21 Sep 2012

We Should Welcome Wilders With Open Arms

By Adam Brereton
Geert Wilders, the anti-Islamic Dutch politician, is likely to be denied a visa to Australia. What a shame! If we don't let him come, we won't get to rip his ideas to pieces, argues Adam Brereton
If Christopher Hitchens ever performed a public service during his lifetime, it was recovering and popularising many of the first-principles arguments for basic liberal rights. In particular, he re-popularised the notion that free speech isn't just about the right to speak freely, but more importantly, to be exposed to ideas — including those the listener may find disgusting or abhorrent.

In the case of Geert Wilders, who will most likely be denied a visa to visit Australia at the invitation of Cory Bernardi and the anti-Islam Q Society, it's important to revisit first-principles.

Make no mistake, Wilders has nothing new or interesting to say on the topic of Islam. But in an ideal world we would welcome him to Australia with open arms so he can be torn to shreds in the arena of public debate. If there is any reason for concern it's here; perhaps our journalists and politicians aren't up to the task of comprehensively showing the general public that Wilders is no European hero.

This was the case when the last member of the "lunar right", the Briton James Delingpole, visited Australia on a comprehensive speaking tour. One of the world's chief proponents of the "Watermelon" theory of Green politics, Delingpole was feted by the Quadrant crowd and Institute of Public Affairs when he toured the country promoting his book Killing the Earth to Save It: How Environmentalists Are Ruining the Planet, Destroying the Economy and Stealing Your Jobs.

The hardest interview Delingpole suffered from a member of the mainstream press was from Jon Faine, the tenacious host of ABC 774 in Melbourne. Although Faine put up a spirited defence against Delingpole's characterisation of the mining tax as "an attack on the most productive sector of your economy", it quickly became obvious that Faine hadn't read Delingpole's book, and was shouted down. If Faine had bothered, he would have been able to drag Delingpole over the coals for claiming that sustainability is really part of a conspiratorial axis of satanism, the "Club of Rome" and one world government:

"The idea that began a decade earlier as a twinkle in the eyes of [Club of Rome founders] Alexander King and Aurelio Peccei had finally been made flesh. Few were capable of spotting at this stage that this oh-so-nice-looking, bonnie, bouncing, gurgling babe had a birthmark on his scalp that read '666.'"

Wilders is no different. Much of his politics centres on the idea of "Eurabia", the demographic threat to white European society by Islamic birth rates, and the Muslim minority's dependence on welfare:

"The Netherlands has approximately one million Muslims. Many of them are immigrants. And none of those really came over here out of love for the Netherlands. They did not really come en masse to the Netherlands because they find it such a fabulous country with all those unbelievers, all those kaffirs. What did they come over for then? Well, for state benefits, for instance."

All this is to say that taking down ranters like Delingpole and Wilders should be easier than shooting fish in a barrel. Instead, because the press are too lazy to even skim their scribblings, they get a free pass.

But even if our journalists and politicians were to make no effort to explore the thicket of Wilders' thought, his recent electoral performance in Europe should allay fears that he has any real popular support. In the 2006 Dutch elections, Wilders' Freedom Party (PVV) won seven seats, leaping to 24 in the 2010 elections. But this week, when the results of the Dutch election rolled in, the PVV had lost a third of their seats, dropping to only 15. "A significant amount of his supporters are also getting tired of his antics," writes Dutch analyst Anno Bunnik. The Economist expressed a similar sentiment:

"Mr Wilders is the election's biggest loser. Dutch voters, who seemed to fall either for his populism or the opposing socialist one, have overnight turned back to the two largest parties. Tactical voting is one explanation, but the Dutch are also tired of Mr Wilders's relentless aggression. And, after years of merely reacting to populists, the two large parties have found that voters prefer them to take the initiative."

Greens Senator Richard Di Natale has spoken out against the ban, saying, "his hateful and divisive views are not welcome in Australia, but to deny him a visa risks giving him more oxygen and publicity". This is an overwhelmingly sensible view, in part because Wilders has already visited Australia on two other occasions. But more importantly, to deny him entry would feed the persecution complex that exists on the anti-Islam far right, typified by the overweening "free speech" victimhood of writers like Mark Steyn:

"To be honest, I didn't really think much about 'freedom of speech' until I found myself the subject of three 'hate speech' complaints in Canada in 2007... But I don't think I really understood how advanced the Left's assault on this core Western liberty actually was."

The potential risks of prohibiting the movement of political figures and journalists are great. By restricting Wilders, on the far right end of the spectrum, the precedent may be set for figures on the left to be the victims of similar bans under a future Liberal government; bans could be laid on visiting unionists, activists or critics like Ilan Pappe, the controversial Jewish historian who recently toured Australia. At the very least for our own benefit, we owe it to ourselves to allow the free movement of people and ideas — no matter how awful they may be.

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Posted Friday, September 21, 2012 - 11:44

This is a well argued *perspective* and well put .... as far as it goes. What isn't as cogent is your underpinning assumptions that impact the conclusion and/or validity of the whole argument.
The first is 'what do you understand as the purpose of a society and it's government?.'
Second 'what do you understand is the purpose of the media?'
Thirdly ' what do you understand as news'

I think it's clear that you have predicated your perspective on a set of assumptions of the above as the base on which to build your argument.
Your perspective is only valid if you start with the assumption that a society has no role but the congregation of people and the government restricts it's self to non human activities.

If for example you believe that the basis of society is to gain mutual advantage/ safety/ protection then, given that people aren't all the same, that means some people(groups) are more vulnerable than others.
In a democracy nominally the majority interest prevails. Within that parameter it is beholden of the government to consider the greater good by ensuring equality of the three aims. It is then logical that the government should consider the vulnerable and then weigh up the consequences of views outside the majority ( views greater than 1 std deviation either side of the mean ...approx 67% of the total distribution).
Clearly this isn't an absolute or binary calculation, rather a sliding scale.
My point is if Wilder's views appeal to a minority i.e. outside 2std deviations from the mean it means it appeals to say 10% of the population. Now if that 10%'s view will victimise a minority that in all other ways is within the two critical std deviations then the argument to forbid a foreigner (Wilders) is possibly justified.
i.e. Who will Wilders appeal to ? What is the likely outcome.? Who will be potentially a victims ?
Clearly there is more to the decision process than that But it makes the point .
I've said many times on this site that it's not so much WHAT views are said but rather HOW and WHY its said now the consequences.
I would add that it is both the lack of consideration of the consequences to the citizenry and the why that gets governments into real trouble.
I'll leave the other two unless there's interest but I think my underlying principals are well indicated.

Dr Dog
Posted Friday, September 21, 2012 - 13:03

An interesting view from both Adam and Examinator.

It may be worth saying in the context of Examinator's response that one group that is bound to benifit from the visit would be journalists and news outlets, regardless of the stance they might take on his politics.

Nevertheless I am in favour of his visit. Nationalists in Australia need a reminder of just where their politics takes them if taken to the logical conclusion.

Perhaps he could meet up with other raving nuts like Bernardi, Jones and Joyce and we could show school kids the video as a warning about what happens to the brain of racists.

Posted Friday, September 21, 2012 - 16:51

I want him to visit. I want to be able to hear what he has to say without it being drowned out, or bomb or death threats plaguing all.
I want to live in a society where you can have alternative views without imprisonment.
And I want the chance to agree or disagree with some or all or none of what he says.
Interesting that so many people support Deventy who thinks that all religious people are mental and religion is mental without ever mentioning Islam, but this man is thought mental for only talking anti Islam.
But no wonder the Greens are supporting him, his continued drop in ratings is similar to theirs. If only Natasha Stott Despoja was still arounfd to have the same comparison spread.
Interesting that you spend most of this article talking about almost everything and everyone except his opinions. Why is that?

This user is a New Matilda supporter. O. Puhleez
Posted Friday, September 21, 2012 - 17:20

"The Netherlands has approximately one million Muslims. Many of them are immigrants. And none of those really came over here out of love for the Netherlands. They did not really come en masse to the Netherlands because they find it such a fabulous country with all those unbelievers, all those kaffirs. What did they come over for then? Well, for state benefits, for instance."

Adam, you assume the reader will agree with you that this quoted proposition of Wilders' is automatically wrong, and needs no further discussion.

I for one disagree. I find it credible.

"If Christopher Hitchens ever performed a public service during his lifetime, it was recovering and popularising many of the first-principles arguments for basic liberal rights. In particular, he re-popularised the notion that free speech isn’t just about the right to speak freely, but more importantly, to be exposed to ideas — including those the listener may find disgusting or abhorrent."

Your condescension towards the late Hitchens here (he is now unable to reply) will perhaps be forgivable if you ever manage to reach his stature as a commentator. We shall all have to wait and see on that point.

But the old (socialist) left took the wrong fork in the road when it set ('bourgeois') liberalism aside instead of elevating it to the highest priority. It was downhill all the way from there. The other disaster, following the antiwar struggle over Vietnam, was the assumption that the worst enemy of human liberty and welfare would always be the US. So many on the left came to side more or less automatically with Islamic fascists, particularly after 9/11.

Hitchens earned much abuse from them by pointing out in detail the wrongheadedness of this position.

Many have still not forgiven him for it. Perhaps yourself included.

Posted Friday, September 21, 2012 - 19:50

O. Puhleez

“The Netherlands has approximately one million Muslims. Many of them are immigrants. And none of those really came over here out of love for the Netherlands. They did not really come en masse to the Netherlands because they find it such a fabulous country with all those unbelievers, all those kaffirs. What did they come over for then? Well, for state benefits, for instance.”

O. Puhleez would you kindly place the same Judgment around your own bludging neck.

What did we come over here for then? Well, for Indiginous peoples land and resources, for instance.”

77% of all Australians work for the Taxpayer, who ever you think he is.

A Nurse, Teacher gets 100% of their income of the Tax Base and gives 33% back, money that wasn’t his to start with. So 67% which is his/her income for services rendered, he/she gets from this mythical person called the Tax payer. A road construction worker or anyone who builds infastructure like roads, rail, the electricity grid, public transport etc also gets 67% from this mythical person after giving back 33% in income tax. The butcher who sells any or all his goods to either the Government or one of its employees makes either all or part of his income from this Mythical Person.

An Unemployed person gets less then all those working because he basically does nothing.

So where does all this money, the 67% that you don’t give back, come from. Exports, the resources of a land that did not belong to us, that we took for exactly that reason. So, we infact only give back a very small percentage of what once belonged to the indiginous people and then we say that we are keeping them rather then their land is keeping us. take away our exports of Uranium, Coal, Gas etc and we would all be bashing each others heads in because there would be no money in the Tax Purse, because we all only take out we do not put in.

Its about time the white fellow stopped bull shitting about what and who actualy supports life and the population of this nation which has transplanted itself from Europe like a cancer a cancer sucking the life out of this continent, until, there is nothing left, like Greece an economy of smoke, mirrors and ego’s. its like breaking into someone elses house and eating everything in the fridge, until their is nothing left, the problem is we can’t leave because there is no other house to break into, to steal food from etc.

Thats why Marbo was so such a shock to the white fellows system of exploitation, a Farmer can’t make an income and pay taxes of Land he does not posses, own, does not belong to him, or has to pay Royalties on.

A lot of white fellows fantacies that they created something out of nothing. Get on a boat and sit in the middle of the Ocean and see what you can create out of nothing or live in the Simpson desert and see what you can create.

White fellow is here because we wore out our welcome over their, we had boats and the price of a ticket and we ended up here and then we took and took and we are still taking because our kids have a need too and so will their kids, but their is only so much of the planet left that we can still steal, we have stolen most of it. Country bumpkins are already moving into the Cities because their lives out their are unsastainable. Cities are the reservations of old, we want the rest of their land because we need it, without it nothing of what we think we are is possible and we know it, admitting it however is the hard bit. Admitting means admitting that our lives and those of our children a built on myths, bull shit and Plunder, even murder.

Civilised or just thieves in fancy stitches??????

This user is a New Matilda supporter. O. Puhleez
Posted Friday, September 21, 2012 - 19:57


Your latest rave is noted.

Posted Friday, September 21, 2012 - 20:08

O. Puhleez
Geert Wilders, is Dutch on Dutch soil.

We are European on a Continent that did/does not belong to us. We stole it and introduced laws that favoured our way of life and needs.

You can't compare yourself with Wilders.

You are a Thief on somebody elses land, he is on his own land, being invaded by people like us, people who bred too much where we came from and someone had to leave, we did, much to the indiginous peoples regret.

When he comes, I expect him to admonish us for doing what he accuses Muslims of doing in Holland, if he doesn't then his full of it. His nothing but a racist thug and he might aswell take some of his countryman back with him instead of leaving them here to bludge of the Indiginous peoples land.

If you can't see that or understand then you too are nothing but a racist thug.

Aust is either full or it isn't, why don't you ask the Indiginous people whether they mind Muslims coming here, its their land after all.

I wonder what Geert Wilders thought or thinks of Boers/Dutch people being on African soil.

Posted Friday, September 21, 2012 - 20:31

In short I think the man is a Cockroach, because he never thought of any of that, why?.

And you O. Puhleez are in fact a Nazi the very thing/mentality your father or GrandFather/This Country helped destroy. The Muslims of course were on the Japanese side during the war and the japanese side were on the Nazi side or what you accuse the Nazis of having been, hence you/your relo's slaughtered them, Your actual friends or people you seem to have had the most in common with.

Do you get it, NO. Thats because you lack common sense and logic, your Moraly Bankrupt. Then again you are a business Person and that would explain it. Hitler too was a Capitalist.

The short of it is, your just a greedy/selfish grub then. What else could you be?.

If you haven't got it yet, then just stick to ripping people off for a living, that way you won't confuse anyone else and or expose yourself for what you realy are.

Posted Friday, September 21, 2012 - 20:37

O. Puhleez
Your latest wilful lack of understanding is noted.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. O. Puhleez
Posted Friday, September 21, 2012 - 21:21


I take it that before you were born, you went around all the Indigenous People of this country and asked them if they minded your imminent arrival.

Posted Saturday, September 22, 2012 - 06:43

O. Puhleez
I did, they said bugger off.

NO. Seriously, but I do have enough manners to ask now, because we should.

Instead of being, &^%$%$#@!##$%%%%.

Then complain because someone else is rude, arrogant, deceitful and willfully ignorant enough, to want to blow us up for being so rude, arrogant, deceitful and willfully ignorant, to not even bother and declare that we have got the right to decide who comes and who goes on there behalf.

Arrogant Prick!

Now thats called a loop, a human virus.

Its about time we had a referandum and put the indiginous people into our constitution and gave them the right to become Prime Ministers in their own Country instead of being controlled and ruled by a bunch of arrogant white Pommy Morrons who thought they were tough and won something when they won nothing. All we were was a bunch of servants who did as our ruling masters, the Landed Gentry said.

So stop being a drip under pressure and become a civilised human, face up to the facts, things are changing, the world is changing and the quicker we start telling the truth the quicker will be able to get on with life instead of always being held to ransom by the lies we told in our past to hide the future, from even ourselves.

Thats why the State of Isreal is a pain, because Australia, America and England have a nasty past that no one wants to acknowledge but plenty of people are threatening us with.

Look at that garbage between China and Japan, the Americans caused that garbage.

History is hanging above their heads because they put it their with all those lies. Shame on Historians, Politicians, the MEDIA and Economists.

They created unsustainability by creating this constant loop.

lies, deceit, murder, breeding lies, deceit, murder, breeding and now we have run out of continents to Conquer/Steal. Space exploration is a fizzler, nowhere to run as we once did, the place is full and its complaining. The ice is melting at the Caps, the weight distribution will change, the plates will begin to move and we are going to be knackered, so what will your cute, cuddly, meal tickets, children inherit, nothing, but death and destruction and at a grander scale.

So, I think its about time we told a few arrogant, ignorant morrons a few truths instead of handing out charity to idiots who realy have/had no future and just keep on breeding because stupid Howard handed out money so idiots could have a 35000 dollar scisarian birth of a 5000 dollar baby to keep it all nice and tight, while the Health system bulged at the seams trying to handle another 45000 births for Howards re election chances.

Ignorants and arrogance at a grand scale.

Posted Saturday, September 22, 2012 - 08:30

Pity that your pro indigeneous hug fest mentality hasn't generated any manners.
are you related to clementine ford or catherine deveny?

This user is a New Matilda supporter. thomasee73
Posted Saturday, September 22, 2012 - 13:06

I'm of the opinion that Australia's refusal to grant Wilders a visa ought to be considered less a criticism of him, his views and his publicity methods than an admission of inadequacy from us, and our inability to deal with offensive, free speech in a mature manner that is consistent with our espoused liberal ideals.

That said, I also agree with Examinator's sentiments that maybe we really aren't a mature enough society to cope with his version of free speech, and refusal to allow him a visa might end up preventing harm overall.

On the other hand, absence of a visa doesn't stop him from doing a virtual tour. Live streaming of speeches from the Netherlands in prestigious venues might have almost as much impact via the news media as Wilders IRL.

K Brown
Posted Saturday, September 22, 2012 - 16:32

It will be more than a shame if Geert Wilder's it not granted a visa, it will be a tragedy for free speech and a gutless political capitulation to the Islamist militants who are trying to dictate our discourse.

Defenders of free speech should be fighting back the way the French magazine Charlie Hebdo is with their cartoons. A worldwide avalanche of satire, criticism and cartoons should be launched by groups such as Anonymous and maintained until the Islamists realise that we will not have our freedoms usurped.

It is not hard to satirise the antics of the clowns in Sydney who claimed the right to assemble and freedom to speak but want to behead those who lawfully exercise the same rights and freedom. The Wahabis/Salafists demand respect for a religion that disrespects not only Coptic Christians and other Christian Churches but also Muslim sects such as Sufis and Shia. Their hypocrisy and the contradictions of their behaviour and rhetoric in the name of Allah, the merciful, the compassionate should be relentlessly lampooned.

Posted Saturday, September 22, 2012 - 17:56

I don't know you well enough, or should I say I haven't read any comments by you that have inspired me.

O. Puhleez has at least made some very good comments on other topics here, comments that have earned him my respect to a degree. My argument with O. Puhleez is about his/her racist mentality based on absolute rubbish that has been debunked years ago.

Thats because I can't stand racism period and coming from my own, even worse.

a murderer is a murderer, a rapist a rapist, a thief a thief. We have laws to cover most crimes. The law will take care of it.

Muslim/Catholic/Jew should have nothing to do with it.

Timothy McVie??? the Guy that blew up the Oklahoma thingy building wasn't a Muslim, our own Tasmanian devil that shot all those people, was home grown.

So come on, manners, who's got manners. We sent our troops over seas 15 times in 143 years to murder for economic survival and you got the front to talk about manners.
Crawl back in your hole and don't come out until you actualy know what manners are and when you know how to use them.

A bit pompous aren't we.

Posted Saturday, September 22, 2012 - 18:14

K Brown
Geert Wilders what do you need him for, we have you.
daveDave, O. Puhleez and maybe a million more to come up with the same rubbish. Haven't you got the guts to do it yourself.

Need Geert Wilders to hide behind do we.

Free speech when have we ever had free speech, you have been told what to think for years. All this free speech was payed for by someone with vested interests. To call what we have had for the last 80 years, free speech, is a bit of a Joke.

Your not interested in free speech, you like to be able to spread lies, there is a difference.

What are you some brain dead Bushy who's been talking the same rubbish with the same people at the same table for the last 50 years or something.

You guys come up with enough rubbish about City people and I've just done the same thing about Bushy's, so come on.

Most Counrty Bumpkins are good people, same as everyone else, but there are these reputations, these beliefs.
How many times have you heard me talk rubbish about Bushy's, did you guys like it, why not. My point, there always is tripe out their, spread for various reasons, why do the same, we all can.

Posted Saturday, September 22, 2012 - 19:32

Couldn't agree more.

Posted Saturday, September 22, 2012 - 19:45

clementine ford at http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3777144.html

I couldn't agree with her more and thank you for the suggestion. I Googled and I found the above and its brilliant.
She is one smart woman, one you'll never marry, too smart for you, i'd say.

You'd probably have trouble geting it up, with a smatrt woman like that.

Bimbo's for you, aye?

Posted Saturday, September 22, 2012 - 20:24

Isn't there a point where the principle stops being of service and become detrimental instead? Freedom of speech and exposure to alternate view points are helpful to us personally and communally. But there is a point where this will cease to be helpful.

I simply don't understand how we get two extremes who both demand to have their right to freedom of speech, but the full manifestation of their views and beliefs completely removes the freedoms of the opposite group, minority groups and changes, in an absolutist, undemocratic manner, the social landscape of all those in the middle?

It isn't like we as a society haven't been here before, we've seen numerous societies forced to hear "anti" one or other group, do they have something new to say? How beneficial is it to us to see, hear and have to cope with more hate, anger, suspicion etc? New and different perspectives are helpful as it can refine, develop and mature our own...but are these people's "anti" views actually doing that?

What makes that "free"?

What makes our society "mature enough"? What defines "mature" - is it how much shit you can tolerate without being offended and carry a "behead that person sign"? I would think that a mature society has harmony and stability despite having great diversity? That the strengths of all are valued and nurtured, whilst the weaknesses are understood and developed. That people ARE free to live their values without fear, threat etc. Shouldn't people who threaten THAT be denied the freedom to do so?

Posted Saturday, September 22, 2012 - 20:40

definition of stupidity - doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result

Posted Sunday, September 23, 2012 - 00:04

you sound like a raving nutcase..excuse my French
your arguments about invasion etc are ludicrous and no sensible person will respond to that. Clementine"s article is rubbish mostly.Her ancestors were part of the problem.
Interesting that "atheists" can possibly talk about racism on a religious level.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. paul walter
Posted Sunday, September 23, 2012 - 17:25

Yes I agree that Wilders is despicable and the worst sort of incendiary crank. But much as I detest him and his sort, a mature society ought to be able to cope with cranks.
He would be a good exercise for people's discretionary powers in the meantime.
If his ideas are as idiotic as, say Senator Corey Bernardi, he should be laughed out of the country to the general merriment and approval of rational people; anyone stupid enough to believe him is of no threat.
Please government, we are grown ups, now. Put away the cotton wool and permit us the employ of our faculties, lest we lose the functioning of them through atrophication.

Posted Sunday, September 23, 2012 - 21:44

paul walter
you don't have to let the dog in, to hear him bark, the modern world has TV, the Internet and youtube. If you can't find the parasite on one of those get someone to show you how to turn on a computer or buy a TV.

Posted Sunday, September 23, 2012 - 21:48

davedave you just gave yourself away.

Interesting that “atheists” can possibly talk about racism on a religious level.

Your willful ingnorance is noted.

Posted Sunday, September 23, 2012 - 22:00

Posted Saturday, 22 September 12 at 8:24PM

great comments, thats a bit more like you.
You the person talking not the text book and a lot of idiotic big words to give us a new meaning for something old and re hashed by idiots in Uni's with nothing better to do then come up with Marxism and quaint formulas to re invent the wheel.

If it walks and talks like a duck, its a duck.

If it walks and talks like a human, its human, if it sounds like a bioligy dictionary its over educated and needs to be treated with some caution, being over educated does not make you smart, look at some religious people, well read, but.

Posted Monday, September 24, 2012 - 09:53

But a secure nation like Australia is perhaps the ideal location.

Allowing the isolated Islamic youth to feel included through us confronting right-wing ideas is perhaps valuable.

Its difficult to know without asking them.

I mean, did climate scientists thank the ABC for having that cock-eyed Lord monkton on last year?

This user is a New Matilda supporter. thomasee73
Posted Monday, September 24, 2012 - 10:34

I think that an important, hard to resolve, issue that needs to be addressed is when ought it to be considered appropriate, in a conflict situation, to
* quietly and respectfully disagree verbally
* recruit additional political support for disagreeing
* tell someone off for being an idiot
* encourage others to warn them about being an idiot
* refuse to engage with someone
* encourage others to isolate them
* seek to prevent them from communicating to slow down their ability to recruit additional political support
* physically constrain them to prevent communication
* physically constrain them to prevent their ability to commit violence
* commit violence against them for the purpose of self-defence

and so on, including all the in-betweens.

Posted Monday, September 24, 2012 - 10:52

Would u class yourself as a mediator? That list is very impressive if straight off the bat?

Posted Monday, September 24, 2012 - 17:24

haha Ben - what happened between 7.41am and 9.35am to change your mind like that!?

Posted Monday, September 24, 2012 - 17:31

thomasee - wouldn't this involve a sliding scale with intensity, volume etc, and it would need to involve different scales in society from the individual/family, to neighbourhood, community/types of communities...and then the points at which they mix, interrelate and which of that causes conflict or what types of conflict that causes?

Posted Monday, September 24, 2012 - 17:49

jackal please just remember that the I that I am is "me" not ONLY what you know/perceive of as me.

I have spent a lifetime being kept under the thumb by people ridiculing and mocking my natural tendency to philosophise, theorise, dream, think and express ideas ... I have been beaten for it, had things broken over my body for it, hidden myself because of it (and none of the offenders was a Muslim, but good Christians and people who apparently "loved" me!)...

I very much enjoy and appreciate having intelligent interaction with people who can challenge my thinking and I enjoy that generally Ben, Thomas, Examinator remain dedicated to honing ideas, being positive and constructive...I find this personally most enjoyable, more collaborative and respectful DIALOGUE. I respect them and admire them for that, and I learn from that.

Anyone can state the bleeding obvious (like Jane and aussiegreg) but why do that unless you're pushing some other agenda or projecting some unidentified belief(either racism or some attachment to political ideas of left/rightism)?

I find it MORE interesting to dig deep, pull things apart (which we call "unpacking" or "debunking" an issue in the social sciences), look ffrom a new perspective and becoming familiar and competent at this finer more comlex level of analysing a social issue is what I believe is particularly important in issues of social conflict/unrest.

Posted Monday, September 24, 2012 - 18:17

p.s. Jackal, mate I'll give you an example. Just pretend you're a trombone player (trombonist?? I dunno!!?) and you practise every week with your band for weekend performances. What's the difference between the practise performance of a song/set and the same songs/set in the real performance? Isn't it actually the same song, same instruments, same musicians, possibly even same venue? It suddenly becomes the "proper" version of the same activity. Why? How? I just find that sort of thing interesting.

If this is applied to the subject of this article, we have different stages, different conductors, different audiences...and each one will interpret the "performance" by its own set of expectations. But by unpacking this, we can glean better insight and determine better approaches, and outcomes that involve educated, informed human agency rather than being at the mercy of our most base of human tendencies...ie nature...

Posted Monday, September 24, 2012 - 18:23

Yeah I had some conflicting thoughts.

Safe to say I don't know, but that I think Adam's article is accurate him not wanting to discourage Left authors to visit, and that preventing this guy arriving may increase his infamy.

If I was responsible for making policy, I'd seriously look at the visit of Lord Monkton. Because while he was ridiculed by those I choose to associate with and read, others (work colleagues) loved him and went to see him speak.

I just worry that he'll provoke further division, both by angering Muslims and revving up Australian racists.

I don't think the commentary of 'the left' makes a difference to either of these groups, and it'll be like two savage dogs; one of whom is given a master to give them commands.

As I often have recently said, the left has (in general) forgotten its leadership role and has instead disappeared up its own backside, safe in its lazy philosophies. I think they do not appreciate the social dynamics of leadership, and give too much credit to rational thinking.

This guy is a leader, and he will optimise their collaboration (to refer to my thesis yet again:). This will enrage and threaten the Muslims, who will respond in kind. I don't really see how this is all a good thing.

The previous demonstration was followed by soul searching, but remember the video was American and I think the protesters may have felt a bit silly after all the criticism. But this will be a case of the Australian government allowing deliberate provocation.

If Adam was truly concerned with social harmony, rather than hearing from his left wing leaders (heh!), he would give this argument some credit.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. thomasee73
Posted Monday, September 24, 2012 - 18:53

I am not a professional mediator. Just a methodical thinker and obsessive classifier and organiser of ideas (which is in complete contrast to how I arrange my desk or living room...).

Posted Monday, September 24, 2012 - 19:10

Hmmmm, I'd like to give you a research interview to correlate your abilities and preferences against your professional skills and achievements lol.

I wonder if you're more of an Expert then? And I didn't necessarily mean professional mediator, but one who tend to help resolve conflict.

Posted Monday, September 24, 2012 - 19:58

Posted Monday, 24 September 12 at 5:49PM


Posted Monday, September 24, 2012 - 20:00

Posted Monday, 24 September 12 at 5:49PM

Perfectly reasonable, your life you live it, go for it.
Don't mind me.

K Brown
Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 00:12

Ben Heslop - I think the crux of Adam's article is freedom of speech. Just because a small number of militant muslims riot in the streets because they are offended by a trashy amateur Youtube video trailer made by someone a.n.a. "Sam Bacile", an expatriate Egyptian Coptic Christian who hates muslims because of the way they not just have disrespected but persecuted his Church in Egypt are you seriously suggesting that Geert Wilders should be denied a visa because it may "provoke further division" presumably measured by a level of irrational violent rage by militant Islamists.

Taji Mustafa, the British representative of the Islamic organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir was visiting Australia during the Sydney demonstration. Many Australian's find Hizb ut-Tahrir doctrine not only offensive but one that solicits violence however no-one unlawfully assembled or violently demonstrate in the streets are you saying that is OK but visiting right-wing Islamophobes should be denied. I sense a huge moral hazard here. I can't think of a better way to encourage violence by this tiny minority of Islamist militants if their behaviour is rewarded by sanctions on personal freedom to speak against Islamism (or any other ism for that matter).

Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 07:23

K Brown,

I measure a policy by its real-world impact, not ideals or morals. The crux of Adam's article is about two things: poor interrogation by journalists and the danger in a moral stance of it harming one's own interests. Its not about freedom of speech particularly.

Yes I am suggesting a visa be denied partly for the reasons you say.

Ut Tahir? I've heard no one mention him having any impact on the violence. It comes down to power. White man is powerful, brown man is not. Brown man cares less what their own leaders say than how white man acts.

"I can’t think of a better way to encourage violence by this tiny minority of Islamist militants if their behaviour is rewarded by sanctions on personal freedom to speak against Islamism"

I can.

K Brown
Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 09:15

Ben Heslop

I should have said I believe the crux of this argument should be freedom of speech. As you say Adam’s article addresses other issues as well. If you measure a policy by its real world impact then I would observe that sanctions on freedom of speech are a real world issue and I posit a more important one than either the threat of, or actual violence by a couple of hundred of militant Muslims or some measure of religious or cultural offence to the wider Muslim society. Australian public policy should not be dictated by the threat of violent protest.

The violent protests that we have observed have been conducted by less than 0.001% of Muslims around the World. The “real world impact” has been an unprecedented amount of self-criticism and reflection by the overwhelming majority of main stream Muslim organisations who have been embarrassed by the excessive and irrational protests that haves been stirred up by salafists, Wahhabis, al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and other extremists to suit their own agendas; http://www.economist.com/node/21563311. The Muslim majority is now orchestrating strategies to combat the influence of the extremists.

Your glib “White man is powerful, brown man is not” apologism does not wash with them and neither should it for us. The real world impact of the “Innocence of Muslims” video is likely to be the advancement of liberal progressive Muslim ideals and a rejection of mindless religious violence and dogmatism that traps many Muslims in a fatalistic philosophy driven by hate underscored by religious and cultural insecurity. I think that outcome would by any measure be a victory for the "ideal" of freedom of speech over your "real world impacts" pragmatism.

Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 11:19

"I would observe that sanctions on freedom of speech are a real world issue and I posit a more important one than either the threat of, or actual violence by a couple of hundred of militant Muslims "

Perhaps, its hard to say without data or theory. Otherwise this statement is an unfounded assertion. Sorry, data follows...

"The “real world impact” has been an unprecedented amount of self-criticism and reflection by the overwhelming majority of main stream Muslim organisations"

All true, but is this not partly because of the silly nature of the video, and the recent past of Libya? Does it translate to Australia where white majority representatives are sanctioning hate speech from a respected leader of white supremacists?

"Your glib “White man is powerful, brown man is not” apologism"

Its not apologism, its stating a fact.

"The real world impact of the “Innocence of Muslims” video is likely to be the advancement of liberal progressive Muslim ideals and a rejection of mindless religious violence and dogmatism that traps many Muslims in a fatalistic philosophy driven by hate underscored by religious and cultural insecurity."

Maybe. I hope so. But in the past, this has not been the case. More typically, moderate factions are squashed by the extremists; they have more to live for and are less prone to violence. I think the unique, recent world events where America assisted with freeing Islamic countries plays into this. In the past, white 'hate speech' has been a source of power for Muslim extremist groups and governments.

You're also forgetting that there are more than your two stakeholders: moderate and extreme Muslims. There are also extreme Australians, and as I say, these people may be inspired to action by hearing one of their leaders - similar to what occurred with Lord Monkton and my idiotic work colleagues attending his speaking event.

In general, it must be acknowledged that this is a highly complex arena in which no one can be sure of anything. Yet I believe applying simplistic principles such as 'freedom of speech is good' is less likely to be useful than more nuanced conceptions. I am not an expert, neither are you. We really need to speak to those close to Australian extremist groups - both brown and white - to understand the reaction they anticipate.

Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 13:39

[“Poor interrogation by journalists and the danger in a moral stance of it harming one’s own interests. Its not about freedom of speech particularly”.]

This sentence has three separate interesting elements .
The first [“ poor interrogation by journalists” ] This one is dependant on your interpretation of what is the purpose of MSM, their or other journalists primary purpose is. Oh yes let's not forget the columnists (journalists on steroids).
What is being ignored is that MSM and their journalists/ 'stars' (columnists) are entertainers whose stock and trade is words and their presentation in order to get a large audience....so they can sell advertising i.e. profit.
What they AREN'T is an * objective * purveyor of information, conveyors of FACTS with any sense of proportionate value.
Look at the ratio of ads to hard 'news (?) ' versions or loaded 'perceptions' there of. The ads are hardly a paragon of truth and or absolute fact. Nor do either of them make any serious attempt to change.
It is naïve if not ignorant to assume that some one who is trained or skilled with words is of it's self any more competent enough to provide in depth insight on complex/important issues...Not that many try all that hard.
Given the above and in addition , they have few qualms about ignoring issues like quality, the consequences of their missives. Largely because they simply ignore the flip side to freedoms … the responsibility to society to always consider what 'News' actually is i.e. the difference between what the people NEED and WANT to know.
One needs to remember what frequency engenders belief “tell a lie often enough …. it becomes the accepted truth”.
I think it was a Dutch statistician who calculated that at the current population of Muslims it would take 180+ years become a majority in Holland IF the usual integration, lapses from their religion, intermarriages faith, deaths, current demographic trends ...smaller families with wealth etc DIDN'T happen. By then Holland would no longer be as we understand it anyway. Think about views 180 years ago compared to today's . Cripes, Aust 1950 is almost unrecognisable compared to today.
I'd suggest that you may have swallowed the journalists' PR (self aggrandising marketing).
As Dr Dog correctly pointed out the primary group of beneficiaries of a visit from GW is the MSM.
The second [“... the danger in a moral stance of it harming one’s own interests.”] Given the above I'd posit that it is almost totally in their interests.
Thirdly, As for freedom of speech , hmmm as Jackal01 aptly said “you have to let the dog in to hear it's bark”. Anyone heard of the Internet? Who seriously believes MSM as the source of freedom of speech....Consider Wikkileaks exposed more serious stuff in it's life than any MSM source in the same time frame. They simply want to be the gatekeepers to make Profit.

Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 14:06

KB - "advancement of liberal progressive Muslim ideals and a rejection of mindless religious violence and dogmatism"
Yep - but the question is how does this happen? Does it happen by letting extremists have absolute freedom, or will that freedom make this goal more difficult? I don't know. Social progression seems to usually involve considerable unrest, conflict etc. Maybe we expect the changesd without the growing pains? To grow healthier, we don't usually introduce ourselves to more viruses or bacteria? But then perhaps it that squeaky wheel getting the most attention thing. The antidote is the opposite - the invitation for wise and progressive leaders, for harmony, tolerance and inclusion. This would balance out the extremes and give everyday people a forum for asserting more balanced values, beliefs, behaviours and a peaceful nation.

Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 14:33

Paul Walter and Exterminator make a lot of valid points. As Brereton says in effect, if we exclude Wilders because his views are obnoxious to the majority of educated people (including obviously a large majority of Dutch people) then where do we stop? Should we exclude Lord Monckton because he is an obvious disinformation shill? Or Obama because he is a war criminal with distinct authoritarian tendencies? Are we so immature as a nation that people with different views constitute a threat?

One of the ironies of Herr Wilders is that he is one quarter Indonesian, a fact that his dyed blonde hair doesn't entirely disguise. He is at least in part a beneficiary of non-white Muslim immigration to the Netherlands.

Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 14:45

A well reasoned and intelligent article.

However, I'm somewhat hesitant about giving a platform
to a speaker who may cause further upsets in our Muslim
Communities. Do we really need to hear this man - who
has such a small following even in his own country?
And should we allow every single ratbag the right to speak -
because of "freedom of speech," without looking at the

People who enjoy the rights of free speech have a duty to
respect other people's rights, A person's freedom of speech
is limited by the rights of others. Most democratic countries
have major restrictions on free expression.

John Stuart Mill argued that freedom of speech is desirable
because it enables people to add to their knowledge.
However, I doubt whether sweeping generalisations,
and hate speech would qualify in this
particular case.

Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 14:53

There is an interesting mix of principle and calculation in these decisions.

In general I like the principle of free speech (provided all have equal access to it - and not just journalists or wealthy people) and think the usual limitation (not shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theatre) is a good one.

I do think this situation can exist in some politically delicate situations.

My calculation is that (in the current situation of lazy journalists and craven politicians) the consequences of the visit are likely to be to promote Wilders cause - which in my view is an atrocious one.

One aspect that falls outside these is the new media. Wilders doesn't need to come to Australia for Australians to read and engage with his views. The internet and blogosphere mean that this argument can be had in cyber-space. So the argument based on being able to debate Wilders seems a bit beside the point.

Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 15:05


I'm saying that the aim of the author was to demonstrate and criticise poor, ill-informed interrogation by journalists of their subjects. This is on the implicit assumption (of the author) that this is their expected role. I'm ONLY speaking of the author's assumptions, not whether they are true or not.

I have myself disclaimed the unwillingness of NM (journalists) to publish my work. Another piece this morning went through to the keeper. http://ceisys.com/vouchers-and-castles-against-poverty/

Now I happen to think it was a uniquely useful contribution to an important, nay critical, issue. But because NM is not a "an * objective * purveyor of information, conveyors of FACTS with any sense of proportionate value." they ignored it.

What NM are is part of a collaboration of left-wing commentators. Not that this is surprising or terrible: we all collaborate with people with whom we have similar aims. So, EXMTR I am fully aware of the role of journalists.

Regarding "harming of interests" I was talking of the interests of the "left," as the author says, not the MSM.