Australian Conservatism’s Lost Tribe

Australian Conservatism’s Lost Tribe, by Paul Collits.

Tony Abbott has written what, on the face of it, is an extraordinary article. In today’s Australian (October 29), he argues a number of positions. First, the Liberal Party’s internal divisions are not that great. Second, the past five years have been about “personalities”, not policy or philosophy. Third, there could be nothing worse (for a Liberal) than the election of Bill Shorten. Fourth, despite lack of action to date by Scott Morrison on climate change, energy and immigration, Morrison is a “tribal Liberal” and should be supported by all in the Party.

What is Abbott up to? … We know Tony Abbott is a nice guy, though simultaneously much hated for his traditionalist and very, very sane views by “the woke”, the Greens and the social justice warriors. We also know that Abbott is no fool. So why would he seek to prop up a party that has used him mercilessly (to win elections), has smashed his career to a pulp through unjustified coups (one unsuccessful, one successful in 2015), has humiliated him through non-selection for Cabinet positions (despite his widely perceived desire to serve again at senior level), and has attempted to see him booted out of politics altogether through Photios-inspired branch stackings and assorted pre-selection shenanigans?

Tony Abbott

The Liberal Party has treated Abbott like dirt. Yet Abbott’s supporters seem to be much angrier at the Liberal Party than is the man himself!

Back to the core propositions of Abbott’s argument. He claims the Liberal Party’s internal differences are not great, mere personality squabbles. This statement is patently absurd. It serves the “broad church” position, but few believe it anymore. Yes, there are all sorts in the Liberal Party: old wets, climate wets, the gay mafia, friends of the ABC, libertarians and free speech warriors, big spenders, small government types, Big Australia types and small immigration champions, and social conservatives. …

This noble effort to square the circle won’t wash. There is considerable evidence, for example, that the factions are no longer interested in co-existence and shared spoils; rather, the now is about annihilating the other (internal) side. Or at best, in having removed from the parliament those who most seriously oppose their positions. The factions now play for keeps. How a conservative can stay in a party where classical conservative positions on energy, climate, globalism, migration and life issues, are not merely opposed but, rather, the people who hold these positions are excoriated with deadly purpose and attempts are made to have them expelled. Attempting to reform the Party too is inevitably met with deadly force if this remotely threatens the factionally powerful. Ask Ross Cameron or John Ruddick.

But the internal warfare is not just about power and influence. It is philosophical to the core. And the divides are getting worse, not narrowing. This is occurring in the same way that make modern attempts at fusionism in the American conservative movement doomed absolutely to fail. The arguments are now about core business, not mere trifles like the size of government or deficits or trade. They are conflicts over ultimate values, over life issues, over the meaning of marriage, over freedom of conscience, over the rights of the religious in the public square, over the dictatorship of relativism.

Read it all.

The PC side don’t see the policy issues, because they never hear the policies or the arguments of non-PC people — it’s the media problem again. But to cultural conservatives, the policy differences are very large indeed.

The people in PC world barely know we exist.