Monday, November 4, 2013

Portrait of the Prime Minister as an ideologue

Prompted by Tony Abbot's characterisation of the previous government as 'wacko', I'm discussing Abbott's apparent ideological fervour. A sample:
[T]his picture is worrying. It does not suggest practical wisdom: a knack for responding to milieu and ambiguity. It suggests an evangelist or apparatchik, for whom the world is neatly divided into us and them, goodies and baddies, my common sense and their lunacy. There is nothing necessarily ''conservative'' about this view - one only has to read Alasdair MacIntyre or Michael Oakeshott to recognise the nuance of the best conservative thinking. Instead, Abbott's slur suggests that word so often reserved as an insult for the left: ideology. 
The late Tony Judt, in his essay 'Captive Minds', noted the similarities between ideologues in Soviet communism and laissez-faire capitalism. ''[T]he thrall in which an ideology holds people,'' he wrote, ''is best measured by their collective inability to imagine alternatives.'' The alternative in this case is not a radically new social and economic model, or even a familiar version of Western democratic socialism. It is a broadband network, and the Prime Minister diagnoses its supporters as insane. 
Physician, heal thyself.
(Photo: Troy)

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