MySchool and the Cowardice of the Left

“They’re not nihilist, they’re just cowards.” These are the words of warning that John Goodman’s character gave in the film the Big Lebowski when dealing with a bunch of black clad extortionists. Such a warning is appropriate for the Australian right regarding its leftist opponents. The point can be made evident with reference to any one of a large and increasing number of orifices that spout opinions which taken together constitute the Australian left. The most recent and high profile instance would have to be the reaction to the making public the results of National Assessment Program in Literacy and Numeracy, NAPLAN, results via the MySchool website.

The reaction to the Myschool website and the making public the NAPLAN results demonstrates this beyond the fact of the Australian Education Union’s capitulation on threats to boycott the tests in exchange for a ‘working party’. The whole effort can be seen as a timid approach to seeking justice.

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Response to Waleed Aly’s Essay “What’s Right?: The Future of Australian Conservatism”

Below is a analysis of Waleed Aly’s essay for Quarterly Essay “What’s Right?: The Future of Australian Conservatism”. I found the essay a good starting point for thinking about trying to define the political split between left and right. The major problem with it was that it seemed to make the old mistake of taking a tendency for an actuality. Although not developed in this response I feel that this mistake is connected to the habit on the part of the left to shit on democracy in favour of expert opinion from designated representatives of a particular field – women, climate change, welfare gay whales demanding land rights etc etc etc. I find this a lamentable habit because it overvalues the opinions of a single person by something close to a factor of infinity. The connection is most clear for me in Waleed Aly’s discussion of climate change.

Aly’s Essay makes the argument that the language of left and right is meaningless and that a certain confusion in Australia conservative politics is evidence of this. He then proscribes a direction in which he hopes the Liberal party of Australia will go. I suggest that this direction is actual for the right to become the left and that the meaningless that Aly sees in the division between left and right is actual a product of his thinking that the right does not offer anything. I understand his argument as being driven by this opinion and facilitated by an over enthusiastic use of the terms organic and ideology. The use of these terms is a symptom of the habit spoken of above.

All page references are refer to the Autumn edition of Quarterly Essay in which Aly was published.
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