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

a creeping authoritarianism « Previous | |Next »
April 10, 2014

Greg Jericho says that the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet had issued new social media guidelines that included a clause instructing employees that there "is an expectation" to dob in colleagues if they see them do anything on social media that might contravene the code of conduct. Such things include being "critical or highly critical of the Department, the Minister or the Prime Minister".

PopeDdobin.jpg David Pope

Such comment goes beyond the employees area of work to anything that might "compromise public confidence in the agency or the APS". Greg Jericho observes:

The vibe from the top is that social media is to be feared, and is now also to be used as a tool of fear. With so few jobs around, and some departments cutting a quarter of their staff, the time is ripe to force harsh restrictions on employees and silence dissent. And PM&C's guidelines will do just that.

This is an example of creeping authoritarianism that seeks to obtain its political end by coercion and sanctions in order to enforce and maintain quietism towards the political order.

This conservatism, which is pulled in two directions at once – towards both authoritarianism and libertarianism---attempted to present itself as the defender of civil liberties against an overly authoritarian and interventionist state. This is usually represented by a desire to protect the individual from an over-powerful state. However, the tradition of authoritarianism remains strong.

This is a conservatism, which is premised on ’’liberty’ in economic processes the market and ’authoritarianism’ in political relations, and is driven by a fear of chaos and absence of order. Political conservatives envision a world without God in which baser human impulses go unchecked, social institutions (marriage, government, family) fall apart and chaos ensues. It uses opposition to "political correctness" to mask the authoritarianism in the desire to silence dissent and their opponents and to keep the populace alarmed by creating an endless series of threats, all of them imaginary (eg., asylum seekers pouring across the northern border of Australia).

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:39 AM | | Comments (1)
Comments

Comments

Love the description of the mindset..

"The vibe from the top is that social media is to be feared and is now to be used as a tool of fear"

Think of the opening scene with the raging apes in the movie, 2001 A Space Odyssey.

You can almost imagine a Clarke Gable or Ava Gardner movie in the jungle, some little guy with a pencil moustache waving a pistol..

Maybe it is an anthropological thing?

We are used to the life giving fear that drove the survival gene for millenia, are hoping we are probably evolving out of the need for fear for alertness and survival. Perhaps what we dread as anomie is a natural state of affairs from which we as a species have not yet evolved from where we can survive yet feel too comfortable.

But, if we are new as a species, are we not still as a species also in an ongoing adjustment mode?

It's only a million or so years since Erectus, the almost human, making primitive tools and having fire, ranged out on to the African plains..
Isn't there a direct link to their experience?

The last para calls, "Tribalism" as, push comes to shove, roles can reverse.

Would the human as constituted ever learn empathy if the species had immortality?

Punxsutawney Phil, the AG, is my imago for the person at or near near the top but still as guilty and fearful a human as the rest of us. Really, a bit like a kid standing guard while others shake down a fellow for sweeties.