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

anybody read.T.B..these days « Previous | |Next »
November 7, 2005

Does anybody read Tim Blair these days for the interpretation of politics? I don't. He's so aspirational for someone who inhabits a troll culture. I guess that explains the bitter and personal humor that mocks others.

By 'aspirational ' I don't just mean that ‘middle class’ as understood by a Robert Menzies (the forgotten people) or a Peter Costello (ambitious, active, evangelical).

By aspirational I mean the edgy, mobile, aggressive winners from the changing economy of contemporary Australia; but so rightwing with little understanding the tradition of conservatism. Like the IPA they mistakenly equate conservatism with individualism, small government, personal responsibility, and self-reliance.

The postmodern lefties who still inhabit academia and the politically correct ABC would see the TB aspirationals as sooo lower middle class---effiminate, tortured, anal retentive, pretentious, authoritarian etc:

John Spooner, Three Stooges of Diplomacy

But the old radical left would be wrong on this. The suburban asipirationals flaunt money and success with style. As they have their roots in the 'greed is good ' ethos of the 1980s and 1990s, they elbow their tabloid way through life. They understand that history is on their side and they are make sure they step in time with the forward march of they dissect the old traditional values.

Anyvbody read Tim Blair these days for insightful interpretations of our political culture?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:30 PM | | Comments (13)


You get a couple of things right: the emerging Right is not necessarily socially conservative and it's not evangelically Christian. It's, as you say, Libertarian in the ideal of minimal Government interference and that each person maintains responsibility for their own actions and downfalls.

However, you are wrong in assuming it's about money or power. You are wrong in assuming we'd tred over anyone to the top.

Primarily, and it's important you grasp this, it's about being positive. About seeing the glass as half full. The reason this is manifested as a political position on the Left/Right axis is because the Left is so characteristically negative, and eager to blame others, chiefly the Government or better, the USA.

When political writing from this edge of politics stoops to catty remarks about those on the Left, or forms "enemy of my enemy" alliances with those of questionable ability or motives, such as GW Bush's administration, it's more a guilty indulgence than mission statement.

You will find that no-one represents our end of politics. Watch South Park and you'll get the picture.


thanks for the vote of confidence in my little interpretation of our political culture. It is good to see that I can get some things right.

I do interpret your being positive (the half full glass) in terms of progress ---as expressing a Panglossian narrative of opttimism, in opposition to the negative dystopian one of the intellectual left.

Of course, the emerging Right (ie., liberal and conservative) does blame the socialist left for the damage wrought to our national culture, the growing number of badly dysfunctional communities, and the perversion of the important social values and civility.

I would argue that neo-liberalism in Australia has always had a socially conservative hue, and so has a concern over ‘values’, as can be seen in the neo-liberal critique of public education.

What we have is a marriage of neo-liberalism and conservatism.

Gary, call me panglossian if you wish, but once you start pulling words like that out, you immediately declare you're not trying connect, but impress.


an earlier post of mine talked about scarry narratives and I said above that the left had a negative one. It is as darkness is to light. What I am doing is contesting your half glass interpretation of the right's lightness narrative

The neo-liberal right has an upbeat optimistic narrative of progress that is full of light (of the Enlightenment). It is widely known as a panglossian one: all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds. this skind of narrative is very strong around accounts of globalization.

In this narrative of history the triumph of liberal capitalism and liberal economics signifies the best of all possible worlds. That panglossian narrative runs through the texts of FA Hayek: that spontaneous forces are intrinsically human-favourable and tend to generate the optimal sets of institutions that help coordinate the actions of market participants. These are the best kind of insitutions.

That is why some liberals talk about the end of history.

So the panglossian narrative says the half empty glass will become full.

In simple terms, just so everyone can understand, I read Tim Blair just to see what the new world rednecks are up to on any given day.

But this....really?

"The suburban asipirationals flaunt money and success with style"

I see this as grasping at what they think is style, an almost desperate optimism to aspire to a false perception. Ultimately they can never be stylish, how can you be when you regard the Westfield Mall in Bondi Junction as a mecca to that half full glass.

It's crass, and at it's core violent in a passive aggressive way. Of course we see this passive aggression at Blair's site in his derisive statements toward anyone who does not buy into his aspirational vision of the half full galss.

Forget South Park, see Kath and Kim.

the Tim Blair style is there in the desire for fast cars, the bitter hardeded edged humorous writing, Fox Television, and a half full glass. Neo-liberalism does have a style.

Heh! OK you're right, I agree Gary, it is A style, a particular style still ain't style.

I said this once on LP - the year was about 2003 maybe mid 2004 and I was looking for political blogs.

I came across Tim Blair's

It was full of expletives and whining about the Left and calling them names on its current post at the time.

Hardly a man with a sense of integrity or dignity. It is my understanding that it continues in this vein.

Hardly worth reading if that is his and his readers' general attitude.

Tim sees himself as a warrior fighting the cultural wars against the left.

Gary, I agree with you about Kath & Kim being the definitive Aussie Neo-leftism snob humour.

Like Dame Edna, it's all about mocking the lower intellectual classes for emulating the elites (cutting edge style setters like yourself I presume) but not "getting it" or "getting it too late to be cool."

This I think characterizes and binds the neo-left more than anything else: looking down their noses at those they perceive as undereducated or unsophisticated.

An indicator is the use of exclusive pretentious language that would only be tolerated in an academic environment, an affectation that claims to be in solidarity with the so-called "worker" but actually see that class of person as so far beneath them intellectually that they're not much more than political cannon fodder to be manipulated with a string of conspiracy theories.

The neo-right on the other hand, sees themselves as the creator of jobs and opportunity for this class, because, like you say, many of them rose from their ranks, and didn't want to remain there. But yes, they also look down upon this class, but as a distinction, only those who lack ambition.

You see this is where the neo-left and neo-right differ. The Left sees the lower classes as a force to retain. It's their army. For the Right, those classes are their blood. Both groups are elitist, and aspirational, but one wants to oppress while pretending otherwise. See any Communist regime for how this works in practice.

Perhaps you might want to examine why you would want to deny aspiration to any class. Does it really make you feel morally superior?


First of all Dave, start by reading the thread correctly and not putting my words into Gary's.

"Like Dame Edna, it's all about mocking the lower intellectual classes for emulating the elites (cutting edge style setters like yourself I presume) but not "getting it" or "getting it too late to be cool."

Yet they still aspire to all that the so-called 'elites' and big word intellectuals have. Look I'm sick and tired of this insecurity on the part of the neo-cons on culture, get over it, and stop simultaneously attempting to appropriate the style of the elites and then criticising them for their elitism, it's not a good look, and clashes with black.

It's always surprising to me to see the subtext of these criticisms defined in an anti intellectual argument, you know, complaining about big words and all that.

Just what does the neo-con/right have against book learnin'? If you ask me it's the current crop of Straussians in the White House who see their 'base' as useful idiots and cannon fodder for all of their hegemonic fantasies (sorry, big word alert), it is they who have as a professed theory that to lie to the little people is nobel in the pursuit of greater glories. Read his stuff, it's quite demonic really.

The so called lefty elites just want the so called aspirationals to go to school, free by the way, get good medical care, free by the way, not fight in wars that are based on lies, also to learn about the wider world and see themselves in the context of a greater humanity, and not within the false concept of a nationalism that leads to those same wars.

The last word is yours. Then come visit me at Larvatus Prodeo.

On the contrary Philip, I don't see the use of "big words" as intellectual, I see it as a pompous failure to be able to communicate simply.

I give you 0/10 for the rest of your argument. You sound like a Cuba apologist.

And BTW, don't kid yourself that the Left isn't always itching for a war. It's all you ever talk about, and your idols - like Castro, Ortega and Chavez - almost always come from a military background and favour the use of force, media suppression and jackboot education.

Nice one.


you are acting like a TB troll.

The big word---panglossian---was explained to you. But you continue to harp on about big words whilst avoiding the objection that your half- glass charactisation of the neo-liberal right was misleading.