A Leftist witch-hunt in Australia
Brilliant Australian comedian Barry Humphries (Dame Edna) is fairly conservative on the rare occasions when he is being serious and one of his serious comments appears below. It appeared as a letter in "The Australian" newspaper, a Murdoch creation. He is appalled at the furore generated when some private emails from a professor of poetry at the University of Sydney, Barry Spurr, were leaked to the Leftist press. I think I should add a few points here in addition to the points made by Humphries.
The opinions expressed by Spurr were basically old-fashioned these days and being an oldster myself, I share many of them. But the main thing that has the Left up in arms is the type of language Prof. Spurr uses. His vocabulary is the antithesis of political correctness, probably deliberately. For instance, when describing the undoubted increase in obesity in recent years, he refers to "fatties" instead of "people of girth" or whatever the politically correct term is these days.
And obesity figures prominently in the ways Spurr disapproves of modern life. He bewails a loss of standards these days and thinks that social customs, values and such things were better in the old days. And the fact that people were a lot slimmer back in the '40s and '50s is one of the examples he gives of slipping standards these days. But that is simply truthful. Politicians worldwide have declared a "war" on obesity, accompanied by a claim that we and our waistlines are going to the dogs these days. Spurr is right that standards have slipped.
Basically, Spurr offends against Leftist pieties without, I believe, saying much that would disturb the average Australian. But people who breach those Leftist pieties publicly earn such a torrent of Leftist abuse that people have become cautious about plain speaking. And the dominance of the Left in the media, in education and in the bureaucracy has made plain speaking simply dangerous to one's career on many occasions.
And Prof. Spurr was clearly aware of that. He confined his uninhibited language to private emails. But, with typical Leftist lack of scruple, someone (presumably someone involved in looking after the university email system) "hacked" Spurr's emails and forwarded them to a far-Left publication, which promptly reproduced them. Read them here for yourself.
And the very mention of some social groups is automatically called "racist" by Leftists, let alone claiming differences between those groups, and let alone using mocking language about such groups. So Spurr's references to Muslims as "mussies" is deep-dyed offensiveness to leftist minds.
And Spurr's failure to respect feminism was also deemed offensive, despite the fact that most men and many women would concur with that. We even had some good evidence of that in Australia a couple of years ago, when our Leftist Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, made an angry feminist speech condemning "misogyny". The speech was applauded by feminists worldwide but it sank Julia. Her popularity among men reached such catastrophic low in the public opinion polls that her own party booted her out of the Prime Ministership not long thereafter.
Spurr also despairs of the obsessive attention paid to Aborigines in Australian universities and elsewhere. You cannot go to a graduation ceremony in an Australian university these days without being addressed by some Aboriginal person about things that have little or nothing to do with the university. It is just political correctness and I deplore it too. It is simply boring and irrelevant. It does nothing for anyone as far as I can see. I am sure that the drunken Aborigines who infest many public places in Queensland, where I live, are not uplifted by it. It is just Leftist tokenism.
And it seems unlikely that even Leftists believe in their own pieties. Every now and again their real beliefs do leak out. A prime example comes from the constant arguments about voter ID in America. There is a lot of fraudulent voting in America. As that great authority on crime, Al Capone, said: "Vote early and vote often". In response American conservatives have pushed hard for people to present photo ID before they are allowed to vote. But because a lot of the fraudulent voting is in favour of Leftist candidates, Leftists have repeatedly gone to court to block the requirement for voters to present photo ID.
And what argument do Leftists constantly use to support their case? They argue that it would "disenfranchise" blacks. They claim, in other words, that blacks are too dumb to be able to acquire such ID, even though you need photo ID to do almost anything in America. And the whole Leftist program of "affirmative action" reveals a barely hidden belief that blacks are unable to make it in open competition with whites. With their constant obessing over race, it is Leftists who are the real racists and the big hypocrites. More on that here
I saw that hypocrisy repeatedly in my research career. Although nothing could be more authoritarian than Leftism (they want to MAKE people behave in a way they approve of) my survey research always revealed great reluctance for Leftists to approve of anything authoritarian or pro-authority. They could not admit their own motivations. Leftists rely heavily of the psychological defence mechanisms of denial and projection. On many issues, they just cannot let reality in at all.
And I showed long ago. that Leftists will espouse views that they actually disagree with if it suits their purpose. And in the run-up to the 2004 American presidential election, John Kerry and other Leftists even argued for the status quo and something very similar to the venerable Treaty of Westphalia of 1648 in order to criticize GWB's military excursions in the Middle East! See here and here
And their condemnation of "racism" is of a piece with their hypocrisy. As psychological research has often shown, it is completely natural for people to have a preference for people like themselves, for their own group. And they do. But say so out loud and Leftists will come down on you like a ton of bricks. As human beings, they too have such feelings but for political expedience, they deny it. There are many Barry Spurrs out there and many of them will be Leftist.
HAS Australia gone slightly mad? I read in the London press of some poor professor in Sydney who has been persecuted and suspended for sending emails to a friend in which he employs outrageous vernacular epithets for race which would be offensive if they were not so clearly jocular.
His reported response to the storm in a teacup which followed this revelation is, unsurprisingly, bewilderment. How could anyone take such deliberate touretting seriously? The answer, I fear, is that there are a lot of Australians these days who are totally bereft of a sense of humour. The new puritanism is alive, well and powerful.
Not long ago some poor guy was actually prosecuted for saying that the Aboriginal welfare services were sometimes exploited by faux Aborigines, even though we knew it was true.
Recently, I announced that when I curate next year’s Adelaide cabaret festival I will ban the F-word, and there was a howl of protest, indeed outrage, particularly from comedians. What kind of comedians were they, do you suppose? Why, comedians with no sense of humour of course! Or comedians whose stand-ups would be meaningless if deprived of one over-used word.
We really ought to be aware of this malignant brand of cultural fascism, and restore our reputation as a funny country before it’s too late.
Barry Humphries, London, UK