Sunday, June 30, 2019


No forgiveness for Folau’s sins against the PC church

The take-home message of the Israel Folau scandal is as clear as it is terrifying: Christians are no longer welcome in public life.

If you adhere to core Christian beliefs about sin, hell and damnation, you will be purged from polite society.

If you think St Paul was right to argue in his Epistle to the Romans that it is sinful for men to neglect “the natural use of the female” and instead to become “inflamed by their lust for one another”, you will be cast out of the community. If you agree with the word of God — that man “shall not lie with mankind as with womankind”, as Leviticus puts it — you will be branded a moral transgressor.

The irony is almost too much to bear: critics of Christianity now use the tactics Christianity itself once used in its darker moments in history. They demonise certain ideas as heretical, rage against those who holds these ideas and subject these sinful creatures to a PC inquisition.

“Are you now or have you ever been an adherent to the Bible’s beliefs on homosexuality…?”

Answer yes and you’re out, packed off to the moral wilderness, with a metaphorical placard saying “homophobe” — a modern word for evil — hanging around your neck.

Folau’s crime, his sin against political correctness, is to believe that people who have gay sex are destined for hell.

He expressed this belief in a meme he shared on his Instagram page, which said “hell awaits” certain wicked people, including drunks, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolaters and homosexuals.

As an atheist who has engaged in boozing, fornication and idolatry at various times in his life, I guess I’d better prep for an eternity of fire and torture. I don’t share Folau’s beliefs. I was brought up a Catholic, so I know there are many people who genuinely believe homosexuality is a sin. But I’m a lapsed Catholic now, and godless too, and it bothers me not one iota who people choose to have sexual intercourse with. Knock yourselves out. Wear a condom!

Yet I find the persecution of Folau repulsive and an alarming sign of the times.

It demonstrates how far PC intolerance has gone and how thoroughly anyone who doesn’t slavishly subscribe to contemporary orthodoxy can expect to be punished.

It doesn’t matter if you are a Christian or an atheist, straight or gay, uptight about sex or a cheerleader for sexual debauchery — you should still be deeply concerned that a man can be persecuted simply for what he believes, for the convictions that reside in his head and his heart.

Persecution is not too strong a word for it. The dictionary definition of persecution is “hostility or ill-treatment” especially because of one’s “race or political or religious beliefs”.

This aptly describes what Folau has faced. He has had hostility heaped upon him because of his religious beliefs. He has been ill-treated because of his faith.

First, in April, he was dumped by the rugby world. Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby — which oversees the team Folau played for, the Waratahs — issued a joint statement announcing the termination of his contract.

The statement was perverse. It will surely be studied by future generations who want to understand the moral contortionism of the early years of the 21st century.

It claimed Rugby Australia is keen to create an environment in which everyone can feel “safe and welcome” and in which there is “no vilification based on race, gender, religion or sexuality”. And so, because of his Instagram post, Folau had to be cast out.

It is testament to the blinkered arrogance of political correctness, and of those who do its bidding, that these people could not see the profound moral contradiction at the heart of their chilling statement. In the name of preventing “vilification based on race, gender, religion or sexuality”, they vilified Folau on the basis of his religion. In the name of creating a safe environment where everyone can feel “welcome”, they made it clear that Folau — because of his religion — is not welcome.

This Orwellian statement translates as follows: “We will not tolerate vilification on the basis of religion — unless your religion is traditional Christianity, in which case we will vilify you. And we are welcoming of everyone — except people who believe the words of the Bible, whom we will sack and shame.”

This repugnant statement summed up what is the first and last commandment of the ideology of political correctness: “We love and accept everyone. Except anyone we disagree with. We hate those people and we will destroy them.”

Authoritarianism dressed up as acceptance. Intolerance under the guise of tolerance. This is the Newspeak of the PC era, and it is horrifying.

Even worse, Folau’s opponents then sought to make it more difficult for him to defend himself. The sports world effectively made him a moral reprobate; then the capitalist class decided he should not be allowed to raise money for his own defence in his case of unlawful termination against Rugby Australia.

GoFundMe Australia shut down his fundraising page. It did so because we do not “tolerate the promotion of discrimination or exclusion”, it said.

Again with the Orwellianism. We do not tolerate discrimination or exclusion, so we will discriminate against a biblical Christian and exclude him from our services — that is essentially what GoFundMe is saying. Shameless self-contradiction.

Thankfully, the Australian Christian Lobby stepped in, keeping open the possibility of charity for Folau after others almost closed that possibility down. It is testament to the strength of feeling around this issue that the ACL raised $2 million in the first day. Huge numbers of ordinary Aussies clearly want to take a stand for religious freedom and freedom of speech — good on ’em.

This terrible spectacle, this hounding of one man over his beliefs, reveals so much about the culture wars of the early 21st century.

First, it confirms that PC is the new religion. Political correctness now does what pointy-hatted priests used to do: seeks out thought criminals and moral transgressors and punishes them for their wicked beliefs.

No, nobody has been burned at the stake. Folau’s life is not at risk. But there is nonetheless an inquisitorial feeling to the witch-hunting of this rugby player whose only offence is that he thinks differently from the PC crowd.

The second thing revealed by this hounding is that the left will turn a blind eye to the use and abuse of capitalist power if it serves their purposes. So, just as leftists have cheered Silicon Valley oligarchs as they have expelled from social media anyone who has an anti-PC point of view, so they have applauded GoFundMe’s shunning of Folau. It’s a private company, they say, and private companies can decide for themselves who to host and who to ban.

Let’s break this down: what they’re really saying is that the speech rights of a “horrible” Christian come a poor second to the property rights of corporations. So, all their anti-capitalist bluster is stuff and nonsense. When push comes to shove, they will back the internet elites and online Big Business over those who they deem to be morally wicked.

This is a celebration of corporate power over individual speech rights. That’s the kind of thing you would expect from the libertarian right, but not from the supposedly socially conscious left.

And the third thing confirmed by this dispiriting affair is that Christianity is one religion it is acceptable to mock and persecute these days.

If you were to criticise Islam, you would be branded an “Islamophobe”. You would be accused of stirring up racist sentiment. You would be denounced and harassed and censured.

Yet the Koran also attacks homosexuality. It says any man who “practises your lusts on men” deserves to be driven “out of your city”. They should be visited by a “shower of brimstone” — that is, kill them.

I find these views of homosexuals as dreadful as the Leviticus view. But I support the right of Muslims and Christians alike to hold these views and to think that men who lie with men will be punished in the afterlife.

When did we forget this key principle of civilised, enlightened, democratic society — that people should be free to hold even difficult and disagreeable views, and should never be punished for what they think?

Folau should be free to think and say whatever he likes, and he should face no sanction whatsoever.

SOURCE  






The Australian constitution is on Folau's side

Section 116 of The Australian Constitution states: “The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth”.

Where there is reference to industrial law, it relates only to the public service and it must be said the ultimate phrase of Section 116 was honoured more in the breach than in the observance.

In the bad old days of sectarian Australia, no Catholic could get a job working for Treasury. Likewise, Protestants looking to get a gig in the Tax Office.

But at least religious freedoms get a mention. All other freedoms are merely implied and that means they are open to being trampled regularly by government.

If dealt with in isolation, the question of religious freedom will be pushed into the murk of a politico-legal world grappling awkwardly with black letter diktats on the nature of religion. It rarely ends well.

In 1983, the High Court had to determine the basic question of what constitutes a religion in Australia. It was a vexed business and once handed down, the judgment revealed the discomfiture of the Full Bench in dealing with such a slippery issue.

The Victorian Supreme Court had labelled Scientology a sham religion, a mockery of established religious observance and determined the State of Victoria was within its rights to claim payroll tax from the group.

When the scientologists took the matter to the High Court, the Supreme Court ruling was overturned. The High Court determined that an organisation that believes it is a religion is a religion, or more properly, if a group of people who associate with a particular organisation believe it is a religion then that is what it is. Thus, Scientology became the Church of Scientology in Australia and got to enjoy all the tax-free goodies.

Far be it for me to say, but the Victoria Supreme Court probably got it right in respect of Scientology but the High Court’s prevailing judgment was one driven by the sensible view that despite their considerable legal expertise, men and women in horsehair wigs, had no business providing a legal checklist for matters of faith and religious belief.

It was the right call, but it led to poor results where a cult like Scientology enjoyed tax free status and further emboldened more cults and sects in Australia to do likewise.

We should be thankful to Folau and to Rugby Australia, too. It is an unpleasant business for him, and others directly involved but in the greater public forum it can lead to very healthy discussions, a renewed focus on our rights and our freedoms, why so many have gone missing and how to get them back.

We need to broaden the argument that sprang from the great sense that Folau has been dealt with disgracefully.

The best and fairest response is to enshrine freedoms of expression, movement and association equally across the board as the foundations for the way people work and live in Australia.

We need to establish where we stand in this country. A bill of rights would make the Australia even noisier and a good deal messier than it is today but I’d suggest in a complex modern society that is no bad thing.

SOURCE  






Another man victimized by false allegations

Bettina Arndt

We are fast reaching the point where men won't dare work with children. The vigilantism and community hysteria surrounding sexual abuse accusations combined with our anti-male culture means all men are vulnerable to false accusations which can end their careers.

Over the decades I've been writing about these issues I have talked to so many men in this situation. In this week's video I interview a respected music teacher and school band conductor who is currently banned from teaching in NSW schools. He was subject to false accusations by a number of students which were properly investigated by police and the Department of Community Services and found to have no substance.

It's over a year since the accusations first surfaced and were then investigated, yet the Education Department's secretive investigation unit refuses to remove him from the list banning him from teaching in schools. His career is ruined, his reputation trashed by malicious social media campaigns labelling him as a pederast.

Please watch my video and help me circulate it. People need to know what's happening to some of our most experienced and trusted male teachers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=on0vK284wbU

Via email from Bettina






The plight of boys in a misandrist world

The poison of revenge feminism

I worry more for my 19-year-old son than for my daughters, both in their early 20s. At a dinner party recently, a young woman told me that my son’s school was teeming with rape culture. That’s not true. I tried to explain why — that one bad boy, even a few, does not make a rape culture. But she didn’t seem to be interested in listening to this.

My son’s school has swallowed the fabrication hook, line and sinker. That is the wretched power of misguided accusations and outright lies. Repeat them enough and people believe them.

The confected panic became so ridiculous that at one assembly senior boys were told not to use the word moist as it might offend girls. The boys responded rationally. They muttered for the rest of the day about moist sandwiches, moist weather and so on. Some teachers joined in because, as a rule, overreach is rarely taken seriously.

Now I read that if my son, or one of his gorgeous and clever friends, studies medicine and becomes an obstetrician and gynaecologist, motives need to be checked. Are they in it for power? To enjoy watching women in pain? To perve at women’s private parts?

This is serious. Seriously wrong. I wouldn’t normally respond to another writer in this newspaper. We are a broad church, despite the claims of some ideologically blind critics that we all lean one way. Live and let write, I say. Sometimes their arguments sharpen mine.

Nikki Gemmell’s piece two weeks back needs addressing, not to sharpen opposing views given her claims are so easily sliced and diced. They need to be positioned as part and parcel of a wicked movement that seeks to punish men en masse, even smearing boys for the past deeds of some men.

Gemmell may not have meant to join this miserable movement. Maybe she was naive. But her claim that we should question the motives of why a man would want to be an obstetrician gives cover to others who choose gender as a determination of good or bad motives. Think of the obsessions about the white patriarchy and toxic masculinity. Rather than ­encourage more of these mindless accusations, can’t we agree that this genre of revenge feminism deserves no helpers? And that men should not have to defend themselves against inchoate claims about bad motives?

Revenge feminism is one part of a larger body of grievance politics, each offshoot with its own misguided postmodernist pursuit.

Post-Marxists assert power imbalances, regard objective knowledge as a construct of power, assume bad motives from those who have power, and then they prop up those deemed to be oppressed and punish those assumed to be oppressors. Many are so consumed with finding power imbalances, they do not stop to check whether they have found a real one, or whether they are making sense even when they have found the locus of power.

The redeeming feature of the postmodernist movement is that it is increasingly incoherent. Hence, it will not likely enjoy the same longevity of past, more comprehensible political movements. ­Rational people simply cannot, and will not, abide by the increasingly outlandish claims that emanate from the many parts of postmodernism.

From identity politics more broadly to narrower agendas of intersectional feminism and queer theory, along with their absolutist claims about cultural appropriation, unconscious bias, toxic masculinity, cisgender privilege, heteronormativity, and so on, more people recognise these as ­regressive, not progressive. All are aimed at judging people, not as individuals but as members of assumed oppressed and oppressor classes according to race, sexuality, culture and more.

Revenge feminism that reflexively impugns the motives of men is just another incoherent part of the mother ship of 1960s postmodernism that reworked itself in the 80s. But before each bit is ­finally dumped as part of modernity’s biggest political con, clumsy assumptions about power and gender are exceedingly unfair to men and do nothing good for women either.

My own experience points to the pointlessness of using gender to judge doctors. Three children. Two obstetricians. The first, a woman, was dreadful. Rough, rude, dismissive, she had many complaints against her I learned later. My second obstetrician was gentle and caring and he listened too. I judged both of them not by gender but by their individual skills, or lack of them.

My former father-in-law, a more decent man you could not find, was a GP in country NSW for many years in an era when the local doctor did all manner of things. He delivered so many ­babies that his family frequently bumps into those babies or the mothers and fathers, all much older now. This gentle man does not deserve to have his motives questioned for bringing babies into the world.

Gender stereotypes can blow back on women, too. Working as a young lawyer at a large law firm in Sydney more than two decades ago, I noticed that a higher proportion of senior female lawyers, partners in particular, were rude and dismissive. Kind of like that ­female obstetrician I would encounter some years later.

What was their beef? Maybe some thought young female lawyers had slid too easily into our chosen profession compared with their harder road. But why punish us for their trials and tribulations? Others didn’t discriminate on the basis of sex; they were equally awful to young men and women. The point is that some of us grew wary of older female lawyers and preferred to work for men. The men weren’t necessarily caring or gentle but they were fair.

Today, the pendulum has swung even further. In our biggest companies, in government bureaucracies and at universities too, gender is more prominent than ever. The way it is panning out, with quotas and special privileges for women, we are focusing less on people as individuals.

Today, if you want a genuine equal opportunity employer, your best bet may be a small business that is mercifully free of gender rules, and HR departments that enforce them.

Postmodern quests by social justice warriors have made us more sexist, and more racist, too.

Think of frequent accusations about toxic masculinity, not to mention bogus claims against white privilege. It is not corrective justice to smear all men with bad motives or to claim all white people are privileged. It is not justice of any kind. And it is not good for any of us.

There have always been sporadic contests over the core idea of the West that we treat people equally, as individuals who should be neither punished nor promoted by reason of their race, creed, ­gender or sexuality.

But today there is an escalating drive, under the auspices of identity politics, to divide people into smaller and smaller groups, starting from clumsy assumptions about power, replacing objective knowledge with unverified claims, ascribing bad motives to one class and good motives to another, punishing some, promoting others. It is driving people apart, creating default settings of distrust. Intersectional feminism, for example, is at war with itself, different groups of women laying claim to be the biggest victims.

In the victimhood sweepstakes, a woman of colour beats a white woman hands down, a lesbian woman of colour beats a lesbian white woman, and a trans woman beats a lesbian woman of colour. And a trans woman of colour? That is intersectional bingo. Meanwhile, trans activists in general are at war with biological women, and none of these groups is listening to the other. It is a shouting race to the top of a wonky ladder of victimhood.

It is no wonder then that identity politics is more morose and divisive, infantilising and illiberal now compared with, say, a decade ago. Given that we do not know where this ends or what the point of no return looks like, each of us should surely commit to being living, breathing examples of the great liberal mission.

Respecting and judging people as individuals is the road to genuine and enduring equality. If we start from this first principle, real empowerment and human flourishing will follow too. And a new social justice movement can better judge who holds power, who abuses it and how best to protect those at the mercy of real oppression.

We have to start somewhere. Not impugning the motives of male obstetricians is as good a place as any.

SOURCE  






EcoFascists:  The new totalitarians

Melbourne University’s new vice-chancellor, Duncan Maskell, wants to “reach out” and “build partnerships” with the business sector. It may be harder than he thinks. Potential donors might catch up with what the university’s Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI) is advocating. MSSI Director, Professor Brendan Gleeson, has just co-authored with staffer Dr Sam Alexander a book Degrowth in the Suburbs: A Radical Urban Imaginary.[1]

The book calls for the overthrow of capitalism en route to a mightily shrunken non–consumerist “eco-socialism”. MSSI cites reviews of the book as a “beacon of hope” for a “a tantalizing and realistic suburban future”, as the authors guide us “through the calamities of the Anthropocene”. MSSI last March also published an update by the Gleeson/Alexander duo, “showcasing new and exciting sustainability knowledge”.[2] The authors respectfully quote Karl Marx and the Communist Manifesto of 1848. But they argue for a decarbonised Australia which for radicalism makes Marx and Engels seem mild as maiden aunts:

Attempting to take control of the state may not necessarily be the best way to initiate the transition to a just and sustainable degrowth economy, for even a socialist state may find itself locked into unsustainable growth just as capitalism is.

and

A revolutionary consciousness must precede the revolution. If governments will not lead this process, it arguably follows that social movements might have to change the world without (at first) taking state power… [3]

The authors note that Australian householders to the 1950s did a lot of backyard food-growing, dress-making and furniture-making, and DIY building:

This ‘urban peasantry’ declined however in the Post-War Boom, as the rise of mass consumer capitalism enabled households to purchase goods previously produced within the household. We contend that any degrowth or post-capitalist transition may well see the re-emergence of an ‘urban peasantry’ in this sense, albeit one shaped by different times and concerns.

The more pain for citizens the better, apparently, to “shake people awake”:

In our view, it is better that citizens are not in fact protected from every disruptive situation, given that encounter with crisis can play an essential consciousness-raising role. (175).

They say,

Ultimately, the solution to crisis is crisis: a massive suspension of capitalism as prelude to a new economic and social dispensation…To liberate human prospect, we must cast down not defend the burning barricades of a dying modernity. (15-16)

They extol Cubans for food production in backyards, turning “crisis into opportunity”. The post-2007 Greek debt crisis also furnishes them insights “into ways of dealing positively with challenging and turbulent times”. I’m surprised they haven‘t also cited socialist Venezuela’s shining example of degrowth. They say that living standards, despite degrowth, can be propped up by voluntary sharing and gifting. But they caution the middle classes that “access to expensive handbags through sharing schemes is not progressive if it merely entrenches consumer culture.”

Richard di Natale’s Green’s Party, they say, “has begun to recognize the need for a post-growth economy, even though it treads very carefully knowing that it must not alienate a voting constituency that is still developing a post-growth consciousness” (180). I don’t think di Natale will thank them for that insight.

In one of the sickening clich├ęs of the Gleeson/Alexander academic style – dating back eight years to Alexander’s Ph.D. thesis — the authors time-travel to 2038 and discover what a success their policies have been (145).[4] Large fossil-fuel companies are nationalized in a near “war time mobilization” and their workers handed a job guarantee in renewables (167).

Graffiti daubers in 2038 instead write inspirational slogans: “Graffiti art sprayed all over Melbourne captured the spirit best: ‘I have a little; you have nothing; therefore, we have a little’” (154). Suburbanites share food from their vegie plots, eschew distant holidays (local trips show “hidden delights” within reach of a borrowed electric car), mend their own clothes, eat vegetarian and fertilise their backyard plots with nutrients from their composting toilets. “As old attitudes die, it is now broadly accepted that a civilized society in an era of water scarcity should not defecate into potable water…” they write (158).

“Tiny houses” on wheels proliferate on idle driveways and spare rooms are opened to boarders. Homesteaders enjoy sewing, baking bread and brewing beer. (Home-brewed cider and port feature in Alexander’s previous yurts-and-jam-jar imaginings). People spend their leisure on “low-impact creative activity like music or art, home-based production, or sport. (164)”. But many sport fields get converted to cropping, which is tough on the likes of AFL fans who initially create “instances of social conflict” until won over by Gleeson and Alexander’s insights (159).

The elderly purr along on electric bikes, and neighborhoods share ‘electric cargo bikes” capable of dropping multiple kids at school. The ‘vast majority’ of city people do some food-growing and bee-keeping in their welcome new roles as “urban peasantry”. They convert train-line verges to chicken and goat farms and former car parks to aquaculture. With so much  physical work, people need less public health care, “freeing up more of the public purse for the energy transition” (160).

The ambience at MSSI hasn’t changed much since I last checked them out four years ago. Those earlier pieces — The joy of yurts and jam-jar glassware, Melbourne Uni’s watermelon patch, and A book without peer — can be read by following the links.

MSSI is now running a whole project on eco-socialism’s “Great Resettlement” of the suburbs after we cut loose from our “fatal addiction” to oil, gas and coal. Just for starters, Gleeson/Alexander are now agitating for a top marginal tax rate of “90 per cent or more”,[5] wealth taxes “to systematically transfer 3 per cent of private wealth [do they mean per annum?] from the richest to the poorest” and estate taxes of 90 per cent or more “to ensure the laws of inheritance and bequest do not create a class system of entrenched wealth and entrenched poverty.” In their view, Australia should give a guaranteed living wage to every permanent resident and a “job guarantee” involving the state as employer of last resort (193-4).

The book says the “working class struggle” (91) should involve, of course, a giant increase in State control for a “wholesale eco-socialist transition” (174). There would be “vastly increased democratic planning and perhaps even some rationing of key resources to ensure distributive equity” (195). State and community banks would monopolise most mortgages and use the profits to fund a guaranteed right to public housing (191), with socialization of property per se likely later down the track (190).

To prepare the masses for this Gleesonian world of degrowth, grassroots education campaigns would get special importance and the arts sector would weave “emotionally convincing” narratives about anti-consumerism (195) – — except maybe for climate tragic Cate Blanchett; her portfolio includes a $6m Sussex mansion.

In the book’s sole flash of common sense, the authors say, “Electric cars are still on the rise, but progress is slow as few households can afford them, and their ecological credentials remain dubious in many respects” (164-65).

You may be wondering about this Sustainable Society Institute. It’s not some rogue element of the campus in a reefer-strewn Carlton hideaway but an interdisciplinary Melbourne University standard-bearer. It has a “diverse and vibrant  Advisory Board of experts, leaders and champions of sustainability.” They include Nobelist Peter Doherty and the president, no less, of the university’s professorial board, Rachel Webster.

Housed in the architecture faculty , it has a staff of 21 including four professors, 6-7 PhDs and 10 administrators. There goes about $3m salaries a year in tax and fees, let alone costs of MSSI delegations to annual UN climate gabfests. MSSI purports to produce high impact publications, post-grad research and public debate – although the only debates there are among green-leftists. MSSI has staff exchanges with Germany’s far-left Potsdam Climate Impact Institute, which has helped lure Germany into a crippling energy shortage.

Check out MSSI’s “diverse and vibrant advisory board of experts, leaders and champions of sustainability.” Chair is Melbourne’s deputy mayor Arron Wood, a graduate of the Climate Leadership program run by globe-trotting, CO2-belching Al Gore. Other members include John Bradley, State Environment Department head and previously CEO of power distributor Energy Networks; and various green group leaders like Katerina Gaita, CEO of “Climate for Change”. She’s a fellow Al Gore graduate and daughter of Romulus My Father author Raimond Gaita with whom she shared the jolliest green family chinwags at the Wheeler Centre (below).


The MSSI board, apart from some vested interests, also bulges with corporate high-flyers of the capitalist imperium targeted for destruction by MSSI. These barons and duchesses of a dying order include Rosemary Bissett, sustainability head of National Australia Bank; Gerard Brown, corporate affairs head of ANZ Bank; and Victoria McKenzie-McHarg, strategy manager at Bank Australia. She boasts of leading the campaign to replace Hazelwood power station and stopping another Victorian coal-fired power project going ahead, plus there was her role in the women-in-climate change seminar. Then there’s Adam Fennessy, EY consultancies’ government strategy partner and ex-head of Victoria’s Environment Department. No green lobby would be replete without big emitter Qantas, and MSSI has Megan Flynn, listed as Qantas group environment and carbon strategy manager.[3] Sadly for Qantas, Gleeson’s post-capitalist and climate-friendly world will be a no-fly zone.

Last week Melbourne University’s council and its academics combined to put out an improved free speech policy, not before time as the Institute of Public Affairs audit last year cited some nasty incidents:

Conservative students launched a membership drive and a posse of Melbourne University academics cried ‘Racists!’ and had the conservative students thrown off campus. Former Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella was shouted down and physically confronted during a guest lecture at the University of Melbourne.

The Gleeson-Alexander “array of revolutionary reforms” includes a scenario “to create (or re-create) a ‘free press’” (p194-5). I hope they don’t have a tax or fee-financed bunyip version of Pravda in mind.

Associate Professor (climate politics) Peter Christoff is a long-time MSSI executive committee member. He’s publicly called for legislation imposing “substantial fines” and “bans” to silence conservative commentators of the Andrew Bolt/Alan Jones ilk. This was a contrast to last week’s university policy to promote “critical and free enquiry, informed intellectual discourse and public debate within the University and in the wider society”. Christoff was addressing a 2012 university seminar aptly titled Law vs Desire: Will Force or Obedience Save the Planet? His draconian sanctions were, as per my transcribing from 20 minutes in,

based on the fact that unchecked climate denialism over time would cause loss of freedom and rights, the death of thousands of humans, the loss of entire cultures, effectively genocide , extinctions…

The legislation to be contemplated might be roughly framed around things like Holocaust Denial legislation which already exists in 17 countries, focused on the criminalisation of those who public condone, deny or trivialise crimes of genocide or crimes against humanity…

“The [fifth] objection [to his proposal] is that this is simply unworkable, inquisitorial, having the perverse effect of increased attraction to banned ideas and their martyrs. It will depend on the application of such law. If it is selective and well focused, with substantial fines and perhaps bans on certain broadcasters and individuals whom I will not name, who stray from the dominant science without any defensible cause, it would have a disciplinary effect on public debate. There still would be plenty of room for peer reviewed scientific revisionism and public debate around it, but the trivial confusion that is being deliberately generated would be done away with, and that is a very important thing at the moment.

His proposal was heard with equanimity by the panel comprising Professor Helen Sullivan, Director of the University’s Centre for Public Policy (introducer); MSSI’s Professor Robyn Eckersley; activist Dave Kerin and Professor of Rhetoric Marianne Constable (University California, Berkeley). The young audience showed no negative reaction. Compere was the university’s Dr Juliet Rogers, now a Senior Lecturer in Criminology. (Her Melbourne Law School PhD was on ‘Fantasies of Female Circumcision: Flesh, Law and Freedom Through Psychoanalysis’).

Professor Sullivan, summing up at 1.54.20, says Christoff’s contribution is useful

“just about how you might start to use the law and possibility of the law, to generate a sense of resistance and generate people out of a passivity. I would not want to think Peter’s contribution was off the point; it is ‘in there’ and may be part of the mix and something we need to be thinking about.”

One of three comments on the youtube seminar page reads: “A highly distinguished, diverse group of intelligent human beings openly discussing hard topics to help humanity navigate our way through these hard times with a sense of justice, democracy and reason.” Another begs to differ: “Just listened here to a group of academic Eco-[authoritarians] who all are embracing the biggest scientific swindle of all time. Fascinating insight into lunatics.”

Christoff and Eckersley in 2014 co-wrote a chapter in the Christoff-edited book “Four Degrees of Global Warming, Australia in a Hot World”.[6] They reached the following “Conclusion” (p201):

 The American political scientist Chalmers Johnston called 9/11 and the continuing War on Terror ‘blowback’, caused by United States’ imperial foreign and defence policies from the 1950s to the start of the century. If we do realise a Four Degree World…we will have cause to call the results for Australia ‘climate’ blowback or ‘carbon’ blowback.

It seems disrespectful to 3000 murdered Americans to suggest that the attack was America’s fault, or “blowback”.

Here’s more Gleeson/Alexander book extracts, free speech indeed (Trigger warning for snowflakes):

# “A massive, disruptive adjustment to the human world is inevitable. The next world is already dawning. Humanity will surely survive to see it…capitalism will not…it will collapse under the weight of its internal contradictions. (15)

# Their recipe for suburban reform is for “radicals and progressives – indeed all who experience a sense of care and responsibility for viable human futures – to loudly indict a dying but still lethal capitalism for its crimes against human and natural prospects.” (204)

# Eco-warrior David Holmgren, writing in the book’s Foreword: “The global economy is a Ponzi scheme of fake wealth that will inevitably follow the trajectory of previous bubbles in the history of capitalism – but this time, the tightening grip of resource depletion and other limits will make this boom cycle the final one for global capitalism.’ Holmgren says he found the Mad Max movie the “primary intellectual reference point” about the energy-scarce future. (vi)

The co-authors argue that we should not “callously close borders”, as we need to take in not just (so far mythical) climate refugees but invite the world’s poor in general for reasons of “solidarity and compassion”.

“We must oppose the tide of scapegoat racism that seems to be driving the wave of populist nationalism that today calls for the closing of borders at a time when we must be opening our hearts” (18-19).

Concurrently, somehow, the state should enforce constantly reducing resource availability, such as 3 per cent a year, to ensure degrowth plus justice and sustainability (184).

They quote Slavoj Zizek, their oft-cited Slovenian philosopher, describing the capitalist economy as “a beast that can not be controlled”. It must, however, be brought to heel before it propels humanity, and all we presume to govern, into the abyss, they add (9). Zizek is a particularly odd fish.[7]

Their war-cry: “We should raise an infernal racket about the narcosis that has settled in the dying hours of capitalism. Sleepers awake! We have the right to imagine and create a more enlightened world. To work…in the suburbs, now.” (205-6)

Back in the real world, bike and vegetable-friendly co-author Alexander, who lives gas-free, says he has draped his home with solar panels to  produce six times more electricity than he draws from the grid (1kWh per person per day). His annual bill is zero. “None of this has required wearing hairshirts of living in a cave without lights,” he says (120), overlooking how much his free electricity is subsidized by taxpayers, renters and non-solar householders.

Maybe the authors will win the 2020 economics Nobel with their proposal for suburban currencies.[8] Puckle Street forex traders ought to give my Flemington dollars a good rate against their Moonee Ponds buck.

I’ve visited some nice universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Chicago, Bologna and Padua. But maybe tourists should give Melbourne University’s Sustainability Institute a miss — unless, like visitors to Hogarth’s Bedlam, they enjoy observing lunatics going about their strange business.

SOURCE  

 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




No comments: