54 thoughts on “Howard Derangement Syndrome a lasting condition

  1. The left has always been tired of these stunts. And stunts such as calling all disagreement with conservatives ‘derangement syndrome’. It takes two to poison the well.

    Was an impressive performance from Howard. I do enjoy watching him reason and argue. I’d say he’s still a decade away from achieving a statesman like independence though. Then we may finally see him acknowledge his massive increase in government spending while claiming to be an economic liberal. Maybe in his book he acknowledges this contradiction, but I’m doubtful. It’s likely still too close historically, and he’s still too aware of implications for Abbott if he stated so openly.


  2. Andrew – Naturally I don’t call all people who disagree with conservatives deranged. I’ve written plenty that is critical of the Howard government myself. While there are some criticisms that are loopy, HDS refers to style rather than substance.


  3. My objection is that HDS is a term that delegitimises all opposition. It’s whole use has been to shut down debate, something I’ve seen many times on forums and blogs over the years. Say it, and you need never respond to the others concerns again.While you are certainly civil, many others who use it aren’t.

    It’s not necessary either. Fools such as the one who threw his shoes have obviously ruled themselves out of sensible contribution, no one needs them labeled to see that. Yet the term HDS has almost always been deployed against th majority who opposed Howard, not the tiny minority who are already on the outer.


  4. Andrew – I don’t think so. It’s just a bit of fun at the expense of people who have lost a sense of perspective. I think I used it a bit broadly in this instance, as my recollection is that it started not as a way of describing the lunatic fringe but as a way of diagnosing otherwise or previously calm and even conservative people who lost it in their loathing of Howard. John Valder was a classic example, a once-respected Liberal figure who descended into public anger and paranoia. It has never been used to describe mass opinion.


  5. I didn’t see the program and so didn’t see the incident but I think it speaks well of our country that all this guy, who evidently detests Howard, did was throw a pair of shoes at him. In the United States, a good number of the Obama haters would do a lot worse than throw shoes, if they had the opportunity.


  6. Andrew Carr

    I’m with AN here. Look, I was weaned on left-wing political struggle, trade unionsism, and admit to being a cookie-cutter Luvvie for most of my first 30 years. There was only person more loathed than John Howard and that was Malcolm Fraser. But after returning home after spending most of the 90s living o/s, I thought I had landed in the middle of George Orwell’s 2 minutes of hate. Except it was Groundhog Day for over a decade and it is STILL going.

    HDS remains ubiquitous among a large – if not majority – chunk of the middle class left. This hatred has so polluted our public discourse, so poisoned any incentive for people of goodwill to dare to verbalize their casual off-piste thoughts because the social and professional downside risks are just too high.

    How many middle-class leftists do you know who DON’T situate Australian “neoliberalism” and mandatory detention with John Howard?


  7. All middle class leftists that I know are well aware that mandatory detention began under the Keating Governmen. However, it was Howard who used the detainees as political playthings, the better to get the votes of (then) One Nation voters. As for neoliberalism, or as it is known Down Under, economic rationalism, it did not begin with Prime Minister John Howard. It began with Treasurer John Howard.


  8. Andrew was always selected in his syndromes.

    It started with Bill Clinton and sure enough migrated here to Paul Keating but never with Hawkey. It was repeated with both Bush and Howard.
    It thus far has shown no sign of going away with it bring repeated with Obama and here with rudd then Gillard.

    Fraser was completely different if not for 1975 nothing would have happened


  9. andrew – the guy who threw the shoe was a dickhead – probably an upper middle class uni educated radical whose only experience of downtrodden workers is the people his father employs.

    But the real Howard derangement syndrome surely has effected JWH the most chronically and seriously, Costello next almost terminally and Abbott is infected like a zombie bitten by a vampire JWH hiself


  10. Mandatory detention is part of it, economic rationalism a smaller part. But HDS is largely about Iraq. The idea seems to be that the absence of support from France, China and Russia on the Security Council made the invasion not only illegal but illegitimate. At the time, no one seriously disputed that Iraq had WMD. So HDS is largely a reaction to Howard supporting America’s notion that it does not need to listen to conflicted and corrupt regimes when conducting its foreign policy.


  11. Mandatory detention was Keating’s brainchild.

    As for Iraq, there was nothing Australia could have done to prevent the US going to war but when it happened, it was perfectly sensible for us to send a token deployment of troops to show our support for the US alliance and thus keep up the implicit understanding behind that – small cost for a great future return.


  12. HDS began incubating when in one sentence he agreed with Fitzgerald Report’s conclusions on immigration. But HDS went postal when Howard refused to publicly hang Pauline Hanson, or apologize to the Stolen Generation, or lead the Republic Revolution. Them the 2001 election saw HDS turn malignant from Tampa poisoning.


  13. Maybe you’re right Peter, or maybe the refrain of Howard-haters has changed over time. It’s just that when you ask people afflicted with HDS what they would do to Howard if they could, most want to indict him for war crimes arising from the invasion of Irag.


  14. Actually, they say they’ll take whatever you’re offering – Neoliberalism, public school dissolution, blah, blah, blah.


  15. the only trouble with that theory Jason is that it was NEVER stated at the time.

    The first time this was put in the blogsphere was by Ken Parish at Troppo.

    It was noted by all that this reason was never one of the various reasons put by Howard on why we invaded Iraq.

    The US alliance argument was only put up well after the invasion eventuated.


  16. KB – The US alliance was obviously the main reason Australia was involved, as was well known at the time. The war as a whole needed different justifications, which is probably what you are thinking of.


  17. sorry Andrew,

    The alliance excuse was NEVER made by Howard until well after the invasion.
    We did have a myriad of reasons given that seemed to change from day to day but fighting because of the alliance was never one.

    It is really a very silly reason.

    It means we have to follow the US in any venture no matter what. This would mean we are not in an alliance at all.


  18. “At the time, no one seriously disputed that Iraq had WMD.”

    Well, no one apart from the man whose job it was to find out whether Iraq had WMD, head of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, Hans Blix. But what would he know?


  19. Homer
    Being in an alliance means that if your military allies request your assistance and you think it’s a reasonable request (which we did at the time given the high uncertainty over WMD) we consider the request. In return for a small deployment of trips we expect some future benefit from the US defence shield. The US may have been bled dry by iraq but tell us how we lose?


  20. if WE thought it was a reasonable request then it would have been made public at the time. It was NOT!

    We will get that future benefit whether we went there or not.

    Rajat there are WMDs and there are WMDS.

    Please note no specifics were ever given about what WMDS Iraq had.
    When pressed the only comments that were given were chemical laced shells fired by Iraq against Iran and canisters of chemicals fired at Kurds.

    Given that the only two Aussies that would know told howard Iraq had no new chemical weapons and any from the Iraq war were degraded made this excuse rather silly.


  21. oh and you have an alliance if you are threatened.

    The Us was not threatened and nor were we.

    We lose because the Alliance is sees as simply an excuse to wage war not to protect either country.


  22. Blix concluded that there were no WMD two months before the invasion, which was not exactly at the last minute, and well before Howard said he had decided to join the invasion.


  23. We don’t want to rehash old debates. But it is very unlikely we would have been involved except for our alliance with the US. Our contribution was political more than military. Therefore this is the ultimate reason why Australia in particular was there.


  24. Homer you fount of incoherency
    The US would’ve gone in regardless of whether we helped or not. For a more or less symbolic commitment we added future brownie points to the notion of an alliance providing us with a future defence shield. That’s how understandings are maintained. Tell us what we lost.


  25. We lost not getting rid of AQ and the government that supported them.

    You never said this at the time Jason because you didn’t know any of this. do you ever wonder why at all or have you stopped thinking ?

    You have confirmed that the alliance is not now an alliance at all.


  26. If we (as a country) put forth the notion that we need to support the US in such wars due to the alliance, then isn’t that building a straitjacket for ourselves in the future? The more we put it about, the more it becomes a self-fulfilling notion – if we say today “we have to go into Iraq to maintain the US alliance”, then tomorrow we say “sorry, we can’t support this new war you’re in”, then the US may see this in light of our earlier comments as abandoning the alliance.


  27. Homer
    who is ‘we’

    do you seriously believe that the diversion of Australian troops from Afghanistan to Iraq would have made a difference to ‘getting rid of AQ’?

    We had no hope of changing US policy on Iraq. Once they decided on that course of action, our going along with it really involved little cost.


  28. If we (as a country) put forth the notion that we need to support the US in such wars due to the alliance,

    That’s Homer hackneyed interpretation. My interpretation is that given the uncertainties of the day with WMD that made it a not completely irrational and ridiculous request, yes, we should have gone along with Iraq. of course it’s still going to be a case by caae decision in the end but the ‘alliance factor’ is given its strong weighting


  29. the Diversion of allied troops did Jason.

    Yeah Iraq could not service their tanks, had the slowest planes around, their soldiers were lamentable in the Iraq war and no-one but no-one who actually say what specific WMDS they had.

    There were little uncertainty about Iraq having WMDs at the time. Perhaps for people such as Jason but none for anyone who had actually looked at the position


  30. Homer
    how many times do I have to repeat this?
    US and UK commitment to Iraq can be taken as exogenous not endogenous. We would have had no real impact on that decision. So the realistic comparison is given it was going to happen, what was better for us from a realpolitik perspective.

    The US and UK weren’t going to change their minds anyway even if Australia declined to participate. So our commitment to Iraq would have made no difference to the outcome in Afghanistan since troops would have been diverted anyway.


  31. “You have confirmed that the alliance is not now an alliance at all.”


    Homer, Jason has no influence on foreign policy unless you know something I don’t.

    Last time I saw the Alliance is doing fine. Don’t you worry about a thing.


  32. Jason ,
    The US would defend us if we didn’t go to Iraq.
    Thus we did not have to go.

    You have confirmed we do not have an alliance as no nation was threatened.

    We did have a threat coming out of Afghanistan unfortunately our politicians showed as much guts and intelligence as you.

    by the way you were arguing previously it was endogenous ( formally through the alliance) and now you are saying it isn’t.

    good to see you are consistent to the end.


  33. Are you sure you have an MBA Homer?

    Let’s see what you’ve failed miserably at:

    Business Strategy, now augmented by:
    Military Strategy
    International Relations
    Basic Comprehension

    Unless you believe Rudd and Gillard stymied the alliance (they committed for another 10 years in Afghanistan), why on earth was Howard invited to give the 2008 Irving Kristol lecture:

    “There is no better friend for the United States than Australia. …. never before has our alliance been stronger.”

    I do not believe Howard was booed at when he made this comment.

    This isn’t reality, this is Homerism, son.


  34. A guy called Scott Ritter, a former weapons inspector, released a book shortly before the war saying Saddam’s WMD capability had been pretty much nullified. Turns out he was right. I find it hard to believe Bush and co weren’t privy to this information.

    As for joining the invasion being a pre-requisite for the maintenance of the alliance. I don’t think so. Australia’s position and protection is crucial to US national security.


  35. unlike you Mark ?I went to school.
    I do not link articles that show my position is wrong.

    I do not say stupidly Ireland is adopting expansionary policy and Poland is adopting contractionary policy.
    I could go on but Mark’s mishaps would take all day.

    Jason has ignored ,naturally, He did not know about the alliance being the main reason for the invasion. He was one of the many wood-ducks who supports this.

    There were only uncertainties about WMDS in Iraq for Jason because like all Catallaxians he is incapable of doing any homework on a subject.

    He has shown the alliance is now a sham.

    He implies unless we supported the invasion the US would not help us if we were threatened. Yep the yanks would love those security bases in foreign hands.


  36. actually I should add the Yanks put in a rider in the ANZUS treaty so no country had to go to the other countries assistance unless they were threatened.

    Remarkable the Yanks then tried this on Howard and he said nothing.

    Thus 11/9 triggered the treaty but Iraq couldn’t possibly


  37. Homer you were proven wrong 100% on everything you say. Everyone at the cat including my sparring partner sfdc will testify to that.

    If you admitted when you say something stupid and went back on it, like everyone else is capable of, you’d save yourself a heap of trouble.

    “He implies unless we supported the invasion the US would not help us if we were threatened. Yep the yanks would love those security bases in foreign hands.”

    Strategy is a dynamic game you bozo. Maybe they’d remove the bases so they wouldn’t *have to* defend us. The invasion of Iraq was coordinated from Qatar. We don’t have a monopoly on what offer to the US.


  38. SORatpack

    Your point on Thatcher standing up to the US is well made. But things are a little different with Australia. Two words. Nuclear arsenal.


  39. Mark I said the only Jews killed by the government prior to 1938 were those involved in poitical activities.
    Your two examples were Jews who were high level social democrat!!!
    You have a well deserved reputation for making things up beside being extraordinary ignorant about any subject you wrote about.

    Really like sinkers who made things up about the ALP on Afghanistan on the VERY day Coorey made it clear no information came from the government!
    Mentioning this impertinent fact meant no comment was allowed.
    how different the behaviour of Ken Parish at Troppo


  40. oh by the way they are joint facilities oh Genius.

    They are needed geographically!

    Oh that knowledge that spouts out from Mark


  41. Homer

    Alliancement engagement is a repeated game. This has nothing to do with ‘arse licking’ or automatic compliance. And Thatcher would probably have gone along with Iraq too.

    Again you haven’t shown what we had to lose from sending a token deployment of troops. We didn’t bear the bulk of the costs of the war but we maintained our relationship with the US.


  42. America has territories below the equator, and other allies, and re: the Jews, you’re ridiculously naive.

    “Really like sinkers who made things up about the ALP on Afghanistan on the VERY day Coorey made it clear no information came from the government!”

    No Sinclair Davidson made NOTHING up. What Coorey admitted was precisely his point.

    It is amazing the legnths you go to, in defence of Rudd and his legacy.

    You must be the only person in Australia other than his wife who adores him now.


  43. Jason we were ALWAYS going to maintain our relationship.

    Thatcher told Reagan his invasion of Grenada was illegal so maybe you ere wrong.

    An alliance is an agreement where a country agrees to help you out if you are attacked.
    no-one was.

    Thew ‘alliance’ is thus reduced in public trust. This is of course why howard NEVER made this reason while we we about to go and when we went.

    We could have made the case those resources were needed in Afghanistan where terrorism was fomenting and was indeed threatening to us.

    No Mark Coorey said HIS information ie that Abbott was invited to Afghanistan by Gillard but did not accept did NOT come from the government,
    That made his entire work based on either a lie or ignorance, given his history it was probably ignorance.
    He does make a habit of it.

    his glass jaw meant pointing that fact out meant not being allowed to comment.

    simply compare Ken Parish’s behaviour to Sinkers.


  44. Grenada was as much of a threat as Iraq? (not in hindsight but at the time?)

    ‘Interesting’ is the most polite way of describing your thinking, Homer.


  45. Jason you keep on throwing up full tosses and they get thumped to the boundary.

    Perhaps someday you might read before asking silly questions.

    Thatcher did not merely accept what Reagan did in Grenada so the subject is not exactly what you thought.

    She may have even heeded her intelligence who were correct in terms of Iraq.


  46. Thatcher did not merely accept what Reagan did in Grenada so the subject is not exactly what you thought.

    I understand that, Mr Audacity of Stupid. My point is that your inference that because she opposed action in Granada she would have opposed Iraq is questionable. For one thing Iraq was actually censured by the UN many times and could have been invaded ‘legally’ if that point is so important to you. Whether the invasion of Iraq was ‘legal’ ultimately boiled down to many considerations of realpolitik on the part of the French and other nefarious parties who had an interest in not disturbing the situation.


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