Politics as if it mattered

I’ve been banging on about the need to discuss politics as it actually affects people rather than as a horse race for some time now. Pavlov’s Cat has written an excellent post riffing off this idea, which for my money, is one of the best posts I’ve read during the campaign. Go have a look!

Posted in federal election '07, sociology
6 comments on “Politics as if it mattered
  1. jinmaro says:

    “Those of us who value ideas, egalitarianism of class and gender and heterogeneity of thought and belief aren’t doing all that fabulously well either, although that’s more the effects of repressive tolerance; it would be stupid and wrong to deny that we have, in Australia, been fortunate enough to preserve (despite our various national failings) a kind of independence and scepticism of mind and heart, and that that has been possible partly because even our conservative governments have been relatively liberal. Not only are we are not Myanmar or North Korea or Zimbabwe, we are not even, thank God, the US.”

    I don’t know what is meant here by “repressive tolerance”. It sounds very odd and counter-intuitive. Someone needs to define. It’s stymied me.

    And Pavlov’s Cat fallacious comparison of Australia with the world’s worst regimes just seems like a lazy and convenient means of letting likeminded people off the hook and encouraging them to feel pretty comfortable with such “cool” political and emotional disengagement and their lack of will or interest in doing anything much to counter or oppose unequal, exploitative and oppressive conditions in the country in which they live, have a voice and a potential ability to make a difference.

    Just saying’.

  2. […] more thoughts on this continuing theme from me at […]

  3. […] of the themes I’ve been emphasising in this campaign is that much of what we might want to complain about regarding the vacuity of the […]

  4. David says:

    “Repressive tolerance” comes out of the new left (of some 40 years ago). Although my memory fails me from time to time these days, I think it was Marcuse who noticed it. Basically, the idea is that a society can ignore and repress dissent by allowing it (a bit), but dismissing it as just being the complaints of a small fringe of the loony left. (Much as is done today, so someone on the right was paying attention to Marcuse, even if the left seems to have forgotten him.)

    There may be someone out there in my demographic who has a better memory (or has read Marcuse more recently) and can explain it more clearly, but I think the whole point is you can keep most people quiet by buying them off with plasma-screen TVs, new cars, and a modicum of personal freedom.

  5. Anna Winter says:

    Jinmaro, you could ask those questions of Dr Cat herself at her place.

  6. jinmaro says:

    thanks David. I’ve read some Marcuse and loved him, but hadn’t come across that notion of his which I have now googled.

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