There is a craving for the principled defence of liberty in Australia, given our experience of reverting to a penal colony these past two years. When it comes to upholding freedom, Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis, has been a shining light. Conservative Australian politicians would do well to imitate him.
DeSantis’s commitment to fighting authoritarianism and Wokeness, while other American states and Western nations have transformed into medical dictatorships, has set a bar high for conservative leaders. He grasps that, as Reagan said, ‘Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.’
Meanwhile, many Australian politicians (with a few notable exceptions) don’t seem to care about freedom at all, unless it’s the freedom to choose a gender. Freedom has become a dirty word to political elites – as though talking about it reveals that one is simple-minded.
Despite our political class and the media’s aversion to freedom, Florida’s Governor is beloved by opponents to the dystopia being constructed by globalists, a senile Joe Biden, and unelected health bureaucrats who have imposed nonsensical, coercive, and arbitrary edicts.
Politically, DeSantis is a beacon of hope for the Western world and a reminder that there are still politicians who want the citizens they are entrusted to lead to flourish both socially and economically. He has resolutely defended liberty in the face of Covid fear-mongering and exposed the media’s baseless claims against him – rightly calling hostile news outlets ‘smear merchants’ and ‘the corporate media’.
Regarding his Covid policies – such as refusing to impose lockdowns and keeping schools open and his Parental Rights in Education Bill – the corporate media has accused him of making decisions that would cause unmitigated death and misery. In response, he simply stated the obvious:
‘What they’re doing with these slogans and these narratives is they’re trying to camouflage their true intentions.’
How hard was that? If only more Australian politicians realised that nobody cares what the ABC or the disgraceful major news networks say.
DeSantis is politically astute. He knows which way the cultural wind is blowing in America and it isn’t in the Left’s favour. There’s a good chance he will become the next president. Such sentiments, especially after our experiences of lockdowns and vaccine mandates, exist in Australia too – far more than the political class wishes to admit. It was not a ‘fringe minority’ that protested in Canberra several months ago, but a huge gathering of ordinary people tired of draconian impositions on liberty.
Australia’s premiers relish their pandemic powers and want them permanently entrenched in Australian law (as Daniel Andrews has done, and Peter Malinauskas is poised to do).
While New South Wales was in lockdown last year, DeSantis asked, ‘Is Australia freer than communist China right now?’ It wasn’t a stupid question. Many Australians have come to understand that a country in which unelected Chief Health Officers can force them to remain in their homes and to constantly wear a mask, take away the right to work, separate people from loved ones, forbid citzens from travelling, and make Australians choose between keeping their job or taking a coerced medical treatment – is not a free country. Florida has stood out as a haven of normalcy to many Australians as well as Americans.
Furthermore, many Australians have had it with Wokeness.
Some think that the Culture Wars are a uniquely American phenomenon, but intersectional ideology has a stranglehold over Australian politics and culture. We have our own version of Critical Race Theory (CRT) that seeks to abolish British heritage and replace it with a fictional Utopian view of Indigenous history. Nonconformity to the LGBTQ+ indoctrination agenda might cost you your job. Many Australians want politicians who will oppose this worldview which categorises people wholly by race, sexuality, and gender (or preferred gender).
There is a DeSantis-shaped vacuum in Australian politics. We have our heroes: Pauline Hanson, George Christensen, Malcolm Roberts, Craig Kelly, Gerard Rennick, and Alex Antic spring to mind. But at the state level, little is being done to combat authoritarianism and Wokeness, save a few brave representatives such as Tanya Davies and David Limbrick. No Australian state has been a refuge from the madness the way that Florida has. If Dominic Perrottet had only found the courage of his apparently conservative convictions when he became premier, the incompetence and pettiness of other premiers would have been fully exposed, and many people would have moved to New South Wales from other states. Sadly, much like Covid itself, Perrottet’s approach to freedom has been mild (although I am thankful that he pivoted his state away from lockdowns).
There are differences between the Australian and American political landscapes. Chiefly, Trump rejuvenated genuine conservatism in the Republican Party.
Ron DeSantis and Virginia’s new governor Glenn Youngkin, who won by focusing on parental rights and rejecting CRT in children’s education, are examples of this revived conservatism. True conservatives have abandoned the Liberal Party because it abandoned them by being virtually indistinguishable from Labor regarding lockdowns, vaccine mandates, and Wokeness (the recent Religious Freedom Bill debacle provides an example). There are a few ‘rogue’ Liberals, like Alex Antic and Gerard Rennick, but most of the real conservatives, or at least the ones who aren’t too timid to voice a genuinely conservative opinion, belong to minor parties. If the Liberals hope to win back their disillusioned base, they must emulate figures like Ron DeSantis or Glenn Youngkin. Whether they will do so is another matter.
Liberty is in the DNA of the American people, whereas complacency with big government is in ours – a feature of our prison colony past. Many Australians simply don’t think in terms of liberty and self-governance. We expect the government to play a large role in our lives and pay little attention to politics. Despite our reputation as being stiff-spined, good-humoured folks who fight crocodiles and venomous snakes daily, we’ve shown ourselves to be a rather compliant and apathetic people these past two years.
In a speech to the US Congress in 1976, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn declared, ‘There is but one choice: to rise to the tasks of the age.’
The political task of the age is clear: be courageous in the face of authoritarianism and Leftist depravity. DeSantis provides a strong, clear example of this. Hopefully, Australian conservatives will seize the moment.
Lincoln Brown can be found over on Twitter.
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