Thursday, July 29, 2010

Maybe Australia Needs A Benevolent Dictator.

I first heard this seemingly outrageous suggestion many years ago, probably the early 1990s, from the late “shock Jock” Stan Zemanek. As outrageous as it seemed at the time, I think Zemanek may have been on to something. Imagine having a benevolent dictator, with much focus on the word “benevolent”. What would this do?

First of all, it would save us all valuable time of having to scrutinise politicians, and then cast a meaningless vote in the vast ocean of politics. What? You want me to spend hours and hours delving into politicians’ lives and their biases, who they slept with, what their sexual preferences are, whether they rubber stamp Global warming (a degree in science is necessary here), not to mention keeping up to date with “party politics”? It seems to me that I need to know what brand of underwear Julia Gillard wears before I cast my vote. I remember, years ago, one astute Aussie voter commenting about Paul Keating, “I don’t like his looks”. Which indicates to me that the donkey vote is not only based on numerical listing on ballot papers, but that some will genuinely study politicians’ policies (or not), and then vote on how much he or she “looks” electable. Maybe that explains why the charismatic Bob Hawke was elected. Yeah, like Reagan, he was good at “public relations”. Worth a vote. On the other hand, the bland and charisma-deprived Malcolm Fraser was just a mustard pickle in a hot-dog stand (and few realise his significant contributions to the less fortunate). But I sympathise. To keep up to date with politics and politicians requires the dedication of obsessed souls unburdened by immediate worries, like "where is my next meal coming from?” Or, who’s going to fix my abscessed tooth? Do I have to wait two years to get a diagnosis of my condition, by which time I will be outlining my funeral requests? Thanks to the “Federal government” who spend $millions sending out cancer bowel-detection kits while placing far less money into free medical care (I'm specifically thinking of dental care here, the lack of which can lead to heart disease)? The bad news is that you have bowel cancer. The good news is that it can be cured. The bad news about the good news is that you’ll have to pay for it. What this really means is that “the public” don’t give a shit whether you live or die, as long as the PAYG (pay as you go) (literally) system applies to your suffering. Why should they spend money on you when their hard-earned money (or not so hard-earned) could go to more worthwhile causes, like gambling on the horses or the pokies at the local club? Or investment in $Million properties.

The problem with democracy is, as Churchill said, it’s the worst form of government, save all the others. Now here’s my wildly speculative “benevolent dictatorship” for Australia:

We need a “benevolent dictator” who is compassionate.

We need a benevolent dictator who believes in law and justice.

We need a benevolent dictator who cares for poor, while not undermining the right of the ambitious to “earn money”, if they perceive the plight of the less fortunate, and try to help them learn how to escape “government handouts”. Do you notice how many complain about “government handouts” while they have $millions invested in properties to ensure their “safe retirement”? It’s not as if everyone is so talented or genetically fortunate, like James Packer, who was born rich!

We need a benevolent dictator who is driven by ideals and not monetary gain.

We need a benevolent dictator who is honest, compassionate, and genuine to the core, who feels uncomfortable sleeping at night unless the needs of his, or her, less fortunate brothers and sisters are met. In other words, someone who has a conscience, and is motivated less by money and profits and more by service to mankind. Or humankind. And particularly to the less fortunate. Why is there so much crime and violence in Australia today? A world wide trend. I would suggest it is because we have lost hope, and we no longer believe that we will see justice on earth. So the attitude is, “why should we care?” I’m not suggesting handouts for “bludgers”, but maybe we need to examine why some people feel society owes them a living, and where this mentality comes from. Could it be because, not having been born with a silver spoon in their mouth, they have also lost faith in justice, in the Universe, or in God? If people do not perceive justice around them, then they will have no stake in trying to create a just society, which in fact has failed them, and they no longer have any faith in God or politicians.

The strange thing is that 2,000 years ago, a man called Jesus supposedly set the ideals upon which Western civlisation was built. Yet we have blatantly ignored them. But I have no illusions. Even if Jesus Christ ruled Australia, some will still find fault. My idea of a “benevolent dictator” was built not upon someone like Fidel Castro leading, but someone more in the likeness of a “Jesus figure”. “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first”, said he. Speaking, of course, in theological matters, but one may well wonder how much of this applies to current social and political circumstances.

I cannot live, if you will excuse me, with a sight I have seen almost on a daily basis. People who have no where to live, no where to “rest their heads”, while “soccer stars”, as one example, earn $millions and even $billions for professionally kicking a ball on a field (sure, they deserve money, but do you, like me, remember the days when "football players" worked at a fulltime job, and sports like soccer were "recreational activities"?). The dejected face of a homeless “vagabond” may incite us to judge that it’s all his or her fault, with little or no consideration to what led to such a condition. Perhaps a "benevolent dictator" might consider this?

Perhaps I’m totally wrong, but maybe what we need today in “modern Australia” is not “democracy”, but a “benevolent dictator” in whose heart lies the feeling, “and justice for all”. Democracy only seems to encourage more abuse, and less understanding, the well-being of the "achievers", without considering that someone has to collect household garbage, fix broken pipes, and labour for a pittance to ensure your comforts. This is the theoretical model for “the kingdom of God upon earth”, an earth ruled by compassion and justice . A theocracy, perhaps, but one led by something or someone more than self-serving individual interests.

And from this post, I presume most realise that I’m just dreaming.

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