Christopher Pyne recently penned an opinion piece enthusiastically embracing Joe Biden as the great white hope of the world, and denouncing Donald Trump and everything he’d dragged the Republican Party to. Good Sauce writer, Grant Vandersee commented about Pyne’s opinion:
“The fact that Christopher Pyne is hoping that Joe Biden wins, with his anti-life, anti-freedom, far Left, socialist, prejudiced, divisive ideology, just proves that Pyne was in the wrong party.”
Former member of the Howard government, Cameron Thompson replied:
“It’s a broad church. Diversity served the Howard Government well. Leadership comes from above. A wider range of MPs reaches further into the community and enables strong, stable government. Never be afraid of a debate, especially if you can have that discussion in the government party room and not in opposition.”
These platitudes are wonderful in the indulgent world of hyper-intellectual theorising, but in the real world the modern Liberal Party is starkly contrasted with that of the Howard era, let alone the party Menzies envisioned. More and more radically progressive leftists like Pyne and Turnbull, who are indeed effusive in their affection for all things leftist after their parliamentary careers, are infiltrating and influencing the values of the Liberal Party.
In the real world it was not a radically left of centre party which completely failed its solemn duty to guard freedom of speech or religious conviction while shepherding in legislation to undefine the timeless institution and holy sacrament of marriage (legislation no one could truthfully argue the party of Howard or Menzies would have tolerated). It was a cabal of progressives like & including Pyne covertly operating under the flimsy excuse of the Liberal Party’s “broad church.”
Of course, what Howard narrowly meant by the now hijacked and disfigured metaphor of a “broad church” was the space for the conservative traditionalism of Edmund Burke and the small government liberalism of John Stuart Mill to coexist. It united right of centre ideas in a focused resistance to socially & economically destructive left of centre ideas.
When challenged that his hollow rhetoric equating Pyne’s destructive progressivism to an opportunity for diversity & debate would provide no barriers to Daniel Andrews, Joseph Stalin and Karl Marx – a very, very large ‘church’ – Thompson trotted out more of the same tired rhetoric which has so diluted the Liberal values of Menzies and Howard as to be merely shades better than the Labor alternative in a plurality of policies held dear by the grassroots members.
“In fact anyone can join the party and contribute to internal debates. It’s the same with the LNP, here in QLD. But party policy and our aims in government remain underpinned by liberal philosophy, about enterprise and individual responsibility, small government and the rule of law. This outlook has been consistent since the day of Menzies.”
That anyone can join the party is certainly a point able to be contended by anyone who admits to previous membership in Cory Bernardi’s failed party and/or returning on the demise of the failed hard-left leadership of Malcolm Turnbull. It now appears far too easy for progressives to join the Liberal Party, and far too hard for authentic conservatives. “Broad church” when convenient?
Of course, to any clear minded person it remains perfectly obvious that if a majority of members espouse values dissonant with Menzies and Howard there is literally nothing conserving those values in the Liberal Party to withstand internally ‘popular’ revisionism by that illiberal majority.
An old truism seemingly forgotten is that if you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything. Enough of the motherhood statements already. What, of meaningful substance, does the Liberal Party stand for which would exclude far left operators like Biden-loving Pyne?
If there continues to be a red carpet rolled out for disingenuous opportunists like Christopher Pyne & Malcolm Turnbull in the vain pursuit of diversity for its own sake, the Liberal Party will only ever be slightly better than the Labor Party, dragged with them ever more leftwards. John Howard’s goal of a “broad church” has been hijacked and weaponised to assure, not the defeat of destructive left of centre ideas, but their continued adoption by the Liberal Party.
Indeed, Daniel Andrews and Karl Marx might as well apply.
I don’t despise the “broad church” nor diversity of ideas. I pour hot scorn on those who butcher those terms to advocate indiscriminate membership in a party defined only by shared values. What’s clear is that without an influx of people sharing the values of Menzies & Howard, playing the same game by the same rules – ethical, participatory membership – the boundaries of the Liberal Party will continue to be incrementally ratcheted left by epigones of Pyne, Turnbull & creepy Joe Biden who actually turn up.
“Broad church” remains a limp-wristed, empty answer.
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Dave Pellowe is a Christian writer & commentator, founder of The Good Sauce, convener of the annual Australian Church And State Summit and host of Good Sauce's weekly The Church And State Show, also syndicated on ADH TV. Since 2016 Dave has undertaken the mission of arming Christians to influence culture through events from Perth to Auckland, videos, podcasts and articles published in multiple journals across Australia and New Zealand. [more]