Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Standing ovation for rock star psychologist

Ask the protesters, they’ll tell you that Jordan Peterson’s ideas are dangerous. Did that explain the police, the private security, the men with wands, the women shining torches into handbags, and the walk-through X-ray machines at the Opera House on Saturday?

No, they were there to protect Peter­son, whose aim was to give a lecture, and those who wanted to hear it.

The precautions held up the show by almost an hour. Peterson later joked he had just started to think his enemies had given up, and faded away.

“That may change at this Q&A next Monday,” the Canadian professor said, referring to his long-awaited appearance on the ABC’s flagship panel show on Monday, February 25.

More seriously, he added: “The people who have enmity for me? They’re done. They’re out of ammunition. I read a ‘hit piece’ these days, and I feel, oh, you’ve just copied that hit piece from two months ago.”

Peterson spoke for more than an hour at the Opera House, reducing himself to tears at one point. Like any rock star psychologist — that may be a pool of one — he received a standing ovation.

He was then whisked across town to speak for a second hour at a private, more intimate event hosted by former deputy prime minister John Anderson. It was at this event that Peterson revealed he agreed with some of what his opponents had to say: for example, he does think we all live in “an oppressive patriarchy”.

But what, he said, was the point in dividing men and women on the issue? “Race, gender, sexual orientation, they don’t matter that much,” he said. “They don’t ­matter anywhere near as much as the diversity of ideas.”

His aim, he said, was to lead people away from identity politics towards a future in which everyone was working together, in the main because he could without hesitation find a way to make ­anyone in the audience “an ­oppressor.”

“Maybe it’s because you’re male,” he said, to a person of colour. “Maybe it’s because you’re middle class,” he said to a woman.

Peterson was asked about the lack of faith in old institutions, and he put it straight back on the audience. “If you don’t trust your institutions, well, they’re your institutions,” he said. “Look in the mirror — the ­effectiveness of those institutions is down to you.” If you don’t like the way your bank, your church, your cricket team is behaving, in other words, do something about it.

If not you, then who?

Back at the Opera House, the crowd was split 55-45 on gender. There were guys who looked like they’d come straight from Harvard Law School; women who looked too young to be wearing so many pearls; silver foxes in six-button blazers; and pierced boys and girls with ripped jeans.

One protester carried a sign complaining about Peterson being “racist, homophobic”.

His warm-up guy, US political commentator Dave Rubin, took hold of that issue, telling the crowd he didn’t have the heart to tell him that “Peterson’s warm-up guy is married to a dude”.

Rubin later silenced attendees by asking: “Does anyone in this room have it worse than their grandparents?” “I almost never get a yes to that question,” he said, “because if you’re living in a free society in 2019, you are not oppressed.”


Sport Minister sorry for appearing to make fun of overweight people

Federal Sport Minister Bridget McKenzie has apologised for appearing to mock overweight people at a national obesity summit in Canberra.

The deputy leader of the Nationals apologised after being photographed puffing out her face and rubbing her stomach while standing next to a banner advertising Friday's summit.

Ms McKenzie blamed her actions on a bad reaction to breakfast.

"The issue of obesity is a matter I take very seriously and would never triavisie [sic] it - or to add in any way to stigmatisation," she tweeted.

"I sincerely apologise for this very unfortunate photo taken as I demonstrated how my stomach felt after scrambled eggs reacted w yogurt I had just eaten."


'Inner-city, green elitism gone mad': Farmers' fury after Labor MP blames 'meat-eating MEN' for climate change

Irate farmers have labelled a State MP a 'green communist' after she blamed 'meat-eating' men for climate change while praising vegans.

Lisa Baker, the Labor member for Maylands in Perth, told the State Parliament her Government should promote reduced meat consumption.

She went onto state meat-eating men tend to produce more greenhouse gas emissions than vegan women.

Gary Buller, who breeds Angus cattle in WA's south-west, said Ms Baker needs to get a 'grip on reality'. 'There is much too much emotion in this whole debate and not enough dealing with the facts,' Mr Buller told the West Australian. 'People with these views are away with the fairies — they are green communists.' 

Trevor Whittington, the WA Farmers chief executive, agreed with Buller. He believes Ms Baker's outspoken views were an example of 'inner-city, green elitism gone mad'. 'Her world is a simple one of vegans, good, meat eaters bad,' he said.

'We will watch with interest to see if she (Baker) manages to convince her colleagues to take her views to the next election.'

David Littleproud was equally scathing in his criticism, with the Federal Agriculture Minister saying Ms Baker's comments were 'laughable.'

A spokesperson for Ms Baker told Daily Mail Australia the State MP stands by her comments and clarified she wasn’t a vegan.


The PM suffered a humiliating defeat this week. Strangely, it might be the best thing to have happened in his political career

There is one simple thing that Scott Morrison could have done to avoid the excruciating embarrassment the government has suffered this week but he didn’t do it. Yet as a result of this failure he may have given himself his only possible chance of surviving as prime minister.

Meanwhile Bill Shorten’s parlour tricks have snowballed into a game of Russian roulette.

The government was clearly terrified of losing the medevac vote in the lower house, which convention suggests would have required the PM to call an election to get a mandate.

But if history has taught us anything about Australian politics it’s that conventions aren’t worth the paper they’re not printed on. Indeed, it was once a convention that a prime minister who had just led their party to victory might at least serve their first term before being knifed by their colleagues.

For every single parliament of the past 12 years, this convention has been massacred by mindless panic and so when the Coalition faced a slight threat from the medevac bill it naturally mindlessly panicked.

The government pulled out a bizarre technical defence, claiming the legislation was invalid because it had originated in the Senate but the panel appointed to oversee medical assessments would have to be paid and the constitution decreed that the appropriation of funds from Treasury could only originate in the lower house. In short, it was likening a couple of doctor’s bills to the Federal Budget.

Bizarrely, this made the Coalition’s position even more precarious, because if the bill had then passed the government, by its own reasoning, would have lost control over money bills. You only have to ask Gough Whitlam how that turns out.

Fortunately for the government, its strategy was a swift and abject failure. Shorten quickly amended the bill to ensure the doctors would work for nothing — which was not dissimilar to his approach as a union leader — and Labor won a massive victory.

Or did it?

The real story is that both major parties are so punch drunk from a decade of mauling that they no longer even know when they are giving themselves an uppercut to the head.

And in this case Labor appears to have forgotten that its key strategy for the last six years has been to painstakingly neutralise border protection as an election issue. Not only is the party internally divided but it is an issue upon which it cannot win. If people want to keep boats out they will vote Coalition, if they want to let them in they will vote Green. Labor has its legs crossed in the middle.

Its approach, therefore, has been to declare that it is lock-step in line with the government and quickly try to change the subject. Now, tantalised by the prospect of a rare parliamentary win, it has established a clear split which the Coalition will cheerfully drive into a gaping chasm.

All it would take is the boats to start up again and the race would suddenly tighten. A boat actually arriving on Australian territory could turn the tide of the whole election.

Of course the medevac bill doesn’t actually apply to any new boat arrivals but that’s the funny thing about people smugglers — they’re not really sticklers for policy detail. All they need is a message to sell and a willing audience to buy it. They’re a bit like politicians that way.

Indeed, full credit to Scott Morrison for telling security agencies to repel boat arrivals — a more cynical politician would give the order to let them in. A Budget surplus won’t be enough for the Coalition to beat Labor but a boat surplus just might be.

Let’s go back to 2001. John Howard was on the ropes. He had just introduced a GST and got beaten in the popular vote at the 1998 election. He was being smashed in the polls and the mighty Daily Telegraph — Howard’s favoured gauge for the national mood — had turned on him: “It’s the Petrol Tax Stupid!” one front page blasted. Another warned that if interest rates rose again it would be the PM who would lose his house. Then along came the Tampa.

Were it not for that boat, Labor leader Kim Beazley might have been prime minister for a decade. Instead his arch nemesis became a byword for political strength and stability.

The politics of people smuggling have been the same ever since. Once Howard stopped the boats, our hearts softened and we elected Labor in a landslide. Then when they started back up we swung back and elected Tony Abbott. And now that they’ve stopped again we revert back to our better angels.

We are a generous but cynical people. We want to be kind but we don’t want to be taken advantage of. We want to be compassionate but on our own terms. And if the boats start once more that compassion will be sorely tested.

And so the Coalition has been gifted a massive political weapon by an opposition too blinded by the treasure to see the dragon lurking beneath. More remarkably, the government has been so flailing it was batting away the very lifeline being thrown to it.

Nonetheless you can now see it dawning on the once lost souls. It’s a bit like watching the catatonic mental patients come to life in Awakenings.

But the greatest irony of all — if indeed there is any irony left in a political landscape where irrational is the new normal — is that Scott Morrison could have avoided the whole thing.

All the PM had to do is put a crossbencher in the chair as Speaker of the House of Representatives instead of wasting one of his own precious votes on the floor.

Morrison refused to give himself this buffer after becoming prime minister, seemingly due to a sense of warrior pride and no doubt some fear of payback from the Peter Slipper experiment. Or maybe all the independents just said no to a $150,000 a year pay rise, which even for six months is a nice little mortgage buster.

On Tuesday this was a catastrophic error of judgment. On Thursday it became a stroke of genius. Personally, I wonder if anyone put that much thought into it at all.

And so by losing the Coalition may have won and by winning the ALP may have lost. And no matter which side wins the rest of us lose because politics today is a contest that hinges on which party has the most misfires while trying to shoot itself in the foot.

The great Graham Richardson once observed that the golden rule of politics was that you never reward failure. These days failure gets a gold medal.


 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


Paul said...

I'm all for shaming the obese over affirmation and "body positive" nonsense. Obesity is an unnecessary plague that brings masses of health problems. One of the most negative recent trends in Nursing has been the emergence of Bariatrics as a stand-alone speciality. The speciality largely centres around management of them, as most of the health problems are already known (though more aggressively expressed as a rule).
Part of the reason for this has been the growth in workplace injuries from Nurses and other care-givers trying to manage stupidly fat people.

Paul said...

Just glancing at Lisa Baker's Fakebook page. No sign of a family or children but lots of Wimmyn things going on, and saving the environment through virtue-signalling. About what I expected to see really.