Archive for the ‘culture’ Category

The Left’s fantasy of hatred and violence

October 22, 2010

No Pressure

Many have now commented on the sicko advertising campaign ‘No Pressure’ by Richard Curtis [pictured right] for a greener more caring environment, notably Andrew Bolt, and the way the Left seem to be attracted to hatred and violence.

The big thing that jarred for me was that Curtis was the director of Love Actually, one of my all time favourite films that is clearly the polar opposite of ‘No Pressure’. I defend Love Actually against all comers who prefer violent films, and films that obsess about unhappy dysfunctional and neurotic anti-heroes; the sort of film one critic called social worker porn. But that is another story.

I raise this issue tardively, as I have just read James Delingpole’s very eloquent essay in the lastest Spectator on just why the latest Curtis effort was truly not funny. It is well worth reading. He emphasises the Green Left’s contempt for humans, which is generally well known. That this is true, does explain, by extrapolation, why the Murray–Darling Basin Authority’s recent report on water allocation for the river left out any consideration for our farmers and riverine communities. Delingpole concludes:

After all, when your movement’s key influences, from Rachel Carson through Teddy Goldsmith to James Lovelock, are telling you that the human species is a ‘cancer’ on the planet, what better solution could there possibly be than a spot of radical surgery?

Why does Morry Schwartz allow it?

October 3, 2010

Robert Manne does it again

I recently posted a blog saying that one has to feel sorry for poor old Robert Manne. He had been exposed for his shoddy history research concerning the stolen generations. After that, came his very public demonstration in The Australian of the way he uses morality, indignation and appeals to authority to cover for his lack of facts. I suggested at the time that it was perhaps time for him to retire.

However, it appears that Robert ‘No-Shame’ Manne continues in the same vein, this time in the September issue of The Monthly. According to Hal Colebatch in the latest Quadrant, Manne writes about the South Vietnamese refugee policy in Australia between 1976 and 1982, making the extraordinary claim that “With the boat arrivals, the Labor Opposition under Whitlam, and then Hayden, resisted the temptation to exploit underlying racist or anti-refugee sentiment for party political gain.”

Colebatch rightly wonders if Manne was on another planet. He quotes the infamous comment by Whitlam ,“I’m not having hundreds of fucking Vietnamese Balts coming into this country with their political and religious hatreds against us” … He then goes on to list the many examples of ALP bloodymindedness; Clyde Cameron himself advocating in the 1977 election campaign that “the only effective means of dealing with illegal immigrants would be to have them arrested and deported as soon as they land”, Hawke wanting the return of the bogus refugees, and Darwin waterside workers striking over the ship Entalina that rescued Vietnamese boat people, threatening any further shipping that was prepared to rescue boat people. The litany of racist and inhumane bigotry by the Left is documented in detail. The article thus reveals Manne’s strange delusional rewrite of history.

Colebatch concludes:

I could continue these quotes at considerable length (my PhD thesis on this subject occupies 489 pages exclusive of bibliography and appendices), but this is probably enough to make the point.

Far from being the beneficiaries of a bipartisan approach, Vietnamese refugees were attacked by virtually every group on the Left. I find it baffling that someone occupying Mr Manne’s position is either unaware of the well-documented history of the ALP and the Left regarding Vietnamese refugees or, if he is aware of it, that he should apparently seek to radically rewrite these facts.

Hal Colebatch’s article, The Left Rewrites Its History on Refugees is very worthwhile and is available in the October edition of Quadrant [no link available].

It is now incomprehensible just how Manne manages to get published with such falsehoods, except for the fact that he is Chairman of the Board of The Monthly. Morry Schwartz should sack him.

UPDATE

Quadrant has now made the link available to Hal Colebatch’s article.

The right wing drum beat on the ABC, yeah …

September 3, 2010

“And Tony Abbott isn’t even Prime Minister yet”

Just the other day I received a very belated comment by an Alan Knight on a post I wrote in May about the ABC failing in its charter for balance.

Alan Knight, it turns out, runs a blog and sent me a link to an article of his, The right wing Drum beat at ABC News 24, about how the new 24 Hour news service has lurched to the “booga booga” right.

The evidence? In a recent Drum, he reports the “thinly stretched” 24 hour news service had the audacity to have on two conservatives, Imre Salusinszki, from “the left leaning (not)” Australian — just in case we had forgotten — and Jessica Brown, from the CIS “right wing think tank” —just in case we had forgotten.  However, it turns out that the third panellist was an ABC journalist, and the presenter was, well, an ABC journalist. That seems like good balance to me.

The problem for Mr Knight apparently is that Maurice Newman, currently on the ABC Board, is “no friend of the Labor movement” — just in case we had forgotten — and is “calling the shots at the ABC”.  So there you have it. This conservative “infiltration” just goes to show you that the ABC is not operated by and for the left. And, he explains indignantly, “Tony Abbott isn’t even Prime Minister yet”.

Maybe Mr Knight could explain to us why the chirpy Annabel Crabb, formerly at the Sydney Morning Herald, is now the ABC Online’s chief political writer. She also makes regular appearances on the thinly stretched 24 hours news service. According to J F Beck, after her inaugural piece on Malcolm Turnball on the new Drum website in November last year, the subsequest fifteen had mentioned Tony Abbott.   Beck’s conclusion:

So the ABC’s number one political writer, its top political analyst, continually ridicules the Liberals but can find nothing about the left deserving so much as a mention. No bias here, folks, none whatsoever.

Mr Knight could perhaps explain to us, if Maurice Newman is indeed calling the shots, in addition to the appointment of Crabb, why almost all panels for Q&A still have three representatives of the left and only one and half  on the right (if we’re lucky), Tony “I’m sorry, I’m not meaning to interrupt your flow” Jones,  as well  7.30 Report’s “Blue Eyes”,  who is still shamelessly continuing the way he always does: rude and aggressive with the Liberals, smarmy and obsequious with the ALP.

Oh, and by the way, Alan Knight was elected national spokesperson for Friends of the ABC in 2007 — just in case you didn’t know.

A delusion about Muslims

September 1, 2010

Moderate Islam. What exactly is it?

The debate over the mosque near Ground Zero in New York is taking wings. Largely a local concern for New Yorkers, it has ramifications for all of us. The dominant issue is about competing notions of tolerance and the centrality of  the concept of what exactly constitutes  a  “moderate”, and therefore tollerant Muslim.

A short piece by Malaysian Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim appeared in The Australian today, extracted from a Wall Street Journal symposium on the question: What Is Moderate Islam?

Anwar made some very reasonable points; that “the quest for the moderate Muslim in the 21st century is akin to the search for the Holy Grail,” given that the association between Islam and terrorism is so wide spread and so constantly being reinforced by the fact of so many atrocities. He feels for ordinary Muslims, “whose identities have been drowned by events beyond their control.”

But some feel you cannot have the one without the other. Rod Liddle in last week’s UK Spectator, commented on the Ground Zero mosque debate. He dares to believe that there is a lot delusion on both sides when discussing issues of moderation and tolerance. Quoting from the illuminating 2006 Pew Research Centre study into Muslim attitudes throughout the world, he concludes rather pessimistically about those whom we in the West are eager to call mostly moderate;

The Pew study discovered that there was not a single Muslim country in the world where the majority of the population was able to accept that the 9/11 terrorists were Muslim, Arabic or anything other than part of the George W. Bush CIA-filthy Jew alliance. There is epic delusion on every side, in other words.

The burka again: contempt for our openess

August 5, 2010

Burka is legal, but it’s about manners

A PERTH Muslim woman is now waiting for Perth District Court judge Shauna Deane to decide whether she can wear a burka while giving evidence in a case brought against Anwar Sayed, director of the Muslim Ladies College of Australia for fraud. Again, much ink and air time has been expended on this persistent, and very strongly felt issue.

Hugo Rifkind, a columnist for the British Spectator, recently wrote the best, most common sense, opinion about what should be done with the burka in Western countries in relation to the tricky problem of “rights”. Conjuring up the idea of wearing underpants on his head — any, his own, porn-star panties, Victorian bloomers — he explains that he has the right go into a Post Office, a Jobcentre, a school, a church or a mosque. “Such is my right, as a freeborn Brit, and nobody has the right to force me to take them off.”

But I don’t have the right to not be told by people who see me that I look like an idiot. I don’t have the right not to be asked if I wouldn’t perhaps mind growing the hell up, and taking them off.

When did the world suddenly decide that the right to do something necessarily entailed the right not to be politely asked to stop doing it? It’s a dangerous nonsense. None of this is about ‘rights’ at all. It’s about manners. Security concerns aside, of course, women should have the right to wear the burka, anywhere they like. But that doesn’t mean it’s not an inherently repellent garment, the wearing of which, in Britain, is basically just rude. So stop it.

So, getting back to the Perth woman; she was reported as saying “I’d like to make it very clear that … it’s a personal choice and we lead a very normal active life just like everyone else.”

Well I say that this is plain silly. How can she claim to lead a normal, active life with a sack covering her head? In Western countries it is simply not normal to cover your face and deprive everyone in public of seeing who you are, and then to expect to interact with you in a normal way. It is not normal to be an Australian women and feel uncomfortable showing your face in front of men other than your immediate family because you believe “intermingling” between the sexes encourages adultery.

Perth District Court judge Shauna Deane clearly has the judicial power to maintain her own standards of conduct and respect in her own court. Let us hope she has the courage, or the conviction, that to be hidden from view for personal reasons might just be considered to hold the court, the judge, the jury and the public in contempt.

The beauty of our system is that, in this case, the witness has the right to refuse to attend.

UPDATE

The Prime Minister has worked out which side her electoral bread is buttered.

BURQAS should be removed when the public interest overrides personal choice, Prime Minister Julia Gillard says.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali in Australia

August 2, 2010

From Quadrant on-line


On the awkwardness of the Muslim debate

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, high profile international critic of Islam and author of the best seller Infidel, and a new book Nomad, has been stirring the pot in Australia recently, raising the tenor of debate on the ‘Muslim problem”. Interviewed several times in the media, she gave talks in both Melbourne and Sydney.

Her thinking on Islamic issues has been derived from her extraordinary life. Hirsi Ali was raised as a Muslim in Somalia, fled to Holland as a refugee to escape a forced marriage, and is now working at the American Enterprise Institute. Her story is both moving and inspiring. On the way, she became a member of the Dutch Parliament and collaborated with the filmmaker Theo van Gogh on a film, ‘Submission’, about misogyny within Islam. Van Gogh was subsequently murdered by an Islamic extremist. Since then, Hirsi Ali has been under constant threat, and now has a permanent bodyguard. Her books explain the cruelty and violence that are a part and parcel of Islamic cultures, and within them she develops a brilliantly coherent criticism of Islam and its growing threat to the West.

Unsurprisingly, in this brief visit, Hirsi Ali raised considerable ire from the Left commentariat on several fronts. She has notably offended the feminists, the cultural relativists, the immigration bleeding hearts and human rights activists, and the politically correct for being a dangerous, “right wing think-tank” racist. The interviewers in her appearances on the ABC have treated her with a mixture of respect and nervousness with a dash of indignation, at her full frontal challenges to their orthodoxy on Islamic matters. A comment from one ABC listener is indicative of the confused mindset, when she accused Hiris Ali of having the “gaze of the colonizer, with an insensitivity and absence of empathy for people, specially women”.

Hirsi Ali tackles the mantra, “we’ve got to respect their culture” head on. The problem, she points out is that respect is hard to reconcile with forced marriages, honour killings, female genital mutilation, the forced veiling of women, and of course the killing of homosexuals. Clearly, she dismisses the post-modernist notion that all cultures are equal. “It’s individual human beings who are equal”.

Fending off her critics who then say that our society is flawed––another saw of the Left––she promptly explains that “Western flaws, the white man’s flaws, his sexism, his racism, his prejudices have been criticised and radically changed. Men of colour, not just Muslim men, but Chinese, Indians, “men of colour are excused from that same critical scrutiny of cultures, their customs, their habits, their religious principles”. This is the essence of her criticism of multiculturalism too.

On the question of “moderate Islam”, the sanctuary question of the bien-pensant, Hirsi Ali is clear about distinguishing Islam as an ideology from Muslims themselves. Most Muslims, she claims from research, know very little about what’s in the Koran. They only know that “you’ve got to obey the Koran and what the Prophet Mohammed said. Increasingly, agents of radical Islam take advantage of that.” Having a religious dimension is one thing. What she is concerned about are the political and social dimensions; Sharia law, the concept of jihad and the social laws that govern the relationship between men and women.

If you think, like every interviewer on the ABC, that moderate states like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Turkey are good examples of moderation, Hirsi Ali is quick to counter that, more and more, Indonesians are succumbing to the propaganda, mostly financed by countries like Saudi Arabia and spread by the Islamist Brotherhood in Egypt. “Everywhere Sharia is getting a hold, you see the same violations of human rights, including terrorist acts and intolerance to Christian minorities.”‘

On accusations of racism, Hirsi Ali is very blunt. When a questioner at her talk in Melbourne suggested she was providing fuel for racism and was a bigot, it was the one moment when strong passion broke through the surface of her usually calm and patient demeanour. It is worth quoting in full:

I answer that by pointing out that Islam is not a race, it is a belief system. If you look at people who identify themselves as Muslims, you see they are made up of very many different races. Because it is a belief system, the accusation of racism simply does not apply. When you look at the social and political aspects of Islam, you find bigotry. The position of men and women in Islam is different. That is bigotry. Homosexuals are treated as sick people and killed. That is bigotry. When Sharia is established, that is bigotry. Black people in Islam are treated as slaves, and slavery is condoned. That is bigotry. It is really ridiculous to defy a political system of bigotry by telling people you are bigoted. I am sorry. I’m not bigoted. Islam is bigoted. The message for 1.57 million people is to emancipate themselves not from the past imperialism of the white man, but from the bigotry that is embedded in Islam.

Hirsi Ali also has some pretty blunt ideas about Australian immigration that I suspect a majority of us would agree with. She believes that the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention is completely outdated, as at that time there were only one million refugees. Today there are 40 million. We all would concede that Australia cannot take all 40 million in, so the concept of compassion is not enough now and it’s not practical anymore.

Given the advent of radical Islam … liberal democrat countries like Australia should establish a new relationship with immigrants. Who is good for our country and who is going to contribute to Australia? In exchange, we’ll provide them with the opportunity to live in a peaceful, prosperous society where they can build a life for themselves. If they say no to that, then I think it would be justified to say such a person cannot stay and will not be a part of this society and can be returned. That is more honest, it’s more practical and it becomes a two-way contribution.

Hirsi Ali, in her conversion to Western values is a breath of fresh air. She appears to understand the value of democracy and free debate better than most commentators in the media. In response to Kerry O’Brien accusing her of being a traumatised “reactionary” in an interview three years ago, she is eloquent.

In the first place, I use the tools that we are supposed to use in a democracy which is non-violent means to argue my assertions and views. Next, I don’t see what is reactionary about saying, “Let’s respect life as an end in itself, liberty as an end in itself and the equality of men and women.”

Yes, let us use the tools we are supposed to use in a democracy. Let us stop the ad hominum arguments of racism and Islamophobia. Hirsi Ali contrasts the reaction of Christianity to insults and criticisms, citing Richard Dawkins’ attacks, with the Muslims reaction of violence and hatred when they are criticised.

The last word goes to Hirsi Ali from ABC Lateline last week:

All cultures are flawed, but if we want to aspire to a society, whether it’s on a national level or on the global level of individual rights and the respect for human rights, then we have to criticise these other cultures just as much as the white man’s culture was criticised. That’s good for them.

UPDATE

Too good to be true.

Hirsi Ali has been in Australia barely two weeks and the Equal Opportunity Division of the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal has comes to the same view; that vilification of Muslims does not fall within the anti discrimination Act.

Muslims ‘do not share common racial, national or ethnic origins’ and are therefore not an ethno-religious group such as the definition embraces. In so ruling, we follow the decisions, commencing with Khan, that are listed above at [44]. We are unaware of any recent authority to the contrary. It follows that any statements broadcast by the Respondents that generated negative feelings towards Muslims generally, or any group of Muslims, on the ground of their being Muslims could not amount to unlawful racial vilification.

How the Left hate Ayaan Hirsi Ali

July 18, 2010

Hilary McPhee’s prejudice confirmed

It’s a little late, and sad, that the Left, in the guise of a silly review by Hilary McPhee, should be ringing the lepers bell for Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s already sold out talk in Melbourne later this month.

Hilary McPhee is one of our commentariat who blamed John Howard for the brutal killing of innocent Australians in Bali by Islamic terrorists.  So it comes as no surprise that, in the guise of a book review of the remarkable autobiography Infidel and the latest reflection, Nomad, to mark Hirsi Ali’s visit to Melbourne, she attacks with barely disguised contempt the brave woman who would know more than Hilary could ever dream of about the vile aspects of Islam that make millions of women’s lives nightmares and turn Islamic extremists into fanatical murderers.

What does Hilary think? Well, she thinks Hirsi Ali’s books “aren’t much good”, that they are “disturbing and delusional”, a “gift to those of us who like our prejudices confirmed” — speaking for yourself Hilary? — and that they fail to give us “a more complex and sympathetic picture of the Muslim world”.

She feels the books fail to remind us “that more than 50 countries from Indonesia to Iran through Africa and the Middle East have Muslim majorities and vastly different cultures and histories”. McPhee is clearly oblivious to the progressive and systematic radicalization and cultural colonization of these “diverse” countries by Middle Eastern fundamentalists in the last few decades.

Hilary complains that “a perspective on the role played by poverty, illiteracy and rural conservatism is missing”. Well, Hilary McPhee has lived in the Middle East. Where is her analysis of the role Islamic cultural values play in creating poverty, illiteracy and rural conservatism? But I imagine economics is not one of her strong points.

Of the outstanding book Infidel, she seems to be complaining cynically that it “came at the right time and sold hugely”. Isn’t this the dream of any book publisher? To know exactly what most irks McPhee would be hard to determine. Hirsi Ali criticises multiculturalism, Western feminists, Germaine Greer and Tariz Ramadan. But to top her sins off, Ayaan Hirsi Ali “accepted a job with the ultra-conservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, which had provided much of the rationale for military intervention in Iraq and for rebuilding the image of Israel in the world through a conservative alliance with America”. Oh, dear.

But McPhee is generous in her sympathy for Hirsi Ali’s plight. She finishes her irritation in a final sentence: “I can’t help but fear for her.”

Age editorial correct !

June 16, 2010

The Age reflects agendas of journalists

In a previous post I quoted an Age editorial where they boasted that “quality newspapers offer their readers an implicit assurance with every story they publish: that their selection and presentation of news does not reflect the personal or corporate agendas of journalists, editors or proprietors.”

We knew that it was their idea of a joke, but the very next day we had the proof. Yesterday they ran a news report, not opinion, on a debate that took place in Melbourne on racism, between Professor Robert Manne and Hanifa Deen for the affirmative, and Professor Bob Birrell and Dr Tanveer Ahmed for the negative.

The article, written by Paul Millar, was headed Country ‘drifting back to racism’. A strange heading for a debate with two sides whose subject was to determine whether or not Australian had escaped its racist past. However, The Age never lets facts get in the way of story. Looking closely at the article, almost all of it was taken up with Hanifa Deen’s presentation for the affirmative. In a total of 470 words, Professor Birrell was given only 42 words, or barely nine percent of the report. Not another word from the negative.

In a follow-up editorial today, we learn that the debate was an IQ2 event, sponsored by The Age. We also learn that the audience voted in favour of the proposition, 71 per cent to 20 per cent. The editorial suggested that maybe it was because of the difficulty of  “satisfying the opposite contention”. But is it not as feasible that the vast majority of the audience were Age readers and thus ill-informed because The Age coverage of issues never satisfies the opposite contention.

Ground breaking television

May 31, 2010

Hearing is believing. A new sensation on the ABC

I don’t know if I should appologise to Tony Jones. After accusing him of having a biased show just yesterday, in the selection of both the  panel and audience, I listened last night to Maxime McKew being jeered and ridiculed by the studio audience. In addition, any mention of Kevin Rudd’s inadequacies was met either with laughter or very enthusiastic applause. This was ground breaking television, and certainly never heard before on QandA.

My conclusion is that either the audience was chosen, just for once, to largely reflected Autralian opinion — in which case their reactions are unsurprising — or, if indeed it were the usual QandA, ABC-branch-stacked audience, then one can only conclude that Kevin Rudd is really, really in deep trouble. One can hope it were the latter, in which case, I am really so sorry, Mr Jones.

ABC fails its charter

May 29, 2010

ABC does not tollerate attacks on its friends

A warm thank you to the Australian Conservative for its support. This excellent blog has been a consistent testimony to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s failure to uphold its charter on balance and bias.

In effect, the question of balance in the ABC has been a long standing issue. I remember helping to organize a national conference for the Institute of Public Affairs ten years ago, Their ABC or Our ABC? in Sydney on ABC bias. In a predictable defence of the ABC, and as a direct reaction to this conference, Stuart Littlemore on Media Watch displayed a classic example of jackboot journalism designed to silence critics.”

It would appear that precious little has changed over that time. Neither 12 years of the Howard government, nor the placing of three conservatives on the ABC Board, nor the complaints of impotent ministers in parliament, nor the constant public admonition of Kerry O’Brien or Tony Jones in the press for their selective and unfair questioning of people with whom they disagree, has changed anything much. Nor has the documented, transparently differential treatment both the 7.30 Report and Lateline routinely give to sceptics of climate change made a difference. Let me not get started on Robyn William’s Science Show. Tony Jones’ QandA discussion panel — biased in audience and in panel — has very recently been thouroughly analysed for balance in an excellent article, This ‘adventure in democracy’ is unfair and unbalanced by John Styles in The Spectator. QandA remains steadfastly biased in audience and panel.

The most striking thing in all of this is the lack of shame, or embarrassment, or accountability of any ABC presenters. The reality is that, unlike governments which are ultimately accountable to the electorate, the capture of institutions is impervious to democratic action. Top down change is ineffectual, and bottom up change irrelevant, as the ABC is not market driven. The ABC “collective” know it. As a result, they can simply ignore criticism, and display an indifference and cynical contempt to taxpayers.

The only exception to this rule is Phillip Adams on Radio National’s LNL [Left ‘n’ Left] who has openly admitted that his programme is an antidote to the Right wing shock jocks on commercial radio. This is such an accepted idea that the ABC itself boasts of Michael Duffy on Counterpoint as “the Right wing Phillip Adams”.

To finish on a clear, and one would have thought, non-controversial point. I have always found that Labor voters, generally speaking, find the ABC to be fair and balanced, and that Liberal voters, generally speaking, find the ABC often unfair and often unbalanced, or at best, very lumpy. I don’t know about you, but if that observation is largely plausible, then that to me would appear to be a quod erat demonstrandum.


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