Passing Bull 61 – Trading insults and labels


The trouble with our politicians and political commentators is that this is all they do – they trade insults and labels.  Take Janet Albrechtsen in The Australian yesterday.  She refers to Hillary Clinton’s ‘basket of deplorables’ – which I would think is a fair comment on Trump supporters.

But Mrs Clinton went on to give particulars – ‘racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic – you name it.’  I agree entirely that these terms are commonly abused in an endeavour to shut people up.  The grossest example is calling doubters of Israel anti-Semitic.  This is a cowardly smearing by labels.

How does Ms Albrechtsen respond?  By the same method – by hurling abuse that is over the top in an attempt to shut opposition up.

In one fell swoop the unplugged Democratic presidential candidate lifted the lid on the neo-fascist Left.

Clinton’s moment of ill-discipline reduced the fraud of so-called progressive politics to a simple illiberal equation: if you disagree with me on race matters, you are a racist…..Rather than engaging in debate, too many on the Left would rather portray disagreement on totemic issues as grounds for a mental disorder with the sole aim of shutting down any challenge to leftist orthodoxy.  [You do wonder what ‘rightist orthodoxy’ is, and who speaks for it apart from Andrew Bolt.]……

The end of Liberalism for many on the Left started more than 40 years ago when, by embracing identity politics, they untethered human rights from classical notions of freedom.  Sex, sexuality, race and other forms of personal identification trumped Enlightenment freedoms and the very notion of universal libertarian rights…..

We need more people like Baldwin who are honest about the Left’s conversion into loathers of freedom.

So there you have it.  Put to one side the usual labels, slogans, and bogeymen, if you call me racist, sexist or homophobe, I will call you a fraud, a fascist, and freedom-hater – and a traitor to the Enlightenment.  You have let down Spinoza and Kant!

The political commentators in The Australian fall into three categories – former staffers, mainly Liberals or defectors; people who subscribe to think tanks; and journalists who are close personal friends of Tony Abbott.   It is not just that we don’t get comment on issues.  We don’t even get comment on politicians.  All we get is commentators on commentators, disappearing up their own communal Platonic bum.  They commune with the faithful in their own bubble and in their own argot, and they pull faces at and trade insults with outsiders.  They are like warriors in paint-balling.  It is hard to imagine a more terminally useless bunch of bastards.

And of course s 18C gets wheeled out against the freedom-haters.  When people talk about ‘freedom of speech’ they are, I think, using the word ‘freedom’ in the dictionary sense of a ‘faculty or power to do as one likes’.  If therefore you can be arrested and jailed for making a certain statement, then to that extent your freedom of speech is limited, because you are prevented from doing what you like.

I could be arrested and jailed if I said to man walking with his wife in the street ‘That sheilah is a fucking slut and all the worse for being an abo.’  Does Ms Albrechtsen want to be free from our laws to say something like that?  If so, would she mind steering clear of Malmsbury?  If not, what is all the fuss about?

More than sixty years ago, when I was about six, I learned a saying: ‘Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.’  I commend the wisdom of children to our politicians and their awful press.  Thank heaven that all this bullshit is just nonsensical moonshine to ninety-nine out of one hundred Australians.  On this at least, they know better.

PS  Followers of this column or just connoisseurs of bullshit may get Numbers 1 to 50 on Amazon/Kindle.  I will publish them in batches of fifty.

Poet of the Month: Ibsen


Burnt Ships


To skies that were brighter

Turned he his prows;

To gods that were lighter

Made he his vows.


The snow-land’s mountains

Sank in the deep;

Sunnier fountains

Lulled him to sleep.


He burns his vessels,

The smoke flung forth

On blue cloud-trestles

A bridge to the north.


From the sun-warmed lowland

Each night that betides,

To the huts of the snow-land

A horseman rides.

9 thoughts on “Passing Bull 61 – Trading insults and labels

  1. Well, we know what we can expect from Albrechtsen and The Australian.

    Talking about Right v Left / progressives v conservative dialogue: What I’d be more interested to know is your take on the Andrew Bolt-Linda Burney encounter on the ABC earlier this week. Bolt seemed to just keep trotting out the same tired line ( ‘ recognition of blackfellas in the Constitution would divide us, and be racist’ ), whilst Linda Burney – despite her grace, poise and good humour, and her senior standing in the indigenous world – really just mouthed commonplaces.

    When they met the Maoris, the latter seemed very switched on and articulate about their struggle / their place in NZ society. They made Burney’s interpretation look rather shallow.

    I was disappointed because neither Burney nor Bolt really offered any depth of analysis on this question.

    Sorry, Geoff, I have gone quite obiter, right off the track of this post. But I do think there is much more food for thought from the ABC program than from a Janet A column.

  2. Why bother with Ms A , notorious and now with the lovely Mr Kroger . Orwell’s politics and the English language is still as relevant as it ever was . Even at the places we were schooled at they taught a subject entitled clear thinking . This is now banned in the Texas curriculum as it ” attacks perceived wisdom and undermines parental authority .” Critical thought of any nature is suspect and under threat from all sides . Keep it up . I hope your ailing lung is coming good . Regards Orm

    Sent from my iPad

  3. Unlike your good self i am only a novice in terms of bullshit.
    Are you critical in any way of the left bias of the age and Sydney morning herald?
    Peter Morris

    • Peter: I will do a post on this. I don’t read The Age politics. I read Laura Tingle and Philip Coorey in the AFR. I don’t think left/right means anything; nor does Labor/Liberal. I sense that The Age and its readers are happier to put the boot into the coalition than The Oz – which is not a large statement. But they do not suffer from the division into three parts as does The Oz. And they are not in thrall to think tanks. They are therefore less susceptible to pure bullshit, although they may be seen as partisan.

    • Peter, I’m gob-smacked that you consider anything critical of this government is left-leaning bias. If this govt decided tomorrow that all people with surnames starting in M should be taxed more, I reckon you’d hope that the Age, Guardian, ABC and SMH would stick up for you.

      But clearly, you don’t suffer yourself from the neo-con oppression this lot mete out. And perhaps you don’t know anyone else who does either ? But I do, people who are languishing in misery, loneliness, poverty. Some are asylum-seekers who wait for a chance to be re-united with their wives and kids, and whom the present policies leave in a limbo. For others, good Aussies like you and me, the oppression is more subtle. Writers, artists,bashed wives who can’t get legal aid, farmers and other rural landholders whose families are decimated, livelihood destroyed, driven to suicide by the rapaciousness of CSG/ coal mining exploration and extraction, and countless others thrown on the economic scrap-heap. I used to work as a lawyer for some of these people. Walk around town – not the big end of town – and you are surrounded by them.

      And it has been the ‘Left’ – Labor in other words – who have wrought such wrong, as much as the LIb/Nats. It’s less about right and left than the power-holders v the disempowered.

      I think your comment reflects a neo – ‘reds-under-the-bed’ perspective. It is of course journalists’ highest obligation to speak truth to falsehood and injustice. Otherwise they are tools of the hegemony.

      One of the greatest Aussie songs ever written, about factory workers in Adelaide, is called “If You Don’t Fight, You Lose”. have a listen to it. It’ll be on Youtube

      • I was more interested in the later suggestion that I was ‘a Labor lawyer in the Gillard mould.’ I wonder what one of those looks like. For that matter, I wonder what a Labor lawyer looks like. Especially one who claims that Labor is as bad as Liberal.

  4. What does a labor lawyer look like?
    Take a look in the mirror Geoffrey.
    You will likely see someone who feels superior to the masses.
    Who knows best
    Struggles to entertain concepts outside of their bubble.
    Hugs up to socialism.
    Likely not understanding that sooner or later the cash runs out.
    You can only squeeze a lemon so far.

  5. Sibloke,
    You are “gobsmacked” that someone may have a different view than your own.
    I get fed up with greens and far lefties claiming moral high ground.
    It’s a fallacy.
    Of course ABC and Fairfax are biased.
    Even the a recent MD of that tax payer funded disgrace, admits this.
    Grow a set Sibloke.

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