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Unsafe Spaces For Aussie Conservatives

As you know, the governing Coalition led by the Liberal Party (which is what the right-of-center party is called in Australia) pulled of a shock win in last weekend’s national election. For the past three years, every poll has predicted a Labor Party victory. In Australia, Labor’s loss has hit the left with the same force that the Trump victory hit the US left. Some are freaking out in ominous ways. For example:

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Now, think about that: Carol McAllister hates her fellow citizens who don’t share her politics so much that she encourages leftists to spy them and try to get them sacked. Sacking conservatives over what they say is a favorite pastime of Australian leftists, it would seem: ask Christian rugby player Izzy Folau. I’ve read McAllister’s Twitter feed, and she’s so far to the left that hers almost — almost — seems like a parody account. I wouldn’t take her as normative among the angry left. Still, it strikes me as entirely plausible that some on the left would undertake exactly this kind of strategy.

In Dante’s Inferno, the lowest level of Hell is populated by traitors. There’s an interesting historical reason for this. In Dante’s lifetime — the late 13th and early 14th centuries — the walled cities of Tuscany were frequently at war with each other. When the city gates were closed at night, citizens had to be able to trust in the loyalty of each other. If a traitor in their midst opened the gates under cover of darkness, they could be invaded and defeated. Social life depended on trust and loyalty. Those who destroyed the ability of people to trust each other were the worst kinds of sinners, in Dante’s ordering.

I often receive e-mails from readers who tell me what it’s like in their workplaces, and how they keep their heads down and their mouths shut out of fear of their fellow employees, and of woke Human Resources departments, and Diversity offices. On my last night in Sydney, someone who came to my talk told me about a situation at one of the local universities in which every academic department staged a photo to declare its members’ support for the gay marriage initiative. If you didn’t want to be in the photo, you identified yourself in the eyes of your colleagues as being an anti-gay bigot. It was a sorting mechanism, this photo.

Expect more of them. And never vote for the candidates and the parties that support this totalitarian politicization of daily life.

Relatedly, I want to quote from Miranda Devine’s post-election column in Australia’s Daily Telegraph. Alas, it’s behind a subscriber paywall, but I’ll quote from it here. There’s relevance to US politics, and our 2020 election.

Devine, one of the country’s top conservative columnists, points out that the Labor Party’s social policies — specifically its attack on religious liberty — played a role in bringing about the Liberal Party-led Coalition’s shock victory in last weekend’s national election (in Australia, the Liberal Party is the name of the right-of-center party). Devine points out that Labor leader Bill Shorten said that the 40 percent of Australians who voted against legalizing same-sex marriage in the national plebiscite were “haters (who) crawled out from under a rock.” Devine writes that Shorten made a big mistake in the final days of the campaign, when he tried to tie opponent Scott Morrison, a Pentecostal, to the controversial remarks of rugby superstar Israel Folau. Folau, a fundamentalist, was sacked by the league for posting to social media his view that homosexuals were going to hell. Writes Devine:

Even if few people shared Folau’s views, the episode crystallised a fear that the identity agenda had become a totalitarian threat to freedom of speech and religious belief.

Australians don’t appreciate being told what to believe, how to think or, for that matter, what to drive.

This was the drumbeat playing through the campaign.

Devine goes on to talk about how Australia’s socially conservative immigrant communities turned on Labor. “In western and south-western Sydney, safe Labor seats with a high Christian and Muslim migrant vote also swung towards the Coalition.”

Devine says that Labor’s “existential crisis” has been laid bare. The party has pushed out its social conservatives, she said. In 1980, ethnic Democratic voters flipped to Ronald Reagan, and the Reagan Democrats were born. Seems to me that this election created ScoMo Laborites in Australia. As Devine notes, about socially conservative Labor members:

If they didn’t sign up to abortion, same sex marriage, gender fluidity, and the rest of the hard core identity agenda embedded in Labor’s national platform, they weren’t wanted.

Australia is not America, sociologically or politically. Nevertheless, Republicans running for re-election next year ought to push hard on exposing the radicalism of Democratic identity politics. I am at a loss to explain why Republicans don’t hit this theme harder, aside from fear of being called bigots by the media. Guess what: they’re going to call you bigots no matter what you do. That’s the nature of identity politics. If you stand up against it from a commonsense point of view, voters will rally to your side. Normal people do not want to live in Woke World.

That said, I don’t know how to stop the workplace Stasi agents like Carol McAllister and her allies in HR departments. HR departments love nothing more than “team-building” initiatives — but they also create a culture of snitching and silencing. If I were working in most offices today, I would trust no one, and I would watch every single word I said. It’s a terrible way to live, but that’s what progressives have done to us.

 

UPDATE: Hey errbody, I’m home. The consensus seems to be that Carol McAllister is a parody account. I hope so, but honestly, who can tell anymore?

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71 Comments To "Unsafe Spaces For Aussie Conservatives"

#1 Comment By Brendan from Oz On May 22, 2019 @ 9:49 pm

While in the 80s the USA had Reagan and the UK had Thatcher, we had New Labor with Bob Hawke, and the Prices and Incomes Accord between Unions and Business.

Blair and Clinton both looked to the Aussie model of corporate labour reform, which worked quite well for some time (while Hawke was around), it then morphed into, well, Blair and Clinton and Shorten, not concerned with Labour issues at all but gung-ho about corporations that promote a Leftist social agenda.

Maybe when the corporations realize that such agendas are not profitable or give them access to politicians and contracts then some kind of sense can burst forth.

Who am I kidding?

#2 Comment By John On May 22, 2019 @ 9:52 pm

LGTIA issues rarely if ever come up in my office. We value and respect New Jersey’s anti discrimination law and the company puts up on its web site notices that it is looking for employees who are willing to match in NJ Pride (as well as work the booth representing us at the festival) but that is all done voluntarily by LGBTIA and allied employees. To my knowledge anyway the only diversity affirming event anyone is forced to participate in is the welcoming orientation given to new employees, where the corporate values of nondiscrimination are explicitly stated and affirmed.

The religious backgrounds and sexual employees in the workplace are irrelevant. Accommodations are obviously made for religious holidays but employees know they are there to work – not hear about the worshipping practices and or romantic lives of their co-workers.

#3 Comment By Youngamconreader On May 22, 2019 @ 10:15 pm

The fact that we can’t be sure if the Twitter account is from a real person is just further evidence of us living in clown world.

Welcome to the circus Rod, and for all the readers I hope you got some R&R in Australia. We want to keep you around for a while.

#4 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On May 22, 2019 @ 10:19 pm

NFR: True — but HR departments certainly do. — RD

HR departments are a distilled, concentrated, reminder of why we need unions.

Rod, the people who take serious issue with Democratic stances on social issues aren’t voting for Democrats already.

There you go again, assigning people to neat little boxes so you can treat them as blocs marching in lockstep. I know that black Pentescostals and Baptists aren’t really open to voting Republican, for all kinds of good reasons, but they DO have a lot of reservations about Dem social constructs.

The key is being consistently measured in how you communicate. If you cultivate that, then in practice you are always giving yourself time before you respond

I remember once wondering how my employers would respond if I remarked that I don’t really approve of United Way. Fortunately, the annual campaign to get all employees to donate was over before my three month temp stint began.

with a prominent photo of the Bible to reinforce that Christians and Nazis are basically the same

Obviously havent’ read up on what Hitler had to say about Christianity. It wasn’t pretty. He may have hated Jews, but he viewed them as an ethnicity, not a faith. That’s why conversion didn’t count with him.

#5 Comment By Rossbach On May 22, 2019 @ 10:44 pm

The takeover of my company’s HR department by the wokeness brigade was one of the factors that encouraged me to retire from a Fortune 500 company. It’s not easy working for these organizations anymore. Increasingly, it’s “get woke or get out!”.

I got out.

#6 Comment By JonF On May 23, 2019 @ 6:24 am

Re: There you go again, assigning people to neat little boxes so you can treat them as blocs marching in lockstep. I

I probably should have said “People who prioritize social issues above other issues”. Note that I did not say such people were voting for Republicans. Rod himself is an example of someone who has abstained rather than reflexively pull the “R” lever in every race. My larger point still stands: there’s not a lot of electoral benefit for the GOP to double down on social issues at this point. It could in fact cost them votes. Also, to reiterate, the vast majority of workplaces are not oppressingly “woke”. And as larger firms outsource their HR departments, thereby disempowering those employees, this is less not more likely to be an issue. (By “woke”” I’m talking about places where employees are required to show kneejerk support for leftwing social causes, not places where HR issues occasional pietistic purrs to the effect of “Bozo Inc. supports [insert leftwing cause du jour]” which you can roll your eyes at and then delete from your inbox.)
You and I are of course on the same page in holding that the solution to corporate transgressions of this sort can be found in unions, and not in voting “R”.

#7 Comment By Brian On May 23, 2019 @ 8:30 am

I don’t know whether that’s a parody account or not… But other things you mentioned (the picture you mentioned in this post, for example) seem to point to a “Grass Roots” Totalitarianism, where rather then having a Totalitarian government, we have a Totalitarian minority of (In this case) left-wing true believers who are leveraging institutions and technology to make life intolerable for non-believers. The strange and frightening thing about these new strasi agents is that they are self appointed strasi agents, a self appointed secret police who take it upon themselves to monitor the actions, words and thoughts of others with the intent of using those things against them in the future. What a world!

#8 Comment By GaryH On May 23, 2019 @ 8:56 am

Rod writes: ” I am at a loss to explain why Republicans don’t hit this theme harder, aside from fear of being called bigots by the media.”

Well, the Republican Party in 1860 would have received the clear majority of the votes of not merely Wall Street Big Shots but also perhaps an even larger percentage of socially/culturally liberal college professors and journalists, as well as the vast majority of pastors who were theologically and culturally liberal. Love of money and the power of money came to totally dominate the Republican leadership no later than Reconstruction. The party was run by and for largely liberal leaning Country Club types until after many culturally conservative working class and middle class Democrats felt shoved out of that party.

And the Neocons who own Republican Party foreign policy are often anti-conservative in matters of religion and morals and basic culture.

#9 Comment By Polichinello On May 23, 2019 @ 11:27 am

“Have a nice time,” he wrote back, “but I am boycotting [STATE] for its policies that oppress women.”

He texts on a phone made in the PRC.

#10 Comment By C. L. H. Daniels On May 23, 2019 @ 11:30 am

You and I are of course on the same page in holding that the solution to corporate transgressions of this sort can be found in unions, and not in voting “R”.

I disagree. The solution is to not permit the concentration of economic and political power that modern corporations enjoy. It’s past time to make antitrust great again. Bust the modern trusts, break them up, disperse their private wealth and power, level the playing field for new businesses, and reintroduce serious competition into both consumer and labor markets. And then raise tariff and non-tariff barriers to keep foreign multinationals under control and make sure they don’t swallow up our economy. Modern corporations can afford to indulge in this woke crap because they largely don’t face any serious competition in their industries. They’re decadent and dysfunctional, because they can afford to be – no one will make them pay for their complacency.

I will vote for any party or candidate that credibly convinces me they are serious about antitrust enforcement and throwing the Chicago School received wisdom on trust busting out the window and onto the ash heap where it belongs.

#11 Comment By MM On May 23, 2019 @ 1:11 pm

JonF: “You and I are of course on the same page in holding that the solution to corporate transgressions of this sort can be found in unions, and not in voting ‘R'”

Hold it, let’s stick to the topic at hand. Unionization in Australia is double the rate here in the U.S.

And weren’t you just commenting in another article on the Australian election results that the conservative coalition was more like the U.S. Democratic Party in its ideological positions?

Why is it necessary for the Australian left to go after people they disagee with and get them fired, and label the winners of a free and fair election “right-wing”?

I’d like you to address your fundamental inconsistencies in some detail, please.

#12 Comment By Parrhesia On May 23, 2019 @ 1:19 pm

The last few paragraphs of this article reminded me of something I read in Ryszard Legutko’s book “The Demon In Democracy”, in which he points out the similarities and parallels between the modern, politically-correct Liberal-Democracies and the former Communist system of eastern Europe. I quote:
“Government is not the only agent that is supposed to oversee the rules of cooperation and fight against all the non-collaborative groups. Actually, this responsibility rests on everyone’s shoulders and everyone is responsible for tracking what is wrong and implementing what is right. In this respect, liberal democracy has achieved at least as much as communism and perhaps even more. Real socialism used coercion in the most palatable sense of the word; the authorities treated acts of disobedience with brutality and the bloody birth of the system was not without effect on the behavior of the next generation. In a liberal democracy, a vast part of this process occurs spontaneously, and the legal and political coercion is to some extent a response to public demand and not an arbitrary act of violence against society. Hence, the large crowds of individuals who are willing – like some contemporary Pavka Morozovs – to track down dissident words, actions, and intentions in their immediate vicinity. Their Tartuffe-like minds poison the society and other minds.”

#13 Comment By Anne On May 23, 2019 @ 1:38 pm

Ye gads, you really can’t know the enemy (or opposition) if you keep focusing on people hardly anybody knows or takes seriously. Obviously, the left has extremists. There are a large array of them, from old guard Socialists to gender fluid libertarians who could pass for rightwingers if they didn’t talk about sex. (Caitlyn Jenner, of course, is a Republican.) The biggest difference between the left’s loudmouths and deplorables and the right’s is that the left’s don’t constitute some “base” powerful enough to bully others, as is the case with extreme elements on the right. (Remember when even Donald Trump felt compelled to keep a self-defeating government shutdown going in order to appease two rightwing loudmouths, Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, because he feared their popularity with “the base”?) That’s a big problem dogging responsible conservatives. but trying to pretend the left is equally bound down won’t fix it. The left has its problems and its problem children; they’re just not running country or culture. Look who is.

#14 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On May 23, 2019 @ 2:36 pm

there’s not a lot of electoral benefit for the GOP to double down on social issues at this point.

True. But there are hazards ahead for the Dems, if the GOP has a serious crash.

It’s past time to make antitrust great again. Bust the modern trusts, break them up, disperse their private wealth and power, level the playing field for new businesses, and reintroduce serious competition into both consumer and labor markets.

All good.

#15 Comment By Lee On May 23, 2019 @ 8:40 pm

“It’s past time to make antitrust great again. Bust the modern trusts, break them up, disperse their private wealth and power, level the playing field for new businesses, and reintroduce serious competition into both consumer and labor markets.”

That’s all fine and good but you still need unions and to restore the rights and power of workers in general. Forced arbitration, non-competition clauses for unskilled employees, right to work laws, the “gig” economy have all reduced the power of employees relative to businesses. Even small businesses who are not dominant in their industries use these methods to take advantage of their employees.

#16 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On May 23, 2019 @ 11:02 pm

gender fluid libertarians who could pass for rightwingers if they didn’t talk about sex. (Caitlyn Jenner, of course, is a Republican.)

Love the perspective.

The biggest difference between the left’s loudmouths and deplorables and the right’s is that the left’s don’t constitute some “base” powerful enough to bully others, as is the case with extreme elements on the right.

I agree that there isn’t a working class movement powerful enough to do anything of the kind… whether it should or would do such a thing if it could, is worth a hard look, given past history.

But, what you refer to as “left” — that is, the infantile disorder culture vultures infatuated with LGBTQ and other irrelevant nonsense — appears to be quite entrenched in the halls of oligarchy and quite capable of bullying others. How do you conclude that this is not the case?

#17 Comment By cka2nd On May 24, 2019 @ 2:00 am

Jonah R. says: “she’s pro-Cuba despite declaring it ‘a bit problematic’ on LGBT issues”

You may not be aware that this has been a longstanding point of tension within left-wing supporters of the Cuban Revolution, gay and straight, and that the Cuban government has changed its policies over the decades from outright hostility to official non-discrimination. Gay Republicans and LGBT Cuban-Americans opposed to the Cuba’s government also use the early history of the regime against it, and try to argue that not that much progress has been made in respecting gay rights in Cuba.

#18 Comment By JonF On May 24, 2019 @ 8:53 am

CLH Daniels, I absolutely agree with you about anti-trust measures. However that in itself does nothing to help workers. I’d all the employers are on the same page with regard to the treatment of labor (and that can easily happen) then you still need institutions that will stand up for workers.

#19 Comment By MM On May 24, 2019 @ 2:03 pm

cka2nd: “…and try to argue that not that much progress has been made in respecting gay rights in Cuba.”

Forest for the trees.

Despite some token progress, no matter what your orientation in Cuba, everybody is still equally subject to political repression, censorship, and severe restrictions on speech, assembly, etc.

That’s not right-wing rhetoric, that’s from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

The regime makes itself look bad, by any reasonable standard.

#20 Comment By Brendan On May 25, 2019 @ 10:14 am

The left has its problems and its problem children; they’re just not running country or culture. Look who is.

This is nonsense. The social justice warrior left runs the media, the entertainment industry and the educational establishment (from kindergarten through graduate), lock, stock and barrel. Whining about how your side isn’t running the country when it controls all of the culturally influential power centers, simply because it doesn’t *also* control the political power center entirely, is bunk.

You people won’t be satisfied until you control everything, that’s obvious. Which is why you must be stopped at all costs.

#21 Comment By Intelliwriter On May 26, 2019 @ 10:49 pm

A reminder that knowledge is power. I have worked from home for nearly 20 years, but I can still be shocked that telling someone at work “anything “ manages to get around the entire office. And I’m talking innocent things like where I’m going on vacation.

I think it’s best to keep a very bright line between work and the rest of my life. It keeps me out of trouble and out of office politics. And that’s just fine with me.