It is always difficult to decide on how to respond to people whose ethos is so alien, and in fact repellent, to one’s own. It is not that I take exception to the general points made by you, but that every ounce of my energy has been devoted to an active opposition to cruel bigotry, compulsive violence, and the sadistic persecution which has characterised the philosophy and practice of fascism.
I feel obliged to say that the emotional universes we inhabit are so distinct, and in deepest ways opposed, that nothing fruitful or sincere could ever emerge from association between us.
I should like you to understand the intensity of this conviction on my part. It is not out of any attempt to be rude that I say this but because of all that I value in human experience and human achievement.
Well, I didn’t write that to Peter Dutton. Bertrand Russell wrote it to Sir Oswald Mosley in January 1962, but it does say what I would like to say to people like Dutton, Trump, and Farage.
Dutton transcended even his own bullshit when he criticised a dead prime minister for his humanity – and humanity is not part of Dutton’s universe.
I will write separately of the kid gloves that we are supposed to wear when speaking of those seduced by people like Trump and Farage. Seduction is the one charge that Dutton is immune from. But to suggest that a person’s worth might be assessed from the votes cast for them may or may not be valid for a gentlemen’s club or a reality TV show, but it is a complete non sequitur in politics.
Poet of the month: Rosemary Dobson
The kitchen vessels that sustained
Your printed books, my poems, our life,
Are fallen away. The words remain
Not all but those of style and worth.
And here, in Age, I feel the need
Of some Divining Colander
To hold the best of all since done
And let the rest slip through.