Friday, November 30, 2007

Winning & triumphalism in sports & politics

The pleasure of having ‘your’ team win is one of the joys of some peoples' otherwise dreary lives – for example when a favoured (one of ‘our’) sporting team wins. When a bunch of yobbos, whose lifetime skill is the ability to guess the bounce of an oval-shaped ball and then kick it, win a football series, it brings profound joy to the team’s supporters and to the district that the team is named after. You would have to be killjoy to deny the masses (and those intellectuals who like to show they have not lost their common touch) these limited, rather puerile, sources of fun.

But triumphalism goes beyond the joy of winning. It is the view that a doctrine or belief should always triumph. It often raises its head in political contests and can sometimes be more bigoted and harmful.

The Age’s resident ratbag, Catherine Deveny, described her elation at the Rudd team’s Federal election victory as ‘post-coital’. It is now clear what has been missing in this miserable woman’s life for so many years and I wish her well with more marital or extra-marital fulfilment in the future. Maybe she would get erotic thrills from helping Kevin clear out his ear canals.

It cannot be denied that there are many perennially sad Labor supporters who are now temporarily bright happy people. This is good news for myopic utilitarians. However these sad people, many of whom have not smiled since 1996, are deluded into believing that Kevin Rudd will deliver an unending nirvana just by saying ‘sorry’ to aboriginals, by ratifying the largely-irrelevant Kyoto protocol and by making it harder for small business to employ unskilled workers by reinstating unfair dismissal laws. These will be, at most, temporary relief to those having a leftwing mindset.

My heart goes out to these naive, non-reflective citizens just as it does for the above-mentioned footie supporters. To the Labor left happiness, it is sad to say, can however only ever be a temporary thing. Given the fundamental rottenness they see in our corrupt, sad, unjust, deeply oppressive, sexist, racist, imperialist modern society this temporary happiness must inevitably dissolve into discomfit. My guess is that this intrinsically miserable lot will soon turn on Kevin Rudd as the next object of their sad aggressions and hatred.

Labor supporters need someone or something to hate. Indeed, Deveny states that she regrets Tony Abbott is not standing for the Liberal leadership because he would answer the core question ‘Who are we going to hate now?’

As Tim Blair points out Deveny’s problem is a version of ‘hate week’. Most people believe Deveny has a screw or three loose but her need, as one of Labor’s characteristic hate-filled supporters, is real and characteristic of a political party whose unifying behavioural norm is often a psychiatric disability.

Indeed, there is an extraordinary narky vindictiveness in the celebrations of Labor supporters. It goes well beyond comradely triumphalism. In particular, note the extraordinary vindictiveness of the left’s women? Tim Blair points out that Monica Dux was disappointed that Howard’s lip didn’t tremble and he didn’t cry during his concession speech. She wanted the great man reduced to tears. To her disappointment the speech was a gracious and a statesmanlike effort. Jill Singer (the ‘fainting goat’ of Melbourne journalism) was disappointed that Rudd didn’t rub Howards ‘nose in it’. I like to give both of these ungracious femmes a well-deserved kick in the rear-end.

Maxine McKew’s jolly stupidity is almost refreshing compared to the nastiness of these Labor-supporting hairybacks.

The male gender has also been engaging in pathological triumphalism. Over at Troppo, in an extraordinary attack, Nicholas Gruen uses a lengthy quote to attack one of the most decent and moral former Coalition MPs, Mal Brough, on the grounds that he sought to prevent sexual attacks on aboriginal children just to advance his own political career. A more accurate assessment of Brough is here. Unfortunately the good go down when the rabble win and it is a part of the triumphalist spirit to put the boot into both the good and the bad.

At John Quiggin’s blog, commenters are plotting ‘show trials’ for former Coalition MPs because of their policies on AWB (the inquiry exonerating them is insufficient), the war in Iraq and (weirdly) immigration. It shows yet another unattractive aspect of triumphalism.

Of course the suggestions for retribution are nonsense but they do show another dimension of the Labor state of mind. For these Labor supporters it was never an election campaign but a moral crusade where wicked sinners are to be punished. John Quiggin, himself, has been quick to point out that the Liberals are totally destroyed – they will never win another Federal election again. John is overjoyed with the Labor victory and he is much too smart to be vindictive so, I guess, it is a bit of harmless and fairly predictable left-wing fun.

For really ugly left-wing blogging the recent posts and comments on Larvatus Prodeo normally take the cake. This one from Mark Bahnisch is one of the milder examples. Ken Lovell has a typically nasty piece over at Surfdom with goofy photos filling in for a failed argument. And Troppo surveys the leftwing hatred in a convenient bile-laden post. The Liberals are finished, they won’t even be a good opposition and they should get zero press coverage (not troubling given Mark’s pre-existing role as a totally biased commentator at and so on. But wait till they really get worked up into their Hitlerite references to ‘Ratty’ and “The Rodent’. It is the voice of ‘troubled youth’ being heard – the conscience of our generation – so I guess it is OK.

To the victor go the spoils. But the intrinsically miserable character of some leftwing Labor supporters will eventually come into conflict with Kevin Rudd’s attempt to build an administration that mimics the skill and talents of the government of John Howard. Given the strength of victory even a self-destruct button initiated now will take quite a while to drive these carping, miserable souls back to where they belong, on opposition benches or on couches seeking psychotherapeutic counsel.

That is a pity because the longer this riff-raff stay in power the greater the damage that will be inflicted on Australia.


Slim said...

It is not surprising that some ‘riff-raff’ are indulging in triumphalism given that ‘many perennially sad Labor supporters’ have been subjected to more than a decade of public derision. Anyone daring to dissent from Howard’s prevailing political ideology has been mindlessly dismissed as an elitist latte sipping loonie leftist luvvy. My own profession has been subjected to sustained denigration as valueless Maoist ideologues. You may agree with these sentiments, but surely you appreciate enough of human nature to understand why some Labor supporters are feeling rather joyous after such sustained public humiliation.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to be of the view that the conservative/Right side of politics are nature’s ‘rightful’ ruler, and that government by the ‘riff-raff’ is merely an aberration imposed on us by an ignorant and ungrateful electorate. In my opinion this attitude is so last century. I would argue that as we move into the new century of globalisation that the political party occupying the pragmatic centre is the only ‘natural’ party of government.

The last thing the Libs should be doing is acting like a government in exile. I understand that Nelson is really speaking to the right-wing power brokers of the party, but from my perspective he is saying to the Australian people ‘You got it wrong. We were right on WorkChoices, The Apology and Unions, etc, etc. Eventually you’ll be sorry and want us back.’ He is certainly entitled to that view but it will not be effective in winning back centrist Australia anytime soon.

‘For these Labor supporters it was never an election campaign but a moral crusade where wicked sinners are to be punished.’ And what were The Culture Wars, if not a moral crusade? In my long experience of watching politics the Conservatives coming to government are far more diligent in punishing their ‘natural enemies’ – think Kennett and the teachers. I don’t think we’ll see much of this, if at all, with Rudd.

The present time calls for different attitudes. Cast off the shackles of the old class struggle. It has been redefined and the old symbols no longer resonate. The sooner the Libs realise this the sooner the electorate will start listening again. In the minds of many there is much to begrudge and forgiveness may be along time coming.

Bring Back CL 's blog said...

basically agree with slim.

you have onbiously forgotten about what happened in 1996.

There are boofheads on either side and both go overbaord when winning after a long time

whyisitso said...

It's really interesting seeing the polling booth results in Bennelong, my own electorate.

The pro-Howard and pro-McWho polling booths follow largely ethnic and/or class lines. Having a good knowledge of the geography of the electorate, it is obvious that areas with a high level of rented units voted strongly ALP, and those with a high level of Chinese and Korean residents also voted strongly ALP. Notable also that those with a high level of anglo-saxons or past generation migrants voted reasonably strongly for Howard. Outside of these categories, essentially working class areas like Ermington (houses rather than units) also voted strongly ALP.

This is an interesting electorate, having moved progressively from silvertail Wollstonecraft and Lane Cove in the seventies to entirely west (ie less salubrious areas) of the Lane Cove River to Ermington in the 2000s. There was a swing against Howard in 2004, against the general trend, so if you combine the swings since 2001 the total has been massive.

Asians have never forgiven Howard for his cautionary remarks about immigration in the eighties. I suspect they've always been ALP supporters.

rog said...

The euphoria should die down soon; once the ALP tackle housing affordability, mortgage stress, education and health with the RBA looking over their shoulder the mood will shift.

And heaven help them if the boat people start to come back.

rog said...

Already the backflips have started, now that Joel Fitzgibbon is a minister he has dumped the F3 Link road (which was always an extravagance)

conrad said...


I doubt what you are saying is very true of the Chinese or Koreans in Bennelong (having lived there myself also). The Chinese are basically the HK spillover from Chatswood that have decided they might like some peace and quite. Both groups are conservative. I doubt many even remember his Anti-Asian comments of the 80s (why would he have got in all the other times? -- the area has had a high East Asian population for ages including the mid 90s.)

My bet for why they didn't vote for Howard is due to:
1) Kevin Rudd being the first white guy ever that wasn't a mormon who speaks an Asian language
2) the pamphlet affair. I imagine they figure they might be next on the list to be victimized.

Sinclair Davidson said...

Have to agree about the Troppo attack on Mal Brough - it reflects very poorly on them.

patrick said...

Sheesh Harry, the drought must be affecting Melbourne pretty badly; those grapes you're munching on sure are sour!

I can't help but chuckle at your petulant dismissal of left-wingers 'triumphalism' when you are clearly a big fan of Tim Blair's site; a place where triumphalism is the only currency in trade - even when they've lost (Iraq, Climate Change, State Governments, Federal Governments).

I fail to see the difference, really.

Bring Back CL's blog said...

Harry has no memory so he has forgotten about 1996 or any victory since then.

He has never thought about what happens on timbos blog either but then again HArry still thinks Dr Haneef should be left in india despite NO evidence.

Rather very sad

TJW said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TJW said...

I don't take politics as seriously as I used to. And I stopped taking the sites that you mentioned seriously, long ago.

The only reactions that strike me as stupid are those that label the Howard Government 'racist'.

It's not at all unreasonable for someone to say that they believe that the measures taken to discourage people smuggling were disproportionate and brought undue harm to some asylum seekers. But to suggest that race played a part in that policy when that same Government brought over one hundred thousand of the world’s most vulnerable individuals into the country, of various races, and above and beyond any international obligation, requires a dishonesty or a stupidity that stands out above the normal background rhetoric that characterises common political discourse.

And I don't think that it is a left-right thing. There are websites all along the political spectrum that serve as 'world-view re-enforcement devices' where otherwise intelligent people become teenagers again and 'prove' how right they are to be left or right wing.

So don’t worry about the websites you mention Harry. Although some where once great, or at least good, a simple review of their comments sections shows that it’s now mostly the terminal ideologues that see them as worthy of attention.

Spiros said...

The "riff raff", Harry?

Tch, tch, Harry, you are such as sore loser.

Get used to it. It isn't a dream. Labor is in power. With Brendan Nelson leading the charge against them ("Andrew Peacock without the substance", according to John Stone) it's unlikely the Liberals will be back in government in your lifetime, or your children's lifetime.

If you don't like it, that's just tough titties.

hc said...


Its not just being overjoyed Slim - it is a kind of outraged anger with a desire for revenge. Some teachers have pushed a left-wing perspective that is not reasonable. It is fair comment to attack this as it would be if teachers promoted the Coalition.

BTW my perception is that most of the anger is directed at syllabi rather than teachers. I talked to teachers at my kid's school about the failure to teach English grammar and they universally condemned it.

Homer, You won't put Haneef down and for the Nth time I repeat. the Minister exercised appropriate judgement regarding an immigrant under The Immigration Act. This Act does not require a criminal offense but reasonable grounds for suspecting risks for Australia.

On a totally separate issue.

Nor (outside North Korea) does charging someone with an offense imply guilt. Those prosecuted are often acquitted.

Haneef was related to a terrorist bomber and made suspicious remarks in a phone call to him. The Minister acted appropriately under the 'Act.

Yes it looks ex post that Haneef was not involved in terrorism. As I said from the start I always hoped this was true.

The Doctor said...

I still cannot see what you think was actually right about the AWB enquiry - it had a ToR designed to limit executive damage and a very friendly judge(no doubt with an eye on another RC).
As for Haneef the courts are still deciding on the rightness or otherwise of the Andrews/Keelty abuse of process.