Clive Palmer: A Lance Corporal in the Culture Wars

Why is it that politicians now think it is okay to lie?

Not all of them, but plenty. It’s like the Trump example of: “say what you like and damn the consequences”, has passed into the political playbook as an acceptable electoral technique.

Clive Palmer, after wrecking the Labor Party’s chances in the last federal election with a campaign of misinformation, has now gone a big step further with blatant, calculated bullshit.

The Labor Party in Queensland has NEVER raised the possibility of death duties (since 1914, at least). In fact, Queensland was the first state to get rid of them back in the 70s. Queensland reintroducing death duties would be like the Yankee states reintroducing slavery. It aint gonna happen, and only an idiot would even contemplate it in a state where so many southerners move to retire.

That didn’t stop Clive from insisting it’s part of Labor’s secret agenda with no evidence of any kind. When confronted with this question, his young wife (herself a candidate) said: “Surely it’s up to Labor to prove they’re not introducing such a policy.”

Sorry, but that’s not how it works in this country. The onus of proof is always on the accuser / plaintiff, and if it wasn’t we’d have anarchy.

This kind of behaviour would certainly attract legal sanction in the private or commercial world – Palmer would have his arse handed to him in a defamation court, so why isn’t it proscribed in the political world?

On the one hand, this is a powerful reason for introducing a Federal Anti-corruption Commission. Is lying for political advantage corruption? I would say definitely yes.

On the other hand, it reflects a deeper problem. The culture wars are fatally dividing us.

So what are the culture wars?

To give a very simplistic answer, the culture wars are the fight for hearts and minds in the current fight between left and right.

There has always been a fight between left and right. The right, traditionally, are those who want things to stay the way they are. They have a vested interest in the status quo and (believe they) will be worse off if things change.

The left, traditionally, are those who want things to change. This sometimes means a slightly different allocation of resources, but always means a difference in the way political power is shared.

Over the centuries we’ve seen this tension manifest in wars and revolutions, but also in polite debate, given the milieu.

Polite debate has mostly been the norm over the last century (in the Western World, at any rate) but the debate is getting less polite in these 24/7 post truth, social media times. Indeed, it’s no longer even a debate.

A debate necessitates an interchange of ideas and, in the political context, usually means some form of compromise between the vested interests and the emerging powers.

No longer.

The culture wars now mean that people have become so polarised by fake news, misinformation, manipulation and demonisation of alternative views that they no longer have any idea what objective truth is, and can no longer even tolerate the expression of alternative views.

The left and right (to the extent that still has meaning) in America won’t even engage with each other now, so when intellectual debate is no longer possible to settle disagreements, violence becomes the only option.

Trump is playing this card for all it’s worth in the current election, which is horrific enough for Americans fearing Trump’s reaction in a narrow loss, but also has implications for those of us living in First World countries within the American sphere of influence.

The fact we have politicians in Australia trying to invoke the same strategies is deeply disappointing.

Australians have always believed themselves better than the duped and the foolish in other countries. We wouldn’t fall for the obvious crap that entangles those foreign benighted fools.

So why are Queenslanders listening to Clive Palmer?

This is a man who has played the Blue Collar political card in the past while ripping off his own workers and has offered no vision for Australia or Queensland except to try and keep Labor out of power to enhance his own planet fucking industrial plans.

And he’s willing to lie to make that happen.

The really sad thing is that many will believe him.

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