Honour Games. "Man of Honour: John Macarthur – Duellist, Rebel, Founding Father" by Michael Duffy.[review]
As I read this book, serious questions were being asked about the honour of three governments: the British, the US and our own. Did they all lie so as to justify war against Iraq? Honour still matters, even at a time when the word is not used as often as it once was. Michael Duffy’s book about John Macarthur, one of the best-known inhabitants of colonial Australia, constructs him as a ‘man of honour’. Duffy makes Macarthur a very large figure, ‘the most important person among [Australia’s] founders’, especially because he was a wool pioneer and leading trader. And yet, it’s doubtful whether the man himself would have understood the very twentieth-century tension between free enterprise and government power. Macarthur believed that imaginative government underpinned imaginative enterprise. Also, for him, rich men were, in important ways, part of government. These aren’t points that come out much in Duffy’s book, partly because he has little to say about his subject as a thinking man. That’s a pity because, for Macarthur, the uses of authority were matters of honour.