Thursday, September 13, 2018

Controversial columnist Bettina Arndt met by protesters at La Trobe University event

Bettina Arndt has confronted protesting socialist students as she starts her controversial university tour about campus rape.

The sex therapist and columnist gave her first of a series of lectures on why she believes there is not a “rape crisis” at Australian universities at La Trobe University today, but not everyone wanted to listen.

All through Ms Arndt’s lecture, protesters aligned with the Victorian Socialists banged on the doors of the Eastern Lecture Theatre and chanted “Bettina Arndt, go to hell. Go take Milo (Yianipoulos) there as well.”

But before she spoke, the sex therapist approached the students at their uni square stand and tried to talk to them. The socialist students just kept chanting.

“Why don’t they come and listen to me speak? And engage in a conversation around this issue,” she said, “What are they afraid of?”

The lecture comes a week after La Trobe University reversed their ban on the student Liberal Club inviting Ms Arndt to speak on campus.

Ms Arndt’s lectures use cases of US rape allegations, and data from both the NSW bureau of Crime Statistics and the Australian Human Rights Commission, to make the case that there is not a growing prevalence of rape and sexual assault against female university students.

The sex therapist has said she wants to tackle the unfair treatment of male students who are falsely accused of sex crimes on campus. But her critics accuse her of victim blaming.

Ms Arndt said she spoke to the socialist speakers, despite their aggressiveness, because she wanted to invite them to the lecture.  “I went over there to ask them to come and listen and ask me questions,” she said, “they proceeded to scream in my ear from a foot away.”

Ms Arndt faced sceptical audience members inside too.

But she and her audience of supporters and critics battled on while the protesters banged on the doors and chanting “F*ck off, f*ck off, Bettina,” to the tune of Queen’s We Will Rock You, and “When women’s rights are under attack, what do we do? We fight back.”

Socialist student leader Elliot Downes said before the protest they did not want to shut Ms Arndt down. “I think she represents a real far-right kind of sexism … which drags society back to the 1950s,” they said. “We’re not here to shut her down. We’re here to show there are opposition to those views.”

But the socialist student added they had no interest in taking on Ms Arndt in debate. “I think our protest is the dialogue I want with her. I think she has enough capacity to share her ideas,” they said.

The university had originally let Ms Arndt speak if the Liberal Club paid for costs. But both Ms Arndt and Liberal Club president James Plozzo told The Australian yesterday that the university will now pay for security.


Feminist Brownshirts doing their best to silence those they disagree with

This is a short video of what happened at Bettina's talk above.  Disturbing in its mass intolerance and aggression, not to mention its sheer ignorance.  It's very reminiscent of Hitler's Brownshirts

Police called to Sydney University after protesters riot against talk by Bettina Arndt

Riot police were called to a university as protesters pushed and shoved students attending a talk by a sex therapist.

Almost 40 students were blocking the corridors of Sydney University as they protested the talk of sex therapist Bettina Arndt.

Ms Arndt said the protesters were 'roughing up' people who were trying to enter her lecture and described it as 'appalling behaviour' as police arrived about 6pm to ease the situation.

She apologised to the attendees for having to call the police to handle the situation over the rights of the students to free speech and debating of various topics.

The self-described social commentator was offering a lecture on the topic of, 'Is there a rape crisis on campuses’ at the city campus on Tuesday.

Footage uploaded to social media shows several students shouting and chanting against Ms Arndt's attendance and lecture at the university.

According to the uni's student paper, Honi Soit, Ms Arndt was saying that women should be held more accountable for sexual assault crimes.

She also said that universities should not be interfering with any allegations which are put forward, stating the 'risks of being raped on campus are very low.'

In addition, the student paper writes that Ms Arndt claimed universities are '100 times safer' for women than 'Indigenous communities and rough neighbourhoods.'

She also warned against NSW changing sexual consent laws following the rape trial involving Luke Lazarus, Daily Telegraph reported. The former private schoolboy had been accused of raping an 18-year-old virgin in a Kings Cross alley behind his father's Soho nightclub about 4am on May 12, 2013.

Mr Lazarus, now 26, admitted he and Saxon Mullins had anal sex in the alley, and that the woman was down on all fours. The pair had gone outside Soho into Hourigan Lane within three minutes of meeting on the dance floor.

He was initially found guilty of rape in 2015, but after 11 months in prison, he was granted a retrial and subsequently acquitted.

Ms Arndt said it was 'not surprising' the case fuelled so much outrage and is used as a means to change the state's sexual consent laws. 'It doesn't mean we should go down this road of tilting the rules to really disadvantage men who are falsely accused.'

She continued to advise the young men to not take the risk and always seek the 'enthusiastic yes' when looking to perform any sexual activity.


Ramsay was never about producing conservatives


The defeat of the Ramsay proposal at the Australian National University, and the evident hostility towards it at the University of Sydney, has exposed a disconcerting feature of the academic world view: anti-Western animus. You expect to find this sort of thing in Ramallah, not Camperdown.

Last Monday I spoke to a humanities academic of some repute at Sydney who offered a succinct summary of the Let’s-Reject-the-West indictment. “There is a strong view,” he said, “that the Western project is somehow fraudulent.”

But there’s an important point often obscured by the anti-Western hoo-ha. The critique of Western civilisation is itself the subject of scholarly critique. And it’s not — unlike, say, Roger Kimball’s 1990 polemic Tenured Radicals — a critique from the grumpy Right.

The work of Harvard historian Robert Darnton, an expert in 18th-century French history and author of books such as The Forbidden Bestsellers of Pre-Revolutionary France, is a good place to start.

Darnton argues that critics of the European Enlightenment don’t so much construct a straw man as an outsized haystack. “The inflated Enlightenment can be identified with all modernity, with nearly everything subsumed under the name of Western civilisation, and so it can be made responsible for nearly everything that causes discontent, especially in the camps of the postmodernists and anti-Westernisers,” he writes.

Against the assertion that the Enlightenment’s claim to universalism served as cover for Western hegemony, he points out that a prototypical man of the Enlightenment such a James Cook “showed much respect for native custom, far more than the conquistadors of the 16th century and the imperialists of the 19th”.

There’s no denying Thomas Jefferson’s support for slavery, and Darnton doesn’t bother. He says, on the other hand, that the more “typical” view of the French Enlightenment philosophes was anti-racist. He notes the writings of Guillaume Thomas Raynal, whose work contributed to the abolition of slavery.

Then there is the chapter in Voltaire’s Candide where the eponymous hero encounters a negro slave put to work on a sugar plantation. The slave’s hand has been hacked off by his Dutch master because he caught a finger in the grindstone and his leg has been amputated because he tried to escape. “That’s the price of your eating your sugar in Europe,” the slave remarks.

In a defence of the Enlightenment from the charge of “cultural imperialism”, Darnton argues that the period “opened the way to the anthropological understanding of others. It was deeply dialogical and provided an antidote to its own tendency to dogmatise. Witness (Denis) Diderot’s Supplement au Voyage de Bougainville and all his dialogues.” Darnton’s strategy is to oppose absolutist assertions of an ideological nature with convincing details from specific texts.

This seems to be the point of the course — an intensive, text-based curriculum — Sydney is trying to develop out of the Ramsay proposal. There’s no such thing as an unmediated access to texts but there is certainly a more text-intens­ive style of teaching that Ramsay and its supporters have in mind.

Jacques Derrida’s hugely influential attack on “Western metaphysics” is another instance of grandiose theoretical posturing vulnerable to criticism from authentic scholarship.

Derrida developed his theories out of a reading of Plato, specifically the dialogue in Phaedrus that begins at 274b, where Socrates suggests that writing is inferior to speech — in part because it can never answer back or elaborate. This sets up a stance within Western philosophy, Derrida argues, whereby speech is privileged over writing, with systematic consequences.

But here’s the thing: scholars who know their Plato, and this dialogue in particular, rarely buy Derrida’s interpretation.

Plato is playful and illusive, he makes use of myth and internal drama, and he is profoundly committed to the preservation of philosophical dialogue in a highly literary form of writing. He has several preoccupations but he doesn’t seek to establish, unlike Derrida, anything like a systematic theory of representation (writing/speech). Plato, in short, was no Platonist. As British classicist Stephen Halliwell puts it: “Whether Plato had a doctrine of anything at all, or at any rate gave direct expression to doctrine in his written works, remains debatable.”

Tug on the thread of Plato’s Phaedrus and the Derridean critique of Western philosophy — and with it untold dissertations, journal articles, and academic careers — begins to unravel.

If students had the opportunity to study at close quarters Plato’s Phaedrus and Voltaire’s Candide and Diderot’s Supplement — the latter contains one of the most powerful condemnations of Western colonialism ever committed to writing — they might not be sed­uced so easily by the anti-Western indictment. Seen in this context, the Ramsay centre’s more conservative pedagogy may be no bad thing. The French maintain a conservative curriculum and in progressive American universities such as Columbia a conservative liberal arts curriculum still anchors the humanities.

A conservative pedagogy needn’t — and isn’t designed to — produce conservatives. Neither is it an inoculation against radicalism. But it may help to make intellectual life in the humanities and social sciences more robust, more supple and more pluralistic.


Men needn’t make way for worthy women to succeed

Janet Albrechtsen

Serena Williams, an otherwise ­superb tennis player, was the epitome of the bad loser at the US Open. She blamed her loss not on her own lacklustre performance or the brilliance of her young ­opponent but on the sexism of a male umpire. He penalised Wil­liams because her coach sent her coaching signals, which is cheating, because Williams trashed her racquet and because she called him a thief and a liar. But in Ser­ena’s World she was confronting sexism and standing up for women’s rights. Give us a break.

Genuine sexism happened on Monday afternoon when frontrunner Andrew Bragg, a very good candidate for Liberal preselection in Wentworth, pulled out of the race because he thinks a woman should be appointed. “My withdrawal can pave the way,” he said.

How condescending if Bragg thinks the only way a woman can win preselection is for a qualified man to step aside.

More likely Bragg has been leaned on with promises of a quid pro quo somewhere else. And the leaning has likely come from women. Who says that women aren’t every bit as capable of bullying? There are leaks, too, of polls showing that only a woman will win the seat for the Liberals. What, any random woman? Does qualification matter any more?

Bragg’s exit marks the formal dumbing down of the Liberal Par­ty, where merit has been set aside in favour of having the right set of chromosomes. If a woman, maybe Katherine O’Regan, wins the preselection race, she will know she got there because a man pulled out. That is sexism of the highest order and no-win for feminism.

Bragg said he made the decision because he was shocked by Julia Banks’s allegations of bullying. Some of us are more shocked by the lack of curiosity about ­recent claims of bullying by Banks and other Liberal women. After all, Serena’s Weird World of Sexism is replicated well beyond the ­tennis court.

Bad losers have a habit of finding excuses. Invariably they turn to sexism. And why not? They can rely on large swathes of the media bowing in obedience to what fast becomes gender gospel. No questions asked, no context sought, just immediate and inces­sant condemnation of men.

Yes, bullying is unacceptable. No workplace should condone bullying, intimidation and harassment. For example, a tennis ­umpire should not be bullied, threatened with no more work for doing his job. And if the ABC spent even a fraction of the time it has devoted to bullying in Parliament House to bullying on construction sites, it might discover a few hard truths. Hang on to your hat if you find nuance confronting, but not all workplaces are equal.

Working in a library is different to playing tennis in a grand slam final. Working in parliament is different to working on a construction site. Norms of behaviour differ. That does not make bullying and harassment acceptable; it simply points to the real world where some workplaces suit more robust people.

Instead, a weird level of docility has struck sections of the press gallery and the ABC when it comes to bullying claims by women such as Banks, Julie Bishop and Lucy ­Gichuhi. Usually inquisitive female journalists at the ABC have put aside their normal levels of scepticism, failing basic political analysis that might, for example, check context or raise the possibility of ulterior motives. It is politics, after all, and things are rarely as they seem.

In that vein, it’s worth noting that Banks and Bishop hitched their career trajectories to Turnbull, and when his train was derailed their careers suffered a setback. Gichuhi’s career as senator has stalled too because the rookie hasn’t turned out to be the star recruit that many hoped. She has been tainted by comments on Kenyan television that her salary of $200,000 is “not a lot of money” and missing “house girls”. Her “coding error” that led to tax­payers coughing up $2139 for two family members to travel from Darwin to Adelaide for a birthday party didn’t help either. Gichuhi repaid the money and hasn’t mentioned house girls again. But, ­unsurprisingly, she has been dropped to a losing Senate spot.

Curious people are entitled to ask whether the timing of bullying allegations is just an odd coincidence given the political careers of some of these women have been paused or are on the slide. If bullying is so rife, especially during times of high jinks, claims about bullying would carry more weight if made by women on the rise. Bishop was a tremendous foreign minister for six years and a high-profile deputy for 11. Why didn’t she use her leader­ship position to give added oomph to claims of bullying?

Nor should it be a crime to point out that politics doesn’t suit everyone. Given that sections of Banks’s maiden speech sound like extracts from an A+ assignment for a women’s studies degree, maybe, with Turnbull gone and more conservative Liberal values reinstated under Scott Morrison, Canberra doesn’t suit her. It’s worth considering.

But that’s the problem with some feminists; they demand subservience when it concerns them. And plenty in the media deliver it on a platter rather than exercising even cursory intellectual curiosity. Despite speaking about the bullying claims just about every morning since they were made, Radio National’s Fran Kelly still hasn’t addressed basic questions or put the claims in context. It’s the same at night with ABC 7.30’s Leigh Sales. Her interview with Kelly O’Dwyer last week was a hoot — a fleeting question on the CFMEU, a union that routinely breaks the law and ­intimidates people, the rest ­devoted to allegations of bullying Liberal men.

O’Dwyer, the new Industrial Relations Minister, didn’t mind, of course. Preferring her other role as Minister for Women, O’Dwyer obliged with her own lengthy commentary about ­unsubstan­tiated bullying by ­unnamed men in Canberra rather than proven ­intimidation by named CFMEU officials.

It’s worth asking whether women and a meek media are bringing the same flaws inherent in the #MeToo movement to Canberra. Perhaps even worse ones if Gichuhi uses parliamentary privilege to name people she claims have bullied and intimidated her. Where is the procedural fairness?

The #MeToo movement has made procedural unfairness the new norm. Believing women should not mean turning off our critical faculties or dislodging the rule of law and the presumption of innocence. Women, just like men, can lie or get caught up in a look-at-me-too storm. They can fudge definitions of sexual harassment and bullying and make unfounded claims for ulterior motives.

They also can be bullies. Like Williams, those who leaned on Bragg to step aside might tell themselves they were doing it for women. Bollocks. They are hurting us, treating us as so second-rate that we can’t win without special favours.


Traffic realities in Australia

We see the insanity of putting ever more cars on our croads -- which our immigration policies do

Adam Rosewarne, a 26-year-old finance systems analyst, has perhaps Australia’s worst car commute. The biggest problem? How unpredictable it is.

Adam can spend anywhere from 50 minutes to 1 hour and 40 minutes in the car, according to Google estimates of a month of his commutes.

His trip, slicing Sydney in two from Grays Point in the south to Macquarie Park in the north-west, highlights how bad commutes can be when their duration is hard to predict. “If there’s an accident or breakdown it can blow my one-way commute for up to two hours.”

Adam likes his job, but its location has proven problematic. The route to work takes in both the peak hour traffic coming into Sydney, as well as the commuters travelling out from inner Sydney to Macquarie Park.

Although his employer gives him flexibility about his arrival time, he still catches some of the morning peak.

“Yeah it drives me crazy sometimes, it happens in cycles. “You’re OK with it for a bit, unhappy with it, upset with it … it can be a slow burn.”

Adam is one of almost 2,000 Australians who volunteered their car commute as the country’s worst when the ABC put the call out earlier this year.

The ABC ran them through the Google Maps API each work day for a month across April and May to find out how long that day’s trip would take, factoring in the traffic detected in real time.

This is what Adam’s trips look like.

 An infographic shows average durations of one trip ranges from 50 minutes to 1 hour 40 minutes, with 70 minutes the mean.
The following 12 commutes are about as painful as Adam’s. Each is unpredictable, with an average duration of at least an hour.

They highlight long, far, and slow commutes taken by Australians in order to get to work. And they underline the symptoms of a transport system feeling the squeeze of Australia’s bulging cities.

All these long commutes have adverse health impacts on drivers. Adjunct Professor Trevor Shilton, the Heart Foundation’s spokesperson for physical activity, said there was a causal link between how people get to work and one’s body-mass index — a key measure of obesity.

He said people who take public transport get an average of 41 minutes of incidental exercise during their commute, versus eight minutes for those people who travel by car.

Adam has caught public transport in the past, but the additional time it took made him stick with the car. Driving is also more attractive to him because he’s been given some leeway by his bosses about when he can arrive.  It turns out that is vital for making his trip bearable.

A study from Melbourne University published last year linked people in situations like Adam’s — those commuting for more than six hours per week — to negative mental health outcomes.

Report author Allison Milner described the direct effect of long commutes on mental health as only “small”. However, her research discovered those without control over how or when they did their work were particularly impacted. “We would argue that a lack of ability to exercise control over work activities goes hand in hand with longer commute times,” she said. “These people are less likely to be able to pick what time they travel and may have less ability to negotiate working from home.”

Unpredictable commutes like Adam’s create stress and can be difficult to plan around, and the sheer duration of others has pained policymakers — and drivers — for years.

‘Marchetti’s constant’ is the phenomenon, named after Italian physicist Cesare Marchetti, that shows people typically aren’t prepared to travel more than 30 minutes to get to work.

In 2013, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers studied phone records and found that Marchetti’s constant applied to people living in places as diverse as the Ivory Coast, Boston and Portugal.

This 30-minute travel budget has been used by planners to design cities, and it gained prominence in Australia when former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull promoted the idea of “30-minute cities” ahead of the 2016 election.

But it also highlights the transport tension building in Australia’s suburbs. The average weekly commuting time for full-time workers in Australia’s largest cities increased by almost 20 per cent from 2002 to 2011. In Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, the average time spent getting to work is at or above 30 minutes per day. Put simply, many of Australia’s commuters are at their limits.

Congestion is caused primarily by population growth, according to Terry Lee-Williams, a strategic transport adviser for Arup. “Where congestion increases to the point that the road network has very limited spare capacity it becomes brittle, so that any otherwise small incident generates significant disruption,” he said.

“To make traffic flow better we need a roughly 5 to 7 per cent decrease in peak traffic hours. “That is incredibly hard to achieve, as the existing public transport services are under incredible strain, and squeezing more in is difficult.”

It might seem logical that more and wider roads would alleviate congestion, but longer-term effects are more complicated, according to Mr Lee-Williams.

“Building more roads to major destinations does not lead to reduced congestion,” he said. “The repressed demand to drive is satisfied, the road fills up and you are back to square one minus several billion dollars.”


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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