Cardinal Pell And Australian Conservatism
John Tomlinson is a welfare academic. In the far-Left "New Matilda" he writes:
"I have always had a grudging tolerance for the classical conservative position with its defence of the established order, a belief in the imperfection of human beings, the necessity of privilege and leadership. Associated with the conservative position is adherence to traditional values (such as the primacy of the extended family), the importance of work and of sexual restraint, the sanctity of private property and an abhorrence of utopian social change."
That's not a bad definition of conservatism. The thing he leaves out of the definition, however, is the key to his whole attack on Australian conservatism. He leaves out the importance of individual responsibility. He clearly believes instead in social responsibility. He sees no problem in taking money off people who have earned it and giving it to people who have not earned it. Conservatives do see a moral problem there but in a classical conservative way resort to compromise: Do it but limit it as far as possible. Tomlinson is clearly uninterested in limits to redistribution.
He seems in fact to be uninterested in balance of any sort. Take his comments on Cardinal Pell. That anybody might take a nuanced view of His Eminence fills him with rage. He writes:
"Amongst those who gave court character references there was a ‘Craven’ vice chancellor of the Catholic University, an ex-‘socially conservative’ prime minister who had a track record of being reluctant to sack ex-Governor General, Peter Hollingsworth (who had previously been an Anglican Archbishop, who was, at the time, enmeshed in his own scandal).
It takes a particular style of myogenous, misanthropic troglodyte, with a total commitment to turning away from the obvious towards the promotion of arch-conservatism to stand where these men found themselves. They can’t claim to have been blinded by God, and fear and light – it is just that they have lost sight of any sense of right.
Then, of course, there were the trainee galahs in the media such as Andrew Bolt and Janet Albrechtsen who despite, the twelve and true finding Pell guilty of five counts of child molestation, declared the Cardinal innocent.
Howard, Craven, Albrechtsen and Bolt are all part of a right-wing putsch determined to drive out decency and humanity from our nation. But are they conservatives in the classical meaning of the term? In Howard’s court reference for Pell he writes:
“I am aware he has been convicted of those charges; that an appeal against the conviction has been lodged and that he maintains his innocence in respect of these charges. None of these matters alter my opinion of the Cardinal.
“Cardinal Pell is a person of both high intelligence and exemplary character. Strength and sincerity have always been features of his personality. I have always found him to be lacking hypocrisy and cant. In his chosen vocation he has frequently displayed much courage and held to his values and beliefs, irrespective of the prevailing wisdom of the time.”
I suppose that when Pell was rabidly denouncing gay sex, same sex marriage, abortion, divorce, adultery and environmentalism Howard considered him to be “displaying much courage and holding to his values and beliefs, irrespective of the prevailing wisdom of the time”. Clearly as the same sex plebiscite established, Pell was neither reflecting the general will nor the wisdom of the time.
The schmozzle of ideas professed by Pell, Howard, Craven, Albrechtsen and Bolt seem to have little to do with sexual constraint or conservatism generally but rather more to do with a particular reading of a neoliberal, protofascist conception of conservatism.
That anyone should doubt the guilt of His Eminence can only be due to foul motives in Tomlinson's view. The thought that His Eminence might be the victim of a wrongful conviction cannot apparently be allowed into Tomlinson's mind. If Tomlinson had any kind of balance in his mind he might have considered the prosecution ongoing in Britain at the moment of the fantasist "Nick" -- a man who did immense damage with his lies. His Eminence was convicted on one count by one accuser. Could that accuser also be a fantasist? His story was certainly replete with improbabilities
And wrongful convictions generally are a dime a dozen. Black men are exonerated of serious crimes in the USA on an almost weekly basis. Are Catholics seen as negatively to some people in Australia as blacks are in America?
We have certainly seen other instances of wrongful convictions that seem to have arisen from a jaundiced view of a group to which an innocent person belongs. Take the notorious case of Welsh footballer Ched Evans. Evans spent a couple of years in jail and had a couple of unsuccessful appeals before he was finally exonerated. So how come? Evan was convicted of rape under the leadership of a gaggle of feminist officials even though the alleged rapee had consented and had never lodged any complaint about Evans. The big mistake Evans made appears to have been being a typical footballer -- a type anathema to feminists. The one male involved in the prosecution thought Evans had no case to answer.
The two examples I have just given are from Britain but Australians will remember the quite notorious case of Lindy Chamberlain -- where a devout Christian woman -- wife of a Pastor -- was convicted of murdering her baby -- on precisely zero evidence. She was however a Seventh Day Adventist and a redneck jury apparently saw that as "weird" and making the woman capable of anything. She spent some years in prison before she was finally exonerated.