Weblog of the Sydney Traditionalist Forum
One Christopher Carr, writing for Australia’s only periodical which is explicitly non-Marxist, Quadrant Magazine, has published a short reflection about the current Coalition government’s prevarications concerning the section 18C controversy.1 The debates surrounding the government’s alleged desire to amend or repeal the section continue to rage among the commentariat, but officials of the Abbott government seem to be perpetually on the defensive. As the establishment conservative elites continue to blunder about, we can only be thankful that there are some among the somnolent status-quoists of the ‘right’ who are beginning to wake up to the incompetents of our political leadership. In Carr’s brazenly titled piece “A Coalition of Cowards”, the author suggests that faith in Prime Minister Tony Abbot’s team may be waning among conservative voters. This seems to be primarily due to the apparent weakness of the conservative political establishment to effectively oppose leftist institutions which stifle freedom of thought, speech and association.
Of course, establishment conservatism bleeds electoral support when it seeks approval from those who most hate it. SydneyTrads has previously reported that the present government shows no signs of doing anything so radical as actually opposing the left on principle,2 other than taking a stand on purely fiscal matters (this too can be debated in light of questions surrounding the recently delivered budget). Basically, no robust or convincing argument can be made in favour of repealing legislated soft tyranny if the underlying (and disingenuous) ideology of ‘multicultural tolerance’ is not also repudiated in toto. Carr’s fear that Abbott and his colleagues may in fact cave-in under the pressure of the multicultural industry, merely tweak section 18C or leave it unmolested, should not therefore come as much of a surprise.
Some background for our international readers: Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) forms part of Part IIA of the Act and concerns the prohibition against offensive behaviour based on racial hatred. The section reads as follows:
Offensive behaviour because of race, colour or national or ethnic origin
(1) It is unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if:
(a) the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people; and
(b) the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or of some or all of the people in the group.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), an act is taken not to be done in private if it:
(a) causes words, sounds, images or writing to be communicated to the public; or
(b) is done in a public place; or
(c) is done in the sight or hearing of people who are in a public place.
(3) In this section: “public place” includes any place to which the public have access as of right or by invitation, whether express or implied and whether or not a charge is made for admission to the place.
This is merely one of a series of legal instruments which has legislated the political ideology of the left over the last several decades. Readers should not be fooled by the explicit terms of this section or any other ‘anti-discrimination’ provisions in Australian law. These prohibitions have nothing at all to do with what they purport to prohibit, and this applies to all forms of ‘anti-discrimination’ prohibitions whether they concern ethnicity, sex or religion. This should be obvious when one observes the broader culture of political correctness and the manner in which these laws are utilised by authorities and pressure groups. Consider the following examples:
There does not seem to be any stigma associated with the denigration of Whites, males or Christians in popular discourse or the entertainment industry. Indeed, hostility aimed at these groups is not only encouraged by some institutions of cultural transmission (such as schools and universities, particularly in relation to combating so-called ‘Whiteness’ and ‘Eurocentrism’ in academia or ‘Patriarchy’ in social and political discourse) but may even be excused as ‘humour’, ‘justified retribution’ or, perversely, an exercise in ‘free speech’.3 We say perversely because those who have argued for the repeal of section 18C do so on the grounds that the section itself is an offense against freedom of speech. But such is the topsy turvy world of political argumentation today. This also illustrates that the alliance of the political broad left and various minority interest groups cannot be challenged on any rational basis: do not expect consistency because the arguments flip and flop depending on the circumstances and what spoils are being claimed. In this case, the spoils are the judicial prosecution of identity politics on one hand and the freedom to question the hypocrisy of the allegedly race-blind multiculti elites on the other.
The Andrew Bolt affair is a case in point. There, the journalist and public commentator highlighted the irony of a society which officially denies the relevance of ethnicity, but where the celebration of racial identity among one group of people (who incidentally did not display the most obvious characteristics of the race they purported to be members of) could not be challenged. His questioning the sincerity or authenticity of a group of Australians, who were for all intents and purposes Caucasian while identifying as Aboriginal, was found to be a breach of section 18C.4 The political reaction among establishment conservatives was to do something about this nasty piece of legislation. But what to do? SydneyTrads has pointed out the folly of establicon’s support for, for example, the fruit of their opponents immigration policies. Generally we have been quite blunt about the need to oppose liberalism and its conceits on principle because no genuine conservative force can be expected to have any chance of opposing cultural Marxism while accommodating its fundamental worldview and assumptions. But in electoral politics, mainstream conservatives see the damage caused by leftist vandalism as just part of the new environment they need to accommodate and deal with, instead of taking steps towards rectification.
Nevertheless, the Bolt decision seemed to have shaken the government into action. First, there was talk among Ministers of repealing the section, which admittedly came as a welcome surprise to us. Then this exchange occurred in the Senate between Labor Senators and the government Attorney General, after which the initial enthusiasm for binning 18C seemed to have evaporated:5
Senator Peris: Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. I refer the Attorney-General to comments made by the member for Hasluck, Mr Wyatt, who told Fairfax media: “… what I wouldn’t like to see is a regression that allows those who have bigoted viewpoints to vilify any group of people at all …” Won’t removing section 18C facilitate vilification by bigots?
Senator Brandis: People do have a right to be bigots, you know. In a free country, people do have rights to say things that other people find offensive, insulting or bigoted. Nevertheless, through you, Mr President, may I point out to Senator Peris that section 18C, in its current form, does not prohibit racial vilification. Section 18C in its …
President of the Senate: Order, on my left!
[Senator Wong interjecting]
Senator Brandis: I will take that interjection. People have the right to be…
President of the Senate: Senator Brandis, you are entitled to be heard in silence and hence you have been stopped at this moment. Senator Brandis, continue.
Senator Brandis: I will take that interjection, Senator Wong. Senator Wong interjects, “Yes, George, you go out there and defend the right to be bigoted.” Well, you know, Senator Wong, a lot of the things I have heard you say in this chamber over the years are, to my way of thinking, extraordinarily bigoted and extraordinarily ignorant. But I would defend your right to say things that I consider to be bigoted and ignorant. That is what freedom of speech means.
The response to Senator Brandis was only to be expected: The ABC’s headline read “George Brandis defends ‘Right to be Bigot’ amid government plan to amend Racial Discrimination Act”.6 The barrage of politically-correct gag-phrases and leftist shaming followed as naturally as stench after a rally of student radicals, which also naturally followed the usual caravan of ethnic community groups and other xenophile busybodies committed to protesting against ‘bigotry’. But this mob of busybodies have been politically coddled and coaxed by Brandis and his ilk for decades; the balkanised suburbs of our major capitals, many of which now have ethnic enclaves (what media apologists refer to as ‘vibrant’, ‘enriching’ ‘diversity’) are a product of Labor and the Coalition ‘wet’ ideologues. This bi-partisan front is evidently more interested in fostering imported voting blocks than protecting the much vaunted civic liberties such as freedom of speech. Now these voting blocks have come back to bite, and woe to the vanquished. What Brandis et al have not mentioned, and are evidently incapable of grasping themselves, is that what the left deems ‘bigotry’ is essentially anything that they disagree with. Again, this kind of opposition cannot be reasoned with, and the only way that their institutions and statutory instruments can be dealt with is by having them dismantled entirely, without compunction, without apology, and without hesitation.
Instead, according to Carr’s short piece for Quadrant Online, it appears that the government is increasingly hesitant to do anything other than some merely cosmetic fiddle before they ask for conservative votes next polling day. Carr writes that “[f]eckless and afraid, the alleged conservatives now galloping away from their promise to scrap or amend Section 18C present those who believe in free speech with two choices: Hold your nose and vote for them anyway, or hold these Quislings to account.” We have never witnessed words so brutally critical of the Tony Abbott Coalition government ever being published by Quadrant, and that should be a cause of concern for the ‘mainstream’ political elite. Carr went so far as to refer to the Premier’s of the Victorian and New South Wales state Coalition governments as “useful idiots” and questioned whether their justification for section 18C was not in fact an inadvertent admission of the failure of multiculturalism: “Is it [18C] a celebration of a successful multicultural policy or is it telling us backhandedly that our society is so dangerously fragmented and tribalised it can no longer afford the robust free speech of yesteryear?” We need not answer that question, we’ve written about it here before.7 Carr writes:
“All this is betrayal pure and simple […] Liberal premiers and backbenchers feel driven by what they perceive as electoral imperatives […] If, indeed, they feel impelled to abandon free speech, this reflects a terrible failure of so-called multiculturalism and portends a darker authoritarian future […] I know that both Tony Abbott and Attorney-General George Brandis face huge pressure from the useful idiots on their own side. But I believe that they have largely failed to prosecute the case for abolishing Section 18c. Paradoxically, by allowing for submissions on the proposed change to the Racial Discrimination Act, they have surrendered the initiative and created a vacuum, which the new authoritarian coalition has readily filled.”
Carr is too generous on Abbott and Brandis. They are in positions of authority and should be held to account for their lack of leadership. So it appears that all that a conservative voter can hope for is a choice between an explicitly progressive government or an alternative which will compromise with the progressivism of the enemy. Mainstream conservatives appear to be so afraid of their political opponents, that they cannot think of opposing the fundamentals of leftism itself. If this were not true, then the Coalition would have repealed the entire Race Discrimination Act without batting an eyelid and without a moment’s concern for the usual mobs who would undoubtedly hit the streets with placards and bullhorns. Naturally, we advise our Australian readers to hold our leadership to account and stop supply at the voting booth if they continue their feckless, compromising ways. Only then will the weight of ‘our’ politicians’ fear of betraying us be greater than their desire to appease those who they purport to oppose. Settling for mediocrity should never be an option.
– SydneyTrads Editors