Of course we all know the theory that when a frog is placed in a cooker and the temperature is increased in small increments so the frog doesn’t notice it is being slowly boiled until it is too late…well .that same mechanism is used in social situations where people are slowly subjected to propaganda directions that move their principles to another side without their noticing it until it is too late and they are arguing a point contrary to their original principles without their even noticing the shift.
We recently had our Xmas dinner invite where regular guests attend for a sumptuous dinner here at “Manor Mallee”..One of our regular guests showed just such signs as the “slow-boiled -frog” in that from last year to this, their opinion on multiculturalism had changed from what I would call ;”Sympathetic humanism” to a kind of ; ” THEY ought to be more appreciative…etc”.
Now, the person was of retirement age, but held down a nice, comfortable little occupation that brought them in touch with the general public, has lived a nice comfortable life in a nice comfortable “up-market” suburb and in general could be described as your average suburban, middle-class citizen…cultured, well-read, up with the arts and online communicator. Yet here we see this shift, be it ever so slight, from “accommodating” to “accusation”…Why is it so? the good professor may well ask.
Here we have a prime example of what we see happening all over “aspirational Australia”..A slow-cooking outrage that has created a perception that our “hospitality” toward those from desperate climes and geography is being used and abused by the ungrateful unwashed…poor us…Cue Pauline Hanson and a plethora of white, conservative citizens.
Actually, it is the result of what Mao Tse-tung warned against with the need for “constant revolution”..It is what I have been trying to hammer on about here with the need to become more radical as the right-wing mood becomes more conservative and reactionary..When one slips into a “comfort-mode” as one slips into a comfortable armchair in front of the tele at night, one finds it so much harder to shift one’s arse to get a thing done. So it is with politics.. just when one believes they have it all worked out, along comes a Hanson or, in the case of America; a Trump and suddenly the whole game changes..no longer is it viable to try to flog that old chestnut of “lets all just get along together” or a “fair-go for all Aussies”…when the reactionary side of politics has suddenly divided the nation into “THEM and US”.
A vacuum has formed on the left side of politics and those waverers who swung to social politics when it benefited them are now being sucked away to the “new positives” of “Yes!..YOU can be a winner” of Hansonism and Coryism…and what is denying a greater fight-back by the radical left against this incursion upon working-class territory is the soft middle-class of left-wing politics..the “slow-boiled-frog theory ” of indecision. Those who advocate a “sensitive , polite discussion on the realities of what confronts us at this moment in time..(just a moment while I blow my nose!)”..
Let us consult history on the outcome of this indecision..:
“…A far worse trait was the lukewarmness and narrow minded stubbornness of the “Ultras”. The former could neither be induced to act nor keep silence. If they were asked to exert themselves in some definite way for the common good ,with the inconsistency characteristic of weak people they regarded any such suggestion as a malicious attempt to compromise them still further, and either did not do what they were ordered at all or did it with half heart. At the same time of course, with their affectation of knowing better when it was too late and their over-wise impracticabilities, they proved a perpetual clog to those who were acting ; their work consisted in criticising, ridiculing and bemoaning every occurance great and small and in unnerving and discouraging the multitude by their own sluggishness and hopelessness…” (Mommsen ; “History of Rome” chap; 10).
Just so do those most comfortably placed in their social seats criticise any “disruption” (hate that word!) of their comfortable lives by having to confront class-war , union bashing politics and all-inclusive gender discussions with more “full-frontal” opinion pieces that could AND SHOULD contain arguments both vulgar to the ear and crude to the “touch” of gentle sensitivities… and instead would insist there is nothing wrong with the reciting eternally of gentle symphonic orchestral pieces and obscure opera and cute animal pics..But if one can point out to many a discomfort, the harmonic sound of the orchestra on the Titanic playing “Nearer my God to Thee” may have mollified the moment, but it saved not one more soul from drowning…so I claim that the endless soft-soaping by the middle-class of the reality of right-wing poaching of working-class votes by refusing to get up from their comfort zone and radicalise the rhetoric will not stop one more vote from slipping away.
Or will it be preferred for sir / madam if we just turn the water temperature up a degree or two warmer?