Islam and the Left gang up on freedom of speech

Islam and the Left gang up on freedom of speech, by Janet Albrechtsen.

There is no longer broad agreement about [the] importance [of freedom of speech] in a thriving democracy. In Australia, large sections of the media, the entire Labor Party, the Greens and crossbenchers refuse to acknowledge that section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act curbs free speech. A law that allows a claimant to rush off to a bureaucracy or go to court for hurt feelings is a law that chills free speech.

It’s no coincidence that identity politics is in full swing at the same time that more people chose to be offended for the purpose of section 18C in order to shut down opinions they don’t like.

It’s no coincidence either that Bill Leak was hated both by Islamic State, which wanted to kill him, and sections of the left, which wanted him to stop provoking debate about issues outside their orthodox positions. That curious ­coalescence reveals there is no longer solidarity or even basic agreement about the value of freedom of speech in our democracy.

Indeed, the terrain for acceptable talk keeps shrinking in the West. Take the recent Coopers brouhaha when gay marriage ­activists rose up to object to a civil conversation between Tim Wilson, an advocate of same-sex marriage, and Andrew Hastie, a supporter of traditional marriage. The bullies responded with clear intent to shut down a legitimate debate that stepped outside the boundaries of permissible talk. …

If we cannot have a civil, reasoned discussion about same-sex marriage, how can we hope to discuss the challenge of Islamic terrorism? In this diminishing domain of debate, each terrorist attack is followed by claims of ­Islamophobia and equally unhelpful exhortations that terrorism is Islamist, not Islamic. …

Bill Shorten’s Labor is wedded to the divisiveness of identity politics rather than seeking commonality among Australians. Rather than stand up for freedom of speech for all, Labor under Shorten wants more divisive legal redress in 18C. Rather than bringing 18C into line with community standards, Shorten prefers to widen the fault lines writ large by identity politics. …

Islamic State is engaged in a geopolitical, religious and ideological war with the West. Islamic terrorists are tightly united behind their aims. They have focus and unyielding solidarity on their side.

hat-tip Stephen Neil