The idiotic James Morrow has been one of the sources of hilarity and ridicule here before, mostly as one of the monumentally gullible, obsessively antiscientific ‘three stooges’ on Sky News with Rowan Dean and Rita Panahi1,2. Morrow recently wrote a vicious little piece attacking epidemiologists and some of the states’ chief health officers, as well as Dr Norman Swan. It was a classic piece of stupidity in which he mostly whined about how their dire Covid-19 predictions didn’t come true, seemingly ignoring the fact that lockdowns and mask-wearing mitigated the spread of the virus3.
Now Morrow has written a piece in the Daily Bellylaugh, the tagline of which is “They are implacably opposed to Scott Morrison, whose decent, churchgoing suburban normality offends them to the core”4. I haven’t seen the whole article because I don’t subscribe to this appalling Murdoch drivel-sheet. However, the tagline is enough to comment on.
A Uniting Church minister (@DocAvvers) replied: “Hey, [James Morrow], as a Uniting Church minister may I say that Scott Morrison might attend church, but I have seen no evidence in his life or government that he has the least idea what Jesus Christ was on about. I oppose him because of his lack of Christianity, not because of it.”4
I am not simply opposed to Scott Morrison, I am appalled and disgusted by him. He is a malignant narcissist; one of those people who is only concerned about what is best for him and him alone. He is not a decent man by any stretch of the imagination, any more than Donald Trump is a decent man. His “churchgoing suburban normality” is a sham, just as his political support for Malcolm Turnbull was, and just as his concern for the future of this nation or this planet is. He lies constantly5,6, to the extent that it seems pathological. This is very much like Trump, of whom it has been said: “his lying isn’t just a tactic, but an ingrained habit. New York tabloid writers who covered Trump as a mogul on the rise in the 1980s and ‘90s found him categorically different from other self-promoting celebrities in just how often, and pointlessly, he would lie to them.”7
This is one of the traits of a pathological liar, lying about things that to most people are inconsequential, especially when it is completely unnecessary. These liars are often psychopaths or sociopaths, but it can also occur in people with a lesser character impairment. Although this type of lying may seem pointless to others, to the liar it is used to manipulate and manage the impressions of others, and how they feel about themselves, thereby maintaining a position of perceived advantage8. Morrison does this all the time, even when any perceived advantage is very slight and very temporary. An example of this was when he denied calling Sam Dastyari ‘Shanghai Sam’, when he used the epithet in tweets and interviews numerous times6; on one count, 17 times5. Everybody knew he used it, yet still he denied it. It is bizarre and makes one think that his lying is indeed pathological.
If he is pulled up on his lies by journalists, he either walks away, says things like ‘I have already answered that’, ‘I am not going to comment on gossip’, ‘I do not agree with the premise of your question’8, or attacks the journalist or their organisation9, or continues to lie until he can run away.10
From deep in my memory, one of the commandments to which “decent churchgoing” (I knew a few) people supposedly adhered was one about ‘though shalt not bear false witness’. Among the religious of Morrison’s ilk, that commandment seems to be largely ignored. Calling Morrison ‘decent’ is so far from the truth, it boggles the mind.
This whole issue of sociopaths and ethically bankrupt types white-anting democracies begs another important question. That question relates to why the supposedly well-educated mass of voters lets itself be hoodwinked day in, day out, by crooks, carpet baggers, sheisters and frauds ensconced in positions of power. Firstly, I think it must be a mistake to assume, in our Australian case at least, that education has taught much to the population in the way of ability to critique and discern worthiness of individuals to hold public office. A high(er) school certificate in Oz is the merest, the most minimal proof that a person has been educated (in the truest, deepest sense of the word). I will dare to add here that having a five year high school education these days is far from the equivalent of getting a high school education thirty or forty years ago. I assert this by looking at the way people seem to now be prone to accept political party propaganda, but more especially mass media bullshit concerning political goings-on. I’m thinking mainly of course, of the Ruperters, those abysmal, third-rate journalists who infest the airwaves on channels such as Nine, Ten, Seven and Sky Lies. Especially the last named, a media outlet totally dedicated to filling the public arena with absolute falsehoods and pseudo-news.
But perhaps it’s not really a matter of literacy and cognitive skills in the population that is at the nub of this issue. More likely it is a sense among voters of being deprived of their right (or capacity) to actually participate in the body politic. If people feel their contribution means nothing, or that power in this nation is in the hands of an irresponsible corporate elite abusing our parliaments, they will naturally be cynical and view politics as merely games played by the wealthy and/or corrupt. Thus may be explained the grand indifference and disdain many Australians hold towards politicians and the large parties. Yet never has there been a time in which it is so important for the voice of intelligent voters to be heard above the ugly din of media filth emanating from Murdoch’s minions. This is a horrible and dangerous irony of the time we live in.
It is something which has occupied my mind a considerable amount over the past few years. This came into sharp focus when I visited relatives. One lot seemed to be of the opinion that Pauline Hanson was a reasonable option for their vote. I held my tongue as I didn’t want to upset the applecart. If I was more agile and knew what I know now, I’d have been able to demonstrate to them that Hanson was an idiot. The other one thought Mark Latham had useful things to say, about transgender people. This was the same person who opined that Sikhs were taking over Australia because they ran the taxi service in their country town. This is the level of ignorance with we have to cope. There is no knowledge of economics, climate change or anything else that really affects or will affect their lives, just what they perceive affects them, and much of that is based on simple bigotry. The Murdoch media and the Liberal Party have used this divisiveness to their advantage. While education helps, it is not a panacea. Also, one should never conflate education with intelligence. There are some measures that could be taken and these include truth in media laws and truth in political advertising. That would be a start.
Not only Herr Morrison must be voted out, but his band of crooks must be in opposition for a decade so they can figure out how much damage they did to this country. I call them crooks because they had the nerve to bug the offices of East Timor to gain an unfair advantage when it comes to negotiating for oil rights, and the person who called them out is being prosecuted.
And now, the same government is suppressing documents relating to the incident. It reminds me of how the Chinese government fought tooth and nail to make citizens forget what happened in their own country in 1989.
Happy New Year!
I don’t really want to see them in opposition, I want most of them in gaol. They are corrupt, venal scum, and what they have done to Collaery and his client is nothing short of criminal too; all to protect that halfwit Downer.
Have a good 2022.
In my thinking I start now from the basic premise that we in the West (-apart from much of the “south” of the planet) no longer really live in a civilisation worthy of the name. Our political and social systems emerged from the French and British enlightenment period about 1720 to 1800, and were subsequently also influenced by the American model emerging from the revolution of 1775 to 1790. The big assumption made then, in a positive and hopeful set of theories/treatises, was that humans could behave rationally and sensibly at the mass level. It was thought in that era that doing away with divine right of kings and extirpating tyrannical laws based on privileges of the upper social strata (aristocracy etc) would set humanity on a course towards real progress: to be brief, a path into true liberty, equality and fraternity. This radical idealism, supported by the great minds of such as Kant and Hegel, has been proven erroneous due to multiple errors, failures and bad thinking across the past two hundred years. We never actually progressed as much as most thought, and when we arrived at 1914, what was formerly veiled in lovely words about mass democracy an the reign of Reason in the West, was shown as incredibly fragile. Within twenty years of the last century humanity experienced two shatteringly violent world wars. It is the legacy, the massively negative legacy of imperialist wars, with which we struggle to cope, even to this time we live in. The moral and political vacuity experienced since 1945 is proof visible, that the Enlightenment project failed miserably. And that happened, in spite of many small advances made by groups/organisations led by men and women of immense integrity. It’s a tragedy of universal proportions, with myriad dimensions, and it is doubtful whether humanity can reverse it or find another way forward from it.
While I tend to agree with much of what you say, I am not quite as pessimistic. The Aristocracy of the past have been replaced by the corporate class and their oligarchs. I think that people are starting to realise this and that the days of the wealthy shaping the economy solely to their advantage may be coming to a close. Many of them realise that pitchfork time is approaching and that the unbridled greed which has characterised their reign is dangerous for them.
Maybe, but you never say exactly how this massive shift could be accomplished, other than people storming the gates of capital, or am I wrong? I know there are thousands of anaytical books and articles to be found,by very good authors, but they are difficult reads for the majority of the population. Yet unless the effort to do so is made by millions, they cannot formulate a precise and insightful overview of the problem. Following that education, people may begin to gather coherently into a force or forces for deep, meaningful change.
The ruling cliques have, as well you know, been busy as hell, creating ultra-surveillance techniques, secretive legislation, and semi-militarising democracies like the USA. They still have the upper hand when it comes to keeping the average Joe or Jill at bay, even if he has an inkling all is not well. Democracies today are utterly fake democracies but many poor suckers continue to buy the grand lies they are told. And continue to consume, be silent and die for the nation state in stupid global wars.
You need to justify your optimism with more than a repetition of the facile notion that the mass will be rising in fury in some inchoate, vast “revolution” against the forces arraigned to drug them and beat them back. You need to be much more honestly explicit as to just what procedures apart from semi-anarchic street protest or killing the rich, will fulfil the dream of a radically more liberal, decent economic and political system. But I have never seen your views arrive even half way to that detail in the Blot Report. I’m being very frank here mate.
Politico-social change on the scale needed, if it is not to be hijacked or crushed, would require great intelligence and superlative leadership. Apart from some worthy climate organisations and fringe political parties, where is that level of smarts going to come from? I very much doubt mass uprising would succeed without tearing the social fabric apart; perhaps entailing barbarian human trash to take over what’s left of society.
Back in the 1830s, the Great Reform Bill was was passed by the UK (such as it then was) parliament. This caused an enormous outrage among the born to rule types. This extended voting rights to people who had never even been close to voting before (the middle class) and got rid of the rotten boroughs. It was an enormous change, yet it was not achieved by an uprising. There were some demonstrations, and the odd riot and it was passed because there was a realisation that things would get rapidly worse if it wasn’t (the second French Revolution had happened two years previously). Today, many of the wealthy are starting to realise that things cannot continue as they were; that pitchfork time (for want of a better name) is closer than it has been for quite a while. In addition many economists are realising that their market fundamentalism has led to an even greater disparity in wealth and income between the rich and the rest of us. While I can never give the detail you would like (I am just an interested punter who spent most of today staring at fossils), I sense things are about to change.