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

the changing face of politics « Previous | |Next »
August 27, 2006

Politics is changing isn't it. Many accounts of this change argue that ideology is no longer relevant and that the old distinctions of left and right have become fuzzy, if not actually become meaningless. These accounts are limited given the partisan nature of the Right these days, as expressed in the various culture and history wars, the war on terror, tough border security and social conservatism.

John Cain, a former Premier of Victoria, describes the changes in politics differently. He says:

The electorate now is about me, me, I and my. The electorate is much more ego-centric, focused on itself, reflecting the market economy and everything is seen in terms of what is in it for me." [voters think like this:] "I want to pay less tax, I don't want to be burdened with having to think about anything, I just want to go out there and enjoy myself. It is a consumer-driven, market-oriented society at a level we have never seen before. There is no ideology anywhere.They (voters) wouldn't know how to spell it.

Cain is right to highlight the deep effects of the market on politics which we have been witnessing for two decades.

However, Cain downplays the shift to conservatism in the electorate and both the major political parties that is increasingly expressed in the the mixing of religion and politics. The battleground between left and right is less about the economics and is more about culture and values. The culture of the ALP, for instance, is deeply socially conservative, despite its ongoing social democratic commitment to the welfare state (public education and health).

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:20 AM | | Comments (0)