18C and the doctrine of emotional protectionism

Who gave you this authority?

Anytime authority is exercised over you a legitimate question to ask is, ‘who gave you this authority?’ As the discussion about 18C & D continues in Australia, a thought should come to mind whenever you turn your attention to the issue. When was this ever discussed at an election? When did my local MP ever bring this up in communication with me?

Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader, Barnaby Joyce claimed that this was not an important issue among the electorate and was ‘a political distraction’. Well I suppose that view is a luxury a politician can afford to indulge, a university student not so much. He further espoused his view that the Turnbull government should not engage Labor in these philosophical debates’ and that ‘we should be talking about things where we have greater potency than the opposition, which is delivery. Power prices, dams, sealing roads. Things that I can show and touch.’ This is an interesting battlefield for the Coalition Government to select considering its limited capacity in this area at present.

Barnaby is wrong. The philosophical debate is exactly where you must engage because philosophy precedes action. The actions in the tangible world he focuses on are a result of the intangible realm of thoughts. Most particularly where resources will be allocated. Such as what courts will receive judicial appointments; criminal courts or thought courts? Wind mills or roads?

The Deputy PM’s need to get this mere ‘political distraction’ off the table is a sign of the inescapable entanglement this type legal censure creates. Life is governed by philosophy and you cannot remove it from debate. One may as well attempt to swat air away from your face. Furthermore, the scale of community reaction belies Barnaby’s comments about its unimportance.

Some excellent work has been done in opposing this legislation with in-depth arguments the left would rather ignore. Brendan O’Neill wrote in The Australian that the law infantilises ethnic groups, a point brilliantly amplified by Jacinta Nampijinpa Price in her submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee of Human Rights enquiry into Freedom of Speech in Australia. Waleed Aly also helps out by talking. He’s trying to help his side of the argument but as per usual, he manages to make a total hash of it by being too clever by half. It’s a bit like the proverbial snake in the grass, except there’s no grass and everyone can see him. He’s not subtle or nuanced and seems to truly believe that by coming down from the academic Mount Olympus to us mortals he’s doing us a favour. By doing so, he simply alienates those undecided viewers who can think, so thanks for the help I say.

For my part, the strongest arguments against these laws are grounded in one simple question:

“Who gave you this authority?”

What are the origins of protecting emotions with legal force? When did we as a society empower our rulers to use taxation money to employ legal professionals to take people to court over emotions?

As a society we have given authority to our leaders to give us and our property physical protection. This is THE primary purpose and duty of the government, to enforce law and order and bring justice. Put in simple terms, the role of the state is to stop and restrain evil. This is the state of affairs that makes sense to peoples within civilised societies. It makes sense because it covers the tangible world of persons and property.

Then along comes a new doctrine of law enforcement in western liberal democracies, namely Emotional Protectionism. This is a move by the state to expand the shield of legal protection from the objective physical realm to the subjective emotional realm. If you steal my phone I can prove it because I found it in your pocket. If you hurt my emotions how can this be proved except by expressing opinion? And even then, so what?

“Your rights don’t end where my feelings begin.”

The home and that which extends from the home are the foundations of individual belief and there is a long and sad history of governments attempting to usurp this role.

The reason that is doesn’t work for government but works in the home is because of the purpose for the institution’s design. The home exerts tremendous influence over the heart, the soul, the psyche. The influence run deep and begins early, things learnt early tend to stay with you throughout your life. Parents have the natural authority to teach beliefs, moral restraints and ideas of right and wrong.

The state is a very different kettle of fish.

It is not designed for endearment or moral influence by virtue of law implementation. Political leaders can exert some moral influence through example but this is limited and fleeting.

The dangers of underground thought

Another powerful argument against 18C is the problems of ideas in isolation which are not subject to scrutiny.

Restricting free speech drives thoughts underground and into dark places. When treating depression, councillors try to get people to talk about what they’re thinking for a very good reason. When an idea is contained within the mind, it can take on any dimension it pleases, the space and scope is limitless. Bring it into the open and the originator can then see how ridiculous the scenarios they have created really are. This is a very real function of a person talking to their friends over a drink. It objectifies opinion and allows a check and balance to the imagination.

Speech is how we dress thought. It is how we bring thought from the unlimited dimension of the imagination and into the real world of human interaction, and consequences.

Take for example the concept of true racism. The idea that one race is inherently superior to another for no other reason than they are of that race. This is a dark concept that cannot be addressed and overcome if restrained within the confines of the mind, or the kitchen table, or the Facebook chat group. The best way to check ambition is with ambition and the best way to check ideas is with ideas. If someone has a bad idea, let them speak it out. Force them to think it through by placing their concept within a vocal framework and show them and the greater public the fallacies within their idea. This must be done openly and in the court of public opinion where others are free to disagree and bring counter arguments or better arguments. This then engages the technique of the feedback loop where the results of any given undertaking are fully felt. If you can just eliminate the feedback loop you can continue your ideas ad infinitum North Korean style.

Speech restriction is intellectual darkness

The Australian Human Rights Commission effectively operates as a sleeper cell of leftist ideology. It is designed to promulgate the priorities of the left while in or out of government. The word ‘commission’ sounds very grand to the ear of the average citizen because ‘The Australian Thought Police Department’ just doesn’t have the right ring to it.

Our civilisation has a choice. Will we travel the road of intellectual darkness like Canada has with its de facto sharia blasphemy law? Will we allow intellectual pygmies to dictate to us all what we can think and say? Or will we follow the titans of philosophy who dragged the civilised world from mental darkness and into The Enlightenment?

Philosophy is a full contact sport and like it or not, you’re playing. Our intellectual ancestors fought hard, sometimes it cost them their lives but it was a contest worth fighting. It was worth it then and it’s worth it now.  

Stephen works as a Quantity Surveyor in Brisbane and has a bachelor’s degree in Construction Management. He has an intense interest in the ideological contest between freedom and control that dominates our social and political discourse. Stephen strongly believes in free market systems, freedom of speech and smaller government.

Stephen Cable

71 Comments on "18C and the doctrine of emotional protectionism"

  1. Great article. However ‘the enlightenment’ is irrelevant to our rights and freedoms in the English speaking world; they evolved from the contest between the monarch and the parliament, which is why the USA keeps going weird – they don’t have that balance. The Thought Police ala Human Rights Commission is so dangerous simply because it doesn’t answer to either the crown or the parliament: the scoundrels can do whatever evil they please.

  2. Any encroachment to freedom of information and freedom of speech is outrageous to anybody in reality.

    Statistically 1 in 1000 of us also know “the truth” and why that is also so important too.

    The people that advocate otherwise are not evil either in majority, they are propagandised to believe they represent the side of “good” when in fact it’s the side of “evil” but they can’t believe otherwise.

  3. “every time you violate – or propose to violate – the right to free speech of someone else, you in potentia you’re making a rod for your own back. Because … Who’s going to decide, to whom do you award the right to decide which speech is harmful, or who is the harmful speaker? Or to determine in advance what are the harmful consequences going to be that we know enough about in advance to prevent? To whom would you give this job? To whom you’re going to award the task of being the censor?” – Christopher Hitchens.

    When you take away someone else’s free speech, what right do you have to complain when someone else takes away *yours*?

  4. When you are told what to think, believe and say, within narrow, law enforced parameters, then you are no longer living in a Democracy !

  5. There is nothing the removal of 18C would give you that isn’t already covered by 18D, unless you specifically feel the need to be a cunt to other people. 18C helps prevent the majority overwhelming the minority through numbers rather than actual validity of opinion (noone will listen to a reasonable minority voice or right of reply when you’ve managed to tag them already as undesirables), 18D makes sure we’re doing it for constructive purposes. If you feel the need to vent, go to a therapist.

    • “18C helps prevent the majority overwhelming the minority through numbers rather than actual validity of opinion”.

      That’s is an interesting claim. Please explain how section 18C manages to achieve this.

    • Because if the majority is allowed to undermine the minority through badmouthing, rational debate goes out the window because the majority has already made up their minds that the minority aren’t worth listening to. Most people get their info through relatively limited sources (e.g. a favourite newspaper or tv channel, or just logging onto FB), and it’s rarer for people to take the time to find contrasting news sources covering every angle. Therefore, people make their opinions from what they get – and if that source is the one supplying the majority, it becomes very powerful. If that information is based in what we call slander, you will influence people to unfairly judge another group of people, who don’t have the recourse of reply, simply because you’ve appealed to an emotionally driven argument nand not a factual one. You’ve got a beautiful example above – Muslims everywhere have been repeatedly denouncing extremism all over the world, but you say they’re finally confronting the problem…?!? They haven’t been slack – YOU have simply not been listening! And this will get a lot worse if you remove the little barrier that prevents what should always be rational discourse being flooded by mindless insult and verbal attack. 18D says you need a reason to attack, and it floors me how opponents of 18C can’t see this as the most basic of requirements in any discussion! If you have a reason, back it up and go for it! Noone’s stopping you – really, they aren’t – Pauline Hanson and the half of the coalition which put Turnbull into the top job are living proof…!

    • Well said. I notice libertywankers have not responded. nd Im nit surprised. I suspect this libertywankers us just some pathetic loser who still lives with his mim and want to be allowed to be a moron

    • More insults Roger? And from somebody who obviously thinks offence laws are worth defending. It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic.

    • LibertyWorks lol,, you idiot

    • Yup, there’s a hypocrisy there. Roger, this doesn’t help! Surely you’d have to agree, LW, that debate is better served when there’s a cap on the targeted insults, and you guys have illustrated that here (I’ve been a good boy in the meantime!). Sheer weight of numbers is great for polls and elections, that’s called democracy, but it can be manipulated if the bulk of the people aren’t interested in getting to the core of the issue without getting emotional or offended or pushing their own blind agenda because someone dares speak the opposite (and it really grates when people on your side start sarcastically asking “are you offended by my free speech” when they’re no better at taking it). Again, 18C stops you attacking people willy nilly, which is a good thing. Law reflects societal attitudes and alternatively shapes them, so a legal position that says “mind your manners” to me is how it should be. There is too much cuntiness in this world, that is basic human nature, and the notion that “allowing people to be unrestricted mouthy arseholes is the mark of a progressive society” floors me in its stupidity, because the entire point of “society” is for our natural wild selves to live in a more harmonious and self-disciplined environment for mutual benefit. 18D says that if there is a legitimate issue, then you can bring it up without being hammered for slander or similar. If this doesn’t satisfy a person’s needs, then the problem lies with them.

    • Kent Gibbins The majority overwhelming the minority through numbers – thats called democracy. By preventing the majority from voicing an opinion or arguement you are allowing the minority to dictate to the rest of the people what we must think and believe. You give people little credit to discern between factual arguements and emotional pandering. 18C does not stop the flood of midless insults and verbal attacks. Look at the responses to anyone who voices an opinion not of the leftist view. Cries of racist and islamaphobe, homophobe ensue from every quarter, regardless of the rational arguement being put forward. Racial villification is covered by other laws in this country but 18C goes alot further. It silences any debate on difficult issues for fear of someone taking offence and dragging you before the AHRC. QUT student case in point. After 3yrs of legal proceedings found not guilty but at what cost to that student. How many other cases don’t we know about. How many people paid compensation money just to get out from under these onerous proceedings. This law is the greatest attack on free speech and democracy this country faces.

  6. Listen Libertyworks. Prove you’re not just working to keep the racist voters in the coalition fold. Stop concentrating on the only free speech the racist coalition appears to be concerned with. Start putting out the propaganda in relation to defamation, whistleblower protection, criminalisation of public servant commentary, censorship.

    • You start a conversation implying that we are racists and you expect to be listened to? The onus of burden of proof is on you to prove that our motivations are to ‘keep the racist voters in the coalition fold.’

    • You want to keep 18C? How about we add calling people ‘racist’, or ‘bigot’ or any sort of ‘-phobe’ to the list of hate speech? Still want it? Because you’ll never be able to open your yap again if we do that.

    • Although I’m not alleging you are racist, yours is a typical of the response one gets from racists. What I am alleging is that an organisation that is genuinely about liberty, free speech in particular, would not be as myopic as you are on the free speech infringement front, and would not align itself with politicians who are clearly playing to their racist base.

      Why are you not championing free speech in relation to defamation, whistleblower protection, criminalisation of public servant commentary, censorship, etc? Why only champion it where its value is at its most most dubious?

    • James Walker , I don’t subscribe to the all too widely held notion that political correctness is as bad as racism. That is the notion that is implicit in your comment. If you want to say that free speech absolutism trumps moral relativism, then show me where you are also up in arms about defamation, whistleblower protection, criminalisation of public servant commentary, censorship etc.

    • LibertyWorks , the evidentiary onus is on you because you are evidently only concerned about one aspect of free speech – the right to be a bigot. Not the right to report misconduct, not the right to impair a reputation, however undeserved, not the right to artistic expression …

    • Alan Luchetti Your opinion, and that’s all it is, is that LibertyWorks can’t advocate for free speech because you think it aligns us with “politicians who are clearly playing to their racist base”. That is, without a doubt, the stupidest justification I’ve ever heard for anti-free speech views. But, it’s a game all can play…

      Presumably, you didn’t like Hitler, right? But the Nazi’s implemented censorship, used propaganda, burned books and banned unapproved speech. Why are you, Alan Luchetti, aligning yourself with the Nazi’s by supporting bans on free speech in Australia?

    • Andrew, my observation (not “opinion”) is that there are many infringements of free speech that LW could complain about. Why it is only complaining about one infringement, and this infringement in particular, raises the obvious suspicion. And the quality of the responses I’m getting is only serving to confirm that suspicion. To me the only unknown left is whether this s18C fixation of LW is in aid of the coalition’s pitch to its racist base that John Howard worked so hard to attract, or in aid of racist expression itself.

    • Sounds rather like you are the racist bigot

    • Against what race would that be, Ray?

    • James Walker you dont have a clue do you James

    • LibertyWorks your typical response. You never seem to answer any specific questions or respond to any points made. You are a pathetic little loser looking for a license ti speak hate filled crap

    • It looks like you are the one spouting ‘hate filled crap’. Ironic.

    • Roger Clark clearly, a lot more of a clue than you. Now, since you don’t want free speech: shush.

    • Roger, Be fair. LW is not answering specific questions or responding to points made, but that may be deliberate rather than pathetic and it may be to avoid a loss rather than be the work of a loser. The licence to speak hate filled crap might be being unselfishly sought on others’ behalf. LW might not personally wish to do what s 18C penalises and s 18D doesn’t defend.

    • Whites Alan, whites, or are you too wrapped up in your own bullshit to see that? To keep on constantly accusing all whites of being racist makes you one yourself, maybe you are one of those people that believe whites can not be racially abused??

    • Ray, the only whites I accuse of racism are racist whites and the only non-whites I accuse of racism are racist non-whites.

    • You have stated that the entire coalition is racist, really?

    • How else would you characterise their indigenous, refugee and anti-terrorism policies, Ray? And what care have they shown for free speech in non18C contexts? There may be individual dissenters among them, but their misgivings haven’t found their way out of the party room.

    • Alan Luchetti Defamation laws are pretty clear. The comments have to be false and the complainant has to show actual damage caused beyond hurt feelings. Unlike 18C where someone has to merely take offence at the comments, true or not. As for the other aspects of free speech being curtailed, well we have to start somewhere and 18C is the biggest obstacle to public debate on any issue at the moment.

    • Here’s the IPA proposing a bigger obstacle on a much bigger issue:

  7. While you are ranting in a blue fit about 18c the rest of us want 18d abolished so we can sue the socks off you when you start slagging us off.

    • Thanks for the admission, maybe you can get government to act as your agent against even more people you don’t like. Our you could grow out of your child like state and simply become an adult.

    • I see you have expanded your brief to include preserving the standards of adulthood.

  8. Fuck off you morons. How do you like that freedom of speech

    • We support your right to speak your mind Roger. We do wonder why somebody who loves to throw insults around like you loves 18C so much.

    • Good point, LibertyWorks. Free speech is not inherently virtuous. It all depends on what is being said.

    • Free speech goes both ways, and being told to not offend goes both ways. If i’m called a whitefella, or an infidel respectfully, and i find that offensive, can I sue the aboriginal or muslim that calls me either one. I believe in free speech, not hate speech, I dont go around using racist terms, but I’m entitled to my opinion, and if I think someone is being a right prick, I have the right to call them that.

    • LibertyWorks too stupid to understand irony ?

    • Well said. Rogers a tool and sheep

  9. Nice to see those pro 18c love detracting those against…!
    Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
    You have to love free speech when it’s going to be a one way street….Not.
    18c is not protecting anybody but instead being used to vilify innocent people in order to satisfy another’s insecurities.

  10. The term “Emotional protectionism” somewhat implies that words and in particular the words of media have no real power and that feelings are really all thats at stake.

  11. emotional denouncement is the reason for 18C.

  12. The intellectual pygmies are people like Hanson, Dutton, Bernardi and Christensen. Never had an original thought between them. Total combined IQ would barely qualify for Mensa.

  13. 18C restricts our verbal freedoms to speak the truth that Islam and lefties do NOT want us to hear or know about full stop. 18C is like a wall that people can hide behind because someone offended them because the truth was told. Political correctness written into law..and that for my country that I love and live in, is bloody dangerous.

  14. ‘Ugly Works’ more like it. Say what you like do what you like, will turn the world to look like Somalia. Look to the Nordic countries instead.

  15. Intellectual pygmies is a very apt description tho an insult to actuall pygmies.

  16. 18c is there only for people who are not confident enough to stand up for themselves and what they believe in. Don’t want to call them losers but am tempted.

  17. 18C is there to show that its not okay to discriminate against people, it is there to protect those groups who are in a minority and are often targeted by members of the majority. Its there to show the few nasty individuals out there that they need to be nice. Its not about limiting free speech.

    • There are other laws against racial discrimmination. 18C is not required. It is used to target anyone who doesn’t agree with leftist thinking and shuts down any debate.

    • Surely people can frame their debate in such a way that the lefties wouldn’t be able to try to shut it down through misuse of 18C?

    • Kevin Lewis “Surely people can frame their debate in such a way that the lefties wouldn’t be able to try to shut it down through misuse of 18C?”

      Somebody needs to introduce you to the lying Left.
      Morality is by consensus, when it suits them. And the goalposts are where they say they are at any given moment.

      If it weren’t for conflation and equivocation, the Left wouldn’t have two arguments to rub together enough to make a spark.

      What does the Left want?
      More government.
      When do they want it?
      More government.

      What will they do to get more government?
      Let’s just say that moral relativism makes the end justify the means.

  18. And the regressives rear their heads yet again. Same propaganda. Same debunked arguments yet still trying to use them as a battering ram. Same regressive style. Same regressive outcome. Same entertainment value
    Restricting speech is a classic totalitarian tool. And leads to further restrictions on individual freedoms. All these idiots whinge about the White Australia Policy yet are perfectly comfortable with 18C and blasphemy laws.
    The hypocritical left in all it’s glory…

  19. The Left cannot properly define rights by their own convictions, and refer instead to state bestowed entitlements and benefits as “rights”.
    That which is attained through the provision or expense of another is a privilege.
    The Left survive on equivocation and conflation. Rights and privileges are constantly equivocated and conflated by the Left.

    The FACT, as established through Thomas Pain, Frederic Bastiat and a great deal others is that rights precede ALL contrived law and ALL government.
    They do not have to be “recognised” by a centralised authority to exist.
    YOU (the individual) invest finite and irredeemable portions of YOUR finite life into values and benefits to YOU. This is the first measure of a right.
    Basically, as a privilege is a benefit or value gained at the provision or expense of another, a right becomes a benefit or value gained at the provision or expense of the self.
    A right can also be assessed as the cost of replacing that benefit or value.

    Rights tie in with moral principles.
    I have to address the Lying Left here, to explain that “moral relativism” is no morality; that there is a BIG difference between “morals” and “morality” and the principles of morality ARE NOT the “social construct” that can be deconstructed and remade by the whims of anyone.

    The Lying Left however, in continuing their conflations and equivocations, want to do a number of highly dishonest and fallacious things with the concept of rights.
    There are not, and cannot be rights by identification as your identity is not what achieves anything in this world or any other.
    There are then NO (any Lying Leftists need to read that again) NO collective rights as all forms of collectives are abstractions, not concretes.

    Individual’s rights to freedoms such as speech, association and trade are the greatest threat to Leftism there is.
    The Lying Left are literally terrified of them.
    At all points, the Lying Left will point out how freedom leads only to bad things, so what is required is more government, more government, more government and if I didn’t mention it, the Lying Left want more government.

    Your individual right to free speech is you right to protect what YOU and yours have an irredeemable investment of your finite lives into, and the Lying Left hate you for that.

    And here’s the clincher that will piss off every Lying Leftard there is out there.

    Your right to free speech cannot be removed by anyone.
    They can violate rights.
    They can corrupt them.
    But your right to free speech remains.

    Let’s just take the Lying Left’s purpose in controlling what you can say one step further though.
    By demanding more government to control what you have permission to say, they are demanding violence to control you.
    (Did anyone wonder why ALL the violence surrounding Trump came from the Left? Their morality demands it is why.).

    So the FACT will remain that you, the individual has the right to say as you please.
    Others have the right of freedom association and trade, to have anything to do with you or not for the things you voice.

    All that is required is government get the hell out of our way.

    And just to put a final nail in the Lying Left’s coffin.
    For a free society to exist, truth and lies; good ideas and bad have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, out into the light.

    The Lying Left would prefer all truth and lies were kept in the dark.
    That should tell you everything you need to know about the Left.

    I await their ad hominems, and fallacious attacks.

  20. I will say it again 18C, as with political correctness which helped create that rule, should be thrown down the loo, and more effluent placed apon it…as you would not know the difference in the stench! Leftards are hiding behind that rule, as their skins are so thin, they get hurt at the drop of a hat when someone says “Boo!!”. God help they break a fingernail on their little finger..they would create WW3 without any national leaders’ help.

  21. While emotions are real, they are nebulous and immaterial. It is almost utopian to think that politicians can meaningfully legislate this area when they are barely capable of managing the material.

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