Like many others I was brought up with the adage that it was wrong to wish ill on others. It’s part of basic Christian precepts of turning the other cheek and could be seen as among a range of other adages such as loving thine enemy and, politically, “keeping your friends close and your enemies closer”.
It’s a reasonable sentiment, at least in a democratic world which preaches tolerance, freedom of speech, and the rule of the majority. In years gone by, it was something I could say I believed in. Even those that I strongly disagreed with, such as the Margaret Thatchers of this world, were not people I wished to see dead.
More recently, as divisions in our democracies have widened, driven by the greed of neo-liberalism and unrestrained capitalism, and as the forces of the far right have gathered strength and driven our societies further and further towards inequality and intolerance, I have changed my mind.
It now seems clear to me that the ideological obsessions of the far right are not merely wrong but threaten the welfare and lives of hundreds of millions of people and the future of humankind, as a whole. The wholesale abandonment of any notion of the state as an arbiter of a fair and just society undermines the entire notion of a democratic society on which the argument for tolerance is based.
Australia, for example, is no longer a society where we have a choice between different versions of social democracy, as we did in the post war era and until about 1990. Now we have a choice between a form of moderate conservatism as espoused by modern Labor and an extreme right and a broken society as espoused by Morrison et al.
The only political voices for elements of a moderate social democratic society are the Greens, some independents, the union movement, elements of the churches and the extended charitable/non-profit world.
The ideology espoused by Morrison and the Trumpian right, of which he and his ministers are a part, is essentially evil and people such as Morrison and Dutton are the incarnation of that evil.
Theirs is a Government that is actively promoting policies that kill people and which damage the very societies and environment that we all depend on for our welfare and survival and which they are supposed to defend.
So I have no compunction in, daily, wishing them dead. I make no apology for that, since our entire world would be better off without such people. To be clear this is not advocating for some Kennedy-style demise but, simply, to say the planet would be better off without them. If that pains their friends, spouses, children and a myriad other holier than thou conservatives, so be it. They are all drinking the same Koolaid.
You can say that by such sentiments we all descend into a world of an eye for an eye, but there comes a point where people are so evil their continued existence threatens our entire planet and it’s not just the Putins of this world. The longer they live and hold onto power the more the damage they do.
How can I justify that ethically or in a so-called democratic society where we should tolerate their views? Ethically I take a Utilitarian view of society which is that society exists to deliver the greatest good to the greatest number and that we should judge actions and policies based on that moral aim.
The notion of tolerance is only valuable where a nominally democratic society is run according to democratic principles.
In Australia, the essential principles of democracy such as a free press, rule of law, rule of the majority, justice, equity and much else have been so undermined by money, corruption, undue influence, secrecy, and the concentration of capital and power that it can no longer be seen as truly democratic.
Those who vote for neo-liberalism have had their opinions and values so completely distorted by the Murdoch media that it is no longer possible to see their vote as untainted by corruption and greed.
Even the nominally more “progressive” media such as the ABC, SBS and (for some) Fairfax are incapable of challenging the status quo. When the leading inquisitors of the so-called free press all earn upwards of $250,000 they are no longer objective voices but are beneficiaries of a broken and inequitable system. They have no reason to challenge it.
The Governments we elect are no longer democratic but are a function of the corruption of that democracy where inequality is promoted and justice is no longer blind. The public services that support the majority of the population are privatised for profit or so ignored and underfunded that they are no longer fit for purpose.
The ethical stench from this Government is worse than the physical stench of the worst toilets. They are not Putin but in different contexts they would be similar, given time and power.
Collectively their values represent the worst of humanity. They are liars, thieves, hypocrites, philanders, perjurers, misogynists. They are torturers and killers of the weak and powerless, persecutors of their opponents who would rather others die and suffer than abandon their own shameless ideology and lust for power.
Their policies are designed specifically to benefit the already wealthy and powerful and to persecute and silence those that oppose them such that, effectively, we no longer live in a democratic society but a form of oligarchy.
The current Government and its Ministers are so corrupt, so incompetent, so venial that, at best, every single one of them should be prosecuted. And for me, they are so essentially evil that if the entire cabinet fell under a bus I would shed not one single tear.