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

loose talk indeed « Previous | |Next »
September 13, 2005

There is a common position in political discourse in Australia that contrasts the inner city latte lefties with the aspirational outer suburbanites. It is a conventional wisdom that functions as a philosophical lodestone.

You can see it at play in this post over at Catallaxy, where Andrew Norton is discussing Judith Brett's new quarterly essay, Relaxed and Comfortable: The Liberal Party's Australia. An extract of the Brett essay can be found here

The relevant quote is this:

Meanwhile the social movements [of the 1960s and 1970s]created their own sub-culture, what is now known as the 'latte left' or the 'chattering class'. Though their issues have changed, they still define themselves against Australian society, denouncing various 'phobias', and failing to talk the language of the majority. Howard, by contrast, has 'command of the banal idiom of everyday Australian life'. His very ordinariness is, I think, part of why they despise him so much. And it is their rejection of the common sense and morality of ordinary Australians that means they never could have been or can be supporters of the Liberal Party.

It is the phrase 'they still define themselves against Australian society, denouncing various 'phobias', and failing to talk the language of the majority'. This implies that they once defined themselves against Australian society.

Really? You would expect that from conservatives, such as Andrew Bolt, Piers Ackerman, Miranda Devine; but not from classical liberals from Catallaxy, who do understand that 'leftism and conservatism are in a sense both reactions to the changes caused by liberal capitalism.'

On Vietnam yes. Similarly, with removing the constraints on sexual morality by the libertarians of the Sydney Push. On urban development no. Not at all.

Were not the Whitlamite liberals and social democrats supportive of the outer suburbs with aspirational middle class values and beliefs?

My understanding is that they were influenced the urban development work of that period was sympathetic for ordinary Australian suburban life, was premised on the suburbs being a legitmate way of urban life and that the conditions of this mode of life needed to be improved. So the social liberal state was used by the Whitlamites to improve the conditions in the outer suburbs.

How is that being against Australian society?

Do we not have a rewriting of Australian history? One that reads the 1970s though the lens of 1996? Or are today's market liberals really cultural conservatives. Or are the market liberals saying that Australian society is market liberalism.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:44 PM | | Comments (0)