Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Melanie's big mistake

Melanie Phillips greeted the election of Tony Abbott as Australia's new Prime Minister with elation:
So what is this miracle? That a true conservative has won a general election on true conservative principles.

I rolled my eyes when I read that. The single biggest mistake that we make is the one that Melanie Phillips just made. It is passively awaiting for a saviour, a "true conservative," from one of the mainstream centre-right parties, such as the Australian Liberal Party.

We could play that game forever if we wanted to, decade after decade, never learning the lesson that such parties are committed to liberal modernity.

Tony Abbott quite possibly sees himself as a conservative. Certainly, he has read Edmund Burke and likes to quote from Burke in his speeches. But time and again he has proven himself to be closer to liberalism in his policies and principles.

For instance, Abbott has repeatedly stressed his strong belief in mass immigration. He wrote once:
the immigrant who feels like a stranger in our midst is really at the heart of the Australian story.

To the extent that it is a celebration of our nation, Australia Day is necessarily a salute to an immigrant culture.

Abbott has more recently gone much further than this and claimed that immigrants, particularly from Asia, make much better Australians than the Australian born:
People who have come to this country from many parts of Asia...that is the face and the name of modern Australia.

...I want to say how brave every single migrant to this country is, because every single one of you has done something that those who are native born have never done. You have been gutsy enough to take your future in your hands and to go to a country which is not yours and make it your own...migration...has added a heroic dimension to our national life

...those who come to this country as skilled migrants...they might come as temporary migrants originally, but they make the very best Australian citizens eventually. They are the most worthy, the most welcome parts of the Australian family...

Can we reliably expect someone who has voiced such opinions to uphold traditional Australia?

And it's a similar story when it comes to the family. Abbott's concern is the same one as the feminists: to make sure that the family does not hinder a woman's career and earnings. He once warned conservatives in his party that:
Supporting families shouldn’t mean favouring one family type over others. We have to resist yearning for “ideal” families and “traditional” mothers.

What followed was a paid maternity leave scheme which would pay women a full wage for six months (to a total of $75,000) per child.

What about the idea of a husband supporting his wife? Abbott doesn't think this is viable anymore:
"The fact is very few families these days can survive on a single income"

So Abbott's commitments here are not distinctively conservative ones, but more in line with modernist trends in society.

Melanie Phillips is selling a misleading image of Abbott to her UK readers. In doing so she is encouraging a belief that things might be put right simply by the right leader coming along. What she ought to be doing is encouraging her readers to get active themselves.

Fortunately, not everyone is being overly optimistic about Abbott. Credit to the Sydney Trads for an excellent column on Abbott which I highly recommend that you read here. I look forward to the day when this more clear-eyed view is a commonplace one.

(Comments note: I have temporarily switched on comment moderation. If you wish to submit a comment feel free to do so, but I'm only likely to check them a few times a day, so you'll need to be patient.)


  1. It is kind of amusing that she takes such pains to distinguish Abbott from Cameron, describing the latter as a sham conservative who adopted policies indistinguishable from the Left while mouthing the occasional vaguely right-wing platitude.

  2. Hey, it could have been slightly worse - our new Liberal Prime Minister could be Malcolm Turnbull! On a more serious note though, I have also been wryly amused by the reaction of overseas conservative commentators and their enthusiasm for Tony Abbott's election; genuine conservatism must have atrophied elsewhere moreso than in Australia if they can look at Abbott and see a staunch traditionalist.

  3. America's immigration-restrictionist VDARE site has published a fair amount about Abbott, including a letter from an Australian:

  4. Melanie Phillips would make no bones about being a right-liberal, which is what she means by 'conservative'. She's not a traditionalist. Cameron has or had strong left-liberal tendencies while Abbott seems more solidly right-liberal, so it's understandable she's happy.

  5. Basically nobody now is a real conservative.

    There are those who subscribe to the academic elite consensus, which says among other things that all inegalitarian concepts of race, sex etc. are taboo, and which means in practice that real hierarchies will be managed by a covert structure of unprincipled exceptions managed by anti-whites with axes to grind. Everybody in power accepts that.

    There are tiny numbers of people who are driven to take fundamentally contrary views. These are radical right-wingers and are pariahs with no power.

    Conservatives who respect authority and submit to the taboo and abhor the radical right inevitably collapse to the anti-white elite consensus. With no counter to the deconstructionist view of what can legitimately be said they can never stand; with no positive anti-egalitarian doctrine there is no way they can out-organize the engineers of anti-white hierarchy. They have no structure of their own to impose, and no way to argue and win support for it if they had a structure.

    The lack of normative structure is the greater evil, because there will be structure. It can be the perverse structure underhandedly imposed by the anti-whites, or it can be a more biologically and spiritually grounded structure, which would necessarily be radically rightist. What is not possible is what reflexive "conservatives" who still kow-tow to deconstructionist taboos want to do, which is "pass".

    In that sense, "conservatives" are more unnatural than the leftists that they constantly and correctly accuse of promoting things that are unnatural.

    If a man is in the arena with a loose, hungry lion, he cannot "maintain the status quo" and "pass". He must take a view or which is to survive and act accordingly. (Which he can do by cowardly inaction.) When the immigration floodgates are open and the race and nation are being wiped away, a statesman cannot "maintain the status quo" and "pass". You can't maintain both the dynamic of destruction and the thing which is being destroyed by it. When healthy order is being destroyed by perverse hierarchies wielded like a dagger behind a cloak of impossible, purely academic and rhetorical non-hierarchy you cannot restore anything by posing as the purer guardian of non-hierarchy; you have to put something in place of the perverse order, or by failing to replace it you conform it, which is what "conservative" (non)-activists do. You can't complain about the leftist corruption of language and not either succumb to what you complain about or put some different language in its place. (For example: "anti-racist is a codeword for anti-white". That simple bit of replacement language is worth more than ten million blog posts on how hurtful and unfair the "racist" charge is.) You cannot pass; but that's what the respectable, taboo-respecting right wants to do all the time, and it never works and never will work.

    Melanie Phillips is useless. It doesn't matter how vehemently she talks. It matters whether she is willing to advocate a traditionally white, Christian, masculinist order in nations that were built on that basis and can only be maintained on that basis, and her answer would be "certainly not!"

    Same for Abbott. Would he even support the minimum position of non-genocide, that the white gene pool not be wiped away by mass immigration and forced integration, so that we could try to repair things, not having wiped out our breed? Of course not! He's all on the other side in that fight, seeing immigrants as superior to Aussies.

    The difference between fake-conservatives and hard lefties is that the hard lefties are pursuing the deconstruction of our language and societies and the genocide of the white race and all our nations with a "first come, first served!" strategy, while taboo-respecting fake-conservatives are heading towards the same ends but with a strategy of "the second mouse gets the cheese!"

  6. I have also been wryly amused by the reaction of overseas conservative commentators and their enthusiasm for Tony Abbott's election; genuine conservatism must have atrophied elsewhere moreso than in Australia if they can look at Abbott and see a staunch traditionalist.

    Well yeah, here in the USA we'd be pretty damn happy if a guy like him was President instead of what we have. Romney was not a traditionalist conservative, but certain preferable to Bambi (sure there are always conservative blockheads who say they'd rather have a Communist than a liberal Republican but I don't agree with that myself).

  7. Mr. Richardson,
    I wanted to comment on your entry the other day; A terrific review. I wrote:
    Mr. Kalb continues to articulate our problems superbly.
    Your response to your commenter prompts me to ask who you think would be a good PM, one who could change things and is electable? I'm an American living, born and raised around Washington DC. I read quickly, the Wikipedia entry on Tony Abbott, knowing nothing about him. He seems a mixed bag. You said that you don't think that he will change much. I feel the same about all of our politicians. Are there any traditionalist conservatives active in elected Australian politics, any one who could get elected and effect the kind of change needed?
    Today you take Melanie Phillips to task for exaggerating Abbott's soft conservatism. You contradict some of what she asserts about him. Who is more conservative and has some chance of getting elected? You have a typically modern liberal population, much like ours. How is a traditionalist conservative ever to get elected? How?
    Thanks, Buck

  8. Buck, thanks.

    a) In terms of electoral politics, I don't think it's likely that we'll see a genuinely traditionalist PM elected in the near future. The political culture for that doesn't exist right now. That doesn't mean giving up entirely on electoral politics. We can certainly identify those politicians who are worth supporting (e.g. Senator Cory Bernardi here in Australia) and we can try to reach a point of organisation at which we could field candidates of our own. In the recent election, for instance, because of preference swapping it was possible to get elected to the senate with a relatively small number of votes. Again, it was one of those opportunities which we missed.

    b) The first thing we have to get better at is influencing the culture. If we continue to allow thoughtful young Australians to develop within an unchallenged liberal political culture, then we can't be surprised if things don't go our way within the larger society. We have to be skilled in the way we present our criticisms of the current liberal culture; we have to be skilled in the way we present a traditionalist alternative; and we have to be proactive in getting out there and being a political presence in society.

    c) To achieve (b) we have to recognise what was wrong with the politics of the non-liberal right in previous decades. The non-liberal right has often been passive, defeatist and even apolitical. It hasn't aimed to win over thoughtful, intelligent and conscientious young people. One of the reasons it has been passive, defeatist and apolitical is that it too often identified the problem as a shadowy, outsider force rather than the beliefs, world view and assumptions about life carried by members of the intelligentsia/political class. Nor was it sufficiently concerned about winning over or creating a stable and enduring institutional support.

  9. Who is to provide this enduring institutional support, and in what does it consist?

  10. Institutional support: media (websites, radio programmes, magazines, publishing houses), branches (traditionalist networks, political parties, ethnic organisations), parishes, education (schools, adult education groups), cultural organisations (youth groups, art foundations) and so on.

    Who is to provide this? We have to set out to build it ourselves bit by bit.