The Smiling Autarch


No. of pages: 217
Size: 144x206mm
eBook: AUD$7.00
Paperback: AUD$20.00 plus delivery

Reflections on Ethics: Essays in support of an Australian Moral Consensus.

Well-rounded citizens should hold some view of the notion of the ‘good’ that transcends immediate personal pleasure and satisfaction. This is called civics – the appreciation of the duties, rights and privileges of the citizen. In the 1960s the long accepted notions of civics, ethics and social mores of Western society became subject to a radical critique as the post-Second World War generation began to come of age. This critique has never been fully answered. The resultant lack of moral certainty has been compounded by subsequent generations to the extent that there is now little consensus as to civics and societal ethics. This question is at the fundament of these essays.

The author questions the assumptions behind a selection of post-modern Australian shibboleths. He asks whether our society has the remotest idea or interest in the notion of the common ‘good’ or a ‘just’ society. He is highly critical of aspects of modern culture which, he suggests, is centred upon the notion of ‘Self’ at the expense of individual obligation to the broader society. He is particularly critical of moral relativism and illustrates that the liberal democratic society in which we purport to live is anything but democratic and is becoming increasingly illiberal in its treatment of the individual. Contemporary culture, moral relativism, political correctness and so forth are a reminder that politics is not necessarily the arbiter of ethics.

This book is unapologetically a work of polemic. It is a call to action to those who value the liberal values of freedom of thought and expression, who value the sanctity of life, who decry the ever-increasing constraints of political correctness and who see a decent society in ethical decline.

In addressing this decline the author introduces the Smiling Autarch, an allegory for the transcendent Idea of goodness that should constitute the core of a moral society.


Review by Julian Tomlinson [News Ltd]

“In a world where having right-leaning views is cause for criticism and shaming, The Smiling Autarch gives readers a fascinating insight in to what it means to be a conservative Australian and why they shouldn’t retreat from it.

Far from being merely a thundering, inflammatory rant by a disaffected old codger who yearns for the good ol’ days, the Autarch presents measured, balanced and reasonable views on the problems presented by the Left’s agenda of change for change’s sake.

John Coe combines personal experiences with empirical evidence from around the world of the damage – and to be fair, the achievements – of Leftists and presents solutions to what he sees as fundamental flaws in today’s `feel good’, `everybody wins a prize’ society.

He implores readers and politicians to embrace the traditional values which made Australian society so unique, prosperous and relatively harmonious before the major social upheavals of the 1960s. Not bad for a Welshman!

The Smiling Autarch also presents highly critical views of homosexuality in the military, the abject failure of Australia’s successive policies on indigenous people, the nauseating Nanny State and multiculturalism.

But it not only criticises, it looks at the causes and offers solutions. Those with a political bent may also take great interest in Coe’s vision of a new style of government and one far more closely aligned with the ideals of `true democracy’, where the people have a far greater say in who governs them and how they do it.

For a thought-provoking, entertaining and (if you’re Left-leaning) slightly outrageous looks at modern society, the Autarch fits the bill.”


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