"Truth," wrote Voltaire to the French moralist Vauvenargues, "has not the name of a party. It is the duty of a man like you to have preferences, but not exclusions".
As an economically-conservative, socially-liberal voter, last Saturday's Federal Election provided many preferences and, sadly, just as many exclusions.
Truth, however, was peppered through all the major parties' policies as well as many of the minor ones, which is why I found the rabidly partisan rhetoric of so many of our politicians and commentators near-impossible to listen to.
Since when is an idea or policy "good" simply because it's proposed by the red party and "bad" because it's backed by the blue or vice versa? Why is a solution "harebrained" or "loopy" just because it comes from the "green"?
The colour-coded constancy and zeal of so many talking heads and party hacks last week reminded me of the LA gang wars between the Crips and Bloods, where teenagers who grew up streets apart would shoot each other dead simply because one dude wore a blue bandana and another red.
Why cannot one agree with Tony Abbott that the "burqa is confronting", yet disagree with him about "turning back the boats"?
Can you not congratulate Kevin Rudd for finally coming out in support of gay marriage, yet be repulsed by the way he undermined his own party and Julia Gillard?
Is it so ridiculous a voter might agree with Christine Milne on climate change, but not about live animal exports?
Would it be illogical to respect Gillard's legislative achievements, but mock her tin ear as a party leader and visionary?
And cannot the informed citizen judge all of these efforts simply through the prism of the politician's effectiveness, rather than their gender or party?
As a left-leaning voter, I was both appalled by Gillard's political assassination of Rudd and impressed by her policy chops once in the chair.
I was also disgusted by the lengths many conservative apparatchiks and supporters went to to denigrate Gillard, and the similar lows lefties swooped to in an effort to stigmatise Tony Abbott.
On Monday morning, the ABC's Adam Spencer interviewed Liberal-Democrats' Senator-elect David Leyonhjelm.
Many observers have characterised the Lib-Dems as having "tricked" the public into voting for them, thanks to their No.1 or "donkey position" on the NSW Senate ballot paper.
Leyonhjelm conceded he may have benefited from voter confusion, however, went on to say he was a great believer in micro-parties and diversity.
"I don't like the idea of a Liberal/Labor duopoly, and I particularly dislike the idea that every now then the Liberals and Labor gang up and make it very difficult for small parties," he said.
When asked to explain what the Liberal-Democrats stood for, Leyonhjelm articulated a straightforward libertarian stance, saying "small government, lower taxes, less regulation, less government intrusion into your life, an end to the nanny state".
"On economic issues, yes, we would be categorised as right wing. On social issues we would possibly line up with the left. We have no problems with gay marriage, assisted suicide and drug law reform."
Of course, Leyonhjelm then went on to explain his support for gun ownership and the ABC's subsequent coverage led with that single issue, painting him as an gun nut extremist, despite his giving one of the more honest candid interviews I'd heard from a political candidate during the entire campaign.
What it brought home to me is there are as many "unconscious extremists" in our media as there are in any political party "who look upon the golden mean as the greatest vice".
In this world, you either wear the blue hat and hate boat people and want to mince the poor into sausages; wear the red hat and hate boat people and want to mince the rich into sausages; or the green hat and it's land rights for gay whales (and boat people).
More's the pity if you don't like wearing hats.
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