The following came in the form of a comment from Bernie in response to my post who will be voting Liberal tomorrow? I think that it deserves a bit more attention. In this comment, Bernie details the significant role of fear in Australian society and politics.
“I think you are underestimating the power of fear in the mindset of the average Australian. We are, perhaps, the most fearful nation on the planet, and have been for a very long time. From a British outpost on the other side of the world, isolated and alone in early federation days and seeking the support and approval of the mother country, to fear of the yellow peril in the 40’s, Communists in the 50s and sixties, “All the way with LBJ” in the Vietnam era, support of the Reagan and Thatcher economic rationalism through to the support of the Bush dynasty’s War on countries with lots of natural resources.
Australians are steeped in fear.
Today this fear manifests itself in numerous ways. From our irrational fear of poor desperate souls seeking refuge in leaky boats, to fear of the performance of our economy, to fear of same sex marriage, to a burgeoning market for private school education, even to being the only country in the world (excluding New Zealand) with a Mandatory Helmet Law. We are afraid.
Australia is a small minded fearful nation.
Our media fuels this fear. Our newspapers and commercial television and radio are in the business of selling eyeballs and ears to advertisers. Those businesses with money to spend on advertising know that fear sells. From massively oversized soft roaders, right down to miracle skin cream, the advertisers are pushing solutions to our fears – be it the “safety” of a massive car to a fountain of youth. Our media keeps us afraid, our businesses push solutions to problems that don’t exist.
… and everyone makes money.
The Libs win because they plan to allow big business to do pretty much whatever they want (http://www.independentaustralia.net/2013/politics/plutocrats-puppy-tony-abbotts-speech-at-ipa-birthday-bash/), who in turn control the media through their advertising budget, who in turn distribute propaganda or misinformation in the form of solutions to our fear.
The Libs win because (with the support of the media and business) they are the best at tapping into our petty fears. They promote, orchestrate and constantly remind us that we must be afraid. If you disagree with them, they call you names like “watermelons”, if you point out that, perhaps, we should be afraid of climate change or, fracking beneath our water supplies or even the erosion of our social fabric through publicly funding schools for rich people’s kids, they tell you are naive and economically irrational.
The liberal party is a massive 4wd with bull bars, the Hummer of the political spectrum. A personification of selfishness and a placebo for the fear of our own inadequacy. Completely fucked for most purposes …
… but don’t you feel “safe” inside one!”