Monday, January 24, 2011
BBC looks into multicultural Britain and finds some unwelcome truths
Are young men of Pakistani origin really fizzing with testosterone, and do they target young white women for sex because they see them as easy meat, as Jack Straw claimed last week? The Today programme went to Bradford this morning to find out, and you got the distinct impression that no one was more shocked than the BBC to find young Asian men, by and large, confirming what Mr Straw said.
A minority of interviewees sounded a note of caution, said everyone was equal and there was no such thing as an “easy target”. A more typical response, however, was: “It’s the way the white women dress, innit. Miniskirts. Encourages them, innit, to go jack ‘em and that, d’you get me?” (That’s an exact quote, by the way.) Or: “A lot of Asian women wouldn’t actually have their body showing, whereas white women you would find them like that.” Or: “White women drink, so when they [are] under the influence of alcohol the Pakistani men probably – the ones from Pakistan that have recently come – probably think they can take advantage, innit.”
Zubeida Malik introduced her report by saying: “Given the huge controversy that Jack Straw’s comments raised, you might be surprised by what you hear.” But were listeners really shocked by what they heard? Over at the BBC they might have been surprised, but no one else the programme interviewed sounded as though the comments were news to them. In fact, just before the end of programme, at ten to nine, they brought on David Aaronovitch and Nihal from the BBC Asian Network. I’m afraid the show’s producers will have been disappointed if they hoped Aaronovitch and Nihal might offer an alternative reading of the situation.
“What you have is a level of anecdotal evidence that something of this sort is going on,” Aaronovitch said. “It does seem that there is really something going on that people need to deal with.” Justin Webb struggled manfully to present a more innocent and less damaging case, proposing that, perhaps, some Asian men simply “fancied western women”.
Then Nihal from the Asian Network came on and I can only imagine the hand-wringing among BBC multiculturalists when they heard what he had to say: “We did this story back in November and we asked the question whether there is something in the Pakistani culture that led men to do this. Many people called in my phone-in show and said: ‘Yes we know that this is happening. Our men have this attitude towards white girls.’ [On Monday] a caller said: ‘White girls are easy. Fact.’ That’s what he said and he was unapologetic about that. I told him it wasn’t fact it was an opinion.”
Webb responded that that was very tough on young men of Pakistani origin. And he’s right, of course: it certainly is not good for respectable young Asian men. The fact is, though, that hardly anyone now denies that there is a real issue here and it has be faced. Perhaps only Keith Vaz is left insisting the whole thing’s an invention, and no one takes him seriously. As Nihal said: “Even Keith Vaz, chairman of the home affairs select committee, on my show this week said that he had never heard anybody say this, that white women were easy or promiscuous. I said to him: Well, why don’t you check out the iPlayer, because ten minutes before he came on my show someone had said that very thing!”
“It’s certainly been well mentioned now,” Webb said, a bit testily, as he wound up the interview. Small wonder if he was inwardly peeved. Today the BBC took a good look at multicultural Britain – and they didn’t like what they saw.
Anonymity can help enable free speech
I’m about to do something that I never really thought I’d do. But before I do, let me give you a little context:
I’ve never really taken free speech for granted, but I’ve always felt free to speak my mind. Or at least I thought that’s the way I felt. But some years ago, not long after I first created Lady Liberty’s Constitution Clearing House, I discovered an unsettling truth.
I was gathering news headlines and writing a comment on one of the stories I’d found. When I re-read what I’d written, I was afraid it might be a little harsh. I deleted it and started again. When I considered my revisions, I worried that somebody (particularly somebody in a government that was watching all too closely in those days following 9/11) might not like the words I’d used. I hit the delete key again. It took several more revisions and deletions before it struck me that I was censoring myself, and that I was doing so not out of concern that I might be wrong or that my real opinion wasn’t accurately represented, but because I was afraid of what some government entity or another might think. The moment I realized that salient point, I reverted back to my original words and uploaded the file.
That little anecdote (it really happened just that way) has been in my mind of late thanks to the fallout from the Tucson tragedy of January 8. While I certainly can’t argue that threats are bad, suggestions coming from corners as far ranging as Congress and the media itself include the censorship or even criminalization of words that might be “incendiary” or “offensive.” These proposals are even worse than your garden-variety censorship as is ably illustrated by even the most cursory consideration of just how subjective “incendiary” and “offensive” are as descriptors! Adding insult to injury is the fact that the majority of Americans don’t think that rhetoric of any kind from either side had anything material to do with the actions of a man who appears to be nothing more or less than a lunatic.
Along with the complaints concerning some of the political rhetoric that the media suggested was a root cause of the shootings in Arizona (later shown to be untrue, but never retracted by those who made the claims) came criticisms of anonymous comments via the Internet. People were accused of hiding behind anonymity and using it to their advantage to say particularly cruel or vitriolic things. In what is apparently purely coincidental (, the Obama administration proposed an Internet ID for Americans. While not required (yet), the ID is proposed in an effort to safeguard online privacy (really) and is accompanied by assurances that there will be no centralized database of those who have such ID’s (oh, sure) and that anonymity will remain an option for those who desire it (well, anonymous except to everybody who has access to the database that won’t exist).
While the attacks on the idea of free speech have unquestionably ramped up in the last week or so, events in Tucson weren’t the only news making matters to incite such ideas. Take, for example, the WikiLeaks scandal. Julian Assange, head honcho at WikiLeaks, is less than popular with the US government these days since his site published a number of diplomatic memos that were, to put it kindly, somewhat embarrassing to American officials. While I support the prosecution of anybody who leaked these documents if he was legally prohibited from doing so, unless WikiLeaks actually and actively solicited the leak, I can’t hold them responsible for publishing something that landed in their lap (arguments the documents released to date threaten national security are exaggerated at best; the one document that might actually meet the definition was redacted by WikiLeaks itself prior to release).
Congress, however, apparently continues to have another view of the WikiLeaks matter. When it appeared there were no laws in existence that would permit any prosecution of Assange, a triplet of Senators (a Republican, a Democrat, and an Independent) has proposed legislation that will seal what they see as a loophole. Not only is that legislation in and of itself a threat to the freedom of the press, the measure is actually likely to be made retroactive. I’m not sure what that would do to the statute of limitations on such things, but I sure know what it means for investigative reporters and freedom of the press!
The thread that ties many of these things together is the anonymity I briefly mentioned earlier. Some have suggested that anonymity on the Internet helps bloggers and others who share their opinions to “avoid responsibility and accountability for what one is saying.” Others suggest that anonymity means people can say whatever they wish behind the cover of a screen name, no matter how crazy or incendiary it may be, and no matter that they’d never say the same things if they were face to face or using their real name. To some extent, they’re right. But does the fact that they have a point mean anonymity-and truly free speech-should be somehow regulated? Even prohibited?
Before you answer that question, consider that there are good reasons for anonymity that have nothing to do with whether or not an individual is willing to “own” his or her comments. There are women who are doing all that they can to hide from abusive ex-husbands or boyfriends. There are men who would otherwise endanger their employment or their lives if their comments were associated with them. And it doesn’t need to be anything as serious as whistle-blowing, either. Just last week, a Minnesota wrestling coach was placed on leave over political comments he made on his own time and in an entirely out-of-school context. His comments were made in public, of course, but I think that clearly shows the danger of merely expressing an opinion! And lest you think that anonymity facilitates crime, it doesn’t, at least not for long.
In my own case, I chose a pseudonym for several reasons. Personally, I wasn’t worried about any reflection on myself. I was, however, concerned that anything I said not be linked to my employer. While my company might not be all that concerned about things I say (I’m lucky that way), some of its clients might be. I also haven’t been inclined to be linked to real world acquaintances from either my past or my present. This is for the sake of privacy, both mine and theirs.
I’ve never used anonymity to say anything I wouldn’t say in public and I certainly haven’t hidden behind anything to promote violence. I’ve never used my anonymity to engage in any illegal activity. And I’ve frankly never said anything in any of my columns or other postings that I wouldn’t just as cheerfully say on a stage or over drinks. Whatever I think of anything, I do my best to back it up with facts that you can check for yourself, so anonymity shouldn’t undermine my credibility either. Still, some Web sites won’t publish letters or commentary written under a pseudonym anymore, and now anonymity is getting some of the same blame for various and sundry problems (and for the same invalid reasons) as is political rhetoric as a whole, guns, and threats to national security.
Fine. After some lengthy discussions with those involved, and a good deal of thought and consideration, I’m going to nip some of this nonsense in the bud, at least where I personally am concerned. If a name gives me added credibility, if it lends itself to my obvious willingness to accept responsibility for what I say, and if it matters so very much to some, then hear this: I am Lady Liberty. But my name is L. Kathryn Jones [Which is pretty close to anonymity -- JR]
Defending moral autonomy against an army of nudgers
Frank Furedi slams the ‘choice architects’ who bypass public debate in their zealous effort to reshape our minds and bodies
This year, spiked will be upping the ante in our culture war against the new politics of nudging and in defence of individual autonomy. In this new essay, Frank Furedi takes the nudge-obsessed authorities to task for denigrating our right to make moral choices.
I have always had a visceral revulsion for the idea of ‘false consciousness’. As a student radical in the early 1970s, I was continually being warned about the dangers of this social disease. Many on the left argued that the general public, specifically the working classes, did not understand what their real interests were. The self-appointed carriers of true consciousness pointed to certain areas of plebian behaviour, such as seeking solace in football or voting for the UK Conservative Party, as proof of the widespread nature of ‘false consciousness’.
Herbert Marcuse’s claim that people are driven by ‘false needs’ was continually talked up by the apparently enlightened minority, who presumed to know what the ‘real needs’ of their fellow citizens were. In recent decades, this outlook has come to be astonishingly influential within the professional middle classes, particularly in the United States. Consider the writings of the American journalist Thomas Frank, who frequently espouses an updated version of the idea of false consciousness. His 2004 book, What’s The Matter With Kansas?, exemplifies this patronising outlook; it concludes that ‘people getting their fundamental interests wrong is what American political life is all about’.
In recent years, the idea that people are too thick to know what is in their best interests has influenced and shaped policymaking on both sides of the Atlantic. In one sense, this diagnosis of intellectual poverty among the masses is simply a new expression of an old idea. Nineteenth-century social engineers regarded the targets of their work - the masses - as both irrational and easily suggestible. In the twentieth century, psychologists and advertisers argued that the world would be a better place if they could successfully manipulate the public to act in accordance with the latest ‘scientific’ insights. They expressed their assumption of moral authority openly and with little concern for insulting people’s sensibilities.
So in 1941, Dr Ernest Dichter, the president of the Institute for Motivational Research, stated that ‘the successful ad agency manipulates human motivations and desires and develops a need for goods with which the public has at one time been unfamiliar’. Today, manipulating human motivations remains a key aim of both the public and private sectors. Only now, the old-fashioned motivational techniques have been given a new boost by so-called behavioural economics and evolutionary psychology.
In the twenty-first century, motivational research has been embraced by governments that have effectively given up on the idea of morally or politically motivating their citizens. Policy advisers frequently complain that citizens refuse to acknowledge the wisdom that they are offering and instead adopt forms of behaviour that are antithetical to expert advice. In effect, these policy advisers, along with government officials and politicians, have concluded that the time for open debate and argument is over, since arguing with people who act irrationally is pointless. They claim that what is now required are new techniques of behaviour management and motivational manipulation, in order to encourage the public to act in accordance with best practice.
That is why both the British and American governments have embraced the doctrine of ‘nudge’, as most explicitly espoused by the American academics Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein. Relying on behaviour-management techniques, this doctrine, described as ‘libertarian paternalism’, aims to manipulate people into making choices which the powers-that-be consider ‘right’.
Bypassing public debate
In Britain, a Cabinet Office Behavioural Insight Team, otherwise known as the Nudge Unit, has been busy advising different departments of state about which psychological tricks are likely to achieve the best results. In a report published last month, it explained that the ‘traditional tools of government’ have failed to alter people’s ‘behavioural problems’, and therefore it is spearheading a mission to ‘help the UK government develop and apply lessons from behavioural economics and behavioural science to public policymaking’.
The main justification for displacing the ‘traditional tools of government’ with behaviour-management techniques is the apparently novel discovery that people do not always act rationally. The report states: ‘Many of the most pressing public policy issues cannot be addressed without thinking about the behaviour of individuals. Behavioural science and behavioural economics show us that, very often, we do not behave in a way that we would be expected to if we were perfectly “rational” human beings.’
As it happens, we don’t need behavioural science to ‘show us’ that people behave in ways that violate the dictates of expert advice and sophisticated cost-benefit analysis. We all know that human beings are subject to habit, slothfulness and passion. Some people take pleasure from indulging in activities that come with a health warning or which run counter to the latest expert advice. Sometimes we even display altruistic behaviour that might directly contradict our self-interest.
For centuries, these different forms of behaviour have kept moral entrepreneurs and experts - those concerned with understanding and remoulding our behaviour - in employment. In principle, of course, people who object to certain kinds of human behaviour are entitled to speak out and warn the public about the potential unhappy consequences of such behaviour. In a democratic society, argument and debate about the negative or destructive consequences of specific forms of conduct can help to encourage the flourishing of a vibrant public life. Tragically, however, the aim of today’s ‘libertarian paternalism’ is to bypass public debate and opt for psychological manipulation instead.
Outwardly, some of the techniques of behaviour management proposed by the UK government’s Nudge Unit seem harmless. For example, it boasts about introducing a trial of ‘prompted choice’ for organ donation in order to increase the number of donor registrations. This trial will ask people if they would like to be organ donors when they are applying online for a driving licence. The unit believes that this will significantly increase the number of organ donors.
It may well do that, and in many ways the trial makes perfect sense. However, the premise of this proposal, and of the numerous other nudge proposals, is fundamentally regressive. Instead of opting to have a grown-up public debate about the responsibilities that citizens have towards one other, today’s ruling elite prefers to treat adults as children who need to be prompted and coaxed to do the right thing. This strategy of altering behaviour displaces the political challenge of influencing people through ideas and argument.
Paternalistic behaviour is entirely appropriate in relation to childrearing. Many parents realise that there is little point in arguing with a toddler; it is far better simply to use childrearing techniques that will encourage little Mary to act in accordance with her mother’s desires. However, when similar techniques are used in relation to grown-up citizens, then we really can glimpse the corrosion and ultimately the corruption of public life.
Paternalistic behaviour towards children is seen as acceptable because we presume that parents possess the experience and knowledge that their infants lack. Parents are responsible for their children and therefore are expected to have some authority and control over their behaviour. Infants lack experience and more importantly they lack the capacity for autonomy and moral independence. But things are fundamentally different when it comes to the relationship between government and adults. For a start, it is far from clear where behavioural economists, policymakers and politicians get the moral authority to manipulate people’s behaviour. Experience shows that experts do not always possess wisdom and that ordinary people have very little to learn from them.
Denying us moral responsibility
Advocates of nudging describe themselves as ‘choice architects’ and claim that their policies help people make the right choices. What they mean is that their aim is to construct a scenario where people make the kind of choices that our moral superiors believe to be right. The aim of behavioural-management techniques is to prevent, or at least discourage, people from making the ‘wrong’ choices. In effect, the implicit objective of these techniques is to deprive people of the capacity for making wrong choices. But if citizens are freed from the burden of distinguishing between right and wrong, then they cease to be choice-makers.
Proponents of choice architecture delude themselves into believing that their paternalism is libertarian, that their policies are neither authoritarian nor coercive. In truth, their objectives echo those that have traditionally been associated with totalitarian regimes. Recently, the UK deputy prime minister Nick Clegg casually said that his government’s Nudge Unit could ‘change the way citizens think’. But since when has it been a democratic government’s brief to wage an ideological crusade aimed at altering its citizens’ thoughts? From this viewpoint, governing is not so much about realising people’s aspirations as it is about changing those aspirations so that they correspond to the worldview of the ‘choice architects’.
The project of remoulding the way that people think and act requires the erosion of people’s right to assent to, or reject, government policies. There has to be an implicit elimination of the two-way process of discussion between citizens and their rulers. The UK Cabinet Office paper Mindspace: Influencing Behaviour Through Public Policy explains this in the following terms:
‘“Mindspace” effects depend at least partly on automatic influences on behaviour. This means that citizens may not fully realise that their behaviour is being changed – or, at least, how it is being changed. Therefore, there may be little opportunity for citizens to opt out or choose otherwise; the concept of “choice architecture” is less use here. Any action that may reduce the “right to be wrong” is likely to be controversial.’
The authors of Mindspace make it quite clear that some of their objectives will have to be achieved behind the backs of the electorate. Consequently, the public ‘may not fully realise’ what is happening, and of course there will no ‘opt-out’. In short, citizens have no choice but to acquiesce.
The presumption of a public that is powerless to determine its own future is central to the nudge industry, to the project of constraining people’s private preferences through behaviour management. The authors of Mindspace put forward a fantasy which says that government action can ‘augment freedom’ by acting as the ‘surrogate willpower’ of the populace. A government that substitutes itself for the exercise of human free will clearly has very little attachment to the idea of freedom. As the American political theorist Alan Wolfe warns us, ‘under the rules of liberal paternalism, all power goes to the choice architects’.
Four compelling reasons to reject nudging
There are three moral reasons and one practical reason for saying no to the new politics of nudging.
1) It denigrates moral independence
The German philosopher Immanuel Kant argued that the capacity to make choices about one’s life is central to the development of moral autonomy. In his famous statement What is Enlightenment? (1784), he argued:
‘It is so easy to be immature. If I have a book to serve as my understanding, a pastor to serve as my conscience, a physician to determine my diet for me, and so on, I need not exert myself at all. I need not think, if only I can pay: others will readily undertake the irksome work for me.’
As far as Kant was concerned, it was preferable to make a wrong choice through the exercise of moral independence than to follow the ‘right’ advice. Why? Because through the exercise of moral autonomy people gain the experience that is necessary for maturity. An autonomous person is presumed to possess moral independence, in other words to act with moral responsibility. Through the exercise of autonomy, people can develop their personality through assuming responsibility for their lives. The cultivation of moral independence requires that people are free to deliberate and to come to their own conclusions about how best to live.
2) It erodes our capacity to make judgments of value
A central virtue for Aristotle was phronesis. Phronesis is difficult to translate into English. It means the capacity to exercise judgment in particular circumstances. According to Aristotle, making judgments and choices is the precondition for virtuous behaviour. So telling a colleague something they don’t want to hear may in some circumstances express the virtue of honesty and in other circumstances spring from the vice of boasting. It is in the very act of making moral choices that we develop the virtue of phronesis. That is why judgment cannot be left to choice architects. Phronesis is not something that can be outsourced to an expert – it is a virtue that we need to learn for ourselves, and it is possibly the single most important virtue when it comes to pursuing and conducting a good life.
3) It devalues the private sphere
Nudging encourages the colonisation of private life as our personal conduct becomes the target of the behaviour-management industry. One of the most significant gains of liberalisation in recent centuries was the development of the idea of the private sphere. The seventeenth-century English philosopher John Locke was a key architect of this idea. Locke claimed that government has no business controlling people’s beliefs and personal behaviour. He recognised that moral development required that people should have the freedom to behave in accordance with their beliefs and emotions. Sadly, today, individual behaviour is no longer treated as a private matter by government. And the more that governments become incapable of dealing with the challenging issues thrown up in the public sphere, the more they will opt for the quick-fix solution of manipulating individual behaviour instead.
4) It empties out public life
As tools of public policy, behaviour-management techniques rarely achieve positive results. Decades of experience show that the billions of pounds spent on parenting classes, sex and drugs education and early-intervention programmes fail to have the desired results. Why? Because social problems are only in part the outcome of individual behaviour.
Individual behaviour is mediated through cultural and moral norms and is influenced by social circumstances. And yet the raison d’être of nudging is to avoid engaging with the cultural, moral and political questions that dominate people’s lives. That is why one can predict with the utmost certainty that the Behavioural Insight Team’s plans for reducing teenage pregnancy rates, for example, will not work. The assumption that teenage mothers-to-be are akin to rats in a laboratory will founder on the rocks of cultural and social realities. However, provide teenagers with greater opportunities for a better life - in short, think about the bigger social picture - and then watch pregnancy rates drop.
The most regrettable consequence of the nudge industry is its stultifying effect on public debate and political life. No doubt its advocates mean well. But in encouraging the manipulation of people’s imaginations, they corrupt the very meaning of public life.
Australia: As the left sides with Muslims, Christians search for support
Martin Place is the symbolic centre, the point zero, of Australia's existence as a sophisticated economy. Last Wednesday it looked medieval. A forest of crucifixes sprouted among a sea of earnest faces that would look comfortable on ancient coins. The talk was of murder and persecution. The threat was real. Hyperbole was unnecessary.
As Martin Place, between Pitt and Castlereagh streets, became crammed with people, many of them young, real politics was made, and real news. Observing this rally, in oppressive humidity and under a dark sky that occasionally showered the crowd, was to observe another example of grassroots support for the ALP falling away.
Not long ago this crowd, drawn from a broader Middle Eastern Christian diaspora, would have voted like the rest of Australia. Demographics would have been the key driver. Labor would have got its share. Not any more.
When Julia Gillard's name was mentioned, it was greeted by a stony silence from the crowd of between 1000 and 2000 people. When the name of Tony Abbott was mentioned, there was a burst of spontaneous applause. Abbott had sent a personal emissary from his shadow ministry, Senator Connie Fierravanti-Wells, who would deliver some telling news.
Most at the rally were Coptic Orthodox Christians, the Egyptian branch of Christianity. They increasingly find common purpose with the expatriate communities of Assyrian Christians from Iraq and Maronite Christians from Lebanon. All three groups, who collectively number about 200,000, are heavily represented in western Sydney. All three are feeling the pressure of the religious cleansing of Christians in the Middle East.
These communities are tilting away from Labor, perceiving it as the party of appeasement of Muslim belligerence, and the party which has turned Australia's refugee program into a Muslim immigration program, while Christian communities are bludgeoned in Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon. These countries have seen a Christian exodus. The American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 proved to be a disaster for the estimated two million Assyrian Christians. Roughly half have fled the country.
The trigger for the rally at Martin Place was a cascade of events which began late last year when a list was circulated via an extremist Islamic website pledging attacks against 64 specific Coptic Orthodox churches. Four of the churches are in Sydney, where the majority of Australia's 80,000 Copts live.
At the top of the hit list was the Saints Church in Alexandria, Egypt. On New Year's Eve, as Christians left a midnight prayer service at the Saints Church, a car bomb exploded. Twenty-three Copts died and at least 95 others were wounded in the attack. Hours before, Muslim fundamentalists had gathered outside a major mosque in Alexandria chanting threats against the Coptic church. After the attack, men ran around the city shouting "Allah Akbah!", the battle cry of jihad.
Violent attacks against the more than 10 million Coptic Christians in Egypt have been continuing for almost 40 years. The violence coincided with the rise of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the prototype of modern Islamic fascism. Violent incidents continue. On January 12, an off-duty police officer shot six Copts on a train in Egypt after identifying them as Christians.
Australia's most contentious mainstream Muslim cleric, Sheikh Taj el-Din al Hilaly, the former grand mufti of Australia, is an import from Egypt. He was installed as a permanent resident by the Keating Labor government, over the objections of the security service. His Labor connections are well known and self-advertised.
The Labor Party, locked into a political alliance with Muslim leaders in western Sydney, has said little of consequence about the problem of religious cleansing of Christians by Muslims. It has done even less.
On January 1, the acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, Martin Ferguson, issued a six-line reaction to the Alexandria bombing, stating "the Australian government utterly condemns the attack". Condemnations were issued by President Barack Obama, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, among other leaders.
No statement was issued by Julia Gillard. Nor has there been any policy change in Labor's policy of indifference to Coptic refugees from Egypt. The Australian embassy in Cairo has long been a point of contention. It is difficult for Egyptian Copts to immigrate to Australia or seek refugee status. The blocking agents include the Egyptian government, which discriminates against Christians as official policy, and the local embassy, which acts as a de facto extension of state discrimination against non-Muslims.
At the rally in Martin Place, Senator Fierravanti-Wells announced that a Coalition government would reintroduce a program for Coptic refugees from religious persecution in Egypt, a program discarded by the Rudd government.
She was one of three Liberal MPs who spoke, while Labor was entirely absent until the last minute, when a Labor member of the NSW upper house, Greg Donnelly, was dropped in to represent the Premier, Kristina Keneally. Such is the desperation of NSW Labor that Donnelly could not resist noting: "There are no representatives from the Greens today, which is interesting."
The absence of the Greens was not interesting. It was predictable. Throughout Western Europe and Australia, the left has consistently made common cause with political Islam, an embrace of reactionary intolerance made without a shred of irony. Also absent was the broadcast arm of the Greens, the ABC, whose two 24-hour news networks could see no value in attending.
Meanwhile, outside the world of the public sector unions, while religious intolerance remains endemic across the Muslim world and Australia's refugee and asylum-seeker process remains a debacle, support for Labor is showing signs of disintegrating among Australians who take discrimination against Christians seriously.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.