Orwell described what he called “negative nationalism”, a “derisive and mildly hostile attitude” to their own country. It was, he wrote, a “more or less compulsory…[but] unfaked in many cases” attitude among the left-intelligentsia.
Put simply, the left-intelligentsia enjoy kicking their country whenever they can.
So when Tony Abbott enjoined people to become part of “Team Australia”, the left erupted in derision and denunciation. In doing so, they made clear what ordinary Australians, unencumbered by the mental shackles of “modern educayshun”, already clearly understood: the left-intelligentsia are not on Team Australia.
There is a lot of talk about Team Australia during these difficult times. Much of it makes sense, pulling together and so on. But[…]some groups “missed the Team Australia email”.
Despite its statutory obligation to be on Team Australia, the taxpayer-funded public broadcaster is one of the worst offenders. Whether it’s rushing to publish uncorroborated, ludicrous accusations against the navy, or busing a convicted terrorist sympathiser onto its flagship QandA show, the ABC’s contempt for Australia is as odious as it is blatant.
The ABC is censoring discussion about the pandemic and misleading Australians about the crisis and what should be our response to it.
Daily, sometimes, hourly, we are witnessing decisions by state and federal governments that are bringing the economy to its knees, causing significant damage to people’s health and wellbeing in the belief they are heading off even worse damage.
For two reasons, no media organisation is better placed than the ABC to do careful analysis of these challenging issues: they receive more than $1bn from taxpayers, and the public broadcaster has a legislative mandate to be part of Team Australia[…]
Right now, the best way to provide the maximum benefit to Australians is with robust debates about the pandemic and the health and economic responses to it. It means dissecting claims and arguments, challenging quickly forming orthodoxies, allowing people to understand different perspectives and be better informed.
Alas, this has not happened at the ABC. Test it this way: in the midst of the most monumentally important debate of our generation about how to respond to COVID-19, the ABC is yet to seriously probe whether the cure is worse than the disease.
The ABC is also deliberately misleading the Australian public. When its flagship RN Drive program aired a video from the Institute of Public Affairs (a particular conservative bête noire of the leftist ABC), it carefully edited contextual statements, with the clear intent of framing the IPA as heartless neo-conservatives putting precious lives ahead of economics.
Like public servants and politicians awarding themselves rivers of taxpayer-funded gold even in the midst of a health, social and economic crisis, the luvvies at the ABC are gung-ho for the state to crush rights and crash economies because they know that they won’t have to wear any of the pain. In Nassim Taleb’s scorching phrase, they have not an inch of skin in the game.
These taxpayer-funded ideological gatekeepers are indulged by a rare trifecta: they will not lose their jobs during this crisis, their salaries won’t be trimmed and they can easily work from home. Insulated from the worst of this crisis, they refuse to challenge the impact and long-term consequences of the current restrictions.
Like Orwell’s “negative nationalists”, they also seem too willing to cheer on an authoritarian Stasi-state.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews appears to enjoy using extraordinary powers to restrict the lives of Victorians. His language when banning couples who live in different houses from seeing one away was breathtaking: “That’s not work, that’s not care-giving, that’s not medical care, that’s not shopping for the things you need when you need them, and it does not comply with the rules. People should not do that.”
Andrews thus summarily crushed the right of non-cohabiting couples (in other words, boyfriends and girlfriends) to enjoy the immeasurable social benefit of each other’s company in these stressful times. Remember, these are the same “progressives” who witter about “compassion” and that “love is love” and berate conservatives for their supposed heartlessness.
As Janet Albrechtsen correctly observes, “You learn a lot about people during a crisis”.
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