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Day to Day Politics: But for ideas we would be nothing.

Wednesday 13 December 2017

What immediately follows is a response to my post on this day 12 months ago; “How to become a better government”. Following it are some of my quotations that convey my feelings about his comments. I then continue with my theme of idealistic thought for the past few days.


December 12, 2017 at 7:02 am

“Modern Monetary Theory” is rubbish.

“clean energy” as in, I assume, ‘renewable energy’ is a delusion.

“fast rail” is expensive to build and uses far more energy to operate than regular rail.

“the zest that built the Snowy Mountain Scheme” will destroy what’s left of our natural environment.

Most of the rest is just unrealistic ideals but, does show that the author’s heart is in the right place. Without rejecting the rubbish that I listed and the core ideologies of jobs and growth, even if all the rest were adopted, it would not make one scrap of difference.

“We are given an extraordinary gift to think creatively however only a few give it much thought.”

“The pathway to the riches of knowledge is in the reading, the exchange of creative ideas and in the doing.”

“Negativity is like rust, it never sleeps.”

“If you think positively that’s what you will become and the same applies to negativity. As we think so we become.”

The Open Society and the Common Good

First posted 2013

I have always thought that at the centre of any political philosophy should be the common good. In saying this my thoughts often drift toward a better way of doing politics and the term commongoodism is central to my internal debate. It sounds idealistic, this common good and it may not in itself be suited to all political persuasions but it is worthy of examination. It is probably more acceptable to the left than the right. But politics after all is about compromise .

So have the isms of left and right gone past their used by dates? Many questions arise. Do they suffer from the tiredness of longevity? Is there a possibility that a new politic could emerge from a society deeply entrenched in political negativity and malaise, yet still retain the essential ingredients of a vigorous democracy? Where a wide-ranging common good test would be applied to all policy. Have left and right so fused into each other that they no longer form a demarcation of ideas? Could the ideologies of the two somehow come together to form this commongoodism?

Who would decide the common good? How could one define it? Could capitalism embrace the common good or would it need a work over? Could conservatism which empathises individual responsibility and opportunity embrace it. What would common good values be?

That’s all a bit like political scrambled eggs I know but they are the sort of philosophical questions I ask myself on my daily walks. You see that although I still value my leftish views I do really believe that modern political thought and practice needs a makeover. And not just nationally but internationally. But particularly in Australia where politics no longer meets the needs or aspirations of the people and is held in such low esteem that politicians are barely relevant.

I have long felt that the political establishment has taken ownership of a system that should serve the people but instead serves itself. It is self-indulgent, shows no respect for the people it serves and lacks transparency.

Tony Blair says “the big difference is no longer between left and right, it is between open and closed”.

So with this statement let me introduce you to an address by Nick Clegg, former leader of the British Liberal Party, on the “Open Society” In it he introduces many themes and ideas.

This link was sent to me by my Facebook friend Daniel Carr who is in London studying education and is thinker on these matters.

I shall say no more other than that this address is full of sound political common sense. It is full of idealism and controversial considerations that challenges current political understanding. I found it enthralling. It has helped me in my efforts to bring some clarity to my thoughts on commongoodism.

So I invite those who are seriously minded on the subject to share your views. I for one would be most interested in them.

My thought for the day

“Never be afraid to step over the shadow of your negativity.”


  1. Harquebus

    It is my opinion that our current destructive and exploitative system can not and should not be saved. My goal has moved from saving our society to survival and salvaging as many of the good bits as I can in order to rebuild a better world from the ruins. I would like very much for you all to be there.
    As I said on another page here yesterday, “I would like our world to be inhabited exclusively by the socially minded, such as those who visit this place and as it used to be all those millennia ago.”

    Thank you John Lord for publishing my comment from yesterday.

    Consuming resources just because one can contributes to the unsustainable burden placed on the natural world.

  2. johno

    Common good means no dirty deals and a clean environment.

    Those elected to represent us are choosing to support Big Oil over you and me. This is clear from the report finally released by the Senate Committee on the future of oil and gas drilling in the Great Australian Bight.
    In a deadlock, the Labor and Liberal parties backed Big Oil while the Australian Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team said no to drilling. The Senate Inquiry report only confirms what we already knew—this is a battle between communities and fossil fuel companies.

  3. Terry2

    Turnbull’s Beijing bashing will stop now and we shall see on Saturday how the dog-whistling to the Chinese community in Bennelong worked for the Liberal Party.

    Mos of the Chinese diaspora in Australia are not happy with the mainland Chinese government, that’s why they’re here and Turnbull knows that.

    The height of political cynicism !

  4. wam

    Good more-ning,Lord,
    What a great mid-week day. Cool and clear this morning – a bit like clegg. A good read with two glaring omissions – the role of truth and religion in open. Is your ‘truth’ consistent with:
    we can say: our aim as scientists is objective truth; more truth, more interesting truth, more intelligible truth. We cannot reasonably aim at certainty.

    “For as Karl Popper himself wrote: “If we wish to remain human, then there is only one way, the way into the open society.”

    Is it a truth that we are human on earth as it is in heaven? Can a religious society be open?

    “No rational argument will have a rational effect on a man who does not want to adopt a rational attitude.” Can progress be made without ‘rational’ argument????

    H is the ordinary man’s reason for consumption natural greed, ad driven or heaven sent??

    Terry2 wonder why labor didn’t suggest alexander would be ‘senatatised’ if he loses?
    Notice Kenneally linked to eddy O what crap

  5. Kyran

    It is, indeed, positive to try and bring some order to chaotic thinking or, as you put it, “bring some clarity to my thoughts on commongoodism”.

    Your series this week has been inspired in its promotion of thoughtful change, as opposed to change merely for the sake of change.

    With regard to Mr Clegg’s presentation, it is all that you say in terms of idealism and aspiration. His ‘five vital features’ of an open society are patently obvious prerequisites to any decent society.

    The only reservation I have with his presentation is that he then goes on to view those five features through the jaundiced eyes of party politics. The more I think of ‘political reform’, the more I think that ‘party politics’ is the greatest obstacle. Clearly, making political parties illegal is absurd, but they certainly need to be de-clawed.

    Your article yesterday proposed an independent speaker. Whilst the mechanics of that could be worked out at some other time, the principal itself must first be accepted by our current political parties on a bipartisan ‘common good’ basis. That will never happen.

    Your article on the previous day espoused Direct Democracy. Switzerland is accepted as ‘the model’ in most such discussions. Switzerland has a population of 8.5 mill people (1/3 Australia) over a much smaller land mass. What would Direct Democracy look like in Australia? Given the differences in demographics, you could propose 200k signatures for legal reform and 500k signatures for constitutional reform. But, again, whilst the mechanics of that could be worked out at some other time, the principal itself must first be accepted by our current political parties on a bipartisan ‘common good’ basis. That will never happen.

    Given the entrenched status afforded political parties in Australia, is there any point in looking at a hybrid with the Danish system? Giving parties proportional representation in allocating ministries? Again, that discussion will never happen here in Australia.

    Well, not yet, anyway.

    “I have long felt that the political establishment has taken ownership of a system that should serve the people but instead serves itself. It is self-indulgent, shows no respect for the people it serves and lacks transparency.”

    To even get to ‘second base’ on any reform discussion, the first step will have to be a federal ICAC. Given the shenanigans of the past four years we loosely refer to as government, any such enquiry will be busy for decades. It would, however, serve to ‘defang’ the parties and perhaps get them to recognize that they are there to serve us.

    Thank you for your work this week. At last, positive discussion. Take care

  6. ceridwen66

    Almost every new day brings news of crimes against humanity so heinous and shocking that they are met with disbelief and revulsion by any rationally minded person. The sad and desperate plight of the refugees incarcerated by the Australian government in the hellholes of Nauru and Manus Island, the seemingly never-ending nightmare in Gaza, the crisis in Rohingya and the risk of more atrocities in Myanmar, the Yazidi’s in Iraq being targeted for genocide by IS and the misery and terror inflicted upon the citizens of Nigeria, Somalia and the Central African Republic amongst so many others.

    Sometimes it is not even the most overt displays of oppression and brutality that are the most concerning, breaches of human rights can be insidiously unobvious and do occur in a country like Australia, for example Indigenous Peoples being moved off their traditional homelands and the barbaric practice of the Stolen Generations, the government’s push to implement fascist laws through the senate which will restrict a person’s right to citizenship of his or her country, strict media and internet censorship, mandatory retention of metadata and politically motivated laws such as the National Security Amendment Bill in 2014 which gives unlimited scope and intelligence power to ASIO.

    In this post 9/11 world we have relinquished our freedoms and rights for the flimsy comfort of government designed security, sold to us by corporate oily salesmen and women and then perpetually vomited back up by a biased and corruptive mainstream media. Our lives have become a secretive litany of terror, dread and horror, and it seems surreal and frightening that even though we have a dedicated human rights declaration policed by a ‘powerful’ organization these massive breaches against it are still occurring with alarming frequency.

    Human rights are aspirational, a code of honour, they are the yardstick by which our species needs to morally measure itself, they are the light in the darkest of nights which we must use to guide our way. We should carve the words of the UDHR into our hearts and minds and stand up to and take to account the regimes, the dictators, the overlords, the governments, organizations and inhumane individuals who transgress and ignore them. Without respecting the value of Human Rights, we risk denying ourselves and our children a voice, a life filled with hope and freedom, a sustainable planet and a future worth living.

    Imagine a world built on the principles of the UDHR instead of the ten commandants.

  7. jim

    Good post , “commongoodism” <<<<<<<< Google books; to another round of guests and talk denouncing “the bleeding heart Common Goodism that would wreck our free enterprise system,” in the hyperbolic words of Bush Bimbaugh. Not to be outdone, Pawn Vanity trumpeted in hysterical tones the probable job losses in every locality struck by a suspension announcement. ” Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!
    That has to be right wing negativity like the one lane Sydney harbor bridge pushed by the right wing back in the day.
    My thought for the day LNP = right wing religious bigots, big money making business at any cost.

  8. Rezblah

    Surely after millennia of rises and falls of civilizations the results are in and obvious? Apart from setting up proper protections against the corruption of our democracy’s, shouldn’t it come down to ‘no arseholes allowed anywhere near power or responsibility’. Society’s do their best to limit the damage that arseholes do – no murder/theft etc etc or you’ll be removed and thrown in jail (at least theoretically)

    Yet somehow in the age of psychological analysis and understanding that can spot a sociopath a mile away, they infect our governments like a plague and get paid a fortune to wreck things for everyone. How is this allowed?

    I think that generally speaking, the vast majority of he human race seeks fairness, happiness and peace for themselves and their families, yet time and time again we have the minority of arseholes holding the reins and holding the rest of us to ransom with corrupt governments, and military and economic warfare

    Time to round the lot of them up (after all they are the tiny majority), confine them to their own little island and they can knock themselves out fighting over the conch shell

    Time to let humanity be human and get rid of the arseholes for good, can we really afford to tolerate them for much longer?

    Simplistic assessment? It’s the core of sociopathic behavior – selfishness at the expense of all others that does the damage, let’s try civilization without it

  9. Jon Chesterson



    We need a new political landscape yes, an open and transparent one yes, no more defensive party politics of convenience and bipartisanship, no more party institutional thinking and left-right lies, propaganda and ideology, no more corruption and adversarial boxing matches and hollow party slogans. We need to start now, so it must be realistic but neither Liberal (LNP) nor Labor (ALP) can deliver, so do we have a real choice, a real voice for change, a third choice?

    The third choice! Labor alone are mostly a hypocritical bunch and far too party institutional and bipartisan (with LNP their polar opposites) on too many issues, but they are far less threat to the common good than Liberal and the Nationals. The only reasons the Liberals get in is because of that blessed coalition front which stacks the electoral system (not votes per se) in their favour. Liberals alone are not only a corrupt and thoroughly divided force but have always been a minority, and this is their electoral burden which they have strategically hidden and protected themselves from by 1) combining forces; 2) controlling the flow of information and media plus secrecy; 3) putting out fabulously outrageous and persistent lies, deception and propaganda to support what is essentially a mean cold and minority populist front, and a totally lost cause morally, consciously, subconsciously, constitutionally and democratically. But their corruption and of our electoral system is huge. They are a grossly spent destructive force in Australian politics, a leviathan and this period of pain and politics must end.

    So what is the third choice? A new coalition that needs to be brokered to bring this abuse to an end. A Labor – Greens Alliance, where for the first time the Australian Labor Party are forced to genuinely share power and harness the moral sensibility and future of the Australian Greens Party, which lets face it, has the moral responsibility, the humanism, the integrity, the public recognition, good and will, and potential popularity to clean up Labor’s institutional and public weakness and neglect, make and keep them honest, get over the spent past deals and makeovers, look astern to the future.

    There is no potential to clean up LNP or Nationals for years to come, they are a thoroughly spent force, arrogant, ignorant, self righteous, ‘desperate’ ruling class in bed with feudal overlords and elitists who refuse to let go, remove their fangs from the life blood of Australian constitutional democracy. Labor must share power with the Greens, offer up at least 4-5 ministries including deputy PM. This is the only realistic constructive way forward for Australia, for ‘all Australians’ at this time. We need a robust, resilient and visionary partnership, shared and humble leadership to weather the storms no doubt Murdoch, corrupt media, big business and mishappy misspent Liberals will throw at it. We need a longer term future to reform and re-build genuine participatory, collaborative, inclusive democracy for all. A genuine informed public with friendly oxygen in our veins and clarity of reason, global authenticity and membership of UN. A connection and partnership that can and will work for everyone!

    ‘Then the wild horses proudly rode these open plains
    and mountain castles whistled through their veins’.

    Poetical Landscape by Barddylbach: I found 俳文 at the bottom of My Green Garden

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