Sep. 6th, 2013

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I really should know better than to read anything written by Andrew Bolt. It's certain to be coming from a position of conservative, white-male-privileged ignorance; I learn nothing and only come away angry. This morning, however, I forgot myself sufficiently to deviate from my usual course; or maybe I just wanted an excuse for an almighty rant.

In yesterday's Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, the darling fascist bully-boy (gosh, I loved The Young Ones, didn't you?) came out swinging over Kevin Rudd's appearance on Q&A, in particular his "abuse" of the Christian pastor over his views on marriage.

After trashing the Prime Minister as "cynical and unprincipled" - apparently just because he changed his mind about marriage equality - Bolt rips into him for supposedly trying to make the pastor seem like a "gay-hating bigot." First of all, I doubt very much that it's possible to survive in politics without being cynical and unprincipled; if Bolt's hero Tony Abbott isn't prepared to backflip on policy and lie through his teeth as the need arises, he's in the wrong game. Secondly, if you think, for example, that LGBT people are "allowed" to have their sexual proclivities but not act on them - this is the standard conservative Christian take on homosexuality - then you are a gay-hating bigot. You may not realise it but let's not mince words over the issue here - if I were to make a comment like, "Oh, it's fine if you believe in Jesus and all that, but going to church is just disgusting," I would be slammed for being a Christian-hater quicker than I could blink.

Bolt then attempts to accuse Rudd of Biblical ignorance, observing that it was actually Aristotle, not Jesus or Moses or any other character from Judeo-Christian scripture, who declared slavery to be a natural condition. Bolt even quotes a senior Anglican minister just to emphasise how "profoundly wrong" Rudd's comment was. In doing so, he spectacularly misses the point the Prime Minister was making, one obvious to anybody who's actually thought about the arguments for marriage equality or against religious moralising. The fact is that in modern society, we simply don't get our ethics from the Bible anymore. How could we? It is inconsistent in its strictures and often downright horrifying - despite the mental and verbal gymnastics executed by religious apologists in their attempts to claim otherwise. Of course people have to be selective. Rudd is getting pilloried here for nothing more than rethinking his selections. Oh, and for the record - the early Catholic church was quite happy to appropriate Aristotle's metaphysics; and the apostle Paul is well known to have written that slaves should "obey your masters" (though to be fair, he also apparently thought the apocalypse was just around the corner).

Finally, to drive home the point that Labor, as led by Kevin Rudd, is a bad choice because changing your mind is bad, mmmkay, Bolt makes a little list - three points on which Labor changed its policy: border protection and refugees; Julia Gillard's leadership; and climate change and the carbon tax. Through it all, Bolt was right there, "warning" that Labor was getting it wrong but getting no acknowledgement, poor diddums, even when his opinion was supposedly vindicated by a policy shift. "Remember how we were abused, but never answered?" he rages, comma and all - little realising that for the most part, on all these points, his position was - to use the phrase attributed to theoretical physicist Wolfgang Pauli - not even wrong. Like all good little neo-cons, Bolt presents himself as xenophobic, clueless about the plight of refugees, openly and ignorantly sexist and a climate-change denier. How is an intelligent and rational person - like the Prime Minister, for example - to engage with such robustly backward thinking? Some ideas just deserve to be abused.

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October 2013

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