Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Don Arthur has drawn many strands together, showing how the Left has morphed into the forces of reaction and conservatism.
Australia's far left are now more into preserving things than they are into reforming them. Apart from a few symbolic issues such as gay marriage and drug law reform the thrust of the left's agenda is about protecting Australia's traditional institutions from people who think like John Hewson. The rationalists want to demolish the industrial relations system - the left wants to preserve it. The rationalists want to reorganize the social security system - the left wants it to be kept the same. The rationalists want to tamper with higher education - the left wants to protect it from 'reform'. Rationalists get excited about things like charter schools while the left don't want to consider any alternatives to the public school system. If it ain't broke, say the left, then don't fix it.
Today it's the economic rationalists on the right who talk about resistance to change from privileged reactionaries with vested interests. Dock workers, academics, public school teachers, and bureaucrats represent unionized mediocrity, a group with a vested interest in staving off change which would give the average person a better deal. Only the mediocre, they say, would resist a more meritocratic and efficient system. This is exactly the same style of argument the left used to use against conservative cronyism in the army, the public service and in government.

It's been obvious for some years now that the more "progressive" you are, the more you are defined by what you are against. If that isn't a definition for conservative, I don't know what is.

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