Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here’s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.


 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate

Subscribe!
Subscribe





On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.
___________

Syndicate
RSS/XML


RSS 2.0

Pyne, Trump and Turnbull walk into a bar...

By Mark Christensen - posted Thursday, 7 April 2016


It was refreshing to hear Christopher Pyne, in a recent interview on Channel Seven's The Morning Show, offer some frank commentary on American politics.

The emergence of Donald Trump, he said, was "kind of weird". The cabinet minister stated the Republican Party would find itself in "the wilderness for a very long time" should it choose the billionaire, former reality TV personality as its presidential candidate.

On the other hand, it was equally disturbing how readily Pyne presumed his Liberal party – the equivalent of the Republicans here in Australia – immune to the same undercurrents (perhaps Leigh Sale's interview with Cory Bernadi caused him to reflect).

Advertisement

Western democracies are under pressure from polarising elements, with the centre struggling to hold up in the face of ideological forces unwilling to compromise. Political discourse has become nasty and highly personalised, divorced from the real concerns of real people.

So much so, the concept of the middle ground itself goes unexamined.

Balance is a core function of democracy. Economic prosperity is indispensable, but it's not what is most important to human beings. We need both. It's OK for a centralised bureaucracy to provide some of the basics, though final responsibility for happiness and a sense of community rests with the individual. Similarly, an effective leader connects with both head and heart.

While one might casually claim to favour such a balanced approach, we rarely ponder what this actually means.

It's often thought, for instance, that government efforts to strengthen civil society by, amongst other things, redistributing income, supporting minorities and enforcing appropriate rules and regulations, are opposed to our self-interests.

They're not. Most of us see taxation and some form of governance as crucial to building a platform of shared existence.

Advertisement

The conflict arises when government goes beyond its natural limits.

Just as money and material possessions only partial satisfy. Just as reason is not equivalent to wisdom. Any system or institution, regardless of its sophistication or noble intentions, will always fall short of realizing our highest ideals.

Like the United States, Australia has long viewed the middle ground as halfway between competing interests. Left versus right. Social order versus personal liberty. Materialism versus a free-spiritedness.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All


Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

7 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with del.icio.us Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Mark is a social and political commentator, with a background in economics. He also has an abiding interest in philosophy and theology, and is trying to write a book on the nature of reality. He blogs here.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Mark Christensen

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 7 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend
Advertisement

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy