March 24, 2014 | Graham

List your least favourite bigots

The Twitterverse, and the ALP, are afire as George Brandis proclaims that it is a human right to be a bigot, as though this was some novel proclamation from a fascist government when it is in fact a well-accepted principle of human rights. If you don’t believe me check out Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Already Bill Shorten is running a campaign against the right to freedom of opinion, trying to rebrand it as “bigotry” or “racism”.

This isn’t an argument that is going to be won by appeals to John Stuart Mill, or John Milton, or instruments like the Universal Declaration, or even novels like 1984 and Animal Farm.

This is an argument that will only be won by demonstrating that bigotry is a subjective category, and that what is obvious truth to you can be pure blind prejudice to me.

So let’s start making lists of those we regard as bigoted and ask, which one of them should be punished for their thought crimes?

Here are some thought starters.

  • Richard Dawkins – a stigmatiser of good people because he has some bizarre theories about religion. Should his books be banned?
  • Julie Gillard – a woman who identifies any male criticism as misogyny. “Hang” her for sexism?
  • Lowitja O’Donoghue – constantly criticising bodies she doesn’t like for being “white fella” organisations. Here’s an example.
  • The Greek boys who lived across the road who called themselves and their friendship group “wogs” but would pick a fight with anyone from any other ethnic group who used the same term about them.
  • Stephan Lewandosky, who uses the techniques of punitive psychology to attribute psychological disorders to scientists who disagree with him about climate change.

I could go on, but other things call, and I’d like to see some examples from others if possible.

If Brandis wants to win this fight, perhaps he should strengthen the law, instead of abolishing it, to outlaw all sorts of bigotry, and then wait until the cries of defendants on both sides of the argument, convince each other that they need freedom of opinion if they are to be able to hold any strong opinion at all.


Posted by Graham at 10:56 pm | Comments (4) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. Brandis has again displayed what a gutter-dwelling lawyer can be, and no amount of shallow twaddle will change that.

    It’s one thing to acknowledge, on a hypothetical basis, that it is human to tend towards bigotry. It is entirely different when the senior law officer of the land stands up and proudly supports bigotry.

    Graham’s attempts to justify the unjustifiable fail.

    Comment by John B — March 25, 2014 @ 8:54 am

  2. I agree with Graham. Truly free speech must include the right to offend!
    I mean, how does one know, from one minute to the next, what does or doesn’t offend.
    We who routinely slag off or practice self deprecation, are going to offend most other cultures, or people who just don’t have a sense of humor.
    Someone who I now call friend, once told me, in a real hissy fit, that I was a bragger and a know it all!
    I could have responded to the comment with suitable outrage or condemnation or hurtful retort!
    My smile filled reply was, yes I know, and modest as well!
    Well the smile that replaced the black angry frown, was worth taking the heat for somebody else’s misdeeds!
    And we have remained good friends/cobbers, through the last thirty odd years, since the outburst.
    People always retain a choice whether or not to be insulted/offended, or treat hurtful remarks with a turned cheek/good humor?
    Any day of the week, an Aussie bloke may say to a mate, hey your wife is quite a looker, to which an Aussie husband might reply, yeah isn’t she, and or, eat your heart out loser, or some such!
    Whereas, if we were to make the same remark in some cultures, we would be grabbed by the throat, thrust up against the nearest wall and ask to repeat said highly offensive insult!
    Everybody in a free land has the inherent right to free speech, some of which is bound to offend somebody!
    Should we just tape our mouths shut, amputate our fingers, or just get on with it, and roll with the verbal punches, or better yet, give back better than we got; and or, have a good belly laugh at our own expense!
    Life is just too short to take ourselves, our mores or social customs too seriously!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — March 25, 2014 @ 12:40 pm

  3. John B, bigoted as your comments are, I’m letting them stand. You’re entitled to your own beliefs, including that a commercial lawyer (Brandis) is somehow a “gutter-dweller”, and misconstrue support for a right to be bigoted into support for bigotry. Next thing you’ll be characterising my support for your right to be wrong into general support for wrongness.

    We have a problem in Australian education in that people are not properly educated to understand what their rights are, and why and how they have worked to make this one of the most desirable places in the world to live.

    Comment by Graham — March 27, 2014 @ 11:30 am

  4. Sophie Mirabella = George Brandis. We know what happened to good old Sophie! Good bye Georgie.

    Comment by Jolly — March 31, 2014 @ 4:32 pm

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