all right

Occasionally adding corroborative details to add verisimilitude to otherwise bald and unconvincing,
but veridicous accounts
with careful attention, indefatigable assiduity, and nice discrimination.

29 September, 2011

The New Censor

Prof. Robert Manne Forbids Free Speech 

“I don’t believe it
makes sense for non-scientists
to have any views

on scientific
matters.  None can be expert
on complex issues

without a recent
higher degree.  Otherwise,
unlearnèd folk may

consider themselves
quite free to speak on any
topic of the day—

and we can’t have that!
No, we ought to have a board
which will then refuse

laymen permission
(unless they’re quite orthodox)
to speak as they choose.”

See Newspapers shouldn’t print opinion from non-experts: Manne, by Jared Owens, in The Australian:
“I do not believe it makes sense for non-scientists to have views on scientific issues,” [Manne] told the gathering at Gleebooks, in inner Sydney.
The report neglects to mention any subsequent righteous rebuke or indignant condemnation of the arrogant, academic wowser from others at the event, so we might assume that his audience meekly accepted the need for a board of censors.  Prof. Manne, by the way, though not a scientist (and not observably endowed with a capacity for logical reasoning or consistency), often expresses views on scientific issues.  He uncritically accepts the fraudulent, pseudo-scientific conjecture of anthropogenic global warming, and this M. Porcius Cato Redux is irked by the audacity of any impertinent, sceptical, critical thinker who dares question the alleged consensus that the world is doomed unless the Government impose a tax on the beneficent, vital trace gas, carbon dioxide.
See also “Rara Temporum”. 

UPDATE:  Andrew Bolt provides “the reaction” to the decision, in the Federal Court, which (some argue) finds against free speech if it might vex people pretending to be disadvantaged.  See also “Freedom of speech is dead in Australia”, by James Delingpole, and Jo Nova’s “Black day for free speech in Australia: Bolt loses case”.  Prof. Bunyip also adds his assuete wise observations here, here and hereQuadrant Online furnishes trial reports and background to the case.

UPDATE II:  see John Citizen’s “Free Speech: Not something to be taken for granted”.

UPDATE IIIsee a media release from the Institute of Public Affairs:
A new poll has found that 82% of Australians think protecting freedom of speech is more important than protecting people from being offended.
The poll conducted last weekend for the Institute of Public Affairs by Galaxy Research surveyed 1052 people across the country.  [...]
John Roskam, the Executive Director of the Institute of Public Affairs said ‘freedom of speech is a bedrock of Australian democracy.’
UPDATE IV:  slightly apposite is C.L. Bryant:
[American] liberals feel as though they can say whatever they want to say, but, don’t you dare say anything you want to say!  Why?  “Because you offend me with that!”
UPDATE V (30 September):  Andrew Bolt provides “more reaction” and a link to an article by Stephen Drill, “Geoff Clark reveals why he went after Andrew Bolt”.  Geoff Clark, a serial abuser, is the greedy, unpleasant loony who dresses in a possum-skin cloak and pretends to be an Aboriginal elder or, perhaps, a possum.

a threatening loony on his way to a soirée in uptown Bedrock

UPDATE VI (30 September):  Prof. Bunyip alludes to the meretricious Prof. Larissa Behrendt’s fibs and her impious, self-serving calumniations of her paternal grandfather here.

UPDATE VII (1 October):  see John Dawson’s “It’s the Act that’s racist” at Quadrant Online, which also lists various reactions to the Bolt case.  See also “Identifying as Aboriginal can hurt” by Dr. Anthony Dillon, and Andrew Bolt here and here; (UPDATE VIII, 2 October) and here; and (UPDATE XI, 3 October) here:
It is incredible to me that my appeal to stop harping on about differences of “race”, to acknowledge all the ethnic or cultural elements of our background and to stop institutionalising trivial “racial” divisions is seen as the most racist thing some people have ever heard.  How did arguing against racial categorising become racist itself?
Moreover, it is not just an abuse of me but of the truth to claim that I’ve ever argued anywhere, in public or in private, that Aborigines are an “inferior race”.
UPDATE IX (2 October):  see “UK police force man not to display Bible DVDs in his cafe”, at Wintery Knight.

UPDATE X (2 October):  Louis Hissink describes “The Hypocrisy of it all”.  See also James Board here and here, and Bill Muehlenberg, at Quadrant Online, “On the right to offend”.

UPDATE XII (3 October):  Senator Bob Brown wants to license journalists, so they won’t say that his pseudo-scientific conjecture of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is a hoax, or that many of his ideas are based on silly suppositions or idiotic fantasies, and thereby upset him sorely.  My federal member, Andrew Wilkie, an aegerastic carpet-bagger, wants broadcasters to be licensed and censored so that they cannot reveal what a grasping buffoon he is; and now he’s vexed by commentators talking about a public issue publicly:
Sports commentators who condemned planned pokie machine reforms during NRL match coverage may have breached broadcast rules on political advertising, Andrew Wilkie says.
UPDATE XIII (3 October):  for a legal assessment of the Eatock v Bolt case, explaining that Andrew Bolt may still write and publish what he likes if he avoid factual errors in such publications, seeWhen white is too white and black is not black enough” at Kangaroo Court of Australia:
What I find most disgusting about the Pat Eatock v Andrew Bolt case is that after losing Bolt and others have claimed he has been denied his right to freedom of speech, which is false.  To run this argument really undermines and blurs a real freedom of speech issue that has been covered on [Kangaroo Court of Australia here], which also involves Bolt, and that is the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard trying to stop reporting on her corrupt past.
See also the Hon. Justice Bromberg’s decision, at ¶ 461:
It is important that nothing in the orders I make should suggest that it is unlawful for a publication to deal with racial identification including challenging the genuineness of the identification of a group of people.  I have not found Mr Bolt and HWT to have contravened s 18C simply because the Newspaper Articles dealt with subject matter of that kind.  I have found a contravention because of the manner in which that subject matter was dealt with.
(UPDATE XIV, 3 October):  even more by Andrew Bolt here.  See, in The Australian, Wesley Aird’s “More transparency, less hypocrisy”, and also Chris Kenny in “Silencing dissent won’t resolve indigenous issues”:
My experience of this harks back to the secret women’s business saga of Hindmarsh Island.  When Aboriginal affairs minister Robert Tickner banned a bridge development in 1994 on the say so, as it turns out, of one witness’s secret and fabricated evidence, it represented the high point of the left-liberal agenda for delivering symbolic victories to Aboriginal Australians.  As a young journalist I investigated the facts and revealed the fabrication claims.  All hell broke loose.  In my naivety I presumed it would be a simple matter of the truth winning out.
Instead, the resources of the federal government, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, environmental groups, the ABC and even some churches turned it into a cultural battle between black and white.  By the way, in that debate, the indigenous “credentials” of the dissidents were often questioned.  A royal commission eventually confirmed the fabrication, and after losing the government, Labor dropped the cause.  [...]
Those caught up in that storm believed the trauma and vitriol of the experience might be worthwhile to help prevent such cultural shenanigans in the future.  As Beryl Kropinyeri, one of the Ngarrindjeri dissidents who blew the whistle on the misadventure, said at the time; “Reconciliation starts with the truth.”
Yet time and again since, we have seen leading Aboriginal activists and the political class focus on symbolic indigenous victories over perceived white and-or conservative antipathy.  Instead of considering how best to educate indigenous children in remote communities, we have admonished ourselves over the wrongs of the stolen generation and the need for a formal apology.  When shocking abuse of indigenous children was revealed, triggering the Northern Territory intervention, the debate was not about repairing communities and providing hope for children, but about indigenous rights and discriminatory paternalism.
In the Kimberley now, indigenous locals are insulted as “coconuts” because they dare to choose an economically self-sustaining future over a triumph in environmental and cultural politics.  There are promising initiatives, such as Generation One’s push for indigenous jobs.  But it would be better to debate the tough issues Bolt raises, rather than leave the sorry saga of indigenous disadvantage to business as usual.
(UPDATE XV, 4 October):  at On Line Opinion,  Graham Young findsThe Problems with Eatock v Bolt”: 
Viewed from outside Wonderland, the decision in Eatock and Bolt is bizarre.  Unless and until there is a successful appeal, or the legislation is repealed or amended, you can breach the Racial Discrimination Act without actually racially discriminating against anyone, or being motivated by racial hatred.
Read the judgement and the convolutions to allow this to happen are obvious and painful.  Bromberg J looks at a line of cases, and the way in which the act was negotiated through parliament and concludes that to come within the ambit of the act you must have made a statement for reasons which include race and offended someone of that race, but that the plaintiffs do not have to demonstrate racial hatred.  [...] 
What is even more concerning is that the judge also determines that despite the plain meaning of what you have said or written it is possible to decide whether you genuinely hold those beliefs or not, and to judge you on the basis of what you are presumed to actually believe, not what you said.
(UPDATE XVI, 11 October)John Izzard joins in the fun with “Bolt, the judge, and the gherkin!” at at Quadrant Online.  See also “The Andrew Bolt Showtrial”, by Tiresias of Canberra, wherein he aptly quotes Euripides: 
Australians will surely come to rue the words of Euripides’ The Phoenician Women.  When Polyneikes explains to his mother Jocasta that the worst thing about life as an exile is the lack of freedom of speech, she exclaims:  “This is a slave’s lot you speak of, not to say what one thinks.” [l. 392.*]
δούλου τόδ᾽ εἶπας, μὴ λέγειν ἅ τις φρονεῖ. 

(UPDATE XVII, 14 October)Tasmania’s favourite pretentious Dick, Richard Flanagan, adds his usual, stately, measured bull-shtick—a popular but misguided “fact”, a stunning but irrelevant literary reference, incorrect assertions, and wrong-headed conclusions—on ABC’s Q & A:
Well, I think if you stood on the moon, two things would be visible, the Great Wall of China and the self pity of Andrew Bolt.  And it is extraordinary, after a court finds, in a very, very detailed and finely reasoned judgment of 60,000 words—that’s 10,000 longer than The Great Gatsby!—that there were numerous errors of fact, that this had offended, insulted, humiliated and intimidated these people, that Andrew Bolt, the next day, would present himself as a victim.  And it’s extraordinary that people would say that they are prevented from talking about these subjects when, if they read the judgment, it explicitly says you can continue to talk about these subjects.  It is how you talk about the subjects.  And the fact of the matter is that Andrew Bolt uses the literary methods not of a journalist but of a propagandist, and he was found out.  And Julie [Bishop] is right to talk about rights and responsibilities.  We have always recognised free speech as a right but also that there are constraints upon it.  I’ll leave it at that.  You know, I mean the point is he got caught out.  He got caught out. 

No comments: