The idea that ordinary Australians are beset by elites does conservatives no favours. Labor was at its weakest when it raged against "Mr Menzies and his wealthy friends". By playing the politics of envy it forfeited its chance at shaping the postwar future and had no answer to communism. Labor has only become competitive in Australian politics when it sets that rubbish aside.
At least, though, wealth can be defined. I think of the way a dictionary might define 'elite':
a group of persons exercising the major share of authority or influence within a larger groupThen I read Textor's cod definition of 'elite':
We think of the academics, the writers, artists, the Melbourne Club folk, the members of the pulpit politics clergy. Even human rights lawyers.Speak for yourself: I've rarely seen such a harmless bunch in my life. The Melbourne Club might have been a big deal in 1951 or 1881 but it has little impact on Australian life in 2011. Academics have awesome power in an uneducated society, less so now. Do people selling jewellery or watercolours at Mindil Beach Markets really exude serious clout? As for "the pulpit politics clergy", I don't know what Textor means and neither, it appears, does he.
For a bloke like me, from the suburbs of Darwin, they sound like an awful little group. Their type would be decked within five minutes in one of my favourite Darwin pubs. Two minutes in the old Dolphin Pub.Apparently Textor wants you to take him at face value. He's the son of an NT policeman; I doubt he spent much time at the Dolphin or any other pub, or even glides by them in his stretch limo on rare visits. If this piece were published in the NT News he'd be called on it. For the effete readers of the SMH, a line like that adds swagger and colour to a life dedicated to turning powerless fear into powerful rage and avoiding the consequences of doing so.
The rest of the article describes how Textor had to go to Eastern Europe to find decent and good people working away at jobs that weren't lucrative, but about which they cared deeply. For a bloke like him from Darwin, it is unclear why he didn't slide on down to the Royal Darwin Hospital and watch the nurses stitch back together people who'd been decked at Darwin's pubs. For a bloke like him from Darwin, it remains unclear to him why people do any job that pays so little and from which you can only draw non-material satisfaction.
People in the caring professions can draw heavily upon non-material issues such as community benefit and care for others, assuming that it counts for more than it does for blokes like Mark Textor. What is unclear is why it grates on blokes like Mark Textor as much as it does.
In fact, I'm an atheistThere are many solid intellectual cases to be made for atheism, but blokes like Mark Textor don't make them. This leaves blokes like Mark Textor vulnerable to the two main arguments that religious people make about atheists:
- they can't imagine anything bigger than themselves; and
- when you don't believe in something, you'll believe anything.
The thing that struck me about [Jan Carnogursky] this former associate of the "elite" was that he had fought for true democracy, he had earned his stripes. He had done what he'd done for the right reasons.What a sucker, eh? Carnogursky's opponent Vladimir Meciar presided over the asset-stripping of Slovakia's few assets. People who do that sort of thing truly deserve to be considered elite, marrying political power to economic power. To do that sort of thing in a society like Australia, it is necessary to engage someone like Mark Textor to pump out the FUD and skew the debate. The idea that people might presume to engage in politics without paying him or his brother-from-another-mother Bruce Hawker for the privilege is what it means to be "fiscally clueless". It is necessary to get people to regard public debates with the sort of incredulity Mark Textor applies to people who actually participate in them for no direct personal benefit:
And what is an actor "risking" apart from a fragile ego in criticising a political position on immigration, or a chief executive doing the same who doesn't live in a suburb affected by social change?Why would an actor, or anyone else, care about the sort of society they lived in? You can't get it through to Textor so don't even try (this lack of ability to understand others and their motivations counts against Textor's perceived reputation as a political strategist).
Where is "the suburb [un]affected by social change"? Seriously, where? Which electorate is it in?
This too does Textor no favours.
But one thing is for sure. Whether they're annoying, patronising, paternalistic or not, I'm glad the elite exist. I don't like them, and I disagree violently with most, but I like that they are there, somewhere.All the adjectives in the second sentence can apply to, say, Alan Jones. The rest of that final paragraph reads like the work of a man floundering. Textor has set up a straw man and, in knocking it over, it has fallen on him and pinned him down to an unsustainable position. He's too proud to ask for help so he needs to start by saying that the imaginary group against which he and his imaginary friends have been violent mightn't be so bad after all. It's both feeble and funny, this projection of pomposity onto others and a complete misunderstanding as to where power lies in society. All the great comics show their appreciation for that truism - Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Andrew Bolt - and now a private man who wants to exert public power from a weakly defensive mindset has stumbled into their ranks.
Maybe he does have such contempt for SMH readers that he'd write this shite, and you do yourself few favours by reading it - except to understand what sort of mind lies behind the focus groups, policies and communications of the Liberal Party and his other clients. Textor is so caught up in his imaginary constructs that he can't present to his clients an accurate picture of what is going on out there. He's testament to the idea that travel broadens the mind but he still has to work on the idea that other people matter even if they don't give you money.
Update 14 Nov: Another example of Textor's work is here, strangely unacknowledged by Coorey. CrosbyTextor are in charge of Qantas' public and regulatory perceptions. After the debacle of the board trying to sell the airline to private equity companies in 2009, and now this, it must be said that any further triumphs by Textor and his crew could be fatal.