A liberal republican is an oxymoron
I didn’t think it was possible, but even After indictments were filed against Scott Morrison last week – something about his involvement in a “secret government”… The only problem this time is that the allegations represent a non-issue. While all the facts were presented, Scott Morrison, the Governor General, the Prime Minister’s Department and the Cabinet all acted constitutionally and legally, albeit less conventionally. Surely the once-in-a-hundred-year pandemic has required a more nuanced approach from government? The fact is that even if one wonders how advantageous such secrecy was, there is nothing important here.
But, of course, whoever launched the “secret government” criticism last night 7:30 a.m. was none other than the predecessor of Morrison, whom I once described to another former prime minister as a “tyrannical demagogue”. Needless to say, my description was met with dry laughter.
liberals, true Liberals, it’s time to wake up.
After a long campaign of fifty years, the barbarians are finally at the gates. They have many names and many other faces, but one thing is certain: if the walls are broken through, they have no intention of showing you any mercy. Oh come on, don’t be so surprised. After all, you were the one who facilitated their first skirmishes.
Let’s do some history. The Liberal Party of Australia, that masterful concoction of Robert Menzies, was launched at the twilight of World War II. The party coalesced fourteen anti-Labour movements to fight as a unified bloc against the socialism of Curtin and Chifley. A new concept by today’s standards, I know.
The Liberal Party was guided by the wise political philosophies of Menzies. These are ideas he has accumulated and refined over several decades of public life. Take, for example, this profound statement from his Indomitable Speech of 1942, The forgotten people:
‘I do not believe that the real life of this nation is to be found either in the big luxury hotels and the small gossip of the so-called fashionable suburbs, or in the administration of the organized masses. It is found in the homes of nameless and unpublicized people who, regardless of their religious beliefs or individual dogma, see in their children their greatest contribution to the immortality of their race. Home is the foundation of sanity and sobriety; it is the indispensable condition of continuity; its health determines the health of society as a whole.
Tell me, who embodies a greater sense of national identity: the elites in their North Shore mansions, who only wake up for the occasional cocktail, or the Queenslanders working at Davenport Downs, who, without any recognition, ensure that metropolitan supermarkets remain stocked? Menzies was right; Hardworking and often rural families are the backbone of this nation. There’s a reason Australia’s top designers – people like Patterson, Lawson, Namatjira, Streeton and Sculthorpe – cared about the Outback.
For this critical demographic, for whom we do a hell of a job of monitoring, there is no better protection than Australia’s constitutional monarchy. The Crown empowers hard-working Australians by ensuring their freedoms are upheld. However, this does not empower the political class. He acts as a supreme authority to curb the ambitions of elitists and despots.
Menzies knew all of this. He understood that the Crown is a binding and defensive instrument that provides the freedoms necessary to achieve national progress. In 1954, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the party, he set out seventeen fundamental principles of the Liberal Party. The first of these, above all, was the loyal proclamation: “We believe in the Crown as the enduring embodiment of our national unity and as the symbol of that other unity which exists between all the nations of the Commonwealth.
Fast forward twenty years to 1975. A constitutional crisis is said to be brewing on the horizon. Liberal Malcolm Fraser makes the decision to politicize the Australian Senate, block supplies to the Whitlam government and demand that Sir John Kerr impeach a sitting Prime Minister. Fraser might have prevailed politically, but he clearly had no regard for Menzies’ ideal of “continuity.” The dismissal led to the disparagement of the Governor General’s office through outright libel of Kerr. In the 1980s, Labor saw the Crown as so fragile that they began to openly nurture the notion of Australian republicanism, a notion that Fraser himself would later champion in a TV advert alongside – all – of Gough Whitlam. Menzies, as a liberal, would never have committed such a despicable act.
The concept of liberal republican is, at a fundamentally doctrinal level, an oxymoron. Liberals should be reviled by the Albanian government’s appointment of an assistant minister for the republic – particularly because this assistant minister told me that over the next three years he and his taxpayer-funded bureaucracy have intends to pursue educational programs designed to condition the Australian people. accept a republic by referendum. I’ll call it for what it is: indoctrination. I’d bet Menzies would think the same. And in any case, liberals should consider that the Australian people, if subjected to the supposedly benevolent conditioning of the Albanian government, will ultimately not be educated to accept a republican model, but rather one designed by and for Work.
As I have already said, property rights and therefore economies are better protected by constitutional monarchies than by republics; the data on this subject are extremely conclusive. Liberals must recognize that Australia’s current constitutional arrangements have contributed positively to the country’s economic prosperity.
CS Lewis wrote in his aptly titled 1943 essay, Equality‘The monarchy can easily be ‘debunked’, but watch out for the faces, take note of the accents of the debunkers.’
Can liberals really believe that those who most staunchly defend a republic – Keating, Turnbull, Rudd, Bandt and Thorpe – have the best interests of the nation at heart? If power corrupts, and if absolute power corrupts absolutely, then constitutionally controlled power prevents and prevents absolute corruption. The motives of those who seek to remove the checks and balances from our Constitution should be seriously questioned.
Peter FitzSimons frequently asserts that a “mature” nation should have “one of its own” as head of state (whatever that means). In reality, it seems to me that there is nothing more mature than to set aside one’s personal ambitions to preserve the lifestyle of one’s countrymen and to accept and be grateful for a superior system of government. Constitutional monarchy, whether measured historically, economically, culturally, politically, or diplomatically, is that superior system. Menzies recognized this, as did contemporary liberals.
And yet, after all this, I still feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall, because over the past fifty years there seems to have been a concerted effort to abandon Menzies’ principles in favor of popular trends.
Bowing to media pressure, the Liberal Party stripped the Crown from its federal constitution around the same time it began ordering polls for marginal seats. Obsessed with public opinion and a policy driven largely by newspaper editorial columns, the party has drawn into its caucus some of the most unliberal politicians I can imagine. Just as churches now boast of skeleton congregations, the widespread belief among the electorate is that the Liberal Party stands for nothing.
Here’s the rub: Sir Robert Menzies was not, in fact or in the fashionable pejorative sense of the word, a Tory. He was a liberal. More importantly, however, he was a principled gentleman. Note that: a principled gentleman. How many of them can we claim to inhabit today’s political arena? In the year of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee, a Minister of the Crown was appointed by Anthony Albanese to retire the Crown. That’s a pretty bad reflection on Canberran culture.
It is, I think, the scholarly personality of Menzies that lives on in the minds of nostalgic grassroots liberals. Australians want honest, smart leaders, not those who germinate popular sensationalism or pseudo-moral rhetoric. Liberals in particular are principled and respect each other; even if it hurts them (and it hurts them), they not cast their precious votes towards a party they perceive to have degenerated into nothing more than Lite Labour.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t intend to write a Ciceronian polemic. We’ve had a lot of them, and they don’t seem to solve anything. Rather, it is an objective analysis of the mistakes we Liberals made, why we made mistakes, and what we can do to fix the problems.
The essential first step in rectifying the Liberal Party, as far as I know, is a forceful reaffirmation of the primacy of the Crown. Because without the Crown, there is no Liberal Party, and woe to the Liberals who think they can claim otherwise.
Alexander Voltz is a composer and spokesperson for the Australian Monarchist League. Join today: www.monarchist.org.au/membership
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