#BREAKING A protester has managed to invade the stage during alt-right commentator Lauren Southern's Melbourne address as hundreds clash with police outside https://t.co/Clz9PEZ98F pic.twitter.com/SUWFNOIyZL
— The Australian (@australian) July 20, 2018
Violent protests broke out last week when Canadian commentator Lauren Southern and philosopher, Stephan Molyneux were speaking in Melbourne. According to Andrew Bolt, Victorian Police made a controversial move and billed Southern just under A$68,000 to keep protesters under control.
I’m not a great fan of Lauren Southern and I know she’s controversial. Her views on immigration and Islam in particular are seen by some as hate speech. It’s got to be said that Southern denies the accusation.
The more I see Secular Talk on YouTube, the more I buy the argument that free speech should be (almost) absolute, (excluding threats of violence and defamation). To my knowledge, neither Southern, nor Molyneux have been guilty of any of those offences, either in Canada or anywhere else (feel free to prove me wrong).
There is something else. Intimidation and violence are not only morally wrong, they are a sure – fire way to not get what you are supposedly fighting for. It won’t make people more empathetic towards refugees and asylum seekers. It didn’t make the US get Hillary Clinton as President. It could have destroyed any chance of Australia winning same – sex marriage, (luckily things picked up in the end).
It seems that everything the extreme Left touches turns to dust. Campaigns become unwinable. And history shows us that when there is retaliation against the extreme Left or Right, the pendulum almost always sways too far the other way. Extreme multiculturalists end up giving power to neo – Nazis. Islam sympathisers and the like achieve talks about the Qu’ran being banned as what was debated in Holland.
History has seen huge pendulum swings both ways, both often having deadly consequences. In the 20th century, Russia and Cuba have been two extreme examples. Maybe Iran could be mentioned to. In Europe, where immigration has exploded in recent years, there has been a worrying rise of far – Right and Neo – Nazi parties and groups. Australia hasn’t had such a backlash (yet), but a rise in Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party does suggest that people are unsatisfied with how things like immigration debate is going.
In 2016, the Left was sent a warning with Donald Trump becoming President of the United States and Republicans holding the power in both SCOTUS and the Congress. This set panic to many on the Left, with the Republicans being condemned for their stance on immigration and has also worried people about LGBTQ+ rights. While no one in the Repulican Party has challenged or planned to back pedal SCOTUS’ ruling on nationwide legalisation of same – sex marriage (yet), the status of transgender and gender non – binary people, as well as same – sex couples and their right to access goods and services have been challenged. A number of the Republicans, like Sarah Huckabee – Sanders and Betty DeVoss are known for being behind banning transgender people from the US Forces and suggesting that Government – funded schools should be able to legally fire staff or expel students for being LGBTQ+.
On Saturday, Andrew Bolt wrote a scathing attack on the New South Wales Police after they told Southern to move away from a mosque in Lakemba, Sydney in order to avoid a ‘breach of the peace’.
At first glance, I understood Bolt’s defence of Southern. Then, I read this comment:
The comment reads:
May I suggest that the police concern is not that Southern is a young woman, but that she is going to the mosque with a microphone, a camera crew and a ‘security detail’ in tow.
A couple of weeks ago, a male Daily Telegraph photographer went to a mall one (sic) his own and caused a breach of the peace. He picked out a target group purely on the basis of their appearance. This group had done nothing wrong and were behaving exactly as other groups of people the same age act, who were not considered worthy of media attention. But the group was black, and the photographer wanted a picture to go with a story on ‘African gangs’. A confrontation ensued, police were called and the photographer got and reported his story, never mentioning the part he played in producing it.
These kinds of confrontation narratives are self – fulfilling prophecies.
Comsider what Southern was wanting to achieve. People are peacefully attending a place of worship and a camera crew and reporter with a microphone (who describes herself as anti – Muslim) arrive and ask worshippers to justify themselves. These are more than a little tired of having to justify themselves to the media because of the actions of criminals who share their religion. There may well be a confrontation. That is what the police pfficer is trying to avoid.
I don’t know how much truth their is to this commenter’s narrative about one of the Daily Telegraph photographers, so I’ll leave that alone. I do get the person’s critique about Southern, though. Couldn’t she at least have given worshippers and imam a heads up and ask permission to be filmed or interviewed? Most libraries and community organisations, at least, have to ask permission and a signature of consent before taking and using images and footage of clients/ users and distributing them on social media. On one of my assessments in Certificate IV in Professional Writing and Editing, I had to seek consent and a signature before filming a discussion I needed to have for an assessment. If Southern didn’t, why not?
Southern was on The Bolt Report tonight insisting that she wasn’t trying to cause a stir and that she had conducted similar interviews in the UK without any issue. Now I’m not sure what to think. Make up your own mind.