Neoliberal Rorts

In Australia, politicians from all sides do things like rort expenses. However those on the right seem particularly prone to do this and in a big way. Why?

We could argue that they are stupid. After all, after one important politician loses her position because she chartered a helicopter to make a 20 minute car drive (or whatever) to a party fund raising event, it could seem problematic to charter an aircraft to fly a normal commercial route? Apparently not.

While it is tempting to dismiss the right as inherently stupid, I don’t think this can be done. They do not seem stupid.

What is probably the problem is that the right is composed almost entirely of ‘neoliberals’; that is people who think that the free market is good/god, and that wealthy people should be rewarded and poorer people punished. Wealth is the only value, and it should reward virtue.

As they are virtuous people (because they believe in , defend, and act on neoliberal principles) it follows that they should be entitled to wealth like corporate executives are.

So by claiming transport costs, holidays in resorts, or charter flights on the taxpayers, they are not being criminal, or stupid, they are simply carrying out the principles of neoliberalism.

In the same way, Centrelink fishing for overpayment and threatening people on social security is also part of neoliberalism. According to the theories and hopes of the right, virtuous people, living in the market, should always have a full time job, and if they don’t they are rorting the system and should be punished.

Of course they are primarily punishing those people who have managed to get some work but, in neoliberalism, punishment of relative poverty is always appropriate.

Politicians on the right are also more prone to lying, because of their commitment to neoliberalism, as the only evaluation is profit. Whatever makes a profit is true.

The reality is that giving corporations more power through free market talk and tax cuts has not delivered liberty or prosperity for most people, as was promised. It has delivered stagnant wages, a punitive state, ecological destruction and cultural warfare (as a distraction).

If the right accepted this truth, then they would have to recognize that the last 35 years of right wing policy has failed, and they would have to change. It is easier to continue to lie and rort the system, while hoping they will survive, even if their electorate does not.

So the argument is that they rort because they are dedicated in hope to a failed system and its values. For them, there is still no alternative which would maintain the power and wealth of the establishment. They rort to make neoliberalism true.


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