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It’s a peculiar thing to see Australians, who naturally have a caustic view of Americans, along with contempt and suspicion of any kind of pageantry and ceremony, embrace American cultural traditions which involve pageantry, and ceremony.

If the irony fits, wear it. None of what I’ve just said is untrue.

Remember the hate and mockery thrown at Tony Abbott when his government reinstated knights and dame honors for Australians? Only to have Malcolm Turnbull ditch it, after he lead the take down of Abbott’s reign as Prime Minister, and was himself enthroned as Prime Minister in a bloodless coup.

Should Australians completely surrender and adopt the American tradition of Halloween, (one that reflects pagan ritual more than the All Saints Day it is founded upon), why stop there?

If we’re going to go “all the way with LBJ”, let’s also adopt great freedom loving American traditions such as being able to freely wear the Christian faith on our sleeves, without the fear of being dismissed, and ridiculed, as bigoted, religious nut jobs. If we’re to follow Uncle Sam’s sometimes misguided children and accommodate Halloween, why not also accommodate the mighty North American Thanksgiving holiday – albeit with a unique Australian flavor?

It’s not too far of a stretch. Australia already has an unofficial National Day of Thanks. The day became a reality in 2003, is mainly practiced by Australian Christian community groups and happens on the last Saturday of May each year. More to the point, Norfolk Island residents already celebrate Thanksgiving, following the ‘legacy of American whaling ships that would make frequent stops to the island during the late 1800’s.’ So why not go the extra mile?

After all, it’s the cohesion brought about by a deep gratitude for family, faith, and freedom, all packed in with a sense of responsibility, respect for history and a binding community, that makes those national days work in Canada and the United States.

These are embedded attributes of a cohesive community that Australian’s have lost, and in some respects may never have had in the first place; largely due to our worship of self. Our inherited, arrogant enlightenment, hyper-individualism, the i/it in “me culture”. The me, myself & I, over against the i/thou.

Aussies who fail to understand this reality will ultimately fail in adequately adopting American traditions. They’ll find themselves stumbling in the dark in fruitless attempts to celebrate them.

Such an embrace of tradition, ignorant of that tradition’s meaning and history, is a dangerous, foolish participation in an empty ritual. It goes from one innocent flirtation to an embarrassing gullible embrace of anything and everything.

In the case of Halloween, it unnecessarily places vulnerable children, and a society wrestling with its insecure agnostism, weakened identity, and anxiety ridden lack of self-understanding, in harm’s way.

As put by Saiko Woods, a Pastor on Facebook who simplified the content of Paul’s words to the Romans:

“Yes men” and gullible women are the lifeblood of EVERY cult!” (Romans 16:17-18, ESV)

The simple, blunt truth is that Americans know how to do community far better than Australians. For all its benefits, enlightenment individualism has created a cavernous hole in Australian society. This chasm isn’t hard to see. “Me culture” has meant that families become strangers, rarely meeting more than once a year. Neighbors no longer know each other’s names, let alone neighbors knowing anything about each other. This makes seeing groups of children dress up, and troll the street asking for lollies seem clumsy, and hollow, even desperate.

It’s also not unreasonable to suggest that Australians adopting Halloween is a sign that the religion of secular humanism is found wanting.  The embrace of Halloween is a symptom of longing for the transcendent, that which exists outside of ourselves; a longing for God, faith, family and community.

Australians adopting Halloween could been seen as a longing for familial dysfunction to end; a longing for the gaping hole produced by enlightenment individualism – endemic to Australian society – to be filled. If so, the tragic irony is that God, family, faith, and responsibility, the very things which can fill this chasm, are often the very same things written off as anachronistic, too awkward, worthless, or inconvenient.

This is ultimately why adopting American traditions may fail or even become destructive. The only antidote to this is for Australians to also adopt, and accommodate, the fundamental foundations so closely associated with those who celebrate these traditions. We cannot have one without the other.

These foundations are built on faith, which both justly binds and compassionately set frees. These foundations built in freedom, under grace in Christ, ground healthy families and bring community together.

If Australians are to embrace Halloween, let this be a cautious, informed embrace, with room allowed for it to be rejected. If Australians are to follow North America, let it include Thanksgiving, and a strong sense of freedom, responsibility, community, faith and family. All of which, despite its forced dysfunctional decline over the years, is still very much part of what made and makes America great.


First published on Caldron Pool, 1st November, 2019

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Light. Shine. Bright.

#Jesusisvictor ✊🏻

Under current defamation law, social media users can be held legally responsible for third-party content on any post they make.

The guiding rule seems to be: You posted it. You incited it. Ergo, you’re responsible for it.

In other words, anything someone posts on my timeline or writes in the comments section, that is deemed offensive, defamatory or “hate speech” could end in a lawsuit.

For those who only have a private Facebook account, there is currently no mechanic to prevent this from happening. The only real preventative measure is to keep an eye on comments or keep your friends and comments list small, simple and drama free.

For those who choose to have a public Facebook page, there are two ways to solve the problem before it becomes one. First, Facebook’s mechanism for pages allows content providers to filter (block) certain words. The second way is to have dedicated moderators screen every comment.

Anti-defamation and anti-discrimination laws are great servants, as long as they remain a shield. However, these laws make for a terrible sword in the hands of an opportunist who views everyone not in agreement with them as a traitor, hater or “literal Nazi”.

Defamation laws weren’t written with social media in mind. David Rolph, professor of law at UNSW, highlighted this in his piece for Sydney Morning Herald, where he advocated reform, stating that ‘the last consideration of defamation law by the Australian Law Reform Commission was almost 40 years ago, decades before the advent of the internet.’ (SMH, 2018)

Rolph also mentioned the need to ensure a balance between upholding freedom of speech, and policing false speech; ensuring that people don’t have their reputations unfairly damaged, and can find ‘effective redress, through last resort financial compensation, or more easier remedies of retractions, corrections, and take-down orders’ for online content that is clearly false or blatantly misleading.

The Australian took to an editorial last week to call upon the government to ‘overhaul defamation laws’ after a recent supreme court ruling looks set to establish a precedent, making ‘media companies legally responsible for comments made by other people on the company’s social media pages.

In essence, companies with a public Facebook page are liable for third-party content on their pages. The editorial noted, however, that ‘moderating, blocking or hiding comments, is untenable because of the volume of material that works its way through pubic pages, and the amount of resources it would take to do so; and even though Facebook hasn’t provided a mechanic which allows for comments to be turned off, Facebook isn’t held responsible.’ (The Australian, 2019)

In a recent case related to this, conservative Facebook page, Political Posting Mumma, administrated by mum of four, Marijke Rancie, was sued and pressured into agreeing to a large financial settlement out of court, because of third party content on her Facebook page.

While some third party comments were obviously wrong, and defamatory, Marijke’s original post and comment wasn’t intended to be so. Despite this, and the fact that Facebook doesn’t have a disable comments section, Marijke was, under current defamation law, considered liable for the comments made by others on her Facebook page.

This was confirmed twice by BuzzFeed who cited the plaintiff, Adele Moleta, saying that ‘she was defamed by multiple (200) comments on the post and that Marijke is, for legal purposes, the publisher of those comments’. (BuzzFeed, 2018)

In a disproportionate response, apparently designed to intimidate Marijke, Moleta was backed up by a ‘lawyer on a no-win, no-fee basis, and two pro-bono barristers, one of whom is a QC’ to fight her case against Marijke.

Those looking to make an example of Marijke, because of her outspoken “no” against Same-sex marriage, concerns about the ‘Safe Schools’ program, and concerns about teaching LGBT ideology being given centre stage in schools, found a reason, under current defamation laws concerning third-party content, to do so.

It’s worth noting that while BuzzFeed acknowledges the alleged pain and suffering caused to Moleta by Marijke, BuzzFeed has, since December 2018, posted four articles by Sainty Lane, revisiting the cause of that alleged pain and suffering in minute detail.

Lane also published an article this week discussing the need to vet comments, referring to the same court ruling as the editorial from the Australian.

Lane confirms the problem of defamation laws and third party content, yet gives no mention of the case against Marijke. Even though, Marjike was sued under the premise that her Facebook page was a media company.

Lane also acknowledged the difficulty in policing third party comments, stating that there is ‘no official way to turn off comments’ [i] on Facebook, citing solicitor, Hannah Marhsall as saying “I feel like the legal system and the internet are on this collision path. And what’s going to happen next is really hard to figure.” (BuzzFeed, 2019)

One of the biggest challenges to any reform of defamation law is the contentious term, “hate speech”. This is broadly defined by Facebook as anything that is

 ‘a direct attack on people based on what we call protected characteristics — race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, caste, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disease or disability. We also provide some protections for immigration status. We define attack as violent or dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority, or calls for exclusion or segregation.’ (FB, 2019)

Facebook provides no explanation of the latter, and seems to be content with filing it in under the banner of “hate speech”.

Social media companies appear vague and unconcerned about users being sued for defamation because of third party comments made on their own social media posts. These companies also appear to be aloof when providing an objective rounded definition of what ‘dehumanizing speech’, ‘statements of inferiority’, ‘calls for exclusion’, or ‘segregation’ are.

If dehumanizing speech is “hate speech”, why hasn’t Facebook addressed Leftists who use pejorative terms for Christians on their platform? Why does Facebook allow comments that falsely equate Donald Trump with Hitler, or falsely equate any person who gives Trump a cautious “yes”, a Nazi, homophobe, Islamophobe or racist?

And as Republican Senator, Dan Crenshaw said to Google this week, ‘we fought the Nazis. It makes sense to conclude that by you calling a person a Nazi, you’re inciting violence against them.’

Though the term is widespread, no one really seems to know what “hate speech” actually is; it’s as vague and asinine as the phrases “woke”, and “love is love”. [ii]

From Marijke’s example, The Australian, and BuzzFeed’s Saintly Lane’s own observations, it’s easy to see how ambiguous terms like “hate speech”, and unreformed, complex defamation laws, could be used to the advantage of anyone wanting to justify forcing conservatives and Christians out of the public sphere. These could also be used to the advantage of anyone wanting to punish Christians because of perceived wrongs, or because the Spirit and Truth that Christians uphold, does not align with whatever, and whomever, the zeitgeist (spirit of the age) tell us all to worship.

Some LGBT lobby groups already police speech, seeking to punish people for using “incorrect” gender pronouns or for misgendering someone who identifies as LGBT. With the large amount of resources and financial backing for LGBT lobby groups, it would be naïve to think that surveillance of high profile Christians and conservatives on social media doesn’t happen.

Chris Tomlinson, from Brietbart, reported a case this week, where a 52 year old Swedish man, who was an administrator for Facebook group, ‘Stand up for Sweden’, was convicted of “hate” comments made by other Facebook users. The page was reported to police by an ‘online social justice activist group, called Näthatsgranskaren, which has been touted as being responsible for a rise in investigations and prosecutions for online hate speech in Sweden.’ (Breitbart, 2019)

Dialogue is the higher ground in conflict resolution. Lawsuits are a last resort. No one should be bullied, sued or intimidated for speaking truth in love, or be reprimanded and silenced for sharing their faith. Nor should they be punished for providing fair criticism, or for sharing their concerns about socio-political issues with others online.

Continue to speak boldly, and with grace, but until defamation laws have been reformed, and until Social Media companies improve their user interfaces, vet comments because if third party content can and be used against you, it will be.


References:

Rolph, D. 2018. Australia’s defamation laws are ripe for overhaul, Sydney Morning Herald, 9th Dec. 2018 Sourced, 2nd July, 2019

Sainty, L. 2018. One of the faces of the SSM “no” campaign is being sued over a Facebook post, BuzzFeed 20th December, 2018. Sourced 2nd July, 2019.

Saintly, L. 2019. How a Queer woman took on a prominent conservative activist and won $100,000, BuzzFeed, 18th June, 2019. Sourced, 2nd July, 2019.

Saintly, L. 2019. “Political Posting Mumma” has issued a rare apology over comments on one of her Facebook posts, BuzzFeed 24th January, 2019. Sourced 2nd July, 2019.

Saintly, L. 2019. The Woman behind “PPM” has Apologised after being sued over a Facebook Post, BuzzFeed, 4th June, 2019. Sourced, 2nd July, 2019.

Saintly, L. 2019. This Court ruling on Facebook comments is a huge headache for  the Media, BuzzFeed, 28th June, 2019. Sourced 2nd July 2019.

Tomlinson, C. 2019. Swedish Man Convicted of hate comments he did not make, 28th June, 2019. Sourced, 2nd July 2019.

[i] The Facebook mechanic for pages is useful, but their user interface is ultimately useless to anyone looking to moderate a page by themselves. Comments are piled into one notification, and each individual comment has to be viewed in order to see them. If you have 100 plus comments every post, it’s the equivalent of a fulltime job just to keep up. Even turning comments off, if that function was available would cause problems. This is because comments are an important part of the Facebook algorithm when it comes to bumping posts on newsfeeds.

[ii] Back in February, a 70 year old Swedish man was charged with “hate speech” for posting on Facebook that “Somalis are lazy”.

Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

Originally posted on The Caldron Pool, 3rd July, 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Eric Abetz gave one of the most important short speeches in Australian political history this week. Yet few Australians would know he even spoke a word, let alone know who Abetz is or what he stands for.

Eric Abetz was born in Germany in 1958, and came with his family to Australia in 1961.

In the 1980s, Abetz worked his way through ‘University as a part-time taxi driver, and farmhand. Once completing his law degree, he went on to practice law in Hobart’s northern suburbs’. [i]

He joined the Liberal Party in 1976 and was appointed to the Senate in February, 1994.

During the Howard era, he worked in various ministerial departments, later becoming Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. After Malcolm Turnbull’s coup against Tony Abbott in 2015, Abetz took a back seat, where he remained a consistent voice for Western Civilisation and the healthy traditions built on a Biblical Christian foundation, such as classical liberalism and freedom, and its correlative individual rights and responsibilities. [ii]

Two years ago, the L.N.P Senator for Tasmania was among the few LNP politicians brave enough to give his “no”, to the then L.N.P Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnball’s, rush to push changes to the Marriage Act into law.

Abetz presented a well reasoned explanation of the problems associated with shredding up the traditional concept a marriage, by surrendering that concept to subjectivism and the insecure and ever-changing, progressive (and increasingly Marxist) understanding of gender, history, theology, society, ethnicity and culture. He publicly lamented the changes, stating with conviction, “it’s a change I regret for the sake of our children”. [iii]

In that same speech, Abetz was right to call out the ‘Safe Schools program’ as “Orwellian”. He was right to call out corporate overreach, as big business marched with contempt for those in their employ, who refused to raise the rainbow flag, or march under it, during the Same Sex marriage survey. He was right to warn Australians that the SSM bill “wasn’t a simple amendment”, accusing the bill of going “a lot further than that which was approved by the Australian people” [iv]. Abetz was right to concede, that the “challenge of parliament is (was) to deliver on both same-sex marriage and the full protection of our freedoms.”[v]

Two years on, with high profile cases such as the firing of Israel Folau, the bullying of Margaret Court, the car bombing of the ACL headquarters, and the public head butting of ex-Prime Minister Tony Abbott, we can say that the challenge to protect freedom, is now a challenge the Australian parliament has failed to meet.

Alongside his speech on the Same-Sex Marriage bill, the Senator’s words this week are a reminder to the Australian parliament of its dismal failure to uphold its determined commitment to preserve freedom, on balance with its corrosive placating of Leftism and LGBT ideology.

Once again Senator Abetz stood up for ALL Australians, stating,

“Today, our society is in grave danger of losing this rich heritage, together with its attendant benefits. That is why I have taken this, the first opportunity the 46th Parliament has afforded me, to make a plea to defend our freedoms. To fail to do so is to squander the legacy bequeathed to us…”

Once again, the Senator was right when saying that,

“In an exercise of Orwellian proportions, these sports stars were targeted for exclusion in the name of inclusion and discriminated against in the name of tolerance. You don’t have to agree with Izzy to agree with his right to express his religious views, or his wife’s right to back him.”

The Senator then outlined why the Folau precedent a threat the freedom.

“Today it’s Izzy’s religious views and his wife’s loyal support. Yesterday it was the Professor Ridd’s scientific views. Tomorrow it might be somebody’s political view. The next might be someone’s environmental view.”
This is a fight for freedom of speech which impacts us all. The government must, and I am confident will, respond to the expressions of the quiet Australians on 18 May and ensure our freedoms, which were bought with the highest of prices, are not sacrificed and squandered on the altar of political correctness. As Sir Robert Menzies so articulately encapsulated in ‘We believe’: ‘We believe in the great human freedoms: to worship, to think, to speak.’”

Senator Abetz’s words are a welcome change to the sleight of hand drivel that often keeps the “quiet Australian” at arm’s length from Australia’s bureaucratic caste.

The Senator’s speech is also in stark contrast to Greens politician, Adam Bandt, who yesterday posted a call to “fight for the Welfare State” on Twitter:

“This LNP gov wants to destroy the welfare state & we need to stop them. We need a big movement that fights for services, not tax cuts, and that won’t cave in to the Libs when it matters. Be part of the fight for a more equal world.”

Instead of advocating for more laws, less freedom and bigger government, Bandt, like many of Australia’s public servants need to get “woke” to what is unraveling freedom and address the corrosion of it.

In the words of Augusto Zimmerman, ‘we need a restoration of freedom’s bill, not a religious discrimination act, one that restores free speech and freedom of association for all, a law against the incitement of religious violence would also do more good than one against religious discrimination’. [vi]

We need less laws and more clarity on tried and true old ones, not more. Prime Minister Scott Morrison should begin by removing or reforming, the contentious 18C amendment to anti-discrimination law. Then insist that a basic understanding of civics, theology and history (without the biased Marxist lens) be essential to a holistic high school education.

In failing in their commitment to preserve freedom, politicians are showing Australians that the well-funded and resourceful relationship between public servants and Leftism comes first.

In failing in their commitment to preserve freedom, as was promised during the Same-Sex marriage survey, Australia’s public servants are showing the rest of us, that they would rather march under a different flag and culture, to that of the Anzacs, whose sacrifice handed us a mandate to preserve the healthy traditions that they so bravely laid down their lives to protect.

It’s this point of contact with history that gives Tasmanian Senator’s speech gravitas:

“Freedom is worth defending. Freedom is worth nurturing. Freedom is worth championing. As our national anthem extols, ‘Australians all let us rejoice, For we are young and free’. Let’s keep it that way.”

Video:

https://www.facebook.com/SenatorAbetz/videos/2274673139509493/


References:

[i] Abetz, E. About Eric, Abetz.com.au Sourced 7th July, 2019.

[ii] ibid, 2019

[iii] Abetz, E. 2017. Speech to the Senate – Marriage Bill, 27th November, 2017. Sourced 7th July, 2019.

[iv] ibid, 2017

[v] ibid, 2017

[vi] Zimmerman, A. 2019. We need a restoration of freedom’s bill, not a religious discrimination act.  The Spectator Australia, 3rd July, 2019. Sourced, 7th July, 2019.

Full transcript to Speech to the Senate  in Support of Freedom of Speech.

Originally posted on The Caldron Pool, 8th July, 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Back in August 2016, in an article called, “Why Trump is not Hitler, & Why Evangelical Americans are Not German Christians”, I argued that the more pressing danger was Turkey’s, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the fanaticism surrounding him. His recent decision to use the tragic pro-Communist, eco-Fascist attacks in New Zealand, as a political whip, particularly against Australians, only furthers the point I attempted to make.

The piece was written in response to the large amount of naysayers who were predicating another Holocaust if Donald Trump was to win the 2016 United States Presidential race. Equating Trump with Hitler was all the rage.

Well. Trump won. There hasn’t been a Holocaust yet, neither are there any significant signs that suggest the predicated, diabolical conversion of Trump, into one of history’s most famous, and vile tyrants has occurred.

As I wrote then, instead of focusing in on Donald Trump and American Evangelicals, there is a spate of more relevant events to choose from.

The loudest come from Islamism and the growing militancy of the Left.

Both of which do violence to classical liberal rights, such as free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of conscience and freedom of association.

I was concerned that academics were falling over themselves to denounce Trump. Yet, were failing to acknowledge the more pertinent historical parallels which shared a closer affiliation with a Nazified Germany, and the compromised German Church of the 1930s-’40s.

One of those examples is the Left’s fierce advocacy of blank cheque abortion. Families and thousands of unborn children every day are literally torn apart in the service of an ideology. Abortion, even up until birth, is dangerously close to the Nazi doctrine of “life unworthy of life” (Lebensunwertes Leben). More so if we take into account the deliberate abortion of down-syndrome babies. Then the link between Nazi Germany and Leftism’s fanatical support for abortion becomes complete.

The next example is the targeted call to implement laws banning “hate speech”. This ban is nothing other than intellectual terrorism. It’s a front for the more sinister goal of picking and choosing to exclude people because they disagree, or show dissent towards those currently in power.

Exhibit 1: Turkey warns tourists: criticize Erdoğan and we will arrest you;  Tourists suspected of opposing President Erdogan’s regime will be arrested as soon as they set foot on Turkish soil. (The U.K Times).

Exhibit 2: in Turkey, a Turkish journalist was sentenced to prison over an investigation that reported on some dodgy activity involving the former Prime Minister. (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists)

The other parallels between now and then, are Islamism’s closeness to the doctrine of “blut und boden – blood and soil”, or ethno-nationalism, and Leftism’s selective outrage. By which I mean the kind of rage that often involves advocating one selective set of issues, and the dismissal of others, equally as important.

There is no real difference between the Nazi practice of dehumanizing the Jews, and the dehumanizing of those, who are deemed as being not worthy of having an opinion. Just as there is no real difference between the blasphemy laws of Islamists, and the increasing demands from minority groups to ban so-called “hate speech”.

The pattern is clear. Leftism and Islamism, as Erdoğan (et.al) and the naysayers against Donald Trump, have consistently shown, only allows criticism if it does violence to the people, and things, both the Leftist and Islamist hates.

The secular and sometimes Christian left, for example, are quick to write-off and then propagandize any dissent. Anyone who shows dissent is automatically treated with suspicion, and is, as a consequence dismissed as a racist, or ridiculed after being diagnosed as having a “phobia” of some kind.

As is well established, the pattern of behavior is to denounce any disagreement and then shame anyone who raises honest questions about serious social, theological or political issues.

Such as, the use of a politics of diversion and evasion, when it comes to the dangers of Islamism and the bizarre placating of it, from those whose own self-interests lie in controlling the debate over immigration, abortion, and gay marriage. This includes the ability punish, those who oppose the Leftist construct of “gender fluidity.”

I get the criticisms of Trump, but as far as historical parallels go, only the deliberately myopic, would choose to ignore the relevance of those historical events and their echo found in the many examples of intolerance and violence which stems from Leftism, and Islamism.

Erdoğan exemplifies this by deliberately invoking the emotion associated with the tragic event in New Zealand, in order gain political traction, turns that event into political whip.

As with most adherents of the LGBT religion, so it is with a large portion of Islamists, you’ll never be caring enough, tolerant enough, or loving enough[1], until you’ve been converted to their ideological view of the world. It’s written in the radical feminist textbooks, Marxist manifestos and the peer reviewed blueprints for their promised utopia, with man/woman-ruling-as-god at the helm.

One dark example is American and Radical Feminist, Mary Daly’s belief that “true tolerance can only be achieved through conversion.” (paraphrased)[2]

When compared to the examples of history, it’s not Donald Trump or conservatives who appear on the horizon, as this century’s very own gathering storm, it’s the militant expansion of Islamist ideology and the Left’s appeasement of it.

It must be said, then, that the path to the resurgence of fascism doesn’t begin with Trump, or the rhetoric of Donald Trump. Nor does it rest in the endorsement of American Evangelicals. The responsibility falls on the individual who fails to discern for themselves the distinction between fact and fiction.

In discussing the effort it took in order to awaken people to the reality of World War Two, Dwight Eisenhower wrote:

‘The handicaps were many. The greatest obstacle was psychological— complacency, it still persisted! Even the fall of France in May 1940 failed to awaken us— and by “us” I mean many professional soldiers as well as others— to a full realization of danger.’[3]

Eisenhower identifies a key complaint about, and eventually from people who were warned, but failed to hear.

Weaponizing the self-confessed pro-Communist, eco-fascist, attack in New Zealand, against non-Muslims, and all people with white melanin, does not do any justice to the victims of the attack, or the millions of non-Muslims, who’ve reached out to support them.

 


References (not otherwise linked):

[1] Sahar Ghumkhor, The Hypocrisy of New Zealand’s, ‘this is not us’ claim, Aljazeera sourced 21st March 2019

[2] Jean Bethke Elshtain, 1981. Public Man, Private Woman, Princeton University Press, p.209 (et.al) {paraphrased}

[3] Eisenhower, D.D. 1948 Crusade in Europe: A Personal Account of World War Two Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Ed. (Loc. 251-256; 260-262).

Travel advice is current as of the 21st March, 2019. For an update see Smart Traveller.gov.au

(Originally published on Caldron Pool, 22nd March, 2019)

Photo by Manu Sanchez on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Freedom of the press requires a societal framework that empowers free speech. So it’s rare to witness the Australian media unite together in order to tear down an Australian politician for speaking his mind.

However, what most in the Australian media expressed to the world in their dealings with Fraser Anning this week, is that free speech is only available to a select, and authorized few.

It would appear that Senator Fraser Anning’s biggest sin wasn’t his poorly timed press release; but the fact that he spoke out of turn about things that should not concern him. In other words, Anning is not “approved opposition”.

Had Senator Anning been a woman, or someone of minority status, the 17 year old perpetrator, who filmed himself physically assaulting an elected Australian official, would have been toast by now.

He’d have been dragged through the mud, and beaten until he, his friends, his parents and some fifth cousin, in some backwards town (someone, living somewhere, he rarely ever saw), were all forced into admitting he did the wrong thing, and was consequently made to attend mandatory cultural sensitivity “classes”.

Those well acquainted with the globalist media, and the Leftist cult of modern liberalism in general, know this is exactly how it would go down.

Instead, the crime was applauded, the perpetrator hailed a hero, and Senator Anning, was further driven towards the guillotine, by a Leftist lead mob, hell-bent on his destruction.

This same mob, who were right to condemn the premeditated, internet streamed, Eco-fascist terrorist attacks in New Zealand, now seem only too happy to give applause to premeditated, internet streamed, physical assault.

The condemnation of Anning also included ridiculous attacks on the 69 year old Queensland senator for exercising his right defend to himself.

Anning’s reaction was slammed as unbecoming of a statesman, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, saying, ‘the full force of the law should be applied[1] to the Senator – presumably because Anning hit back.

In addition, Seven news ran an online poll which showed significant support for the Senator’s arrest. It also showed a poll which suggested support for, what amounts to the police turning a blind eye to the actions of the assailant.

It doesn’t take a security expert to know that Anning would have a long list of death threats already made against him. Those are bound to make anyone giving a public appearance reason enough for concern for their own personal safety.

Prime Minister’s have a security detail for this very reason.

The largely Leftist controlled media cannot have it one way, then another.

For example, when in July 2010, ‘a 55-year-old small business owner was charged by police for throwing an egg at Julia Gillard in her first visit to WA as Prime Minister.’ (WaToday)

If a 55 year old throwing an egg at an elected politician is considered a crime, why isn’t a 17 year old smashing an egg into the head of a politician treated differently?

None of this has been taken into consideration. Suggesting that thinking rationally about why a high profile politician would defend himself is counter-productive to the group-think used to suck in the gullible.

Anning stuffed up with the timing of his press release, but demonizing him, just because he doesn’t hold to the globalist views of most in the elitist Australian media, is opportunistic.

The same can be said for not showing any level of fairness, or understanding. It feeds the self-interest of Anning’s enemies, to selectively use some of Anning’s points to further build the “white supremacist” narrative they appear to be determined to construct, not just around Anning, but everyone who doesn’t side with them.

This determination to link what happened in the New Zealand with everyone not of the Left was exemplified by the violent mistreatment of Pauline Hanson[2], when she was interviewed on Sunrise, by David Koch and Darryn Hinch. Yet, there was no outrage from the usual quarters, accusing Koch and Hinch of “mansplaining”, “toxic masculinity” or “misogyny”.

Qantas joining the press posse[3] looking to lynch Anning only goes to prove my point. Qantas management jumping on the virtue-signaling bandwagon, are doing so because they see a profit in capitalizing on a shell-shocked and angry public. Adding the Australian corporation to the list of globalist voices trying to not only to somehow link Fraser Anning to the New Zealand shooting, but label him a terrorist, gets them publicity. Cui Bono? (Who benefits?)

Don’t miss the irony. Carrying out a premeditated act of violence is a crime. Whether it be committed via egg or gun; dismissing the former, gives quiet approval to the latter. It’s hypocritical to laugh at the former. Then condemn the latter.

If the media and celebrities can get away with their attempt to destroy Fraser Anning, and get away with justifying the actual crime committed against him, don’t think they wouldn’t do the same to you.

As warned by ex-leftist, turned Conservative Philosopher, Roger Scruton,

‘Once again I was forced to acknowledge that crimes committed on the Left are not really crimes, and in any case those who excuse them or pass over them in silence always have the best motives for doing so […] From the beginning, labels were required that would stigmatize the enemies [of the Communist movement] within and justify their expulsion […] The success of those labels in marginalizing and condemning the opponent fortified the communist conviction that you could change reality by changing words […]The purpose of communist Newspeak, has been to protect ideology from the malicious attacks of real things.’[4]

For Leftism to gain total control, it requires Leftists to seek the total destruction of anything not of the Left. Any crime or injustice committed, by the Left, in the process of achieving this, is not considered to be unjust or a crime. It’s simply a means to an end, and the end justifies the means.

Anning isn’t completely innocent. He often appears reactionary, not all that unlike the late, Bruce Ruxton. Is there a place for some of Anning’s points, absolutely! Is there a place for hotheaded, reactionary politicians, no.

One of Anning’s strengths, however, is that he is no mediocre politician. He doesn’t come off as self-serving, and he has the balls to say what many think; or are concerned about, but fear speaking. He can do better and should aim to do better.

However, given the activism, diatribes and vitriolic standards set by Leftism, will the Leftist dominated society we now live in, take notice of anyone else? They haven’t so far. And they’ve successfully silenced those who have sought to dialogue with the Left on fair terms.

When you send smart delegates into a diplomatic meeting between two camps, and one camp all-but executes the other, the time for “niceness” is probably at an end. A new strategy of diplomacy and communication needs to be applied.

I don’t condone all of Anning’s words, or approve of the timing of them, but when is the right time to discuss the discomfort many Australians feel about having new cultural laws imposed upon them?

The Leftist doesn’t want coexistence, they are out to destroy, control and dominate. Not just the Right, but the traditional Left as well. It’s unjust, naive and senseless, to sit back and let that happen.

If that means not beating about the bush with the truth, and hurting a few feelings in the process, so be it.

We all would benefit from keeping in mind the words of Margaret Thatcher in her 1984 address to the United States Congress:

“Let us not forget the 1930’s […] from good intentions can come disastrous results.”

Appeasement only serves those being appeased. It rarely serves those doing the appeasing.

We would also benefit from keeping in mind the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who said,

‘the ultimate possible rebellion, is that the lie [of the serpent] portrays the truth as a lie. That is the abyss that underlies the lie—that it lives because it poses as the truth and condemns the truth as a lie [and we fall for it].’[5]

This is the dark precipice we are being guided towards by many of our leaders. It’s a precipice that few will survive, if the socio-political trends of the past two decades are allowed to continue, unchallenged and uncorrected.

In the process of pushing back against this, may we ALL be drawn back towards the words of Jesus Christ, as he lowered himself in the defense of a woman facing a Pharisaic death squad, “let he who is without sin, throw the first stone” (John 8:7, ESV).


References:

[1] Paul Karp, The Guardian, 17th March 2019

[2] Pauline Hanson’s Official Facebook page sourced 19th March 2019

[3] As reported by Radio FiveAA, and the Australian, 18th  March 2019

[4] Roger Scruton, 2015. On Marxist Newspeak in Fools, Frauds & Firebrands Bloomsbury Publishing

[5] Bonhoeffer, D 1937, Creation & Fall, Fortress Press (pp.109-116)

(Originally published on Caldron Pool, 19th March 2019)

Photo ‘Chains’, by John Salvino on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

If you’re not really into Information Technology and are not aware of what the Golden Shield project is, you’re forgiven. The majority of Chinese people either don’t care or aren’t aware of its existence either.

The Golden Shield Project is Communist China’s massive firewall. It’s designed to keep a lid on dissent and ward off foreign influence on Chairman Mao’s, carefully constructed Communist culture, which was largely forced on the Chinese people during the Marxist/Maoist Cultural Revolution[1].

Some basic history: ‘The Golden Shield project has been in development since the 1990s’[i]. According to a Tom McDonald field study published by the University College of London (UCL) in 2016, ‘The Golden Shield Project is the best-known mechanism of Chinese state control over the internet…though most Chinese people are unaware of its existence, those who are, are largely unconcerned about it.’ (ibid)[2]

Both the UCL study (p.147) and Stanford’s Torfox, state that the ‘self-censorship[3] by Chinese internet users, is essentially the byproduct of both Government censorship’ and an unspoken social media etiquette within China, which views ‘posts regarding news, politics and current affairs as inappropriate’ (p.148).

Whilst the UCL study and Stanford’s Torfox online articles don’t talk in an outright manner, about the role fear plays in self-censorship, with what has happened to China’s Uighurs (Muslim community), and the continued harassment of churches, and house churches, along with the imprisonment of Christians, it’s fair to assume that fear of the Socialist State, plays a sizeable role. Heavy Government restrictions[4] on internet use, means online dissent against the Communist Regime is rare. (As a side note to reasons for how fear plays a role in self-censorship, Communist Chinese authorities also silently encourage doxing. It’s labeled, ‘online vigilante justice’, called “Human Flesh Search Engines“.)

Of the two reports, only Torfox makes the suggestion that self-censorship is the result of compliance with totalitarian Government:

‘What makes the Great Firewall of China so effective (and controversial) is not only its complex technology but also the culture that the system engenders – a culture of self-censorship.  The Chinese government mandates that companies be responsible for their public content.  In other words, it is the job of these companies to make sure that their online portals do not contain any prohibited topics or obscenities.  Leading online news media in China, such as Xinhuanet.com, Chinadaily.com.cn, Chinanews, and Baidu.com obediently follow the government’s decree, pledging that they “will make the Internet a vital publisher of scientific theories… maintain social stability, and promote the building of a socialist harmonious society” (Torfox, Stanford).

Tom McDonald’s field study published by UCL also hints at this reasoning:

‘limiting users access to social media platforms, and certain types of content appearing within them, in order to promote  a social media aligned to both the state and family interests,  was only one aspect of state control. Another method was by populating these platforms with content – propaganda and ‘patriotism’ (p.151) […] ‘Most social media posts about politics are nationalistic. There were very few posts that directly criticized the central government, or policies and attitudes of the state’ (p.161).

There are three good reasons why you should be aware of The Golden Shield Project. First, the project is “supported” by Big Tech (Silicon Valley) Companies. Second, it’s a Communist tool used not just to suppress free speech[5], but create and police, a culture of total compliance with Government approved thought, speech and content. What makes this second point even more alarming is that the technology used for The Golden Shield Project is now being exported. Third, the Golden Shield Project is promoted as being something that upholds family values, while underneath this the Government enforces the socialist state, through total surveillance, and sleight of hand, statist propaganda[6].

Although I use the word, “supported” cautiously, it may not come as a complete surprise that the Golden Shield Project is supported by Big Tech (Silicon Valley) Companies.

According to Torfox, ‘transnational Internet corporations such as Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft are also subjected to self-censorship regulations.  Although censorship is very much against Western ideology, the size of the Chinese market is too profitable for the companies to bypass these opportunities.’ (Torfox, Stanford)

This raises the question, does participating in active censorship, and complying with China’s Golden Shield Project, make these Western, and largely Leftist companies, hypocrites? Further, does this active compliance mean that participating companies are profiteering from an oppressive regime?

Put another way, does the active compliance of Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Cisco, Microsoft, Motorola, and Nortel Networks, with China’s Golden Shield Project (which is designed to abolish, punish, and silence dissent, ‘and promote the building of a socialist harmonious society’) mean that these big tech companies, are profiteering from oppression?

Or, as Grant Clark from Bloomberg suggests, are these companies to be viewed also as victims of China’s Communist heavy restrictions?

Simple examples of this compliance include, when Winnie the Pooh, was temporarily banned in  2017.

More complex data shows Google actively blocking the use of its search engine to look up words unapproved by the Chinese Communist Government.

As highlighted by Harvard’s 2002 comprehensive list of searches blocked by Google in China, by request of the Chinese Communist Government. (Complete Chart) Top Ten:

1. Tibet
2. Taiwan
3. equality
4. dissident China
5. revolution
6. dissident
7. freedom China
8. justice China
9. counter-revolution China
10. news China/Democracy China

With this evidence, and these examples in mind, Western concerns about Big Tech companies, which are often ridiculed as fanatical, and fear mongering, are justified.

When these same companies choose to block dissent or a different opinion on their servers/social media platforms in the West, they are importing the same political lockout system that they (at least, in the case of Google, as shown above) apply to Chinese citizens, under the satisfied and watchful gaze of the unelected Chinese bureaucratic caste.  When these companies block dissent or a different opinion, they are choosing to restrict freedom of speech. They are picking a side, and imposing their favored form of ideology on those who may have no choice, but to use their technology or social media platforms.

This should be of concern to Westerners, because the technology used in the Golden Shield Project is now being exported[7].

According to the McDonald field study for UCL, ‘in China, while propaganda frequently ends up forming the basis of news, not all news comes from, or is, propaganda […] [However] 80 to 90% of China’s news is fake news’ (McDonald 2016, pp.151 & 155). Since ‘the Chinese government controls all of the national authority name servers’ (source), it has total control over social media and social media companies.

Evidence of propaganda is seen in the defense of the GSP. Advocates say that Golden Shield Project is only a tool for protecting family values.  The GSP, however, was designed to protect the Communist state, not families. Its primary purpose is to guard the state against the ‘use of the Internet by domestic or foreign groups to coordinate anti-regime activity.’ (China Golden Shield, 2001)

Stanford’s Torfox confirms this, stating that ‘the government initially envisioned the Golden Shield Project to be a comprehensive database-driven surveillance system that could access every citizen’s record as well as link national, regional, and local security together.’

Ergo, even if upholding family values is now a small part of the usefulness of the GSP, it was not part of the Golden Shield Project’s original intent.

In conclusion, it’s reasonable to have governance of the internet based on a nation’s laws and boundaries, but that governance should be small, effective, and preferably have at its core classical liberal ethos, anchored by the Judeo-Christian moral compass. It’s important to remember, that ‘human beings do not have to serve causes, causes have to serve human beings’ (Karl Barth, Against the Steam p.35).

If when talking about the GSP, our focus is on protecting family values, than the GSP is an easy sell. Protections that include internet safety for Children and adults with addictions are plain common sense. For true freedom to exist, it has to have a certain degree of parameters to ensure and uphold its existence. Otherwise, we become enslaved to the machine, and land somewhere in the Matrix.

However, if the goal of governance over the internet, such as the GSP, is the protection of an ideology, an unelected bureaucratic caste, the invasion and suppression of citizen’s rights, and that control is masked by propaganda about protecting family values, then instead of being controlled by the Matrix, we enter a land controlled by those who own the Matrix, which is as equally horrifying.


References:

[1] For a full explanation of this, see Jacques Ellul’s, 1965 publication, ‘Propaganda’.

[2] For a deeper reading of the history, see Bloomberg’s article called, Quicktake: The Great Firewall of China by Grant Clark

[3] McDonald, author of the UCL field study further claims that ‘such reactions can be understood as ways that townsfolk form a strategy for coping with inflexible  controls that they are  otherwise unable to influence’ (p.148). However, ‘the controls which receive the greatest attention outside China – the Great Firewall and deletion of social media posts – are the ones that typically concern local people the least […] Other systems of control – such as checking users’ ages and restricting access for young people – that act at a local level are immediately visible and very important to townsfolk. Some of these measures come from people’s own convictions about the appropriate use of social media, rather than just from state- imposed restrictions’ (p.150)

[4] Bloomberg: ‘Critics say China’s Great Firewall reflects its paranoia over the internet’s potential to spread opposition to one-party rule. As well as impeding freedom of speech, China’s approach constrains it economically, they say, by stifling innovation, preventing the exchange of important ideas and cutting access to services used by businesses like Google Cloud.’

[5] Greg Walton: ‘Many people in China have been arrested for Internet-related “crimes,” ranging from supplying e-mail addresses to Internet publications to circulating pro-democratic information or articles that are critical of the Chinese government, in blatant contradiction of international human rights law guaranteeing freedom of speech.’ (China Golden Shield, 2001)

[6] Greg Walton: ‘China’s Internet regulations and legislation are guided by the principle of “guarded openness” – seeking to preserve the economic benefits of openness to global information, while guarding against foreign economic domination and the use of the Internet by domestic or foreign groups to coordinate anti-regime activity.’ (China Golden Shield, 2001)

[7]  Stanford: ‘China even exports its technology to other countries such as Cuba, Zimbabwe, and Belarus.’ (The Great Firewall of China: Background. Sourced, 23rd January 2019)

[i] McDonald, T. 2016 Social Media In Rural China, ULC Press, U.K. Link to a free copy of the PDF  (p.146)

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

(Also published at The Caldron Pool, 24th January, 2019.)