Scott Morrison’s performances on television are disturbing, disgraceful and delusional. Even for a member of the Abbott Cabinet, his performances exceed all reasonable standards of propriety. Granted, he has yet to follow the barking Christopher Pyne in the use of the “grub” word but as a Minister of the Crown, he is an alarming spectacle. Is he mad? Is he a deluded, paranoid megalomaniac? Does he suffer an extreme narcissistic personality disorder? The jury is still out. It could be all of these. And more. This week, however, Morrison revealed a vital clue. He has a great moral burden.
Now a great moral burden in itself would cripple many of our best-adjusted. But tip this into the mix of other the other toxic ingredients in the noxious brew that is Morrison’s peculiar psychopathology and you can expect a monstrous horror show to result.
A great moral burden. What does Morrison’s latest utterance signify? Let’s unpack the phrase a little. What he’s saying is that stopping the boats is a moral crusade. His moral crusade. By putting the fear of God into would be asylum seekers, he is sparing their lives. If they don’t try to cross the water, they won’t drown. If they know they could be moved to Cambodia, refugees will never darken our shores again. Let one or two be beaten to death in camp. It’s all part of the same humanitarian plan. Morrison’s sword of moral righteousness protects desperate refugees from themselves. Asylum seekers’ feckless desire to flee persecution, starvation and death will no longer lead to their drowning. They will stay at home and safely face torture, rape, genocide and starvation.
Morrison’s oafish intransigence, his obduracy, his sophistry, his captious reasoning all make sense now. He is taking it all upon himself. Worried that the cruel, wilful inhumanity of turning back the boats has made Australia an international pariah? Worried that we have overstepped the mark of decency? Concerned that our lack of charity is nothing more than a cynical attempt to win votes amongst the talkback electorate? Fussing over the diplomatic ruckus our antics have caused us? Fear no longer. Morrison has capered to our rescue. He is our scapegoat.
In Biblical times, a goat would be sacrificed to atone for the sins of the flock, giving rise to the word scapegoat. Surely this is a clue to the nature and function of Morrison’s moral burden. Little wonder that the man can’t think straight. In his mind, he’s under sentence of excommunication. No wonder he can’t answer a question. He’s saddled with the burden of his party’s moral turpitude. That look he gets when he is ignoring the question, prevaricating or point blank shunning the responsible exercise of authority is the look of a goat about to have its neck severed by a righteous blade.
Morrison’s discourse can be baffling. He’s talks out the back of his neck. He froths at the mouth. He talks over the top of questioners. He lies. Or he refuses to say anything. But you get that when you take upon yourself the sins of the whole nation. You get that when you spend too long in the company of Abbott’s cabinet. Let Morrison keep his ear turned to talkback and Murdoch’s tabloids. Let him maintain that by making life hell for boat people, he is exercising his duty of care. His moral duty. If they don’t come to Australia, they won’t drown. Expect further rabid nonsense and similar messianic delusion. Until one day when its purpose is served, Abbott inevitably eases Morrison’s burden. Puts him out of his misery in a flash as he kneels beside a busy road.