Thursday, May 15, 2014

Machiavelli meets the Habbit ...

Every so often the pond likes to drop in on the Jesuits for a theological perspective.

Just as a thoughtful correspondent provided the pond with the text of jolly Joe Hockey rampaging about snatching grog and ciggies from corrupt bludgers and poor people, so another correspondent reminded the pond that the Jesuits were restless.

It turns out that Tony Abbott is a latter-day Machiavelli, and as we all know that makes him a cynic, a manipulator of belief, a cad, a bounder, a deviant, quite possibly an atheist, destined at least for a period in purgatory, or perhaps even hell, where all the Satanists, and possibly Tony Abbott, belong.

Good old Neil Ormerod was at it yesterday in Whose rule book is Abbott playing from?:

In late 2010 when Tony Abbott had risen to the leadership of the Coalition, as leader of the Opposition, I wrote a piece in Eureka Street questioning his moral core. I compared him to a high school debater whose commitment is only to the present argument, and what he needs to say in order to win. Put into a different situation, he is more than happy to argue the opposite position if it suits his then objectives. The article concluded with the following observation: 
Much is made of Abbott's Catholic faith, but it seems to me that the rule book he plays from has more in common with Machiavelli. Machiavelli famously concluded: 'Therefore it is necessary for a prince who wishes to maintain himself to learn how not to be good, and to use this knowledge and not use it according to the necessity of the case.' In the end everything can be sacrificed to gain and maintain power. 
Now with the formulation of the budget strategy clearly in the public domain, we have a direct indication of the rule book Abbott is following.

And then Ormerod spells out the lying, and the cheating, and the broken promises, and the assaults on the most vulnerable members of society and the government's ideological targets, which all sounds a lot worse than jolly Joe Hockey envisioning the poor rolling in grog and ciggies:

The first of these rubs against the grain of Catholic social teaching, with its strong commitment to the common good, particularly the most vulnerable — but it plays well to those looking for scapegoats in times of social anxiety. The second plays well with the think tanks and business interests who have the Government's ear.

Now there's a fair argument that Machiavelli was at the very least anti-ecclesiastical, and in many ways heretical and deviant and perverse (see Nick Spencer in The Graudian, Machiavelli's The Prince, part 6: was Machiavelli an atheist? or just head off to Project Gutenberg and read the original, here, in rather verbose translation, but that's what you get for being too scrooge to shell out for a more modern version).

And then Tim Kroenert decided to head his review of The Double, Seeing double in Hockey's dystopia,  because Joe Hockey's Australia is just like Terry Gilliam's Brazil, and then Andrew Hamilton went directly for the Hockey jugular, with A Budget to enshrine inequality, apparently failing to understand that the poor were getting on the grog and smoking themselves to death, and his budget was designed to stop all that nonsense by getting them to abstain.

Australia will survive this Budget. But it will survive as a more divided nation with less sense of mutual responsibility. And the enshrinement of inequality will further exacerbate the disillusion with democracy characteristic of so many Western nations. Democracy rests on the acknowledgment of the unique and equal value of each citizen. The culture of inequality corrodes that belief.

And so on and so forth.

Well it's good to know that Abbott ignores Catholic teaching. The kindly Ormerod stops short of saying it, but the pond can sniff out a heretic at a dozen paces.

As for Machiavelli?

As a theory Machiavellism may perhaps be called an innovation; but as a practice it is as old as political society. It was a most immoral work, in that it cuts politics adrift from all morality, and it was rightly put on the Index in 1559. (Catholic Encyclopaedia)

So Abbott should be put on the Index.

Won't that please Gerard "prattling Polonius" Henderson and Cardinal Pell ...

Of course there's a pagan comparison that can also be made, and Moir managed it, though these days you'd inscribe the stick with "lies" and "broken promises":


  1. The Jesuits are interesting. The Popes' 'special forces'. They were banned in many countries, and accused of 'going native' and influencing local politics. And an Indian Jesuit is currently in trouble apparently for supporting a group of renegade US nuns and being too accommodating to other religions.

  2. And this is what Abbott is really worried about and why he's shafting pensioners.
    Gangs of Hell's Grannys terrorising Eastern Sydney!

  3. Question - why is my local Post Office selling sewing machines? I went there today to post a parcel and was met with a store display of sewing machines. I could get a nice Brother model with double-stitching, buttonholes and programmable functions for around $125. Also a Fuji 13 megapixel camera with multiple functions for $75. And a DVD on sex-therapy for the elderly for only 10 bucks.

    What has this to do with posting letters and parcels?

    1. Think yourself lucky. The post office in Newtown has downsized, in its shift into Enmore, and now offers very little by way of tasty useless junk, and all that's left is for the staff to lose mail and wreck the odd DVD that gets delivered to the pond ...

  4. Hi Dorothy,

    there is evidently a developmental model of lying, proposed by two Canadian psychologists;

    When children are around 2 to 3 years old they will tell primary lies. These attempt to conceal transgressions but don’t take the mental state of the listener into consideration.

    By the age of 4 children have learnt to tell secondary lies. These are much more plausible as they are pitched according to the mental age of the listener.

    Finally by the age of 7 or 8 children should have learnt to tell tertiary lies. These are much more consistent with the known facts and with later statements.

    By my diagnosis Abbott has just about got the hang of secondary lies but he still has a long way to go before he can pull off tertiary lying. I blame the parents.


    1. :), but at some point, the child became a man, and at that point the parents are off the hook, because the man should have read and understood the bible:

      When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

      Is it the fault of the parents that the man chose to remain a child? Not really ...

  5. Most of my teachers were nuns from prep to Year 12.

    Christian principles were uppermost.

    I would have thought it impossible for someone to leave a Catholic school without a keen awareness of right and wrong. In short I left with a sack load of guilt which I now realize has helped me negotiate my way through life.

    I remember, even as a very small child, those terrifying words: Dust to dust, ashes to ashes. One was always aware that one's life was finite and that worldly materialism is in the end, meaningless, that it was one's duty to put others first.

    Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey, Christopher Pyne and Kevin Andrews all went to Catholic schools.

    I do not understand those men.

    1. Ah, another child with lumps of soot on the soul, blackening its blinding white purity. But at least it sounds like it's not just the blackened lump of charcoal carried within by the politicians you mention ...

    2. Yes Dot my child's soul was white with a cross on top and little black specks caused by little sins. Stealing a choc covered teddy bear. That sort of thing. The soul sat next to the heart which was red and perfectly shaped like a Valentine's Day token.


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