Tuesday, June 28, 2005

John Howard's Born Again Ideology

Have you ever wondered why those megachurch services a la Hillsong resemble motivational/get-rich-quick seminars? According to "panic theorist" Arthur Kroker, it's because the contemporary political scene is dominated by what he calls "Born Again Ideology." And although Kroker limits his analysis to an American context, it isn't drawing that long a bow to suggest that the picture he paints of Born Again America will be replicated right here in Australia on July 1st--given that the Coalition government is now under the firm control of Born Again Conservatives who are signed-up members of the American empire.

Marion Maddox has already covered this territory in her book God Under Howard. And let's face it: it makes little difference at the end of the day whether one is a Born Again Christian, a Born Again (neo-)Conservative, or a Born Again Hayekian liberal (and the Coalition parties have a healthy mix of all three--this is what is meant by the term "broad church"). The same mindset underpins all three positions: the world is divided into the "saved"--the aspirationals, the well-off, social conservatives, religious conservatives, economic neoliberals--and the "unsaved"--the unemployed, the poor, Muslims, asylum seekers, gays and lesbians, single mothers, academics, atheists, Aborigines, "bleeding hearts," and of course, Big Brother housemates (on that subject: the sort of folk who have been whinging about "Uncut" are the same sort who complain about "political incorrectness," and I daresay very few of them would appreciate the irony) .

And whence salvation? Salvation through IR "reform." Salvation through mandatory detention. Salvation through well-publicised by invariably fruitless ASIO raids. Salvation through school flagpoles. Salvation through privatisation. Salvation through the acquisition of property (which for most aspirationals means the acquisition of a mortgage). Salvation via stock market and property speculation. Salvation via a home theatre system and a fucking farting monkey on your LG mobile phone & c. & c.