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The sensible middle and the Australian fair go

By Alasdair Black 

For those Canberra politicians – or politicians in general – who don’t understand the ethos of the people they represent, it can be summed up in the great Australian “fair go.”

The Australian fair go ethos goes like this: Australians are social, not Socialists, they are liberal but not Libertarian. This is the most often discussed sensible middle.

There will always be extremes of view on the right and the left or even any argument, that is the nature of people or indeed arguments. Some people are just hard line but most of us are easy going and run on the maxim that is usually the philosophical core of all religions, which is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you, in other words do no harm.”

We don’t want the State overrunning us, over our individual desires and rights, like in socialism and nor do we want the interests of the few, such as the elites running rough shod over the many in an individualist “winner takes all” privileged in-egalitarian society.

This, dear politicians, is the sensible middle. Ignore it at your peril.

Lastly and above all, represent us and our issues. We don’t care about your Machiavellian machinations jostling for power … this represents the disconnect or if you like, writ large “you are ignoring us for your own self-interests” and we do not like this. This is unfair and rattles our fair go psyche and awakens our ethical and fair go sensibilities. We don’t like it and we want to remove it. We will punish you via the ballot box for this navel gazing self-interest.

All politicians … of all persuasions … take note.



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  1. Karen Kyle

    My sentiments entirely. Most people occupy the middle ground in politics. Extremes of Left or Right warps thinking and seriously warps society if they are allowed to fester and grow. There is no essential difference between extreme religious views and extreme political views. They are different sides of the same coin.

    I was naive enough to be shocked when I realised that that hero of the American Left Noam Chomsky is a bloody liar. A video clip posted on a hard left Facebook page where he lied three times in the first paragraph. I checked out his lies, then I checked out Noam Chomsky. There is a website devoted to Noam Chomsky’s top 200 lies.

    Then there was the lecturer in political science at Austin Community College in Texas. I listened to his lectures as he delivered them to his unquestioning students, jotting down questions as he talked. Afterwards I fact checked him extensively. Not only did he lie twist and distort, and often lie he also mixed the plot of a movie into one of his supposedly accurate history lectures.

    And after a while you get a feel for the way Lefties operate in the world. It is usual to do dastardly things and then blame the protagonist while claiming victim hood. This is the only way they know to operate as the Russians are doing now regarding the attack and capture of three Ukrainian ships. Just as the PLO (a KGB set up and trained and equipped entity) murders Israeli citizens and then claims suffering and victim hood because they will never agree to a State of their own or any compromise. The combination of murderous actions and intent coupled with unlimited self pity is so hard to take even the Arabs are getting tired of it. Arab financial aid to the cause has dropped markedly and they are getting plenty of verbal truth telling from many quarters in the Arab world.

  2. helvityni

    Karen, could you not find any liars in Oz; you went to America and Russia to look for them, you by-passed Israel and went straight to Palestine to find your ‘murderous’ Arabs… Why?

    There are good and bad people, liars and truth-tellers in any Nation…

  3. Joseph Carli

    And Karen…you have to remember that in many cases, it has been the “sensible centre” that has caused the most trouble…after all, any German citizen who didn’t want to be suspected of communist activity in the era of the Nazi rule would have joined the Nazi Party…: “The Sensible Centre” of those times..

    Likewise to raise the English flag in one’s front yard in the time of the Spanish Armada preparations would be to court censure from the “sensible centre” of those climes, times and location…You get my drift?

  4. Yvonne Robertson

    Karen, I think it’s all a matter of perspective. I thank you for articulating yours but it is by no means mine. I guess in your world that makes me a bloody liar and a dastardly doing, lefty victim? I can’t find myself in that description and I don’t see myself as a punisher of politicians either. Gee – sounds almost naughty…

  5. Joseph Carli

    Jesus, Karen!…What’s with all this Russian and communist lefty hoodoo?…Was your mother scared when pregnant with you by a hammer carrying blacksmith AND a sickle using farmer at the one time?…I mean,,,did her car break down outside and next to a village blacksmith shop where a farmer had just that minute come to get his sickle sharpened by the local blacksmith?

  6. Joseph Carli

    Dear Alasdair…: ” We don’t want the State overrunning us, over our individual desires and rights, like in socialism and nor do we want the interests of the few, such as the elites running rough shod over the many in an individualist “winner takes all” privileged in-egalitarian society.”

    The last time I checked the universe and all things in it, it ran on a appetite of gross and violent consumption, ingestion and creation…I am truly sorry, but dear ol’ Mother Nature does not run on those lines you desire…and any reflection within the human condition that tries to tell “Mother” what to do, soon feels the back of the dust-brush!…..Life in the measurement of universe time is still : “Solitary, nasty, brutish and short.”

  7. Shaun Newman


    The Australian fair go ethos goes like this: Australians are social, not Socialists

    Speak for yourself mate, I am a democratic socialist and proud of it….it is the only system that gives everyday working people a fair go.

  8. Karen Kyle

    Helvitynl……..we don’t have any but amateur liars in Oz. They are not even good at it and most people see through them. Industrial strength liars are to be found in the old Soviet Union and now the FSB dominated Russian Federation. And the Marxist Left in the West has been pushing the old Soviet line for years. Even now the Soviet Union is gone old habits die hard. In fact they don’t die at all. The world has moved on but Western Marxists are still imbued with the same old propaganda of Imperialism and Colonialism. And they continue to push the Russian line as they did re Syria and the chemical attacks and the White Helmets. Lying and smearing are standard tactics. No sooner had those chemical weapons been dropped by Assad forces according to press reports with devastating film clips than the opposite was posted on FB by insisting the USA had dropped those bombs. And the Novichok poisonings in the UK. Automatic insistence that Great Britain was responsible on Social Media. Until the truth came out and I notice the Left got very quiet. Nothing to say until the next time they come up with a stupid spin.

  9. Karen Kyle

    Shaun Newman…..you and me both mate.

  10. Karen Kyle

    Shaun…….some socialist principles…..Universal Health Care…..first rate public education…..the Welfare State….. Collective Bargaining for workers …..a fair minimum wage etc.. And a regulated system of Capitalism.

  11. Zathras

    I don’t think there is a sensible middle anymore.

    What were once Conservatives are now Neo-Conservatives and what was once left-leaning Labor is now to the right of what used to be the middle ground.

    They are all reactionaries jumping to please their corporate sponsors and the only choice is how far to the right you want to go.

    Trying to appear “strong and forceful” while demonising minorities, silencing the press and promoting a state of constant social peril are the tools of despots, not leaders.

    I saw Howard on TV last night insisting that the Liberals were “conservative”. True conservatives don’t sell off public assets and deregulate to the extent that free market capitalism goes unchecked and runs rampant as if the market will magically fix everything.

    I was born in a socialist Public Hospital, went to a socialist Public School, travelled to work on socialist roads and enjoyed socialist water, gas and electricity at home provided by socialist principles and have been under the protection of socialist police and armed forces at all times.

    If Socialism equates with Communism in public debate then we are now being ruled by Fascists. The philosophy of Corporatism has it’s origins with Mussolini.

  12. paul walter

    I dont think there can be a “sensible centre” while Liberals keep trying to bookmark neo liberal economic theory within the category of “moderate”

  13. Karen Kyle

    The sensible centre is alive and well as demonstrated by the recent Victorian elections and the mid term elections in the US. Long live the sensible middle.

  14. Joseph Carli

    Karen…you don’t feel a sense of irony in calling fanatically for a radical adoption of centrist policies?

  15. Karen Kyle

    No I don’t. How can centrist policies be radical……..and I don’t have to call for them. They are here alive and well. And there is not the slightest need for any fanaticism at all.

  16. Joseph Carli

    ” And there is not the slightest need for any fanaticism at all.”

    The little red hen.

    So much depends
    On the little red hen,
    Standing beside the wheelbarrow,
    In the pouring rain. . .

    A adaptation..pinched somewhat, from William Carlos William’s : “The Red Wheelbarrow”

  17. John O'Callaghan

    -Time to be honest and blunt… Karen is an idiot!

  18. Michael Taylor

    Can only wholeheartedly agree, John.

    Once again Karen Kyle rushes in to hijack a thread with her nonsensical ramblings.

  19. Karen Kyle

    Oh dear dear dear dear dear. Whassamatter comrades? Can’t take it eh?

  20. Michael Taylor

    Well I certainly can’t take much more of you.

    One of us might have to leave.

  21. Kaye Lee

    I very much doubt anyone from the so-called sensible centre would be railing on about “Western Marxists”. In fact, I very much doubt that someone from the sensible centre could even define what they mean by that trite old hackneyed phrase that is more reminiscent of the hysterical unjustified reds-under-the-bed fear from decades ago.

  22. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    Some on this site, both authors and commentariat, have espoused Marxist theory, and there has even been repeated expression of open admiration for the totalitarian dictatorships of Stalin and Mao.
    In the commentary threads, democratic conservatives are routinely referred to as ‘fascists’.
    Truth has to cut both ways if hypocrisy is to be avoided..
    I reckon Karen’s comments have been mostly on-topic and polite compared to some of the abuse and ridicule she has copped.

  23. Kaye Lee


    I don’t like labels of any description because they never fit properly. We are usually a mixture of philosophies, ideals and ideas. It is true that some have expressed admiration for Putin and that others have expressed disproportionate fear of him. I would suggest that he is kinda peripheral to most Australians. It is also true that we sometimes, Karen included, are too aggressive or dismissive in our responses. I shall aim to do better.

    I would also add that Marxist theory provides great food for thought. I find his thoughts on family particularly interesting.

  24. Joseph Carli

    CB…what K’ said minus the usual things I disagree with her about.

  25. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee……..I think you know very well what is meant by Western Marxists. If people espouse Marxism they can expect to meet resistance. If you put your Marxist toes in the political waters they will get wet.

    Some well respected Economists are re examining Marxist economic theory. The Marxist diagnosis of Capitalism and it’s ills is acute and Economists are hoping to find strategies they can use. It is sensible to examine all theories and ideologies when looking for solutions to problems. But this is a limited use of Marxism and it is possible that nothing found will be of much help..

    As for Marxist family values the only experiment I know of came out of the Kibbutz Movement in Israel. Those Marxist ideas on family were followed to the letter. They decayed over time because the emotional needs of parents and children were not met and because material individual needs in quite small ways were not met. Every adult needs money of their own to be spent entirely for their own personal reasons. The experiment changed and adapted over time and today I don’t think there is much Marxism left in the Kibbutz Movement.

  26. Matters Not

    Karen Kyle, while KL may know very well what is meant by Western Marxists, I am at a loss.

    Could you please expound?

  27. Kaye Lee

    KL does not know what Western Marxist means. I have only ever heard the term thrown around by conservatives as a perjorative just like they spit when they say feminist.

    Karen, I dunno about Kibbutzes. I was more talking about how monogamy and a nuclear family led to capitalism as men started to accumulate possessions and wanted their progeny to inherit them. And how the traditional family structure, with the man as the breadwinner, isolated women and trained children for the unquestioning obedience their bosses (and the state) would expect. I was thinking about the possible contributing factor to domestic violence when a man, feeling impotent at work and downtrodden by the hierarchy, takes out that frustration by being the ruler in his house. Of course, much of this has changed since women have joined the workforce, though some see them as now doubly exploited, working for lower wages and doing most of the unpaid domestic work. But aspects such as deliberately keeping families in debt so they won’t risk their employment by making waves still apply.

  28. Kronomex

    Yet another thread to steer well clear of until a certain annoyance goes away.

  29. Karen Kyle

    Western Marxists is a term used by historians of all stripes and pertains to Western Communist Parties some of which were powerful e.g. Italy. Historians are interested in the relationship between the Soviet Union and National Communist Parties front organisations for specific political purposes and so on.

    The Soviet Union engaged in widespread training for apologists and activists as well as military, scientific and technical expertise and so on. Teaching propaganda skills was a given and intensive for some people like Yassir Arafat who was taught in Moscow, Romania and Vietnam under Ho Chi Min. The PLO and associated organisations was the jewel in the Soviet crown……the most effective and durable of all their front organisations.

    When the Soviet Union broke up it would be expected that all these organisations would vanish and many did. But the propaganda techniques live on and surprisingly survive today in good shape if social media is anything to go by. Of course the whole business was set up to roll along under it’s own steam without further input from anyone. No doubt it will run out of steam, but not yet. So far it continues to thrive.

  30. Karen Kyle

    The whole business no doubt get fresh injections from newly minted Marxists along the way.

  31. Matters Not

    KK, thanks for your response. When you say:

    … a term used by historians of all stripes … Historians are interested in the relationship between the Soviet Union and National Communist Parties front organisations … propaganda techniques live on and surprisingly survive today in good shape if social media is anything to go by

    Could you identify such historians – perhaps by name – or better still – provide a link that articulates those views?

    There’s no doubt that Marxist thought has permeated virtually all areas of the social sciences. Indeed it would be difficult to think of any social science discipline (economics, history, sociology, education etc) that hasn’t be affected by Marxist thought, but I am yet to read any recent works that advances the views you refer to.

    Thanking you in anticipation.

  32. Karen Kyle

    Matters Not……..hang in there I am going back over old ground which I didn’t particularly want to do. Western Marxism I see not as a developed philosophy at variance with Marxist Leninism, but the Marxist ideology used by Western Communist Parties. Most of what I have read is imbued with this idea of Soviet domination of Western Communist Parties, especially in Australia, France and Great Britain.
    During Stalin’s time the Western Communist Parties were indeed working to protect the Soviet Union.

    The only excuse to be put up is that knowledge of Stalin’s brutal excesses were at that time suspected but not known for certain. Once they were known for certain it spelled the end of the Communist Party of Australia as it should.

    This takes me back. I am old enough to have encountered the tail end of the Split in the 1980s. Bendigo Trades Hall Council was one that was Left and was taken over by violent means by the Industrial Groups. Forcibly evicted from the Trades Hall where the Left delegates had barricaded themselves in. With police present to help with the eviction and a police presence at all meetings.

    When I became a delegate to the THC in the mid 1980s we still had five grouper Delegates and the right wing unions circled outside the organisation keeping an eye on things. There were certain words we never used. Capitalism. Communism. The situation was still fraught in the 1980s. And then Lindsay Tanner became the Secretary of the Federated Clerks. Caused an upheavel with our right wing delegates who never the less got over it. Old enough to know we had Communist union officials (and very good they were) and old enough to know some had been to China or Moscow for training. Especially one Dick Anear my shop steward from the AMIEU in Queensland.

  33. Karen Kyle

    The split in Bendigo happened in 1950 five years before it happened in the ALP. The formation of the DLP kept the ALP out of Government for decades. Thank you Soviet Russia.

  34. Karen Kyle

    And the Australian Unions were never never never going to bring the Capitalist system down. A huge gulf between the Communist Union leadership and the rank and file.

  35. Kaye Lee

    I am none the wiser as to what a Western Marxist is. A soviet-plant living in deep cover? Media spreading Soviet propaganda? The trade union movement from decades ago?

    In my opinion, it is a term used by people who are paranoid that the Communists are after them and nothing more. Of course people will study Marxist philosophy – there is great insight in much of it – it is nothing to be scared of. Our society should embrace certain aspects of socialism – universal healthcare and education and care for the old for example. Our society also must be aware of the dangers of rampant unregulated capitalism.

    I dislike the labels that are flung around – they are a form of propaganda themselves.

  36. Joseph Carli

    Karen..It is truly inspiring how you do not let a little thing like “aspirational idealism” get in the way of your “pragmatic centralism”….after all, where would the world be if socialist/ communist idealism took a hold in the world?…Whyyyy..it’d be almost as terrible as true Christian idealism taking over the Catholic Vatican Cabal and true Christian values becoming the norm in that church……I mean…..CHRIST ALMIGHTY!!…where would it end?

    Kaye-L’…: ” I dislike the labels that are flung around – they are a form of propaganda themselves.”………………Jesus, K’ you wanna be careful with all this standing in the middle of the road stuff…it doesn’t do the kangaroos on the highway out front much good when the big “B-Doubles’ come steaming through!

  37. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee Western Marxist is a thing. An ideology. What I meant could be more accurately called Marxist Westerners. Meaning Communist Parties in the West.

  38. Kaye Lee

    So you don’t actually mean Marxism as a philosophy – you mean the political Communist Party?

  39. Karen Kyle

    Yes……..the effect they had on their countries, their achievements in Australia were quite positive for workers I have good memories of Communist Union Organisers Many Australians do. I have doubts about the health of the Australian body politic though. I don’t think the Australian Communist Party did anything for that except keep Labor out of government for 20 years. But we didn’t buy the revolution stuff and never would And we don’t buy into the idea of a Just Society. There may well be a Just Society at some point,,,,,but if there is it is a long way away. And it won’t be Capitalist. And it won’t be Marxist either. Hopefully we will have come up with something better by then.

  40. Kaye Lee

    Political activity of the Communist Party of Australia:

    Michael Perth contested the seat of Port Adelaide in the 1998 and in the 2001 federal elections, but polled less than 1% of the vote in both cases. Bob Briton contested the SA state seat of Lee in 2010 and polled 2.9% of the votes.

    At the 2010 federal election the party endorsed a candidate for the House of Representatives seat of Sydney as part of the Communist Alliance. The party received 0.83% or 656 of the 79,377 votes cast. It also endorsed two candidates for the Senate in New South Wales, receiving 0.17% or 6,999 of the 4,333,267 votes cast. The Australian Electoral Commission deregistered Communist Alliance successor name The Communists on 22 May 2012.

    The Communist Party of Australia received its first electoral win with the election of Tony Oldfield in local government elections on 8 September 2012 to Auburn City Council, New South Wales.

    The Communist Party of Australia planned to run candidates in the 2016 federal election, but their attempt at registration was rejected.

    I think there are more important things for you to worry about Karen.

  41. Karen Kyle

    Joseph…….I had a dose of aspirational idealism when I was about sixteen.

  42. Kaye Lee

    Aspirational idealism could also be called having goals. We will never achieve perfection but aiming for it should not be an impossible dream but rather a journey towards a destination we will never reach – and so it should be. The goal posts of our achievement and our aspirations will move continually forward. We can, and will, do better.

  43. Karen Kyle

    Kay Lee……..Yes, but by hell it is interesting, Some Communist Parties did quite well electorally. The French did I think and coupled with everything else the Soviets were doing at the time re spies under deep cover, misinformation etc. When you think about it they were in a very good position. Communist Parties in every Western country and freedom to recruit, train, and get up to any amount of destructive bedlam which they did with alacrity They most certainly had an effect some of the time.

  44. Kaye Lee

    Prioritising risk is an important part of leadership. In Australia, the threat posed by political communism is zero.

    The threat posed by rampant unregulated capitalism with increasing influence on government and decreasing power and representation for workers is far more significant. One of our greatest attractions for investors is our relative political stability, which seems a ridiculous thing to say when viewing from the inside but everything is comparative – Liberal or Labor isn’t a huge ruction in the economic fabric of our society. No-one wants to overthrow our government (ok well I do but only if I can do it in my jammies from home).

    Industry lobbyists are a greater threat than communists here.

  45. Karen Kyle

    Yeah well,,,,,,Communism is no threat, if it ever was. I am just beginning to understand why the Catholic Church cut up rough over it all and it is a disturbing story.

  46. helvityni

    Karen, leave those reds under the beds, let’s worry about the bed-less Australians,the climate change,( more catastrophic bushfires, floods), the kids on Nauru, the loss of our native animal species, let’s worry about our church leaders and not the suitability of gay teachers, let’s have ONE excellent education system ( no division to public/private),improve the nursing homes, give their staff proper training, increase pensions, Newstart….etc, etc, etc….

    When will we ever learn, or rather: when will the scomos and co ever learn…?

  47. Karen Kyle

    I spent a lifetime worrying about workers, the homeless, fighting the Libs with everything I had. My turn now. I hate being baffled. I refuse to be baffled. I like clarity and understanding and by cripes I will have it. If it is okay with you.

  48. Wendy Leigh

    ” I was more talking about how monogamy and a nuclear family led to capitalism as men started to accumulate possessions and wanted their progeny to inherit them. And how the traditional family structure, with the man as the breadwinner, isolated women and trained children for the unquestioning obedience their bosses (and the state) would expect. ”

    I haven’t read Marx, but this concept was discussed pertaining to the origins of civilisation in the first episode of this series – (The Ascent of Women with Amanda Foreman) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5078860/

    Basically, inheritance led to control of women, for obvious reasons.

  49. Kaye Lee

    Yes Wendy. Marxist feminists had some interesting views. Meighan suggests that “For men, the denial of opportunities for excellence under capitalism leads…to a search for power and self-esteem in the sexual arena” Ainsley goes on to explain that “When wives play their traditional roles as takers of shit they often absorb their husband’s legitimate anger and frustration in a way which poses no challenge to the system”, and Cooper states that “The child is, in fact, primarily taught not how to survive in society, but how to submit to it”. Women’s and children’s unpaid domestic labour kept wages low allowing companies to increase profits.

  50. Joseph Carli

    K-l’…It wasn’t always as clear-cut as you would portray in the world of upper- middle class / aristocratic circles where women could parade alongside their male partners in decadence without ANY assistance from male chauvisism..:
    Mommsen on women in the late republic of Rome”:

    “An equally characteristic feature in the brilliant decay of this period
    was the emancipation of women. In an economic point of view
    the women had long since made themselves independent;(57)
    in the present epoch we even meet with solicitors acting specially
    for women, who officiously lend their aid to solitary rich ladies
    in the management of their property and their lawsuits,
    make an impression on them by their knowledge of business and law,
    and thereby procure for themselves ampler perquisites and legacies
    than other loungers on the exchange. But it was not merely
    from the economic guardianship of father or husband that women
    felt themselves emancipated. Love-intrigues of all sorts were constantly
    in progress. The ballet-dancers (-mimae-) were quite a match
    for those of the present day in the variety of their pursuits
    and the skill with which they followed them out; their primadonnas,
    Cytheris and the like, pollute even the pages of history.
    But their, as it were, licensed trade was very materially injured
    by the free art of the ladies of aristocratic circles. Liaisons
    in the first houses had become so frequent, that only a scandal
    altogether exceptional could make them the subject of special talk;
    a judicial interference seemed now almost ridiculous.
    An unparalleled scandal, such as Publius Clodius produced in 693
    at the women’s festival in the house of the Pontifex Maximus,
    although a thousand times worse than the occurrences which fifty years
    before had led to a series of capital sentences,(58) passed
    almost without investigation and wholly without punishment.
    The watering-place season–in April, when political business
    was suspended and the world of quality congregated in Baiae and Puteoli–
    derived its chief charm from the relations licit and illicit which,
    along with music and song and elegant breakfasts on board or on shore,
    enlivened the gondola voyages. There the ladies held absolute sway;
    but they were by no means content with this domain which rightfully
    belonged to them; they also acted as politicians, appeared in party
    conferences, and took part with their money and their intrigues
    in the wild coterie-doings of the time. Any one who beheld
    these female statesmen performing on the stage of Scipio
    and Cato and saw at their side the young fop–as with smooth chin,
    delicate voice, and mincing gait, with headdress and neckerchiefs,
    frilled robe, and women’s sandals he copied the loose courtesan–
    might well have a horror of the unnatural world, in which the sexes
    seemed as though they wished to change parts. . . ” (History of Rome”)…

    Of course, it was another story in the Germanic camp concerning the power of women..But that Mime..: “Cytheris” is an interesting person to read up on…she is in Wikipedia..

  51. Kaye Lee

    My comments referred to the working class rather than the aristocracy – the proletariat rather than the bourgeoisie.

    The process of industrialisation in the 19th century led to major changes in family life. Many things that had formerly been produced at home were now produced more cheaply in factories and families eventually became units of shared income and consumption rather than production, private and separate from the public world of business and politics. Men’s place of work was removed from the home and women’s and children’s unpaid domestic labour kept wages low allowing companies to increase profits. Women were increasingly isolated from society and children learned to obey.

    Horkheimer argued that if men are the sole breadwinners, this ‘makes wife, sons and daughters “his”, puts their lives in large measure into his hands, and forces them to submit to his order and guidance’.

    Contemporary Marxist writing argues that the family structure socialises children ‘into capitalist ideology’, which ‘prepares them to accept their place in the class structure, provides an emotionally supportive retreat for the alienated worker and so dissipates the frustration of the workplace, and impedes working class solidarity by privatising the household and generating financial commitments which discourage militant activity’ .

  52. Joseph Carli

    But you cannot cut and splice historical examples and periods and say THIS period had nothing to do with THAT period…the collapse of a tried methodology in one era gives example to the controllers of the next and so on down the line…there may be some leap-frogging to avoid a misinterpretation of an “outlier” period that may have skewed strangely from the pattern of usual human behaviour…but then again, even that may be just another thread in our changeable history…The example set by those matriarchs of ancient Rome gave precedence to both laws and cultural expectations of later eras…even that episode of Clodius in the house of the Pontifex Maximus (Julius Caesar’s house at the time) gave the future the well known phrase of ..: “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion”…

    ” Caesar gave no evidence against Clodius at his trial, and he was acquitted. Nevertheless, Caesar divorced Pompeia, saying that “my wife ought not even to be under suspicion.” This gave rise to a proverb, sometimes expressed: “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion.”

    Such examples even from that aristocratic era filter down to the proletariat and are held as moral objectives to be upheld in times of social reformation..good, bad or indifferent…witness the bowdlerism of the Victorian era..and I would say that we are entering an era of such a reformation at this very time in our lives, where women now are framing the social structures of permissive behaviour against the decadence of male brutality..

    We cannot separate the pages of history from the foundations of the future.

  53. Kaye Lee

    We seem to be talking about entirely different things Joseph. The working class women in Ancient Rome were slaves so I would hardly call them “emancipated”. The romantic dalliances of the Roman aristocracy are hardly relevant to the daily struggles and power dynamic of the working class family in a capitalist society which was what Marx was on about.

  54. Joseph Carli

    The slave..freedman..and Roman citizen held different rights and obligations in ancient Rome…the roman citizen of plebian order held rights so far above the freedman as did the freedman above the slave…but I am not going further into this conversation now…except to suggest that Marx “read the pattern” of human “dynamics” inherent in the controlling classes from ancient times to the present…there is an organic habitual behaviour that directs such behaviour as much as the certainty of a thirsty person will make their way toward water.

    “Capitalism” is just another name for power..as I wrote recently in “The Wealth Gatherers”…and the seeking of power is just another want of the structurally powerless…as the bully gathers about his person the weak and vicious…so . . .

  55. Karen Kyle

    Joseph I think you are overlooking the fact that we have two traditions in the West, the Greco Roman from which we get hierarchies, which includes royalty and the nobility. This is mirrored in the Catholic Church with it’s hierarchy of pope, cardinals, bishops etc,

    And we also have a strong egalitarian tradition which came originally from the Middle East through Judaism and Christianity. The barbarian tribes e.g. Angles, Jutes, Saxons and Vikings also had egalitarian societies and they may also have been an influence although not as strong as the influence of the Bible both the Torah and the New Testament. And this part of our heritage is mirrored in the Protestant Revolution in churches like the Methodists and Calvanists who did not have popes, cardinals or bishops. In fact some of the more radical forms of protestants didn’t have ordained clergy. I think the Quakers or the Society of Friends falls into this category.

    So for those of us with English backgrounds grew up with the traditions of Kings and powerful land owning nobility and Robin Hood who lived free with his merry men in the greenwood and robbed the rich to give to the poor. No matter how poor an Englishman was his home was his castle, but he tugged the forelock nevertheless.

    As for the development of capitalism…..it is just a monetary system and it developed in many places around the world where agricultural surpluses made trade possible. Once trade started to develop there was a need for money, book keeping and banking. And these developments are very old in fact they belong to the earliest civilisations and it was a species of free market capitalism. The problem of wealth inequality caused by free market capitalism was tackled in ME( i.e.Israel) societies by a tradition of personal giving and many laws which gave the right to glean fields of wheat to widows etc.The four corners of the wheat field were left unharvested so that widows could come in and take the grain. This was one of many laws designed to protect families without breadwinners. The embryonic beginnings of a welfare state.

    In fact Islam arose partly to counter the effects of poverty caused by free market capitalism and it worked for a time. But the tradition continues to exist. In some oil rich countries the wealth is spent on the population by the rulers (Saudi Arabia) and there are demonstrations and wide protests if the people are convinced that they are not getting their share of goods and services.

    In England the Industrial Revolution took off and became air born and this would not have happened unless trade had developed enough surplus wealth for the necessary investment. The attempt to deal with poverty by means of charity, the workhouse and the parish were not very effective. The wealthy members of the parish paid to keep the whole viable and when they became impoverished themselves because of crop failure or a downturn in trade the parish ran out of money and people starved. Eventually we developed the Welfare State designed to at least stop people from starving. Despite the best efforts of thousands of years we have yet to solve these problems caused by Free Market Capitalism…

  56. Joseph Carli

    Karen..: ” we also have a strong egalitarian tradition which came originally from the Middle East through Judaism and Christianity.”…..So where’s the egalitarianism in Judaism? I have to ask…in that religion, it is “my way or the highway”..and while certain individual Jews had political influence at one point or another on one person or another, they were never a united force in the ancient times..regardless of the bullshit we are told in the Bible…to hold a nation stable for very long…and the notorious “Jewish Wars” ended up being more a war among their own factions than against Rome….and Christianity always was a politicised religion, elevated to the State religion because of the obvious failure of Paganism ( and btw..that’s our name for those varied beliefs, gods and superstitions) to hold the populace accountable to those moral laws of the State..so a new variation of religion was needed to evolvefrom the old…hence the many similar religious days and saints etc..

  57. Karen Kyle

    Joseph……I have given you one example of egalitarian in Judaism. I could point out that the Bible, both the Torah and the New Testament are subversive and revolutionary documents. And if you examine the history and the mythology of the Jews you will find a willingness to overturn that which is old and find new solutions. Where do you think Karl Marx got his radical egalitarian ideas from? Some from philosophy, but mostly from thousands of years of Jewish thinking, which his parents conversion to protestant Christianity would not have dispelled.

    That is why the Catholic Church was desperate to keep the Bible out of the hands of ordinary people. They knew once that happened they would have trouble. And so they did. The Protestant Revolution. And something else followed hard upon the Protestant Revolution and was partly (along with philosophy) a direct consequence of it. The first political revolution. The French Revolution.

  58. Karen Kyle

    I just love the way you will take a fragment of an argument and use it to try and knock down the entire argument. And I have never met anyone who quotes his own writing as backup for his point of view. Joseph you really should try to find better sources.

  59. Joseph Carli

    What’s with this “thousands of years of Jewish thinking”…the Jewish religion is no more than a mish-mash of a dozen or more beliefs and mythologies bouncing around those parts long before the books of “Jewish Faith” were coordinated in the second century AD.

    Marx / Engels researched many tribal and civil-state structures to come to their conclusions..including the Australian Aborigines known development and evolution…Marx’s “Das Kapital” isn’t just some “off the shelf” quickie publication, like these daily “Exposes’ ” that we see in these instant gratification times…and like those researchers of Roman history : Gibbon and Mommsen, a lifetime of devotion was spent in the craft…sure..it wrecked the lives in some cases of those around them..especially in the case of Marx, but you cannot just dismiss their research and conclusions a deluded fantasies of the times…much of it is universal truth..unlike religion, which is almost always universal fantasy!

    And as for “quoting myself”…surely..: “‘Tis better that a man back his own word in verse, than a fool who would quote another much worse?”
    Which would YOU be ; Karen?

  60. Kaye Lee

    Jewish Morning prayer….still

    “Blessed are you, Hashem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a woman.”

  61. Karen Kyle

    The Babylonian Captivity happened in 586 BCE. All of the Temple priests and the Judges Scribes and intellectuals were taken into captivity. They took their precious books and manuscripts with them. Because there was no longer a Temple (or Temples) they were forced to write down their scriptures into one coherent whole using the texts they bought with them as well as the oral tradition. In order to survive as a people they had to become “The People of the Book”. They began to write down the Torah while in Babylon Seventy years later some went back to Israel taking the partly written Torah with them. It took the Jews a thousand years to write their Bible. Then they wrote a commentary on the Bible. That took another thousand years. Then they wrote a commentary on the commentary. That also took a thousand years.

    The creation myth in Genesis is a direct result according to the scholar Karen Armstrong of the trauma and dislocation of the Babylonian captivity While most creation myths are violent cosmic battles of good against evil Genesis is as quiet and as calm as a mill pond. An example of using stories and religion as a stabilising calming and strengthening agent.

    The scholarship of Karl Marx was no doubt excellent for It’s time. But is was 19th Century. We have progressed much further than the 19th Century now. We have progressed into areas that Karl Marx could not have possibly known And that is why Marx’s ideas are so often oversimple and thin and sometimes just plain wrong. Scholarship has moved on..

  62. Joseph Carli

    “. . . according to the scholar Karen Armstrong . . .”……..

    “. . . Scholarship has moved on… “…………

    Could some other lost soul take up the thread from here, please?

    ” “Blessed are you, Hashem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a woman…..when a ‘tranny’ is just fine by me, thank you”….

  63. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee……Jewish morning prayer

    “I am thankful before You living and enduring King for you have mercifully restored my soul within me.
    Great is your faithfulness”

  64. Karen Kyle

    What be the matter Joseph? Getting discouraged?

  65. Kaye Lee

    Is a nice prayer supposed to cancel out a bad one? Do we selectively ignore the bad bits?

    As for having moved on from Marx, I disagree. I think everything he warned about capitalism has come true and is getting worse.

  66. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee……where did you get that prayer from?

  67. Joseph Carli

    Oh, Karen..i have gone over this old ground and yes!..written of it ..more times than any pioneer farmer has harrowed his bottom paddock…you are just adding adjectives to an old story…time for you to go read up on a bit of different history…

  68. Kaye Lee

    Just a forum where the person commenting said they got it from their Sedur (Jewish prayer book).

    I knew about it because I used it in a speech I gave in the Lions Club Youth of the Year Quest back in 1975 – the first International Women’s Year – reason being, I was allowed to compete, and even win my area, but the boy who came second went on to represent the area at the State competition. Those were the rules and I lambasted them for it.

  69. Karen Kyle

    Yes his diagnostic ability re Capitalism was second to none. The solution is the problem. Where did you find that prayer?

  70. Joseph Carli

    ” I gave in the Lions Club Youth of the Year Quest “……….that’d be right…

  71. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee……I suspect it is a parody of a prayer especially as it was recited by someone who is a skeptic. Hashem would not have been named in the morning prayer. God is named only after ritual hand washing and then it is Adoni for the morning prayer and not Hashem. According to the website My Jewish Learning.

  72. Kaye Lee

    Karen, instead of suspecting things, you can actually check for yourself.

    Orthodox liturgy dictates that men thank God “for not creating me a woman,” while women recite “for creating me according to Your will.”


    You will find Hashem used extensively.

  73. Kaye Lee

    For your information Joseph, it was not my choice to compete. I was school captain at the local public school and I was told I had to. I had no connection whatsoever to the men-only Lion’s Club. Your sneering is typically ignorant.

  74. Karen Kyle

    Yes Hashem is used after the bathroom or something. I found the gentile, the slave and the woman and I have to say I wish I was born a man. I sympathise. The gentile and the slave, the slave I can forgive and I know that many Jews have chosen to become gentiles. Interesting. Thank you for pointing it out..

  75. Joseph Carli

    ” I was school captain at the local public school and I was told I had to. “….Akela!…A-kaye-la!…A-kaye-la!….fight, fight!!

  76. Kaye Lee


    You don’t take on a job unless you are willing to do what it entails.

  77. Kronomex

    Kaye Lee, it’s just not worth getting cranky, let Karen and Joseph have the thread to themselves and we can all be happy until they start annoying us somewhere else.

  78. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee…….Jews believe that god is both male and female…..or at least some of them do. There is a story told by Leonard Nimroy????(spelling) about a service he attended as a boy with his father.There were incantations from a number of Cohenim (priests) to call up the female side of the deity who then entered. It was very dramatic and said to be dangerous. The Jews cover their heads in case they see her and she kills them with the power of her divinity. Made a big impression on the young Leonard Nimroy who peeked and didn’t die.

  79. Michael Taylor

    Those were the rules and I lambasted them for it.

    Kaye, that’s why we’re slowly winning. The rules have always been different – one rule for them, and one rule for us.

    Change (or revolution) always starts with a question: a question that challenges those rules.

    By speaking up in 1975 … you might have made it better for someone in 2018.

    And what we do in 2018 – as is our aim – might just have the rules changed in years to come.

  80. Intelligent

    Egalitarian is the wrong word, dystopian more accurately reflects modern Australian politics

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