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.