Thursday, November 17, 2016

Feminists need to get out of their mental bubble and stop blaming "privilege" for everything

Janet Albrechtsen

Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democrat heiress, should now be president-elect Clinton. Women were going to rally to put the first woman in the White House. In the feminist dream and the determinist world of identity politics, the only possible event that could follow the election of the US’s first black president was the election of its first female president.

We are now witnessing what happens when reality explodes this take-it-in-turns determinist dream. Clinton was bound to blame something other than her own failings. That’s the calling card of left-liberal feminism. Of course, Barack Obama would blame the tight race on sexism. Identity politics demands that its adherents recast different views into an ism or a phobia — sexism, racism, homophobia, Islamophobia and so on. Clinton said it best when she described Donald Trump supporters as deplorables: “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it”.

The post-election histrionics from so many women reveal why the so-called sisterhood has no claim over what women think, how they live and who they choose in the sanctity of the polling booth. After the US election, Mamamia’s Mia Freedman said she had “shut down”. Trying to process her ­“tumultuous, distressing, depressing feelings” she listed 11 things she learned after Trump’s win. Had Freeman stopped after No 1 — learning that she lives in a bubble of social media where like-minded people blissfully reinforce their own views — Freeman’s flash of self-awareness might have been noteworthy.

Sadly, her remaining list goes like this: facts no longer matter, white people are furious their power is being taken away, Trump appealed to the lowest common denominator and children are scared. This miasma of emotion simply confirms Freedman’s bubble where Clinton’s win was never questioned.

If women want to be treated seriously, they need to choose reason over emotion. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t, with any credibility, attack Trump for saying that Fox’s Megyn Kelly had “blood coming out of her wherever”, then give yourself over to pure, unadulterated emotion.

Guardian Australia’s Katharine Murphy used the-facts-no-longer-matter theory to explain Pauline Hanson’s success at the last federal election and she regurgitated it last week to explain Trump’s win. According to Murphy’s post-fact analysis, people aren’t just stupid, they are deliberately stupid. “The journalism I consumed was gutsy, intelligent, richly reported, insightful, sceptical and self-aware,” wrote Murphy last week as she explained why the left-liberal media didn’t do a terrible job reporting Trump’s rise.

For all of that apparent consumption of intelligent news, Murphy’s analysis that Trumpland is a place where truth doesn’t matter is wrong and patronising. Nowhere in Murphy’s analysis is there any acknowledgment that millions of US voters, forgotten by the Washington insider class, turned to Trump out of this deep sense of frustration and discontent. Nowhere is there any curiosity about Trump, the outsider, as the powerful change candidate up against Clinton’s status quo politics.

Freedman and Murphy aren’t alone in choosing the superficial over soul-searching. Gillian Triggs remonstrates about it being a dreadful year for women. She has this is common with Clinton: the actions of both women have been their own undoing. Jamila Rizvi prefers to speak over and interrupt rather than listen to Steve Price explain Trump’s win on Network Ten’s The Project.

Those card-carrying feminists who display such a dearth of intellectual curiosity, and honesty, expose the sisterhood as an increasingly sanctimonious, clueless and diminishing clique.

Rebecca Sheehan, a lecturer at the University of Sydney’s United States Study Centre and an expert in feminist, gender and cultural politics, said that white people, with their “part of a college education or less”, voted for Trump because they were “clinging on to privilege”.

Sheehan’s anti-fact, derisory white-lash analysis fails to account for the two white candidates in the 2016 election and that millions of Americans voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012. What irks gender experts is that you don’t need a college education — part or whole — to understand that girl power didn’t rally to make Clinton commander-in-chief. Neither did Latinos, blacks or millennials. On election day, Clinton was predicted to grab the white college-educated female vote by 27 points. It fizzed to six points. Clinton’s share of the overall female vote — 54 per cent to Trump’s 42 per cent — was behind Obama in 2008 and only one point ahead of Obama in 2012.

Inadvertently, Sheehan’s comments explain Trump’s win by expressing the high-horse disdain, the ignorance and determined ­divisiveness of feminists.

It’s not a privilege to watch your dignity dissolve when you lose your job or see your weekly wage stagnate for two decades.

It’s not a privilege to be forgotten by an insular political class.

It’s not a privilege to watch Clinton enrich her private coffers through her public office.

It’s not a privilege to watch a woman who held the office of secretary of state to imagine a different set of rules apply to you, deleting 33,000 emails after congress subpoenaed her to produce them.

It’s not a privilege to watch Hollywood stars line up for Clinton, perpetuating the insider-outsider divide.

There’s nothing privileged about a once proud culture of Western enlightenment being crushed by a pervasive leftist culture that infantilises students: last week students at Cornell University gathered for a “cry-in” with tissues and hot chocolate provided. Tufts University offered Play-Doh to distressed students. The University of Kansas made therapy dogs available to comfort students.

The biggest danger to women is not Trump: it’s the snobbish nastiness and division perpetuated by gender studies experts.

Contrast the offerings from Freeman, Murphy, Sheehan, Triggs and Rizvi with Tina Brown’s observations. Last week, the writer and former editor of left-wing opinion website The Daily Beast wrote: “Here’s my own beef. Liberal feminists, young and old, need to question the role they played in Hillary’s demise. The two weeks of media hyperventilation over grab-her-by-the-pussygate, when the airwaves were saturated with aghast liberal women equating Trump’s gross comments with sexual assault, had the opposite effect on multiple women voters in the Heartland.”

“These are resilient women,” wrote Brown, “often working two or three jobs, for whom boorish men are an occasional occupational hazard, not an existential threat. They rolled their eyes over Trump’s unmitigated coarseness, but still bought into his spiel that he’d be the greatest job producer who ever lived. Oh, and they wondered why his behaviour was any worse than Bill’s.”

And it has taken a man to say what many left-wing women should be saying. Last week, Matthew Dowd from the US ABC News wrote: “I want to take this opportunity to say I was wrong about who would win the election. But my biggest regret, and what I would like to apologise for, is the arrogant, close-minded, judgmental, and sometimes mean-spirited way I related to many who believed Trump would win. They were right, and I was wrong.”

Bunkered in the New York bubble, Dowd admits he didn’t spend enough time listening to Trump supporters and understanding the communities “where another portion of America lives and breathes”.

It took a cool head to deliver a rational and informed mea culpa. The ill-informed and often emotional responses from so many women on the Left over Clinton’s loss confirms that the gender prism has become an anti-intellectual prison, locking them away from exploring, let alone understanding, the world beyond them.


Andrew Bolt race-case judge ‘had ALP links’

Labor’s newest senator, Kimberley Kitching, says she remembers “being very surprised” when Federal Court judge Mordecai Bromberg decided to hear Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt’s racial discrimination case, given his close relationship with the Labor Party.

Speaking with Bolt on his Sky News program The Bolt Report on Monday night, Senator Kitching said she had known Justice Bromberg through the Labor Party.

A Federal Court judge since 2009 and former VFL footballer for St Kilda, Justice Bromberg ran unsuccessfully for Labor preselection for the since amalgamated federal seat of Burke in Melbourne’s northern suburbs in 2001.

“He was an active ALP person, he was active enough that he was in a faction, he ran for preselection,” she said. “Obviously he would have had some views about you, and perhaps he was not the best person to hear your case.”

Bolt asked Senator Kitching whether as a lawyer she was able to cast such aspersions on Justice Bromberg’s impartiality as a judge “under our ridiculous laws against free speech”.

“I think that it’s an expression I should be able to take,” she said.

In 2011, Justice Bromberg found Bolt had contravened section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act after nine “fair-skinned” Aboriginal applicants brought a class action against him and the Herald and Weekly Times for articles Bolt had written accusing them of seeking professional advantage from their Aboriginality.

Justice Bromberg found that “fair-skinned Aboriginal people (or some of them) were reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to have been offended, insulted, ­humiliated or intimidated by the imputations conveyed in the newspaper articles”.

The contention centred on Bolt’s assertion that the nine applicants had chosen to identify as Aboriginal and consequently win grants, prizes and career advancement, despite their apparently fair skin and mixed heritage.

The nine applicants were led by activist Pat Eatock and included artist Bindi Cole, NSW Australian of the Year Larissa Behrendt, auth­or Anita Heiss and former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission chief Geoff Clark.

The applicants’ lawyers conceded that Bolt’s writings did not incite “racial vilification or racial hatred”, but successfully argued they “constituted highly personal, highly derogatory and highly offensive attacks” on the nine.

Senator Kitching said she believed Justice Bromberg should have read section 18C more narrowly in Bolt’s case.


Malcolm Turnbull turns attack on ABC and the 'elite media' for distracting people

The ABC and "elite media" are to blame for distracting people from the government's focus on economic growth, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said, at pains to emphasise that he is in touch with the concerns of real people.

Grilled by the ABC's Leigh Sales on 7.30 about the persistence of Coalition MPs seeking to amend section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, the Prime Minister agreed that the issue is not a priority for the electorate.

"How many Australians do you reckon sat around on Saturday night and said: 'Geez, you know what I am really worried about? Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act'," Sales asked on Monday night.

"Well it isn't a subject on everybody's lips, I can assure you of that but it is, it raises, there are important issues relating to free speech but you're right, it is not – the big issue Leigh, is the one that I spent eight weeks of the election campaign talking about which is the economy, it is about jobs and growth," Mr Turnbull said.

Sales pressed on, observing that Coalition MPs were spending a lot of time on the issue and asking why it got so much attention when voters have more pressing concerns such as medical expenses, suicide rates and childcare costs.

"Leigh, this is a question you should address to your editors at the ABC – very seriously. 18C is talked about constantly on the ABC, talked about constantly in what's often the elite media. I have focused overwhelmingly on the economy," he said.

Following sustained pressure from free speech campaigners in the Liberal party room, the government recently announced an inquiry into freedom of speech that that would examine the Racial Discrimination Act and the Human Rights Commission.

"I take your point about the media but it also many members of your own parliamentary team," Sales offered. But Mr Turnbull wasn't finished.

"By all means engage in some self-criticism of the ABC or other media outlets or indeed other people in Parliament. Overwhelmingly I focus on the big issues of concern to Australians and they are economic issues, and they are issues of national security," the Prime Minister said.

On being in touch with real people: "Well one of the greatest assets of a politician, indeed of any leader, is empathy and of course you have to break out of the bubble. Again, I often get – on the elite media like the ABC – I often get criticised or sent up, and I don't object to that, by the way, for catching public transport a lot."

On his poor polling, currently a feature of his government and one of his stated reasons for ousting Tony Abbott: "I would have thought, after this last election in the United States, people might focus less on the polls and less on the opinions of commentators on the ABC, or other elite media outlets and focus more on what people are actually saying."

Mr Turnbull was joined in criticisms by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, who said "people do believe that Canberra and other areas, and to be honest the ABC at times, get fascinated in questions that are inside the beltway that have zero and nothing to do with our lives out there".

"We see it occupying more and more oxygen. It creates a frustration, not only towards the political class but towards the ABC as well," the Nationals leader told Q&A.

Following the shock victory of populist presidential candidate Donald Trump, major party politicians in Australia are scrambling to show they are not disengaged from mainstream concerns about jobs and economic insecurity. Since last week, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has ramped up his rhetoric about protecting Australian jobs.

Targeting the "elite media" was a prominent feature of Mr Trump's presidential campaign but marks a new tone for the Prime Minister, previously seen as a darling of the ABC.


Enough is enough. There are bigger issues than gay marriage

The Senate’s rejection of the February 11 people’s vote on same-sex marriage should be the time to draw a line under this long-running saga.   

Most Australians don’t rate it as a top order issue and, quite frankly, have had enough. Even gay marriage advocates of the Turnbull Government such as Tim Wilson, Trent Zimmerman and their fellow traveller Warren Entsch have rightly said there is no plan B.

It’s plebiscite or nothing.

This was the Coalition’s election commitment; failure to honour it would be a breach of trust.

Gay marriage now remains gridlocked for years and few will be worried about this, apart from activists in the inner city areas of Sydney and Melbourne where rainbow flags adorn shop windows.

Quite frankly there are bigger issues facing the nation.

There is no popular clamour for a change to the Marriage Act. Even the left-leaning GetUp! organisation’s supporters consistently rate same-sex marriage way down their list of priorities, with it coming in at number 16 in their 2015 Vision Survey.

Labor achieved two of its worst primary votes in history promising to legislate same-sex marriage within 100 days. That it has dominated political debate for the past six years is testament to the skill of activists and a pro-change media.

Good on them. We live in a democracy.

But to the extent there has been a consensus, it has been a manufactured one. Australians fearful of being labelled “bigots” have been telling pollsters what the activists wanted to hear.

The little-known reality is that since 2008 same-sex couples have enjoyed full equality under the law. There is no discrimination and the overwhelming majority of Australians bear no ill will in their hearts towards their gay friends.

This is good.

The Turnbull Government, which won an election with a well-publicised pledge to hold a people’s vote on the definition of marriage, is now right to move on to other things.

Sure Labor will try and undermine the Prime Minister’s authority by pressuring government members to break ranks and support various private members’ bills.

How much more parliamentary time will be expended on this issue between now and Christmas? The public expects the Parliament to focus on issues much further up the public’s priority list.

But Australia will fall behind other western nations which have legislated same-sex marriage, is the cry. We’ll be an embarrassment.

But do we really want to see bakers, florists and photographers being fined and hauled before courts because they disagree with the state’s new definition of marriage?

Do we want to see people like former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran or former Mozilla Chief Executive Brendan Eich hounded from their jobs because they believe marriage is a man-woman thing?

Closer to home, do we want to see people like Hobart’s Catholic Archbishop Julian Porteous in trouble with the law because the local version of the human rights commission thinks Christian teaching on marriage might be hate speech?

If people think the insult and offend clauses of 18C of the federal Racial Discrimination Act has a chilling effect on free speech, wait until a change to same-sex marriage law weaponises state-based anti-discrimination law and state human rights tribunals.

Is this the Australia we want?

With marriage de-gendered, do we want school toilets and change facilities also de-gendered as ordered by President Obama in post-same-sex marriage America? Parents have had a taste of this with the so-called “Safe Schools” program, whose federal funding runs out in April.

But like America, there will be no stopping other rainbow political agendas if gender is removed from marriage law. Children at school will be on the front line of a compulsory national induction into Queer Theory.

Labor’s successful political manoeuvring to deny the Government’s election mandate and vote down the plebiscite has done the bidding of groups who don’t trust ordinary people to have a say. This is ironic given advocates for change regularly boast of overwhelming public support.

The rationale for blocking the people’s vote is that the debate will be ugly.

But as Western Australian Liberal Senator Chris Back told the Senate this week: “if there has been evidence of intolerance and hate speech it is not from those people who support marriage as it is currently defined”.

Quite simply, you are a bigot and a homophobe if you disagree.

But no, Bill Shorten, Nick Xenophon and the rainbow lobby know better. This is rule by arrogant elites and no wonder Donald Trump, Pauline Hanson and Brexit have become flag bearers for the discontent of the disenfranchised.

Same-sex marriage is an icon for all that is wrong with modern western politics. By blocking the plebiscite, Bill Shorten may have done Australia a favour.

With time, more Australians will wake up to the serious elite-mandated consequences of changing marriage.

They know our gay friends are free under law to love and live the way they want. But changing the definition of marriage has consequences and is unnecessary.

It’s time to move on. But those seeking change won’t and they probably don’t have the patience to wait for Labor to win government again. This means the plebiscite should come back in the future. Either way, Australians will have greater understanding of what is at stake.


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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