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47 responses to “Addressing the preconditions of atrocities: Silvestri”

  1. Dr_Tad

    I think Silvestri’s argument is deeply flawed.

    In trying to diminish the particularities of specific extremist projects to instead focus on “the shared phenomenon of homogenising, reductive, and dogmatic forms of thought, built around rigid understandings of identity and enmity, and impermeable to dialogue with anyone outside the lucky tribe”, she is effectively demarcating them from her own political preferences not through a political argument but through a depoliticised critique of forms of thought.

    Her argument is little more than calling for everyone to “keep an open mind” about multiculturalism and to not get stuck in narrow ideological echo chambers. That she raises the furphy of there being a problem with social media flies in the face of the emergence of extreme Right violence and the building of successful fascist movements in the 1920s and 30s, when methods of extremist organising relied on forms of inter-personal and group communication well prior to the rise of the interwebs.

    The issue with Breivik’s atrocity, or indeed with Islamist suicide terrorism, is not primarily its extreme nature, but its politics and social basis. We need to compare such projects with, for example, state projects such as that of the United States’ long assault (by various means) on the people of Iraq in the period since 1990, which has cost perhaps 2-5 million lives all up. Now, that is an extreme result, and one that has been justified through much semi-coherent and often widely-praised theoretical and analytical writing.

    For the Left it would not do to simply call for more open thinking or to ask State Department planners to get out of their Washington echo chambers. Rather, we need to concretely understand the social and political basis of such actions (whether their consequence are intended or not).

    I suspect Silvestri’s problem is that she is scared to declare politically against the Right, instead looking for universal (but depoliticised) categories. Her argument could easily be used against a Left and workers’ movement that never engages in terrorism, but can be labelled as “violent” and “extremist” because of participation in various forms of collective direct action.

    The analysis she advocates robs extremist violence of its political roots and leaves us vainly hoping for liberalism to win out thanks to its openness and moderation. As a strategy against fascism that’s not even asking the right question.

  2. Sam

    The shorter Silvestri: if only the Hutus hadn’t had Facebook and Twitter, they never would have massacred the Tutsis.

  3. Sam

    Silverstri’s article is at best silly and deserving of a glib response. At worst, it insults Breivik’s victims by explaining his crimes with a load of socio-babble.

  4. Sam

    Come on Mark; take this:

    A deeper and more holistic understanding of how these behaviours and mentalities influence the crimes of people like Anders Behring Breivik could help ensure that such crimes are never repeated.

    If a first year uni student submitted this platitudinous tripe in an essay you’d (a) laugh and then (b) fail them. Well, I would, in any case.

  5. Adrien

    A deeper and more holistic understanding of how these behaviours and mentalities influence the crimes of people like Anders Behring Breivik could help ensure that such crimes are never repeated.

    How do you ensure such a thing is never repeated? It’s a sincere question.

    When Hannah Arendt wrote Eichmann in Jerusalem she addressed some factors in Israeli law that resembled Nazi Germany’s race laws, she also made the very salient point that, far from being psychologically aberrant , Adolf Eichmann was ‘normal’. That, moreover, it was the mass of normal people in Germany who allowed the Nazi programme to manifest.

    What was happening was that people were blaming this most extreme of ‘othering’ tendencies on an Other, be it Germans, or Nazis or inhuman monsters. And, by refusing to face this tendency in the human race generally, were dooming themselves to repeating the errors.

    This herd-like instinct to dehumanize external individuals or groups and hold them responsible for whatever maladies may afflicting one’s self at any one given moment seems universal. I don’t think idealistic platitudes help.

  6. Sam

    Mark, The only saving grace in her article was that she didn’t use the word discourse.

    Now you’ve gone and spoiled even that.

    I’ve said all I’ve got to say, save for one thing: Brievik’s crimes are much too serious to be left to the sociology seminar room.


  7. Andrew E

    It was an error of Silvestri not to define “multiculturalism” and terms that are as central to her argument as they are vague.

    It is also an error to limit the scope of necessity for understanding when it comes to violence in political debate: debate requires that violence be absent and that even violent language be toned down in order to make people feel they can contribute.

    In this case, what Breivik wants (a Norway populated only by people physically resembling himself) can’t be had through reasoned debate or even the slick tricks of modern politics. It is achievable throuugh violence, but requires more skill and popular support than he was capable of – but he went ahead anyway (further proof of the essential narcissism of his position).

    He had to be stopped. The political system of Norway functioned properly in freezing him and those of similar mind out of the debate. He decided that he could achieve his aims through violence; he was mistaken in assuming others would rally to him, so he’s facing a frustrated life ahead of him (limiting his own liberty without achieving his hopes for his country). He was on a hiding to nothing either way – he was just on the wrong side of history in terms of both means and ends, and that’s his fault not anyone else’s.

    Silvestri patronises Breivik and others like him by insisting that he be understood, like a lab rat. He need be understood only insofar as is necessary to cut violence out of the options before him and others like him.

    Of course, I disagree with Dr Tad’s final point that liberalism provides a refuge from the sort of violence that makes politics, and other aspects of civil life, impossible.

  8. Chookie Inthebackyard

    I have similar concerns to Dr Tad with Silvestri’s article, and the only solutions I can see implied in it are either unlikely or abhorrent (which is the reason that no solutions are offered, I suspect).

    Teh Internetz: well, it’s unstoppable anyway, but if my own experience is anything to go by, an active Internet life leads to a broadening of one’s circle when geography, age and class tend to limit it IRL. I would think that a warning sign might be if the mass-murderer stuck to right-wing supremacist groups and never got involved in, say, a fly-fishing group where he might have befriended Marxist or Muslim anglers. But identifying Problem Persons this way would require detailed surveillance — abhorrent.

    I believe Silvestri should have combined 2. Categorisation with 3. Absolutism. Categorisation of people is mostly a force for good (eg unemployment benefits; knitting circles); only when combined with absolutism do we get dangerous results such as racism.

    I don’t think “homogenising, reductive, and dogmatic forms of thought” per se are a problem — otherwise, anyone with a coherent ideology is automatically suspect, as Dr Tad notes.

    Silvestri is right about the “rigid understandings of identity and enmity”. I think this is key: when all cops are pigs or all environmentalists are unemployed Communists, that’s extremism.

    A point Silvestri misses is: extremists of this type are usually Statists in that they are attempting to induce change primarily in the State, not in hearts and minds. Therefore I posit my profile for a mass-murderer:
    1. Limits interactions to own in-group
    2. Rigid understandings of identity/enmity
    3. Focus on “correcting” the State’s “errors” re the “enemy” group

    The much more difficult question is how to keep a society safe from such people without turning it into a police state (which would necessitate the legislature and the executive being filled with people of the very profile they’re guarding against…)

  9. jules

    She missed the point by calling the actions inhuman in the first paragraph. They are all too human. Unfortunately.

    That sort of propaganda and lack of self reflection is disturbing.

    Deep rooted problem – nationalism, “othering”: and violence.

    She said this:

    The chance of these debates proving useful or enlightening will depend in large part on their being conducted reasonably, by agreeing on a shared starting-point and avoiding easy scapegoating.

    OK thats her main issue. Assuming good faith when there probably isn’t any.

    By definition the political view she is dealing with is based on not doing these things she says are vital for a useful debate.

    This is obvious to all of us anyway.

    Dr Tad was pretty right, well centrist, or lefty, but he was correct, and he’s referring to fascism as a nebulous thing that combines “right wing” ideas* with political violence, nationalism and a corporate dominated free market and strictly hierarchical and authoritarian society. And various forms of mystification.

    And I guess an expansionist and colonialist attitude. It has to do with the exercise of power without regard for other people or the effects of that exercise of power on their well being. Its a particular manifestation of “Orwell’s boot in the face forever”.

    *IE the worldview that tends toward the principles that collective action (unionism) is not on, that all ownership can only be private and that everything can be owned privately, ultimately.

    I think all this ‘people will always construct an out group’ is way overcooked. It’s a tendency. People are also rational creatures, and have the ability to reflect. There’s no determinism at work here – what we need to do is work out how to give cultural and social meaning to the inhibitors of such tendencies.

    To some degree, multiculturalism, as a cultural strategy, was a partial attempt to do that.

    It very clearly requires a big rethink.

    Multiculturalism does not require a rethink cos some arsehole decided shooting people was a reasonable response to his dislike of it. The whole point is that multiculturalism actually seems to work. It seemed to work in Norway. Thats why it took something as extreme as this – something designed to traumatise and weaken a whole political movement that actually did a reasonable job at creating an open successful tolerant society.

    The obsession with knights and hierarchical, chivalric orders based on feudal monarchies – its just a bunch of entitled wannabe aristocrats who like lording it over people.

  10. Chookie Inthebackyard

    Mark @13, I think you are being a little too kind to Eichmann, who chose to join the Austrian Nazi Party in 1932 and was one of the chief architects of the Holocaust by 1942. He created the conditions that normalised the Holocaust for his subordinates, perhaps, but I don’t think milieu explains his own actions.

  11. jules

    “(b) How we might better understand cultural diversity as a social and human good.”

    Maybe promoting these ideas could help:

    – How boring is sameness? There’s plenty of time for uniformity after the last star goes out. There is also a wealth of evidence out there showing how good new ideas and experiences are for human minds and ultimately for human health and well being.

    – The wider the cultural (and the real) gene pool the better our options as a society when faced by any number of increasing challenges. Yes AGW is real, as is peak oil (and peak so much else), species devastation etc etc. Innovation is one thing that will aid us and innovation appears to be aided by being exposed to wide varieties of experience and ideas.

    – Essentially fear of loss of security, of a good life for yourself and your family can drive alot of the worst of hate speech. Multiculturalism can probably be shown to have an actual economic benefit – even with something as simple as new cuisines – imagine Melbourne without the influence of successive waves of migration. Its may not be possible.

    I dunno, but I don’t think it would hurt to add that lot to the public discourse (well what passes for it) on “multiculturalism”. As a motivation for a public policy multiculturalism may well promote healthier, happier people with more opportunities. It may also promote a more resilient society and community generally.

  12. Adam

    Arendt is making some very specific points in her portrait of Eichmann that address her own intellectual context and the educated people that would be reading her work.

    She is trying to point to the limits of the then dominant forms of psychological interpretation that might seek to explain crimes such as Eichmann’s in terms of pathology. She is saying that empirical psychology of the sort practiced post-WWII had less to offer in judging Eichmann and his ilk than most thought it would at the time. The normal and abnormal do not help us to assess Eichmann’s actions.

    Arendt’s is an argument for politics, and for a subjectivity based in action, and against the forgetting of politics in positivistic accounts of human nature. Unlike Mark, however, she didn’t seem to be as much of a fan of truth as a basis for politics.

  13. Dr_Tad

    Mark @2

    I use “fascism” in a considered way here, in the same way I don’t use it when discussing Merv Bendle or Lord Monckton or Tony Abbott or even Pauline Hanson. I’m with Trotsky (and other Marxists) in analysing fascism as a political project that seeks to impose an authoritarian national solution against the social forces that threaten a national capitalism’s ability to maintain itself — “othered” (i.e. deviant) social groupings, the Left and the workers’ movement. It differs from other authoritarian bourgeois projects in seeking to build a para-military movement outside the state that will then be in a position to be allowed to occupy the state once it proves its necessity to the existing elite.

    Having read a few sections of his Manifesto, it seems pretty clear that Breivik’s project is a pretty classic example of fascism. The nature of the atrocity/spectacle he executed seemed explicitly geared at radicalising already existing projects along these lines (see his admiration for the EDL, but also his criticism of its softness).

  14. Dr_Tad

    Mark @5

    I don’t think I’ve misunderstood Silvestri, but that I disagree with the take you and she have on the social media here. The technology of the social media may be novel, but in my view it has only created a new means of creating the kind of febrile echo-chambers of right-wing hate politics as compared with beer halls or meeting rooms. That is, I cannot see any substantive reason to believe that it has created new social relations whereby such inter-personal and collective communication processes take on a qualitatively different form to the fascist movement formation of past eras.

    Or to put it more simply: Her point strikes me as the silliest kind of technological determinism in the service of depoliticisation.

  15. Dr_Tad

    Anyhow, two other things:

    (1) Fascism is an adaptable ideology, and I’m not suggesting that Breivik or like-minded groups are identical to the fascists of the past.

    Italian and German fascism were dramatically different in many ways — for example in terms of the place of anti-semitism and their uses of racism. I think the Italian example is useful to analyse because it is much more obviously extra-state authoritarian-nationalist in its ideology than the German version, which is understandably coloured by its anti-semitic aspect. The two arose in different national, social and ideological contexts, so such differences in a fundamentally nationalist project would be inevitable.

    Similarly, fascism is not a static entity: In particular if it can come to occupy an existing state machine it starts to take on some more banal features of authoritarian dictatorships and its movement has to be purged of elements who take more extreme statements about overthrowing the existing order seriously. The late period of Francoism (which outlasted the other fascist regimes of the pre-WWII era) gives a sense of this, with its partial tolerance of social progress that would be unthinkable in the early days.

    Similarly, Breivik repeats the tropes of many modern fascists who have reconfigured the specifics of their anti-semitism to support Israel as a frontline state against the new threat of Islamicisation. They often also focus much more on modern cultural — rather than biological — articulations of racist discourse.

    (2) On strategy, I think that it is only possible to devise a sensible approach if we understand the essentials of fascist movement-building, which are designed to be resistant to standard liberal or social democratic calls to reasonableness and humanity. Breivik’s act will horrify most people, but it may also embolden a hard core already prepared to accept the need for strong actions to advance the cause. I’m really with Trotsky on the basics — confronting fascist organisations on a collective basis to not just name & shame them but demonstrate their social isolation materially, and developing an alternative politics to respond to the capitalist crisis, one that seeks to replace any national settlement with a class one. The latter has to be demonstrated in practice, for example in building united fronts against austerity around specific class-based policies.

    Of course, we start from a weak position on the Left in terms of these basics. 🙁

  16. Fran Barlow

    I’d largely endorse what you say above Dr_Tad, though I’d object to the term “[email protected] ideology”. Properly speaking, there is no such thing. They have no systemt of property relations to favour standing apart from the interests of the major classes. They have no means to author a state deriving from the property interests of smallholders and lumpenised sections of the populace.

    To the extent that there are recurrent themes in fascist organising, these are shared with much wider sections of the populace, nor is there much coherence in their ideas beyond angst over questions of identity and hatred of those seen as threatening it. [email protected] is distinguished primarily by praxis — [email protected] don’t think — they act, seeking to inspire others to cross the cultural Rubicon from fear and loathing to violent intimidation of “the other” as salve for their pain and downpayment on their fantasy.

  17. Kim

    In Germany it was more imperialist ethnic than state nationalist.

    But a comparative historical analysis would ask also what the conditions of failure were for fascist movements in the 30s in all European countries aside from Germany, Italy and Romania.

  18. Jeff

    I’m with Tad on this: it’s a terrible article, and one that embodies so much that’s wrong with the reaction to Norway.
    Yes, there is something interesting about the far right uses the internet today. In Counterpunch, I tried to argue that the structure of the big Islamophobic blogs (they’re participatory but anti-democratic) helps racial populists and neo-fascists to overcome some of the organisational problems they struggled with in the past.
    If anyone’s interested, that piece is .

    But Silvestri’s point about ‘the mentality that divides the world into two sides, the goodness or purity of one giving it the right to attack and kill the other’: well, what does that even mean?
    If she’s simply saying that we shouldn’t kill people we disagree with, well, OK, sure — but it’s pretty fatuous.
    In reality, though, one suspects she’s making the same point we’ve been hearing in Australia: that the real problem is polarisation and extremism on both sides, and what we really need is for people of good will to engage in civil discourse with each other.
    That’s not only rubbish, it’s dangerous rubbish. In fact, throughout the English speaking world, a precondition for the growth of far right organisations has been the willingness of liberals to meet with them half way. Thus, every time some anti-immigration group makes an electoral breakthrough, the social democratic response has typically not been to commence debating how this enemy can be defeated but rather to conclude that their concerns should be taken on board. The racist right declares that burqas should be banned; the liberal left responds by declaring that, while a ban might go too far, it’s very important to recognise that there are genuine issues about the number of Muslims. And thus the position is legitimised.
    Personally, I think the Independent today had it totally

    “The systematic demonisation of Muslims has become an important part of the central narrative of the British political and media class; it is so entrenched, so much part of normal discussion, that almost nobody notices.”

    In that context, dividing the world into two parts seems like a sensible thing to do. IMO, Islamophobia is becoming increasingly analogous to twentieth century anti-Semitism.
    Winning ordinary people away from Islamophobia is important. But to do that, we don’t need a dialogue with the hard core Islamophobes, anymore than we need a dialogue with hardcore anti-Semites. We need to defeat them — and to do that, we need to recognise them as an enemy.

  19. Kim

    Ok, Jeff and Tad, that’s very Schmittian. The problem, though, is that to name someone as an enemy is to mirror their naming of you.

    I think, going back to what Mark said above, there’s a meaningful distinction between political liberalism and cultural liberalism.

    The actual failures of both don’t have identical causes, and you don’t have to be Habermas to see that to argue for a relation to truth in discourse need not be a milquetoast response.

    So if actually existing liberals have met Islamophobes half way, or been drawn into the mentality which Others Islam, then that is a bad thing. But it does *not* mean that there can be no teeth in a political call for reasonableness, not addressed to the right wing nutjobs, but as a mechanism of persuasion to civil society more generally.

    Wasn’t it Marx who put liberal demands before revolutionary ones? In order of priority. That is, as Chantal Mouffe and others have argued, the task of the left in hard times is to make liberalism a reality, against the liberals.

  20. Fran Barlow

    He did indeed put liberal demands firts Kim, buit of course

    a) that was in the middle of the 19th century, prior to the development of imperialism in the contemporary sense


    b) they were actual demands — concrete measurable deliverables — not airy-fairy notions like reasonableness in public discourse or playing nicely with others, as admirable as those things might be.

  21. Jeff

    But that’s the point I was trying to make.
    Put as broadly as that, the argument’s just facile. We’re all for truth; everyone’s for being ‘reasonable’ (at least in the abstract).
    But when you become specific, the politics are much more problematic. There are, after all, people on the right arguing, with varying degrees of openness, that we should engage in a dialogue with Breivik (or, at least, his co-thinkers), that we should accept that the Oslo atrocities were provoked by Islam or multiculturalism or whatever, and thus adjust immigration policies accordingly.
    By contrast, I’d argue that the only way to win over the soft supporters of fascism is to recognise the hardcore fascists as the enemies of humanity, who must be defeated at all costs.
    In other circumstances, that might sound like hyperbole. But having spent the last few days trawling the Islamophobic blogs, I am convinced that there’s a certain urgency to this, that there is already the basis for a substantial fascist or semi-fascist movement specifically oriented against Muslims.

  22. Dr_Tad

    The problem, though, is that to name someone as an enemy is to mirror their naming of you.

    Well, yes, but it’s not just that is it? Naming can also accurately reflect irreconcilable conflicts based in material social relations, and not just opposed ideas.

    There is something to be said of making truth claims from a consistent scientific analysis of a world where there are such conflicts and contradictions, but how can you then separate this analysis from particular social interests and practices? The “truth” for the capitalist class at a particular historical moment — say, Germany 1933 — may be that its advance is mostly likely to benefit from allowing a racist, ultra-nationalist, paramilitary political mass movement based chiefly in the middle class and lumpenproletariat to take the reins of the state machine. Today, there may be a utility for our political class in displacing ordinary people’s feelings of social insecurity into feelings of national/ethnic/cultural insecurity.

    That’s where the liberal view of truth falls down, because it tends to see such claims as universal rather than tied to social interests.

    I’m making a political judgement that for the great mass of people the advance of fascism would represent a victory of the enemy. So I’m gonna name and shame ’em as a necessary but not sufficient step.

  23. Dr_Tad

    Hey, I know moderation is not normally discussed in the threads, but I suspect that the word f*****t should be removed from the automatic moderation algorithm. Every single post I’ve made on this thread has been auto-moderated.


  24. Kim

    @Dr_Tad, all comments in this thread have been auto-moderated, as they have been on other threads about Norway. I apologise if it slows down the pace of discussion, but believe you me, if you’d seen some of the ones that make it into the trash bin, you’d understand the reasoning.

  25. Kim

    @Jeff, I don’t disagree about the urgency.

    But I’m just not sure, as a matter of practice, how this sort of vile stuff is countered just by saying it is vile?

    Dr_Tad recognises, rightly, I think, that the resources aren’t there for a left alternative to the dysfunctions of neo-liberal globalisation becoming an instantly compelling argument to those who might be inclined to go with all sorts of xenophobic responses to the way things are. Misrecognising why they are how they are.

  26. Dr_Tad

    Cheers Kim. Sorry about that.

  27. Kim

    … Reflecting on that, maybe we’re getting circular.

    But I think a broad stand in favour of a politics of truth has a lot of value at this particular conjuncture.

  28. Jeff

    Obviously, labeling fascism ‘vile’ is necessary but not sufficient.
    The only reason I made that pretty basic point is that Silvestri, in the article that spurred this thread, tells us that a ‘division of the world into like-minded (good) and differently-minded (bad)’ must be avoided, and that we should ensure that we don’t become ‘impermeable to dialogue with anyone outside the lucky tribe’.
    Insofar as that means anything, it implies that we should not label fascists as ‘vile’ (for that would be a division of the world into the good and the bad) and that, instead, we should ensure that we’re open to dialogue with them. Which, as I say, is a position also staked out by elements of the mainstream Right, who argue, ‘Well, Breivik might have gone too far but he did make some reasonable arguments about Muslims’.
    IMO, it’s crucial that the Left not buy into this in any way, shape or form. That’s why I can’t understand the enthusiasm for her argument here.

  29. Dr_Tad

    The vileness of it is not an abstract question. It has to be linked to a class appreciation of the social conditions that allow such vileness to breed. Because “othering”, most especially in creating enemies of the imagined national settlement, is precisely about locating the cause of the social conditions as outside the national settlement. The vileness distracts from the real problems.

    As in: “Services are poor in the suburbs but that’s because of overpopulation (and not state/market failures in developing needed services).”

    A chief reason the Left is so weak in Australia is that through the Accord process of the Hawke-Keating era it largely surrendered to a new national settlement where the interests of rampant capitalism came first. Today the ALP perpetuates that same program, but it is now hollow and obvious to many people. Without a strong Left with a clear alternative program, the vacuum into which the vile ideas can be projected is scarily large.

    Indeed, the polarisation of official politics creates an ever-increasing pressure on independent Leftists to bow down to defend “our side” of what is really an empty conflict. That actually strengthens the vileness because “our side” keeps legitimating it (think of Gillard on work, refugees, population, free markets, etc, etc).

  30. Dr_Tad

    Also, what Jeff said.

  31. Mr Denmore

    Very interesting discussion. So where is the moderate conservative centre-right in all this? I would have presumed they would be alarmed at the threat to established institutions and the rule of law from proto-fascist movements. Or are they enjoying wedging the left too much to speak out?

  32. Adrien

    That’s where the liberal view of truth falls down, because it tends to see such claims as universal rather than tied to social interests.

    The word liberal has been too-much mauled to be of much use on this matter but there is a worldview that associates itself with objectivity and treats with disdain the ontological maxim that human perception is inherently warped by the gravity of interests.

    But this is distinguishable from facts acquired by rigorous experiment, from the existential truths individuals and their associates might hold in their hearts and from the ‘truth’ as promoted by various agencies seeking to influence politico-economic arrangements in the interests of those they represent. I think we’ve forgotten that, these distinctions are all merged together like smudged colour.

    We live in the assumption that our enemies are much guiltier of this sin of self-deception than our allies. We applaud whatever allied polemic strikes a media profile no matter its flaws or lies and we decry the exact same manipulation by our opponents as evil incarnate. And so the liars always win. Rigid minds wear the crown. And everyone gets dumber and more hateful.

    There are facts. At least some of these will be inconvenient to a policy position where there’s a conflict of interests. And those broadcasting the message will seldom include what they’d rather you didn’t hear about. They will also, automatically, work on answers to questions their opponents’ ask. Seldom do facts change ideological programmes but still they exist and as a basis for truth as the Buddhists conceive of it they are what we have to work with.

    It’s a real shame they’re always buried under a mountainrange of horseshit ‘ey?

  33. Joe

    Dr_Tad and Jeff,

    I think you’re missing the point if you think that a more confrontational socialist politics can somehow “drag” the radical elements of the right back to the center.

    Once again, it seems as though some people are confounded by the concept of a gernalisation.

    The Norwegian Prime minister, Stoltenberg, is getting a lot of praise for his response to the Massacre. His response is not the response of a George W. Bush. It is not populist, in the sense that it seeks to “politicise” a “natural” need for revenge in the national population. Rather he seeks to reinforce the importance of the modern state political institutions related to democracy.

  34. Joe

    Mr Denmore makes an interesting point related to the political situation in Australia. (And although it pains some on this board, I remind you of Rudd’s political calculation with respect to Global warming and the apparent meltdown that it was causing in the Liberal party.)

    Politics does require good faith. What do you do when there is no reasonable political debate? When there is not enough good faith? How does one demand good political debate?

    Because I put it to you, that what we are currently seeing from the Liberal party, seen in the context of the tabloid press (Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt, etc.) is not reasonable. The Liberal party of Australia is much more aligned with ideas related to selling their product than representing and solving real issues facing Australian society.

    It seems ridiculous to have to point this out in such a trite unsophisticated way, but I think we’re at a point where we need to reflect on some of the basics of a civil society.

  35. Chav

    Jo, Bolt and Jones will only demand ‘reasonable political debate’ when there is a Left- wing lynch mob besetting their premises. Otherwise they have interest in it.