Give me Libertarianism or give me Life


I’ve made it clear in the last few blog posts that this is an extremely important Australian election. Now, in the Watermelon Election Special, I need to explain why in general terms.

We’ve known for a long time that the traditional Left-Right political division, dating from the French Revolution, has reached its use-by date (as has the Socialist-Conservative division). The debate has always been about what (if anything) has replaced it. Seems to me the division is still between two radically different views of how to organise society, just expressed in a different way.

My view is, first, that the fundamental structures and processes essential to a country should be in public ownership. That is large-scale transport, energy, water, health, education, aged care, child care, communications, defence, justice, should be under public control and act for the benefit of the many, not the profits of the few.

Second, I believe that society has a duty of care to its citizens. That they have a right to breathe clean air, drink clean water, know that food is safe to eat, that buildings (homes, workplaces, shops) will not collapse on them, that traffic movements will be as safe as possible, aeroplanes won’t fall out of sky, children’s toys won’t choke them, medicines won’t kill them. A right to know that the doctor, dentist, nurse, that treats them, the teacher that educates them, the plumber, the electrician, are all qualified and skilled in the work they do. They want to know that justice is administered fairly, votes are counted impartially, that the media reports accurately.

Finally I think that governments have obligations in terms of balance in society. That they should establish legal, financial, educational frameworks to ensure equality of opportunity, freedom of belief and speech, reduce the gap between rich and poor, equality before the law, the protection of minorities, and of weak and helpless groups, from persecution.

What these three approaches do is provide a stable society in which not only individuals can flourish and have healthy and fulfilling lives, but businesses can get on securely making profits, employing people, supplying goods and services.

The alternative view, much espoused by right-wing think tanks (set up by big corporations for just this reason) involves shrinking government to nothing, eliminating regulation, privatising every single activity (not even defence escaping), encouraging great divisions and disparities. These are people who believe, like Thatcher, that there is no such thing as society; like Reagan that government is the problem not the solution. They want to return societies not just to the dark days of Victorian times, but all the way back to a kind of feudal society, although based not on the land but in cities this time.

Whenever you see a fertiliser factory explode, an oil drilling rig catch fire, a block of flats collapse, you are looking into their world. When you see people drinking polluted water, or starving, or living on garbage dumps, or losing their children to disease unable to afford medicines, you are in their world. Where you see forests turned to deserts, fisheries running out of fish, nuclear power plants polluting the land, and the planet over-heating, you are seeing their world coming to an end.

So those are the two choices now. All round the world as the disease of “libertarianism” has been deliberately spread like a plague to suit the interests of a few billionaires growing ever richer at the expense of the rest of society, these are the choices available to those with a vote. A vote influenced by media owners also desirous of turning their fortunes of $1billion into $2billion and then $4billion and helping their friends do the same.

The only question is what to call these two political manifestations, and here I seek your thoughts – Socials and Antisocials, the Progressives and Regressives, Democrats and Plutocrats? I mean here in Australia they are called Labor and Liberal, but the latter was always a joke.

Joke or not, looks like they are going to be turning Australia into an Ayn Rand Dystopia, starting on Sunday.

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7 comments on “Give me Libertarianism or give me Life

  1. Snowy says:

    Well said, David. There’s no denying that the dark side is in the ascendancy.


  2. cartoonmick says:

    Both sides are gung-ho on Privatization, and I hate it !!!*^&#!(*^&

    Privatization:- The skilful political art of outsourcing responsibility whilst increasing the annual budget surplus.
    IE. flog off a public utility, get a heap of money into the government coffers, and make someone else responsible for running that utility. And yes, there are variations on that theme.

    I don’t want to hear any more spin from pollies, I’ve had enough.

    All I want to know is, how much does it cost for a one-way ticket to New Zealand ??




  3. Beautifully articulated. It makes me want to cry.


  4. Keith Woolsey says:

    Morlocks and Eloi ?


  5. Alan Phillips says:

    David for King,…. er Emperor,…….er leader, er boss whatever. David you are the first person I can recall linking Ayn Rand’s wacko ideas to Margaret Thatcher’s terrible policies – policies which resonate throughout the English speaking world and which still control the thinking of Australian politicians on BOTH sides of parliament.. How soon will it be before we’ll need to pay a licence fee to some corporation in order to breathe.


  6. joy cooper says:

    As we come to the end of the three year long election campaign inflicted upon us by the egregious & mendacious Tony Abbott I feel punch drunlk & totally pessimistic. Completely down in the dumps.

    Tony Abbott does not deserve to be PM of Australia & his backers, including that Mistress of B & D, Madame Lash, his Chief of Staff Credlin, do not deserve to have their grasping fingers on the reins of power.

    Thank you for your wonderful writings David. We shall fight on.


  7. Colin Samundsett says:

    David, I believe that you need a fourth, final and essential, view: governments having a duty to educate upcoming generations in regard to the place of Homo sapiens in nature. Until people become adequately aware of their place in the biological/physical world, we will be forever chasing the rainbow of your excellent views. Regards. Colin


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