As is obvious from recent events, we live in times where it is not enough to disagree with someone and have a healthy debate about the issues in contention. Rather, the regular practice these days is to abuse other people for holding a different opinion from yourself, force them to apologise for holding such a contrarian view and punish them in whatever way is likely to hurt them the most. We saw a distasteful episode of this over summer when there was a vicious campaign to punish Margaret Court for holding and expressing views on same-sex marriage and homosexuality that were said to be inconsistent with the enlightened opinions of those who have appointed themselves as the guardians of officially approved beliefs. It was not enough to challenge her views; she had to be punished for holding them and again for expressing them, which was done by sustained public abuse and a campaign to remove her name from the eponymous Margaret Court Arena at the Melbourne Tennis Centre. The enormity of this campaign was equalled only by the spineless attitude of Tennis Australia who refused to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ms Court’s 1970 Grand Slam win, because it preferred to celebrate the creepily expressed ‘equality, diversity and inclusion’ so beloved of public organisations these days. We also saw a similar campaign of abuse hurled at Israel Folau for doing no more than expressing his own personal, religious views. Then, on countless occasions, businesses that have had the audacity to express an opinion different from the official view on any subject, have had campaigns unleashed against them to force them to recant under pain of being blacklisted. These campaigns to shame and punish others for nothing more than having an opinion have made many people too scared to engage in public debate, a right which used to be one of the foundations of our civilisation but one that is now being steadily eroded. Moreover, everyone seems to be getting in on the intimidation game. For instance, who would have thought that the Liberal party would be at the forefront of such a campaign, the great Liberal party that is such an advocate for freedom of speech when it suits it. And yet the Liberals are at the vanguard of the latest nasty campaign of repression, this one being to strip Bettina Arndt of her Order of Australia because she has been advocating for gender equity for men; and we all know what a radical cause that is! The censorship pack descended on her with their usual fury. But it was nothing compared with their rage when she said the Queensland police should be allowed to investigate the hideous murder of a mother and her three children by her estranged husband, without pre-conceived notions of male blame being used to colour the investigation. The mob went into overdrive, led by some of the bright young things of the Liberal party who are on the make and who think they will be popular by taking up these pathetically woke causes that are based on prejudice and hatred.
The three most vocal advocates for revoking Arndt’s national award are Tim Smith, a Liberal member of the Victorian parliament and Sarah Henderson and Hollie Hughes, both Liberal senators. Regrettably, they have now been joined by other senators who have passed a motion to force their objective. It is appalling that Liberals should be leading this campaign of hate and equally appalling because they are doing it for the basest of reasons. They simply do not like Bettina Arndt’s opinions and think they can curry favour with the luvvies by stifling her freedom of speech and intimidating her from expressing views with which they disagree. For these so-called Liberals, it is not enough to disagree with her views, as would many and, probably, most other people; no, she must be punished for holding such views. Scott Morrison should dissociate his party from this illiberal trend that seems to have taken hold of it. If not, the party may as well adopt a new motto: ‘I disagree with what you say and I will fight to the death to prevent you saying it.’
Before I go, readers who do not live in Melbourne may not be aware of another outbreak of multicultural peace and harmony that has burst over this fair city. Last weekend, outside a nightclub in alternative Prahran, another drive-by shooting took place while a crowd of some 100 was milling around the venue. A young African man was shot and was taken to hospital for surgery. The evidence indicates it was not a stray bullet that hit the poor man, for the nearby street was littered with shotgun casings. The shooting followed on the heels of another event a few months ago where a security guard and an African nightclub patron were not only shot, but killed, also in a drive-by shooting. It would be unfair to say that this latter incident was entirely African-based, as there was clearly some Arab involvement as well. It is true, however, that all of the evidence of the last few years points to a considerable African element in a spate of murders, home invasions, carjackings and violent robberies that have occurred in Melbourne. You might be alarmed by these events. You might not. All I know is that multiculturalism has been a great success in Australia and I will not hear a word said against it. As the above activities show, it has introduced a vibrant and exotic element into what was previously a very dull and uneventful community. The formerly comatose streets of Prahran are now throbbing with life — and death.
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