Abbott redefines “human” to exclude vulnerable

29 May

I don’t know if anyone else is feeling traumatic fatigue as a consequence of the unrelenting assaults on truth and decency perpetrated by the Abbott government.

Where to start, recovering HECS debts from the dead, lying about the circumstances that led to the death of Reza Barati in the Manus Island riot; $111 million cut to CSIRO while $250 million given to school chaplains; Abbott and Hockey’s persistent efforts to sell their draconian budget as “fair” when anyone who looks for more than a nano second can see it patently is not, favouring, as it does, the rich, while demanding that those who have little give more than they can bear from what little they have, must I go on?

One thing all the government’s ideologically inspired torments have in common is their attack on human dignity, be it the dignity of asylum seekers, of disabled people, of pensioners, of students, of women who are unfairly disadvantaged, of the young unemployed, of the children who will be born into generational disadvantage as a consequence of this government’s policies, must I go on?

Attacking the human dignity of just about everyone, in fact, except the comfortably off and the rich, causing me to conclude yet again that in the conservative mind, the only human who deserves to conduct their life with dignity is the human with power and money.

Which one of the bastards said it is necessary to break eggs if you want to make an omelette?

Denial of human dignity discredits the worth of any cause that needs such denial to assert itself… What may be true for omelettes becomes a cruel lie when applied to human happiness and well-being.*

The ideological assumption from which many, if not all of the Abbott government policies are born, is that if you find yourself in a position where you need government assistance of any kind you are exiled from humanity, that is, they have redefined human to exclude the vulnerable. Indeed, you are not vulnerable at all, as the conservative mind does not accept the notion of vulnerability. You are a bludger, a scrounger, an importunate failure whose existence can only serve to drain the resources of the successful, and this has nothing at all to do with the circumstances of your life, or the society in which you attempt to live it. To the conservative mind, vulnerability equals immorality.

No evidence is ever presented by either politicians or the media who support their ideology, to substantiate claims of bludgers sitting on couches living the high life on the dole. No evidence is ever provided to substantiate the stereotypes of profligate youth, lazy mothers, thieving pensioners, criminal asylum seekers, people faking disability, et al, all of whom apparently exist only to deprive the successful and the powerful of what they claim to have worked their arses off to achieve, that is, depriving the humans who deserve to survive, and survive with dignity.

The value, the most precious of human values the sine qua non attribute of humanity, is a life of dignity; not survival at all costs. *

Yes, Prime Minister Abbott reassures his audiences, this is a hard budget, it will be hard but it is necessary. Yes, Prime Minister, this is a hard budget and it is hard on those who can least afford the pain it will bring. It is an attack on the vulnerable, an attack on human dignity, a disgraceful, undisguised war on anyone who is not, in conservative terms, successful.

And if Bob Ellis is right, though I dare not hope, I dare not, it will bring you down so hard on your unsellable arse that you will never get up again.

The world found nothing sacred in the abstract nakedness of being human, wrote Hannah Arendt. And neither does the Abbott government.


*Zygmunt Bauman

10 Responses to “Abbott redefines “human” to exclude vulnerable”

  1. doctorrob54 May 29, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

    This filthy,lying,corrupt sac of dog shit they now call our Fed.Gov.,makes me feel sick every day.In my most wildest of imagination I never thought it could ever get worse then it was with Howard. abbrott and his team of pus have proven me wrong.


    • Gruffbutt May 30, 2014 at 11:06 am #

      I’ve been trying to summarise my feelings about this government for conversing with the crowd of three word slogans. ‘Filthy, lying, corrupt sack of dog shit’ may be a little wordy but it’s hard to top.

      This mob also make me physically ill (there goes my $7).


  2. doug quixote May 30, 2014 at 7:58 am #

    Hard but cruel.

    I hope Ellis is right, and I hope so fervently.


  3. doug quixote May 30, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

    There are those who said last year,

    “They’re all the same!”

    “There’s no such thing as the lesser of two evils!”

    I’m not gonna vote for any of them, there’s no choice!”

    Well ladies and gentlemen, do you still think so?


    • Marilyn May 30, 2014 at 7:31 pm #

      Yeah well on the major social issues like refugees both major parties love the brutal cruelty. Not even murder and a blood bath will change their racist minds.

      And I have pointed out for the past 12 years that the morons who support this cruelty will one day be the victims themselves.

      Gillard did over the single parents, denied the right to same sex marriages, tried to flog refugees to Malaysia, deleted the country from the refugee convention by stealth and started the stinking racist hell holes we now see.

      The ALP will betray a good many in the budget, you wait.


      • paul walter May 31, 2014 at 10:54 am #

        I’d nuance that a bit. At worst there is a sadistic pleasure and an exhilaration in the experience of wielding power and playing god, but I think ultimately it’s also the same rationale as occurred in Roman’s a “business decision” .

        To keep the plebs from realising the real source of their miseries they invented various plots centred round excluded knowledges, narratives and their underlying meta-narratives, Xtianity for example, rounded up the those labeled “subversive” and executed these in exotic ways as an intense form of both warning and complicity-inducing “seductive” entertainment based on a pandering to base instincts. ( Orwell revisited this with 1984 and Animal Farm,of course)

        As usual on this issue, I will take a position between two poles, two sides of a coin and find my way half way between Marilyn’s pessimism and DQ’s slightly more optimistic take… I think Labor was less vicious than the the current lot, complied as to some thing many didn’t like and its failures involved lack of spine rather the actual enjoyment of cruelty: it acceded to the hard right (whether out of necessity or not) and the oligarchs rather than challenging their memes, and its increasingly strong conservative elements do share something of the gut reactiveness and overcompensating of the Hansonist/Abbottist right.

        But no more for now..anything further I’d say would probably provoke a stoush, with me in the middle, as I’ve said before I think neo-lib Globalisation and oligarchic hegemony have rendered fairly problematic and gelded, Australian politics and political parties, too “shopfront” and impotent against big money and intrusions from powers outside the country.

        Although I think Labors role as negotiator for the public interest was always going to be more difficult than the spoiling role role of those troops for the powers that be and discouragement is easily exploited, both for Laborites who want to hold the line and for those who eventuality want to sell out or bail out.


  4. paul walter May 30, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

    Just saying on FB to someone, what a pity we can’t roll back a year. I don’t understand this insanity; why do they hate people so much and why couldn’t people see what was coming?


    • Marilyn May 30, 2014 at 7:32 pm #

      Many of us did, it’s the racist bogans now being targeted who didn’t so it serves them right.


  5. helvityni May 30, 2014 at 8:35 pm #

    On ABC’s Drum, I was lamenting how inhumanly we treat the asylum seekers, I mentioned how pleased I was when I heard that they had a funeral service for drowned refugees in Italy, proper coffers with flowers and teddy bears on them for the children.

    Someone heartless, from Abbott’s side, replied by saying , what’s the point of funerals for them.

    Strange reply, but perhaps not, many here do not see them as desperate people, hardly as human beings. Reza’s death, his murder, has gone mainly un-noticed.


  6. Carolyn Hastie (@CarolynHastie) May 31, 2014 at 5:58 pm #

    “One thing all the government’s ideologically inspired torments have in common is their attack on human dignity” sadly, yes. And yes, I’m experiencing traumatic fatigue too 😦


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