Thursday, August 19, 2010

Clive Hamilton reveals more about the Greens by an appeal to Plato than maybe he thought

I must say the same thought crossed my mind. Plato was no friend of democracy.

Professor Clive Hamilton, the Gaian and former Greens candidate, has already suggested a ”suspension of democratic processes” to impose his green ideology. Yesterday he made clear his totalitarian instinct - or possibly just his ignorance - by citing Plato as his guide:
Indeed, it may be said that the Australian Greens are the party of Plato, the original philosopher of the West...
Today The Australian’s readers explain why Hamilton’s guru tells us all we need to know about the Greens:
CLIVE Hamilton has assured us that the Australian Greens are the party of Plato…

Those who have actually studied Plato will recognise the ultimate source of philosophical nihilism in the Western tradition. That barren philosophy which negates all sense of value or consequence in human life, and which rejects the possibility of the existence of a meaningful universe.

Plato was an anti-democratic contrarian whose legacy provided the underpinning rationale for modern totalitarianism, in the form of Nazism and communism, through the patronising notion of rule by “philosopher kings”; those “precious few” among us who are sufficiently intelligent, rational and “dedicated to wisdom”.

Is this really the desired self-image of the Greens? It certainly makes sense of Hamilton’s erstwhile call to suspend democracy, so as to let the “Brights” rid of us carbon emissions and, given half a chance, probably religion and capitalism to boot. Thank you, Clive, but no thanks, all the same.
James Miller, Sydney, NSW

CLIVE Hamilton says that the Greens are the party of Plato. I can see what he means; Plato’s formula for a republic, governed by a class of know-all guardians who would ride rough-shod over the rest of us if given half the chance, certainly sounds like what might happen if the Greens get the balance of power in the Senate.

Also, having read Karl Popper’s masterful demolition of Plato’s heirs as the enemies of the open society, I find that the idea scares the tripe out of me.
Terry Jessop, Gordon, NSW

I HAVE no doubt that should the Greens have the balance of power in the Senate, Plato’s spirit will indeed come alive. The ignorant masses will be advised to mind their own business and let the green philosopher kings get on with their ruling.
Michael Kottek, Ocean Grove, Vic
This is not just a gotcha debating point. As I wrote two years ago, Hamilton’s Greens truly are the latest manifestation of something sinister, stretching back to Plato:
What Solzhenitsyn described was, of course, just the latest appeal to the totalitarian instinct that has tempted intellectuals from Plato to Marx. But with Marxism now dead, at least outside universities, what new ideology now tickles that temptation? ...

The great philosopher Karl Popper asked why so many clever people so often fell for ideologies that aimed to replace open societies with tyranny - some new cult of the tribe…

“I am inclined to think that the reason is that they give expression to a deep-felt dissatisfaction with a world which does not, and cannot, live up to our moral ideals and to our dreams of perfection . . .

“(T)he revolt against civilisation may be . . . a reaction against the strain of our civilisation and its demand for personal responsibility.” ...

Which is why my hackles rise to read the latest from Clive Hamilton, former head of the Left-wing Australia Institute and now a Professor of Public Ethics.

The freedoms of capitalist society, he now claims, “makes us slaves of our passions” and he detects in us (how? where?) “a deep anxiety” over our “internal decay”.

“There is a need - more pressing by the day - to question the value of the economic, political and personal liberty that has been won.”

Here’s what I think is a clue. Why is Hamilton so strongly drawn to the global warming crusade? Why is it so many former Marxists and almost everyone of the Left is so attracted to the cult of man-made warming, with its call to force us into eco-virtuous lives? ...

Again and again we now see the budding totalitarians of global warming demand individuals be sacrificed for this latest cause.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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