Libs may be headed for oblivion

Libs may be headed for oblivion, by Janet Albrechtsen.

Deceiving others is done best when you first deceive yourself, [British neurosurgeon Henry Marsh] writes in Admissions: A Life in Brain Surgery. And it’s the same in politics, where admitting mistakes means fighting against the self-deception that was so important at the beginning of a politician’s career. … We learn from failure, he says, while success teaches us nothing, often making us only complacent. “But we only learn from mistakes if we admit them — at least to ourselves.”

Politicians don’t talk about their failures. They rarely admit mistakes. Lies are so commonplace they can’t admit broken promises. A levy is not a tax, a politician said with a straight face. Climate change was the great moral challenge of our time, said another, until it wasn’t. There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead, a leader assured us, until there was.

The learned self-deception, a polite term for mastering the bullshit factor, is so complete, those in senior levels see little need to explain to voters or admit errors to themselves.

When politicians talk about failure, it’s about others letting them down, how circumstances didn’t suit them, blame sheeted home to everyone except themselves. …

Turnbull, May, Brexit, Trump: the electoral surprises and failures of the establishment political class are coming thick and fast.

The British election result wasn’t surreal. What’s surreal is how few politicians admit to their own stuff-ups, even privately. …


While there’s no substitute for understanding your own mistakes, it should be easier to analyse failure by others. What is Turnbull learning from May’s flawed campaign? Not much given the parallel mistakes. Bill Shorten is unashamedly shifting Labor to the far left. Class war. Slug the rich. More spending. Identity politics. Promise the young everything. Teach them nothing. In response, Turnbull has followed May’s craven move to the left: higher taxes, new taxes, more spending, big promises. ..

If they do believe in their newfangled centre-left agenda, why would voters chose the Liberal Party when Labor will always promise to spend more?

If Liberals want to out-spend Labor, go ahead. But they’re not Liberals any more. …

Steeped in self-deception and refusing to admit error, the Liberal Party has stopped starting from first principles. The only thing banked from the Howard era is stopping the boats. Otherwise it’s big spending, new taxes, fast politics over carefully crafted principles that form sound conservative policies. With the old centre left becoming the new far left, it has never been more important to explain why principles of smaller government, lower taxes and greater freedom for individuals deliver real prosperity rather than pie-in-sky promises made by socialists splashing out on other people’s money.

hat-tip Stephen Neil