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Look left, look right, then watch for the shoe from the left

By Mirko Bagaric - posted Wednesday, 3 November 2010

John Howard was entitled to and - probably should have - thrown his shoes with gusto at the leftist fanatic Q & A shoe-thrower. The fact that Howard laughed off the bitter and violent stunt underlies the moral gulf between most conservatives and the hypocritical  left - who self-select when it comes to occupying seats at the hopelessly biased ABC studios.

Without knowing it, I've being doing a wide-ranging social experiment on this exact issue over the past few years. The results are fascinating. It turns out that the supposedly warm and fuzzy left are anything but that. Intoxicated by self-righteous irrelevance they've developed an addiction to anger pills and suffer from a hyperventilation disorder.

Before I disclose my data nailing the left, first a little bit about how I acquired it. I regularly make wide-ranging comments that conflict with policies of the left and right. I'm apolitical - the policies of Labor and Liberal are so similar to make the debate almost irrelevant.


Most of my writing is informed by one underlying principle. It's called utilitarianism. It is the theory that when you are faced with a moral or political choice you should make the decision that will maximise human flourishing, where each person's interests count equally.

The left don't like me because I'm a fan of tough counter-terrorism laws and harsher sentences for sex and violent offenders. I also oppose euthanasia, abortion and dispute the desperate need for a reduction in greenhouse gases. I often upset the right because I push for gay marriages, animal rights, no tax for the poor and mega taxes for the rich, multiculturalism and tolerance towards Muslim values.

So what is the conclusive evidence that I have which shows that the left have mutated into a hysterical, hypocritical - albeit well intentioned - bunch? It comes in the form of thousands of abusive emails, an endless array of insulting (albeit sometimes witty and amusing) grossly misinformed blog comments, numerous demands to my employers to sack me for saying what I think and even the occasional demonstration by some time-rich, agenda-poor anti-moralisers who are defeated by the practical ramifications of the concept of free speech.

This is nearly the sum total of responses to my many and varied comments over the past couple of years. The striking aspect of this is that nearly all of the besmirching and attempts to stereotype and censure me have come from the supposedly tolerant, libertarian left, even though the right have just as much reason to be jacked off at me.

What about the right? They're disappointing too, but not in the way you might think. I was raised to think that they were bred to be mean. But even this building block of social discourse has disintegrated. The right don't have any more smarts than their opponents but - mothers take note - are certainly nicer. They rarely throw hissy fits and seem to have a deficient vocabulary when it comes to name calling. Some even show embryonic signs of a sense of humour.

That's not to say that they always fail to live up to expectations. The anger metre on my email occasionally goes into overdrive when I write a piece suggesting that Muslims are being unfairly vilified in Australia. Still, on numbers alone this is negligible compared to the extremist torrent from the left.


So why is it that the left have become much of what they despise? Well that's easy. History teaches us that rebellions without causes can be nothing other than character destroying.

The left have fought a good fight. The right to life, liberty, property, equal access to high quality health care, education and the professions; they're all now an entrenched part of the Australian landscape -even for women and minority groups. Their job's pretty much done - at home. There's no scope for a acquiring a sense of genuine purpose pursuing the current leftist agenda in the form of promoting anti-Americanism and salvaging the reputation of convicted terrorists.

Life can be nothing other than miserable for people with a warped sense of moral priorities and who spend their spare time pursuing meaningless causes. That's why the left have mutated into such an embittered and angry tribe. Their only redemption is to re-connect with their historical roots and start fighting worthwhile causes that have some prospect of enhancing human flourishing.

There are still some important social justice battles to be won. Nearly all of them are overseas, especially world hunger and animal suffering. Paradoxically, the abundant middle-class society which the left were integral in forging militates against them getting out of their comfort zone to connect with the defining moral issues of our time.

In all probability the left will never see the light, in which case there's one thing to be said to them. Cheer up and leave the low blows to the self-interest fuelled politicians. Left or right in Australia, who cares? Life is great here irrespective of who is in power - with or without shoes.

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About the Author

Mirko Bagaric, BA LLB(Hons) LLM PhD (Monash), is a Croatian born Australian based author and lawyer who writes on law and moral and political philosophy. He is dean of law at Swinburne University and author of Australian Human Rights Law.

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