The corona virus has had many unintended and unexpected consequences, with the real damage being not so much the medical deaths but the political ones. That is not to diminish the tragedy of the many people who have genuinely died from the disease around the world (as opposed to from a raft of other and frequently deadlier ‘co-morbidities’), but the reality remains that for most the disease is no worse than the flu and the risks of dying from it no greater than being involved in a car or plane crash.
This magazine was one of the first to warn back in late March and early April that nothing about the disease justified the wholesale destruction of the Australian economy. Since that time, our views have been vindicated and one very real risk for the Morrison government is that they end up being seen as having over-reacted and mismanaged the crisis. Or rather, was.
Thanks to the arrogant, destructive, often inhumane, out-of-control and thoroughy reprehensible behaviour of the two main state Labor premiers, ‘Dictator Dan’ and ‘Anna-Stasi’ Palaszczuk, Scott Morrison may well get off ‘scot-free’ come the next election.
There is simply no medical justification for many of Victoria’s and Queensland’s harsh lockdown measures, with inconsistencies and illogicalities fuelling the intense frustration now regularly on display on social media and elsewhere.
This week Kevin Andrews reports on the ‘State of Fear’ gripping Victoria, and points out how similar the Dan Andrews psychology is to that which made life so unbearable in former Soviet states. It is unlikely that Mr Andrews and Ms Palaszczuk have very much longer to spend enjoying the privileges of power.
But the real victim of their stupidity and arrogance may well turn out to be federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese. The pandemic has rendered him invisible and irrelevant, bleating occasionally from off-stage. Yet at the same time, the country is exposed daily to the lunacy of Premier Andrews.
How ironic. The nation is experiencing first-hand the degree to which modern Labor – obsessed as it is with identity politics and leftist dogma – is utterly unsuited to responsible government. The abuses of power, the mind-numbing incompetence of its bloated bureaucracies, the lying and arrogant obfuscation deserve to haunt ‘Albo’ and Labor for many years to come.
Vale Giles Auty, culture warrior
Throughout his life, British-born Giles Auty was driven by a spirit of inquiry and ‘uninhibited thinking and writing’. A professional painter, he lived in the artist colony of West Cornwall for many years before taking up art criticism with passion, insight, wit and style. After 11 years writing for The Spectator, he relocated to Australia in 1995, where he went to work at the Australian as art critic, but was disgracefully spurned by those colleagues terrified of his harsh criticisms of Australian art and culture.
Although Auty recognised the importance of some abstract art, he remained a trenchant detractor of modern and postmodern trends that ignored and devalued great art traditionally cherished as a timeless reflection of the human condition. In particular, he was scathing of the subjective and meaningless descriptions of many contemporary works and the overblown art market, dependent on affluent and profligate investors. He was appalled that artists such as Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock were considered the equal of Velásquez and Goya.
Rejection of the continuous tradition in art and its replacement with novel, cultish and radical ideas had infiltrated Western art education, critical evaluation and practice. In Australia, major gallery curators and directors were also persuaded of novelty’s virtue. Auty argued that the subversive, leftist ‘long march through the institutions’ had fostered neo-Marxism and postmodern philosophy, with its socially corrosive political correctness, multiculturalism, denigration of religion, and class and race warfare. All while professing social justice and equality. A fearless and passionate defender of truth and universal standards, Auty slammed intellectuals and compliant media for conflating truth and opinion, a fluidity promoting the belief that anything is permissible, including the overthrow of an existing social order and the advance of totalitarianism.
Since 2016, Auty has had a regular column in these pages, where he delighted readers with his wit, eloquence and compelling contrarian voice. It is with sadness but great pride that we run his final column, written only days before his sudden death on 24 September, aged 86.
Giles Auty is survived by his wife Annouchka and four daughters.
And will be sorely missed by his legion of fans.
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