Sunday, November 16, 2014

Bigotry against conservatives in Australian universities and media

WHEN a student turns up for a social science class at an American university there is an eight to one chance the lecturer will be a Democrat voter.

Studies consistently have found that the proportion of American academics prepared to out themselves as conservative is between 4 per cent and 8 per cent.

It would be no surprise to anyone, inside or outside the academies, if a local study produced much the same result. Australian academics too fancy themselves as progressives, or liberals in the American parlance. Universities, and other cultural institutions such as the ABC, are uncomfortable places for conservatives.

This is odd, really, since no ­university these days would be complete without a solemn commitment to diversity. James Cook University in Townsville, for example, boasts of “a rich cultural and experiential diversity on campus”. It embraces “the principles of equity, access and inclusion”.

The promise of “experiential diversity”, however, does not extend to members of the cultural Right. Climate-change sceptics do not qualify as an “equity group” ­afforded special protection under the university’s equal opportun­ities employment policy.

Neither are old white males for that matter, which meant when JCU sacked professor Bob Carter he didn’t have a leg to stand on. Not literally of course, for a JCU employee who was, to use Dudley Moore’s phrase, deficient in the leg department would have many avenues of redress.

Carter, the former head of the geology department, was stripped of his adjunct professorship last year because his views on climate change were not to the univer­sity’s liking. “Sustainability”, after all, is one of JCU’s key values. So is “mutual respect”, a courtesy not extended to Carter, despite his many years of distinguished service in academe.

Thus the right to be an intellectual bigot is steadfastly upheld in almost every cultural institution in the country. The conventional wisdom on everything from climate change to the supposed depravity of the Catholic Church is enforced, often unconsciously, in multiple ways.

The paradox between academe’s proclaimed virtue of inclusiveness and the exclusion of conservative thinkers is explored in a paper to be published soon by the journal Behavioural and Brain Sciences. The authors, led by Jose L. Duarte from Arizona State University, say there was once considerable political diversity in the field of academic psychology, but it has all but disappeared in the past 50 years.

Social psychologists, of all academics, should be particularly alert to the dangers of epistemological homogeneity, or groupthink as some prefer to call it. They would be aware of the errors that can pollute the group’s thinking if no one in the room is prepared to disagree. Assumptions become embedded into theory and method, researchers concentrate on topics that support the prevailing narrative and avoid those that do not.

One explanation for academic lopsidedness, Duarte suggests, is simply that liberals find an academic career more appealing than do conservatives, particularly in a field such as social psychology.

But while self-selection is clearly part of the story, it would be ironic if the academic community used such arguments “to exonerate the community of prejudice when that same community roundly rejects those same arguments when invoked by other institutions to explain the under-representation of women or ethnic minorities”.

A robust and largely civilised debate about the under-representation of conservatives in the humanities has been running for several years in the US. It began with an address by Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind, who warned that political diversity was as important as racial, religious or gender diversity.

“The under-representation of conservatives in social psychology, by a factor of several hundred, is evidence that we are a tribal moral community that actively discourages conservatives from entering,” he said.

Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology at Harvard Univer­sity, agreed that “in every room of the academy, liberals outnumber conservatives by a whopping margin”. He questioned if it was because of discrimination, however. It could be that “liberals may be more interested in new ideas, more willing to work for peanuts, or just more intelligent, all of which may push them to pursue the academic life while deterring their conservative peers”.

John Jost, professor of psychology at New York University, was more critical. The liberal philosophy is, in the end, just better. “Nearly all of the best minds in ­science find liberal ideas to be closer to the mark with respect to evolution, human nature, mental health, close relationships, intergroup relations, ethics, social ­justice, conflict resolution, environmental sustainability, and so on,” he wrote. “He (Haidt) does not even consider the possibility that research in social psychology (including research on implicit bias) bothers conservatives for the right reasons.”

One suspects that Jost’s presumption that progressive ideas are ultimately more virtuous than non-progressive thoughts is the real reason the dominant cultural class appears indifferent to the lack of intellectual diversity within the institutions.

When ABC staff look around them, for example, it surely would not escape their attention that conservatives are somewhat thin on the ground. It must feel a little odd to work in a building where hardly anybody admits to voting for Tony Abbott.

They must realise, surely, that many of their listeners and viewers (and an increasing number of ex-listeners and ex-viewers) see the world in a different light, and that they cannot all be stupid. Why, some of them can write reasonably literate letters to the editor of The Australian to say so.

Deep down, one suspects, it is just as Jost implies, and they are working under the delusion that they are members of that fortunate group that sees the world in more sophisticated terms than those unreconstructed conservatives do.

Maybe they do, or maybe don’t. What is clear, however, as any social psychologist will tell you, is that institutions are diminished when the conventional wisdom becomes entrenched, groupthink takes hold and dissident voices are treated with contempt.


HALAL FEELS THE PINCH .. as social media exposes the scam

It took a country mum by the name of Kirralie Smith of who was disgusted by what she learnt about halal and went on a mission to eradicate it. Now the Muslim extortion racket is coming apart at the seams along with the Islamic State’s source of funds from Australia.

By the WA Islamic Council President, Dr Rateb Jneid’s own admission, in his annual report, halal receipts are sent to terrorist organisations in Syria, disguised as donations to needy causes, through sham “charity” companies.

Muslims have never donated anything to anyone unless it’s a cause that kills infidels or other Muslims.

Major Australian companies are now running for cover as they hurriedly delete those little Arabic logos from their products.

One of the worst offenders, Cadburys, for the first time had to temporarily close their doors due to lack of orders.

Halal certification, a mafia style extortion racket, began with the slaughtering of livestock to Islamic specifications but has spread to everything from fish and Vegemite to plastic containers and fruit, increasing the price to Australian consumers by billions.

Exporters are targeted by dozens of competing Muslim “certifiers” who threaten that their export markets will be trashed (and they have been) unless they pay up, but those exporters are now losing their domestic markets and are trying to obscure their compliance with Muslim demands.

No-one lies as well as a Muslim lies and when they say animals are allowed to be stunned prior to slaughter, it’s yet another lie. Livestock under the halal rite must first be mistreated and forced to watch the slaughter of other animals, trembling in fear as they anticipate their own fate.

They must be made to face Mecca as the slaughtering process starts. With their hearts pounding rapidly, so as to excrete as much blood as is possible from their bodies, they feel their throats being cut from ear to ear. The longer they stay alive the more unwanted blood is lost.

When the animal dies, only then will the blood flow stop. Only then has the halal slaughter of an animal been accomplished.

To extend halal compliance to fish and plastic containers is a nonsense but Islamic Councils world-wide have stumbled on a two trillion dollar industry that further imposes their will on the West. They will not give it up without a fight and it sure beats working for a living.

Do not expect Western governments to stop it, there are too many trade-exposed export industries at risk of being shut down if halal compliance isn’t met.

But social media is attacking domestic markets distorted by halal accreditation and it’s making huge inroads.

“Dominance” is a key word in Islam; dominance over women, little girls, animals and infidels, the visual dominance of mosques and the eventual dominance of Islam itself.

Is it any wonder the archaic cult of Islam has not been a positive factor in Western multiculturalism.

N.B. Islamic dominance over animals is entrenched in the teachings of the Koran where sexual gratification from an owner’s livestock is permitted but the Koran then instructs that the abused animal must not be eaten but can be sold for consumption to other Muslims.

Yet not a word from the Left who are besotted by the fallacious "mistreatment" of racehorses.


Gender wars are a bore

“Stop whingeing, get on with it and prove them all wrong.” So says Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in the latest edition of Harper’s Bazaar , in which she is named Woman of the Year.

Another woman in a leadership position, Gail Kelly, who has just resigned as CEO of Westpac, was quoted in the AFR’s BOSS magazine earlier this year advising women in particular to, “[b]e courageous, and be prepared to take the opportunities and the challenges that come your way.”

These are sentiments with which I wholeheartedly agree. I have rarely encountered sexism in the workplace and I suspect it’s because I take a similar approach to Bishop, and I like to think I have also taken on the opportunities and challenges that have come my way, as Kelly suggests. The fact I am a woman has absolutely no bearing on how I perform at, and approach, work.

I’m not saying gender bias doesn’t exist. Study after study finds a clear and growing income disparity between the sexes. There has also been very little progress in achieving a gender balance in senior leadership positions in Australian businesses.

But money aside, I have never been placed at a disadvantage at work simply because I am female. In most offices in which I have worked, the attitude by all has been: just get on with the job. Without fail, the colleagues I have watched do that - male or female - have succeeded and risen through the ranks. Not because or in spite of  their gender, but because they did a good job.

I have never seen men promoted above me just because of their gender. I have never seen men given opportunities just because of their sex.

I stress that that’s just my experience and I would encourage other people who have been held back because of their gender to share their stories in the comments section.

All I’m saying is that I have never let sexism affect me at work, and I think the reason why is because I don’t labour the gender issue. I just get on with it.

A couple of times I have had usually older male colleagues try to go over my head to get their own way about something, or to influence my superiors to make me do something. But this is a foolhardy approach.

Trying to call on the old boys’ network to get your own way rarely works. But it does give me an insight into the character of the person behind the behaviour. People who act this way would be better off approaching me directly than going behind my back.

A while back I wrote about  the inappropriate male gaze. But the only thing the guy who acted like this accomplished with his gawking was to out himself for the person he really was. He will be known forevermore among the women who witnessed his actions as the guy who couldn’t keep his eyes to himself. Whenever we come across him in the future that’s what will spring to mind, and we’ll be wary and less trusting of him, which will impact his ability to get his job done.

We’re a long way from the point at which we can claim to live in a post-sexist world. But what I’m suggesting is that men who behave in a sexist fashion in the modern business context make life tougher for themselves; something that probably could not have been said 20 years ago. In the same way, women who overemphasise gender bias in the workplace don’t do themselves any favours either.

If you are experiencing blatant sexism at work, make full use of the company’s HR procedures and workplace equality laws to address the situation.

But if you’re not, stop focusing on gender politics and throw your energy behind doing an exceptional job, one your superiors can’t ignore. It has certainly worked for Julie Bishop and it can work for you, too.


Not all boycotts are equal at the ABC

Muslims can be violently "homophobic" and that is fine.  Woe to others who show any sign of it, however

Aren’t we lucky to have Aunty ABC.  It’s renowned for its objectivity in reporting and unbiased manner.  And that is why its approach to two similar stories is starkly different.

When Barilla Pasta hit the headlines recently for refusing to advertise its food with pictures of homosexual men and their surrogate children, the ABC report gave the gay militants a good run.

A very good run.  Online petitions in Europe were mentioned. Three of them. Plus a petition started by a lesbian in the United States named Beth Allen. She was also quoted and two ‘gay rights’ groups were given coverage.

All of these individuals and organisations were described in a ‘positive’ way, with an emphasis on their support for ‘equal rights’. There was no mention anywhere that the pro-gay militants might be displaying ‘heterophobia’.

And, of course, not one traditional family or conservative group was mentioned or given an opportunity to speak.

The story was overwhelmingly about presenting the concerns of those who wanted to boycott the ‘bigots’ at Barilla Pasta. And, after reading it, one had the distinct impression that the only person in the world who didn’t want homosexual families plastered all over pasta packaging was the Barilla chairman.

I particularly liked this quote from the Washington DC-based Human Rights Campaign:

“Now, more than ever, consumers are sending a message that they are watching to see if the business they patronise, understand and honour issues important to them”

The message is loud and clear. If a food company from a Christian country decides that homosexual advertising is likely to put people off their dinner, human rights groups are going to get a good run at the ABC.

Given the fact that the ABC will report negatively on a company that is deemed ‘anti-gay’ simply because it won’t make rainbow coloured pasta to meet the whims and fancies of homosexual activists, you’d think there would be a media frenzy over halal certification.

Yet companies are lining up to pay for religious certification from organisations that follow the teachings of Mohammad. And he didn’t just say he believed that pasta packaging adorned with homosexuals was a bad idea. He commanded that homosexuals should be executed.

And don’t take my word for it. Take it from those who recorded his actions, like Sunan Abu Dawood.

“The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If you find anyone doing as Lot’s people did, kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done.” -- Book 38, Number 4447.

And in Islamic countries that is exactly what happens. Homosexuals are executed in Iran.  Homosexuals are executed in Saudi Arabia.  Homosexuals are executed in Iraq. By the good guys that we are now fighting with.  And the Sultan of Brunei has just decreed that homosexuals can be executed there too.

And every time a company signs up for halal certification, a percentage of the profits go towards spreading the message of the prophet. It doesn’t really matter whether it goes to those who spread it with an AK-47 and a suicide vest or to those who just lobby for the friendly mosque and Islamic school down the road.

They all spread the same message.  You know, the one that says homosexuals should be killed. The disagreement is just the manner in which it should be done. Some say stoning. Others say burning. And others say they should be thrown head first from the highest pinnacle (and then stoned).

Of course, this can’t be done yet in places like Australia. It is in the ‘Meccan’ period, where Islam is not in control. First, Australia must be made like ‘Medina’, where Islam flourished. And halal certification fees are simply a means by which ‘Meccan’ Australia is transformed into ‘Medinan’ Australia. And when we get there, you can bet your bottom dollar that the Mardi Gras won’t be part of Sydney’s annual calendar.

So how did the ABC report the story about Australians who campaigned to have Fleurieu Milk abandon its plans for halal certification?

Did this unbiased organisation take the same approach as it did to Barilla Pasta and fill its report with quotes about righteously aggrieved consumers sending a message to companies that they need to understand and honour the issues that are important to them?

No.  Instead, the ABC failed to mention one group concerned about halal certification or the reasons why this concern exists.  It failed to mention one individual concerned about halal   certification.  It failed to mention any of the petitions that had been set up to express this concern.

But it did give an Islamic spokesperson an opportunity to rabbit on about ‘Islamophobia’.

And it portrayed opponents to halal certification as aggressive, harsh bullies.

In short, when the ABC reported on Barilla Pasta, the story presented the consumer advocates in a positive light and gave them plenty of space to speak. Those who held different views were not even mentioned. But when the ABC reported on Fleurieu Milk, it gave the consumer advocates no space at all and instead went and interviewed their opponents.

Biased? Absolutely.  Objective? Not at all.

That’s someone else’s ABC for you. It’s an organisation devoted to pushing the views of the intellectual elite. It’s an organisation that makes a virtue out of hypocrisy.

And it is not prepared to ask any of the hard questions. If it did, the ABC might start asking LGBT lobby groups why they whip themselves into a frenzy over a decision to advertise in ‘family-friendly’ way, but are completely silent when it comes to paying a certification fee that will further the spread of a religious belief that executes homosexuals.


Politically correct giving?

Questions over Katy Perry's choice of school for cash prize. Is it wrong to give prizes for excellence?  Must all prizes go to the poor?

Schools for children with disabilities have questioned a decision by Katy Perry and tour sponsor to give a $10,000 cash prize to Loreto Mandeville Hall College's performing arts facilities.

Telstra said the decision to choose Loreto Mandeville, an independent girls' school in Toorak, came directly from Perry, who is in Melbourne performing her Prismatic tour and that there was no interference.

"I picked you guys out of 300 different submissions from all over Australia, there are four girls that we should all thank because they made the most adorable, sweet, innocent, full-of-life, full-of-joy video – and I picked that one," she told her fans at Loreto on Thursday.

Perry visited the Toorak college yesterday which won a nationwide competition.

"I'm not one to complain but I think it's a shame when there's a lot of other struggling schools who want to expand their performing arts," said Karen Taylor, executive assistant to the CEO at Mater Dei in Camden, NSW. 

"Purely based on appearances I don't know if that school [Loreto Mandeville] would necessarily need an additional extra $10,000 for their faculty when they already have a fully fledged orchestra and a state-of-the-art performing arts department," she said.

Ms Taylor also said their school's submission did not have the resources to submit a professional-looking video.

"Loreto did a fantastic compilation of what their school was doing but theirs looked professionally done and they've clearly got the resources for that," she said.

Frankston's BAM Allstars dance group for children with different abilities also applied.

"We are wanting to develop a program to take into special schools. Most of them don't have a performing arts program at all," said founder Lisa Murphy.


1 comment:

Paul said...

I know most modern popstars are vacuous cutouts, but Katy Perry isn't quite like that. There's more to this girl than hollow displays of cheap talent-optional infamy beloved of some of the others.