There’s nothing edgy about ‘honour killings’

I can’t believe this needs to be said, but the choices of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas suggests it does.

Uthman Badar, spokesman for Hizb ut-Tahrir in Australia, will be speaking at the Festival on the topic “Honour killings are morally justified”.

How clever.

It has been many years since FODI has shown any desire to live up to its name. Their existences hinge on the flow of government grants, directly or indirectly through the units that make up the art establishment. It’s not here to disrupt the status quo. It is here because, as a Facebook friend snarked, “the whole idea of a Festival of Dangerous Ideas [is to be] some white–person wankery for inner–city latte drinkers to indulge themselves in a trip to the opera house and [provoke] the special feeling of belonging to that special part of society that attends ‘cultural’ events.

So whilst I am openly impressed that FODI has actually gone and proposed a dangerous idea in that context, as far as dangerous ideas go this is quite safe… which is what makes it so dangerous.

It is dangerous in the first instance because the material is justifying murder. Violence is generally accepted as dangerous.

For anyone who, say, might like to think of themselves as culturally enlightened, the barest of philosophical forays will lead you to the subjectivity of morality and/or its experience by the individual.

Armed with this, it is totally conceivable that people who commit what we call “honour killings” have reasons for doing so. It’s a scary rejoinder to the idea of monstrosity as other and seemingly perfect for a crowd seeking “danger”.

This makes it a safe bet. It’s destined to light up blogs like this, and papers and talkback tomorrow, and possibly the 6pm news from earlier this evening. Helen Dale – who has lit up the local media a few times, including this week – called the decision to give Badar a platform “the intellectual equivalent of streaking”, which is so right not just because it’s flashy, insubstantive, and guaranteed to get your eyeballs on the dangly bits, but also because it isn’t novel.

We know that attention will be paid because we have had these debates before. We have had these debates before because there are millions of people who believe murder is a prurient respond to the exercise of certain kinds of autonomy – but they’re other, safely ‘over there’, and the unbridled, uncritical acceptance of the other is how the worst sort of unthinking leftist gets their counter-cultural jollies.

It will be controversial. Why millions of people would hold values so far removed from our own always will be.

And thus we have Badar at FODI, surrounded by the latte elite, who have already started falling over themselves to demonstrate their open-mindedness by paying to listen to a man who fronts the national arm of an organisation that opposes the close-mindedness of a Western liberalism that would go back to stoning women if the culture wasn’t so close-minded.

If an open-mind is worth keeping on this issue this is still not a justification for FODI’s decision. The point of keeping an open mind is to think, judge, and close it eventually. If it never closes it is no great feat of mind, but the simple abrogation of critical thought. FODI is, by choosing to give this violent idea a platform, abrogating that responsibility in the name of whoring themselves out for attention. This is not an act without consequences; what we say in public sends a powerful message about (are you ready for this?) what is is acceptable to say and do in public.

They’re not concerned about that, nor are they actually concerned about whether we should kill slutty sluts for slutting. They’re concerned about how they can leverage Uthman Badar and the Hizb ut-Tahrir brand and the white guilt that creates the cultural relativism that baby leftists are injected with when they submit their first protest poster for assessment, in service of painting the Festival and it’s supporters as open-minded, critically engaged and edgy, and getting the attention that gets them paid. With taxpayer dollars.

If open engagement is what we desire there’s an endless supply of literature on the subject that could be privately consumed. Somehow I don’t think that’s what Hizb ut-Tahrir wants.

That is what I find the most dangerous – it’s lovely to have organisations like FODI that self-consciously hike their skirts and whore their stages in the pretence of glorying in liberalism while trying to undermine it. These ideas don’t deserve to be paraded on a platform as flimsy as amusement. There is no honour in giving a microphone to a man who doesn’t want to give the microphone back, when he will use it to promote a ban on microphones.

FODI sets its own agenda. They made a considered choice to offer the stage to a lobbyist for Islamototalitarianism to promote the murder of (mostly) women.

If FODI wants to truly be provocative, there are orthodoxies far better challenged than the secular, liberal, individualist democracy that permits people – including women – to pursue the free thought that allows them to consider and reject the killing women who exercise autonomy could be totally sweet.

FODI has the right to offer the PR flak for totalitarian organisation a space on its platform, and its secular “cultural establishment” type audience is mature enough to consider the idea without accepting it (the way the Murdoch-media-swilling general publicans apparently cannot, no doubt). Minds aren’t likely to slip out from under the warm, prosperous blanket of liberalism for the rock hard reality of whatever backwards logic makes it okay to kill for a contorted derivative of honour. 

Trudeau: It’s My Party And I’ll Shut You Up If I Want To

FrontOne of the often reviled features of the campus left, across the planet, is the way in which anyone who dares to argue a different viewpoint is shouted down, sometimes threatened, occasionally harmed physically, or, on rare occasions, have their lives threatened.

Thankfully, the vast majority of those campus ferals often grow out of their totalitarian proclivities, if not their socialist ways, and develop the ability to string three words together in a voice which cannot be heard in two separate cities at once without technological assistance.

Those who tended not to grow out of their authoritarian attitudes end up joining parties of the ultra left, such as the Australian Greens or the Canadian New Democrats.

Now, there’s a new voice on the ultra left, shutting down dissent, a wolf dressed in sheeps’ clothing, looking to dine out on freedom of speech, thought and conscience.

Continue reading

Rebelling Against A Red Media

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Keith Topolski looks at how Rob Ford can admit to drug use, yet retain steady approval as Toronto Mayor.

Basic human psychology tells us that people don’t like to be wrong. They don’t like to be told they’re wrong, either.

In 2010, the city of Toronto was a basketcase because it was being used to create a socialist utopia. As Kelly McParland in the National Post writes:

Voters were fed up with eight years of financial profligacy by a left-wing council that treated the city like a cookie jar they could use to finance personal fantasy projects. Grass roofs, bike lanes, taxpayer-financed self-glorifying retirement  parties, legal crusades on the public dime to defend the wounded feelings of oversensitive councillors, an arrogant union environment in which labour bosses assumed they could have their way if they simply issued enough threats.

 Consequently, the mainstream residents of Toronto (that is, anyone whose politics are to the right of Karl Marx) elected Rob Ford as Mayor.

It is worth remembering that, when he was elected in 2010, Rob Ford’s rather questionable personal behaviour was put out for all to see and, yet, he still pulled 47% of the vote, ahead of the preferred candidate of the progressive establishment, who had a spotty record when it came to spending public money.

I raise this because it goes to the heart of why Ford was elected and why progressives despise him with a hatred rivalled only by the intensity with which Fairfax loathes Tony Abbott.

See, Rob Ford is a fiscal liberal in every true sense of the word. He went after the union movement and pulled them in to line. He repealed a $60 car registration tax implemented by the left. He subcontracted out half the city’s garbage collection. He declared Toronto’s transit an essential service, which, under local laws, transit workers were banned from going on strike.

It’s enough to make any conservative shed a tear of joy. And, of course, enough to make any genuine progressive apoplectic.

Which explains why the progressive media (Sorry for the tautology) have made such a big deal out of going after Ford, and why the rest of the media just don’t get the whole debacle.

To properly understand where the concept of Ford Nation comes from, all we have to do is simply look at the electoral map from Rob Ford’s 2010 victory.

As you can see, The pre-1997 edition of Toronto was Marrickville on steroids. However, in 1997 the old Toronto City Council merged with surrounding councils to form a megacouncil which takes in almost all of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

Since then, it has been the progressive Marrickville type issues which very few people have time to worry about (And which they wouldn’t care about even if they had the time) dominating inner Toronto, and more mainstream issues, like roads, rubbish, childcare and taxes, which dominate Ford Nation in the suburbs.

This divide has motivated the inner city to try and take back ‘their’ city, and their media arm has pursued Rob Ford to hell and back. I can’t put it any better, so I’ll let Michael Coren of the Toronto Sun say it:

It says a great deal, however, that a mayor of Toronto with more hidden skeletons than Hannibal Lecter can still run the city most efficiently and far more economically than a leftist predecessor who was a squeaky clean gentleman. It’s that, of course, that so irritates the grimy coalition so enraged at Ford.

Contrast this with the rather softer reception Justin Trudeau has had since he admitted, almost proudly, that, as a serving Member of Parliament who is sworn to discharge his duties in accordance with the law,  to puffing on a joint in breach of the law.

No, Justin gets off easy because he’s part of the progressive love-in. Speaking of love-ins, Justin’s old man, Pierre, Canada’s most famous ex-PM, was no slouch in that department, but everyone thought that was adorable for some reason.

No, judging from the coverage of other scandals, it seems Rob Ford’s real crime has been to be a politician who preaches the virtues of small government, and also delivering on a smaller government.

This is where Ford Nation’s loyalty should end, though.

Ford has delivered what he said he would. Surely, now, is the time to let him go.

Well, actually, no. This is simply the Pauline Hanson phenomenon repeating itself.

When Hanson first came onto the scene, she outlined a philosophical framework which was, save for one or two observations about affirmative action, overwhelmingly out there.

Instead of go after the policies, Labor went after the person. And conservative Australians, who had some sympathy for Hanson’s arguments but not enough to vote for her, were pushed into her corner in order to defend her from the bullying of the big bad leftie.

This is exactly the reaction that Ford Nation is having in defending a man who has, really, behaved in an indefensible manner.

The political apparatus working against Rob Ford even includes the Toronto police chief, who made comments which, if were made about any private citizen, would immediately create grounds for mistrials until the apocalypse.

Federal Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair is even trying to link Ford to Stephen Harper over this episode, simply because all conservatives must now be crack smokers if one of them is. Can’t see why that argument wouldn’t stand up.

So it has come to pass that Rob Ford, a man who should now be in rehab and addressing his considerable personal problems, will continue as Mayor, in a diminished capacity, while the leftist media use him for target practice.

I have always believed that voters can forgive most things in politicians, but never hypocrisy.

However, Rob Ford continues as Mayor with the blessing of, what should be, the very type of conservative voters who would hound a drug addicted hypocrite from office.

This is what happens when a broad movement, in this case the Toronto leftie elite, treat average people with contempt.

If the anti-Ford brigade are to have any chance of stopping Rob Ford, incredulously, being returned as Mayor next year, they must ask themselves, in the manner of Michael Sheen’s portrayal of Tony Blair, “How much Why must do they hate us if they like this lot guy more?”

Keith Topolski is a regular contributor to Menzies House, with a particular focus on Canadian politics.

All Quiet on the UNHRC Front

Eh

One of the most under reported stories of recent months must surely be the troubling developments at the United Nations Human Rights Council (the UNHRC – not to be confused with the UN High Commissioner of Refugees) writes Elle Hardy

Formed in 2006 from the ashes of the hamstrung and ineffective Commission on Human Rights, the body’s watery but noble aim is to “help member states meet their human rights obligations through dialogue, capacity building, and technical assistance.”

The UNHRC is the lead body within the UN for human rights. Its reports and recommendations can ultimately only be enforced by the UN Security Council. It serves three functions: to review and give recommendations on the self-reporting of human rights in all participating countries every country every four years, to promote and discuss human rights, and to report gross violations.

The Council’s great fame is its infamy: passing repeated resolutions to condemn Israel, while only expressing “deep concern” on Sudan’s genocide in Darfur (and subsequent nomination of Sudan for a seat on the Council by the African bloc), and the repeated resolutions on “defamation of religion” brought by Islamic states and backed by allies in despotism, such as Cuba, Russia, and China.

In July this year, envoys from both Syria and Iran announced that they would attempt to run for a seat in 2014. Presently, the Council is reviewing the human rights credentials for the nominations for the 47 seats by Saudi Arabia, Senegal, China, Nigeria, Mexico, Mauritius, Jordan, Malaysia, Central African Republic, Monaco, Belize, Chad, Israel, Congo and Malta.

Last week saw all but several western countries take to the floor to congratulate Saudi Arabia and China on their ‘advancements’ in the field. Farce is a too temperate word; irony too wry.

A seat on the UNHRC may be of little consequence to the enslaved women of Saudi Arabia, or the starving Congolese – but there is an ethical incumbency to prevent tyrants and megalomaniacs from possessing the faintest air of legitimacy, or a platform to espouse their bilious views.

Furthermore, if any institution with such gravitas, resources, and access is of vacuous morality, is it not conceivable that particular countries or voting blocs could use this standing to cover-up, to corrupt, or to abet further human rights violations?

Outside of right-aligned, pro-Israel groups UN Watch and Human Rights Voices, there is little reporting, let alone criticism. The silence on UNHRC from the major left-aligned organisations Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International has been particularly disappointing.

It must be asked whether the inherent belief in and support of the United Nations by social-democratic and progressive movements in politics, media, and civil society is informing their silence.

Their collective failure for vocal criticism of the UNHRC can be seen through three key defining planks of much of the modern left: the notion of equality, moral relativism, and environmentalism.

Belief in democracy of nations is a logical fallacy. By giving equal seats at the table and votes to countries who do not afford their citizens the same rights, the UN was flawed from inception. Such an existential right of participation is the most absurd form of collectivism.

Moral relativism defies the modern concept of human rights, which dates from the French and American revolutions – where there was universal support for the assertion that human rights both exist and are possessed equally. Strains of the apparent slur of ‘enlightenment imperialism’ pervade the UN and many of its supporters on the left.

It is essentially a front for anti-American and anti-Israel chauvinism. While both countries rightly receive criticism for their records, they are the straw men of a deeply flawed organisation.  Orwell said it best when he noted “the sin of nearly all left-wingers from 1933 onward is that they have wanted to be anti-fascist without being anti-totalitarian.”

Finally, I suspect the left has abdicated the cause in favour of fighting climate change. While many on the right also support the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there is a hybrid of lionisation of the IPCC – and by extension the UN – and a siege mentality. Do they fear criticising the UN could undermine their position in the environment wars?

The only body that can enforce findings of the UNHRC is the impotent UN Security Council – of which Australia is a temporary member. It is well established that our voice on the Security Council will be inconsequential, as the power of veto by the permanent members have rendered it almost completely ineffectual. If Australia wishes to make any use of its time, both the government and human rights groups within Australia should use this platform as an opportunity to condemn the despotic cabals of the UNHRC in the strongest possible terms.

The Human Rights Council is set to review Australia’s commitment to human rights in 2015. It is certain that opponents of the government will pounce upon any criticism of our record. If such opponents do indeed have regard for the enlightenment values of human rights, it will be the height of hypocrisy if we hear scant from them beforehand.

Elle Hardy is a banker and freelance writer with an interest in liberty, politics, international affairs, and the Oxford comma. She can be found on Twitter @ellehardytweets

Reports the Prime Minister’s office encouraged protesters to target Tony Abbott over tent embassy

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THE Prime Minister is yet to respond today to a report that one of her staffers rang an Aboriginal tent embassy protester yesterday to say Tony Abbott wanted the camp torn down.

An announcement by protester and Greens's candidate Barbara Shaw that Mr Abbott wanted the tent embassy removed sparked a near riot, forcing Ms Gillard and the Opposition leader to flee a Canberra restaurant.

Sydney radio presenter Ray Hadley today said he'd received information that Ms Shaw or another protester had received a call from a Gillard staffer about comments Mr Abbott made earlier in the day about the tent embassy.

"Once she was told that, she was also told Mr Abbott was across the road, 'maybe you can give them a bit of a liven up'," the 2GB presenter told his audience today.

"Barbara Shaw then went on stage and for all intents and purposes, incited people."

The Australian Online has contacted Ms Gillard's office over the allegation but is yet to receive an official response.

Mr Abbott earlier declared he'd been "verballed" by protesters, saying he had not said the tent embassy should be removed.

 

If this turns out to be true, someone in the PM’s office will be looking for a new job.

I would also like to say that the PM emerged from this riot with her honour intact.

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AS the hammering on the glass grew louder and the security detail grew increasingly anxious, Julia Gillard’s thoughts turned to Tony Abbott.

Trapped for the past half-hour inside Canberra’s popular The Lobby restaurant by up to 100 bellowing protesters from the nearby Aboriginal tent embassy, the Prime Minister formed a huddle with her minders.

“We feel that the situation is deteriorating and (we) can’t stay too much longer,” one told her.

“OK. All right,” the Prime Minister replied calmly. “What about Mr Abbott? Where have you got him?”

Minder: “Ah, over there.”

Gillard: “We’d better help him through too, hadn’t we?”

Minder: “Yeah, sure.”

Update:

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A junior adviser to Julia Gillard has resigned after revealing Tony Abbott's presence at an Australia Day function yesterday in a move that sparked a violent protest by Aboriginal activists.

Media adviser Tony Hodges was forced to stand aside after the "error of judgment", the Prime Minister's office confirmed tonight.

It said Mr Hodges informed a "stakeholder" of Mr Abbott's attendance at an Australia Day function with Ms Gillard, and the information was subsequently passed on to members of the Aboriginal tent embassy.

 

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ACORN Playing Behind Scenes Role in ‘Occupy’ Movement

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The former New York office for ACORN, the disbanded community activist group, is playing a key role in the self-proclaimed “leaderless” Occupy Wall Street movement, organizing “guerrilla” protest events and hiring door-to-door canvassers to collect money under the banner of various causes while spending it on protest-related activities, sources tell FoxNews.com.

Click here to read the full post.

 


 


 

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Activism for Conservatives? CANdo

Cory-Bernardi There is now a conservative alternative to GetUp!, writes Senator Cory Bernardi.

For several years now I have heard right leaning political types ask "Where is our version of GetUp?"

Many of you will know that GetUp! is a lefty activist organisation that runs campaigns under the guise of independence. While they claim to be independent, they receive massive funding from the union movement and somehow always favour the Labor Party and the Greens when it comes to elections.

Indeed, their very notion of independence has now been raised with the electoral commission by Senate Opposition Leader Eric Abetz. He has asked the AEC to have GetUp! declared an 'associated entity' of the Greens and/or Labor which, if upheld, would remove the independence label.

However, whatever criticisms may be levelled at them, one has to admit they have been effective in gaining hundreds of thousands of supporters and raising millions of dollars for their campaigns.

Despite the years of voicing their concerns it appears that the Conservatives are still at the starting blocks. We continue to rely on the strength and correctness of our arguments to persuade the general public that our position is the right one. Having met with considerable success in countering the left agenda with this approach, one could be forgiven for expecting continued success.

Unfortunately the battle ground has changed. The left activists are extremely well coordinated in putting their case and dominating the media, punching way above their level of public support.

The fact that the country is taking a rapid lurch to the left as a result of the Labor/Green alliance suggests that the Conservatives need a fresh approach.

That's why I created CANdo - Australia's first Conservative Action Network.

CANdo takes the campaign theme pioneered by the left and combines it with the free ranging grassroots activism of the American Tea Party Movement.

It is built around a social networking platform that will be familiar to many readers. CANdo even links in with other social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Within CANdo, each member receives their own personal page as part of the CANdo network. Members can also create groups built around an issue they feel strongly about or a campaign they would like other members to support.

Thus like minded people can get together, swap ideas and information and take coordinated action.

While CANdo was only launched on Wednesday 13 October, it has already attracted hundreds of members and has established a strong platform for future growth.

CANdo is entirely driven by grassroots volunteers who are committed to making a difference to the future direction of Australia. Clearly its ultimate success will remain to be seen but no longer can Conservatives ask “where is our online grassroots answer to the left?”

If you haven't already done so please check out CANdo. It's your voice – the voice of mainstream Australia.

Senator Cory Bernardi is the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary Assisting the Leader of the Opposition and a Senator for South Australia. This article is courtesy of his personal blog which can be found at http://www.corybernardi.com.