Thursday, January 17, 2008

COMMENT: Damnit! Janet spoils her sound analysis ...

OK, this isn’t going to be easy, so bear with me as I explain why I agree with the substance of what cultural jihadist Janet Albrechtsen has written today.

Her column in today's The Australian, written from somewhere north of the US, waxes lyrical about how left-wing multiculturalism is threatening human rights in Canada.

I never knew you had to be left wing to support cultural pluralism. I do know you should support the status quo to be conservative. Multiculturalism is the status quo in both Canada and Australia. Janet doesn’t support multiculturalism. Clearly Janet is more monocultural revolutionary than conservative.

But it’s true. Multiculturalism has in some cases been morphed into some silly notion that nothing resembling offence to minorities can be said without legal sanction. The result is the freedom of speech is thrown out the window.

Janet mentions some chap from Canada’s “Islamic Supreme Council” proceeding (now settled) against a conservative blog in Alberta’s Human Rights Commission for publishing the Danish cartoons. You’d think that after all the violent stupidity of the last cartoon protests, Western Muslims will want to steer clear of looking like cartoon characters.

The complainant is one of a number of fringe sects trying to project themselves as most legitimately representing Islamic orthodoxy and/or Muslim sentiment (as if both must necessarily be the same). The only way they feel they can achieve this is to make the rest of us look just as stupid.

Janet also mentions the case of her neo-Con jihadist colleague Mark Steyn. A hysterically conspiratorial excerpt from his book was published in some Canadian magazine that sounds like a brand of toothpaste. What Albrechtson doesn’t mention is that the applicants are merely seeking orders that the toothpa ... woops ... magazine allow them room to respond. They aren’t suing Steyn, nor are they seeking compensation of any kind. But surely they’d have been better off to allow readers to have forgotten the Steyn piece and/or submit their own stuff.

Unfortunately Janet goes overboard, attacking a 2000 Administrative Decisions Tribunal decision made pursuant to the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act. Janet surely must understand that racism hurts not just minorities. It is inherently irrational to incite hatred against people for something beyond their control – their colour, where they or their parents were born etc. Anti-racism legislation is backed up by at least 3 decades of bipartisan political consensus. In defending racism, Janet undermines the credibility of an otherwise sound argument.

Yes, free speech is a crucial element o democracy. So is the Rule of Law. You’d think a conservative would understand that.

Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf

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