C'est nous qui brisons les barreaux des prisons, pour nos frères, La haine à nos trousses, et la faim qui nous pousse, la misère. Il y a des pays où les gens aux creux des lits font des rêves, Ici, nous, vois-tu, nous on marche et nous on tue nous on crève.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

As revisionist as communism

Bolt has plumbed new depths of ignorance today with an attempt to draw parallels between the Federal ALP's new 'alcopop' tax, and Soviet Russia. Apparently, since the tax was introduced, there has been a 'surge' in thefts of the alcopops, leading Bolt to deduce that the ALP policy 'not only fails to stop the boozers, but drives some into thievery.'

Clearly, there are many reasons to be sceptical about a tax curbing a purported binge-drinking epidemic. That aside, however, Bolt has done a remarkable volte-face here for a vulgar Tory, and has gone so far as to attribute criminal behaviour to social conditions. Gone is the moralising rhetoric of 'responsibility', favoured by Bolt and other hacks and shock jocks. Apparently, social conditions and government policy are to blame for crime when this is ideologically convenient.

Let's see how long it takes for Bolt to back-pedal from this position in a future post. I cannot recall Bolt ever displaying such 'understanding' when it comes to the property crimes of Aboriginals, for instance. When drug users feel compelled to steal to support their habit, does anybody seriously expect the likes of Bolt to attribute this to the government policies that keep such drugs illegal (and expensive)?

Finally, in a kind of inverse-Godwin piece of stupidity, Bolt invokes the spectre of Soviet Russia to dramatise his hypocritical observations. This might have been well and good if it didn't directly undermine Bolt's point, and betray his profound ignorance of some basic facts.

Since the fall of communism (1991), consumption of alcohol by Russian men has tripled, making Russians the highest drinkers of spirits in the world. Since Putin was in power, and capitalism was embraced, the rising cost of vodka in Russia has led some impoverished citizens to resort to cleaning fluids, and other dangerous alcoholic material. Since the Iron Curtain was lifted, alcoholism is the primary reason why the life-expectancy for the average Russian male has dropped to just 58 years.

The lesson of all this is to get your lackeys to acquaint you with some basic logical and historical facts before launching into overblown, melodramatic comparisons.