Tuesday, October 16, 2018

When the alt-left helps create the alt-right

There was more than one thing farcical about the vote in the Australian Senate on One Nation leader Pauline Hanson's motion in the Australian Senate that  "it is OK to be white".

The motion itself was farcical if actually a very successful example in wedge politics. . Of course it's okay to be white. That's just a loosely defined skin colouring. The decision by the opposition and cross-bench to vote against and defeat the motion on the grounds that the motion was racist code was silly because in doing so the Australian Senate has actually affirmed that it's not OK to be white.

Then we have the absolutely farcical position where the Government voted in favour of the motion and then revoked its vote. It is clear that the Government had not properly worked out a position, clearer still that Coalition Senators were trying to follow voting instructions that they were uncomfortable with and made a mockery of Senate independence.

Let me be quite clear. There was only one way to effectively handle Ms Hanson's motion. The Senate should have passed it unanimously  as self-evidently correct, while hammering the underlying assumptions behind the motion. Instead, we now have the position that it's apparently not ok to be white, whatever that might mean, feeding into a narrative that threatens Australia's social cohesion.

I am old enough to remember the Second World War if not personally but as a living memory around me. I am old enough to remember the revulsion created by the holocaust, the discrediting of the race based eugenic views  

I am old enough, too, to remember the White Australia policy and its progressive dismantling. This was a rejection of something that had been deeply embedded in the Australian consciousness, a most profound social revolution. It is something I take pride in.

I also remember the American civil rights movement, something that energised my generation, and its belated application to the Australian Aborigines. There is some distance to go, disadvantage and prejudice still exists, but progress had been made.

In the period after the war racist, perhaps more accurately ethnicist, views still existed in Australia but the more extreme views were pushed to the fringe where small groups played with Nazi symbols and preserved the illusion of a global Jewish conspiracy, of the supremacy of the "white race."  Now those views are back, somewhat ironically given the way that DNA and associated scientific advances have discredited the very basis on which racism existed. We are all mongrels, so to speak.

The left has been a major factor here with their simple guilt/identity focus. Consider the oft-used phrase white patriarchal male. As used, this is deeply sexist and racist. Sexist because it implies that all males are patriarchal, racist because it attaches implicit attributes to white males. I see little difference between this and Ms Hanson's "it's ok to be white". Both are code phrases into which can be read a range of attributes.

The difficulty is that when you create a them/us construct, when you demonise a group, you can create the very thing that you wish to attack. We saw this in the so-called "war on terror' where the rhetoric used and associated policies arguably turned a fiction into a reality. Now the left is helping create the very thing they wish to challenge. This is fine if your are Antifa, for there your very validity depends upon having something to fight. It doesn't make a lot of sense for the sensible left
who actually want to achieve social advancement.
I don't have a solution. I just wish some people on both sides would shut-up!


Anonymous said...

"Sensible Left"? Not often we see you attempt humour Jim? Should be more of it!


2 tanners said...

Not sure you read the entire motion, Jim, nor really that you understand what the senate voted for.

The motion asked for the senate to acknowledge a rise in anti-white racism. The senate declined to do so. The motion also asked the senate to acknowledge that it is alright to be white. The senate declined to do so. The senate did not vote that it is not alright to be white. It just didn't acknowledge her position. That is not the same as endorsing the direct opposite position.

The twitter hashtag #IOKTBW belongs to the KKK and was launched in 2012 from an already current US alt-right movement. She's just trolling using a well-known meme of acknowledged white supremacists and she's succeeded, especially with the LNP first supporting her, then defending itself and now stating that their vote was an error of a staffer in Mr Porter's office who did not recognise the historic use of the phrase. It would appear that the dictionary definition of words may have misled both you and Mr Porter's office. Mr Porter himself claims that he would have directed voting in the other direction had he been aware of the exact wording.

Which has been on the notice paper for months, and reported by News limited, SBS and ABC.

Evan said...

I think it could have been handled simply with a slogan like, "It's OK to be white; and 'It's OK to be white is not OK" - or "is Nazi propaganda" or whatever.

Applying general group characteristics is silly - but legislation isn't readily adjustable to individuals.

I think it is possible to say things like; Male privilege exists, and most males also suffer (but usually not discrimination for being male).

Evan said...

Also, what 2 tanners said.

2 tanners said...

If anyone had had any brains(1), they would have moved an amendment to the motion along the following lines:

Mr President, I move that all words after "that the Senate" be deleted and replaced with "rejects racism in all its forms.".

Neat, and cuts the ground from under Hanson's claim that only PHON protects whites against anti-white racism. Whatever that is.

In fact, I'd do it every time she or Anning stood up to move anything at all, whether it was to do with assistance to farmers, burqa wearing or the dangers of predatory potaroos. If the motion itself was worthwhile(2), one of the major parties could then move something similar.

(1), (2): More humour for kvd

Anonymous said...

tanners I think I'll just stick with my original take - if you don't mind.

I'm honestly closely aligned with Jim on this yet-another-outrage-discovered-by-the-left. I'm now convinced that the left, and all its hangers on are quite demented.

This is just school yard bully boy confected stuff - and it is embarrassing that otherwise thoughtful people would waste more than a moment's thought upon it imo.

I was reading Neil Whitfield's take - pretty embarrassing I admit, but anyway - and he pointed gleefully to a Business Insider piece, which actually wasted the time and pixels to dig back thru the entire history of the internet to "prove" something, something, something... about Nazis. And the left wonders why it has become basically irrelevant to everyday life?

It's just inconsequential school yard stuff, and it's pretty embarrassing for the adults in the room to have to even acknowledge same.


ps I have it on good authority that some translations of Mein Kampf include the word "the". I'm awaiting the inevitable outrage, should it ever be used, however innocently, in polite conversation :)

Anonymous said...

I mean you couldn't make this stuff up:

Neil says"Why this may not be OK is pretty bloody obvious, I would have thought, but you may care to see Business Insider on the subject"

Well I did care, and the Business Insider says "In this case, it’s Hanson and the better-than-average chance she doesn’t know where her new favourite slogan came from or even the real reason why it exists"

Which would leave the average thoughtful person maybe wondering how it is possible to be so offended by mere words, when the author of same is stated to be ignorant of their meaning?

Pitiful, laughable, pointless, outrage du jour. Can't wait for tomorrow's :)


Anonymous said...

Maybe unconnected in your minds? A Boston Globe article on Elizabeth Warren, the subject of some short sharp and earthy comments by DT about her claimed ancestory:


He said they have been a source of pain and outrage. “It takes the extraordinarily distinguished academic career that she built up over a lifetime and reduces it to a slur,”

- and I could not agree more with her husband, who was being quoted.

I am wondering what Justice Brett Kavanaugh might think of this perfectly honest statement - when his similarly understandable response was labeled both unbalanced and injudicial?

The left doesn't play by different rules; they spit on rules, as and when it suits.


Anonymous said...

Actually I owe Neil an apology: that post of his is a goldmine of clear thought.

Neil casually slags off his "old Sydney Uni classmate - Dyson Heydon - by quoting something Heydon simply quoted - but then leaves out the inconvenient nugget immediately following:

Those words reflected what the elite of the Federation generation saw as fundamental. They do not reflect what modern elites think. The public voices of modern elites are not humble. They conceive themselves to have entitlements and rights, not blessings.

And having recent, and continuing, contact with the man himself - I can only say that the above brief and very cutting statement of truth is why I've come to respect his intellect.

(That, plus the fact he went on from the company of his old classmate to become a judge of the High Court of Australia, of course)


Jim Belshaw said...

I was going to respond to these comments yesterday, but left some time for reflection.

The text of the Hanson motion reads:

"That the Senate acknowledges:
(a) the deplorable rise of anti-white racism and attacks on Western civilisation; and
(b) that it is okay to be white.”

The problem is that it contained three sets of what might be called "code words": the rise of anti-white racism; the decline in Western civilisation; and its okay to be white. If you just look at the words, (a) is arguably correct while (b) is pretty self-evident. However, because they have code words for both left and extreme right the debate is not about the words themselves but the code they have come to signify.

To suggest as some have done that Ms Hanson was not aware of the significance of the words beggars belief. This was a conscious ploy playing to an emerging climate of opinion, designed to appeal to one set of beliefs or grievances while outraging another set of beliefs or grievances. This is a pigeon pair. Ms Hanson needs outrage from the left to feed back into grievances on the right, grievances that the alt-right is using to turn into a political movement. The fact, more precisely what I perceive to be a fact, that the whole debate is based around a fallacy, the idea of race and more precisely the white race, is neither here nor there when it comes to the battle of the code wars.

Upon reflection, I think that the best course would have been the one proposed by 2t, movement of an amendment that simply rejected racism in all forms, would have been optimum. But Labor and Greens were too outraged with code wars, the Coalition too confused and divided, to make this possible. Hence the mess.

Rod said...

I’m a bit late to the party on this but I thought I’d have 2c worth. Is this actually about the way language is controlled by the typically elitist crowds. “You can’t say something because someone else who we don’t like sait it too”... ie. truth even self-evident truth cannot be said because it was said by someone we don’t like.

2 tanners said...

@Rod, you have to differentiate between mere words and a known slogan. Slogans take on the identity of the utterers.BOAC found that to its cost in the 70's when its motto was 'Special Treatment'. Unfortunately when translated into German the innocent words had been used before, by Goebbels, to describe what the Jews were being given in WWII. No-one took it as intentional on BOAC's part, but they withdrew it quickly when the PR disaster unfolded.

However, I don't think anyone is suggesting that Pauline Hanson is ignorant of the history of her slogan. She's now playing the game of parlaying it into victimhood. I'd like to see the measure she's using to show that whites are disadvantaged in this country.

Anonymous said...

@tanners it is not often we disagree :) But I cannot help but note that your very own example of BOAC proved just how both ludicrous and debilitating this whole "dog whistle" thing has become.

I mean, there we are, a major, major international company stuffing up - in your eyes - because it inadvertently USED THE SAME 2 WORDS buried back in history for an advert.

I just think we have to get a grip, and look closely at exactly who is huffing and puffing about this stuff: what are the motives; who benefits by these interminable hissy fits; and do the vast, sweaty masses just going about their daily lives even care?

I mean, I realise it's not important to "the cause" - but it'd be nice, just once, if one of your fainting artists could acknowledge that nobody really actually cares.