Accept the law of the land you settle in

A story on the front page of The Australian last Friday suggests the Howard Government is planning to use the current debate on violence in indigenous communities to not only further extinguish aboriginal culture, but try to go even further and push for full-blown monoculturalism – reportedly even if it is racially discriminatory.

The story was accompanied by a statement of (presumably) unintended irony by the Attorney-General (and former Indigenous Affairs Minister) Philip Ruddock:

There should be one law for all Australians. Our expectation is that when people come and settle in Australia they are under an obligation to accept the law and the principles that go with it.”

A nice concept and one that on the face of it all people would agree with. So why do the one group of people that were here all along have to have their laws and principles extinguished in favour of those of people who have only recently settled here?

Even more dubiously, the Howard Government has reportedly “widened its plan to remove legal recognition of Aboriginal customary law in criminal sentencing to include the cultural beliefs of all ethnic minorities.”
“The extension of the plan beyond Aboriginal tribal law is understood to have been triggered by concerns that a law directed only at indigenous offenders could be in breach of the Racial Discrimination Act.”
Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock last night said no one convicted of a crime in Australia should be able to plead their cultural practices and beliefs as mitigating factors in their sentencing
.

All of this sounds lovely until one gives even half a second’s thought about what it would have to mean in practice if you tried to codify it in law. It either assumes the ‘law’ reflects no culture or belief system at all, or that there is some universally agreed set of pre-existing principles that get priority over everybody else’s.

Dog whistling at its most skilful – it will be interesting to see if they push on with this or just let the dogs yap on for a while.

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76 Comments

  1. Oh and BTW Feral… Doublethink as I have already pointed out in #44 was in “1984” and was part of Newspeak… Doublethink was willful blindness to contradictions in a system of beliefs. See #44. Only those not in denial, know that what Orwell created in his book, is a reflection of what we in the real world call PCness.

    Also…
    According to the novel, doublethink is:

    “The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. … To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies—all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth. (pages 35, 176-177) ”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doublethink

  2. EP – I now have to take back what i have just said abut pc person’s comments about me on the dam thread. You have exceeded even him in grotesquely misrepresenting my views and statements.

    No wonder you don’t want people to use an terms like politically correct and doublethink in an ideologically neutral way.

  3. It appears that I have misrepresented your views, Andrew, based on this quote from John Tracey in comment 27:

    andrew put up info a while back, which I admit is my only source , stating that child abuse occurs in Aboriginal communities at a lesser rate than the mainstream.

    I made the mistake of accepting this statement at face value. I apologise for that.

  4. Sorry Geoff, I didn’t realise the question was addressed to me.

    Donna answered it as I would have, so thought no need to add my comment to hers.

  5. Sorry Deb I’ll try to be clearer in future (lack of sleep)…

    As for Donnas answers re jobs… I could recite many where “race” has no bearing at all. A clerk in an electricity utility for example I’d think has no racial requirement. So no use trying to pull on excuses for the policy.

    Unless you are saying you absolutely support a policy that discriminates on the base of race as Donna has. Which according to any left winger over the last few decades makes you a racist.

    Also that crack about being more astute… LOL… that would just make them hypocritical not astute. Astute doesn’t seem to come into it, else many people over the years wouldn’t have been branded as racists… hence my comment on contradictions.

  6. EP, I would rather be prejudiced toward PC and not offending minority groups than be prejudiced against it, by adding to the racism and bias that they already get aplenty.

    You still haven’t stated what, in your opinion, is the best way to address the inequality and injustice of white, male, hetero superiority.

    Just arguing about the history of the terminology, doesn’t help anyone. To put it in context, I doubt that a white person suffers very often from the application of PC policy, not in any way comparable to the prejudice that a member of a minority group or race suffers from each and every day of their lives.

  7. Unfortunately Deborah there is no solution. Much as we might like to hope otherwise – years and yeasr of social engineering , imposed correct language, regulatory and legislative attempts et al still produce tribalism, groupings based on similarltiy and the inherehnt predjudice that goes with it.

  8. Geoff: The first appearance of ‘doublethink’ on this thread is in your post #51. Also, #44 that you referred to as your previous usage of the word is one of Deborah’s posts.

    I think too that your statement in #42 ‘Political correctness is about censorship and lies. George Orwell pointed it out in “1984″…’ could easily be read as saying that Orwell had used the term.

    I’m happy to accept that was not your intent. Please catch up on that sleep so we can follow your arguments more readily!

  9. Right… #44 should have been #45
    Doublethink is part of Newspeak…. is part of “1984” etc, etc, etc…. I’d have thought the connection to PCness was obvious. Apparently not.

    Still no joy on the sleep front unfortunately…

  10. Geoff: #42 perhaps?

    I can see the point you are making re Doublespeak as a metaphor/analogy for PC, but it seems to me to be drawing a very long bow i.e. I think any connections are tenuous. I think you’d be hard-pressed to establish a convincing case that PC demands holding incompatable views in every instance, or even most instances. And I think attaching Orwellian connotations to PC is more than a little Orwellian in itself. If Doublespeak had been coined by, say, Camus or Koestler, rather than by Orwell, I wonder whether anybody would be attempting to draw a comparison.

    Off-topic: Good luck with the zzzzz’s. I sympathize – I know how it feels. I assume you’ve tried all the obvious things – hot milk drink, camomile tea, a chapter of Kreyzig’s Adv Engineering Maths at bedtime… When my problem persisted, I had to swallow my pride, see my GP and get medicated. I can recommend it – it sure beats feeling like a zombie day after day.

    EP: I’m not ignoring you, just procrastinating.

  11. LOL, yes there seems to be lots of procrastinating. And waffling EP.

    If a policy is based on discrimination due to race and one finds it acceptable for one race and calls it racism and unacceptable for another, then that’s contradictory.

  12. It’s called Affirmative Action or Positive Discrimination and it is accepted by most, except the racially intolerant, as the best way to address the inherent bias, prejudice and disadvantage that exists in the dominant white run institutions and systems.

    Couldn’t find a relevant Australian article but here is a thought provoking US one.

    http://www.zmag.org/zmag/articles/feb95wise.htm

  13. Deborah

    Talking about inherent bias, I was offered a job in a bank in South Africa a number of years ago. I have no banking experience. I did not apply for the position. But I met the criteria of being ‘white’.

    I was offered this job by the wife of my husband’s friend. Her reasoning was that given the anti-discrimination legislation (not affirmative action) that the new post-apartheid government were about to introduce, they wanted to fill bank positions with white folk before legislation and all unfilled positions had the potential to be filled with ‘kaffas’ (her words not mine). All current bank employees were requested to find someone, anyone, as long as they were white and reasonably employable.

  14. Hi Donna

    No, no bias there!

    I wonder as to the stats on immigration of white South Africans since the new government there. How easy has it been for those kaffir (horrible word, I agree) hating whites to emigrate to Australia? Apparently there’s quite a few in Toowoomba.

    “Death threats force Sudanese shoe man out

    27.04.2006

    by Kathleen Donaghey

    HE WAS driven from his home country by murderous militia and now Sudanese businessman John Yaak has been driven from Toowoomba.

    Mr Yaak finally closed his discount shoe store in Margaret Street after six months of death threats and abusive phone calls from faceless racist cowards.

    A sign in Mr Yaak’s blackened shop window says it all: “We are now closed as we are unable to conduct our business in peace. Thanks to our valued customers and supporters.”

    excerpt from:

    http://www.thechronicle.com.au/localnews/storydisplay.cfm?storyID=3681990&thesection=localnews&thesubsection=

    and a comment from Online Opinion writer Stephen Hagan – “If you’re white, you’re right”

    http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=4490

    “It seems perversely ironic that I have not read any media stories of racial trouble associated with recently settled white South Africans – after all they arrived in Toowoomba at the same time during the past decade, but in greater numbers than the 750 Sudanese people who have taken up residency in this ultra-conservative community.”

    Might be joining Geoff re no sleep and little comment for a month – World Cup, Go Australia! :yawn:

  15. “Affirmative action” is just another name for racism and sexism. It consists of deliberately choosing members of one race or gender over another, purely because of their sex or colour, and it’s wrong however you cut it.

    It isn’t supported by “most”, as Doborah claims, but only by a few ideologues on the Left. It has been a disaster in the US, where it is progressively being abolished. It never really took off in Australia, for which we can be thankful.

  16. Deborah

    Most of the South Africans that have come to Australia are educated people. They’re decent folk, and not ones that supported the Apartheid regime. Most likely a bit too complacent because it made them rich. But what I have to unfortunately accept about my fellow Australians is a perverse culture of racism and moral self-righteousness that has reared it’s ugly head since Pauline Hanson gained a dominant voice.

    Given that Pauline was once a Liberal before breaking ranks, and JH & Co are now ecoing ‘values’ of Hansonism, I suppose we can only blame the Liberals for this hostility towards refugees, single mothers, gays, the Indigenous etc…

    Living in Australia under this present Liberal Government brings back eery memories of living in South Africa during those Apartheid days. The South Africans use to say that the only difference between Australia and South Africa is that South Africa was stupid enough to make Apartheid law. They ended up being banned from participating in sport and global economics. I’m wondering if that’s what will end up happen to us if we continue down this far right-winged path.

  17. So typical of the far right – if you don’t like it leave!

    We don’t like it, neither do half the voting public of Australia, so don’t make out that JH and Co are supported by all of Australia EP.

    We don’t like the way it is here and we don’t wish to leave our country, we want the politics and supporters of fear, division, hatred and racism to leave the country.

  18. “We” are the Australian voting public, Donna and Deborah. The people who keep re-electing John Howard and the peopel who support equal treatment for all, regardless of race.

    It’s you, with your racist ideas of special preference, on the far-left fringe, who have rightly been rejected by the general public.

    Australia is a democratic country and the voters decide how it is to be run. If you want to live in a country where some races get special privileges, I suggest that Zimbabwe is an appropriate choice for you.

  19. You do not speak for the nation EP. You don’t even speak for the Liberal Government. The Labor Government wouldn’t be paying you by any chance to turn voters of the Liberals?

    Unless you haven’t heard, a large population of voters are swinging voters.

    THe problem the Liberal government is facing is how to get us back. When they’re attracting the likes of you, it’s going to be an uproad battle for them.

    Somehow I think they’d prefer the likes of Deborah and myself. You are doing irrovacable harm to their image.

  20. Oh EP

    You are sounding like a particular Minister at the moment after all … someone who’s catch cry is ‘all things being equal’.

    I think he wagged his social justice classes at law school. That’s why he’s now a Howard politician.

  21. I’m sure you’re a swinging viter, Donna.

    Deciding between The Greens and the Socialist Alliance is probably a tough decision you have to make at each election.

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