catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Shame, Malcolm Fraser, Shame!!!

with 12 comments

Samuel Brittan wrote in his obituary for Milton Friedman

It was not until I came across Friedman, and learned that he had spent more time in lobbying against the US draft than on any other policy issue, that I began to take seriously the wider philosophic protestations of the pro-market economists.

This has hit one of my hot buttons. The way the Coalition Government which included Malcolm Fraser (for a time Miniser for the Army) introduced conscription and so betrayed liberalism, wrecked the public debate on the Vietnam War, lost South Vietnam to communism, dramatically accelarated the march of the left through the institutions of learning and public policy and bled the Liberal Party of talent for several student generations.

Don’t get me started. He even launched a pre-emptive strike against economic rationalism when it was rumoured that he  might have read Ayn Rand and so he was supposed to be a free market man. When the economy contined downward, economic rationalism was widely blamed. Thanks a million.

And in his dotage Malcolm Fraser is paraded as the conscience of liberalism.

Written by Admin

November 17, 2006 at 10:53 am

Posted in Uncategorized

12 Responses

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  1. Sanctimonious, priggish Tory paternalist Easter Island statue.

    No better foil against Uncle Milton himself.

    Jason Soon

    November 17, 2006 at 10:57 am

  2. I remember in 1975 asking a liberal friend of mine how Fraser could be thought of as an economic liberal when he firmly backed tariffs to help Australian industry.

    A fraud who gave us a small gough

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    November 17, 2006 at 11:08 am

  3. And you know the Easter Islanders buggered their Island’s economy erecting those bloody statutes?

    Funny thing is, I’m just old enough to remember Fraser’s name graffitied on bridges with the ‘s’ turned into a swastika. Now he’s a paid up member of the luvvie left, like bloody Robert Manne.

    Small Gough is about right, too, Homer.


    November 17, 2006 at 11:34 am

  4. I have more respect for Gough frankly. Gough has contributed to a CIS anthology that also features Ray Evans and John Hyde because of his famous 1975 tariff cut.

    Jason Soon

    November 17, 2006 at 12:07 pm

  5. small gough was about JWH.
    the best remark Gough ever said perhaps the only one was that he was a Rattigan man.
    He also set up the IAC

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    November 17, 2006 at 12:13 pm

  6. Rafe
    Appreciate your comment on Fraser especially his time as minister for Army, and later as Minister for Defence. But his economic legacy is most damning. I have just re-read Patrick Weller’s “Malcolm Fraser PM”, and the guts of it on budgeting is that Fraser sends his Minister’s off looking for savings and possible areas for privatisation, and they all prove too politically difficult, so he doesn’t do anything. Meanwhile, opposes tariff cuts becos they would be against the interests of his big business mates (including John Elliot – judgement Malcolm).

    The cover photo really says it all – arrogant born to rule tory grazier, committted to maintaining his position at any cost. Meanwhile, continues to frustrate any reform efforts for sake of political expediency.

    I think however, in sum, his better instincts fell prey to his craven need for political power. His foreign policy was pretty good – strongly anti Soviet, but also focussed on human rights (eg apartheid), and principles (letting the Vietnamese boat people in). A shame he didn’t apply the same philosophical approach to economics.


    November 17, 2006 at 12:18 pm

  7. His solution to inflation? A wage freeze. After 7 years in government this was his best effort. Brilliant.
    The swastika was not appropriate – but, even then, he was closer to an authoritarian than a true liberal.

    Andrew Reynolds

    November 17, 2006 at 1:46 pm

  8. Fraser was necessary to demonstrate that the whole Melbourne economic order of protectionism, clubbiness and sir-knows-best had failed, and failed utterly. Same with Muldoon in NZ.

    Playing the what-if game had 1975 never happened: Whitlam would have led a social-democrat, tax-and-spend government that would have died a death in the late ’70s. Then, a Friedmanite government, led by Peacock or Howard, would have governed during the ’80s. The early ’90s would have seen a Blair/Clinton-style outfit, probably led by Keating, who would have faded in the late ’90s/early C21 and been replaced by someone like Costello.

    What jimmy said about his foreign and immigration policy. In terms of trade – if only we’d gotten into China when Deng assumed power in the late ’70s, eh? The Trade Minister at this time was a visionary named John Moore, unless I’m mistaken, who busied himself with trying to wheedle the EEC.

    Andrew Elder

    November 17, 2006 at 1:58 pm

  9. PS – Billy McMahon was responsible for the draft. There was another political career that went too far, too long.

    Andrew Elder

    November 17, 2006 at 2:00 pm

  10. …..and I can’t forget the lefty chant during the 1980 election :

    “Export Fraser not uranium”.


    November 17, 2006 at 2:13 pm

  11. Wow.

    The great freedom fighter dead.

    Goddamn weekends are too short. Dudes all over the world should be falling about the place drunk to commemorate this fellow.

    And particularly the way he parlayed the prestige of the Nobel prize into a one-man global freedom crusade during the horrible decade of the 70’s.

    Dude was flying everywhere getting the message out.

    We have a sort of tyrrany of the statisticians going on.

    A fellow is considered an economist because he’s a statistician. A fellow is considered a scientist because he’s a statistician.

    Because Milton could easily do all the quantitative stuff as well as THINK he was the ideal guy to get in there and make his points without being discredited by bully-boy advocates of the intellectual status quo.

    But we have to get over this toadying to the statistics guys because…………

    ……….Lambert is and idiot…..

    And he’s very much like the leftist stats-guy idiots who had poisoned the economics post-war.

    Milton sort of turned the mainstream around to some sort of free-enterprise as the norm.

    But the proffession is still dominated by these stats-guy nutballs.

    Don’t get me wrong. We need the stats. We need good stats.

    But its gotten to where people think that statistics IS science.

    Take Lambert for example. He’s a complete idiot. And yet because he’s sort of conversant with statistical methods people all round the world are sucked in by him.

    Milton was always good to see on the TV.

    He would keep his cool as he very politely took apart the other guys arguments.

    You need that.

    But you need some of the other stuff too.


    November 17, 2006 at 2:40 pm

  12. The sight of the bourgeois left in a circle-jerk over the “real liberalism” of Malcolm Fraser just makes one sick to the stomach. He was the second most useless Prime Minister in Australian history.


    November 18, 2006 at 3:13 pm

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