Monday, May 17, 2004

Why was Hinch a grinch?

On the weekend Australia's Mary Donaldson married Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark. The wedding was a great success in Australia with more than a million tuning in to watch the late night live broadcast.

There was one voice of protest though. Derryn Hinch, a broadcaster on the "right wing" 3AW station, began his show with a criticism of the events. Why was he so disapproving?

Hinch disliked the fact that so much attention should be paid to Crown Prince Frederik, who, in Hinch's view, is "a man lauded purely because of circumstances of birth" and whose "only claim to fame was being to the manor born" and whose position has "nothing to do with talent".

Hinch here is simply being true to his liberal philosophy. Liberals believe that we should be self-created by our own will and reason. This means that things that we inherit or are born to shouldn't influence the role we play in life. Yet, Crown Prince Frederik does occupy a particular role because of an "accident of birth".

Hinch, therefore, is only applying liberal philosophy logically and consistently. His attitude, in other words, has little to do with any unbiased, personal response to watching the wedding. He is simply following through with an intellectual principle which became the orthodoxy many generations ago.

So Hinch was made a grinch by his stubborn attachment to liberalism. Many of his listeners, though, took a less ideological view of the wedding, and responded very positively to Mary Donaldson's grace and elegance, to the happiness of the public celebrations, and to the displays of both Danish and Australian national feeling.

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