Passing Bull 155 – Civility


Many people are commenting on the decline in civility in public life here and elsewhere.  It has coincided with the rise of nationalism and disenchantment with a broader world view, but that does not of itself establish a causal connection between those two events.  It is however tempting to speculate whether people who want to withdraw unto themselves may not be so good in dealing with those people that they want to lock out.  However that may be, it is unsettling, to put it at its lowest, to hear Republicans complain about a restaurateur declining to serve a senior White House staffer on the basis of what may be called a conscientious objection.  Does anyone believe that the President of the United States is a model of civility?  And what happened to freedom of speech?

Fringe dwellers test laws.  This presidency now reveals another oddity, if not flaw, in the United States constitutional dispensation.  They subscribe to the separation of powers.  The executive, legislature, and judiciary have separate functions.  The legislature makes laws – not the executive or the judiciary.  Well, we know that the judiciary makes laws de facto, and this president is fond of issuing edicts, but by and large the separation holds.  The U S constitution gives the legislature no power to make laws about abortion.  But we see elections of the President (the executive) being contested on his capacity to appoint members of the judiciary who may change the law on abortion by refusing to follow a precedent.  That doesn’t look healthy, least of all in a nation that claims to keep separate Church and State.


Speaking on ABC Radio Sydney on Monday evening, Leyonhjelm said there was no need for him to apologise.

‘If she chooses to take offence, that’s her business,’ he said.

‘[The comments] weren’t intended to be offensive … I was discussing the issue of misandry.’

Pressed by host Richard Glover as to why he had attacked Hanson-Young personally, Leyonhjelm said: ‘I don’t accept the premise of your question that I’ve done anything to her.’

He denied he had discussed the Greens senator’s sex life.

‘You’ve got a fertile imagination. All I did was point out she’s got boyfriends,’ he said.

The Guardian, 3 July, 2018.

It’s sad when someone is that thick.  But at least he and Rowan Dean and Ross Campbell give insight into why people like them want to be free as matter of law to insult and offend other people.

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