LAST RITES

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I guess the Australian Labor Party are a little slow to learn that power does not reside in the tearing down of citizens but in the building of nations…

If Bill Shorten had listened to the rubble of our fallen concrete cousins, if Chris Bowen had learned from the ghosts of Western ideological revolutions, if anyone within a thousand miles of Canberra had invested in a history book – I wouldn’t be sitting here writing a gloating eulogy to Socialism.

There has been a great deal of mulling about over the spectacular and poorly predicted loss that Labor experienced in the 2019 Federal Election. In truth the reason for this bloody field with bits of Shorten poking out of the grass is deceptively simple.

Humans are predictable.

They vote for survival, safety and prosperity. You cannot bribe away freedom when the trapdoor to impending hell has been left open. A glint of the executioner’s blade is all it takes to startle a Medieval crowd. Bowen was careless with his, wearing it as a steel kerchief to press conferences. It is no wonder he spent the last week of the election campaign confined to purgatory and was subsequently tossed from the palace into oblivion after the loss.

Bill Shorten’s idea was well rehearsed.

He and the Labor Party took the position of deity reaching into the moral, financial and private lives of Australians. They exceeded the role of government by parading around on a vulgar Climate Change cult float cheered on by a tiny crowd of inner city elites and their university indentured offspring. What they failed to realise is that nothing much has changed in 10,000 years. Fundamentally, citizens want government protection hitched to personal privacy – like a teenager that still comes home to mother for the washing and a few extra dollars when times get tough. What the Australian population do not want is a boarding school overlord with a cane in one hand and list of demands in the other.

It was not only Shorten’s extensive itinerary of terror that lofted the eyebrows of the electorate. Labor presented a risk in a time of uncertainty. Risk requires reward. Shorten forgot to bring a carrot.

In the face of this unappealing Powerpoint presentation, all Scott Morrison had to do was act normal. Anything short of ‘Communist dictator in waiting’ would suffice and that is exactly what he did. He went from town to town looking slightly dorkish promising not to openly rob people’s grandparents or steal their cars. However angry Australians were at Malcolm Turnbull’s mess or The Nationals’ under performance, this looked a darn sight more appealing than a bunch of pirates sailing into the harbour.

Mind you, it would be a mistake to read Morrison’s victory as anything other than a tentative second chance.

Labor lost this election all on their own and in the months since the Liberals have been trying but somewhat failing to make promising conservative noises. If they want to fix the open wounds dripping on the floor of parliament after Turnbull’s assault someone is going to have to grow a spine and start fronting up to the tough decisions. Morrison definitely has problems with his leadership and despite what may prove to be good intentions, complacency or misplaced honour threatens to do serious damage to our nation.

Machiavelli had a warning for leaders like Scott Morrison: if you come to power owing too much to a particular faction your leadership will be forever crippled by its difficult birth. He’s had several opportunities to cut his chains but he didn’t. Now Morrison wears them in view of the public after he was shuffled into the leadership by the left factions like a card pulled from the dealer’s sleeve. Voters might be persuaded to overlook this cheat against Peter Dutton if Morrison were to perform a grand gesture. Pulling out of the suicidal United Nations Paris Agreement is a theatrical start. Waltz out in front of the cameras. Tear it into little shreds. Rain it down over the steps of parliament like confetti. Yes – that would have worked a treat. Pretending that it is merely a pledge about emissions – not so much…

There are other immediate catastrophes.

Freedom of Speech is starting to sound like a barbarian horde beating bronze swords against wooden shields thanks to corporations backed by international Social Media companies accidentally revealing their overreach into sovereign law.

Talking trash online has escalated to the urgent requirement for a United States style Bill of Rights.

To be fair we are a young country that has not had to fight its way through dictatorial tyrannies. The political gentleness of our infancy is a mercy but when coupled with woeful education in the history of barbarous ideas it has become a problem. Our freedoms were gifted by battles fought on distant lands but now those wars are returning, attached to our shores by threads of cyberspace. We forgot to build a fort. No one can hold a spear. Worse still, we are burdened with an oblivious youth indoctrinated into the Helicopter Cult of ‘corporate culture’. Millennials are more than happy to allow Silicon Valley to dictate the terms of engagement in exchange for ‘likes’.

Narcissism is as good a reason as any to collapse a country, I guess…

Out comes Scott Morrison, coaxed to the cameras by a rabid thrum of reporters who have only recently discovered that freedom is under threat despite ‘quiet’ Australians routinely snuffed from existence during decade long skirmishes charged with the crime of ‘opinion’. You might be insufferably late to the party boys but there are plenty of pitchforks against the wall. Pick one up, take a number and get in line.

Adding furniture to freedom’s funeral pyre, a popular sports star has been imprisoned in the stocks for Instagramming a Bible verse containing vague threats of existential torment. It’s pretty par-for-the-course stuff as far as deities are concerned. What’s not so normal is the case of a sponsor encouraging a business to sack an employee because of their virtual speech within the private sphere. Hearing the ominous rumble of litigation, everyone should have cooled their heels and backed off but instead these virtuous companies have invested so much capital in their ‘ethics advertising’ they’ve no choice except to see this mess to the bitter end. Which they will lose – knocking the lid off Pandora’s box.

Of course, this should’ve been tested long ago when businesses first decided to hire and fire ordinary people based upon their (private) Social Media accounts but it has taken a national interest to open the conversation in front of the law.

My fears lay here.

If Scott Morrison wades in (which ultimately he must) he will make the mistake of legislating religious speech instead of drawing the line on corporate overreach.

Listen carefully to our Prime Minister’s statements. In protecting speech we cannot accidentally protect religious practice from the reach of law. This separation of ideas is crucial because religions who are offered protection above the law create a tyranny of their own. Any law created must not single religion out but rather cover the breadth of speech and rescind that vile 18C legislation which only serves to invite social justice onto the front lines and with it all the horror of demons drafting dogma.

This amendment, whose purpose is to enshrine our birthright to speak our mind, must be done with as few brushstrokes as possible. Civil liberties are a canvas easily crowded and conflicted by legal smudging. Brevity is key.

Mind you, it is not only the type of speech that requires protection but where we may speak.

The internet bewilders government. It is a complex medium owned by no one but for the purpose of law it can be viewed as the public forum where all freedoms afforded to a private space must be extended. The onus should be on a company to specifically identify a ‘work environment’ operating upon these Social Media platforms such as a webpage owned or operated by that company.

While it is reasonable to extend a work environment to the company Twitter page, it remains unreasonable to demand employees abide by their Code of Conduct across all of Twitter.

For example, a company can fire you for your conversation inside their building but not on the street. Renting a building does not give them jurisdiction over the local pub or the jokes you crack while out with your mates. Social Media is the same – a network of buildings and streets. The law should be able to tell the difference.

The debate has exposed some interesting observations.

Firstly, the behaviour of the self-identified, ‘Progressive Left’. Here be the lesson… You cannot be both a Progressive Left Libertarian who supports Freedom of Speech while also delving into historic revenge karma to be exacted on modern followers of a religion. That makes you – something else entirely… Keep an eye on those who revel in the subjugation of ideas they don’t like. These are the new oppressors. They are in the throes of evolving into what they claim to hate.

Secondly, most institutions be they religious, political, social or corporate are sleeping giants waiting for the turn tide. It is the law that holds back these grasping hands and it must be constructed carefully. Drafting legislation in this domain is not a matter of stepping away from the waves but rather maintaining the breakwall against the storm. Any or all of these players are a threat to democracy and none of them should be given special consideration. Social Media giants are the most recent to prove themselves unsuitable to wield the power they’ve stumbled into. Their first instinct has been to control, silence and lord around as unelected moral dictators. They will collapse as they overreach – either abandoned by their users or broken apart by the government.

…That is if Scott Morrison’s government acts like the USA instead of China. Stay away from the European Union mate, they are three foot deep in censorship.

This conflict to protect our basic rights trickles back down to Bill Shorten’s election and Labor’s recurring lover – Socialism. It might be dressed up in emerald robes with a touch of death cult chanting off to the side but Labor’s policies were and still are designed to extend government control over property, finance, employment and yes – speech. It is being flogged half-price by the Greens as some form of moral superiority. A kindness. Socialism often pretends to smooth the rough edges of human behaviour under the guise of ‘social cohesion’ but really all it does is lull the world into quiet slavery – stifling the chaos required to give rise to brilliance. As a species, we need the noise. Freedom is where we thrive. There is no freedom in a world where corporations and government hug the nation at the throat.

As an idea, Socialism and its fellow weed Communism should have died but unlike its victims, ideas never have more than one foot in the grave. They resurrect themselves and plague the foolish like great battle swords set in glass cabinets preserved for inevitable war.

Attacking from several flanks, there is no moral consistency to this movement. We have animal welfare organisations arguing for the saviour of a single bird whilst perfectly happy to usher in a new age of extinction against farm animals simply because they don’t like their evolutionary credentials. Animal lives are divided into social statuses in the same way Labor divides human society based upon race, gender, sexuality, religious persuasion, environmental philosophy and all manner of increasingly small compartments. They would prefer issues undergo trial by public opinion rather than submit them to a steady line of reason and while Al Gore becomes a verb associated with failure, he is replaced by more dangerous advocates like child prophets and corporate cabals.

To those on the Left I say, tyranny is easy – freedom is hard.

Speech has consequences – to your feelings but they should never draw the attention of a courtroom unless they trip over libel, defamation and incitement.

If you ask me to check my privilege – you should check your sanity.

So, excuse me while I scrape the layer of frost off my laptop to read these alarmist tweets about Global Warming and dismay at the media disinterest at the underlying motivation dragging a fortune from our coffers while lowering the bars on speech.

Never forget, Socialism does not enforce a moral order of good manners. It is a political system designed to constrain the citizens with poverty so that the vengeance and savagery of the elites can riot. The cliff to this political dystopia is deceptively close with Labor’s policies serving as the final shove. A mistake crumbles the rock several metres from the edge before we wake up at the bottom, bruised and broken in our own Venezuela with Skippy on the spit roast.

Our freedom is a fading mirage at the cusp of sunset – disappointing, translucent and fragile. There are beautiful colours playing in the light and a transfixed crowd of quietly hopeful admirers but I suspect that all the noise and all effort has been set up for squander.

Perhaps Australia has entered the family of nations too easily. Sponsored by battle-hardened parents we have never had the chance to meditate on our precarious existence as a small nation in a world of powerful ideas. Where are our wits as large, hostile entities flex their intentions? We continue to entrench ourselves beneath their wings…

Global Corporatism may prove to be just as destructive as its red sisters.

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