A letter from John Wylie of Wagga Wagga in The Australian on 6 June, 2005 recently caught my eye.
He wrote that the critique by Imre Salusinsky of Socrates , and of that classic, The Republic, was one of the finest pieces on the basis of constitutional monarchy he had read in years.
Mr. Wylie ended with this wise advice about what he termed as the ego of intellectualism: Keep us free from those who think they know better.
When we were comparing the recent European and Australian referenda, one thing stood out, apart from the attempt by republicans to downplay the landslide ours was.
On both continents, those among the political elites who believe they know better than the people, refuse to accept the result. In Europe, a leading politician has actually demanded that the French and the Dutch run their referenda again until they get the right result! The right result? That is a Yes vote.
The Australian republican movement takes a similar view of the 1999 landslide against their preferred model for a republic. The people got it wrong, they say. The monarchists tricked them. It was the question.
Recently they claimed, falsely, that ACM said we would be thrown out of the Commonwealth if we voted Yes. So the republicans insist that the people keep voting until they get it right! Their latest scheme involves the people voting not once, not twice, but three times! And that is only at the federal level! I
f we give in out of exhaustion-which is what they want- we will then have to vote on their new republican flag, unless they take away our right to vote on that.They were not too happy when John Howard introduced that.
Anyway, I had recently referred to this piece by Mr Salusinsky published in The Weekend Australian on 4-5 June, 2005 (You can read this at: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,15465960%255E37556,00.html)
This was when I was writing about the particularly aggressive form of creeping republicanism practised by the NSW Carr government. I mentioned that Mr Salusinsky had observed it is no coincidence Mr.Carr, whose admirers claim thrives more on ideas, music, history, books, authors, and writing than politics, also happens to preside over the most incompetent government in Australia!
Mr Salusinski says we should resist any temptation to romanticise Socrates as some kind of revolutionary figure who would have done a better job of running ancient Greece than those who could not abide his existence.
The world described as ideal in that classic, The Republic, is a horrendous totalitarianism in which everybodys rights are strictly curtailed and all artistic expression is forbidden. That, he writes, is the result of the intellectual itch to redesign society from first principles, deductively, rather than using induction from experience as the basis for incremental change. ( Of course that is the how the Westminster model, which we share with five of the seven oldest democracies in the world, developed.)
Mr Salusinsky warns of the vulnerability of intellectuals to totalitarian thinking, which he traces back to the influence of The Republic. Meanwhile in Australia, the republican movement thinks it knows better than the Australian people.
That is why they are promoting the ARM-Latham process to wear down and to hoodwink the people into changing our constitutional system into the form favoured by…..none other than Mark Latham!