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  • Writer's picturePete Jonson

Strange and unusual events

Updated: Oct 26, 2020

President Trump has challenged conservatism. This is the view of Gerald F Seib of The Wall Street Journal. His book on all this is called We Should have seen it coming. Australia’s great journalist, Paul Kelly, took on the job of explaining Gerald Seib to we Australians last Wednesday, October 21s.

Does this look like a farewell wave?

American conservative ideology ‘constitutes a throbbing, rampant, powerful coalition with ties in churches, corporations, small towns, middle class virtue, blue collar workers, the military, the flag and national pride’. ‘We should have seen it coming is self-explanatory – his story is the collapse of the Reagan foundations and Trump’s storming of the fortress’.

When George W. Bush left the White House in 2008 he identified three threats – isolationism, nativism and protectionism. These became the troika that Trump mobilised.

‘Trump messaged the bankruptcy of old conservatism – it was too global, too Wall Street, too economic libertarian and out-of-touch elitist’.

And in conclusion: ‘By throwing in their lot with Trump, conservatives have turned their movement towards tribalism, populism and government intervention, rejecting both Adam Smith and Edmund Burke in favour of Trump’s “only I can fix it”. History will show it’s a bad deal’.

Here is a link to the full article.


I have also been reading a new book by Ross Douthat, called The Decadent Society. How We became victims of our own success.

‘Across human history, the most dynamic and creative societies have been almost inevitably expansionary, going outward from tribes and cities and nations to put their stamp upon a larger world.’

The Space Age lasted from about thirty years: from Sputnik in 1957 to the Explosion of Challenger in 1986. Many movies presented visions of continued process. But as it became clear that conquering space was far harder than explorers crossing the Atlantic, the public lost interest, political support diminished, and science fiction turned dystopian.

Nothing fundamentally new is available to keep the Western civilisation throbbing. ‘So it is a significant factor in our era’s anxieties, in the sense of drift and stagnation and uncertainty with which this book is principally concerned, that for the first time since 1491, that we have found the distances too vast and the technology too limited to take us to somewhere genuinely undiscovered, somewhere truly new’. …

‘Since Apollo, we have entered into decadence’.

The lighter stuff.


John Ferguson of the Oz says it best: ‘An exhausted, nervous Melbourne on Sunday watched an exhausted, nervous Premier kick the Covid-19 reopening can down the street.

‘As Daniel Andrews spoke, Melbourne’s central business district was more like Dubbo on a Sunday morning’. Sitting at home, with every walk within 5 km having been explored over 100 times, we could not bear to try the 6-25 km circle.

Footy finals

A relatively young Richmond flogged a relatively old Geelong in a game featuring thrills and spills galore. ‘Dusty’ starred, kicking 4 brilliant goals. Wish he’d come to Caaarlton!

In Rugby League, the relatively elderly Melbourne Storm were a mile ahead except for the last 15 (?) minutes when the relatively young Sydney Panthers almost caught them. ‘This is what they do’ screamed a commentator but, alas for Sydney folk, it was not to be. Caaarlton! would like Storm’s elderly game director to switch to Aussie Rules, please.

In Rugby Union, with New Zealand’s best coach, the battling Aussies were flogged at Eden park, destroying the signs of improvement to this Aussie rules fan. Luckily Caaarlton! already has a great coach.


Fiona Prior hits the jackpot with Miranda July’s weird and wonderful new film 'Kajillionaire'. More here.

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