Put out more flags

First, to state the bleeding obvious, I have no sympathy at all for the bastards who like to parade themselves as follows, and this is a comparatively mild example:


No more than I am/was a fan of the following, who rather dominated the world of my childhood:


By the way I was rather drawn by Peter Hartcher’s opinion piece yesterday.

The truth is that Australia, and the world, have to face squarely all the threats to peace and stability. “States” and “non-states” alike. There is no need to divide them into separate baskets, with one in fashion and one out at any given moment. In fact, these rising risks can all be classed under the same broad political rubric. The world has seen it before.

The regimes in Russia, China and the so-called Islamic State are all fascist. The defining characteristics of fascists? First, they are authoritarian. Freedoms are curbed. The people are allowed no rights to resist the will of their rulers. Dissent is crushed, and crushed violently if necessary…

There are many differences. Russia is notionally a democracy; China is run by a party that is nominally communist; the so-called Islamic State claims to act in the name of Allah.

Yet all three operate as fascist entities. Fascism “abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion”, as Robert Paxton put it in his book, The Anatomy of Fascism.

In short, there is no need for Western leaders to play word games and declare security fashions. All three of these rising threats are enemies of freedom. They deny freedom to their own people, and they ride roughshod over the rights of other peoples.

The world confronts a resurgent fascism. It doesn’t seem that the West, absorbed with economic crises in Europe and political dysfunction in the US, comprehends fully the force and fury rising against it.

But consider the following images of leaders of an earlier time confronting the greatest perils their countries had known:



Prime Minister John Curtin in London1_7815338_tcm11-18299

By contrast, Australia 2015 delivers something I can only describe as crass:


With a speech to match, composed of slogans and hot-button hate words: “disrupt, degrade and ultimately defeat the Daesh or ISIL death cult”:

Again, I stress, the death cult has been reaching out to our country with about 100 Australians fighting with Daesh and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq and about another 150 here at home supporting these extremists so this commitment is a matter of domestic as well as international security and I stress this is absolutely and utterly in Australia’s national interests to do this.

I did note the Chief of the Defence Force did not use the words “death cult” once…. Of course I hope the mission succeeds.

Meanwhile, I do commend this:

toneflags See Nick Evershed, Surge in poles: Tony Abbott’s flag count hits a new high.

“Wrapping oneself in the flag” is never a complimentary phrase, but I fear Tones may be doing something very like it.

If someone wraps themselves in the flag, they pretend to be doing something for patriotic reasons or out of loyalty, but their real motives are selfish. (‘Drape yourself in the flag’ is an alternative form of this idiom.)