Any doubt that Labor is captive to neo-Marxism was dispelled by its campaign to enforce compulsory queer political programming of schoolchildren under the misnomer “Safe Schools”.
Queer activists trashed conservative senator Cory Bernardi’s office on Friday after Green-Left politicians, including Labor leader Bill Shorten, called him homophobic for opposing the strategy. Unlike Bernardi, state-designated minorities are protected by discrimination and affirmative action laws. Such laws provide a permanent position of victimhood to justify bigotry against the PC hate target of choice: heterosexual men who lean Right.
Proliferating minority groups claim special protection under affirmative action law while constructing the form of society it was designed to prevent: a society governed by codified inequality. Under the aegis of special measures, they use affirmative action to enact new forms of exclusion on the basis of inborn biological traits such as race and sex.
In the recent Queensland University of Technology case, male students were barred from a computer room allegedly because of their race. Former administrative officer Cindy Prior, an indigenous Australian, asked the students whether they were indigenous before asking them to leave. In court documents, she cited the need for “safe space” on campus.
The race discrimination commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission, Tim Soutphommasane, stated he would not comment directly on the QUT case to news.com.au but referred to special measures under the Racial Discrimination Act. The AHRC referred the case to the Federal Circuit Court.
Its website page devoted to RDA special measures states they are for indigenous people, some migrant and refugee groups. Importantly, the AHRC differentiates formal from substantive equality. Formal equality is equality of all citizens before the law and commonly associated with equal opportunity. Substantive equality is inequality under the law in favour of state-designated minority groups towards equality of outcome. Substantive equality thus reverses genuine equality. It is a prime example of the neo-Marxist doublethink that characterises contemporary Left thought and undermines universal human rights. Instead of sunsetting special measures past their use-by date, the hard Left uses them to justify ever more extreme forms of exclusion and bigotry.
The only group of citizens wholly excluded from the attributes list that comprises minority status under law are heterosexual, able-bodied men classified as “white”. The racial classification “white” is attributed generally to people of Celtic, English or European descent. In academe, it is common to find statements about the group that would be classified as hate speech if applied to any other. When I was an undergraduate, the phrase “the only good male is a dead white male” was ubiquitous in the humanities.
In an article on The Conversation, education fellow Sarah Pett complained about canonical writers such as Shakespeare, Tennyson, Eliot, Sophocles, Ovid and Homer, calling to “push dead white men like Shakespeare out of the limelight”. In response to the Safe Schools debate, sociology lecturer Lucy Nicholas wrote: “While white, cisgender, heterosexual male politicians are quibbling over whether or not we should expose young people to the term pansexual … young people have never been queerer.”
Neo-Marxists use the minority politics of race and gender as communists used class, sowing envy and victimhood to create a revolutionary mass primed to attack a selected target. An extreme consequence of the PC bigotry came to light last year when academic journals refused to publish research demonstrating a steep rise in the suicide rate of white men.
Nobel laureate Angus Deaton co-authored a paper with economist Anne Case showing a spike in premature deaths and suicide among white, middle-aged men and women. According to Deaton, the research was rejected by academic journals on spurious grounds. Rather than offer sympathy for the suicide victims and their families, sections of the Left blamed the victims, claiming the premature deaths were caused by men losing their “white privilege”. The spike in suicide among middle-aged white Americans was thus reframed as an act of self-indulgence, even when research suggested its cause lay in structural disadvantage owing to factors such as low education rate leading to mass unemployment.
The term “white privilege” is a corollary of neo-Marxist politics whose experts pervade critical race and postcolonial studies in universities. The term is used to justify bigotry towards people with racial, religious or cultural attributes deemed politically incorrect.
The AHRC recommends courses that advance the idea of white privilege as best practice for anti-racism education. In America, academic symposiums are devoted to it, including the Wisconsin National White Privilege Conference whose content illustrates the underwhelming intellectual prowess of the field: “The session begins with mind and body grounding in processes, proceeds to examining the biological wisdom of the human cell, moves to an analysis of race and class oppression/liberation dynamics … with particular attention to class supremacy and white privilege”.
Griffith University lecturer Marcus Woolombi Waters recently won praise on social media for his criticism of white privilege in Australia. After travelling overseas to deliver a keynote address, he wrote: “Generally every staff member is white on every major Australian airline. So here we are as black people, jumping on an aircraft of white people being served by white people, immersed back into a world of whiteness.” The perception that white people serving black people constitutes white privilege does seem rather at odds with reality.
The greatest erosion of human potential arises from the belief that some of us are born more equal than others. The creed was captured best by George Orwell in his satire of the Russian Revolution, Animal Farm: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” In the 21st century West, affirmative action regimes bestow state-approved minorities with rights and advantages denied their fellow citizens. They are more equal than others. We used to call that inequality. We once fought against it.