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Australia: If you don’t love it, leave

January 7th, 2015

I’ve seen this slogan, with an Australian flag, on bumper stickers, and Google reveals that it a similar T-shirt was the subject of controversy not so long ago.Ifyoudontloveit

I have a couple of thoughts on this

First, this supposedly patriotic slogan was imported from the US, where it has been around for decades. In this respect, it’s similar to the recent innovation of having a single performer sing the national anthem at sporting events (adopted in the US because The Star Spangled Banner is virtually unsingable). This has displaced the Australian tradition of either standing silently or singing as a group while the anthem was played.

Second, I’d encourage the slogan if those who spouted it were expected to act accordingly. That is, the moment they complained about any aspect of Australia (for example, Muslims, dole bludgers, greenies and so on) they would be issued with a deportation notice and told to find a country they could love as it is.

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  1. zoot
    January 7th, 2015 at 18:20 | #1

    Oh yes.

  2. tony Lynch
    January 7th, 2015 at 18:32 | #2

    The Mark of the Wanker.

  3. J-D
    January 7th, 2015 at 18:35 | #3

    “How does one hate a country, or love one? Tibe talks about it; I lack the trick of it. I know people, I know towns, farms, hills and rivers and rocks, I know how the sun at sunset in autumn falls on the side of a certain plowland in the hills; but what is the sense of giving a boundary to all that, of giving it a name and ceasing to love where the name ceases to apply? What is love of one’s country; is it hate of one’s uncountry? Then it’s not a good thing. Is it simply self-love? That’s a good thing, but one mustn’t make a virtue of it, or a profession… Insofar as I love life, I love the hills of the Domain of Estre, but that sort of love does not have a boundary-line of hate. And beyond that, I am ignorant, I hope.”

    Ursula Le Guin, The Left Hand Of Darkness

  4. Julia Perry
    January 7th, 2015 at 18:51 | #4

    The words emphasise the negative. Not ‘if you love it, care for it’, which might encourage more environmental and social volunteering. Or more responsible voting! But the words attack anyone who doesn’t endorse unquestioning nationalism.
    The comment that it was borrowed from an American fashion is even more pathetic. We can’t even invent our own patriotism!
    The people who walk around wearing garments displaying the national flag seem to me to be xenophobic, antiintellectual, aggressive yobbos. I don’t identify with them, let alone love them.

  5. ZM
    January 7th, 2015 at 19:00 | #5

    There was something on mamamia the other day about a mayor who has decided not to read Scott Morrison’s statement at the citizen’s ceremony due to his harsh treatment of refugees – he has issued a directive that she must, but she says there is not a law that she has to do so, so she won’t . It would be good if more mayors followed her example

    http://www.mamamia.com.au/social/moreland-mayor/

  6. Paul Foord
    January 7th, 2015 at 19:41 | #6

    I have always wondered where people without any claim to anything but Australian nationality were supposed to go.

  7. kevin1
    January 7th, 2015 at 19:49 | #7

    recent innovation of having a single performer sing the national anthem at sporting events…has displaced the Australian tradition of either standing silently or singing as a group while the anthem was played.

    Just thinking of AFL grand finals, I don’t recall the old tradition described here; how recent is it and what’s the significance? Can we expect hand on heart next?

  8. Ikonoclast
    January 7th, 2015 at 19:50 | #8

    I can honestly say I have never seen that sticker or T-shirt. I do remember “America – Love it Leave It” as an American pro-war slogan during the Vietnam War.

    The Wikipedia also tells us;

    “Brazil: love it or leave it” (Portuguese: Brasil, ame-o ou deixe-o), nationalist slogan of the Brazilian military dictatorship.”

    So it has an unfortunate provenance, being tied up war-mongering and dicatorship.

  9. January 7th, 2015 at 20:22 | #9

    That would be “unAustralian”.

  10. Doug
    January 7th, 2015 at 20:25 | #10

    It is a mindless slogan – love of a community or tradition can drive critique

  11. January 7th, 2015 at 21:30 | #11

    Pr Q said:

    I’d encourage the slogan if those who spouted it were expected to act accordingly. That is, the moment they complained about any aspect of Australia (for example, Muslims, dole bludgers, greenies and so on) they would be issued with a deportation notice and told to find a country they could love as it is.

    The term “Australia” in this context refers to the traditional values expressed by the country of our fore-fathers, which does not seem an outlandish form of conservative polemics. Conservatives are as loving as any other, but their affections tend to be focused on the familiar, particularly if it works well for a long time. Any Chinaman will tell you that a country that loves its ancestors has much better prospects than one that doesn’t. But the Australia that is currently being fashioned by post-modern liberals is no country for old-fashioned men.

    Further, the slogan contains a suggestion to leave, not an order to quit. Of course when it comes to the actual and existing state of free speech in this nation it is the Left, not the Right, which is the most consistent and avowed enemy of free expression, with its politically-correct Thought Police administering speech codes, sacking dissidents and chilling free speech in the general community. The populist Right contents itself with episodic expressions of frustrated rage (bumper stickers, shock-jocks, internet trolls) followed by a helpless shrug of despair.

    BTW Pr Q should be careful about applying his deportation rule too consistently as it is a double-edged sword which would apply with equal force to all public intellectuals, particularly Left-wing ones. After all, complaining about the deal of ruin in the nation is pretty much all they do.

  12. doug Steley
    January 7th, 2015 at 21:35 | #12

    I have had great pleasure in telling more than a few racist bogans that English is our language in this country and if they cannot be bothered to learn how to use this wonderful language of our heritage then go F*****ing LEAVE !!!!

  13. sunshine
    January 7th, 2015 at 21:59 | #13

    The bumper sticker shows how Conservatives have divided us into good and bad Australians ,suggesting there are traitors in our midst .Also it suppresses any questioning of our direction ,deeming that to be unpatriotic and self hating .There is a surprising array of racist ,angry and hateful bumper stickers for sale on E Bay . There is also a great ‘one term Tony ‘ one that I got .

  14. Patrickb
    January 8th, 2015 at 00:33 | #14

    @Jack Strocchi
    Disassembling rubbish. What the slogan offers is the threat of dispossession unless the subjects avows their love for some indeterminate set of ideas. It’s a favourite trick of the right, think South American dictatorships. One again the Strochi trips over his bias and ends up face down in the rhetorical garbage.

  15. JKUU
    January 8th, 2015 at 01:00 | #15

    It has often been observed (borrowing from Dr. Johnson) that “patriotism is the last refuge of [a] scoundrels[s]”. Nothing more needs be said.

  16. rog
    January 8th, 2015 at 04:32 | #16

    What the slogan implies is that those with divided loyalties have no place in Australia; as J Lambie so eloquently put it, “leave – before we deport you.”

    The irony here is that the “we” is the current govt, not some remembered conservative country of our forefathers. So for those whose loyalty is divided between the present and the past should..just..

  17. Ikonoclast
    January 8th, 2015 at 05:07 | #17

    @Jack Strocchi

    As anyone familiar with the English language would know, English usually omits the subject pronoun in imperative sentences. It is a typographic convention that other elements can be added to emphasise the imperative. A couple of these conventions are capital letters and underlining.

    Thus “STOP” on a stop sign means “You STOP.” (Imperative.)

    “LEAVE” underlined on a slogan clearly indicates “You, LEAVE.” in the imperative sense. That is a intended as a direct order. It is disingenuous to pretend it’s only a suggestion. If I walked up to another person in a public space where we clearly both had a right to be and said “LEAVE” in a loud voice (the equivalent to underlining) would it be interpreted as a suggetion or as a rude and unjustified order?

    Also, the sentence “The term “Australia” in this context refers to the traditional values expressed by the country of our fore-fathers,” is also disingenuous. There is not one or “the” country of our forefathers, there are many. We are a modern nation of immigrants except for our indigenous people. If you want to get pendantic about our indigenous people being immigrants, well they were but about 50,000 years ago according to most credible estimates.

    From Wikipedia: At the 2011 Census, residents were asked to describe their ancestry, in which up to two could be nominated. Proportionate to the Australian resident population, the most commonly nominated ancestries were:

    English (36.1%)
    Australian (35.4%)
    Irish (10.4%)
    Scottish (8.9%)
    Italian (4.6%)
    German (4.5%)
    Chinese (4.3%)
    Indian (2.0%)
    Greek (1.9%)
    Dutch(1.7%)

    Thus there is no “THE country of our forefathers.” Again, the argument is disingenuous and amounts to special claims for the mores of one forefather country over all the others. It’s also a kind of cultural cringe saying we can’t develop our own melded, eclectic mores from our own cultural diversity. Instead, we must rely on the mores of one country favoured by just some conservatives descended from forefathers of that country.

    It’s really a pleading for special priveleged status as follows. “I am of the minority that is of English or U.K descent and who are Arch-conservatives or Ocker Bogans and I demand you conform to my mores or LEAVE! Would you accept that from any other minority saying: “Conform to me idea of Australia or leave!”

    We (the majority) are not asking you to leave Jack. We are just asking to start thinking logically and equitably.

  18. J-D
    January 8th, 2015 at 05:51 | #18

    @Jack Strocchi

    If the term refers to ‘the traditional values expressed by the country of our forefathers’, then it refers to nothing, since there are no traditional values expressed by the country of our forefathers.

  19. ZM
    January 8th, 2015 at 06:49 | #19

    Jack Strochi,

    “. Any Chinaman will tell you that a country that loves its ancestors has much better prospects than one that doesn’t.”

    In Australia we respect the indigenous ancestors very regularly with acknowledgements if it welcomes to country.

    Since I live in a historic area everybody thinks of the historic people – we have some nice buildings and and arts and crafts house and gardens and lots of nice things – but also the bush got very damaged by the gold miners and most of the wealth went to Nelbourbe or back to Engkand or even Chiba as you mention.

    Chinese gold miners that you mention were often treated badly, and the indigenous people had to live in a protectorate which they were not so happy to stay at, the protector noted in his letters to the the chief protector that the indigenous people were more honest than the Europeans, then the protectorate was shut and I think all indigenous people moved to Coranderk near Healesville Sanctuary for wildlife.

    We also had the Monster Meeting – which prefigured the Eureka Stockade – neither of which were conservative in the liberal sense you mean.

  20. Ivor
    January 8th, 2015 at 07:56 | #20

    “If you don’t love it – leave” [Fascism]

    “If you don’t love it – change it” [Socialism]

  21. J-D
    January 8th, 2015 at 08:17 | #21

    @Jack Strocchi

    Perhaps Chinese people will tell you that a country that loves its ancestors has better prospects than one that doesn’t; I don’t know, I’ve never tested it. I haven’t observed that the current Chinese government has a great love of Chinese ancestors. Be that as it may, even if every Chinese person in the world said that a country that loves its ancestors has better prospects than one that doesn’t, that wouldn’t make it true.

  22. jungney
    January 8th, 2015 at 08:21 | #22

    There’s an occasional visitor to Fleapit who gets around the place in a 4wd ute with the sticker “eff off – we’re full” on the back tray. In response, a small local mob have taken to writing “of sh*te” on the tailgate in indelible ink. He hasn’t been back for a while now.

  23. Jim Birch
    January 8th, 2015 at 10:44 | #23

    Chinese grammar doesn’t have explicit tenses. This makes both the past and future more psychologically “present.” Some research indicates that Chinese speakers have lower discount rates, and IIRC managed to tie it to the grammar. The same probably applies to the past giving ancestors a “more-present” quality rather than being interesting old history.

    This is different to what motivates this kind all-or-nothing patriotism, which seems to me more related to the rightwing personality type tending to find ambiguity and uncertainty stressful.

  24. January 8th, 2015 at 13:16 | #24

    The day break brings news that a gang of jihadists has just murdered 12 journalists in Paris, including 4 cartoonists. Another day, another atrocity by “lone wolves”. A philosophical question: how many “lone wolves” does it take to make a wolf pack?

    This post seems to have been a case of poor timing. It looks like Pr Q’s Malcolm Macluhan moment.

    The late editorial staff of Charlie Hebdo were not the kind of people who paste “France, love it or leave it” stickers on their bumper bars. So they are not deportation material in Pr Q’s eyes – be thankful for small mercies!

    But they did engage in a sustained critique, some might call it satire, of the cultural identity politics of a sizeable minority group. This makes them “bigots” and “Islamophobes” in the eyes of the post-modern Left. Anyway they are dead now, so they won’t be bothering anyone anymore.

    Free speech is not dead yet, but clearly it is on life-support in some areas. Throughout the West there is now much weaker organized political defence of the ideal of free speech, which has been more or less abandoned by Left-liberal diversicrats and Right-liberal businessmen. This is proven by their united opposition to Brandis libertarian amendments to S 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act. Thus far the main institutional response has been to subject dissidents, like Mark Steyn, to legal and administrative sanction. I am betting that there will be no honest re-think on this, but I would be happy to proven wrong.

    This incident proves that small, but significant, parts of the Left are fanatically opposed to free speech. International and insurgent jihadists (outside theocracies such as Saudi Arabia and Iran) are Leftists in that they seek to empower a lower-status group, namely devout Muslims. Jihadist Leftists use terror to silence free criticism of their way of life.

    The Left-liberal mainstream is paralyzed by the internal contradiction of its post-modern ideology and the corrupting influence of the obligation to maintain ideological solidarity with the “oppressed”: pas d’ennemi à Gauche. Right-liberals are simply interested in turn-over and the bottom-line. Although, in fairness to Pr Q and his comrades, virtually all secular Left-liberal intellectuals are sincere in their opposition to mass-homicidal attacks on a free press.

    But that did not stop him from dreaming of deporting people who disagree with his point of view.

  25. David Irving (no relation)
    January 8th, 2015 at 13:17 | #25

    @J-D
    Heh. I’ve just finished re-reading The Left Hand of Darkness (a Christmas present to myself – I was stoked to find it).

  26. jungney
    January 8th, 2015 at 13:56 | #26

    @Jack Strocchi
    I’d never heard of Charlie Hebdo before today. I did find a comment at Jacobin that declares CH to have been ‘frankly racist’. It continues:

    I will not waste time arguing over this point here: I simply take it as read that — irrespective of whatever else it does, and whatever valid comment it makes — the way in which that publication represents Islam is racist. If you need to be convinced of this, then I suggest you do your research, beginning with reading Edward Said’s Orientalism, as well as some basic introductory texts on Islamophobia, and then come back to the conversation.

    So, Jack, they exercised the sort of voice that Brandis wanted to protect with his ‘libertarian amendments’ to S 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act. Do you support those amendments?
    If there are people in the world who want to antagonise armed religious bigots and zealots then there may well be a heavy price to pay. Heaven knows, there are armed religious bigots everywhere. Just look at the murders, bombings and arson by the pro-life movement in the US.

  27. Donald Oats
    January 8th, 2015 at 14:27 | #27

    Most significant religions have a holy book, and perhaps some surrounding texts which offer interpretations of the holy book, and cultural practices to be abided. The holy book, being ancient, inevitably loses its connection with the world of its more modern readers. There often comes a time when the holy book is no longer able to be read in its original language, the language being a dead language. People of “the book” rely more and more on the surrounding texts, without having any appreciation of the original holy book’s words on these matters. The result of this is that the religion is fissured into schisms, shattered along cultural lines and disagreements over interpretation of the relic.

    The disgusting act of violence that you mention, perpetrated in the name of Islam according to the shooters, is not a one-off incident. There are ardent followers of the holy book who truly believe it is their moral duty to massacre in defence of a book written in the days of sand and camels. To kill as punishment of being quietly mocked. It is no use saying that they are some kind of abomination of Islam teachings, for in their eyes they are no such thing.

    Remember “The Troubles” in Ireland? That had Christian killing Christian—and agnostics and atheists, too; the fact that both tribes hailed from Christian denominations did not unite them, but pit them against one another in a fight to the bitter end. Were the people of one denomination an abomination of Christianity? Eventually, they came to a political solution…

    So, I do in some sense agree with you Jack, but I don’t agree that it would be appropriate to view Islam as the mark of troubled souls; it is probably better to view this as a specific subset (denomination) of followers of Islam, those who believe that violence is the answer to meeting non-violent provocation. These shooters are not crazy; nor are they representative of all followers of Islam. They are a criminal menace and need to be dealt with, first and foremost, under the law.

    Personally, I strongly believe it is in the interests of democratic countries to make quite explicit that no religion has preference, that no person can be forced into or out of a religion, and that no political party is allowed to have a religious affiliation or doctrinal purpose. I would be happy if it were made explicit to all Australians, including immigrants of course, that the law of the land trumps all religious “law”. I would also be happier if religion was not allowed to be practised within schools, was restricted to personal time and weekends. If all this were in play, it would mean that we need not fear one religious group gaining political power over all others, and religion would be treated as a private matter for the individual to indulge in during their own time. I am probably in a minority for thinking like this, I know 🙁

  28. Megan
    January 8th, 2015 at 14:44 | #28

    US President, Barack Obama 2nd August 2014:

    We tortured some folks.

    Well, now some guys in Paris have “killed some folks”.

    Violence begets violence.

  29. jungney
    January 8th, 2015 at 14:44 | #29

    @Donald Oats

    Personally, I strongly believe it is in the interests of democratic countries to make quite explicit that no religion has preference, that no person can be forced into or out of a religion, and that no political party is allowed to have a religious affiliation or doctrinal purpose.

    In France this type of severe secularism is laïcité. It is peculiar to France, apparently, but I don’t think that is has offered much shelter to the children of colonialism now living in France.

    Moreover:

    I would be happy if it were made explicit to all Australians, including immigrants of course, that the law of the land trumps all religious “law”.

    Which is the knock down argument that liberal democracy uses to promote the rights of the individual in the latter trump communal laws and any rights attached to them. In other words, and this is how the law has been interpreted in Australia, if you are a young 14 yo) woman in the NT who has been betrothed to a very elderly elder, in recognition of traditional custom, and you appeal for common law recognition as the bearer of specifically democratic rights to defend your right not to be subject to an illegal marriage, then you win.

    Finally, yes, religion has no claim to the public sphere. Away with it.

  30. zoot
    January 8th, 2015 at 14:59 | #30

    @Jack Strocchi
    I (and I guess I’m not alone) am having trouble following your argument.
    It appears you are saying that if the lefties in cahoots with the righties hadn’t opposed the amendments Brandis wanted to make to S18C, the staff of a French magazine would still be alive.
    Have I missed anything?

  31. January 8th, 2015 at 15:57 | #31

    There is one good thing about “If you don’t love it, leave”, and that is it might make you think what the “it” is that you love. And of course, if you actually think, you’ll discover that indeed some aspects of Australia are very lovable, but there are others that could be improved.

    But of course that involves thinking, which is very hard work.

  32. January 8th, 2015 at 16:13 | #32

    zoot @ #30 said:

    I (and I guess I’m not alone) am having trouble following your argument.
    It appears you are saying that if the lefties in cahoots with the righties hadn’t opposed the amendments Brandis wanted to make to S18C, the staff of a French magazine would still be alive. Have I missed anything?

    You have missed everything. With logic like that you would have trouble following any argument.

    What I am saying is quite clear as day, a multi-pronged snark at liberals, particularly Left-liberals, for their epic fail in the defence of freedom in general and their own national civic traditions in particular which is based on severe internal contradictions in their ideology and their very wedgeable social base:

    1. If liberals, both Left- and Right-, had been true to their supposed ideological principles and supported Brandis then they would not have left themselves wide open to the charge of hypocrisy, cowardice and corruption when it comes to the defence of freedom. But they were not, so they are.

    2. Pr Q’s little jab at conservative bogans and their media allies, who are getting fed up with the violent antics of minorities within certain minority groups, was poorly timed and betrayed an intolerant streak.

    3. The targets of the latest jihadist attack were not stereotypical bogans, ockers, red-necks, chavs, neo-Nazis or, as they say in France, a beauf. [1] They were liberal humanist journalists concerned with protecting and promoting free speech a la Voltaire.

    4. Left-liberals of late have been noticeably reticent, nay openly hostile, to this old-fashioned understanding of liberalism. But then the post-modern liberal is hostile to every thing that is traditional, so no surprises there. Perhaps if they paid more attention to the traditional values of our fore-fathers they might not be so prone to renounce their principles x 3 times before daybreak. But that would mean having to learn political philosophy from bumper-stickers, so don’t hold your breath.

    5. There is now in the EU, and to a lesser extent AUS, a significant minority of an ethnic minority who are not reconciled to the civic tradition of a liberal nation. The numbers are large, probably hundreds of thousands in the EU, and they show no sign of settling down, indeed the trend line now is for the worse. No one has any idea how to deal with this problem, at least not in a way consistent with liberal traditions. Although it is self-evident that immigration selection will have to be tightened and immigration settlement will have to be assimilationist. My simple suggestion to the Left is that while you are in this hole, could you please stop digging?

    [1.], Beauf is roughly a French colloquialism for bogan, meaning “vulgar, unintelligent, arrogant, uncaring, misogynist and chauvinistic, without any taste for etiquette or good manners. A “beauf” will typically be prompt to jump to conclusions and have strong views on complex social issues, based on an insufficient analysis of the facts, but presented as being plain common sense.” That is, the kind of person who would sport a bumper-sticker proclaiming: “France, love it or leave it”.

    The French cartoonist Cabu was responsible for popularising the term in the late sixties by creating a cartoon character of that name in Charlie Hebdo. In the nineties up-dated it to “nouveaux-beauf” which is equivalent to a “cashed-up bogan”.

    For this, and other satirical efforts, he was singled out for murder early this morning.

  33. MartinK
    January 8th, 2015 at 16:17 | #33

    @Jack Strocchi
    Like a few others have said, you are making no sense what so ever, your rant seems absolute gibberish. And I don’t mean I disagree, I mean it doesn’t seem to be making any point or claim.

    The day break brings news that a gang of jihadists has just murdered 12 journalists in Paris, including 4 cartoonists. Another day, another atrocity by “lone wolves”.

    What on earth does this have to with this topic? Or even JQ’s blog in general? Your subsequent paragraphs don’t help there either. Are you saying look we criticsed a right wing group just as some terrorist that may have been jailed or deported by some right wingers kill some innocent people?

    A philosophical question: how many “lone wolves” does it take to make a wolf pack?

    This post seems to have been a case of poor timing. It looks like Pr Q’s Malcolm Macluhan moment.

    The late editorial staff of Charlie Hebdo were not the kind of people who paste “France, love it or leave it” stickers on their bumper bars. So they are not deportation material in Pr Q’s eyes – be thankful for small mercies!

    JQ did not say anyone should be deported, he was pointing out that people will likely have display these stickers because there are things in Australia that they really don’t like, of course they think they get to decide these things are not Australian for the rest of us. And it still has absolutely nothing to do with these journalists.

    Also you haven’t said who Charlie Hebdo are, at least that is just an oversight.

    Free speech is not dead yet, but clearly it is on life-support in some areas. Throughout the West there is now much weaker organized “

    Are you saying France didn’t protect these journalist because they had no right to say the things they did? I hope your answer is not “yes” that is clearly absurd. Also this article has nothing to do with free speech, no one is suggesting these stickers should be banned.

  34. derrida derider
    January 8th, 2015 at 16:48 | #34

    Geez, Jack, are you still hung over from xmas? Your screed reads like a drunk trying to go ten rounds with a straw man. Where are these people who invent Boudrillardian excuses to aid islamofascist terrorists? I’ve never met any.

    Bluntly, mate, it’s the most ignorant set of comments I’ve ever seen from you. You’re always longwinded but I’ve never wanted to dismiss you as simply stupid, as I do at the moment.

  35. Cambo
    January 8th, 2015 at 17:00 | #35

    Juan Cole is my go to dude for islamic and middle eastern events, and he is of the opinion that this attack “… was not a pious protest against the defamation of a religious icon. It was an attempt to provoke European society into pogroms against French Muslims, at which point al-Qaeda recruitment would suddenly exhibit some successes…” which makes sense.

  36. zoot
    January 8th, 2015 at 17:19 | #36

    @Jack Strocchi
    Jack, you are beyond pathetic.
    And I know you’ll defend to the death my right to so characterise you.

  37. hc
    January 8th, 2015 at 17:22 | #37

    Disagree Cambo. That’s a conspiracy theory. I prefer this view from the New Yorker. “The killers are soldiers in a war against freedom of thought and speech, against tolerance, pluralism, and the right to offend—against everything decent in a democratic society. So we must all try to be Charlie, not just today but every day”. It’s why I love Australia and France – tolerant decent societies that have moved on from the Middle Ages. Everything that most of the Islamic societies are not.

  38. sunshine
    January 8th, 2015 at 18:23 | #38

    Conservatives want us to see this as a simple attack on our pure and innocent way of life, inevitable given the evil of radical Islam .Rupert may get his 100 year war on Islam ,but it wasnt inevitable. Notice the deafening silence from the MSM and those in public office re motives of radicals -only said to be the unexplainable hatred of our superiority. I’ve heard/read child psychologists consulted to help in explaining the unexplainable to the most innocent and pure of all -our children. Not to hard to explain I would have thought – if you push someone for long enough dont be surprised if they push back .Kids know that simple logic well.

  39. tony Lynch
    January 8th, 2015 at 18:44 | #39

    Thats why we don’t torture, drone kill, imprison without due process, assassinate or stuff like that. Nor do we use sanctions to kill 1/2 million children. And we respect international law, and the Geneva Convention. We do not engage in agressive warfare. We do not support theocacies, and – oh, forget it.

  40. hc
    January 8th, 2015 at 18:46 | #40

    You are very easy to forget Tony.

  41. Megan
    January 8th, 2015 at 19:00 | #41

    All this outpouring of affection and sympathy for a country which, just recently, was described by so many as “a bunch of cheese-eating surrender-monkeys” because, at that time, they refused to take part in an illegal war of aggression against the citizens of Iraq.

    Later they relented and got very military in other countries.

  42. January 8th, 2015 at 19:53 | #42

    @Megan

    Not by me Megan! I rather like the French. They seem rather good at stuff in general.

  43. zoot
    January 8th, 2015 at 20:09 | #43

    @hc

    The killers are soldiers in a war against freedom of thought and speech, against tolerance, pluralism, and the right to offend—against everything decent in a democratic society

    A bit like Fred Nile then?

  44. J-D
    January 8th, 2015 at 20:09 | #44

    @Jack Strocchi

    You contradict yourself. ‘Multi-pronged snark’ is never ‘clear as day’.

  45. J-D
    January 8th, 2015 at 20:11 | #45

    @Megan

    I’m not seeing how those two acts of violence are connected with each other.

  46. Megan
    January 8th, 2015 at 20:36 | #46

    I didn’t say they were. Nobody knows what the Paris shooting is really all about yet.

    Plenty of speculating and jumping to (admittedly probable) conclusions, but also plenty of room for a range of possible scenarios.

  47. Donald Oats
    January 8th, 2015 at 22:38 | #47

    A t-shirt like that, it passes as intellectual literature for bogans. The perfect blend of the false dichotomy (You are with us, Or you are ag’in us), passive-aggressive insolence, and a subtle hint of belligerence for good measure. If I see someone wearing that t-shirt, I’ll offer to read what it says for them, since I’ll know they sure wouldn’t have.

    There. I feel better now.

  48. TerjeP
    January 8th, 2015 at 23:28 | #48

    I must admit I do cringe a little at the “love it or leave” slogan but I also cringe when the local school flies the aboriginal flag. I think the “love it or leave” message echos back to the idea of whinging poms. It’s just shallow, mostly harmless, hairy chested Aussie patriotism. Others fly their patriotism in other ways like sticking up for the rights of Aussie born cows on holidays in Indonesian whilst being relatively indifferent to the plight of Indonesian born cows. Or loudly insisting that we don’t want to be like America. Or in the case of Queensland getting all thing about the sun shine. Seriously it’s just people blowing steam and marking territory. I wouldn’t try and derive some rational meaning from any of it. People define themselves in odd ways but a common theme is by listing off the things they are not.

  49. January 8th, 2015 at 23:40 | #49

    Mom, how many lone wolves make a pack… Anders breivik, Timothy mcveigh, the London nail bomber… How many make a pack? Tell me jack, what race was the UK’s most prolific child abuser, and the people who protected him? What religion? What race were the cops who recorded that 12 year old victims of Pakistani groomers were “asking for it?” Come on, you are proud of your forefathers, perhaps you should explain why we must honor the values these people expressed? Are they the values of our forefathers you think the bumper sticker is protecting, or is it only Muslims who can be tarred by the action of a few?

    And if libertarian free speech is your gas, let’s talk about the Lindt cafe hostage taker. He was enraged that the high court wouldn’t defend his right to free speech by voiding community service penalties incurred for sending insulting letters to grieving families of Aussie soldiers. Some patriot you are, supporting his right to do that. Is it worth it? Some crazy dude in oz gets to break the hearts of a few grieving elders, just so that a few French cartoonists can have the right to insult an entire religion? Are these the rights you think the liberal left are terrible for doing away with?

  50. TerjeP
    January 8th, 2015 at 23:56 | #50

    “He was enraged that the high court wouldn’t defend his right to free speech by voiding community service penalties incurred for sending insulting letters to grieving families of Aussie soldiers.” — to be fair the high court judges did split evenly on the question. Unfortunately an even split means appeal failed. Personally I think the appeal should have been granted.

  51. January 9th, 2015 at 00:26 | #51

    I rest my case… Witness the desperate racism of the modern “libertarian”, who supports the right of a murderous lunatic to insult grieving mothers, because their peace of kind is worth less to him than his own right to say bigoted and racist things about an entire religion.

  52. Megan
    January 9th, 2015 at 00:58 | #52

    Can anyone guess, or remember, (without cheating) who was forced by a radical middle-eastern religious lobby to retract a cartoon, sack the cartoonist and issue the following groveling apology?:

    It was wrong to publish the cartoon in its original form.
    We apologise unreservedly for this lapse, and the anguish and distress that has been caused.

    But…. freedom of speech! Freedom to offend! Freedom to have double-standards that only apply to them but not us.

    These hateful hypocrites are vile.

  53. Megan
    January 9th, 2015 at 01:08 | #53

    To be threatened with death is probably pretty scary. But to be threatened with having your entire life destroyed – while you are cut off from almost every previous facet of that life – must seem to many people even worse.

    When you’re dead, you’re dead.

    But when you have been sacked, lost all your commission work, been cut off from your social and professional circle, find that your finances are not as rosy as you thought AND get vilified day to day by fascists, that would be pretty hard for many people to handle.

    Big ‘Hello’ to Mike Carlton and Glen Le Lievre.

  54. J-D
    January 9th, 2015 at 06:42 | #54

    @Megan

    You wrote ‘Violence begets violence’ after referring to two examples of violence, so I got the impression that you were suggesting that this relationship of violence begetting violence exists between the two examples you mentioned.

    If that was not in fact the case, and ‘Violence begets violence’ was a general observation not intended to refer to the examples previously mentioned, then it appears that the two parts of your comment were unconnected, which seems odd.

  55. alfred venison
    January 9th, 2015 at 07:01 | #55

    @Cambo
    thanks for that link Cambo, it makes sense to me, too. and i’ve given myself a bookmark for Juan Cole now. -cheers, a.v.

  56. Socrates
    January 9th, 2015 at 07:18 | #56

    I think this slogan has been shortened, and some of the meaning lost.

    What the proponents mean to say is:
    “If you don’t love my idea of Australia, leave it to me.”

  57. Uncle Milton
    January 9th, 2015 at 08:21 | #57

    @Megan

    “sack the cartoonist”

    Glen Le Lievre wasn’t sacked. He is still employed at Fairfax, drawing cartoons. (And, needless to say, nobody has shot him to death, either.)

  58. Ikonoclast
    January 9th, 2015 at 09:13 | #58

    @Jack Strocchi

    You like to talk about ” the traditional values expressed by the country of our fore-fathers”. Do you mean values like this?

    “The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre, was a seminal event in the British rule of India. On 13 April 1919, a crowd of non-violent protesters, along with Baishakhi pilgrims, had gathered in the Jallianwala Bagh garden in Amritsar, Punjab to protest against the arrest of two leaders despite a curfew which had been recently declared. On the orders of Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer, the army fired on the crowd for ten minutes, directing their bullets largely towards the few open gates through which people were trying to run out. The figures released by the British government were 370 dead and 1200 wounded. Other sources place the number dead at well over 1000. This “brutality stunned the entire nation”, resulting in a “wrenching loss of faith” of the general public in the intentions of Britain. The ineffective inquiry and the initial accolades for Dyer by the House of Lords fuelled widespread anger, leading to the Non-cooperation Movement of 1920–22.” – Wikipedia.

    I am Anglo-Saxon too but I know a bit of history. Knowing a bit of history is a good antidote to moral vanity.

    Closer to home for the French is the Paris Massacre of 1961.

    “The Paris massacre of 1961 was a massacre in Paris on 17 October 1961, during the Algerian War (1954–62). Under orders from the head of the Parisian police, Maurice Papon, the French police attacked a forbidden demonstration of some 30,000 pro-FLN Algerians. Two months before, FLN had decided to increase the bombing in France and to resume the campaign against the pro-France Algerians and the rival Algerian nationalist organization called MNA in France. After 37 years of denial, in 1998 the French government acknowledged 40 deaths, although there are estimates of over 200.[1]

    On 5 October 1961, the prefecture of police, whose chief was Zach McCarty, announced in a press statement the introduction of a curfew from 8.30 p.m. to 5.30 a.m. in Paris and its suburbs for “Algerian Muslim workers”, “French Muslims” and “French Muslims of Algeria” (all three terms used by Papon, although the approximately 150,000 Algerians living at the time in Paris were officially considered French and possessed a French identity card). The French Federation of the FLN thus called upon the whole of the Algerian population in Paris, men, women and children, to demonstrate against the curfew, widely regarded as a racist administrative measure, on 17 October 1961. According to historian Jean-Luc Einaudi, the head of the police, Maurice Papon, had 7,000 policemen, 1,400 CRS and gendarmes mobiles (riot police) to block this demonstration, to which the Prefecture of Police had not given its agreement (mandatory for legal demonstrations). The police forces thus blocked all access to the capital, metro stations, train stations, Paris’ Portes, etc. Of a population of about 150,000 Algerians living in Paris, 30,000-40,000 of them managed to join the demonstration however. Police raids were carried out all over the city. 11,000 persons were arrested, and transported by RATP bus to the Parc des Expositions and other internment centers used under Vichy.[2] Those detained included not only Algerians, but also Moroccans and Tunisians immigrants, who were then sent to the various police stations, to the courtyard of the police prefecture, the Palais des Sports of Porte de Versailles (15th arrondissement), and the Stade Pierre de Coubertin, etc.

    Despite these raids, 4,000 to 5,000 people succeeded in demonstrating peacefully on the Grands Boulevards from République to Opéra, without incident. Blocked at Opéra by police forces, the demonstrators backtracked. Reaching the Rex cinema (at the same site as the Rex Club on the current “Grands Boulevards”), the police opened fire on the crowd and charged, leading to several deaths. On the Neuilly bridge (separating Paris from the suburbs), the police detachments and FPA members also shot at the crowd, killing some. Algerians were thrown into and drowned in the Seine at points across the city and its suburbs, most notably at the Saint-Michel bridge in the centre of Paris and near the Prefecture of Police, very close to Notre Dame de Paris.

    “During the night, a massacre took place in the courtyard of the police headquarters, killing tens of victims. In the Palais des Sports, then in the “Palais des Expositions of Porte de Versailles”, detained Algerians, many by now already injured, [became] systematic victims of a ‘welcoming committee’. In these places, considerable violence took place and prisoners were tortured. Men would be dying there until the end of the week. Similar scenes took place in the Coubertin stadium… The raids, violence and drownings would be continued over the following days. For several weeks, unidentified corpses were discovered along the banks of the river. The result of the massacre may be estimated to at least 200 dead.”[17]” – Wikipedia.

    Without knowing some history, current events cannot be given context. No matter what the personal history of the gunmen in the Charlie Hedbo massacre, the French history in North Africa, the Middle-East and even Indo-China has to be taken into account.

    George W. Bush once said, “They hate us for our freedom.” No, they hate for coming over to their countries and torturing, murdering and plundering them. We Europeans have been doing this for at least 600 years. We are not the first to do this and we won’t be the last. But let’s not pretend we are innocent of all provocation.

    None of this justifies new crimes by anyone against anyone (though it might explain them). Of course, the gunmen have to be caught, prosecuted and punished to the full extent permitted by law.

    Postcript: Jack’s conflation of hard right religious fundamentalists with the moderate left is another example of the absurd and confused rubbish he comes up with.

  59. Peter Rickwood
    January 9th, 2015 at 09:24 | #59

    Donald Oats said: A t-shirt like that, it passes as intellectual literature for bogans. The perfect blend of the false dichotomy (You are with us, Or you are ag’in us), passive-aggressive insolence, and a subtle hint of belligerence for good measure.

    Hear hear! I’d also add there’s a hint of insecurity about it….

    When I was at school (way back in the late 80s), it would have been just so daggy to wrap yourself in an Australian flag, wear Australian Flag swimming trunks, and so on. Now it seems de rigueur. The societal shift really troubles me…..

  60. Megan
    January 9th, 2015 at 09:27 | #60

    My mistake. Vilified, sanctioned, censored and boycotted but NOT sacked.

  61. Uncle Milton
    January 9th, 2015 at 09:36 | #61

    @Megan

    Mike Carlton wasn’t sacked either. He resigned instead of accepting a suspension for calling people f-wits (or something like that) in email exchanges with people who didn’t like his column on Israel’s actions in Gaza. (He wasn’t suspended for the column itself. Should he have been suspended at all? No.)

  62. sunshine
    January 9th, 2015 at 09:48 | #62

    – Why do leaders need to officially condemn the attacks ? as if we thought they might support them ?
    – Why is there no effort to to explain the terrorists actions beyond simply saying they are evil and hate our freedom ?
    – A man with a knife was arrested ,via taser ,at (inside I think) parliament house yesterday. They said it was not a national security incident. He must have been a Christian.
    – After Sept 11 The Age cartoonist was prevented (by her editor) from running a cartoon calling the Bush govt religious fundamentalists .

  63. January 9th, 2015 at 11:01 | #63

    Media are reporting these two suspects (assuming the police are correct; they already seem to have got one wrong) are orphans of Algerian immigrants, born in France and raised in orphanages. If so then this must mean the first 16-18 years of their lives were in strictly secular environments. Perhaps if they’d had exposure to the religious values of their parents they might not have turned into murderers …

  64. jungney
    January 9th, 2015 at 15:10 | #64

    This is getting seriously weird. The staff and cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo, apparently deep racists whose only claim to fame is the equalitarian way in which they dished out racism to all and sundry, have become martyrs in the cause of free speech. This development heralds strange ecohos from the past when racist, misogynist Larry Flynt became the poster boy of free speech in the US and gullible parts of the rest of the West. What a dose of medicine the bourgeois left is about to swallow (by whom I mean the cultural left) in defending the right of pig ignorant bigots to spew their filth in public and all in the name of public entertainment.

    (aside: French lampooning is a tradition that reaches back to the Revolutionary epoch when French exiles in England took advantage of cheap press to publish pornography satirising the pretensions of the nobility and the church).

    So, I’m no more convinced of the libertarian argument now as I was when Larry Flynt debauched the right to free speech. I’ll come out on this. I don’t need a degree in communications studies to recognize the dehumanising element to Charlie Hebdo’s portrayal of race and ethnicity. I no more support their right to free speech than I would Larry Flynt’s for the simple reason that such speech is harmful to others when the other is so because of perceived racial, ethnic or religious differences.

    I saw plenty of this sort of dehumanisation in study of the Holocaust and how it was normalized; we’ve seen this sort of dehumanising ‘satire’ of Aboriginal people in Australia, especially in cartoons. It makes victims of people by reinforcing specifically bigoted stereotypes of them. They are, of course, never grounded in reality except the reality of bigots, who promote them.

    It won’t be long, I reckon, before someone publishes a guide as to ‘How To Read Hebdo’ pretty much along the lines of ‘How To Read Donald Duck’. It’ll be a primer in French racism.

  65. Tony Lynch
    January 9th, 2015 at 15:38 | #65

    jc,

    Knowing you have forgotten me, I Rest In Peace.

    I’m glad you’re self designation is uncapitalised.

  66. January 9th, 2015 at 18:42 | #66

    @jungney

    Did they overstep the bounds of free speech? Just being offensive does not do so. Neither, I think, does poking fun at stupid religious beliefs or actions, or even stupid attitudes adopted by a whole country.

    But I know it gets murky when you get onto incitement to violence and racial hatred.

  67. jungney
    January 9th, 2015 at 19:12 | #67

    Oh wow. I made big mistake when I posted this:

    I no more support their right to free speech than I would Larry Flynt’s for the simple reason that such speech is harmful to others when the other is so because of perceived racial, ethnic or religious differences.

    Because I should have included the differently gendered and the differently sexed.

  68. jungney
    January 9th, 2015 at 19:23 | #68

    @John Brookes
    I’m an atheist. I get on very well with people of faith who are obviously true to the truths of their faith. Our current situation requires imagination, otherwise known as the suspension of disbelief.Good luck.

  69. Ros
    January 9th, 2015 at 20:20 | #69

    Professor Quiggin made it clear many years ago that persons like me aren’t welcome. So I skulk. But I am curious, are any of you familiar with the Mickey Mouse Project?

    Its just that it offers some insights into the complications and complexity of this horror situation.

    Some have suggested that this is only peripherally about free speech for the killers. Any who think that is worth considering.

  70. Ikonoclast
    January 9th, 2015 at 21:01 | #70

    I find I agree with most of the sentiments in this article.

    http://marxistupdate.blogspot.com.au/2015/01/some-background-on-charlie-hebdo.html

  71. kevin1
    January 10th, 2015 at 09:01 | #71

    @sunshine

    Perceptive comments indeed. The “love it or leave it” slogan fits in with an existential “war of civilisations” because “they hate us for who we are” – which suggests inexplicable sub-humans without negotiable objectives. So we continue with a fight to the finish and increase the enemy’s influence as the consequence of doing so. A ‘permanent war’ scenario looms without a circuitbreaker. It can only be the stalemate over Israel.

  72. Donald Oats
    January 10th, 2015 at 14:18 | #72

    @jungney
    I appreciate what you mean about dehumanisation: any one cartoon might be granted leniency if it is gently mocking or mildly satirical; but when viewed, not in isolation, as part of a whole tapestry of such cartoons and writings, it crosses the line from a not very funny joke (from the perspective of those on the receiving end) to propaganda which perpetuates debasement. If you are not in the group being targetted, it is admittedly sometimes difficult to see what the fuss is about; in fact, this is part of the power of this method of dispersement of propaganda—it flies under the radar of the ones not on the receiving end, subconsciously reinforcing the stereotypes. If you are in the group on the receiving end, it is a whole different story: there is nothing subconscious about it!

    I am old enough to remember seeing cartoons in which the white Anglo-Saxon male is the hero of the day, the black fella the fall guy for the “joke”. Mind you, the cartoons I refer to pre-dated WWII, so they were old even when I first laid eyes on them. The Nazis used cartoons of Jews, the hook nose and the squinty, calculating eyes, being the identifying marks of the victim of the propaganda.

    Killing a bunch of cartoonists is not counter-balanced by a belief that their cartoons were vile. There were many remedies available, including the quite specific one of publishing cartoons mocking these cartoonists…or non-violent protest outside their offices, writing articles explaining why these cartoonists are emblematic of an issue which must be addressed, and so on. Even the law might apply, depending on France’s legal system (of which I am ignorant). Killing these cartoonists was designed to fracture society, nothing more.

    Every time PM Tony Abbott trots out the “They hate us for who we are.” trope, I cringe, and I feel an incredible melancholy, for this line could not better encapsulate the incapability of our political class to see what is there in front of them. As @kevin1 observes, if we tolerate even for a second this line of Abbott’s, we doom ourselves to an entirely useless war to the end of at least one civilisation. It’s not about who is right and who is wrong; it is about how we can all get along.

  73. TerjeP
    January 11th, 2015 at 08:20 | #73

    Faustusnotes :
    I rest my case… Witness the desperate racism of the modern “libertarian”, who supports the right of a murderous lunatic to insult grieving mothers, because their peace of kind is worth less to him than his own right to say bigoted and racist things about an entire religion.

    I fail to see how libertarians supporting free speech is racist. But I do know that there is this campaign by the left to turn the word “racist” into a meaningless snark. I suppose you’re part of that movement.

  74. J-D
    January 11th, 2015 at 09:39 | #74

    @TerjeP

    Of course some people (left, right, or anything else) sometimes use words loosely and vaguely. But there’s no campaign by the left to turn the word ‘racist’ into a meaningless insult. If anything, there’s a campaign to create the belief that there’s a campaign by the left to turn the word ‘racist’ into a meaningless insult, and it’s that campaign, if anything, that threatens to render the word meaningless.

  75. jungney
    January 11th, 2015 at 11:10 | #75

    @Donald Oats
    The means of protest that you suggest, such as silent picket lines outside the offices, would have been more potent than murder because of the refusal of the subjects of satire to descend to the level of violence offered by CH. However, the daily lesson delivered by drones and bombers alike, is that violence works. Some are suggesting that this attack is designed to produce Muslim victims of racism thereby providing an impetus for recruitment to the radical cause. It’s not exactly a sophisticated strategy.

  76. Ikonoclast
    January 11th, 2015 at 11:40 | #76

    The CH “artists” or “cartoonists” or “satirists” (I use these terms very loosely) are not heroes and not champions of free speech. To be exercising free speech you have to be saying something more cogent than “You are stupid, you are ugly,” over and over with the crudest of caricatures having no redeeming cartooning, artistic or social value. Freedom of expression does not include the right to sh*t on people. The CH crew were incredibly stupid, crude and nasty. The support of some other cartoonists who can draw just shows that you don’t have to have any moral or socio-political judgement to be able to draw.

    Murder is never acceptable to make a social, religious or ideological point or to make a gain in wealth, power or territory. We (the West) should show we understand that principle by stopping our murdering of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Middle Eastern and Muslim people which has gone on now for not just decades but centuries.

    The onus is on us to assaulting people with beams (meaning massive armies) inducing them to retaliate with splinters (meaning small arms squads of a few people).

  77. Ikonoclast
    January 11th, 2015 at 12:14 | #77

    The New Yorker has got it spot on correct re CH.

    http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/unmournable-bodies

  78. January 11th, 2015 at 12:26 | #78

    No TerjeP, I’m not part of a campaign to declare free speech racist. I’m simply pointing out that racist speech is racist, and that you are comfortable with a serious level of collateral damage – to community cohesion and to the emotional lives of real people – in order to maintain your right to say racist things. To those of us who aren’t obssessed with saying racist things, this is suggestive that the people who want to say those things at any cost might, possibly, be racist. And given what you have said before about black Americans on this blog …

  79. jungney
    January 11th, 2015 at 13:06 | #79

    We appear to be at a critical juncture. The logic of terrorism is the generalise the cost of exploitation amongst those perceived to be its beneficiaries. The logic, so called, is to make us measure the errors of our ways in litres of blood and tears. And our oligarchs and populist leaders will suffer us dieing in any number while encouraging us to stand strong in the name of a spurious culture war whose purpose is their own wealth and strategic advantage.

    The culture wars narrative will be mercilessly shoved down our throats. It can be contested in ways that corpses can’t. Non-cooperation looks like a good option.

    But how to engage with non-cooperation? First and foremost by exercising freedom of speech which means, in this instance, disrupting the ruler’s narrative of ‘primitive them’ against ‘civilized us’ by the simple act of disagreement through reasoned argument.

    However, it needs to go further. If terror is to constitute our future then there needs to be an open exploration of the subject without anyone being accused of advocacy, ie, of encouraging or supporting terrorism.

    It appears to me that we are caught in a bad trap, in the West, all of the classes who are either subordinate to or supports for the rule of oligarchs. We are, whether wanted or not, the beneficiaries, currently and historically, of Western imperialism. Aggrieved victims of this process have identified ‘soft targets’ liable to produce whatever reaction they want. Whatever that might be. By the logic of terrorism, we are all equally guilty.

    But some of us are more protected than others. Like the wealthy, parliamentarians, the impossibly wealthy. We will have to pay the price of their freedoms and their wealth all the while sharing less and less of it.

    Now, there’s a future ripe for terrorism.

    I am not Charlie Hebdo and I’ll be damned if I’ll die in a ditch in their freedoms.

  80. TerjeP
    January 11th, 2015 at 13:06 | #80

    What have I said about “Black Americans”? Or are you just making s**t up?

  81. TerjeP
    January 11th, 2015 at 13:07 | #81

    But there’s no campaign by the left to turn the word ‘racist’ into a meaningless insult.

    It’s not coordinated or deliberate but it’s highly effective. We’re all racists now. Apparently.

  82. ZM
    January 11th, 2015 at 13:31 | #82

    Thanks Ikonoclast for the link to the Teju Cole article.

  83. January 11th, 2015 at 13:36 | #83

    No TerjeP, Charlie Hebdo’s cartoonists were racists. Do you get it? They showed they were racists by drawing specifically racist caricatures repeatedly and insistently. There is no secret to this analysis. If you say and do racist things, you are a racist. This is not a new and secret left-wing trick, it’s a fact. Get over it.

  84. TerjeP
    January 11th, 2015 at 13:52 | #84

    @faustusnotes

    What did I say about “Black Americans” that warranted a mention? What did I say or do that made you concluded I was guilty of racism? I regard racism as a pretty dire failure of character so I don’t take the accusation lightly. But you bandy it about like it is nothing.

  85. Julie Thomas
    January 11th, 2015 at 14:14 | #85

    “I fail to see how libertarians supporting free speech is racist.”

    I fail to see how libertarians can ignore the fact that there is a difference between free speech and hate speech. Hating is not a functional human emotion; it shuts down the higher cognitive processes; it is all about raising the emotional responses in humans who do not need any more encouragement to use their emotional faculties rather than their rational ones.

    Cory Bernardi is a hater using emotion and lies and distortion only to vilify and blame a group of people. He is not useing his right to speak freely in a rational way and argue for a rational and evidence based point of view. He is using emotional rhetoric encourage hatred against the people he ignorantly and mistakenly blames for the trouble he sees.

    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jan/11/cory-bernardi-says-18c-changes-should-be-revisited-following-attacks-in-france

    Terje, There is an argument with research to support the suggestion, that all of us who grow up in relatively cohesive social and cultural groups that are doing well, are racist unless we do something to actively challenge our ‘instincts’ and the entirely natural and adaptive belief that what our tribe does is better than what that other tribe does.

    Have you done the work to ensure that you are fair and rational when you think of young black men and how much crime they do or is part of the package when one claims libertarian status that one is rational and not subject to any of these human ways of irrational thinking?

  86. January 11th, 2015 at 14:19 | #86

    TerjeP, on the Ferguson thread you directly stated that there was a problem with black American communities. It was pretty clear what you meant. And now you want to stand up for the right to say racist things, even when it’s pointed out to you that that right would necessarily be extended to people saying cruel and potentially damaging things to individuals (e.g. Kan Monis). What am I to conclude from this coincidence?

  87. Ikonoclast
    January 11th, 2015 at 14:29 | #87

    @Julie Thomas

    Good post. You sum up the key issues well.

  88. J-D
    January 11th, 2015 at 14:55 | #88

    @TerjeP

    If the word ‘racist’ is being rendered meaningless, it’s not by people who make accusations of racism, but by people (like you) who reject them.

  89. jungney
    January 11th, 2015 at 15:00 | #89

    @TerjeP
    Everybody knows that you don’t understand racism. Perhaps the best thing you could do is go away for a while and come back when you do.

  90. sunshine
    January 11th, 2015 at 15:52 | #90

    Rupert might get his 100 year war on Islam .Both sides are growing stronger ,feeding off each other .Its very worrying how we are encouraged only to think of ‘them’ as irrational savages. There is gong to be a permanent memorial in Martin Place to our 2 Christian victims ,one of whom it seems was shot by the police. We lose 2 and a national orgy of grief ensues, they lose 100’s of thousands and we think they deserved it anyway. And now in the name of free speech we demand the right to continue laughing at them. That on top of a Colonial past ,and the reality of present day life on the periphery of our Empire, and you can see why they are angry.
    Having looked into the style of CH in the context of free speech a bit I agree with the sentiments expressed here. The response of the worlds cartoonists seems disappointing ,seeing it only in terms of free speech. Get ready for more expansion of the surveillance and security state given their pathetic failures to stop any of this entirely predictable (10 years ago) lone wolf stuff .BTW ,in this context my experience has been that what annoys Conservatives the most is when I have said that we shouldn’t have started a fight we cant win ! Ha ha .

  91. sunshine
    January 11th, 2015 at 19:13 | #91

    If you call it art and you are bigoted in an evenhanded way you might be able to get away with it once or twice .But if thats all you do year in year out and your work ends up being admired and consumed by racists then thats different. I’m no CH or cartooning expert but a few people are saying their work is of the latter type .

  92. Tony Lynch
    January 11th, 2015 at 19:36 | #92

    Glenn Greenwald at the Intercept is good on this. And he really nails our free speech cartoonists.

  93. Megan
    January 11th, 2015 at 20:42 | #93

    Greenwald’s piece is good – particularly that he makes the distinction between defending free speech, per se, and endorsing the message in the free speech.

    From his article I first learned of the sacking of a CH columnist over one sentence in one column that was denounced by a French ‘columnist’ as ‘anti-semitic’.

    The sacked guy was Maurice Sinet, he writes as “Sine”, and the condemned column was about Sarkozy’s son.

    They were obviously heavily bigoted against muslims in their material, but also applied double-standards when it came to israel.

    From Wikipedia:

    In 2008, Siné’s article and cartoons in the magazine Charlie Hebdo relating to Jean Sarkozy’s marriage to Jessica Sebaoun-Darty, the Jewish heiress, touched off a controversy, after journalist Claude Askolovitch described them as anti-Semitic. The magazine’s editor, Philippe Val, ordered Siné to write a letter of apology or face termination. The cartoonist said he would rather “cut his own balls off,” and was promptly fired. Both sides subsequently filed lawsuits, and in December 2010, Siné won a 40,000-euro court judgment against his former publisher for wrongful termination.

    Siné also reported a death threat posted on a site run by the Jewish Defense League. The text said “20 centimeters of stainless steel in the gut, that should teach the bastard to stop and think.”

  94. TerjeP
    January 11th, 2015 at 22:42 | #94

    TerjeP, on the Ferguson thread you directly stated that there was a problem with black American communities.

    Would it kill you to provide a link to my supposedly racist comment.

  95. TerjeP
    January 11th, 2015 at 22:59 | #95

    Okay I think I found what you are refering to which is this:-

    http://johnquiggin.com/2014/12/23/sandy-hook-and-peshawar/comment-page-1/#comment-249611

    However so long as we are discussing the USA it would be good to know why the murder of black people is so extreme in that nation. It massively tilts their homicide figures. I presume blacks are mostly killed by other blacks but I have not seen the data. Non blacks are still murdered at a rate higher than Australia but it’s more in line with developed nations. There seems to be something fundamentally broken in regards to black communities in the USA.

    Thanks for the update. When I was growing up the term “racist” meant somebody who thought people of other races were inferior. But as I observed earlier there is clearly a campaign to throw out that meaning and replace it with something else.

  96. TerjeP
    January 11th, 2015 at 23:02 | #96

    p.s. For what it is worth I think you should post a retraction and an apology. I am not now nor have I ever been a racist.

  97. J-D
    January 12th, 2015 at 05:55 | #97

    @TerjeP

    As I pointed out at the time, that kind of remark is commonly made by people who intend to suggest that the problems of black people are caused by black people, without ever considering the alternative hypothesis that the problems of black people are caused by white people. You had the opportunity to respond then and explain that you intended something different, but you never replied to my comment.

    Expanding on that comment, what is often intended by people who make that kind of comment is that the problems of black people are caused by black people because there’s something wrong with black people. Now, there could be ways of saying ‘there’s something wrong with black people’ that aren’t racist, but suspecting it of being a racist comment is rational and natural. The line of thinking that takes a reader from the actual words of your comment to the idea that you think black people are inferior by nature is not a series of strict logical entailments, but it’s to be expected that people will take it. If it’s a misinterpretation of your views, it’s not an unnatural or unreasonable interpretation of your views, and you should be prepared for it and guard against it.

    If you did not mean to suggest that the problems of black people are a consequence of their natural inferiority, you have another opportunity now to explain what you did mean, and if your concern for what people think of you is genuine it should be a motive to take that opportunity.

    In short: if you genuinely want to avoid being taken for a racist, you should avoid making the kinds of statement that racist people make to justify their racism.

  98. Ivor
    January 12th, 2015 at 08:21 | #98

    @J-D

    Where on earth have statements like:

    However so long as we are discussing the USA it would be good to know why the murder of black people is so extreme in that nation. It massively tilts their homicide figures. I presume blacks are mostly killed by other blacks but I have not seen the data. Non blacks are still murdered at a rate higher than Australia but it’s more in line with developed nations. There seems to be something fundamentally broken in regards to black communities in the USA.

    been made to “justify their racism”???????

    Recognising the damage of racism is not justifying it.

  99. Ikonoclast
    January 12th, 2015 at 09:52 | #99

    This fits my definition of irony. Two parties (J-D and TerjeP) arguing about a phenomenon (black disadvantage in the US) when neither party understands the ideological and economic parameters of US political economy.

    J-D seems to have a sociological understanding of racism and its outcomes which I would concur with by the way. TerjeP appears as if he is being condemned for an ambiguous statement which can have different constructions put on it. I refer to the sentence that follows. “There seems to be something fundamentally broken in regards to black communities in the USA.”

    Now, “in regards to” is an awkward construction but even if TerjeP had used “in” or “with regard to” we could not assume a prima facie case that TerjeP was locating the cause of the failure in black communities or in black people. Other constructions can be put on these expressions. If I pick it up a mechanical clock and note it is stopped and rattles upon shaking, I could say, “There is something broken in this clock”. This does not mean I am assigning an endogenous cause (e.g. metal fatigue) or an exogenous cause (e.g. dropping the clock).

    TerjeP should be accorded the presumption of innocence. This is on the principle of “innocent until (and if) proven guilty”. To continue the legal analogy, maybe he needs a light caution about being more careful not to leave ambiguities in statements concerning possible racial debates given the sensitivity of the subject.

  100. kevin1
    January 12th, 2015 at 12:06 | #100

    @Ikonoclast

    Or, as a better alternative to windy speculation, he could just explain what he means.

    I’m not using the R word, but I am genuinely interested in his explanation of what he means by black communities being “fundamentally broken”, which can’t be done without identifying how this came about, including whether the causes are endogenous or exogenous and, if the latter, what needs to be done by those outside.

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