Australia is in need of honest, smart, independent people. Our future is grim unless we can find some, in a hurry.
We have plenty of dishonest, ignorant, ideological people. It is hard to know which should come first in that list. Are people ideological because they are ignorant, or are they dishonest because they are ideological, or are they ideological and therefore lose the capacity to be either smart or honest?
By ideological I mean completely captured by their partisan loyalty or worldview. Add to that a desperate hatred of the partisan loyalty and worldview of the other side. Add to that a commitment to win each day’s battle by any means necessary. We are good, they are evil, and the stakes are ultimate. Facts inconvenient to my side gaining victory must be obfuscated or brushed aside. When in doubt, shout louder.
After awhile, the pure ideologue becomes incapable even of processing data contrary to their worldview. In this way their ideology robs them of whatever intelligence and independence they might once have had. They have been assimilated into the Idea or the Party, never to be seen again.
A country can absorb a certain number of pure ideologues. You can find them on editorial pages, in policy shops, and even in government. But beware if they actually come to hold genuinely important positions of leadership. Beware if the health or survival of actual people or of institutions comes into their responsibility.
So here’s to honest, smart, independent people, who read, think, reflect, learn, and grow, who are not ideology’s captives, who have not been bought, and who cannot be intimidated. We need them today more than ever.