CANBERRA – In a time of apparently shifting imperialist alliances on an international scale, with Trump reversing the Democratic Party’s policy of ramping up tensions with Russia, instead apparently taking aim at Beijing, Australia has been apparently caught in the crossfire. Worker’s Spatula’s chief correspondent in Melbourne went to Canberra to sit down with Malcolm Turnbull, the least pleasant man in Australia, to find out what makes this clockwork man tick:
WS: G’day, how’s it going?
MT: G’day yourself, all right?
WS: All right. You recently found yourself in a bit of a row with Donald Trump. Speaking for many observers, we never would’ve predicted Australia under Turnbull would be one of the more forthright rival imperialist powers in the era of Trump. How would you characterise the gap between yourself and the Donald?
MT: Donald Trump, as everyone knows, is a Hegelian. Obviously I mean this in both the philosophical and the political sense: In every conversation, he is known to bring up the question of stages of internal development which in his mind justify the callous abandoment of duty. It is the basest hypocrisy that Trump at once derives power from the institutional order and at the same time casts us all into collective chaos.
WS: So you would identify with a purer Kantian tradition?
WS: Let’s talk about the specific disagreement which led us to this impasse. You claim that Trump is reneging on his duty to resettle refugees from Australia. Why not just resettle them here?
MT: Please be serious. There’s a categorical imperative which shows why this is impossible. Imagine in your mind one of these boats full of refugees. They think they can just come to Australia, and there may only be three of them in the boat, but what if everyone thought like them? We’d have billions of the buggers, and we’d all end up starving to death.
WS: Right but…
MT: Do you want us all to starve to death?
WS: Sure, but doesn’t the same apply to the US? Should all refugees go to the US?
MT: No, not all. This is exactly the point. We had an agreement whereby we would resettle some of their refugees and they would resettle some of ours. By definition, their choice cannot be considered to be deontologically wrong, since it is neither a choice, nor one that other refugees could try to make into a universal law.
Additionally, the refugees they were to send us in exchange were pious Roman Catholics from Latin America, who would fit in well in my Australia.
WS: Beg pardon? As opposed to…?
MT: Not as opposed to anyone in particular. It’s just that…
WS: You know, despite your attempts at grandstanding as some ethically superior force to Trump, there are those who would accuse you of sharing a common anti-Muslim bigotry.
MT: Such slander is hardly becoming of a respectable publication such as Worker’s Spatula.
WS: With all due respect, this isn’t idle gossip. There have been a couple occasions where you’ve effectively defended racist statements in the public discourse. Of particular note, I recall you lauding Peter Dutton specifically after he went on his little tirade against the Lebanese.
MT: *laughing* Don’t worry about what you read or hear in the press, which is only a flawed representation of the thing-in-itself through the human senses. I assure you that here in Australia we have an a priori understanding of what it means to be racist that doesn’t allow for me to be perceived as such.
WS: I see. Any closing statement?
MT: Vote Liberal, the noumenon of Australian politics.
UPDATE: Following publication of this interview, Pauline Hanson of the modestly named “Pauline Hanson’s One Nation” party has announced that she intends to defeat “Muhammad Turnb-Ali” in the 2019 federal election by running on a platform of combatting radical Islamic terrorism and popularising the writing and thought of Arthur Schopenhauer.