Feb 13, 2017

The right’s ‘free speech’ obsession has created a monster

The freedom to say the most monstrous things possible is fueling the rise of fascism.

David Salter

Journalist and former Media Watch executive producer.

Now we know.

Whenever the opponents of section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act are asked what, specifically, that part of the law is preventing them from saying they just roll their eyes and claim that this is a matter of principle: it’s not what may be said that’s at issue but our right to say it.

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15 thoughts on “The right’s ‘free speech’ obsession has created a monster

  1. Northy

    Andrew Bolt wrote an article the other day that I actually agreed with(!) Surprisingly, he strongly called out Pickering and Cameron and said they were wrong. He made the point that free speech advocates have a duty to speak out in instances like this. It nudged me, ever so slightly, towards understanding his free speech position for the first time. It seemed civil and reasonable. But then I read the comments underneath the article. Big mistake as always. Most of his supporters were furious with him for calling out Pickering and Cameron, arguing they should be able to say whatever they want without being shamed – THAT is free speech, they claimed. What hideous hypocrites. All this nonsense about them being unfairly labelled rascists, homophobes, sexists. There’s nothing unfair about it at all. Free speech to them is a one-way process. They get to attack minority groups, but they get to do it free from shame or repercussion. As suggested in this article, that’s not a free civil society, it’s fascism.

  2. Decorum

    What amused me was the outrage and indignation these people all expressed when protestors inconvenienced their attendance at the meeting in Melbourne – their rights were being trampled on, they squealed, while surrounded by people freely speaking in objection to a meeting whose sole objective is to support a society committed to impinging the freedoms of others! Priceless.

  3. Aphra

    The SMH also reported that acclaimed crime fiction novelist Gabrielle Lord was a speaker at the Q Sydney lunch, viz
    ‘Novelist Gabrielle Lord, whose latest novel is about forced marriage in a Muslim community, said she had met many Muslim women who had been abused and persecuted.
    “Brothers and sisters, there is a war on and unfortunately…we are caught a little unaware because they were better prepared than we are,” Lord told the crowd, apparently referring to Muslims.
    Her publishers had asked her to include “more attractive Muslim characters” and more about the “positives” of Islam.
    She took this as a sign people are too frightened to speak the truth about Islam – something she could understand as offending Muslims could lead to “bricks thrown through windows and rioting”.
    Lord spoke lovingly of the institutions built by Western society and said “the other mob only build one kind of building, as you know”.’
    Many of us who’ve long admired Lord are significantly dismayed.

  4. zut alors

    Alas, to think I spent last Thursday evening at home but, instead, could’ve flown to Sydney for a communal slither around the Q Society’s pit of vipers. Opportunity lost.

  5. Draco Houston

    The Nazis and Fascists had a movement and social base, the Q Society has astroturf and some keyboard warriors. Meanwhile, Kevin Rudd opened concentration camps where we send refugees to die, by medical negligence, by violence, or by their own hand after the torture is too much. This is a bipartisan policy supported by every party except the Greens.

    We have a surveillance system that exceeds anything the fascists built, again, bipartisan policy. We sent the army in for the NT Intervention, bipartisan policy again.

    But yeah let’s get worried that these clowns will bring about fascism, because Australia isn’t fascist now, right?

  6. CML

    The obscenity here is that ANY Australian would consider voting for these far-right political parties…including one nation. Proponents of pure hatred and racism.
    You are quite right, David…we are on the edge of embracing fascism.
    Heaven help our once great country!

  7. Buddy

    Thank God for the Q Society. They’ve shown everyone who cares to see exactly what sort of ‘free speech’ some in our community want. For so long I along with many many others have asked what it is they want to say that they cannot now say. Well now we know. I will continue to use my free speech to condemn and counter their vile utterances.

  8. AR

    Northy – an idea cannot be responsible for the people who hold it. Even the loathsome mad Mark brainSteyn is sound on wanting free speech for all & sundry.
    Once anything is banned, it mutates into something worse and the rest of us won’t realise until too late.
    As the unSainted Mrs Thatcher opined, “the oxygen of publicity” is the best disinfectant.

  9. klewso

    What gets me is this bunch of dates think they have the right to define “Australianess” and those that fall outside their ideas – let alone disagree – don’t deserve to be here, or deserve to be treated like freaks, from their bully pulpit.
    As for The Oz (or indeed any of the irresponsible Murdoch rags) – they may well realise their part in creating this hard-mouthed mindless careening monster, (genetically engineered for political purposes) but they’ll never admit to that role.

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