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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Polemics: conservative fallout « Previous | |Next »
July 27, 2003

The comments that run through public opinion from the right wingers are in favour of privatising the ABC. This is the position that Tim Blair advocates. As one of the comments at Tim's site said:

"Everyone agrees the ABC should be privatised, but the problem is that most of its employees are so immune to criticism that they couldn't function in a free market. "

Presumably all those in the rightwinger camp was what was meant. By rightwingers here I mean those who think that the free market as represents an ideal type. It is the highest form of capitalism. It is to be celebrated for its efficiency, for its technological dynamism, and even for its capacity to deliver full employment all free from the dead hand of governmental regulation and control. Righties imagine that the United States is close to the ideal type. It is one of their favourite myths.

The rationale for this battle over the ABC in the culture wars is that, as the ABC as a public broadcaster is on the lefty side of politics, so it has to be taken out. There can be, and should be, no legitimate challenges to the political rule by conservatives from a public broadcaster funded out of general revenue.

Privatising the ABC will ensure this. For the righties the sooner it is done the better. A privatised ABC can then be as biased as it likes. Consumer choice is then used to provide the intellectual backbone for the free market case.

The thread running through the comments is that conservatives now rule. They enjoy their power, they will do everything to maintain that power and they get their kicks out of knee capping their opponents in the ABC. They enjoy hurting lefty ABC people in the culture wars. It's called partisan politics.

The public policy implication of this thread is that there no need for a public broadcaster to act as the watchdog for democracy, since democracy is the free market. Hence, there is no chance of public reason developing through actually comparing and contrasting the arguments of both sides and then coming to a judicious judgement. We just privatised opinions that cluster together in mutual protection societies.

The other implications are that ignorance and prejudice is bliss, and that the righties' prejudices about public broadcasting are in harmony with the considered opinions of middle Australia.

Well, here is a conservative dissenting from the above. Miranda Devine is defending the ABC. And she characterises Senator Alston's attacks on the ABC as nebulous nitpicking, lacking finesse and smacking of bully-boy overreach.

How Senator Alston must disappoint the road warriors of the right. He lacks the necessary courage and valour to be a war leader vanquishing his opponents.

May I suggest that all those readers of Tim Blair currently sweeping through public opinion go read Miranda. Go to read her guys---they're nearly all guys ---because Miranda talks sense for once. Instead of hunting for opinions and information that reinforce your prejudices you may even come across information that begins to question those prejudices. Why you may even start thinking about your myths.

Guys read Miranda because she is on your side. And did you know that ex Thaterites, such as Norman Tebbitt among others are coming out to support the BBC against Blair, even though they acknowledge that the BBC is a natural home of British Labourism?

Heres another consideration about what to do with the ABC from John McVey:

"...the ABC should not be eliminated, just remove all the news, editorialising, pseudo-watchdoggery, 'educational' programs and entertainment nonsense, busting the organisation down to a strictly-facts-only-and-ALL-facts government-reporter dealing strictly with the goings-on of the various governments in our country. In this manner, the political and cultural bias rampant in the current ABC will be put to an end while retaining those elements of the ABC that are legitimate."

That's worthy of consideration.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:06 PM | | Comments (5)


That's some real fancy logic there, Gary. Is this something you learned at Filosophy Skule? That because right-wingers share certain opinions on some subjects, that we must share them on everything?

Does your argument also work for lefties? Pilger and Hitchens are of the left. Does this mean you believe (as Pilger does) that one million people marched against racism on the Harbour Bridge? Or that (like Hitchens) you support the war against terror?

I'm pleasantly suprised you think so highly of our universities.

Given that they are run by lefties and their standards are so low, you don't get much of an education you know.

And I'm a lefty and blinded by political correctness remember. So you wouldn't expect me to be able to comprehend much of formal logic taught in an authoritarian style.

For proof of that half-education you have only got to look at my spelling on this weblog.

(As an aside. The three R's were not taught in the liberal university. Too much emphasis on Women's studies. You know the line).

Cut me a abit of slack Tim. Compassion is required here. I'm really one of Howar's battlers trying to make a go of things in a world run by celebraty journalists.

Honestly Tim, I'm just having a bit of fun. It was Sunday morning in boring Adelaide.

Seriously, the post was directed at those of your readers whose comments indicated that they have have very a rigid black and white view of politics as a conflict between friends and enemies.

And at the much higher level you are talking at, I would opine that there is as much diversity on the left as there is on the right.

To finish on something that I did learn at filosophy Skule, it all depends on how that diversity is interpreted.

Hey, I stuck up for quaint ol' Anty Gary. Perhaps it's also the good old Aussie love of the underdog!

Oops! Should be Aunty. Maybe a freudian spelling slip

Aunty is looking a bit quaint these days. She needs a new wardrobe.

Its a bit rough the young kicking old ladies huh?