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Know your place; we were born to rule (part 1)

“I would love to read your thoughts on the following concept,” said the message on Facebook. It continued:

“Many politicians in many ways use religion. Our PM uses it to falsely justify his actions that are morally corrupt.

Walking through a street of homeless people while pushing through the phase three tax change, would create guilt in the heart of most of us.

But the Bible justifies the abundance of poverty and the money shower the government pushes from the poor onto the rich is immoral.”

I get many such messages in the course of a week or so and the subject of this one was not unusual.

The only difference seems to be the inclusion of religion.

There are many questions that arise from these words. The first being where does one start. Perhaps the best way might be to simplify the question. Let’s base it on thus:

“It seems to me that since coming to power, increasingly the Prime Minister is, more and more, gradually incorporating his religion into his governance but at the same time it is the rich who seem to be getting the largest slice of the pie.”

So let’s begin by saying that a conservative government won the election, not a liberal one.

Conservative philosophy or ideology believes in the individual’s rights to pursue life and its rewards with a minimum of government interference while at the same time being responsible for his or her own decisions.

The problem with that is that we are not all born equals. We live in a failed system. Capitalism, the conservative measure of all individual success, does not allow for an equitable flow of economic resources.

With this system a small privileged cohort become rich beyond conscience and almost all the others are doomed to be poor at some level.

Never in the history of this nation have the rich and the privileged been so openly brazen.

The ‘know your place’ saying is firmly embedded in the consciousness of all conservatives and was poignantly demonstrated last week.

The born-to-rule cliché about the Liberal Party has been firmly embedded in their psyche for as long as I can remember.

Know your place means to accept your position within society and not seek to improve it. To look upon your superiors with admiration. You will hear the phrase used by older members of the Coalition infrequently but the sentiment still remains.

The first instance of its meaning was when the Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, an Aboriginal himself, announced at the National Press Club that a referendum to include a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous voice to parliament would be presented in this term of office.

Within 48 hours no less the Prime Minister put Wyatt in his place. Other Ministers followed suit and by the weekend I concluded that it wouldn’t get up.

For me this was just another unedifying example of the same sort of wrecking by the conservatives far right wing of the Coalition has been inflicting on the nation for the past six years. There is no doubt the far right is now very ably led by the Prime Minister, vigorously so, and with the addition of his religious beliefs.

Meritocracy is a term used to imply that those at the top of the social scale have merit and a slur against those at the bottom.

How they expect Indigenous Australians to suffer two rejections of the Uluru Statement and then face, with good will, participation with a good heart for yet another alternative is so beyond me that the words ‘know your place; we were born to rule’ take on sinister implications of racism and return to haunt me and test my thinking.

Aboriginal people were here long before white people. Now, outlandish as it is, they need to ask our permission to be mentioned in their own country’s constitution.

It was only at the beginning of last week that Scott Morrison in front of 21,000 people closed a Hillsong meeting promising a referendum on Indigenous recognition.

The second and equally immoral ‘know your place; we were born to rule’ incident was with the out-and-out unqualified junior minister Luke Howarth telling the homeless to look on the bright side.

In his usual maladroit style Howarth was giving notice of a typically conservative harsh austerity toward anyone doing it tough.

99.5% is the proportion of Australians who are “homed”, according to the new federal homelessness minister, who hopes to “put a positive spin” on the issue.

A half of 1% of the population are homeless.

“Know your place; we were born to rule.”

But don’t miss the point here. If you are on the other side of the coin and you work hard and aspire to move upwards  your efforts will be rewarded collectively with $158 million in tax cuts and various other tax lurks and subsidies guaranteed to reinforce our shift to an even more unequal and friendless society.

The biggest gift to the rich and privileged in Australian economic history.

This of course was the desire of the former treasurer Joe Hockey when he produced his never to be forgotten horror budget of 2014. In its support he said:

“Governments have never been able to achieve equality of outcomes … It is not the role of government to use the taxation and welfare system as a tool to ‘level the playing field”.

Josh Freydenberg in yet another example of Know your place; we were born to rule mentality isn’t allowing anything to get in the way of a surplus. Not even the economic good of the country. It’s not even negotiable.

“Whilst walking through a street of homeless people, pushing through the phase three-tax change, might create guilt in the heart of most of us,” conservatives would think nothing of it.

“Know your place; we were born to rule.”

The less well-off, because they will spend it, have been promised $1080 and are rushing the tax office to get it.

Education and Health are usually the first victims of their austerity. The first victims of equality opportunity.

But the Bible justifies the abundance of poverty and the “money shower” the government pushes from the poor onto the rich is immoral.

Those on the right to excuse any real effort against poverty often quote; “The poor will always be with us”. They are mistaken because Jesus was actually quoting another well-known Biblical phrase—from a well-known passage of the Jewish Torah.

Everyone hearing him back then would have caught his drift.

“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be … For the poor you will always have with you in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’ (Deuteronomy 15:7-11)”

 

So often the pastors of Pentecostal churches and others of their ilk cherry pick scripture and give it a conversion to mean something else.

When I read the sayings of Jesus Christ I can but conclude that he was the world’s first socialist.

Those conversant with scripture will know that he spoke much about the obligations of the rich to feed and cloth the poor and the dangers of wealth. The origin of the prosperity movement lay squarely with the Pentecostal churches and can be dated back to 1800s.

When Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth” (Matthew 6:19), the term ‘lay up’ did not simply speak of having possessions, but of your possessions having you. Lay up could be better translated ‘hoard’ or ‘stockpile.’

The Pentecostal churches took up the ‘greed is good’ standard and when Ronald Reagan invited them into the political fold, greed is good, like rust, permeated all sections of American society.

The Facebook reader in the final part of his question posed the following point:

“But the Bible justifies the abundance of poverty and the “money shower” the government pushes from the poor onto the rich is immoral.”

However, I cannot in good faith give a reasonable answer. That requires some length so I will follow it up in my next post on Saturday 20 July.

My thought for the day

Invariably when I read about how successful people are, the measure is always the value of their assets. Why is this so?

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10 comments

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  1. Robin Alexander

    Never in my nearly 82yrs interested in politics as my family before me naturally workering people all our lives only labor will look after us with fairness?but never has religion been so much in forefront!can remember relatives visting when young!Libs Santa Marea(maybe spelt wrong) very influential with catholic Libs(Abbott devotee) preached foulness against non catholic believers! Relatives relating all gov enterprizes where only Catholics could get the jobs?related to that at the time with our PO. All of that faith? Will bring no good to this country between Pentecostals & Mormons in Victoria things will not be good for workers or less fortunate! They have no compassion or thought for them!

  2. Rural Elder

    Dick Smith obviously doesn’t know his place.

    As a very wealthy man, Dick Smith, in the minds of Australia’s religiously-inspired conservative politicians, shouldn’t be making such information freely available.

    Instead in their view, he should be quietly donating his franking credit largesse of $500,000, to a non-taxed charitable organisation such as the Institute of Public Affairs.

    That’s what Morrison means when he says how much he values the ‘ quiet Australians ‘ .

  3. Terence Mills

    Unfortunately many in the electorate swallowed the coalition’s tax on Retirees scare campaign so we are now stuck with the ridiculous franking credits handout which effectively means that the corporation who pay the tax then see it refunded to a retiree shareholder by the ATO so nobody ends up paying any tax. Dick Smith is spot on it is ludicrous.

    This government have taken great delight in slashing taxes and revenue into the future and have assured us that no programs will be cut, that they will pay down their debt and produce surpluses : the impression they are giving is that they are flush with money but that is just not true.

    They tried to claw back pensioners entitlements with their silly deeming policy and just yesterday I heard Industry Minister Karen Andrews, when asked if the Commonwealth would assist the states in flammable cladding removal from apartment blocks, say :[The Commonwealth] is not an ATM for the states.

    These people are hopeless economic managers and as time goes by we will see what havoc their tax slashing regime is going to have on our economy.

    Quite alarmingly, they are taking their lead from Donald Trump ……..

  4. Jim Scurrah

    *$158 Billion in tax cuts.
    Great article. I despair at the stupidity of the Australian voter and abhor the movement to include “religion” in politics. We have free access to religion if we so choose, we do NOT need it foisted upon us by the ruling class, especially stealthily.

  5. crypt0

    ” no programs will be cut, they will pay down their debt and produce surpluses ”
    Haha !
    I am looking forward to seeing my first real magic pudding!
    That will be a miracle … or far more likely a LIE.
    Yet another one.

  6. Matters Not

    Yes, governments of all persuasions need more money via tax. (MTs don’t agree.) It’s not just franking credits as these economists point out. Noel Whittaker opens:

    The pension is welfare, and welfare expenditure is increasing by eight per cent per annum – way above national income. To any reasonable person, it would seem unfair that a couple can live in a $4 million house, have the boat and the cars owned by the kids, have $200,000 in super and still get the full pension.

    Then there’s Matt Grudnoff, senior economist with The Australia Institute:

    think there should be a cap on the value of the home before it affects the Age Pension assets test. So (and I’m just plucking a number) if you had a cap of $1 million, then your home would have to be worth more than $1 million before it affected the assets test and then only that part of the asset that was worth more than $1 million would be included in the assets test.

    https://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/age-pension/news/is-family-home-fair-game

    Then there’s Chris Richardson who raised the issue this time around:

    economist Chris Richardson claimed the value of a property should help determine how much pensioners receive. … While Richardson claimed the pension in Australia is “not generous” compared to the rest of the world, he insisted the price of one’s home in means testing is necessary

    You have some people who have incredibly valuable homes and yet qualify for the pension .” … Currently people who invest their savings in their principle home can still receive the full Age Pension depending on the value of their other assets. However, those who are renting, but may have more money invested in other assets, such as the stock market or investment properties, might not be able to receive the Age Pension.

    … For couples on a combined part pension the limit for homeowners is now $860,000 and $1,070,500 for non-homeowners, while couples on a combined pension, however separated due to illness, have new asset limits of $1,012,000 and $1,222,500 for homeowners and non-homeowners respectively

    https://startsat60.com/money/retirement/pension/economist-chris-richardson-abc-730-home-included-age-pension-means-testing

    Then again we seem blind to the fact that multinationals rob us at every turn and take their money with them.

    GLENCORE AUSTRALIA INVESTMENT HOLDINGS PTY LTD. Total income $2,556,726,671, tax and taxable income nil.
    GLENCORE GRAIN HOLDINGS AUSTRALIA PTY LIMITED. Total income $4,132,120,862, tax and taxable income nil.
    GLENCORE INVESTMENT HOLDINGS AUSTRALIA LTD: Total income $7,787,854,928, tax and taxable income zero.
    GLENCORE INVESTMENT PTY LIMITED. Total income $18,349,032,015, tax and tax payable nil.
    GHP 104 160 689 PTY LTD (same ABN as Glencore Investment Pty Limited). Total income $14,196,441,080, taxable income $2,567,672, tax payable $770,302.
    GLENCORE HOLDINGS PTY LIMITED (formerly GHP 104 160 689. Total income $1,867,473,725, taxable income $146,784,062, tax payable $44,035,219.

    https://www.michaelwest.com.au/companies/tax-dodgers/glencore-investment-pty-limited/

    Where are the political leaders who demand we follow Macron …

    No – we will attack those who keep their money within Australia and ignore the real tax cheats who cut and run.

  7. wam

    The bible is a champion book that can be interpreted as showing ‘all is not’, ‘truth is as you are not allowed to discover for yourself’ right up to green is a light shade of blue or a dark shade of yellow.
    Such freedom of interpretation allows men to develop religions, sects and plaudits for themselves, blend it with with sex and violence add a wad of intolerance built on a fear of difference and then bind it with just show and tell for the women and children.
    ps
    Robin
    Santa came down the chimneys of the catholics but his message was against the godless . At the time stalin was exposed as a hitlerian level murderer there was mccathyism in america and pig-iron bob capitalised on the captured catholics fear of atheists.
    Ironically he was an extreme protestant and not only no catholics in his cabinet but none in his party and here he was being kept in power by the devout catholic workers with doubled irony that the women ignored by the church also chose the protestants over labor and then the clincher was the european boat people who were also spooked by the words labor ‘socialists.
    Over most of the last seventy years, the socialism tag has dogged the labor party. The slogan ‘labor and the greens’ embodies this socialist millstone around labor’s neck and this was never more evident than in Queensland at the last election.

    pps waltz of the cuckoo, good one many believed scummo’s lies, peddled on facebook, at BBQs and at the club by his supporters to retirees but not enough for labor to lose in 7 of the 8? The one loss was a beauty but???

  8. Keitha Granville

    I agree with you JL, Jesus most certainly was a socialist. The whole basis for his preaching right from the start was about loving God and loving everyone else the same, looking after the poor and the sick and the marginalised in society. He was protesting against the church hierarchy and the embarrassment of riches for some at the top of the pile.

    Those currently pushing for new rules for the religious, protection from current rules for the religious and more of everything providing you believe in the right version of god are causing so much harm to so many people, in direct conflict with the teaching of the one they purport to follow.

    How dare any of the current government claim to be Christians !!

  9. Pingback: Know your place; we were born to rule (part 2) - Morrison and the religious connection - » The Australian Independent Media Network

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