Bob Brown, November 2014

The Murdoch empire was so thrilled with John van Tiggelen’s critique of my book Optimism (September) that it pasted a slab of it in the “chide and gloat” column of the Australian.

Van Tiggelen’s core complaint is that “Chapter after righteous chapter implores us to save stuff: the whales, sharks, birds, the trees, the Kimberley, Timor Leste, Aboriginal sovereignty, the planet.”

Stuff, the planet.

Van Tiggelen is much keener on the Victorian Labor leader Daniel Andrews (September), who wants to save nothing except poker machines. Andrews says of the rest: “You can’t pretend you’ve got an answer to every problem.”

The respect for Earth’s biosphere and advocacy of global democracy in Optimism are dismissed by van Tiggelen as “semi-spiritual cant”. His problem is political: he apparently loves Labor and loathes the Greens.

Never mind, I still like the Monthly, Optimism is being reprinted, and another reader has written: “I never was a fan of [yours] – not sure why. Now I am totally on board. Wonderful values and great example. Inspirational.”

My optimism, and defiance, flourishes.

Bob Brown
Cygnet, TAS