Passing Bull 101 – Willing offenders and insulters


Tim Wilson and David Leyonhjelm are like little boys caught playing with matches.  Having spruiked their own bullshit, and having backed the Murdoch press in its claims for more power over you and me, they now find that they have burnt their fingers.  Their targets have exercised their right to free speech, and what do you think is the result of that kind of democracy in action?  The greedy ratbags – a lot of them bloody foreigners – want to widen the law and make life tougher for people like Andrew Bolt and Pauline Hanson.

Now, I, in common with most other people, am bored stiff by a debate that looks to have only one side and is going nowhere – except to help the ALP at the next election.  But some of the sulky bullshit unloaded today by Wilson and Leyonhjelm – two exercises in inanity sponsored by you and me – require an answer.

To recapitulate – the law seeks to preserve our freedoms; but my freedom stops when you get hurt.  We make laws against insulting and offending people in public for two reasons – that conduct can hurt people, and our law is involved in limiting our capacity to hurt others, and that kind of behaviour can lead to fights or worse, and the first object of the law is to preserve the peace. It adds nothing to say that such a law restricts freedom of speech – it doesn’t even illuminate the relevant issue – which is whether the restriction is warranted.

So, if one man approaches another man in the street with his wife and says ‘You are a coward and a poofter and your wife is a slut’, the police must have the right to intervene immediately.  That’s always been the law and it always will be.

If the culprit claimed that his freedom of speech was being infringed, he would risk an adverse reaction from both the wallopers and the stipes.  People would think he was mad.  And you would hardly be thought to be any saner if you suggested that the law should be changed so that the police could not intervene unless the infringement could be described as ‘harassment.’  We don’t want to burden our police with fine judgments in rough houses that they have coped with for centuries.

None of this has anything to do with race or religion.  It is an accident of our legal history that our Commonwealth Parliament made a law about offending or insulting people on the ground of race.  Our state laws have always been adequate on the general law – of course those laws apply to insults or offence offered on the ground of race or religion. To do so on either basis only makes the underlying offence so much worse.  The conduct is more hurtful, and more likely to start a fight.

Those who have been arguing to restrict the federal law never mention the state law.  This is because they don’t know about it or because they are so driven ideologically that their thinking is warped.

But it is not surprising that people who value the protection of both federal and state laws should think of seeking to extend that protection in light of the sustained campaigns to reduce them.  So, a federal MP suggested that the federal law be extended to cover misconduct on the ground of religion as well as race.  She has an obvious point.  ‘You’re a dirty Muslim’ is at least as harmful and dangerous as ‘You’re a dirty Arab.’  Both of course are unlawful under our existing state law, but Wilson either doesn’t know or has forgotten that fact – which renders the rest of the discussion academic, or, as they say in the U S, moot.

But Wilson goes in with the roistering debating skills of a high school student.  He says this would be a law on blasphemy.  Just as he said the present law is one of censorship.  Well, we do have a law of blasphemy, but you don’t deal with an argument by pinning a label on it.  What is the answer to the question of the MP?

Then Wilson offers us some gratuitous legal advice.  He opines that arguments about s 18 D, the defence under which made the Leak controversy so dishonest, are ‘fallacious’.   His legal arguments are as good as my diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Then he descends into the political ad hominem dustbin by talking of pandering to ‘victimhood.’  The IPA crowd are scarred for life.  He accuses Mark Dreyfus QC, who at least knows what he is talking about, of ‘hypocritical incoherence’, but in doing so, he gets lost in his own labels.  He may, though, be able to detect perhaps an iota of hypocrisy in contending that the present law offends freedom of speech, but a law based on harassment would not.

Unfortunately, the Leyonhjelm piece is worse than stupid.  He is worried not about religion, but ethnic groups.

The debate over S 18C is much greater than free speech. It is, in fact, a fight for the votes of people who have different values from those of traditional Australia. Instead of embracing the values of their adopted country, these ethnic, religious and immigrant representatives want Australia to become more like the countries they left behind….

After World War II, immigrants who arrived in Australia either abandoned their historic grievances or chose not to share them with others. Millions of post-war immigrants from dozens of countries integrated, assimilated and did their best to become true-blue Aussies. For their part, Australians welcomed these immigrants as ‘‘New Australians’’ and embraced their food, music and dance….

 The fact that leaders of immigrant, ethnic and religious groups are now flexing their political muscle in pursuit of different values is a major concern. Not only does it threaten traditional liberal values, it fuels opposition to immigration among the community and gives credence to demands to block certain types of immigrants.

This is obnoxious bullshit. ‘Traditional liberal values’ presumably relate to ‘Western civilisation’, and can you imagine anything worse than spending a night with ‘true-blue Aussies’.  Like members of federal parliament?  In Othello, we find this exchange:

Brabantio: Thou art a villain.

Iago: You are a senator.

Leyonhjelm refers to some history and to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  He doesn’t say that our laws are justified in the exceptions to the right to freedom of expression in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. That right is expressly subject to ‘such… restrictions or penalties prescribed by law and… are necessary in a democratic society…for the prevention of disorder or crime.’

Nor does he refer to the Declaration of the Rights of Man of 1789.

Liberty consists of the power to do whatever does not hurt others….The law has the right to forbid only actions that are harmful to society….No one is to be disturbed because of his opinions, even religious, provided that their manifestation does not disturb the public order established by law.

Quite by chance I’m reading Germaine Greer on Shakespeare and I find this.


We no longer feel, as Shakespeare’s contemporaries did, the ubiquity of Satan, but Iago is still serviceable to us as an objective correlative to the mindless inventiveness of racist aggression.  Iago is still alive and kicking and filling migrants’ letter boxes with excrement.

From about 1596 to 1986 – these things don’t change.

So, it is bullshit as usual for these two very ordinary politicians, but one is more obnoxious than the other.  We should have heard the last of ‘freedom of speech’ in this context, but our weak Prime Minister has now climbed into the same basket as Andrew Bolt and Pauline Hanson.

And on that sainted day when these heroic freedom fighters finally achieve emancipation, after they give their feu de joie, who will be the first they insult or offend on the ground of race?

Confucius says:

The Master said, ‘I suppose I should give up hope, I have yet to meet the man who is as fond of virtue as he is of beauty in women’.

Analects, 15.13

The Master said, ‘If one sets strict standards for oneself and makes allowances for others, when making demands on them, one will stay clear of ill will’.

Analects, 15.15

The Nationalists

An occasional series on the new nationalists –  dingoes and drongos like Trump, Farage, and Bernardi – and other Oz twerps.


Flailing nationalists everywhere

The President of the United States said of health care that ‘it’s an unbelievably complex subject; nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.’  He was possibly the only person in the world who didn’t understand how complicated the issue is – morally, politically, and economically.  With his infamously terse attention span, Trump will never come to grips with the economic or political issues; the moral issues are way beyond his ken and above his pay level.  He showed this immediately he got rolled.  He put on his spoiled child routine and picked up his bat and ball to go home.  He blamed the Democrats!  For not agreeing to repeal their biggest achievement.  He said that from now on, health care was the Democrats’ problem.

He simply has no idea about what government entails.  You, Mr Trump, are the President.  The party that you claim to represent has majorities everywhere – so much so, that discipline is out of the question.  You made promises that some were silly enough to believe.  You might at least be up to demolition – but you couldn’t even manage that.

And now you are coming to face the same problem as your predecessor.  You are confronted by people elected to make laws who refuse to do just that.  They are only interested in choking the system.  They are wrecking balls.  What can this president do with those pesky fanatics?  Well, one thing he can’t do is just run away.

The myth that Trump is a good businessman was as silly as the notion that if you have succeeded in business, you will be good at government.  Trump didn’t write The Art of the Deal. His inane tweeting shows he can’t put a sentence together. Time magazine ran an interview that showed that disability to an alarming degree.  Trump inherited a fortune.  Despite bankruptcies, and settling a fraud suit for $25 million, he has, by not paying taxes, apparently kept the inherited fortune to about the extent that it would be had it been invested in an index fund.  He may have had some success where he could throw his weight around, with no regard for truth, but reports say that people only dealt with him once.  He is, at face value, not a person to be trusted, and he has a God given capacity to offend people.  Just look at his appalling behaviour with Frau Merkel.  You don’t succeed in business by slapping people in the face.  On that point, business and politics are in sync.

It’s interesting that in both the  U S and in Australia, big business and others are despairing of government doing something sensible – say, governing – about energy and pollution.  Big business is now urging Trump to adhere to the Paris accords.  He is intent on having the U S challenge China as the smog centre of the world.  As the U S shrinks its world footprint, China is stepping up as the leader of the world in free trade and climate control.  Which nation do you think is being made great again?

Now it’s the turn of Mrs May to face a problem that is unbelievably complicated.  She too has to try some juggling act because expectations of gullible people have been raised by politicians who were as happy to lie as they were to get down into the gutter. Some in England still believe they can block the towel-heads – just think of that revolting Farage ad – while eating cheap fish and chips.  Sad delusion!

And the populi in Scotland and Ireland are getting restive.  How does a government put there by the people with a nationalist cause, and confronted by a Labour Party just about wiped out by popular intervention, deny the nationalist urges of different peoples?  Is that mythical word ‘sovereignty’ only good for some, but not something that the natives can be trusted with?  (Remember what his grace the Duke of Wellington said of the Irish – they could put a good army in the field, as long as they had white officers.)

Meanwhile our very own rats and idiots have been scurrying and scuppering.  Abbott and Bernardi had a little putsch on China.  Their well-known sensitivity on human rights, and their deathless devotion to Gillian Triggs, stirred their consciences mightily – at least as mightily as Harry’s conscience was stirred when he decided it was time for a spousal trade-in.  They didn’t think we should have an extradition treaty with a nation with a criminal justice system like that of China.  They don’t appear to know what they are doing.  We have such a treaty with places like the UAE, Indonesia, Venezuela, and the Philippines.  Do we trust their justice systems?  Do we do more business with them?

Poor Greg Sheridan got the hot flushes again.  He said that the result was a victory for democracy.  What bullshit.  This national embarrassment was just his good old mate Tony Abbott stirring with some of his old mates.

Abbott may well now be more loathed even than Rudd.  If you think about it, that’s quite an achievement.  In the past, Abbott had supported the treaty with China, and, reports say, he had told the Chinese just that.  When this was put to Abbott, he said that he had had no intention of honouring his assurances.  A former prime minister admits to lying to the leaders of a major trading nation.  I think Abbott has form for this on guns.  Just where do we go from here?  Can we go lower?

Amid all this gloom, there come two flashes of light.  Sky News has fired Mark Latham for being rude.  Now for Rowan Dean and Ross Cameron who are ruder – and silly enough to say that calling them out for rudeness would be that phantom of ‘political correctness.’  Well, at least these people show how silly it is for people to seek a licence to insult and offend others on the ground of race.

More importantly, and much, much better, we see a seamless and affable transition in beyond blue, a substantial mental health institution, from Jeff Kennett to Julia Gillard.  We see people after politics doing what they seemed incapable of doing while in office – working sensibly across party lines to achieve a common good.  And there is no doubt that that’s just what this institution does.  It saves and improves lives.  We might all have different views of these two people in office, but some of their features that got on people’s nerves before will serve them and us very well now.

We should be grateful that people who have gotten on are giving back to us.  Mr Kennett in particular deserves our highest thanks and recognition for sixteen years in one of the most important jobs in the country.  It’s enough to make you think that we might even be civilised.

Finally, the people who are outraged by the notion that it is okay to break bad laws might indicate what they think of Socrates, Jesus Christ, Galileo, Luther, More, Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Pankhurst, Cavell, Ghandi, Bonhoeffer, Mandela, King, Ali and the great number of others who are secure  in the pantheon of most people in the west.

Passing Bull 100 – A century of bullshit – and identity politics

Greg Sheridan has been at it again.  Being wrong. Read the piece set out below and see if you can pick out one statement of verifiable fact.

What is ‘identity politics’?  Like most labels, it is usually used as a form of abuse, but it is likely to be misleading even when used without malice, or without  looking down the speaker’s nose (as is plainly the case with Mr Sheridan here – and as is the case disturbingly often elsewhere).

I looked up ‘identity politics,’ and I gather it means a set of political views or attitudes held not by the community at large, but by  a group of people who have something in common.

If that’s right, I’m not clear why this phenomenon is so feared and rejected by those at The Australian – and we have seen that Mr Paul Kelly frets awfully about identity politics.  What’s wrong if people of, say, a given faith get together to express views about, say, refugees, or gay marriage, or head scarves?  Business groups and union groups and sporting groups and religious groups do it all the time.  I’ll put think tanks to one side, but look at the Jewish community here and in the U S.  They are renowned for their formidable capacity to advance what their community sees as the best interests of its members on, say, human rights and other issues of importance to the nation at large.  Is there something wrong with the Jewish community?

The Economist, a quality newspaper to which I subscribe, doesn’t appear to be troubled by the phenomenon of identity politics.  In discussing the Dutch election and the merciful rejection of Wilders and his ‘vicious brand of anti-Islam populism’, the newspaper sees hope.  It says that the election result shows that ‘identity politics is not the preserve of the far right.’

Well, that just shows how tricky these labels are.  I rather think that Mr Sheridan and Mr Kelly see identity politics as the preserve of the Left – another label we would do better to avoid.  The Economist says a telling moment came during a debate when candidates were asked whether Holland was doing enough to ‘protect its own culture.’  That, you will know, is the kind of thing that the people at The Australian bang on about endlessly.  (And that ghastly phrase ‘Australian values’ is the purest IPA bullshit.)  Viewers of the debate awarded the prize to a thirty year old Green Left Leader who said he agreed with the proposition and went on to describe a vision of national identity ‘centred on tolerance, openness, and internationalism’ that he said was under siege from the right.  The Green Left Chair saluted a ‘new kind of patriotism.’ That to my mind shows this was just bullshit on bullshit, but the author then went on to talk of ‘the right’s failure to resist the populist temptation’ – doubtless looking over the Atlantic at the same time.  The author notes that M. Macron has a similar platform, and concludes: ‘This is hardly the beginning of the end for the anti-immigrant identity-politicking right.  But it is worth watching.’

Well, let’s go back to people joined by something in common to advance shared political views.  I think I may add from my reading two other elements to what is said to be ‘identity politics’.  The first is that these people often feel rejected.  Indeed, they are frequently plastered with another mocking label – the politics of victimhood.  The second is that they are the white hats, not the black hats.  They have God or Right on their side.  They are unquenchably convinced of their own righteousness – so much so that they quite forget what a pain in the arse self-righteous people are.

Allow me therefore to introduce you to a political identity group par excellence.  They are the people at The Australian on the subject of hate speech and a few of their other demons, like the ABC, climate change, gay marriage, immigration, royalty, coal mining, Islamic terrorism, and  the workers and their unions.

Let us count the ways from the piece of Mr Sheridan below.

These people at The Australian are brought together by their common employment and membership of the profession of journalism.  Their views on the relevant law and its regulators are seamlessly consistent.   (I and most lawyers I know disagree with them entirely, but we can put that to one side.)  The Australian shows no sign of permitting or publishing any dissent – which is a little awkward since they claim, dishonestly, to be defending freedom of speech.

And, boy, do they feel rejected and despised – and downright persecuted.  And, boy, have they got Right on their side.  Bloody buckets of the stuff.

The scandal of the persecution of Bill Leak and of the wholly innocent Queensland students has led to a partial, temporary retreat. These cases were so insanely excessive and managed to achieve such unusual public notice that they became indefensible. But if this wicked legislation survives intact it will inevitably be used to prosecute the destructive agenda of modern, ideological identity politics.

Poor old Bill Leak.  He was just walking down the street one day minding his own innocent business and whack!, he got mugged by the black hats.  And now he’s dead, and another white hat said that he died from the stress put on him by the black hats.  Well, as Ned Kelly said, such is life.

Let’s look at some other features of this tawdry kind of identity politics.  The language is rarely measured.  Their side can do no wrong and the other side can do no right.  A law cops ‘wicked’ twice.  And this hauteur often comes with a lofty claim of personal intellectual superiority – which in turn leads to a heavy sulk if the claim is rejected.   A bull-headed Donald Trump spoiled child sulk.

I have had a bit to do with human rights commissions in Southeast Asia. Without exception, a key priority for the genuine ones is freedom of the press and free speech. In our country, the Human Rights Commission is the enemy of free speech and the enemy of a free media.

That’s a bad sign, for it shows a nation that has lost sight of what human rights actually are and has substituted the narrow, toxic aims of ideological conformity instead.

Does anyone out there really swallow this sort of bullshit?  It’s the usual old sulky rant.  And it is mind-numbingly boring, like a scratched old 78 rpm vinyl record.  Don’t the people at The Australian just get downright bored saying the same nothings day after day?  When was the last time someone said something novel?

And the last quotes show a very tired devotion to labels and communal put-downs.  As do the following:

But if this wicked legislation survives intact it will inevitably be used to prosecute the destructive agenda of modern, ideological identity politics.

I have spent a lot of time in nations whose chief civic identity is communal rather than citizenship-based. It’s never very pretty. It is a sign of the derangement of our times that we now push in that direction. In some senses, fighting identity politics is as important, or more important, than the arguments about free speech.

Golly. He gets about, doesn’t he? And do you see how pessimistic, how neurotic, is this world view?  How very different from that of The Economist?  You would need years of industrial strength Prozac to get over it.  It’s a truly tragic level of victimhood.

But then there is the ultimate in hypocrisy.

And, of course, identity politics, or communal politics, is always accompanied by a hysterical, populist fear campaign.

I have set out my views before on the shocking way in which this newspaper has sought to exploit the death of an employee for a cheap political trick.  This newspaper has been running a ‘hysterical populist fear campaign’ on hate speech for bloody years.

Backhanders of absurd lengths are handed out to political enemies – which include all ALP and all unionists – on the ideological hot spots of Mr Sheridan and other members of his identity group.

Our naval ship builders will need independent back-up generators in South Australia, which Premier Jay Weatherill has reduced almost to Third World status as an investment destination.

The ACTU lady has been the subject of a beat-up by this claque, but Mr Sheridan administers his dose after dropping the F-bomb – ‘fascists’ – by condescending to inform us that he is aware of a distinction in ethics that would be way over the heads of the workers.  You would need to follow the ontological argument for the existence of God and Kant’s celebrated refutation – existence is not a predicate – to understand Mr Sheridan’s most gracious reference to the distinction between ‘unjust’ and ‘unconscionable.’  (I have no idea what he means.  That is doubtless my fault.  I’m just an equity lawyer whose training in philosophy at Melbourne and Oxford has not equipped me to enjoy the metaphysics of counting how many angels can dance on the point of needle.)

Then there is the lament about the loss of faith in democracy.  Has that come from the awfulness of our politicians and the incestuous proximity of their compromised commentators?

Finally, there is the simple failure of advocacy that blind devotees of a political cause are prone to commit.  If you have a point – and I don’t think The Australian does – make it, and don’t bugger it with a dud.

It is no small thing that a former prime minister, Tony Abbott, and a former Labor Party leader, Mark Latham, have both called for the Human Rights Commission to be abolished.

In the sweet name of the son of the carpenter, I don’t have the libel protection that Mr Sheridan enjoys, so I will content myself by saying that each of those politicians was sacked, and remains entirely unmourned, for reasons that grow more obvious and compelling day by day.

Similarly, the relentless ideological denigration of Western civilisation in the humanities departments of our universities betrays a loss of self-confidence. Even Australia Day is attacked.

Not for Mr Sheridan, but certainly for other contributors to that paper, ‘Western civilisation’ is code for white supremacy and a crude rejection of the faith of Islam, just as ‘libertarian’ is code for fascist.

And just how do you attack a bloody day?  With a musket?  With a bayonet? And why should I be sent into transports on the anniversary of the day that the English opened their slammer here and started to rob the blackfellas?

It’s all so very, very sad.  I wonder if Greg now regrets knocking back that plumb job and broad sunlit uplands that his good mate Tony offered him all those years ago?

Well, that’s one way to bring up the ton.  The second volume will shortly be on Amazon’s electric shelves.  As with the first volume, most of the bullshit has been kindly donated by Mr Rupert Murdoch, that ageless walkabout construct of true Australian values.

Confucius says:

The Master said, ‘Men of antiquity studied to improve themselves; men today study to impress others.’

Analects, 14.24


Poor fellow my country.

I have spent a good proportion of my professional time in Third World and developing countries, most on the way up, some on the way down, and some bobbling up and down. You get to see a lot of things that distinguish a successful country from an unsuccessful one, and particularly one on the way up from one on the way down.

Australia is a rich and successful society. But we are starting to go wrong. Perhaps nowhere more fully fits Adam Smith’s observation that there is a lot of ruin in a nation. Now, with the latest being the likely defeat of the Turnbull government’s amendments to the truly wicked section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, there are too many signs of things going badly wrong.

Here are telling signs of a country going backwards.

I have had a bit to do with human rights commissions in Southeast Asia. Without exception, a key priority for the genuine ones is freedom of the press and free speech. In our country, the Human Rights Commission is the enemy of free speech and the enemy of a free media.

That’s a bad sign, for it shows a nation that has lost sight of what human rights actually are and has substituted the narrow, toxic aims of ideological conformity instead. It is no small thing that a former prime minister, Tony Abbott, and a former Labor Party leader, Mark Latham, have both called for the Human Rights Commission to be abolished.

The likely preservation by parliament of the worst elements of 18C is similarly a sign of the increasing dominance of identity politics and the always related desire to move the control of political discussion, wherever possible, into the hands of the judiciary or government tribunals that ape the judiciary. The legislation, though always foolishly drafted and bad in principle, did not cause too much damage in the past because most people were unaware of it and identity politics had not become the toxic threat to universal citizenship and a proper understanding of our universal and intractable humanity that it has recently become.

The scandal of the persecution of Bill Leak and of the wholly innocent Queensland students has led to a partial, temporary retreat. These cases were so insanely excessive and managed to achieve such unusual public notice that they became indefensible.

But if this wicked legislation survives intact it will inevitably be used to prosecute the destructive agenda of modern, ideological identity politics.

I have spent a lot of time in nations whose chief civic identity is communal rather than citizenship-based. It’s never very pretty. It is a sign of the derangement of our times that we now push in that direction. In some senses, fighting identity politics is as important, or more important, than the arguments about free speech.

And, of course, identity politics, or communal politics, is always accompanied by a hysterical, populist fear campaign. That’s how you get people to identify primarily on the basis of communal identity rather than common citizenship. The Labor-Greens activist alliance will now presumably run just this kind of dishonest, dangerous fear campaign among ethnic communities.

This is one reason why the Liberals cannot declare their position and then keep quiet.

They must campaign and persuade actively, endlessly and energetically among ethnic communities themselves.

This is not a burden. Their failure to do so generally is one reason they are so far behind.

Beyond these sorts of issues there are numerous other signs of distress among Australia’s national political culture.

The majority of young Australians, according to a Lowy poll, no longer believes democracy is the best form of government. I have seen up close a number of longstanding political systems topple. A loss of belief in your system is a typical precursor.

Similarly, the relentless ideological denigration of Western civilisation in the humanities departments of our universities betrays a loss of self-confidence. Even Australia Day is attacked.

There are more mechanical signs of policy distress.

One of the most common features of a Third World country not making it is an inability to provide reliable electricity supplies. A leader determined to fight that often has to build, hastily and uneconomically, new small power plants to plug the gaps, as Fidel Ramos did in Manila in the early 1990s. Our naval ship builders will need independent back-up generators in South Australia, which Premier Jay Weatherill has reduced almost to Third World status as an investment destination.

Policy analysts often lament the impoverishment of nations that make big foreign investment projects ever more difficult. The grotesque saga of the delays, the veritable crippling by delay, of the Adani investment in Queensland is a textbook case. All levels of government want this project to succeed, the foreign investor has spent an enormous amount of money and wants to spend much more, thousands of Australian jobs would be created, but the ideological power of an essentially nihilist Green activist vision of development manages to make such an investment all but impossible.

This is also a sign of what we might call the “deep state” of bureaucracy and tribunals becoming ever more ideological and impervious to the normal democratic decisions.

Countries going backwards often find their budget out of control. Our Senate has now made it impossible to control government expenditure. Left-wing populism will never countenance any meaningful spending cut, beyond gutting national defence. Rightwing populism typically concedes, slowly, on expenditure and makes its stand instead on identity issues.

Perhaps the most ubiquitous sign of a country that cannot function in a modern, decent way is that certain powerful interests decide that obeying the law is entirely discretionary. I have had former finance ministers in some countries tell me they simply did not have the power to compel certain entities to pay tax.

Sally McManus, the new ACTU secretary, says she and the union movement are entitled to break a law “when it’s unjust”. That means they are only obliged to obey the laws they think are just. There is a lot in common with the historical attitude, if not the methodology, of street-fighting fascists here. They too said they would only break laws that were unjust. And McManus was speaking in relation to what could be described as the militia force of the ACTU, namely the CFMEU.

A nation failing the development test often finds the state’s monopoly on the legitimate use of force is contested by powerful groups with economic and ideological objections to obeying the law.

This has nothing to do with traditional civil disobedience, or the considered refusal to comply with an instruction that is not merely unjust but wholly unconscionable. The distinction between unjust and unconscionable is an old one in ethics, but ethics don’t matter if your main consideration is power. The union movement has never represented fewer workers but is richer and more powerful than ever before. Sections of it now have the smell of an institution in love with power and increasingly untroubled by the rules of law.

I have seen all this before. Put it all together. Poor fellow my country.

Passing Bull 99 – When Rupert nods, Turnbull folds 

The sad decline in Bill Leak was evident to all but the willfully blind.  Now the corrupt and gruesome exploitation of him in death will lead to all of his family and friends being reminded of his contributions to conflict between peoples of different colour and faith for the foreseeable future.

The people at the Murdoch press should be ashamed of themselves.  Those at Sky are hardly any better.  One of Bolt’s poodles, an otherwise affable man named Paul Murray, has swallowed the party line in whole, and hurtles to the periphery of any discussion at the speed of light, banging on about freedom and libertarians.

I think I was in Cambridge when that Four Corners story on Northern Territory black youth was aired.  When I got back, I forced myself to watch it.  It was utterly revolting. It reminded me of those poor GI’s who had to go into the death camps.  These were crimes against humanity.  Only dementia could stop you seeing that. Then I had to listen to ageing lawyers of a reactionary bent saying that this was an ABC beat-up!  Then a senior prosecutor said that these kids had serious form.  The wonder was that we had not turned them into serial killers.

Then The Australian published that Leak cartoon that would have warmed Goebbels’ heart. It is inconceivable that a quality newspaper such as The Times or  The Wall Street Journal would have published such a frightful piece.  Their inhibition would not have come from any law, but from simple human decency or courtesy, and a sense of professional responsibility.

Then our PM said the silliest thing he has ever said.  ‘Bill Leak isn’t a racist.  He’s Australian.’  That was a prize-winning, self-contradicting non sequitur.

But, worse, Turnbull’s fawning over Leak and others at The Australian points up the appallingly incestuous relations between some of our politicians and some of our press.  They are supposed to be watching the bastards, not schmoozing with them.  Well, at least as I understand it, the PM refuses to talk to people like Jones or Bolt.

And now the Prime Minister has caved in completely to Murdoch and his awful minions.  These people are seeking to relax the law against racial discrimination.  By ineluctable definition, they want the right or the freedom to insult and offend other people on the ground of their race.  What sane or decent person wants to do that?  What answer do they give me when I ask why I or any Muslim, Jew or blackfella should give up my legal rights against Rupert Murdoch when he sets out to hurt me – or a Muslim, Jew or blackfella – in a way that is dealt with by the law that these people want to do away with?

This issue means nothing at all to more than nine of ten Australians.  It should mean nothing to government that has made such a mess of energy, house prices, and marriage equality.  The only reason it does is because Turnbull keeps caving in to the troglodytes – who are willfully thick.  This government – which must surely be punished by the electorate – ineffably misses the point by going backwards on every issue it confronts.  It now abuses people in business for exercising their right of free speech to suggest that the government might govern by making a law to resolve one issue that they are holding back on – like the boy with his finger in the dyke. Could you believe it – a government actually governing? And now, it also wants to pump water back up hill – while the P M mouths inanities straight out of the Little Red Book of Mao Zedong.

This government is hopelessly out of date and it deserves to get a long sentence in opposition.  And I say that as someone who believes that Bill Shorten is far, far worse than Turnbull – he stands for nothing at all.  (For sheer insincerity, he is matched only by Hillary Clinton.)  But at least I am assured by my local member that the Labor Party stands firm against this weakness on hate speech of the government.

While I’m on the ALP, they have serious form for colluding with the press against us, the people.  The press knows its standing with the Australian people.  Juries terrify them. So Murdoch and the others got all the state governments in 2004, all I think ALP, to take damages for defamation away from the jury and to cap them.  All of the other changes to the law were pro press and against us.

And some of the bastards in the press have the gall still to complain about defamation laws.  State Labor governments denied us a vital constitutional right – to sit on a jury in judgment for damages on the press and to allow the weak to stand up against the powerful.  Now they want a federal Liberal government to help the powerful to run over the weak.

There are, as it seems to me, two classes of people in favour of the relaxation of laws on racism.  (I put to one side those academics that have never set foot in a courtroom.)  You have the ghastly paid commentariat who are an affront to humanity and who will, like Trump, say the first thing that comes into their heads just to gain attention and earn a dollar, and you have those poor brain-damaged recorded messengers from the IPA that may well believe their own nonsense, but who are crackers.

And for the umpteenth time, can they stop this lying about freedom of speech – or that code name for fascism, libertarianism?  To say that laws against hate speech are laws against freedom of speech tells us an obvious and inconsequential truth.  So do the laws against dueling and fraud; road traffic laws impede our freedom of movement; gun laws impair our freedom to shoot or to play a certain kind of sport.  And so it goes.  You don’t answer any questions about a law by saying that it affects our freedom.  You merely raise the question. All laws affect freedom, and laws against certain forms of speech – such as laws about deceit, espionage, and libel – are precisely meant to curtail speech.

The refusal of the Murdoch press to publish this simple truth shows their dishonesty.  It is worse than bullshit.  It is fraud.

I implore people, especially lawyers, to condemn the Prime Minister and this government for their cowardice and their complicity in harming race relations in a country that already has a bad name for them, and to boycott all manifestations of the Murdoch press.

Yes, I recognise that this is a rant, but now and again a rant is the only thing that will do.  If we have learned anything from history, it is that unless you take stand on some moral issues – and we are talking here of a moral issue – we are on the road to perdition.  Hitler also ranted.  The problem was that not enough Germans ranted back.

Confucius says

The master said, ‘The Gentleman gets through to what is up above; the small man gets through to what is down below.’

Analects, 14.23

Passing Bull 98 –   Gibberish and worse about death

We have looked before at the gibberish of Jennifer Oriel.  On 13 March, she and The Australian ranted themselves to new depths.  She said this.

On Friday, March 10, 2017, Australian painter, cartoonist and avantgarde freethinker Bill Leak died of a suspected heart attack. He was 61 years old.

In the two years before his death, jihadists and the political establishment inflicted horrific stress on him because he refused to surrender his creative genius and free mind to the colourless, artless overlords of political correctness.

In 2015, Leak was forced to flee into a safe house with his family after jihadists threatened to kill him. His thought crime was drawing a cartoon of Mohammed in the wake of militant Islamists slaughtering cartoonists at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris.

In 2016, Leak was accused under the PC censors’ favourite weapon, section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, for offending someone somewhere.

Members of a state-protected minority chose to take offence at a cartoon.

It was offensive to those offended by the truth that some men are alcoholics, some alcoholics neglect their children and some alcoholic men who neglect their children are indigenous.

In his submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights into Freedom of Speech in Australia, Leak said: ‘I was put through two months of incredible stress by the (Australian Human Rights) Commission’s investigation. The first complainant … didn’t have to justify anything she did. No one asked her any questions and it didn’t cost her a cent … the tortuous process (threw) my life into a state of utter chaos and it’s not over yet.

Three months after the cartoon was published, two more complaints were received and accepted by the Commission … So now, two months after being notified of the first complaint and four months after the publication of the cartoon, the possibility that I may yet be required to defend myself in court still hovers, like a dark cloud, over my life.

‘This in itself is just another part of the punishment I’ve been subjected to for daring to shine the spotlight on the truth.’

Three months later, still suffering under the immense stress inflicted by 18C backers, he died.

Section 18C is an act of violence against those who tell the truth. It is, as the slow torture of Bill Leak revealed, a totalitarian tool fashioned by bullies determined to punish creative geniuses who refuse to toe the PC party line.

It is a censor’s hammer used to bludgeon artists for thinking and speaking freely in ways that entertain truth, delight dissidents and expose PC mediocrities for their inconspicuous talent.

Since the PC class cannot compete with creative genius on merit, it seeks to destroy it.

The suggestion is, apparently, that Leak died from the stress inflicted on him.  He is, we will be told, a martyr.

Even by the standards of Rupert Murdoch, it is beneath contempt for him use the death of an employee to pursue a tawdry political objective that will make it easier for the surviving employees to offend and insult others because of their race.

What Oriel and the paper refuse to mention about the cartoon that said that aboriginal fathers were drunks who could not remember their children’s names is the following.  That cartoon was grossly offensive to a large number of white people and almost all aboriginal people.  Nevertheless, the legislation complained gave Leak a sound answer to any complaint at law.  (There is my view no answer in decency.)  At all times he had the backing of the Murdoch press and the best and most expensive lawyers in the land – as had his mate, Andrew Bolt.  He was never charged or even sued.

Are we, then, seriously to believe Leak’s whimpering about stress?  If we are, the answer during his life would have been simple.  If you don’t like the heat, don’t go near the bloody kitchen.  If you want to hand out coat-hangers, stand by for at least a comeback.  And this is in the context of a cartoon demonizing blackfellas in order to take the heat off complaints of crimes against humanity perpetrated by white people in the Northern Territory.  Leak put in what NRL thugs call a cheap shot.  ‘Don’t worry about what we whites do to black kids.  Look at what their piss-pot fathers do to them to land them in our care.’

This truly was disgraceful behaviour by an agent of the Australian press.

But the whole campaign of Murdoch and his shrill, whining minions has set a new low in Australian bullshit.  There is a daly unloading of bullshit about hate speech, the flat earth (climate change), and the ecclesiastical rejection of gay marriage by cloistered churchy men who just refuse to grow up.  They stand for the forces of funded reaction that hold back the Liberal Party and the whole nation.  They’re now terrified by the thought of a vote on gay marriage.  Who would ever trust a democrat? They should all be deeply ashamed of themselves.

And so should the Prime Minister be ashamed of himself for publicly attending their ghastly Gotterdammerung.  I did not vote for him so that he could hobnob with people who want him to cede to them the right to beat up on blackfellas and Muslims.

But, then, Mr Turnbull has something in common with the late cartoonist.  He was okay once, but then he went off, beguiled by power.

Speaking of Mr Turnbull, I sent the following letters on the third of this month.  One is the PM.  The other is to Lisa Chesters, my local member. The attached memorandum was set out in a post on 21 December, last year, Passing Bull 83.

Dear Prime Minister,

For the reasons set out in the attached document, and the following letter to my local member, I am opposed to any weakening of our hate speech laws – at the behest of Rupert Murdoch, or anyone else.
To the extent that there is any support for change in your party, it comes from people who are neither bright nor attractive.
I voted for your party at the last election.  If it even wobbles on this vital moral ground, I will certainly vote against it, and I will do all in my power to see that it gets defeated.
I know that sounds like a threat – because it is.
And, frankly, I’m of that group who thinks that it’s time you stood up to these ratbags – you do, after all, have the intellectual fire power to wipe the bloody floor with them.

Best wishes

Geoffrey Gibson

PS I now find that the prescribed form will not accept the copy memorandum that I sent to my local member.  That sad little twist says something about government in this country.  Perhaps your office can give me a reply that will enable me to pass it on – and stop wasting my time.

Dear Lisa

As a Malmsbury resident, I am writing to you as my federal member to express my deep and abiding resistance to any softening of our laws on hate speech.
I have set out a summary of my position in the attached.
For more than forty years, I have acted for and against the media, and I have formed a view of where the real power lies.  It is not with the underdog.  Andrew Bolt was a bad loser and Bill Leak is a worse winner.  The campaign by the Murdoch press is intellectually and morally bereft.  The chatter about freedom of speech is misconceived – for the reasons I have set out.
Of course we have to have laws against insulting or offending people on the ground of race – as I said, we have to have a law that allows the police to intervene where someone says in public to a man and his wife, ‘You are a coward and your wife is a black slut’ – either inside the Australian Club or outside a boozer at Alice Springs. Only a lunatic could object to that kind of law.
The Murdoch press never refers to those laws; they never mention that Leak had a defence (notwithstanding that the cartoon was an offensive effusion of a sad bigot); they forget that Bolt got rolled because he had been unprofessional; and they don’t even try to explain why they want to be free to insult or offend people on the ground of race.
I hope that you and your party stay firm on a vital moral issue.
Yours truly

Geoffrey Gibson

I got a quick, personal and fully reasoned response from Lisa Chesters, affirming her party’s rejection of the Murdoch proposals. So far, I have only a computer response from Mr Turnbull’s office.  But, then, I know he has been busy trying to save the nation from the abyss created by his moral and intellectual collapse on climate change.  And of course the Murdoch press refused point blank to publish a contrary view.

Confucius says

The Master said, ‘Claims made immodestly are difficult to live up to.’

Analects, 14.20

The Master said… ‘Banish the tunes of Cheng and keep plausible men at a distance.  The tunes of Cheng are wanton and plausible men are dangerous’.

The Nationalists


An occasional series on the new nationalists –  dingoes and drongos like Trump, Farage, and Bernardi – and other Oz twerps.


Hard core nationalists

It seemed for a while as if all roads from Washington led to Moscow.  The level of contact between Trump’s best men and Russia, and their dishonest denials of that contact, caused some, including David Brooks of The New York Times, to say that it was imperative that Trump produced his tax returns to show where he gets his funding from.  That proposition of course assumes that the tax returns are honest – which is highly unlikely.

But what decent bank would want to invest in Donald Trump?  We know the following.  Trump is a compulsive liar.  His failures and bankruptcies are such that he never pays tax.  Having said that he would fight a fraud claim to the death, he handed over $25,000,000 to settle it.  No decent lawyer would let him near a witness box.  He is unrestrainedly impulsive and the most blackmailable person on the planet.  He is fundamentally stupid and he doesn’t know it.  No sane man would want to dine with him and no sane woman would want to be left in the same room with him.  He looks like a heart attack waiting to happen.  He attracts the worst possible people into his feudal circle.  What decent bank would want to do business with Donald Trump?  Is it money, doubtless black, that binds Trump so firmly to the Russians?

Trump has of course lied about all this.  He says that he has no business with the Russians.  Before he met Putin, he gushed in his schoolgirl way about whether Putin might become his best friend.  He said later that ‘I spoke indirectly and directly with President Putin who could not have been nicer.’  At the Miss Universe contest in Moscow, he said that ‘I do have a relationship and I can tell you that he’s very interested in what we’re doing here today.’  During the campaign, he said that ‘I never met Putin.  I don’t know who Putin is.’  In 2008 Donald Trump Jr said that ‘Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.’

Against that, one measure of the success of President Obama is the extent of Putin’s loathing of him.

The nationalist cause in Australia took a hit on the weekend with the failure of Hanson in Western Australia.  Sensible politicians appear now to be moving to a consensus to give her time and space to show her emptiness and nastiness.

The same symptoms are about to be tested in Holland, France and Germany.  The hope is that the frightful example of the United States will put people off nationalism in Europe.

They might also look at the two most powerful nationalists on the borders of Europe – Putin and Erdogan.  Neither Russia nor Turkey has ever been decently governed – at least in the way that we understand what decent government is.  (As it happens, in each nation the association of the state with religion was largely responsible for that failure.)  Both leaders are ruthless autocrats.  Putin is just a killer.  Thirty journalists have been murdered in Russia in the last ten years.  Putin controls Russian television to such an extent that Fox News (the U S state owned TV) looks almost professional.  This manipulation makes for popularity ratings for Putin that Trump both admires and envies.

We are coming to grips with the fact that Trump apparently spends a lot of his spare time monitoring the TV to see how they are treating him.  There is every chance that he has never read a book in the last ten years, if ever.  If ever he goes out of the headlines, it is time to get ready for the next eruption.

But Erdogan looks to be authentically evil.  He makes a calculated appeal to the masses, and his indifference to truth matches that of Trump and Putin.  He is the most overtly Caesarist leader I have ever seen, and it is as well that his nation is not stronger.  Turkey is a painful reminder that we cannot find one Muslim nation that is decently governed.

In the meantime, it looks like the British Government will do its best to combat populism by denying the Scots the right to speak up on their sovereignty, while at the same time doing what they think is their part in supporting populism by denying the British Parliament the right to decide on the ultimate issue of British sovereignty.  Mrs May at times sounds disturbingly like a geography teacher.

Finally, do you remember Trump’s outrage over the judicial restraint of his Muslim ban?  It’s all gone.  He ran up the white flag.  The new order replaces the first.  He has abandoned his appeal, and he is paying the costs of the parties he abused.  Can you imagine the tantrums his aides had to endure to get this concession?  While poor Sean Spicer edges closer to oblivion.

It is I suppose something of a comfort to see that preposterous bullshit is not ours alone.

Passing Bull 97 – The complete indifference to truth


The book that Chris Wallace-Crabbe and I are writing is presently called Language, Meaning and Truth; Alternative Facts, False News, and the Indifference to Truth.  You will be aware of the events that have prompted the sub-title.  The phrase ‘indifference to truth’ was invoked by John Stuart Mill, and by Professor Frankfurt in his little book On bullshit.  He said:

It is just this lack of a connection to a concern with truth – this indifference to how things really are – that I regard as of the essence of bullshit … Bullshit is unavoidable wherever circumstances require someone to talk without knowing what he is talking about.  The essence of bullshit is not that it is false but that it is phony.

The New Yorker quoted a Russian as saying that the Kremlin has decided that state media was ‘overly fawning in their attitude to Trump, that all this toasting and champagne drinking made us look silly, and so let’s forget about Trump for some time, lowering expectations as necessary, and then reinvent his image according to new realities.’

Well, we expect that from Russia and its state media.  That country has never been decently governed.  But we don’t expect it from America – at least not as brazenly as it is shown in Russia.

The complete indifference to truth of the present White House is revealed in the following extract from the WSJ.

Mr. Trump over the weekend tweeted that former President Barack Obama had tapped his phones at Trump Tower, where he lived and worked during the presidential campaign— an extraordinary claim for which the current president offered no proof. A president can’t legally order a wiretap, and Mr. Obama’s office flatly denied the allegation.

In an interview with Fox News on Monday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway was asked why Mr. Trump believed his phone had been tapped. ‘He’s the president of the United States,’ she responded. ‘He has information and intelligence that the rest of us do not, and that’s the way it should be for presidents.’

In a separate interview with ABC, asked what evidence the president had to back up his claim, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: ‘He may have access to documents that I don’t know about.’

On Sunday morning, White House press secretary Sean Spicer in a statement said the president was calling for congressional intelligence committees to investigate the matter, and said: Neither the White House nor the President will comment further until such oversight is conducted.


Do Americans understand just how demeaning and degrading this bullshit is?  Ms Conway is a worse liar than the President.  He can’t help himself; she does it in cold blood.  But poor old Dean Spicer just isn’t up to it.  Here is The Guardian about two days after the WSJ report.

The White House has sown further confusion about Donald Trump’s accusations of wiretapping against his predecessor, Barack Obama.

At a briefing on Wednesday, press secretary Sean Spicer initially said ‘we need to find out’ if the president is the subject of an investigation, then subsequently sought to clarify that there is ‘no reason’ to believe he is.

Reports emerged on the Heat Street website in November, and the BBC in January, that secret court orders were issued as part of a justice department inquiry into Russian efforts to intervene in the election on Trump’s behalf.

 Asked directly if the president is the target of a counterintelligence investigation, Spicer replied: ‘I think that’s what we need to find out. There was considerable concern last cycle when a reporter was the target of one. But part of the reason we have asked the House and Senate to look into this is because of that…….’

Spicer insisted the suspicions are baseless. ‘It was interesting if you look at last week all of a sudden these stories that keep coming out about the president and his links to Russia,’ he said. ‘It has continued to be the same old, same old, played over and over again. The president has made clear he has no interests in Russia and yet a lot of these stories that come out with respect to that are frankly fake.’

But a journalist at the briefing refused to let him pursue this tangent, returning to the initial question: ‘He doesn’t know whether he is the target of a programme?’

Spicer replied: ‘I think that’s one of the issues that we have asked the House and Senate to look into.’

Once more the press secretary pivoted to a denial of any connections between Trump and Russia. ‘All of the people that have been briefed on this situation have come to the same conclusion,’ he said. ‘It’s a recycled story over and over and over again.’

The journalist tried again: ‘Are you saying that there’s a possibility he is the target of a counterintelligence probe involving Russia, because you just connected those two?’

Spicer said: ‘I don’t – no, no, I think what I’m saying is there is a difference between that narrative and then the narrative that has been perpetuated over and over again. The concern the president has, and why he’s asked the Senate and House intelligence committees to look into this, is to get to the bottom of what may or may not have occurred during the 2016 election.’…..

The question and answer session moved on to different subjects, including an erroneous tweet that Trump issued about prisoners released from Guantánamo Bay. But just as the briefing was about to wind up, Spicer appeared to look down at the lectern, possibly at a message.

‘I just want to be really clear on one point which is there is no reason that we have to think that the president is the target of any investigation whatsoever,’ he said. ‘There is no reason to believe that he is the target of any investigation. I think that’s a very important point to make’…..

Earlier in Wednesday’s briefing, Spicer also condemned the publication of nearly 9,000 pages of CIA files by WikiLeaks, though he declined to confirm their authenticity. ‘This is the kind of disclosure that undermines our security, our country and our wellbeing,’ he said. ‘This alleged leak should concern every single American.’

Trump praised the anti-secrecy site during last year’s election, declaring ‘I love WikiLeaks’ as it continued to dump emails from Hillary Clinton campaign’s manager. But Spicer said there was a ‘massive, massive difference between an individual Gmail account and classified information that threatens national security’.

‘Anybody who leaks classified information will be held to the highest degree of law,’ he added.

It’s much, much worse than Basil Fawlty.  The poor man has been broken on the wheel by a lunatic liar.

Pauline Hanson made her contribution to nationalist nonsense and showed just how dangerously stupid she is in remarks about Muslims and vaccinations.  She has pulled back on the latter, but she still invites people to do their own ‘research’.  What does that mean, apart from speaking to a doctor?  If it means going on to the Internet, could anything be more dangerous on a medical subject for someone not trained in medicine?  She also showed the reach of Russian intervention in other people’s politics.  She, like Le Pen, admires Putin.  What have his intelligence services done to achieve that?  Well, while most Australians are chary of patriotism, Nationalists like Hanson and Trump revel in the stuff.  She says Putin is a patriot.  So were Judas, Pilate, Stalin, and Hitler.

People like Farage, Trump and Hanson have a lot of very poorly educated followers. Just look at the Hanson MP’s. Trump certainly appears to treat his supporters with contempt.  Many of the followers of these people are very gullible, and take their news from loaded amateurs on the Net rather than trained professionals in the press.  A study by New York University found that about half of readers of fake news on the Internet during the Presidential campaign believed what they read.  You would have to be uneducated to fall that low.

And a lot of these people have a chip on their shoulder about their lack of education.  And that in part explains their aversion to ‘experts’.  Remember the loathsome Michael Gove, sometime President of the Oxford Union, saying that English people had had enough of experts – unless one is operating on one of them, or keeping them out of jail, or navigating an electrical storm at 30,000 feet.

And this envious rejection of expertise is, I suspect, what lies behind the moral and intellectual collapse of the Liberal Party here and the Republican Party in the U S that has led to the worst peacetime problem ever faced by a government in this country – our complete lack of policy on energy.  And in bringing us down with bullshit, our politicians have been aided and abetted by loaded idiots in The Australian and on Sky TV – and by the even more loaded idiots at the IPA.  All parties have had a hand in this catastrophe, but Abbott and Bernardi stand out as inane reactionary house-wreckers and dummy-spitters.

Some take the view that people who get most agitated about climate change and Islam don’t really believe their nonsense they spit out on those issues – it is just a business model, a front to make a dollar.  That suggestion becomes very acceptable when you hear some of them admiring Trump.  Or when you hear Bolt still banging on about climate change.  Or when you hear the IPA still banging on about men shaking hands with women.  That, apparently, is an Australian value.  Is it, perhaps, a mark of our patriotism?

Confucius says

The Master said, ‘The Gentleman helps others to realise what is good in them; he does not help them to realise what is bad in them.  The small man does the opposite.’

Analects, 12.16.

The Nationalists


An occasional series on the new nationalists –  dingoes and drongos like Trump, Farage, and Bernardi – and other Oz twerps.


Donald, Kim and Pauline

What do Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un have in common?  Each has a hairdresser who should be shot without the benefit of anaesthetic.  Each owes his position to his daddy.  They both like expensive and dangerous toys.  They both like to be seen as winning and they love to be filmed winning for their adoring mobs who believe anything and who blindly follow them.  Neither is too bright himself, and each of them only got the job through an accident of history – and daddy.  Neither is at his best in the wee, small hours.  Each has a visceral fear of light and the outside world.  Each has an unlimited capacity for intolerance.  Neither has any room for religion.  Nor does either have much room for ideology – the self and winning are all that matters.  Each has a puerile and boundless need for self-gratification.  As a result, neither has any kind of moral compass.  Each is capable of betraying followers stupid enough to think that anyone of them might stand in the way of number one.  They are both developing a taste for travel bans.  Each is authoritarian and autocratic by instinct.

Pauline Hanson continues to show how vicious, stupid, and dangerous she is.   “I do believe there are some that want to get on with a quiet life and a good life, but you tell me, you line up a number of Muslims, who’s the good one? Who’s not?”

Well, you could say that of lawyers, Chinamen, prostitutes, senators, Jews – or Christian priests.  This is definitive prejudice – any member of a religious faith is to be branded and looked down on, or as being at best suspect, just because of their subscription to that faith.  It is as revolting and insidious as the Nazi invocation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

An online Cambridge course on Elizabeth I reminded me of why branding people on account of their faith is inherently bad.  For some time after England broke with Rome, a majority of the English people continued to practise as Catholics, and they did so quite contentedly.  Most of them were after all too sensible to get too agitated about something like transubstantiation.  Then Queen Mary persecuted Protestants and burned some of them at the stake.  Then martyrdom worked its charms, and the Protestant cause never looked back.  The Catholics became a feared minority, and it took centuries to bring calm to the division.  In discussing persecution in England under Mary and Elizabeth, the great English historian Macaulay said:

To punish a man because he has committed a crime, or because he is believed, though unjustly, to have committed a crime, is not persecution.  To punish a man, because we infer from the nature of some doctrine which he holds, or from the conduct of other persons who hold the same doctrines with him, that he will commit a crime, is persecution, and is, in every sense, foolish and wicked.

The evil lies in punishing large group because of the bad conduct of a few people of that group. Macaulay then applied his reasoning to laws against Catholics that were passed on the footing that some Catholics wished ill to the English sovereign.

But to argue that, because a man is a Catholic, he must think it right to murder a heretical sovereign, and that because he thinks it right he will attempt to do it, and then, to found on this conclusion a law for punishing him as if he had done it, is plain persecution.

Later Macaulay said all of the persecution of the Puritans:

But the laws passed against the Puritans have not even the wretched excuse which we have been considering.  In this case, the cruelty was equal, the danger infinitely less.  In fact, the danger was created solely by the cruelty.

Going back to the persecution of the Catholics, Macaulay said:

Since these men could not be convinced, it was determined that they should be persecuted.  Persecution produced its natural effects on them.  It found them a sect: it made them a faction.  To their hatred of the Church was now added hatred of the Crown.

We are speaking of a time when the Pope had issued a Bull against the English Queen which was a full on attack on her sovereignty and which was in truth a threat to her life (that would later be made manifest in the Armada).  The danger there was far, far more explicit and widespread than any danger now to us of terrorism from some Muslims.

It is for those reasons that the conduct of Pauline Hanson is both unforgivable and dangerous.   The Prime Minister has been very clear about the danger of demonising all Muslims – and I would be surprised if the President of the United States is not getting the same advice.

In my view the same charge can be made against the revised version of the order against Muslims that has now been issued by the President of the United States.  It is idle to contend that it is not a ban on Muslims because the word Muslims is not used in the ban or because it does not extend to all Muslims.  This ban is a form of persecution that is a product of precisely the same kind of prejudice as that which operated in England in the 16th century, and it is open to precisely the same objections.

Passing 96 – Bullshit about lying

There is unrest at The Wall Street Journal.  Some journalists there say that the Editor is too soft on Trump.  The owner of the paper, Rupert Murdoch, supports Trump.  Fox News does so to the tune and extent of Joseph Goebbels.  Its news is like a torch-lit parade.

It is obvious to all but the blindest of Trump supporters that he is a compulsive liar. The editor of the WSJ does not agree that Trump’s untruths should be called lies.  He apparently relies on the Oxford English Dictionary definition of a lie as ‘a false statement made with intent to deceive.’  That is not the ordinary meaning of the word.  Nor in my view is the Compact OED definition of ‘an intentionally false statement.’  Intent may be required for some legal purposes –although two different intents are referred to here – but not for everyday use.  The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage just has ‘speak falsely.’  No state of mind is required to be shown.  That doesn’t seem sound either.  In ordinary language, you lie if you say something that you know is false.  We can leave to another day the question of whether it is sufficient that you say something that you do not believe to be true.

The Attorney-General of the United States said that he had not had contact with Russians. He knew that he had.  He therefore told a lie.   The President of the United States said:

Jeff Sessions is an honest man. He did not say anything wrong. He could have stated his response more accurately, but it was clearly not intentional. The real story is of all the illegal leaks of classified and other information. It’s a total witch hunt.

The statement that ‘He did not say anything wrong’ is false.  The President knew that – as the next sentence suggests.  Therefore the President lied about the Attorney-General’s lies.  As usual he uttered the lie in the course of a demented scattergun response of irrelevant tripe.

The Attorney-General lied on oath to a government body on a matter of national security. He should in my view resign.  He should also I think lose his ticket as a lawyer, although you may doubt whether the Alabama Bar Association would be up to that level of feistiness.  The Attorney has bad form for ‘miss-speaking’ about race, and his response to the present failure showed that he is a buffoon quite incapable of acting as Attorney-General.

This incident is another example of the complete indifference to truth that pervades the whole White House.  It makes me wonder whether the due diligence of the incoming administration that was undertaken by business hot shots like the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury extended to asking to see the tax returns of the President elect.  I incline to the view that they didn’t ask, because they knew what the response would be – and they feared that the offer might be withdrawn.  Even the prospect of power is enough to corrupt.  And how do parents bring up children in a nation whose President is a compulsive liar?

I have referred before to the gibberish of Jennifer Oriel.  This morning’s instalment shows the fineness of the line between inanity and insanity.  It includes the following.

We stand at a pivotal historical moment. In just over a week, we will learn whether the new-right movement resurrected by Brexit and Trump is going global. The looming Dutch election is a bellwether. It is the first European election of 2017 featuring a pro-Western nationalist party vying for the popular vote. Locally, the West Australian election next weekend will test whether Hanson’s One Nation will extend significant influence beyond Queensland.

If The Netherlands’ Party for Freedom (PVV) wins, its leader Geert Wilders will become the most strident pro-Western prime minister in Europe. The Trump effect will translate into a transatlantic phenomenon. Either way, the third reckoning of new-right rhetoric with political reality is nigh.


The leaders of the new-right movement differ on some policy matters, but share a set of values that are cohering into an international program for action. Their shared political aims are to: restore the primacy of Western civilisation by defending sovereign democracy and the nation-state system of allied free-world countries against the supranational left. New-right politicians give greater emphasis to the national interest than centrist-left and right parties by prioritising debt reduction via secure borders and rational immigration programs. Some claim that protectionism is co-essential to prosperity, but the claim is substantially weakened by the lack of systematic evidence. Far better is the shared goal to resurrect Western culture by battling the economically and socially corrosive PC culture that dominates the activist media, academia, NGO and public sectors. All new-right parties are gearing up to drain the swamp.

Wilders has been called the Dutch Donald Trump, but he preceded Trump’s ascendancy by several years. His European allies include Hungary’s Viktor Orban, who dubbed 2017 the year of rebellion. In 2015, Wilders said to Agence France-Presse: ‘The only way to deal with (the immigration crisis) is to regain our national sovereignty and close our national borders … I am asking that our government close its doors as Hungary did.’

The year 2016 ushered in a Western renaissance led by Britons and Americans. Brexit represented a triumph of self-determination over supranational governance as Britons renewed their faith in liberal democracy by voting to leave the EU. More than 60 million Americans chose Donald Trump as President to restore American primacy by fortifying the foundations of the free world laid down in the Declaration of Independence and the US constitution.

The supranational left is working overtime to prevent Trump’s ideas developing into a coherent international program for Western civilisational renewal championed by a right avant-garde. The right is gaining ground in the war for by reminding centrist parties Western values matter and turning the weapons used by neo-Marxists and Islamists to attack the free world order against them.


The foundational thesis of the 21st-century left is Orwellian doublethink. Codified inequality that promotes minority supremacy through affirmative action law is rebranded equality. The systemic censorship of conservative thought is called free speech. Consistent with its neo-Marxist creed, the modern left suppresses the silent Western majority; punishes politically incorrect thought; undermines the free world by weakening the nation-state system and vilifying Western patriots; purges conservatives from publicly funded institutions; and imposes punitive taxes on wealth creators and hard workers to fatten the parasite class.

The new right is a counter-revolution whose seeds were sown in the 1970s, the decade neo-Marxism took root within the West. As Roger Kimball wrote in The Long March, the new left’s method of gradualism meant ‘working against the established institutions while working in them’.

By almost destroying the liberal in liberal democracy, the left has prepared the ground for totalitarian politics. But it didn’t see the new right coming, whose members hail from both left and right united by the fight for the West. The new right has come to take our civilisation back.

Orwell would not have believed this.  Western civilisation championed by Trump, Wilders, Orban, Farage, and Hanson?  Would you let any of them into your home?  Here is the moral and intellectual emptiness of what shamefully passes for our conservative press – the Lone Ranger on steroids of dyslexic paranoia.

The Nationalists

An occasional series on the new nationalists –  dingoes and drongos like Trump, Farage, and Bernardi – and other Oz twerps.


A world turned upside down

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump’s eldest son was likely paid at least $50,000 for an appearance late last year before a French think tank whose founder and his wife are allies of the Russian government in efforts to end the war in Syria.

Donald Trump Jr. addressed a dinner on Oct. 11 at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, hosted by the Center of Political and Foreign Affairs. Its president, Fabien Baussart, and his Syrian-born wife, Randa Kassis, have cooperated with Russia in its drive to end the Syrian civil war, according to U.S., European and Arab officials.

In December, Mr. Baussart formally nominated Russian President Vladimir Putin for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Mrs. Kassis is a leader of a political faction endorsed by Russia in negotiations to end the war in Syria.

The couple said they don’t represent Russia and are solely focused on ending the Syrian conflict.

The meeting in October represents one in a string of contacts over the past year between members of the president’s inner circle and individuals connected to Moscow and to Russian interests. The Wall Street Journal in November reported Donald Trump Jr.’s appearance at the event.

Perhaps there is an answer.  There is worldwide conspiracy to turn the world upside down so that we will believe anything.  Is the nomination for the Peace Prize based on the competition between Assad and Putin as to who could bomb the most hospitals?

Recently, the President of the United States came to understand that Medicare is complicated.  It’s as if he hadn’t known that.  And his people in Congress are feeling heavy heat.  It is becoming more obvious each day that the people in the White House don’t know what they are doing.

The appointment of Flynn was obviously a mistake.  It looks like that of Sessions was worse.  Why choose a seventy-one year old from Alabama who has heavy form on race and is obviously not too bright?  He is another person in government in trouble about his dealings with the Russians.  What is it that has attracted so many Republicans to get into bed and into trouble with representatives of a state hostile to the United States?  Sessions’ problem is that he was at best loose with the truth while on oath.  That is not good in a first Law Officer.  What is the response of Mr Attorney?  ‘I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.’  Where do they get these clowns from?

Meanwhile Mrs May is steeling herself to inform her wobblers that they are dealing with a Europe which has a vested interest in England not being seen to be well off as a result of the divorce, and the ferals in the Liberal Party are doing all they can to ensure that that fake Shorten waltzes into office as if unopposed.  Where do we get these clowns from?