Pauline Hanson captures the mood of a nation and expresses it poorly. She has endured where others have fallen, even though she continues to show poor political judgement, particularly in choice of running mates.
Hanson’s first speech over two decades ago spoke of issues now dominating politics. The first was “the privileges Aboriginals enjoy over other Australians” and the second Australia “being swamped by Asians”. These two are tied and clumsily expressed by Hanson.
First Nation people do enjoy the unique privilege of being better placed to make a rightful claim to this land. Further, if settler culture cannot make a rightful claim, what is to stop an Asian nation making an unfounded claim similar to the British. If Batman was once able to dupe Australian land owners with blankets and scissors, could someone else do the same today with shinny electronic devices? Is Hanson a modern-day Cassandra.
The first step to consciousness-raising is to talk. Perhaps the left should be celebrating Hanson as she has been talking about key issues for decades. The next step is to create clarity, and it is here the left has failed.
The left tradition makes a rightful claim to the domains of reason and language. Educators also rightfully claim these domains. But reason has not been used to transform and clarify Hanson’s fears. Language has instead been used for ridicule.
Claims that conservatives are bullied are justified. People like Pauline Hanson are generally not the smartest in a room. That is clear. The left bullying conservatives is like paramedics blaming bystanders at a car crash. The left should be working us out of problems, not ridiculing those awkwardly raising alarm.
The left live in a world of cultural theory where the media is the message. It reads and writes about life as if it were a novel. It uses plot devices to create intrigue to leave out facts and include fantasy. This tradition is now hollow.
The left has forgone reason on climate. Climate change is real and its science moderately complex. The left does not engage this complexity but embraces fairy-tale plot devices like Greta Thunberg. Good on Greta, her parents and teachers should be proud. But Greta is not the climate.
Writing festivals have merged reality with fiction. It is no longer about who can explain clearly but who has the best plot. The “good take” and “well written piece” are more important than fact. Plots have feeble connections to reality. Here the left is gazumped by Donald Trump.
The renewed interest in Lionel Schriver is a case in point. Schriver is a fiction writer who captured the imagination of the cultural left in 2016 with off the cuff rhetoric designed to provoke. She has returned to provoke but this time at the behest of the conservative Centre for Independent Studies. This is interesting development in itself. But to criticise Schriver is to criticise fiction as if it is real.
Not much has changed in settler land since Hanson’s first speech. The First Nation voice is getting louder as their culture is reasserted. Asian nations have technologically usurped Australia. All while settler culture is stuck in the quick sand of literary fiction.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart is not just about the First Nation. It is also about the second nation and if there will be a third. It is to this that Hanson has been talking, and it is real.