In an article in today’s Australian, Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz states that section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 should remain unchanged. He writes
For those who understand the operation of 18C, this campaign has been somewhat disheartening: 18C’s opponents have avoided making legitimate criticisms, instead relying on a number of half-truths and exaggerations to put their case forward.
But this itself is a smear. It suggests that those who oppose section 18C are automatically supporters of racial abuse. That is a type of false dilemma.
I support absolute freedom of speech, which is presently best expressed in the United States under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. But I do not support racial abuse.
Meyerowith-Katz cannot comprehend the difference. For him, the State should regulate our conduct and our behaviour. Only someone with a blinker could argue
If people genuinely think it should be legal for Australians to harass others on the basis of race, then they are welcome to make that argument. What’s troubling about the anti-18C campaign is its dishonesty.
Au contraire. Racial abuse of the type covered by section 18C is the province of good manners. It is not for the State to regulate moral behaviour. The State should concentrate on finding and punishing those who inflict physical harm on others.