Turnbull’s performance offends me

Cartoon by Ryan Fletcher.

Adam Piggott

With the Liberal party reduced to a one seat majority in the last Federal election, the triumphant assumption was that conservative Australians had sent Malcolm Turnbull a clear message. Unfortunately a message depends as much upon the receiver as it does the sender. While conservatives did indeed play the election as best as was humanly possible, I fear that it has been a wasted effort. Turnbull is not listening.

Coming up to a year in the prime minister’s chair, our dear leader has demonstrated a clear inability to hit any target whatsoever. I fear that Turnbull would be unable to hit water if he fell out of a boat. Although he did manage the incredible feat of resisting the impulse to nominate Kevin Rudd for the UN chair, it seems he may have been infected with Rudd’s thought-bubble disease. Too much exposure to the Rudds will do that to you.

It’s not just that he can’t hit targets; he has trouble merely identifying them. Which is amazing considering the target-rich environment that is out there. The best example of this is the sudden stirring of courageous Australian identities in the battle for free speech. Sonia Kruger led the race out of the blocks, but she has been ably assisted by Bill Leak. Between the two of them they have started a public conversation on sensitive topics, something that has not been seen in Australia for some time.

The reaction from the progressive luvvies has been entirely predictable, with the highlight being the call by the Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, for Australians to make complaints to the Human Rights Commission about Leak’s cartoon. Still, at least he’s transparent and honest about it. The left aren’t being sneaky because they don’t have to. It’s their playing field.

Both Kruger and Leak raised issues that I like to characterise as “hate-truth”. It’s the truth and the progressives hate it. Any logic or facts that counter their radical agenda must be dismissed as “hate speech”. This is simply emotional rhetoric on their behalf. In their eyes, Kruger is a bad person for voicing the opinion that there should be a suspension of Muslim immigration to the country. Labelling her in this way is a neat side-step to a strawman argument combined with an ad hominem attack, and it has been their primary move for some time.

When this attack fails to gel then the next step is to announce that the speech in question has “offended” them. Unlike a message which requires a sender and a receiver, being offended is all on the part of the taker of the offense. It is not possible to give offense. I can call you any name in the book but if your reaction is to simply laugh at me then there is nothing I can do about it. The act of not taking offense instils a degree of personal power. You are in control of the barbs coming your way.

Unlike the perpetual “victims” who find offense in the most unlikely of locations and at the most convenient of times. A certain custodian of a certain Queensland university computer room might have had to face uncomfortable questions about her supposed actions in an interaction with some university students. But any potential focus on her actions evaporated in the harsh glare of panicked university officials running hither and thither in the face of an offensive encounter.

Being offended is simply a strategic move. The act of taking offensive is in of itself an attack. Which is fitting due to the fact that SJWs always project. But since when did being offended automatically make you right? This is the great betrayal of the words “insult” and “offend” in the 18c legislation. Since a person can never give offense, this law then means that an individual has no control over his words. If you have no control over your words then the only safe option is to not say anything. And so even if you are speaking truth based on facts and direct observation, the safer option is to remain silent.

This is why Kruger and Leak are so courageous in today’s authoritarian progressive world. This unexpected reopening of public conversation on sensitive topics was a golden opportunity for Turnbull to show some leadership, any leadership on a subject that is one of the cornerstones of our Western civilization. Instead he has simply ignored what is happening. He made no move to rebuke the Human Rights Commission. He uttered no words in support of ordinary Australians speaking up when they feel something needs to be said. Instead we got another thought bubble, this time on the GST.

It’s been almost a year since Turnbull took power and in that time his only achievement has been to just win one election. It remains to be seen how long he has to go.

Adam Piggott blogs at https://pushingrubberdownhill.com