Sunday, August 04, 2019

Boris Johnson a win for moderate nationalism

Greg Sheridan

The Boris Johnson venture in ­Britain is globally important. Win, lose or, improbably, draw, the Johnson prime ministership will change global politics profoundly.

The most important effect of BoJo’s rise is that it shows moderate assertive nationalism is the new glue of centre-right politics in the West and beyond.

Throughout the West, nationalism has been the road back for conservatives.

Nationalism is a good thing so long as it recognises its need to balance­ itself with other qualities. Nationalism is not fascism and is not racism. It can go wrong if it becomes­ unreasoning hostility to anyone outside the national group. But to condemn nationalism out of hand is as silly as equating social justice with commun­ism. The perversion of a quality is not a stronger version of the ­quality itself.

Johnson’s nationalism is robust but not ethnically based, as is evident in his racially diverse cabinet. Johnson gets no credit for this because­ the left liberal media and academic establishment hate Brexit and have cast Johnson as the villain of all villains.

But as Trevor Phillips, a former Labour politician who happens to be black, commented this week: “A different prime minister would be basking in the approval of the right-on brigade for having appointe­d more people of colour to his cabinet in the last 24 hours than all his predecessors managed in the past 300 years.”

In fact, you get the sense this is one of Johnson’s many qualities­ which drives his critics round the bend. Johnson may share one critical feature with US President Donald Trump: provoking his ­enemies into massive overreact­ion, damaging their credibil­ity.

Phillips described the terms in which Johnson’s cabinet has been abused: “They sneer that the first non-white chancellor, Sajid Javid, is a coconut (brown outside, white inside); that the first ethnic minor­ity woman (Priti Patel) to lead the Home Office is a dumb snake; and that the first black chairman of the Conservative Party (James Clever­ly) is an Uncle Tom.”

Johnson is not engaging in tokenis­m. These are all big-time politicians with substantial achievements who backed his leadership and back his vision of Brexit. They are mainstream, merit appointments and they are, incidentally, members of ethnic minorities. They give a clear indic­ation of the type of British nationalism that Johnson is promoting.

It is an almost textbook example of the Conservative vision of diversity and inclusion, qualities which grow up naturally and organ­ically and which emphasises what people have in common — a shared vision of the nation — rather­ than the differences about them which are least important, such as race and ethnicity.

Peter Dutton, Australia’s Home Affairs Minister, was in London this week and he made a similar point to me regarding the moderate but assertive nationalism of the Coalition government.

“The strongest supporters and defenders of our border rules are migrants,” he said. “The election showed people’s desire to stand up for their families and what’s in the best interests of the nation. The election was a sign of the pendulum swinging back. It gave licence and encouragement to people who had lost hope.”

Tapping into nationalism has made conservatives competitive or victorious all over the world, often unexpectedly. Each nation is different. Donald Trump ran a nakedly­ nationalist campaign — Make America Great Again — and triumphed against all expect­ations and the full-force attack of every left liberal in America.

Trump did win massively among white voters. Blacks voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton but Trump actually scored a slightly higher proportion of black votes than the impeccably politic­ally correct Mitt Romney had four years earlier. And Trump is president partly because he won a bigger­ proportion of Hispanic voters­ than predicted.

Trump must be delighted that the Democrats are veering heavily left. His heart sings with joy when he hears woke white Democrat contenders arguing that the US should pay African-Americans reparations for slavery.

What a great idea — tell Joe Sixpack he has to make special reparations payments to Oprah Winfrey. Allegedly moderate Democratic candidates said the US owed all its wealth and power to the enslavement and exploit­ation of innocent people. Every country has its sins, but the US story is full of achievement and generosity. Democrats, in thrall to identity politics, are substitu­ting the hatred of the US for the love of the US which has traditionally been the unifying sentiment of political leadership.

By outrageously, and sometimes disgracefully, targeting the so-called “Squad” of four women Democrat congressional repres­ent­atives of colour who have styled themselves as the progressive vanguard of their party, Trump is trying to enhance their appeal to the Democratic base and voters in Democratic primaries.

For here is the central equation of how nationalism helps the centre­ right and hurts the left.

In the West, the left has gone down the mad road of identity politics. This Balkanises society, it atomises society.

It dehumanises people by reduc­ing them to essentialist traits not of their own choosing — race, gender, sexual orientation. It makes a fetish of guilt and its deman­ds can never be satisfied.

The only temporary respite lies in the acknowledgment of historic victimhood for one group and historic­ villainy for another group. But it is a process which can never be completed. The acknowledgments must get ever more extravagant, ever more sweeping, the apologies ever more debasing.

This appeals intensely to left liberal elites who have learnt these ideological reflexes at contemporary universities. Ordinary people cannot always articulate why these policies are wrong but they are deeply uncomfortable with them. Of course, these policies also represent a rejection of the best instinct­s of 20th-century liberalism, of liberalism until five minutes ago, which was to erase race and other essentialist characteristics from any role in civic identity.

Nationalism is the perfect respons­e to identity politics for conservatives. It offers human solidarity and civic equality. It is egalitarian, based only on a commitmen­t to the nation. Moderat­e but assertive nationalism in societies such as in the US, Britain and Australia is a mechanism of pride, a call to achievement, but also a commitment to civic solidarity and universal care.

Where does Brexit fit?

Perhaps the most insightful writer in modern Britain on these issues­ is David Goodhardt, whose seminal book The Road to Somewhere remains the definitive guide to how the shock of the Brexit referendum result came about in 2016 and what it means.

To oversimplify Goodhardt’s data-heavy and empir­ical treatment, he divides the voters broadly into the “anywheres” and the “somewheres”: those who are more cosmopolit­an and could be happy in the centre of any global city or those rooted to a particular place and community.

People have mostly interpreted this enthralling thesis as meaning, typically, the ­conflict in values ­between, say, Cornwall and London. Certainly rural and provincial Britain voted Leave while London voted Remain­. But I think Goodhardt’s thesis is also compelling when applied to attachment to the nation.

In a conversation this week, Goodhardt told me he thought voters had forced the Conservative Party to become more conservativ­e and more nationalist.

The great left liberal triumph ideologically went too far, he argues­. It emphasised equality and justice and anti-racism, which are genuine virtues, but it denigrated traditional families and it could not deal with people’s need for the sacred. By this Goodhardt doesn’t mean religion, or at least not prim­arily or solely religion, but certain values and traditions which most people still hold sacred — love of nation, love of family.

Voting for UKIP, then the Brexit Party, and voting Leave, were obviously about more than the EU. They were also a determination from rural and provincial voters that more attention should be paid to them. They wanted less economism in policy. This is a very big revolution in conservative politics in the West. Johnson, Trump and indeed Scott Morrison are all now big spenders.

This is a change rebellious voters have forced on conservative leaders. The conservative government leaders will all say they are better managers of the public finance­s than the left-wing alternatives and generally that’s true. But the commitment to balanced budgets, fiscal discipline, further tariff cuts and much of the econo­mic liberalism agenda of the 80s and 90s is now all but gone. The obsession with economic effic­iency as the right’s chief operating principle is having to accommod­ate other voter-dictated priorities.

In Goodhardt’s view, British voters forced their Conservative Party to be more conservative, more right-wing and more nationalist, while ditching a good deal of the economic liberalism program.

It is tempting to see Australia's Prime Minister as completely different from Trump and Johnson. Certain­ly each country and each leader is distinctive, unique. But the similarities and resonances are striking. In all three nations voters are motivated in part by values.

In The Times this week James Kirkup, of the Social Market Foundation, more or less deplored Johnson’s plainspoken pitch for Labour Leave voters, saying that polarising the country along Leave versus Remain lines would lead to destructive culture wars. The only way to win a culture war, he says, is not to have one.

This analysis is wrong at every level. First, it is voters not politicians who are deciding that values are important to the way they vote. Second, the left, via identity polit­ics, has itself decided to transform modern politics into culture wars.

Nationalism offers conservatives a chance to be competitive in the culture wars. Conservatives can win culture wars provided they are defending mainstream values and what they say relates well to people’s lives. Many, perhaps most, parents don’t want gender fluidity theory taught in infants and primary school, for example. The six years of coalition government in Australia have seen much more Trump/Johnson-style politics than is generally thought. It culminated in Morrison’s shock victory in the recent Australian Federal election. That Morrison, unself­consciously and authentically, is a serious Christian at a time when religious freedom is under attack meant that, to some extent, he could prevail in the culture wars without ostensibly waging them.

When commentators attacked Morrison for being filmed at his regular Sunday worship, they were attacking millions of ordinary Australians. There have been key episodes in six years of coalition government which international left liberal­ opinion regards as rank nationali­st populism, yet in which the coalition prevailed.

One is border control. Tony Abbott’s government was lambasted by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, many other UN agencies, many EU agencies and personalities, and the usual suspects in The New York Times, The Guardianand so on. Australia was told its illegal immigration problems could never be solved by one nation acting alone. In fact, all nations should contro­l their borders, which does not rule out being generous to refuge­es. The coalition government defied international opinion and won the debate with a moderate but assertive nationalism.

Similarly on carbon emissions targets. Our targets are ambitious on a per-capita basis, but everyone from Barack Obama to The Economist and every blatherskite in Europ­e says we’re not doing enough. Yet Morrison increased his majority at the election. Finally, as the Queensland result­ showed, we had a populist, nat­ionalist revolt in favour of foreign­ direct investment by India in our coalmining sector. The voters­ were driven by a concern for jobs rather than concern for India but there was no hostility to India by conservative voters, and if you are in favour of foreign investment because it brings jobs you are still in favour of foreign investment.

Historically, nationalism has always trumped international socialism. How silly of us to have thought it didn’t stand a chance this time, as BoJo shows.


Get Woke, Go Broke: Gillette Loses BILLIONS After Sexist and Lecturing #MeToo Razor Ads

In January Proctor & Gamble and Gillette decided to run razor ads trashing men and “toxic” masculinity in a courageous ad campaign.

The company decided the best way to promote their product was to attack their customer base. The new ad highlighted sexist and bullying white males in the United States.

Of the 43 abusive males in the ad – 42 were white. 7 of the hero men out of 8 in the ad were black.

The ad did not do so well.  Many users promised to avoid the product.

The ad had 642,000 down votes after its first two days on YouTube.

All that wokeness did not pay off for Gillette and P&G.
Gillette lost $8 BILLION in the second quarter.

    P&G reported a net loss of about $5.24 billion, or $2.12 per share, for the quarter ended June 30, due to an $8 billion non-cash writedown of Gillette. For the same period last year, P&G’s net income was $1.89 billion, or 72 cents per share.

It looks like trashing their consumer base with feminist lecturing was not such a good idea, huh?


Biological and transgender world views are exclusive

Australia: The federal government says its new religious freedoms legislation will protect people such as ­Israel Folau, but the new statutes are unlikely to protect female rugby players from being ­expelled from the game should they campaign to stop biological males from playing in the female competition.

Globally, there is a growing conflict over biological males who identify as women competing in women’s sports, entering women’s safe spaces, joining women’s organisations, and the list goes on.

In the US, 16-year-old Connec­ticut track and field athlete Selina Soule and two other girls have filed a civil-rights complaint with the state education department to stop biological boys playing in the girls’ sports.

This comes after two biolog­ical boys won 15 women’s state championships — titles that were held by 10 different Connecticut girls the previous year. Soule has been harassed on social media for speaking out.

The issue goes wider than sport. A Canadian salon providing waxing services was closed down after the female owner ­refused a body waxing request from a transgender male-to-­female, who then lodged a complain­t with a human rights tribunal, which is expected to take three months to decide.

Women in many countries are now campaigning to stop biologica­l males from claiming the same sex-based rights as biologica­l women.

These issues affect secular people, many or even most of whom hold that human sex is biologically fixed. At the same time, these issues attack the freedom of religious organisations, such as faith-based schools, that could be ­required to allow boys who identify as girls into female safe spaces and sports, if exemptions for faith-based schools are removed from the Sex Discrimination Act, as being proposed by the federal ­Attorney-General. These exemptions should be maintained to preserve the liberty of schools to act in accordance with their ethos.

Conflict of world views

At its heart, this is a contest ­between those who hold the biological worldview of the human person — that sex is inherently, biologically fixed according to male and female reproductive functions — and those who hold the ideological, transgender worldview from the social sciences that sex and gender are fluid and self-defined, according to how one feels.

The contest is at several levels: first, in rules imposed by corporations such as Rugby Australia; second, directly from gender-identity laws defining human sexuality, including anti-discrimination laws, birth registration laws and the federal Marriage Act; third, when gender-identity laws render other laws inoperable; and fourth, when gender-identity laws frustrate the provision of services, for example in medicine.

Rugby Australia has a corporate code of conduct that says players, coaches, administrators, officers of a rugby body, match ­officials, spectators/parents, fans and all other participants must treat “everyone equally regardless of gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity” etc, and must not bring the sport into “disrepute or discredit” on these matters on their “social media”.

Treating a person “equally” by their gender identity effectively means, according to rugby’s gender­-identity dispensation procedure, that girls and women are obliged to allow any male who identifies as a girl/woman to play in the female competition.

The most serious breaches of the code can lead to “suspension for a specified number of matches or period of time”, or “withdrawal of … membership” — that is, expulsion from the game. Even parents and fans can face ­“exclusion orders” from rugby playing grounds.

Folau was sacked only for ­expressing a moral opinion about gays on his personal social media, by a sporting organisation that should have no interest in a person’s religious beliefs. He did not campaign for gays and lesbians to be excluded from the game.

However, should biological girls/women campaign against biological males playing in the ­female competition, they would be asking for these transgenders to be excluded from the female competition and, possibly, from playing rugby. Arguably, this would be a far worse breach of rugby’s code than Folau tweeting his religious convictions but, like him, female offenders could be suspended or expelled from the sport.

Second, immediate conflicts abound from federal and various state laws that have been changed to say that a person does not require sex-change ­surgery or puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to legally change their sex. A male only has to self-identify as female to be a girl or a woman.

The federal Sex Discrimination Act was changed in 2013 to give legal protections to a ­person’s gender identity, which is said to be the “gender related identity, appearance or mannerisms or other gender related characteristics of a person (whether by way of medical intervention or not), with or without regard to the person’s designated sex at birth”.

While the act allows for ­exemptions that permit services such as women-only gyms and domestic violence shelters, these exemptions fail to apply when biological males are legally recog­nised as females, allowing them to claim access to these ­services.

Widely, the rights of biological women are now at risk from males who identify as women claiming the right to access ­female-only schools, gyms, clubs, toilets, showers, change rooms, sports, scholarships, jobs for ­females under affirmative action programs, lesbian organisations and funding from charities to benefit biological women.

There have been cases where violent male ­prisoners who identify as women have raped other female­ prisoners when housed in female prisons.

Third, gender-identity laws render some other laws inoperable.

When the Tasmanian upper house was in the process of changing the state birth certificate laws, Attorney-General Elise Archer pointed out that strict rules require that police body searches be carried out by a person of the same sex as the person being searched.

If a person’s birth certificate registers them as non-binary, indetermi­nate or by some other word or phrase used to indicate the person’s perception of self, neither entirely male, nor female, “the power of search is likely to be compromised or negated”, the Attorney-General warned.

Archer said she could not ­assess how many Tasmanian laws would be affected “without first reviewing all Tasmania’s statutes and regulations … that (have), as a criterion for (their) application, the sex or gender of a person”.

Gender-identity laws open the way for criminals to adopt a non-binary gender identity to avoid police searches.

Similar changes to birth certif­i­cate law are now before the Victoria­n parliament.

Fourth, gender-identity laws affect the provision of some medical services and can impact on health professionals’ right of conscience.

The New England Journal of Medicine has reported the tragic case of a transgender female-to-male who presented at hospital with severe abdominal pains. A nurse didn’t consider it an emergency, noting that the person was obese and had stopped taking blood pressure medicines.

In fact, this person was pregnant, in ­labour, and the child was stillborn. As doctors point out, when a person presents with abdomi­nal pain, they need to know if the person is a female, possibly pregnant or with ovarian cancer, or a male who may have a bowel ­infection.

Should a doctor be required to provide puberty blockers and sex-change hormones to transgender persons, particularly children? Should doctors and psychologists be required by professiona­l codes of practice (or by law) to support a child or teenager suffering gender dysphoria to medically transition to the ­opposite of their birth sex?

Tectonic shift in law

Gender-identity legislation is a tectonic shift in law, redefining human sexuality such that a man can claim the same rights as a woman and a woman can claim the same rights as a man.

At stake are employees who face restrictive corporate codes of conduct that have little to do with their work, as well as institutions like girls’ schools, that want to maintain their integrity as women-only ­organisations. At stake are other laws that are rendered inoperable, as with laws governing police body searches and the right of healthcare professionals to exercise their conscience when increasingly hostile states threaten to force them to provide services that conflict with good medical practice.

Will the government’s new ­religious freedom legislation protect­ the sex-based rights of women (and men)?

If, as the federal government claims, planned legislation would protect people such as Israel Folau, it may also protect the right of girls to speak publicly against ­biological males in their sports, toilets, change rooms and ­dormitories.

However, females are still left powerless to protect their inherent right to girls-only sports so long as laws make a person’s gender identity, not their sex, a protected attribute. Corp­orations and professional organisations could still require that biological women accept biolog­ical males in their safe spaces, or to require a medical professional to support medical treatments that violate their conscience.

The point is, the biological and transgender world views are ­mutually exclusive. Hence, if the government is to begin protecting freedoms in all of the above cases, it first needs to clearly define in law the biolog­ical meaning of man as a member of the male sex, woman as a member of the female sex and sex as determined by a person’s male or female reproductive function.

Legal protection for these self-evident, biological human attributes ensures the sex-based rights of females (and males) are protected. In doing so, the Morrison governme­nt would protect not only religious people and faith-based organisations, it would protect freedom of belief, conscience, speech and association for secular people and grouops.

These are necessary conditions for a tolerant, liberal democracy.


Realistic Aboriginal woman tours Australia to tell 'militant' city activists their anti-racism campaigns 'are doing more harm than good' to remote Aboriginal communities

She makes it clear that the luvvies are interested only in proclaiming their own big hearts.  They are not even interested in what is good for Aborigines  -- and they hate her for pointing that out

An Indigenous advocate is hoping to educate activists over their anti-racism campaigns as she believes they are hurting Aboriginal communities.

Jacinta Nampiginpa Price, a Warlpiri woman and conservative politician, said well-meaning city activists use Australia's history to make non-Indigenous people feel bad and were doing more harm than good.

'They are campaigning so hard and they're militant,' she told Daily Mail Australia on Friday.

'They're creating the divide between the most disadvantaged to connect to others in the country who could provide the advice and support they need to create opportunities.

'They (the activists) stop that happening. 'They believe indigenous people are babies and have to be compensated for their losses.

'They push for this dependency to continue instead of allowing Aboriginal people to stand on their own two feet and be responsible for our own opportunities and our own future. 'They get in the way of any of that.

'They say: ''There, there - you've been wrongly done by, someone else should be fixing things for you''. 'That's not empowerment.'

Ms Price said she was embarking on an 11-city speaking tour to create more understanding for city people of the cultural differences they have with remote Aboriginal communities, and what their needs really are, in order to bridge the gap.

She said symbolic issues are not helping remote indigenous communities move forward. 'Something always comes up,' she said.  'It's change the date (of Australia Day), or change the anthem words, or change the anthem entirely - and now it's constitutional recognition and The Voice.'

'A lot of these things are incomplete or there's a bit of a concept but no direction to how to achieve practical outcomes.'

Ms Price's Mind The Gap tour begins in late August and has adopted the slogans 'No Political Correctness' and 'No Identity Politics'. She will tour Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane and Adelaide as well as regional urban centres such as Newcastle, Toowoomba, Bendigo,  Mildura and Albury-Wodonga.

Ms Price will also speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Sydney on Friday afternoon.

The indigenous campaigner wants practical changes to help remote indigenous communities thrive by themselves such as education geared to give children the tools to integrate into mainstream Australian society. 'People need jobs and less dependence on welfare,' she said.

'In remote communities where children are behind already - their health is not fantastic, their hearing is not great - the push to maintaining and teaching culture means the kids in the bush aren't getting the education they need to do well in life

Ms Price said Aboriginal people want the tools to thrive in the modern world, and while urban activists might feel warm and fuzzy by pushing the focus to keeping traditional culture strong, they were denying opportunities to remote indigenous children.

'My mother's generation ... had an emphasis on learning English and they learnt their own language at home. There was no bilingual education. My mother speaks her language fluently and English fluently.'

She also said land reforms were crucial. The Aboriginal Land Rights Act ensures that remote community land is communally owned in perpetuity with a land council having the final say over what happens.

'The Land Rights Act has to be reviewed,' she said. 'Traditional owners (TOs) don't feel at all represented by the land councils ... The ownership should go to the TOs themselves so they can have economic development on their own country. 'Imagine you live, owning a house and you can't fix it till you get permission from the land council.

Ms Price also had stern words for those who think 'racist laws' are the reason for a disproportionate number of Aboriginal men in jails.

'Statistically, about 70 percent of Aboriginal men  incarcerated are incarcerated for violence against their loved ones. If we take responsibility for domestic violence, we'll see a dramatic reduction in incarceration and less dysfunction in homes,' she said.

'Activists push the blame elsewhere in nearly every situation and expect someone else to solve issues.'

'In Indigenous law, if you continue to break traditional law they'd be punished probably in a very violent way.

'We talk of the high incarceration rate but almost never talk of why they are incarcerated in such high numbers.

'You've got to look at the whole picture - it's not a quick fix like a change in the law to be more lenient as that is not going to fix the crime situation and will not help the rights of the victims.'



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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