Passing bull 180 – Being dogmatic in politics


As a party grounded in democratic principles, we believe in equality of opportunity.  Conversely, quotas, which are designed to engineer equality of outcome, are a fundamentally socialist concept, and an anathema to Liberal values.

The Australian, 2 January, 2018.  Senator Linda Reynolds

Is the other party not grounded in democratic principles?  What does ‘socialist’ there mean?  Is it any law designed to engineer an outcome?  Is Medicare socialist?  Are Liberals so attached to their dogma that deviance is anathema?  How long would a coalition government last if it refused to allow quotas in primary industry?

The Senator is good evidence of the swing of puritan dogmatism from one side of politics to the other.  Fifty years ago people on the Labor side were wont to say ‘It does not matter if we keep losing as long as we stay pure.’  Now we get this from the Liberals.  And ‘anathema’ comes from religion – of a very intolerant kind.

And if the Liberal policy of selecting people on merit gave them people like Tony Abbott, God save us all.


That’s right, so averse was Bradley to a listed company being expected to act ‘‘in a socially responsible manner’’ (on the basis that such a requirement ‘‘is fraught with subjectivity [so] should be removed’’), he penned a 13-page submission to the Australian Securities Exchange’s Corporate Governance Council. In July. As in less than five months ago.

‘‘I have the same concern about the use of the phrase ‘social licence to operate’,’’ he establishes on page 9, faulting ‘‘the slipperiness of this concept’’.

‘‘It is at best a metaphor for a company’s brand or reputation in the community. It would, therefore, be better to frame this commentary in terms of ‘the importance of culture to the preservation and enhancement of a company’s brand and reputation which are important sources of value and competitive advantage’. This would avoid the open ended, vague and controversial notion that companies have a ‘social licence’ as distinct from legal licences to operate.’’

Australian Financial Review, 11 December, 2018

The terms culture, brand and value are, it is apparently said, not open ended or vague.

2 thoughts on “Passing bull 180 – Being dogmatic in politics

  1. Geoffrey, I remember you once wrote about the need for the law to be flexible enough to be able to evolve with time. (At least I think you wrote something like that – I stand to be corrected.)
    Anyhoo, you made some mention of the US constitution so, apropos, I thought I’d drop this here. I stumbled across it in a book of Jefferson’s letters:

    Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. I knew that age well; I belonged to it, and labored with it. It deserved well of its country. It was very like the present, but without the experience of the present; and forty years of experience in government is worth a century of book-reading; and this they would say themselves, were they to rise from the dead. I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects. But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

    • Many thanks, Tony.. That does look like a very sensible conservative position. I just read the new bio of Marshall, C J. The two great men hated each other with ALP passion. We all have our ups and downs.

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