2017: A year Aussies all took a stupid pill

Piers Akerman, The Sunday Telegraph

December 31, 2017 12:00am


GOOD riddance, 2017, a year of infantile emotionalism in which good governance was surrendered to the mob, the lowest common denominator.

A year ago the nation took a big, fat stupid pill and is still in a coma.

Nothing better symbolised the surrender than the ridiculous scenes which Tony Smith, the Speaker in the federal Parliament, permitted during the finale to the faddish campaign organised by GetUp!! and the loopy left to turn their backs on logic, on biology, on rat­ional thinking, to adulterate the millennia-held definition of the word marriage.

All in the name of something called inclusiveness and so-called equality.

The braying for equal rights to encompass same-sex marriage at a time when same-sex couples already enjoyed all the benefits that were given to other de factos saw the concept of religious freedom trashed in the Australian Parliament.

Of course, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who had previously claimed that reli­gious freedoms would be ­included in any amendment to the Marriage Act, failed to ­deliver and now offers a review by a panel chaired by former federal minister Philip Ruddock, who, with Human Rights Commission president Rosalind Croucher, academic and former judge Annabelle Bennett and Jesuit priest Frank Brennan, will consider whether protections are necessary to protect those whose religious beliefs hold the traditional Western view that marriage is between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others.

Given the near-hysterical woo-woo-wooing with which millennials now greet readings of the new politically correct and gender-free Marriage Act, which has zero mention of man or woman, marriage now has all the solemnity of commitment as an episode from Seinfeld. The silliness is not just related to the capitulation to the bullies of Oxford Street, though, it extends through ­almost every policy area today graced with the obligatory ­references to inclusiveness, fairness and equality.

Lowering the bar to permit women to work on the frontline in the NSW fire department is dumb, having defence chiefs similarly invoke positive discrimination is as stupid.

Equal means equal, not having promotions based on gender quotas. Being a realist is to invite accusations of bigotry and discrimination from the self-anointed brigade of the easily — if not permanently — offended.

Universities, once oases of civil, free and wideranging discourse, succumbed easily and early before the ­cohorts of the closed-minded. The proliferation of so-called safe places where student snowflakes can retreat from challenging discussion of ideas makes a mockery of the very tenets of education.

At least the United Kingdom, where great universities have offered a haven for scholars since Oxford was established in 1096, is showing leadership and moral spine by threatening those institutions, which use no-platforming and safe spaces to shut down free speech with action from its higher education regulator.

Universities minister Jo Johnson told The Times that young people and students need to “accept the legitimacy of healthy vigorous debate in which people can disagree with one another” and warned that universities could be fined, suspended or deregistered if they do not meet a statutory duty to commit to free speech in their governance documents.

Here, our craven politicians can’t even reform 18C — and the former head of the Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs, is lauded by the leftists at the ABC and Fairfax despite her credibility being shredded after her grotesque and positively destructive treatment of innocent students at the Queensland University of Technology.

The UK minister might have had Triggs in mind when he said: “Free speech is one of the foundations on which our higher education tradition is built. It goes to the heart of our democratic values and is a principle I know universities hold dear.” But not in those institutions where Triggs held sway.

Australians were once noted for their open-minded approach to debate.

The Domain in front of the Art Gallery of NSW used to host legions of speakers each Sunday who stood on their little ladders and argued their cases for everything from vivisection to Communism and were equally heckled and chiacked.

Now, whole topics are ­declared off-limits.

Pop star politics reign, vacuous celebrity nincompoops are lauded for their inanities (look at the juvenile Lorde, recently falling thrall to the fanatical Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement and demonstrating an astounding level of ignorance in cancelling an ­appearance in Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East).

Because of the hysteria over the widely promoted assumption that global warming is a result of human activity — ­ignoring volcanoes, even the presence and profound effects of the sun’s radiation — the enviro-nazis have ensured that our industry is being exported along with our coal to nations where both will see their populations enriched while ours is being impoverished.

Thank you, GetUp!, thank you Labor, which in South Australia, Victoria and Queensland, is condemning populations to soaring energy costs — when the power is ­actually on, that is.

Disappointment is the word of the year — though the pop­ulists want to promote the word equality.

It should be noted that a century ago the Bolsheviks promoted equality as their universal goal.

Today’s students wouldn’t be aware of the Russian Revolution, but, like the French Revolution just over a century earlier, it failed in all its aspirations and led to chaos followed by mass murder and totalitarian dictatorship.

Why, when the monstrous horrors of Nazi Germany, eclipsed by the terror of Soviet Russia and the murderous Mao, are any aspects of these regimes still held in some ­regard today?'

How are so many so blind, so deaf, so ignorant of history?

The challenge is before the nation. The mediocrities who masquerade as statesmen have shown us their calibre and it is pathetic.

Self-interest has replaced the national interest.

In 2018 we must do so much better. We must stand up to the bullies who threaten to our democracy and our country.

Cultural Marxism