Monday 13 May 2018
Author’s note: Part of this article contains sections of a post I wrote around four years ago. We are not supposed to repeat stuff but I can think of no other words better than those I wrote back then. Anyway, the editor is probably in a pub in County Cork drinking Irish Whisky and won’t notice.
And I haven’t mentioned the Liberal launch either because I haven’t had time yet to digest it.
1 Here we are at the pointy end of this one-sided election campaign. I say one-sided because only one side in its meditation on what a society should be has been able to articulate a picture of our future.
On the one hand, the conservatives have spoken exclusively the words of the economist. On the other hand, Labor’s language has succeeded in marrying the words of the enlightened economist and those of the thinker to form a sentence that describes a marriage with the word society.
2 Before further explanation as to just what I think a society should be, allow me to pose a question to those as yet undecided as to their voting intention.
How could anyone seriously vote for a party that has performed so pathetically? Firstly, with a leader of the calibre of Tony Abbott who was nothing more than a lying, grubby, uncouth, loudmouth gutter politician.
Secondly, in Malcolm Turnbull, we endured the most hypocritical Prime Minister in our history.
Thirdly, a Prime Minister in Scott Morrison who has been a motor mouth with not the slightest capacity for the deepest contemplation of fairness or future.
All three led a party full of obnoxious liars with a “born to rule” mentality. A party that has been in power for six years and finally tells the country that it has a plan.
All of a sudden Scott Morrison has an ownership on righteousness that will resolve all of our problems. Just listen to him.
A party that argues it is the one better placed to govern for the next three years when it hasn’t done so for the past six.
A party that has wasted six years in which nothing will ever be recorded by political historians as being meaningful.
A party that thinks climate change is an invention of the left to replace communism.
People intending to vote for this obnoxious collection of pithy self-serving narcissists should stop and reconsider their vote and the impact their vote will have on the country.
If climate change is the No. 1 concern of the populace then the polls cannot possibly be right.
”I think we can often become so trapped in the longevity of sameness that we never see other ways of doing things.”
3 In Australia 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 any trace of transparency.
Successful societies should be built around a common good and we need to examine which political ideology is best placed to build such a society.
This is the first real opportunity for some time that we have had the opportunity for real change. Where the differences between the parties are genuinely spelt out.
The last few weeks I have written copious words about them.
Firstly, let’s ask ourselves what is an ideal society based on. For me it’s an attainment we may never accomplish, but nonetheless is a worthwhile aspiration.
In the modern Western sense, an enlightened society is a populace of men, women, and children who as a collective desire to express their humanity, work, aspirations, spirituality, art, poetry and play with the richest possible diversity.
If Robert Kennedy was looking over my shoulder he might say:
“ … the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages … It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom or our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”
It cultivates a common good with equality of opportunity for all. A society where one’s sexual preference or gender is not a judgment upon your character and the colour of your skin says nothing about you other than perhaps your geographical place of birth.
A society that believes in the individual pursuit, intellectual accomplishment and financial reward only regulated by what is beneficial for the common collective good. In other words everyone is entitled to an equitable share of society’s wealth.
If Abe Lincoln was looking over my shoulder he might say:
“Labour is prior to and independent of Capital. Capital is only the fruit of labour, and could never have existed if labour had not first existed. Labour is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”
A society where freedom of expression is guaranteed but limited only by the innate moral personal decency of the individual.
Where free speech is fair speech. An enlightened society in which the suggestion that we need to legislate ones right to hate another person is considered intellectually barren.
“The ability of thinking human beings to blindly embrace what they are being told without referring to evaluation and the consideration of reason never ceases to amaze me. It is tantamount to the rejection of rational explanation.”
A society where the health and welfare of all, is sacrosanct and access to treatment is assured. Where the principle that we should treat others in the same manner as we expect them to treat us is indelible in the mind of every citizen.
A society that respects science before myth and mysticism, but at the same time recognises the individual’s right to the expression of their own form of spirituality so long as it doesn’t hinder the common good.
A society that should be judged by its welcoming, and how well it treats its most vulnerable citizens. By how well protected we are and how accessible the law is regardless of stature or wealth.
In democratic societies (the best – or least bad form of government) our herding instincts are realised by the election of leaders who form government.
Even in the imperfection of democracy, we comprehend that a group mentality advances society better than dictatorial individuality.
So we need a government that is subservient to the will (the common good ethics) of the people and is responsive to the inclusiveness of public opinion.
It is government that decides and regulates the progress and ambitions of society. Or at least provides the environment in which to do so. There is very little that is done in the name of progress that cannot be attributed in some way to government. Individual or collective ambition can only be achieved within a social structure built and controlled by government.
Currently, we are experiencing a shift in power. The right, those who control the means of production, financial institutions, the media, the rich, the privileged, large corporations and government are seeking to take us even further to the right.
Those with corporate power seek a marriage with government to maximise power.
Government by the people for the “common good” needs to be taken back. It is our entitlement, not their’s.
Catalyst is a word that describes something that is a defining reason for change.. This election is such a catalyst.
When I look at the past few years and what this government has done to our institutions and our democracy I can only ask that we might wake from the political malaise that has us bogged us down in a quagmire of selfishness. It’s the individual first second and third.
“A commitment to social justice demands the transformation of social structures as well as our hearts and minds.” (John Lord)
Every part of society, when you think about it, has been indoctrinated with a nefarious, “me first,” attitude that has seen the common good almost vanish. You can witness it in our children.
If a wise old man was advising you on a political resurrection what might he say?
“How can I help you?” might be his opening words.
“Is it not possible to hope that there are some people of integrity who might form a centrist party dedicated to an honest government for all and the principles of “from each according to her/his ability, to each according to her/his need?”
My thought for the day
“People haven’t rushed to vote early because they are enamoured with the performance of the government. They did so because they were not.” (John Lord)
John Lord’s Election Diary No. 3: My language really doesn’t tell you what I think of these bastards
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