Skip to comments.Why the voters of Wagga Wagga have good news for Bush and Blair
Posted on 10/10/2004 2:46:09 PM PDT by MadIvan
NEITHER George W. Bush nor Tony Blair comes across as a particularly philosophical figure. Mr Bush clearly does have an established body of political principles, but obviously finds it difficult to articulate abstract themes. Mr Blair, it might be said, is in the opposite position. There is, nevertheless, a challenging conceptual question for both men this morning. Who best understands the implications of the Australian general election: John Howard, elected for a fourth term on Saturday, or Jacques Derrida, the French intellectual whose death was sombrely announced as the votes Down Under were being counted?
There is not much doubt what M. Derrida would have thought about this issue. He is hailed as the father of post-modernism, post-structuralism and deconstruction. He argued that there could be no such thing as objective truth because all supposed truths are expressed in language and language itself always has multiple meanings and in any case is constantly changing. There are, he claimed, no fixed values in the world, just social constructs bounded by time and vocabulary (I think that is what he contended, anyway). The idea that an Australian election could have deeper significance in its own context, never mind elsewhere, is, therefore, ludicrous.
Now I have always had my doubts about this post-modernist, post-structuralist, post-everything stuff. For a start, it seem to me that being dead is an objective truth and not an ambiguous condition produced by time and language. And surely if there can be no certainties because of the slippery character of words, then post-modernism itself can hold no special inherent virtue. If you take all this there is no truth but no truth to its (il)logical extreme then, to be blunt, you move round and round in circles until you disappear up your own derrière. I suppose thats French philosophy.
It is safe to assume that Mr Howard would have none of this. He is a firm believer in the notion of an Anglosphere linking his country, the United States and Britain. He might not necessarily use the term Anglosphere when addressing sheep farmers in the Outback (who would rightly regard such a phrase as only mildly more enticing than post-structuralism), but it is central to the Australian Prime Ministers outlook on the world. Put simply, he thinks that ties of culture, history and political institutions are more important than those of mere geography. The electors of Wagga Wagga have their differences with those of Wisconsin or Worcestershire, but it is their similarities that will prove to matter.
Mr Howard could, therefore, identify three aspects of his triumph that, like his nations fine lager, are definitely available for the export market.
The first is that within the Anglosphere incumbency is an asset, not a liability. There have been many parts of the world this year from Spain and Greece to India and Indonesia where governments with perfectly decent records have been defeated. Mr Howards win not only bucks this trend but reaffirms a pattern. In Australia, Britain and the US, it has been better in recent years to hold office than to challenge for it. Over the past 20 years, only one sitting Australian Prime Minister (Paul Keating in 1996), one serving British Prime Minister (John Major in 1997) and one US President (George Bush Sr in 1992) have been thrown out by the voters. The same is true of Canada. In the Anglosphere today, the devil you know is usually preferred to an aspiring Angel of Deliverance.
The second is that political life in the Anglosphere remains dominated by economics. Indeed, the economic cycles of Australia, Britain and the US appear to be more closely aligned with each other than with those of Asia, Europe or Latin America respectively. Mr Howard stormed home because he and his party were strongly associated with prosperity and his opponents were perceived as a threat to that benign stability. He now has to work out when to stand down in favour of a Finance Minister who is viewed as the architect of this success (sound familiar?). Canada experienced the same transition although somewhat ineptly executed at about this time last year.
There is an analogy with the US as well. The irony of this presidential election is not John Kerrys failure to exploit a weak economy but Mr Bushs inability to make more of these good times. The unemployment rate in America today is lower than it was when Ronald Reagan secured his second term in 1984 and when Bill Clinton did the same 12 years later. It is not the challenger but the President who needs to put the economy centre stage over the next three weeks. If he does, then he will remain in the White House and, like Mr Howard, perhaps by a surprisingly comfortable margin.
Finally, the Iraq factor is more potent in opinion polls than in the ballot box. Mr Howards involvement in the demise of Saddam Hussein was no more popular in Australia than Mr Blairs role has been in Britain. Iraq would appear to be a negative factor for Mr Bush in his election bid as well. I suspect, though, that the mood in all three countries has much in common. Voters are far from convinced that troops had to go in, but now that they are there they must finish the task, and that quest would be complicated by a change in leadership. The defiant response here to the savage murder of Kenneth Bigley is not what the terrorists anticipated.
If the Anglosphere does trump French philosophy, then Mr Howard, Mr Bush and Mr Blair will all be returned to office. If so, then when the trio are next reunited at some international event a burst of collective song would be appropriate. A rousing rendition of Tie Me Post-Modernist Down, Sport might suit the occasion.
Amazing! Do you know if there's there a video of that posted anywhere on the internet? A still photo of that could make a good ad, side-by-side with Kerry's trying the same trick on Bush.
Btw, thanks for the great news from Down Under.
It's a fascinating case, but I noticed after I posted the link, the site is 'under construction' - I suggest you save the link and try again at a later time. All they did was hold a seminar for their own folks to read from the koran and compare it's message with the New Testament. The meeting was infiltrated by two stooges from an orginisation funded by the left-wing state government in Victoria, one Brack, himself of Lebanese descent. Thus charges were brought against two lay-preachers...whose defence rests totally upon the very verses they read to the audience at the meeting. No judgement had been handed down last time I checked the site, just a few weeks ago.
I don't wonder why it's taken so long! To hand down a guilty verdict (hate speech) the magistrate would literally have to conclude that reading from the koran is in itself hate-speech!
I can't wait for the outcome!
No, there's only the cartoon that was published in The Australian newspaper. No one here would have made the connection, only a FReeper who watched the debate and who reads Freerepublic would have noticed!
I'll check The Australian netsite and see if they have it up - but I doubt it. Will forward a link if it's there.
Thanks Ivan for the thread.
Thanks. I'll try checking The Australian's website too and will check back tomorrow.
I will pray that they're acquitted. All common sense demands it. That's a good point-if reading from the Koran is "hete speech", will it be outlawed for Muslims to read/teach from it also? Will the Bible be banned? It teaches that homosexuality and abortion are wrong.
In all truth,I believe that the day for all this is coming. I just hope I'm gone from here by then.
No, but this should do it:
Hey, I missed the two you found! (Our guy is the one with the glasses and the eye-brows!)
Well, I'm sure some other FReeper could do a lot better a posting a side-by-side than I can, but here's my try:
Yep, Latham definitely watched that debate and tried the same tactic...but managed to pull Howard so close to himself Howard looked really shocked. Just proves that a lefty never had an original idea, they feed off each other like the parasites they are. Bet you Howard went home and had a shower and GWB washed his hands with antiseptic soap!
Bullies never learn that size doesn't count, do they? I can't wait for November 2nd. Kerry might as well be crafting his We was Robbed speech already. Landslide coming. GO BUSH!
To quote Paul Sheehan in (of all places) today's Sydney Morning Herald -
"On Saturday night the giant, lumbering road train known as the will of the people, aka the democratic process, smashed through the pretensions, delusions and manipulations of the unelected and unaccountable who presume to tell Australians what to think and who to be."
WOW! I'm gunna print that out, have it enlarged (hugely) and give it to a certain family member who keeps quoting me left wing rubbish.
Has a nice way with words, doesn't he? tee hee hee....
Actually, they are. Remember the Bali bombings?
There's a gem of a post by one Steven Spielberg(not the director I'm sure) on Margo Kingston's Web Diary that says "the people" need to educated on how to think,so that they don't simply "receive" information. I was astounded to read that,so I replied(it hasn't been posted),what did he have in mind,re-education camps a la Chairman Mao?
And another idiot there claims that they lurk on US political websites,and that the conservatives do all the name-calling,and the 'rats engage in "analysis". I can only say,they obviously haven't been to Free Republic and DUhmmies under the ground('rats),or they couldn't say that. They'd have read where a Dummy a couple of weeks ago posted that they hoped the terrorists won and destoyed America.
Good point,LOL. The kicker was,he'd rather we lost the WOT than that President Bush got re-elected!!! I'd say that's taking Bush-hate to an extremist length-that you'd rather see your fellow citizens,children,etc,killed by over your political ideology! HOW can people think that conservatives are the extremists? I never wished anything like that,never thought of it,on my worst day of despising Clinton.They forget the adage that politics must stop at our borders.
Poor Margo and her cheer squad of merry idiots.
All those months of spewing out endless venom for nothing.
Apparenly she is taking a month off now that the election is over. With any luck she will decide to move to France or New Zealand where she will feel much more at home amonst the more enlightened populace. /sarcasm>
She's declared that it's her duty to stay and fight the coming totalitarian government,LOL.
She also claims that she sacrificed money,job security,and her "partner" (bells going off) for writing her anti-Howard screed "Not Happy John". Oh the martyrdom of being a (small l) liberal!
Why would a Frenchman be worried about such things? /sarcasm>
****French philosophy - with the exception of the excellent work of Jean Francois Revel - it is code for articulate stupidity.****
What little I have studied of philosophy I got the feeling that liberalism is an outgrowth of french philosophy and thinking.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau should be called the Godfather of the Left and much of what he preached would later influance both communism and fasicism.
Marx and Engels met and worked out the ideas of Communism in Paris.
While England was holding up the ideas of economic and political freedom and limited goverment the french created the first modern totalitarian state under Napoleon Bonaparte.
From the XYZ Affair to the current UN Food for Oil scandal the french has always been corrupt and arrogant.
It seems that the Anglo-Saxons will continue to be on the right side of history.