Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Blasphemy laws

I was struck by a comment Doug Wilson made in a preview for his new movie about how all cultures have blasphemy laws. However, Australia, unlike America, is a modern secular post-religious nation so we of cause don't do this. We even have a Wikipedia page that says so.

No, in this country, despite not having some sort of free speech law (except for politicians) we are free to express what we think. Take this blog post, I'm about to make comments about our government and the media and yet I have no fear of imprisonment based on what I say here. This makes our country great.

In Australia you are free to hold whatever view you want on any issue you want without fear. However, in Australia, it seems that the more you hold a view that may hurt someone's feelings or one that is contrary to the cool kids, means you might be ignored.

Our great democracy is supported by our wisest and noblest. It provides a platform for robust debate, where each side gets a fair hearing. Unless of cause you don't support same sex marriage.

Bill Shorten, said the following on the 22nd October:
We don’t believe and we’re not convinced of the merit of having a plebiscite after the next election which could be a very divisive debate. It is not a question of whether you want people to have a view, people have a view, people have a view already... Just imagine for a moment the campaign – there’s a ‘yes’ case and there will be a ‘no’ case. Do we really want to subject members of the LGBTI community to a ‘no’ case?... Everyone agrees it’s always a good idea to give people a say – but can you imagine the ‘no’ case? I don’t want young people in regional Australia, who might already feel pressured and stigmatised, to have to subject to a TV campaign where they’re told that their sexuality and their choices are somehow not fit to be allowed to be married.
Oh no! Think of the children. We couldn't possibly hear both sides of a complicated argument. Think of the feels... Shorten also said:
What we don’t want is a divisive debate about peoples’ sexuality. We don’t want that debate. I don’t think that is a genie we should have let out of the bottle where a whole lot of people are able to stigmatise each other.
That's right. We can't have a diverse debate on something. We can't have opposing views, that would be un-democratic. It amuses me that Bill's title is: Leader of the Opposition.

Everyone is free to hold opinions, but we just can't debate them in parliament because of the children. But protecting children isn't always on the forefront of politicians minds when the topic is different.

Troy Newman got his visa to Australia cancelled when he was in a connecting airport on the way to the land of the young and the free. His visa was cancelled because a few politicians didn't want him coming to our land of golden soil. Thinking this was a mistake, he was still able to fly into our land girt by sea.

This hateful man has said in a book that America has a blood guilt on its hands for killing unborn babies. He also wondered why we are hesitant to call women who pay doctors to kill their unborn babies killers.

Newman also is part of the Center for Medical Progress. Remember them in our media? They have been leaking hidden recordings of conversation with doctors in Planned Parenthood who talk about how they change their abortion procedure to get the organs that companies want, how they are making a profit selling baby parts and how they cover it up. Some of the videos that were going to be posted online have even been blocked by a judge, but because it is the Internet, 11 of those have been leaked anyway by someone else.

These videos have launched some bills in the US Congress, cause Ford, Coke and Starbucks to stop supporting Planned Parenthood. StemExpress, who were receiving baby parts from Planned Parenthood, have now ceased their trade and Planned Parenthood have now changed their policy so they longer receive a "reimbursement" on the baby parts they now just give away. This policy change is of cause is not an admission of guilt. If that was the case Planned Parenthood would have broken Federal Law and face jail time.

Good thing the our own Supreme Court deems Newman's entry into our country illegal because his visa got cancelled at the last minute by some politicians. We shouldn't be able hear such nasty things. It might hurt someone's feelings. In this case, our immigration laws are spot on, and we need to keep the current laws. Down with progressive law changers!

But ignore politics for a moment (phew). What about media and social media? If someone or group pays for an ad to be made, buys the time slot with their own money and meets the conduct codes, shouldn't it go ahead? Not according to Channel 7, Channel 10, 2DayFM, The Australian Radio Network and Nova. When Channel 9, Fairfax and Foxtel actually ran a certain ad they got complaints because of the feels.

Wanna see this 30 second controversial ad? Go on, its been censored - watching it is like doing something your not supposed to:

You see the problem with this ad is that it supports the current law and the current cultural standard that is as old as the New Testament. We can't have people promoting the status quo, that would be hateful. If we want true equality, the media shouldn't give the other side a fair hearing, someone might listen to them. It would be wrong to have quotas for how many women should be included into an institution purely based on their gender. Equal representation is just wrong, we want true equality...

Media Watch covered the media bias on this issue far better than I could. While the host is quick to mention at the end that he is in favor of same-sex marriage he does think both sides are not getting equal treatment.

And then there is social media, this is the place where you are clearly the most free to express yourself, assuming Facebook allows you to post certain links. Yes, the ever so tolerant and diverse company that allowed you to add a rainbow to your profile pic, or select from a gazillion different genders, censors things that do not fit into their diverse standards.

A few days ago Adam4d got his comic removed by Facebook because it was deemed hate speech. I've put this hateful comic up on right (surrounded by the FB ban). Adam has written a follow up comic about it.

Earlier this year Russell More wrote this blog article about the whole Planned Parenthood selling baby parts. That too was blocked for a period of time by Facebook.

So, just to be clear: this is not a cry of persecution. I think calling the examples I have cited as "persecution" takes away form what real persecution is. But if a pre-med student can complain about microaggression from her lecturer because he always uses male pronouns in his hypothetical examples, then I think I'm also allowed to have a cry about the narratives we are being told (or not told) in the real world.

I think Wikipedia still stands. Australia doesn't have laws against having dissenting views, but the level of political and media debate is unbecoming of a good democracy. On a social level, we don't seem to be able to have constructive debates - just read any comments section on any news site.

If the level of any argument becomes an appeal to feelings (which is a logical fallacy), then I think we have lost something in the whole area of presenting an idea. If we go down this path, whose feelings do we appeal to? Is the the loudest voice that claims victimhood? Lets not become wingers, but rather humble informed debaters.


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