For Quadrant readers who do not pore over letters to the editor of The Australian, it really is a worthwhile endeavour. The views of the writers vary, of course, but nonetheless, on balance, they strike a commonsense conservative chord which one can only wish the editor(s) would consistently emulate. This is the best recent example, in my view, published on January 29 from George McKenzie, who lives in Maryborough, Queensland. It makes me want to go visit.
“Here we have senior army officer prostrating himself to the PC brigade only to be beaten over the head with handbag of one of his transgender subordinates. Stop the world, I want to get off.”
I watch Foyle’s War on TV. In most of the episodes he is a senior police officer in Hastings in England during the Second World War. It doesn’t matter that I might have seen an episode two or three times before. If it is on, I generally watch. Foyle epitomises common decency and commonsense. He is also ahead of his time on social issues – being non-judgemental, for example, when his son’s friend and fellow pilot in the RAF is revealed to be more interested in his son than in his own girlfriend.
I wondered what Foyle would have made of the ‘Australian of the Year’ saga and decided that the character and his times are so far apart from the contemporary world that it is completely ridiculous to contemplate such a question. He could not have made head nor tail of it. He would have thought it was a music-hall skit, a bizarre one at that.
I would like to ask why bizarre music-hall skits have become today’s reality. When and why did this happen? I don’t know the answer. But my guess is as good as anybody else’s, I suppose.
A first thing to say is that it has crept up on us. I remember at school gaining the impression that being English was distinctly better than being anything else. You might say, well that isn’t good. Perhaps not, but I contrast it with a conversation around the lunch table some twenty years’ ago in which the 16-year-old (or thereabouts) daughter of friends was quite adamant – having been so schooled — that all cultures were equally worthy. Inside 40 to 50 years the world had turned and would go on turning until our (exploitative) culture has now to fight to be considered worthy at all.
Now imagine jilted lovers who have undone their relationships by committing some real or imagined transgressions. They might well make great efforts to atone and restore their standing. They may even make fools of, or demean, themselves in efforts to appear penitent. Think of the West.
The West is in the position of trying to be penitent, having been responsible, apparently, for killing and subjugating indigenous populations, for colonial exploitation, for being richer than it ought to be and, if that isn’t enough, for overheating the planet, destroying coral reefs, killing polar bears and submerging low lying islands. Indeed, this is a heavy burden of sin to expiate. How to do it? The answer arrived at was kowtowing. It’s obvious really, not at all surprising. If you are put on the outer of a group, you can’t afford to upset anyone at all, anymore. Anyone who is upset with the status quo must be appeased!
In these circumstances, political leaders in the mould of Churchill, Reagan, Thatcher or Abbott are personae no grata. Needed are political leaders like Obama, Cameron, Merkel and Turnbull. They know how to kowtow.
Externally, a religion which encourages killing, enslavement and intolerance, and amply demonstrates the fact, is a ‘religion of peace’. Millions of culturally backward migrants streaming unasked into Western countries must be welcomed, fed, clothed and sheltered, and defended if they grope and rape local women. Foreign aid must be continually poured into economically backward countries which are determinedly incapable of introducing the only values that will allow them to escape poverty; to wit (patently superior) Western values.
Internally, all manner of claims must be met. Women’s rights to equality – honourable and irrefutable in themselves – are taken to the outer limits of sense when affirmative action calls, for example, for more equal representation in the armed forces. The armed forces exist at great cost to the taxpayer to fight the enemy. Men are better equipped to fight. If our troops are face-to-face with the enemy in future they will not be staring at Angelina Jolie or Caitlyn Jenner but at Silvester Stallone (aka Rambo).
Of course, women’s rights in a way are now somewhat old hat. It’s the time for claims for LGBTI rights. I have to confess that I would have to look the last two initials up to be sure what they are. Be that as it may, no-one should be discriminated against purely because of their sexual orientation. At the same time, giving people equality does not mean tearing up traditional and longstanding societal norms that have served us well, like heterosexual marriage.
You are not discriminated against simply because you don’t meet a requirement. I don’t feel marginalised as a heterosexual male being refused entry into a women-only club or gym, or gay bars. And without wishing to be insensitive, isn’t everyone relieved that the number of navy officers who wish to change their gender and remain in the service are extremely few in number. Are there limits? Have we to suffer paroxysms of concern about having sufficiently diverse toilet facilities on military bases and ships?
Western societies have moved from being self-confident, to being remorseful, to being crippled by self-flagellation. Unfortunately, it has now gone so far throughout politics, the media, universities and schools that the position is almost certainly irredeemable. It will need some mighty kind of backlash to right the ship. More likely it is that the Islamists will take over and all those rights that women and LGBTIs thought they’d won will disappear overnight; and in very unpleasant ways. Oh golly gosh, if only we’d known.