Friday, 14 June 2019

The left and its disconnect from the mainstream

One of the reasons the world is hard to understand these days, and this might be one reason for the rise of parties like One Nation, is that there seems to be a radical disconnect between the progressive left and the mainstream. People on the left get themselves all exercised about minuscule issues that they invest themselves heavily in, such as black-face comedy or veganism, which the mainstream deems unimportant.

If you take a plane and go overseas, furthermore, as more and more Australians are doing, you find more of a disconnect between the progressive left and reality. In some places I visited recently on my Middle East trip they don't have pedestrian crossings on major roads or even clean drinking water. So the minute concerns of a Greens voter living in Newtown actually have no basis in reality beyond the applause that holding those views elicits from his or her friends when they go out to the Bank Hotel on a Friday night to down a few schooners of 4 Pines pale ale.

In so many countries (countries whence refugees come) people have no right to vote, do not read anything approximating the truth in the newspapers, and face all sorts of problems because of general corruption and a culture of untruth that permeates the social fabric from the top to the bottom. But if you point out to a person on the progressive left that there is a democratic deficit in the countries where refugees come from, and that something should be done about fixing that situation, they will more likely than not think that you are a racist.

There is plenty of support for refugees among people on the progressive left, but none of them seems to worry much about the actual living conditions of the people they think they are supporting. Helping refugees resettle in a country like the US or Australia is important for them, but making sure that their families back home in Guatemala or Afghanistan can get to work safely, earn a living, drink clean water, or vote, is considered peripheral.

The left is adrift on a sea made from its own tears that normal people never touch. The harebrained concerns of a sociology professor specialising in transsexualism, a graphic designer with a cavoodle named Jasper, or a computer programmer with an interest in Star Trek sequels – people who populate the progressive left in developed countries – are so remote from those of normal people living in places like Turkey or Jordan that it is as though they inhabit different planets. And the mainstream in the developed world knows this and treats their compatriots as though they were insane. For its part, the left wonders why it keeps losing elections, blames the electorate for making the wrong decision when it does, and starts reading stories in the Guardian that ask whether Communism should be reintroduced.

Given this kind of disconnect from the mainstream, it's no wonder that Pauline Hanson poo-poohs every comment made in public by Richard Di Natale. The fact is that the left has lost its moorings. It should be getting exercised about Hong Kong, but instead it dicks around with little details that mean nothing to anyone apart from itself.


marcellous said...


Is this a kind of "think of the starving children in India" J'accuse?

We used to hear lots of this sort of stuff from people like PP McGuinness when he was still with us.

I don't think it is fair for you to assume from the chatter on leftist issues which are in a sense "first world problems" that the "chatterers" do not also care about the more fundamental problems of the greater less-washed. You cannot be saying that PHON's followers care more about them.

I would certainly never say of you that you do not care about third-world housing because you care about Sydney's surviving examples of architectural brutalism.

Did you have a bad experience at the Bank Hotel? It's years since I've been there myself.

Matthew da Silva said...

Quadrant and Overland are equally bad in their aims. I don't cleave to any one side of politics, but rather look for individual policies that can help to improve the polity generally. The problems that the left concerns itself about in Australia are so totally divorced from the realities of the larger world it is as if, as I said in the post, they were from different planets. People have to get real and start to worry about the general democracy deficit in the world. Veganism is a dead end. It's nonsense.

roger of bangalow said...

Hi Matthew
Your OS trip was fun to vicariously follow but I am at loggerheads with your latest post. I am far from an intellectual and my knowledge of world events is limited but I must question a turning away from progressive ideals. It is disheartening to read you favour Hanson over Di Natale here (a momentary lapse of reason). He may lack the cool composure of Bob Brown but it is crucial that the Greens hold a dominant role on the Senate cross bench to temper the populist lurches of the current government. And the left/right split of politics can be viewed as a false dichotomy - mainstream media thrives on employing this technique to divide us. Some issues need to be bi-partisan for our future survival. In the current political climate, PC values are demonised but climate change is scientifically verified, beyond debate, and can only be challenged by Creationists and Armageddonists (unfortunately we have one heading the government!). The window of opportunity for change is narrow, according to the IPCC and the vast majority of climate/environmental scientists. It may be a cliche to say but what sort of world do we want our children to inherit?
Other than that, I remain an admiring follower of your blog,
Herman Hermit, Bangalow bubble

Matthew da Silva said...

Roger, I absolutely do not support Hanson and I am wondering how you could have come to the conclusion that I do. Nothing in my post above suggests that I support Hanson. What is incontrovertible however is that One Nation emerged in the wake of the rise of the Greens, and it is precisely the intellectual underpinnings of the Greens that people who are part of One Nation (and people who vote for One Nation candidates in elections) hate so much. It's exactly the same with Trump. I wrote a blogpost about this dynamic and published it on 31 March of this year if you want to go and find it and read it. As far as political parties go I am not really a fan of them and I tend to vote differently each election depending on what I think of their policy platforms overall. I have voted Green in the past and I have voted Liberal. I am not wedded to any one party, unlike most people.