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Tony Abbott and the Australian right: a grim political trajectory

Tony Abbott added two new posts to his resume this month, debuting as Fox director and announced to be “joining the Danube Institute team as a guest lecturer.” Add these to the October news that Abbott is now an Advisory Board member of the far-right Alliance for Responsible Citizenship (ARC). Australians should be watching.

Hungarian Conservative celebrated the growing closeness of former Prime Minister and Orban’s Danube Institute. Abbott in turn commended the English-speaking intellectual network attracted by Hungary’s history and culture but also the “success” of the Orban government.

That “success” is distinctly illiberal. In fact Orban boasts that Hungary has an “illiberal democracy.” The term democracy there is more decorative than functional; the European Parliament terms Hungary an “electoral autocracy.” When mass youth voter turnout defeated Poland’s illiberal government recently, experts commented that an equivalent opposition victory has been made impossible in Hungary. Orban’s base is driven by nationalism and bigotry: “traditional” identity and values make non-White people unwelcome. They target LGBTQIA+ people and Roma as well as deploying coded antisemitism.

As noted before (and in the Hungarian Conservative), Abbott has a history of appearing on the Orban speaking circuit. Joining him there are several other Liberal Party grandees and apparatchiks. It is important to observe that the infiltration into News Corp is present too with Foreign Editor Greg Sheridan as the most prominent connection.

Orbanism offers a unifying image of the success possible for a rightwing politics based on a conception of “natural law.” In this “natural law” there is an inherent power structure that places men over women, and white, “Christian” men over everyone. Strict barriers are maintained between life’s unalterable binaries and divisions, including race, sex and gender. A fascistic nostalgia for a mythologised past drives the mission. This “natural law” pervades the bigoted political movements of the West. It is infused into the ARC and the overlapping National Conservative movement.

For this network, the enemy is the liberal “elites” – like teachers – or the “woke.” Expressing respect for expertise, compassion or an open-mind is not only inconvenient but a threat to those who rule by “natural law.” Voices from the disempowered are exaggerated to be depicted as an existential threat. Thus the “natural” rulers can become the new victim.

Last weekend’s The Australian (25-26) could have emerged wholesale from an Orban event. Natasha Bita, the masthead’s Education Editor had two substantial pieces on boys’ education. One celebrated single sex boys’ education as dealing with the crisis of them “falling through the cracks” where she editorialised the question “Has the gender-equality push gone too far?”

In the second, “Boys feel blamed for toxic culture,” she conveyed the opinions of King’s School headmaster Tony George that “neo-sexism” is at work in society’s “genderism” experiment. George asserted that boys don’t need girls in classrooms to learn to “kowtow to a female boss.” Throughout both pieces, a straw man of leftist education theory is despised as trying to break boisterous boys. Apparently overworked teachers trying to force rowdy students to meet mandatory benchmarks isn’t to blame.

Perhaps Bita or George are fans of education administrator Matthew Freeman in The American Conservative who declared this May: “The task of classical Christian education is to train a noble class within our own institutions, so that they can supplant the class currently turning America into a dump.” Like Freeman, Bita targets “woke” as the enemy. On 22 November, she channelled the Institute of Public Affairs’ Bella D’Abrera (director of the IPA’s Foundations of Western Civilisation program) onto the front page, advertising D’Abrera’s attack on “woke” teacher education.

The same edition grants a column to Virginia Tapscott to challenge the idea that mental health isn’t a factor in men’s violence as if the imagined progressive opponents would not accept this fact. Neighbouring articles to Tapscott’s however feature a society where “submitting” to “a woman in authority” is “kowtowing,” and male “boisterousness” and boys being boys is celebrated without acknowledgement that this has long been coded cover for something much worse.

Then Janet Albrechtsen builds a farcical picture of feminist oppression of good men in her defence of patriarchy titled, “At 99 not out, Brian smashes wicked myth of patriarchy.” “Regressive anti-male myths” damage us, whereas this patriarchy (defined by her as “good bloke” individuals not an oppressive system created over millennia) is one we ought to embrace.

These sentiments draw on the natalism illustrated by Greg Sheridan on the 21 November, when he asserted that “Fertility strife demands more babies, not migrants.” Instead of blaming the cost of living (or climate fears) for low birth rates, he blames them on an illiberal “ideological and sexist denial of women’s choice.” “Natural law” demands (white) women embrace their reproductive duty. He sets up a paradigm of good and bad immigration where Indian, Chinese and South-East Asian immigrants are depicted as the good migrants because they are, ostensibly, more religious and “traditional” as well as better educated than Australian youth. He depicts migrants as encapsulated in an extreme antithesis: Einstein or Hitler.

Bad migration in The Australian is currently focussed on freed refugees and possible boat arrivals, but most particularly on the repercussions of the current violence in Israel.

Editor Paul Kelly depicts protests calling for peace for Gaza as part of surging antisemitism that poses “moral and civilisational” questions. The “antisemitism” he thus detects in the left is apparently “reinforced by the ideology of identity politics.” Identity politics is, of course, the disdainful label given by those with power according to “natural law” to any complaint from the “naturally” subject. The trajectory of the Australian right is indicated by Kelly’s imagined Australians not recognising their country in these mostly peaceful and solemn (and utterly inclusive) protests. These Australians think, Kelly guesses, “Nobody told us multiculturalism would end here.” Apparently the vast number of white Australians at the protests aren’t Paul Kelly’s Australians.

Throughout the pages of this edition and others in recent time, there is almost no acknowledgement that Israel’s government is no longer liberal but much closer to fascist, nor is there any suggestion that decades of Palestinian suffering are factual and relevant. On 22 November, Kelly echoed Peter Dutton’s call for “moral courage and moral clarity.” These are neoconservative buzzwords that recall the early 21st century’s civilisational battle against Islam where the West represents “good” against that faith’s “evil.” The Australian’s Editorial on 20-21 October underscored this by returning to the old bellicose thought-terminating cliches of a “fight for the free world,” with Israel our bulwark against the “anti-freedom, anti-democratic axis of evil.”

News Corp’s chief Australian columnists are reiterating these messages that protests in pursuit of peace are a sign of decay in Western Civilisation. Credlin said that on the 23 November in a column entitled “West slides into abyss of intellectual decay,” citing a paper written for the ARC’s recent conference. Awful chants at a Sydney protest she depicts as reflecting the “atavism of recent migrants from the Middle East, Australians of convenience more than conviction, conditioned from birth to regard Israel as existing on stolen land and to think of Jews as arch-exploiters.” She links this “moral relativism and self-loathing” to trans acceptance.

Chris Kenny, on the weekend of the 18-19, said the pro-Palestinian protests revealed our “hubris about multicultural success and new world tolerance.” He linked these calls to stop the collective punishment of citizens falsely to a support for “Islamic extremism” and asserts “The much derided ‘clash of civilisations’ remains a central challenge for Western countries.” This is Samuel Hungtington’s “utterly wrong” concept used to justify so much Western violence in the Middle East, creating millions of displaced people.

In this way the Murdoch Dog Line not only foments belligerence as a prelude to war, but also uses the same tribalism to echo John Howard’s recent ARC rejection of multiculturalism.

Tony Abbott’s colleagues at the Danube Institute and the ARC are largely pro Russia and anti-climate action. (The edition of The Australian explored above returns to the Murdoch message that renewables are a threat in a column by Chris Kenny.) For that reason it will be interesting to watch the Abbott link between Orban and Lachlan Murdoch’s Fox.

One of Lachlan Murdoch’s most striking acts on taking the helm at Fox was to stage a visit to Ukraine with reporters. He publicised his meeting with Volodymyr Zelenskiy and support for Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion. This is a strong signal for the head of a media organisation belonging to the Putin-supporting right. Orban is, of course, the palatable deputy for Putin since that invasion.

The Daily Beast revealed recently that Fox News sending its flagship Tucker Carlson program to Budapest to celebrate Orban’s illiberalism for a week of programming was “unapproved.” The New York Times’ deep investigation into Carlson had said he reported directly to Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch. Huge legal pay-outs over pandering to Donald Trump’s election lies were likely a factor in the Murdochs cutting Carlson loose.

Murdoch watcher Paddy Manning suggests that Lachlan’s visit to Ukraine is a sign of him moderating the extremism that had come to dominate Fox. Whether this is a business decision influenced by calmer heads or a true moderating of Lachlan’s more radical right politics remains to be seen.

Meanwhile this week, Tucker Carlson hosted Steve Bannon on his Twitter/X program for a 20-minute conversation. Their discussion about the Dublin riots railed against the self-loathing of our governments replacing their populations with compliant refugees, as if our governments are not embracing every means to exclude asylum seekers. They classed support for abortion and trans people as a dedicated attempt to stop citizens breeding in the interests of replacing them with this new non-white population. They forecast more violence like Dublin’s, as well as the deportation of between 14 and 40 million “illegals” from America if the GOP wins next year. The men described themselves as not feeling fascist, but just expressing common sense.

The only leader the pair judged to be succeeding was Orban.

There has been no condemnation or rejection from the Opposition of the many Coalition politicians joining the ARC or their grandees paying homage to Orban. There is clearly no moderating the “natural law” disgust at the disempowered asking to be heard in The Australian.

We must know the Australian right in those facts.

This essay was first published in Pearls and Irritations as Coalition politicians are embracing far right Orbanist ideology


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  1. Phil Pryor

    T A, tortured anus, terrible attitude, troubled antipathy, Tony Abbott.., the north shore nong, the romanist vomitous onanist, Ugghh.

  2. Kate

    If misguided, Murdoch-manipulated fools REALLY believe that the cruel racist sociopath, Peter Dutton and his appalling, totally corrupt, self-serving and undemocratic colleagues in the LNP deserve to win another election after the chaos, dysfunction, inhumanity, mismanagement, waste and non-stop rorting of taxpayer funds by the LNP left behind during their last appalling reign, then they either have very short memories or are as short-sighted as Mr Magoo!

    Totally unconscionable, vindictive political psychopaths like Abbott, Morrison, Dutton, James Paterson and Simon Birmingham – and the rest of the sociopaths in the LNP cabinet – were (and still are) absolutely DETERMINED to cheat, lie, stomp on the carcasses of anyone who stand in their way and character-assassinate anyone and everyone who opposes their escalating level of depravity in order to rise into fascist power like some demented Behemoths!

    To all those misguided right-wing muppets out there who choose to cling on to the delusion that the diabolical LNP deserve yet another chance to be re-elected, allow me to remind them of the destruction, waste, incompetence and damage the LNP left in their wake as the worst, most fascist and inhumane regime in living memory:

    DESPITE all the LNP’s history of incomprehensible political corruption – outlined in a link below showing an incomplete list, compiled by Chaser, exposing the LNP’s shocking level of political corruption and incompetence – and the fact that so many sanctimonious members of the LNP (particularly Abbott and Morrison) attempted to HIDE all this corruption behind a thin cloak of nauseating bible-thumping hypocrisy!

    IN SPITE OF their condescending elitism that saw them cruelly target the poorest, most vulnerable people in our nation;

    DESPITE their insufferable born-to-rule arrogance and their open contempt for ordinary working- and middle-class Australians whilst ruthlessly enriching and empowering THEMSELVES and their “mates” in the Top 1%;

    IN SPITE OF their appalling history as a condescending pack of white, male supremacists who are prepared to defend and protect the appalling misogynistic predators in their midst. Even one of the few women in Abbott’s cabinet (Julie Bishop) astutely described her male colleagues as a pack of “swinging d*cks” !

    DESPITE the fact that just about every member of the devious LNP have absolutely no regard for their outrageous, disingenuous and endless pathological lies;

    IN SPITE OF the LNP’s unspeakable level of callous inhumanity and their cruel targeting of the poorest, most vulnerable members of our community;

    DESPITE the LNP’s self-serving rorting and their catastrophic mismanagement of taxpayers’ hard-earned funds;

    DESPITE the catastrophic fall-out of now notorious and ILLEGAL Witch Hunt known as ROBODEBT that caused the preventable suicidal deaths of so many desperate Australian citizens!

    IN SPITE of the fact that the prosperity-obsessed, short-sighted fools in the LNP – at State and Federal levels – are absolutely DETERMINED to sell-off and privatise EVERYTHING Australian taxpayers value which includes the devious undemocratic infiltration of our ABC by the LNP who parachuted a wide range of blatantly right-wing-biased, LNP-supporting hacks like David Speers, Fauziah Ibrahim, Ita Buttrose (as Chairwoman) which, no doubt, will facilitate the eventual privatisation of our national broadcasting station.

    DESPITE the fact that the dangerously undemocratic LNP/Murdoch/IPA Alliance are determined to push through their Agenda to defund and obliterate Medicare, our hospitals, State-owned transport, the ongoing horrific defundment of State schools, TAFE (which the LNP have already privatised) and the sale of our precious water, gas and electric supplies to foreign-owned corporate predators including Optus (which is now mismanaged and owned by the Singaporean-based company, SINGTEL (Singapore Telecommunications) whose mismanagement, no doubt, had a LOT to do with the recent Outage!

    IN SPITE OF the LNP’s undemocratic alliance with the totally-biased right-wing hacks in the Murdoch press and the deplorable Institute of Public Affairs (aka the IPA) a random collection of cruel, self-serving right-wing extremists and avaricious neoliberal capitalists that was initiated by Murdoch’s father, Keith Murdoch!

    DESPITE the LNP’s continual support of the depraved megalomaniac, Benjamin Netanyahu and his army who are, right now, committing the most heinous war crimes and genocidal murder against non-Jewish Palestinians by bombing hospitals, bombing schools and shooting down unarmed, defenceless Palestinians (and their little children) fleeing from Netanyahu’s heartless persecution;

    IN SPITE OF the fact that these pompous, deluded political sociopaths (and their gormless supporters) keep claiming that it is they, the inept LNP, who are the “better economic managers” when, the fact is that when their reprehensible government were kicked to the gutter at the last federal election, it was discovered that the ONLY thing the corrupt, self-serving Abbott/Morrison regime left behind was an almost insurmountable national deficit of $1 TRILLION – the worst debt in our nation’s history!

    IN SPITE OF ALL THE ABOVE: the waste, the rorting, the misogyny, the non-stop pathological lies, the deluded sense of arrogant superiority and their inherent self-serving corruption outlined above (and in link below), the power-obsessed, demonic, regressive LNP are not cowered, have NO SHAME, have ZERO REMORSE and, clearly, have not one iota of insight!

    This is a RED FLAG WARNING that the LNP have stooped to a gutter level of born-to-rule depravity that can only get worse if the uncompromising, perverted LNP rise to fascist power again!

    IN SPITE OF ALL the above, is there anyone out there with an IQ ranging in double digits – and even the most minute levels of compassion and foresight – who, in all consciousness, REALLY believes these appalling miscreants in the LNP deserve another chance? REALLY? There can be no doubt that it will take YEARS for the ALP to repair all the damage, destruction and chaos left behind by the LNP which includes the catastrophic damage the LNP have wrought on our (once) fine international reputation! Australians must insist: NEVER AGAIN!


  3. Steve Davis

    Lucy, the fear of dangerous stupidity emerging from the global Right is justifiable, but dealing with it will be pointless if the reasons for this reaction are misunderstood.

    Your article asserts that Huntington’s clash of civilizations thesis is wrong, with a link to an article that supports that view. The article is not convincing. It contradicts it’s own premise, that the clash idea is now “antiquated”, as it gives evidence for it’s repeated re-emergence, and for support for the idea from a variety of global sources, e.g.,
    “The debate over the clash has not abated, 30 years on. It is still common each month to read in the media about a civilizational clash or hear elected officials and intellectuals reference the catchphrase, as a random sample indicates. “The Theory Is Alive,” the Indian version of The Telegraph declared in April… Chinese leaders recently proposed an “equality of civilizations” in place of the West’s clash, according to The Economist, which reported a diplomat lamenting that “the antiquated thesis of a ‘clash of civilizations is resurfacing… thinkers around Russian leader Vladimir Putin have argued that their country is the leading defender of a Christian civilization that the rest of Europe has largely abandoned,…”

    It’s not just Russian intellectuals saying this, Putin has implied much the same thing. The article then trivialised the matter with this silliness — “Indeed, Huntington’s argument is so antiquated that it has already gone through several afterlives and been resurrected, like a horror movie villain.” Ah, yes, journalism at the very highest level.

    But why this reluctance by Western commentators to see today’s global tensions as a clash of civilizations? With India, China and Russia seeing it that way, why not the West also?

    A possible explanation is that to concede the point would imply acceptance of the validity of rival or competing claims. It would require respectful dealings. It would require diplomacy at a mature and thoughtful level. Fukuyama’s claim of the supremacy and moral superiority of liberal democracy failed the test of time, but that not-so-antiquated belief is alive and well across the Western spectrum. We sincerely believe that we are superior. The Master does not negotiate with underlings.

    There is a lot of nonsense coming from the Right, particularly the US Right, but not everything coming from the Right is nonsense. So our problems are not those that come from Left vs Right. Or, with the global Left in disarray, lacking a philosophical base, it’s not even The Rest vs the Right. What we are seeing is a clash of civilizations. Even the current Right reaction can be seen this way, with liberalism having betrayed its foundations and become a war machine for the profiteering class, devoid of any sense of social obligation and leaving the powerless struggling in its wake. To where do they turn? We all know the answer.

    Lucy, you say the clash of civilizations idea is wrong, but who can deny that the horror taking place in Gaza right now is such a clash? That conclusion cannot be avoided by saying as you do, that “Israel’s government is no longer liberal but much closer to fascist”. Liberalism and fascism are products of Western civilization that inevitably lead to the authoritarianism that you rightly criticize in other cultures.

  4. Phil Pryor

    Kate has bothered to write up a comment of article length and depth, so one might take time to go on with its likely consequences. Certainly, nobody should ever vote for conservatives again ( or anyway) after the sinful, wilful, garbage skulled excremental office bearing of ignorant Jack Howard, an old classmate (and eternally repulsive), of Abbott the romanist, analist, selfstroking delusional subnematode dud, and last, Morrison, the moron in disguise, coached up to appear gothically gifted in careless evildoing.

  5. Lucy Hamilton

    There are lots of clashes of countries and belief systems. That’s a constant of being human. There isn’t a C lash of C ivilisations where Christian West is utterly incompatible with Islam or whatever version you want to invent. That’s essentialist tosh used to achieve a malignant goal.

  6. Steve Davis

    Lucy, Huntington’s thesis seems to be getting the blame for much of the violence that has become a feature of this century, (I assume that’s the malignant goal you refer to?) but that does not sit well with this from “The Clash of Civilizations” — “The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do.” No blatant supremacist thought there.
    Nor does it sit well with this from your linked article “The world would be shaped, he said, by “Western, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu, Slavic-Orthodox, Latin American, and possibly African civilization.” Sounds like multi-polarity to me.

    I’ve never forgotten a quote from a book on tyranny that I read years ago — “The rulers of the world will take from the philosophers only those things that conduce to their own greater power.” I’m beginning to think that this has happened in the case of Huntington, and he’s copping the blame for the violence.

  7. Max Gross

    This is precisely how Hitler’s Brown Shirt thugs became the mass-murdering Nazi party became the deranged, self-destructive Third Reich. And we all know how that ended!

  8. andyfiftysix

    The only moral decay in the west is due to failed neoliberal policies and the inability of the lunatic right to understand anything that doesnt fit their agenda. Shit In Shit Out. Sorry liberals, after 70yrs of your “freedom for the individual” mantra, we are excersising out right to chose, fuck off.

  9. Cool Pete

    You cannot regard Tone the Botty, despite a Rhodes Scholarship, as an intellectual. He is a dickhead!

  10. andyfiftysix

    Cool pete, not only is he a dickhead, he is a destructive individual who has a particularly childish outlook on life. A three year old child holding a knife in a crowded kinda throwing a tantrum.

    In his mind , he is the messiah. Like all liberals and their ilk, has no reguard to the consequences of their actions. And a fucked up world is just what they have delivered up. Instead of a crusade, the fucker should look in the mirror.

    Imagine what kind of degenerate calls climate concerns a cult. In his world we would all be under a Jesuit administring pain. Whats the difference betrween this idiot and the head of Islam in Iran? Both are into floggings…….sexual deviants if you ask me.

    No doubt he is also an apologist for the butcher of cambodia too. Such a fucking caring christian. In fact i dont understand why the pope doesnt excommunicate him. The devil disguised as a christian. Oh sorry, the church is still playing with its sexual problems.

    Sorry Phil, starting to take some of your thunder….lol

  11. Cool Pete

    Tone the Botty would also do well to learn that in the capital city he has called home since age 4, Sydney, it is not unexpected that a student from Bankstown High may be from a poorer socio-economic area, but if they can enter Sydney University or the UNSW, they may do far better than a spoon-fed elite private school student. Some private schools are geared towards the best outcomes as far as ATARs, but when they reach university, they have to be able to operate without the support networks they had.
    The difference between Albrechtsen and Hanson, apart from one being blonde, of Germanic descent and short-sighted and one being red headed, of English and Irish descent, and don’t let her forget the 4% Middle Eastern DNA, and needing reading glasses, is education. Both are female MRAs, misogynists, and idiots!

  12. andyfiftysix

    Steve davis, you got me thinking.

    america overthrowing a democracy and installing the Shah can be called a clash of civilizations, no? What we are seeing is the culmination of 70-80yrs of hubris after ww11. To the victors the spoils, to the rest , stop with the crying already.

    Neanderthals disappeared too, was that a clash of civilisations?

    There is but one civilisation , but it certainly has issues of fairness and domination. Bloody minded leaders who beleive their own BS. Everyone on this planet is now in communications with the rest of the world. Everyone sees the same expressions of bullying, disgusting excess and disgusting poverty. No diiference between Israel/Palestinian issue. Different civilisations? my arse. If my house was bulldozed for a cult, i would be taking up nuclear weapons too. There is a commonality between all of us……….dont fuck with me or i will get angry and fight back. All wars we see now are precisly due to somebody wanting to be king dick. Civilisation has nothing to do with it. Its about power. And as technology progresses, the availability of power will become so “democratic” that its effect will be to wipe us all out or a sobering moderation on would be bullies. I aint too hopeful on that front but we are still here………

  13. Steve Davis

    Andy, it all depends on the individual’s view or definition of what constitutes a civilization. It can mean different things to different people.
    Some would say that indigenous Australians had no civilization because they had no cities, and to an extent that’s true given the Latin root of the term, but I disagree, given that across Australia there was a coherent culture with trade and cultural exchange occurring across the country, and across vast distances.

    You are right to say that our problem at the moment is the exercise of power, but I put that down to primarily, our financial system.

    It’s a system that encourages and facilitates the exercise of power, in that instead of cooperation, we have competition for resources. The system produces winners and losers, and so we see anger and frustration. It entrenches poverty instead of alleviating poverty. The West provides loans to the Global South, but imposes conditions on the loans such as privatisation of resource management, so the winners are Western corporations.

    So rapacious has the system become that it is now undermining Western society as well, and so we see the rise of right wing thinking in the West as people feel betrayed by the system. They turn to anyone claiming to have the answers. Just watch Sky After Dark for a while; they have all the answers. They recycle failed Liberal has-beens who never achieved anything in office, but they’ve got the answers.

    There’s no point in us hacking at the branches of evil — we have to strike at the root.

  14. Andrew Smith

    Much to cover, and it’s not limited to the Australian right but ‘architecture of influence’ in the Anglosphere, Europe and linked to Russia….and even parts of the ageing (or faux?) ideological left; how many people have been unwittingly compromised running PR for Hungary?

    These ‘visitors’ and think tanks are the gifts that keep on giving, but a short cut to understanding Hungary is via a local analogy, Joh’s QLD in 1980s. Populist corrupt Christian nativist authoritarianism, catering to regional and older voters in gerrymandered electorates, what else is new except no media diversity and now QLD LNP, with IPA, RW media cartel and Tanton nativism?

    Multiple themes running via Hungary including threat of the EU to fossil fuels and oligarchs, threat of Putin to the EU (see unresolved Brexit issues & Hungary as ‘Putin’s Trojan horse’ in EU), ‘peacock dancing’ of Orban’s government between Putin & Xi in east and EU in west, ageing demography, then Abbott, Anglo ‘conservatives’ or white Christian nationalist visitors (and inherent weaknesses or ignorance*); who is manipulating whom?

    Danube Institute is linked to US fossil fuel Atlas or Koch Network like the IPA or CIS, also hosts many Anglo geopolitical grifters, favoured by too many Anglo ideological left, like Mearsheimer (Charles Koch linked) and Sachs (Rockefeller), plus many Anglo Christian conservatives like Abbott et al.; but there is a dirty little secret on the nativist agitprop, even they are not aware of*.

    The institute is headed by former Thatcher aide (& alleged spy) and journalist John O’Sullivan, also Quadrant’s European correspondent, and links to Koch’s Heritage Foundation (the same is behind Trump’s plans for permanence i.e. https://www.project2025.org/), while preceding Abbott his own advisor (not registered as foreign agent?) was apparently a ‘visitor’ or ‘fellow’ but disappeared after Anne Applebaum Tweet ‘22 calling out the Danube Institute.

    *Channelling nativist agitprop and eugenics of ‘Tanton Network’ (shares donors with Kochs in US) eg. Bannon & FoxNews, Farage & GBNews etc. which underpins migration policies, dog whistling and electoral campaigns in US, UK, Australia and parts of Europe including Hungary (10+ years ago Orban deported friends of Tanton’s).

    Tanton’s views were so unpalatable, public links to him were/are avoided due to his anti-semitism, Islamophobia, outright bigotry, ‘passive eugenic’ eugenics, meeting KKK types and anti-Catholicism (goes way back to his involvement with Rockefeller linked Planned Parenthood and ZPG Zero Population Growth; hosted locally in ’90s by which related NGO?).

    Also related to Christianity, during the cold war the Kremlin developed strong links and influence via the US within global Christian organisations including WCC World Council of Churches, WCF World Congress of Families and Abbott’s favourite, the ADF Alliance Defending Freedom (sources SPLC)….maybe he and local associates need a heads up, as he like many visitors are nominally Catholic, practice and uphold ‘family values’?

    Hungary’s credo is ‘family values’, Christianity, patriotism and no immigration, but reality is high divorce/separation rates nearly two thirds of relationships, no one attends church, no unity/community (vs. EU nations see Poland demos/elections, or Ukraine resisting Russia) and many working age simply emigrate, while there is growing immigration, especially from Asia due to population ageing and decline…..

    Objective? A 19thC form of corrupt permanent nativist Christian authoritarianism for the <1%……

  15. New England Cocky

    @ Cool Pete: I think you are unfair to many working class kids from Bankstown & elsewhere. Any sports coach will tell you that the important characteristic is ”the size of the fight in the dog”, not hair colour, reading glasses or private school education.

    Indeed, as evidence, my former brother-in-law (now retired) grew up in a Bankstown fibro, was sent to Vietnam, flushed his medals down the toilet and returned to complete a four year degree in 2.5 years to enter a then big four accountancy firm and go on to a successful life long career before retiring as CFO for a billion dollar corporation.

    Then in our local regional city, the top two drop-outs from their respective high schools are now leading real estate empires built up over the past 30 years.

    Until the Howard policies designed to destroy state school education, win favour with the Churches and buy the votes of aspiring middle class parents by over-funding private schools, indeed in spite of this political interference, the best academic school in NSW remains James Ruse Agricultural High School, enrolled on merit and has held that position since it opened in the mid 70s.

  16. Steve Davis

    In my reply to Andy I listed some of the evils of our financial system, but I forgot the most important.

    A dominant feature of the liberal system is that it de-humanises people. It regards people, and brazenly refers to people, merely as resources. This has become so pervasive that even customers, whose needs were once uppermost, are now seen this way also. A customer is now a resource to be fleeced.
    There is no longer any sense of public service in the setting up or conduct of a business, and where isolated cases of such sentiment do occur, they are quickly eliminated by competitive pressures arising from the widely held view in business circles that “The Social Responsibility of Business Is To Increase Its Profits,” in line with Milton Friedman’s influential 1970 essay of the same title.

    The Western banking system is the fortress, the backer, and the policy source for our liberal financial system of winners and losers. In contrast, Islamic banking is based on vastly different values, such as a mutual sharing of risk, and a prohibition on collecting interest. Which brings us back to Israel.

    Israel is not self-supporting. Its aggressive, antagonistic, militaristic relations with its neighbours rely on constant subsidy from the liberal West to survive. It is fitting that such a parasitic state is protected by a parasitic financial system, a system that in turn relies on constant subsidy from taxpayers to not only retain its current exploitative, militaristic form, but constant taxpayer subsidy to even survive. That protection of Israel now extends to encouraging and facilitating the dispossession and/or elimination of a native population. Where have we seen that before?

    So what we see in Gaza right now is indeed a clash of civilizations — a clash between opposing views on how society should function. The Gaza tragedy is a microcosm. A small-scale re-enactment and confirmation of “The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence.”

    How is this connected to the topic of the rising Right?

    The liberal financial system, because it was created by the greedy and selfish to pander to the greedy and selfish, destroys social bonds. Destroys the very things that provide security and comfort for the masses.The aspirations of most people are quite modest, but in the main they insist, quite reasonably, on security and comfort. Privatisation for example, puts public assets in private hands so the previous owners can become a resource to be exploited. In that single change, the lives of people are made more difficult and less secure.

    So we should not be surprised when a heartless, soulless system, turning on its own, throws up those who are lost but determined to be heard, who are confused by the vast gulf between official rhetoric and official action, dimly aware that all is not as it should be, but certain that somewhere along the line, they too, have become victims.
    To whom do they turn?

  17. andyfiftysix

    steve davis, “To whom do they turn?”…………counter intuitively. They vote for pieces of shit like Trump or Howard. As we have seen.

    I would suggest “superiority in applying organized violence.” is the effect of power chasing. For humanity to progress beyond the animal kingdom , we need to re engineer our DNA away from heirarchy to sharing. The answer isnt in any of the “isms”. Non individually has the built in corrections, maybe a combination is more stable but in the long run , we need another game plan.

    “The Social Responsibility of Business Is To Increase Its Profits,” never has anyone uttered such an assertion that takes greed as a literal truth and values it above all else. It throws out 2000 yrs of christian teachings. It is so so wrong on so many moral levels. Its a statement that gives license to so many perverse outcomes. Climate change being one. No doubt it fueled Kissinger’s self righteousness. How many people did he indirectly kill 2-5million.? Anyone following COP28 will be totally frozen with fear when the president of this organisation exploded with rage when questioned on his commitments. “no science that says we need to reduce the burning of fossil fuels…” There yous have it, no moral commitment to do what’s right. His income trumps everything.
    Maybe we need to totally debunk Milton. If his house of cards is built on an assertion….what else is fucked thinking?

  18. Clakka

    I’m a bit lazy this morning.

    The commentary above is rightly intense and full of well observed historical cause and effect.

    I guess all one can do is, before their designer apocalypse, continue to seek to hold the demagogues to account, even though they are a cunning and powerful web.

    I just made a comment on John Lord’s “18 months of waiting ….. “. It’s m two-bob’s worth for this morning.

    With the now world-wide movement of democracy wreckage being funded by the greedy fossil-fuellers, and neo-christian fascist evangelists, and added to by a msm concentration ruled by seriously corrupt, greedy, power-hungry old men, who care only for their wealth and world-wide domination via colonialist era despotism and white-supremacy. They are together the deliberate destroyers of the democratic project, the drivers of environmental vandalism, hate peddlers, and the demagogues controlling the culture wars.

    The crushing of peer-reviewed science, education and understanding, ethical competition and social cohesion are the tools of their dominion. That their application of these tools leads to a confused populace riven with anxiety, fear and prone to adversary and war, matters not to them, and in the alternative serves to drive sensation from which they derive profit.

    That such demagogic plays of aristocrats gave rise to the Great War, and then the roll-on of divisive political absolutism, WWII and Vietnam, all where the fossil-fuellers and militarist industrialists profited massively, it is no surprise it has been relaunched.

    Since the rise of self-appointed aristocrats, the fascist Thatcher, and bible-bashing idiot, Reagan, the push has been on. The fossil-fuellers and militarist industrialists have backed-in political absolutism until the virtual wreckage of Britain and America and the targets of their covert imperialism. Of course, the broader, aspirational populace remained confused and increasingly nationalistic – for a while, until after Brexit and the wars such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Central America, the Arab Spring, and Syria etc, all under the auspice of the mandate of globalization.

    But just in time for the demagogues, a new war front emerged – Climate Change – an invisibility – perfect for the divisive rhetoric of belief. And thereby, with it the application again of nationalistic siege mentality, and the device against immigration.

    To say such demagogic machinations have not worked, defies the realities of history. The broader populace always pay the price, but after a period where they bury their dead, regret and rebuild, behind the dark curtains the demagogues adapt and prepare to go at it again.

    We are seeing the breakdown of functional democracy and executive governance. Everyone is held to ransom by information, disinformation, corporate capital imperialism, and at the ballot box. For example, where the populace asserts its rights to independence of (confused) thought, in Malaysia we have seen the election of myriads of mini-parties, and independent candidates, such that the functioning of parliament is bogged down and executive governance virtually stalled. In Israel we have seen a plunge to a totally inept series of coalitions lead by Likud and the corrupt and bellicose Netanyahu, and most recently in Holland, Wilders earning the most seats, but utterly askance and unlikely to be able to form a coalition to facilitate a functioning government. Likewise Javier Milei, in Argentina.

    In Oz we have seen recently the affect of the demagogic loud-hailer, where the populace asserts its rights to independence of (confused) thought in voting down the ‘Voice’. Dutton has said he won’t be PM. His and the LNP objective in the short term is to wreck Albo and Labor.

  19. Steve Davis

    Andy, well said.

    “They vote for Trump or Howard.” Very true, but those that are marginalised will sometimes vote for even worse options.

  20. Steve Davis

    Clakka, if that’s you on a lazy day, I’d love to see you in full flight! 🙂

  21. Steve Davis

    Just to touch on Israel again, as those self-styled champions of liberty and human rights, (the Western powers incl Australia) stand by and do nothing, or even worse, assist as Israel carries out its genocidal ambitions in Gaza, I’m reminded of a wonderful quote from over a century ago from Rosa Luxemburg.

    “Bourgeois (liberal) society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism.”

    We’ve made our choice. We’ve regressed into barbarism.

  22. andyfiftysix

    Yea steve, israel again. There is a post in the papers( forget age or guardian) that says in effect we shouldnt judge israel because its holocaust denial. There is no equivalence……..is the assertion. There it is out in the open, a river in da nile…. mental dissonance is ringing loud and clear, but there is nobody home. I think we can all condemn the holocaust , palestinian brutality and the cult of israel without forgoing our humanity. Jews should join the human society and forgo the “promised land” cult . Its a spiral into oblivion. I am sure God justifies stealing in the ten commandments. Oh the irony of it all. I am sure when your on a crusade , self awareness is left behind.

  23. GL

    Abbott Tones: 150 grams of brain jammed into a skull already filled with, very roughly speaking, 1.25 kilos of gormless thug.

  24. Steve Davis

    In my first comment above I remarked that “ We sincerely believe that we are superior. The Master does not negotiate with underlings.” Yes, it was an attempt at a rhetorical flourish, but it’s actually a pretty accurate reflection of the West’s attitude to the world.

    A few days ago the former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen warned against China getting control of Taiwan. Leaving to one side the rights and wrongs of such a development, (the world recognises that there is only one China) Rasmussen’s fear was put this way.
    “If China did wrest control of the island, it would cause severe damage to Europe’s economic interests,” because Taiwan “produces over 60% of the world’s semiconductors and about 90% of the most advanced ones. If Beijing controlled this manufacturing, it would have a chokehold on the global economy, placing European governments and firms in a position of weakness.”

    It’s worth noting that this comment brings out into the open an illness, an anti-social abnormality that lies at the heart of liberal economics.

    Because the liberal economy was constructed to facilitate individual wealth at the expense of social wealth, cooperation and mutual benefit from business activities and trade get pushed into the background. Over time, the result is that the system becomes dominated by the greedy and the ruthless. Their anti-social abnormality leads them to assume that every player in the game thinks as they do. And what what would a greedy sociopath do with control of a major resource? Therein lies the fear that sits at the heart of liberalism. Rasmussen’s fear is pure projection.

    But there’s an extra aspect to their fear of China having some economic leverage. If such a situation did develop, the Master would be forced to negotiate, to treat China with respect. But we don’t negotiate with underlings. We don’t do respect. We will go to war over Taiwan to preserve our petty, foolish and dangerous illusions.

  25. GL

    A non-political aside:

    I was quite pleased to see a Bluebottle, aka Blue ‘ant’ wasp, for the first time in about four years running around near the clothes line a few minutes ago. Sadly, I haven’t seen any Christmas beetles and Praying Mantis’s for over six years here.

  26. Canguro

    GL, re. your NPA: you’d be aware, I’m guessing, of the now well-documented global decline in insect populations, variously attributed to such factors as global warming and climate change, air pollution, habitat loss, insecticide usage in agricultural and other contexts, urbanisation, light pollution & eutrophication amongst the range of causal factors. An unfolding tragedy amongst the numerous examples of the cost of the fossil fuel era and its precipitation of the sixth extinction phase, the Anthropocene. Good job, humanity! Well fucking done! If ever a species shat in its nest for a negative outcome, it’s Homo sapiens as the principal exemplar.

    About the only positive spin on this is the reduction in windscreen bug splat, as selfish and pathetic an observation as that is.

    Given the critical role insects play in the overall ecological web as pollinators and major food sources for reptiles and birds, we’re yet to witness the full cost of this insectageddon but the coming decades will reveal all, along with the consequent weeping and gnashing of humanity that will surely accompany the slowly unfolding awareness of the true costs of the world’s addiction to coal, oil and gas-based energy sources along with the usage of hundreds of thousands of synthetic chemicals poured thoughtlessly into the environment.

  27. Steve Davis

    I just came across an updated version of the quote from Rosa Luxemburg.

    “Humanity is in a civilization war about private vs public finance…..pick a side.”

  28. frances


    Though you did flag an “incomplete” list (yr link has it as ‘exhaustive’), it seems the LNP’s ruthless sabotaging of the Voice referendum after indicating bipartisanship didn’t make the cut…

    @ Steve Davis:

    In case you/other posters missed Laura Tingle’s interview with Louise Adler on &.30 Mon night things were put into sharp perspective by Ms Adler for anyone still incapable of distinguishing between antisemitism and anti-Zionism…



  29. Steve Davis

    Thanks frances

  30. Kate

    To all the totally gormless, Murdoch-manipulated, short-sighted, self-serving LNP supporters out there who STILL don’t get it; who are STILL brainwashed enough to be prepared to minimise the appalling $1 TRILLION deficit left behind by the criminally corrupt, unspeakably inept, rorting, wasteful pathological liars in the LNP for Australian taxpayers to try and recover and, no doubt, are devious enough to pass the blame for their debt (the worst deficit in our history) onto Labor; then click on yet another link (below) that itemises NO LESS THAN 1,016 separate incidences of unconscionable corruption, environmental vandalism, callous inhumanity and waste by the indescribably depraved political psychopaths who inhabit EVERY dark corner of the LNP:


  31. frances

    Thanks Kate…it’s gotta be somewhere!:)

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