Monday 24 October 2016
There was something really very disturbing about Christopher Pyne’s interview on ABC Insiders yesterday. I meditated on it for some time and I couldn’t pinpoint just what it was.
I hasten to add that I don’t like it when I watch the telly and the cringe factor hits me when I know that a minister is telling lies without any compunction to conscience.
We all know that Christopher feigns indignation better than any other politician but this was a bit different. ”What me”…”no”….”never”….”how dare you.”
Feigning indignation, laughing things off, making fun of situations even being self-depreciating are things that we have just laughed off as Pyne being Pyne.
We know that Christopher’s demeanour is crass and unpleasant. His self-righteous indignation is prissy, shallow, superficial, and school boyish adolescent, loutish and imbecilic and he has an uncouth acerbic tongue.
But this time there was a touch of exasperation, of frustration, like his guard had been lowered. His delivery was ‘Trumpish’ like. As though he was living in a world where he believed that self-righteousness was owned undeniably by the right of politics and should never be examined.
In the face of questions of undeniable truth his answers were intellectually dishonest as opposed to being just lies. His blatantly obnoxious denials were despicable, almost sinister in so much as he saw himself and his party as being above truth itself, and he honestly didn’t think he needed to pretend like he normally does. He believed it himself. It was spooky.
We are the custodians of truth. We alone shall decide what truth is and what it is you should believe. The norms of right and wrong, of truth and natural honesty where no longer essential in politics.
“How far we have fallen?” I thought to myself.
When it was pointed out to him that facts were facts and his own leader had called a former Prime Minister a liar he went into a world of his own making.
It was rather like when evangelical Christians describe themselves as being ‘’in the world but not of it’’
”A storm in a teacup”, ”not all”, ”that’s all”, ”no big deal”. Blame Labor. Generate illusions. Tell them how good we are. Complain.
”Nothing existed other than what he chose to believe”.
How anyone could deny the events of which he was being questioned with such cavalier indifference was dumbfounding.
When confronted with the fact, repeat, fact, that the National Audit Office had found that the Government’s advertising on University fees was misleading and deceptive, he said they were wrong. Yes, that’s right, the National Audit Office was telling lies.
And he did so with a magician’s skill that was almost surreal. No slight of hand but slight of mouth.
But why is it so? Why does he have to distort the truth with such monotonous regularity and mischievous intent?
Truth in politics matters. It is not a trivial matter in a democracy. Our whole system is based on the assumption that truth prevails over all else and that it is the people who judge its veracity. Without truth the people cannot give informed accent to office and democracy fails. There are ethical obligations of integrity and coherence upon which society depends.
At this time in our history we are experiencing a toxic tide of political mistrust. No politician, well other than Abbott has contributed more to it than Christopher Pyne.
My thought for the day.
”The rise of the right has brought with it a new political language. One that has not yet been classified because it defies any normal understanding”.
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