[Marxism] Re: Liberalism, conservatism and Australia

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Thu Jun 24 17:43:30 MDT 2004

Tom: “Australia is a partial exception. The Howard government does combine
social conservatism with 
 neo-liberal economic views”

Phil: “it mainly *is not* an exception.  In the 80s and 90s there was over
a decade of Labour in power pursuing generally neo-liberal economics
social liberalism. Also 
  there is a difference between Howard's social
conservative rhetoric and what the Australian state actually does.  I
 the state apparatus in Oz is managed by a greater number of
social liberals than social conservatives.”

Tom: Some valid points which is why I said "partial". Some of what you say
probably applies to America too – my guess is the typical senior civil
servant in the US is a social liberal and ditto much of Congress, not to
mention Bill Clinton. On the other hand, both major parties in Australia
are opposing gay marriage and Howard is campaigning on the issue. With
regard to women’s rights, Howard has implemented minor reversals (such as
using the term “chairman), resisted advances on child care, refused the
sign the Optional Protocol under the United Nations Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and fostered a
"white picket fence" climate. He also does things "for women" -- like "baby
bonuses" designed to buttress the traditional family. These things don’t
change the main social realities, but they do create a climate where
revolutionaries finding themselves solidarising with liberal feminists to a
greater degree than you describe in NZ.

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