All animals are equal, but some want to tell us what we can say

Former ABC Chairman Maurice Newman has a great post in today’s Australian (paywall protected):

One of the remaining obstacles to the full realisation of the intelligentsia’s utopian dream is obedience. If critics can be controlled through propaganda and having the law narrowly define what speech is legal, we will arrive at their promised land more quickly.

As the concerted attacks last year on Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt illustrate, progress is being made. Indeed, so ferocious was the furore over Jones’s insensitive remarks, that a broadcaster with a lesser following would have been shut down by opponents who don’t even listen to him. The findings against Bolt were straight out of Orwell. It is a reminder that if laws are created to limit freedom of expression, they will be used…

The draft Human Rights and Anti-discrimination Bill 2012 seeks to further restrict our freedoms. While softened somewhat following strong criticisms, including from eminent retired judges, the reverse onus of proof remains, along with an expansion of victimhood.

The government says it never intended to restrict free speech, but the fact is, while it preaches liberty, it is about coercion. The bill is an ambit claim. We may ask, to whom is the government appealing? Since when has limiting our basic freedoms been advocated in an election campaign?

There is no popular groundswell. The government is responding to the collectivist instincts of those intellectuals who hold liberty in low regard. It isn’t so long ago that an academic floated the idea that we “suspend democracy” to silence climate change sceptics. Authoritarian government appeals to these people.

All the while, the public has been detached from the consequences of the government’s actions, accepting, somewhat gullibly, the well-meaning intent of minority protection without appreciating the erosion of its own rights. What it should know is that ceding freedom is never temporary. It simply leads to regular Sunday-morning assemblies, but without the debate. Far fetched? Believe that at your peril.

Click here to read the full piece

(h/t Andrew Bolt)

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