness than using appeals to those better, more noble human characteristics, like honesty, ethics, compassion and concern for the common good.

    Provable lies that are in the interests of those… interests are passed over by self interested journalists and news editors. Truths that are not in the interests of their principle customers are subject to relentless criticism.

  10. Andrew Smith

    Lying is an essential part of the ‘messaging’ and control of narratives; look at Brexit and Trump, both supported by Abbott, Downer, Hockey, Howard et al., while moderates of the centre right to the left are hamstrung by their own ethics and morals in responding effectively

    There are multiple reasons one could highlight including the deep pocketed corporates who/which have hollowed out politics, policy development, legislatures, judiciary, information and how people think; Nancy MacLean’s in ‘Democracy in Chains’ describes it as a long game, we are possibly boiling frogs but for what?

    It’s not new while the Koch’s are the most obvious example, domestically and internationally, owning MPs/parties, astro turfing, leveraging think tanks, trans national networks, white evangelical and Catholic Christians etc., Conservatives, aggressive PR, science denialism, white nationalism, fear campaigns, anti-globalism, voter suppression, vote buying and catering to the right (mostly ageing and regional) electorates to conserve power &/or vote the right way to promote preferred policies and/or avoid inconvenient policies.

    Most citizen voters, in the less developed and now Anglosphere of US, UK, Australia and Europe struggle to see through this fog of information war or are led to follow…. like ‘lemmings in suicide vests’ (John McCain) while suffering from nationalist ‘collective narcissism’ (Goldsmiths London) and ‘pensioner populism’ (Campanella?).

    Abbott is a good example of many aspects, assuming he has generous post political career benefits, his ego demands influence locally and internationally. Promoting Trump, presenting at Heritage Foundation, climate change as ‘crap’, spouting Club of Rome or eugenics tropes, presenting at Koch supported anti Brexit think tank in UK, IPA – Rhinehart, teaming up with another Koch supported UK ‘media’ outlet Spiked i.e. former lefty Brendan O’Neill and attending white nationalist – great replacement theory event in Hungary masquerading as conservative Christianity.

    Clever play on fears of declining influence of mostly ageing WASP males, US corporates and related power structures.

  11. Peter F

    “a man so obviously devoted to his faith can so easily lie”. ………. I am glad that you said ‘HIS’ faith. He certainly does not follow the example of Jesus as described in the Bible. ( This statement applies whether or not you believe in the Bible.)

  12. guest

    Matters Not,

    You say: “All this outrage over lies, untruths, deceptions, and the like is all so yesterday – it’s laughable…we are in a post-truth world.”

    You sound very defeatist. You sound like some right-wing saying: “Just toughen up!”

    But the last line of the Washington Post article you offer here – yes I did read it – says: “Those who remain silent, or worse, join in Mr Trump’s lying game, will be complicit in the degradation of the US polity.”

    The Washington Post has not given up. Some of Trump’s fellow Republicans have not given up. (Romney himself has been a liar.)
    Posters here at AIMN have not given up the fight against liars and have Morrison especially in their sights – and there are are other targets as well.

    Abbott was destroyed by his lies. A Coalition person called Howard a “lying rodent”.

    Lies come in all kinds of guises, especially ideologies. They set up situations to which all kinds of opinion swarm for hearing. So we see the usual suspects airing their ignorance and ideology in public against Greta Thunberg and her speech.

    So we come to the Pogo take-away message you pass on to us, Matters Not: “We have recognised the enemy and it is us.”

    Who is the “us”?

    It is not the Washington Post. It is not the posters here.

    Is it people who did not vote in elections where voting is not compulsory?

    Circumstances can occur where an outright liar can be protected because the numbers in a political house favour the liar.

    Is the ‘us’ those people who live in a country where the media is dominated by one particular political stance?

    Is the ‘us’ those of a particular educational level?

    Is the ‘us’ those who have jobs or those who seek only particular jobs – or those without jobs?

    Or people of particular ages?

    Surely not all us, Matters Not!

  13. wam

    What great weekend so far, lord.
    I have dumped my rabbottian friends from my facebook. After many years of trying to show them how greenhouse gases will eventually make the earth uninhabitableand how the reef and pacific islander . Many years showing the viciousness of the english and american white supremist stereotype jokes are neither funny nor accurate. Many years of exposing their shares as having been proven wrong years before and to deliberately share a lie designed to hurt someone just because you like the words or sentiments is disgusting. To add that “I can take a joke” why can’t Aborigines, women, muslims, refugees any labor man, woman or child
    The catalyst was the sharing of a video of greta’s mum. I didn’t answer it, open it or bother to check if it was fake, just scrubbed it and them.
    The will not accept climate change till the pope and his priests declare man made greenhouse gases will destroy god’s earth, from the pulpit
    As for lies, honesty and truth. It is easy to lie by telling the truth.
    You need your politicians to be truthful.
    To be honest I consider that bob brown’s support for the rabbott gave the deniers 9 years of inaction to be true but I suspect you would see it as a lie?
    The truth of the timing of booby’s caravan was to maximise the loonies return from the investment of their candidates.
    The truth is the ploy was successful, possibly to the tune of $3m. Was another 3 years of no action worth it, loonies?
    ps
    Your inclusion of Tahnee’s tale reminded me of the question of hoew to choose the safe exit door.
    To keep it simple:
    The rabbott is so under the church’s spell that he knows that whatever he says is as an opuis dei and pure in intent. That means he cannot lie. He is, therefore amoral and unable, like prophetise church christians unable to reason. He just opens his mouth a out comes something like a reflex not through the brain. If under great pressure the reflex system fails and he just waits and his mouth quivers. I saw hi, live at a canberra conference. He was late seemed unprepared as his speech was unrelated to the conference and took no questions leaving before his allotted time. The next speaker was the exact opposite but she was an atheist and able to think and reason. Scummo knows when he lies he does so deliberately and is immoral but the public care not for the motives of either and many accept what is sad a truth.
    I cannot find a reference but my deafish ears caught trump saying what woman could go through what I am doing???
    American christian pooliticians are so religious in public the the democrat woman pelosi prays for trump everyday whilst she seeks impeachment
    still a bit negative thanks boobby.

  14. Al

    What gets me is not so much the continual lying – I’ve become sadly inured to that – but the total disregard for evidence. But the modern crop of right-wing politicians (Morrison, Boris Johnson, Trump) are completely unable to work with evidence. If it’s not what they want, they either simply ignore it or – possibly even worse – blame the messenger. (Abbott was a master at this – remember Gillian Triggs?) Matters such as climate change, the impossibility of living on Newstart, wage stagnation, droughts and water loss, care of the elderly… any of us could name 10 major issues of which the government is completely unable to handle because they can’t even admit there might be a problem. Frydenberg trumpets about the excellent economy, but this is just a statistical phantom based on future projections. Try talking up the economy to the beggars that cluster round the doors of my local shopping centre every night.

    Being unable to deal with uncomfortable facts – to face them head-on in the search for possible solutions – is the sign of a weak mind, and the current LNP are the weakest bunch of pissants we’ve ever seen. They lack moral fibre; they lack any future vision, they lack strategies for managing the country and its people; they lack everything except being able looking after themselves and their financiers.

    Purely as political animals they are vultures and hyenas, ripping apart the needy and vulnerable in order to fill their bellies.

    They are disgusting and utterly reprehensible.

  15. Aortic

    Totally agree Al, but how do we persuade the blinded and easily led buffoons to see reason. Shorten fell short sadly and I am not at all convinced that Albanese is the answer we need. There are others I think who express themselves such as Penny Wong Mark Dreyfus amongst others more pointedly and reasonably whilst having the much needed ” public appeal”. I realise it takes time to recover from an unexpected loss, but the longer we are subjected to the utter negativity and policy vacuum of the present numpties the more severe the problems become. Reactivity and not Proactivity doth not a government make.

  16. Aortic

    Love the thought for the day John. Where oh where is Kerry O’ Brien when you need him?

  17. Al

    Aortic, I don’t think there’s much hope while the Murdoch press still has a stranglehold over the country. I also think that Labor is only marginally less reprehensible than the LNP – they seem to be falling over backwards to see how quickly they can agree with the LNP’s egregious policies. And when Penny Wong – who I once respected so highly – has now come out publicly in support of coal, I feel that there’s little hope. The Greens seem too busy with internal struggles, although I still hope they can provide some badly needed moral backbone. I put my hope in the young, the people who can not yet vote, and who turn out in their thousands for climate change rallies, doing what they can to raise awareness. I was present at a climate change forum in my electorate before the last election (attended by all the candidates except – tellingly – the LNP bloke), and the schoolchildren who spoke were the stars of the evening. With passion, intelligence, understanding and vigour they threw down the gauntlet to the candidates, who were all unable to provide any answers, other than vague and empty platitudes. If these teenagers can maintain their passion into adulthood, we may yet have a future.

  18. Kaye Lee

    I agree Al. We need the passion of youth to demand change and to carry forward the momentum they have created. Kids need to talk to their parents and their grandparents. They need to bolster each other with evidence and shared truth that shames the politicians’ attempts to dismiss them.

    Be peaceful but relentless kids. Many of we oldies join you but no-one notices us – but they sure as hell are getting very defensive when the young people demand to be heard.

  19. Aortic

    Just watched make the world Greta. Wonderfully inspiring pleas for a bunch of old farts to DO something instead of mouthing meaningless platitudes. UN Assembly few people listening to their exhortations, probably at a meeting full of sceptics reliving the wonderfulness of the fatuous platitudes of Trump and Morrison. There will be no precious ECONOMY if the planet becomes uninhabitable, morons. More power to your young inspiring voices, we are with you in all your efforts to create a future for yourselves and future generations.

  20. Matters Not

    guest re your post September 28, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    The ‘us‘ can be seen as the collective body politic or the polity as described in The Washington Post. The body politic concept does not necessarily apply (individually) to you or me or indeed to any particular individual contributor on this site – yet it might, given we as voting citizens can be categorised that way. Accordingly, it’s the body politic or the polity that elected Trump, Ardern, and Morrison. Some find the concept useful in communicating a general meaning others less so. It’s use is not compulsory. Feel free to abstain.

    Re:

    You sound very defeatist. You sound like some …

    As I’ve said on many occasions, one has absolutely no control over the ‘meanings’ the ‘other’ gives to writings (or in this case – the sounds you hear.) For my part, day by day I am less and less enthusiastic about the capacity of democracy to deliver a good, right and just outcome for the body politic. And I’m not alone.

    People have been saying for two millennia that democracy is unworkable, going back to Plato. The Founding Fathers were sufficiently worried that they left only one half of one branch of the federal government in the hands of the people. And yet for two centuries democracy in America more or less proceeded apace without blowing itself up.

    The irony is that more democracy—ushered in by social media and the Internet, where information flows more freely than ever before—is what has unmoored our politics, and is leading us towards authoritarianism. …

    … Right-wing populists don’t have to make much sense.

    More here.

    https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/09/08/shawn-rosenberg-democracy-228045

    Hope that helps.

  21. Al

    Matters Not, if you go to Rosenberg’s paper (the one described in the Politico article) and available at

    https://www.academia.edu/38564962/Democracy_Devouring_Itself_The_Rise_of_the_Incompetent_Citizen_and_the_Appeal_of_Populism.docx?auto=download

    you’ll see that he does offer a tiny glimmer of hope at the end:

    “The alternative is to create the citizenry that has the cognitive and emotional capacities democracy requires. This would entail a massive educational initiative, one that would have to be premised on the recognizing the dramatic failure of prior efforts. Perhaps in this way, democratic forms of governance may yet prevail.”

    However, no government wants an educated citizenry with the ability to think; they want mindless drones who will do what they’re told. That means that no educational initiative of the sort envisaged by Rosenberg is likely to obtain government support.

  22. Matters Not

    Yep AI, while I am somewhat pessimistic, I’m not without hope.

    Yes – ‘education’ (properly constituted, defined, provided etc) seems the likely way forward, it can’t be left to those within the current political structures to deliver same. Simply – it’s not in their interests.

    As an aside (but crucially) we can’t speak about creating a citizenry if we are serious. We need a different mindset. A more positive view of whom ‘humans’ are. You know – not so much as ‘created’ but being ‘creators’ of many things but most importantly of themselves, their society, their world .. NOT inheritors.. Architects – not worker bees.

  23. king1394

    Re your comment that we elected this lying Prime Minister: this idea that the PM is somehow directly elected is not helpful. I don’t think the foremost thought in voters’ minds is some head to head clash between the leaders of the major parties, but more to do with long held perceptions of where those parties stand on a very limited set of policies, translating to Liberal good, Labor bad or vice versa.

    But it is down to the people in one electorate whether any PM or minister etc is returned.
    We have seen Howard lose Benelong, and Abbott ejected from his seat last time. No doubt the locals of the Sutherland area will eventually get sick of apologising for Morrison and choose someone else too.

  24. guest

    Matters Not,

    Thank you for your reply to my post. I have read the politico article and I especially noted the following claim based on the idea citizens in a democracy do not know how to behave correctly:

    “To the degree to which they are required to do so, they will interpret what is demanded of them in distorting and inadequate ways.”

    So, having read the politico article, I will interpret it in some way, possibly “distorting and inadequate”.

    Newspaper articles require controversy. Hence the heading: “The Shocking Paper Predicting the End of Democracy”.

    Shocking. The world is being taken over by fascist dictators because the citizenry is being sucked in by sugar candy.

    Here in Oz, Morrison fell over the line by two seats. How well is that going?

    In the USA Trump is preaching his nationalist line and at the same time the Democrats are lining him up for impeachment. He got over the line after some jiggery from the College and because so many Democrats did not vote; they were not required to do so.

    In the UK the Tories are pushing for a nationalist Brexit from the EU. How well is that going? Brexit is on the table because so many against Brexit did not vote; they were not required to do so. And who is leading the Tories? A man of dubious values.

    So who are the “educators” who are to direct the populace in how to be a good citizen?

    According to the politico article, the “elites”, the professionals who are meant to know what is required, have surrendered to the social media where we can all express our “distorted and inadequate” views.

    We see such views at this AIMN site, views we reject, which have been picked up from the internet, posted by trolls who are out to muddle the climate change “argument”.

    So we get the likes of the Koch brothers in the Us and Murdoch here in Oz, deliberately printing only denial crap and omitting real science in order to protect his own fossil fuel investments.

    So also Bob Brown was condemned for crusading in Queensland on behalf of the science, and there are some who say he sabotaged Labor by doing so. Yet the cry for coal-mining to be severely reduced has been the call for decades.

    We have religious faith people still seeking to discriminate against LGBTIQ people.

    We have politicians using innocent people seeking asylum as scapegoats.

    We have people favoured by the Right, receiving large amounts of money without public contracts.

    We have seen water stolen, fish dying…

    Parts of Oz have been in drought for years…

    Yet we continue to burn coal and diesel in millions of tonnes and litres!

    There are people who are speaking out, speaking up for the climate scientists, the refugees, the poor and disadvantaged etc …and pointing out what a failed government we have.

    This government is willing to give $150m to help the USA in its militant stance on the world, while it gives only $100m as aid to our farmers and nothing to reduce carbon emissions.

    But someone like Clive Palmer can pay some $50m to Murdoch to discredit Bill Shorten, which Murdoch has been doing for years.

    How, in a democracy, can we protect ourselves from those who betray us all in the end, however we vote?

    Well, perhaps we see it in the example set by the children who have so much to lose in the future. See how they have upset the safe and comfortable.

    This week is celebrated the 70 years of communist rule in China. Praise them for their economy but criticise them for their politics.

    What are we to do? We cannot leave it it all to Labor politicians.

    For a start, Matters Not, you are right to speak of our humanity, about what it is to be all humans on the globe, not just a collection of nations.

    And we need to harness our creativity – of ourselves, our society, and our world. But as the politico article tells us, we cannot remain silent.

    Over to you.

  25. Pappinbarra Fox

    Scott Morrison is a Christian is he not? So what does Jesus say about lying?

    Proverbs 12:22 22The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.
    Proverbs 6:16-19 16There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

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