CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Time for a New Conservative Party?

Mar 26, 2016

Throughout much of the Western world we are seeing all things political shifting leftwards, so that one-time conservative political parties are now usually simply middle-of-the-road parties, while leftist parties have become hard-core leftist parties.

If we simply look at America and Australia we see this quite clearly. In the US the Democrats have gone full-blown leftist crazy, with two of the most extreme leftists now running for office: Clinton and Sanders. There was a time when a gung-ho socialist would not even be considered, but now he is seen as a serious Democrat player.

Pro-abortion, pro-homosexuality, and anti-Christian policies and platforms increasingly dominate in the Democratic Party. And don’t forget how the Democrats actually even booed God three times at their last national convention! There is nothing centrist about them anymore.

And of course the Republican Party has been imploding for decades now, filled with RINOs and moderates, pushing RINO and moderate candidates for POTUS – and losing time and time again. When a genuine conservative comes along like Cruz, he struggles to get any Republican Party support.

And the inability of the Republican Party to stand strong as a conservative party has led to the shocking Trump cult, which will likely seal the destruction of the Republicans. And the death of America as well. That legions of so-called Christians and conservatives can run with a New York liberal and lifelong supporter of Democrat and Establishment causes is shocking to behold.

bernardi 2Especially when they claim they are sick and tired of the left, the Democrats and the Establishment! Yep, makes perfect sense. And of course things are no better in Australia. The nation elected the conservatives with Tony Abbott at the helm, yet the turncoat and lifelong moderate LINO (Liberal In Name Only) Turnbull stabbed him in the back in an ugly coup.

That has still left hundreds of thousands – maybe even millions – of Liberal/National party members and voters seething. This kind of betrayal of conservatism has sent shock waves through the conservative community, and the mere passage of time will not easily smooth things over.

It is exactly because of the leftward tilt of the Liberals, especially under the sham Liberal Turnbull, that there has been so much more renewed talk of a new conservative political party. And today, if a press report is fully accurate, we may well be on the verge of that very thing, as we witness a new party based on conservative principles come into life.

Here is how an article in today’s Weekend Australian reports on this new development:

Rightwing Liberal senator Cory Bernardi has laid the groundwork to launch a new political force, the Australian Conservatives, to “give a voice back to Australia’s forgotten people”. In a move that risks further splintering the Turnbull government, a company controlled by the South Australian senator’s wife has applied to trademark the name and logos of the new group, with the stated aim of providing the “services of a political party”.
Senator Bernardi, who in September warned of a possible schism of the Liberal Party if Malcolm Turnbull did not uphold the party’s “distinctly conservative” character, yesterday described the Australian Conservatives as a program of his existing Conservative Leadership Foundation.
He would not provide further details about what the program involved or give an assurance he would not leave the Liberals to lead a breakaway party. In a rousing email to supporters on Monday, Senator Bernardi referred repeatedly to the “silent majority of Australian Conservatives” who were challenging “the leftist agenda of big government and decaying society”.
“Unless the mainstream parties connect with the ‘forgotten people’ they will choose a different path. It’s a global phenomenon and would be foolish to think it won’t emerge in Australia,” he wrote, citing the rise of Donald Trump.
“My mission (is) to build a movement that will change politics. To fight against the tyranny of political correctness and give a voice back to Australia’s forgotten people.
“That’s what Sir Robert Menzies sought to do over 70 years ago in forming the Liberal Party. It’s time Australian Conservatives reclaimed Menzies’s vision.” After Mr Turnbull seized the prime ministership in September, Senator Bernardi raised the prospect of a split in the Liberal Party unless it maintained a “distinctly conservative vision”.
“I don’t want it to come to that,” he said at the time. “I want us to be a mainstream conservative party, rather than just a vehicle for ‘anything goes, as long as I can climb the greasy pole’.” The senator yesterday would not say whether the risk of a party split had subsided….
The Liberal Party’s conservative fringe is being wooed by the Australian Liberty Alliance, which draws inspiration from populist Dutch MP Geert Wilders and champions a 10-year moratorium on Muslim immigration.
Tony Abbott in February warned the Liberal base would “flirt” with “more extreme alternatives” such as the ALA unless the Turnbull government maintained tough immigration and counter-terrorism policies. Mr Abbott has long cautioned against allowing fringe politicians to erode the Liberal base.

Now all this is very interesting indeed. And that closing paragraph raises some real important questions. With at least a half dozen other smaller conservative parties including the ALA already in existence, this push for yet another party might be problematic indeed.

Many folks have asked me over the years why all these smaller parties cannot just unite and form one major conservative party. This of course could be a sensible move, instead of allowing the conservative vote to get so splintered and diluted.

But as I have answered these folks often, getting them all to unite in one big party is unlikely for a number of reasons. First, most of these parties are led by strong, charismatic figures – which comes in handy when you are leading a party or some other group, but can be a hindrance when a bunch of these leaders are asked to lay down such leadership.

While a plurality of leaders is possible, it is not likely workable or desirable. That leaves appointing one person to be the leader. So just who will it be? And how many of these strong and forceful leaders will willingly relinquish power and control, and play second fiddle to someone else?

Very few would be keen on something like that. And even if these half dozen parties are quite similar in many ways (conservative, pro-family, etc), they still have plenty of differences. One of the main differences has to do with Christian vs non-Christian parties.

Those which are decidedly and unashamedly Christian parties are these: the Christian Democratic Party, Australian Christians, and Rise Up Australia. They are quite up front about their Christian basis. Then there are other parties like Family First which are overwhelmingly made up of Christians, but present themselves as a secular party.

The Australian Liberty Alliance presents itself as a secular party, but says this: “We are a secular organisation but acknowledge Australia’s Judaeo-Christian foundation.” As such, it has both Christians (of various stripes) and non-Christians running as their Senate candidates. See more on them here: billmuehlenberg.com/2015/10/21/australian-liberty-alliance/

And then there are differences amongst the Christian parties as well. While the Democratic Labour Party presents itself as a secular party, most folks within it are religious and overwhelmingly – but not exclusively – Catholic. The other parties are primarily made up of Protestant evangelicals. The idea that all these sectarian differences will somehow vanish as one super-conservative party is formed is highly unlikely.

And even on policy proposals, there would be many differences which would have to be overcome and ironed out if all these micro-parties were to unite in one conservative party. So such a union is not impossible, but is laden with real difficulties and challenges.

If a new conservative party does come on the scene, and simply adds to the ones already there, we may just end up with even smaller pieces of the conservative voting pie as a result. And then again, we have to take into account all the new changes to the Senate which were just dealt with, which may mean a rather different outcome in preferencing deals, etc. See here for the latest on this: www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/high-court-hearing-on-senate-voting-change/news-story/bfb0889ff001782d477aed469162c9fb

So we will have to see how all this works out in practice. As I have already told others, if a real major conservative political party comes on the scene, then sure, I and many others would support it. But it may take years to get properly established and have enough clout to make a real difference. In the meantime a divided conservative vote simply means, alas, more Labor Party wins for some years to come.

Just as the Labor Party split and the formation of the DLP in the 1950s meant a conservative hegemony for decades, so too a conservative split could mean the left staying in power for quite some time. But what are our other options? When all you have at the next federal election is a choice between Turnbull and Shorten, that really takes a lot of wind out of the sails of conservatives.

You almost wonder if it is worth voting with such bleak choices. In the old days you could get really impassioned and committed to an election, because you had real alternatives. You had conservatives like Howard or Abbott running against real lefty loonies in Labor. Your vote certainly counted then.

But as the main parties grow more and more alike, and as they both move further to the left, conservatives really are left feeling dispirited and disillusioned. If you just look at how all things pro-homosexual are creeping into conservative parties, you see what I mean. I wrote about this here: billmuehlenberg.com/2016/03/20/homosexualisation-conservative-political-parties/

Again it is the same in America, with millions of conservatives utterly appalled at the prospect of a Trump versus Clinton election. After all, Trump spent his life promoting leftist and Democrat cases, and now somehow he is going to stand against all that? So I see this same disease in both countries and much of the West. Real conservative parties are becoming increasingly rare.

The only way this might be turned around in some places is sadly for more tragedies to occur. For example, as more and more Islamic terror attacks leave European streets covered in blood, the right-wing, anti-Islam parties are growing. Geert Wilder and his party in Holland are going from strength to strength in such a climate.

That is one way for conservative parties to get some traction. But regardless, things are looking rather bleak at the moment. And we still have to discover if Bernardi really will set up his own party or not. If he does, then Australian conservatives will have to think long and hard as to how they proceed: do they stick with the Libs or take the risk with a proven conservative, but an unproven new conservative party?

Time will tell on all these matters.

www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/federal-election-2016-bernardi-risks-lib-split-with-new-party/news-story/b00820e0b53f180c9122f61a368cf1ea

[1813 words]

24 Responses to Time for a New Conservative Party?

  • Christians abandoned “politics” – brass on a sinking ship” …
    .
    When the ship does [finally] start to sink – due to mismanagement and lack of maintenance [indeed even agreement amongst themselves of what the “ship” is !!!]- Why are they a-gasp when they find themselves in shark infested waters !!!
    .
    The Germans started the rot with their rationalised “theology” [and look what they are now reaping !] Everybody wantonly feasted at this table … IOT become “somebody” [the past decades the US has attempted to establish themselves as this pot of poisoned gruel]
    .
    The perverse English – publically bragged about “how cheap the boys in Tunisia were” – and now have hoards of their grandchildren coming home to roost and trash the place.
    .
    The rest of us wallowed in the euphoria of the decadence created by “a dead god” to replace him with a rash of secular tyrants [and accompanying bureaucratic parasites – of which “christians” make up faithful slugfulls]
    .
    … “millions of conservatives utterly appalled at the prospect of …” looking in the mirror of their own decadence as the white wash they had applied for the last hundreds of years finally collapsed under its own weight of putrification.
    .
    A quick skim through the “policies” of the christian wannabe efforts of this “millennial generation” – expose the same degenerate foundations – but now fully adopted, admitted and self-declared y [!] – that created the current mess .
    .
    He comes …
    in assessment and judgement ALL the time …
    [just like He did in the past
    – some conveniently forget !!!] –
    .
    He saw a contemptuous lot calling themselves by His Name ….
    .
    [just like He did in the past !]
    – and they wonder why things have “got hot” …
    [better hot down here than later !!!!]
    http://biblehub.com/matthew/25-30.htm

    http://biblehub.com/2_chronicles/7-14.htm

    They who hate God …love death … !

  • Excellent review of the sad state of affairs in US and AU politics.
    I share your frustration and indecision as to who to vote for. I for one will not support Turncoat, he is a dangerous man.
    I’m not even sure why some good conservatives like Abetz even stay in the party. Labor will be worse, but that difference is getting smaller by the day.

    I voted Australian Christians last election, but I’ve heard little from them until recently (with an election looming). That leaves me wondering what they have been doing for the past year.

  • In the Australian Senate at least we do have the option of spending some time and voting below the line to choose those with conservative values. It will mean doing our homework and then choosing our top 12 conservative candidates (in double dissolution or top 6 if normal senate election) and numbering them 1-12/1-6 in order – this may mean a mixture of National, Family First, LNP etc. Then choose the worst 12/6 and put them in the last positions consecutively – you will have had to work out the total number on your State senate ticket to work out the final sequential numbers (71-76 in SA last time). Then fill in the rest in random order. That way you should ensure your vote counts for the Conservatives.

  • Yes, good write up, Bill. ‘Where to in Australian politics?’ is a tough one.

    Graham Hodge re “I voted Australian Christians last election, but I’ve heard little from them until recently …” The reason for this is simply 1). money, and a lot of it is needed; and 2). people willing to be involved.

    Sadly, the organising of a party, such Australian Christians, and the running of an election for this party falls on just a few people. These folks try hard year after year but get very little support from Christians – who, as it has been previously pointed out on Bill’s posts, vote Greens, Labor and, in South Australia where I live, Nick Xenophon. All three are pro homosexual marriage, pro killing unborn babies – up to full-term, anti-family, etc. So here lies the real problem, it is not Australian Christians fault but the responsibility of the Christian community.

  • The DLP is the only “Christian” party that has any hope of winning seats in Victoria. It is mainly Catholic and so many non-Catholics are wary of it. However people in the other “Christian” parties are wasting their time and money because their partie have no hope of winning seats. A political party exists to win votes and seats and if it cannot do that it might as well shut up shop. No matter how good it is or how good the rank and file and the leaders if it can’t win votes it is a dead duck. The late Bob Santamaria said that “A Christian party won’t work in Australia”. How right he was. These good folks outside the DLP need to face reality.

  • The only thing which really unites people is a common desire for the same end. Seemingly too many have differing definitions of that ‘end’;& insist their definition/way is THE correct one. ‘I did it MY way’ is reputedly the song sung in hell. Indeed; “Poor Fella, my Country”

  • http://biblehub.com/luke/11-23.htm

    A House Divided
    …22″But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armour on which he had relied and distributes his plunder. 23″He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.

  • For decades now we have been living in a post Christian era and the evidence and consequences of that sad reality confront us every day. We need only pick up a newspaper, switch on the television or walk through a shopping mall to see evidence of the depths to which we have sunk in ignoring or accepting greed, immorality, immodesty, perversity and idolatry in all its ugly forms. Is it any wonder then, that these decadent decades have failed to raise up strong men and women of integrity and honesty to whom we might look for political leadership? The nations are like the frog that fails to notice itself boiling to death because the heat creeps up so slowly. A polluted society eventually destroys itself hence we have Trump, Clinton, Putin, Obama and various local lookalikes whose policies and machinations perpetuate war, poverty, injustice and the decline of morality. May God have mercy on this poor world. MARANATHA !!

    CHRIST IS RISEN ALLELUIA !!
    HE IS RISEN INDEED ALLELUIA !!

    What a blessing it is that none of this decline is permanent! Meantime we fast and pray, do our little best to love and serve Our Lord and our neighbour, take note of and give thanks for, all the goodness and beauty still to be seen in God’s world and just trust Him for the ultimate outcome.

  • If Senator Bernardi can get a Conservative party going then maybe he can get already-elected Conservatives on board – like Abetz, Christiansen, Dutton and others, and arrange a formal Coalition with the Nats.

    As for FF/ALA etc., perhaps a loose Coalition of all these parties with Cory’s party might do the trick when it comes to voting on legislation.

  • One problem is that far too many Christians do not really think they should have a say in politics. I remember having a discussion with a cousin of mine and he said that the Liberal Party was a Christian party. I was dumbstruck by that. I would never say the Malcolm Turnbull is a “moderate” he is a Green-Left through and through.

  • Thank you Bill, this is an excellent review of the political party situation as we have it now. Also in the USA as you point out clearly. Now what do we do? We seem to have exhausted all options, leaving most conservative thinkers with little to choose from. As much as I don’t like Turncoat, at least he is not such a loony bin like Trump. Unless we see a strong united new force of conservative push forward, I see no sensible alternative other then to vote for the Liberals. At least we have stability and less splintering, with a good chance of a majority government, empowered to get on with the job of reforms in taxation, superannuation, defence, immigration , education, capital gains and negative gearing, all areas that need tough handling for this nation to prosper. No more riding on a sheeps back or leaning on a resources boom. We all need to pull up our socks, and work harder for a living, No more sponging of welfare.
    Wilhelmus Heggers Bridgetown W.A.

  • Bill, if we want to change the narrative we must change the language. When we use the terms “left” and “right” we perpetuate the liberal myth that everyone’s political views fit somewhere between two socialist dictators – Hitler on the extreme “right” and Stalin on the extreme “left.” I am not a socialist and I certainly don’t fit between two dictators. A more valid political “spectrum” would have all dictators at one extreme, anarchists at the other extreme, and in the middle would be people like you and I who believe in freedom under law.
    “Left” and “right” have been used very successfully to move western societies towards Marx’s goal of a socialist dictatorship, which in modern circumstances would be controlled from the UN by a coalition of big money and big government.
    Another corrosive political term is “progressive.” No one ever asks “progress toward what?” Understood through the grid of the Marxian dialectic “progressive” means moving our polity two steps forward and one step backward towards a thoroughly anti-Christian socialist dictatorship. The Humanist Magazine has often laid that out clearly in black and white.

  • Bill, your faith in the power of politicians is deeply touching. Unfortunately, I don’t recall Jesus or the Book of Revelation mentioning them as our saviors. Politicians are part of the problem and I for one will no longer be voting for “lesser” evil.

  • Thanks John. Please inform us all where I ever said that politicians can save us. Misrepresenting what I wrote helps no one, and in fact is a case of bearing false witness. And had you bothered to read my other articles instead of just launching into this rather unedifying and completely unnecessary attack, you would clearly have seen that I specifically say that no politician or party can save us. Indeed, just one week ago I wrote this:

    Everything that Scripture says about righteousness, about trusting in God, about working for godliness and integrity, about not putting our trust in human rulers, not running with the arrogant, not listening to the perverse, is all thrown out by these believers who have now become the idolaters that Scripture repeatedly warns against. In sum, these Christians have sold their souls to the devil: they have abandoned biblical morality and declared that an immoral pagan is their choice to “save” America.

    And as a biblical Christian, I happen to always agree with God, and refuse to tell him that he is wrong. God of course ordained the state and uses it for good in a fallen world, and we are to take our political responsibilities seriously. Both points can be found in places like Romans 13 of course. So I will stick with God and his Word here thanks.

  • Two thoughts come to mind:-

    1. It is astounding how easily this generation is manipulated by the media. This manipulation is easily seen in the promotion of people like Turnbull and Trump and the shear irrationality of the support for these people. If you look worldwide you see that this problem is exacerbated in places like the UK where there is a large influence from the corrupt, bureaucratic public broadcasters which, even though they have repeatedly proved to be immoral, are still treated with respect by the very foolish people who rely solely on these for their information.

    2. Jas 3:1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. (KJV)

    Unfortunately the people running many so called Christian parties are very much full of their own doctrines and seem incapable of seeing the big picture. The fact is no-one has got their doctrine fully correct and this, of course, was the beauty of the U.S. Constitution which recognized this. To me the DLP was the first party to stand on Christian principles and if Christians had the brains enough to get over their sectarianism differences then there may be some chance of overcoming the overwhelming immorality that pervades most modern political parties today. The way some of these parties adamantly stand on ideologies that may or may not be true but are also largely irrelevant to what needs to be achieved, astounds me. To me the most political epistles in the Bible are those of James. If people have a Christian, political bent then these and the Gospels are probably the texts that the party should hold most closely to. Other than that, for the rest of us, political change comes from the grass roots up by converting people to Christianity.

  • Cory should stay in the Liberal Party. There have always been tensions between the Conservatives and the others. Fortunately the Conservatives have usually won when it mattered. In my 9 years there the Conservatives won almost every debate in the Coalition Party room. The Peacock/ Howard battle was finally won by Howard. Some Conservatives were unfortunately persuaded to switch from Abbott to Turnbull. EG Bronwyn Bishop out of spite. I think the Conservatives should look to somebody else like Dutton or Morrison to take on the mantle. But tread carefully.

  • I loved that comment about -‘I did it my way’ yes indeed , hells’ national anthem – terrifying !

  • America is already dead and cannot be resurrected. UNLESS red states secede a la 1861. The secession of Southern states in 1861 was done to save the Constitution, while Lincoln represented the beginning of big government. He violated the Constitution without apology and drove the country into the bloodiest war the US has ever fought. He decimated the flower of Southern youth and destroyed Southern property. It is no secret that Northern armies committed war crimes against their Southern countrymen. President Jefferson Davis said, “I love the Union, and I love the Constitution, but I would rather leave the Union with the Constitution than stay in the Union without it.” A gaggle of contiguous red states must secede from the US, which is now not only incompetent as a government, but also evil.

  • It is fair observation that with the DLP “most folks within it are religious and overwhelmingly – but not exclusively – Catholic”.

    However its only current Member of Parliament (Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins) apparently is a Baptist. (Former DLP Senator John Madigan went independent back in 2014).

    More importantly, Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins is a Victorian upper house Member for Western Metropolitan Region which is an area that consistently has had the highest DLP primary vote in Victoria. In other words, a Baptist was pre-selected by “overwhelmingly” Catholic folks to stand in one of the DLP’s most winnable seats.

    What more does the DLP need to do to demonstrate that it welcomes Protestants and Evangelicals (short of requiring its Catholic members to renounce Catholicism)?

    Is there a single current DLP policy that clashes with Protestant/Evangelical sensibilities that the DLP’s Catholic members may not be aware of?

    Why not ask Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins, Member of Parliament, for her take on life as a Baptist in the DLP, and whether the DLP can successfully bridge and unite the Catholic/Protestant/Evangelical sectarian divide?

  • Cory Bernardi has always impressed me with his willingness to face up to evil and stand up for what is right. I hope he has great success.

  • Thanks Fred. Which is why I said “not exclusively”! And I have written her up on a number of occasions already, eg:

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2015/10/21/rachel-carling-jenkins-and-abortion/

  • Cory Bernardi’s allusion to ‘giving a voice back to Australia’s forgotten people’ may be an indirect salute to the book ‘Robert Menzies’ Forgotten People’ by Judith Brett (Pan Macmillan -1992). To quote loosely from the back cover blurb “Menzies’ ‘forgotten people’ were the middle class pitting their values of thrift, hard work and independence against the collectivist ethos of labour, as well as women, shunning the class-based politics of men for the harmony of home and family. This book is a good examination of the period. The author asserts that Menzies remains central still to ‘an understanding of the ambivalence that lies at the heart of the Australian self-image’. Brett’s analysis of Australian politics, though inevitably somewhat dated, is still surprisingly relevant to the changed political landscape we see in Canberra today.

  • An excellent piece of writing by the Australian journo, whoever he or she is. It will take a massive act of destruction of Australians by terrorists, in our country, before the sheeple will sit up and take notice. Even then some will say it is only a “lone wolf attack”. They forget that wolves run in packs, there is no such thing as a “lone wolf”!

  • Devastatingly spot on Annie … ;=[

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