A Katter amongst the pigeons

March 13th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Guest Post by :

It had to happen. Sooner or later would do something absolutely tasteless, totally without any merit of any kind, to try to win votes in the Queensland State election.

Katter is a sort of Australian Winston Peters. He has been in politics for yonks and recently formed his own party. He called it the Party, then decided a more humble The Katter Party sounded better and tried to delay the entire election while the change was made. He lost that round.

Now he has come up with this ad:

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/state-election-2012/newman-to-prioritise-fair-dinkum-normal-families-20120312-1utcj.html

For those who can’t get to the link, the ad about is the attitude of opponent, Liberal leader Campbell Newman, over gay marriage.  It repeats the same clip of Newman saying he supports gay marriage, interspersed with a pixelated pic of two apparently naked men being friendly, but not THAT friendly.

The ad asks: “Is a vote for Campbell Newman a vote for gay marriage?” The answer to that incredibly complex question will come later.

On the surface it is just a grubby tasteless ad, the sort that has become a part of modern politics. Sigh at the drop in standards and move on.

Yet this ad has caused a huge kerfuffle in Australia! You would think The Governor General had been snapped performing oral sex on the Prime Minister, while the entire Australia cricket team stood admiringly waiting their turn.

Yes, this is a strange country. The GG, Quentin Bryce, is actually a female.  Ask that question at your next trivia night.

But the reaction to this ad is probably the strangest I have seen since arriving in Australia. Everyone is talking about it. Still worse I can’t find anyone who is defending it, except Bob K himself of course. And me.

The ad, while perhaps disgusting and offensive to some, is true. Newman DOES support gay marriage. The pic of the two men is not indecent, the pixels cover their chests, FFS, and the shot stops well before the dangly bits.

Isn’t this ad just another example of free speech?

Not if you believe last night’s Q and A on the ABC.  There were five people on the panel, an Aboriginal leader, a bright young Labor Cabinet minister, an elderly weather beaten farming leader, a cocky youthful feminist writer and a Liberal MP who wants to be the party leader but dare not say so. A more diverse mob would be hard to find.

Yet they all agreed. Katter’s ad should be banned. It demonized gay people, it was homophobic and deeply objectionable. Throw it on the fire, I say!

But wait, there’s more. Australia’s third most rightwing columnist, , the same gentleman so adored by Australia’s fourth most rightwing columnist, Janet Albrechtsen, wants the ad banned as well. Or so the feminist writer said.

Bolt’s blog is here:

http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/katter_disgraces_himself/

Nowhere that I can find does he call for a ban. But he clearly didn’t like the advertisement, terms like “a vile ad, openly and shamelessly appealing to homophobia” tend to give that impression.

Unfortunately for his credibility, Bolt has been openly and shamelessly appealing to the worst of human nature for years.  This man has been openly and shamelessly in and out of court so often there’s talk of providing a revolving door marked “Andrew Bolt Entrance” on one side and “Andrew Bolt Exit” on the other.

Bolt is a “Stolen Generation” denier. Despite all the historical documentation he continues to claim that large numbers of black kids weren’t snatched from their families to be placed with white families. He once asked a professor to provide “just 10 names” of stolen kids.  When the prof produced four pages of names, Bolt still remained unconvinced.

Then he defamed a magistrate, claiming she had hugged two drug traffickers as she set them free.  The magistrate said she shook their hands to congratulate them for completing a rehab programme and a jury believed her. Bolt got it wrong because he couldn’t be bothered contacting the magistrate for her side of the story, one of the first things I learned when I became a journalist. It is called “balance” or “getting both sides”.

That little mishap cost Bolt, or his employers, $246,000 in damages.

Then in late 2010, Bolt was sued by seven people for a series of columns claiming white people in Australia sometimes pretend to be black for political or career advancement. Again he was found to have broken the law. Fortunately for his employers the seven only wanted their names cleared and sought no money .

Every time he is criticized Bolt falls back on his rights  of free speech.  But isn’t Bob Katter’s ad free speech? Apparently not.

I am of Jewish ancestry. If a Nazi in full uniform marched up and down a public spot yelling  “Sieg Heil” I wouldn’t stop and offer him some matzo ball soup.  But I would believe he had a right to make a dick  of himself, whether  beschnittener or unbeschnittener. It’s called free speech.

“I disapprove of what you say, but will defend with my life your right to say it” – Though these words are regularly attributed to Voltaire, they were first used by Evelyn Beatrice Hall, writing under the pseudonym of Stephen G Tallentyre in The Friends of Voltaire (1906).

 “Where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people also”  Henrich Heine,99 years before the Nazis came to power.

 Think about it.

For the record I do not agree with what Peter has said on Andrew Bolt.  Nowhere has Bolt said the ad should be banned (as noted) so there is no issue of consistency. I would have thought Peter would welcome the leading conservative commentator in Australia saying “But to oppose civil unions is just bloody-minded interference in the lives of others”.

There is also another side of the story on the issues cited about Bolt. For example the debate about the stolen generation wasn’t whether or not lots of Aboriginal children were not put into white families. It was about how many were taken without the consent of a parent, and where there was no abuse – which is far fewer number.

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49 Responses to “A Katter amongst the pigeons”

  1. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    First, some feminist with a bared tattoo on the panel says that for the first time ever I have written something she agrees with – that the Bob Katter ad is homophobic (which I certainly believe) and that I want it banned (which I certainly don’t). It’s such an insight into the stereotypical thinking of the lazy Left – that a conservative could not possibly have written anything else in more than a decade with which a Leftist could agree, and that if I abhor a homophobic ad I must of course also want it banned. That I’ve suddenly junked all my belief in free speech.

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/spare_me_the_praise_that_damns/

    Peter Freedman has no credibility here.

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  2. tom hunter (4,863 comments) says:

    Thank you, thank you DPF, for your support of free speech.

    Allowing Peter Freedman to write on your blog has to be one of the finest examples of it that I’ve seen. Nowhere else in Australian and New Zealand blogs and news sites have I seen such accurate criticism of Andrew Bolt and other right-wingers.

    The degree to which these sorts of criticisms has been suppressed in our wider society is beyond belief and a sad reflection on the state of our society. Allowing brave, transgressive voices like Freedman’s to be given space on your blog will surely do much to lift the standard of debate here, and in the wider world. I can only say “Bravo” and recall the words of the Bard:

    O brave new world! That has such people in’t!

    And now I think I have to go and vomit.

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  3. Redbaiter (8,932 comments) says:

    What this commie moron with his inaccurate and pointless rants adds to the debate is beyond me.

    Especially when the blog owner clearly recognises the need to editorialise and correct them.

    I do not get this at all.

    Why doesn’t Bare Foot Freedman (fancy having the nerve to talk about “good taste”) just have his own blog and write his senseless rubbish there??

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  4. tom hunter (4,863 comments) says:

    The degree to which these sorts of criticisms has have been suppressed in….

    Sigh – rant spoiled.

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  5. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    RightNow says “Peter Freedman has no credibility here.”

    Ummm … why not? He expressly states in his post that “Nowhere that I can find does [Bolt] call for a ban”, so your quotation hardly contradicts what Freedman has said. And on the substantive criticisms of Bolt’s record, he’s pretty accurate. When DPF claims that Bolt is just part of “the debate” about the so-called “Stolen Generation”, this implies there are two equally valid perspectives on the matter. However, there isn’t – on the one side there’s virtually every credible historian in Australia, on the other there is Windschuttle (with Bolt nodding along and sticking his fingers in his ears going “la-la-la-la … I can’t hear you!” every time evidence is presented to him … as with his infamous demand to see “10 names” of stolen children.)

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  6. Ed Snack (1,873 comments) says:

    Yes, a pity that Peter seems utterly unable to distinguish fact from fiction when he gets into his frantic stride.

    Just to mention about the “stolen generation” Peter, a list of 4 pages was indeed produced in response to a challenge (but not from Andrew Bolt, from Keith Windschuttle), but sadly all the names on the list turn out not to be stolen as such. Not unless of course, you want to redefine “stolen” as “removed from drunken abusive parents because of physical and sexual abuse” as some on the list were.

    The whole “stolen children” meme is a myth, ardently defended of course by those who invented it and profit enormously thereby, but a myth all the same.

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  7. Redbaiter (8,932 comments) says:

    “Homophobic” as a word is just Orwellian bullshit.

    I detest it, and I say that nobody with a truly independent mind and any degree of intelligence would use it.

    (in the manner it is intended to be used by those who dreamed it up).

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  8. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    Ed,

    You might want to try distinguishing a bit of fact from fiction yourself.

    It was Bolt who laid out the “10 names” challenge, live on the radio in June 2006. And as for “sadly all the names on the list turn out not to be stolen as such” because they were “abused”, Robert Manne debunks that comprehensively:

    “[Bolt] claimed that in these cases neglect had been proven at court. In fact, as I had already made clear to him, having Aboriginal blood was itself sufficient proof of neglect under Queensland’s 1865 Industrial Schools and Reformatory Act. Bolt also claimed that the children in the “half-caste” homes in interwar Darwin and Alice Springs were sent there because of neglect. As the documentary collection shows beyond ambiguity, they were not. The policy set out in 1934 was explicit: “It is the policy of the Administration to collect all half-castes from the native camps at an early age and transfer them to the Government Institutions at Darwin and Alice Springs.””

    http://www.themonthly.com.au/blog-name-ten-journalism-andrew-bolt-robert-manne-4088

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  9. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    Oh … and as for “The whole “stolen children” meme is a myth, ardently defended of course by those who invented it and profit enormously thereby, but a myth all the same”, I’ll fix that for you.

    The whole “stolen children is a myth” meme is a myth, ardently defended of course by those media columnists who use it to stir controversy, thus making them more attractive to their employers by gaining eyeballs for advertisers, but a myth all the same. Because what is sauce for the goose, etc, etc.

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  10. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    Perhaps the promoters of the mythical stolen generation might wonder why it is that in 2012, for every white child removed from delinquent parents for its safety, there are seven aboriginal children removed for the same reason.

    Bolt is absolutely spot on.

    The ‘stolen generation’ is Australia’s version of ‘treaty principles.’

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  11. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    Y 2000, swine flu, stolen generation, man made global warming……

    theyre all myths

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  12. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    Sure, sure Adolf … keep the fingers in your ears and you’ll never have to learn anything.

    “Bolt also claimed that the children in the “half-caste” homes in interwar Darwin and Alice Springs were sent there because of neglect. As the documentary collection shows beyond ambiguity, they were not. The policy set out in 1934 was explicit: “It is the policy of the Administration to collect all half-castes from the native camps at an early age and transfer them to the Government Institutions at Darwin and Alice Springs.””

    Get that? ALL half-castes are to be put into Government homes. ALL. Not just “those proven to be abused”. ALL.

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  13. nasska (11,530 comments) says:

    Although Mr Freedman’s contributions serve no other purpose they remind us of our host’s commitment to free speech.

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  14. straya (80 comments) says:

    Another Freedman post, more facts wrong. Pray tell DPF, precisely what value do these misleading, left leaning posts add to your blog?

    [DPF: Well amusing comment threads for one]

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  15. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    nasska,

    Which is a good thing, right? So there should be more such posts, right?

    straya,

    What “facts” are wrong here?

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  16. nasska (11,530 comments) says:

    AG

    ….”Which is a good thing, right? So there should be more such posts, right?”…..

    Definitely. At least once every two or three years to remind us of how fortunate we are.

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  17. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    That would be less, not more. Oh why do you hate free speech so much? Why? :-)

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  18. straya (80 comments) says:

    AG

    “Andrew Bolt, the same gentleman so adored by Australia’s fourth most rightwing columnist, Janet Albrechtsen, wants the ad banned as well”.

    Read the link to Andrew’s blog. You will not find a word about banning the ad in there. No one with any understanding of Andrew Bolt’s recent court case would think that Andrew Bolt would advocate banning a statement he doesn’t agree with.

    Now this has been pointed out by DPF above, but the point is Mr Freedman has form. His post on the Qld election had at least half a dozen errors. If I had time, I would have fisked them in detail. Alas, I have a job, and better things to do.

    Suffice to say, Mr Freedman’s posts offer comedic value and nothing more. Kind of like a Standard correspondent in Australia.

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  19. Ed Snack (1,873 comments) says:

    Pity AG, that you can’t actually trust Manne’s statements. For example in a test case, the federal court found (upheld on appeal) that the statement you quote “did not lead to children being taken just for racist reasons”. It should be noted that part aboriginal children were considered to be more at risk in traditional communities as they were usually not accepted as part of the tribe and were often ostracized, and were particularly at risk of physical and sexual abuse. In fact it was in NT at least, forbidden (until the late 1930’s anyway) to take full blooded aboriginal children from their parents under any circumstances.

    However I will admit that I was incorrect, it was indeed a Bolt challenge to Manne for the “10 names”. Manne has tried to provide 10 names, but hasn’t yet been able to provide 10 that actually qualify as stolen.

    At one point Manne sent Bolt some 250 names. Manne’s names were of children rescued by Dr Walter Roth between 1900 and 1905 and found by a court, even by Manne’s own admssion, to have been neglected. Bolt says that he was able to track down the details of just three (and Manne has provided a partial history of just one more), They included a fatherless 12-year-old girl with syphilis, a 13-year-old who was seven months pregnant and working for no wages on a station, and a boy who was kept chained up in a back yard by white employers when he was bad. These were in no way children stolen, as Manne claimed, just because they were Aboriginal, they actually needed help.

    Manne later sent Bolt a “top 12″ list of stolen children. This top-12 list of truly stolen children include a two-year-old boy abandoned at a home by his mother, three fatherless girls (the youngest just eight) ostracised by full bloods and reportedly “running wild with the whites”, an eight-old-year already promised in marriage, a girl removed by welfare officers and sent to be raised by her father’s relatives (the father was later jailed) and so on. In the debate Manne conceded that two more of his names were girls removed because of “family circumstances”, which he vaguely suggested had something to do with their father drinking heavily.

    That there were possibly some “stolen” isn’t actually disputed, but finding even a few seems quite challenging. Listing many children taken into care without regard for their circumstances isn’t providing any proof. So, myth it remains.

    I recommend that you swallow your distaste and actually read Windschuttle’s “The Fabrication of Aboriginal History”, particularly perhaps Volume Three, “The Stolen Generations 1881-2008″. Then, examine the actual data and research. When I find a contentious subject I now prefer to investigate both sides and find out who at least appears to be actually most correctly representing what data there is. When a debate gets politicized frequently matters of fact get ignored in the quest for moral ascendancy and funding.

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  20. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    Sigh. Try reading what was actually written. Mr Freedman said that someone else said Bolt wanted the ad banned, then noted that having read the blog in question he couldn’t find such a call. The relevant section is below, with highlights to help you understand.

    “But wait, there’s more. Australia’s third most rightwing columnist, Andrew Bolt, the same gentleman so adored by Australia’s fourth most rightwing columnist, Janet Albrechtsen, wants the ad banned as well. OR SO THE FEMINIST WRITER SAID.

    Bolt’s blog is here:

    NOWHERE THAT I CAN FIND DOES HE CALL FOR A BAN.”

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  21. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    AG I am not going to post links to bunkings and debunkings as I havent followed the debate and it would waste Googles precious time. But isnt the “Stolen Generations” own silence is fairly damning. Where are these people? Surely they would be writing Op-Ed pieces, appearing in media, and running for political positions?

    If a GENERATION was stolen, there should be no question as to their identity. Compare that to the holocaust, from which PF steals some emotional weight by using the term “denier”. No questions about who was killed. We can name thousands. Tens of thousands. Probably millions. Yet of this Stolen Generation, this great wrong that requires righting, how many?

    There may have been a law as you described, I dont know.

    The Stolen Generations meme just seems like it is fuelled by academic white guilt. The paralysis it has caused, has undoubtedly been worse for Aboriginal children than any policy that may have been in force.

    Then in late 2010, Bolt was sued by seven people for a series of columns claiming white people in Australia sometimes pretend to be black for political or career advancement.

    And why shouldnt he be able to question the membership of a group that gets special treatment? As a society we have given individual groups special rights. Special rights to be offended. Special rights to claim wrongs. Whether they come about as an attempt to a redress historical wrong, or come from the capture of political forces, these groups have these special rights.

    It is only right that people be able to question the criteria for being in these special groups.

    Again he was found to have broken the law.

    It is a horrible law, but it proves my point above. It is a law that can be enforced only by certain groups. It bestows upon them the Right to redress for being offended. Surely it is fair to question who gets that right?

    Again he was found to have broken the law.

    Kind of like someone who doesnt bother get a valid drivers license, register and insure their car, or drive when potentially over the limit?

    Every time he is criticized Bolt falls back on his rights of free speech.

    Funny that. Not a flimsy defence.

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  22. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    “When a debate gets politicized frequently matters of fact get ignored in the quest for moral ascendancy and funding.”

    Oh, absolutely. As Windschuttle himself aptly demonstrates: http://www.crikey.com.au/2009/01/06/how-windschuttle-swallowed-a-hoax-to-publish-a-fake-story-in-quadrant/

    But aside from cheap point-scoring, let’s just take the claim (also propounded in Windschuttle’s book) that “For example in a test case, the federal court found (upheld on appeal) that the statement you quote “did not lead to children being taken just for racist reasons”.” Here’s what one reviewer says about that claim:

    “For one thing Windschuttle would have let us in on a number of inconvenient passages in Justice O’Loughlin’s remarks. The judge emphasised that the case was about two people and two only, and about events in the Northern Territory and nowhere else, between 1947 and 1963 or thereabouts, not before or since. He made, and could make, no finding about the wisdom or fairness of legislation or policies of that time and place, nor comment on the consequences of those laws and policies, or on mere practices. In fact, he said, he could consider only motives, and motives only as evidenced in writing or by witnesses; but many who might have been witnesses were now dead and many documents had disappeared, so he was not in a position to make a finding that any of the Phillip Creek families had or had not given their informed consent for the removal of the children. Justice O’Loughlin strongly implied that Cubillo’s lawyers had picked the wrong target. Even if the Commonwealth was, for strictly legal reasons, in the clear, others might not be. The judge found that there was a prima facie case for “the existence of a cause of action” against three of the individual participants (including two officers of the Northern Territory administration), and against the Aborigines Inland Mission “for false imprisonment based on her [Lorna’s] removal from Phillip Creek.” The judge quoted with approval a justice of the High Court speaking of “the awful truth” of child removal. “Neither the evidence in this trial, nor the reasons for judgement [the judge said] deny the existence of ‘the Stolen Generation.’ Numerous writings tell tragically of a distressing past.””
    http://inside.org.au/windschuttle-again/

    Look – I’m not saying anyone has a monopoly on “the truth” with regards what happened in the past – otherwise history would never change. It’s just pointing at those who claim there was a “stolen generation” and saying they are just motivated by political desires is a bit funny when Windschuttle is so clearly determined to resurrect the good name of Australia in the face of what he sees as a calmuny that cannot be true (because Australia is just SO GREAT!)

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  23. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    @Kimble,

    “But isnt the “Stolen Generations” own silence is fairly damning. Where are these people? Surely they would be writing Op-Ed pieces, appearing in media, and running for political positions?”

    Here you go: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/02/12/2817650.htm?site=indigenous&topic=latest

    You also might like to consider what sort of basis for public commentary (much less running for political office) a person might have after being taken from your family as a child, raised in an institution, told you ought to be white and then sent into the world to do domestic/manual labour. As opposed to the jewish victims of the holocaust, many of whom were highly successful professionals before their experiences.

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  24. tom hunter (4,863 comments) says:

    This piece really is a perfect addendum to Freedman’s (an ironic name in this context) contributions to the threads about freedom of speech and the ones on the union thug tactics. Which is to say that Freedman truly does not understand the degree to which his left-wing ideology and politics have been the very things contributing to quashing free speech in recent times.

    Let’s start with the obvious – in this case the Godwinningly obvious:

    I am of Jewish ancestry. If a Nazi in full uniform …

    Oy Vey. Always with the Nazis. Of course most of us hate them – especially Illinois Nazis. Could not something a little more subtle and topical have been introduced to make the point?

    But the real point that was skipped over was this one:

    Then in late 2010, Bolt was sued by seven people for a series of columns claiming white people in Australia sometimes pretend to be black for political or career advancement. Again he was found to have broken the law. Fortunately for his employers the seven only wanted their names cleared and sought no money .

    Broken the law? My god, that’s terrible. Left-wingers would never abuse or break a law, even if they thought it was an ass.

    But what law did Bolt break? As it turns out it was not a criminal trial – which you might have thought from the phrase broken the law – it was SECT 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 that made it unlawful for a person to do an act if:

    the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people;

    That sort of bullshit strikes at the very heart of freedom of speech, given the ease with which one can claim offence and insult. Supposedly SECT 18D “balances” 18C by allowing for such hurts to be allowed if the speech in question was done “reasonably and in good faith”, as part of a “genuine academic, artistic or scientific purpose”. SECT 18D even allows such dreadful hurts to be inflicted if the comment was “a fair comment on any event or matter of public interest if the comment is an expression of a genuine belief held by the person making the comment.”

    All of this is bad enough – but it gets worse. Here’s what Larissa Behrendt:, the woman “attacked” by Bolt, had to say:

    “She denies Mr Bolt’s suggestion that she chose to be Aboriginal and says that she never had a choice, she has always been Aboriginal and has ‘identified as Aboriginal since before I can remember’.”

    Okay. How Aboriginal were the people Bolt attacked? What’s the basis for this self-identification? It turns out that Behrendt’s father identified as Aboriginal and her mother was European. Behrendt’s grandfather was white and German. It was her grandmother who was of mixed race. Behrendt later commented on this herself:

    It was, ironically, [her white mother] Raema who instilled a sense of Aboriginal identity in Larissa and her brother.

    ”When Jason got picked on because of his colour, Dad had said … ‘My son is as white as you are.’ It was Mum who allowed us never to feel embarrassed about our Aboriginality. She has a great heart and social conscience. But it came at a cost to her, because she couldn’t feel part of it herself. So she dropped us off at rallies and stayed outside.”

    The droplets of blood grow smaller as the self-identification grows stronger.

    Now if you’re part of the whole leftist, Post-Modernist thinking that treats gender, race, ethnicity and everything else as merely societal constructs, all of this makes perfect sense. But if you don’t buy into this sort of bullshit then describing such people as “pretending” to be Aboriginal is a suitable description for nonsense that Swift would have loved.

    Still, if one wants to “self-identify”, I don’t have a problem with it – until we get to this:

    She’s won many positions and honours as an Aborigine, including the David Unaipon Award for Indigenous Writers, and is often interviewed demanding special rights for ‘my people’. But which people are ‘yours’, exactly, mein liebchen?

    So this woman (and others) were able to take material advantage of such a claim and then went further when Bolt called them out, in that they were able to use there Aboriginal self-identification as the fulcrum upon which they could silence people who thought the self-identification a nonsense.

    Cute is it not?

    If one wanted to explore freedom of speech and the threats to it in the West I would have thought this a story ripe for fuller explanation, especially in the Australian context, where I would think this case was exhibit number 1 in the argument for an incoming Liberal government to scrap SEC 18C and D. Not to mention a bit of introspection about how one’s own beliefs could have led to such laws in the first place.

    Instead we got the hypothetical Nazi walking down the street, with Freedman sticking out his chest and quietly murmuring Voltaire and Hiene from the curbside. Think about it is merely an ironic tombstone.

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  25. tom hunter (4,863 comments) says:

    … were able to use there their Aboriginal self-identification …

    I guess I need three minutes for the open edit function!

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  26. Peter Freedman (127 comments) says:

    I write opinion pieces. Opinions can never be wrong. If I say “I think the world is flat” that statement is not wrong, so long as I genuinely do think the world is flat.

    Facts are a different story. You can have your own opinions, but facts are sacred.

    If anyone can prove any of the facts in my writings are incorrect, I will correct them. So far no-one has.

    An opinion piece doesn’t have to be fair or balanced, but there are times when I try to be both. When someone said Bolt had supported banning the ad, I immediately checked. He hadn’t said that at all.

    I don’t like most of Bolt’s work, but not because he holds different opinions from mine. I don’t like him because he is lazy, doesn’t check his facts and as a result, makes serious mistakes. Mistakes that cost his employer huge money. Defaming a magistrate is a little worse than driving offences, I would have thought. A $700 fine against $246,000 for a start.

    David, I certainly welcome Bolt’s stand on gay marriage. I’m sure there are others of Bolt’s opinions I also support.

    Finding children of the Stolen Generation has been difficult because no record were kept. Many of the children are now dead. Others were taken when so young they have no memory of their origins. We will never now how many were affected. But those who have survived tell pitiful stories.

    Anyone who is genuinely interested in the truth of the SG should read a 1997 report “Bringing Them Home.”

    Starts here:

    http://www.hreoc.gov.au/social_justice/bth_report/index.html

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  27. Peter Freedman (127 comments) says:

    I support people who break unjust laws. If Bolt with good reason thinks a law is unjust, he has a right, even a duty, to illustrate this by breaking such law.

    But, having done so he must then accept the consequences of his action without demur. Bolt hasn’t learned that second bit and never will.

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  28. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    Peter, you wrote:
    “Every time he is criticized Bolt falls back on his rights of free speech. But isn’t Bob Katter’s ad free speech?Apparently not.

    Is it your own opinion that Katter’s ad is not free speech or are you assigning that opinion to someone else?

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  29. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    @tom hunter,

    Sure … Bolt’s a martyr to PC-gone-mad and whatever. But you might like to note Steven Price’s comment on the court judgment (http://www.nzlawyermagazine.co.nz/Archives/Issue173/173F2/tabid/3826/Default.aspx), especially this bit:

    “Here, Bolt is done in by his own botched reporting. He said of one man, “his right to call himself Aboriginal rests on little more than the fact that his Indian great-grandfather married a part-Aboriginal woman”. In fact, his parents were both Aboriginal, and all four of his grandparents and all of his great-grandparents, except the Indian one.
    He accused a woman of winning “plum jobs reserved for Aborigines”. In fact, only one was reserved for Aborigines, and that was unpaid.
    Bolt emphasised that the people he mentioned had non-Aboriginal cultural upbringings, saying they’d “chosen” to identify themselves as Aboriginal. In fact, however, all nine complainants had culturally Aboriginal upbringings, and the judge found as a fact that they didn’t in any real sense “choose” to be Aborigine.
    There’s much more. The judge found that Bolt was “intent on arguing a case” and distorted and omitted material that was inconvenient, so that the columns could not be said to be fair comment.”

    So the court ruling rather confirms Mr Freedman’s claim that “Unfortunately for his credibility, Bolt has been openly and shamelessly appealing to the worst of human nature for years.”

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  30. tom hunter (4,863 comments) says:

    And while I’m on the subject of Freedman “opinions” here’s one of the classic left-wing memes that’s been pushed since the rise of the New Media on the internet. From the It’s a Free/Unfree Thing:

    I have frequently asked my Aussie rightwing friends to name one leftwing Australian columnist. They can’t.

    Really. How amazing. The first thing to ask is what the definition of “left-wing” is in this context: communism, libertarian socialism?

    But picking up the idea that opinions can never be wrong let’s have a look at this description, by Age reporter Matthew Ricketson of a forum of worthies discussing media bias

    Gather together four luminaries of the media to discuss whether the media is biased and what do you get?

    You get the perfect illustration of an utter lack of self-awareness:

    Mary Kostakidis, the former presenter of the World News on SBS, chaired the event, which heard from:

    Peter Mares, the presenter of The National Interest on ABC Radio National and author of the well received book about the asylum seeker issue, ‘Borderline';

    Michael Gawenda, former editor-in-chief of The Age and now heading the Centre for the Advanced Study of Journalism at Melbourne University, which is due to open its doors next year;

    Robert Manne, professor of politics at La Trobe University and chair of the editorial board of The Monthly magazine;

    David Marr, senior writer at The Sydney Morning Herald, co-author of another well received book about asylum seekers and the 2001 federal election, ‘Dark Victory’, and a former presenter of ABC television’s Media Watch program.

    Borderline: Dark Victory. Scary. Very profound and perfect for editorial headlines. Not to mention Mediawatch Truly, they sound like they’re all raving neutralists or maybe even right-wingers and we should carefully listen to their concerns about media bias. Perhaps the key escape clause in this argument the word “columnist”?

    I have to stop laughing now before I vomit again.

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  31. tom hunter (4,863 comments) says:

    AG

    Given that you’re perfectly at ease with the concept that these people – had culturally Aboriginal upbringings, and the judge found as a fact that they didn’t in any real sense “choose” to be Aborigine – there seems no point in debating the consequences of laws that go after people who think that that’s utter tripe.

    I might as well try arguing with someone about the 9/11 attacks without first accepting their contention that the Bilderberg Group exerts great control over our world. Different paradigms and all that. I think Orwell once wrote about people like you.

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  32. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    I used to live in the NT. One of the guides at the Telegraph Station in Alice Springs (which had been a mission at one stage) was a retired indigenous Australian man who had been part of what some people call the “stolen generation”. He maintained that this was insulting to him. He’d been rescued by the authorities when he was a baby. His mother was 13, he never knew his father, and he was neglected and close to starvation. He was brought up at the mission which he said was a great place run by good people. Rather than starvation, he’d been educated and spent his working life in gainful employment in cities like Sydney. When I met him he’d only recently retired to Alice and wanted to involve himself in the history of the mission.

    The real tragedy of the “stolen generation” myth is that the tendency in the justice and social work sectors to keep indigenous children in communities when they are being abused. After all, no one wants to be accused of creating a second stolen generation. There was a case in Queensland a few years ago where a neglected pre-pubescent girl in a community had been gang raped. The authorities rescued her, then returned her to the community where it happened again. It’s disgraceful and people wouldn’t stand for it if it were anyone other than indigenous children suffering.

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  33. Peter Freedman (127 comments) says:

    Right Now: I thought it was clear I was assigning the opinion to Bolt. Not to me.

    I believe in free speech. But no right is absolute. Shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre may be free speech but it also endangers lives. A line must be drawn somewhere.

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  34. Redbaiter (8,932 comments) says:

    Shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre may be free speech but it also endangers lives. A line must be drawn somewhere.

    Stupid socialist metaphor. Completely inappropriate, and always parroted by the left when their delusional propaganda is under threat from truth.

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  35. Redbaiter (8,932 comments) says:

    “I have to stop laughing now before I vomit again.”

    Pity I can’t muster any laughs. To me its just nausea inducing. Dirty commies are tightening their grip everywhere.

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  36. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    Peter Freedman:

    “But isn’t Bob Katter’s ad free speech?Apparently not.”

    “Right Now: I thought it was clear I was assigning the opinion to Bolt. Not to me.”

    That is what I had inferred originally Peter, and hence my original comment. You clearly understood Bolt had not called for a ban, and yet you assigned that opinion to him.

    AG (1,252) Says:
    March 13th, 2012 at 10:08 am

    RightNow says “Peter Freedman has no credibility here.”

    Ummm … why not? He expressly states in his post that “Nowhere that I can find does [Bolt] call for a ban”, so your quotation hardly contradicts what Freedman has said.

    Clear enough for you now AG?

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  37. Peter Freedman (127 comments) says:

    tom hunter (2,807) Says:
    “Let’s start with the obvious – in this case the Godwinningly obvious:

    I am of Jewish ancestry. If a Nazi in full uniform …

    Oy Vey. Always with the Nazis. Of course most of us hate them – especially Illinois Nazis. Could not something a little more subtle and topical have been introduced to make the point?”

    tom, why be “subtle and topical” when a bash on the head is so much more effective? Would you have responded if I was “subtle and topical”?

    Now, tom. My definition of “leftwing” is someone who holds left views. They may call themselves many names: communist, socialist, liberal, social democrat……all are just labels. By their words shall ye know them. Just read what they write.

    tom, of course leftwingers do as you describe. Since when did two wrongs make a right? As a rightwinger don’t you think you are BETTER than lefties? So why allow their standards to set the norm in acceptability?

    Finally, the names you quoted as discussing bias in the media are all well known media figures in Australia. There is a presenter, an editor in chief of a major newspaper, the chairman of the board of a respected magazine and a senior writer of a rightwing journal.

    Who would you choose instead? If you wanted to know whether an oncoming brain operation was dangerous, who would you ask, a brain surgeon or your next door neighbour?

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  38. tom hunter (4,863 comments) says:

    Shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre may be free speech ….

    Jesus
    H
    Fucking
    Christ

    Perhaps I should be grateful for being supplied with example after example of the thought processes, bird-bath-deep knowledge, and knee-jerk soundbites of modern journalists. With this sort of capability powering One News, Campbell Braindead and the “Huruld” it’s no wonder they move closer to the graveyard every day.

    The original statement in question comes from Oliver Wendell Holmes on the US Supreme Court and I’ve bolded the key missing word for those with learning disabilities:

    The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic. [...] The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.

    Moreover, this was in relation to a violation of the wonderful Espionage Act of 1917, as modified by the even better Sedition Act of 1918 – which I’m sure left-wingers everywhere are still proud of, it being a product of that wonderful “progressive”, President Woodrow Wilson, the first President to push the idea of a living constitution.

    People had been putting up flyers opposing the draft in WW1 and this was construed by the Administration and the SC as amounting to a clear and present danger to the country.

    Some line. Some drawing.

    It was not until the late 60’s when the SC ruled that the banning of speech should be limited in scope to that which would be directed to and likely to incite imminent lawless action (such as a riot). A decision many anti-Vietnam war protestors must have been grateful for.

    Australia is not the US of course, but I would suggest that the speech of Bolt and company on these issues approaches nowhere close to the “line” of inciting imminent lawless action.

    Please, please tell me that you are an unemployed journalist.

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  39. tom hunter (4,863 comments) says:

    Would you have responded if I was “subtle and topical”?

    Ah yes – Journalism 101 – as explained so well in The Shipping News:

    Billy: It’s finding the center of your story, the beating heart of it, that’s what makes a reporter. You have to start by making up some headlines. You know: short, punchy, dramatic headlines. Now, have a look, what do you see?
    [Points at dark clouds at the horizon]

    Billy: Tell me the headline.

    Quoyle: Horizon Fills With Dark Clouds?

    Billy: Imminent Storm Threatens Village.

    Quoyle: But what if no storm comes?

    Billy: Village Spared From Deadly Storm.

    It’s just another reason why your profession is failing. The world is moving on from Billy’s idea of news reporting but you haven’t.

    If you wanted to know whether an oncoming brain operation was dangerous, who would you ask, a brain surgeon or your next door neighbour?

    That grab bag of soundbite analogies is just bottomless isn’t it?

    But to play with your analogy a little more accurately, you’re actually wanting me to ask the opinion of the 1st year medical student taking notes in the observation room – probably the one who’s going to drop out soon and take up journalism.

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  40. kowtow (8,487 comments) says:

    This guest poster says “Sigh in the drop in standards ” and then goes onto oral sex etc!!!!!

    Now that’s a drop in standards.

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  41. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    tom hunter: “Given that you’re perfectly at ease with the concept that these people – had culturally Aboriginal upbringings, and the judge found as a fact that they didn’t in any real sense “choose” to be Aborigine – there seems no point in debating the consequences of laws that go after people who think that that’s utter tripe.”

    Sigh. It’s really hard to argue with someone who just doesn’t understand the point in contention.

    Bolt claimed that these folk had decided late in their lives that they were “aboriginal” in order to take advantage of the “benefits” of that status. The judge found this was NOT A TRUE CLAIM – that they had been raised in a cultural context that identified them as aboriginal, hence there was no conscious move to call themselves “aboriginal” motivated by self-interest. In other words, Bolt just made shit up.

    Incidentally, if you want to argue for some essentialist notion of race that does not have a cultural component/basis, have at it. This thread is pretty short on laughs so far.

    As for “I think Orwell once wrote about people like you”, once again you err. I’m pretty sure he had you in mind here: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/show/367335

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  42. Bob R (1,375 comments) says:

    @ Peter Freedman,

    You should be ashamed of yourself for simplistically calling Bolt as a “denier” when, as DPF says, the issue is the reasons for removal (eg. as Child Youth & Family remove children today).

    Bolt’s article here makes clear that is the issue.

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/the_death_of_the_stolen_generations_myth/

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  43. Bob R (1,375 comments) says:

    @ Peter Freedman,

    Having read more of Bolt’s comments on this, it seems you’re not exactly being honest. What do you think?

    You state:

    ***Bolt is a “Stolen Generation” denier. Despite all the historical documentation he continues to claim that large numbers of black kids weren’t snatched from their families to be placed with white families. He once asked a professor to provide “just 10 names” of stolen kids. When the prof produced four pages of names, Bolt still remained unconvinced.***

    Yet, Bolt says in discussing this issue:

    ***Now I do not deny some children – and not just Aboriginal – were removed from their families for reasons that weren’t good enough, or sent to some homes that weren’t good enough, either. And I have heard many -Lowitja O’Donoghue, for one – tell of the pain of growing up without the love and attention of parents, for whatever reason, and I find them heartbreaking.

    So what am I saying? I am saying that Robert, who for perhaps eight years has been the leading advocate of the “stolen generations” theory, has never given the proof that we had here a Holocaust or genocide.

    He has never proved that anything like 25,000 children were stolen – and were stolen because they were Aboriginal, rather than because they simply needed help.

    In fact the reason I am here is that I challenged Robert in a radio debate – and in writing – to name just some of these 25,000 children he claims were stolen from 1910 to save them from their Aboriginality. To name not, say, 2000 of them, or even just 200 or a mere 20.

    No, I asked him to name just 10. Just 10 children truly stolen just to save them from being Aboriginal. ***

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/stolen_generations_my_writers_festival_speech/

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  44. tom hunter (4,863 comments) says:

    Sigh AG. It’s really hard to argue with someone who just doesn’t understand the point in contention.

    The point being that the judge believed the same shite that you do, and that this is acceptable to you because you’re inside the same paradigm as him. That does not make it or the laws based on it any less crazy, or any less totalitarian in being used to shut people up when they observe that it’s bullshit.

    There was a time when secular leftists like you were quite adamant that people should be free to make harsh observations about people claiming societal benefits on the basis of their own claims as to what they believed about themselves, and the books, arguments and laws derived therefrom. In fact you still are – as long as the subject is that societal construct called religion. When it’s your own ox being gored however …

    In addition there is a yawning gap between arguing that there is no cultural component to race (nice reductio ad absurdum baiting by the way) and that the cultural component can form 95%+ of the basis. Still, I look forward to seeing you debate such a proposition in front of the voters at some point. You should be used to people sadly shaking their heads and laughing at you by now.

    As far as an Orwell quote war is concerned I had been thinking more of the whole “boot stamping on a human face – forever.” approach. But I realised that it did not quite capture the joy you must feel in these situations. I was going to go for:

    If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

    However, thanks to your link I finally settled on the following: one has only to read the last part to think Andrew Geddis.

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  45. Peter Freedman (127 comments) says:

    tom hunter:

    I am happy to respond to you because in your posts occasionally a speck of gold is found.

    I refer to this:

    tom hunter (2,820) Says:

    March 13th, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Journalism 101 – as explained so well in The Shipping News:

    Billy: It’s finding the center of your story, the beating heart of it, that’s what makes a reporter. You have to start by making up some headlines. You know: short, punchy, dramatic headlines. Now, have a look, what do you see?
    [Points at dark clouds at the horizon]

    Billy: Tell me the headline.

    Quoyle: Horizon Fills With Dark Clouds?

    Billy: Imminent Storm Threatens Village.

    Quoyle: But what if no storm comes?

    Billy: Village Spared From Deadly Storm.

    tom:

    Firstly I never took Journalism 101. I have never been to any university except to conduct an interview. I started my career, aged 17, straight from high school. As a cadet journalist.

    The first thing I learned was how to make the tea. I was told by a crusty old chief sub that I made the worst tea in the history of teamaking. He was probably right.

    I won’t go through the entire list of a cadet’s duties, it would bore you stiff. It did me.

    Then something strange happened. My editor actually decided I had talent. Before I was out of my cadetship I was covering the courts (where accuracy is essential), helping on the city council round (easily the one of the most important sources of news in any provincial paper) and I was writing industrial stories. And I was still in my teens.

    The point is in them old days journalists were born, not made. And we learned our craft by doing it, making mistakes and learning from them. Now they won’t even look at you if you don’t have a degree or at least a diploma.

    Your Quoyle/Billy story is exactly what happens in tabloid newspapers and television. Broadsheets are generally a little bit better, but usually not much.

    The thinking behind this approach is very simple. Firstly most news outlets aim their news at someone with the life experience and mental capacity of about thirteen. They also know, as surveys have shown, that most readers don’t read any story beyond the first three paragraphs unless:

    1) The piece is about them, someone they know or are associated with OR
    2) Where one doesn’t apply, the piece is so riveting that a reader cannot wait to read more

    I think this explains a lot: the tabloid trash, the low standard of television: It doesn’t matter if the story is right or wrong so long as the immediate reaction of a reader/viewer is “HEY, WHAT THE FUCK?????????

    tom, then you say: “It’s just another reason why your profession is failing. The world is moving on from Billy’s idea of news reporting but you haven’t.”

    tom: I haven’t gone anywhere and still try my best to follow a journalists’ Code Of Ethics (yes, there IS one, at least in NZ, I know because I helped write the thing. We then asked the newspaper owners to sign up to it and they refused).The rest of your statement is absolutely true, the profession has been failing for years and it’s getting worse every day.

    TOM TOM, I COULD tell you I was an unemployed journalist but that would not be true. I have been an employed journalist, in some capacity or other for my entire working life. And for my entire working life I have fought for higher standards of reporting and journalism in general. In that I have clearly and miserably failed. But that won’t stop me from trying so long as I can draw breath.

    tom, please stay here. I love reading your stuff, its intelligent, well written and sharply reasoned. Just forbear from the JESUS H CHRIST stuff a bit.

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  46. Peter Freedman (127 comments) says:

    Bob R,

    I will respond to you this one, but probably nere again.

    If you can find any article penned by Andrew Bolt which admits the existence of THE STOLEN GENERATION (by that I mean precisely that he has written something conceding that THE STOLEN GENERATION actually exists) then you will win your point.

    Your move, I think.

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  47. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    tom,

    Let’s cut through your vim, vigour and bluster, shall we? Does it make the slightest bit of difference to your view of Bolt that he simply made up allegations against those who was attacking for being “white aborigines”? That is, he didn’t just “criticise” them from an “alternative paradigm”, based on his “world view” of what race is all about (or whatever po-mo gibberish you want to phrase it in) … he made claims about them that objectively, in the real world of facts, sticks and stones, just were not true? And given this, would you be happier if he’d once again been found guilty of defamation (as in the case of the magistrate he claimed hugged drug dealers), rather than a breach of the Racial Discrimination Act?

    (FWIIW, I think the various parties should have had to sue in defamation myself – the Australian Racial Discrimination Act sets too low a threshold for an action – so wouldn’t it be funny if the whole basis of our wee spat is that the wrong legal curb on Bolt’s “freedom of speech” was applied here? Unless, that is, you think people should be able to go around making untrue claims about others that have the effect of denigrating their character? Or perhaps they should be able to do so when you like the sound of those lies, because you’d like them to be true?)

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  48. Peter Freedman (127 comments) says:

    Nothing much to report on the QLD elections today, except a new ad from Labor claiming that people who vote for the Libs are voting blindfolded because they have no idea who might lead the next LNP government.

    This is cruel, heartless and just plain true. HOW DARE THEY?

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  49. Rikki Freedman (2 comments) says:

    Occasionally, I see a post online that makes me think. This was one of those because it calls to attention two of my values: The right to express love regardless of gender, race, spiritual beliefs or sexuality, and the right of free speech. And yes, I believe that both of these need to be RIGHTS in order to have a fair society.

    If I saw an ad saying “A vote for [the opposition] is a vote for gay marriage” I would be inclined to vote for the oppostion, despite the fact that, that is clearly not the purpose of the ad. But then there’s the issue of free speech, and while the ad made me angry and uncomfortable, there were no outright lies. While I tend to believe that “if you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get one” I do… respect to a point, the need for free speech, and the right of people to express opinions, regardless of how biggoted or ugly those opinions are.

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