The right to protest

I have an op-ed up at The Conversation were I talk about protests that the environmental movement engage in:

I’m going to take as my starting point that protest is legitimised by the rule of law. The kind of acceptable behaviour that one might observe in a liberal democracy is very different from that in a dictatorship.

Another way of stating the case is to argue that the social licence to protest varies in time and place.

Many protesters, however, are of the view that they have unlimited licence to protest. That once their intentions are self-declared to be noble that there can be no limit on their behaviour.

I then run through some examples that will incense the luvvies.

The bottom line is this:

The thing is this: however noble “saving the planet” might be, in a liberal democracy, under the rule of law, protest must be conducted through both non-violent and non-coercive means.

Restricting violence and coercion is a legitimate function of government. As the great liberal economist Ludwig von Mises indicated:

One must be in a position to compel the person who will not respect the lives, health, personal freedom, or private property of others to acquiesce in the rules of life in society. This is the function that the liberal doctrine assigns to the state: the protection of property, liberty, and peace.

We might want to believe that environmental activists should be able to issue false media releases, or even conspire to overthrow the democratically elected government without interference from the authorities. But the proper way to do so is to campaign for those changes at the ballot box.

Hardly conroversial I would have thought – but the comments thread over at The Conversation is being heavily moderated as the locals go into meltdown.

This entry was posted in Hypocrisy of progressives, Tough on Crime, tough on criminals. Bookmark the permalink.

141 Responses to The right to protest

  1. You are of course right, Sinc.

    And Jonathan Moylan (guilty as charged, in court) should lose a great deal of money for his crime against the shareholders of Whitehaven.

    He made other people lose money; he should now find out what that feels like. I don’t think jail is the answer in his case, but permanent impoverishment might be productive.

    And his supporters who stood outside the courthouse asking for ‘Justice’ for him might like to thank their lucky stars that he appears to have avoided a custodial sentence so far.

  2. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Irrationality is always a feature of religious pogroms. The believers in Gaia, like their confreres the believers in Communism, have hold firm to their maxim that the means are justified by the ends, which are never open to a rational scrutiny.

  3. Bruce of Newcastle

    I would add to your article Sinc, that malevolent economic damage should be recompensed to the victim by the offenders.

    Moylan should spend the rest of his life paying the plaintiffs compensation. The same goes for environmentalists who impede legal businesses.

    I welcome the right to protest, but not to cause harm. If harm is caused the guilty party should pay damages, possibly with a punitive component as the US system allows.

    There can be no civilised society without rule of law, equally applied.

  4. LeftRightOut

    I started reading the comments (seems to be the same middle aged lefty types repeating themselves) but got very bored very quickly… it’s like reading “comment is free” at La Guardian.

  5. LeftRightOut

    WRT Moylan’s actions, it seems to me to be classic “white collar crime”. His intention was to disrupt the market, he was successful, he should receive a judgment on the severe end of the scale. There is also the deterrent factor.

  6. stackja

    Many protesters, however, are of the view that they have unlimited licence to protest. That once their intentions are self-declared to be noble that there can be no limit on their behaviour.

    New nobility.

  7. Squirrel

    Much the same as the rule of law as it applies to some union activities….

    This is a cheering example of redress:

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=844_1400391572&comments=1

  8. Percy

    I assume the outrage really hit hard about here -

    As the great liberal economist Ludwig von Mises indicated:

  9. Old School Conservative

    I wonder if there are any victims’ statements given before sentencing?
    Retirees life savings demolished by selling, after the fake press release caused $300 million to be wiped from the market value?
    SMSFs which sold their Whitehaven shares during the temporary massive decline in the market cap?

  10. H B Bear

    Hardly conroversial I would have thought – but the comments thread over at The Conversation is being heavily moderated as the locals go into meltdown.

    Meltdown is standard operating procedure for Leftys.

  11. Ant

    The Left loves a good protest bash.

    And, provided you agree with everything they do and do everything they say, there’s rarely a problem.

    They’re just so wonderful.

  12. cohenite

    This is a perennial problem; in a free society with, amongst other freedoms, freedom of association and protest what freedom should be extended to those who do protest. Should the issue be the manner of the protest or the subject of the protest. Or both?

    In respect of alarmists we have seen Hamilton espouse civil disobedience, Rhiannon regularly incite violence and support the enemies of the West and Australia; the behaviour of the left is abominable and the green filth have actively destroyed Australian business and business people such as John Gay.

    So the question is what type and subject of protest should be banned, if any? A final distinction is important; the greens and the left have introduced islam into Australia through the idiocy of multiculturalism. The left will always be a minority but through disproportionate influence could change the nature of Australian society.

    That is to be compared with islam which is currently changing society through equally malignant minority influence but which will become the majority in the future.

    Should these potential existential threats be treated the same or differently, or ignored?

  13. entropy

    No cohenite, the nature of the protest is the issue, not the subject.

  14. Eddystone

    Ian Lowe
    Emeritus Professor, School of Science at Griffith University
    This is just the sort of dishonest nonsense that has given the Institute of Paid Advocacy [IPA] its well-earned reputation. Of course there are limits to what is legitimate protest, but it is outrageous to say that those who have no power should always acquiesce in the abuse of power by the large corporations that fund the IPA and confidently expect that organisation to support their interests. Given the scandalous level of public suubsidy for the fossil interests that are causing dangerous climate change, it is not just legitimate to try to curb their influence; it is arguably our moral duty. Given their capacity to influence voters through their paid hacks in the Murdoch press and commercial radio, those fossil interests are dramatically over-represented in the political system, most blatantly demonstrated when a Senator wore an “Australians for Coal” fluoro vest in the parliament. That means those of us who are concerned about the damage being done to our future world have no alternative but to engage in protest.

    This guy sounds deranged.

  15. Peter from SA

    Meltdown is standard operating procedure for Leftys.

    Everything they do is so noble and righteous, after all. They are not rational so they resort to meltdown.

  16. Bravo for making an important, but too often overlooked point.

    As for John Moylan, he committed a crime and gained from it. The difference between this and regular white collar crime is that he did not benefit financially but he benefited in other ways. Specifically he used the crime to further his political activism goals. That’s still personal gain.

  17. cohenite

    No cohenite, the nature of the protest is the issue, not the subject.

    Too subtle for me Entropy; could you elaborate? I did offer the choice between manner and subject, or both; where does nature fit in?

  18. Steve D

    There’s a certain delicious irony about the stern moderation of the comments at The Conversation, given the topic! :-)

  19. entropy

    Ian Lowe, yeah, having the misfortune of having to read a thesis of of a PhD he has formerly supervised, it was pretty clear the student worked out early on they just needed to push a few of the correct buttons and the PhD was sweet, regardless of the actual rubbish that filled the rest of it. Must have been one of the easiest PHDs on the planet.

  20. Habib

    I don’t give a shit what any of these bath-shy winddow lickers do, however should they cause any loss of revernue, ammenity and/or time, they should be personally liable for any losses, as everyone else is in any other situation.

  21. entropy

    cohenite, I interpreted your thoughts as risking heading down the dangerous path to advocacy of restricting free speech. At least that is how I read it.

  22. Token

    Of course there are limits to what is legitimate protest, but it is outrageous to say that those who have no power should always acquiesce in the abuse of power by the large corporations…

    I’m sure there are dozens of other quotes which could be picked up, but it is clear that without their strawmen to protect them that lot would be very scared.

  23. Rococo Liberal

    I can’t believe how immature and babyish the adverse commenters on the Conversation are. They are all like that nerdy 13 year old schoolboy who hasn’t discovered girls (and probably never will) and who is really keen on sci-fi and nazi war insignia. They always buzz on the fringes of the argument with their ‘evidence’ which usually proves nothing.

    On the Conversation they all bridled at Sincl;air’s comment about how the removal of fossil fuels would lower living standards for the poor in Africa. Not one of them came up with a proper response, but all just denied the proposition. It was hilarious.

    One guy even claimed that his ‘studies’ proved that people weren’t self declaring the nobility of theor cause justified law breaking. It would be hilarious if these people weren’t regarded as smart.
    Are there any bigger fools than academics?

  24. rebel with cause

    The reasoning of your average lefty seems to be something along the lines of: the world doesn’t look exactly as I want it too; therefore I am a ‘powerless’ victim and the powerless are entitled to do whatever they want in the fight against powerful evil corporations.

    The constant flight of the left to victimhood is exceedingly dull.

  25. Bill

    Sinc, if you are the go to man at the Drum, why don’t you do an op ed on why moderate global warming is indisputably good for both man and beast??

    That should generate a Chernobyl meltdown

  26. Joe

    How hard can it possibly be!
    You have freedom to protest, to make your case, but NOT to interfere with others lawful actions.

  27. incoherent rambler

    Is Hamas still listed as a terrorist organization?

  28. Eddystone

    I looked at the “Become an Author” page.

    You must be a member of an academic or research institution to write for The Conversation.

    Thus limiting the likelihood of getting an opinion different to the standard left schlock.

    Sinc must be a great disappointment to them.

    Anyway, it’s good that our taxes are being used to reinforce academic group think. I’d hate it if they were being wasted.

  29. cohenite

    Is Hamas still listed as a terrorist organization?

    I guess it depends on who is doing the listing.

  30. JC

    One guy even claimed that his ‘studies’ proved that people weren’t self declaring the nobility of theor cause justified law breaking.

    Lol yea, I read that. What a fucking clown. Another example of a head that needs to go into a tightened vice for a few weeks with no food and limited water.

  31. incoherent rambler

    Aus Govt?

  32. cohenite

    cohenite, I interpreted your thoughts as risking heading down the dangerous path to advocacy of restricting free speech. At least that is how I read it.

    Ok, what is your response to this?

  33. cohenite

    Only the military wing apparently. I didn’t think it had any other wings.

  34. Gab

    Ok, what is your response to this?

    Dimwit Socialist Alliance morons burning the Australian flag in support of “Palestine”. In a just society, they would be shipped off to Gaza wearing Fuck Hamas T-shirts.

  35. cohenite

    I should think the students burning the flag should at least have their scholarships and university privileges suspended or removed.

  36. Percy

    Only the military wing apparently. I didn’t think it had any other wings.

    Foreign propaganda wing: usually funded by the taxpayers government of the respective nation.

  37. Cold-Hands

    And his supporters who stood outside the courthouse asking for ‘Justice’ for him might like to thank their lucky stars that he appears to have avoided a custodial sentence so far.

    Unfortunately the prosecution declined to ask for a custodial sentence! I’m betting that he’ll get away with nothing more than a good behaviour bond. Moylan’s victims should sue him in a civil case – perhaps Shine Lawyers (who also represent the Christmas Island shipwreck survivors in their case against their rescuers), should mount a class action on their behalf?

  38. Sinclair Davidson

    A bit of confusion over at the Conversation – I cite Chris Berg saying that secondary boycotts shouldn’t be banned – while my view is that they are coercive.

  39. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    I have no problem with the right to protest so long as the old method of police maintenance of good order and safety for innocent passers by is restored.

    The type of truncheon issued depends a bit on the bludgeon worthiness of the protestors. For example, those against the Evil Juice by darkish, swarthy, smelly bearded, noisy but gutless camel jockeys, warrant the 15 inch diameter with four inch nails embedded.

    I’d recommend employment of these coppers on a casual basis only because the number and intensity of protest event events would fall off quite dramatically I suspect.

  40. maurie

    Well on a slightly varied note, I’ve often thought of a more useful application of those ‘You have just passed a speed radar’ signs. If every school in Australia could have one of those installed on their exits with a varied wording to say ‘You have just been subjected to a day’s lefty brainwashing by a brainwashed qualified union controlled brainwasher’, our society just possibly may eventually reach a point where it became common knowledge that not inviting illiterate unemployables & encouraging them to follow the exact utterly failed doctrine they have just fled from, could in time, again result in Australia being a very nice place to live & raise kids in. The price of gaining more ignorant Labor/Green union puppet votes is simply far too high.

  41. cuckoo

    Saw some losers burning Australian and Israeli flags on the covered forecourt of a government building in Melbourne yesterday. The gesture itself is tiresomely derivative, but certainly free speech. On the other hand, in the Nanny State of Victoria, how did they get away with lighting a fire in a public place?

    And then there’s the Islamic Hate Preacher Super Mario Bolognese (or whatever his name is), deported back to Australia and free to walk the streets. Preaching jihad and brimstone is one thing, but he’d better be careful not to publicly question the bona fides of any white-skinned ‘aborigines’, or he’ll find himself in real trouble.

  42. Gab

    Preaching jihad and brimstone is one thing, but he’d better be careful not to publicly question the bona fides of any white-skinned ‘aborigines’, or he’ll find himself in real trouble.

    He better not smoke in public either.

  43. cohenite

    The gesture itself is tiresomely derivative, but certainly free speech.

    I think it is fucked.

    I also think a free speech right needs a touch of Heinlein criteria as a threshold for that right.

  44. I cite Chris Berg saying that secondary boycotts shouldn’t be banned – while my view is that they are coercive.

    Doesn’t matter. You said ‘Chris Berg’, which has triggered lefty anaphylaxis.

    Epi-pens are being rushed to the blog as we speak.

  45. I also think a free speech right needs a touch of Heinlein criteria as a threshold for that right.

    Invoke the Fisk Doctrine!

    Immediately!

  46. Peter S

    Melt down by the commentariat on The Conversation. Why am I not surprised! Those commenting are relatively small in number. And for some in particular the frequency of their comments can only indicate they have nothing better to do than comment, read other comments and respond. The one redeeming feature of TC is these days the comments are more aggresively moderated than they were a year ago – and I personally take a smidgen of credit for that

  47. johanna

    cohenite
    #1393313, posted on July 24, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    I should think the students burning the flag should at least have their scholarships and university privileges suspended or removed.

    No. Why should people be punished for burning a bit of fabric? It’s thought crime being made illegal.

    What needs to happen is for the novel defence of “saving the planet” to be excised forever. And for the option of fines (paid by Greenpeace for their useful idiots) to be removed.

  48. Tim Neilson

    Middle class pinko’s are usually heavily into post-modernism, asserting that there’s no universal truth and that everyone’s “narrative” is somehow “valid”. Yet when it comes to any real life situation they are simply intellectually incapable of accepting the “validity”, in any way, of any viewpoint that they disagree with. Only one of the many mental deficiencies of the middle class left, but one which is an ingredient in a good deal of the harm they do to society, e.g. violence and vandalism in support of “peace”.
    (Of course before post-modernism was even invented it was brilliantly debunked back in 1930 when Sellar and Yeatman published “1066 and all that” but the middle class pinko’s can’t be expected to be aware of one of the greatest philosophical works of all time, given that it was written by two Anglo white males from affluent (but non-academic/public service) backgrounds. Ex army ones, too.)

  49. Mater

    Johanna,
    Would normally agree re the flag but it wasn’t theirs to burn. They stole it from the government office.
    Seems insignificant but civilised society is experiencing ‘death by a thousand cuts’.

  50. Tom

    One day His Doomlordship will find the circumstances in which to confess to us that he loves trolling so much he has taught Mrs D and the kids to do it as well.

    You’ve got paddockfuls of them running around in circles today like ewes on a hot day, Your Lordship. Pity the public don’t read the Conversation to see how our educated betters make like children with an intellectual disability inside their own little echo chamber.

  51. Token

    Melt down by the commentariat on The Conversation

    LOL. I note that “comment withdrawn” is the standard comment.

    Those academics really are a shining example to us lesser sorts. Thank goodness governments across the nation tipped our taxpayers dollars into that font of learning. ;sarc;

  52. David

    1066 and all that

    That had slipped off my radar completely Tim. Time to revisit it methinks.

    :-)

  53. David

    1066 and all that.

    All about Queen Woadicea to the reigns of the Eggkings (Eggberd, Eggbreth and Eggforth, and their mysterious Eggdeath and continuing up until quite late in the piece.

    Available from Amazon for a reasonable price. Just ordered it.

    Thanks Tim for jogging the memory.

    :-) :-) :-)

  54. cohenite

    What needs to happen is for the novel defence of “saving the planet” to be excised forever. And for the option of fines (paid by Greenpeace for their useful idiots) to be removed.

    Polly would disagree with you.

    As for the flag; do symbols of our society mean as much as real things such as buildings and other infrastructure and the rights of other people which are trashed by the alarmists? Is the flag a symbol of our society and our forebears who made the sacrifices? Why should some shitheads be allowed to spit on that symbol without consequences?

  55. Aristogeiton

    cohenite
    #1393434, posted on July 24, 2014 at 4:07 pm
    [...]
    Is the flag a symbol of our society and our forebears who made the sacrifices? Why should some shitheads be allowed to spit on that symbol without consequences?

    Because what right do you have to interfere? They get to make your case, and you get to make yours. Tolerance, buddy.

  56. nerblnob

    I’m concerned about the protestors who now harass anyone going to work on an onshore drilling rig in the UK. They block access to the rig site, harass workers and delivery drivers ..(ostentatiously take their registration numbers and photos – we know where you live), and have done some pushing and shoving. This is starting to happen in Australia too, though thankfully most rigs are too remote for the wankers to get to.

  57. The reasoning of your average lefty seems to be something along the lines of: the world doesn’t look exactly as I want it too; therefore I am a ‘powerless’ victim and the powerless are entitled to do whatever they want in the fight against powerful evil corporations.

    I’m currently getting that attitude from my ten year old daughter.

    She is about to find out the fundamental differences between rights and privileges. Food, water, shelter, warmth, school. Everything else is out the window until she learns the difference. No physical or emotional punishment necessary.

  58. Old School Conservative

    Tolerance, buddy.

    A lofty ideal seldom adhered to by those burning the Australian flag.

  59. Aristogeiton

    Old School Conservative
    #1393454, posted on July 24, 2014 at 4:23 pm
    Tolerance, buddy.

    A lofty ideal seldom adhered to by those burning the Australian flag.

    And?

  60. while my view is that they are coercive.

    Surely impossible to deny. Furthermore, they are, specifically, an incitement. Free speech is about saying what you think, not what punishment you would like others to mete out.

  61. goatjam

    ‘And, provided you agree with everything they do and do everything they say, there’s rarely a problem.”

    This is topical

  62. ProEng

    Eddystone, do you know that (Prof???) Ian Lowe was criticised strongly by the President of a Tribunal in a hearing in 2007 for exaggerating by 13 times emissions. He should have been jailed for perjury. Lowe has claimed to be an engineer but has no engineering qualifications. He could be charged for a breach of the Professional Engineers Act. With his lies and a disrespect for sceptics of climate alarmism he could be charged with a breaches of the Public Sector Ethics Act. Someone needs to take him on. He is a parasite. Maybe he feels someone will soon and that is why he has stepped down from the ACF which should be cut from the public teat of funds flow.

  63. Craig

    I put my two cents on the conversation today and took it step further than what the article was talking about. I made the link to junk science that passes for man made warming and connected this back to how the environmentalists are using this junk science to promote their propaganda and deliberately change public policy. I got warned by the mods to stick to the topic and was howled by at least 97% of the other bloggers.

  64. thefrollickingmole

    The thing the modern left doesnt get is its the government protecting them from a hideous backlash, not the public being protected from them by laws regulating protests.

    Remove the nice polite policeman from the next blockade and have a company ruthless enough to dish out 2 by 4s to its crew and see how far you get.
    The law (rightly) protects the right to protest, but the left is deluded if it thinks the rules are there for societies protection and not their own.

  65. ChrisPer

    I want one of those 2x4s!

    However, despite not having been in a fight since school, and preferring Rule 303 to the Marquis of Queensberry, I am pretty sure that an actual 2×4 would need a much smaller size as a handle, or you would mess it up with a poor grip when it gets to a tug-of-war or a bit of parry and riposte.

  66. Empire

    Agree ChrisPer. The Seppo cricket bat is the go.

  67. nerblnob

    The Australian term is/was 4-be-2. Take your 2 x 4s back to America or wherever you got them from.

    None of us want to face a physical fight on the way into work of a morning. Well, some would.

    Hold up your signs if you must (even if nobody else would be allowed to) but don’t block the road.

  68. .

    Why should some shitheads be allowed to spit on that symbol without consequences?

    Because free speech is sacred.

  69. entropy

    So…..why is The Conversation still getting Other Peoples’s Money?
    There are a galaxy of little projects just like The Conversation funded by taxpayer dollars. It’s about time the Augean stable was cleaned up.

    Surely enough dollars would be saved, without requiring senate approval no less, to put a dent in the budget emergency, and to be honest, once the squealing settled down nobody would notice they are gone.

  70. Infidel Tiger

    Is the flag a symbol of our society and our forebears who made the sacrifices? Why should some shitheads be allowed to spit on that symbol without consequences?

    Mark Steyn wrote one of the great free speech essays on why we (he was referring to the US) should be glad to have a flag worth burning.

    Every time you see a swampy desecrating our flag you should get aroused with pride… and then kick the fuck out of them.

  71. calli

    The Australian term is/was 4-be-2. Take your 2 x 4s back to America or wherever you got them from.

    Fourbetwos…the perfect size for studs and noggins. Which is, of course, what you use them on.

    2 by 4′s…never heard of them.

  72. cohenite

    Pilon’s position is the form and content distinction; as a distinction and analogy it has its shortcomings; destroying a copy of a Statute isn’t the same as contravening the prescription of that Statute but the act of contravention, breaking the law, is not based on the physical form of the Statute but its symbolic meaning.

    Most good Law is based on custom and is consistent with custom; custom is at the heart of the Common Law for instance. But custom is relatively static whereas Statute Law is dynamic and grounded in ideals [often well buried by procedure].

    If people think the burning of a flag is an acceptable form of free speech which ignores the custom of respect for the flag then I think a Statute Law should be enacted making the flag a part of State property and subject to the same penalty that going down and burning the dole office for instance would attract.

  73. nerblnob

    4-be-2s for plates, 4-be-1&1/2s for studs was the way we used to do.
    In the pre-staple gun age.

  74. cohenite

    Mark Steyn wrote one of the great free speech essays on why we (he was referring to the US) should be glad to have a flag worth burning.

    That is good but the point is lost on those fuckers. I’m old enough to remember schools beginning the day with a flag raising and singing of the Anthem. Pride in the community is a symbolic thing and a succession of generations who have had that pride kicked out of the by the left have produced the actions of those students burning the flag today.

  75. calli

    Poetic license, nerblnob…one for the upswing, the other down.

    These days it’s either 70 or 90mm studs. 450 or 600 centres…

  76. The right to protest is not a ‘right’ in itself, it emerges from other right such as the right to free association, free speech and free movement.

    This has somehow morphed into a right to transgress laws. The police monitoring protests routinely turn a blind eye to lawlessness unless it gets really out of hand.

    Blocking the entrance to someone else’s building is illegal. Impeding the flow of traffic is illegal. If you did it on your own, you’d be arrested. Turn up with a hundred students, a couple of banners and a whistle, and you’ll not only be given a free pass, you’ll get sympathetic coverage on the ABC.

  77. nerblnob

    Free speech includes burning a flag.

    As long as you didn’t steal the flag and have done a job safety analysis and it’s not a TFB day and can prove the flag wasn’t made by child labour and you’re not smoking within 2.371m of an open doorway and you’re not carrying an open container of alcohol on the street to light it with and you’re wearing a cycle helmet …

  78. Jessie

    cohenite at 4.07

    Polly (a Rachel Carson?) is basically advocating Environmental Impact Studies (EIS) be shifted to an international schema and platform. viz her book Eradicating ecocide: laws and governance to prevent the destruction of our planet.
    Maybe the rent seeking social impact studies also. In effect moving the local work of activists and protestors to the global stage.

    She talks of peace, likes profit*, and understanding plants, animals, the environment and humans as being one, as in supporting Indigenous peoples and the religion of Buddhism. She uses the possessive our.
    Packaged more neatly for the public, she is moving the failed CAGW scam and first nations movement a step further.
    *does not state or define this term.

  79. Gab

    Because free speech is sacred.

    Yes all well and good. I have a very unpopular position in that I believe destroying our flag is symbolically spitting on the country and it’s people. It’s disrespectful, not only for those alive today but also for those who have gone before us.It’s a low dog act and unAustralian. There, I said it. No one has prevented or stopped them from setting our flag on fire in the name of free speech, however they should be penalised for the destruction of property.

  80. cohenite

    she is moving the failed CAGW scam and first nations movement a step further.

    She sure is Jessie.

  81. entropy

    I believe destroying our flag is symbolically spitting on the country and it’s people.

    That is exactly what it is, but only in a figurative sense. Thus they have every right to, just as we have every right to judge them by their actions.
    I am with Steyn on this. It means the clowns think it will hurt us. Well..It doesn’t.

  82. I have a very unpopular position in that I believe destroying our flag is symbolically spitting on the country and it’s people.

    I think everyone agrees with that. I certainly do.
    But it shouldn’t be illegal. If people have strongly anti-nationalistic sentiments, I want them to out themselves in that public way. It’s far better than if they conceal their feelings, keeping their opinions quiet and we’re none the wiser.

  83. ChrisPer

    The Australian term is/was 4-be-2. Take your 2 x 4s back to America or wherever you got them from

    Fair enough, but unlike many I actually have worked in these timber sizes and can remember a time before mm demonstrated their utility for green sawn framing timber. I don’t recall getting my word order from the USA. (Four-by is also good for cleaning .303s, SLRs and M60s which would also be good for swampy btw.)

  84. Gab

    But it shouldn’t be illegal.

    It isn’t.

  85. egg_

    Every time you see a swampy desecrating our flag you should get aroused with pride…

    Were it the Aboriginal flag, it could be interpreted as an act of intimidation – why not the same with our National flag?

  86. It isn’t.

    I know. And that’s how it should be.
    But again…. there isn’t some special ‘right to burn flags’. It flows naturally out of more general rights.

    If you burn a flag in the street, that should be a crime, since arson is a crime. If I burned a tablecloth in Martin’s Place I’m pretty sure I’d be arrested.

    Yet if that tablecloth had an Australian flag on it, well, I reckon it’s a coin toss whether I’d be arrested.

    Israeli flag, no chance of arrest at all.

  87. calli

    Because free speech is sacred.

    Free speech is not sacred, but it is the best of all the alternatives presented to us in this age of pissant liars.

    The truth is sacred and the exercise of free speech can uncover it.

  88. Winny

    What really scares me about the comments is that they seem to be confirming Sinclair’s view that violence and coercion are indeed acceptable when the cause is sufficiently noble.

    And they seem to consider themselves to be the arbiters of what is noble and what is not.

  89. What really scares me about the comments is that they seem to be confirming Sinclair’s view that violence and coercion are indeed acceptable when the cause is sufficiently noble.

    that’s exactly their view.

    They apply identical logic to Gaza. I have seen this a hundred times. You back-and-forth until you corrner them on some act by Hamas that can’t be justified, then they just revert to the default: they’re oppressed and therefore it’s justified.

  90. Jessie

    cohenite at 6.41

    Well when the Club of Rome is rolled in there with Polly,
    she as well as being a founding member of the Supervisory Board of Desertec what can the anyone expect?
    Oh, no freedom to speak except those at the UN table. And they ain’t ballot boxes as Sinclair was suggesting.

  91. john constantine

    the japanese death cult that hated the japanese government and gassed the tokyo subway tested their poisons on the remote west australian sheep station they owned,sheep bodies killed by sarin gas were found in pits there. just need passion,money and a target.

    as the swampies are incited to indulge in hysterical emotional passions, the depths to which they goad each other to sink become progressively more extreme.

    the secondary boycotts and cyber bullying are tools that they now rejoyce in.

    the actual fear is that biosecurity will become a target for the swampies.

    a swampy activist has attacked the sheep trade with the middle east, by boasting of feeding shredded ham to sheep in the feedlot. the judge understood his heartache and the activist walked free from court.

    a mentally ill and driven swampy, that was willing to kill off the australian livestock industry to destroy commercial exploitation of animals could do so with a few enablers and a few tens of thousands of dollars.

    tossing a sick sheep over the fence to infect a hated bosses flock is a traditional australian revenge for getting the sack.[ another reason for delicate people management of itinerate labour].

    [remember the mysterious fire that threatened the hated by swampies brown coal plant in victoria recently?]

    as they urge themselves onto more and more mouth frothing lunacy, the potential for truly destructive acts becomes something we may have to face.

  92. evcricket

    So noble Sincer, writing an article to ‘incense the luvvies’. That’s trolling right?

    Anyway, you’re a rank amateur at it, because your argument is appallingly weak. Replace ‘environmentalist’ and ‘protest’ with mining and the argument is still as strong:
    http://pastebin.com/cxJX5fjL

    Also, I think you misrepresented Berg:
    From your piece “There are some, like my good friend Chris Berg, who argue that the whole notion of secondary boycotts are inconsistent with the right to free speech.”

    from Berg’s piece “Consumer boycotts – primary or secondary – are a completely legitimate way to express political views.”.

    I guess the luvvies are incensed because this is garbage?

  93. cohenite

    Fuck off crickets; you have shown you know nothing about AGW science agitprop so why should we assume you anything about anything else.

    The above statement not only sums up crickets but also demonstrates the fallacy that secondary consumer boycotts are legitimate.

  94. Anyway, you’re a rank amateur at it, because your argument is appallingly weak. Replace ‘environmentalist’ and ‘protest’ with mining and the argument is still as strong:
    http://pastebin.com/cxJX5fjL

    Not bad, except the analogy falls down when you get to violence, which is the whole point.
    Miners don’t use unlawful violence the way protestors do.

    Miners operate within the law, whereas protestors don’t. the point of the article was to highlight and debunk the exceptionalist thinking of protestors in regard to lawbreaking.

  95. egg_

    Has Crickets been burning/smoking his undies (again)?

  96. Sinclair Davidson

    I haven’t misrepresented Chris Berg at all – I included his point as the counter-argument at his request when he proofed the article for me.

    Some people, quite incorrectly, think that secondary boycotts constitute legitimate free speech. But sending someone a ransom note is hardly free speech.

  97. The reasoning of your average lefty seems to be something along the lines of: the world doesn’t look exactly as I want it too; therefore I am a ‘powerless’ victim and the powerless are entitled to do whatever they want in the fight against powerful evil corporations.

    That’s not their reasoning; that’s their excuse. Unlike the people who crucified Christ, these arseholes know full well what they do.

  98. Aristogeiton

    Winny
    #1393580, posted on July 24, 2014 at 7:05 pm
    What really scares me about the comments is that they seem to be confirming Sinclair’s view that violence and coercion are indeed acceptable when the cause is sufficiently noble.

    Which comments? cohenite’s, in which he proposes to use State coercion to stop people burning flags, on account that it offends him?

  99. I think that’s a reference to the comments over at the Drum, Aristo.

  100. cohenite

    Not only do I want those who deal disrespectfully with the Australian flag flogged but those who display the black flag of the caliphate set adrift in an orange life-boat on the high seas.

  101. Not only do I want those who deal disrespectfully with the Australian flag flogged but those who display the black flag of the caliphate set adrift in an orange life-boat on the high seas.

    What if I did it as a shit-stir?
    As a wind-up, or as some kind of ironic joke?
    What if I did it as part of a parody of people who do it for other reasons, or in the making of a youtube satirical video?

    Still set adrift?

  102. cohenite

    You could take some Saos and beer Aussie as mitigation; the rest can suck their thumbs.

  103. Aristogeiton

    What a bedwetter.

  104. cohenite

    Its actually been an interesting day for flags.

    All flags are not equal.

  105. cohenite

    Well Aristogeiton, who would you have supported with your huge masculine presence; the nice Jewish lady with the flag or the solid citizens with the beards?

  106. Robert Marley

    The majority of comments and commenters in this hell hole are truly messed up. Bring on resource shortage and the harsh realities that will inevitably arrive as a consequence of your ignorant rantings. Business is all well and good until it hits the wall of the physical limits of our biosphere. I hope that I (and my offspring) don’t have to eat you crazy muffugas becoz youse is full of toxins.

  107. evcricket

    Hang on Sinclair, you say “some think secondary boycotts are INconsistent with free speech”. As in not consistent, illegitimate.

    Berg says “Consumer boycotts – primary or secondary – are a completely legitimate way to express political views.”
    Those two statements are opposite right? You say they are inconsistent with free speech, Berg says they are completely legitimate. I suspect the IN is a typo in your piece, or that we have a very different understanding of english.

  108. entropy

    Eh cricket, have you been smoking something aromatic?
    Your English comprehension is lacking.

  109. nerblnob

    .Those two statements are opposite right? You say they are inconsistent with free speech, Berg says they are completely legitimate.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “legitimate” – Berg argues that they shouldn’t be illegal. Otherwise I don’t understand your confusion which seems to be just because Davidson acknowledges a viewpoint he disagrees with. Don’t reasonable people do this every day?

    I think any boycott’s OK as long as it doesn’t stoop to coercion. As in: boycott Woollies. Don’t buy from their stores. Stand outside your local Woollies with a sign explaining why. Organise a petition, rant on Facebook.

    But don’t get with a bunch of people to obstruct and harass those who work in Woollies, supply them or shop there.

  110. handjive

    Once here @cat I did question why Sinc contributes @thecon when you know there is no conversation.

    Admittedly, after posting, I realised the entertainment value of Sinc’s contributions, as reading the comments section displays what amounts to a sheltered workshop of poorly educated intellectual midgets all agreeing with each other, studiously protected by an army of moderating goons policing that no-one deviates off message.

    Moderators bully, and then lie with excuses for deleting questioning comments, leaving only splotches of comments where green heads have exploded.

    That’s the entertainment value for my tax dollars wasted @thecon! That’s Gold!
    (P.S. The suggestion for a post on moderation would be good value)

  111. Sinclair Davidson

    Ev – you’re obviously excited about something. Chris Berg and I have differing opinions as secondary boycotts – he argues they are consistent with free speech, I argue they are not. I can understand, of course, why this excites you – after all I am suggesting that the casual acts of violence that the left routinely engage in should be suppressed by the police power of the state.

  112. cohenite

    I can understand, of course, why this excites you – after all I am suggesting that the casual acts of violence that the left routinely engage in should be suppressed by the police power of the state.

    LOL.

    But like all good lefties crickets only likes violence when the odds are at least 20 to 1 in his favour.

  113. Seza

    Whilst I find the burning of an Australian flag offensive, it should be allowed as free speech. However, in this case the flag was stolen from a government office so burning it constituted the destruction of evidence of a crime. The police should have acted swiftly on that point alone, and it would open all sorts of interesting charges to be laid. Bring your own flag, r-soles!

  114. Peter

    I believe that there is a historical position to the effect that , just as an embassy is deemed to be a part of the country owning it, a national flag is deemed to be owned by the country it represents. Or maybe copyright is a better analogy in that you may be free to purchase an item, but that does not bring with it the freedom to use it in any way that you like.

    Either way, it can be held that flag-burning goes beyond mere insult and hence not covered under freedom of speech.

  115. Percy

    The majority of comments and commenters in this hell hole are truly messed up. Bring on resource shortage and the harsh realities that will inevitably arrive as a consequence of your ignorant rantings. Business is all well and good until it hits the wall of the physical limits of our biosphere. I hope that I (and my offspring)

    You’ve had the gall to bring children into this overcrowded, resource starved world? Selfish Bob, selfish.

  116. Habib

    I thought theft and arson were still offences. Why aren’t current laws enforced on middle class marxist dickheads?

  117. Token

    I thought theft and arson were still offences. Why aren’t current laws enforced on middle class marxist dickheads?

    I gave up on that years ago and my views were reinforced with what we all saw on our TV screens during the picketing of the Baida factory.

  118. Token

    PS: A (Victorian) Liberal government was in charge of law enforcement officials during that time.

  119. Habib

    They seem to be the worst at going after these maggots. Like it’ll lose them votes if they do. Classic example- Greenpeace’s continued tax emempt status. A multinational lobbying corporation that actively persues issues against our national interest, and effectiveely we subsidise the whiffy cretins. I’ve long given up on the LNP, Labor Lite is giving them too much credibility.

  120. Infidel Tiger

    Business is all well and good until it hits the wall of the physical limits of our biosphere.

    If I ever own a business that puts pressure on the physical limits of the biosphere I’ll just lease the place next door.

    Expansion. Always expanding.

  121. cohenite

    Business is all well and good until it hits the wall of the physical limits of our biosphere

    .

    At the heart of AGW and the left generally are very small minds and big egos. By now humanity should have had a settlement on Mars but the money spent on AGW has cruelled that. The idea there is some limit of the Universe sits very well with the left world-view since that view projects itself on the world and that view is very limited.

  122. Eddystone

    Surely there are OH&S regulations that apply to flag burning?

    Not to mention the passive smoking issue. These protesters are reckless terrorists!

  123. thefrollickingmole

    Eddystone

    I have cunning plan ‘Mlud…

    Lets make flags…out of tobacco!

    Then all the leftards will die of “second hand smoke”

    It cant fail.

  124. Gab

    Lets make flags…out of tobacco!

    You’re evil. I like you long time.

  125. Mr Rusty

    Dimwit Socialist Alliance morons burning the Australian flag in support of “Palestine”. In a just society, they would be shipped off to Gaza wearing Fuck Hamas T-shirts.

    I cannot wait for the day those little fuckers find themselves being dragged off for beheading. “But, but. But we supported you! We burnt our own flag and waived one of yours! Oh brother, oh Allah, please don’t kill us! We promise to stop worshipping trees and fiddling with each others bottoms!”
    WHOOOSH…THUD.

  126. Aristogeiton

    At least in my state, the crime of arson does not include setting fire to a flag flag. Neither I nor anyone else is defending the theft and/or destruction of the property of another.

  127. I’m all for flag-burning. It tells me who the dickheads are.

  128. Aristogeiton

    Eddystone
    #1394282, posted on July 25, 2014 at 2:26 pm
    Surely there are OH&S regulations that apply to flag burning?

    Not usually carried on in the workplace. I don’t doubt there may be some other bullshit offence/crime which would cover flag burning in public. If actual harm is caused, then you have the law of negligence.

  129. Mr Rusty

    Like everything else in lefty world there is a hierarchy when it comes to rights. It’s not that they misunderstand property rights they just want to circumvent them when it suits them. Their retarded rule could be summed up thus;

    Anyone deemed to be right has the right to trample all over other people’s rights.

    Of course if a swampy went home after a day protesting and disrupting and found a bunch of people blocking their way, slashing their tyres or camping out on their front lawn they would be on the phone to the police before you could say tofu burger. It’s a shame we can’t enforce reverse secondary boycotts; don’t like mining? well no electricity for you buddy! (or car, fridge, computer, etc.) Don’t like Australia? No passport, get the fudge out!

  130. JC

    Aristogeiton
    #1394369, posted on July 25, 2014 at 3:59 pm
    At least in my state, the crime of arson does not include setting fire to a flag flag. Neither I nor anyone else is defending the theft and/or destruction of the property of another.

    I’m pretty sure setting fire to anything in a public place is illegal. If lefties want to burn something… Anything at all including the flag.. They should be doing so in the limits of the boarding houses, or public housing where they live.

  131. cohenite

    Yeah well, the take-home point is some flags are more equal than other flags.

  132. evcricket

    Two things:

    Sinclair, I noticed you updated the Conversation piece to fix the typo. I tell you, I thought I would never stop laughing.

    And Moylan got what he deserved. Just has been served.

  133. Infidel Tiger

    And Moylan got what he deserved. Just has been served.

    The civil suits begin now.

    This poor little pawn is going to be a poor little pawn all his miserable and worthless life.

  134. evcricket

    Here’s the text of the correction:

    Editor’s note: This story was updated on 25 July to correct a typo in this sentence: “There are some, like my good friend Chris Berg, who argue that the whole notion of secondary boycotts are consistent with the right to free speech.”

    So yeah, I was excited about it because you were wrong and misrepresenting an opinion. I don’t care that you differ, but I agree with chris on this one. I actually think the law against secondary boycotts of any kind should be removed altogether. Which I thought would be an argument more in line with your politics but apparently not.

  135. wes george

    My old friend, Cohenite, has momentarily lost the plot.

    We must remain always consistent in our defence of free speech, especially free expressions that we find offensive. To me, burning the flag amounts to hate speech. Hate speech which is protected by the First Amendment by those crazy anti-monarchists, the Yanks. The only thing more annoying than hate speech is someone – who should know better – seeking to deny hateful idiots the right to expose their hateful idiocy in public where it can be documented, studied, debated and, if necessary, condemned roundly.

    Once you concede that something — anything — is too sacrosanct to be allowed to be challenged publicly then you open the door to the totalitarian impulses of the self-righteously assured wowsers who are eagerly chaffing to restrict our civil liberties in the name of equality and sustainability. Down that path lies the great collective beehive with its satellite gulags where deniers and heretics can be stored away from the gaze of the perfect command utopian society the wowsers would build.

    Cohenite, you know better. Pull yourself together, man, and give ‘em hell-on-a-stick back. But don’t tread on your liberties while you’re at it. ;-)

  136. Mk50 of Brisbane, Henchman to the VRWC

    be kind to the EV the Insect.

    he’s still hung over from Che Guavera’s birthday celebrations last month.

  137. Empire

    Rusty – excellent idea. This has legs. I demand the state establish and maintain a National Swampy Register. Fossil fuel companies could then refuse to contract with the pricks.

    There’s a dude in a Sea Sheppard jacket sitting opposite on the train, tappin’ away on his Mac book. He’s the first record on the DB I reckon.

  138. egg_

    Yeah well, the take-home point is some flags are more equal than other flags.

    Make it another symbol, such as a cross, and it is viewed as intimidation.

  139. cohenite

    Hi Wes; long time no see. I’m fascinated by this point and have taken on board for sustenance as I travel warily through the pages at the Cat which is peopled by some Libertarian absolutists, the words of Popper who said that we are warranted in refusing to tolerate intolerance.

    This of course creates the Paradox of Tolerance which is defined as:

    a problem that a tolerant person might be antagonistic toward intolerance, hence intolerant of it. The tolerant individual would then be by definition intolerant of intolerance.

    For me this is a concept where the reality diverges from the theory; that is one can argue the concept but in respect of particular examples be faced with not just a paradox but an existential threat.

    Flags are a minor point in the wider context. The wider context is islam in particular where tolerance is rewarded by considerable and incremental inroad into the tolerant basis of our society by what society is tolerating with the result our tolerant society changes.

    Examples of that inroad include halal certification which I equate with extortion but which now infects most of the foods and food outlets [ ie Woolworths and Coles] in not just Australia but the West.

    More pressing, or at least less subtle, is the manner in which islam uses the West’s FOS and rights to challenge and erode the implementation of order in our society. The demonstrations by muslims here while not on the scale of those for instance now occurring in France are not on that scale yet because islam in Australia has not yet reached the threshold numbers that exist in France.

    So for me there are 2 issues; the philosophical as in the Paradox of Tolerance and the real examples of threats to our tolerant society.

    Let me ask you this: it is becoming apparent that Mosques are, at least in some cases, spreading invocations to dissent of the existential type in the examples I describe above. Should Mosques found to be advocating violent protest be closed?

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