Conservatism Doomed?

In a recent piece on another site, I suggested that conservatism would have wide appeal among regular folk in Western countries if only it had a centre-right parties to carry the torch. My list of conservative positions went like this:

  • Promoting unashamed patriotism
  • Rejecting lies about the nation’s history (like the non-existent Stolen Generations in Australia)
  • Putting the traditional family at the centre of national life
  • Controlling borders
  • Fighting crime
  • Encouraging enterprise by lowering taxes and burdensome regulations
  • Making energy reliable and affordable
  • Providing quality public education untainted by politics and sleaze
  • Opposing the sexualisation of children
  • Sensibly limiting abortion
  • Outlawing the chemical and physical maiming of children’s bodies
  • Guarding free speech and religious liberty, and
  • Not leaving fringe groups to monopolise public discourse and control the agenda

I didn’t get much feedback on my list. But a list of this kind is useful to measure politicians against. Trump comes up well for example. Probably Dutton’s instincts are sound. However, when you’re surrounded by assorted wets, greenies and effete pantywaists perhaps there is little a leader can do. It’s different of course in the U.S. where the president can bring in his own people. Here Dutton (and Perrottet maybe) lead parties which, to a large extent, have been infiltrated by university-educated lefties; liberals in U.S. parlance.

I think we can afford to be pessimistic. The prognosis is unpromising. As new graduates pour from university campuses, the disease will only metastasise throughout the body politic. Is there hope? If there is, it’s in the U.S. Nowhere else in the West. Think Ron DeSantis among other prominent Republicans. Though, perhaps, Viktor Orban and (not far right) Giorgia Meloni are worth mentioning in despatches.


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Cassie of Sydney
October 26, 2022 11:53 am

“Probably Dutton’s instincts are sound. “

Not sure about this. A few days after CPAC Dutton appeared on Sky and referred to CPAC attendees such as myself as “extreme right” PHON and UAP voters.

Plus I hear Senator Simon Bummingham has his ear.

Anchor What
Anchor What
October 26, 2022 12:00 pm

Unless the media have an attack of honesty (and re-education) lasting at least a decade (highly unlikely) they will continue to ask soft questions of leftists while calling anyone to the right of centre fascists or worse.
The media matters. It matters a lot.

Cassie of Sydney
October 26, 2022 12:23 pm

“The media matters. It matters a lot.”

Correct. I’ve said many times that robust democracies cannot survive without independent and unbiased media.

The MSM in the West, with a few exceptions such as Fox and here in Oz, Sky after Dark, is now the enemy of the people and what’s worse, it’s proud and unashamed of its contempt and outright hatred for the ordinary person. The MSM serves as a tool for the progressive left and they use it. It is no different to Pravda and Izvestia and in many ways it is worse, far worse, as there’s no way Pravda or Izvestia would gaslight the reader by calling a man in a wig with lipstick on a “woman” and use female pronouns to describe the pervert as such.

Only two days ago, reading the Oz, supposedly a centre-right newspaper, there was a piece about Jordan Peterson touring the country. The piece was supposed to be reporting, not opinion. However the “journalist” called “Ed Bourke” referred to Peterson in his opening line as “divisive”. If that’s not “opinion” I don’t know what is.

October 26, 2022 1:06 pm

Probably Dutton’s instincts are sound.

Let’s accept that, but purely for argument’s sake (I agree with Cassie above on Dutton).

Instincts aren’t enough.

Instincts need to be built into a coherent conservative political philosophy that guides one’s approach to policy.

Then you need to be willing and able to persuade the electorate of the soundness of those policies over against the dangerous and diviseive policies of the Left.

The Liberal Party in Australia, like the Tories and the RINOs on the US, does not appear to have sufficient numbers of people in their parliamentary wings who are capable of doing that.

Thus they have become purely reactionary, in the sense that their direction is determined by their reaction to what the Left does, which is usually to follow them at a safe distance (case in point, Perrottet banning access to a national park to all but indigenous).

Hence my joke…

A son voting for the first time asks his father, “Dad, what’s the difference between Liberal and Labour?”

“Mmm…”the father thinks out loud for a moment, “about three years, son.”

October 26, 2022 1:07 pm


Simon Morgan
Simon Morgan
October 26, 2022 1:10 pm

Your list of conservative action points would give Morrison and this ‘Liberal’ party a collective seizure.

I think Dutton does have potential to bring the party back to a sensible centre (kicking and screaming no doubt). But I was so dismayed by Morrison that I’ve given up on the LNP.

(Joyce was just as ridiculous as Morrison by the way, although he gets a lot less stick for his betrayal).

October 26, 2022 1:10 pm

Lists. Ominous. Does Putin deserve an honourable mention?, IMV he scores more than 50% – just. Which is better than JC’s score (you know the fella crucified in 33AD). ‘measure …. against. Trump….’? A questionable approach.

Cassie of Sydney
October 26, 2022 1:15 pm

You forgot one Peter……

Fight back against the left

The right don’t fight, here in this country nobody on the right has fought back against the left re. SSM, abortion, euthanasia and so on. The right has completely vacated the public square when it comes to these issues as well as others. And watch them do the same with the Voice and the republic.

When it comes to “fighting the left”, the only exceptions are Trump and DeSantis in the USA and here we have One Nation’s Mark Latham in NSW, One Nation’s Sarah Game in SA, Senators Rennick, Chandler, Canavan, Hanson, Roberts and MPs like Keith Pitt. Oh and in Victoria there’s Bernie Finn, expelled from the Liberal Party. However it isn’t a long list of men and women who are willing to stand stand up and fight the left. It’s barren. I can guarantee you that those unlamented wets, gonski since 21 May 2022, such as Sharma, Allen, Zimmerman and Falinsky had never read Menzies Forgotten People speech…which makes sense because not one of those aforementioned names had or have a conservative bone in their body.

Cassie of Sydney
October 26, 2022 1:17 pm

“(Joyce was just as ridiculous as Morrison by the way, although he gets a lot less stick for his betrayal).”

Agree but he doesn’t get less censure here.

October 26, 2022 1:19 pm

I don’t see how pandering to peoples delusions, psychosis and other mental or genetic illnesses is a form of liberalism. It’s the logical conclusion of subjective relativism and nihilism.

Anchor What
Anchor What
October 26, 2022 1:49 pm

None of that excellent list will get a fair hearing until the twelfth of never, when we again have an honest media.
The BBC isn’t just calling Italian PM Meloni a fascist, they’re also making way too much noise about Abortion being “on the ballot” in the midterms. They have also made a lot of accusations about people who question the 2020 election being deniers and lacking evidence. Not a peep about the awful things happening there these days.
Has anyone heard any of our own MSM question whether the Biden regime is doing anything but a workmanlike job? Any hint that the current Federal Labor government might lack depth, expertise?
Any bleats about too many state governments falling to Labor?

October 26, 2022 2:31 pm

Is there hope?

Not until some serious education reform and even then it’ll take generations.
Failing that war or economic collapse forcing people to rethink priorities.

Wally Dalí
Wally Dalí
October 26, 2022 2:32 pm

I’ll give a Libertarian response, point for point.
-promoting patriotism- not the realm of your rulers. Give a good example by your life as you live it, by all means, but it is not the stuff of tax spending and curriculum tweaking- the Conservative pro patria is just the Yin to the Left’s Yang, on and on forever.
-history- leave it to the defunded Universities. At school level we should find it will then fade away to become a part of civics education, if it really survives at all.
-families- nope, leave them alone. They should not be a tax haven nor a welfare case. Again, give a good example by your life as lived.
-Yes, control borders.
-fighting crime- sounds like sociology. Get policing back to the local council level, get coppers back on the beat, get the KFC Carabinieri out of the revenue gouging game.
-yes lower tax and regulation, but it’s not “encouraging enterprise”, it’s encouraging self-reliance. Enterprise and entrepreneurship will follow, but a Libertarian pollie would not claim it as their work, they’d just say look what happens when we get out of the way.
-no, get government out of all energy markets and businesses. Efficiencies will follow, but a Libertarian etc etc
-Education safety net only, MAYBE a voucher system and charter schools. For everyone apart from meth orphans, school starts at age 7, continues to 15. Thinking that the Right can simply take the reins of the education sector and scrub up the campuses and curriculum- how’s that been working out these last few decades?
-yes, prosecuting sex crimes is a simple enforcement of criminal code. Localised policing will help.
-abortion should be a matter for the criminal code, again. This is the denominational Dalí speaking, stridently align Australia with any Judeo-Christian country which recognises the heartbeat threshhold.
– children’s bodily sacredness, again, enforce the criminal code.
(aside- toying with the wisdom of abolishing all professional registries. As far as I can see, in the information age, it should be the matter for a standing database, not a roiling mass off threats, fees and changing conditions, and not the platform for pseudo-registries like the AMA to strut on.)
-Free speech and freedom of religion- criminal code.
-agenda and discourse… that’s a presentation guideline. We’re up against Cathedral Media, after all. As a booster, remember what effective coverage someone like Howard or A666ott got by saying the same boring thing over and over again, or what heads Hanson and Canavan got to kick in by simply saying what no-one else had the guts to say.

Don’t get me wrong, in my own family life I’m a conservative. But Peter, you’re trying to move back into the Overton Window with half these points, and so much of it reads like “when we get back in, this is what we’ll do”… which is cyclical thinking, not the fundamental thinking we need to drag ourselves through.

October 26, 2022 3:18 pm

Peter, its a reasonable list. It’s pretty much where the country was in the 1980s/90s and yet we still got here. I would certainly support a centre-right government that was promoting this agenda, but for mine, this is really the bottom bound of where the centre-right should be.

October 26, 2022 3:25 pm

I don’t see how pandering to peoples delusions, psychosis and other mental or genetic illnesses is a form of liberalism. It’s the logical conclusion of subjective relativism and nihilism.

The argument is, of course, that liberalism is, at bottom, subjectivist, relativist, and nihilist. Unwittingly, this was best encapsulated by Kennedy in his infamous ‘mystery passage’ in Casey v Planned Parenthood: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

October 26, 2022 4:24 pm

The Bee: 9 arguments to destroy a Libertarian!

Debating a Libertarian can be tough because they do their research and the smell of bong water can be very distracting. We want to arm you with the knowledge you need so next time you happen upon a Libertarian, you can DESTROY him. We’re assuming it’s a “him.” Female libertarians are entirely fictional.

Here are 9 arguments guaranteed to totally CRUSH anyone who thinks Libertarianism is a good idea:

Ask who will build the roads: No Libertarian has ever been able to answer this question.
Remind him all the hard-working people at the Federal Reserve and special needs workers in the White House would lose their jobs: What kind of heartless person would want that?
Ask him to please put on deodorant and some pants: This will distract them long enough for you to sneak away undetected.
Make the point that if we aren’t involved in foreign wars, we won’t have any inspiration for those cool patriotic war movies starring Mark Wahlberg: Think of the priceless art our culture would miss!
List all the thousands of government programs that people love: Like Social Security, Obamacare, free crack pipes…
Say “a sphincter says what” really fast: Then wait for the poor sap to totally embarrass himself. Owned!
Talk about the need for a social safety net for defense contractors: What does it say about society when we can’t even care for a struggling Raytheon exec?
Talk about all the amazing things the government has done for us, like handling COVID: Private industry could never shut down kids’ schools that fast!
Just call the FBI to raid him on the spot: Joe Biden’s go-to tactic for dealing with Libertarians.
Now go forth, and own the Libertarians!

October 26, 2022 4:55 pm

Very good list, a lot to like there. I do think that we need most of all some sort of Bill of Rights that limits government power, similar to the US, even though their Supreme Court does its best to override it.

A strong bill that explicitly stated the limits of gov power would help ensure that we would ever go through the mad virus years again. Will it happen? Unlikely but I can hope.

October 26, 2022 5:37 pm


Not only has the horse already bolted, it’s died of old age.

Too late. Game is over. You WILL eat bugs and be happy.

October 26, 2022 5:41 pm

It’s timely that we’re now talking about the destruction of rationalism and realism in politics, but it misses an essential component in what the left sees as its final triumph: the hollowing-out of centre-right parties and the replacement of their leaders by useful idiots.

Even though Donald Trump remains America’s most popular politician – because he’s the only one focused on eliminating corruption in the federal government – almost as much of the opposition he faces comes from within the Republican party establishment as from the communists of the Democratic party.

The British Conservative party is now led by a useful idiot of the neo-communist World Economic Forum and will be thrown out at the next election by the Marxist Labour Party because former Conservative party leader Boris Johnson sold out the huge majority who voted for Brexit and independence from the neo-communists of the EU.

Everything in Australia points to the new leader of the “conservative” Liberal Party, Peter Dutton, being another unelectable useful idiot of the Marxist left who thinks most of the party’s base is “far right”.

All of this is being curated and orchestrated by the news media, which has abandoned its mission to be the public’s eyes and ears and now sees its primary mission as subverting democracy on behalf of the Marxist revolutionaries of the left. Ninety-five per cent+ of Australian journalists vote ALP or Greens.

The fundamental problem is that there is almost no-one left in the political leadership of the centre-right who believes in freedom and its main enabler, the free market.

The political leadership of our major parties no longer believe in the principles that created Western civilisation and are therefore de facto revolutionaries campaigning to destroy that civilisation.

The West is awash with useful idiots celebrating (though they deny it) the Marxist philosophy that in the past century has created nothing but totalitarian tyranny.

Whatever you wish for will eventually come true.

October 26, 2022 6:09 pm

I keep saying it. Conservatives are useless because they won’t fight. To have “conservatives” you need an explicit right wing, and/or clear extremists, to show conservatives as a center.

Otherwise you get what we’re living now, or worse.

Judge Dredd
Judge Dredd
October 26, 2022 9:10 pm

Conservatism is effectively a losers strategy.
I used to be a conservative, but after working out that the goalposts continually moved it is only a defensive paradigm and therefore constantly loses ground, and only slows down liberal progressivism from pursuing more evil.

Think about what conservatives today accept versus what was acceptable just 5 years ago.

So my advice is to ditch conservatism, then hold yourself and others unflinchingly to account on moral standards above man’s standards as these are unmovable. To be clear – hold fast to Christian morality and the law of God.

October 28, 2022 5:59 pm

I don’t see how pandering to peoples delusions, psychosis and other mental or genetic illnesses is a form of liberalism. It’s the logical conclusion of subjective relativism and nihilism.

So you don’t feel inclusive to raving loonies.

Neither do I.

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