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In the Liberal world empathy is as scarce as vaccines

The Macquarie Dictionary defines empathy as “the mental entering into the feeling or spirit of a person or thing; appreciative perception or understanding. Empathy comes from the Greek word empátheia. In German the word is “Einfühlung”.

Whatever its origin, or its roots, empathy is not part of the game plan of the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Nor is empathy part of the lexicon of the prime minister of Australia, Scott Morrison.

Yes, I know he’s a good Christian, and Premier Berejiklian is part of the Armenian diaspora, renowned for its ancient Christian faith, but not once has either leader expressed a modicum of empathy. And yet this is what we the people yearn for from our leaders in this crisis of the century.

People are dying from Covid-19. We are enduring an epidemic within a pandemic, and yet all we get is an obligatory “heartfelt sadness for the loss of a loved one” day in and day out at press conferences.

It is not as though we the people do not have a collective memory of the calamity of epidemics past. Of course, we do!

Many of us remember our dead loved ones via some of the finest music, art and literature created in the last 100 years or so.

Who among us can hold back tears as we listen to Gustav Mahler’s Adagietto from his Symphony Number Five, also known as Death in Venice, a novel, by the German writer Thomas Mann? Or the remarkable Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde by Richard Wagner. The German word, Liebestod, means love and death.

This is now the daily reality for hundreds of Australians.

Thomas Mann, Richard Wagner, Gustav Mahler… each had one thing in common. All created art in the shadow of disease and death.

Measles, Mumps, Rubella, which killed my oldest sister, Scarlet Fever, Polio… all thankfully scourges of the past. And we have the music of the three artists, to help us come to terms with the unspeakable loss of a loved one.

And then we have Scott Morrison and Gladys Berejiklian.

I don’t intend to enumerate all their shortcomings in this essay; the mainstream media is awash with analysis. But I choose to focus on one aspect of the current calamity which, in my opinion, draws a line beneath the lack of empathy of both leaders.

Look no further than the 2021 Closing the Gap Report.

And then watch NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro describe the daily Covid-19 calamity occurring in Aboriginal communities in Far Western New South Wales.

Empathy? It does not exist. Instead, we get a daily regurgitation of abject nonsense like this excretable example published on June 11th 2021, by the Voice of Freedom itself, The Institute of Public Affairs.

If you can’t be bothered reading this tripe, at least hold your nose and follow the bouncing ball over this shocker of a paragraph written by a nobody called Daniel Wild, who describes himself thus: Daniel previously worked at the Commonwealth Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet where he analysed global and domestic macroeconomic policy.

Take a deep breath… and go.

“The NSW Government has been far from perfect in its handling of the virus. But at least it doesn’t place residents under 23-hour-a day house arrest because someone hundreds of kilometres away may have walked past someone who may have had Covid. Instead, NSW has tolerated a small number of new daily cases of coronavirus without resorting to lockdowns.”

For the record this apathetic twaddle was originally published in The Herald-Sun.

Now fast forward to Tuesday August 31, 2021 when New South Wales listed 1,164 Covid-19 cases and four deaths. In Victoria, the number is 76. None in the Liberal state of Tasmania, none in the Liberal state of South Australia (as of August 30) ditto, Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, Labor states.

Until we change this government, we can look forward to months of apathy: “a lack of feeling; the absence of passion, emotion, excitement, or energy. Lack of interest in things which others find moving or exciting. Apathía, from the Greek apátheia, insensibility.”

As for me, I’ll take my empathy via these six minutes of perfection:




Henry Johnston is an author based in the Blue Mountains. His latest book, The Last Voyage of Aratus is on sale here.

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  1. pierre wilkinson

    Having read the execrable example of the IPA’s drivel, I had to wonder if there was any point in mentioning the fact you wrote excretable, and now I wonder if it was intentional, as both apply quite adequately.
    I also have to wonder if there was any conscious admission of the blatant falsity of its’ claim in light of recent developments, but then I realised that it is the IPA we are discussing.
    Hopefully the voting public are no longer falling for the Morrison pantomime of “how good are we?”

  2. Henry Gilbert Rodrigues

    ” Yes he’s a good Christian and Gladys is part of the Armenian diaspora renowned for it ancient Christian faith….”

    What overrides that is they are both steeped and drenched in the ethos and pathos of the Liberal party, and worse still, the NSW branch of the Liberal party. Empathy, or any similar human feelings for those less fortunate or who those come from a different ethnic background, who live in those dens of ‘disease and crime’ as described by the MSM, also known as Sydney’s Western and S. Western suburbs, are replaced by descriptions of ‘those people’, to be treated with disdain and outright dismissiveness. This is the party that gave Australia its own war criminal, misogynists, liars, rapists, embezzelers and sold their souls to a foreign media owner and rich donors and polluters.

    They even sold the Port of Darwin to the same government who now kicks their arses. !!!!

  3. Neilwal

    Horowitz. Amen

  4. Yes Minister

    The missing link is that those society regards as ‘high achievers’ (most definitely not my definition) are invariably psychopaths. It follows that total lack of empathy is a given. What would irritate me if I cared about the political circus is the fact that the hoi polloi are sufficiently deluded / indoctrinated / brain-dead that they swallow the ‘high achiever’ bullshit as if it was the holy grail. IMO, anyone who believes SCUMMO, potatohead, Albo, baaaaanaby, poorlene or indeed any incumbent politician is a ‘high achiever’ has problems needing the attention of both a geologist (to do with the rocks in their head) and a good shrink to fix the rest of their problems.

  5. GL

    They claim to have empathy but it’s buried deep underneath their arrogance, venal, self-serving, and greed and has about as much effect as their consciences.

  6. Henry Johnston

    pierre wilkinson. Thanks for your comment and yes I deliberately chose that spelling because, in my opinion, it emphasises stench.

  7. Harry Lime

    Henry/Pierre,a pleasing play on epithets,but I prefer a cut to the chase to describe these arseholes as the human detritus that they so readily exhibit.The game both Morrison and Berejiklian are playing is almost a perfect illustration of how far we have fallen as a civilisation,and it hardly bears repeating, but we have learned nothing from history.But, have a nice day anyway.

  8. Phil Pryor

    Too e, political figures, career politicians on the make, the take, living the fake, actin the snake, are just excremental uncivilised, unfeeling, uncaring shits of souls, incapable of representing the people, whom they have hypocritically said they would serve in professional awareness. Professional? Morrison and Berejiklian are just two of them whose professionalism is more of Palmer lane than any university and career. The source of our unhappiness, our feelings of betrayal, lie in these perverted pooplop politicians. Disgusting.

  9. Andrew J. Smith

    As one having many rusted on Liberal or NP voting friends and family, for some of modest background (or not), there is a need to look down on others to make themselves feel more important. It’s a classic symptom of more British style eugenics and class system, i.e. assumption that if you vote LNP, even if against your own interests, the establishment fairy dust will sprinkle down over you…..

    In fact the LNP like the GOP and Tories use confected conservative voter coalitions, promising them empowerment but in fact it’s vote the right way, respect authority, then be ‘quiet Australians’ or else.

    Related, many visitors I know to Australia whether Europe or Asia, had an imagery of casual, relaxed and happy people, but are surprised at how fearful and anxious many Australians seem to be?

  10. GL

    Saint Scotty of the Marketing: The new superhero, Rubber Spine Man. Able back flip in microseconds without hurting himself.

    His “deal” with Singapore is a sham! They give us 500k Pfizer’s and we return the favour at a later date. What’s the bet they made the offer first because they felt sorry for us. But Scummo being Scummo, no doubt, can’t stand being shown up for the useless cretin he is and had to twist it to big note himself and his clown posse.

  11. BB

    Morrison has zero empathy, zero ethics, zero honesty, zero morals.

    Morrison’s score as a decent person is zero! Never to be trusted!


    I am going to suffer the wrath of those who feel charitable toward our two most inept, inefficient and completely ineffective leaders. But I cannot contain myself anymore.

    Gladys is only good for shagging and Scummo is good for nothing.

    Direct your outrage to those who care, not me.

  13. Max Gross

    An anonymous doctor in a western Sydney hospital, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday, warned: “We believe it likely that projected patient numbers will soon be overwhelming…from Westmead to Liverpool and Blacktown, ambulances now routinely line up in hospital carparks, unable to discharge their patients. What exactly is going on?”
    Yes, October WILL be worse than September. Like July was worse than June! Because Gladys the Covid Queen and Scrotty the Sly INSIST on it.


  14. totaram

    Henry GR: Some may feel like shagging Gladys, but I suspect the number would be small. In any case, the actual number is completely irrelevant. 🙂

  15. Fred

    Gladys really did say all the words, the context may have been altered slightly but the intent seems plausible. Find some excellent work from “Remix Matrix” called “Gladys Berejiklian Takes Over the World – Australia Madness”. I laughed so hard it hurt.


    totoram… agreed, she’s a wasted space.

  17. Mark Shields

    With Tribalism at its peak again (Nationalistic, Religious, Racial and now reverting to Classist and Gender pejoratives), we homo-sapiens are just proving how small we really are in this universe, whilst failing to recognise how tiny our planet Earth is, in the greater scheme of things. Perhaps those religious nutters have it right? From Evangelicals to Jihadists; if some mythological God-Force is never going to reveal itself, then maybe we should just create the Apocalypse ourselves! Consolation for the atheists, scientists, intellectuals, artists and nature lovers will always be; at least we didn’t destroy the whole universe!

  18. Chris

    I find it ironic how the enlightened collective want total globalism, total conformity, but are supposedly “empathetic” and thump their chests as champions of diversity when they are stamping it out, creating massive division, and are the authors of nasty demeaning “pejoratives” via tic tok and other social media platforms. They dehumanize anyone that does not 100% agree with them. These same individuals poke fun at anyone that has a religious belief system as a zealot yet championing atheists creating another level of division. Meanwhile they are trying to shove their own alternative points of views down our throats with no choice. charming eh?

    Those folks are the textbook definition of fascists employing the very techniques they supposedly revile and they know it. Submit to us, turn everything over to us, and if you don’t it’s your cancelled, isolated, financially destroyed and off to the re-education camps and eventually gulags for you. Their alternative: grovel at our feet, beg forgiveness, and we might let you have your life back in a few years. Oh and by the way you will have to have a satisfactory social credit score, vaccine passport, etc. to ensure you stay in line and you will be denied certain bodily choices or face financial ruin. So my body my choice has no meaning to them after all.

    Yep got it. lol

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