Here’s a little thought: While America concerns itself with the crushingly pivotal issue of Hilary Clinton’s use of her personal mobile phone for state correspondence, in Australia our master of euphemism, Tony Abbott, has caused another furore with his latest gaff, and the real issue of what sits behind the de-funding of essential services and consequent evicting of indigenous communities is subtly obscured by our outrage and the inevitable polarisation that will occur as a result, our very condemnation creating an equally strong pro-Abbott backlash from the racist bigoted quarter of society. In this way ”lifestyle choices” becomes just another smoke screen in already thick air and even if a real conversation about the imminent evictions takes place, from this point forward it will occur inside the “lifestyle choice” haze.
Following this line of reasoning, it might be stated that rather than being a loose-mouthed moron, Abbott and his spinners have done something clever. Maybe Abbott is perfect for the job precisely because he has this remarkable way with words.
Even if it is most likely the case that Abbott is a loose-mouthed moron, these polarising and obfuscating consequences of his statement remain.
My training in psychology and philosophy taught me always to ask the questions, ‘what’s behind it?’ and ‘what’s the rest of it?’ – Questions that seek to pierce veils of obscurity, questions that invite speculation.
For example, I’m reminded of the Intervention being in part an excuse to access land for mining and otherwise attempt to gain absolute control of indigenous communities.
I’m also reminded, along with many others right now, of the billions of dollars of tax credits that mining magnates like Gina Rinehart receive each year.
Meanwhile, right now, university research funding is in the balance, in a clever and nasty move by Pyne, and I don’t doubt that all sorts of other rotten things are slipping by without our notice.
Since the single overarching conflict in the world today is ideological, taking place in the realms of thought and emotion, I think attention paid to the manner in which it is being fought is important. Otherwise we all just barrel blindly in as co-participants in our own downfall.
Ideology is introduced in the English curriculum in schools in around Years 9 and 10. Rather than ideology being an object to be explained, it needs to be thought of as a process that is unravelled. A good place to start would be Hitler’s propaganda machine. But we need to go a lot further. Most know that advertising is propaganda. That politicians are guided by spin doctors. I’m not sure how many are wondering if Tony Abbott’s ”lifestyle choice” gaff falls into the same basket.