The Warlock Hunt: The #MeToo moment has now morphed into a moral panic that poses as much danger to women as it does to men

The Warlock Hunt: The #MeToo moment has now morphed into a moral panic that poses as much danger to women as it does to men. By Claire Berlinski.

Among us, it seems, lives a class of men who call to mind Caligula and Elagabalus not only in their depravity, but in their grotesque sense of impunity. Our debauched emperors, whether enthroned in Hollywood, media front offices, or the halls of Congress, truly imagined their victims had no choice but to shut up, take it, and stay silent forever. …

All true; yet something is troubling me. Recently I saw a friend — a man — pilloried on Facebook for asking if #metoo is going too far. “No,” said his female interlocutors. “Women have endured far too many years of harassment, humiliation, and injustice. We’ll tell you when it’s gone too far.” But I’m part of that “we,” and I say it is going too far. Mass hysteria has set in. It has become a classic moral panic, one that is ultimately as dangerous to women as to men.

If you are reading this, it means I have found an outlet that has not just fired an editor for sexual harassment. This article circulated from publication to publication, like old-fashioned samizdat, and was rejected repeatedly with a sotto voce, “Don’t tell anyone. I agree with you. But no.” Friends have urged me not to publish it under my own name, vividly describing the mob that will tear me from limb to limb and leave the dingoes to pick over my flesh. It says something, doesn’t it, that I’ve been more hesitant to speak about this than I’ve been of getting on the wrong side of the mafia, al-Qaeda, or the Kremlin?

But speak I must. It now takes only one accusation to destroy a man’s life. Just one for him to be tried and sentenced in the court of public opinion, overnight costing him his livelihood and social respectability. We are on a frenzied extrajudicial warlock hunt that does not pause to parse the difference between rape and stupidity. The punishment for sexual harassment is so grave that clearly this crime — like any other serious crime — requires an unambiguous definition. We have nothing of the sort. …

The things men and women naturally do — flirt, play, lewdly joke, desire, seduce, tease — now become harassment only by virtue of the words that follow the description of the act, one of the generic form: “I froze. I was terrified.” It doesn’t matter how the man felt about it. The onus to understand the interaction and its emotional subtleties falls entirely on him. But why? Perhaps she should have understood his behavior to be harmless — clumsy, sweet but misdirected, maladroit, or tacky — but lacking in malice sufficient to cost him such arduous punishment?


In recent weeks, I’ve acquired new powers. I have cast my mind over the ways I could use them. I could now, on a whim, destroy the career of an Oxford don who at a drunken Christmas party danced with me, grabbed a handful of my bum, and slurred, “I’ve been dying to do this to Berlinski all term!” That is precisely what happened. I am telling the truth. I will be believed—as I should be.

But here is the thing. I did not freeze, nor was I terrified. I was amused and flattered and thought little of it. I knew full well he’d been dying to do that. Our tutorials—which took place one-on-one, with no chaperones—were livelier intellectually for that sublimated undercurrent. He was an Oxford don and so had power over me, sensu strictu. I was a 20-year-old undergraduate. But I also had power over him—power sufficient to cause a venerable don to make a perfect fool of himself at a Christmas party. Unsurprisingly, I loved having that power. But now I have too much power. I have the power to destroy someone whose tutorials were invaluable to me and shaped my entire intellectual life much for the better. This is a power I do not want and should not have.

What’s in it for women, otherwise?

Women, I’m begging you: Think this through. We are fostering a climate in which men legitimately fear us, where their entire professional and personal lives can be casually destroyed by “secret lists” compiled by accusers they cannot confront, by rumors on the internet, by thrilled, breathless reporting denouncing one after another of them as a pig, often based only on the allegation that they did something all-too-human and none-too-criminal like making a lewd joke. …

In a world with such arduous taboos about male purity and chastity, surely, it is rational for men to have as little to do with women as possible. What’s in this for us?

None of this would have happened if Hillary had been elected.

Evicted white Zim farmer ‘was victim of racial discrimination, greed and abuse of power’

Evicted white Zim farmer ‘was victim of racial discrimination, greed and abuse of power‘, by AFP.

Zimbabwe’s new government ordered Thursday that land confiscated from a white farmer to give to an ally of former president Robert Mugabe must be returned.

Robert Smart, who grew tobacco and corn on his farm in Makoni in eastern Zimbabwe, was evicted in June after a former minister ordered that the plot be turned over to pro-Mugabe cleric Trevor Manhanga.

“(He) surrendered part of his farm during the land reforms and the G40 started racially profiling him to justify eviction,” said Chris Mutsvangwa, a special adviser to President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The G40, or Generation 40, was a faction of the Zanu-PF party, mainly younger members, once loyal to Mugabe’s wife Grace.

“Smart and others were victims of racial discrimination, greed and abuse of power. Their farms were acquired outside the parameters of the law.” …

Mnangagwa, who replaced Mugabe last month following a military takeover, has vowed to revive the country’s economy by lifting agricultural production and attracting foreign investment.

The real story might also be that the new government recognizes that the white farmers are hugely more productive than the blacks who replace them, and they need them back.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Hysterical Reactions to Trump’s Jerusalem Announcement

Hysterical Reactions to Trump’s Jerusalem Announcement, by John Hayward.

Ismail Haniyah, head of the Hamas government in Gaza: “Our position remains as it is, Palestine from the sea to the Jordan river. We will not agree to two states and not to the division of Jerusalem. I hereby call for terrorism and armed struggle … We want the uprising to last and continue to let Trump and the occupation regret this decision.”

Saab Erekat, Palestinian negotiator: “President Trump has delivered a message to the Palestinian people: The two-state solution is over. Now is the time to transform the struggle to one of one state with equal rights for everyone living in historic Palestine, from the river to the sea.”

Note: there is not much room for Israel in a map where “Palestine” stretches “from the river to the sea.” The phrase is generally interpreted as a call for genocide against the Jews. …

Ibrahim Karagul, editor-in-chief of Turkish Islamist newspaper Yeni Safak: “If Jerusalem is taken, the new front will be established around Mecca and Medina. The attacks will turn toward those two centers, tanks and missiles will be turned to that direction. This is what they were planning all along since the 1991 Gulf War. This is the war they were waging in all the plans they made under the name of ‘fighting terrorism.’ This is the plan they acted upon when invading Iraq in 2003 and when starting the Syrian war. The terror corridor plan in northern Syria was made for this purpose.” (Evidently, this “Mecca and Medina are next” talking point is becoming very popular.)

hat-tip Scott of the Pacific

Porn Star Kills Herself After Being Bullied For Refusing To Shoot With Man Who Does Gay Scenes

Porn Star Kills Herself After Being Bullied For Refusing To Shoot With Man Who Does Gay Scenes, by Amanda Prestigiacomo.

On Tuesday morning, 23-year-old porn star August Ames was found dead from an apparent suicide after she was bullied and branded a homophobe for refusing to shoot with a man who has sex with men on camera. Ames made it clear that she was, of course, refusing to do such work for safety reasons and was not homophobic.

After being ridiculed as homophobic, the porn star explained that she was merely looking out for her safety by refusing to do work with men who do gay scenes.

“NOT homophobic,” she wrote. “Most girls don’t shoot with guys who have shot gay porn, for safety. That’s just how it is with me. I’m not putting my body at risk, [I] don’t know what they do in their private lives.”

hat-tip Joanne

Strange Antarctic Bacteria That Live Off Air Alone Could Be Key to Finding Alien Life

Strange Antarctic Bacteria That Live Off Air Alone Could Be Key to Finding Alien Life, by David Nield.

Scientists have discovered a new type of bacterium, that most hardy of organisms, which can survive solely off the chemicals in air – and the discovery could change the way we think about life living on other planets.

The microbes have been found in Antarctica and can exist off a diet of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide, staying alive in the most extreme conditions where other food and energy sources are scarce. …

The next step is working out just how widespread these types of low-maintenance bacteria are, whether on Antarctica or elsewhere on the Earth. Eventually, such microbes might be found on other planets, needing no other food but the air that they breathe.

Women take sharp turn to the left in expressing political convictions

Women take sharp turn to the left in expressing political convictions, by Bettina Arndt.

As an accomplished provocateur, Milo Yiannopoulos manages to rub any number of people up the wrong way. But what was most striking about the leftist crowd demonstrating against his Sydney talks this week were the large numbers of earnest, fresh-faced young women holding up posters that made their sentiments very clear, like: “F..k off Nazi scum.”

Indeed, most of the protests were driven by left-wing female students. …

Who is taking gender studies courses and other humanities subjects preaching this intolerance? It’s mainly women, of course. The hearts and minds being captured in our universities belong mainly to young women, who now comprise more than 60 per cent of graduates.

The result is successive generations of left-wing female graduates. …

The latest 2016 results from the Australian Election Study …  show women likelier to support Labor than men by 7 per cent and also likelier to vote for the Greens than men, by 4 per cent. … That’s a real shift from the Menzies era when conservatives had a decisive lead among female voters. …

Sheppard has provided Inquirer with unpublished data showing that it’s young ­female graduates who are pushing the drift left. “Male graduates are not particularly more left-leaning than men without a university education, whereas female graduates are notably more left-leaning than other women without ­degrees,” says Sheppard. …

“Universities are schooling women in the language of identity politics and by the time they graduate they are fully fledged ­social justice warriors,” [Bella d’Abrera] concludes. The result is an ever-growing female voting bloc with blinkered leftist views.

Adopt my views or no sex with me:

They are views that even determine which men they are prepared to date. My interest in this subject was piqued by my online dating clients, mainly professional women, most of whom are left-wing and scathing about conservative men. Such as the woman who refused to meet a man who mentioned he enjoyed watching ­Andrew Bolt’s show. Another confessed to a pact with her female friends that there would be “no sex with anyone who likes Tony Abbott”. One client broke off a two-year ­relationship with a man who leapt to Donald Trump’s defence in a conversation with her friends. Another man told me his girlfriend dropped him because she was embarrassed when her friends found out he ­occasionally wrote for The Spectator Australia.

Incidentally, male clients are rarely so concerned about a date’s political beliefs, although some grumble about women’s intolerance of diverse views. As one man put it: “They need to grow out of their childish, second-year uni views. Jesus, girls, leave it OUT.”

But they don’t grow out of it. Unlike many men, who become more conservative as they age, the work-life patterns in most women’s lives simply reinforce their beliefs.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Antifa Australia goes for the jugular

Antifa Australia goes for the jugular, by Chip Le Grand.

The first rule of antifa is you do not talk about antifa. Not to a journalist, at any rate. It is less an organisation than a broad objective across the radical left; a determination to block, frustrate and ultimately silence far-right politics. It is fundamentally illiberal and necessarily secretive. For these reasons, it is poorly understood and readily mischaracterised.

Antifa activists are not mindless thugs. They are well organised and, generally, experienced political and social activists who are prepared to resort to violence — they say reluctantly — to deny the far right any platform from which to promote its ideas. In Melbourne and Sydney this week, they mobilised more than 100 supporters within an hour to shout down a speaking event by the alt-right’s charismatic bomb thrower, Milo Yiannopoulos. …

They say the end (of shutting up their political opponents) justifies the means (street violence and intimidation). Such sentiments are so rare and original in the flow of history — not.

Seven people were arrested in Sydney when protesters tried to disrupt a Yiannopoulos speaking event in the inner-west suburb of Lilyfield. Speaking to Inquirer shortly before the protest, organiser Omar Hassan explained that although he was not looking for a fight, he was ready for one.

“Primarily, the way the far right can be beaten is not through individual acts of violence but collective empowerment and the building of mass movements,” he said. “These mass movements have to do what is required to stand their ground and challenge bigotry. Sometimes that involves a physical altercation, but that is not of our choosing, that is just something we are prepared to do.

We know from history that when the far right organises, the violence that is inflicted on communities is much more severe than anything we have seen at any of these protests.

Justifying their violence as preventing greater violence later. Oh that’s all right then. By the way, who gets to make that judgement call?

“Anti-fascists conduct research on the far right online, in person and sometimes through infiltration; they dox them, push cultural milieux to disown them, pressure bosses to fire them and demand that venues cancel their shows, conferences and meetings; they organise educational events, reading groups, trainings, athletic tournaments and fundraisers; they write articles, leaflets and newspapers, drop banners, and make videos … But it is also true that some of them punch Nazis in the face and don’t apologise for it.”

Who’s going to be the next victim of Antifa violence?

Now that Yiannopoulos’s tour has ended, antifa in Australia will readjust its sights to homegrown targets. Hassan makes clear this will not be limited to the extreme right: “It is about building an anti-racist movement with the confidence to challenge bigotry in all its forms,” he says. “That includes taking on the far right but it also includes the establishment right as well: Cory Bernardi, George Christensen, Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull.

The Nazis came to power in Germany as a socialist party that dominated and ultimately won the street brawls. It eventually received the support of the conservatives in Germany because the only other political group of note at the time were even worse — the communists. It was a two horse race, national socialists versus international socialists. If you ever read Mein Kampf or looked at the domestic policies of the Nazis, you realize the Nazis were indeed a very left wing group — with a similar attitude to their opponents as antifa is demonstrating here.

Antifa are the new Nazis.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Vandal who left bacon inside mosque gets 15 years in prison

Vandal who left bacon inside mosque gets 15 years in prison, by AP.

A man who vandalized a Central Florida mosque by smashing windows and lights with a machete and leaving bacon at the scene pleaded guilty to criminal mischief to a place of worship.

The state attorney’s office serving Brevard and Seminole counties said Michael Wolfe was sentenced to 15 years in prison followed by 15 years of probation after he pleaded guilty Tuesday. The sentence had a hate crime enhancement. …

A surveillance video showed him smashing lights, cameras and windows with a machete.

15 years seems excessive. It shows what our elites regard as true crime — not the assaults and even murders that attract lesser sentences, but violating the current PC dictum of “be nice to Muslims.” No one was hurt here — just some current PC mascots had their feelings hurt. Typical intellectual mistake, to think that hurt feelings are so much worse than broken bodies.

Can you imagine someone from Black Lives Matter even being sent to prison for committing a crime of a similar nature against white cops?

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Roy Moore Accuser Beverly Nelson Admits She Forged Yearbook

Roy Moore Accuser Beverly Nelson Admits She Forged Yearbook, by John Nolte.

Beverly Young Nelson has finally admitted that she forged a portion of the infamous high school yearbook that she and attorney Gloria Allred used as proof of her accusations against U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore.

And in yet another blow to the credibility of ABC News, the disgraced, left-wing network downplayed the bombshell by presenting this admission of forgery as adding “notes” to the inscription. Worse still, the reporter actually coaches Nelson, puts words in her mouth, downplay the enormous significance of her deceit. …

And then, after a woman admits to forging a document used in a campaign to destroy the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in Alabama, ABC News quickly moves on as though it is not news of extraordinary consequence.

Llamas also fails to ask any follow-ups, such as “If the explanation is this simple, why wait all these weeks to offer it?” Or, “Why did you lie?” …

Another problem with Nelson is that she has a motive to lie and forge: as a circuit judge, Moore ruled against her in a 1999 divorce case.

The Moore campaign has been pressuring Nelson and Allred for weeks to submit the yearbook for independent handwriting analysis. Now everyone knows why that request was rejected and ignored.

Is this what modern politics is about? Cannot win on policy or ideas, so now the US Democrats and media are making it about stories, possibly concocted or embellished, from long ago? The party that stood by Bill Clinton? Clearly they are in a ends-justify-the-means mood, as usual.

hat-tip Charles

Pope gives his blessing to change in Lord’s Prayer

Pope gives his blessing to change in Lord’s Prayer, by Tom Kington.

If you find yourself surrounded by temptation, don’t blame it on God. That was the message from the Pope as he called for the Lord’s Prayer to be altered to shift responsibility for our sins and vices on to the Devil.

The Lord’s Prayer is considered by the Catholic church to be a perfect summary of the gospels. The Pope said that the line asking God to “lead us not into temptation”, or in Italian, non indurci in tentazione, had been translated badly, however.

It should read “don’t let me fall into temptation”, he said, as this would reflect the belief that a sinner finds their own way to temptation. The Pope said: “It’s not a good translation . . . I am the one who falls. It’s not him pushing me into temptation to then see how I have fallen. A father doesn’t do that, a father helps you to get up immediately.” He added: “It’s Satan who leads us into temptation, that’s his department.” …

The Temptation of Christ by the Devil – Barrias, France 1860.

The dispute revolves around how to translate “eisenenkês,” the Greek used in the original New Testament…

The New Testament was written in contemporary Greek by a number of authors between AD50 and AD100, before all 27 books were brought together in AD398, he said. A Latin translation of the Bible by St Jerome in the 4th century, which was adopted by the Catholic church, keeps the literal meaning, using the Latin inducere which means “bring in”.

Always seemed clear enough to me.

A reader writes:

The Pope is spending time worrying about possibly the least offensive, the least significant phrase in the Lord’s Prayer, while the Catholic monks are running riot at Downside school (another sexual abuse story).

It is not hard to see why attendances have fallen, and this soft, leftist Pope is worrying about the most subtle of grammatical implications!

hat-tip Charles of Melbourne

Denmark could send failed asylum seekers to live on desert islands

Denmark could send failed asylum seekers to live on desert islands, by Josh Robbins.

Denmark’s immigration minister is … open to the plan which would see hundreds of foreigners who do not have a right to asylum being shipped to camps in one or more of the 300 uninhabited islands belonging to Denmark.

There are just under 1,000 failed asylum seekers in Denmark waiting to be deported. Their plight is a hot political issue in the Nordic nation.

At present, many of them live in a former state prison in the middle of the mainland. …

The [far-right Danish People’s Party] DPP’s foreign policy spokesman, Martin Henriksen, said: … “It does not have to be expensive. Maybe we can find an island where there is already a settlement. But otherwise it can be anything from container houses to a tent camp.”

This is to counter an age-old tactic of Islam, which sends its colonizers/invaders/refugees, but refuses to accept them back. The largest recent case is that of the Palestinian refugee camps on the West Bank and Gaza. The Arabs refused to accept refugees from the newly created state in Israel in 1948, insisting they stay in camps on Israel’s border until Israel was eliminated and they could return. Brilliant tactic politically, at a great cost in human misery. (In comparison, Israel accepted with open arms a similar number of Jewish refugees who were driven out of Arab lands around 1948.)

hat-tip Stephen Neil

6 Days Ago Trump Told the UK to Focus on Radical Islam. Now, After A Plot to Kill the Prime Minister, They’re Still Blaming Him

6 Days Ago Trump Told the UK to Focus on Radical Islam. Now, After A Plot to Kill the Prime Minister, They’re Still Blaming Him, by Raheem Kassam.

Just six days ago President Trump repudiated Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May, telling her she should “focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom” instead of attacking him publicly for his choice of retweets.

At the time, the UK media breathlessly condemned President Trump, attempting to mislead the world as to the problem with Islamic extremism in the United Kingdom, once again trying to shift the focus onto a diminutive group by the name of Britain First.

The hysteria carried on for a few days unabated, with an emergency debate in Parliament, statements from the British Ambassador to the U.S., the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Mayor of London, the Home Secretary, and indeed the Prime Minister herself. Fast forward, just a little bit, to yesterday, and once again we’ve learned that President Trump’s instincts were correct.

It wasn’t two members of Britain First who were caught yesterday in the final steps of preparing an attack on 10 Downing Street — effectively an assassination attempt against Theresa May herself. It was two Muslim men. One by the name of Naa’imur Zakariyah Rahman, and the other, Mohammed Aqib Imran.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

New Poll Finds 92% of Democrats Uninformed, Ignorant and Easily Played

New Poll Finds 92% of Democrats Uninformed, Ignorant and Easily Played, by Jim Hoft.

The liberal mainstream media has pushed the conspiracy that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia during the 2016 election to defeat Hillary Clinton.

This was all a lie.

In fact, it was Hillary Clinton and the DNC who colluded to defeat Bernie Sanders in the primary and then colluded with Russia. Democrats and the Obama FBI paid cash for a fake Russian dossier so they could spy on Donald Trump at Trump tower.

But Democrat voters are ignorant. And Democrats rely on the fact that they are stupid and easily played.

The power of the media to frame and misinform is tremendous. We haven’t all got time to sort out the fake from the truth in the news, so if the media is saying something is kinda true well perhaps it is.

The solution presumably is to have more media diversity, some competition of ideas. A trial without a defense is a sham, but this is essentially what we have in politics — a media all on one side, with no substantial opposing voices allowed. Nearly all the main media in the West pushes the same PC narrative, with almost no media to expose those lies and put another point of view.

On issue after issue the media pushes a PC fantasy, and most of the public accepts it to some degree. This needs to change, or the West will become too corrupt, stupid, and noncompetitive — and be a pushover for a challenger, such as the Chinese dictatorship or the totalitarian cult from seventh century Arabia.

If you don’t accept the PC fantasies, but stick to truth and realism, it is hard to see much merit in what the new left are doing.

hat-tip Scott of the Pacific

Phony Virtue is Ruining Western Society

Phony Virtue is Ruining Western Society, by William Smith.

What counts as virtue among Western elites? As Aristotle teaches, if you can identify what a society considers to be virtuous or good, you can understand the moral outlook of that society’s institutions, from its schools to its foreign policy. …

The West’s moral outlook is now animated by the widespread belief that virtue is measured by one’s professed sympathy for causes such as combatting homelessness, extending civil rights for various protected groups, and decrying poverty in far-off places. …

Yet the continuing sex scandals of our elites are (pardon the phrase) laying bare the inadequacy of this definition of virtue. In Hollywood and other elite institutions, puffed-up paragons of “virtue” reign, but backstage are characters such as Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer, people wholly lacking self-control, decency, moderation, temperance, and civility. In short, many of “the beautiful souls” who have been telling us how to live are reprobates — or protecting them, either tacitly or directly. …

We might simply chalk this up to the everlasting tendency of human beings toward hypocrisy. Yet something more insidious is at work: Over the past 300 years, Western culture has overthrown its traditional understanding of virtue and replaced it with an ersatz morality. This revolution has allowed personally vile people to claim the loftiest moral standing while, in their daily lives, freely treating those around them with gross disrespect and abuse.

The Clinton Foundation is the cleverest and most cynical exploitation of this perversion of virtue: associate yourself with a smorgasbord of progressive causes while grabbing as much money as you can. Solving the world’s problems is less important than the moral approval associated with one’s public commitment to solving them. In short, morally substandard and self-aggrandizing human beings are the very people who are now regularly engaged in moral preening. …

The left refuses to acknowledge the tragic side of man (see the Vision of the Anointed, by Thomas Sowell), which has the happy side effect (for them) that they can cultivate their vices:

Morality is no longer understood as reforming oneself, thus making oneself a better member of society, but as wishing to reform society. This new morality of social conscience has replaced the virtue of St. Paul and Aristotle, which combined an awareness of the darker side of our humanity with an effort to overcome it and develop our higher humanity. …

Rousseau’s understanding of morality has, of course, had great appeal in the West, for obvious reasons. His morality does not require that one train oneself to avoid very pleasurable vices; one can throw personal restraint to the wind and assume the mantle of virtue simply by attaching oneself to an approved “idealistic” social movement.

Rousseau’s destruction of the long-held definition of virtue has had disastrous effects on Western institutions, from the family to organized religion to government. …

In politics, the re-definition of virtue in elite universities as “service to humanity” has produced a leadership class that believes American domestic and foreign policy is only “moral” when it involves humanitarian goals and crusading.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

When pushback comes to shove in Australia’s China relationship

When pushback comes to shove in Australia’s China relationship, by Paul Maley.

Australia’s relationship with China has entered an unprecedented new era.

New laws introduced this week that crack down on foreign interference in Australia’s political processes are the clearest marker yet that Canberra and Beijing now see each other in very different terms. At their heart, the laws represent more than an attempt to stamp out hostile and covert behaviour. They are an attempt by the Turnbull government to reframe one of Australia’s most complicated bilateral relationships. …

In Australia, a widespread view now exists that Beijing has been meddling directly — and effectively — in Australian political life, corrupting the integrity of its institutions and diminishing the quality of the public debate. …

“The biggest single problem is that a lot of Australians have not done their homework, they have not done the hard yards to get their head around what the Chinese are doing and what they are saying,” says Ross Babbage, a former analyst with the Office of National Assessments. “A lot of people assume we’re looking at a benign power. We are not.”

The popular view is starting to change. The Dastyari affair, repeated warnings from ASIO about the scope of foreign — read Chinese — meddling in domestic affairs and a string of critical infrastructure investments, raising the spectre of Chinese espionage, are displacing that economic narrative. A darker, more suspicious image of China threatens to take its place. The risk is that anti-China sentiment will spread, complicating the transaction of Australian foreign policy with our largest trading partner. …

It is unthinkable that China would tolerate the sort of foreign meddling in its affairs that Beijing’s security services have engaged in so freely here. But tensions are likely to get worse before they get better. …

Chen Yonglin, a Chinese diplomat who defected to Australia in 2005, … says in the US the Chinese have been far more cautious, in part because of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Every now and then, the FBI or CIA call people in to answer questions, and occasionally they establish a case of espionage. “This is a deterrence for the Chinese. they have to be more cautious,” he says. In Australia, he says, it has been open slather.