I have made it a rule to not comment on politics, except of course as it affects the topics I’m discussing at the time. Regular readers will recall well-crafted adjectives such as ‘right-wing nut jobs’ etc, when talking about climate change for example.
One of the reasons for keeping politics out of things is that it is antithetical to rational thinking. It is simply not a rational process. For all the plaudits lavished on democracy good grief does it have some flaws. But as they say, it’s probably the best we’ve got, and sure beats the hell out of a feudal system for example.
But I’ve weakened. It’s not just that Australia has just elected it’s very own George W . Bush (let the gaffe-counting commence). It’s mainly that the process was so tortuous this time around. Right-wingers will say that it’s because the outgoing government was so dysfunctional for so long. There is some measure of truth to this – their leadership hijinks were just tedious. But this alone is not the reason. Indeed the Labour government got plenty of nation-building going (see, I’m even using political terms!). But for me it was the incessant prattle by both the opposition and the media that really did my head in, to use the psychologist-approved term.
That ‘prattle’ largely consisted of dumbed-down slogans, repeated ad nauseam by the opposition (Stop the boats! Axe the tax!), and then re-tweeted, so to speak, by the media. To me it’s the same phenomenon as happens with, for example, climate denialists – because the situation is actually quite complex, short, pithy slogans can penetrate and are hard to easily refute. This is why atheists tend to avoid debating theologians – the latter are armed with loads of quotes which cannot easily be refuted by another simple quote. It’s the FUD approach – sow seeds of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, and the masses will come with you. Historically the tobacco industry did this effectively for many years – using doubt as the main weapon.
So we now have our very own climate-denialist as PM, famously quoted as saying ‘climate change is crap’. Oh boy. First order of business – dismantle carbon pricing mechanisms, and replace it with so-called ‘Direct Action’, which as I understand it will consist primarily of paying off polluters to, well, not pollute as much. This position is clearly a political expedient, since of all policy positions, carbon pricing is the most consistent with right-wing, free-market approaches, while their adopted approach is socialism writ large. And to top it all off, just today we read that an MP who is an avowed climate change skeptic, Dennis Jensen, has put his hand up to be Minister for Science. He is quoted as saying “It was wrong to accept the view of the 97 per cent of climate scientists who agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely caused by human activities, because “the argument of consensus . . . is a flawed argument”. And if that doesn’t tell you enough, then he also said: “The colourful Englishman, Lord Christopher Monckton, who toured Australia to debunk the “bogus science” of global warming, was closer to the mark“, and, “Most of the stuff [Lord Monckton] says is entirely reasonable”. Again, Oh boy.
The other peculiarity about this election is the rise of the so-called micro-parties in the Senate, as a result of our archaic preference voting system. How ironic is that the people complaining about it are the politicians. Guys, you set it up! What’s even more laughable is the now new government poking fun at some of the potential new senators, basically describing them as the lunatic fringe. All I can say is Bill Heffernan and Barnaby Joyce. Pot calling kettle black.
Climate change is crap. No conscience vote on gay marriage. Catholic views on women’s reproductive rights and ‘traditional family values’. Fanning the embers of xenophobia. Copper for broadband, not fibre. Australia, all ahead full, warp factor 9 – destination, the 1950’s.
And if I hear one more word on what the people of fucking Western Sydney or fucking Queensland want or think, I’m going to scream.