Title of this blog is from a quote by Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States. In full, Reagan’s truism reads, “To sit back hoping that someday, some way, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last, but eat you he will”.
Reagan lived his belief. By confronting the crocodile of Communist aggression, Reagan, with Margaret Thatcher then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, brought down the Berlin Wall leading to the ‘opening’ of Russia, seeding years of relative peace in the world.
Conversely, appeasement of Adolf Hitler by Neville Chamberlain (British Prime Minister 1937 to 1940) merely fed the crocodile. By signing the Munich Agreement in 1938 relinquishing a region of Czechoslovakia to the Nazis, Chamberlain hoped to stave off another war. Hitler was emboldened, as was Emperor Hirohito of Japan. Devastating World War II ensued, the deadliest military conflict in history, in which an estimated 70-85 million people perished.
Chamberlain’s decision was understandably a considered softer option intended to protect his country, still not fully recovered from World War I, with military materiel unprepared for another war. Yet it failed catastrophically. The crocodile still bit.
Since then those familiar with history, having learned from such a graphic example, believe in peace through strength.
Today lessons of history are being readily discarded as big business prioritises self-interest, pandering to China to reap extraordinary profits accessing that market, even speaking CCP lines to justify their position. Clive Hamilton combines meticulous research with compelling prose to expose precisely this insidious Chinese methodology in his book Hidden Hand (with Mareike Ohlberg). Yet smart global leaders, never believing democratic freedoms and national sovereignty may be gobbled, feed the crocodile of Xi’s China Dream that rains contempt on the global rules based law in pursuit of world domination.
Fattening the crocodile
I know! I know! None of this has anything to do with us, puddling along in glorious oblivion, anxiously hoarding more toilet paper with every recurring lockdown. Yet each of us has been seriously affected by China’s conscious export to the world of COVID-19, with its accompanying illness, death and economy destroying consequences. Blaming Trump or Scomo is hardly a sensible response: the communist China crocodile has been fattening for decades. The crocodile is coming for us, not the cavalry. Each of us needs to step up and speak up before it is too late.
Having failed in the hot war, communist sympathisers sought power by infiltrating and undermining western democratic institutions. In this they are increasingly successful: policies infecting the universities, education, unions, bureaucracies, arts and media dominate public discourse. Central control of the populace, restrictions on freedom of speech and faith and fragmentation of family have become passé, while falsehoods are promoted with moral certitude.
Seeds of the march through the institutions troubled me early in the eighties when involved in the women’s movement. Marxist feminists backed by Victorian Education unions urged policies that challenged the nuclear family. Women who boasted a number of abortions sought control of other people’s children (and still do) through “values free” education. Their success has graduated from abortion for 14 year olds without parental support, to gender fluidity, pornography, denial of biological reality of male and female, mother, father and breast feeding, in concert with political indoctrination on climate change and critical race theory. Contempt for western civilization and the Judeo-Christian values that brought us to this free and prosperous state are part of their ticket.
George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 has become a manual for governance. Big Brother slogans: War is peace, Freedom is slavery and Ignorance is strength are becoming a reality as history and individuals are cancelled (vaporised), and facts are replaced with Newspeak. Presciently, Orwell writes, “By 2050 all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared. The whole literature of the past will have been destroyed”. Sounds all too familiar!
Confronting the crocodile
As Orwell reflects through protagonist Winston, Hope lay with the Proles (proletariat, the deplorables, the Quiet Australians in Newspeak) rather than the elites who dominate. Yet, “Until they become conscious, they will never rebel and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”
If we value what Australia has achieved, it is up to us to take a stand or two against the crocodile of dishonest regression if we wish to preserve our free, democratic society for our children and grandchildren. My own response was to develop the Maturity Model and publish the book Becoming specifically as tools to help ordinary people make sound decisions meeting the emerging challenge to traditional conservative values as society becomes more diverse.
“Tank man” who stood with his plastic shopping bags before a line of tanks in Tiananmen Square 32 years ago was a prole who rebelled. We do not know his name or his fate: he was probably vaporised, along with thousands of others who protested for democracy in China at the time and since. Yet his stand against oppression has become a symbol of courage in the face of adversity.
Psychology professor Jordan Peterson, author of several books including 12 Rules for Life: an Antidote for Chaos became globally renowned for making a stand against Canada’s intention to criminalise the misuse of personal pronouns, stalling the crocodile. Peterson objected to limitations on free speech as an early step towards the dystopian totalitarianism of China, and as outlined in Orwell’s 1984. Peterson’s writings and interviews have assuaged the confusion of many, especially young men confounded by overt contempt for ‘privileged white males’, who fought wars on our behalf and to whom we owe our freedom.
Former PM Tony Abbott shirt-fronted the crocodile of the callous people smuggling trade by stopping the boats and the tragic deaths of illegal immigrants emboldened to pay to risk their lives on the high seas to get to Australia. To do so, he had to withstand the legal and political onslaught of conspicuous compassion invoking kindness, yet which causes endless downstream costs, tragedy and harm, fuelling false hope.
Wrestling our crocodile
Take for instance Kara who defied family and friends advice to go on supporting her drug addicted young adult son, who had exhausted family energy and funds, stealing to feed the habit. Kara confronted the crocodile, decided to let the law take its course. Her son ended up in jail. On release, having gained a job, a partner and a family, her son said sending him to jail was the best thing she could have done.
Then there is Joanna working in a large, very busy enterprise dominated by the mood and behaviours of a crazy maker. Even senior staff seemed under capture to the crazy maker’s damaging antics. Joanna confronted the crocodile, took the matter directly to the manager and demanded action in the interests of office harmony and productivity. Appeasement was not an option.
Individual and group initiative necessary to confront our specific crocodiles needs courage that will be hard to produce in a society that has institutionalised cowardice. Nevertheless we can provide tangible and personal support for those who bear the burden of challenge to our way of life and values on our behalf. In Australia, that may mean getting on board with the cavalry coming to save us: people like Andrew Hastie, Senators Amanda Stoker and Matt Canavan, the Institute of Public Affairs and others of your choice. It may also mean refraining from trolling heroes like VC winner Ben Roberts-Smith who put his life on the line on our behalf countless times.
Look to it!