Welcome to Quadrant Online | Login/ Register Cart (0) $0 View Cart
Menu
July 22nd 2016 print

James Allan

Affirmative Action for Conservatives?

No, not the sort that sees women and minorities promoted by quota -- a concept abhorrent to all who believe merit  must be key. But what to make of a Coalition government that allows the left to colonise institutions and control them totally, as in our universities and at the ABC?

thumb on scaleLet’s say that you’re a ‘diversity’ freak. What you want in life is to take group X, see what its percentage of the population happens to be, and then demand that the same percentage of X’s be found in the various jobs and roles that matter to you.  This is just quota thinking, but without the bravery of calling it a quota. Your focus might be corporate boards, it might be judicial appointments, it might be top political spots.  It probably won’t be heavy manual labour down the mines or garbage collection, though for political reasons it might be jobs in the military as combat troops.

Of course, almost all of the people in the West today who focus on ‘diversity’ and ‘equity’ do so in terms of things like the type of reproductive organs one brings to the table, or one’s skin pigmentation.  It’s those things, they think, that need to reflect the population at large. It is almost never things such as one’s political outlook or attitude towards open borders or judgements on what sorts of energy sources to develop (or leave in the ground, as it were).

At universities, where I work, left-leaning political attitudes are massively – and I mean massively – over-represented.   In the US giving money to political parties is public information.  So studies have shown that 91% of Harvard law professors give to the Democrats.  It’s 92% at Yale and 94% at Stanford.  For subjects such as ‘social psychology’, US academic Jon Haidt has collected data showing that 96% of these social psychologists working at universities see themselves as left of centre; 3.7% see themselves as centrist; and – wait for it – 0.3% see themselves as right of centre.  (Still, that still beats ‘our’ ABC with its 0.00 percent of its presenters, producers or top people generally  with a right-of-centre pedigrees, but it doesn’t beat it by much.)

You would be a brave person to bet those sort of ratios are any less biased in Australia or that they would be any less skewed in women’s studies departments, in indigenous studies departments, or in those parts of law schools that focus on ‘human rights’ – and I can personally attest to that last one as someone who writes and speaks and has attended many conferences in this so-called human rights area.

I used to bring university meetings to a halt, and I mean this literally, by saying out loud how much I liked John Howard and his government.  At human rights conferences around the world, in between the self-righteous, smug, holier-than-thou, bumper-sticker moralising, one could count on one hand the number of people who would ever admit to voting for Thatcher, or Reagan, or Howard, or Harper, or — Gof forbid!!! — Tony Abbott.  That said, you would find quite a few who would have a good word for Malcolm Turnbull.  Probably they wouldn’t vote for him, but they like his worldview (which is the core of the problem with the man, to my way of thinking).

But the first point is that universities across the Anglosphere – and probably more widely than that – lean ‘left’ with a huge tilt or skew.  There is a dearth of people who at core are, say, Hobbesian national sovereignty types, for whom stopping the boats and upholding majoritarian democratic sovereignty are very important.  There are a few more of, say, libertarians or hard-nosed free traders.  But their numbers would be dwarfed by social justice types, or pro-international law and supra-nationalism pooh-poohers of things like, well, voting and democracy.  (Don’t believe me?  Just look at the reaction to the Brexit vote by UK academics.  A more preening, self-righteous group of ‘we know better than you poor plebs’ would be hard to imagine.)

Oh, and the second point is that when it comes to quotas, or affirmative action, or ensuring ‘diversity’ and ‘equity’ (however you call it, depending on your honesty), there are never any moves to push for a diversity of political outlook amongst the academics on a university faculty, not even in areas that teach about political science and democracy.  Now I am personally opposed to all forms of affirmative action, so would oppose it even here.  But it has always struck me that if you’re in the quotas (oops, ‘diversity’) game then you ought to be a lot more worried about exposing students to a ‘diversity’ of outlooks and the mainstreams of thought and ideas (by those who actually hold them) in some rough statistical way than you should be about exposing them to a ‘balanced’ coterie of reproductive organs or skin pigmentation.

And clearly that same sort of claim about heavily left-leaning universities applies in exactly the same way to ‘our’ ABC.  The imbalance – no, let’s be honest and call it what it is, the bias – is incredible.   How the Board of the ABC and its managing head honchos get away with this shameless skewing to the left is beyond me.  And don’t point me towards that laughable review last year.  If you can say with a straight face that it was convincing and plausible then I recommend that you move to Los Angeles and look for acting work.

So the obvious question is why the main right-of-centre political party does nothing about this clear bias.  Start with the ABC.  Why do the Libs let it run such a one-sided menu of political presuppositions?  I don’t care what people spend their own money to watch or read.  But when the taxpayers have to fork out over a billion dollars a year for wall-to-wall lefties, well surely this is grounds for action by the Liberal Party.

Alas, we have a Liberal Party at present so devoid of principle that it appoints Ed Santow to the Human Rights Commission and that it does nothing at all, zero, about the ABC.  I suppose Mr. Turnbull owes them one for their vitriol against his predecessor.

Comments [21]

  1. Peter OBrien says:

    And not only did they do nothing about blatant ABC bias under Mark Scott, a Liberal government in NSW then went and appointed him head of the Department of Education.

    • Jody says:

      James Allan, antagonist and provocateur extraordinary!! Well done. My third son’s current girlfriend just graduated in Communications/Law and used to disrupt tutorials and lectures when they were dissing the Abbott government’s “asylum seeker” policy of detention etc. They would all chorus how inhumane, illegal etc. were the actions and she’d declare she actively supported the government in this (not knowing her future boyfriend was very actively involved in it at a political level!!). But she expresses concern about the group-think in universities. As a woman of 24 it’s hard to believe she’s more conservative than many rusted-on adults!!! A big plus!!

    • ianl says:

      With the LINO’s, the happy-clappers, the only real difference from the ALP is the lack of overt union connections.

      It is obviously public knowledge that Baird’s sister is an ABC employee. So he was well informed on the greyhound issue before publicly destroying it.

      Such people are self-described as “elite”, but I regard them as parasitic, along with the vain and vacuous denizens of the MSM.

      • Jody says:

        When I worked at the ABC in the mid 70′s I made it known that I was a Liberal (involved in the Fraser “Turn On the Lights” campaign). Well, I wore one of the T-shirts to work, being much braver back then. This certainly attracted more than a fair share of opprobrium and I was pilloried and blamed for everything that went wrong in the government subsequently. But I’ll never forget the day of The Dismissal and the warm inner glow I felt as the bolsheviks around me watched the proceedings on TV, all bawling like somebody had taken away their toys.

        • Warty says:

          Not unlike Peter Hitchens, I was one of those ‘bolsheviks’ back then, and I was horrified by the dismissal. But one changes and I’ve grown progressively more conservative and Malcolm Frazer has become a disgrace. Someone wrote, the other day, that Malcolm Turnbull was one of the most left wing Liberal leaders ever: I think Frazer takes the cake.

          • Jody says:

            I proudly proclaim I was never a lefty, ‘progressive’ or bolshevik at any time in my life. Too busy later with a successful business and a hoard of kids to be anything but economically progressive, if I can put it like that. My father was an executive in the steel industry and I grew up learning all about the pointy end of trades unionism!!

    • Guido Negraszus says:

      Well, Mike Baird had to. Mark Scott gave a job to his sister Julia Baird at the ABC (The Drum)some years earlier. As the saying goes: you scratch my back, I scratch your back. It’s a lovely family.

  2. ArthurB says:

    I would agree with Professor Allan that the ABC, Academe, the unions and the public service (both State and Federal) have been colonised by the Left, and are now firmly under Leftist control. It is easy to diagnose the problem, but to quote Lenin: what is to be done? A long time ago Santamaria fought the unions at their own game, and managed to wrest control of some unions from the Leftist thugs, but I am not sure that his technique would be possible now. I fear that nothing can be done to reform the ABC, short of abolishing it completely, similarly with Academe. Does Professor Allan have any suggestions?

    • Warty says:

      I suspect Professor Allan won’t be reading these comments.
      You may be right and ‘nothing can be done to reform the ABC’ etc, but one senses a change, a political shift since last election. A lot of commentators decry the leakage of votes from the two major parties (and the Greens) and the rise of Derryn Hinch, Rise Up Australia, Australia Liberty Alliance and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, but perhaps this is the start of the fight back. I’m sure some of these parties are here to stay, and Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservative Party (whenever it is launched) may have an even greater impact. So I’m hopeful.

    • White Dove says:

      I would also like to know what the “ordinary folk”, like me, can do about, not just the ABC (we have stopped watching), but the whole state of affairs that Australia finds itself in. Tried to send the Liberals a message in the election, but that doesn’t seemed to have worked. Enjoy the articles by James Allan and Peter O’Brien plus many others. However, I am starting to feel that as good and “spot on” as many of the articles are, and I take comfort from the reading, I am not sure where I go from here and what difference I can make. It must be difficult to work in a University environment where everyone is dancing to a different tune. Professor Allan please know that your words are very appreciated and treasured by me.

  3. Bill Martin says:

    I believe the theory goes something like this:

    Ordinary, common, everyday people – as distinct from the enlightened, morally superior elite – are incapable of successfully managing their individual and collective affairs, hence the never ending succession of social and personal calamities besetting the world. The solution to the problem is to utilise the superior intellect and expertise of the elite by giving them full and unfettered authority over all mankind, thereby ensuring that the affairs of humanity are conducted in an absolutely perfect manner to the benefit of all. The overriding feature of the rule by the elite would be to guarantee absolute equality of all in every sense of the concept while also ensuring that all human activity was conducted on an infinitely sustainable basis. The position of the elite in the equality stakes is usually a mute point.

    The reality is that every time the above concept was put into practice, it ended in unmitigated disaster. The analysis of such failures notwithstanding, the verdict can only be outright condemnation.

    The abiding conundrum is: Why does this so obviously flawed social theory remains the favourite of the overwhelming majority of intellectuals, of most entertainers, journalists and even of many of the “ordinary” people?

    • Jody says:

      In answer to your question; because they are supported by the state in their employment and have never had the dilemma of actually have to produce anything that people are willing to buy on the open market – unless all businesses in this country. This gives them the luxury of ‘no responsibility’ and the free time after work to survey their surrounding culture and declare that it is not good and they themselves are equipped to make the necessary changes. The rest of us, apparently, are either too unintelligent or up to our eyeballs and, therefore, complicit in the ‘problem’. Then they’ll recommend all races and creeds are welcome into Australia – er, or Europe – and will sit back and disclaim a scintilla of responsibility when violence and civil war (low grade, as Europe will experience going forward) erupts. Cushy? You betcha. And that’s why Christopher Hitchens grew to absolutely despise the Left.

  4. Bran Dee says:

    In an explanation of Malcolm Turnbulls’s blindness to ABC faults one must remember that his mother wrote for the ABC for many years and that was before the rot had been firmly established. And like Malcolm we all love our mothers despite their failings; but we don’t have to like aunty.

    Let me be the first to say that I am hoping to see a new expression come into frequent use in the media prompted by cultural conflicts and the expression is ‘multicultural violence’.

  5. - says:

    Probably the best we can do about their ABC is to determine how much each taxpayer is forced to contribute to it annually and then deduct that from the tax bill we receive!

  6. wstarck says:

    Of course diversity of opinion is unthinkable in academia as that would violate the unquestionable truths of political correctness.

    The only sure cure for beliefs which defy reality is their consequences. In this instance technological advance has permitted the development of a population of non-producers now reaching majority status. Rather than feel gratitude, perhaps tinged with a bit of guilt, most prefer to assume a posture of moral superiority. The result has been denigration of the productive sector with increasing demands and restrictions on it.

    Having driven most manufacturing offshore or out of business and two-thirds or more of our small primary producers from their livelihood we ended up with all our eggs in a commodity basket increasingly dominated by multinationals who can choose to take most of their profit wherever it suits them. Then commodities did what they always do and the bottom fell out of that basket. Now we are living on borrowed money with an economy focused on house trading. To top it off, the non- producers have found their one true faith in Climate Change and are seeking to force the adoption of sunbeams and summer breezes as the only source of energy. At a time when cheap reliable energy and large investment in new productive activity is essential to economic renewal the only response has been to seek to increase taxes on any remaining profits thus assuring even less such investment. A harsh collision with economic reality appears unavoidable.

    • Jody says:

      We’ve just had a friend leave here this morning with a bee in his bonnet as we were discussing this freedom of speech issue and how today we seem to have what I call “the hashtag generation”. Once upon a time people studied Shakespeare in high-school; this not only taught us how to use language effectively but it provided an instant body of wisdom about the human condition which people could assimilate and carry with them through their adult lives. Today students are taught that texts can be anything they want them to be – even Twitter and Instagram (which are no doubt “studied” as part of the English syllabus). In robbing students of the wisdom of the ages – and an insight into European history, which you also get with Shakespeare – we are condemning them to the life of the Twitterverse, a race to the lowest common denominator, the power of “the selfie” and a highly-suggestible demographic who can accept what marxists tell them, without question, is ‘good’ for society. So much loss for such little ‘gain’.

    • Don A. Veitch says:

      Spot on! You have hiton home truths
      When the team aint kicking goals its back to basics.
      Neo-libs, neo-cons, new Labor, useless economics, situational ethics, me-ism, virtual reality, all a pox on modern society.Time to flush it away.
      Menzies was a fine gentleman but the real hard yakka was done by Black Jack with national builders in the OLD Labor Party. It goes back to Deakin who was taught by David Syme.

  7. [email protected] says:

    James, what is the opposite of DIVERSITY…..UNIVERSITY. Lenin was reputed to have said that when we come to hang the capitalists they will form a queue to sell us the rope. He was only partly right – the media is the rope. The hardest bit for me to tolerate is that I am FORCED to fund the ABC, an organisation dedicated to the destruction of my culture.
    I don’t know how we get correct the current mess we are in politically, but culturally/economically Adam Smith had it nailed centuries ago with his observations – [a] “When individuals are left to pursue their own self-interest there will be a net benefit for the common good.” [b] “By pursuing his/her own rational self interest, a person frequently promotes that of the society more effectively than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected [pretended] to trade for the public good.” [c] “Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence … but peace, easy taxes and a tolerable administration of justice.” [ i.e. in today's language - SMALL GOVERNMENT]
    Nothing that has happened since Smith’s time has even seriously challenged his thoughts let alone proven them to even be slightly wrong or over-stated. The Marx inspired events in the USSR proved that anything other than free markets do not, can not, and will never work in the long term, not even when enforced by the point of a gun. Keynes’s attempts at side-stepping Adam Smith’s reality have repeatedly failed, despite the media’s refusal to accurately report on it, and the soft option socialist politicians refusing to admit it.
    Einstein was once reputed to have said – “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I would say that our politicians and especially the media are insane to the extent that they are reality phobic when it comes to economic and cultural matters.

  8. Geoffrey Luck says:

    Diversity? I am sure you have seen the ABC’s latest campaign for “Group X” quota equality – for female real estate auctioneers!