There are so many events of note occurring in the world, one scarcely knows where to start.
Donald Trump, Russian spies, a Chinese dictator, cricket cheats, football, South African farmers, the stock market…there are dozens of important topics I’d love to cover in this blog but I’ll be exploring some of those in the podcast. If you haven’t yet tuned in, you can listen at my website or subscribe through iTunes.
I can’t even give you insights into the Canberra bubble as I haven’t been there for the past week. Instead I have been recovering from some ankle surgery last week which, fortunately, was my first experience with the hospital system in many years. As a private patient, I was impressed at the efficiency and professionalism from the pre-op check-in to the post-surgery care.
Being less than mobile for a few days has been an opportunity to gain a fresh perspective on the challenges ahead. The issues haven’t changed - our national debt is too high, our immigration process is not working for us, our political leadership is lacking - but too few people really seem to care enough to want to change it.
Instead, the zeitgeist says “as it doesn’t affect me why would I care what happens?” It is a decidedly non-conservative attitude and one that will not serve us well in the long run.
In a general sense, conservatives are genuinely concerned about the future, not because they might be affected but because they recognise their responsibility to future generations. Naturally, there are many non-conservatives who will lay claim to similar thoughts but their motives are more likely driven by authoritarian desires rather than supporting established values and freedoms.
While similar forces are at work around the world, the seductive lure of big government seems particularly strong in Australia. In discussing it yesterday, a friend contrasted the different attitude toward government by Australians and Americans.
He summarised it like this. Americans don’t trust government because their nation was founded by people who were fleeing from government persecution of their religious beliefs. In Australia, the government doesn’t trust the people because it was founded as a colony to detain convicts transported here as punishment for wrongdoing.
If any government doesn’t trust the people enough to ensure personal responsibility and self-reliance are central to a nation’s ethos, eventually people come to view almost every failure as being the government’s to fix.
How many times have we all heard people say “the government should do something about it” when the original error lies with the wrongdoer? It is much easier to blame an institution (like government) than accept personal responsibility. Weak, short-term focussed policy makers grant demands for more government which ultimately strengthens the cycle of dependency.
It is a cycle we must break – for the good of the country. The real challenge is: how? We have too many doing too little and too few thinking beyond what’s in it for them. It’s up to us conservatives to make the case as to why that needs to change.