#samesexmarriage

If you do it for churches make sure you enforce it for every other faith too – no exceptions!

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In 2012 Denmark ruled that churches would be legally forced to marry gay couples regardless of the beliefs of many of the clergy. With Australia’s same sex marriage (SSM) debate on the table will parliament protect the rights of the church to decide on the way it chooses to conduct its affairs? If Australia votes in favour of SSM then we should accept society’s decision on the matter. Period. However, will churches be forced to do things against their will like Denmark? Why only churches? Shouldn’t gay people of the Buddhist, Shinto, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and any other faith be equally able to force their relevant house of prayer to conduct a gay wedding ceremony? It must be one rule for all, not just the soft target. Where are the activists demanding this? Exactly, nowhere to be seen. Given we live in a world where certain sandwich chains refuse to sell pork products to avoid offending certain customer groups perhaps we should insist that hardware stores refrain from selling timber and nails because it might offend Christians.

The question is not about whether gay couples have the right to marry. If they are allowed to do so is it fair that people who hold different beliefs to them (which does not equate to homophobia) be forced to do things against them? Surely the whole purpose of marriage is to celebrate love, togetherness and commitment. Will that day feel more special when you know the priest has a gun to his head? To reiterate – if we are to force one religion to tow the line, we must prepared to accept without question all other faiths to obey the law. No exceptions.

Same Sex Marriage – Shaming didn’t work before. Why now?

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Ahhh. Where have we seen this before? 2016 US election? Brexit? Yes. It’s the name and shame game. Make people feel that failure to vote “yes” in the same sex marriage (SSM) plebiscite makes Australia as backward as predominantly Muslim countries (which ironically are the same countries the liberal left will scream unwavering support if any criticism is thrown at them, despite their stance against homosexuality), a few former communist states and Thailand. The irony of SSM is the campaigning and advertising is probably the worst spent money ever. How?

If I asked all the Aussie people who adorned their page with “I’m voting yes” I’m guessing 99% had already made up their mind and nothing would change it. So any “No” campaigns should have slid like water off a duck’s back. The same goes for those in the no camp. 99% have probably made their mind up and no amount of “Yes” campaigning will change that. Posting memes which aim to shame people has the opposite effect by further cementing their “No”  vote.

I’m not confident this plebiscite will pass. No amount of tears from Senator Pratt, $1m from Alan Joyce, rainbow banners forcibly added on my blog draft page or friends telling people they have a moral obligation to vote Yes will have any effect. Why the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is charged with handling the plebiscite and not the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is beyond me .

Going a step further, we see that the ABS has sent multiple ballots to some addresses because of  outdated information of former tenants, rogue postmen have threatened to use torches to  throw out “No” votes they find and a government that introduced emergency laws to ban free speech on SSM. Personally I think the plebiscite fails but the more concerning thing about the SSM debate has been the attack on free speech. How?

Anyone that would seek to tamper with an official vote (mail tampering is an offence), vote multiple times or seek to get people who are in the “No” camp deregistered from the medical profession or think government leaders using tax payers to support the “Yes” cause only to influence an outcome indeed would place Australia in the right column which contain countries that in many cases don’t believe in democracy. Having emergency laws on free speech to curtail it in a way that would only punish the “no” side tells us all we need to know. A gay journalist can happily tweet he’d “hate f*ck the homophobia out of conservative politicians” and that is passed as a racy joke but if conservatives said they’d “hate f*ck the homosexuality out of a gay progressive politician” they’d be hounded into the courts.

Indeed Australia is rightly positioned in the above column. Just the heading of the study should be “rights to free speech” not “equal marriage rights”

Forcing voters to become eunuchs by slicing off their free speech

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Kiss your free speech good-bye. Australia is going straight down the slippery slope of Canada in seeking to shut down the expression of open legitimate debate. Labor Senator Louise Pratt broke down today after explaining the horrid episode of receiving an anti-same sex marriage (SSM) pamphlet when going to the shops with her 3yr-old son and his three fathers. Instead of refuting the content of the anti-SSM pamphlet with facts (and her own experience) she chose to break down and claim how she could not bear reliving the content. Yes, she played a victim. She got a consoling hug from a Greens senator. By her own admission she said that the “no” campaigners have already lost the argument and will lose the vote. If that is the case then why the tears? Get on the front foot and defend your beliefs Senator Pratt rather than run to the bosom of totalitarian protections. If the plebiscite is carried the “No” campaigners will accept democracy.

Now we will have emergency laws that will prosecute someone who expresses a legitimate opinion with fines of up to $12,600. Who decides what constitutes hurting someone’s feelings? The PM only last week said that “we can rely on the wisdom and decency of the Australian people to decide on same sex marriage.” Three days later these same people will be muzzled. Why do we need people policing citizens for holding legitimate beliefs? We can be sure that if pro-SSM people abuse Anti-SSM then nothing will happen. We already have a gay Fairfax journalist who spoke of hate-f*cking politicians who didn’t support SSM to drive out their homophobia. I would bet that he wouldn’t get charged under this new law. It only applies to the dinosaurs and their antiquated backward thinking. Activists tried to get a doctor struck off the register for holding a belief in traditional marriage. Archbishops have been dragged before courts and hotels threatened if they allow anti-SSM meetings to take place.

Shame on the Conservatives to roll over so easily on this subject. The sad reality is that most people made up their minds way before the vote has even taken place. I don’t need WordPress to adorn my blog page with rainbow flag backed buttons and I do not need Subway to tell me to vote SSM when I buy a sandwich. I don’t need Qantas to give me an acceptance ring and I certainly don’t need tax dollars squandered on one side of the debate only. I couldn’t care less with those who want to virtue signal with their Facebook avatars with “I’m voting yes”. Good for you. None of that peer pressure would convince me in anyway on which way I would vote. The beauty of a polling booth is that you can vote how you like. Yet this day and age is all about vilifying non compliance to activism

Yet our government shows its cowardice and even worse, contempt for the public. In an attempt to gag free speech people will be told what they can and can’t say. Holding beliefs which are perfectly acceptable on rational grounds will be policed and removed from the Newspeak dictionary. I am sure the Australian Human Rights Commission is rubbing its hands with glee to take more control of the nanny state.

Not supporting SSM doesn’t make one a homophobe but that is how the activists seek to mock and ridicule non-conformity. Ramrodding gender fluidity and cross dressing in kindergarten and primary schools is just another shift in removing the ability to protect traditional values. In the majority of cases, the best outcome for children is to have their biological mother and father as parents. It shouldn’t be seen as hateful to think like that.

Once again, bit by bit freedoms are being removed. California is looking to introduce laws to prosecute people for using the wrong pronoun. Do we seriously need the judicial system to be clogging up the courts with such petty matters? Canada’s M-103 and Ontario’s M-89. More laws to shut people up. It is appalling. Free speech is an absolute unalienable right. Just because one might not agree with another doesn’t make it hate speech. Yet our laws will ensure that anything outside of the newspeak dictionary will get people prosecuted.

People ask me why I left the Liberal Party of Australia. I say, “I didn’t leave them, they left me!”

I’ll stick with my instincts rather than fall for a Harvard study because it is from Harvard

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Harvard University is without question one of the top schools globally. It has an enviable reputation and having that on one’s CV is hardly a hinderance. It is a status symbol.  In a discussion over global warming an individual was trying to legitimize climate alarmism by citing a Harvard University study. Harvard by the way is ranked top 5 worldwide in Environmental Science. The study as it turns out had been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), a US government agency responsible for allocating 24% of science funding that had been raked over the coals by the US Senate for gross mismanagement, fraud and waste. The National Science Foundation: Under the Microscope” paper from 2011 documented some of the misappropriation of funds as follows,

An $80,000 study on why the same teams always dominate March Madness”, a “$315,000 study suggesting playing FarmVille on Facebook helps adults develop and maintain relationships”, a study costing “$1 million for an analysis of how quickly parents respond to trendy baby names”, a study costing “$50,000 to produce and publicize amateur songs about science, including a rap called “Money 4 Drugz,” and a misleading song titled “Biogas is a Gas, Gas, Gas”;” a study costing”$2 million to figure out that people who often post pictures on the internet from the same location at the same time are usually friends”; and “$581,000 on whether online dating site users are racist”.Ineffective management examples, cited in the report, included “ineffective contracting”, “$1.7 billion in unspent funds sitting in expired, undisbursed grant accounts”, “at least $3 million in excessive travel funds”, “a lack of accountability or program metrics to evaluate expenditures” and “inappropriate staff behavior including porn surfing and Jello wrestling and skinny-dipping at NSF-operated facilities in Antarctica”.

It is often a tactic to cite supposedly credible bodies to legitimize and seek to win an argument. However at what point do we view Harvard’s stance on climate change as balanced? On Harvard’s own climate change page it is littered with a predetermined view. It is not to doubt the intelligence of the professors and scientists within the university but intelligence and ethics do not have to be mutually inclusive especially when it comes to procuring funds.

One has to wonder that the  NSF, which dispenses 24% of all university grants (some $7bn) is best positioned to fulfill this role given its past. As the Harvard climate page reveals there does not seem to be much attention paid to the alternate view. The offshoot of that is if the NSF wants to get ‘green policy’ outcomes, best pour funds into those schools that will help give the results they’re after.

In 2015 a claim was made against Harvard for not disclosing financial conflicts of interest. A press release entitled ‘Clean air and health benefits of clean power plan hinge on key policy decisions’ constituted a gushing praise of a commentary entitled ‘US power plant carbon standards and clean air and health co-benefits’ by Charles T. Driscoll, Jonathan J. Buonocore, Jonathan I. Levy, Kathleen F. Lambert, Dallas Burtraw, Stephen B. Reid, Habibollah Fakhraei & Joel Schwartz, published on May 4, 2015, in Nature Climate Change

The claim (a letter to the Dean) suggested that “two of the co-authors of the commentary, Buonocore and Schwartz, are researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Your press release quotes Buonocore thus: “If EPA sets strong carbon standards, we can expect large public health benefits from cleaner air almost immediately after the standards are implemented.” Indeed, the commentary and the press release constitute little more than thinly-disguised partisan political advocacy for costly proposed EPA regulations supported by the “Democrat” administration but opposed by the Republicans. Harvard has apparently elected to adopt a narrowly partisan, anti-scientific stance…The commentary concludes with the words “Competing financial interests: The authors declare no competing financial interests”. Yet its co-authors have received these grants from the EPA: Driscoll $3,654,609; Levy $9,514,391; Burtraw $1,991,346; and Schwartz (Harvard) $31,176,575. The total is not far shy of $50 million…Would the School please explain why its press release described the commentary in Nature Climate Change by co-authors including these lavishly-funded four as “the first independent, peer-reviewed paper of its kind”? Would the School please explain why Mr Schwartz, a participant in projects grant-funded by the EPA in excess of $31 million, failed to disclose this material financial conflict of interest in the commentary?Would the School please explain the double standard by which Harvard institutions have joined a chorus of public condemnation of Dr Soon, a climate skeptic, for having failed to disclose a conflict of interest that he did not in fact possess, while not only indulging Mr Schwartz, a climate-extremist, when he fails to declare a direct and substantial conflict of interest but also stating that the commentary he co-authored was “independent”?”

While I do not pretend to be a climate scientist by trade or study, fraud is fraud. The supposed beacons of virtue such as NOAA, IPCC, the CRU of the UEA have all been busted for manipulation of data to fit an end cause. The lack of ethics in certain cases has been so profound that had many of these scientists been in financial services they’d have lost licenses, paid multi billion in fines and served jail time. One person commented that too few in financial services have been locked up. I replied name me one scientist busted for fraud and misuse of public funds has seen the inside of a jail cell, much less fined or barred from teaching? The answer – NONE

I don’t need to possess a degree in astrophysics or science to determine poor ethics generally mean the science papers put forward should be viewed with deep skepticism. Yet we’re constantly told that the science is settled. How so? If one has to lie and deceive in order to scare us into action, how can one say that it is legitimate work? In fact I have been at pains to mention that the scrupulous acts of a few only ends up undermining potentially credible work conducted by others. Yet climate change has become a purely political issue and there is no question that sourcing funding dollars is easiest met when supporting alarmism. After all why would people want to throw dollars at skeptics who may come out with an alternative view? Don’t debate it. Some have suggested sceptics are like pedophiles and even more extreme views have suggested jail sentences. When people think that the only way to win the argument is to jail non believers you can be absolutely sure that the data is completely flawed in that it can’t stand on its own as an argument. Hence the manipulation to try to bully the movement onwards. Some Aussie universities (state funded mind you) are refusing a climate think tank being established on their campus for possessing an alternative view. You have to worry if universities, the bedrock of free thinking, are trying to ban it. Then again if kindergarten schools are being taught they are gender fluid and cross dressing is acceptable then you know there is a more sinister movement at work.

It was no surprise that Hurricane Irma has become Trump’s fault. Alarmists drew any data possible to connect Global Warming and hurricane activity despite the IPCC claiming several years back it  has little supportive data to prove it. So expediency is put before principle. Hopefully if no one has seen the IPCC climb down perhaps we can still convince them we can save the planet. All the meantime the IATA forecasts air travel will double in terms of passenger numbers between now and 2030 and SUVs top most vehicle sales in major markets.

To add to the farcical care factor for climate change by the masses The Australian noted, “On June 30 2017, after 12 years of “advancing climate change solutions”, the Climate Institute is closing its doors in Australia, a victim of the “I’ll ride with you but won’t pay” industry. You would think that Cate Blanchett, so happy to appear in the institute’s ads, could have taken the hat around her Hollywood A-list mates, such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Bono, Emma Watson and Brad Pitt, to tip in a few hundred thousand a year for the cause….But alas, the caravan has moved on and the greatest moral challenge of our time is now the Trump White House. For celebrities who fly eyebrow groomers to the Oscars, climate change is kinda yesterday. Still, to humour the faithful and to keep the dream alive, the 10th anniversary of Earth Hour was celebrated last Saturday night. You didn’t notice?”

When I was a staunch opponent of Greenspan’s reckless monetary policy in 2001 and said his actions would lead to a financial calamity in 6-7 years, many laughed at me. I bought gold at under $300. People thought I was mad as did the Bank of England. Barbs were frequent – “how could you possibly possess the intelligence of Greenspan? Back in your box!” I was told. Of course as a contrarian by nature, speaking out against pervading group think was met with a constant wave of ever increasing vitriolic criticism. Of course the simplest thing would have been to roll over and join the band wagon but I stuck to my guns. GFC was the result. In all that time, people used to shame my thinking by citing Harvard or other Ivy League studies on new paradigms. Indeed many of the brains behind the CDOs which eventually brought the financial sector to its knees were brainiacs from the Ivy League. In the end my instincts were bang on. Nothing to do with education levels.

The same arguments were hurled at me during Trump’s presidential campaign. Many people defriended me because my data kept showing to me he’d win. I am not American, I can’t vote but casting my own instincts ended up being a no brainer. Not once were credible arguments made to counter why Trump could win. People would post NY Times polls, CNN polls and so forth to legitimize the argument. Then say I was blind, stupid, bigoted, racist and the usual leftist identikit used to demonise a view. Group think is so dangerous. What it is doing is suppressing real views which show up in the polling booth.

Everywhere I read, the media wants to throw Trump to the wolves and run the lunatic, racist white nationalist card. For 9 months now. To be honest I think he will comfortably do two terms because the media has learned nothing and anything he does is vilified. Most Americans aren’t looking to him for spiritual guidance. He is vulgar and his manner is far from conventional and sometimes not very fitting of the office he serves. However he gets no credit for anything. The latest UN sanctions on North Korea are in large part because Trump has told China to get on with it. Trump said on national TV that he wants “China to sort it out and to stop delaying otherwise we’ll do it for you”. Yet the media is drumming WW3 rhetoric.

Same goes for the Paris Accord. What a stroke of genius. Let France, Germany and other nations pick up the tab for their ‘green policy’ madness and make up America’s renewable shortfall. It is kind of ironic that none of these nations ever pick on China, India or Russia which make up 50% of CO2 emissions for their lack of adherence to actually doing meaningful things to abate climate change albeit signatories to the UN accord. I argue it is like NATO in reverse. US pays a way bigger share into NATO, why not collect a refund via other nation’s virtue signalling which actually helps America First by making other nations less competitive. Brilliant.

DACA – many Americans, including 41mn on food stamps, will welcome the removal of illegal immigrants from their country who in their view are siphoning their ability to get out of poverty. DACA to them isn’t about not being compassionate but realizing that a $20 trillion deficit and loading more onto an overcrowded system isn’t helping. Once again regardless of what people think of Trump he had the fewest white voters and largest share of black and Hispanic voters than Romney or McCain. Hardly the result for a white nationalist, racist bigot. At the current rate if the Democrats run Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Hilary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren or any other identity politician against him in 2020 they’ll lose. The mid terms won’t be as bad as many calling. The one midterm already returned a Republican despite massive Hollywood support even ferrying voters to booths.

Transgender in the military. I spoke to two dozen US military personnel last month to ask their opinions. The 100% response was, “we think it is inappropriate for the taxpayer to fund sexual reassignment surgery while serving including several years of rehab and ongoing drug therapy…it is taking the p*ss…we serve our country because we love it and we don’t have room to support social experiments to protect freedom!” There was no real issue of transgender per se rather a problem of providing funds in n already tightly allocated budget for such medical expenditure. Several even spoke of the stupidity of LGBT pride day in the armed forces. What has the ability to fight got to do with what goes on in the bedroom? One said “if we had a heterosexual pride day” we’d never hear the end of it.

So when you communicate with the real people you find the truth if you are prepared to listen. The beauty of social media and indeed Google (which happily acts as a Big Brother on what it considers acceptable) is that many people reach for articles they probably haven’t read properly and use them as ways to ram home an argument because they carry a brand name. Harvard is a wonderful institution but as we’ve seen it has run into questions of conflicts of interest.

I happen to think that social media is having the opposite effect on brainwashing to tell the truth. 99.9% of what I see posted has little thought to it. The more people I speak to the more they are ignoring noise. Many people share articles without putting some basis of why they post it. In many cases people are too afraid to face a doxxing or backlash. Bring it on. To me if you post things in the public domain then be prepared to invite criticism. On my site I do not censor, cut off or delete readers. They are free to come and go as they please. I only request they keep profanity to a minimum.

So in summary, the idea that we bow down to venerable institutions to seek guidance is as flawed today as it ever was. I’ll gladly stick to gut instincts because to date they have worked so far. Having said that I should put a disclaimer that was always plastered on financial services product, “Past results are no guarantee of future performance”

Bible-bashing bakers refuse same sex wedding cakes…and those for atheists, racists and others

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A Colorado bakery has won a Supreme Court case which revolved around their rights to refuse making a wedding cake for a gay couple on the basis of their religious beliefs. However backward the bakery’s views may appear to many of us, why would the gay couple want a shop like that making a cake for their wedding in the first place? Surely the negative publicity on the back of it may well put the bakery in receivership or severely damage custom. Talk about a potentially self inflicted wound. Isn’t that just desserts if the bakery suffers because people exercise their distaste by their lack of patronage? What if the bakery had lost? Should the owner face a multi million dollar punitive damages suit and jail time? In all honesty how emotionally damaged were the gay couple?  Gays wedding aren’t the only things the cake shop bans by the way,. At what point do we draw the line on a breach of civil rights? The hurdle seems to keep getting lower.

If a Michelin 3-star restaurant refuses your young kids because they might spoil the ambience, have your kid’s civil rights been breached? Should gentlemen only clubs be banned? Why would women want to hang out in a club full of stuffy old men smoking cigars and drinking brandy? If the club charges its members sufficient dues to provide that atmosphere which breaks no laws then why the fuss? They set the rules. They’ve a right to such a club if they don’t harm anyone else. ‘Curves‘ is a female only health club. Is it right that men are banned from joining? It’s a club that discriminates solely on gender. Maybe the club wouldn’t be of interest to most men but it is openly discriminating yet no complaints are made.

Quite frankly the bakery may be petty minded but surely any business should have the right to choose who they wish to serve under their own guidelines. Turning away good business is rather absurd but it happens. Take my attempts to open a stock trading account in Japan last week to be denied the right for being a foreigner. It is not something I plan to take up with the Supreme Court here in Tokyo to fight for my rights to have an account. I’ll just suck it up and find another that will. Quite frankly if I managed to be able to open an account at the foreigner-unfriendly broker I probably wouldn’t want to trade with them anyway. The reality is probably more tied to the broker’s worry that the foreigner may not speak Japanese causing lots of angst so easier to ban the lot. Instead of asking my Japanese level, they turn me away. This isn’t the first such incidence.

Surely if the gay couple won this case, they would most likely place the wedding cake order elsewhere. Seriously what is the upside to order it at the bakery in question other than to humiliate them further? What of the death threats made to the bakery? Have activists reacted to this or forgiven it under the ‘serves you right, bigots!’ banner?

Was 1st in SEO CEO’s actions to demand the resignations of people who voted for Trump given the same media coverage? The CEO was actually violating labour laws. He also extended this to ceasing business with any clients that voted for Trump. Personally it is a narrow minded view but if he so chooses to cut off business it is his right to do so, in so far as he has shareholder approval to do so. A Melbourne bookstore has been criticised online after warning people who “vote no” in the upcoming same-sex marriage postal vote to never visit their shop again. Is that any better than the baker?

There seems to be no charge of a bile-laden homophobic rant by the baker. In fact the owner said,

I’ll sell anyone any cake I’ve got…But I won’t design a cake that promotes something that conflicts with the Bible’s teachings. And that rule applies to far more than cakes celebrating same-sex marriages. I also won’t use my talents to celebrate Halloween, anti-American or anti-family themes, atheism, racism, or indecency.”

Whether we believe the bakery of not for the depths of their fervent religious beliefs they are protected under the law. The Supreme Court ruled in the baker’s favour. If people don’t like the law then they should change it. Still if people want to go ahead and ban the rights of bakers from refusing gay customer requests for wedding cakes, then they should be prepared to accept Curves not having the right to exclude men from their women-only aerobics classes and tell the Michelin 3-star restaurant to provide high chairs and a children’s menu. Still don’t complain when your plans to propose to your partner when some baby is screaming in the middle of dessert get ruined.

Get Up! should Get Lost!

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What sort of society do we live in where people view GetUp! as a credible action group driving worthy causes? Dr Pansy Lai starred in a “No (to same sex marriage)” advert. She expressed a point of view. People don’t have to agree with her conservative thinking but does it require Get Up to run a campaign to get her deregistered from the medical profession? Does expressing support for traditional marriage somehow impact her ability to tend to patients? Unlikely.

Why doesn’t GetUp check to see whether her patients leave her practice in droves or new ones beat down her door for treatment before imposing its own warped justice system? 6,000 signed the petition to get her dumped. She even received death threats. It’s appalling. I can only imagine GetUp were slightly dismayed she wasn’t white so they could crank up the bigotry-o-meter. GetUp saw better of it and retracted the petition. It doesn’t excuse the fact they intended to ruin someone’s life who didn’t agree

Let’s not forget the results of the 2011 Census where 0.03% of the population identified with being husband and wife in a same sex relationship. Yes. 1,338 people only. Seems strange that 4x as many people wanted to bury a doctor than same sex couples actually told the government they viewed themselves in a traditional sense of marriage.

As Voltaire said, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” 

The growing dangers of the Sanctimonious Society

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Welcome to the sanctimonious society. Social media has taken this to new levels. Given the superficiality of much of today’s internet posts, memes and rants, what it has done is destroy the need for serious debate over contentious issues. Before discussing the likes of Twitter or Facebook censoring certain bloggers, the discourse is self-evident. How often do you read a credible rebuttal to a topical post? Hardly ever is the answer. Usually the criticism is laced with sanctimony, expletives and ridicule. The aim of trolling is none other than to shut down debate and make fun of the person who makes the statement. The intensity of cyber-bullying is chronic. In some respects it is none too surprising we are dealing with words like snowflake, trigger warnings and safe spaces these days.

Take cyber bullying stats from the Association of Psychological Science in the US. In 2015 more than 16,000 young people were absent from school daily because of bullying. 83% of young people say cyber bullying has a negative impact on their self-esteem. 30% of young people have gone on to self-harm as a result of cyberbullying. 10% of young people have attempted to commit suicide as a result of cyberbullying. People who have been bullied are at greatest risk for health problems in adulthood, over six times more likely to be diagnosed with a serious illness, smoke regularly, or develop a psychiatric disorder compared to those not involved in bullying. In the US alone, suicides per 100,000 head of population since 2000 are up 38% according to WHO.

However the WiFi world is quickly escalating unreasoned stupidity in the real world. The internet is awash with so much ill-considered social media activity that if one chooses to breathe for 10 minutes the story will likely have changed 180 degrees from the initial knee jerk. Take the terrible events of Charlottesville this week. The driver that plowed into the crowd was initially reported as a white supremacist before other media reported he was Antifa. Regardless of his affiliation his actions were repugnant. Anyone with common decency can see that. Trying to justify the legitimacy of masked Antifa (many who were carrying baseball bats) staging a ‘peaceful’ protest was somehow morally superior to alt-right torch bearers or vice versa is almost like trying to say watering your lawn with gasoline is less harmful than diesel to kill off weeds.

While the tragedies of the lost lives and depraved acts of violence from both sides is impossible to ignore, the (social and mainstream) media was awash with one sided views. There was no debate and balanced reasoning was next to non existent. One could argue the media has always been biased and to some extent that is true however in the social media world clickbait means revenue and the more sensational and less accurate the reporting the higher the likely ‘hits’ which only exacerbates the problem. We only need to look at CNN’s admission that the ‘Russiagate’ story has been a fabrication for ratings. Integrity be damned. Sadly that is becoming almost an all too common thread of today’s society. Selfish, narcissistic and insensitive bullying.

The other problem nowadays is that almost everyone carries a video camera. It is as if many think they are behind the safety of their own computer screens, oblivious to what is going on. Only a few months ago, an armed SWAT team boarded a Malaysian Airlines flight to suppress a crazed passenger. Despite the screams to get down, multiple people could be seen standing as tall as possible trying to improve the angle of the altercation on their iPhones. There is a sick surrealism to it. Yet if we take this clickbait of someone’s footage at Charlottesville, disseminated to an audience already prejudiced, it only adds to the hysteria. The instant it hits the mobs’ feed it can lead to incorrect assumptions to what is actually going on, even worse hampering emergency services efficacy in controlling the situation. Yet, 10 minutes later, the unedited version of the same scene or one shot from a different angle can completely undermine that biased view. It might show how the violence really escalated rather than the deliberately cut version showing the evil of the unhinged. If we managed to get all of the collective footage from 1,000s of smartphones and objectively analyzed it all it wouldn’t be surprising to see both sides fueling the violence in different areas. Yet because it fits the picture of the ‘divided’ country narrative no attempts are made to seek balance which only fires up the misinformation.

Did Trump take too long to condemn the KKK, Neo-Nazi and White Supremacists? Perhaps. Was he waiting for a full debrief on what went on? Perhaps. Are all 63 million odd Trump voters that don’t openly condemn these acts of violence guilty of being white-supremacists by association? No. Are all Democrats responsible for what Antifa does? No. Internet trolls seem less intent on getting tacit admissions of guilt from their enemy. Think of the campaign which has identified some of the torch bearers leading several to get fired by their employers. Where was the campaign to identify the baseball bat wielding Antifa thugs? Was it because they were masked? Some might cynically claim they don’t have jobs to be fired from. However this idea that only one side is guilty serves no purpose and risks further division.

What we have here is a failure to communicate. Both extremes are so caught up in their own views there is little scope for reasoning much less any desire to consider the alternative argument. This idea that Trump is all of a sudden responsible for unleashing this division is preposterous. Hate doesn’t surface in 6 months. It brews over longer periods of time. If anything Trump is a catalyst to it. His caustic manner is tipping an apple cart of decades of political correctness and walking on eggshells legislation that has sought in many cases to promote victimhood. The President’s actions now threaten many of these altruistic views and socialist ideals. They are upset. This isn’t to debate the rights and wrongs of policy set by previous administrations, rather seek to identify why this scourge is happening. It doesn’t justify any forms of violence but it highlights how tightly sprung things are. Just think of why a p*$$y grabbing vulgarian was able to defy all the odds in the election? Could it be that the underbelly of division has existed in America for so long? It finally reached breaking point and delivered him to the White House? The idea he has created this division is a complete falsehood. One might argue his tweets are stirring this hornet’s nest but the sad fact of the matter is that the problems have been brewing way before his inauguration. Ask yourself why hasn’t the mainstream media worked out the best way to cripple Trump is to ignore him? 18 months on since he won the GOP ticket they have not stopped hyperventilating which gives him more airtime than he deserves and ultimately makes them look foolish.

This bullying behaviour is only likely to get worse. The ever worsening cesspit of social media will only exacerbate the problem. Behind a keyboard, people feel they can afford to be 10 feet tall but seldom do they realize their actions could carry (un)intended negative reactions.

More laws are being created to clamp down on what is called ‘hate speech’ or discriminatory language. However we are witnessing more countries shut down free speech and innocent people are having their lives destroyed for expressing points of view that are completely acceptable and not even the slightest bit racist or bigoted (Australians will know the secret trial held by the AHRC of several QUT students expressing a fact). Seeking prescriptive measures to shut people up will invite exactly the sort of behaviour it seeks to prevent. One can call former EDL leader Tommy Robinson a bigot but he has two best selling books in the UK. Could it be there are more people in the UK that share his views than politicians are willing to admit because political correctness is easier for them to dodge discussing pertinent issues? Whether Tommy is right or wrong in his analysis is beside the point. He obviously represents a larger mindshare of the community. Shutting them up forces the movement underground. Do we ban his book? It doesn’t seek to address the problem which in his case is Islam. In some cases he has a point. The exposure of predominantly Bangladeshi/Pakistani rape gangs who have groomed 100s of innocent women across 18 British cities is an issue. Listening to Newcastle City Mayor Nick Forbes, one of the places impacted by this depravity, spent an entire interview dodging the question of these grooming gangs not wanting to discuss the M word. All it does is alienate more people against an optically biased system.

One can debate till the cows come home about whether the M word is the main factor but if it is not openly debated, it is not hard to see why some will grow prejudiced. It is hardly desirable. It doesn’t mean the thinking is right rather a growing number of people feel ignored. It doesn’t automatically make them racists or bigots. Some feel politicians are hiding from speaking openly of jihadi attacks on home soil, dismissing them as lone wolf attacks or the community’s fault for forcing them to commit such atrocious acts. If indeed the left leaning media is so assured of bigotry by Anglo Saxon Brits why not show the other side of the debate and broadcast hours of footage showing Muslim clerics speaking out against these attacks, everyday Muslims integrating with their non-Muslim communities and how they are actively working with authorities to weed the radicals that are demonizing their faith? No, it’s easier to point fingers at bigoted Brits who see no comfort offered by their elected leaders in what they see happening to their community. Once again bullying people for expressing what they perceive as legitimate concerns doesn’t solve the problem.

To put the shoe on the other foot, Robinson posted a video link of the start of an Oldham (a borough of Manchester) Council meeting. It showed the majority of Anglo-Saxon councillors with their heads bowed as the elected Muslim Mayor requested his imam to say prayers. Of course it easy to see why some might draw conclusions to the decline of centuries of British culture however looking deeper into the matter yielded interesting findings. Voter turnout at the last election in the 25% Muslim borough was around 30%. It was a fairly held election. Democracy. Whether local politics is too petty for some, if the residents of Oldham are so incensed by the idea of an imam saying prayers in Arabic and English after following the Serjeant at Arms carrying a mace bearing a Christian cross it is hard to have sympathy. If one is truly in fear of the cultural upheaval, why not use their democracy to change it? Expressing outrage at something that is controllable seems ridiculous.

Australia is in the midst of bullying as well. Same sex marriage (SSM) is on the table. A postal plebiscite is set to occur. Many argue that parliamentarians should vote on it and get it over with. Indeed there are far more pressing economic issues to deal with. Yet the Turnbull government lacks any moral authority and is beholden to so many internal factions to be able to pass so called marriage equality.

Still regardless of one’s views on SSM, the bullying is in full effect. Musician Nick Minchin created one of his hallmark curse-ladened parodies of a Peter Allen song called, “I still call Australia homophobic”. Sadly he is part of the problem, not the solution. One doesn’t have to be homophobic to be against SSM. Yet Minchin thinks it is ok to call these people ‘bigoted c*nts’. Such words have all the same traits of ridiculing Trump or Brexit voters in the lead up to the vote. It has the opposite impact at the polling booth.

A Tasmanian archbishop is being hauled before a tribunal for expressing his anti-SSM views on the grounds of spreading hate. Are his views old fashioned or just part of millennia of religion? A hotel was forced to cancel a lawful gathering of anti-SSM campaigners through intimidation. Is this the sort of behaviour (albeit at the fringe) that unites a nation on a subject?

Some argue it is a waste of $122mn to hold a SSM plebiscite for a government in a $750bn hole. Maybe it is but to many out there, they want a democratic vote to take place. Some feel lobby groups that ignore their concerns (however backward, ancient or stiff) on issues they hold dearly are the exact reason why a vote should be held. It doesn’t matter to them whether a Catholic country like Ireland passed gay marriage, these people don’t want to be brow beaten, attacked or pilloried for expressing an alternative view. I am quite certain that should ‘Yes’ get up in the plebiscite people will have had their say. Shouting down the views of others is wrong. Let their voices be heard and allow the marketplace for free speech settle the differences. Sadly this is not the case. Any polling done by Get Up which shows an emphatic victory should be discounted. Indeed if they are so sure of a ‘Yes’ outcome then they should be over the moon to let democracy back its findings. Secretly they think otherwise. What they view as a waste of money won’t be to others.

Some people fear (again we’re not debating the rights and wrongs of it) that should lobby group bullying win the fight for SSM by an act of parliament then what comes next? We only need to look at the Safe Schools Programme in Victoria which is nothing more than a way to enforce gender indoctrination under the guise of anti-bullying. Cross dressing/role playing, whichever bathrooms and other ‘progressive’ programs are not necessary for 6 year olds. Boys playing with Tonka trucks and Matchbox cars or girls playing with Barbie dolls is not something that requires the school system to enforce boys and girls to reverse toy box selections. When I was a baby my mother recalled I had a love for cars. Even from my pram I knew more car names than English words. I’m sure she wasn’t wheeling me around the Warringah Mall car park trying to force me to do male things. By the same token my daughters weren’t chained to the Bratz corner of Toys’R’us in order to force them to be girls. Seeing her mother apply makeup was something she wanted to do.

What this all boils down to is society’s growing intolerance for free and open debate. We do not lack the ability to talk but we’re incapable of listening. That alternative views must be mocked or banned. There are some with such inability to accept alternative views who suggest prison sentences for climate skepticism. Are the arguments for climate change so weak that alarmists believe the only way to force the end game is to legally ban freedom of opinion?

One imagines that if we put an Antifa and a KKK supporter in the same room unbeknownst to them both and asked a standard questions on a variety of topics they probably would agree on more than they would if within their representative groups. These experiments have been conducted before where complete strangers meet and by the end when identities are revealed there is an awakening. It isn’t forced but occurs naturally through cordial conversation.

I make no apology for my conservative views. One friend is an unabashed socialist. We debate intensely on a variety of issues we have polar views on. I recently wrote to him privately to thank him for broadening my understanding of his views. While I might disagree with him I certainly respect his right to debate his points, which he often does insightfully. Some points are indeed valid and on certain issues we see eye to eye. Others less so. However we listen.

Sadly sanctimony is becoming ever more firmly entrenched into our culture and it can have nothing but bad outcomes. Perhaps to end with a Jewish proverb – “slander slays three people: the spoken by, the spoken to and the spoken of”