The public’s fury at being told what to do and think has exploded with the Folau fiasco

The public’s fury at being told what to do and think has exploded with the Folau fiasco, by Gideon Rozner.

Maybe Rugby Australia did have the right to sack Folau as a matter of contract law (or maybe not, but that’s for the courts to decide). The likes of Qantas and ANZ can direct sponsorship money wherever they like, and they wouldn’t be the first big corporates to engage in such asinine virtue-signalling. GoFundMe is a private platform, and may very well have been within its rights under its own terms of service to boot out Folau’s fundraising appeal, hypocritical and selective as that may have been.

But just because those organisations could have done what they did doesn’t mean that they should have. As a matter of public policy, the Folau affair is a dead end, but as a cultural issue, it is troubling. It’s another front in what the left derisively write off as the ‘culture wars’, in a world in which what can and can’t be said (by force of law or otherwise) is becoming increasingly limited. …

The media feeding frenzy created by the Folau case is not a ‘rally point’ seized upon by the right. If the left are frustrated by the amount of attention Folau is getting — and no doubt they probably are — then they only have themselves to blame. …

The reason that the Israel Folau case resonates is that it is so depressingly familiar. It’s a reflection of the fact that for all the talk about ‘inclusiveness’ and ‘tolerance’ and ‘diversity’, picking on Christians is still okay, even fashionable. …

Regardless of its content, Israel Folau’s Instagram post has morphed into an act of civil disobedience at a time in which a tiny elite is dictating the boundaries of acceptable opinion. It has tapped into the frustration of we all feel when yet another advertiser is browbeaten into pulling advertising money from Sky News while we’re all forced to fund the ABC. The grating repetitiveness of climate debates in which anyone who goes against the zeitgeist is a ‘denier’ and that anyone concerned about the costs of addressing it – as Shorten so infamously said – is ‘stupid’. The irritation we all feel when our bank or airline or supermarket gushes about every fashionable cause under the sun at the same time as they’re apparently indifferent to customer service.