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Dec 23, 2016

Year in review: denialism and demonisation in an anus horribilis

Relying on demonisation and denialism to achieve power comes with a terrible price -- as 2016 showed across the West.

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“Did I ever tell you about the man who taught his asshole to talk?”
William S. Burroughs

27 comments

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27 thoughts on “Year in review: denialism and demonisation in an anus horribilis 

  1. Guwardi

    Gold Bernard, thank you

  2. Dog's Breakfast

    Ah Bernard, you forgot that 2016 was the year that conventional liberal economics, whether you describe it as neoliberal or otherwise, actually died in 2016. A morally and economically bankrupt theory dreamed up in academia and championed by the very very big end of town, actually doesn’t work. It’s a lie foisted on the people.

    Traditional economic theory still has plenty to offer, but traditional economics doesn’t sell us ‘free trade’ and then maintain and enhance strict regulations against free trad ein the form of intellectual property and pharmaceutical protections that just happen to help the biggest of the big global corporates.

    What you have failed to realise is that rational economics is a very different beast from liberal economics. Liberal economic theory died this year, and thank god it did, although its smelly, rotten corpse will make the world unlivable for a few years yet.

    Vive la revolution.

  3. paddy

    Ever the optimist Bernard. 🙂
    But a nice summary of the train wreck that was 2016.

  4. Stuart Coyle

    I take it that the Latin spelling error in the title is deliberate. Nicely played!

    1. AR

      I assumed that the anus was the Abbotrocity.

  5. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    I know she’s big in mining but “The People’s Republic of Gina” is surely an exaggeration, Bernard.

    1. AR

      Yeah, i was waiting for the boom-tish but I guess it was just a typo. from overusing the hot key.

    2. Charlie Chaplin

      That’s how Trump pronounces “China”.

  6. Wexford

    I thought I was reading Rundle when I hit that closing paragraph. Brilliant sign-off to close the year 🙂

  7. Damien Flattery

    A very reasonable summary, however I note the apparent contradiction between identifying that “the economy is no long delivering the kind of gains in material wealth…” and then following up with “Australia is increasingly a successful services economy”.

    So which is it?

    It appears that wage stagnation and job insecurity are going to make the majority poorer regardless (even by your own admission), so exactly why are people meant to be happy about this?

  8. garydj

    Great article, Bernard.

  9. Susan

    Bernard, rather than distorting reality with your suggestion that the left has a protectionist approach to the economy, why not discuss the more obvious advocacy of protectionism within the Nationals? In that way you would explain the incoherencies of Coalition policy by pointing to the different positions of the two parties to the Colaition.

  10. Robert Sterry

    I enjoyed that very much Bernard. A beautifully crafted but sad tale reminiscent of Frank Muir and Denis Norden!

  11. Djbekka

    I find myself nodding in agreement in spots, but increasingly annoyed by the contemporary tendency to label anything in the centre of the political spectrum as ‘left’ – Really! The yapping right has pulled the centre increasingly rightward and what once was left seems to have floated away. Here’s a new year’s resolution for 2017 – when reporting positions critical of the far right, don’t reach for the convenient category of ‘left’, try to actually describe it. A second resolution: try to avoid joining the echo chamber that assumes that the economic right/ left axis can be mapped over the socio-cultural spectrum of positions. Socially conservative women may want power for women, but define it differently than social progressives do. I doubt that any adult women think that domestic violence is good, for example, though they may differ on a range of policies to address the prevalence in society. It is difficult to believe that socially conservative women think rape and sexual assault are desirable experiences, though some may define what counts as rape differently from some progressive women and men. A third resolution: don’t use one generalised example to stand for thoughtful argument (eg. some idiot may have ‘said’ that conservatives were ‘stealing’ feminism, but face it – Feminism can’t be stolen, though it can be twisted).

    Have a nice holiday.

  12. Kevin_T

    Could it be that it is actually the arseholes that have taught this Government how to speak?

  13. AR

    The arseholes may have been taught/allowed to speak but unfortunately they just won’t shut up.
    Speaking of which, BK just cannot stop his neolib one ranting despite making a good case for why its mantra is such delusion.

  14. GideonPolya

    After decades of science-informed people arguing in vain against bigotry, warmongering, anti-Arab anti-Semitism and anti-science climate change denialism, the dominant but unofficial Coalition Right-One Nation Alliance has now put these egregiously false, ignorant and degenerate positions in the Centre of White Australian politics. Thus each day the yellow ABC parades these extreme right-wing bigots before us without any counter input from scientists or other educated, humane, intelligent people. While those voting for One Nation are simply egregiously stupid and ignorant, those voting for the Coalition are on a wider, vomitorial continuum from egregious stupidity and ignorance to homicidal greed driven by the subverted intelligence of neoliberalism. The civilized, science-informed Greens have over double the Federal Parliamentary representation as the One Nation but are not even given equal time by the gutless, far Right-collaborationist ABC.

    No better example of this extreme Right perversion of Australian public life is the effective climate change denialism of the Coalition under all-smiles, oh-so-charming, power-at-any-price, Abbott-lite, Abbott-in-sheep’s-clothing, Mr Harborside Mansion, 200-dollar-man, lipstick-on-a-pig Malcolm “Cayman Islands” Turnbull which has approved and proposes to subsidize the biggest coal mine in the world, the Adani Carmichael mine in ecocidal, speciescidal, terracidal, red-neck Queensland. Murdoch-dominated Australian Mainstream media are involved in massive lying by omission re the horrendous consequences of climate change to which racist White Australia is a disproportionately high contributor. Thus climate criminals (notably the Australian Lib-Labs) are complicit in the mass murder of about 10 million people each year by climate change or air pollution. Air pollution kills 7 million people per year (WHO), this including 10,000 Australians and 75,000 people dying each year from the long-term effects of pollutants from the burning of Australian coal exports. Burning Adani coal will kill over 13,000 people each year and over 0.5 million from the life-time operation of the Carmichael coal mine. The climate criminals are massively deadly neoliberal state terrorists, corporate terrorists, carbon terrorists and climate terrorists who kill 10 million people each year as compared to the vile, US imperialism-aiding, Muslim-origin non-state terrorists who merely kill 18,000 people each year. The climate criminals must be stripped of all assets and subject to life imprisonment with hard labour (see “Stop air pollution deaths”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/stop-air-pollution-deaths ; Gideon Polya, “Humanity Must Pledge Inescapable Dispossession And Custodial Retribution For Climate Criminals”, Countercurrents, 20 December 2016: http://www.countercurrents.org/2016/12/20/humanity-must-pledge-inescapable-dispossession-and-custodial-retribution-for-climate-criminals/ ; Gideon Polya, “Judicially arraign, try and punish climate criminals for 10 million deaths pa”, Bellaciao, 22 December, 2016: http://bellaciao.org/en/spip.php?article23567 ).

    1. GideonPolya

      Correction: Lipstick-on-a-pig Malcolm Turnbull is a 200-MILLION-dollar-man.

  15. klewso

    “Moses” Turnbull? …… You’ll find him in d’Nile.

  16. Flynn

    Some great points made here, BK. These hard, nasty politics reflect a devolution of our society more broadly.

    I still fail to see how Turnbull was much more than what we see today – go back through some Q&A episodes (if you’re in a truly masochistic mood), his demeanour and temperament were that of someone looking only for admiration.

    Defence spending has always been a nationalist tub-thumper, but it has always confused me as to why we pursue such sycophantic foreign policy even if we make all these fancy weapons ourselves – seems pretty poor value for money if we don’t change that, too.

    I also wouldn’t mind some more discussion about what communitarian economic policy could look like and whether this will need to involve some form of protectionism. We’ve benefitted from trade, yes. From what you describe and from events more generally, it’s becoming clear that the ‘externalities’ of creating unfettered markets to deliver such trade are, culturally, just too much to bear.

    At the end of the day, what do we value as individuals and as a nation? This is something that we need to be discussing with each other and our elected representatives. I think it’s definitely time for a revival of values on both sides of politics and in society. Money cannot love us back.

  17. IanG

    Great article Bernard. Fear of the Other has a short term bonding effect for its adherents but, in the longer term, those promoting the fear end up splintering as they becoming increasingly suspicious of each other. Inclusiveness and Social cohesion is only advanced by the more challenging promotion of Respect for Difference. Who is going to do this in 2017?

  18. John Martinkus

    That is a nice Christmas present. The concept of a government that taught its arsehole to talk.

  19. Itsarort

    The power of a ‘negative assault’ on Labor lies in the ability of the Coalition to provide a simple platform (which is why Abbott appears to be a master) of myths and untruths , then let the mainstream right to the lunacy right of 2GB and their ilk, do the rest. Turnbull need not even get his hands dirty.

  20. pjp

    I think I’m now used to BK being an apologist for the neo-Libs. Strange how he avoids the most obvious reasons why Australia compares so favourably globally: the Keynesian stimulus programs of the Labour government during the GFC and the good luck of Chinese and Indian demand creating a resources booom. It’s astounding that Australia missed the opportunity to build up a sovereign fund similar to the Norwegians, but we can thank the neo-Libs for that. The narrow focus on a service-based economy is also a legacy of the neo-Libs for which Australia will continue to pay a high price. Can we please make 2017 the year in which we finally bury the stinking corpse of neoliberal/supply side/trickle down “theory?” It shouldn’t have been allowed to survive past Thatcher and Reagan – that it did, is a condemnation of the “science” of economics.

  21. Zarathrusta

    Good article generally, but you are wrong about manufacturing. Australia cannot remain a first world economy doing only services. It must also do manufacturing and that manufacturing must be highly value added. This kamikaze government has done its best to actively destroy our manufacturing base, the one that is needed on which to build the high value, complex manufacturing we need.

  22. Pippa Tandy

    Perfect quotation under the pic of worse than useless Mal.

  23. Aussie4real

    Not too sure what you mean by a successful services economy – where is your proof? Significant parts of our private training sector are exploitative and public training at Tafe is becoming more difficult to access. Yes, overseas students are coming to our universities, but we make our own people pay for the education. Manufacturing still needs to be a vital part of our economy. Where are all our young people going to go? Not all can be IT specialists, baristas or infrastructure builders. We need to start thinking about the health of our community and what it needs to provide, to bring contentment and a future for our young. Certainly a paralysed right wing orientated government can’t and won’t think on these things- it does not augur well for the future!

https://www.crikey.com.au/2016/12/23/year-review-denialism-demonisation-anus-horribilis/ == https://www.crikey.com.au/free-trial/==https://www.crikey.com.au/subscribe/

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