Is it easier for a corrupt government to poison a State, or for a corrupt people to poison good governance?
This question has to be considered in the light of the situation Australia now finds itself, where with a people so divided it is becoming difficult to tell if Parliamentary Politics is running the people or the mob-opinion is running the Parliamentary Politics.
With the introduction of many international “celebrity provocateurs” from the right-wing side of politics finding their way to this country on the invitation of lobby-groups and/or NGOs – and even some politicians themselves – it is becoming more difficult to tell where the dog ends and the wagging tail begins.
Now, we have a leadership that seems incapable of making an independent decision and is so obviously behoved to the mood swings of its donors and propagandists it would seem that the “Ship of State” is rudderless and without power of its own. That old “scribe in the garret”; Machiavelli, had definite opinions on how to assess and run a state … so let us consider his sage advice, for though it has to be said that the future cannot be predicted by simply turning of the pages of recorded historical example, we can read that the behaviours and habits of a people can be judged as predictable, if given situations and circumstances are similar.
“He who wants to alter a Republic ought to Consider its Condition.
For a man can well by his methods and evil ways begin to corrupt the people of a City, but it is impossible that the life of one is [long] enough to corrupt them so that they, through it, can enjoy its fruit; and even if it were possible by the length of time that he should do so, it would be impossible from the manner in which men proceed, who, being impatient, cannot delay a passion of theirs for a long time, so that they deceive themselves in their own affairs, and especially in those which they desire very much. So that either from little patience, or from deceiving themselves, they attempt an enterprise at the wrong time, and would end badly.”
Here we see a pretty close definition of the last two LNP leaders – Abbott and Turnbull – as a matter of fact, it would describe most accurately the uniform political trait of most right-wing politicians in the West … but let us continue:
“To want to assume authority in a Republic, and install there a bad form of a Government, therefore, there is need to find the people corrupted by the times and that, little by little, from generation to generation, it is led to this corruption; these are led by necessity to this, unless they are (as has been discussed above) reinvigorated frequently by good examples or brought back by good laws to their principles.“
From the “end-time” of Menzies, in the late fifties/early sixties, Australia has suffered a chipping away of the easy-going lifestyle of many workers … and the beginnings of a division of labour and ethnicity in the population which instead of being conciliated, was played upon by opportunist parties and used as political fodder by many.
John Howard has to be considered the penultimate political opportunist of the divide and rule old-ward politician. His corralling and branding of this or that ethnic group, from demonising the original inhabitants of this country to impounding and imprisoning the latest refugees who sought protection under our flag, has set the standard that the right-wing elements in the people were proud to walk past and voted him in again and again.
Now, with the diametric duo of Abbott/Turnbull inseparable in policy and intention by even such a line through their party room, we are witnessing the near climax of that push of intention that will deliver this once fair nation to the brink of destruction both physical and psychological. Such governance has many times driven once healthy nations into the mire and swamp of lost hope with their deceitful promises and dreadful intentions. For the time is now at hand where, having driven such a wedge of hate into the soul of our nation, the right-wing side of politics will have to go that one step further to secure and increase power so as to push their agenda of total control to the next phase … and there are those in the party who have studied history enough to know that to falter now and secede power to the Left is to lose all they have fought for. So let us not delude ourselves … the phoney war is over … the real war has just begun.
Again with the Machiavelli:
“No one will ever say that Hannibal was not a master of war; and if, when he was at the encounter with Scipio in Africa, he should have seen advantage in prolonging the war, he would have done so: and for the future (he being a good Captain and having a good army) he would have been able to do as Fabius [Roman military commander and statesman] whose cautious delaying tactics (whence the nickname “Cunctator,” meaning “delayer,” which was not his official cognomen) during the early stages of the Second Punic War (218–201 bce) gave Rome time to recover its strength.] did in Italy, but not having done so, it ought to be believed that some important reason had persuaded him. For a Prince who has an army put together, and sees that from a want of money or of friends he cannot maintain such an army for any length of time, is completely mad if he does not try the fortune [of battle] before such an army would be dissolved, because by waiting he loses for certain, but by trying he may be able to win. There is something else to be esteemed greatly, which is, that in losing one ought also to want to acquire glory: and there is more glory in being overcome by force, than by some other evil which causes you to lose.”
Turnbull and his right-wing colleagues, if and when they turn to confront and fight, will do so not as the action of a courageous cohort, but rather as the final action of a cornered feral animal … all claws and vicious spitting of them and their hacks in the mainstream media.
If there is one thing obvious in our geographic and geopolitical region now, it is the jockeying for position and allies between the two major powers in the western Asia-pacific rim. On the one hand we have the neighbouring reality of Asia and its peoples and on the other we have the “distant relative” and their familiarity of culture and politics. But we now have to ask ourselves if the peoples of a multi-cultural Australia as a whole are so ethnically aligned with the USA as we once were … or are we more inclined to reach over the fence and talk to our neighbours?
For many years, we have been politically, militarily and culturally aligned with the USA. But since the end of the Vietnam War, America has been more inclined to treat us as a chattel then as an ally … and our LNP leaders have been more than willing to commit money and military to many reckless adventures by the crazy right-wing side of American politics … so that now, rather than encouragement through open friendship, we get more of the sound of “you better or else” and the relationship has become more one of bribe, threat, fear and intimidation. Such an approach to a relationship can have unintended consequences on a relationship.
Keating noted well that our future vision should be turned toward Asia..an inevitability … instead, we now have leadership that seems intent to “demonise on demand” those very neighbours that we will eventually have to rely upon for trade and living standards … and whose friendliness will grant us long-term security in a climate changing world, where many fences between peoples and ethnicities will have to be torn down for mutual benefit rather than fortified from fear and distrust.
The nation needs consistency in these times of chaos. We are not getting it with this government. Let us finish with the wily but astute Machiavelli:
“Nothing is more vain and more inconstant than the multitude, so our T. Livius and all other Historians affirm. For it often occurs in narrating the actions of men to observe the multitude to have condemned some one to death, and that same [multitude] afterwards weeping and very much wishing him back; as is seen the Roman people did in the case of Manlius Capitolinus, who, having condemned him to death, afterwards most earnestly desired him back. And the words of the author are these: As soon as they knew there was no peril from, they desired to have him back. And elsewhere, where he tells of the incidents which arose in Syracuse after the death of Hieronymus, nephew of Hiero, says: It is the nature of multitude, either to serve humbly, or to dominate haughtily. I do not know, in wanting to defend a thing which (as I have said) is accused by all writers, if I were to undertake a cause so hard and full of difficulty, that I would have either to abandon it in shame, or to go on with it burdensomely. But however it may be, I do not judge, or will ever judge, it to be a defect to defend any opinion with arguments, without wanting to employ either authority or force.
I say, therefore, the individual men, and especially Princes, can be accused of that defect which the writers accuse the multitudes; for anyone who is not controlled by the laws, will make the same errors as a loose multitude. And this can be easily observed, for there are and there have been many Princes, but of the good and wise ones there have been only a few, I say, of those Princes who have been able to break that restraint which could control them; among whom are not those Kings who arose in Egypt in that ancient period when that province was governed by laws, nor those who arose in Sparta, nor those who have risen in France in our times, which Kingdom is more regulated by laws than any other Kingdom of our times of which there is knowledge.”