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What makes the Morrison government’s actions of the past week so astonishing

What is conservatism?

“Conservatism is a political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions like politics and Christianity. It believes in Incremental change, limited government, free markets, the rights of the individual and personal responsibility also make the list.”

Manners even feature in the context of culture and civilisation.

Conservatives seek to preserve a range of institutions such as parliamentary government, and property rights, with the aim of emphasising social stability and continuity. It also has a distrust of science.

Capitalism is, of course, a central tenant of its ideology however it takes second place to profit when necessary.

Conservatives also believe the role of government should be to provide people with the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals. Conservative policies generally emphasise empowerment of the individual to solve problems.

Conversely, socialism believes in government action to achieve equal opportunity and equality for all:

“It is the duty of the government to alleviate social ills and to protect civil liberties and individual and human rights.

It believes the role of the government should be to guarantee that no one is in need. It’s policies generally emphasise the need for the government to solve problems.

So, what makes the Morrison government’s actions of the past week or so, so astonishingly staggering? Is it that it has completely abandoned its ideology in favour of those of the socialist?

The question as to why they should do so, to the political observer, is most perplexing.

Or perhaps l should put the question that The Australian’s Greg Sheridan posed (firewall):

“The government’s massive fiscal intervention in the Australian economy, entirely justified by the gravity of the COVID-19 crisis, will change centre-right politics in this country forever. You cannot make the need for small government, free markets and less state intervention your chief political narrative if you have just used government on a scale never before imagined to rescue the nation from a desperate health emergency.”

I would have to disagree with his assumption that the Coalition parties are centre-right. I think they are far more right than mildly centre-right.

What have they done? Well, just a few weeks ago “balancing the budget” was its top priority despite a decline in economic conditions. Now in the space of a few days, they have done a triple bypass spending $18 billion, propping up the economy and saving jobs. Even minding the kids will be free.

It is now it is lining up a new wave of spending commitments for business, valued at more billions.

They are also making a commitment to specific sectors like tourism, sports, arts and entertainment and the airlines, which will total more than $1 billion.

Who would have believed it? So socialist!

Conservatives will even be hard-pressed to explain how the science of climate that discovered our planet is overheating and threatening our existence is somehow different (and unbelievable) to the science that discovered a virus that also threatened great destruction.

When, many years ago, the lady with the bad hairdo uttered her famous and dispassionate condemnation of the human species:

“There is no such thing as society. There are only individuals making their way. The poor shall be looked after by the drip down effect from the rich” (paraphrased).

I was horrified. It was a statement that could only be expressed by someone with a deep sense of isolation, selfish indifference, or indulgence.

Was she saying that families only consisted of individuals making their way without any dependency on a societal structure? The basic need for companionship, for each other.

Change sometimes disregards opinion and becomes a phenomenon of its own making. With Its own inevitability.

We are by nature a herding animal. We form groups because no individual can survive without the assistance of others.

No man is an island,” as John Donne said. Margaret Thatcher’s statement condemns us to class self-centeredness and serfdom.

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy on not fighting the old, but on building the future” (Socrates).

Anyway, how do we explain this interchangeable ideology? Is it common good even common sense politics? An attempt to retain power perhaps.

Will it all, at the end force a change in political ideas? Will it all at the end just revert back to the way things were?

Substantial and worthwhile change often comes with short-term controversy but the pain is worth it for the long-term prosperity of all.

Will the conservatives when they have done with the philosophical ideals of the left once again take on the mantle of the capitalistic rights of the individual over the collective?

The way I see it at the moment is that all they are doing is governing for the common good and I have to salute that.

The philosophical arguments will come later.

My thought for the day

It’s difficult to cast yourself in a new light when you’re coming out of the darkness.

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17 comments

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  1. Uta Hannemann

    “It’s difficult to caste yourself in a new light when you’re coming out of the darkness.”

    True!

  2. whatever

    Yes, its getting to be just like North Korea with the daily TV praising of the compassionate, all-knowing Dear Leader Scotty.

  3. Lars Karlsson

    LNP Gorvernment copying Rudd’s visionary actions after 8 years of blaming it for continued budget deficit after deficit; Australia and the rest of the world including Trumps administration is taking a lead of the actions. Seems like perhaps Rudd should be regarded as a noteworthy visionary now.

    Wayne Swann’s “Come hell or high water” surplus budget failed to meet the target by a trivial amount, and in the environment of massive worldwide economic growth; Australia would have had a massive war chest of funds to fight the current crises if we had stuck to the same principles.

  4. JOsephus

    Getting rather tired of the crude chauvinism of the lucky country. When an immigrant disputes that she is told to ‘go home’. I presume that our feckless and selfish leaders are doing what they are doing for a similar reason that the totally conservative Bismark did, because the alternative to social welfare in a crisis is mass starvation, riots, danger to themselves.
    The French Revolution started with bread riots. In India today and many other poor societies too ethnic or religious minorities are singled out for attack. In France, not a poor country, anti-semitism is reborn. The Jews are poisoning the wells again, as some cartoons imply there.
    As climate change brings more droughts, floods, fires, so internecine wars and hatreds are inevitable.
    Wake up, fools that govern us.

    Regimes invent vulnerable minorities to deflect the violence.
    In the past kings and bishops invented scheming minorities to protect their estates and their power. Modern governments too invent internal enemies, be they Moslems, Jews, immigrants, or even ‘communist Greens’ lurking in coffee shops.

    The alternative or supplementary tactic is to have a huge army and use powerful weapons a la Beijing and Egypt. Or torture and disappear dissidents a la Saudi and Turkey.

    So, why is Scomo feigning to abandon his personal religious delusions in favour of the massive printing of money? He has to buy off the desperate in order to stave off total collapse and his downfall.
    Scomo is saving his arse, because he fears that even tv ogling couch potatoes rise up when there are no more potatoes.

  5. Terence Mills

    It is stunning to see that, as private institutions fail – private hospitals, the childcare industry – a conservative government introduces approaches of nationalisation to overcome the fundamental problem that exists with privatised essential services.

    After years of resistance to increases in Newstart the coalition government have suddenly doubled the unemployment payments and [in typical conservative spin] changed the name to Jobseeker. The additional $550 per fortnight added to unemployment payments takes the maximum base rate to $1115.70. The prime minister has been applauded by all sectors of the community, even Sky-after-dark are nodding their heads sagely and, whilst not calling each other bruvver quite yet, they agree that this is the right thing to do.

    BUT what was missed or played down by the mainstream media was that the increase is only temporary. After six months it will lapse and revert to Newstart and the payments will be reduced as the PM reminds us the best form of welfare is a job.

    How this approach to unemployment support by the PM is in any sense logical escapes me and I need others to explain it – anybody ?

    Spinners is the PM’s office have been working flat out on slogans and, after the Jobseeker push foundered, they decided to give money to employers and call it Jobkeeper and to pay employers to keep employees on even if they have no customers.

    All of this seems to me to argue in favour of Universal Basic Income (UBI) where you actually place the stimulus money in the hands of consumers to do what consumers do : spend and consume. But if you remember when Rudd did this during the GFC we were told that the money would be wasted on flat screen TV’s – there is no satisfying conservatives.

    We now have both Qantas and Virgin [and REX] saying that they will go to the wall if not given big licks of public money. You have to ask yourself : if their own shareholders won’t support them with funding why on earth should you and I ?
    The reason is that they are essential services so perhaps if we are going to come to the rescue we would be better off taking an equity position by partially nationalising these institutions and making the Australian public a shareholder. At least then we get the benefit of their resurgence when times improve : the Qantas Group achieved an Underlying Profit Before Tax of $1.30 billion in the Financial Year 2019 !

    What Morrison and his merry band of followers need to acknowledge is that they got back into office by imprudently promising tax cuts to all and sundry well into the future despite the Parliamentary Budget Officewarning that this misguided political ploy would remove the “buffer” against revenue shocks, creating significant risk to the government’s budget projections in the years ahead. The government and the electorate ignored that warning.

    I think I’ll walk the dog, he’ the only one listening !

  6. totaram

    Lars Karlsson: This government is splashing the cash just as well as Rudd did and it has no “war chest” because the deficit is now more than double of that which the Labor government left. Does that not tell you that we don’t need a “war chest”? We are a sovereign issuer of our own free-floating fiat currency and have no restriction on government spending except inflation. “Budget deficits or surpluses ” and “government debt” (in our own currency) are pretty much irrelevant.
    In fact Wayne Swan’s heroic attempt to “deliver a surplus” was completely unnecessary and hurt the economy.

  7. Pagnol

    Anyway, how do we explain this interchangeable ideology?
    – Pragmatism. Hanging on to power at any cost has long been the Conservative way. Further the warm, fuzziness of “we’re all in this together” is undermined by the fact that the Conservatives have long relied, certainly since Howard, on divisiveness to prosper. So now this appeal to unity makes me doubt any altruism on the govt.’s part.

  8. Phil Pryor

    Forced into a huge reversal of ignorant prejudice, the P M, our Piltdown Man, has confounded reality, which for him is the fantasy of a planned, superstitious, supremacist, triumphal, incrowd only certainty. Living in a fantasy world that never ever existed allows those such as the P M to imagine his divine correctness, his astute guesses, his prayerful fraud fantasy favoured finality, a world where he is enlightened and blessed, saved and rinsed and infused with powers. The recent economic action of the government, pressed to save its arse first and the nation eventually, if possible, will do some good, and the paper money will be rounded up and returned by activities and taxes. Has the Institute for Pathetic Assertions on economic exclusive righteous unproven rubbish commented yet? We need some fascist filth on markets for private controllers, exploiters, plantation bosses. Murdoch as usual fails to offer sense and balance. Albanese is quiet, his best position. So, we wander off into the great future journey of befogged and miserable economic, political and social uncertainty.

  9. Ray Tinkler

    Instead of examining the fluff from their navels for a reason, why not just look back to very recent history. The last election and the “miracle” of pork barreling. Scotty from Marketing, before that event, was committed to doing anything and whatever it would take to win and he did. Rules and convention mean nothing to him, the end goal is all that matters, i.e. WINNING.

    So what is he doing now? Exactly the same pork barreling again, the only difference is the targeted voters has changed.

  10. wam

    Good to see you fit and penning, lord.
    Day 11 of quarantine and it is disgusting that so many of our fellow self-isolated were caught breaking their promise. The labor government reluctantly has been forced to mandate hotel isolation at a cost of $2500 as a condition of entry. It terrible to use the debacle of the ruby princess to keep thousands of people trapped in cruise ship around australia. Bring them to Port Hedland, Dampier and/or Cape Lambert and fly them home.
    It is fair to attribute a modicum of success to smirko. Praise should b tempered because he is still at the big cash talking stage and the lnp has no experience in doing anything beyond outsourcing and forgetting to follow up and blaming labor.
    Thatcher’s words:
    There is no such thing as society. There is living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate.’”
    In relation to melbournians (how are you vics goings at isolating??) and hoarding raids to rural communities and panic buying , can you accept that your paraphrase may neither be an honest nor truthful representation of the milk snatcher’s words? Indeed to add will roger’s words from the great depression seems deliberately disingenuous’
    ps speers smacked karvellas, both are average so nothing missed when a storm upset the broadcast. Picture came clear with bowers and wasn’t moir on fire last week

  11. Jon Chesterson

    Be very cautious – This man is not a benevolent dictator except when it is convenient and to be seen as such. He is already using the phrase ‘snap back’ so ask yourself why.

  12. Ray Tinkler

    [Quote]”He is already using the phrase ‘snap back’ so ask yourself why.”[/Quote] Or Jon, even ‘snap election’.

  13. ajogrady

    Still trying to understand how the I’m alright Jack party functioning under the sudonym of the Liberal/National party can correlate their belief of the individuals rights in a functioning democratic society. Surely a contradiction? But the actions and policy backflips of the L/NP of late are all total contradictions. Market forces! What market forces? Nothing changes with these corrupt criminals. Privatise the profits and nationalise the losses. Business as usual.

  14. Ill fares the land

    Let’s be really clear about this. We are not seeing Scotty from Marketing as a socialist. We are seeing him as no more than a mad, right-wing, conservative political opportunist who is doing what he has to do to stop the country going utterly down the gurgler.

    We should not rule out that he will call an early election to maximise this god-given gift of a crisis that he is exploiting to build a new facade as our glorious leader and the Messiah who is the only person who can lead us into the light.

    Already, the rabid right-wing media is building him up as somehow Churchillian, when in reality, this is a man who has not even the beginnings of statesmanship or greatness. Anyone who has looked at his history in business and politics can readily conclude here is a man of little genuine talent who has backstabbed his way to the top job without at any stage demonstrating the skills needed to do that job well. How is it that he can do the job so badly from the day he was elected (after lying and blustering his way through an entire election campaign – which he only just won, despite Bill Shorten’s lack of popularity) and suddenly rise to greatness? Answer – he can’t. This crisis allows him to read from a prepared script and that plays to one of his few attributes that you might want to call a “strength”, whereas the bushfire crisis called on him to show a broader range of intellectual and personal skills – and guess what. He showed himself to be seriously and criminally lacking on both counts. He can’t get smarter overnight and he can’t suddenly develop genuine empathy – he can only create a new facade.

    As soon as the crisis is passed, we will see the poor and downtrodden being called on to make sacrifices, while he and his incompetent, corrupt party return to a blind acceptance of “trickle down economics”, which in essence means that if you take from the poor and give to the rich, the rich will use that wealth to enrich all of society. It has never worked, but they remain doggedly wedded to what amounts to a farcical idea.

  15. Stephengb

    The overwealming, so called, stimulous has been directed to assist business principly big business, because so far the only businesses feeling the pain are the small business and the employed, (the unemployed have been feeling the pain for more than 20 years).

    Yes I accept that the airlines and the shopping malls are hit but let’s face facts, big businesses have rich share holders who seem to be unwilling to put their hands in their pockets to assist, preferring instead to insist on government largesse.

    As for the assistance to the new unemployed, yes there is some help but only 70% (government figure).

    Make no mistake Morrison is only doing what is necessary to,save a riot.

  16. Carole

    It is not only the Greeks one has to be aware of when it comes to bearing gifts. Until reading this post I hadn’t considered an early election which pre Coronavirus would have been my fervent wish. As they say, be careful what you wish for. An early election is now my greatest concern. Having bought the last election Morrison is seeking to buy the next one and chances are he will be able to get away with it. Its time to ask who will pay for this largesse?
    Malcolm Fraser once said of the economy « a cake is a cake ». It depends on how you slice is. Will we all get an equal share of the cake or will we be climbing all over one another for the last few crumbs?
    Time to be alarmed as well as alert.

  17. Ray Tinkler

    Carole,

    It matters not who you pork barrel, so long as it keeps you in govt. Seems to be working if you go by today’s poll.

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