Friday, 24 April 2009

The inevitable republican mantra

After Kevin Rudd had realised that his desire to bless Australia with his republic would not be the triumphant leisure walk he had imagined, the republicans - especially in the media - have fired their salvos with full force against the Australian Monarchy.

In today’s editorial in The Age, continues the line of “the nation's inevitable journey towards a republic”. And concludes: “The summit may be last year's story, but the republic is Australia's future story.” In yesterday’s Age Marilyn Lake, professor of history at La Trobe University, had already stated: “In the next few years, […] we prepare to inaugurate a republic,” inferring that “a” republic was a given.

As a professor of history Marilyn Lake should know better. History demonstrates in all its clarity that nothing is inevitable. Human beings cannot be pressed into certain categories and even the best computers cannot calculate their behaviour, still less their feelings or their attitude on political questions.

Until 1989 we were told that socialism was inevitable. The future belonged to the socialist ideas and Karl Marx had all the answers to solve poverty, exploitation, discrimination. Erich Honnecker, head of state of the German Democratic Republic, famously claimed:

”Den Sozialismus in seinem Lauf
halten weder Ochs noch Esel auf.”
(“The course of socialism will neither be hindered by oxen nor by donkeys.”)

After the collapse of the East European Communist systems even the Chinese Communist Party discovered the “charm of capitalism”. The future belonged to unlimited free markets systems, so we were told. Capitalism had won and the few remaining doubters were ridiculed. Can’t you remember?

These days we see what happened to the inevitable conquest of free market ideology.

Certainly as a historian Marilyn Lake could easily refer to the rise and fall of many other ideologies which for a shorter or longer time had captured the attention, and even love, of the political class. Republicanism is only one of many ideologies. And it is doomed like any other ideology, because it has failed in many parts of the world. To see the proof of this thesis read the newspapers and watch the nightly news programmes.

1 comment:

MadMonarchist said...

The revolutionary type always try to make the case that their vision of society is the one that is pre-destined to succeed. It was true with the Marxists, it was true with the Jacobins and even true of the Whigs in their time. Odd isn't it how the supposed champions of "freedom" and "liberty" are the ones who also say that we have no choice in the matter but that *this* is what is going to happen, sooner or later, like it or not.