The Samson Option is the name given to Israel’s last-gasp defence strategy. It involves the use of its large armoury of thermonuclear weapons against its aggressors and their supporters at that point in a war when most of the homeland has been destroyed and its very existence as a nation is in doubt. It refers, of course, to the biblical account of Samson (Judges 13-16), one of the last of the judges of ancient Israel. Endowed by God with the strength necessary to defeat his Philistine enemies, he is betrayed, blinded, emasculated, and set to work as a slave. Eventually, he is brought to a temple for a religious sacrifice to the pagan gods and for the people to witness his humiliation. There he marshals his great strength and, bracing himself against the pillars supporting the demonic temple, he shifts them from their foundation and brings down the entire structure, destroying himself and his enemies.
Do Australian conservatives face the Samson Option? Is it time to admit that the Liberal Party has been seized by philistines intent of worshiping their own pagan gods, that the only option is its demolition followed by the birth of an uncompromised conservative party?
The question arises in the light of the assassination of Tony Abbott, the ascension of Malcolm Turnbull, the dismissal of conservative ministers, their replacement by progressivists, the resurrection of leftist policies, and the preselection of Turnbull’s moderate faction cronies to safe Liberal Party seats, leaving conservatives isolated. Does this ruthless, ongoing coup herald the final demise of conservative influence within a party that has prided itself as a broad church capable of accommodating both the liberal and conservative strands of political philosophy in a mutually respectful partnership? Has the brutal marginalization of conservatism reached the point where its proponents have no option but to bring down the entire edifice?
Many conservatives seem to think so and this ominous conclusion has triggered a sharp debate amongst influential commentators, including Miranda Devine, who coined the term ‘Delcon’ as a label for the ‘delusional conservatives’ who allegedly imagine that Turnbull has proven so inadequate that a return to Abbott is required. Niki Savva on the left took up the term and her contempt for the “hyperventilating Del-Cons” echoes that of other Turnbullites:
“Since Malcolm Turnbull ascended to the leadership, Tony Abbott, his remaining acolytes, assorted fogeys and losers have treated themselves to one long dummy spit, as if they were bigger and better than the party they were privileged to represent or that they purport to support”.
On the conservative side, the issue has been taken up by Tim Blair, Andrew Bolt, and James Allan, as well as on various blogs, where it is impossible to over-estimate the level of outrage. Nor is that fury hard to understand. Remember, it was Liberal pollster Mark Textor who celebrated Turnbull’s coup with a yawning, so-what dismissal of his party’s traditional base. According to Textor, such people just “don’t matter”. Famous last words, perhaps?
This intense discussion has been energized by the recent and precipitant fall in Turnbull’s poll results, to the point where the Coalition and Labor appear to be neck-and-neck as we approach the election. According to Devine, Delcons are possessed by “the delusion that Tony Abbott was a conservative warrior cut down in his prime by leftie treachery, and that he will return to reclaim his throne once Malcolm Turnbull fails”. It appears this moment may have arrived, as the ‘Great Communicator’ and his paralysed post-Abbott government continue their slide in public estimation.
Devine thinks all this is delusional because Abbott was never a true conservative to begin with, and she lists fourteen issues where his actions or in-actions demonstrate this. These range from his failure to fulfil his election promise to abolish section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act to his support for the Safe Schools program, which was launched and funded under his government. Across the board, from same-sex marriage, climate change, Islam, defence pay, constitutional reform, family tax benefits and taxes, Devine describes how Abbott betrayed conservative principles in order to kowtow to progressivist demands.
This may well be true, as far as it goes. But the situation is actually far grimmer than even the estimable Devine divines. She seems to believe that the Delcons are merely throwing a tantrum and all they will achieve is a Shorten-Labor victory. In fact, their level of alienation is so extreme that many appear happy to accept such an outcome. Blair proclaims his allegiance to the Delcon cause, declaring that “we Delcons believe Malcolm Turnbull and his agenda is exactly the opposite of what Australia needs”, while Allan argues “that with Malcolm in charge it’s actually in Australia’s long-term interest to see the Coalition lose this next election, for the long-term good of party and country”. As far as their conservative interlocutors on the various blogs are concerned, they have logged thousands of outraged comments and most of them are happy proudly to accept the ‘Delcon’ label. Indeed, some carry the thermonuclear analogy further by advocating the alternative ‘Defcon’, to echo the American military system of graduated defence alerts, with DEFCON 1 indicating an approaching catastrophe.
That progressivist catastrophe promoted by the Liberal moderates may indeed be upon us, and the best conservative strategy might be to vote informal or against the Coalition, ushering the CFMEU-Shorten-Labor-Greens junta into power to wreak carnage across Australia’s society and economy. Only in this fashion, the argument runs, will the full nature of the crisis be brought home to the Australian people and the key elites, whose support for liberal democracy and free enterprise has become progressively lukewarm over the past decade or so.
At present, the argument continues, progressivists championing their often quite extreme policies have infiltrated all the major political parties, and their primary allegiance is not to their parties but to their sponsoring groups that operate in the background. These may be corrupt organizations, like unions (e.g., the CFMEU), lunatic leftists (e.g., the Socialist Alliance), groups committed to identity politics (e.g., EMILY’s List, the LGBTI community), or they may be lobbyists seeking to use MPs for their own ends. Entrenched inside the party structures, these operatives have been extremely successful in pursuing their sectional objectives with little or no concern with the well-being of the country or the integrity of the political system.
They are supported by the shadow state, that mass of powerful government and semi-government agencies about which I warned last year. Back then I pointed out that Turnbull is operating behind the scenes to assemble a team of progressivist activists in key positions within the bureaucracy and related federal government bodies, including especially the ABC and the HRC, where they complement the already entrenched progressivist network. As I observed:
“While Turnbull acts as front man, placating and manipulating the masses with the help of a compliant media, this shadow state will be tasked with marginalizing all conservative values and institutions and re-constructing Australia in accordance with statist and progressivist values and ideology”.
Indeed, it appears that Coalition governments now serve only as façades behind which the long progressivist agenda is being put into place by leftist activists operating throughout the party and state apparatus, largely immune to any direction or sanction by any conservative government that is theoretically in power. An excellent example, as Devine points out, is the Safe Schools program, along with all the other pieces of associated sexual social engineering that the LGBTI cadre has been able to institute under Liberal governments. The public face of this program, as someone remarked, is a person of fluid gender whose self-satisfied smirk declares to Australian parents: “We’re coming for your children, and there’s nothing you can do about it!”
Another example is the climate-change industry, whose apocalyptic mythology is championed by green activists in the Liberals and is able to attract billions to waste on bogus programs while promoting a UN-style world government. The cause of radical Islam is also defended by Liberal MPs who routinely denounce ordinary Australians as racists because they dare to express concerns about Muslim immigration. Similarly promoted by Liberals are the never-ending demands for recognition and reconciliation with indigenous Australians, despite the fact that, per capita, they already enjoy twice the government expenditure of non-indigenous Australians, and are granted a public profile quite disproportionate to their numbers or contribution to the welfare of the nation.
Multiculturalism is another sacred cow for moderate Liberals, despite the fact that its contribution to social cohesion is miniscule if not completely negative, as its principal proponent in the UK and former head of the UK Equalities and Human Rights Commission, has recently conceded. In the critical area of education, Liberal governments have failed utterly to overcome the dead hand of radicals operating in the unions, state bureaucracies, academia, and the schools. Moderate-aligned Liberal ministers such as Christopher Pyne and Simon Birmingham, each a long-term party apparatchik without any experience of working in schools, serve as little more than apologists for the vested interests in an education industry that continues notoriously to fail, despite the astronomical amounts spent on it. In the area of defence we find another moderate apparatchik, Marise Payne, a Turnbull acolyte who is serving as minister while the ADF continues its transformation from a military organization to yet another agency of social diversity and identity politics.
It would be easy to continue this litany of progressivist causes initiated, promoted, and sustained by Liberal governments under the control of the moderate faction and its shadow sponsors, but the point surely is obvious: what future has the conservative project within such a party? As its current enthusiasms reveal, it worships pagan gods and its leadership seeks only to ridicule, subvert, and destroy conservative values.
So perhaps the moment of truth is upon us and we face the Samson Option.
Over the past decade it appears that the traditional two-party political model has collapsed and that they offer only two slight variations of the progressivist program of massive state spending and ubiquitous state regulation. As has been observed, “B1 & B2: Libs or Labor – it’s a Banana State”. Under such a scenario the future may lie with smaller parties with solid values that are able to sustain and communicate a clear uncompromised message and are prepared to negotiate hard with other parties seeking their political support.
Only time will tell whether such a newly empowered conservative party will arise from newcomers like the Australian Liberty Alliance or from the remains of a defunct Liberal Party, sadly put out of its misery by disaffected conservatives who realize they have nothing left to lose.