Freedom Of Suppress

As of today in Australia, the right not to be offended trumps the right to free speech.

Newspaper columnist and blogger Andrew Bolt was today found guilty in the Federal Court of breaches of the Racial Discrimination Act. Justice Mordecai Bromberg in his ruling, found two articles written by Bolt in 2009—claiming that self-proclaimed aborigines of caucasian descent and appearance were “political aborigines”, who used their legal “indigenous” status to intrigue themselves into lucrative positions open only to indigenous Australians and further their (predominantly activist) careers—left it

…reasonably likely that fair-skinned Aboriginal people (or some of them) were offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated…

What this precedent means, is that the legal test of vilification now turns on the degree of offence experienced in the mind of the claimed victim—an impossible legal criterion, one which is open to any imaginable distortion of meaning, and one which opens the way to the tyranny of the hypersensitive.

Legal commentators have noted Bolt may well have won the case, had he not made two errors of fact in the articles; errors Bolt himself now acknowledges and which no-one now disputes. I’m doubtful this would have made much difference though, given that the appellants sought far more than a simple retraction and correction of these errors.

You all know LibertyGibbert’s policy on racism—I detest and abhor it, and over the last year I have lost a number of readers over its severity. I make no apologies for this, and never will. I have also experienced others, aggrieved over unrelated issues, attempt to accuse me of racism, and have seen first-hand just how easy it is to twist almost any statement into a perceived racial slight.

It’s quite racist in itself—the notion that non-whites are somehow so helpless and infantile that they require the soothings of a nanny state (a white one, take note) to assuage their self-image, so bruised by the likes of nasty Mister Bolt and his friends.

Seen on Australian TV this week

And all this under the looming shadow of the Gillard government’s impending “inquiry” into the media, an inquiry whose boosters have openly declared their aim to licence newspapers, journalists, and even bloggers and tweeters. I think you can all see what this is: a pretext. No more, no less. More state control, a weakening of the right to free speech, and once again, we are all less free. GE and journalists across the free world, take note.

*****

I’m on the road till the end of next week; if you’d like to come along for the ride, click here.

Cheers,

Oz

Update 28 Oct 2011 – Bolt’s actions have been defended by—of all people—Julian Assange, in this article; well worth a read.

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49 Responses to Freedom Of Suppress

  1. fenbeagleblog says:

    I’m not sure I understand fully what this is about, what are ‘political aborigines’ exactly?

    G’day Fen,

    Bolt’s point is that these were individuals who did not live as aborigines, in tribal groups or in the outback, were predominantly of European descent, and identified themselves as “aborigines” as a matter of convenience. Bolt isn’t the first person to raise this issue; actually, a number of tribal elders in the Top End have wondered by what right these city-dwellers presume to speak for them, as office-holders of various government-funded indigenous advocacy groups. The fact that a white journalist has raised the same point is the cause of the current brouhaha – Oz

  2. farmerbraun says:

    I imagine that the situation is analagous to that which exists in N.Z., where the indigenous people have special or “privileged” status in law, because of a presumed handicap; positive discrimination is the PC term, but racial discrimination is more informative.
    So for ” political” (aboriginal), one might easily substitute “economic”, or more strictly “legal” (aboriginal). Maybe the appropriate term is de facto. But “pseudo”(aboriginal) probably covers it.

  3. Amanda says:

    Cough. Whatever happened to the notion of a colour-blind society?

    I mean, Herman Cain is significantly darker than Obama but who is going to say — and who would be justified in saying — ‘our candidate is blacker than your candidate and so he should win’? Makes no sense, does it? Yet the mainstream media and various party hacks like to suggest that patriotism requires support of Obama, partly because he’s black (or half-black), but mainly of course because he’s liberal.

    I’d like to be able to support politicians — or anyone — because I believe in their message or accept their argument or (in my case) both — without someone badgering me because the candidate in question ain’t the right colour.

    A colour-blind society: why can’t we have that? Up here and Down Under.

  4. Kitler says:

    Amanda I’m not sure you are aware of this but in African American culture the darker you are the more you are discriminated against by your own people. Light skinned blacks are judged to better than darker ones.

  5. farmerbraun says:

    Interesting isn’t it? If you are brought up to identify with a disadvantaged group then the state will regard you as being disadvantaged, if that is your claim,regardless of your genetic makeup.
    Farmer Brown’s children have always greatly resented their being treated by the state as disadvantaged, on the basis of some polynesian genetics; 1/64 to be precise. Crippling eh?

  6. Kitler says:

    Ah but my grandson poor boy is going to have a hell of a time with his census form he’s half European, half Vietnamese, half Inuit, half Aleut, half a little bit of Russian thrown in and some other native American tribe.
    On the plus side he could open his own casino.

  7. Thanks Oz, well laid out, including your response to Fen.

    Racial divisions and tensions only get stoked by leftist governments that seek ‘divide and rule’ politics, in tandem with ‘affirmative action’ (which is where a lot of the real racism is nowadays).

    By the way, I’m still getting upto speed on this, so maybe a silly question, but is there any recourse to appeal?

    Yes, and Bolt’s employers are currently considering it – Oz

  8. benfrommo says:

    I find it funny that right after A. Bolt made a big deal about Julian politically that this decision came down. Is this a very big coincidence (as in when were the charges brought and the timing of the decision) or is it something bigger?

    Just a thought really. Thanks for another great article on Australia.

    Another thought, it seems that the laws in Australia for whatever reason are not as strong in protecting free speach as in the US + UK. I am not sure why this is, as you enjoy most other freedoms the same as the other two countries, but I guess it just is as it is as they say.

  9. braunson says:

    Actually FB, we are 1/16 ;-)

  10. Kitler says:

    braunson tell your dad to lay off the yoghurt. A fine vintage no doubt.

  11. meltemian says:

    Kitler
    How many halves does your grandson have?
    I think you’ve invented a new form of fractional maths.

  12. Amanda says:

    Kitler at 9:59: Very funny.

    Also Meltemian is right: He seems to be a lot more than he’s entitled to!

  13. Amanda says:

    P. S. to Kitler: Yes, I was aware of that. Don’t know if it still holds true, though. Nat ‘King’ Cole’s wife felt she was superior for that reason; but times have changed.

  14. Kitler says:

    Amanda not as much as people think, people may be more polite on the surface but they haven’t changed much behind closed doors. Or be in an interracial relationship and visit a restaurant then wonder why they seat you close to a restroom on a very quiet day or put you in some remote corner. Or be ignored by serving staff.

  15. Kitler says:

    meltemian if I had to work out the real fractions my head would explode.

  16. Dr. Dave says:

    This story has made a splash on US redneck sites:

    http://moonbattery.com/?p=2834

  17. Dr. Dave says:

    It appears that a comment Amanda left on JD’s blog is now featured prominently on WUWT:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/28/comment-of-the-week-2/#more-48393

  18. Ozboy says:

    Mucho congrats Amanda – a deserved recognition for much quality blogging.

    Road trip’s updated as well. I’m a day behind, but I’ll have some shots of the north coast of NSW up presently.

  19. Amanda says:

    Thank you, thank you, Dr Dave and Ozboy (and you other chaps that said nice things on another forum). I appreciate the appreciation!

    I think it was my dad that really stole the show. But lots of fun to feel that maybe we’re getting somewhere and not just (for instance) preaching to the converted/talking amongst ourselves.

  20. meltemian says:

    Great post Amanda, fame at last!
    (my avatar likes the look of yours by the way)
    I am sure the truth is getting out everywhere, most people I talk to are pretty sceptical about the underlying motives for all the green taxes and it doesn’t take much for them to start querying the whole AGW premise, particularly as we actually seem to be getting noticeably colder?

  21. Amanda says:

    Thanks, Meltemian, and yes, I particularly like my horse as I also like yours. However, sometimes I have a fox pop up instead :^).

    I thought Watts’s experiment was brilliant (if that word is not overused — well all right, it is) because it allows people to arrive at skepticism crab-wise, if see what I mean.

    I hesitated before sending Dad the link, but I just sent it with a comment about ‘Sherlock Holmesian detection’, so it wasn’t like I was trying to say ‘You’re wrong — so there!’ Easy does it, you know. Anyway his response was much better and more expressive of doubt than anything I could have expected.

    This is part of the value of what Watts did: it allows people to come towards skepticism without feeling that they are being called dummies, or that their politics as such is being maligned. In fact, the care that Watts took shows that it *wasn’t* easy to detect Gore’s sleights of hand, and thus there is no shame in having missed them. So I think the impact of Watts’s reconstruction — and anything he might do like that in the future — is greater than what might result from the actual findings themselves.

  22. Dr. Dave says:

    Mel & Amanda,

    Golly, I would love to hang out and swap horse tales. Somehow I suspect this isn’t what Ozboy has in mind. I had a thoroughbred mare named Ashley for a half dozen years. She was a real sweetheart most of the time. She was as annoying as a puppy when I was working on fence and she wanted attention. She was dangerous as hell if you were on her back and she suddenly remembered her racehorse heritage. But she was indeed an incredibly beautiful animal. She had a 5 acre pasture all to herself and I remember watching in awe around sunset when she turned on the afterburners and broke into a full run against the backdrop of the setting Texas sun. Absolutely gorgeous! My role in horse ownership was more one of designated ranch hand rather than equestrian, but she was fun to ride. Ashley was like having a Ferrari of horses – beautiful and incredibly fast. My ex even had an Australian saddle which I believe is the perfect hybrid of an English riding saddle and a Western working saddle.

    But what I wanted to mention was WUWT. I’ve been a regular there for years. Anthony Watts is one of the wisest and kindest men I’ve never met. Someday I wish to remedy this situation. I want commend Amanda for providing a comment that would bring a smile to this fine man’s face. Anthony Watts is a fine man, a “mensch” if you will. He has given of himself unselfishly so that we all can know the truth. Amanda…I salute you.

  23. Kitler says:

    Well in France you can have cheval de hamburger avec des frites or steak de cheval avec des pommes de terre cuites.

  24. Dr. Dave says:

    Kitler,

    Damn! Yer French is every bit as good as your English!

  25. Luton Ian says:

    Congratulations Amanda

  26. Luton Ian says:

    Hi Oz,
    Is there any issue or a characteristic left which the politicians haven’t tried to use as a wedge to split us up and put us into pigeon holes for special treatment?

    Age, gender, race, income, parentage, religion, education, ginger pubes…

    Here’s an American, self proclaimed ex weatherman, who (allegedly) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ward_Churchill#Ethnic_background appears to have tried to pull a similar stunt:

    The parents of one of my primary school class mates used to put him into any “acting” roles they could find, and he once showed us pictures of himself; suitably made up, on the then very popular, Black and White Minstrels Show.

    Totally un PC these days, but I wonder if he could now use the photos to his advantage?

  27. Kitler says:

    Dr Dave thank goodness for Garble translate.

  28. Kitler says:

    Luton Ian my acting roles at primary school have included the Handsome Prince in Snow White and the Seven Porgs and Mr Beaver but the less said about that the better. My singing career was ended age 11 by an ex music teacher who thought it best I keep quiet.

  29. Kitler says:

    Luton Ian oddly enough the Cherokee have decided to rescind the membership of the tribe to black ex slave ancestry members owned by Cherokee, because an old USA treaty designated them as such. I think they wished to stop sponging by certain groups as everyone around here always claims Cherokee blood.

  30. Kitler says:

    which is odd because this is Chickasaw country.

  31. Amanda says:

    Well thank you, Dave, you are too kind, as my father likes to say. Actually the comment is at least half his — it’s really *his* response to the experiment that I think Watts was pleased with. Let’s face it, I’m already on board. It’s convincing the climate change camp-followers that is tricky, and convincing them is what we need to do in order to rid ourselves of this troublesome beast. Anyway, I was really tickled to find that he had seen my comment and chosen to feature it as he did. Above all I’ve been really chuffed by my friends’ warm expressions to me.


    Thanks also, Luton Ian.

  32. Amanda says:

    P. S. to Dave: Ashley sounds magical, as does the setting (and I can imagine it well enough, since once or twice I *was* able to get out in Texas from the city). All my horses so far have been imaginary :^)

  33. Amanda says:

    Kitler at 8:27: LOL!

  34. Ozboy says:

    G’day folks,

    Unfortunately I’m having a few technical issues with WordPress, which I won’t have time to address for a couple of days. I’ll update the road trip when I get a chance (up in sunny Queensland today).

    Cheers

    Oz

  35. Dr. Dave says:

    Amanda,

    We have a little hardware and feed store near us One day I saw this ad for a beautiful buckskin mare and I was sorely tempted. Then I reconnected with reality. Horses are expensive and a pain in the ass. I was able to keep Ashley in what was essentially our back yard. I did get an education in fencing in 5 acres in 100+ degree Texas heat and building a horse stall. Back in those days alfalfa wasn’t nearly as expensive as it is today. The same goes for grain. A farrier only cost about $35 per visit back then, it’s closer to $150 today. I used to buy bales of alfalfa for about $4/each and today they’re closer to $20/each. On top of that I’d have to pay to keep a horse at our local stable. The best way to enjoy a horse is just like a boat or swimming pool – that your neighbor owns.

  36. meltemian says:

    Dr D, How right you are – horses cost a fortune to keep, feed, grazing, hay, vet’s bills, and a wardrobe that cost more than mine just to keep him warm. He was an Arab/Thoroughbred cross and a bit of a bugger when he wanted to be. I finally lost him a year ago at the age of 32!!
    For the last 10 years he had a chronic stomach problem and he used to have good days and bad days. My vet tried everything, special expensive food, medicines etc. but as a last resort he suggested Pepto-Bismol, and amazingly it worked. Pepto-Bismol tablet sandwiches twice a day! The pharmacy used to order them for me specially – come to think of it the vet was an American too. Mr M reckoned I used to work full time just to keep the horse.

  37. Dr. Dave says:

    Mel,

    You reminded me of little details I had forgotten about. Like those big bales of sawdust for bedding that cost an arm and a leg. Rotating the grain according to the weather (e.g. more oats in the winter). A tank heater for her water The blankets and of course having to round her up and put them on her. All manner of tack from hoof picks, combs and brushes to the riding tack. Buying, hauling and stacking bales of hay. Of course one must not forget the vaccines, the wormer and having her trimmed and shod.

    Still, I rather miss having a horse in my backyard. I even love the smell of horses. I am tempted from time to time so it’s good for me to remember the down side of horse ownership. I’m 17 years older than when I was a designated ranch hand. Having a horse would cut into my goofing off time.

  38. Amanda says:

    Dave and Meltemian:
    Horse-owning sounds like something that is wonderful to do at a certain time of life if one can manage it — but is awfully hard to keep up unless it’s your main vocation. Or unless you’re rich and there are caretakers to free you up. Even with my dog, I feel that way: a tremendous joy but a tremendous tie also, and there are aspects of freedom that I miss and that I would not want to give up again.

    I think it would be really neat to have an interesting saltwater fish tank (in the future). I could go on holiday, staying wherever I liked and in a nice hotel, and someone else could feed the fish, and they wouldn’t miss me. I wouldn’t love the fish as I love my dog (of course), but then I wouldn’t owe them as much, either.

    By the way, Meltemian, I’m not surprised that Pepto Bismol worked for your horse: my dog has had various medicines meant for people, as well as her dog-only preventives, and they do seem to help. Anyway (as with her allergies and anithistamines), they take the edge off, even if they’re not quite as effective in dogs as in humans.

  39. Amanda says:

    Dr. Dave at 5:02: Enjoy the memories. Perhaps they are 90% of what you need from horses now (?)

  40. izen says:

    I already have Andrew Bolt as a polemicist rather than a reporter with a tenuous grasp of reality – or at least a grasp comprimised by his ideological outlook from his ridiculous statements on the AGW subject. So the fact he made errors of fact as well as ‘tone’ when pontificating on other matters is unsurprising.

    I would agree with Ozboy that the offence taken by a self-proclaimed victim is a bad way to judge any case. Its a growing trend though with much judicial response to crime -there is now a whole aspect of ‘victim testonomy’ in theft, and violent crimes where how the person robbed/assaulted/bereaved FEELS about it is given some sort of significance in the sentencing….

    Set up specific racial/genetic measurements (NOT easy, the genetic differences are tiny!) and allow people to claim special benefits only to the mathematical degree they possess those genetic markers.

    Think of it as belated payback. Australia, along with many other States has a history of special treatment of anyone NOT a WASP of an emphatically negative impact for many decades. A few decades of reverse discrimination, even if its exploited by the occasional mulatto, is just balancing the national Karma!

    I have NO interest in horse, but living next to a stables when younger I have often wondered what the obsessive enthusiam teenage girls have for them signifies….

  41. Amanda says:

    Izen: They’re available to ride, and men aren’t…. Teenage girls, quite rightly, often find boys their own age no use. Not sexy, even if they might make genial companions. But they’re too young for grown men and don’t have access to them, anyway. Where else to go for excitement? Well, music, since I had no access to horses, either!

  42. Amanda says:

    P. S. Do you really believe that rubbish about ‘payback’ and ‘national karma’? Easy to say that we should put our heads on the block as payment for our ancestors’ sins — when it’s not you whose head is being so positioned. Also I think that ‘ancestor guilt’ is as dangerous and obnoxious a notion as any other racialist/chauvinist ‘blood-on-their-heads’ idea.

    The past is done. A free people should live by its principles of justice, in the here and now, without exception.

  43. Ozboy says:

    G’day everyone,

    Glad to see you’re all still about. I’ve resolved the technical issues I had with WordPress and should have some time in a couple of days to update the road trip.

  44. izen says:

    @- Amanda says:
    October 4, 2011 at 2:58 am
    ” Do you really believe that rubbish about ‘payback’ and ‘national karma’? Easy to say that we should put our heads on the block as payment for our ancestors’ sins — when it’s not you whose head is being so positioned.”

    Not believe… but I do suspect there is a degree of contingent consequence that emerge from past actions and attitudes. A kind of social Newtonian – For any action there is an equal and opposite re-action.

    ” Also I think that ‘ancestor guilt’ is as dangerous and obnoxious a notion as any other racialist/chauvinist ‘blood-on-their-heads’ idea.”

    Agree. Otherwise it becomes a process where past events are re-framed according to the predjudices of the moment. The errors of our predecessors and ancestors inflicted its own punishment, just as the advances made carry forward their benefits. RE-enacting past errors in reverse directly in the present is magical thinking. Rarely an effective method of correcting for bad actions in the past.

    “The past is done. A free people should live by its principles of justice, in the here and now, without exception.”

    Trouble is people tend to use past behavior to estimate the probabilities of future actions. I think that methodology is also adopted by societies. Its a stable and sucessful stratergy. But if you use the ideal of ‘Freedom and Justice’ to frame the actions of past societies you end up with Whig history.

    P.S. Yes its obvious that horses are MUCH more attractive companions that the boys for the teenage girls – happy to muck out/clean tack for hours just for the chance of a ride… Guess it dosn’t change much as both ‘sides’ get older! -grin-

  45. Dr. Dave says:

    izen,

    I wonder if I’m the ONLY one that notes the hypocrisy of YOU labeling ANYONE as a polemicist for their views on AGW. It’s actually amusing. Go pick a fight with McIntyre and see how that works out for you.

    I also wonder what fount of wisdom that you tap into for your wealth of knowledge regarding human genetics and DNA testing. In the US they have been testing and identifying specific Native American tribes for quite a long while. Don’t believe me? Look it up. A lot of this started over a decade ago when they were searching for genetic markers that might code for Type 2 diabetes. About 20% of adult Navajo have Type 2 diabetes and nearly 25% of the Hopi do. Interestingly, they are genetically distinct tribes. Go figure. I mean…shucks…they can determine that they’re genetically distinct.

    Now we come to the real hot button issue: horses. I agree with you. I have no idea why young girls get all goopy about horses. I only became (vaguely) interested because when I was about 20 and I had a girlfriend who was into horses. She wanted me to go riding with her. She then tentatively asked, “do you how to ride?” I lied and said, “Sure!”. She had family friends who had a couple of horses and they were glad to let us ride them so they got exercise. [NOTE: Here's a theme we will be returning to] Now…maybe you have read the C.S. Lewis Narnia series. I did when I was a kid and I distinctly remember the story “The Horse and His Boy” where the talking horse from Narnia taught “his boy” how to ride a horse. I actually applied those lessons and no one would have known I hadn’t been on a horse since I was a little kid when my sister took me horseback riding once. Lewis absolutely nailed all the basics for riding a tame, well trained saddle horse. I was able to fake it almost into my 30s.

    What C.S. Lewis’ children’s books neglected to mention is that horses are trained differently for different tasks. Race horses are trained VERY differently than saddle horses. This is abundantly obvious to the careful observer (just go the track sometime). Jockeys ride way up high on the horse’s back. You see ‘em slide down on their backs and squeeze with their legs when they kick in the afterburners in the back stretch. To a trained race horse getting squeezed by the rider’s legs means “go like hell”. On your typical saddle horse the rider maintains his or her mount by holding on to the horse with their legs. A well trained saddle horse, and certainly a reining horse is a true delight to ride. You can maneuver these animals with just the slightest pressure from the reins, your knees or calves. As I learned, this is not the case with race horses. When you squeeze these idiots with your legs they think they’re at the starting line!

    Ashley was a thoroughbred culled from the track at age 4. They cull a lot of horses for all sorts of reasons but I can’t believe they cut her because she was slow…stupid, maybe…but NOT slow. She was in post “race horse” rehab for a year or two before we bought her. She was supposed to be a saddle horse by then…and sometimes she was. But Man o’ man…every once in a while you could get up on her back and hold on with your legs and she would take off like she was at the Kentucky Derby. Now, I’ve ridden several “fast” horses before, but being on the back of this crazy bitch was something else altogether. When she ran dead out you were hanging on for dear life, your heart was pounding, the wind was whistling in your ears and you watched her front hooves extend WAY beyond her head. Man, what a ride! I might add that she could be an infuriatingly slow and lazy oaf when you had to lead her back to her stall.

    So this brings me back to why girls love horses. I don’t really know. Maybe because they are magnificently beautiful animals. They are the very epitome of grace and fluid motion. They are the most powerful animals most of us are likely to encounter. And, like women, half the time you want to kill them. Don’t groan. I don’t know ANYBODY who has spent any significant amount of time around horses or women who hasn’t thought that very thing.

    But perhaps the most salient point I could make is the one about riding my girlfriend’s friend’s horses. Man, that was ideal! We saddled ‘em up and rode them all day, then rode them home, yanked the tack off ‘em and brushed ‘em down and put ‘em up. We left and took showers. The owners fed, cared for and paid for our indulgences…just like a neighbor with a hot tub.

  46. izen says:

    @- Dr. Dave says:
    October 4, 2011 at 6:43 pm
    “I wonder if I’m the ONLY one that notes the hypocrisy of YOU labeling ANYONE as a polemicist for their views on AGW. It’s actually amusing. Go pick a fight with McIntyre and see how that works out for you.”

    I am of course hurt and offended by the attribution of polemicist. I try to be like the Dragnet detectives…. just the facts ma’m…! -grin-

    “I also wonder what fount of wisdom that you tap into for your wealth of knowledge regarding human genetics and DNA testing. In the US they have been testing and identifying specific Native American tribes for quite a long while. Don’t believe me? Look it up. A lot of this started over a decade ago when they were searching for genetic markers that might code for Type 2 diabetes. About 20% of adult Navajo have Type 2 diabetes and nearly 25% of the Hopi do. Interestingly, they are genetically distinct tribes. Go figure. I mean…shucks…they can determine that they’re genetically distinct.”

    Yes, the markers used to identify tribes or ethnic groups are based on a very small part of the very highly variable section of the non-coding or ‘junk’ sections of the genome and are usually of no significance for the phenotype. But quantifying the degree of difference rather than just identifying a group on probablistic grounds is rather mare difficult. I suggested it in part to highlight how the GENETIC differences are a red herring. Its the ethnic/cultural differences and percieved history that contain the measure of difference, not the genes

    Yes I read the C.S. Lewis Narnia series, or at least some of it. I got very hacked of with the didactic preaching of christian morality in them. Too much like all those ‘improving’ Victorian tomes about how ‘good’ children are rewarded and the bad are punished. Even as a 9 year old I knew that wasn’t the way the world really worked.

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