“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Progressing into the Future

As Doug said two posts back, "More morons in charge."

After 11 years as Australia's Prime Minister, John Howard's party has been defeated in Parliamentary elections and Mr. Howard will probably even lose his seat in Parliament. This should come as no surprise. It's been obvious that both Australia and New Zealand have tilted left for quite some time and the BBC has reported that it was Howard's refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol and his support of the war in Iraq that fueled a desire for change. The Wall Street Journal reported:
Australia's opposition Labor party, headed by former diplomat Kevin Rudd, who has promised to boost relations with China, pull some troops from Iraq, and re-make Australia as a leader in the global effort to stop global warming. The defeat appears so complete that the 68-year-old Mr. Howard, Australia's second-longest-serving prime minister, appeared likely to lose his own parliamentary seat, which he has held for 33 years.
The WSJ also referred to the current en vogue development of "progressive" societies of distancing themselves from the United States. In spite of a robust Australian economy with the lowest unemployment in 33 years, voters there have decided that it's time for a new, younger leader as Australia moves toward China and a "greener" future. Mr. Rudd campaigned on tax cuts but it remains to be seen what demands the greens will extort from the new government.

Reuters shed more light on what motivated Australian's voting for change:

The seeds of the election defeat were sewn with his fourth victory in 2004, when Howard won a majority in the upper house Senate, making him the most powerful prime minister in 25 years and allowing him to pass his agenda without amendments.

Emboldened by his new mandate, Howard set about his long-held goal of reforming Australian employment laws, making it easier for employers to sack workers and promoting individual work contracts instead of union-based award conditions.

The changes were unpopular with workers, and prompted widespread protests across the country and a concerted campaign from unions, who said the reforms undermined job security and would drive down wages.

The changes have been a lightning rod for disgruntled voters Australia's biggest cities, with job security falling while house prices and home mortgage interest rates rise.

"Howard has had some successes in managing a prosperous economy," political analyst Nick Economou told Reuters. "But then they made a major error by instilling insecurity in people at a time of prosperity."

It seems that in some ways, Howard brought too much change or the wrong kind of change to Australia. More and more, it seems that people want economic prosperity but are unwilling to accept the risks of life. The Reuters article also pointed out:

Howard's tough stand against asylum seekers and illegal immigrants, who are detained in remote immigration detention camps or sent to centers in Nauru or Papua New Guinea, has attracted widespread criticism from human rights groups.

There it is - the human rights groups. Heaven help you when the "greens" and the human rights groups get you in their sights. So, another one bites the dust. One by one, George Bush's old associates and allies are going down as we move forward in a brave new world.

I have no idea what kind of leader Mr. Rudd will be for Australia, but I do suspect that one of the greatest challenges all leaders will face in the coming years is resisting the "populist" impulses to accede to or champion the ill-considered causes of the left. If we're not careful, much wealth will be squandered on one half-baked scheme after another which in the end, will prove to be nothing more than Soros style attacks on the traditional institutions of the west. Good Luck, Australia.


  1. A dreadful event. The Howard government in Australia seemed one of the sanest of all the governments of the west, along with the Rasmussen government in Demark.

  2. Democracies do not, will not, vote for the "Long War".

    Conceptual cornerstone of the US Democracy Project.
    Mr Bush told US so.
    He was correct.

  3. Not Enough Parking for Private Jets Going to UN Climate Conference in Bali ...

    As reported by Bali Discovery Tours on November 3 (emphasis added):
    Tempo Interaktif reports that Angkasa Pura - the management of Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport are concerned that the large number of additional private charter flights expected in Bali during the UN Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC) December 3-15, 2007, will exceed the carrying capacity of apron areas.

    To meet the added demand for aircraft storage officials are allocating "parking space" at other airports in Indonesia.The operational manager for Bali's Airport, Azjar Effendi, says his 3 parking areas can only accommodate 15 planes, which means that some of the jets used by VIP delegations will only be allowed to disembark and embark their planes in Bali with parking provided at airports in Surabaya, Lombok, Jakarta and Makassar.

    Talk about your really inconvenient truths.

  4. Seems like the Long Corrupt Crony Criminal Presidency as well.

  5. Poor Julie Myers won't be getting approved by Congress.
    Nor did crony Gonzo.

  6. Corrupt Crony Johnny Sutton otoh, remains in office.
    Texas Courtesy, ya know.

  7. Howard was in for eleven years I think it was...heck of a good run. People seem to want something new, even if things are going along fairly well. Fare thee well, Mr. Howard.