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Monday, 29 June 2020 12:10

Ideology, Ignorance and the Madness of Crowds

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Chesterton once said that the non believer in God doesn't believe in nothing - he is prone to believe in anything.  Observing the current political madness in the world only confirms Chesterton's wisdom.  Whether it is the mad wokeness of the new revolutionaries, or the crazy hysteria over Covid 19, it seems to be everywhere.  There is a madness to crowds.  Not just in Victoria.

 

The Victorian Problem

The focus of the nation is currently on Victoria.  Ground zero for Covid hysteria.

The feared second wave!  Lockdown!  Testing blitz!  The army!  Crisis!  Has the state gone completely bonkers? 

The State of Victoria has a population of 6.359 million.  Its capital has a population of 4.936 million.  This past week, a couple of hundred people have contracted a (for about 99 per cent of the population) very, very mild viral infection, if indeed they have any symptoms to speak of, let alone to worry about.  One person has died during this time.  One.

Yet we have family shaming, the army called in (then told to go away), hyper-ventilation over the quarantining of travellers, fresh new rules for social behaviour and a continuation of the state’s and nation’s insane attacks on liberty and the committing of economic suicide.  A few innocent fishermen on a pier are moved along with vigour by the Covid Cops of VicPol.  Yes, the same corrupt mob of bunglers who have politicised policing, trashed the justice system and who hunt down innocent cardinals and gaol them.  At the same time that tens of thousands of left wing social justice warriors are let loose on the streets of MelDanistan, to protest and grieve for someone who died thousands of miles away with not the remotest connection to Australia, let alone Victoria.  We perhaps should be thankful that we don’t have the looting, violent mayhem and iconoclasm as well.

Things are about to get worse (again) for the people and prospects of Victoria.  As The Age reported last week:

Two of the experts behind Australia’s COVID-19 strategy say Victoria should consider a hard lockdown of up to eight weeks or brace for continual outbreaks and last-minute changes to restrictions until a vaccine is created.

Yet more time spent under house arrest, more isolation and more disruption, along with new hefty fines for those who refuse to take a test and location specific lockdowns, then, just as the rest of the world is, albeit tentatively, ditching lockdowns and re-opening economies.    

All this is despite perfectly rational, understandable and growing unease over the whole policy of lockdown and the emergence of a number of rigorous international studies showing that lockdowns don’t stop the spread of viruses or reduce the number of deaths.  And that, perhaps, they have actually increased cases of Covid 19 across those countries where lockdowns were imposed (or, to be absolutely accurate, that Covid cases have spiked immediately after the impositions of lockdowns.  Correlation isn’t the same as causation).  We do know for a fact that lockdowns destroy liberty and economies.  They cost lives.  They ruin livelihoods.

//medium.com/@JohnPospichal/questions-for-lockdown-apologists-32a9bbf2e247">https://medium.com/@JohnPospichal/questions-for-lockdown-apologists-32a9bbf2e247

Victorians are bracing for a “second wave”, even though, as commentators like Adam Creighton in Australia and Toby Young in the UK have suggested, most of us are still awaiting the first.  Australia, safely in the warmer southern hemisphere when the virus hit cold, late-winter Europe, recently brought up one hundred Covid related deaths.  The slowest century since Geoff Boycott.  There is little evidence of any international second wave.  Increased cases are largely due to much wider testing.  And most importantly, while there are new cases, certainly in the USA and mostly among the young and healthy, there are very few new deaths.  This is despite much urging on of the death count from bedwetters and Covid ideologues everywhere.  Even Professor Pantsdown in the UK (aka professor Neil Ferguson) has stated there is no need for a second lockdown.

So why on earth is Victoria in the news?  Enjoying its Maoist moment, to borrow a phrase of Eric Kaufmann’s.  We need to dig deeper.

Covid Hysteria and Bungles in Victoria

Certainly, the Victorian version of the current hysteria is consistent with that on display in other jurisdictions and polities. 

Yet by national standards, the Victorian Covid obsession is, indeed, turbo-charged, more advanced and far more lethal than most of the other jurisdictions.  Only in Victoria could a premier call in the army to help deal with Covid, while at the same time naming and shaming innocent families. 

Not to mention the truly bizarre story of the oversighting by the Victorian health authorities of a Covid cluster caused by the contractors employed to guard the quarantining isolaters being allowed to move around freely in the community, spreading the infection further.  Indeed, the movement of these contractors into the community is said to be the second most prevalent cause of the spread of the virus in Victoria!  There has even been the suggestion that some of the contractor/minders have even been having sex with the people being held in isolation, possibly including overseas guests as well as returning Victorian travellers.  Not too much social distancing there, then.  One can only wonder about these guests of the state – will they love every piece of Victoria?  Not without reason are these knocking shops called “hot” or “red” hotels.  Have they been watching the UK’s Professor Pantsdown on the tele?

The flaccid response of the chief medical officer when confronted with concerns over the quarantine process was truly mind numbing.  They must think we are all idiots.

This was the response of Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services:

The state's chief health officer Brett Sutton said on Wednesday that contact tracers believed the family cluster in the south-east Melbourne suburb of Hallam originated with a contractor working at the Stamford Plaza quarantine hotel, who brought the virus home.

Oh, ok.  Nothing to see here.  But there is more:

Security guards employed at the Stamford Plaza, where 14 staff members were infected, and the Rydges hotel, where 19 were infected, have told The Age they were put to work without proper training in personal protective equipment or infection control.

Mr Sutton said health authorities were concerned about security guards failing to observe the 1.5 metre physical distancing rule while on the job.

"Some of those spaces where they gathered, meant they were too close together," he said.

Too close together?  That is one way of describing it.  This scandalous farrago of incompetence has cost Victorian taxpayers $36 million.  All overseen by the Victorian Government, at the same time that government is re-locking up its population and re-grinding the economy into the dust.  To date, twenty people have died in Victoria with Covid, all up (at the time of writing).  Twenty.  That is all.  Well under its “fair share” of Australian deaths, incidentally, going by population.  Perhaps the relentless media and political focus on “cases” is simply a reflection of the pathetically small number of actual deaths.  This is a non-story.

It might even be argued that the massive focus on the “spike”, almost willing it into existence and certainly exaggerating its significance, is merely an ideological attempt to keep the lockdown going for as long as possible.  This is certainly the view of the American commentator Heather MacDonald in relation to the current US situation.  She refers to a “drum beat” urging the continuation of lockdown.  No doubt, the lockdown champions here wish for the same.  Again, this is merely second wave madness piled onto first wave madness.

Oh, and to round it off, one of the Victorian Government spokespeople regularly banging on about all this is none other than Ms Van Diemen, she of the recent Captain Cook twittering.

To remind us all:

Sudden arrival of an invader from another land, decimating populations, creating terror. Forces the population to make enormous sacrifices & completely change how they live in order to survive. COVID19 or Cook 1770?

Contra Ms Van Diemen, it might reasonably be argued that neither of these alleged invaders has done too much damage to anyone or anything.  Ms Van Diemen, like VicPol’s “leadership” post-Pell, entirely and not unexpectedly escaped even the vaguest censure from the Victorian Government.

All this when the Andrews lockdown phase two is kicking in, only further to disrupt everyone’s lives, cause more economic mayhem and curtail the people’s freedom. 

As the clearly wise (Victorian State) Liberal MP Tim Smith opined, “Daniel Andrews is an idiot”.  This would seem to be stating the obvious, I know.  But if an idiot, then he is a very dangerous idiot, and one recently (November 2018) given a thumping, enlarged majority in the parliament, courtesy of the good voters of his state, all but guaranteeing his government another term of office after the next election due in late 2022.  A successful idiot, then, with a whole state of idiots supporting him?

Smith went into overdrive on Andrews:

Smith was also briefly prominent in the media for his personal attacks on Premier, Daniel Andrews' response to the pandemic. Smith at various times called Andrews schmuck, loser, dictator, chairman, Lurch and looney on Twitter and in other media, as well as staying he was a “friendless loser”.

Inexplicably, the current leader of the opposition in Victoria asked Smith to tone it down.  Really?  Someone down there has finally called out Andrews for the rabid nutter that he appears to be.

Not entirely friendless, though.  Look at his majority (55 to 27, not counting the Greens).  The continued electoral support of Victorians has enabled Andrews to wield hegemonic power and to vertically and horizontally integrate his ideology into all institutional corners of the state’s governance structures.

The current Victorian irrationality and mayhem is but one example of a far wider societal malaise, which might well be seen as a form of madness.  A madness of crowds.

The country, indeed the world, has gone utterly mad with Covid hysteria.  The question is – who are more mad, the governments which have entirely lost the policy plot over this virus, or the people who in the face of Covid fascism have simply rolled over and, exhibiting all the symptoms of cognitive dissonance, meekly accepted the ruination thrust upon them?

Madness Defined

They said that King George (the Third) was mad. 

As Steve Connor has noted:

The descent of the king into madness has been one of the most famous episodes in the history of the Royal family and was chronicled in an award-winning stage play and film, The Madness of King George. His bouts of deranged behaviour caused him to be put in a straitjacket, chained to a chair and forcibly fed a cocktail of medicines.

At least he had an excuse – according to one theory, he was suffering from high levels of arsenic in his system, which messed with his head.  What has messed with the heads of Covid Fascist-in-Chief Daniel Andrews and all the others, both in Australia and in many other countries, one wonders?

Madness has been defined as:

Madness is the mental disorder where a person is unable to understand the present circumstances.

In its definition, Merriam Webster refers to mental illness, certainly, but also to “foolish or dangerous behaviour”, “folly”, “ecstasy”, “enthusiasm” or “rage”.  Not to mention “… any of several ailments of animals marked by frenzied behaviour”.

There is much evidence, not least revealed in the great Covid panic of 2020, that the world is currently facing nothing short of a crisis of collective madness.  We have thrown the car keys to the car thief.  We have said to the rapist – take me!  With apologies to James Burnham, we are committing Western suicide.

Two great writers, one in the nineteenth century and the other in the twenty-first, have attempted to understand and to explain just how madness can grip whole populations.

Charles McKay, Douglas Murray and the Madness of Crowds

Charles McKay, writing in the 1840s, referred to the madness of crowds.  He was speaking of “crowd psychology”, or “mob psychology”.  His book title referred to “extraordinary popular delusions” and it was a study of “folly”.

According to GoodReads:

First published in 1841, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds is often cited as the best book ever written about market psychology. This Harriman House edition includes Charles Mackay's account of the three infamous financial manias - John Law's Mississipi Scheme, the South Sea Bubble, and Tulipomania.  Between the three of them, these historic episodes confirm that greed and fear have always been the driving forces of financial markets, and, furthermore, that being sensible and clever is no defence against the mesmeric allure of a popular craze with the wind behind it.

McKay’s book is still in print, and easily available.  His thesis might be applied in equal measure to the folly and the mania of the global leadership crowd, or to the delusions of those who have rewarded them not just with obedience but with adulation, if the opinion polls here and overseas are to be believed.

The excellent British writer and politically incorrect stirrer Douglas Murray has revived McKay’s book title and his thesis, and given them a fresh coat of paint in the context of the irrationalism of contemporary identity politics.  The book is a tour de force, in equal parts head-shakingly depressing, amusing and thought provoking.  It probes mercilessly the current left liberal intellectual fad of “intersectionality”, the underpinning philosophy of much of the recent social justice warrior and black lives matter protesting.  Intersectionality, in turn, has its theoretical roots in cultural Marxism and postmodernist thought.

The core of Murray’s understanding of madness and crowd behaviour is both the idiocy of the current preoccupation with identity politics, which in turn are based on cultural Marxism and postmodernist theory, and the extent to which so many people either are taken in by them.  Or perhaps just as bad, do understand what is happening but, nevertheless, allow it to continue unopposed.  Murray disembowels postmodernist claptrap in style. 

The real madness of the quotation in Murray’s book, from the academic (I hesitate to use the word scholar) Judith Butler, is perhaps that the taxpayer pays her salary:

The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural tonalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power.

Yes, someone actually thought and wrote this.

Reading this, one can only agree with Douglas Murray that there is a madness at work in contemporary society.  How did we get here, indeed?  Butler is regarded by many in the academy as a serious, indeed an eminent, scholar.  This might be called “the madness of the universities”.

This might be thought by sane people to be how delusional people think, and how they write.  Incomprehensible gobbledegook, certainly, but with a pretence of serious thought and scholarship.  And many people take it all seriously.  More than that, it is now actually the mainstream in most universities and in many academic disciplines.  And not just the humanities, much in the news at present.  More madness there.

One of the joys of the modern academic right, an utter minority though it is, is the willingness to take the piss out of postmodernism.  Scholars like Peter Boghossian and the scientist Alan Sokal have successfully submitted hoax articles full of postmodernist gibberish to peer reviewed academic journals – and had them published!

As the Atlantic has pointed out (in 2018):

Over the past 12 months, three scholars—James Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose, and Peter Boghossian—wrote 20 fake papers using fashionable jargon to argue for ridiculous conclusions, and tried to get them placed in high-profile journals in fields including gender studies, queer studies, and fat studies. Their success rate was remarkable: By the time they took their experiment public late on Tuesday, seven of their articles had been accepted for publication by ostensibly serious peer-reviewed journals. Seven more were still going through various stages of the review process. Only six had been rejected.

The leftist Guardian newspaper described Murray’s book as merely a “right wing diatribe”.  He must be onto something.

The German novelist Elias Canetti wrote a book in the 1960s – a truly mad decade, as decades go – called Crowds and Power.  In it he noted:

The crowd, suddenly there where there was nothing before, is a mysterious and universal phenomenon. A few people may have been standing together—five, ten or twelve, not more; nothing has been announced, nothing is expected. Suddenly everywhere is black with people and more come streaming from all sides as though streets had only one direction. Most of them do not know what has happened and, if questioned, have no answer; but they hurry to be there where most other people are.

Murray himself quoted the story told by the American author and humorist James Thurber of “The Day the Dam Broke”, where in the city in which Thurber grew up in Ohio – Columbus (which, presumably, will need to be renamed shortly) – masses of people began running  out of the town to get away from a prospective flood that would never have happened.  “Suddenly somebody began to run”.. then they all did!  It became a stampede.  And the next day, and thenceforward, no one in the town ever spoke of it.

As Thurber stated:

The next day the city went about its business as if nothing had happened, but there was no joking.  It was two years or more before you dared treat the breaking of the dam lightly.  And even now … there are a few persons … who will shut up like a clam if you mention the Afternoon of the Great Run.

(For a commentary on Thurber’s version of this event, see: https://nationalcalamityeaster1913flood.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-day-dam-broke.html)

Murray’s point is that social media stampedes are the twenty-first century equivalent.  In effect, fear in that 1910s Ohio town “went viral”, so to speak.  It was a form of madness.  A little like the first world leader to bend to the fevered prognoses of the medical technocratic establishment in relation to Covid.  Then all the rest of the sheep followed.  And that is unfair to sheep.

There is a different take on popular madness, summed up in the Chestertonian maxim – those who give up believing in God don’t believe in nothing.  They will believe anything.  This is also very much part of Murray’s thinking.  And it is madness squared.

Ideology, Ignorance and Power

Above all, Murray’s book begs the question, as did McKay’s in his day – how the hell did we get here?  How does policy madness grip politicians and how do entire populations lose their collective senses?  Quite clearly, with Covid hysteria and so much more nonsense besides – think climate change and identity politics – an entire generation has entirely lost the plot.  We are consumed by ideology and self-loathing, and imprisoned by ignorance and irrational fears.  Ideology and ignorance in lethal combination have made a joke of any claims that we of the twenty-first century are somehow a progressive, enlightened, sophisticated generation.  On the contrary, we are ruled by the raw, overarching power of the clueless.  The unthinking scientism and technocratic rule on display during the Covid hysteria are a mere facsimile of the values and optimism of the Enlightenment.

Take, for example, the madness of the Covid Karens.  The curtain twitchers who report neighbours who take two dog-walks a day instead on one, in these times of safetyism and public health fascism.  The Covid Karens who report erring behaviour to the cops might be said to be imitating the behaviour of the social media dobbers who unearth old, politically incorrect statements by unsuspecting citizens then have them sacked and the careers destroyed.  As Johan Wennstrom, writing at Quillette, has noted, prominent social media companies routinely encourage the reporting of statements which disobey “speech codes” and “community standards”.  And we all simply go along with it.

One might go so far as to say that the majority of the world’s population has caught a version of Karen Covid Syndrome (KCS), given the rising popularity of many of the clueless world leaders who have caved in to irrational fear of the angry voter shouting on social media who they presumed would turn on them if more than a few people died of KungFlu.  By participating in the mass cave-in, they have all rushed, lemming like, over the cliff and in the process have destroyed economies, liberty and indeed lives without the remotest rational reason for so doing.

The parking by governments of the palpably awful consequences of their own panicked policies is further evidence of delusional behaviour.  As the scholar Carlo Caduff (of King’s College London) has suggested:

The failure to take into account the impact of extreme measures that have become the norm in many places in the Covid-19 pandemic has been stunning. The destruction of lives and livelihoods in the name of survival will haunt us for decades.

Would normal, sane leaders, even if overseeing routinely incompetent and sometimes evil governments, sign up for this?  Well, apparently they would.

Would whole populations of sane voters sign up for all of the other mad policies we currently have foisted upon us?  Climate change madness?  Political correctness?  Disembowelling our history and traditions?  Selling off our strategic assets to a foreign government, and a vicious communist one at that?  Putting up with mass immigration without our ever consenting to it? 

Apparently we would.  There is enough material in each of these delusions to fill this and a hundred more articles. And in each case, we-the-people simply go along for the ride.  The delusion of crowds.  Madness everywhere.  They say we get the politicians we deserve.  Perhaps we get the ruling class we deserve as well.  If true, any understanding of the causes of our civilisational implosion, exemplified by our 2020 episode of collective insanity and our forelock tugging to the mediocrities who rule us, must include an honest appraisal of we-the-people.  An understanding of the sources of our ignorance and our craven acceptance of second-best leadership and corrupt institutions. 

It will inevitably be found, in any such appraisal, that there is overlap between the sources and the consequences of our dilemma.  Cause becomes effect, in a vicious cycle from which escape seems impossible.  The demise of higher education is but one example.  We have handed the keys to the education of our young to ideologues and technocrats.  The system was created by these and it perpetuates itself by producing more.  The clueless produce the clueless.

It is also the case that our clueless generation’s capture by the allure of materialism, technology and presentism, where even the threat of global depression, the removal of basic liberties, the dawning reality of mass unemployment and yet more astronomical debt and the daily news of imminent economic collapse are greeted with a collective “Whatever”.

As I have termed it previously in another context, it is Australia’s Jonestown Moment.  We have drunk the Kool-Aid.  The combination of ideology, ignorance and power adds up to madness.

An Attempted Explanation of Victoria’s Descent into Madness

Let us return to Victoria, briefly.  The Victoria Premier’s longevity in office and his continuing to be taken seriously as a politician might be difficult for the casual, non-leftist observer outside Victoria to understand. 

With his Government’s infanticide-level abortion laws, the killing of the elderly – yes, someone “please explain” Victoria’s euthanasia laws when placed alongside the State’s Covid obsession about the elderly being exposed to the risks posed by erring fishermen on piers – the freshly revealed factional corruption in the State’s ALP, the embarrassingly politicised and inept police force, the murderous gangland wars over drugs, the violence on the streets resulting from misplaced multiculturalism, the carpet bombing of the most pristine parts of the state with useless windfarms, the social justice warrior obsessions of the Government, the signing up of the state to a dubious relationship with a hostile foreign power, the continued promotion of Safe Schools madness (itself conceived at transgenderism central, La Trobe University), the Government’s unaccountable, continuing war on Victoria’s fire service, the politically correct corruption of the entire justice system along  MeTooism lines, and this year the extreme and now extended Covid lockdowns.

I have written elsewhere about how Daniel Andrews gets away with all of his policy peccadillos, his political extremism and the continuing incompetence of key institutions of state. 

https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/qed/2020/01/how-daniel-andrews-gets-away-with-it/

What explains Andrews’ ongoing support?  Perhaps Andrews’ success holds lessons for those trying to understand why the madness of crowds seems to drive voter behaviour more generally, not only in Victoria but beyond, and especially in these times of the worship of Big Brother governments.

Certainly, it is often said that Victorians are more leftist than the voters of other states.  And yes, Victoria has an especially ineffectual opposition, with some – not many – notable exceptions.  Between The Age and the Herald Sun, they have a monumentally poor lamestream media, even by Australasian standards.  Sydney has – well had – Alan Jones, and Melbourne merely has Neil Mitchell.  (True, there IS Andrew Bolt to call ideology and idiocy to account).  So not too much negative media analysis to put Andrews under the pump.  Victoria too is especially well endowed with mediocre universities, pumping out lots of woke Andrews supporters.  The bureaucracy which runs the place is infested with wokeness.

But none of this fully explains the utter madness of the place.  They do produce great wine.  Perhaps the voters drink too much of it.  Then there is the fact that two thirds of the population of Melbourne were born overseas.  Perhaps the place is simply infected with multi-culti madness and a steady flow of imported left-leaning acolytes-in-waiting. 

But what of the voting public?  What is their excuse?  Haven’t they noticed the corruption, the policy zaniness, the Covid hysteria, the bungling Clouseaus in VicPol, the groaning public transport, the Paris Commune political culture?  True, the punters are not helped in their understanding of the political madness by a media that is alternately rabidly left wing, and so in Andrews’ pocket as a matter of course, and supine in the face of Covid hysteria and lies.  The media in Victoria, and, it must be said, elsewhere, have become another arm of government, simply echoing self-serving government propaganda and spitting out infomercials and “we are all in this together” pap.

What is to be done about the madness of crowds in Australia?

Only time will tell if Victorians will restore at least a portion of their State’s sanity at the next election.  I do not hold my breath. 

Is Victoria the mad state?  If so, perhaps this message should be put into writing on their number plates.  The Garden Sate?  The Place to Be?  The Education State?  On the Move?  Nope.  The Brain Dead State might be better.  Or the Leftist State.

The Task Ahead

But even if somehow the Andrews Government were to be tossed into the dustbin of history come 2022, the task of restoring sanity to Victoria would only be at its beginning.  For the key institutions of power are deeply entrenched, and their mad ideologies well and truly embedded. 

Much more is needed, and certainly not only in Victoria.  Victoria isn’t the only mad state, after all.  All the herd-mentality, clueless Australian (and overseas) governments have revealed during the Covid panic a veritable shopping list of failures – incompetence and bungling on a nuclear scale; pandering to popular fear, indeed, playing a key role in creating it; hypocrisy; scientism; faux leadership; a tyranny of announcables; economic brinkmanship; conscription of the media; secrecy and lies; and generally cooking the books.

Many current governments deserve to be thrown out over the wanton destruction of freedom and economic life they have inflicted on us in the great policy meltdown of 2020.  Not to mention all the other policies and practices of so-called right-of-centre governments that all qualify as Andrews-lite – think infanticide-on-demand in New South Wales, a re-politicised bureaucracy in Queensland, and a national cash-splash that would make Kevin Rudd proud, and the green climate madness and wokeness of them all. Just for starters.

Despite the utter failure of governments in 2020, I cannot currently  see a single opposition party anywhere that would have done things differently and better, with greater sense, proportionality and courage.

Does Douglas Murray offer an hope for a saner future?  Not really.  His conservative colleague in America, Rd Dreher, famously proposed what he termed The Benedict Option.  In other words, drop out and live in a cave, where others who are like minded might one day join you, and start to build a new sensible order, brick by brick as it were.

For my money, three institutions have to be involved in any return to political sanity. 

First, the voters.  We simply have to get rid of bad governments, then get rid of the next bad government that will inevitably follow, and so on, till they understand we actually have power, and mean business.

Second, the next lot of governments.  Do they understand depth and breadth of the culture war Australia and cognate Western nations are in, and the stakes involved?  Will they have the cojones to prosecute the war?  If these governments are from the right, and they do not understand the war, or, worse if they are on the wrong side in the conflict, how do we get them on track?  There must be a strategy to ensure that the next governments are educated and primed for action.

Third,  new cadres of “club sensible” activists to go forth and reverse-infiltrate the institutions that occupy the commanding heights of power.  These include the political parties, the media, the churches, the schools and the academy.  Most certainly, they include the new managerial class – the bureaucracies.  They also now include corporations, sporting bodies, community groups, and virtual communities as well.  A necessary strategy might be to create shadow institutions of our own. 

The failure of the Australian Conservatives to make an electoral impact and groups like Advance Australia to make inroads provide lessons for the future.  Club Sensible needs to be resourced, aware, on message and prepared to act.  Currently is isn’t any of these things.  It is simply too comfortable enjoying the fruits of liberalism and modernity without remotely having the will to push back against those who have captured the key cultural and political institutions and who threaten to turn these fruits to rubble.  Creating a next-gen Club Sensible will be critical to any push back strategy.

No reader of my previous work would be remotely sanguine about the size of the task.  It won’t be easy. 

 

Read 217 times Last modified on Monday, 29 June 2020 12:25
Paul Collits

Paul Collits is a freelance writer and independent researcher who lives in Lismore New South Wales.  
 
He has worked in government, industry and the university sector, and has taught at tertiary level in three different disciplines - politics, geography and planning and business studies.  He spent over 25 years working in economic development and has published widely in Australian and international peer reviewed and other journals.  He has been a keynote speaker internationally on topics such as rural development, regional policy, entrepreneurship and innovation.  Much of his academic writing is available at https://independent.academia.edu/PaulCollits
 
His recent writings on ideology, conservatism, politics, religion, culture, education and police corruption have been published in such journals as Quadrant, News Weekly and The Spectator Australia.
 
He has BA Hons and MA degrees in political science from the Australian National University and a PhD in geography and planning from the University of New England.  He currently has an adjunct Associate Professor position at a New Zealand Polytechnic.