Chelsea Manning is a no freedom fighter. ‘She’ is a traitor who betrayed her country and the cause of freedom in being the willing dupe of Wikileaks. Her actions compromised the security of the United States and allies including, exposing many to harm and death. Changing her sex and becoming a media darling doesn’t change the ugliness and repugnance of what she did. Former US president Barack Obama granted her commutation of her prison sentence, not a pardon.
But denying Manning a visa to speak in Australia was wrong. The Morrison government could and did avail itself of its legal right to deny entry to Australia on character grounds, but should have held its nose and let Manning in.
It would have been far better for the government – and let’s give it collective responsibility rather them simply pin it on the newbie immigration minister, David Coleman – to have allowed Manning entry and be seen as being a champion of free speech without qualification. Yes, Manning is a disgrace to the uniform she once wore. Yes, she is of bad character. But banning her merely makes Manning a martyr. It gives her and her equally vile cause unjustified legitimacy. It tells her misguided and foolish supporters that the Australian government is afraid of this jumped-up non-entity.
Simply, it is wrong for a centre-right government to allow the entry of narcissistic sham conservative provocateurs like Milo Yiannopoulos and Lauren Southern while shutting out the likes of Manning. When it comes to humbug, cant and hatefulness, sunlight is the best disinfectant. Let all these people in, let them have their say and allow fellow Australians make up their minds on what they see and hear. And it would incidentally show overhyped and overrated luvvie faves like Manning that their actions and words don’t threaten us and that they themselves are utterly insignificant blots on humanity rather than the heroic characters they are in their own distorted mythologies.
In New Zealand, platforms were denied to Southern and her collaborator Stefan Molyneux, but the leftist Ardern government wisely didn’t ban their entry, just as it hasn’t banned the entry of Chelsea Manning. It is galling that a trendy lefty government across the ditch pays more than lip service to the Voltaire principle of free speech than the supposedly conservative one across the ditch. If they can do it, so should we.
Like the Left’s adulation of the appalling David Hicks a decade ago, in Chelsea Manning an utterly undeserving and traitorous nobody is being deified and lionised by intelligent people who should know better. Denying her entry to Australia merely legitimises her false victimhood.
The Morrison government would have done better to admit Manning and highlight the ongoing hypocrisy of an Australian Left that tolerates only the free speech of those who agree with it.
But in these chaotic days, nobody in the Ministerial Wing of Parliament House thinks of higher principles these days: they’re all too preoccupied with day-to-day survival.
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