By Kevin Andrews - Australian Polity - Volume 2 (Number 2)
In an article published in the Summer 2010-11 issue of Australian Polity about the Greens’ agenda, I wrote that “the Greens are Marxist in their philosophy, and display the same totalitarian tendencies of all previous forms of Marxism. By totalitarian, I mean the subordination of the individual in the impulse to rid society of all elements that, in the eyes of the adherent, mar its perfection.”
The “soft” totalitarian impulse of the political left has been evident for a long time. It is reflected in their language, and the ad hominem attacks on their opponents. Hence, anyone who questions multiculturalism is a racist; a defender of the traditional definition of marriage is homophobic; a query about the leadership of a female is misogynist; a person who expresses religious beliefs is a fundamentalist; a defender of the nation-state is a nationalist; and a sceptic about man-made global warming is a denier.
This approach reached the heights of absurdity recently when a former senior public official in Victoria sought to dismiss criticism of her performance with the allegation that her critics were “fatists”!
The purpose of these attacks is twofold. First, it is designed to taint the arguments of an opponent and avoid a response to their substance. The person is simply dismissed out of hand. Secondly, and more insidiously, the language is designed to frighten others from speaking publicly. Who waeditorialnts to be described as racist, fundamentalist or a denier? While some people remained cowered by these tactics, others are increasingly naming the tactic for what it is.
Frustrated with these responses, the left is now demanding that their opponents be silenced. This was the clear message from the Greens’ call for restrictions on the media in Australia.
Learning that some reporters at the News of the World, a London paper, had been involved in hacking into the messages and calls of a series of people some years ago, the Greens immediately called for a Parliamentary Inquiry in Australia and licensing of the print media. A person would have to be registered as “fit and proper” to publish a newspaper. This would presumably extend to reporters and columnists, if only by association or employment. And once newspapers: Newsletters, magazines, journals and the internet?
No evidence has been adduced to suggest improper activities in Australia. Yet a Prime Minister, so beholden to the Greens to retain government, has given succour to these proposals.
The reason for this extraordinary assault on free speech is that some of the media have begun to expose Greens’ policies and proposals to scrutiny. As an article in this edition about a new book on the Greens’ policies indicates, the picture is not attractive.
We should name this development for what it is: a virulent, new “hard” totalitarianism, no longer content with personal attacks on opponents, but intent on silencing them.
This is the same totalitarian impulse that seeks to close down a chain of coffee shops because of the owners’ associations with Israel.
This is the same totalitarian impulse that seeks to censor what commentators say about matters of public interest on the radio.
It is the same impulse that seeks to expand the role of the state into spheres of national life that it is unqualified or inappropriate to administer.
Totalitarianism takes different forms in different ages. But its intent is always the same: to close down debate, to silence critics, and to control the way people think and act.
It is the enduring enemy of people who value human dignity and human freedom. It must be resisted again.