Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Modern Left? Human Rights And Freedom Of Speech For Me But Not For You


Here's a classic.

An article in New Matilda by Michael Brull which flawlessly demonstrates why the self described modern Left spun out of orbit a long time ago and has no worthwhile place in modern politics, the media or especially the universities and schools. 

Brull, you might recall, is the guy who says that if you are an advocate for women's rights and liberation in Muslim lands then you must be a racist or Islamophobic or something. Even if you are a Muslim. Or a woman. He says this without the slightest hint of self awareness of how deeply offensive and racist it is. 

What is this? Basic human rights in the West. But not for Arabs in Muslim lands?

Brull's article is about the attack on Charlie, freedom of expression and tolerance. This is what is most notable about the article and the discussion thread:

* there is no mention at all of the attack on the kosher shop in Paris in the article and virtually none in the comment thread. It is as if it is an entirely unrelated event that didn't happen or it is so irrelevant it can be safely ignored as not fitting the narrative.  The sole comment is so asinine it is laughable. 

*there is no hint of any understanding at all that an attack on the staff of a newspaper is something of a difference of several orders of magnitude to a civil suit for defamation. It is as clear an example of the intellectual crime of moral equivalence that you will see.  

*there is no appreciation at all for the concept of the rule of law. This from an author who says in his bio that he studied a Juris Doctor at a university. I'm not sure what that means but I'm not going to embarrass the university by naming it. 

* how very quickly the comment thread descends into outright Holocaust denial in its vilest and most cowardly form. Some more antisemitic murders in France and an analysis that ignores that fact attracts the ugliest racists with barely a raised eyebrow from the regulars on a leftist site that lays special claim for the human rights of indigenous Australians .

A couple of this blog's comments follow but first the article. 

 .        OPINION

12 Jan 2015

Charlie Hebdo: Blessed Are The Tolerant

By Michael Brull

Our defence of 'freedom of speech' appears to be qualified by whether or not we actually find the speech offensive, writes Michael Brull.
Since the murders at the Charlie Hebdo office, there have been countless defences of the right of the magazine to publish its cartoons. However offensive, however inflammatory, they had a right to do so, and we have been told by many Western progressives that the proper way to express solidarity with the victims and to oppose the crimes is to reprint the most offensive of the cartoons.
In a way, this represents a strange understanding of how freedom of speech can be promoted. Yet it offers a kind of cathartic revenge in the face of terrorism. They want to kill us for saying offensive things? Well, we’ll say more offensive things.
Here are this blog's responses. The first is to Brull's piece. The other is to a former academic commenter with a grave ambivalence problem with morality (and spelling).  

Posted Wednesday, January 14, 2015 - 14:04
It really is a perverse, ugly and dark place up which the  modern Australian left has finally managed to gets its head irretrievably stuck. This article exemplifies this.
 The flip side of this is that when people are offended, horrified and disgusted by the speech of others, the offended must be tolerant. They must be willing to put up with things being said that they find unbelievably awful, and find non-violent, non-oppressive ways of responding.
Absolute unadulterated bullshit in a concentrated form.
There is no obligation to be "tolerant" or "non-oppressive" (whatever the hell that means). All that is required of you is to obey the law. 
There is no equivalence, moral or otherwise, between gunning down the staff of a newspaper because you don't like its attitude and launching a civil suit for defamation. It is actually morally depraved to suggest there is . The first is an attack on our civilization.  The other is merely exercising one's rights to seek redress within the law.
Toben was not jailed for "Holocaust denial" . He was jailed for defying a court order. If you cannot understand the difference, you have no worthwhile place in this debate. Whether a court should have the power under the law to issue the order it did is a legitimate matter for public debate. Whether someone can flagrantly defy a court order without any sanction at all because you don't like the order is not. This really is not that difficult.
"Holocaust denial" is one of the worst forms of racism imaginable. But it is not illegal in itself in Australia as evidenced by at least one comment on this thread. I am not going to dirty this page by giving examples, that we all easily can, especially Australians of my generation, but think of the vilest form of anti- Aboriginal Australian slanderous racism you can. Far worse than anything Bolt said. Either you believe that people should be free to spread this muck with impunity or you do not. But please stop using "Holocaust denial" as the benchmark limit on freedom of speech when clearly in this country at least it is not.  You are far more likely to be dragged before a court for spreading anti-Aboriginal racism, for example, than for "Holocaust denial".
You can be a firm advocate for freedom of expression but still  appalled by the distribution of child pornography and believe it should be suppressed with the severest criminal laws and sanctions possible. I see not the slightest contradiction in that. The logical extension of Brull's argument is that this is hypocritical.   
No one serious in all of history has ever said that there should be no limits to freedom of expression. That is "Introduction to Law" 101. Brull must have been away that day. The US is the country with the toughest constitutional  safeguards for freedom of speech in the world but you will still go to jail for shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre as the US Supreme Court famously declared. Try burning a cross in the front yard of an Afro-American family in the US and see how far you get. 
It is all all a question of where you draw the line. Do you think cartoon depictions of Mohammed are in the same category as child pornography or do you not?
People have been taking the mickey out of religion since the Enlightenment and certainly in France since the Revolution where the Church was such a fundamental part of the Old Regime. History is dripping with satiric and irreverent depictions of Jesus and Moses. Life of Brian drew no boundaries in its straight on affront of Jesus, Christianity, Christians, Judaism and Jews. The last scene (with the Jewish lady, dripping with jewellery,  insisting on being crucified in the "Jewish section" ) is one of the most antisemitic statements in film I have ever seen.
It also was hilariously funny. 
So where do you draw the line now that Muslims are joining our communities in the West in such numbers? Do we make an exception for Muhammad?
No way known, say I. This would be an appallingly bad mistake and most of all a disaster for Muslims. There must be no quarter shown on this. This is a different civilization to the ones many Muslims come from and fundamental to what makes our countries in the West is both freedom of religion ( and freedom from religion) and expression. Of course there is an on going debate about what these terms mean but please understand that we are not going to give these things up without a fight.
If I could I would say just two things to Muslims in the West everywhere now that they have reached the not necessarily enviable position of being a minority in a pluralistic liberal democratic society.
And grow a sense of humour.
You're going to need it.

Posted Wednesday, January 14, 2015 - 15:22
Posted Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - 17:36
Most of the discusson above is about freedom of speech.  But four jews were killed in Paris because the Islamists could not distinguish between a Jew and a Zionist, much like many of us can't distinguish betwen Islam and Islamists. 
I am going to pick on this not because it is the most offensive and idiotic comment on a thread that fair drips with it but because the commenter claims to be a former academic.
Also it is the only reference in the entire article and thread to the fact that the attack on Charlie was not the only outrage of this cathartic event. That is truly extraordinary.  It says something profoundly unpleasant about this entire side of politics.
And what do we get?
"Fair Game For Terrorists"
A comment that infers that had these victims not been innocent people going about their business but innocent people who happen to be lawful supporters of the national liberation movement of the Jewish people then they would have been fair game for these hate filled monsters?
And also infers that Islamists (whatever that means) are also fair targets for terrorist attacks in a Western society?
This is seriously deluded. We need to purge this lazy ideological muck from our universities.
It is essential we do this to save academic freedom. 
cross posted geoffff's joint 


  1. When I wrote to the BBC complaining about the Tim Willcox interview, part of their response to me was that the interviewee was "Jewish and of Israeli birth ", as if her birth in Israel was of important significance.

  2. Geoff,

    there is a lot here to be discussed.

    What very much strikes me in regards recent events in France - and which you allude to above - is the de-Judification of the murders. The tendency within the press and among non-Jewish commenters is to focus on Charlie (and, therefore, free speech issues) and to ignore the Kosher market murders.

    My suspicion is that if these were Jews-only murders, the march would never have happened, Netanyahu would safely be at home bickering with Naftali Bennett, and the whole thing would already have passed into the sink-hole of historical memory.

    1. I'm certain your suspicion is right, Mike.

      Moreover the ambiguity of the whole process allowed for marchers to be seen taking stand on one event and not the other.

      Do we really think that Abbas or Erdogen and a few others closer to home really care so much about a few more murdered Jews that they would even consider joining a demonstration against it?

      I don't remember any march by world leaders after Toulouse.

    2. I just saw an ABC report here in the states concerning the attacks in France with ZERO reference to the Kosher market.



      They simply do not give a shit.

    3. If that was ABC Australia (Australia's BBC) then I can confirm that big time Here things are worse.. I want to get this down while it is still fresh in my mind.

      ABC 7 00 PM National News had another report on the Charlie attack. Once again ABC gave the casualty count, downcast face, background scenes of the guy with the hangover who was late for work getting patted on the shoulder and so on.

      Then the newsreader looked up and added this rider. I am quoting this from memory as best I can but it would be easy to verify.

      "Five other people were killed in the days following the attack. The French Government has ordered 10 000 troops into guard sensitive areas including public buildings? schools, mosques and synagogues.

  3. This is what I love about you, Trudy.

    On a day-to-day basis I never know if the cops are going to bang on my door!


  4. There is one ignorant comment by DrGideonPolya. even if the majority of the "journalists" weren't part of terror organisations, there is a difference between going into a journalists office and killing journalists and killing journalists in a war zone. But tha of course implies the only people killed in Gaza were by the Israelis, when that is not true, especially considering how poorly trained some the terrorists are, that deaths from munitions errors are excluded.

    1. DrGideonPolya (who is of Australian born Jewish origin) is a well known and prolific crank. I do not read his posts. They (and he) are quite florid.