2020; Is This The Consensus View?

Now that the 2020 magic-dust is settling, some themes are starting to emerge. The over-arching vision of this middle class love-in is a desire for a much bigger, more powerful and more controlling state. A state that pokes its beak into every aspect of our lives. A state that no longer simply seeks to help its citizens make better-informed decisions, but one that reduces individual choice, removes personal responsibility and forces its people to change their behaviour.  

So is this now consensus thinking? Is an all powerful nanny-state now the Establishment view?  Is George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ no longer read as a warning but an instruction manual? Are there are any dissenters?  Rather worryingly, the editorials of all four national newspapers were very positive about the summit as was the leader of the Opposition.

Brendan Nelson, has said he will take these ideas ‘seriously’.

The Age believes these ideas deserve ‘prompt backing‘. 

The Australian was more guarded but generally offered an upbeat view of the summit.

The SMH was very excited though did note that the ‘individual recommendations were largely unremarkable.’

The Daily Telegraph called the summit a worthwhile exercise and was generally the most fawning of all four major papers (though they were furious with the ‘irresponsible‘ idea to legalise drugs).

So is anyone in Australia in favour of liberty anymore?

A more benign view is that this is a ‘top of the market trade’ – the product of an economy with 100% employment, half a generation of uninterrupted economic growth and unprecedented health and wealth.

Let’s hope it’s the latter.

Update I

Thank goodness for the IPA

Most bloggers (from all political shades) were unimpressed. So why does the media love it so much?   Are they losing touch?  Or do they feel pressured to report it in glowing terms?

Update II

Andrew Norton was there but bored

19 thoughts on “2020; Is This The Consensus View?

  1. “A more benign view is that this is a ‘top of the market trade’ – the product of an economy with 100% employment, half a generation of uninterrupted economic growth and unprecedented health and wealth.”

    If this is the case, then what hope do we have? Any time we make a bit of money, we piss it away – along with some of our freedoms – on feel-good, collectivist, nanny-state BS?

    Liberty (both economic and social) can lead to prosperity, but prosperity hinders liberty? Do we have to wait for an economic downturn to claw back some of our liberties?

    “Let’s hope it’s the latter.”

    Are you sure?

  2. yes, fleeced. isnt this what always happens?

    good sound libertarian measures lead to prosperity, which leads to calls for more socialism, which runs the economy down, which leads to calls for sounder economic management, which leads to …. 🙂

  3. BTW, all these 2020 threads have pushed down the post, “Do you own your house?”

    I just wanted to draw attention to it because it’s worth reading – particularly if you live in NSW. It’s more frightening than even many of the crazy ideas out of 2020 – and unlike many of the summit ideas, it’s got a real chance of being pushed through!

    THE State Government plans to give its agencies and councils power to compulsorily acquire private land to re-sell to developers at a profit – or, if they choose, at a reduced price so the developers make even more money.

  4. Yeah, Poms – maybe it is always the way… perhaps we need to wait for a downturn and then entrench our freedoms in the constitution. Seems the summiteers are ahead of us on that one with their Bill of Rights (the contents of which I suspect would look somewhat different to what we would come up with).

  5. a Bill of Rights written in the depths of a recession would look v different from one written today.

  6. Perhaps… but I suspect that whenever you tried to implement it, you would get a lot of bad stuff tacked onto it.

    Best to focus on individual constitutional amendments, like right to free speech, property rights, etc… might be a while before we get this one though:

    “The Commonwealth shall make no law abridging the freedom of production and trade”

    On another note: if education is federalised, would this mean religion is no longer allowed in public schools? Might get a bit of opposition from the Christian lobby if this is the case.

  7. It’s worth noting that Thatcher came to power when Socialism was being forced down the throats of Britons, and the result was massive unemployment and a general grey look to everything. Britain in the seventies was not a country you wanted to live in! Thatcher’s anti-consensus policies came as a bracing shock, but by then nobody could deny that Britain needed it! Perhaps countries have to get really sick before they’re prepared to admit they need to take the doctor’s medicine? Maybe Australia needs another dose of ‘The Whitlam years’, and then we’ll come to our senses?

  8. nicholas – somewhat sadly, i think you’re spot on.

    btw – i sent you an email – did you get it?

  9. Pommygranate- sorry, no email yet. It might still be working through the system, of course. It’s govmint policy not to discriminate on grounds of intellectual speed, so we end up with all the speed-challenged machines.
    Still, I am connected at home through ISP.NET. As soon as I fix my home computer (start-up button not working), I’ll be able to get stuff on that!
    As for another dose, how can we speed up socialism, so as to make its’ evil clear? Do we support these centralising proposals? Must we?
    I came up with a great decentralist slogan- ‘Share All Power’. At first, it seems like a socialist grab-fest. But if we confine it to the political spectrum, then the sharing means central governments are being asked to give up their powers! The All means we then demand that the states share their powers with the local govmints! And we then demand that the local govmints ‘share’ (give back to us) their powers.

  10. Wow, you must have a seriously weird newsfeed if that’s all you got from it.

    I notice a bunch of my friends who are police officers get pretty cynical about humanity after a while. All they ever see on the job is people under stress: victims, villains, people in pain or causing pain. They start to see everything in those terms, until they either get out with their sanity intact or else… don’t.

    Not sure what career you’re in, but it’s too late for you, I’m sorry.

  11. Eric

    I’m a wild-eyed optimist when it comes to humanity. That’s why i think choices such as whether to smoke, eat a KFC zinger-burger, drink 12 pints or smoke a bit of hash should left up to individuals themselves. They are informed adults after all.

    By bossing people around and ordering them to do this and to do that, who is being cynical about humanity?

  12. Nicholas two things concern me about your theory on Margaret Thatcher’s economic reforms being made possible due to the crapiness of the 70s in England.
    1) Just how bad do things have to be before people would change their mind (eg/ In Nth Korea they put up with a lot, or conversely eg/ I think things are pretty bad now, how bad is bad?).
    2) Margaret Thatcher’s conservative political approach is already been eroded 20 years later. ie: There needs to be a bigger change than just another Thatcher, or Reagan or Hawke, because if people are still thinking the same way in 20-30 years time then socialist policies will keep creeping back in.

  13. The North Koreans have no standard of comparison- they don’t know how bad their leader is.
    Yes, Britain probably does need another Thatcher, but at least they haven’t reverted to Guild socialism, with unions dictating conditions- Britain is more flexible now. Also a lot of stuff has been imported or imposed from Europe. That needs to stop.

  14. This summit was so stacked in favour of Labor, it is rather frightening that most people don’t see through it and took it seriously.
    Large parts of the media has been compromised by being involved as delegates.
    Annabel Crabb of the SMH, George Megalogenis, Andrew Bolt and Piers Akerman seem to have cut through the spin though…

    Interestingly there was also a very cynical view of the proceedings on Insiders at the weekend, and even Chris Uhlmann of the ABC was being skeptical about it… There is hope…

    BTW… Only just discovered the Libertarian concept… Looking forward to exploring it some more…

  15. What we are suffering is a failure of leadership. People would vote for Thatcher or Reagan today if a major party put such a person in a leadership role. In fact prior to either leader being thrust into the lime light they were widely considered to be unlikely winners.

  16. since when is it a bad thing (ever) to come together and share ideas. isn’t that exactly what we’re doing now?

  17. No Harvey, it wasn’t what they did at all. If you’ve ever worked in a big company that has useless business meetings, where managers speak in riddles (ruddles in this case), and the only thing for it is to play “buzzword-bingo”, then you’ll have recognised the 2020 summit as of the same mold.

  18. since when is it a bad thing (ever) to come together and share ideas. isn’t that exactly what we’re doing now?

    It can often be a bad thing, particularly when the process is so poorly conceived. Sharing ideas is well and good but determining good ideas is rarely achieved in one year let alone one weekend. This whole process is structurally flawed. For example, a very old study found that one expert can come up with superior solutions than a group of non-experts. If the “best and brightest” cannot even establish a good process for idea creation and evaluation we should be wary of any ideas emanating from the process they have accepted as valid.

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