Jean-Michel David, who is standing as an Ungrouped Independent in the Eastern Victorian region, does not make it easy to find his website. I mention this only because I do feel faintly guilty stalking people via their email addresses provided on the VEC website, but I spent a very long time Googling this chap and getting nowhere, and only when I typed in his email domain into my browser was I able to find his official website and confirm that I had been looking at the correct Jean-Michel David all along. I didn’t know it was possible to make a website so difficult to find – or not by accident, anyway.
Ah – but perhaps it was no accident, but entirely intentional? For our friend Mr David, in addition to being a Steiner School teacher, is also a notable expert on the Tarot, who has published books on the subject. The world ‘occult’ means hidden – perhaps Mr David’s elusive website should be taken as an invitation to a journey of self-discovery in order to find him?
OK, I’ll stop being silly now, but in all seriousness, aspiring independents of the world – please, make your website easy to find. You’re batting on a difficult enough wicket not having a group ticket to support you without making it virtually impossible for people to find out what you stand for.
And speaking of Group Tickets, let’s see what his fellow candidates think of Mr David.
His best showing is 21st place out of 46, from the Liberal Democrats. Not a promising sign. The Sex Party and the Australian Christians both put him at 22nd place, which is an interesting combination, and People Power and the Animal Justice Party put him at 23. After that, he finds himself in the bottom half of the ballot – 26th for the Greens, 28th for the Liberals, and 36th for Labor, Family First and the DLP. The cyclists have him at 43rd, and Palmer United, who I am beginning to suspect just do not like ungrouped independents have him at 45.
Again, given how tricky Mr David was to track down, it’s hard to say how many of these preferences are from conviction and how many are from confusion. Given the truly weird mix he has, I’m guessing confusion. I can’t imagine the Australian Christians putting someone associated with Tarot cards that far from the bottom of their ballot if they knew about it.
Jean-Michel David’s website motto is ‘Care, Autonomy and Independence’. I like this a lot.
… because a voice, free of party politics, is important in bringing to light direction, consequences of proposed legislation, and values. […]
What I offer is an unequivocal spirit able to support, suggest amendments, or reject government or opposition proposals on their merit, and to the benefit of Victoria’s current and future citizens, based on a core set of principles and values. These are at times called ‘small L liberal values’, reflected in aspects of classical and social liberalism.
Mr David then goes on to talk about his three core principles (the aforementioned care, autonomy and independence) the three realms of society, which he characterises as the economy; the political-judicial systems; and cultural events and institutions. I find this rather an interesting approach, actually, and I’m trying to decide whether that’s how I’d divide society for the purpose of characterising it or administering it. I’ll have to think about that one. He feels that government should not determine cultural forms, but should support cultural institutions.
The principle of autonomy seems to be Mr David’s favourite, and he informs us that this principle was reflected in the Magna Carta, and is the source of human rights laws.He also notes that:
Business activity – whether in the production or distribution of goods and services – needs to similarly take into account the principles delineated above, and, without inappropriate or excessive bureaucratic burdens, remain mindful of human and of environmental care.
Sounds good to me.
While Mr David does not articulate any specific policies, he does describe his influences:
Economically, his main influences are the works of the Austrian school philosophers and economists Ludwig von Mises and Nobel prize winner Friedrich Hayek;
Politically, what has more recently been called civil and green libertarianism are about the closest general terms that describe his views. The importance of personal freedom, in contradistinction to the intrusion by various agencies, is of high merit. The writings of Oxford scholar Iain McGilchrist, The Master and his Emissary, highlights some of the important considerations at play in the social domain.
So what does that mean? Well, according to Wikipedia, von Mises was a philosopher, sociologist and classical liberal, who has apparently exerted significant influence on the USA’s libertarian movement. Oh, lovely, and apparently he was fond of Ayn Rand. This doesn’t sound like much like a principle of care to me. Friedrich Hayek was a defender of classical liberalism who apparently didn’t much like von Mises, but there you have it. He also won a Nobel Prize in economics. He entered academia because he was determined to help avoid the mistakes that had led to World War One (“It’s bound to draw your attention to the problems of political organization”). He seems to have been an influence on both Reagan and Thatcher, which again makes me say “oh dear”.
Iain McGilchrist turns out to be a psychologist psychiatrist with an interest in the hemispheric functions of the brain, and how these have shaped civilisation. This sounds fascinating, though apparently the science of it has not been particularly well-received by neurobiologists.
So. Classical liberalism, which is very much about individual freedom and limited government, and two philosophers and economists who were influenced by or influences on Rand, Reagan and Thatcher. You know, when I saw Steiner School and Tarot and that Mr David lived up in the Dandenongs, I was expecting a happy hippy. Nope. This is sounding a lot like libertarianism, with an interest in brain function.
Which is fine if that’s your cup of tea, but personally, I feel that Parliament could use some more hippies…
Edited to add: Mr David has left a lengthy comment below, clarifying his views particularly on the philosophers above. I encourage you to read this to get a better sense of where he is coming from!