Thursday, January 04, 2007


I find Janet Albrechtsen an annoying little commentator. I think my views of her were summed up in the comments she made on becoming an ABC Board member. These included, though not included in that link, that as a lawyer she would help the ABC Board with governance*.

Surely she should have had some better claims than that. Anyhow in her column of yesterday she concludes that we have no right-wing cartoonists because left-wing politics is "an emotional, instinctive, utopian kind of world" whereas conservatism is "more rational, analytical and pragmatic" ("Conservatism is no laughing matter " Opinion 3/1).

It is a strange world indeed where "compassion" can be considered a taunt. It is also a strange world in which the opposites are "left-wing" and "conservatism", and where a philosophy that basicallly says "let's not change stuff" is considered more rational or analytical than the progressives who actually imbue their position with extensive theorising in economics, political science and sociology.

While I did offer the last two paras to the Australian in the form of a letter to the editor, they only published two, I suppose giving some semblence of balance. The first of these letters goes on to make the suggestion that humour can only be made at the expense of the powerful, which may be true, but does not fully explain the pattern noted by Albrechtsen.

My criticism is, however, far more directed at the world view of Albrechtsen than the subject. Like many she has created her own "strawman" of her "opponents", has created a view wherein the actors are far more co-ordinated than is possible and used terms a bit like Humpty Dumpty - to mean what she wants them to mean.

* As a personal aside, lawyers are the last people you want on Board's to help with governance, because their focus is on reducing risk for Board members as opposed to getting outcomes for shareholders (or other stakeholders).

No comments: