Australians have rediscovered their traditional BS detector.
One thing we haven’t heard, presumably because most media commentators, political operatives and politicians fall into the category, is that the Queensland vote could be seen as the great re-assertion of the fundamental Australian value: to never take a wanker seriously.
Analysis based on exit polls at the Queensland election result has linked it to cost of living, carbon tax, and lying representatives, much to the delight of conservative commentators. See Andrew Bolt, for example, here and here.
We have also heard the mantra that it was fought on “state issues” from Julia Gillard and Anthony Albanese.
Only Tim Blair has gone close to the message.
The rebound best seen in NSW and Qld is long overdue. For the best part of 40 years we have seen a moralising, condescending force take over our political class, and sadly, our academic-scribbling class.
Once we could rely on writers, filmmakers and artists to puncture the pretensions of our most privileged and connected. US writer Victor Davis Hanson has made a telling observation to that effect: films of the 30s, 40s and 50s tended to cast the Everyman in a hero’s role, one whose commonsense and nose for BS overcame the confidence, connections and theories of the Ivy-Leaguer.
Since the Seventies our scribblers have made heroes of grand theoreticians and have increasingly portrayed ordinary people – and their values – as, well, ridiculous at best and bigoted at worst. Aaron Sorkin rises to the summit of this sort of judgemental fantasy in West Wing and Moneyball – it’s the ‘smarts’ who know best, it’s the degrees that count (if they’re from top line schools), it’s the abstract reasoning that matters. Too bad if reality doesn’t tend to support that view.
It’s a view that sees experience and an understanding of people, institutions and history as counting for nothing next to ‘the smartest people in the room’.
Australians expect extra credulity from Americans – they seem to have a liking for creating heroes out of nothing. But it it wasn’t our way for a very long time. There is an upside to the Tall Poppy syndrome.
But lacking a media that is willing to do the BS-busting it should, it seems the long-disrespected electorate has taken matters into its own hands.
The votes in NSW and Qld aren’t just votes against an insular, dynastic, disrespectful and incompetent ALP – they’re a s0lid message to the wanker-dominated political class across our academic, media and bureaucratic institutions.