The Smiling Autarch

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

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

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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The Bellhop's Chatter

No. of pages: 92

Paperback: AUD$15.00

A selection of pastoral, autobiographical and social comment poetry.

In this, his second book of poetry, John Coe reflects upon his military, political and academic background, drawing into focus the humour, injustices, gentle abstractions and absurdities of life. His selection of poetry crosses international and cultural borders and he does not resile from controversy. At times politically incorrect, at times soothingly pastoral, he pokes fun at cultural shibboleths, secular and sacred. Coe's poetry is both edgy and, at times, delightfully unfashionable. It will entertain and provoke.

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Drums & Symbols

No. of pages: 140

Size: A4
Paperback: AUD$19.99 plus delivery.

The Boer War was a bitter and controversial conflict that extended over the period 1899 and 1902. Out of a total of 16,175 Australians that served in South Africa, 518 died and 882 were injured. Five Victoria Crosses were awarded to Australians.

Otherwise known as The South African War, it proved to be a cultural and national watershed in Australian history, destined to shape the culture of Australia's soldier.

Drawing upon his academic background and his military experience in Viet Nam, Dr Coe has written a provocative argument that the Boer War laid the foundation ethos of the ‘Digger’ and the beginnings of Australian foreign policy.

At home the war was controversial. Dr. Coe examines these arguments and carefully dissects the trial and subsequent myth of ‘Breaker’ Morant.

Moreover, from these arguments he raises a number of valuable ethical questions pertaining to later Australian military engagement, such as Viet Nam and Iraq.

The Australian contribution to the Boer War however attracts limited interest among writers and military historians. Furthermore the nexus between the South African War and the culture of the Australian Army is much misunderstood. This work is a valuable contribution to our understanding of some of the moral dilemmas about the Boer War and our appreciation of the ethical foundations of the Australian army.

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Not a Penny of Debt: The Life and Times of Henry Reed.

A biography of the Van Diemen’s Land pioneer, Henry Reed.

No. of pages: 413
Size: 144x206mm
Paperback: AUD$21.99 plus delivery

Born in Hull in 1806, Reed was a pioneer businessman of Van Diemen's Land, arriving there in 1826. He amassed a fortune through his astute business skills; he was a shipping magnate, whaler and a property owner. He bankrolled Batman in his settlement of Port Phillip Bay; played a significant part in opening a direct shipping line between Van Diemen's Land and London and was a founding director of what was to become the ANZ bank. Reed found religion and became a strong evangelist and philanthropist. He preached the first sermon in what was to become Melbourne. He returned to England for a twenty five year period where he built two impressive country houses - one of his gardens, in Tunbridge Wells, is registered under the National Trust. Reed became a friend and confidant of William Booth and contributed heavily to the latter’s founding of the Salvation Army. Reed returned to Tasmania towards the end of his life, built his own church for the people of Launceston and is buried in the family vault at his grand house, Mount Pleasant, outside Launceston.

He was also the grandfather of Cynthia Reed of the Sydney Nolan - Sunday Reed - Cynthia Reed ménage; one of his grandsons was Sir Hudson Fysh and many of his extensive family are prominent members of Tasmanian and Victorian society. Reed’s is a story of enterprise in the wild convict days of bushrangers, whalers, and explorers. It is a story of high society in England, of Dickensian poverty in London, of Christian faith and compassion. It is a story of a very human man in sometimes inhumane times.

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Latest comments

08.11 | 06:21

The Australian community is in for a world of long overdue pain. It is wholly its own fault for which I have nil sympathy.

08.11 | 06:15

Thanks indeed for the comment. I do agree that we badly need to 'clean out the swamp'. Trump certainly stirred those fetid waters.

08.11 | 05:22

I agree with the general thrust of your comments but the Australian community believes the governments can deliver without pain and there will be a lot of pain up ahead.

07.11 | 11:17

Nice job on the essay John, but regardless of his positions, Dutton is too much a cretin of the past, he also looks like the walking dead. We don't need more career politicians, we need a Trump.

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