Archives For Janet Albrechtsen

The closing remark from The Australian’s Janet Albrechtsen, in writing on the Australian Securities & Investments Commission’s (ASIC) quest for more judicial power through ‘new fairness laws’, made a pointed case about the danger of being ruled by fiat and whim of the bureaucratic caste.

Citing NSW Chief Justice Tom Bathurst, Albrechtsen argued that vague edicts – based on ‘ill-defined and poorly understood laws that we imagine reflect “the moral conscience of society” – mean ‘we will be ruled by lawyers not the rule of law.’ In other words, the danger before us is a society enslaved to an interpreter’s ability to interpret vague or ambiguous laws; meaning in a nutshell that subjective moralism, not objective morality, as handed down to English common law through Biblical Christianity, rules the day.

Albrechtsen labelled ASIC’s push for ‘new [fairness] laws’ a case of ‘bureaucrats expanding their unelected empires.’ Adding to this, Albrechtsen stated, Bathurst ‘warned that lawyers who favoured these kinds of laws could lose sight of whether the laws actually worked.’ This is because fairness isn’t easily defined and ‘people need clear, precise laws so they can identify, in advance, whether a particular act or arrangement will be [in] breach of [those] laws.’

In sum, Albrechtsen called for these new “fairness” laws to be rejected. For the reason, that implementing laws based on subjective whims, and uncertain notions about the current moral consciousness of society, leads to government overreach, and oppression or the ability to oppress. This is achieved through reckless, reactionary and unclear laws. The kinds of laws, that Albrechtsen accurately states, only serves the unelected bureaucratic caste and their socio-political interests. Simply put: ‘laws based on an ambiguous idea of fairness is bad for democracy.’ Ergo, these should be rejected.

To understand how Albrechtsen’s closing remark applies to this broader context, it pays to look at how her broadside against ASIC’s apparent quest for more power, hits on an issue that not only applies to ASIC’s request for “new fairness laws”, but to the broader context of hostile activism, and the quest to appear virtuous under the banner of social justice warrior.

We the people, as a society of free men and women, bearing the duties and responsibilities that such freedom requires, will indeed rue the day where we, out of ignorance and complacency, find ourselves under the thumb of a bloated, virtue signalling bureaucracy, issuing gaol terms or death sentences for perceived crimes committed under ambiguous terms such as “love is love”, “hate speech”, “white-privilege” and “micro-aggressions”.

To lean on Jean Bethke Elshtain and her paraphrasing of Vaclav Havel [i], “when human beings play God, the wreckage grows. In this mode, the human being finds himself in the “rut of totalitarian thought, where he is not his own and where he surrenders his own reason and conscience for the sake of another uninhabitable fiction! As long as that goal is served, it is not important whether we call that fiction ‘human well-being’, ‘socialism’ or ‘peace’. He or she lives within a lie as the self is given over to the “social auto-totality” [i.e.: he or she becomes both victim of the system and its instrument]; identity is surrendered and responsibility falters. A totalitarian society counts on this, requires it.”

To expand upon Albrechtsen’s closing remarks, woe to us if we’re ever governed by this subjective man-made system of salvation and condemnation, where we are governed by the fiats and whims of lawyers, and hostile leftist activism, instead of the rule of law.


References:

[i] Vaclav Havel was a survivor. He participated in the resistance movement during the Soviet led, Warsaw Pact, and invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. He was an anti-communist dissident and former president.

Albrechtsen, J. 2020, ‘Fairness’ The New Frontier For a Failing Regulator, The Australian, Wednesday 12th February.

Elshtain, J.B. 1995, Democracy On Trial, Basic Books

Havel, V. 1987, Living In Truth, Faber and Faber

First published on Caldron Pool, 15th February 2020.

Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

© Rod Lampard, 2020

I purchase the Wednesday edition of The Australian, not only for the mid-week news coverage, but also for the commentary. Given the hostile nature of the debate and the level of excellence I admire Janet Albrechtsen for, issuing this response is either really smart, or really dumb.

Last week I laid out some of my reasons for voting “no” to SSM in a blog post called, “Nein: Why I will be voting “no” to SSM?

That remains relevant, of course, only if a high court challenge to the planned Government survey (plebiscite) on SSM, doesn’t overrule giving Australians the right to voice their opinion, on this issue, in a democratic way.

What hasn’t been blocked, although major attempts from SSM advocates have tried to do so, is the debate.

Today, in The Australian (p.14), Janet Albrechtsen, a libertarian conservative, laid out her reasoning for having changed her position on same-sex marriage. Janet argues that protecting/preserving freedom – liberty – is the reason conservatives should vote “yes” to SSM.

The problem with this position is that for freedom to exist, it must be governed. If not, why have road rules and enforce them? Why have flags on a beach to protect swimmers from unknown dangers? Why have workplace safety laws?

If I understand correctly where Janet is coming from, it is a secular humanist view of humanity. This view sees humanity as inherently good; therefore it has no problem with advocating absolute personal freedom, but that position has a distinct lack of accountability and individual responsibility. It turns a blind eye to the blood soaked ground of the 20th Century and blurs the crimes committed in the name of liberty, during the Reign of Terror in the late 18th Century. This position rejects the Judeo-Christian pillars which form the foundations for the very liberty, Janet says she wishes to protect. To argue that by voting for SSM, a person is preserving freedom, is myopic. It is short-sighted.

Freedom exists in limitation. Edmund Burke wrote, “liberty must be limited in order to be possessed”. Karl Barth, who stood up against Hitler, carefully stated: ‘Where there is no genuine authority, so there is no genuine freedom. There is only action and reaction between a despotic arrogance and an equally despotic despair. (C.D.1938, p.646)’.

Likewise, C.S Lewis, states in the Abolition of Man that, ‘the heart never takes the place of the head: but it can, and should, obey it.’ To vote for SSM based on an idea of absolute personal freedom, no matter how sedated that might be, is as senseless and dangerous, as the words “love is love”.

I’m not yet a card-carrying conservative, but I do consider myself an ally in some of their current causes. Janet’s newfound position on SSM and her arguments for why conservatives should vote “yes” to SSM, isn’t a convincing one.

To her credit, the abuse of SSM advocates towards their opponents is acknowledged, but that Janet didn’t address the broader concerns, such as the long-term effects and the consequences of SSM on society as a whole, is the equivalent of dismissing the elephant in the room.

After holding out against the gathering storm, Janet, now seems, sadly, to be saying, “I’ve had enough of all the whining and tantrums. Just give the children what they want, or we’ll never hear the end of it.”


References:

Albrecthsen, J. 2017 Same-sex marriage: A libertarian conservative case for voting ‘yes’  Sourced from The Australian, 6th September 2017

Barth, K. 1938 Church Dogmatics 1.2: The Doctrine of the Word of God, Scripture as the Word of God Hendrickson Publishers, p.646

Burke, E. Letter To The Sheriffs of Bristol, (Sourced 6th September 2017 from https://archive.org/stream/sheriffsbristol00burkrich#page/42/mode/2up/search/liberty

Lewis, C.S, 1944. The Abolition of Man, HarperCollins Publishers