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There’s never been a better time for white men and Section 18C

Oh, that David Leyonhjelm! What a scamp he is!

As you probably know, he’s making a complaint to the Human Rights Commission under Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, after Fairfax journalist Mark Kenny called him an “angry white man”.

I don’t think Leyonhjelm, a staunch opponent of 18C, is being hypocritical: he’s perfectly open about this being an opportunity to “test” the law, rather than a genuine case of offence inflicted or taken.

And it will be most interesting to watch the arguments for and against unfold: will Kenny’s comment fall into one of the many exemptions provided by 18D? Did Kenny intend to racially insult Leyonhjelm, or was he making a contextual point by mentioning the man’s colour? How can Leyonhjelm make a complaint at all, ethically speaking, if he’s not insulted or offended?

I remain astounded that white people continue to fight for the right to offend and insult people of colour. I understand that these white people believe they are fighting for free speech and of course they are, if you are of the belief that free speech equals unrestrained speech.

It’s inarguable that Section 18C curbs free speech. Of course it does. So do the laws that make it an offence to use foul language in public places, or to call police officers c**ts when they’re attempting to restrain you or move you on. Why isn’t anybody complaining about these restrictions on free speech?

Insult and offence are subjective concepts, as Leyonhjelm repeatedly points out. However, Section 18C specifies that the insult and offence must relate to race, ethnicity and religion before it is considered insulting and offensive. Its ambit doesn’t cover insults such as you’re an arsehat dickwad, and offensive statements such as all your family are loser thieving pisspots and always will be so f*ck off you sad c**t.

I’m still struggling to come up with a pejorative comment about someone’s race, religion and/or ethnicity that isn’t offensive or insulting. Can anyone help me? Please use asterisks.

There’s never been a better time to watch two white men duke it out in the racial discrimination ring. Popcorn.

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.



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  1. Miriam English

    Hmmm… that picture of Leyonhjelm keeps reminding me of the villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the head of the evil organisation SPECTRE in many of the James Bond movies.

    I wonder if Leyonhjelm deliberately adopts that image, or if it’s mere coincidence. If deliberate then it’s even more creepy that he has admiration for someone who is supposed to represent cynical use of ultimate evil power.

  2. Miriam English

    I just finished reading a very interesting analysis of how the right-wing Republicans are imploding in USA and how they’ve caused this by intentionally stoking the fires of hate, racism, and misogyny among mostly the disadvantaged white males. Now that hate and fear and delusion from decades of incubating racism and crazy conspiracy theories is tearing their own party apart.

    The tactics being used by the corrupt right-wing here in Australia are being taught to them by the right-wing nasties in USA. Will our local contingent of crazies see the crash coming? Or will they keep banging the same drum of division and hatred and delusion until they too implode?

    We have a chance to use the example of what’s happening in USA to innoculate ourselves against the worst.

    Those like Leyonhjelm are deliberately trying to create cracks in the legal protections that safeguard our society. I don’t believe he’s genuine. He’s only interested in power. He wants to confuse easily hoodwinked people (like poor Harquebus who I honestly feel sorry for) into widening the cracks for him. If he can cause hate and division then he thinks he wins. He’ll settle for pitting people against each other in a fake free-speech argument, but if he manages to get rid of hate-speech restrictions then he’ll have hit the motherlode and there will be nothing to restrain him from maximising hate and division. He’s seen how effective it can be. Sure, it eventually wrecks society, but he thinks he can control it and he knows that those who wield it effectively can ride it to unbelievable power. And that’s what he wants. He is a very dangerous person.

  3. diannaart

    Using 18C without consideration of 18D is a nonsense.

    But then, Leyonhjelm, could be said to be a nonsense.

    Having written at length (for me) on Jennifer’s site. I will simply give the following link for others to consider:


    I believe this is yet another piece of deliberate obfuscation by a member of the far-right.

    How can we concentrate on the serious issues facing us right now, with this nonsense going on across the MSM every where, everyday?

  4. helvityni

    Looking at the above photo, I’d say there’s a white man wearing a white shirt, cuddling a white cat.

    Would that mean that I’m offending Leyonhjelm. No worries, he would not be offended by ANYTHING I say… he’s the boss of his emotions, and so should we all; so let’s all toughen up and start spouting hate speech….

  5. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    I’m not sure if Leyonhjelm (I have to look up how to spell his name every bloody time) is after power. I think for him this is purely an ego thing – he is just trying to make out he is smarter than Malcolm Turnbull. His actions in trying to refer this to the tribunal to “reveal” how stupid 18C is, are nothing but the actions of a smartarse.

    The cat picture is clearly referential, but just a bit too obvious for anyone with an ounce of a brain, so ends up just making him look a bit too try hard.

    The original article by Mark Kenny was very funny – and I believe intentionally so, as this protects him through 18D. The fact that Blofeld hasn’t realised this reveals that he, like many egotists (please stand up Erica and Barnyardi), have absolutely no sense of humour. I do hope it goes to the tribunal, because it will make them even bigger laughing stocks than they already are (if such is possible).

    But you are right about the way that blue collar white men are being hoodwinked by the far right, both in the US and now here. Its how Hitler got his gig, but it generally doesn’t turn out too well in the end. Unfortunately not just for them – it gets messy for everyone. Unlike many, I am glad that One Nation are represented in the senate – by a career racist bigot, a nut job denialist, a criminal, and the other one (Snorky? Fleegle?). Having them out in the open gives people an opportunity to show just how ill considered their views actually are.

    So I’m white, and I’m a man, and I’m angry (though to be fair, at different things to those plonkers). Am I offended by Mark Kenny’s article? No. Because I realise how privileged I am simply by being those three descriptors. I am also fairly certain that I’ve made remarks that are offensive simply because I’ve come at them from that position too – not intentionally for sure, but offensive all the same – and I’m self assured enough to say that I’m sorry if I have done. And mean it.

    There is something about pedants that really gets up my (not unsubstantial) nose.

  6. Matters Not

    Should be charged with loitering in a public place. ? Will do anything for publicity. And it works. Just ask Hanson et al.

    Talk about nonsense. But we will have to put up with him for the next three years. ? ? ? ?

  7. helvityni

    Matters Not,

    ‘And it works.’ And that’s the worrying bit. Maybe a three year holiday is in order…

  8. Adrianne Haddow

    Miriam, you think like I do. My immediate thought was how much like Mike Meyer’s Dr Evil he looks.
    Is that tender look in the photo, a look of love? Or is he just trying to decide which side dishes he will serve with it?
    Probably just as well it’s not a black cat.

  9. guest

    I have never been able to work out what “politically correct” actually means, let alone what “politically in-correct” means. Even those who oppose “politically correct” never say they are being “politically in-correct “; they talk about “debating”.

    So even though we know that 70+% of people surveyed say they think Single Sex Marriage should be legislated, the right-wingers want to debate the issue, because debating the issue allows “free speech and individual self-expression”, which Paul Kelly says is “now under assault”.

    Oh really. When were any of us ever allowed to say anything we like under “individual self-expression? Yet people did because they thought it was the only way they could say what they thought.

    And what has stopped the Murdoch press from saying whatever it wanted to say over and over ad nauseam. What is it they would love to say which they are not allowed to say under Sections 18c and d? Please give examples – hypothetical will do.

    So can we say someone is an “angry white man” or not? Which part of that is offensive or wrong? And if the person described is “offended” should we care? Offence, we are told is “taken” not “given”. Really?

    So how do we know? Do we listen to a legal judgement, or do we judge by “community values, surely a superior test”, says Kelly. Good luck with that. Please let us know when you have worked out what “community values” are.

    We have been told by two members of one Party that (a) we are being invaded by squat toilets, and (b) climate change is a UN conspiracy to rule the world with the help of Jewish banks. These people have been voted into the Senate. Do they represent “community values”? Are they merely debating, being “politically in-correct”?

    Nova Peris was criticised when she said no one should judge her if they have not walked in her shoes. It is an old saying that one does not know another person until one has walked in their shoes for a while. Political correctness, perhaps?.

    Kelly says that such an idea is “identity politics” and “is hostile to ideas and debate”. It is a “disincentive to debate and to challenge the right of others to engage in vigorous or provocative public discussion.” And here is the rub. How “vigorous and provocative” is of the essence. We cannot just say what we think. Too much of public debate is just opinion, whether it is based on fact or not.

    So we get the idea that behavior of guards in Don Dale is not their fault; it is the fault of the parents.

    The trauma and abuse of refugees in Manus and Nauru is not the fault of the detention centre; it is the fault of the inmates for being there – and besides they could be lying and anyway, it is necessary to traumatise them to stop the boats.

    And then there is climate change. Too “politically correct”? Not settled? Just a scam? Just a conspiracy? Do we have to “debate” it even if we have no knowledge of the science and have just “what I like”?

    Just thinking about some of these things makes us realise what a fog of miasma, white noise and misinformation befuddles our understanding about almost everything – if we let it.

  10. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    Its funny Guest – I was just thinking what exactly do these people that demand Freedom of Speech want the freedom to say? As far as I can make out they currently get away with blue murder (like the Bill Leak cartoon) which has prompted outrage, but no legal backlash, ditto Eddie Maguire’s various comments about drowning women, or comparing an AFL football player to a mythical oversize gorilla. Again community backlash, but legal redress? Not even mentioned.

    So what is it that these people want the right to say, that they believe they can’t already? Cause I’m buggered if I can work it out!

    Maybe the Attorney General can provide us with examples of what currently can’t be said, but will be allowed if 18C is repealed in order that we can better determine whether we actually need to repeal it or not. Because so far, all I’ve seen is angry white men shaking their fists at the sky!

  11. diannaart


    18C was in effect during Julia Gillard’s incumbency. LNP dinner menu, Alan Jones, Pickering…


    Apologies, Julia is white, but a woman. What was I thinking?


  12. Miriam English

    I know exactly what they want to be able to say that they can’t at the moment.

    They want to incite hate and fear. They want to be able to mobilise the mindless drones to attack any minorities who don’t obediently cower quietly in the corner… and maybe attack some anyway to keep the rest in line.

    They want white men to have the unchallenged position as controllers of everything in society. They already have that control, but they’ve grown unsettled at the possibility that they might have to share it with others. It’s bad enough having to cope with the chicks getting uppity, but when you have poofs, lesbos, blackies, chinks, and wogs looking like they might be getting into the act it’s a bit more than they can tolerate. [spits on the ground for emphasis]

  13. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    Exactly Diannart – and what good was 18C then? It appears that Freedom of Speech to that level is already allowed.

    Miriam – yep, if this is what they mean, perhaps getting them to give examples of what would be allowed would be enough for most people who might be swayed by the whole “freedom of speech” and “political correctness gone mad” to understand what repealing the legislation would actually allow. And when you put it that way, and use that terminology, its fairly obvious that repealing 18C isn’t freedom of speech, it is, as you say, permission for hate speech. At which point it becomes fairly obvious why we need 18C.

  14. Matters Not

    A great post Guest. ?

    The concept of ‘freedom’ is somewhat ‘slippery’ – impossible to define in terms of necessary conditions. And to complicate matters, the meaning(s) given often change over time. Sartre, for example, initially argued that to be ‘human’ was to be ‘free’ – an inescapable aspect of the human condition. Even slaves were ‘free’ to obey or not. The ‘consequences’ were somewhat irrelevant in his earlier writings.

    But he ‘grew up’ and his later writings, he recognised that there were significant ‘consequences’ resulting from ‘choices’ made – both for the ‘chooser’ and the ‘other’. Seems to me that there are many politicians who also ought to ‘grow up’ and stop chanting mantras and imagine (and witness) the consequences of their ‘slogans’.

    But maybe not.

  15. Kaye Lee

    I wonder if it occurred to this self-centred moron that the Human Rights Commission might just have more important things to do than be his plaything. The actual quote from Kenny suggest that he has “certitude” which is a tad different to the stereotypes suggested by Leak’s cartoon or Bolt’s ramblings.

    “David Leyonhjelm is a boorish, supercilious know-all with the empathy of a besser block. And that new Hansonite conspiracy theorist from Queensland? He’s an absurdist fringe-dweller and fellow hate-speech apologist. It’s a case of wacky and wackier.

    Neither of these self-promoting misanthropes would have the first idea about entrenched discrimination. Yet both are experts.

    You see, this gormless duo has declared, with all their angry-white-male certitude, that a verbal abuser cannot cause offence or humiliation. It is all in the mind of the recipient.”

    And he’s complaining about the colour descriptor? Stupidity combined with arrogant certitude makes this man, and his sidekicks Bernardi (why didn’t I think of that) and Malcolm-Ieun: Roberts (I just like to spell it that way), an embarrassing farce – stupid men who just want to use parliament as their stage.

  16. Michael Taylor

    Parliament as their stage, Kaye, or as their circus ring?

  17. diannaart

    Neither of these self-promoting misanthropes would have the first idea about entrenched discrimination

    Yes, and they do get to use the law and the media as their personal circus – as Michael said.

    While genuine cases of abuse are shunted to the side.

    Just when I thought I couldn’t become more despondent.

  18. jimhaz

    [We have been told by two members of one Party that (a) we are being invaded by squat toilets]

    At my workplace it would seem some immigrants like to try and do the squat with normal western toilets. Very unsavoury and not at all helpful in relation to neo-racism (people don’t understand how important little things like this and body smells generally are). The toilets are consistently dirtier than any work toilet I’ve used, other than my first job in a timber mill a few decades ago. Not as dirty as pub loos though – and how pubs are allowed to get away with that is beyond me.

    Apparently though that method is the best method for evacuation, so maybe this could be a good thing.


  19. jimhaz

    [I have never been able to work out what “politically correct” actually means]

    On this site one thing it would mean to join in in putting shit on white males – because some of them are richer than others.

  20. nurses1968

    “On this site one thing it would mean to join in in putting shit on white males ”
    I get that impression too

  21. Kaye Lee

    I find that an astonishing and completely unfounded appraisal.

    Pointing out that rich white heterosexual men are unlikely to truly understand what it is like to be discriminated against is hardly an inflammatory thing to say.

    In fact, it is becoming increasingly common for those who have never suffered discrimination to accuse anyone who attempts to achieve equality of opportunity of “class envy” or “misandry” or “reverse discrimination” or “perversion” or “rorting” or any number of conservative phrases designed to protect privilege.

  22. nurses1968

    What about mature age financially secure women?
    Overall a more racist self serving bunch you will ever find but that is just from experience and my opinion

  23. helvityni

    nurses 1968, sorry to disappoint you, I happen to be of mature age and financially secure, but NO ONE could accuse me of being racist; I’m white, but not everybody within my extended family is. I might have enough, but I’d like everyone else to have enough…

    I’m angry about how we treat our asylum seekers, our Indigenous people; we are not making things better for the people in need by electing uncaring racist people to govern this country.

  24. Michael Taylor

    If anybody cares to look they might notice that it’s mostly white males who are making idiots of themselves on the political stage. They are attracting criticism on all the media sites; mainstream and independent.

    But jimhaz, nurses1968, you must accept our apologies. Normally before we publish an article we first consider whether you too will approve of it. If there is any doubt, then we won’t publish it. We’ve been a bit rushed lately and unfortunately this formality has been overlooked.

  25. nurses1968

    apology accepted

  26. jimhaz

    Fair enough Michael. You made me laugh at my own temerity.

    I had drafted a bit of a response to Kaye, but decided not to bother posting it – but your joke now means I will.

    [In fact, it is becoming increasingly common for those who have never suffered discrimination to accuse anyone who attempts to achieve equality of opportunity of “class envy” or “misandry” or “reverse discrimination” or “perversion” or “rorting” or any number of conservative phrases designed to protect privilege]

    Pretty much everyone has suffered from discrimination in one way or another. Ugly, fat, old, non-conformist, low IQ, religious, bad BO all attract forms of discrimination. Race is just a category like those, although yes the discrimination can be much, much stronger and more consistent for those in racial groups with higher crime rates.

    The anti-white male thing here is noticeable – though maybe that is because a) most of the more prominent pollies that we disagree with in relation to policies are white middle aged males; b) some of the most prolific posters here appear to be white women with DV histories; c) Trump is demonstrating some of the worst privileged behaviour I’ve seen from a Western pollie (or pseudo-pollie in his case).

    In terms of “privilege”, I DO NOT apologise in any way for my desire to maintain the position of whites in Australia. This due to our very high overseas born population. If multiculturalism means that ordinary mostly white men, women or families who have been here for generations have to pay the opportunity cost (not just involving wealth either, but quality of work and the living environment), then it has all been a deceitful lie for the benefit of the rich. Too high a percentage of the very worst business people here are non-anglo (although our white run mining co’s and banks are pretty bad as a group).

    Still, I do admit I really hate it when conservatives like Bernadi adopt the justified complaints from moderates or left in these areas – particularly the one relating to class warfare. Why – because it seems it is just a tactical manoeuvre rather than being based on a reasonable comparison.

  27. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    Sounds very much like you really need to go back to where you come from jimhaz. Of the forty thousand years where human culture has existed on this continent, whites have contributed less than 200. On that basis you think that white people have some kind of special right to keep non-whites subjugated? Because when you say you wish to “maintain the position of whites in Australia” that is exactly what you are saying.

    And do take your blinkers off – the business world is full of dodgy bastards of every race, creed and colour. But you will find, by and large, that they are all Coalition supporters.

  28. Kaye Lee

    You do a lot of generalising jimhaz.

    Considering one in four women have experienced at least one incident of violence by an intimate partner, and that every woman experiences sexism and discrimination to some degree, it would be hard to keep us all quiet.

    Have you ever wondered why there is more crime in certain areas or among certain groups? Have you ever thought about how that could be addressed by other than punitive measures? Do you think self-worth is a contributing factor and that discrimination and marginalisation might be making matters worse? With increasing automation, it has been the lower skill jobs that have gone – those that were commonly filled by people with not much education. What do they do when they have no hope and no help?

    What does “maintain the position of whites in Australia” mean exactly?

  29. Miriam English

    “On this site one thing it would mean to join in in putting shit on white males – because some of them are richer than others.”

    That is an odd thing to say. And though you’ve thankfully clarified your immediate reaction, I’ll add my two cents.

    I talk of angry white racists rather than specifically men, though the men, in my experience, are the worst. Regardless, I’ve met some truly disgusting white racist women too. What has often appalled and astounded me is that some of the worst racists I’ve met are members of other oppressed minorities. I’ve met Greeks who hate Chinese, lesbians who hate transgenders, Sri Lankan elites who hate Sri Lankan lower class, Spanish Mexicans who hate Mayan Mexicans. I’ve never understood how that works. You’d think that members of an Australian minority would be the first to want to stop racism. Perhaps it’s part of a defensive reaction, I don’t know. For some it’s a case of bringing their racism with them. Anyway, I have to say that members of the middle class tend to be the most tolerant people that I’ve known. It doesn’t matter what their racial background is… though I’ve even seen vile racism among that group too.

    What I mean is that racism is sprinkled everywhere, but I talk primarily of angry white racists because they’re the ones who have the least excuse for such ignorance. They’ve had most of the benefits of our society and hold the key to change. It isn’t excusable in other groups either, and it should not be tolerated, but perhaps can be pitied. I can’t see any way to pity powerful, angry, white racists who have had almost every advantage our society offers and still use it to maintain poisonous, oppressive views.

  30. Deanna Jones

    “The position of whites in australia”

    As noted already jimhaz, the true owners of this land kept it in a pristine condition for over 40 000 years. In 200 odd years of white occupancy we’ve done nothing but carve it up and destroy it for the personal gain of a few white men. White men hold the balance of power on this planet and are using that power to destroy it and it’s peoples and other living creatures. All white men benefit from that power to varying degrees, at the expense of the rest of us. This pattern does not look like changing. White men won’t be happy until there is nothing left here and no life can be sustained, all for the purpose of temporary personal material gain for their short life times with no thought for the future or the rest of us. I will “put shit on you” all I want. You can easily withstand it.

  31. Miriam English

    Deanna Jones, while agreeing that the white invaders have wrecked the ecology, poisoned the water, devastated the fisheries, paved over some of the most fertile land, and exterminated most of the wildlife in just 200 years, and continue to do so, almost unabated, nevertheless the previous inhabitants are not blameless either. Over their 50,000 years (plus or minus 10,000 years) they exterminated all the large mammals and birds and reptiles except the kangaroo and emu and perentie. Some of the animals they exterminated were the diprotodon — a volkswagon-sized wombat — which used to roam the country grazing in large numbers; the short-faced kangaroo, which stood about 2 to 2.7 meters (6ft to 10 ft) tall; a small carnivorous wallaby; the marsupial lion, which was a large lion-sized predator with large, muscular front legs, wicked claws, extremely powerful jaws (the most powerful of any known), and small hind legs giving it the appearance of a giant carnivorous koala, though it was related to the Tasmanian tiger (the thylacine); a giant carnivorous bird Bullockornis, or thunderbird, or more humorously the Demon Duck of Doom; and many more.

    There was a vast inland sea in Australia surrounded by forests. The aborigines, being humans, set about flourishing at the expense of their environment. By using fire to hunt and alter the landscape they did two things:
    – they changed the ecology to depend on fire by exterminating those that didn’t cope well and encouraging species like the formerly much less common eucalypts to dominate the land, and
    – they fatally damaged the forests bordering the country. In the east this didn’t matter so much, but in the west once those forests were lost they no longer brought rain to the inland through the “conveyer-belt effect”. The inland rivers and sea dried up and the inland forests turned to desert.

    Wherever humans go they do the same thing. It doesn’t matter if they’re brown, white, black, red, or yellow. They flourish at the expense of their environment. Australia’s first people did it too. We are all just people — one race, one terrific flaw.

  32. Michael Taylor

    I know this is off topic, but the oldest archeological remains (of Aboriginal occupation) are dated at 63,000 years (found at a rock shelter in Queensland).

  33. jimhaz

    @ Kaye

    [You do a lot of generalising jimhaz]

    Yep, it’s a pain for some. I take it for granted that pretty much anything described as a human attribute will be a generalisation.

    [Have you ever wondered why there is more crime in certain areas or among certain groups? ]

    [Do you think self-worth is a contributing factor and that discrimination and marginalisation might be making matters worse?]

    Of course. I have no doubt that racism/discrimination plays a causal role in migrant or aboriginal crime rates. Being a rebellious type I’m pretty sure if I was aboriginal I’d be constantly be in jail.

    As I don’t believe in souls or gods, then all human personalities are not of their own making, but have been caused to be that way by primarily external causal chains. Ie No-one EVER is really to blame for the bad or good things they might do.
    It then becomes a problem of just where does one draw the line in using the infinity of past causes to explain/excuse current behaviour. It is simply too difficult. I decided a few years ago to take the same line as the courts – which is to primarily ignore one’s past in determining guilt, but to apply some leniency in relation to sentencing for obvious causes.

    [Have you ever thought about how that could be addressed by other than punitive measures?]

    Although punishment is often pointless and destructive, if moderately used it can be the most simple, timely and importantly cheapest method to limit a problem. One problem is that there are just not that many people with the skill set to consistently do much more than using punishment for crime.

    Ideally though I’d like to see the world jail systems move away from punishment as the default position. It just is not successful at helping enough people and makes many worse.

    I’m in favour of more radical attempts at rehabilitation – even if this has to be forced. For example, I was always in favour of Howards’ Intervention. What I would try is boot camp situations with practical education and philosophy. The aim of the camps would be to build confidence by showing them how to overcome hurdles and to be more self-disciplined. I would apply intervention measures that would mean the criminal could not return for a period to the same environment that lead them to crime – to get early release they’d have to move to a new location.

    [With increasing automation, it has been the lower skill jobs that have gone – those that were commonly filled by people with not much education. What do they do when they have no hope and no help?]

    The loss of manufacturing saddens me, precisely for the reason you have stated. It is one of the reasons I hate the LNP and am disgusted with the ALP with their love of Free Trade agreements and reckless and obsessive removal of duties. We need 10-15% manufacturing so low skill people have opportunities outside of the service industry.

    [What does “maintain the position of whites in Australia” mean exactly?]

    Essentially that we don’t sell off our ways for “blankets” – that we don’t become like Native American’s. That ordinary white people don’t become the great white trash that we seem to be increasingly becoming (white boganism is rising, not decreasing).

    That we don’t continue to lower our standards to the lowest common denominator as a result of the need for multicultural cooperation or PCism. I think anglos are culturally smarter than non-anglos – there must be reasons (outside of climate) that allowed the anglos/europeans to dominate the world. Asians, Indians, South Americans, Africans, Middle Eastern people appear not to have progressed much when left on their own – the rulers of those areas have tended to treat their populations much harsher as a result of this lack of progression – migrants are more accepting of false neo-conservative memes, more easily led culturally astray by the 1%.

  34. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    Jimhaz – I have a book that you need to read. Germs, guns and steel by Jared Diamond, which explains very well why Europeans “lucked out” compared to anyone else. And a significant factor is geography, not cultural or racial superiority. If Africa was a side-to-side rather than an up-and-down continent, things may have been very different. Having a background in agricultural science and a significant interest in history, I’d strong recommend it.

    Mind you, when climate change really kicks in, I suspect that you will find that those whose cultures are closer to surviving off the land will fare significantly better than those who rely on the complexities of the civilisation we have all become totally reliant on. At that point all our cultural smartness may go straight out the window. I think you may soon discover that “cultural smartness” is very relative to context.

  35. Miriam English

    jimhaz, and you were doing so well until that last paragraph. [sigh]

    Someone has to have the most dominant culture. If a roll of the dice is all it takes for environmental factors to make European culture dominant then if you ran the experiment again another culture may well end up dominating. How can you say that one is better or smarter than another.

    Alternatively, there are some ant species that are remarkably vicious and kill any other species they encounter, even going out of their way to destroy other species. The Argentine ant is an example. It becomes a major problem because it wipes everything else out, not because it is superior, but because it is more vicious. You can see how much of a problem this becomes when it changes slightly. Normally, when Argentine ants meet other Argentine ants they don’t slaughter each other because they recognise they are part of the same genetic stock by their scent. But when they encounter other Argentine ants that have been isolated from the main colony for a while neither recognises the other and they embark on the most unbelievably wasteful, pointless, and absurd mass slaughter of each other. Being as vicious as each other the war never ends. The bodies just keep piling up… forever. So, are Argentine ants superior or smarter than other ants? No.

    If England hadn’t perfected a reliable mechanical clock then it wouldn’t have ruled the seas and the world would be very different today. As it was, they almost didn’t. It came down to one obstinate person, John Harrison, who solved it, and the bureaucracy (the culture) almost diddled him out of it — as it was I seem to recall they diddled him out of any monetary reward. Read the absolutely fascinating story of it in Dava Sobel’s wonderful book, “Longitude”.

    If the Arabic nations hadn’t kept science and technology alive while Europe decomposed under theocracy for a thousand years then the world would be very different.

    If the black death hadn’t swept through Europe killing large numbers of people, destroying faith in religion and requiring mechanical systems and innovation to do the work of the decimated workforce then things would have been a lot different.

    I could go on…

  36. jimhaz

    Germs, guns and steel by Jared Diamond. Pretty sure I got that book out of the library 10 or more years ago – but I’m pretty sure I only scanned through it. It doesn’t matter anyway as I not talking about the situational luck – but the inventive culture that eventually developed from that luck.

    I note there is a full PDF here if anyone is interested. (Free – but I think the site is probably only supposed to be an Intranet site, not open)


  37. Miriam English

    Oh, I forgot to comment on your agreement with Howard’s racist “Intervention” (really just a sneaky way to gain control over them for the mining companies). Hmmm… I don’t know if I can trust myself to reply without losing it… so I won’t. I think you get my drift.

  38. jimhaz

    [How can you say that one is better or smarter than another]

    Via social evolution within the context of a more technologically advanced, thus wealthier, society. The opportunities this provides enables ones to think bigger or wider, or at least differently, from those stuck with spending the bulk of their time on basic level needs such as food production.

  39. Michael Taylor

    That last paragraph from jimhaz you refer to, Miriam, has a tinge of ‘white supremism’ about it. No wonder he/she gets upset whenever we raise the topic here.

  40. jimhaz

    [Howard’s racist “Intervention” (really just a sneaky way to gain control over them for the mining companies]

    I find that highly unlikely to be a deciding factor – a contributing one to a small degree, but not a deciding factor. Howard was never that bad, never as bad as some of Abbott’s key ministers. I think it is just what you want to believe due to bias.

  41. jimhaz

    [That last paragraph from jimhaz you refer to, Miriam, has a tinge of ‘white supremism’ about it. No wonder he/she gets upset whenever we raise the topic here]

    Well migrants, or refugees who choose this distant hard to get to place, must think so as well, must they not !

    Well, all developing, and now developed asian countries, strive to become like us, and in many ways do become like us, do they not !

  42. Michael Taylor

    A couple of questions for you:

    1. Do you prescribe to the theory of Social Darwinism?

    2. Do you also believe in the ‘Great Chain of Being’?

    Both were of the belief that ‘whites’ had progressed further up the evolutionary ladder, or if not, were ordained by ‘God’ to do so.

  43. diannaart


    There are times I wish I could just hit a ‘like’ button. I like the way you and Miriam and Kaye and Jennifer x 2 and many others think.

    Now I am waiting with interest on Jimhaz’s reply.

  44. Kaye Lee

    When I think of great people who have worked for the betterment of mankind I think of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, the Dalai Lama.

  45. jimhaz

    Social Darwinism – I’d have to say yes, though I’ve never aligned myself or know anything much about the concept.
    Great Chain of Being – not at all.

    With darwinsim, well I’d have to say that technological advancement is a form of evolution as it gives an entity more control of the environment.

  46. Miriam English

    True Michael, though more than a tinge.

  47. diannaart

    Kaye Lee

    and Rosie Batty, Adam Goodes and anyone prepared to take on bullies, people such as Duncan Storrer… takes a great deal of courage and energy.

  48. diannaart


    I am not at all surprised.

  49. paulwalter

    You know, the comment I enjoyed most was an early one from Miriam English about the US Republicans imploding
    in on themselves after decades of promoting irrationality.
    Can you become thus irrational eventually that you no longer recognise rationality and lose your consciousness to behave as the US Republicans and our Coalition, for similar reasons with behaviour as evidence?

    On FB I find Statesiders, even rational ones, are best kept well clear during the four yearly elections just upcoming. Theatre of the Absurd and billions of lives influenced by the outcome who are never given a moment’s thought by many people.

  50. Harquebus

    18c only sweeps the problem of hate speech under the carpet. It does nothing to eradicate it.
    One can not argue against what one can not hear.

    The two people that I admire most are John von Neumann and Rosalind Franklin.

    Miriam English.
    Thank you for your concern.

  51. Kaye Lee

    I can’t understand that attitude Harquebus. Wouldn’t it be better to not hear it at all? People can spit their venom to their mates but it should never be given a public platform, You seem to want someone to commit murder so you can prosecute them. How about just not committing the crime in the first place.

  52. Miriam English

    Yeah Harquebus, 18C doesn’t eradicate hate speech the same way quarantine doesn’t eradicate disease… and for the same reason it is a very important thing to have.

    (Wow. I can write short comments after all.)

  53. Harquebus

    Not to hear:
    Denouncing hate speech would also not be heard. At least in the open, it can be identified and responded to.
    Quarantine doesn’t eradicate disease but, vaccination can. There are other measures that can be taken other than the easy way out through legislation. No hear, no problem.

    We have had this conversation before and I do not expect opinions to change. I’ve had my say, listened to yours and am going to leave it at that.

  54. Lakisha

    I am a torrent strait islander and very proud of where we have come but even I wish for real equality. But even I can admit the tides are changing the other way. Most say I want equality but truly want revenge. I absoluty have more rights where I live then any white man. And I go to many government establishments that no white man can go. However there is no establishment that I can not go to. why can we call ourselves black yet no one else can. But I can call white people by colour on any social or television network and nothing comes from it. So the real question do we want EQUAL rights or revenge cause it’s already heading towards revenge

  55. Miriam English

    Equality is the important thing.

    Perhaps there is an element of revenge in some communities. It wouldn’t surprise me. While understandable, it’s quite counterproductive. It is the result of racism. All racism is illogical and ridiculous. Under the pigmentation of our skin we are all genetically almost identical. There is almost no genetic variety in all of humanity. From Eskimos to Swedes, to Jews, to Torres Strait Islanders, to Mayans, to Scots, to Maoris we are all virtually identical, genetically. This is a very dangerous fact.

    We, like any species, require genetic diversity to make us robust and healthy. Unfortunately, when we see very superficial differences — skin color, nose shape, eye shape, hair color, height — we are judging people for the most insignificant difference imaginable. In reality there is virtually no difference between you and me. We need all diversity wherever we can find it to make the human race stronger. Weeding out difference and isolating it, or eliminating it makes us all weaker and more vulnerable to disease, parasites, environmental change…. Ask any geneticist or ecologist.

    Sadly, there is something in people that makes them all too willing to alienate one another based on these ridiculously meaningless features. Why? I have no idea. But it could quite easily be the literal death of us all.

    We need to get over our childishly petty hates and get real. Climate change is coming, and with it a whole range of new diseases and environmental pressures. We either accept each other as genuinely brothers and sisters, or we put our entire species at risk.

    All the wasted energy and all the wrongs perpetrated because of this ridiculous tendency to judge people based on the color of skin or where they were born, or how they speak, or the shape of their eyes or nose! It makes me weep for humanity. We are collectively insane — whether white or black, yellow or red, short or tall, skinny or fat. But there is hope. We can also be wonderful and good to each other.

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