In the past week, much has been spoken of the leadership “tensions” between Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese. This is especially since the Whiltlam Oration speech Mr Albanese gave last week.
Full disclosure, Spartacus has not read the whole Albanese speech, but what he did read was Nick Cater’s analysis article in the Australian. From the heart of the speech:
Unions are our link to workplaces. And our workplaces link us to families.
The conservatives will always wage war against organised labour.
They can’t conceive of the idea people might work together towards a shared vision.
Their creed is self-interest and the law of the jungle – the political philosophy of selfishness propagated by the likes of Friedrich Hayek.
They are wrong.
No sir. You are wrong.
Firstly, the suggestion that “conservatives will always wage war against organised labour” is not born of evidence. Organised labour working with business to create and grow wealth is one thing. Organised labour working to transfer wealth to themselves at the expense of everyone else is another thing. For every CFEMMU there is a Cochlear. And as a definitional matter, organised labour does not necessitate a union dear Mr Albanese.
Secondly, Mr Albanese, the suggestion that “They (“Conservatives”) can’t conceive of the idea people might work together towards a shared vision” is a fundamental fraud. It is the fraud that is at the heart of the left progressive political vision.
The oldest fraud is the belief that the political left is the party of the poor and the downtrodden. (Thomas Sowell)
People working together is the ultimate Burkean conservative construct. It is certainly not a progressive socialist one.
Working together implies a voluntary act. Conversely, the progressive vision is predicated on using the power of the state to make people forcibly work together. Forcible work is their dream and central planning is their means.
It is actually the space between the citizen and the state where people can work together. This space is civil society and is the space that the progressives seek to eliminate with the expansion of the the state and its government organs crowding citizens out. The left progressive political vision, nirvana, can only be achieved through force. This is not working together. This is North Korean style democracy. This is Venezuelan style democracy. And here is a beautiful description of how that works:
The Venezuelan case is a textbook example of the evolution of socialism. While the Soviets and the Maoists had intricate five-year plans, Venezuela had essentially one big plan: Use the profits from state-run oil companies to fund a massive welfare state, and use the leverage thus gained to fortify support for Hugo Chàvez and his political party until they achieved power sufficient to move Venezuela’s assets and its people around like pawns on a chessboard. The problem is that people are not chessmen. Chàvez et al. turned out to be pretty poor chess players, but even if they had been grandmasters, it would not have been enough. Economies cannot in fact be controlled and managed in the way that socialists imagine, something that is much better understood today (thanks to our deepening appreciation of complexity) than it was when Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek described the limitations of central planning in more qualitative terms.
Venezuelans are not fools — they noticed that this wasn’t working as advertised. When the critics began to say so, their newspapers and broadcast facilities were shut down; when they protested individually, they were jailed or assassinated; when they protested en masse, they were massacred. When central planning fails — and it always fails — the result is almost never the relaxation of political regimentation but the redoubling of efforts to impose the plan by increasingly brutal application of force. Sometimes that force takes the form of killings, torture, and beatings. In the old Soviet Union, in North Korea, and in Venezuela, it also has taken the form of politically imposed hunger. The largest share of the 100 million human beings murdered by socialist regimes in the 20th century died of hunger: in the cities, in the countryside, and in the gulags. The Holodomor alone killed between 7 million and 12 million people. Mao’s famine killed between 20 million and 43 million, and many of those deaths happened in places where food production remained at or close to normal rates: Appropriation of economic output for political purposes is always part of the plan.
If Mr Albanese really wants to create a society where citizens work together towards a shared vision he should start with resigning from the Labor Party and then campaign for a massive reduction in the state. As Ronald Reagan said:
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.
But freedom or “working together” are not in Labor’s plans. Central planning and state control are.