We ought to thank Cory Bernardi for illustrating that the conservative right politician can swing so far to the right that they are utterly backwards.
Liberal senator Bernardi is making the news with the release of his new book, The Conservative Revolution, in which he makes a number of points that, from his interview this morning with ABC, are based on confirmation bias.
For example, to support the claim that “traditional families” – that is, one that includes a mother and father in wedlock – are better for children than other family models, he relies on self-rating from mothers, overlooking the fact that evidence shows that children of same-sex relationships fair as well in schools as traditional families and much better than other combinations.
And then there’s the point that he is against something which he could never possibility understand or face in his own life – having an abortion. It’s not an easy option, physically or emotionally, leaving his opinion of the matter the only one clearly detached from the serious nature of the choice.
Much of the defence he has made for his book has been in the name of “traditional values”.
In the ABC interview, he notes that these values have been “developed over successive generations”.
Hang on. Isn’t that to say that they have been modified, dare I say it, progressively, over time, to improve morality and the standard of living for our species? What’s wrong with continuing this development to further improve morality and the standard of living?
Cory thinks not – further development is, get this, erosion.
What traditional values are we talking about? In the interview, he goes on to say that these traditional values have made our country such a good one. So these traditional values include, say, white Australian policies? What about taking indigenous Australian children away from their families to raise in white foster homes and orphanages?
If he means to go deeper – to a supposed Christian foundation under modern Australia, well we then cannot rule out the ownership (and further abuse) of other people and the subordinate nature of women to men (after all, she is about as valuable as a single male rib); both of which are key to both the new and old books of that religion.
By comparison, that the Australian government has acknowledged the mistake they made to the stolen generation, that Abbott himself wants to acknowledge Australia’s first people in the constitution, that the majority of us stand for racial and gender equality, as well as an increasing number for marriage equality all suggest we are becoming more moral.
If anything, these so-called “traditional values” are outdated. Not all of them of course. Those that actually improve the lives of people persist. Those that don’t are being rejected.
Yes the dialogue must continue – and by all accounts, the fact that we monitor the gender divide in many professions, that we debate marriage equality, that we discuss and applaud moves to improve the standard of living for indigenous Australians are excellent examples that this dialogue is alive and well in Australia.
What Cory really means is that he thinks we overshot utopia some 60 years ago. He hates that many of the bad ideas of his parent’s childhood have been buried. Of course, he didn’t live it, but conditioned to think it was something that it wasn’t; something splendid, pure and wonderful before the beatniks and damned hippies screwed it all up. It is irrelevant to the moral debate today, as is his book.
Senator Bernardi needs to stop for a few moments and monitor a clock. They move in but one direction. If this values package his desperately grips onto was so great, we would have held onto it.
He won’t bring it back from the dead without, like some zombie, eating the brains and thus higher faculties of reasoning from the population at large.