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.
I do feel that President Bush's chances were improved by Howard's win - certainly Kerry has less to smile about.
Death to the post-modernists! They have betwaddled many a young mind.
The sooner all of these lunatic leave the world, the better the world will be.
Inarticulate stupidity, in my mind.
I agree with Mr. Hames about postmodernism, and sincerely hope he's correct about the elections.
"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."
I don't know that I agree with the first half of his statement, and wonder where he's pulling this from, but the second half is definitely right on. This writer probably doesn't mean that a Kerry presidency would be disastrous, though.
Thank you thank you thank you, I agree so much,and I also hope that there's a correlation between what the polls in Australia purported to show-that Labor was,ahead in some cases or closing in others,and the way our polls show tha same thing here. Also, they have their version of the liberal media-the Sydney Morning Herald is rabid-and they touted Mark Latham as if he paid their checks,just as our media does,and it was all to no avail in the end. They're in great shock right now-if they didn't expect howard to win,they certainly didn't expect him to gain seats in the House AND gain a working or actual majority(remains to be seen which) in the Senate.
The following statement is an oxymoron of the highest degree: "There are no absolutes."
In the case of Derrida, I wouldn't even give them articulate.
I had not heard that Jacques Derrida was now being deconstructed. The man had a titanic role -- he almost single-handedly unhinged a whole generation of liberal moonbats. One can scarcely note his passing without getting the giggles.
Jean Francois Cheri is more Francophone than Anglophone. I don't see Americans warming up to the French Candidate here as Election Day draws closer.
If Kerry wins, he's going to regret having his daughter go to Australia to trash Howard--Howard's likely to tell him "Kiss my Australian arse, poofter!"
Perhaps the most astute observation in the article.
It was his SISTER, not his daughter.
Jolly good read...thanks..BTW..is this an op-ed piece, or is the author a regular columnist. Can you provide any background info?..Thanx..
The biased MSM in Australia are looking rather stupid and serves them right. What did they think? That their lies would become a self-fulfilling prophecy? I'm laughing. How are they going to spin why Howard now has a bigger majority than after the previous election? Lies are so predictable. They have already started with how 'dangerous' it is that the Coalition will be able to act as a 'rubber stamp' in the Senate, (tighten security measures?) Yum yum. You can lie to all the people some of the time etc. Shame on the Opposition, not once did they refer to democracy in Afghanistan or Iraq. All Latham did was insult our intelligence by throwing money at us. The left forgot security altogether. Not a smart move, considering there are 250 muslims in Indonesia making the average aussie nervous after the Bali bombing. Latham treated the security issue as if he had been reading the Kerry handbook. Much exaggerated? Like h*ll.
GWB will win for the same reason. Why would a strong leader who faces the terrorist threat head on like he does, lose an election? What use are billion dollar welfare promises if security issues are ingored?
This phrase is very descriptive not only of French philosophy but also of post-modernism itself and its adherents. John Kerry comes immediately to mind, as a matter of fact, when I think of articulate stupidity.
LOL! He's dead.
Philosophy is a luxury now. Survival is not. While some ponder, others prepare to protect the "philosophers". An insightful article, though.
I am loving reading Margo Kingston's Web Diary-it's an oasis of comfort in the anxiety of our upcoming elections. I am hoping that Australia will be our bellweather,and then by some miracle,Britain's.
Leftists seem to be the same everywhere-on Web Diary,they're crying about "the end of democracy", and "the fascist state" and other such drivel.
I am even more heartened by the showing of the "Family First" party,and I hope they continue to grow,and stay true to their principles,and don't acquire whatever Australia calls their version of the "Beltway bug" now that they're coming up in the big leagues. So many times the taste of power makes these grassroots groups lose sight of "who brung 'em" to the dance,because they want to hold what they've got,instead of implement the agenda.
I'm so happy for Australia,and hope the American voters don't let our side down. It would too ironic for words if our allies who joined at our urging,because they saw the threat as well as we did,were left holding tha bag,while we deserted the post.
Oops, let me clarify quickly,LOL, Web Diary is an oasis of comfort to me because it's so relieving to laugh at the melodramatic stupidity being posted there! Lest anyone misunderstand my position,hehe,I'm spazzin' between rolling my eyes and ROFL at the stuff posted there:)
There absolutely, positively are no absolutes. LOL
The hilarious part is that they literally cannot see their own self-contradiction.
"it would be too ironic for words if our allies who joined us at our urging, because they saw the threat as well as we did, were left holding the bag..."
Now there's something that never crossed my mind. But then, I never once thought that GWB would not win re-election. Yes, there were times when it looked close, but Kerry is such an idiot and so objectionable as a human being, it would take more than the lying MSM and Soro's fortune to make a silk purse out of that PIG's ear!
I've got bad news for the Left. 'Average' Aussies and Americans are NOT idiots!
The Family First party is a surprise however. I don't recall a faith based political party in the past. Guess it's a direct result of how uncomfortable some aussies feel about our mooselimb population. We have had a 'fair share' of terrorist activity (bomb plots etc.) Fake charities, training camps in the bush etc...heaps of gang rapes by mooselimb youth, who think our girls are 'asking for it' - so Family First sounds like a good name for a Christian backlash. About time.
There once were one or two great and worthy French philosophers. Alexis de Tocqueville stands out, not only for his great personal stature, but also for his high regard for The United States of America.
One of his better known quotes is: America is great because she is good. If she ever ceases to be good, she will also cease to be great." I believe he was correct, and I say, Please God, protect us from the likes of Kerry, Edwards, Soros, Carville, et al!!
And there is bound to come a day when the Derrida-ites will unmoor themselves from their University posts---the first generation in fact is very close to retirement age. The fad can't last forever, maybe the simple (yes, OBJECTIVE) truth will get its own back. I have some of these people in my extended family , and reading their (published) forays into LitCrit is like being exposed to the findings of forensic medicine, except in this case it's the deconstructionist critics who have killed the literary work and made it a corpse.
The only thing that worries me,is that it seems that the left here is much more rabid, and undoubetdly more underhanded and unaverse to dirty tricks,than the Aussie left. I can't imagine voter fraud there on the scale that I could imagine here from the left. And Australian compulsory voting,I think,makes a difference-here,the "turn out the vote" effort has unfortunately seemed to favor the 'rats historically. We Republicans and conservatives have really got to stop being so complacent or fatalistic.
I would like to have been a fly on the wall when Kerry asked his sister exactly what in the hell she had done down under. I believe she had the opposite effect they had in mind. Alienating an ally is just plain stupidity!
I am currently beginning to re-read "Democracy In America",I first read it years ago. It's funny how a Frenchman of centuries past understood the foundation of America's strength and greatness,before we had even reached the full potential of either,better than some of our citizens do in the present day.
Sorry, wasn't meaning to put you on the spot:) But it's a good point to come back with the next time you hear someone croaking about "religious loonies taking over" politics or any such malarkey. Just ask 'em if they had any objection when the religious political voice was from the left. See,the hypocrites don't really object to a religious party,only a conservative religious party. As if Christians don't the right to the same political activity as any other interest group. You may notice that you don't hear too much objection to the Muslim interest groups(religious),or the black religious special interests(jesse Jackson,so-called "preacher",et al.) Wonder if they objected to the Reverend Martin Luther King being politically active?
Ditto here. They are trying hard! All during the campaign I was watching Latham carefully. He was using Kerry terminology; called Howard a FLIP FLOPPER! That's NOT a word Aussies use. They don't understand what it means. Now here's a laugh; when Howard and Latham met at the door of a radio studio (one coming out, the other going in for an interview,) Latham grabbed Howard's hand and would not let him go, he almost overpowered him and made Howard look as if he was off-balance. I recognised the Kerry tactic immediately from the debate incident. That handshake thing has become a cartoon item: "Is that a WMD in your pocket or are you glad to see me?" for a caption, because Latham pulled Howard almost into his chest!
Latham was using Kerry speak all through the campaign. Didn't work! And Kerry speak won't work in the US either. The MSM know what's in store for them. Watch them turn like the worms they are. EVERYONE LIKES A WINNER!
Hey, they can scream all they like. The Family First Party has already been labelled as 'religious bigots' and the more the left does that, the more folks will decide to find their faith.
It has not escaped notice here that in the State of Victoria, two lay-preachers have been charged with hate-speech by an organisation set up by its left-wing state government. What were the charges based upon?
Reading from the koran at a Christian seminar!
Paul Johnson in "Modern Times" saw French philosophy, as promoted by Sarte, a Niezche's nihilism repackaged in a more attractive form. He accurately traced both amoralistic philosophies' consequences to amoralistic dictatorships, in Germany, USSR, Japan, and in Africa and Indonesia
I read a small snippet about that somewhere. What's the status of the it,do people think they'll really be convicted? that's sick,when they start trying to censor religious belief. If I understand correctly,Canada already has the laws in place that can lead to it being considered a hate-crime if a pastor preaches that homosexuality is a sin,per the Bible. I could see that leading to considering the Bible itself "hate speech".
What's funny is that,the Koran DOES teach to murder or enslave the "infidel" if they won't convert. But Islam and the Koran are protected! True Christianity from the Bible teaches no such thing!
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!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.