Self-interest and the anti-free speech brigade

The usual suspects are circulating a list of signatories condemning Bill Leak’s “racist cartoon”. The full list is here. Ten we have the statement:

We are journalists, writers, photographers, artists, publishers and others who work in the media and communications industries. Signatories also include journalism, media and communications researchers and academics. We condemn The Australian’s publication of Bill Leak’s racist cartoon. Racism damages the health and wellbeing of those it targets. We acknowledge that the media industry has a long history of perpetuating harmful and racist stereotypes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and that it is well past time that this stops. We urge the editorial leadership of all Australian media to reflect on the hurt and distress all racial stereotyping causes and to eliminate it from our news and current affairs media.

Now what is very interesting is that the signatories are all passing themselves off as being creative types. Perhaps they are – yet I only recognised four names on that list. Creative types tend to be subversive. They question society, they make us uncomfortable, they perform the role of the court fool in medieval times. Those Cats who are familiar with authoritarian society will know the role subversive humour plays in those societies.

In Australia – hardly an authoritarian society, but under increasing pressure to become such a society* – artistic and creative types are given a lot of latitude because we understand the importance of introspection, the value of having a class (terrible connotations there) of individuals who exist to point out our failings, our hypocrisy, and question our implicit assumptions.

Yet here we find creative types siding with the state against one of their own. If they were to argue that Leak’s cartoon was not funny that would be one thing (and would fail the “so what” question) – but censored is quite another. What do they think happens to artistic freedom in authoritarian society? If cartoonists are targeted, poets, comedians, journalists, and “writers” cannot be far behind. As it is we have already seen a journalist targeted by anti-free speech legislation and a judge deliberately construct his judgement to circumvent the explicit protections written into the law to protect journalists from such actions.

* If you haven’t already done so you should read Michael Oakeshott’s essay “The Masses in Representative Democracy.

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38 Responses to Self-interest and the anti-free speech brigade

  1. BorisG

    I guess the only good thing here is that they are calling on the editors not t o publish certain things. At least they are not calling on government to ban it, or for editors to be prosecuted. I think this is an important distinction.

  2. Lem

    You said it.

    Self interest.

    History is replete with so called intellectuals and artists prepared to throw their lot in with totalitarians.

    Dough isn’t easy to get, when it you have to to get it from the sweat of your brow. So there has always been another way.

  3. A Lurker

    If they are cheering on attacks on freedom of speech then they are no true artist, poet, writer, musician etc.

  4. Bruce in WA

    hardly an authoritarian society, but under increasing pressure to become such a society

    Don’t know, your Doomlordship, what you would describe as “authoritarian”, but I think we’re well and truly there already.

  5. Lem

    Don’t know, your Doomlordship, what you would describe as “authoritarian”, but I think we’re well and truly there already.

    At least, we have a weak government, who is allowing quasi-judicial tax payer funded organisations to trample over the natural rights of citizens.

    The authoritarians, the control freaks, are on the opposition benches, but are making policy, and hence governing, by default on the part of the weak elected.

    So yes, Australia is substantially more authoritarian in governmental style than it has ever been, at least in my living memory.

  6. Old School Conservative

    Those usual suspects will have a chance to fight for censorship after the coming conservative revolution. Current laws, lawfare, and the newly-conservatised ABC will go after their thoughts and creative output in the same way they attack conservatism now.

    Just joking of course. Although in my wild erratic fancy visions come to me of a 3 year “get square” from a deeply conservative government before they get rid of all leftist institutions.

  7. A Lurker

    History is replete with so called intellectuals and artists prepared to throw their lot in with totalitarians.

    If our lot possessed just a mere iota of introspection they’d be so consumed by guilt that they’d be all day searching for a hole deep enough to crawl into. However, the fact that they loudly trumpet their self-interest indicates that self-awareness comprises no part of their DNA.

  8. stackja

    The usual suspects have the right to their opinion. Others should have the right to call them useful idiots.

  9. Tator

    The mere fact that Jonathon Green, Rob Oakshott, Jim Everett and Catherine Deveney have all signed it says it is pure politics at play and shows the mendacity of the opinion of the entire list as vindictiveness and purely trying to shut down opinions opposite of their own. I am surprised that Robert and David Manne haven’t signed it either

  10. Anonandon

    Wait for it, wait for it….there it is…Catherine Deveny.

  11. BorisG

    I agree with Stackja. At least they are calling on editors not to publish certain things. They are not calling on these editors to be sacked or prosecuted, or on governments to ban such things etc.

  12. Baldrick

    Are all these socialist elites really saying they are ‘offended’ or ‘insulted’ by Leak’s cartoon?
    What a breed of cotton wool, snowflake numpties they have become.

  13. alexnoaholdmate

    Don’t know, your Doomlordship, what you would describe as “authoritarian”, but I think we’re well and truly there already.

    A society where the state – in the final analysis, men with guns – have the authority to prevent you from expressing opinions is well on the way there.

  14. Rafe Champion

    At least, we have a weak government…

    A weak government which is supposed to do everything and fix every problem under the sun gives the worst of worlds because it will always be looted by the rent seekers and driven by factions.

    The fight for power under those conditions is itself divisive and destabilizing for at least one year of the electoral cycle and it also creates an impossible environment for long-term investment.

    We want a strong government with a minimum state so it can be effective in what it is supposed to do and also resist the demands of the factions and rent seekers who want it to do more.

  15. Lem

    We want a strong government with a minimum state so it can be effective in what it is supposed to do and also resist the demands of the factions and rent seekers who want it to do more.

    But how to get there now that we are in the pitiful state we are, is the question.

    How to breed self reliance into a population who take more than they give, who, many of them, have never had the experience of looking after themselves?

    I fear the only path will be the inevitable slow economic collapse into the decades of stagnation suffered by all socialist nations, punctuated by violence and suffering, until there is no other way to eat than for people to get off their backsides and fend for themselves.

    History repeats, because humans are too stupid to learn the lessons of the past.

  16. Some History

    The usual suspects are circulating a list of signatories condemning Bill Leak’s “racist cartoon”.

    The list has blown out to 231. That’s 231 of sub-mediocrity’s finest.

    Here’s what’s bothering. There are signatories to a demand for an apology, accusing Leak’s cartoon of being “racist”…. that it is racist. But nowhere is there any explanation of what makes Leak’s cartoon racist. There’s just much finger-wagging bluster. Well, to the 231 signatories, here’s your opportunity to edify numpties like myself. If you’re prepared to make the accusation, then you should be prepared to indicate why the cartoon in question is racist….. how it “perpetuates harmful and racist stereotypes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people”…. and why that’s the only interpretation that can be formed, i.e., that it is the absolutely right interpretation?

    It can be appreciated that failure to do so strongly fosters the impression that the signatories are beyond criticism or question; that they alone understand the circumstance; that they alone speak “truth”; that anyone suggesting otherwise is wrong. Given that they are right in their verdict, what need is there for a basis for their verdict? This is standard, contorted, authoritarian, bigoted leftist “logic”. In this case, Leak’s cartoon is racist simply because a small group of people agree to the claim that it is racist. No explanation required. Moralizing doesn’t make the moralizing moral. Reasons need to be given for the moralizing and evaluated for coherence. If the moralizing doesn’t pass scrutiny, then the moralizers are moral fakes that are irrationally outraged.

  17. Some History

    At least they are calling on editors not to publish certain things. They are not calling on these editors to be sacked or prosecuted, or on governments to ban such things etc.

    If only it stayed that way. It typically doesn’t. This is how the route to censorship begins. The signatories hope that their “moral outrage” will force editors into self-censorship. Job done. If editors don’t toe the line, then more pressure will be brought to bear. For example, calls to boycott “non-conforming” media outlets. That failing, the [fake] moral guardians will claim – a “no brainer” – that self-censorship is not working and, therefore, laws are required to force “out-of-control” editors to do the “right” thing.

  18. John64

    I have from day one believed that a fair chunk of the over-the-top reaction to the cartoon was a goodly dose of Murdoch666; the fact that Leak works for Newscorpse.

    That list of names does nothing to dissuade me from that view.

  19. Peter P

    I think the cartoon is considered racist because he has drawn the Aboriginal characters with realistic anatomical features such as dark skin and prominent brow-ridges. This probably upsets many of the fair-skinned urban ‘Aborigines’ who wouldn’t look out of place in a Nazi magazine.

    Note that the arresting officer is Aboriginal too, this was undoubtedly an attempt to thwart accusations of racism. Fat lot of good it did.

  20. Muddy

    I suspect that those you compliment with the label ‘subversive’ do so mostly from within a cocoon of safety, the echoes of their peers. By simply repeating what has already been said thousands of times, but perhaps louder or in a different format, they risk very little. Social Justice Posers (I refuse to call them ‘warriors’ and want to slap anyone who does so) are a prime example of this: they choose topics and soft targets they know they will win against, and emotionally soil themselves to avoid those who are fully prepared to slaughter their enemies (FGM, sex-slavery in Africa and the Middle East etc).
    ‘Subversion’ implies courage, regardless of the motivation and methods. Our ‘creatives’ here in Australia aspire to regular ego-fluffing on Queer @ Atrophied, or as ‘experts’ on the morning TV shows. They will travel in groups when it is desirable to say ‘Look at me,’ but otherwise hide from anything that requires discipline, courage, commitment, or true compassion. I’m not anti-creative or anti-art by any means, but what we have here is broccoli-flavoured popcorn, when what we deserve are triple-coated Maltesers.

  21. wreckage

    Economics. They are eliminating a competitor.

    Dead. Simple.

  22. Boambee John

    Muddy at 1458

    “Social Justice Posers”.

    Love it, congratulations!

  23. John L

    The list has blown out to 231. That’s 231 of sub-mediocrity’s finest.

    I have read the list when it was at about 170; I thought that it was a pretty impressive group of nobodies. However, as cane toads, the list is growing – 231 and expanding!
    I have a few questions that somebody, with better research skills than my, maybe able to research and answer.
    1) What is the total cost to taxpayer’s trough of this impressive (and increasing) bunch of “useful fools”?
    2) How many of them attended K Rudd’s summit of “best and brightest”?
    3) How many of them have repaid theirs HECS fees?
    4) How many of them have, at any stage – even for one minute, held a real job?

    My prediction to question 4 would be – between 0.00 and very few.

  24. Muddy

    Boambee John.
    Thanks. Resistance begins with the language we use, the same language we have permitted to be appropriated and redefined over the last few decades. When it seems as though there is little we as individuals can do, language is what remains. Hence I refuse to compliment a Social Justice Poser by using their preferred ‘warrior’ tag. That dilutes the actions of others who actually risk life and limb. I call the Liberals The Corpse Party because they no longer have anything functional to offer, and I call The Greens the Year Zero Party, because the ‘green’ is just the pretty wrapping over a violent, anti-human ideology. Not everyone will share my choice of alternatives, but we cannot continue to concede the power that resides in our language if we wish to be remembered positively by future generations.

  25. Philippa Martyr

    Z grade celebrities and yapping pantaloons.

  26. Peter P

    Muddy the ‘warrior’ part of the term SJW is used in a wonderfully sarcastic and mocking way, it is absolutely not their preferred tag.

    I think the SJW tag perfectly parodies these precious snowflakes who think they are brave warriors fighting ‘the system’ while actually being 100% PC and conformist.

  27. nerblnob

    I’m intrigued by “The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre”.

    What is it that they prevent?

    Are they associates of the Australian Society for the Prevention of Everything?

  28. Austin Mangosteen

    Tim Soutphommasane, Triggs et.al. and members of the ABC who have their heads in the sand and like to show everybody their halos–mistaking that for purity–ought to watch Landline and learn what really goes on in Australia.
    Landline: “Station Dreaming ” (Nov. 6, 2016)

    William Shadforth purchased what is now Seven Emu Station in the Gulf of Carpentaria and became the first indigenous owner of a cattle station in Australia. He earned the money himself to pay for the property. William has since died. Frank Shadforth had been running the property since his father’s death, but has now handed operations over to Clarry Shadforth.

    Sick of seeing generation after generation of Aborigines being destroyed on the welfare cycle, the Shadforths now take on youth (as a their own community program) to work on their station to teach them a better way of living. They are very critical of the useless short courses given to youth, that appear to appease the society of the seeming, who love latte and white wine, as they hide their heads and raise their rumps, exposing those halos far too often. Being progressives, they see this as fashionable behavior; whereas a fact check might reveal reality for the other 95% of Australians is different.

    Soutphommasane, Triggs & ilk, take note:
    Frank Shadforth speaking about Aborigines, says:
    The problem is a lot of families do not like looking after kids…Parents should spend more time with their kids and try and educate their kids. (Frank appears to be on to something to do with mothers and fathers–males and females, the birds and the bees, and a thing called family.)

    The HRC ought to be disbanded because the commissioners are proving to be overpaid swill who delight in the persecution of a man like Bill Leaks for merely saying what Frank Shadforth has said and everybody with skin in game knows. Yet the HRC are joined by the cheers of the scum who disgrace themselves as journalists.

    Warren Mundine, if he cares about Aborigines, ought to start putting noses on the commission out of joint, too–metaphorically, that is. Leave the violent stuff to Anthony Mundine and the Green Machine; that is what they get paid for doing.

  29. faceache

    Fame is but fleeting. Mediocrity lasts forever.

  30. Austin Mangosteen

    Tim Soutphommasane, Triggs et.al. and members of the ABC who have their heads in the sand and like to show everybody their halos–mistaking that for purity–ought to watch Landline and learn what really goes on in Australia.

    Landline: “Station Dreaming ” (Nov. 6, 2016)
    http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/landline/RA1601Q041S00#playing

    William Shadforth purchased what is now Seven Emu Station in the Gulf of Carpentaria and became the first indigenous owner of a cattle station in Australia. He earned the money himself to pay for the property. William has since died. Frank Shadforth had been running the property since his father’s death, but has now handed operations over to Clarry Shadforth.

    Sick of seeing generation after generation of Aborigines being destroyed on the welfare cycle, the Shadforths now take on youth (as a their own community program) to work on their station to teach them a better way of living. They are very critical of the useless short courses given to youth, that appear to appease the society of the seeming, who love latte and white wine, as they hide their heads and raise their rumps, exposing those halos far too often. Being progressives, they see this as fashionable behavior; whereas a fact check might reveal reality for the other 95% of Australians is different.

    Soutphommasane, Triggs & ilk, take note:
    Frank Shadforth speaking about Aborigines, says:
    The problem is a lot of families do not like looking after kids…Parents should spend more time with their kids and try and educate their kids. (Frank appears to be on to something to do with mothers and fathers–males and females, the birds and the bees, and a thing called family.)

    The HRC ought to be disbanded because the commissioners are proving to be overpaid swill who delight in the persecution of a man like Bill Leaks for merely saying what Frank Shadforth has said and everybody with skin in game knows. Yet the HRC are joined by the cheers of the scum who disgrace themselves as journalists.

    Warren Mundine, if he cares about Aborigines, ought to start putting noses on the commission out of joint, too–metaphorically, that is. Leave the violent stuff to Anthony Mundine and the Green Machine; that is what they get paid for doing.

  31. Atoms for Peace

    Social Justice Posers and Lone Pig attacks. Language is important.

  32. David Brewer

    We condemn The Australian’s publication of Bill Leak’s racist cartoon. Racism damages the health and wellbeing of those it targets.

    The cartoon is called racist because it implies there are a lot of aboriginal fathers who drink too much, lack a sense of parental responsibility, and whose kids then cause mischief. Of course we all know that’s true, and that it’s a serious social problem. But the complainants don’t want to discuss it. So they say that it’s racist to raise the issue. In fact, it is racist to hide the issue, and hiding it will do a lot more damage than bringing it out into the open and trying to do something about it.

    We acknowledge that the media industry has a long history of perpetuating harmful and racist stereotypes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and that it is well past time that this stops.

    The main racist stereotype of aboriginals pushed by the media for the last 50 years has been that of the noble savage whose culture is authentic, deep and meaningful, and who, imbued with the spirit of the land, obeys the eternal laws of nature and can therefore do no wrong. The complaint perpetuates this stereotype, which is indeed harmful.

  33. StraightShooter

    Interesting fact – of the 173 people listed (one name is missing) 117 or approx 68% are women.

  34. Crossie

    Don’t know, your Doomlordship, what you would describe as “authoritarian”, but I think we’re well and truly there already.

    Of course we are already there. Why else would you need laws to punish you for speaking the truth? In a just society you would only have laws against spreading lies.

  35. Crossie

    I am surprised that Robert and David Manne haven’t signed it either

    Give it time.

  36. John Constantine

    Nobody on this list gets less in taxpayer supplied funds than Quadrant magazine.

    Seems everybody on this list does ‘pay for play’, but the currency they use to buy access to the funds of the inner economy is their services as voluntary stasi to denounce those denying the right of the elites to.confiscate private resources for totalitarian socialism.

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