Eric Abetz (LNP) is proving to be no mediocre politician. His speech from July last year remains relevant, making it one of the best ever entered into the Australian senate’s Hansard.[i]
This year the Senator for Tasmania provided us with a sequel. Speaking about ‘Political Discourse’ Abetz went head to head with cancel culture and the Left’s double standards.
The speech highlighted Queensland University Law professor, James Allen’s piece for The Australian on the June, 16.
He gave a long list of examples where people were being bullied into submission, and their livelihoods cancelled because of a small, boisterous percentage of people online, and within corporations, looking for oppression, prejudice, malice and racism in everything.
Under Cancel Culture, it no longer matters whether or not a perceived offence was intentional or unintentional (or accidental). These are often labelled micro-aggressions. All that matters is the perceived outcome.
This is what Jonathon Haidt called ‘outcome over intent’ [ii]. Haidt explains that micro-aggression theory is the life blood of cancel culture. If the outcome is perceived to be offensive, intention doesn’t matter.
Appearance and accusation, follows emotional reasoning. Feelings are then placed as lord and master over evidence based reasoning. If something feels offensive, than that something, or someone, is no longer deemed worthy of life or livelihood.
Not only is this culture unstable, it’s unsustainable, and as Abetz argues, ultimately destructive.
Make no mistake about it. Cancel culture is a “life unworthy of life” prescription that echoes the same kind of ideology which allowed Stalin’s Gulags, and purges, along with Nazi Germany’s Auschwitz, Dachau, Ravensbruck and Buchenwald (among others).
This should send a chill up and down the proverbial spine of Western society. The same callous boney fingers which gripped Europe in the 20th Century, is wrapping its hands round the necks of Western society.
It gives us a strong reason to step back, assess and rethink any agreement with, or participation in such a culture and its ideology.
For these reasons alone, I don’t think it a stretch to say here that, yet again, Abetz is spot on in both his warning, rebuttal of Cancel Culture’s “life unworthy of life” prescription for cultural suicide.
Full Transcript of Eric’s five minute speech:
“If an individual were to engage in self-loathing, relentlessly finding the fault with self, and ridiculing and denigrating all their past endeavours, we would rightly conclude the individual had issues. Counselling might be in order.
So too with a society; if a society is willing to engage and embrace those who relentlessly spread negativity, and wallow in fault-finding it will have an extremely bleak future. A mature reflection of self or of society recognizes the good, with the not so good.
We should learn from past mistakes, not to tear down and destroy, but to build an even better future. This is how our society has progressed, and why we are where we are today as a nation – the envy of the world.
Let’s be clear. One of the great freedoms we have in Australia is the liberty to leave if we don’t like it. I don’t see any of the professionally and perpetually outraged leaving Australia for North Korea, Cuba or China.
For its alleged and real faults, Australia is the favoured destination of the peoples of the world seeking freedom and opportunity.
As professor [James] Allen so eloquently wrote, “you know you’re living in George Orwell’s world when speech is considered violence, and violence is considered speech.”
And that is exactly what we are witnessing today. Ugly double standards courtesy of the Anarchist Left; when conservatives speak they are accused of violence if they take a view contrary to the “woke” Left, but if the same language is used by the Left, it an indication of empathy, and “wokeness” – always excused.
Bettina Arndt’s award earlier this year was vehemently attacked by Labor senate leadership team. That same team of two women remain as silent as a rock, over the more recent award to that purveyor of ugly, sexist violence to women and anti-Semitic tweets, Mike Carlton.
Reason? He’s from the tribe. He’s from the Left. Similarly the treatment of Cardinal George Pell, and Paul Bonjornio, both in a seminary with that horrific pedophile, Ridgedale.
Pell should have been fully alert and known all that went on. Bonjornio on the other hand, fully excused, “of course, he couldn’t have known.”
The difference of treatment? Pell is of a conservative disposition; Bonjornio from the Left. We see the “woke” Left attacking statues of former Coalition leaders and Captain Cook, possibly the world’s greatest ever navigator; for allegedly being racist.
But a Labor leader [Arthur Calwell] who supported the ‘White Australia Policy’, and famously (or infamously) said, “two wongs, don’t make a white” sits in the pantheon of Labor leaders. As does another Labor leader [Gough Whitlam] who referred to Vietnamese refugees “[expletive deleted], Vietnamese Balts.”
No their names are not to be vilified or desecrated. Instead, they are hallowed. Why? Because they are from the Left, whereas the Coalition leader [Tony Abbott] who voluntarily dedicated a week per year assisting Indigenous communities without media fanfare, needs to be vilified for his alleged racism.
Refusal to acknowledge any good in others, and any possible failings in the tribe has become the mantra and justification to remove people from employment, films and books from the public; for sportspeople to kneel for a cause and close businesses.
So much for the celebration of diversity – everything is judged in terms of claimable victimhood, division and partisanship.
The tribe excuses each other and accuses everyone else – the recipe for disharmony, anarchy and societal collapse. Facts, evidence, objective truths are junked in favour of bullying, sloganeering, and emoting.
The time has come to stand firm, push back and advocate the cause of our wonderful heritage bequeathed to us by our forebears; an heritage of civility, a system of democratic government, the rule of law, personal freedoms, and the standard of living, all of which makes Australians the envy of the world.
I for one will continue to be thankful and defend and promote that heritage because for all its faults I know no better country.
I know no better people.”
[i] Abetz, E. Freedom of Speech, 2nd July 2019.
[ii] Haidt, J. & Lukianoff. G. 2018. The Coddling of the American Mind Penguin Books Ltd.
[iii] Allen, J. Cowardly Elites appease bullies of Cancel Culture The Australian, 16th June, 2020