Old habits die hard, like voting Liberal because that party has represented the closer of two options to a conservative/libertarian ideal. Under its latest leader, and with the aid of apparatchiks his allies are installing as preselected candidates, traditional supporters can expect nothing but betrayal
Malcolm Turnbull must be defeated, that much is clear. As Prime Minister and the parliamentary leader of the Liberal Party he ostensibly resides in the tradition of Liberal leaders that goes back to Sir Robert Menzies, who first forged the alliance of liberal and conservative forces that became the Liberal Party and oversaw the development of Australia as a vibrant antipodean outpost of Western Civilization. That great achievement is now gravely threatened.
It is threatened because Turnbull has no real commitment to it. As Paul Kelly points out in a comprehensive analysis: “Turnbull presents conservative politics with a historic challenge and dilemma … he is the first genuinely progressive Liberal PM since World War II without roots in conservative culture.”
Instead, Turnbull serves as the front man of powerful progressivist forces that are committed not only to the eradication of conservatism but to the overthrow of the fundamental institutions and values that underpin the civilization it largely created and shaped.
Turnbull’s apparent restraint to this point has been purely tactical, designed to placate the conservatives in the Liberal Party until after the upcoming election. As Tony Walker observes in colourful language in the Australian Financial Review:
“Turnbull leads a divided party in which a conservative rump sits there like a rotting carcass…
“Turnbull confidants will tell you that once re-elected in his own right, an agile and innovative prime minister will face down his internal party critics and redefine his leadership in a single bound.”
Walker argues that the post-election progressivist Turnbull will quickly emulate Canada’s mini-Obama, Justin Trudeau, “on issues like same-sex marriage, climate change, and gender balance in [his] cabinet”, etc., bringing a “sunniness” to Australia by finally marginalizing the “doleful” conservatism of Tony Abbott.
In this sense, the venerable Kelly is quite wrong in his assessment of what is at stake in the upcoming election. Turnbull and Bill Shorten don’t offer the nation “radically different visions of its future” or “contradictory paths forward”. In fact, both are allies in an ideological war that has been underway in Anglosphere countries for two centuries. This is between liberal conservatives committed to the preservation of the fundamental institutions and values of Western Civilization on one side, and opportunistic and fanatical statists and progressivists committed to their overthrow on the other.
Turnbull and Shorten pursue two versions of the same blighted progressivist vision – one that has been pursued with disastrous results through decades of conflict and failure, as I pointed out in January in a Quadrant Online article on the history of progressivism.
Although Turnbull, Shorten, and their supporters insist that their use of state power to impose ‘progressive’ social reforms, and ‘innovative’ economic change puts them on the side of history and progress, they are, in fact, committed to a bankrupt ideology whose fundamental weaknesses are presently being exposed. In terms of social policy, progressivism strongly encourages welfare dependency and social and economic disengagement. Consequently, nearly half of the voters in the upcoming election are entirely reliant on government payments for their incomes. It is also anti-family and energetically promotes sexual libertinism and moral degeneracy, as the ongoing Safe Schools debacle illustrates, while a federally funded advertising campaign allegedly meant to combat domestic violence actually demonizes men and boys — but only white men and boys — as violent thugs and rapists.
In economic terms, the socialist and paternalistic policies beloved of progressivists require massive and inequitable income redistribution, suppressing productive activity while mortgaging the future to fund absurdly generous and unsustainable welfare programs. Inevitably, this produces a rapidly ballooning national debt, and it is therefore revealing that Turnbull has continued Rudd and Gillard’s ‘drunken sailor’ approach to government expenditure, spending $10 billion in only seven months. This feeds the ever-growing entitlement mentality that operates in a ratchet-like fashion and will ultimately destroy society in what neo-Marxists call ‘the revolution of rising expectations’. As progressivists, the only difference between Turnbull and Shorten concerns which faction of the ruling elite (union-aligned or corporate-aligned) will most enjoy the spoils as Australian society is run into the ground.
None of this is sustainable and the headlong pursuit of the progressivist agenda by whichever party will ultimately risk civilizational suicide, as I concluded in the progressivism article:
“Philosophically, morally, historically, and economically, progressivism is bankrupt. It has been sustained for over two centuries by the very capitalist system and productive middle-class society that it reviles and seeks to undermine and destroy. However, progressivism is about to enter its death throes as the gargantuan economic costs of its policies become utterly unsustainable.”
Incredibly, it is to this bleak scenario that Turnbull and his fellow supporter want to commit the credibility and future of the Liberal Party.
After seven months as Prime Minister, the game plan pursued by Turnbull and the progressivist forces behind him appears clear. They aim: (1) to replace conservative MPs with members of their moderate faction (i.e., progressivists) wherever possible before the election; (2) to win the election by whatever margin they can; (3) to claim that this victory provides a mandate to shift the Liberal Party definitively to the left in a vast range of areas; (4) to use the rest of the new parliamentary term to entrench this progressivist agenda, much as the ALP did under the Rudd/Gillard regime; and (5) to ridicule, demonize, and suppress conservative values, philosophies, and policies. In this they will use preferment and patronage within the party, bureaucracy, and the shadow state, with state-funded agencies like the ABC and Human Rights Commission in the propaganda vanguard. This will be supported by opportunistic corporate allies, as is presently being demonstrated with the highly orchestrated same-sex marriage and LGBTI rights campaigns, which are presently the totemic issues in the vanguard of the progressivist movement.
Nothing has made this progressivist onslaught on the political system more obvious than recent Liberal Party preselections, especially in New South Wales. For example, Turnbull strongly supported Jason Falinski, the moderate (i.e., progressivist) faction candidate selected to replace the conservative Bronwyn Bishop in the safe northern beaches seat of Mackellar. Falinski is a long-term Liberal Party apparatchik who worked for Turnbull in 2004 and helped him wrest preselection from a sitting Liberal MP in Wentworth. Like other acolytes, he is smitten by his mentor, breathlessly intoning that Turnbull has
“a once-in-a-generation mind. It is extraordinary to behold him. The level of experience he brings to any situation, plus the speed at which he thinks, is very impressive.”
Predictably, Falinski is a long-time champion of progressivist causes, including SSM, open borders, the Muslim insurgency, and climate change hysteria. He views the latter issue as quite totemic and claims he was compelled to act by a visit to China where he experienced its high levels of smog, apparently unaware that particulant pollution has virtually nothing to do with the CO2 emissions allegedly driving global warming.
As the Daily Telegraph reported, Falinski’s “views [are] right out of left field”. He has criticized the Howard government for being “too right wing”, former US president George W. Bush for not sufficiently emphasizing climate change, and declared that a massive influx of illegal refugees would improve Australia’s economy. Indeed,
“Mr Falinski wrote multiple columns for the left-wing Saturday Paper criticising the Howard administration’s approach to asylum seekers as ‘inhumane’ and declared voters had turned away from the Liberal Party ‘because of its populist right-wing stance’.”
The grass roots conservative reaction to Falinski’s pre-selection has been visceral. As one blogger claimed:
“The Libs have gone rogue. Gone right off the reservation. The Daily Telegraph‘s Samantha Maiden said on Sunday night on Chris Kenny’s Viewpoint program that (paraphrasing) ‘…Falsinki was the closest thing the Liberals have to a communist…’”
As the Daily Telegraph editorialized, “Falinski [is] not in Bishop’s mould”; rather, he has “more in common with those on the Left who cheered Bishop’s removal”.
Falinski is just the tip of the iceberg, merely the latest addition to the moderate faction controlled by Michael Photios, a life-long Liberal Party apparatchik, former NSW MP, and now an extremely influential lobbyist who “has long exercised control over state parliament”, as the Daily Telegraph reports (“NSW kingmaker muscles in on the faction action”, 20/4). Photios reportedly will “control a bloc of nine of 23 NSW Liberal MPs” in federal parliament (compared to only the three in the Hard Right faction associated with Tony Abbott). In a closely balanced parliament such a bloc could control the political direction of Australia and dispense largesse to favoured vested interests, as was demonstrated under Gillard.
Other new moderate MPs under Photios’s control include Trent Zimmerman, yet another long-term party apparatchik. An openly gay politician, Zimmerman has made clear his primary commitment is to the LGBTI agenda, the totemic progressivist issue. He won the seat of North Sydney in a by-election in 2015 after Joe Hockey was appointed Australia’s Ambassador to the United States and made the seat and made it available for Zimmerman. The latter’s prompt preselection to one of the party’s blue-ribbon seats was highly controversial within the Liberal Party, with allegations it was undemocratic and a stitch-up orchestrated by Photios. As Peter Hartcher observed at the time, the preselection was
“a great opportunity for the Liberals to put forward an outstanding Australian, someone of real accomplishment, a future leader. Instead, the power aristocracy that controls the NSW Liberal party head office declared an ‘emergency’, shut out branch members from voting, and imposed a party machine operative on the electorate”.
Zimmerman — this “party machine operative” — is “a man of scant accomplishment”, according to Hartcher, whose only “real credential” is that he “is a close ally of the power behind the NSW machine, Michael Photios”. Inevitably, there was a strong local reaction and calls from conservatives and others committed to fair play to vote against Zimmerman, with the result being a 12.8% swing against the Liberals. This was triple the swing seen in the earlier Canning by-election held just after Abbott was deposed.
As this result illustrates, the manoeuvres of unprincipled machine-politicians are ultimately self-destructive, eroding the very institutions that they so ruthlessly exploit. In Hartcher’s words:
“These power cliques are expert at preserving themselves. They are closed to refreshing themselves. They are stagnant, failing, largely invisible to the public, the slow-rotting foundations on which the public parliamentary structures stand.”
Despite this destructive impact, such contrived preselections are part of the ongoing progressivist coup d’état taking place in NSW and other states as the election looms. As the Daily Telegraph noted in its editorial: “…under Malcolm Turnbull, the Liberal Party is certainly changing in tone, if not yet in policy”. That final shift will occur once Turnbull wins and he is able to claim the victory provides a mandate for the progressivist agenda.
In pursuing his progressivist strategy, Turnbull can rely on the enthusiastic support of the ALP and the Greens, both of which are champions of intrusive state regulation, especially of morality and behaviour. For example, Bill Shorten has made Labor’s repressive policy very clear on the bellwether issues of SSM and the promotion of LGBTI lifestyles. Labor will use anti-discrimination laws to force people who conscientiously object on religious grounds to same-sex marriage to nevertheless provide services (e.g., wedding ceremonies) to SSM couples, and to ensure that churches and schools are required to hire LGBTI personnel and promote LGBTI values, even if this conflicts with their religious convictions. The laws will also be used to terrorize people into conforming to the SSM and LGBTI ideology. As Miranda Devine points out, this amounts to an oxymoronic form of “totalitarian tolerance”, whereby overseas
“people have been prosecuted and lost their jobs for failing to conform. Even using the terms ‘husband and wife’ or ‘mother and father’ is punished as a form of bigotry.”
This form of LGBTI fascism found ominous expression in 2014 in Houston, Texas, when the city’s openly gay mayor, Annise Parker, introduced a ‘gender-neutral bathroom law’ that gave LGBTI folk the right to use any toilet (‘male’ or ‘female’) they chose. Facing a backlash by parents and others concerned at the use of toilets by people of ‘fluid’ sexuality in the presence of children, the mayor responded by clamping down on the churches. She ordered that subpoenas be issued requiring the pastors of the local churches to turn over any sermons they may have given relating to the new law or other LGBTI issues so that these could be analysed to see if the pastors could be prosecuted for ‘hate speech’. Her actions reveal the iron fist of fascism that lies within the velvet glove of fashionable progressivist issues. As the president of the Family Research Council that led opposition to Parker observed:
“As we have stated since the beginning of this intrusion into the private affairs of Houston churches; this is not about subpoenas, this is not about sermons, it is not even about biblical teaching on sexual immorality, it is about political intimidation and the bullying by Mayor Parker that continues.”
Indeed, Parker only retreated in the face of a constitutional challenge — a challenge of the sort that couldn’t be mounted in (say) Sydney or Melbourne, should a similar situation arise under a mayor or state premier. Parents and ministers would quickly discover that they have no rights in Australia, are bound by various anti-discrimination laws, and must behave and speak as directed by the SSM and LGBTI sexual commissars.
This Orwellian desire to control others extends well beyond government agencies, Labor, and the Greens. In fact, Turnbull can also rely on corporate support in the promotion of the progressivist vision of ‘totalitarian tolerance’. As Devine observes, the systematic persecution in the name of tolerance is strongly supported by a range of prominent companies. For example, the openly gay Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, is leading the use of corporate power to force people to accept SSM. As he recently assured the gay and lesbian newspaper the Star Observer: “If you’re unhappy with a company that’s involved with the [SSM] campaign you won’t be able to bank and you won’t be able to fly anywhere.”
And as Devine lamented:
“Whether it’s Qantas or Virgin you want to fly with, whether it’s Westpac, or the Commonwealth Bank, or Bankwest, or St George, or ANZ you bank with, whether it’s Telstra or Optus’s brand on your phone, no dissent is allowed.”
Turnbull, of course strongly supports SSM and opposed the holding of a plebiscite to resolve the matter democratically, preferring instead the ALP-Greens strategy of having a federal parliamentary vote before which MPs can be pressured by those controlling them (e.g., faction or union bosses) into approving SSM. It must be considered a distinct possibility, given his form and leanings, that Turnbull will cancel the plebiscite if he wins the upcoming elections and revert to the parliamentary-vote strategy, thus delivering SSM to his progressivist backers.
Once returned in his own right, Turnbull will implement the progressivist agenda, with SSM and LGBTI issues in the vanguard. As a result, Australia will be in the absurd and untenable situation where the entire realm of sexual morality and behaviour for 97% of the population will be defined and policed, using state power, by a tiny minority of people obsessed by their own sexual predilections and the tortured manoeuvrings of orifice politics.
Turnbull and Shorten, along with the corporatist progresives, are leading figures in different factions of the elite presently seeking to further tighten its grip on Australian society. Their stances on totemic issues reveal the strength of their commitment to the transformation of our society, leading it away from a liberal democratic order based on conventional values to a peculiar form of regulatory and punitive socialism designed to redistribute income on a massive scale while championing the eccentric sexual mores of a minute community of LGBTI folk. Despite the elite’s pretensions to a higher morality and historical destiny such an agenda is untenable and, indeed, absurd. Ultimately, it will only bring about the decay, decline, and devastation of our society, the only civilizational order that has managed over the past three centuries to elevate people out of the poverty, illness, servitude, and misery that otherwise dominates human history.
For such reasons, Turnbull and the Liberal Party he leads cannot be supported until the historic balance between liberal progressivists and social conservatives within it is restored. And if this cannot be achieved then the only option is the creation of a new conservative party.