Friday, February 17, 2006

The Thoughts of the Spinmeister

I can't link to this because I heard it on the radio and can't even remember on which program, but two things struck me about the Prime Minister's response to the vote on yesterday's RU486 Bill.

It was sad, he said, to see a majority handball the decision-making process to someone else 'because it was too hard'.

*Gasps at unmitigated rodentitude, turns up radio*

*Thinks: No, PM, it's by no means too hard. They made a decision that the decision should be made by experts in the field. It's not called bailing out. It's called intelligence. The Libs who voted in favour of the Bill must be spitting nails at this naked insult from their leader.*

But wait, there's more; then it got worse. Parliament, said the PM, should have retained power over this decision because, and I'm fairly sure I quote, 'We are as expert as anybody else.'

The really frightening thing is that I think he truly believes this. All his public life, Howard has been profoundly anti-intellectual in word and deed, and I always thought it was because scholarship in politics, philosophy and history was a threat to his belief system, but the real reason has finally dawned on me. It's that strutting vanity of a certain kind of right-winger, usually a man, who can't bear to think that someone else might be better than he is at anything -- combined with the insecurity of knowing that there are some kinds of knowledge he simply does not have and will never be equipped to acquire. And what it produces is such truly extraordinary conclusions as 'Just because you've studied this subject for decades and written books about it, it doesn't mean you know more about it than I do, so nyerdy nyer.'

This is a common enough right-wing bleat. But you don't expect to hear it from the bloke in charge of the country.

6 comments:

Kate said...

I was a little dumbfounded at that too.

Shall Mr Howard now advocate that anyone who feels like it should start performing operations on other people? "I've read the odd medical textbook, I know where your kidney is, pass me the scalpel?"

Penelope said...

I'm shocked that Downer - a wet and purportedly more 'liberal' should have opposed the bill. I guess he want to remain friends with the boss.

Arthur_Vandelay said...

Howard's disdain for legitimate expertise carries on a fine tradition. Righties hate scientists because they keep talking about stuff the Right doesn't like: like global warming or evolution.

Remember former Education Minister Brendan Nelson's "qualified" support for the teaching of intelligent design in state schools? "Do I think that parents and schools should have the opportunity — if they wish to — for students also to be exposed to this and to be taught about it? Yes I think that's fine."

Truthiness, anyone?

Pavlov's Cat said...

I took it for granted that Downer would vote to stay friends with the boss, I'm sorry to say.

Re kidney removal by the general populace, I guess that sort of truculent populism has always been Howard's trump card. We all know he appeals to the worst in human nature to get people on his side and this is just another example of it.

"Truthiness" is a gem -- hadn't seen this before. Reminds me of an argument I got into with my sister about something recently -- 'I just know it in my gut,' she said, and I said "Well, you know what your gut's full of, don't you.' She looked deeply shocked -- but she'll never say that again without pulling up short and having a think.

Blue said...

The stupidities of the current govt in Aust are scaring me more & more.

What also scares me tho' is the number of people (voters) who have no idea about them & perpetuate them by voting them back in on the basis of 'better the devil you know' Unfortunately there doesn't appear to be any real alternative. I'm gonna go cry into my lunch :-(

Arthur_Vandelay said...

"Reminds me of an argument I got into with my sister about something recently -- 'I just know it in my gut,' she said, and I said "Well, you know what your gut's full of, don't you.'"

Boo-ya!

(With apologies to your sister)