Sometimes the culture wars are exhausting. One minute you are denounced as a culture warrior in wars they say are confected and redundant; next minute the government is in “crisis” because the green-left is hyperventilating about another skirmish in their identity/culture wars.
The so-called progressive activists are nothing if not predictable, conducting themselves in the opposite fashion to what they demand of others. They demand we are blind to gender, and then that is all they see; they insist Labor MPs are afforded the presumption of innocence, then pivot to full Crucible mode against conservatives; they tell us the culture wars do not matter, then they protest against core elements of our culture and history.
For a simple man raised in the suburban foothills of Adelaide, it is often too much to comprehend. Why, for instance, is the horrible crime of sexual assault considered a national disgrace and a federal responsibility now but it was not when Julia Gillard or Kevin Rudd lived in the Lodge?
Why is it laudable to highlight obscene alleged assaults against women in Parliament House or at the hands of politicians, but it is racist and cruel to draw attention to sickening domestic violence and sexual assaults in remote Indigenous communities?
The paradoxes are everywhere. Why do the activists and commentariat demand more women are promoted to prominent positions in the Coalition cabinet, yet when they are elevated condemn them for not being ideologically suitable? Why did they not criticise Labor and the Greens for refusing to support a woman as president of the NSW upper house?
How can advocates such as Anthony Albanese tell us electric cars are so convenient, practical and efficient that they will soon dominate car sales, then argue that we must subsidise them to make it happen? Were early automobiles and tractors subsidised to take over from horses and oxen?
Likewise, the woke tell us renewables provide the cheapest power and assure us it can be reliable, yet they demand funds, legislation and schemes to ensure it is taken up. Do you remember subsidies to encourage the upgrade from black and white to colour television, from VHS recorders and DVDs to Netflix, or from records and CDs to iTunes? Me neither.
People such as NSW Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean and his newly appointed clean-energy adviser Malcolm Turnbull keep telling us that coal is not commercially viable and that falling global demand will see it diminish as an export industry. Yet they want to block a rush of applications to invest in new coalmines — presumably these proposals are being pushed by commercial sadomasochists.
And, by the way, where is the logic in appointing a man whose political career was characterised, above all else, by failures on climate policy as a lead adviser on, you guessed it, climate policy? Surely it cannot end well.
We had severe floods a year ago and this autumn they were the worst for at least 50 years in some places — as is often the case, severe drought has given way to flooding rains. Yet there is no frenzy to blame the floods on climate change and/or Scott Morrison in the way that zealots argued he and the Coalition were culpable for a bad bushfire season at the tail end of the drought.
Is this because the green-left advocates and their media comrades know that the apportioning of political blame for our endemic scourges is scientifically absurd? Or, more likely, because fire suits their narrative better than rain?
Someone should explain how daubing Liberal MP Nicolle Flint’s electorate office and Facebook page with words like “skank” and “whore” and suggesting she was a cheap prostitute might not be sexist, but that getting angry about Gillard breaking a carbon tax promise could be construed as misogynistic. It confuses me that we are urged to respect the political judgment of ABC commentators on the Coalition’s “women problem” or pandemic management when they were all wrong about the last federal election, Brexit, Donald Trump’s prospects in 2016 (not to mention his run in 2020), border protection policies, the trial of George Pell, and how quickly we would be overwhelmed by the coronavirus in Australia.
It is difficult to comprehend how it is OK to gather in the streets to conduct antipodean versions of the US Black Lives Matter protests but it would have been a deadly breach of pandemic measures for veterans and their supporters to march on Anzac Day. It also seems incongruous that thousands of activists could March 4 Justice when many effectively called for trial by media and the abandonment of the rule of law when it came to attorney-general Christian Porter.
For the life of me I cannot understand how someone being required to wear a mask in Birdsville or Cairns is an appropriate response to a clutch of coronavirus infections from a known source in inner-city Brisbane. And I cannot understand how Labor politicians can blame the Coalition for not bringing more Australians home from overseas when it is the state Labor governments that have closed or severely limited overseas quarantine places because they have not been able to run them effectively.
It seems a misnomer to call a meeting of our government leaders the national cabinet when they refuse to abide by uniform policies in the national interest and none of their decisions has the legal imprimatur of a cabinet decision. It is passing strange, if not galling, that states such as Western Australia and Queensland were happy to take funds from the taxpayers of NSW — but refused to allow the people who paid those taxes to travel into their states to spend their own, after-tax income.
Some of us were left scratching our heads too when the so-called social progressives who argued for decades to legalise the repugnant and exploitative trade of prostitution (and demanded we protect the dignity of prostitutes by calling them sex workers) then scandalised those who used the services of said sex workers if they happened to be politicians of a certain hue. I am old enough to remember some of these same people demanding forbearance when it came to a certain Labor politician accused of doing the same on union members’ coin.
It is bewildering when we are told to respect all religions and treat any criticism of any faith as an affront to worshippers’ rights, except for Christianity, of course, whose adherents face an open season of mockery and disdain, and are admonished for not seeing the funny side of Piss Christ.
Likewise, racial stereotypes must be erased unless we refer to the callousness and privilege of white people, the insularity of the Americans or the innate spirituality of Indigenous peoples.
Double standards abound. It has become accepted wisdom that it is a crime for the Japanese to harvest abundant minke whales but there is silence about the taking of humpback whales by Indigenous people in the Caribbean, Greenland or Russia.
Help me out here. It is fine for climate activists to own several homes, crisscross the globe in jets and continually expand their carbon footprints while they minimise their tax bills, but the rest of us need to pay higher electricity prices to save the planet?
All the while, our largest trading partner continues to slander our country, expand its military, increase its emissions and oppress its people, and we are told by some in our own country that we are only getting what we deserve for daring to speak out against Chinese human rights violations, and suggesting the world might want to know the truth about the origins of the coronavirus. Our external critics need only echo our own leftist malcontents.
If we harbour so many people undermining our values, economy and culture, we need more people fighting back. We should not be ashamed of culture wars, we should embrace them as a necessity — the price of keeping all we prize.
Perhaps our Easter reflection could be to consider the value we might harness in a media/political class that understood our values and strengths and was prepared to buttress them. We might even dare to imagine a political debate that pays heed to principle and consistency over partisanship and opportunism.