Friday, July 13, 2018

Men's rights activists have a new hero: David Leyonhjelm

This is from a Leftist source but there may be something in it. It is written from a feminist and hence unmoored from reality perspective. Evidence of that is seen in the words below: "women have gained access to a measure of equity in education and the workplace". That's just paranoia. "A measure of preference" would be more like it.

Women these days make up roughly 60% of university admissions and get extensive job preference.  "Most new Australian jobs were filled by women over the last three years ".  Women have by now got it all -- to the disadvantage of men. Reality sure beats believing in myths, doesn't it? The writer, Jason Wilson, is just clinging to old hates. 

Wilson is also a bit of a nong in his usage of "dogwhistle". Dogwhistle refers to something understood by only one side of politics.  What Lion Helmet said was as clear as crystal to anybody

Senator David Leyonhjelm threw out a dogwhistle to the men’s rights movement, and it appears to have been answered.

First, Leyonhjelm made crude comments about Senator Sarah Hanson-Young’s sex life in the Senate. Then, he reiterated those comments on the Sky News program hosted by Ross Cameron and Rowan Dean. Now, Hanson-Young is promising to sue her Senate colleague for defamation.

Leyonhjelm’s explanation for his comments tapped into a long-standing concept beloved of men’s rights activists, “pick up artists”, incels, and assorted antifeminists in all corners of the “manosphere”: misandry.

 This is Australian-style sexism brought to you by a senator and Sky News

The context was a debate arising from the murder of Eurydice Dixon, where Leyonhjelm was among those who were proposing that the right solution was to arm women with mace and other personal defence technologies

Hanson-Young voted against the motion and told the Senate on 28 June that during the debate, Leyonhjelm told her to “stop shagging men”. Interestingly, he told Sky that “what I was objecting to was the misandry, the blaming of men for the actions of individual criminals”, saying she had accused all men of being rapists, a claim she denies.

When Malcolm Turnbull called on Leyonhjelm to apologise, he said that the prime minister should call out Hanson-Young’s alleged misandry, which is “equally as bad” as misogyny.

By last Wednesday, on A Voice for Men, one of the foremost blogs of the men’s rights movement, Mark Dent had written of Leyonhjelm: “I have a new hero”. One of A Voice for Men’s tagline’s is: “Humanist counter-theory in the Age of Misandry”, and its mission statement says it exists to raise boys and men “above the din of misandry”.

Dent’s article on Leyonhjelm was titled, “A man takes a stand”.

Dent praised Leyonhjelm’s abusive characterisation of Turnbull as a “soft cock” and a “pussy”, saying “these words could not be more appropriate”. And he thanked Leyonhjelm for spotting Hanson-Young’s comments as “attack on all men which it clearly was”.

He also published the email Leyonhjelm sent in response to his fan letter, wherein it was explained that: “Apologies are only appropriate when there is fault. I am not the party at fault – misandry is not something that can be excused.”

It’s a neat trick – a debate over a murder with misogyny at its core gets turned into a petulant and stubborn insistence on the victimhood of men at the hands of women. And it plays into the hands of the large, reactionary political movement built on male victimhood.

“Misandry” is a word that means a hatred for men. It arose as a neologism in the late 19th century, modelled on the word misogyny, which has more ancient roots. As Australian sociologist Michael Flood puts it, misogyny is “an ideology or belief system that has accompanied patriarchal, or male-dominated societies for thousands of years”.

“Misandry” has been employed in antifeminist discourse as an inversion, and a kind of parody of the politicised understanding of misogyny that arose in the feminist movement. Some men saw, and still see, the gains made by women as attacks on their own rights and privileges.

So as women have gained access to a measure of equity in education and the workplace, reproductive rights, no-fault divorce, and a measure of personal and sexual autonomy, some men have seen only an attack on their prerogatives as husbands, fathers, privileged employees, etc.

For some antifeminists, the concept has extraordinary explanatory power. They see it as the motivating force for a feminist movement which, they allege, exists mostly to persecute men. And they believe it to be so powerful and widespread that it can explain not only the problems that they say affect men as a gender, or social class, it is also at the root of personal tribulations of individual men struggling with romantic problems, marital breakdown, or professional failure.

A vast ecosystem of blogs, websites, forums, subreddits, and social media accounts promote this topsy-turvy vision of gender hierarchy. Misandry, and the accompanying narrative of male victimhood, are their currency.

So it was that Leyonhjelm was praised on the Men’s Rights subreddit, the MGTOW (men going their own way) subreddit, and on Braincels (which sees itself as the intellectual end of the incel movement).

In turn, Leyonhjelm responded to the controversy – entirely created by him – by inviting antifeminist Bettina Arndt to parliament to address the topic of misandry.

Many have wondered why Leyonhjelm has kept this story alive with his own media appearances, even in the face of clear legal risks.

Part of the answer may be in the way in which his citation of one of the key concepts of organised misogyny has been noticed in key forums of that subculture.

Leyonhjelm’s ostensible core ideology, libertarianism, is not popular. He was fortunate to be elected at all in 2013. He will need to fight another election soon.

But misogyny has a constituency. His fights with mainstream media interviewers resonate powerfully among a group of men who are alienated by, and bitterly opposed to, gender equality.

By speaking to them, and being boosted in their media ecosystem, Leyonhjelm might become the men’s rights candidate.


Turnbull weighs coal fix for energy wars

Germany is building coal-fired generators so why not Australia?

A proposal for the federal government to financially guarantee the construction and operation of new dispatchable power generation, which could include clean coal-fired plants, is expected to be taken to cabinet with the backing of the Prime Minister.

Malcolm Turnbull yesterday confirmed he would seriously consider the key recommendation of a report by the competition watchdog to underwrite and potentially subsidise new “firm” and cheap power generation for industrial and commercial users.

Signalling a possible end to the energy wars within the Coalition partyroom, the recommendation was immediately endorsed by ­Nationals MPs, who have interpreted it as a green light for government to intervene in supporting the future of coal generation.

Tony Abbott, one of the most vocal opponents of the government’s national energy guarantee, also backed the recom­mendation, saying it was a “vindication” of calls for more baseload power in the national electricity market.

Senior government sources said Mr Turnbull was personally “very supportive” of the idea and it could be considered by cabinet before the end of the year. A formal position from the government is not expected until after a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments next month, which will seek to ratify agreement for the national energy guarantee.

The recommendation was among 59 handed down in a 400-page report yesterday by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, which said nothing less than a radical shake-up of the national energy market would bring down prices for households and businesses.

Local energy stocks were hit by the call for pricing reform, falling 1.04 per cent as a sector. It slashed almost $1.6 billion from the market valuations of the two biggest listed power players, AGL Energy and Origin Energy.

Among key recommendations, the ACCC said elevated prices had been driven by “high and entrenched levels of concentration in the market’’ and singled out Queensland for a major overhaul. The watchdog said the state’s power generators should be split into three entities, leaving open the possibility of a sale.

State and territory governments did not escape the blowtorch, with inflated networks costs caused by unrealistic, government-imposed reliability standards identified as still being the chief culprit in rising power prices.

The report recommended writing down the asset value of the network companies to limit the rate of return on investment which dictated the annual cost recovery the companies sought, or offer rebates on network charges of up to $100 a year to customers.

The report, led by ACCC chairman Rod Sims, is being examined closely by Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, who yesterday said he would not rule out any of the recommendations, having privately signalled to colleagues last month that there would be a deal for new coal or gas in addition to the NEG.

A source within government told The Australian the recommendation to underwrite new generation was almost certain to be adopted.

Mr Turnbull yesterday signalled the government’s intent in a speech in Brisbane.

“We’ll look further at this proposal over the coming months … but this recommendation has the distinct advantage of being thoroughly technology-agnostic and, well-designed, should serve our goal of cheaper and reliable energy.”

Resources Minister Matthew Canavan said the report had vindicated the Nationals’ position on pushing back on the NEG and arguing for high-efficiency, low-emissions coal-fired power.

“Many of my colleagues had raised genuine and heartfelt concerns over the current adequacy of investment in power generation. Those concerns have been vindicated,” Senator Canavan said. “The ACCC has now recommended the government underwrite baseload power investments. If people didn’t want to listen to the Nationals, then they should definitely listen to Rod Sims.”

Nationals leader Michael McCormack also welcomed the ACCC report, signalling it could end the internal dispute over the NEG and allow the Coalition parties to reach a consensus.

The ACCC said there was a case for government support in the financing of new large-scale generation projects that required considerable up-front investment and carried significant risk. “Where private-sector banks are unwilling to finance projects due to uncertainty about the future of an industrial or manufacturing business, the ACCC considers there is a role for the Australian government in providing support for such projects in appropriate circumstances,” the report said.

“This can be achieved at little cost to government. Specifically, the ACCC proposes the government introduce a program under which it will guarantee offtake from a new generation asset (or group of assets) in the later years of the project (say years six-10 or six-15) at a low fixed price sufficient to enable the project to meet financing requirements.”

As the fallback customer, it has not been determined whether the government would actually buy the power to on-sell to another customer or simply bankroll the operation until it found new commercial customers.

But if the spot price were to fall as low as $45 per megawatt hour, as a senior government source said, the “government would have done its job”.

The ACCC report said the recommendation, which would apply only to new market entrants and require they have at least three commercial customers, would involve “little cost”, as energy prices would have to fall significantly for the government to be disadvantaged.

In recommendations on the behaviour of the energy giants and the lack of competition, the report called for a prohibition on acquisitions to limit the market share of any one generator to 20 per cent in any NEM region.

EnergyAustralia, a major wholesale and retail power company, said “artificial limits on ownership of generation capacity seem unnecessary when the ACCC already has the authority to review proposed mergers and acquisitions for impacts on competition”.


Parents selecting a school for their children are shunning those with low vaccination rates after it is revealed two children per class are unprotected

Parents choosing a school for their children are being swayed by vaccination rates. One-in-three parents claim they would not send their child to a school they thought was ideal if it did not have a high rate of vaccinations.

About 28 per cent of parents are concerned about their children catching a contagious disease at a school with a low immunisation rate, the Courier-Mail reported.

Up to two children per class are unprotected, according to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data.

One in every 15 five-year-old children have not been immunised in south Brisbane, and the Gold Coast has the lowest vaccination rate in Queensland at 92.2 per cent.

Of 2,000 parents surveyed by, 28 per cent considered a lack of vaccinated children one of their biggest concerns when choosing a school. It was found to be of more concern for mothers than for fathers.

'Alongside vaccination rates, things such as academic performance, distance from home and canteen ­hygiene are also influencers,' Bessie Hassan from said.

Vaccines for many preventable diseases are provided free by the National Immunisation Program Schedule in Australia for children under 10-years-old.


South Australian gym under fire over controversial social media post

A SOUTH Australian gym has been slammed by Facebook users after posting a divisive ad for a new fitness program.

HTFU Fitness Adelaide — which stands for “Harden the Fat Up” — published the post on social media earlier this week, which featured a dramatic “before and after” shot of a woman in her underwear.

It was accompanied by a caption encouraging women to sign up for the company’s new “21-day transformation starter pack”.

“Let me guess ladies??? You feel unfit, unattractive, self conscious and worthless … especially when standing in front of the mirror naked,” the post began.

“You feel embarrassed and ashamed getting naked in front of your partner … You’re sick and tired of picking outfits that hide your fat.

“And you want to feel comfortable in your own skin, wear your favourite outfits, feel fit, confident, attractive and sexy.”

The post continued: “But there’s a problem. You’re too afraid to join a gym because you’re too embarrassed, ashamed, self conscious, worried about being judged and most of all, you’re just too nervous to commit.

“But that stops now. We understand you.”

But almost immediately, the comments began rolling in, with many woman accusing the business of “fat shaming” women.

“I do feel embarrassed, ashamed and self-conscious all the time. And having posts like this pop up in my feed definitely don’t make me feel better about myself,” one women commented, while another posted: “Have you googled internalised misogyny yet? Because that’s why women talk about worthlessness and shame about their body.”

Others took aim at the use of language in the ad.

“This is a horrible, horrible way of marketing to women. Worthless? FFS!!” one woman wrote, while another shared: “Worthless? Ashamed? Unattractive? What a disgusting way to advertise to women. You should be ashamed.”

One Facebook user described the “deplorable” and “gross” ad as “the most negative, off-putting marketing in Australia”, adding: “talk about reinforcing the WORST way of looking at a woman’s body”.

And another said: “Now I know where not to go! This gym is definitely not for anyone who wants to get fit while not being judged, fat shamed, boxed into the “unfit = unhappy” category and probably ridiculed for not being fit.”

However, there were also Facebook users who defended the ad, with one woman saying it was simply a reflection of how “many women feel”.

“I feel like women/anyone just quickly jump on the bandwagon to tell someone they’re fat shaming or being sexist these days. This post is just writing the truth about what many women feel”, while another posted: “People are so quick to jump and attack these days and try to publicly shame someone or a business … HTFU isn’t about changing the person you are HTFU helps you be a better version of yourself”.

The gym also responded to the negative backlash on social media, insisting it stands by the original post.

“If you read it properly with an open mind you will see we’re stating the truth on how ‘SOME’ women feel about themselves at the moment, how they want to feel and what they know they need to do to feel better,” the company posted, before revealing four women had signed up as a direct result of the post.

Owner Aaron Cartwright told he only wanted to help people. “The only thing I would change is in the first paragraph, it should have said ‘some ladies’,” he said.

“But it’s the truth; it’s how a lot of females think about themselves, and it’s how they would like to feel about themselves. “It’s confronting probably, but it’s the reality. For people who are offended, I’d say go back and re-read it and try to understand it from my point of view.”

Mr Cartwright urged people to keep an “open mind”.

“I can understand where people who look at that post without an open mind are coming from, but if you’re offended, just relax and see my side because I’m actually trying to help people not feel bad about themselves,” he said.

“I can see how people can get offended if they look at it the wrong way and think I’m fat shaming and that kind of stuff but I’m far from a fat shamer — I’m a truth-seeker and I try and help people transform their lives whatever their size or race or if they’re male or female.


Journalism demands the kind of critical thinking that challenges pieties

Journalists should apply more scepticism to progressive moral assumptions that media consumers often think simply sound like youthful credulity.

Commentators in left-leaning media have criticised what they claim are “culture war” campaigns in the past month on a range of issues, such as the ban by Woolworths and Coles of single-use plastic bags; politicians and commentators supporting coal-fired power generation or expressing scepticism about renewables; and against News Corp papers that questioned the decision by the Australian National University not to accept a bequest from the Ramsay Centre to support a course for the study of Western civilisation.

Changes to school education curriculums and university journalism teaching have allowed a lot of progressive pieties to slide into media thinking unchallenged. Once, news editors, chief sub-editors and executive producers would have challenged such assump­tions.

Educators claim they are concerned students learn critical thinking. I’m for that, so let’s try it with the bags issue.

The Productivity Commission studied this closely in a 500-page 2006 report and found most environmental claims about these bags were bogus. There was little real evidence marine creatures were harmed by such bags. Almost all single-use bags were used by households for rubbish, and helped contain refuse in landfill. They were most likely an environmental positive because other bags were more greenhouse gas intensive in their production.

Even ABC’s Gruen managed to apply some critical thinking to the issue last week. Regular panellist and former advertising executive Russel Howcroft said Coles and Woolies were saving $170 million a year on supply­ing free plastic bags. He said green actions that supported the bottom line were great for marketers.

I don’t mind paying 15c for bags because I shop at Aldi, where you have always had to pay. But Aldi has quick and efficient checkout service. Customers are not asked to check out their own groceries on self-serve terminals that break down regularly, which of course is just a cost saving to retailers.

Journalists also should bring critical thinking to assumptions about recycling in a nation that puts recycling bins outside every house yet until now has shipped much of its recyclables to China. How does that affect greenhouse gas outputs? How many young reporters know about salts flowing into our river systems from glass and paper recycling plants or the environmental costs of trans­porting recyclables to processing stations?

The reporting of coal is even more problematic. The ABC, much of Fairfax Media and Guardian Australia have swallowed the activist line that coal is dead. Yet on Monday we learned exports of coking and steaming coal had just hit a record of $61 billion a year, and coal was about to overtake iron ore as our biggest export. Time for some critical thinking.

An editorial in The Australian Financial Review on Wednesday summed up the situation: “The irony is that, as ageing coal-fired power stations are closing down in Australia and fossil fuel gas dev­elopment remains banned in our two most populated states, rising Asian consumption of Australian coal is propping up Australia’s living standards … exposing the two sides of the coal debate in Aus­tralia: the reality and the political narrative.”

The likelihood is renewables eventually will be cheaper than coal, but that may be decades away. And as yet they just do not provide reliable baseload power. This does not mean Australia needs to build new coal-fired power stations, although how the world benefits if we don’t but our coal is burned elsewhere should be a question every thinking journalist and politician asks themselves. At minimum we do need to build a dispersed array of gas-fired “peakers” — as even the Greens understood when they signed up to former prime minister Julia Gillard’s carbon tax but now oppose.

The media should be explaining all this accurately and asking why a nation that is the leading exporter of coal, gas and uranium and contributes only 1.3 per cent of global man-made carbon dioxide emissions has the world’s most expensive power. The planet is not helped if our resources are simply used elsewhere, but jobs will certainly be destroyed here if power becomes too expensive.

Hailing bogus solutions such as South Australia’s Elon Musk-supplied battery, which could keep the state powered for a few minutes at best, is fake news. Large-scale battery storage that can effectively provide dispatchable power will arrive eventually, but this is not it.

Left media has been particularly sceptical of this paper’s coverage of the Ramsay Centre-Australian National University story, choosing to see the presence of former conservative prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott on the Ramsay board as a sign the new course should be resisted by progressives.

Yet, all over Asia, students who perform much better than our own in international testing receive a healthy diet of Western civilisation. Media sceptics fully signed up to the anti-colonialist, postmodern, identity politics view of history and literature should apply some critical thinking to the ANU as well as to Ramsay.

Do university vice-chancellors really imagine rich Asian parents will be happy to learn their children’s expensive educational institutions are being overtaken by cultural relativists? This industry is a successful services exporter precisely because Asian parents think they are buying rigour.

Last Thursday this newspaper revealed the latest aberration at ANU, where all new staff are being required to take a cultural awareness course that specifically endorses a treaty with Aboriginal Australians. Many lawyers and conservatives will have basic issues with that proposition.

It has been like this in the vexed area of Aboriginal disadvantage for decades as each new generation wanting to do the right thing privileges symbolism over the health and safety of women and children in remote Australian communities.

It reminds me of another story of changing fashions. This paper broke the news a decade and a half ago that the idea of Aboriginal welcome-to-country ceremonies was specifically devised by actors who felt Australia needed something like the Maori haka. The story revealed actors Ernie Dingo and Richard Walley came up with the plan in Perth in 1976.

That does not make welcomes to country invalid. But it does show how fashion can drive progressive thinking for no substantive benefit to the actual communities concerned. Ditto the ANU, where paying students expect it to stand above prevailing fashion.

Sure, learn about the great civilisations of the East, but don’t pretend the modern world did not develop from the ideas of ancient Greece and Rome. Journalism academics need to understand postmodern educational fads that deny the possibility of absolute truth and see many individual truths are fundamentally at odds with the profession’s core mission: to find and report the truth.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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