Thou shalt not hate

In the words of The Monthly, If the name Milo Yiannopoulos means nothing to you, congratulations on being a normal, well-adjusted person. Yiannopoulos is someone we all aspire to be the complete opposite of. He was until very recently, an alt-right figurehead and said all the ‘right’ things. According to The Guardian he did a fine line in Islamophobia, misogyny, transphobia or harassment. Out Magazine, (which takes pride in its LGBTI heritage) called him a ‘super villain’. Recently, The Monthly reported:
Here in Australia, Yiannopoulos has many fans on the right. Andrew Bolt called him “fabulous” in one of his multiple appearances on The Bolt Report. Bolt's Herald Sun colleague Rita Panahi thinks Yiannopoulos is “razor sharp, insightful and funny”. Former Liberal MP Ross Cameron regards him as “an ancient form of genius”. Writing in the Spectator, Daisy Cousens described him as an “intelligent, charismatic, witty, stylish, and unbearably handsome powerhouse of a man”.
However, it seems that even the alt-right has boundaries. A Youtube video recently came out (pun intended – Yiannopoulos is gay) where he seemed to endorse intimate relations between older men and boys. He lost his job as a Senior Editor on the Breitbart (extremely conservative) news website, a book deal and some speaking engagements. Let’s give credit where it is due, those who severed connections with a person who seemed to endorse paedophilia did the right thing. However, it also brings into question why hate speech against religions, gender and those who have a different sexual orientation is permitted by the same organisations – as they are all just as abhorrent as the straw that broke the camel’s back on this occasion. Let’s face it, by supporting Yiannopoulos while he promotes hate speech, the organisations also gave implied support for his positions on those other issues. Severing the connection when Yiannopoulos seemingly ‘crossed the line’ demonstrates the principal.

The Guardian reported that during a meeting of an ultra-conservative group in North Carolina, the ‘Islamification of America’ was being discussed:
The Muslim Brotherhood, a culturally conservative organization founded in 1928 that briefly took power in Egypt after the Arab Spring, is the focal point of paranoid rightwing fears about a supposed Islamic plot to infiltrate and subvert American institutions from within and impose sharia law.

“A tactic that the Brotherhood has established over the years is establishing the presence of Islamic centers or mosques, which for them means a recruitment center for jihad, and forming a permanent foundation wherever they’re allowed to exist,” Jones said, continuing to read from Stakelbeck’s book [The Terrorist Next Door].

Jones’s presentation was repeatedly interrupted by comments about killing Muslims from Frank del Valle, a staunchly anticommunist Cuban immigrant, with little or no pushback from the others in the room.

“Can we not kill them all?” Del Valle asked, about 15 minutes into the presentation, during a discussion about the differences between the Sunni and Shia sects of Islam.
But it wouldn’t happen in general society in Australia, would it? Well it does actually. Madonna King wrote an opinion piece for The Brisbane Times recently based on the reaction to Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s recent appearance on ABCTV’s QandA. You may remember that Adbel-Magied contradicted some of the more conservative panellists’ views on the Islamic religion and Sharia Law with some facts based on her understanding of the religion as a practising member of the faith. In the piece, King rightly labelled Australians as haters pointing out that while you and I certainly have the right to decide if we agree with Abdel-Magied’s opinion, she does have the right to vocalise it without people starting petitions for her to be sacked from her job presenting a show on ABCTV’s News 24 station, which is what happened on this occasion.

Let’s look at another example. Pauline Hanson was recently reported as suggesting that young women will deliberately get pregnant to receive some perceived advantage from the LNP Government’s proposed changes to family benefits. Quite probably she is partly right — generally a small minority will take any advantage that they can find and turn it to their perceived advantage. Hanson’s argument seems to be:
I’ve gone through a bloody tough life myself as a single mother and held down a part-time job. I had no assistance, no help from anyone. But we have such a welfare handout mentality.
Apart from the fact that single parent payments, family allowances and tax ‘breaks’ for families have been the practice of Australian Governments of all political persuasions for a number of decades, meaning Hanson could have received help if she met the criteria, her rhetoric seems as shallow and self-serving as her claim not to be a professional politician despite being first elected to the Ipswich City Council in 1994, followed by running for the seat of Oxley in the Federal Parliament in 1996, then failing to be elected at most elections between the end of that Parliament and the commencement of the current one.

The issue here is that considerably more young women will use the benefit as it was intended, to ensure that while babies and their parents are both going through a major change in their living and financial arrangements, there is some assistance from the rest of our society to make the financial transition slightly easier. Remember that the children who benefit from the government’s ‘largesse’ here are those who will be paying for the roads and medical services that the naysayers such as Hanson will consume in twenty to thirty years’ time when they are retired and contributing far less taxation (if any at all). All Hanson is really doing here is inflaming the anger in those who follow her particular brand of politics when they see pregnant women or young families walk past. It’s not healthy for the victims and certainly not healthy to the level of political conversation in Australia.

Of course, our ‘major’ party politicians wouldn’t stoop to using hatred to achieve political ends –would they? Don’t be silly, of course they do. As blogmaster Ad Astra recently noted in his article Abbott’s legacy of destruction, former Prime Minister Abbott’s opposition to action on climate change wasn’t a divine revelation that there was another and better way to mitigate the man-made influence on global temperature increase caused by increasing emissions of carbon dioxide, it was purely political. It is worth looking at Abbott’s head of staff’s (Peta Credlin) statement on Sky News again.
Credlin made her comments during an episode of Sky’s Sunday Agenda: “Along comes a carbon tax. It wasn’t a carbon tax, as you know. It was many other things in nomenclature terms but we made it a carbon tax. We made it a fight about the hip pocket and not about the environment. That was brutal retail politics and it took Abbott about six months to cut through and when he cut through, Gillard was gone.”
As Ad Astra wrote,
The article continued with Credlin's comments:
“It wasn’t a carbon tax, as you know.

“Okay, okay, okay. Let’s just provide some context. Australia has a complicated history in trying to do what many countries have already done – put a price on carbon emissions.

“Emissions trading scheme proposals contributed to the demise of Malcolm Turnbull as opposition leader in 2009 and Kevin Rudd as prime minister in 2010. Julia Gillard finally introduced a carbon-pricing scheme in 2011.

“It was Tony Abbott who re-framed Gillard’s scheme as a “carbon tax”, even though after the first year the price on carbon emissions was no longer fixed, and was instead set by the market.

“Abbott rode the anti-carbon tax movement all the way into The Lodge and eventually had everyone, including Labor and the media, calling it a carbon tax".
How about we call that for what it is. Abbott lied to get the Prime Ministership. He traded off the future liveability of this country for his personal ambition.

Both Hanson and Abbott (amongst a number of other politicians from all sides of politics) also support or have supported in the past the forcible incarceration of refugees on Manus Island and Nauru while claiming to uphold ‘good Christian values’ not only in their daily lives but in their public lives. While neither ‘Thou shall not hate’ nor ‘Do unto others as you wish others do to you’ are listed in the 10 Commandments, they both have some textual context in the holy book that Abbott, Hanson and others claim to follow. How is changing an environmental imperative to a political argument, denying a benefit the country can obviously afford on the basis that some may abuse it, or treating people poorly in the Australian detention camps, not demonstrating pure and utter hatred to those who don’t meet particular world views of some extremely narrow minded people?

It’s somewhat hypocritical to suggest that ‘good Christian values’ are a part of your life while overseeing hate speech, active persecution of others for daring to hold alternative beliefs or not caring for the world we live in and are leaving for our descendants. You would have to wonder how these people can live with the basic contradiction that is obvious to a large proportion of society – if you have good Christian values, you should live by them.

Someone who should have some idea of what represents ‘good Christian values’ is the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis. He has previously made statements on climate change, education, helping those who need a hand, paying your way in life and recently made a statement on refugees which has been widely reported. Even the extreme right wing Breitbart News (yes, the same august journal that accepted the resignation of Yiannopoulos) headlined their report with:
In powerful language, Pope Francis said Thursday that Jesus abhors hypocrisy and it is hypocritical to call oneself a Christian and at the same time not be welcoming to refugees, even if they belong to a different religion.
Pity those who routinely preach their ‘good Christian values’ will not put two and two together. Thou shall not hate.
What do you think?
Let us know in comments below.

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Comments (5) -

  • TalkTurkey

    3/19/2017 2:02:09 PM |

    19/03/2017 7:22:54 AM |  
    Dearest Ad astra, and Comrades All,
    First Ad, Happy Happy Birthday, love and respect to You my Sage, and fond greetings to lovely  Marion.  

    Gee this is hard.

    If you've ever had Writers Block you'll have some idea what I mean, but I fear and believe that my case is terminal.

    Time was, between 2010 and 2013, I never found writing so easy, so rewarding and such fun. Often I could not wait for dawn to check Lyn's many links, she taught us so much about social media and liaison such as we had never experienced before, by grace of this marvellous tool the Internet. So many splendid contributors everywhere, none better than those at this site, with you Ad at our head. And we had *J*U*L*I*A* in Canberra, hanging on for dear life and for us all, with the help of warriors in the Ministry and the support of two giants, Oakeshott and Windsor.
    I could write for hours about those times – if only I could write as I did then.
    But then, to my dismay, the envious and resentful Rudd successfully white-anted her, with the connivance of many in her own Party, and that was sufficient, on top of all the hatred from the Right in all its forms, to oust Labor from Government. And the many Abbort policies I thought never to see happen, with 2014 budget and boat turnbacks as glaring examples, really came to pass. And the awfulness set in.
    Now my Comrades I –
    Look Sorry, I can’t go on for now. The magpies are beginning their glorious Dawn Chorus and I don’t want to put a downer on that, not on your birthday Ad.
    So I’ll close with just a couple of bright spots in the deep gloom of Turdball’s Australia.
    One, the WA election. Hooray for them and may all the Wide Brown Land eventually end up in Labor hands. Though we have lost so much way since Abbort.
    Two, SA’s premier Jay Weatherill’s thrilling riposte to Frydenburg a few days ago. THAT’s the way to do it!
    And thirdly, the staunch and proper response by the ACTU’s new president Sally McManus to Leigh Sales’ slimy wedging attempt re breaking crook laws … Right On Comrade Sally!
    Perhaps, just perhaps, Australians are showing signs of clutching at our self-respect. Only then, I fear, might I ever recover my mojo for writing hopeful posts again. Once again to be able to yell, in good conscience, my belief in the eventual triumph of responsible humanity: VENCEREMOS!      

  • Patriciawa

    3/19/2017 5:22:40 PM |

    Love and birthday greetings, Ad Astra!    Love and  best wishes to you too 2353 with thanks for giving me this opportunity to think about love - and the left.  I don't want to make trouble with talk of hate, but perhaps one can revile rightist policies without venomous attacks on rightist pollies?

    Yes, I do believe that politically the left leans more to sharing and to love while the right leans more to greed and hate.  That may seem too extreme and it probably is in terms of politics here down-under.   There are more shades of grey and shared values between the Australian Labor Party and the Coalition of Liberals and  Nationals, but broadly speaking to me it seems that Labor is concerned more with education, equality of opportunity and helping the poor, disabled and elderly.  The Coalition on the other hand is focused more on property, business ownership, investment earnings, taxation and fear of the national debt.

    My love for Labour began when I was a little girl living in a tenement terrace where my Mum whom I had always known as a toothless and bad tempered harridan feeding her five kids on oxo cubes with bread and margarine - wartime rations of butter were sold for sixpence to neighbours.  All of that changed in 1945 when Clement Attlee became Prime Minister of a Labour Government and the National Health Plan gave her free false teeth and she became a comely cinema usherette!

    I didn't know it then but Clement Attlee had also negotiated with Winston Churchill the 1944 Education Act which gave me 'the scholarship' in 1947 to a grammar school and the opportunity for the wonderful life which opened out for me thereafter.

    I don't need it myself, but what is there not to love about the aged pension which the ALP and Unions labored for so long?  And what not to hate or find repulsive about the mean 'suggestion' by a committee of this rightist Coalition government of a cut in its rate?

  • 2353NM

    3/19/2017 9:11:56 PM |

    Thanks both TT & PatriciaWA.  What an absolute pleasure to see you both here again.

    Hang in there TT, it always seems darkest prior to the dawn.  I suspect that if the nadir of the ALP in Australia was the early 20teens, we may be currently witnessing the same in the LNP.  The only real difference is that the LNP won't go back to Abbott (they can see the blindly obvious at times it appears).  Even tonight, Fairfax is reporting "Turnbull in Trump like tirades" which demonstrates Turnbull is getting frustrated and is concerned about his political future.  

    Patricia - you are of course correct that the progressive political parties around the world do generally try to improve the lot of the general population, rather than the population inhabiting the board rooms and such.  An example quoted to me the other day is Trump changing Obama's Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare).  Trump railed on Obamacare in a similar way to Abbott on the NBN and a considerable number of people agreed with the position he created that it was unaffordable.  Now he's getting rid of it, there are 24 million Americans losing Obamacare - and suddenly concerned as they still thought they would have access to the Affordable Care Act.

    Again - what a delight to see you both here on one post.

  • Ad Astra

    3/22/2017 4:58:14 PM |

    Dear Talk Turkey
    So much is happening in my life at present with another birthday, a large family birthday party, and then the very sad news of the death of our dear friend and colleague Ken Wolff, that I missed your comment until just now.

    Thank you once more for your birthday greetings - you never forget. It was a great day with my extended family.

    I can understand your feelings of despair at the state of politics. Turnbull's chaotic party, so mean and so dishonest, are enough to make any decent person despair. They leave us speechless day after day with their incompetence, their mendaciousness, their nastiness, and their torpor. The Abbott government was very bad; in my view the Turnbull government is worse. Expectations were so high when he toppled Abbott, but every day brings more disappointment and disillusionment.

    As if we didn't have enough, along comes Trump, redolent with arrogance, nastiness, mendaciousness and sheer incompetence. And he wears the mantle of the world's most powerful man!

    It's all a never-ending nightmare, from which it is hard to awake.

    Our only recourse is to write again and again, exposing the desperate state of our polity. Eventually though the people will wake up from the nightmarish situation we face every day and throw these awful people that masquerade as politicians out of office. They will feign surprise, just a French royalty did as they headed for the guillotine.

    VENCEREMOS dear Friend

  • Ad Astra

    3/22/2017 5:19:42 PM |

    Dear Patriciawa
    Apologies for missing your comment until just now. I have been preoccupied these last few days.

    First, thank you for your kind birthday greetings. I had a marvellous birthday party with my large family.

    Your analysis of the contrasting attitude and behaviour of the LNP and Labor is accurate. It is hard to understand. George Lakoff make a strong case with his 'Nation as Family' metaphor and its extension to two parenting styles: the Strict Father model that conservatives follow, and the Nurturant Parent model that progresses follow.

    The piece The myth of political sameness written in December 2013, explains Lakoff's idea in detail:

    When you have time you may care to read it again. It makes as much sense to me today as when I wrote the piece.

    Again thanks for your birthday greetings.

Comments are closed