apostasy

Apostasy #

The formal disaffiliation from, abandonment or renunciation of a religion by a person. It can also be defined within the broader context of embracing an opinion

Secular apostasy: - When founding principles give way to pragmatic compromises in everyday life. Apostasy – espousing high ideals – perverted by base morality.

The problem with hypocrisy is that it shatters truth. If we believe in a principle, but don’t apply it ourselves, that principle is essentially meaningless.

Recreant - a person who is unfaithful to a belief; an apostate. Proselyte - a person who has changed from one opinion, religious belief, sect, or the like, to another; convert.

All political parties are filled with ideologues and opportunists: those who enter politics to get something done, and those who are in it for something to do. It has ever been thus. Some pursue power to get things done; others merely for the vanity of power.

When I feed the poor, they call me a saint, but when I ask why the poor are hungry, they call me a communist. Dom Helder Camara

It is a real shame that we see things through the binary of right and left, when we should see them through what is right and wrong.

I find myself as progressively conservative in many ways. I want to conserve the accumulated wisdom and upright values of the past. The conservatives will at times protect our institutions and have the spine to deal with corruption, while the left tends to be so tolerant as to overlook obvious failings to avoid offending anyone.

Integrity: A Universal Principle #

Integrity is a multi-faceted principle. It evokes entirety, wholeness, purity, indivisibility, consistency, sincerity and tolerance.

Integrity is the integration of outward actions and inner values. A person with integrity does what they say they will do in accordance with their values, beliefs and principles. A person of integrity can be trusted because he or she never veers from inner values, even when it might be expeditious to do so. A key to integrity, therefore, is consistency of actions that are viewed as honest and truthful to inner values. - National Sport Commission, Australia

Apathy #

We may think the opposite of apostasy is integrity, but it is more likely to be callous indifference or apathy.

Apathy is merely a frozen form of violence or as another analogy has it, a tightly coiled spring that the slightest trigger can unleash. The failure of liberalism contributes to disillusionment fuelling the discontent that gave us Brexit, The Yellow Vest Movement, Trump and most other populist revolts. American trust the federal government in December,1958, was seventy-three per cent. In April, 2021, only twenty-four per cent of respondents said yes. During Obama’s and Trump’s Presidencies, the figure was sometimes as low as seventeen per cent. Today, an overwhelming majority say they don’t.

Who is to blame?

Yes, America is a mess, but then there have been lots of warnings of this, especially Eisenhower’s about impervious power of various institutions from the Military Industrial Complex, NRA, and a completely politicised legal system illustrated by movies such as Vice, and lately Just Mercy. The hanging chads affair in 1999 ushered in the chicanery of Cheney and the banality of Bush.

Orwell #

Orwell warned us that totalitarianism can come from the apostasy of Socialist governments.
Socialist governments espouse high ideals, yet when they get to power they are often quick to abandon those ideals to maintain control. In Orwell’s time, the Spanish Civil War opened his eyes to the apostasy of Russia’s Communist Government. During the Second World War, he saw further evidence that the British Labour Party was prone to abandon its principles to gain power. In many ways, the novel, 1984 is a warning about the dangers of the erosion of ideals, since the governing party, called INGSOC, represents English Socialism in a corrupted, perverted and debauched form. It has succumbed to the seduction of power and is determined to hang on to power by whatever means it can – tortuous machinations, expediency - pragmatism – realpolitik - political realism or practical politics, especially policy based on power rather than on ideals.

George Orwell also observed “only a socialist could have such contempt for ordinary people”. When the Tories screw workers, they get angry; when the socialists do it, they just get sad. ‘The working-class white man is actually in revolt against taxes, joyless work, the double standards and short memories of professional politicians, hypocrisy and what he considers the debasement of the American dream.’ Dewey Burton

Fortune, along with countless other magazines and tele­vision news features, recognized the workers of the early seventies as ‘restless, changeable, mobile, demanding’ and headed for ‘a time of epic battle between management and labor’ given the ‘angry, aggressive and acquisitive’ mood in the shops. As many big contracts expired, inflation ate up wage gains, and workers challenged the rules of postwar labor relations, the country wit­nessed the biggest wave of strike activity since 1946 (which was the biggest strike year in all of U.S. history).

The finale of Animal Farm: #

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

Blair #

Some of us are old enough to remember the euphoria of Tony Blair’s victory over Thatcherite conservatives. It proved short lived.

“If the world changes and we don’t, then we become of no use to the world. Our principles cease being principles and just ossify into dogma.’

Tony Blair, Stephen Goodwin, “The Labour Party in Blackpool: Blair urges politics of courage and trust,” Independent, October 4, 1994. - A justification for apostasy if ever there was one.

My main beef with Blair is his rewriting of history – that they went in to Iraq because Saddam was a bad man, and that things had changed after September 11 so we couldn’t take the risk, etc., (never mind that Iraq had zero connection with 9/11). Of course, let’s also ignore that the war set back the fight in Afghanistan by years.

He seems pig-headedly in denial that this main action of his government was based on nothing, so you quickly come to think of Blair as like the evidence of WMD, there’s nothing there.

And when you read his call for Gillard to take the “centrist path”, you know it really means go to the right.

Politics could once be divided into Labor and Not-Labor. Blair and his ilk instead tried to make Labor into Not-Labor, at which point the voters decided to not bother.

Blair personifies everything wrong with parts of Labor – yes, spin and style over substance; but most of all a fear that anyone will accuse them of being ideological.

In his book, Blair talks about crime and the idea that “draconian laws” are the price you pay to reduce it. He says this like it is some great insight, and does not pause to think that maybe the price was too high, and that as a leader of a centre-left party, he should know at what point that occurred. As the parody of the Internationale goes: “The working class can kiss my a-s, I’ve got a politician’s job at last.”

John Kennedy #

Great inspiring leader, but don’t forget it was his Best and the Brightest and The Smartest Guys in the Room letting us down by embroiling us in the Vietnam quagmire denoting, an elite catastrophic failure that stretches from ancient times to the Crimean War, to WWI Generals, to Iraq to Wall Street – even the upper echelons should concede that they often get it spectacularly wrong and are also prone to serious misjudgements. You can guess who pays for their folly.

LBJ #

In 1964, Lyndon Johnson was elected president in the greatest popular-vote landslide in American history, seemingly bringing with it a long-term era of liberal politics.

Johnson’s stellar legacy should be cast in the light of the landmark Civil Rights reform passed by Congress in the wake of the assassination of John F Kennedy the year before. John Lewis concedes Johnson made the reforms his priority and relentlessly applied pressure, promising favours and using every available legislative technique alongside eloquent speeches to ensure the laws were written into the statute books.

John Lewis described, how, though they practiced non violence, thousands of protesters were brutally beaten by police. and state troopers. He had his head fractured by a state trooper in a “Bloody Sunday Protest”. He declined to press charges as he said “it was a struggle against a system, not individuals”. Though not an inspiring speaker, Johnson’s address to congress warrants the applause of history:

“There is no negro problem. There is no southern problem. There is only an American problem. And we are met here tonight as Americans – not as Democrats or Republicans – we are met here as Americans to solve that problem.

There is no issue of state rights, or National rights. There is only the issue of human rights.

However, by the 1966 midterms, when Reagan burst forth onto the national stage, the conservative counter-revolution was in full force in a country suddenly riven by riots and protests against the Vietnam War, which left his reputation in tatters..

Jimmy Carter #

Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President, which showed an unknown side to the much maligned but thoroughly decent 39th president. But what strikes a chord today was how this man of integrity was elected to heal a nation still reeling from the Watergate scandal only two years before.

Then, as now, Americans went to the polls disgusted by the corruption, dishonesty and turmoil of the previous Republican administration.

Carter had plenty of wins, from the Panama Canal treaties to the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt. Yet his failure to deal with the collapse of the Shah’s regime in Iran and subsequent hostage crisis is seen as his greatest failure.

Recent biographer Jonathan Alter calls Carter “perhaps the most misunderstood president in American history”.

Carter, who lost his bid for re-election in a so-called landslide to Reagan in 1980, is often painted as a “failed president” – a hapless peanut farmer who did not understand how to get things done in Washington, and whose administration was marked by inflation, an energy crisis and the Iran hostage disaster.

In his 2020 biography of Carter, Jonathan Alter speaks to a more nuanced interpretation of Carter, calling him “a surprisingly consequential president – a political and stylistic failure, but a substantive and far-sighted success”.

Bill Clinton #

Clinton’s maxim was “it’s the economy stupid!” demonstrating his willingness to see the private sector as the main engine of both growth and fairness.

Clinton brought back affluence to a point they’d been in 1980 – and then the debauchery began.

Sometimes described as the worst president in the country’s history, Clinton was twinned with a cabal of political operatives and financial shysters, neither of whom had a skerrick of patriotism, as measured by their actual effect on the place.

In the bitter end he agreed with Karl Marx’s argument that “the state is in the last analysis “the board of directors of the bourgeoisie, managing its affairs”.

Barack Obama #

One of Obama’s many fatal flaws was in not reforming the blatant Gerrymandering of elections in America.

Michael Moore spares no one in his epic Fahrenheit 11/9, an exasperated essay about the betrayal of American values. Passionately and determinedly, Moore dismantles the notion that America was doing fine before Donald Trump moved into the White House. His sweeping diatribe takes no prisoners and, in one memorable scene, includes a stinging critique of Barack Obama. It includes the allegation that Obama’s election campaign received millions from Goldman Sachs.

Trump is a symptom of a sick America; not the cause.

  1. President Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. made a terrible mistake by letting the miscreant bankers off the hook rather than saying, as F.D.R. did, “I welcome their hatred.” Instead of bailing out the people who were foreclosed; losing their houses, the banks socialised their losses with huge payouts, granting themselves million dollar bonuses.

  2. Drone Strikes increased dramatically – most not admitted. or the number of innocent people estimated to have been killed in the course of drone strikes. One estimate by the Brookings Institution suggests 10 civilians are killed for every militant killed via drone strike.with no disclosure or public debate. A lawyer representing Pakistani victims of drone strikes has been denied entry to the United States.

  3. Flint Michigan’s widely acknowledged chronic water problem – dismissed callously by Obama’s tacit condoning. Inexplicable! It is estimated that this alone cost the Democrats thousands of votes in mid western America. 100 million Americans failed to vote in 2016. Hilary got at least 6 million fewer votes than Obama in 2012. Trump also got fewer votes than McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012. Disillusioned people sink into apathy. Apathy is a form of frozen violence that can erupt in mysterious ways.

  4. Surveillance of ordinary citizens increased. Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are still considered pariahs, despite their great service to the free world for exposing criminal acts by government officials.

  5. Media subjected to threats of jail for non-disclosure of sources. A lawyer for Obama’s Justice Department advanced a chilling new argument in hearings over the Administration’s attempt to force New York Times journalist James Risen to give evidence against a former CIA agent charged with leaking classified material. The DoJ argued that the journalist had no privilege in relation to the leak because it was a criminal offence. If adopted, such an approach would exercise a chilling effect on all but officially sourced “leaks” by removing any legal protection for journalists.

  6. It is quite likely that Obama is a virtuous man. It is also true that much of his policy was not. Save for Obamacare, itself a flawed policy that delivered great benefit to insurers, his legacy is one of increased US poverty and underemployment, devastating foreign policy and a drastically diminished right to privacy.

Australian Labor #

After the inglorious demise of the Whitlam government in 1975, the Australian Labour Party fell into the hands of the ultra-pragmatists with the dominant philosophy of “whatever it takes”. If you can’t beat them; join them or play by their rules. The extreme right of the party came to so closely resemble their opposites in most regards. Bob Carr could easily out bid John Howard in his zeal to posture as being tough on issues as law and order, use of terror as fear mongering or tightening laws to restrict our freedoms - “liberty should not be lightly exchanged for coercive security” Blair, like Beattie and Carr, were big on living in the centre and not being lefties. All three won elections, departed undefeated, but also left their parties hollow and reduced to rubble (or soon to be in NSW and Queensland). The drift to the right (the centre was passed two decades ago) is all part of the stupidity of some in Labor to think that if they go just a little bit more the right one day, they’ll win 100% of the vote. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s supportive talk about a federal ICAC actually “signified nothing” Labor voted against a measure introduced by the Australian Greens reneging on its commitment to a federal ICAC, simultaneously betraying unions. CHARLIE LEWIS Crikey journalist May 25, 2017 James Burke writes: Re. " Essential: Rudd is damaged goods, and badly damaging Labor in turn” (yesterday, item 1). It’s easy to say that Kevin Rudd has no one but himself to blame for his plummeting popularity. But he shares the blame with the cult of populist, principle-free propaganda that has come to dominate the ALP, pushed by the Right faction, not only but most noxiously in NSW. Euphemised as “Spin”, this cult bewitched the Carr government into photo-op/media-release atrophy, was exported to Britain, undermining good intentions and poisoning the Labour brand for the long term, and has managed to capture the Lodge under Kevin Rudd. It is a philosophy that admits only one hope, one goal: the exercise of power. Many have commented on Rudd’s deterioration as a communicator, and the impact this has had on opinion polls. I’m sure it is connected to his relations with the NSW Right. The parasites of Sussex Street started out as unionists working for their own careers, at the expense of the union members they purported to serve. They have no compunction in selling out voters for the same goal. Everything is geared to the tactical victory, the favourable headline in the Daily Telegraph or screech from the Parrot. The careerists don’t care that the legions of the reactionary media will inevitably turn against Labor in government. By the time the shit hits the fan, they’ll be out working for Macquarie Bank, or the Minerals Council, or the Australian Chamber of Human-Sourced Soap Product Manufacturers. As the parody of the Internationale goes: “The working class can kiss my a-s, I’ve got a politician’s job at last.”

Canada #

“It doesn’t matter who you vote for; a politician wins.

Politicians know how to get elected, but do they know how to govern?

Paul Martin oversaw the demise of the Liberal Party. As Treasurer and Prime Minister his personal life failed to live up to any inspiration. He was obscenely wealthy only because his company was registered off shore and had contributed little to Canada’s budget.

Stephen Harper won, due to the stench of Liberal Party cronyism.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a hostage to that same Liberal Party, has proved he is just another politician by not honouring his 2015 election promises; pursuing electoral or judicial reform. Like other progressive leaders, Ang Sung Yi, and Malcolm Turnbull, Trudeau may not be his own man, merely a puppet, to both his Liberal Party and his unadulterated obeisance to Canada’s Supreme Court. The Canadian Parliament, answerable to the Canadian people, is the supreme authority on how we want laws implemented.

Instead, government officials kow tow to the Court’s demands.