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3 October 1997. Thought for the Week: "The modern liberal is internationalist in outlook; the conservative's attitude remains more of the traditional sort of national patriotism. There is no doubt that this is one of the most unmistakable differences between the two species and one that has, moreover, repeated and practical consequences. In our day, the attitude towards the United Nations as the most obvious expression of the internationalist trend is one of most accurate shibbolethe; all liberals, from its beginning, have been favourably inclined towards the United Nations and hopeful about its potential, even when it has stumbled badly...."
James Burnham in - Suicide of the West
THE THREAT OF THE MODERN BARBARIANS
by Eric D. Butler
No serious student of history disputes that the basic cause of the Roman collapse was not the superiority of the barbarians outside the gates, but the rot inside, a major feature of which was the same factors which Western civilisation is expressing: financial debt, crushing taxations, which broke the backbone of Rome, its sturdy peasantry and vigorous small-scale businessmen, with a very social problem afflicting Western nations today.
Former Trotskyite James Burnham, in his classic work Suicide of the West published in 1963, provides a brilliant word picture of a Western Civilisation, which appeared to be in inevitable decline. But Burnham, who became one of the U.S.A's. most influential conservative writers, indicated that he believed that the West might still recover its soul and survive. The tragic events of the past 30 years have not provided any evidence for optimism.
The Sunday Age item referred to indicates the Western retreat has not been halted. It reports that "The high-tech equivalence of ancient castle keeps have become the latest must-have feature of the rich and famous in America. They are battle and kidnap chambers fitted with alarms, special telephone lines, emergency rations and oxygen supplies and have been dubbed the 'God Forbid' room".
A report from the New York Times is quoted: "This (the building of such security centres) is not for the pathologically paranoid but for individuals who have a high level of fear and justification for it." This comment is attributed to Robert McCrie, Associate Professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
The liberal mind rejects the concept of absolutes, particularly if the ultimate absolute is labelled God. It was Malcolm Muggeridge who observed that those who do not believe in God are then capable of believing the most absurd nonsense. The famous anti-Zionist Jewish writer and philosopher, Dr. Oscar Levy, made the penetrating comment that 'the ideal is the enemy of the real.' The liberal approach to life leads to the futile attempt to create Utopias, all of which end in disaster.
A century that opened with high promise for the future of Man turned into one disaster after another. The basic cause of the disasters has been the progressive centralisation of all power, aided by the idealistic liberal. The liberal mind produced the League of Nations and persuaded the British that world peace could only be guaranteed through a doctrine known as "collective security". Strong military defences were described as "warmongering". The totalitarians of all kinds prepared for war.
Undeterred by the failure of the League of Nations to prevent World War Two, the liberals of all kinds enthused about the creation of the United Nations, which it was alleged would make aggression impossible. One of the first major decisions of the United Nations was to endorse the aggression of political Zionism against the Palestinians, setting in motion a chain of violent events, which still continue throughout the Middle East.
The liberal mind readily accepts the concept of multiculturalism. In their ideal world tigers become purring kittens. A Pauline Hanson is anathema to the liberal. Back in 1963 when the American social fabric was being torn to pieces by race riots, a Professor Gordon Allport of Harvard University explained that a racial demonstration was "basically a sign of good national emotional health".
That current example of liberalism, President Bill Clinton of the U.S.A., visiting Australia after the Los Angeles race riots during which Asians were among the victims of rioting Negroes, extolled the virtues of the American multicultural society. But Clinton admitted after the last American elections that "racism" still existed and that he was going to lead a "crusade" against it.
In spite of the disastrous effects of multiculturalism in many parts of the world, Australians are told that it "enriches" their society. The genius that established the Social Credit movement, C.H. Douglas, bluntly rejected all concepts of Utopianism, stressing that he was basically concerned with "releasing reality". Karl Marx was basically a militant liberal who believed that some kind of a World State was possible. But Marx was no real danger to the world until he had the backing of Money Power. The most venomous attacks on the League of Rights have come from those incensed that, as Spengler pointed out in his Decline of the West, like all similar movements, Communism was a creature of Money Power. It was sustained by Money Power.
Australia's liberals are a threat to the future of Australia, not because of the superiority of their arguments, but because they have access to money power of varying types. Consider the example of Phillip Adams, columnist and regularly heard on the ABC. In his younger days, Phillip Adams was a Communist. Better men than Adams have been Communists when younger, and repented. The reality of the Soviet crushing of the 1956 Hungarian uprising forced Adams to turn his back on Communism. But apparently he could not bring himself to completely repent and moved to Fabian Socialism. His undoubted talents enabled him to become a relatively wealthy man. But one gets the impression that Adams's constant attacks on Christianity are the result of a deep seated fear that there is always the possibility of having at some time to face a reality which is superior to his liberal dreams.
When the brutal massacre of the Chinese students took place, Phillip Adams had to confess that his rosy picture of Communist China was false. His reaction to the Pauline Hanson phenomenon was revealing. One could almost see the tears of anguish soaking through his Weekend Australian column as he asked, in essence, how after all my years of "educating" the Australians against the "evils" of "racism", could this dreadful reality have emerged. But the reality persists. So his fellow Fabians in the Whitlam Government felt it necessary to pay out of the public purse $55,000 to his good friend R.C. Gott to produce a report on the dreadful League of Rights. Gott took the money, but was unable to produce any anti-League report.
Adams no doubt feels that the superior power he exercises through the media enables him to successfully smear the League of Rights generally, and me in particular. His superior power enabled him to shelter behind the protection of The Weekend Australian, which refused even to publish my letter responding to the Adams description of the League as "toxic sludge". But the liberals everywhere are discovering that the Truth is the great disciplinarian in the human drama.
That master of the use of paradox, G.K. Chesterton, observed that 'the state of the world was the only hope for the regeneration of the world.' The state of the world was the result of violating absolutes. But when Man can humble himself sufficiently to concede that there are absolutes, regeneration is possible. Even the Phillip Adams's of this world are making their contribution to the regenerating process, painful though it may be.
WHEN VIRTUE BECOMES PURITANICAL
by David Thompson
This is exactly what happened with the firearms issue. At the time, many of Howard's new backbenchers were privately appalled at what was being attempted, and the way in which it was done, but didn't dare say so, because it appeared to be what the cities wanted. And that's where the press lived, and where the votes were. After the event it was hoped that the fact that Howard's firearms action was as unjust as it was ineffective would be forgotten as water under the bridge.
On the question of industrial protection, the Coalition blindly limp along with the existing A.L.P. policy of eliminating tariffs, etc., assuming the virtuous air of refusing to question the prevailing wisdom. Only when it became obvious that the resulting unemployment was frightening the electoral horses did the Coalition meekly begin to recant. In my view, Howard knew he should have abandoned the Constitutional Convention, but persevered with it in another attempt at political virtue before principle.
Mr. Howard again sought the perception of virtue in applying a code of conduct to his Ministers, playing to the electorate's distrust of politicians, but, again, didn't really address the problem. If anything, the code of conduct simply laid the legalistic ground rules, and implied that so long as the letter of the law was kept, there could be no lasting recriminations. As columnist Hugh Mackay observed, codes of conduct generally stifle the very consciences they were designed to quicken.
The very act of establishing the code of conduct implied that Mr. Howard, as the Queen's first Minister, was either incapable of choosing a Ministry of honest people, or that he didn't have enough honest people from whom to choose. In a sense, it was designed to absolve him of responsibility, which it cannot do.
Taxpayers don't expect the Crown's representatives to be above self-interest, but they do expect that self-discipline, integrity and a certain amount of self-sacrifice be brought to the task of governing. That is, we might tacitly accept that any rat-bag can get elected to Parliament, but expect our Ministers to be basically honourable people. If they are, mistakes might be made, but Howard's code of conduct isn't necessary. But if they aren't, John Howard's code of conduct won't produce self-discipline, integrity and self-sacrifice.
It appears that Mr. Howard's only answer is to make the code of conduct even more rigid. Whatever the intention, Mr. Howard's pursuit of political virtue has cost him at least two quite able Ministers, left his Ministry in tatters, and his backbench in a state of panic. One of Stalin's purges would have achieved the same result. And for what? To save a few thousand paltry dollars, while the interest on criminally unnecessary foreign debt amounts to millions of dollars per hour.
If John Howard was really determined to stop the lurks, he should have listened to former Independent M.P. Ted Mack, who condemned the system, and called for the introduction of a system under which legitimate expenses were quickly repaid upon the production of the proper receipts. But Howard wanted both the lurks to remain available, and the perception of virtue that was sought by a code of conduct. He is the author of his own misfortune.
PRINCE OF WALES SHOULD BE KING
Since quoting from Clive James' eulogy to the Princess of Wales, in which he defended the Prince, another of those who knows the Prince of Wales well has come forward in his defence. Michael Collins Persse was Prince Charles' history teacher at Geelong Grammar in 1966, and has written to the Weekly Telegraph in London saying that he refuses to believe that Charles has been left cold by his former wife's death.
"Hostility and thinly-veiled contempt have been expressed towards Prince Charles in some of the articles I have read, yet I sense in the hearts of people, who have talked or written to me about him and the Princess, an awareness of the magnitude of suffering. The Prince's very wonderful qualities are to a great extent obscured by sections of the media. . . by what seems to me to be a mixture of distortion, myopia and primitive blood-lust... He is a man of heart as well as head. . . He was remarkably dedicated. I felt he was somebody who naturally accepted the enormous responsibilities he was heir to..."
The Weekend Australian (27/9/97)
quoted Mr. Persse as rejecting the suggestion that the Crown
should skip Prince Charles, and pass directly to Prince William
for the sake of the monarchy. Persse predicted that Charles
will make an outstanding King for England and Australia.
Mr. Persse offered an interesting insight to Charles' private life, noting that one of Charles' favourite historical figures was George III, who was, until recently, stereotyped as the mad man who lost the colonies, but was one of history's most tragic and misunderstood monarchs. Mr. Persse is quoted as saying that Prince Charles' rare intellectual leaning and passionate beliefs often left him misunderstood by "pure intellects" and common people.
DON CHIPP'S CRYSTAL BALL
In a rare attack of commonsense, the founder of the Democrats, former Senator Don Chipp, has offered a timely reservation concerning the role of a president in a possible future republic. In his column in The Sunday Telegraph, Chipp questions the pursuit of even the "minimal" republic, in which the words "Queen" and "Governor General" are replaced by an elected "president" in the Constitution. Chipp points out that, under the reserve powers, such a presidential office would have powers never before placed in the hands of a single person in Australia. For example, Chipp refers to the Governor General's "power" to withhold assent to legislation contained in Section 58.
He projects a situation in the future where a "president" might refuse passage of Parliament's budget, because the International Monetary Fund directed that it would only rescue Australia from bankruptcy if taxes were increased and welfare cut massively. The truth is that, amid all the froth concerning the proposal for a republic, there has been little real "debate". Chipp raises one issue that should be debated: what happens to the reserve powers? Should they be abandoned, or specified in written detail, or simply passed on to a "president"? The truth is that hardly any of the present generation of Australians even know that "reserve powers" exist, let alone what protection they might offer us.
ADAMS ON DIANA AND 'CELEBRITIES'Although quite vicious about royalty, and our own royal family in particular, columnist, broadcaster and general liberal guru Phillip Adams often makes interesting observations. In his critical column about television in The Weekend Australian (6/9/97) Adams writes satirically about the death of the Princess of Wales a few days before:
"The fact is that World War III broke out on Monday and the Second Coming took place on Tuesday while on Wednesday a giant asteroid wiped out most of northern China. And none of these events, despite the drama and the death toll, managed to get a mention. "Nobody should be as famous as Di was. Is. The global village has, clearly, produced a population of global village idiots who have an insatiable appetite for fame. "This awe-struck, gob-smacked, genuflective response to the brand-name big names is as chilling as images of brain-washed populations gazing up at giant portraits of Big Brother. Or Stalin. Or Chairman Mao.... "A victim of the media? Di may have begun her career looking frightened in its spotlight, but long before the end, she was a virtuoso of video, a Paganini of the press. She knew what she was doing, and she did it very well indeed. She was Torvill to the media's Dean, a perfect 10, a gold-medallist at self glorification."
SUPPORT FOR THE PRINCE OF WALES
The more thoughtful and humane observers who find themselves in positions to express their views are coming to similar conclusions concerning the Prince of Wales. Some are appalled at the now obvious campaign to belittle him, and shove him out of the way in favour of his son, Prince William. Have we stopped to wonder why?
The suggestion that the crown should "skip a generation" for the sake of the monarchy is either a shallow and facile approach, or a malicious ruse to further undermine it. Why would monarchists deliberately throw away half a century's investment in a man who has been prepared from birth to weather the bitter storms of public life and the pressures it generates, as Charles has? It is not a criticism of Lady Diana to suggest that she was incapable of living under such sustained pressure, but a reflection of the value of a lifetime's training.
A glance at the selection of Charles' public speeches over the years often has a dramatic effect on those who hold poorly informed criticism of the Prince. The knowledge that the Prince rejects the modern approach by such as professional politicians of employing a battalion of speech-writers, and merely regurgitating their prefabricated and stylised phrases, in favour of not only writing but also researching all his own speeches casts Charles in an even more interesting light. The sheer practicalities of this approach are simply awesome, given the workload that the man carries.
Similarly, the suggestion that the crown should be thrust upon the head of Prince William at the end of the Queen's reign, rather than that of his father, is at best a heartless and even cruel one. It would appear certain that in this event, William would not have the advantage of a half-century of preparation that his father has. As his mother's experience demonstrated, the more preparation for a role of such sustained pressure and public demand, the better the chances of survival for the individual concerned. To sacrifice the personal interests of a young man (as he would probably be) unnecessarily in the alleged interests of the institution would be an act of wickedness.
As an individual under immense public
pressure and private grief, the Prince of Wales deserves the
full support of monarchists. It is not really enough to sympathise
with Charles privately; if he is to continue to function in
his intended role, he needs our support expressed personally
and publicly. His former history teacher at Geelong Grammar,
Michael Collins Persse, who now lives on Queensland's Sunshine
Coast, has provided an example that others might follow. Persse
wrote to The Weekly Telegraph in London, and expressed
his support for Charles publicly. There is no reason why other
Australians could not do something similar, even if they do
not personally know the Prince. And if we take the trouble
to write to the British press, send a copy to the Prince of
THE CASE OF DOUG COLLINS
Two years ago, Canadian ex-prisoner-of-war, journalist and broadcaster Doug Collins was the Guest of Honour at The New Times Dinner. Collins produced a stirring address highlighting matters of freedom of speech and the increasing tendency towards unthinking orthodoxy on the part of the press. He recited some of his own experiences in battle with the new breed of thought-police, the human rights commissions.
Acerbic in both speech and the written word, Collins continually offended his ideological enemies with the precision of his barbs, and again found himself before a Canadian-style kangaroo court. He had the temerity to express a personal view in a column titled "Swindler's List", about a well-known Stephen Spielberg movie picture based on the book "Schindler's Ark", by Australian author Thomas Kenneally.
Collins at the age of 77, has now retired as a columnist with the Vancouver North Shore News, but still awaits a ruling by the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal on a complaint about his column. The complaint about the column was vigorously defended by Collins and his newspaper, North Shore News, in scenes reminiscent of communist show-trials, except that the number of vocal Collins supporters who turned up to see the fun forced the Human Rights Commission to stage the hearing in a bigger venue, and produced great hilarity and some tremendous theatre.
Although he is retired, Collins will continue to write sporadically, and we anticipate a book on his experiences with the B.C. thought-police. We shall publish the results of the hearing.
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