Sunday, August 24, 2003


There are reviews here and here of an interesting new history of Australian politics that points out how the middle class have tended over the years to move from conservative to Leftist and that conservative politics now has gained great strength from the working class. I think much the same is true in the USA.

It does remind me of the man who gave the British Conservative Party its name back in the 19th century -- Benjamin Disraeli. He too saw the working class as “angels in marble” (i.e. potential voters) for the Conservatives. And he did something about it by championing working-class causes too.

Another point I liked was that the conservatives in Australia have always stood for the nation as a whole rather than looking after sectional interests. That is extremely relevant today with the identity politics now being so heavily fostered by the Left. Now that they have lost a lot of their old labor union supporters, the Left have tried to make themselves patrons of homosexuals, blacks, immigrants and anyone else they can portray as “victims”. So the old Leftist disregard for the best interests of the whole persists.

Another good bit of history concerns Alfred Deakin, one of Australia’s founding conservatives (note that the major conservative party in Australia is called the Liberal Party):

Deakin's historic 1909 decision to accept a fusion of the non-Labor parties (Deakin's Liberals and George Reid's Free Traders) was not primarily driven by class conflict but by Deakin's view of political freedom and his repudiation of Labor's collective control of its MPs. For Deakin this was a violation of what defines a man: "his judgment and his conscience". As a result, Liberal politics rested in individual freedom, not organised economic interests.

Not much has changed.



Rafe Champion has a discussion here about noted Australian conservative historian Geoffrey Blainey which points out that Blainey had to spend most of his working life outside academe. Only now after many years are the universities beginning to give him the hearing he deserves. Rafe has this pungent comment about Blainey’s opponents:

“As for the Marxists and other labour historians who are upset that Blainey became a fellow traveller with the [conservative] H R Nicholls Society! They need to understand that the real exploiters of the poor and the weak over the last two centuries have not been the factory owners or the capitalist system but the better paid and more organised members of the trade union movement, using the threat of violence on the picket line (and beyond) to maintain their own benefits at the expense of everyone else.


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