The Festival of Not So Dangerous Ideas


Self-awareness is a funny thing. Some folks have it, some don’t. The left are definitely lacking. Only a leftist intellectual would frame a series of talks at the Sydney Opera House on subjects that are completely safe (and, in fact, earn virtue signalling credits) in socialist circles as ‘The Festival of Dangerous Ideas’. I might be missing something, but when did leftist conformity and virtue signalling in thought and academia become anything other than completely safe?

I don’t recall Sonia Kruger ever receiving death threats for professing that Islam and terrorism are in no way connected. I can’t remember Takimag contributor Gavin McInnes losing his advertising firm after quipping that transgender women are beautiful and mentally sound. Nor do I recall a dentist being given the full Salman Rushdie treatment over his tireless conservation work with lions. None of these things have ever occurred, because none of these examples have ever or will ever be edgy or ‘dangerous ideas’.

When I think of dangerous ideas, I think of fossil-fuel-advocate Alex Epstein lecturing on the merits of coal and the silliness of demonising it. I think of Milo Yiannopolous presenting a talk on the suppression of free market ideas on University campuses. I think of Christina Hoff Sommers talking about the detrimental aspects of third-wave feminism. I think of someone rattling off the very real achievements of Tony Abbott in his brief time as Prime Minister in front of a hostile Mercedes-Marxist Opera House crowd. These are dangerous ideas. You know, the kind of stuff that makes the minds of the perpetually-offended explode.

I don’t think of Alexei Sayle running down Margaret Thatcher as a dangerous idea. I don’t think of Miranda Johnson’s ‘Stop Fishing the High Seas’ lecture as a dangerous idea. I don’t think of a Guardian Workshop on ‘How to Solve the Asylum Seeker Crisis’, or the panel discussing a ‘Crisis Without Borders’ (obvious pro-EU/Merkel propaganda), or Phillipe LeGrain advocating ‘Open the Borders’ to refugees as dangerous ideas (at least not a dangerous idea in polite discussion in left leaning circles, but very dangerous in practice…just ask the good people of Brussels or Paris). I don’t think of the ‘Gender Doesn’t Matter’ panel as a dangerous idea. Not even close.

Agreeing with the opinions of any of the aforementioned speakers or panels is about as far as you can possibly get from a dangerous idea. A genuinely dangerous idea would be disagreeing with any of their Cultural Marxist doctrine, or even asking questions about it (particularly climate change). A dangerous idea is one that would see you ostracised, financially ruined, exiled. The kind of thing that happens to conservatives for voicing genuinely dangerous ideas all the time. Leftists in government even legislated against these dangerous ideas with Section 18C.

This year they seem to have added one token dangerous idea by hosting Andrew Bolt. But given the fact that the hypocritical organisers are, in all likelihood, of the ilk that openly celebrated when the conservative commentator was found to have contravened Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination act, one has to wonder if Bolt’s appearance will be tightly reigned in without any of the unpalatable moments that might have Champagne Socialists in the audience clutching at their pearls and asking for the smelling salts.

Speaking of unpalatable, the festival has inexplicably invited Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza to speak condescendingly to a country that has probably never seen a police shooting of an African American, but does enjoy black ghetto violence in the form of Melbourne’s Apex gang. Stan Grant is joining her, so we can only assume that they’re framing it as African Americans and Aboriginals being basically the same thing. Of course, if anyone else said something to the effect of, “They all look the same to me,” they’d be 18C’d quicker than Trigglypuff could say, “Get your hate speech off this campus!”.

Assata Shakur. The left certainly love their murderers.

The most concerning thing about Miss Garza, besides the fact that she’s one of the orchestrators of dragging race relations in America back to the bad old days of the early sixties and giving genuine white racists all the ammunition they’ll ever need, is her spiritual advisor. Luke Skywalker had Yoda, Alicia Garza has Assata Shakur, who killed a State Trooper execution-style back in 1973. Assata Shakur left the Black Panthers because they “weren’t violent enough” and instead joined a domestic terror outfit called the Black Liberation Army who were responsible for bombings and the deaths of a further 13 police officers. Shakur was given asylum in Cuba and the FBI has $2 million on her head.

“When I use Assata’s powerful demand in my organising work, I always begin by sharing where it comes from, sharing about Assata’s significance to the Black Liberation movement, what it’s political purpose and message is,” Alicia Garza has been quoted as saying.

To put this into perspective, it’s a little like the Festival of Dangerous Ideas inviting a libertarian to speak who has openly professed his admiration for Timothy McVeigh, or an Islamic cleric offering high praise to the 9/11 hijackers, or perhaps a third-wave feminist gushing about Vampire Killer Tracey Wigginton. We don’t negotiate with terrorists, except when negotiating their appearance fee for a night at the Sydney Opera House. They haggled Alicia Garza down to $27 a ticket, which incidentally is about the same value in change that the life of a slain Dallas police officer is worth to President Obama or Hillary Clinton.

In the case of Alicia Garza, the festival seems to have mixed up the concept of inviting Dangerous Ideas with inviting Dangerous People. Perhaps a more dangerous idea might have been to have the relatives of slain New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster turn up to ask Alicia Garza how she rationalises emulating the woman who shot their loved one in the back of the head in 1973 before Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown were even born. Knowing the always reasonable attitudes of BLM campaigners, she may well invoke the Minority Report defence and claim that his death was a kind of pre-justice.

I can hardly wait for next year. I hear that Festival of Dangerous Ideas organisers are in discussions with a genderfluid guest speaker from Newtown who agonised for months over whether to admit to their university-educated friends and family that they voted for the Greens, and how remarkably not a single one of them ostracised this genderfluid Newtowner due to their political leanings. Now that I’ve whetted your appetite, you’d better jump on Ticketmaster. Seats are going fast!

Photo by Gary Soup

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Eh?nonymous was a thoroughly repellent unemployed social justice warrior until a one in a million glitch in his Facebook account affected the algorithms in his news feed, omitting posts from his much loved left leaning Huffington Post and I F---ing Love Science, and inexplicably replacing them with centrist and conservative newsfeed items that slowly dragged him kicking and screaming into the light beyond the safe space that Mr. Zuckerberg had so carefully constructed for him. It’s a long road to recovery, but every Mark Steyn share he sees in his newsfeed is like another day clean from social justice addiction.