‘Fans of Outsiders – Sky’s best current affairs program – will recall Ross Cameron and his love of the great Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Indeed, during Cameron’s tenure it was a running gag on the show that some insight of Aurelius’s would each week be worked into the show. You see, Marcus Aurelius was not only one of the great Roman Emperors, reigning in the late second century A.D. (anno domini for those of us who hate all things PC such as the now demanded C.E.), and after whose reign that Empire began on its slow path of decline and fall. Aurelius was also a famous Stoic philosopher best known for his Meditations (written in Greek). So this was a successful soldier, statesman and bilingual stoic philosopher.
Now given all that, you might think it absurd to find yourself, as I did, comparing our Prime Minister Scott Morrison to Marcus Aurelius. And, of course, it is laughable, on just about every level going. But let me explain.
Yesterday I was flipping through some of the better-known quotes from Aurelius, as the man is a treasure trove of maxims. And it hit me what a hollow, principle-free man our supposedly liberal Prime Minister is, a truth this government’s response to the pandemic has lain bare.
Take just these three adages or aphorisms from the great Stoic Aurelius’s Meditations. ‘If you have been placed in a position above others, are you automatically going to behave like a despot? Remember who you are and whom you govern.’ Or ‘Take a good hard look at people’s ruling principle … what they run away from and what they seek.’ Or again, ‘The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.’
Reading those insights, I couldn’t help thinking, yet again, that this Coalition government’s response to the Covid virus has been awful and that Morrison’s lack of ruling principles has been both telling as well as very, very costly to the rest of us, especially the young.
Basically, Australia’s response has stunk and the costs of our political class’s decisions will become ever more evident and keep piling up for decades and decades to come. I know, I know, I know. Outside the pages of this wonderful publication mine is a distinctly minority view amongst the media classes; amongst much of the medical-industrial complex; amongst the bureaucratic, university and lawyerly classes; and amongst pusillanimous Coalition politicians across Australia. ‘https://spectator.com.au/2021/06/scomo-is-no-marcus-aurelius/