Malcolm Turnbull’s pretentious vacuity is nowhere better illustrated than in the rhetoric surrounding the cabinet he has installed to lead his new progressivist junta. This, he insists is required to form “a government for the 21st century” to ensure that “Australia seizes the opportunities of these, the most exciting times in human history.”
Is he serious, are these really the most exciting times in human history? By what measure can such a claim be made — apart from the fact that this era has been blessed with the advent of Malcolm Turnbull? In fact, by any objective historical criteria, the present period is one of decadence and decline, perhaps exemplified above all by Turnbull’s own ascendency.
In terms of politics the present era is not one of excitement. Instead it is characterised by desperate mediocrity, cynicism, opportunism, and alienation in which all credible leadership is lacking. In which countries of the world can be found politicians who could be ranked with the even the second-string figures of the past, much less the great leaders whose exploits have inspired their people and shifted history onto a different path? Turnbull? Merkel? Cameron? Obama?! Are these third-raters and frauds the agents of excitement that Malcolm is getting worked up about? Or perhaps he only sees the world through the cynical prism of Game of Thrones, or House of Cards, which has itself drawn the connection between its fantasy world and Malcolm’s.
In terms of economics the period is also hardly exciting. The USA, China, Europe and Australia are struggling while the world staggers along under a $200 trillion burden of debt. This is a crippling encumbrance that has increased by $57 trillion since the GFC in 2007, when governments and consumers were meant to have learnt their lesson about unsustainable borrowing. Is this mortgaging of the future a source of excitement for Malcolm? Perhaps it might be for an extremely wealthy merchant banker able to leverage profit even in a time of financial crisis. But for the rest of us? Is excitement the right word, or are “desperation” and “dread” better descriptions?
Technology, perhaps there is excitement there? Maybe, if one focuses on the digital revolution spearheaded by (of all things) the mobile phone (which, of course, makes plotting and conniving so much easier). But beyond that there is very little presently going on that compares to the upheavals and transformations in human society occasioned by the first or second industrial revolutions, the discovery of electricity, the invention of the railway, the telegraph and telephone, radio, cinema and television, aviation and the motorcar, etc., etc. In fact, the present time pales into abject insignificance in terms of technological advancement compared with a century ago, when the impact of most of these inventions was first being felt throughout society – now that was an exciting time.
And, of course, Turnbull’s own hybrid NBN is turning out to be a mismanaged, vastly over-expensive white elephant. But perhaps he is just excited that he can portray himself as a ‘Hi-tech PM’ and has been able to get out from under the NBN debacle before it becomes really, thoroughly and personally embarrassing.
Culture? Perhaps this is the area the Malcolm is getting excited about? Perhaps he enjoys being feted by the facile and gay artistic glitterati in Sydney, but once again it is impossible to find evidence that the present era can even remotely compare with periods of cultural magnificence from the past. For example, are we in an era of intellectual and spiritual revolution and rebirth comparable to the Enlightenment? The Renaissance? The Reformation? The Scientific Revolution? In the creative arts is there music being presently produced that can be even remotely compared to that of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Wagner, Mahler, or even Stravinsky and Shostakovich? The same question can be asked about painting and sculpture: where are the present artists who can be compared to greats of the past? Perhaps Malcolm is inspired by Piss Christ or by the cavernous halls but sparsely populated walls of the National Gallery? Few other people are.
And education! How exciting is that? Perhaps the best measure of the cultural poverty of the present is that despite the billions poured every year into our education system few students at any level would have a clue about the periods and the names mentioned above. Regrettably, the ascendency of Malcolm’s flaccid form of soft leftism/moderate liberalism means that vacuous, politically correct drivel will continue to be taught, while education ministers front for rent-seeking unions and bloated institutions.
The breathtaking hubris of Turnbull’s insistence that we live in “the most exciting times in human history” has so far gone unchallenged precisely because of the ignorance and complacency that this cultural impoverishment promotes and sustains, especially in the media. Cushioned by a personal fortune of some $200 million he sees little to worry about in the present world. For example, he is on record as constantly downplaying the threat of Islamic State (which he always refers to by its politically correct name as Daesh). This despite the fact that it has seized a substantial and strategic part of the Middle East, has galvanized and trained murderous jihadists around the world, and has been the catalyst for the largest barbarian invasion of Europe for nearly a millennium.
A far more accurate assessment of the present times would suggest that they are becoming appallingly dangerous, precisely because governance in the West has fallen into the hands of people like Turnbull, the hollow men with little or no understanding or commitment to the values and conventions of Western Civilization.