White Fellas in the Black
As the West turns away from the Living God it will slide irrevocably into the darkness. We have published many pieces on the “soft” despotism that now grips Europe and the Anglo-Saxon world. Eventually and inevitably the soft despotism will become hard. There will be plenty of sign posts along the way.
By the time the proverbial “man-in-the-street” wakes up and decides that he does not particularly like living under a despot and that in rejecting Christ as his King he never meant nor intended to end up under the heel of a totalitarian regime, it will be too late. Prufrock’s “That’s not what I meant at all” will be heard on the lips of the sheep. Even as we write these words we anticipate the reaction, “Totalitarian? You’ve got to be kidding. In the West? In New Zealand? Never. Ever. It’s impossible.”
But as Santayana observed, those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.
Limited, constrained government can only be sustained where a culture believes itself to be governed ultimately by the law of God. Only then will the culture believe that government itself is itself under law and is proscribed and limited. Without fear and reverence of the Living God, government power inevitably grows like a malignant cancer.
In the West we have insisted that we can enjoy the freedom brought by the Christ without Him. We have grounded it in “human rights”. Increasingly those same rights are driving us more and more into despotism. Here is the latest signpost, this time from Australia.
Class action against columnist Andrew Bolt succeeds in Federal Court
THE assumed right of unfettered freedom of speech was trumped by laws protecting against racial vilification this morning after the Federal Court delivered its decision on the controversial “white Aborigines” case of Pat Eatock v Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt.
Justice Mordy Bromberg found Bolt and the Herald and Weekly Times contravened the Racial Discrimination Act by publishing two articles on racial identity which contained “errors in fact, distortions of the truth and inflammatory and provocative language”. Speaking outside court, Bolt said it was “a terrible day for free speech in this country”. “It is particularly a restriction on the freedom of all Australians to discusss multiculturalism and how people identify themselves,” Bolt said.
“I argued then and I argue now that we should not insist on the differences between us but focus instead on what unites us as human beings,” Bolt said. The columnist said he would read and consider the full judgment before commenting further.
Justice Bromberg said it was important to note his judgment did not forbid debate or articles on racial identity issues if done “reasonably and in good faith in the making or publishing of a fair comment”. “Nothing in the orders I make should suggest that it is unlawful for a publication to deal with racial identification, including by challenging the genuineness of the identification of a group of people,” Justice Bromberg said.
Ms Eatock and a group of eight other Aboriginals took Bolt and the Herald and Weekly Times to court claiming racial vilifiication over two articles in which he criticised fair-skinned Aborigines for what he argued was a choice they made, as people of mixed racial background, to emphasise their indigenous heritage over their white heritage. Ms Eatock welcomed the judgment, saying it was a statement against discrimination. She said the court’s decision meant racial identity could be debated, but with respect.
“It’s how you handle it, you can’t be malicious … he (Bolt) must handle it based on truth and fact,” she said outside court. Ms Eatock told the Herald Sun she was aware of her Scottish ancestry from her mother’s side but saw herself as Aboriginal.
In the articles, on April 15 and August 21, 2009, Bolt wrote that some fair-skinned Aboriginal people, whom he called “political Aborigines”, had received prominence or indigenous awards because they chose to identify with their Aboriginality. The Eatock action claimed Bolt’s articles – which appeared under the headlines “It’s so hip to be black” and “White fellas in the black” – had “offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated” them and were a breach of racial vilification laws.
In court during hearings in April, Neil Young, QC, for Bolt, had argued that freedom of speech “trumped” other rights and was a cornerstone of democracy. “Everything that’s said, even if it’s expressed colourfully, is rationally related to a thesis that’s a matter of public interest,” Mr Young had said. He argued the legal test for racial vilification was how an informed person would interpret the views expressed in Bolt’s articles.
But Ron Merkel, QC, for the complainants, said there was no attempt by Ms Eatock or other members of the group to shut down freedom of speech or debate about racial identity issues. Mr Merkel said Bolt was free to express his views on the subject but should not have chosen to attack the nine individuals he named in his columns and blog.
In the sometimes heated court exchanges, Bolt took exception to Mr Merkel’s comparison of the debate and Bolt’s views to Nazi race laws, the Holocaust and eugenics. Bolt argued those who chose to identify with only one part of their background over another were contributing to racism and came at the cost of less focus on the important issues of education, housing, health and poverty. The parties were asked by Justice Bromberg to meet and discuss what orders the court should make.
The nine Aborigines who took legal action against Mr Bolt were former ATSIC member Geoff Clark, artist Bindi Cole, academic Larissa Behrendt, author Anita Heiss, health worker Leeanne Enoch, native title expert Graham Atkinson, academic Wayne Atkinson, lawyer Mark McMillan and activist Pat Eatock. Mr Bolt and several of the plaintiffs were in court for today’s decision.