Former Prime Minister John Howard’s new book ‘A Sense of Balance’ hit the department store bookshelves today and The Australian newspaper has been spruiking it hard over the weekend.
The title of the book communicates the tone of what 83-year-old Howard is trying to convey to an increasingly volatile political landscape in Australia, where membership in the two prominent political cartels (Liberal and Labor) are declining and polarising support for the “far-right” and “radical left” are increasing.
I met John Howard some years back in Shepparton when he launched his book ‘The Menzies Era’ which was around the time I was flirting with Liberal party politics in the region. Mr. Howard, who unashamedly is a front to back establishment politician who cares little for popularity, zealously believes in the enforcement of an ostensible political homeostasis (where radicalism, disorder and chaos are compartmentalised and repressed).
The Howard years were rife with crack downs on individual rights (i.e. gun control legislation following Port Arthur) and civil liberties (i.e. counter-terrorism laws enacted in the wake of 9/11 and the Bali Bombings). Police powers were increased and lower and middle class White Australians were still in a state of a proverbial anesthesia as to how said policing powers would be deployed against them over the coming decades.
As someone who has been in more political groups and parties than I have fingers (most of which would be considered “fringe” and “extremist” by folks like Howard), it’s bemusing for me to see how the fringe are dragging the discourse to the outposts of the Overton Window.
For example, when I ran for a Senate spot with the HEMP Party in 2013 it was only thanks to the ingenuity of political strategist Glenn Druery (via his preference harvesting agreement) that HEMP’s votes translated into getting politically incorrect Ricky Muir elected (whose candidacy with the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party ended up taking him into the orbit of Palmer’s United Australia Party).
During this year’s federal election HEMP (now going by the name Legalise Cannabis Australia) were doing so well in most states that they came close to securing a Senate spot in their own right.
John Howard, who communicates a distaste for the volatility of Donald Trump in his book, lends his coalition credentials to rhetorically inferring support for combatting that which the establishment parties have contempt for. Where Howard waged a “war on terror” he now invokes credence for the “war on hate” (which I’m sure Dvir Abramovich is wringing his hands about).
The political pre-crime gesturing to lock up “far-right extremists” if the swastika is publicly displayed or if blueish critiques are uttered, is a manifestation of what Howard would consider a step in the right direction in neutralising one side of the political extreme.
The moonbats that litter towns with glossy full-color costly posters spruiking their Marxism conferences are apparently less of a priority because their seething hatred for White, heterosexual males and their healthy traditional families is apparently not as big of a problem to the long-term trajectory of where “progressive” anti-hate politicking is taking us.
Food for thought.