Australia’s radicalised left may be the world’s biggest dills

Let’s get the cards on the table. I am a progressive, small “l” liberal who believes in free markets, free trade, firm regulation where it makes sense such as finance, strong public funding where it makes sense such as education, infrastructure and health and free people plus the freedom of speech. It’s not complex, is philosophically justifiable as an expression of enlightenment thinking and reason and, at the risk of a little solipsism, is the value system shared by the majority of western polities, as well as many in the emerging world. It is pro-nation but favours collective action where required.

This frame of reference responds to contemporary issues in a pretty straightforward manner. It sees class inequality as the great evil even though it is post-colonial and pro-multiculturalism. It agrees with public normatives that quash discrimination and is against nearly all efforts by government to control what people say and do in their own homes. It sees the political and race tyranny in China as the greatest threat to this way of life, followed by unfettered capitalism with climate change.

I would describe this view as centrist. It accepts the central tenets of the traditional left and right, and their criticisms of each other, and weaves them together. It accepts that contemporary life is an absolute highpoint in living standards for our species, that there are historical debts to pay, and that there are some very large collective challenges to face.

Yet, this viewpoint is virtually lost to the culture warriors of both the left and right that dominate our politics. More to the point, the recently radicalised left is more out of touch with these basic views than is the loon pond right.

To make the point, let me turn again to the favourite media organs of the radicalised left which, over the weekend, pounded away gleefully as if contact with humanity is very secondary to personal prejudice. Let us start with The Guardian and China:

While the Morrison government is bracing for a protracted standoff with Australia’s largest trading partner in what officials call “strategic patience”, there are fresh questions as to whether Canberra has a comprehensive plan for managing the relationship with an increasingly assertive and powerful China.

“The problem for Canberra is that we are now [at] the point where relatively simple, low-cost options for resetting the relationship have passed us by,” says James Laurenceson, the director of the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology Sydney.

…Labor’s Senate leader and foreign affairs spokesperson, Penny Wong, says Morrison needs to work with allied and aligned nations “to deal with a more assertive China and to strengthen the rules of the road”.

But she contends the government has spent too much time on politics and too little on developing a strategy for the China relationship.

…“Scott Morrison talks a big game about protecting our sovereignty, but the reality is Australia is now more reliant than ever on a single market for our exports.”

…Prof Jane Golley, an economist from the Australian National University and director of its Australian Centre on China in the World, says she can’t see any significant change looming for the state of the relationship.

“There’s been a lot of discussion about how we might reset the relationship in the last few years, but it’s gone beyond that. The question now is how much further things could deteriorate, or whether there is scope around the edges to improve the relationship somewhat.”

Stop right there. That is the sum total of the experts quoted. Where are the counterfactuals and countervailing voices? Where is the debate? There is none.

James Laurenceson runs a think tank that was founded with Bob Carr by the very source of dirty CCP money that destroyed the career of Labor senator Sam Dastayari. ACRI should have been disbanded in disgrace when its major donor, Huang Xiamao, was exiled, not refunded and rebranded. That it wasn’t, only tells us how compromised UTS is by commercial interests with China, including student revenues and research agreements with the CCP’s surveillance state.

That brings us to Jane Golley. Her “think tank” is funded by the Australian Government, an arrangement established under Kevin Rudd. She is a well-known Sinophile, which is entirely fair enough. But it’s also fair to say that her starting pointing is that we should always be engaging with China. As well, operating within unis is again a conflict of interest, though ANU is better than most.

Add Penny Wong to the mix and what we have in this article is a deeply integrated, partisan, singular opinion on China in furious agreement with itself misrepresented as objective reporting.

More of such comes from a second Guardian article on the universities:

Some universities fear losing up to a quarter of their international enrolments with the federal education minister and Victorian premier saying it will be nearly “impossible” for foreign students to return in large numbers this year.

…On Friday, the deputy vice-chancellor (international) of the University of Technology Sydney, Iain Watt, said Australian society as a whole “will be poorer for the absence of international students”.

No, it won’t. Australians will quite literally be richer. As CBA pointed out last week, the absence of population flows will increase Australian wages much quicker this cycle. Iain Wyatt, on the other hand, may have to take a pay cut.

As well, less international students will very likely lift pedagogical standards as local students are not required to nanny poor English-speakers through group learning. There’s an obvious productivity dividend in that.

Why isn’t the “left” Guardian excited about these economic upsides for working people instead? Because The Guardian is not traditional left at all. Its point of view is radicalised progressive. It sees race and sexuality as the central tenet of all politics. It completely ignores the downsides of commercialised universities where markets have all but ruined pedagogical ethics. It spares not one single moment on the class implications of lower wages.

The philosophical underpinnings of this point of view are highly contested, post-modern, French post-structuralist theory made reality: a world view that having lost communism as its loadstone in the seventies and eighties, turned inwards to fight a culture war on truth itself. According to this worldview, there is no such thing as truth, only narrative and discourse, which makes reality in its own image, nearly always to the detriment of various minorities.

And this worldview has the hide to declare the post-truth world of the right a cult!

Don’t get me wrong, what is “true” is always up for grabs. But, at a certain point, post-truth becomes utterly absurd and paralyses all thought. For instance, Liberalism is born of western thought. That those doing the thinking were white is rather a second-order observation. What matters more is that enlightenment thought is western heritage and given it has dramatically progressed civilisation via reason and science we should cleave to it, not endorse the tyrannical and appallingly racist CCP, nor unlimited international students just because they are not-white.

That is not to say that liberal civilisation does not carry historical burdens of restitution and remorse. It does, just not to the point of self-immolation.

This brings us to Stan Grant and the radicalisation of the ABC, Australia’s other fake leftist media organisation. Stan is an unabashed supporter of CCP engagement despite the 14 conditions that will end Australian self-determination. He argues for this view because he has lost faith in the US, the alliance and western capacity to defend democracy. And how! Why would the ABC denote the following as “analysis” not “opinion”:

It is tempting to be swept up in the post-Trump relief, for that moment to suspend reality, and believe in the myth of American hope.

Biden’s appeal to the better angels of America’s nature is a refrain going back to Abraham Lincoln.

There was a lot of Lincoln in Biden’s speech, particularly Lincoln’s second inaugural. Then, America was torn apart by civil war.

Lincoln, a tired, weary President, called for the nation to finish the work it was in, to bind up its wounds. A month later, President Lincoln was shot dead.

Lincoln had helped free the slaves, yet his successor Andrew Johnson supported white supremacy, empowering the Ku Klux Klan and giving rise to Jim Crow laws that stripped blacks of their rights.

That’s America: a land caught between its better angels and its dark reality.

That’s what Biden faces as he appeals to his people to end their “uncivil war”. It was a challenge beyond even Lincoln — and Biden, for all his decency and his personal struggle over adversity, is no Lincoln.

So, America has not progressed since the Civil War? Today is a moment of comparable magnitude of division? There was no civil rights movement? No progress for black America? No sexual revolution nor mass injection of women into the workforce?

Self-evidently this is dark fantasy unhinged from basic historical fact. It’s certainly not “analysis”.

Rounding us out on the weekend, and bringing together the degree of discombobulation that has seized the Australian left, is Guy Rundle, one of those higher minds that holds a lot of responsibility for the pickle in which today’s pointless left finds itself:

This isn’t the US, and ScoMo ain’t Trump lite. Attempts by progressives to paint him as such simply underscore political failings on the left.

With Trump fading into the distance, the attentions of progressives in Australia have turned back to Scott Morrison, a man who has barely figured for months in the political imagination.

With his comments about Australia Day 1788 — “it wasn’t a particularly flash day for the people on those vessels” — he magnificently brought it all back home and reminded us that, in this new era, we need to talk about ScoMo Derangement Syndrome.

ScoMo is driving progressives nuts — mostly because Labor is failing so absolutely at providing an alternative — which in turn makes progressive politics worse, and so on. The fantasy that the Morrison government is some sort of Trump-lite outfit is utterly distorting a political response.

…Culturally, he’s governing to the left of himself in a country that has avoided the upsurge of a right in anything like the way that has occurred in the US, the UK or continental Europe.

The attempt by elite progressive opinion to construct a sort of imminent Trumpism here is absurd, and is simply a compensating mechanism for the absence of a genuinely left progressive program that should come from a Labor party currently consumed by a new leadership stoush.

Given that the most racist thing going on in Australia at the moment — the Black gulag in NT that it calls a justice system — is Labor bought and sold, there’s a bit to do on our side. This isn’t the US, and ScoMo ain’t Trump lite.

Quite right. What drives ScoMo is corruption. His government is the dirtiest in living memory. It lies routinely to disenfranchise Australian workers and hand economic rents to corporate mates.

Yet, even as Guy Rundle identifies the cultural neurosis of the left that he helped create, he can’t break free from it. The black gulag of the NT is indeed an issue. But, it is not THE issue. It will perturb some Aussie households but it won’t win votes. Certainly not in QLD households or amomg migrants whose connection to such historic grievance is tenuous at best. Wallets win votes: house prices; unemployment; wages etc. That is, class issues are what the left needs to rediscover if it is to escape the thrall of ScoMo, not race or sexuality, which are second-order if still important. After all, how will we ever achieve a colour- and sex-blind society if all we do is obsess about race and sexuality?

The irony of this collective howl from the radicalised Australian left is that the American polity has just lurched towards a traditionally left-wing government. The most of my lifetime. Its explicit goals are to address the three biggest class issues confronting America: the broadening of health care for working people, the doubling of minimum wages, and the repair of the commons in the shape of investment in failing infrastructure. As well, it plans to make the rich and corporations pay for it. This holds out the hope of putting a big dent in inequality and diminishing the underlying drivers of Trumpism as the historical pendulum of progress swings again.

Yet while this is happening, Australia’s unelectable and radicalised left – as it is represented in the closely integrated vertical market of Labor, universities and select media – is campaigning to turn Australia into a giant CCP gulag, as well as to re-crush Aussie wages via a return of mass immigration. All the while it is snowing the grotesque corruptions of the Morrison Government under the falling ashes of culture war.

We can all look forward to a long period of being mercilessly rorted by ScoMo’s rich mates as these useful idiots slowly if ever, catch up.

David Llewellyn-Smith
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Comments

  1. pfh007.comMEMBER

    100

    Is this post unlocked?

    Wouldn’t mind waving it under the nose of a few who need to read it.

  2. “Let’s get the cards on the table. I am a progressive”

    What exactly does progressive mean? What progress are you “iv”ing?

    The sort referred to here?
    “The Guardian is not traditional left at all. Its point of view is radicalised progressive.”

    This word is confusing!

  3. Thumbs up from me. China is the No 1 issue that keeps the Labor cocoon unelectable and venal Morrison in power 4eva. I’m stunned how many Labor types think the featherweight yes-woman Plibersek can suddenly make them competitive.

    • I agree Labor needs to address China. Stop focusing on race and look at China from its ideological perspective.

      • True, and a bit of memory of its labour roots, Labour as looking after those who were employed basically.not scomo s rentiers developers mates and bankers. Labour was once populist with Whitlam, focussed on betterment of Aus for the future and betterment for the people. None of that nonsense ever again, before and after govt as designated control agent for benefit of selves, mates.
        Governments focussed on helping population and loved in return occur every 60 to 100 years in the USA. We Aus might not see another similar kissing babies under the Morton bay figs in the Domain for another 15 to 45 years.

        In wihich case it’s pointless moaning about what scum the politicians are, it’s a matter of controlling or managing the bastards better, or getting a centrist govt within the shell of both, with the pick of the bunch. The three parties have it stitched up so no will to do otherwise.

    • They will be going full retard if pliberseek gets the top gig. I guess it’s not so bad being in opposition for them. Probably would be able to maintain her spot on Q&A to coo , cackle and face distort her way through the true issues and feelings of the day.

  4. These pieces are good DLS. Shows up where our thoughts diverge. How can a construct like class inequality be a great evil? Yep class inequality has undesirable to terrible outcomes. But they are people driven. The problem with class inequality is not the construct – being a flow-on from competition and incentive; it is how people behave and relate to one another across classes – down and up and in-between. Besides, there are value systems apart from monetary systems, and social class structures that give all people dignity and worth. MLK had something to say about this.
    The real test about freedom of speech etc etc is who gets to draw the line about what’s acceptable and who is cancelled. Check out overnight interview of ABC George Stephenopolous and Rep Rand Paul. People just aren’t curious anymore – hence why China has a foothold.

  5. Code ErrorMEMBER

    The compartmentalising of what is good in a world of small closed interest groups leads to a completely trashed macro for progressive reform. Pushing much of the ‘rights’ progressive agenda without pushing the progressive socio economic agenda is an investment in an ever smaller piece of the pie for the majority of people, and ‘managements’ comprising almost solely female, LGBTQ, and recent immigrants are no less corrupt. Addressing the representation issues – which by all means do exist – is doing sweet FA for the vast bulk of Australians and their families who are weathering job insecurity, staggering levels of private debt, and inflated asset prices.

    Meanwhile the 1% can sit back in the comfy chairs with the popcorn to watch it all unfold.

    • When everyone is floating on a high tide economically, all you have are gripes to divide the vote on, and you’re just surfing the waves of good fortune, until you’re not. But that’s tomorrow’s problem.

  6. As someone noted over the weekend, in reference to the USA ‘elections’:
    “The problem is that half the Republicans are closet Democrats, but none of the Democrats are Republicans”
    The same probably applied down here.

  7. Professor DemographyMEMBER

    Excellent piece David. I lost hope on much change. For a while I tried parody but even parody was overwhelmed by policy reality as any exaggeration was swiftly met with actual policies mirroring the parody under ScoMoat.

    The great smoke and mirror act I think also is that they have managed to make it seem to many people that they also benefit from the corruption and property/finance narcotics on offer. It doesn’t matter that it isn’t true in true longer term purchasing power, it just needs to feel that way within the election/policy cycle.

  8. Either 2 things have happened here.
    1 now that Trump has gone DLS is able to write freely without people going nuts trying to point out that any sort of hate towards the left means you must support Trump or
    2 DLS was spent by the end of last year and his break was needed. This year he has come out with some cracking articles.
    Articles like this help me to move from where I am in the right back to the centre, which is where I want to be.

  9. working class hamMEMBER

    BBQ wokism, psuedo entrepeneurs and property investment is the new Aust.
    No one wants to work for a living or create something, every business is just a middle man skimming, every start up, waiting for their buy out/pay day.
    At least you can accept the right for being the snivelling weasels that they are. The left are just the same weasels with an extra
    dose of hypocrisy.

    • GunnamattaMEMBER

      just an addition there for you

      No one wants to work for a living or create something, every business is just a middle man skimming AND TAX FARMING FROM THE PUBLIC PURSE VIA ASSET AND RUNNING COST WRITE OFFS, every start up, waiting for their buy out/pay day.

    • rob barrattMEMBER

      Hypocracy being the only difference.
      My view exactly. If you wait for a politician to do something for you, you will be in exactly the same position as the Chinese peasant standing on top of a hill with his mouth open waiting for a roast duck to fly in.
      Life is competitive. Get fit to compete.
      The only way to keep a good standard of living for any country (as opposed to individual) is to be a centrist. When the mill owners are winning: support the unions. When the unions are winning: support the mill owners.

        • rob barrattMEMBER

          Yeah nearly all.
          Classic example was Toyota when the Japanese MD came over to Aus to try to negotiate with his workforce. Two union reps (not Toyota employees – so no worries about THEIR redundancy) took the issue to the courts claiming the workforce were not entitled to talk with their own management.
          Gillard’s Fair Work Act prevailed. No negotiations. Toyota closes shortly afterwards.

  10. TailorTrashMEMBER

    Do any of these reporters know anyone except
    “Experts “ from universities. ? Looks like their beats are
    are a tad limited . Surely there are “experts” to be found in other places Stan on the other hand sounds like all his reports are from his desk surrounded by a pile of books that he likes to quote from.

  11. The left has moved from looking at the inequality based on class and asset allocation to looking at the inequality based on race and gender. The reality is, class and assets have a strong relationship to the economic outcomes of the population, regardless of race or gender. In effect, their focus on race and gender means their polices have somewhat a random chance in improving the economic outcomes of the population.
    And who will vote for THAT?
    But that’s also why you sometimes see the left’s policies hit the mark almost by accident.. because it is only by accident that a specific policy solves the race and the economic issue for the broader populace.

    • It also doesn’t make sense electorally when the majority doesn’t benefit from such identity based BS.

      My personal favourite is all the “diversity” on ASX boards. Helping upper middle class white women into cushy company directorships doesn’t do much for inequality. And pushing folks ahead of their competence has issues for investors (e.g. AMP) – although granted there are just as many incompetent men on boards.

      • chuckmuscleMEMBER

        +1 most board members who I have interacted with are clueless about the industry they work in. So why not give inexperienced people a go, can’t be much worse than current outcomes.

        Having witnessed this first hand, sometimes this also takes nice, caring women who would have been wonderful at helping people and positively contributed to a better society, into narcissistic, shallow psychopaths like 99.9% of male fund managers and sell side [email protected]

        Feel that there is a more meta issue that needs tackling rather than self identified group diversity. Top post by HnH

    • It’s not the Left.
      The Left was killed off during the 70s. Doesn’t exist in any material sense.
      These are the same people who had their boutique debates around identity issues in the 70s and 80s yet were always perfectly happy with underlying class divisions. They are not the Left.

  12. Where has that “Sling Shot Boys” commenter gone? I have been thinking more and more about the Statue of David – armed with its slingshot to fight Goliath and – as sculpted by Michelangelo – looking menacingly towards Rome (or the exiled Medici’s). A telling symbolism.

    My own Sling Shot Appreciation Society (SSAS TM) targets the “goliath’s” of the immigration / population ponzi and the property narco state so I have been well indoctrinated by MB. In 2021 my personal resolution is to get this message out to some of our elected representatives. I feel like the LNP would rule for a decade if it skewers the ALP / Greens on its Big Australia hypocrisy.

    • Electoral clock already ticking against LNP. They have won 3 consecutive elections now with 3 different PMs. But Morrison only won in 2019 because Shorten followed the Hewson playbook from 1993 and similarly lost. For 2022 and beyond if ALP produce an electable leader like Rudd was in 2007 then LNP are in peril and need a really big issue to prompt voters to not change government. Economy and policy to raise wages with reduced immigration might work (might? not sure) but only for one election. I think 2022 election will be difficult for Morrison and 2025 would be incredibly difficult. But if Morrison wins in 2022 he will be the first PM to win an election, complete a full term and win the next election since Howard in 2001-2004.

      • Fear of wokism might make Labor unelectable for a long-time.
        The cohort of ex-Labor voters promising “never again” until Labor ditch that side of its politics has been growing.
        And the chances that they will unwoke themselves? 1 in 50? If that?

  13. Yeah nah. The ones who have been radicalised a la Muslims are indeed the loon pond – see QAnon, Sky News Aust & the insurrectionists they inspired.

    Like you, in fact, their whole thing was “radical left” too. Are *sure* you’re pro enlightment?

  14. God I am glad to have grown up in the pre social media age when political categories still mean’t something and held their historical content.

    The Guardian, Penny Wong the *liberal* commentariat *are not leftists*.
    Not even close.
    They have supported 40 years of neoliberalism.
    In what constellation can the most brutal assault on the working class during the 20th century be considered “left”?

    Christ. The problem here is the following:
    Lots of people who self identify as small l liberals supported neoliberalism. That is they supported an ideology devoid of economic content, designed purely to undermine enlightenment principles of equality, fraternity, the general will, self governance.

    Now everyone can see that neoliberalism was a category 1 disaster.

    So what do people do now when they supported neoliberalism, “Keating refom” etc?
    Well pretend that the divisions in society are really down to the cultural disputes (itself a bolt on nothingness to bring the small l liberals towards the ALP in the 90s when the working class left en masse)

  15. kierans777MEMBER

    What a great article DLS!

    > That is, class issues are what the left needs to rediscover if it is to escape the thrall of ScoMo, not race or sexuality, which are second-order if still important. After all, how will we ever achieve a colour- and sex-blind society if all we do is obsess about race and sexuality?

    Quite by accident I came across some footage of MLK making the point that all justice – racial, sexual, etc begins with economic justice. Going back over some of his writings you can see that underlying idea. It’s not as famous as his “I have a dream” speech but I think that he recognised that class struggle underpinned the realisation of his dreams.

    And this is why the ALP needs to clean house and take the fight to the LNP on economics.

    • ALP privatised the pension system, globalisation policies being used to suppress wages and exploit workers, privatised the banks, privatised education. Krudd put a rocket under house prices post-GFC. They don’t need to clean house. They need to be cleaned out of the house.

  16. Excellent article. The left-wing commentariat in Australia lacks any critical thinking. It is a feast of maniacal ravings with no resemblance to reality. The right is similar in a lot of ways, but it least it wishes to preserve itself. The left would prefer to see us fractured in a culture of competitive victimhood and subservient to a frightening rising power.

    • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

      Accepting the enlightenment means rejecting cultural relativism in all its forms, not just the pieces you dislike.

  17. Luca BiasonMEMBER

    Some sections of the media are quite selective in their choice of experts, and even more baffling in the validation of their credentials.

  18. Im really worried that another 4 year Liberal Term of high house prices is just going to unleash waves of young suicide.

    Im just not sure how much more people can take of this.

    A few days ago while eating breakfast, I laughed at a scene from Scott Morrison when he said, ” Australias Suicide Rates werent so bad over the December break so we can continue on the path we’ve been going “. I mean, we are now watching Suicide Data to determine just how far prices can be pushed. I mean, seriously? So if Libs win another 4 years, how many Australians will die and how destroyed will our future economy be when we realise our workforce is gone?

    A vote for Liberal means Corruption. A vote for Labor means Chinese CCP. I voted for neither at the last federal election.

    I voted for Sustainable Australia Party.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbXHPaUq7gk

    Dick Smith supports Sustainable Australia Party
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXEa8bcn8kE

    Your supposed to tick six boxes at the Federal Election. I couldnt think of six political partys I would vote for. I only ticked two. Liberal and Labor werent amongst them.

    The other party I voted for was Flux.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7MCxADcrwE

    • Don’t forget the HEMP (Help End Marijuana Prohibition) party. They’ve been on the right side of history since 1993.

    • kierans777MEMBER

      > Your supposed to tick six boxes at the Federal Election. I couldnt think of six political partys I would vote for. I only ticked two. Liberal and Labor werent amongst them.

      Upper or lower house ballot? Because I hope that you didn’t waste your vote by not numbering all the lower house boxes.

  19. Stewie GriffinMEMBER

    This frame of reference responds to contemporary issues in a pretty straightforward manner. It sees class inequality as the great evil even though it is post-colonial and pro-multiculturalism.

    ..an article criticising the lefts cultural relativism, while nestled cocoon like within the cultural relativism of ‘acceptable’ small L discussion points. Neither has anything to do with the enlightenment.

  20. Uncouple the pathway to permanent residency from studying in Australia and see how few international students we will get. All the vocational colleges will be out of business for a start. Universities will have to adjust to fewer international students.

  21. “After all, how will we ever achieve a colour- and sex-blind society if all we do is obsess about race and sexuality?” This is the heart of the issue, in my view. The woke warriors that now dominate the left don’t want a colour/race-blind society. They want to assess every issue through the prism of race, gender and sexuality before any other perspective, in perpetuity. If we achieved a colour/race-blind society, their whole reason for existence ceases. Ever asked a diversity officer about their criteria for assessing improved outcomes and removing affirmative action measures? They don’t have any. If we are successful in removing the ills they rail against, they wouldn’t have a job or a reason to exist. They are not practical progressives, they are a self-serving industry, possibly a pseudo religion or cult.

  22. Poochie the Rockin DogMEMBER

    Yes the modern left pursue contradictory goals – support of Islam/social liberalism, support workers rights/free trade & mass immigration, support the truth on climate change/support relativism on things like gender identity – it’s why the right wing have been more successful because their goals (economic domination of the elites) aren’t contradictory and are in alignment with their actions.
    BTW I can’t believe this site supports free trade when that’s what neuters unions & workers – how can workers fight for better conditions when companies can easily relocate to countries that have no labour protections