Brown Study

Brown study

6 July 2019

9:00 AM

6 July 2019

9:00 AM

You do not need me to recommend good books. But I will do it all the same, or at least this once, because this one is important. The book is Putin’s World, Russia Against the West, by Angela Stent, an academic and former intelligence officer at the National Intelligence Council. It is not an enjoyable book, as it is terrifying, charting Vladimir’s Putin rise from KGB bovver boy to some sort of imagined re-incarnation of Peter the Great. There is no doubt at all that his mission in life has been to lift Russia out of the slough of despair it slipped into with the collapse of communism and restore it to its former power and glory. I should have known this, but what was definitely new to me and very disturbing, was the success of the project, how far Putin has succeeded and his single-minded ruthlessness and skill in completing it. And it will be completed. What should be a particular worry to us is that the basis of the plan is anti-democratic; Putin is an unapologetic advocate for authoritarianism, for rejecting the superiority of Western values like democracy and for creating a new empire that exists and succeeds solely because it uses force, violence, and intimidation to break up alliances of the democracies. Indeed, he rejects the whole notion that the US and its allies might have some merit or decent principles on their side. Examples of the success of this brutal force and the way it has been used are there for all to see. Stent explains that what we regard as the monstrous destabilisation of Russia’s neighbours, like Georgia, Ukraine, Crimea, and Moldova are, for Putin, carefully planned and successful steps in increasing Russian power. So were the shooting down of flight MH 17, the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal and undermining the US election. But the important point is that so much of Putin’s success has been due to our failure. Two examples will suffice. The result of Obama’ stupid fight with Israel over new settlements drove Israel away from the West and into the arms of Russia, which has now become a major player in the Middle East. Secondly, the ludicrous red line that Obama drew in Syria, allegedly to deter Assad from using poisoned gas, but without following through, meant that Russia could move in, win the war for Assad and turn Syria into a vassal state. One wonders where the next Russian takeover will be, because there will be more, unless we stand up to Putin.

When you see the standards of those who practise politics, you can understand why the public as a whole is so appalled by the system. The worst and most recent example is the monumental chutzpah shown by Christopher Pyne in taking a paid position with EY (formerly Ernst and Young). Previously Minister for Defence, he resigned at the last election and instantly sashayed off to the consulting firm where, by a remarkable coincidence, he will provide ‘high-level strategic advice’ on guess what, ‘the defence industry’. He is not supposed to do so under the so-called guidelines until 18 months after leaving office, but such a trifle does not concern either young Christopher, EY, or the federal government, which is foolishly allowing the issue to drag on and gain traction. Pyne’s reply, that he is ‘within the guidelines’ is the last refuge of a weasel and, anyway, the guidelines should be changed if they allow such dubious behaviour. EY will probably dump him in a few days, as any defence contract they win will be tainted. But before they do this, the government should wake up and get rid of this problem before it becomes the accepted standard of probity.


It is now my melancholy duty to inform you that the light has gone out on the last hope for good government in Australia. Painstaking work by The Spectator Australia Political Research Bureau has shown that virtually all government activity is a waste of time and money and that if mankind has any hope of redemption, it must turn to anarchy, throw off the restrictions of the past and be re-borne as free creatures in the hope that from chaos will come order. We had therefore put all our hopes in the Melbourne Anarchy Club and encouraged it in all its endeavours. However, even that bastion of hope has become so contaminated with bourgeois notions of property ownership, capitalist entitlement and resort to repressive power structures and law enforcement that any resemblance between the activities of that once noble institution and true anarchy has vanished. The clubhouse of the MAC, situated at the edge of the Goats cheese curtain and close by the Nirvana vegan greengrocer and the Reiki healers’ collective, occupies a slim slither of land between two allotments, on each of which has now been built a block of ‘executive’ flats. Into this garden of Eden was thus introduced the twin-headed serpent of money and property, for the thoughts of some members of the club have tragically turned to whether, if the club were dissolved and its property sold as a development site, the members might share in an equal distribution of the proceeds of sale and become rich beyond the dreams of avarice. It is hard to believe that genuine anarchists could take such a materialist view. But only a month ago the club did something it had promised never to do; it held a meeting. Moreover, the lust for material riches reached such a crescendo that the membership split into two groups, Leave and Remain. Leave took steps to sell the property. Remain took out a caveat. Writs were issued. The supreme court, lawyers, mediators and arbitrators have been engaged. The fascist reactionary police were called to keep order. Anarchy has collapsed in a mad lust for material possessions.

It is sad, but anarchists are not what they used to be.

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