If further proof were needed that Australians enjoy less freedom than they care to imagine, it is the verdict in the show trial of Andrew Bolt.
Bolt has been convicted of violating the Racial Discrimination Act (1975) in two articles published in the Herald Sun in 2009. His offence involved alleging that the recipients of various race-based awards, grants or sinecures intended for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders were visibly Caucasian and pretty much indistinguishable from the vast mass of Australians.
Similar observations are made every day by people of predominantly Aboriginal descent, who bitterly resent the success that those with limited Aboriginal ancestry have in gaining access to funds that were supposed to be reserved for the truly disadvantaged. Such observation can be made safely enough: the views of ordinary Aborigines don’t matter to anyone of importance.
Bolt’s mistake was to put unwelcome truths into print, to point out that the Emperor has no clothes, that the publicly financed Aboriginal and Torres Islander industry is a racket run for the benefit of careerists and opportunists of all races who happily enrich themselves on guilt money squeezed out of the Australian public. Honesty about this industry is now a violation of the law as understood by the political activists who have captured control of the judicial system.
The verdict will kill off unwelcome press coverage about how our taxes are spent by the spivs in utopian disguise. It guarantees that Aboriginal programs will be denied the accountability that they need, so another couple of generations will be thrown to the wolves.
Worse still, the verdict confers an unwarrantable legal privilege (the right not to be offended or the right to translate an alleged or even contrived sense of injury into someone else’s legal liability) on the beneficiaries of a racial spoils system that already enables selected Australians to leverage all manner of benefit off of their identities. In a nation whose population is ethnically diverse, with many citizens having dual or even plural identities, this will inevitably form the basis of invidious comparison and competition...which will add nothing to the civility or good humour of the nation at large.
Australians will surely come to rue the words of Euripides’ The Phoenician Women. When Polyneikes explains to his mother Jocasta that the worst thing about life as an exile is the lack of freedom of speech, she exclaims: “This is a slave's lot you speak of, not to say what one thinks.”
This is the whole point behind the trendy activism of the legal profession: to create a smug Australia parody of late-Soviet era Russia, a country in which those with the wrong opinions are driven into a form of internal exile and thereby have a slave’s lot thrust upon them.
Such Australians already know who they are: those who understand that they needn’t ever bother seeking employment with the ABC or SBS, a social science or humanities faculty or many areas of the federal bureaucracy. Those who know that publicly funded grants programs are off limits to people with beliefs that have not been sanctioned by the state.
Where this will end, I do not know, but it won’t be good. In a world of angry, overcrowded, nations sinking into conflict over resources, Australia has selected self-dissolution by way of post-modern tribalism. What on earth do our leaders think that they are doing?
See also David Kemp's excellent article on this matter.
Paul Kelly weighs into the debate: 'TONY Abbott has been gifted a new election issue that he should seize: a Labor Party ready to restrict political debate and valid expressions of view by the Australian people.
'Labor's response to the Andrew Bolt case has been a wall of silence.
'There is no doubt, however, this is a Labor law and the judge's decision that further represses political debate is seen as a Labor value'.