46 thoughts on “Now that’s what I call sedition

  1. Dills like this harm, more than help, any reasoned opposition to the laws when he makes statements like “Instead, I am prompted by a sense of malice and ill-will and seek to create a maximum level of public discontent, disorder and disturbance.”

    Anyway, where would you stop, all liberties are limited in some form eg defamation, racial vilification, EEO laws, homicide yada yada

  2. Perhaps, Roberto, you are unaware of the fact that Chas Savage wrote a pastiche of Edmund Burke’s “Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol”. Burke criticised the curtailment of British civil rights in pursuance of George Washington and the rest of the Axis of Evil fomenting the American Revolution.

    Here is part of that latter:

    “I confess, Gentlemen, that this appears to me as bad in the principle, and far worse in its consequence, than an universal suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act; and the limiting qualification, instead of taking out the sting, does in my humble opinion sharpen and envenom it to a greater degree. Liberty, if I understand it at all, is a general principle, and the clear right of all the subjects within the realm, or of none. Partial freedom seems to me a most invidious mode of slavery.”

    It says more about apologists of Howard than it does about Edmund Burke when Burke’s ideas are denounced as dangerously radical.

  3. I wonder when we’ll see any more vox pop interviews of Young Liberals carrying on about how freedom is more important than anything else. I won’t be holding my breath.

  4. Katz, who cares.

    Chaz’s article was worse than silly. By your reference to Burke was Chaz just showing off about how well read he is. If he was, good luck to him. But he still said: ““Instead, I am prompted by a sense of malice and ill-will and seek to create a maximum level of public discontent, disorder and disturbance.â€? So are we to take that as a call-to-arms, or a coward hiding behind literary pea-shooters.

  5. And if we are to take it as a call to arms – that is to create disorder and disturbance – how does that sit with your position on democracy? is democracy a process that is merely undertaken every few years at the ballot box? or is it instead a rolling debate, action by people and communinties that, from time to time, will run against the government and dear lizzie our sovreign?

  6. So, does anyone care to actually talk about the proposed ‘sedition’ clauses, or the meaning of Mr Savage’s screed, rather than the form or literary context?

    Is Professor Quiggin seditious, simply by linking to the article?

  7. Burke asked the Sheriffs of Bristol to calculate how much of their liberty they were prepared to barter away for the possibility (Burke correctly implied the impossibility) of hanging onto North America.

    Burke’s “literary peashooter” eventually spiked the cannons of British imperialist militarism in North America. It was too late to prevent much damage and almost bankrupt the British state. But Britain did survive and British liberties were largely preserved.

    Burke achieved this by persuading Britons to come to their senses.

    Civil libertarians in Australia are asking Australians to calculate how much of their liberties they are prepared to barter away to protect ourselves from a hypothetical threat of terrorist violence, as if there were a necessary trade-off between liberty and security, always remembering that Benjamin Franklin opined that he who sacrifices liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security.

    Since when was intelligence a sign of cowardice?

  8. Katz wrote: “Burke’s “literary peashooterâ€? eventually spiked the cannons of British imperialist militarism in North America.”

    The Americans rebelled over taxation, not British imperialist militarism. (ps. I don’t think the term existed then, so it was hard for them to have rebelled against a concept that didn’t exist).

  9. You’re oversimplifying Roberto.

    If you look at the Quartering Act, one of the so-called Intolerable Acts of 1774, you’ll discover a powerful whiff of imperialist militarism.

    Here’s a reference:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quartering_Act

    And in any case, Roberto, the point at issue here isn’t what the Americans were objecting to, it is what the British proposed to do to hang onto America, once American objections took military form.

    That, certainly, is what Edmund Burke was talking about in 1777.

    And to draw the parallel to 2005, Chas Savage is talking about what Howard proposes to do in relation to what terrorists may or may not be intending to do.

    As to the nomenclature, I’m not certain whether “militarist imperialism” was such an anachronistic term in the 1780s.

    Perhaps you might prefer us to use the 1780s terminology in the 2005 context.

    That term used then for what Howard is proposing was: “ministerial tyranny”.

    Has a nice ring, doesn’t it?

  10. In making the reference to ill-will, Savage is just trying to make sure that he is caught by the Act. If motivated by good will, the comments he is making would not be considered seditious and therefore not caught by the act.
    While I disagree with several of his statements regarding elements of our system of government, I believe that are intended to highlight some of the many problems in the Act and so are a valuable addition to the debate. Yes, he is no Edmund Burke, but few of us are.
    .
    Those who are willing to trade freedom for security deserve neither.

  11. Andrew Reynolds Says: “If motivated by good will, the comments he is making would not be considered seditious and therefore not caught by the act.”

    The problem that Chaz has is that the reader is to forced to detemine whether the writer was drenched in goodwill when writing! How ridiculous.

    This could apply to Hitler and Mein Kampf.

  12. The Savage article is funny and carefully thought out. He is a good satirist and glad ,”The Age”, published it. You have to wonder,from some of the comments, if humour is an endangered species.

  13. “The problem that Chaz has is that the reader is to forced to detemine whether the writer was drenched in goodwill when writing! How ridiculous.”

    But Roberto, that is exactly what the “good faith” provision in Howard’s sedition legislation attempts to do. Do you trust the government accurately to determine the tone of any writing? And yes, you’re right. The very thought of Howard’s DPPs playing the role of assessors of satire is ridiculous.

    Refer to Joe2’s most apposite comments above in regard to the humour imbedded in Savage’s pastiche. Now do you get it?

  14. Thank you for the link.

    Here in America the liberty is being nibbled away without a sound. Our dispirited opposition needs this kind of fire. I do think that there may be some trade off of security for freedom. But as for me…

    “give me liberty or give me death!”

  15. Thanks Katz. But the article wasn’t prefaced (at least on the online version) with any disclaimer that this was ‘humour’. Therefore, my first interpretation still stands.

    Second, I’m not infavour, nor necesarily (in principle) opposed to the draft laws re: sedition. I want to work it out for myself, rather than being ‘mugged’ by the usual culprits. I find it interesting that the people so opposed to the these provisions, often are the first to ‘scream and shout’ that the government should be doing so much more on a whole gaggle of socio-economic issues (when governments – and lets be fair public servants – are grossly incompetent to deal with anything!)

    Three, I haven’t lost my sense of humour. (walk this way! waddle waddle).

  16. “Do you trust the government accurately to determine the tone of any writing?”
    No, that’s why we have Opposition Parties and an attack dog media to flog the Govt of the day and their Departments of Perfect Outcomes when they’re not so perfect. ie DIMIA and Solon. Should we completely trust the Courts instead? Not bloody likely, which is why we also rely on the same sunlight here as well.

    Meika, just a word of caution about your hate the queen site. Whilst hating appears to be a favourite pastime for the hard left, you need to include the lesbians too. Otherwise you might be accused of gender discrimination love.

  17. Who can sensibly suppose that the world would not be a far better place now if the North Americans had failed in their object after teaching the salutary lesson not to continue the clumsiness that had provoked them? We would now have a wiser British Empire, and no USA with all that brought with it.

  18. “Thanks Katz. But the article wasn’t prefaced (at least on the online version) with any disclaimer that this was ‘humour’. Therefore, my first interpretation still stands.”

    Robertone,

    If I tell you you’re a joke, will you laugh?

    That goes for you too, Observa. A coupla poofter jokes and you’re orgone.

    And the right is funny? I stand corrected.

  19. Careful Fyodor.

    Those comments smack of cultural elitism (unembarrassedly parading your understanding satire, irony, literary invention, and all).

    You ought to know how uncomfortable the Right feels about issues of inequality.

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