Unchecked rise of democracy deniers

Unchecked rise of democracy deniers, by Chris Kenny.

They simply will not learn. They refuse to admit error, concede defeat or offer the crucial loser’s consent on which democracy hinges. Political opposition and public protest are fundamental in democracy. But there is a balance to be struck between such rights and the will of the majority as exercised through the ballot box.

That balance is out of kilter now. There are phonies in parliament, on campuses, all over social media and spewing erroneous groupthink from our public broadcasters. When facts don’t suit or reality confounds them, they console each other in the carefully constructed safe zones of university seminars or public radio forums. This cohort, for all its errors and misjudgments, dominates the public discussion; largely because of the heft of the taxpayer-funded media, university and quango sectors. They dominate now just as they did before this year’s election, before Don­ald Trump won and before Brexit.

But no. There are no lessons. The ideological and policy settings of the media/political class remain unadjusted. They wander right up to the cheese again, take another bite, and get jolted again by the electoral shock.

They are the democracy deniers. Their version of public debate is one of virtual reality; their views are constantly reaffirmed, it is only the voters who get it wrong. For VR goggles, they can blinker themselves by watching the ABC, perhaps SBS for variety, reading Guardian Australia and discussing events at the Wheeler Centre or on Q&A.

The real world is kept at bay. When elections confound them, as conservative victories invari­ably do, they can blame strangers from the suburbs and the regions, demonise the barbarians at the commercial end of the broadcast spectrum or invoke that hardy perennial of the defeated leftist, the Murdoch conspiracy theory (as we have heard from Turnbull, Kevin Rudd and others). Anything but confront the truth. Ultimately this is futile, as Winston Churchill suggested: “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” …

It all smacks of an election result denied. It replicates the politics of the US and Britain, where not for a single moment have members of the media/political class accepted the will of the people as expressed through the election of Trump or the referendum vote for Brexit.

In this manifestation of democracy denial by the green left, elections are reduced to markers that deliver no lessons and in which the losers refuse to concede a point. Opposition merely morphs, through electoral rejection, into resistance. …

For democracy to operate effectively … there must be some element of loser’s consent. Instead we see loser’s bitterness and loser’s revenge.

PC fantasies versus reality. On topic after topic we see the same pattern, a PC fantasy in conflict with reality — and the fantasy just happens to hand the left political advantage. It is not, to use their favorite word, sustainable.