Sunday, April 04, 2021

Three jeers for the left’s two-faced double dealing

Sometimes the culture wars are exhausting. One minute you are denounced as a culture warrior in wars they say are confected and ­redundant; next minute the government is in “crisis” because the green-left is hyperventilating about another skirmish in their identity/culture wars.

The so-called progressive activists are nothing if not predictable, conducting themselves in the opposite fashion to what they demand of others. They demand we are blind to gender, and then that is all they see; they insist Labor MPs are afforded the presumption of innocence, then pivot to full Crucible mode against conservatives; they tell us the culture wars do not matter, then they protest against core elements of our culture and history.

For a simple man raised in the suburban foothills of Adelaide, it is often too much to comprehend. Why, for instance, is the horrible crime of sexual assault considered a national disgrace and a federal ­responsibility now but it was not when Julia Gillard or Kevin Rudd lived in the Lodge?

Why is it laudable to highlight obscene alleged assaults against women in Parliament House or at the hands of politicians, but it is racist and cruel to draw attention to sickening domestic violence and sexual assaults in remote Indigenous communities?

The paradoxes are everywhere. Why do the activists and commentariat demand more women are promoted to prominent positions in the Coalition cabinet, yet when they are elevated condemn them for not being ideologically suitable? Why did they not criticise Labor and the Greens for refusing to support a woman as president of the NSW upper house?

How can advocates such as ­Anthony Albanese tell us electric cars are so convenient, practical and efficient that they will soon dominate car sales, then argue that we must subsidise them to make it happen? Were early automobiles and tractors subsidised to take over from horses and oxen?

Likewise, the woke tell us renewables provide the cheapest power and assure us it can be reliable, yet they demand funds, legislation and schemes to ensure it is taken up. Do you remember subsidies to encourage the upgrade from black and white to ­colour television, from VHS recorders and DVDs to Netflix, or from records and CDs to iTunes? Me neither.

People such as NSW Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean and his newly appointed clean-energy adviser Malcolm Turnbull keep telling us that coal is not commercially viable and that falling global demand will see it diminish as an export industry. Yet they want to block a rush of ­applications to invest in new coalmines — presumably these proposals are being pushed by commercial sadomasochists.

And, by the way, where is the logic in appointing a man whose political career was characterised, above all else, by failures on climate policy as a lead adviser on, you guessed it, climate policy? Surely it cannot end well.

We had severe floods a year ago and this autumn they were the worst for at least 50 years in some places — as is often the case, ­severe drought has given way to flooding rains. Yet there is no ­frenzy to blame the floods on climate change and/or Scott Morrison in the way that zealots argued he and the Coalition were culpable for a bad bushfire season at the tail end of the drought.

Is this because the green-left advocates and their media comrades know that the apportioning of political blame for our endemic scourges is scientifically absurd? Or, more likely, because fire suits their narrative better than rain?

Someone should explain how daubing Liberal MP Nicolle Flint’s electorate office and Facebook page with words like “skank” and “whore” and suggesting she was a cheap prostitute might not be sexist, but that getting angry about Gillard breaking a carbon tax promise could be construed as misogynistic. It confuses me that we are urged to respect the political judgment of ABC commentators on the ­Coalition’s “women problem” or pandemic management when they were all wrong about the last federal election, Brexit, Donald Trump’s prospects in 2016 (not to mention his run in 2020), border protection policies, the trial of ­George Pell, and how quickly we would be overwhelmed by the coronavirus in Australia.

It is difficult to comprehend how it is OK to gather in the streets to conduct antipodean versions of the US Black Lives Matter protests but it would have been a deadly breach of pandemic measures for veterans and their supporters to march on Anzac Day. It also seems incongruous that thousands of activists could March 4 Justice when many effectively called for trial by media and the abandonment of the rule of law when it came to attorney-general Christian Porter.

For the life of me I cannot understand how someone being required to wear a mask in Birdsville or Cairns is an appropriate response to a clutch of coronavirus infections from a known source in inner-city Brisbane. And I cannot understand how Labor politicians can blame the Coalition for not bringing more Australians home from overseas when it is the state Labor governments that have closed or sev­erely limited overseas quarantine places because they have not been able to run them effectively.

It seems a misnomer to call a meeting of our government leaders the national cabinet when they refuse to abide by uniform policies in the national interest and none of their decisions has the legal imprimatur of a cabinet decision. It is passing strange, if not galling, that states such as Western Australia and Queensland were happy to take funds from the taxpayers of NSW — but refused to allow the people who paid those taxes to travel into their states to spend their own, after-tax income.

Some of us were left scratching our heads too when the so-called social progressives who argued for decades to legalise the repugnant and exploitative trade of prostitution (and demanded we protect the dignity of prostitutes by calling them sex workers) then scandalised those who used the services of said sex workers if they happened to be politicians of a certain hue. I am old enough to remember some of these same people demanding forbearance when it came to a certain Labor politician accused of doing the same on union members’ coin.

It is bewildering when we are told to respect all religions and treat any criticism of any faith as an affront to worshippers’ rights, except for Christianity, of course, whose adherents face an open season of mockery and disdain, and are admonished for not seeing the funny side of Piss Christ.

Likewise, racial stereotypes must be erased unless we refer to the callousness and privilege of white people, the insularity of the Americans or the innate spirituality of Indigenous peoples.

Double standards abound. It has become accepted wisdom that it is a crime for the Japanese to harvest abundant minke whales but there is silence about the taking of humpback whales by Indigenous people in the ­Caribbean, Greenland or Russia.

Help me out here. It is fine for climate activists to own several homes, crisscross the globe in jets and continually expand their carbon footprints while they minimise their tax bills, but the rest of us need to pay higher electricity prices to save the planet?

All the while, our largest trading partner continues to slander our country, expand its military, increase its emissions and oppress its people, and we are told by some in our own country that we are only getting what we deserve for daring to speak out against Chinese human rights violations, and suggesting the world might want to know the truth about the origins of the coronavirus. Our external critics need only echo our own leftist malcontents.

If we harbour so many people undermining our values, economy and culture, we need more people fighting back. We should not be ashamed of culture wars, we should embrace them as a necessity — the price of keeping all we prize.

Perhaps our Easter reflection could be to consider the value we might harness in a media/political class that understood our ­values and strengths and was prepared to buttress them. We might even dare to imagine a political debate that pays heed to principle and consistency over partisanship and opportunism.


Confected ‘justice’ brigade is blind to the real problem

This Easter, as we approach the end of the pandemic, we are supposed to be thinking about the resurrection, the most powerful symbol of hope for 2000 years — but we probably have our minds on less elevated concerns.

Instead of dwelling on the great symbol of the triumph of life over death, of good over evil, we are immured in petty scandals, pure hypocrisy and almost comic posturing by members of parliament and the media. Witnessing the spectacle of grim-faced women on the high ground and breast-beating men trying to placate the manufactured fury of the mob is emblematic of our inability to unravel reality from perception, truth from falsehood.

A lot of people were asking what exactly was that women’s march about? What were their specific complaints? No one could really answer that question because there was no answer. Instead, the media has to keep on using the tired trope of the “Canberra bubble”. Canberra is not a bubble. Canberra, the national parliament, is a microcosm of the whole of Australian society.

The people in parliament are no better or worse than any in Australia, which is both a wonderfully free society and one that has become weighed down by ideological correctness. In our ­hypersexualised society, which infects women as much as men, the family has been decon­structed. Consequently, Western society is losing its centre, so we have trouble disentangling the real from the image, truth from falsehood, especially in sexual ­relations. It is a society where the mainspring is power, not love. It is a society that, to preserve some semblance of order and decency, encourages hypocrisy — and hypocrisy is not the sole preserve of men.

However, there is one place in Australia where real evil against women and children is consistently ignored, and it wasn’t addressed by the women marching on parliament. Rather, it was ­addressed by three women led by Jacinta Price who arrived at Parliament House on another day and sat quietly in the public gallery. They looked very different from most of the marchers because they were black, and they are the ones who really have something to complain about.

For years, their situation has been the stuff of nightmares. For years, the damning reports about what they and their children endure every day has been our ­nation’s greatest shame. The places where those women live exist in convenient isolation from where the media and most of the marchers live. Make no mistake, the marching women were never marshalled to march for them. ­Instead, a political demonstration, and indeed an entirely confected political crisis, was hypocritically presented as some great wellspring of female dissatisfaction against the whole male sex. That is a feminist mental landscape that only values and craves power. The real misery of Indigenous women was not the main focus of that demonstration, although the group of three women, who appeared in parliament at the tail end, should have been the ones leading it, not the newly found heroine Brittany Higgins.

Unfortunately, during this ­debacle, Scott Morrison, a ­sincere Christian person who has done a good job (and still has an approval rating far and above Anthony Albanese) seems to have lost the sheer guts necessary for a member of the church militant. Rather, he looks like he is being pushed around because he keeps on apologising. For what? Parliamentarians, particularly the Prime Minister, are supposed to address everyday important issues. At this time, and for the past few weeks, the most pressing issue was the growing flood crisis. Not too many women sweeping the floodwaters out of their houses or, worse, hopping in a tinny to get away from the deluge were worrying about whether they were getting the requisite amount of respect from various males.

That is the real reason Morrison’s popularity has slipped. It’s not because he hasn’t addressed the issue for women (whatever “the issue” is) — but because he is acting like a wuss. It is, frankly, a purely political situation, and he is not calling it. He, like a lot of people in public life, is so hamstrung by the demands of ideological and emotional kowtowing that he is unable to identify the truth from falsehood, the image from reality.

The Prime Minister is, indeed, a good man and a practising, if not practical, evangelical Christian. One of the main lessons of Christianity is not to back down in the face of hypocrisy — and modern life, both in and out of politics, ruled by the norms not of good and evil but solely of “acceptable” behaviour, is full of it.

Christian commentators have decried the lack of Christian ideals in the sexual moral landscape. But Christian sexual morality requires something that is alien in our social hierarchy of values. It requires love. And not just erotic love, but the more profound type of love that gives and gives. It is enshrined in the emblem of the cross; it is the love that Jesus gave when he gave his life. It is love that is more powerful than power. Power is the antithesis of love, and I suspect that many women, and men, in Australia still instinctively know this.


The ALP has changed its stance on Israel

In Bob Hawke’s day, Labor was a staunch defender of Israel but now many in the party’s ranks view it as a “rich oppressor” that deserves routine condemnation, writes Peta Credlin.

This Easter week, as many Australians’ thoughts turned to the Holy Land and events 2000 years ago, the Australian Labor Party was also exercised about that region; only the federal opposition was engaged in a bit of political positioning rather than acknowledging the holiest time of the Christian year.

Few things better exemplify Labor’s lurch to the green-left than the changing nature of its allegiances in the Middle East. In Bob Hawke’s time, Labor was an absolutely staunch defender of Israel. The Jewish state was seen as a heroic manifestation of a people’s desire to survive the most savage persecution, and as a bastion of pluralist democracy in a part of the world wracked by fundamentalism, terrorism and despotism.

But not any more. Despite being the only place in the Middle East with robust free speech and full protection of minority rights (including the much persecuted Arab Christians), many zealots in Labor’s ranks view Israel as a “rich oppressor” that deserves routine condemnation in the UN and elsewhere. This is despite one of the truly under-remarked achievements of the Trump era in brokering deals for four Arab nations to formally recognise Israel; something not even arch-optimists thought they would see a decade ago.

It says everything that Labor, here, is more anti-Israel than Arab neighbours, there, doesn’t it?

But that’s that state of our politics with Labor finally breaking longstanding bipartisan support for a two-state solution recognising Israel’s right to exist behind secure borders; calling, instead, for the unilateral recognition of Palestine, without any precondition that the Palestinians surrender their longstanding aim to wipe Israel off the map.

Even in Labor’s dwindling right, few defenders of Israel remain; as the Muslim population grows in Labor’s heartland in western Sydney and Melbourne and former leaders like Bob Carr, most recently known for his pro-China posturing, push the Palestinian cause to the point of hysteria. Indeed anti-Semitism, usually dressed up as “anti-Zionism”, seems to be an ethnic and religious prejudice that Australians are allowed to keep, without the politically correct disdain so often directed at traditional Christian belief and practice.

These days almost every culture is respected, other than our own; and almost every religion is taken seriously, other than the one that’s shaped our society and helped to make it the most free and the most fair on earth.

Although educated in Christian schools, my faith in the Church has waxed and waned over my life – and at times, it’s been a challenge – but the values of my Christian faith are rock-solid and I’ve never lost my conviction that while Christian faith won’t necessarily make us good, it invariably makes us better, particularly as a community of people trying to live our lives alongside each other. The fact that our Judaeo-Christian heritage lies at the heart of our legal system and defines a code of moral conduct that has survived for two millennia is reason enough to want to defend it in the face of a relentless push from the hard left. It is this underpinning of faith that makes our legal system profoundly different from that, say, of communist China. Ultimately, for us, law is based on what’s right. We have the moral capacity to argue against bad laws, even if they have the sanction of parliament. For China’s people, by contrast, law is whatever the communist party says it is, hence no one has any real protection against the all-powerful state.

Take St Paul’s magnificent declaration that “there is neither Jew nor gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. Almost two thousand years before the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, has there ever been a more ringing affirmation of our shared humanity? This is the deep human insight underlying our belief that it would be entirely wrong to treat an individual differently simply because that person happens to be female, gay or black. Or for that matter, white, male or old. Of course, our ancestors didn’t reach this conclusion overnight simply after listening to the apostle. But to their credit, they most assuredly did arrive at it after a millennium-plus of reflection on the human condition, informed and often inspired by the gospel message. Unlike in other countries and cultures where everyone is subordinated to the state, or where some are favoured over others on some basis other than merit, in Australia, generations before us have worked hard to build a nation where equality lies at the heart of who we are. I’m not pretending we have always got it right; no country ever does. But the fact that we have built one of the world’s most successful migrant nations speaks volumes for our willingness to welcome, and to build on what unites us, rather than our differences. Or at least, that was the way of Australia.

Today, rather than build on St Paul’s plea to see each other as brothers and sisters, we are being bullied, even legislated, into seeing difference. It’s no coincidence that the rise of identity politics – which does hold that people should be judged differently on account of their gender, sexuality or race – has accompanied the decline of Christian faith and the collapse, even, of Christian knowledge. Indeed, for all its apparent modernity, identity politics is essentially a reversion to ancient tribal rituals designed to strengthen “us” against “them”.

Last week on my Sky News program, for instance, I covered the seepage into NSW schools of the concept of “white privilege” via an education department website called “Racism No Way”. You can be certain that there are parallels in every other state. But if the aim is to encourage young Australians to be more respectful of others, wouldn’t the Parable of the good Samaritan have been a much better lesson plan than this brainwashing with cultural Marxism? Yet while politically correct, new age sociology increasingly pervades the educational establishment, lessons in the gospel stories are barely tolerated in our public schools, for a handful of students for an hour a week, despite their absolute centrality to any meaningful understanding of the best aspects of our society.

Is it any wonder that so many young Australians seem so adrift, that our mental health rates have never been higher? The paradox of these times is that while we have never been materially better off, as a society, we have rarely been so spiritually bereft.

It’s probably a forlorn hope, but I wish that Australians would turn out in record numbers to church services this Easter: if not always as a declaration of belief in God but as an affirmation of faith in ourselves and in the culture that a Christian subconscious still largely shapes. Just as everyday Australians have come out in their droves to support Anzac Day and resist the campaign to diminish Australia Day, Easter too deserves defending for the Christian message it embodies. I, like so many, have chafed under the strictures of Christian teaching but we will miss it when it’s entirely gone. And our society will be unrecognisable.

With professed Christians rapidly become a minority in this country, so the census tells us, and with Christian faith so widely scorned and rarely defended – even while the Prime Minister is a patently sincere and public Christian – I hope I am wrong, but I fear it can’t be too far off.

It has long been the project of the hard left, the radical secular left – to obliterate faith from our society – and who could say they’re not winning?


Student newspaper pulls story on academics’ links to Chinese government

The editors of Sydney University’s student newspaper have been accused of capitulating to Chinese Communist Party supporters on campus by pulling down a report revealing academics’ links to the Chinese government just hours after its publication.

The Honi Soit story named two professors in the engineering faculty whom it claimed were “associated with controversial Chinese government recruitment schemes and have collaborated with sanctioned Chinese universities on research with potential military end-use applications”.

The Australian government has concerns about espionage and theft of intellectual property under the talent recruitment schemes, with academics performing work for Chinese institutions while being employed full-time in Australia.

A federal parliamentary inquiry into Chinese interference in Australian universities has heard that more than 300 scientists and scholars have been recruited under the schemes.

The Honi Soit story appeared in print and online on March 31. But just hours after its publication, the online version was taken down and editors posted an apology on the paper’s Facebook page.

“We unreservedly apologise to the academics mentioned in the article and for the harm caused to them, the Chinese community, and to our readers,” they said.

“Honi acknowledges that directly naming those academics was negligent, particularly in the face of escalating Sinophobia and racism at the University of Sydney and in wider society.

“Moving forward, we will ensure that we are always critical of the sources on which we rely, and we recognise our duty as student journalists to actively combat Western imperialist and xenophobic biases presented in mainstream media.”

When contacted by The Sun-Herald, the 10 editors said they had received no complaints from the academics named in the story or from the university, nor was any part of the report incorrect.

A university spokeswoman confirmed: “The university did not make a complaint or provide any feedback to Honi Soit about its story.”

Rather, the editors said they removed the story due to “a small volume” of negative feedback from some readers, which “informed a discussion among the editors which resulted in the article being taken down and the apology being issued”.

They said they did not consider the report Sinophobic, but “in the present climate of increased Sinophobic violence, [we] agreed that it should be taken down”.

That decision prompted criticism on the newspaper’s Facebook page accusing the editors of caving to pressure from supporters of the Chinese Communist Party on campus.

“Capitulating to the CCP. How unsurprising,” wrote one reader, Matthew Lilley. Another, Ryder Ko, wrote: “How exactly is criticising the Chinese government ‘sinophobia’? You just made a complete joke of your newspaper.”

The Sydney University spokeswoman said: “We strongly defend the rights of our staff to collaborate with colleagues around the world – in accordance with all relevant Australian laws and government guidelines, as well as our own policies and codes of conduct.”




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