Does this sound familiar?
The aphorism that we should all heed here may be at odds with my personal lack of faith but all that I can say is “there but for the grace of god go us” this is the ultimate end of the trail for political correctness and frankly its not somewhere that we ever want to be.
Marcia Langton’s objections to the repeal of 18c in today’s Oz where she said:
“As a victim of frequent racism, I have tried to think of racist behaviour that would not be exempted by the proposed repeal bill and cannot think of one,’’ Professor Langton says.
“None of the requirements of good faith, accuracy, genuine, reasonable, public interest are provided for in the exemptions, and I have concluded that the repeal bill, if it were passed, would provide me — and other victims of racism — with no protection at all from low-level racist abuse, or abuse that a ‘reasonable, ordinary Australian’ would not deem to be intimidatory, in the media, in public, on social media, in the workplace, in educational institutions, or other public institutions.”
Professor Langton says the repeal bill would encourage racists to be more emboldened in public and to use subtle forms of intimidation and aggression, “which I know from personal experience can be just as dangerous and distressing as overt forms”.
She says that, amid increasing racial attacks on public transport, the passage of the bill would expose victims to further attacks.
“The reluctance of most victims to make formal complaints or to contact police compounds this problem of their vulnerability to increased attacks by those emboldened to behave in even more offensive and aggressive ways on public transport and in public places,” she says.
Professor Langton goes further, arguing that the bill would undermine the success of multiculturalism and reconciliation in the community and lead to more events such as the race riots in the southern Sydney suburb of Cronulla in 2005.
And she warns: “The youth suicides that result from cyber bullying may well increase, and so too would internet bullying among school students.’’
Thinking back to her last appearance on QandA where she (and the ABC) had to apologise for her outburst against Andrew Bolt made me wonder just how a woman so blighted with racism managed to get herself into a safe and secure academic position and how she came to be consulted so often by governments on matters indigenous. I also can’t help wondering if she might be mistaking reactions to her antagonistic, confrontational and abrasive personal style of public discourse as racism when its her total lack of respect and generosity to all of her interlocutors that generates and equally terse response to her whenever she discusses the issues with others. Strangely enough in this country where we have manged to do tolerance and “multiculturalism” pretty well its antagonistic people like Langton who try so hard to grandstand about “racism” that are a problem, at least as significant as those very few individuals who are actually racist, because their whole ego and self image are totally tied up with the notion of ” being oppressed” that they want to magnify and exaggerate the whole issue of ” race” enough to justify their own bigotry .
We have a country that does diversity, equality and tolerance pretty well and long may that be so but we won’t do it any better if people go out of their way to find offense when and where no offense was intended, we can and I hope will, continue to do better to promote inclusion and acceptance of diversity as a nation but the strictures of blame and well nurtured resentment over long past events will not help anyone.
From my appearance with a (now greying) red beard, blond hair and blue eyes its pretty obvious that I have some measure of Anglo Saxon blood in my veins, thanks to the period of English history when the Saxons were ascendant . What would people think if I were to begin to insist that I am a Saxon? Or if my children were to do the same and therefore ignoring the fact that their Opa was a Dutchman from Rotterdam? Or that their Grandmother’s family were all good Irish Catholics? Under the way of thinking of those who sued Andrew Bolt I or my children should forever be unquestioned were we to insist that we are Saxons (even though my daughter has dark hair and hazel eyes ) if my family insisting that we are Saxons is a shallow a conceit, and one that I could insist upon would it make someone a bigot if they were to question that conceit? I might certainly dislike my conceits being questioned, I might even feel offended , insulted even a bit intimidated because I have had something as fundamental as they way that I ethically self identify but would it mean that those who ask those uncomfortable questions are “bigots” ?
Yesterday in the senate our Attorney General said in answer to a question that “every Australian has the right to be a bigot” it was a nicely put argument that has got the latte sippers choking on their milky brews because I gather that many on the left are rather certain that being a bigot is about the worst thing that its possible to be unless you are an adult with an unhealthy interest in the contents of a child’s underpants which is of course just a (little) bit worse. Strangely enough Pat Condell published a vid yesterday in which bigotry is quite cleverly considered, its only a short rant so please consider this:
What Condell’s rant tells us with some clever wit is that the politically correct want to control the way that people speak , often for rather noble reasons, but noble reasons or not the result is more toxic than the intemperate speech that the PC police would have silenced. Which brings us back to the clause in the racial vilification act that the government proposes to seriously amend.
The problem that our friends from the left far too often use a claim of bigotry as a sort of universal shut up when there is a truth that they find uncomfortable, a certain learned gentleman of this blogs acquaintance was very fond of insisting that anyone who thinks that marriage should only be between one man and one woman is a bigot. Our learned friend is obviously wishing to see the standing of homosexuals in our society raised and more respected. Likewise our own Ray Dixon is extremely sensitive about the way that Muslims and Aboriginals are perceived in our society he has the most noble motives in his desire to see multiculturalism work and to ensure that those from outside the majority are do not have to endure any kind of prejudicial treatment. The problem with wanting to enforce any sort of superficial niceness is that the result is a sort of bullying that Pat Condell so eloquently rails against in his video it ends up protecting that which, in a civil society, should be free to explore ventilate and maybe reconsider. Thus when 18c was used to shut Andrew Bolt up so that the notion of self selected ethnic identity by those who sued him under 18c would remain unconsidered, our society lost a good opportunity to take a long hard look at ourselves and just what it means to have any sort of ethnic identity. Some who harshly ventilate their own feelings or beliefs of such issues may certainly meet the definition of bigotry but the way to counter such views is not with the blunt instrument of a widely cast law but by their fellows convincing them that the prejudice is both wrong and more importantly unproductive and unlikely to “win friends or influence people”.
What George Brandis was saying is an iteration of the famous Voltaire aphorism , namely “I utterly disagree with what you are saying but I will defend, to the death, your right to say it” its not a principle that we should disavow at all if we want to enjoy a truly free and pluralistic society but its a sad reflection of of friends from the left who are both very keen to be the champions of free speech and to enforce”niceness” is it any wonder that they are being called hypocrite?
So lets defend free speech and encourage niceness in social discourse because, to cite another aphorism you can lead a horse to water but you can’t force him to drink.
As its a fine Saturday morning and I think that such days are perfect for a change of pace I offer a new topic that I have come across from my subscription to “Spiked”. It concerns the refusal of the St Patrick’s day marches in New York and Boston to allow Gay activists to march under Gay themed banners in their parades. Of course our friends of the pink persuasion are screaming “discrimination” with a great deal of vim and vigour so loudly that you would think that the march organisers were planning to burn a few homosexuals at the stake as part of the celebrations. What I find most worrying about the whole thing is the same “if you don’t support the Gay agenda 110% then you are a bigot” mindset from those homosexual activists who want to hijack the ostensibly Catholic festival to promote their own cause .
There have also been reports of people losing employment after it was discovered that they do not agree with gay marriage. A common theme in these reports is that the individuals involved do not appear to dislike gay people, but they have nonetheless been labelled bigots due to their objections to same-sex marriage. Rather than encouraging a live-and-let-live attitude, it appears that some supporters of same-sex marriage seek to find and root out anyone who won’t publicly accept this relatively new institution.
When lawmakers in Arizona introduced a bill last month that sought to clarify whether small business owners like wedding photographers can refuse work on religious freedom grounds, there was little consideration in the media of the legal pros and cons. Few highlighted that the existing law allows private vendors to refuse work on the grounds of sexual orientation, and thus continues after the governor vetoed the bill. Instead, the proposed law was greeted with a hysterical campaign to label it ‘anti-gay’ and ‘Jim Crow’ (an historically illiterate comparison, beginning with the fact that Jim Crow was enforced by state law and businesses that refused to obey it could be prosecuted).
These tendencies to demonise dissent are visible in the campaign against the St Patrick Day parades. There is a rush to label any disagreement with gay marriage or gay culture as out-and-out ‘bigotry’. There is a desire to not simply state that certain views of gays are wrong, but to have those views silenced. And there is an operation to target and scare corporations that are associated with such views. Gay activists threatened a campaign against corporations in Arizona, including the National Football League for holding the Super Bowl in the state, if the recent bill passed. Similarly, they pressured St Patrick’s Day sponsors like Samuel Adams and Heineken to withdraw support. This is the top-down, elite-led politics of name and shame, rather than a properly liberal campaign that draw upon popular support.
What we are witnessing is an attack on those who don’t share today’s pro-gay outlook. Some may want to opt out of this Culture War, but the war increasingly won’t allow there to be any bystanders. Instead, there is pressure to conform. Even if it does not spill over into the political or legal world, such conformism is problematic for the free flow of ideas.
The sky will not fall if gays and lesbians are allowed to march in the Boston and New York St Patrick’s Day parades. But we will create a conformist, intolerant and unfree society if we do not allow space for the expression of different views, including traditional religious teachings about homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
The title of the article asks Who are the real bigots in the St Pat’s spat? and I can’t avoid concluding that its the very noisy Gay activists who are using every possible way to bully people into “endorsing” to their position. I can’t help thinking that this may well back fire on them and lead to a backlash that seriously damages the hard earned public good will towards homosexuality that has been steadily been accruing over the last few years. Social acceptance can be most fragile flower that needs nurture and careful cultivation and it can be oh so easily lost if you start tearing up the field with loud and noisy tractors instead of well directed hand tools.
The ABC are to be congratulated for apologising but they also deserve to be admonished for not pulling Langton up for making such a vile and unwarranted slur in the first place. I put that down to the rather common view that anyone who is not white can not possibly be racist themselves. The simple fact is that accusations of racism are an a to common resort of scoundrels who don’t want to burrow down and explore the deeper ethical questions about public identity, especially when some of those identities offer the qualification for particular government largess.