Alexandra Marshall describes herself as an IT professional, farmer, writer and political blogger. She writes for the Spectator, a magazine edited by perhaps the craziest of the crazies on Sky After Dark (SAD), one Rowan Dean, who has been the subject of derision here before1.
She tweeted: Our grandparents fought against the cataclysm of socialism to make sure [Australia] remained a free and prosperous nation. Lest We Forget.2
The stupidity of Dean must be as contagious as it is legendary. Marshall’s conflation of the Nazism of Germany and the Imperialism of Japan with socialism is a standard, if laughably desperate technique of ultraconservatives to try to distance themselves from the neo-Nazis in the minds of normal people, but not to disparage the neo-Nazis themselves. This is because it is neo-Nazis’ votes they hope to harvest, as soon as the latter’s honeymoon with One Notion draws to a close.
Right wing nut jobs like Marshall seem to think that because the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartie (National Socialist German Workers’ Party; NSDAP), the party we now know as the Nazi Party, had sozialistische (socialist) then it must be a socialist political party. The Nazi Party’s only concern for German workers was mostly about making sure they were of pure aryan stock and didn’t belong to a union3; much like some in the ‘modern’ Liberal Party. I presume Marshall is also thick enough to believe that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), is democratic. She could always move there, and live in a wonderfully democratic society.
Twitter regularly provides examples of the old adage that it’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. People like Marshall use the term “socialism” simply to scare other equally ignorant people. In the USA right wing conservatives believes giving citizens access to basic, affordable heath care is “socialist”. The more-strident and stupid American conservatives actually label it as communist. Here, some intellectually challenged right wing commentators believe that climate change is a socialist conspiracy.
The vast majority of successful, relatively free and peaceful societies – including Australia – are “socialist” to a reasonable extent. We share wealth (somewhat), we share the cost of major infrastructure, education, defence, transport, health etc etc. We subsidise (and bail-out) business enormously and give industries like mining almost unfettered control over our lands and assets. We provide assistance to the less well-off and the disabled. We have laws protecting workers. All of these things are “socialist”, although not in the way Marshall thinks. She should be thankful that our “socialist” forefathers showed prescience (or was it servitude?) enough to retain mineral rights for the Crown/commonwealth.
We regularly see simplistic (and usually uninformed) claims from blinkered people – most often conservatives in my experience – regarding why and what our grandparents and parents fought for, and against, in wars. Their attempts to garner the selfless bravery of others for their own political ends is contemptuous. Suffice to say that Marshall needs to do some reading on history and our contribution of tens of thousands of often very young lives to major conflagrations. Presumably she was talking about the two World Wars, the ones where our grandparents and parents fought in a loose coalition of forces against aggression and fascism (WWI was MUCH more nuanced than the WW II fight against fascism)? If she bothered to research before unleashing her wisdom on the Twittersphere Marshall might learn that in WWII we fought on the same side as communists and socialists against fascism, fanatic racism, and rabid anti-humanism.
The Australian War Memorial in Cant-berra is apparently having a fancy addition built to further our citizenry’s comprehension of the profound meaning of the adage “Lest we forget”. (Note, I don’t discount that message). The project has been lauded by its vested interests, but also pilloried by non-political folk, including one former WM director. He sees in the very expensive new building a bizarre waste of taxpayer money at this time of a dire pandemic, which must be the government’s prime spending priority. Hmmm.
I have visited that WM, perhaps twice in fifty years. That suffices to pay my respects to those gently termed “the fallen”. But I offer respect not because the thousands (and globallly the many millions) of guys slaughtered (between the ages of twenty and fifty we must recall), went to untimely deaths in the name of any “ism”. I do so from sad regret that so many of them died in other lands while being used as cannon fodder for the political and wealth elites at home, but without realising it – at least not fully. Had our smiling lads had a chance to read poetry emanating from WW One, they might not have been so avid for the cause again in 1940. Ultra-conservatives in Australia have long found in the “Anzac tradition” a convenient tool of cultural indoctrination, their version of war being a strange one. Soldiers, sailors, airmen actually had little proper idea as to why they were being blasted in fox-holes and peppered with sniper bullets in places like New Guinea or Cyprus, on the Western Front and on ships across SE Asian seas. Honest seekers for historical fact, end up with quite a disparate narrative from some leaders who hail the 25th April each year as a moment to recall “noble sacrifice” on behalf of the highest ideals. Lives cut short brutally, yes, but precisely why? Aye, there’s the rub.
I have written about aspects of this a couple of times. Like you, I only ever visit the War Memorial rarely, often to take visitors there, but every time I do, I visit the name of my Mum’s cousin whose Sunderland flying boat was shot down by Ju88s over the Bay of Biscay while on anti-submarine patrol. My mother used to write to him and one of the saddest things my Mum left me when she died was a little bundle of letters she had written to him, which had been returned to her after his (presumed) death. He was 23. Fast forward almost 70 years and my son was talking to one of his mates, and infantryman in Afghanistan, on facebook; 24 hours later his mate was dead. He was 23. It brings tears to my eyes writing this. Anyone who thinks war is glorious should be in a mental institution. As you say, the conservatives often use the Anzac tradition when it suits them, but that is transparently reprehensible, and is explained perfectly by one of the perceptive tweeps I follow: “Australia Day is when we are expected to selectively forget about what happened in the past so that we can move forward as a better country, and ANZAC Day is when we are told to never forget about what happened in the past so that we can move forward as a better country.” That epitomises the bigotry, the vacuity and the abasement of our political system. https://blotreport.com/2020/01/19/milly-majich-quote-4/
Sigh!! I agree with every comment from you, Jon and Russell. This person is obviously frigging stupid. What about all those Russian communists who fought, and died, while confronting the same enemies? This nitwits “grandparents” were on their side. What about all those socialists and communists that the Nazis stuck in concentration camps and killed for their left wing views. These revolting idiots make me sick. They are truly disgusting, both in their stupidity, and in the pride they have in their stupidity.
These people rely on their audience having complete ignorance of history, science, and on them being completely gullible. That is to whom they are targeting their lies.
is it really stupidity? or is it an intentional disingenuous conflation?
The two are not mutually exclusive.
It’s wilful ignorance imo. Wilful because there is a choice. You can either post clearly ignorant, opinionated drivel without forethought OR you can do at least some very basic research and make considered (if not fully-informed) comment. Marshall attempted, as many have, to claim to know the many, complex reasons why people fought and died in this country’s name and to appropriate their sacrifice for her own selfish reasons. That she doesn’t even know the most elementary facts about the wars they gave their youth, futures and lives in is common enough, but that doesn’t excuse her bloody shameful ignorance
I think she is one of these people who is too thick to realise that just because she believes something, doesn’t necessarily mean it is true. There are a lot of them around. Research for these people is nothing like the meaning of the word that scientists know. They seem to believe that reading a brain fart by another ignoramus counts as research.
I see this site is just another example of group think – ok to disagree but at least put up an intelligent argument. Not much to learn here.
Someone defending Alexandra Marshall complaining about groupthink? That is hilarious in its profound irony.
After you James. I must have missed your intelligent argument, nevertheless I’m willing to consider your superior wisdom so feel free to critique my comment.
The history of Australia’s involvement in wars and its own domestic politics may not be your forte but if you can how about you try and address Marshall’s comment that “our grandparents fought against the cataclysm of socialism.” I’ll help you with a few prompts. Which war was that? What socialism did they die fighting against? How do you know what people fought for? How did their sacrifices ensure that the dreaded “socialism” was kept from our shores? And finally – what is your definition of socialism exactly?
To be fair, given James associates Alexandra Marshall with intelligent argument, it’s entirely possible he defines groupthink as any thought that requires more than a single brain cell to generate it…
That is possible!