Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The power to intimidate?

One of the big topics in Australian politics this week was a comment by Tony Abbott in a woman's magazine. The Leader of the Opposition was asked what advice he would give his daughters about sex before marriage. He answered:

I would say to my daughters, if they were to ask the question, I would say … it is the greatest gift that you can give someone, the ultimate gift of giving and don’t give it to someone lightly, that is what I would say.

I would have thought most fathers would answer along the lines of "not too lightly". But Abbott's answer unleashed a furious response from the left. Jill Singer, for instance, wrote an outraged article in which she compared Abbott to Osama bin Laden, complained that his response was "pervy," "creepy" and "icky" and raised the spectre of chastity belts.

I was reminded by all this of the way that the left sometimes tries to shut down free discussion of an issue by using its prominence in the media to mock and ridicule opponents. The intent is to intimidate anyone from taking an opposing view.

There are other ways, too, that the left seeks to prevent discussion of an issue from ever getting off the ground. Here, for instance, is Karen Brooks's preferred way of dealing with Tony Abbott's comment:

Seriously, Abbott is entitled to his views, he's entitled to raise his family as he wants and instill in them his faith ... but what he's not entitled to do is discuss "women's issues" (which in many instances are also men's issues - we live together in this society), as if they are homogenous, framed by a Catholic or Christian principle, and as if he, with his very narrow and privileged world-view and experiences, holds the answers.

She's suggesting that someone with a conservative stance on the issue is entitled to hold their views privately but not publicly; that it's more legitimate for a non-Christian than a Christian to express their views publicly; and that it's more legitimate for a worse off person than a better off person to express their views publicly.

It has to be said that these tactics have worked at times for the left. This was particularly the case in Australia in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the left dominated politically. The tactics don't work as well now; there are some prominent right-liberal voices in the mainstream media and alternative sources of opinion on the internet and talk back radio.

Still, it's interesting to witness the left try it on.

8 comments:

  1. "what he's not entitled to do is discuss "women's issues" (which in many instances are also men's issues - we live together in this society), as if they are homogenous, framed by a Catholic or Christian principle, and as if he, with his very narrow and privileged world-view and experiences, holds the answers."

    If you don't want a conservative to give you his opinion on women's issues, why did you ask him???

    Gee, Leftists have homogenous views, framed by Leftist ideological principles and privileged experiences, but they have no doubt that they "have the answers" and feel no inhibition about expressing them.

    A better title for this post:

    "Shut Up," she explained.

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  2. "She's suggesting that someone with a conservative stance on the issue is entitled to hold their views privately but not publicly; that it's more legitimate for a non-Christian than a Christian to express their views publicly; and that it's more legitimate for a worse off person than a better off person to express their views publicly."

    Strong point. To hold a position only in private isn't really much of an allowance because such points can then easily be marginalised or disqualified.

    I heard this situation discussed on Triple J which is a left "leaning" radio station and I was surprised to hear caller after caller support Abbott's position. Why? Because they wanted politicians to be able to talk about moral issues, they were concerned that a lassiez faire attitude to morality was causing high divorce rates, wild behaviour, other social problems etc. Also they were supportive of Abbott because as Anonymous referred to he was asked only about his own families situation which he answered directly.

    The argument from the left radio host were along the lines, "are things really that bad?", "If you leave people along won't they behave morally/well/fairly?". They seemed pretty weak arguments to everyone.

    Its interesting though the conversation quickly turned to the Victoria Govt's recent introduction of a "Respect" minister. Which is sort of becoming code for the "Moral" minister. Those who considered society lacking morally were generally supportive of the existence of a "respect" minister to give govt backing to moral concerns.

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  3. Andrew Bolt's response was a classic, something along the line of he'd sack her if he ran the paper.

    I'd love to be a fly on the wall at the Sun.

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  4. Jesse wrote,

    "Its interesting though the conversation quickly turned to the Victoria Govt's recent introduction of a "Respect" minister..."

    I thought this was a parody until I googled it. That's unbelievable.

    Now, I know that we conservatives have invoked Orwell on more than a few occasions (and he might have rolled a few times in his grave after some of them), but I do think a comparison is warranted here. The ministry of respect--mini'spect?

    Also, can anyone imagine a man (and I mean a man, not a sexless "male") suggesting a Minister of Respect? For crying out loud, why don't the feminists just get to the point and criminalize "meanness"?

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  5. "I thought this was a parody until I googled it. That's unbelievable."

    I know. Its a catch all too. If you spray paint graffitti you're not showing "respect" for your community. If you're too promiscuous you're not showing "respect" for yourself, etc etc. It all started of course becuase of this Indian student thing. How many students were beaten two? As far as I can tell they weren't even beaten by white people.

    Victoria is a pretty left/liberal state. I'm not sure it will catch on anywhere else (state wise). I'm sure Canada has one ...

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  6. Jill Singer is not someone anyone should take seriously on any topic.

    A strange concentration of these types occurs on the TV show 7PM Project which I occasionally flick over to watch between ads, with the likes of Jill Singer, George Negus, Catherine Deveny, and Wendy Harmer! If the ratings weren't going well to begin with, how are they meant to improve them?

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  7. Let me get this straight. Tony Abbott is "pervy" for wanting his daughters not to boff the first pimply youth to say "I love you."

    This is "pervy"?

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  8. Let me get this straight. Tony Abbott is "pervy" for wanting his daughters not to boff the first pimply youth to say "I love you."

    This is "pervy"? <- It's not pervy at all, but what it is is _shaming_ for the women who choose to sleep around. Because they then have to expend effort tearing down the nice girls or convincing them to be just like them. The problem with much of the relationship game isn't men (for the most part). It's women who make the poor choices, then won't own up to them and instead tell other women about the drama, enticing them to snag a bad boy for themselves.
    The paradigm of female sexuality, where a few women are attracted to one guy, is very relevant here.
    And there's a hell of a lot more peer pressure within female cliques as girls communicate much more than guys, and exhibit relational aggression when they don't get their way.

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