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Liberalism & national security « Previous | |Next »
August 12, 2004

I see that Margo Kingston has posted a speech she delivered to the Sydney Institute online at Webdiary. In this speech she links back to Robert Menzies Forgotten People to the present rule by the Howard Government.

I too have been reading that text ( here and here. I concur with Margo's judgement in Not Happy, John that:


"...that far from being the torch bearer of Menzian Liberalism, John Howard has destroyed it from within, and in so doing has plunged our democracy into a crisis which only the people of Australia, working together, can now salvage."


This undermining of liberalism is particularly evident in the post September 11 national security legislation, especially the body of legislation associated with the Anti-Terrorism Bill (No 2) 2004. The duty of governments to protect the rights and safety of people within their territory is at the cost of fundamental human rights and civil liberties.

Menzies says that


"There are fascist tendencies in all countries - a sort of latent tyranny. And they exist, be it remembered, in radical as well as in conservative quarters. Suppression of attack, which is based upon suppression of really free thought, is the instinctive weapon of the vested interest... Fascism and the Nazi movement are both based on social philosophy which elevates the all-powerful State and makes the rights of the individual, not matters of inherent dignity but matters merely of concession by the State. Each says to the ordinary citizen, "Your rights are not those you were born with, but those which of our kindness we allow you." It is good to be reminded by Mill that this tendency is not confined to any one country. As the organization of society becomes more complex we must be increasingly vigilant for the freedom of our minds and spirits."


Menzies then defends freedom, even though he acknowledges the limits on all these matters in time of war when the "supremacy of the national security is clear and undoubted."

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:36 AM | | Comments (0)
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