Feb 022011

More on the paradoxical state of play among ideologues in the Murdoch press.

Observe, this author: Alan R. M. Jones and compare to this author: Peter van Onselen

Perhaps it’s a little unfair to label either of the authors of these Op-Eds in today’s Conservative Express, but I thought the two provided an interesting juxtaposition on the same issue. The two also portray the sharp divide in opinion and expression of same, which appears along ideological lines as so often portrayed by the Con-Ex.

Alan R.M.Jones is clearly in the ideologue camp, as portrayed by this sort of thing on that sort of blog. Other examples of the ‘right-wing-death-beast’ allegiance are demonstrated by similar pieces elsewhere. He’s quite prolific and much along the same lunatic fringe as Peter Faris QC. He used to run a blog, and an ashtray of self-righteousness it was too. I note it’s no longer around, which can only be a good thing. A disgrace to his profession in terms of rationality if I’ve ever come across one. Alan R.M. Jones, (who purports themselves in by their middle two initials surrounded by christian and surnames anyway?) upon leaving the obliterated coalition as a Howard advisor in 2007, went on to private enterprise. Apparently he is also a Director of Corporate and Government Affairs for the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery. He also makes makes numerous appearances on Blair’s Home for Wayward Flying Monkeys, as noted above. He is also a self-declared member of the Liberal Party’s “dirt unit” which is hardly surprising when one really begins to appreciate the history attaching itself to Mr Jones and his beliefs.

Peter van Onselen is an entirely different piscean container. Far from being the epitome of the RWDB that Jones appears to be, van Onselen gives every impression of being a reasoned, considered commentator who looks in a balanced manner at politics in general. After all, that is his expertise. His Op-Ed in Con-Ex today tends to bear this out, where the Jones piece is pure polemic and not much more than a rant at that. Not that Op-Ed rants aren’t du rigueur for Con-Ex, especially given recent fracas over editors-in-chief threatening to sue twitterers for bogus claims of defamation and countless attempts to shut down social comment through blogs and sites like Facebook & Twitter through the exercise of anonymous editorial criticism. Rants, per se, are the Con-Ex editorial choice of weapon whenever the beast feels threatened, which is often.

Still, those of us who watch the carry on from Con-Ex aren’t overly surprised at the continual flow of sour grapes and overt support for conservative sources which issue from the rag. I have no issue with the writings of van Onselen, or indeed, any other commentator who takes the time & makes the effort to be considered and overall balanced in their commentary. But polemic, in my view, is just short of logical fallacy. As any ardent debater would know, logical fallacy is the gateway to defeat in any debate challenge. I continue to be amazed that conservatively oriented ideologues, RWDB’s, call them what you may, fail to recognise that rationality attracts far more consideration than does sarcasm, or worse, ad hominem. One would think they don’t want their opinions aired, discussed, or challenged. In fact, practical experience proves this to be the common occurrence, not the one-off event as one might anticipate from reasoned interlocutors.

On a slightly serious note, there is no excuse for the behaviour of a great majority of right-wing apologists & acolytes. There is nothing to fear from discussion and airing of ideals, as long as those airing their ideals are prepared to have them discussed. The essence of democracy is the freedom to challenge ideas & opinions. The hallmark of autocracy is purposeful ignorance, and worse deliberate silencing of opponents through logically fallacious argument. The right is good at the latter standard and and poor at the former. Somehow I doubt that paradigm will ever alter as long as media empires driven by demagogues intent on shutting down opposing ideals actively support those of their own kind, while attempting to silencing dissent from their antithesis. Yes, we all know it goes on, daily, in the Murdoch Press.