The unbearable ignorance of Tim Wilson, Human Rights Commissioner for *Freedom*

30 Mar
Freedom Boy

Freedom Boy

 

Tim Wilson, recently appointed Human Rights Commissioner for Freedom, declared today that race hate laws are bizarre and unequal because while members of a community are permitted to use “racially loaded language” among themselves, outsiders are not permitted to do the same.

Mr Wilson clearly does not understand that *racially loaded language* used by outsiders is always, without exception, deliberately employed as a racial slur intended to insult, hurt, demoralise, ridicule and devalue the human beings  hate speech targets. When such language is used amongst members of a community it is used ironically, defiantly, and as a method of defusing and ridiculing the racist intentions of outsiders.

Everyone, Mr Wilson asserts ought to be allowed to use the term “nigger,” for example, because it is widely used in black communities. Wilson reveals his monumental ignorance and gobsmacking stupidity, through either his incompetent or  deliberate misunderstanding of the difference in the meaning of that term, when used within communities or by outsiders.

This dangerous call for absolute free speech favours only white people, and only certain highly privileged white men are demanding it. Wilson’s call for “personal responsibility” in this matter is ridiculous. There are matters society cannot afford to leave to an individual’s sense of “personal responsibility” and as has been proven over and over and over again, hate speech is one of them.

Like many others, I am enraged and heartbroken to see the gains that have been made in my lifetime crushed by the severely limited intelligence and utter lack of imagination of privileged white men such as Brandis, Wilson, Abbott et al. That a Commissioner for Human Rights (Freedom) is now campaigning for everyone to be free to use loaded terms such as “nigger” against our fellow human beings  because “equality,” signifies a journey through the looking-glass that leads to nothing less than insanity.

There can be no “equality” in the use of racially loaded language when the intentions behind the speech are utterly opposed.

This is a bald act of white supremacy, a brutal attempt to claw back what is perceived as a loss to the power of privileged white men.

PS: On a personal note, Tim Wilson recently blocked me on Twitter when I asked him a valid question about competing human rights.

 

 

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49 Responses to “The unbearable ignorance of Tim Wilson, Human Rights Commissioner for *Freedom*”

  1. uknowispeaksense March 30, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

    I think by labelling Tim Wilson as ignorant, you give him far too much credit. The IPA, the thinktank he came from has a free market ideology which extends to all areas of public life. Make no mistake, these people think its ok to do and say anything regardless of who it affects as long as someone is making a buck. I am convinced they see anyone who isn’t white, male and able as inferior and therefore fair game and deserving of scorn and ridicule and undeserving of respect or assistance. They see the world as dog eat dog and to hell with anyone not strong enough to compete. I wish Tim Wilson and his ilk were merely ignorant. That would leave a door open for them to be educated.

    Like

  2. gerard oosterman March 30, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

    I am amazed how he got the job. Did anyone watch the Friday 7.30 ABC NSW on police numbers having criminal convictions. Serious crimes are being committed by the police themselves. Why do I get so depressed at times.? The horror of it all is overwhelming. Fortunately we just enjoyed a good curry with so many fresh ingredients. It was allowed to simmer all day and H just loved it.

    Like

  3. Marilyn March 30, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

    So what if we all started calling the bigot a poofta arsehole. How long before he decides to sue us for bigotry do you think?

    Like

    • helvityni March 30, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

      Marilyn, He used to write articles for the Unleashed Drum; I always saw him as a pompous private school boy, a silly opiniated bully interrupter as a gust on the Drum TV show.

      Like

      • helvityni March 30, 2014 at 8:59 pm #

        guest

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        • samjandwich March 31, 2014 at 6:39 am #

          “Gust” is quite apt as well though.

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          • helvityni March 31, 2014 at 10:55 am #

            …I thought of that as well, but it was of course caused by my sloppy typing… 🙂

            He huffs and buffs and blows arrogant nonsense over the calmer guests…

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  4. hannahquinn March 30, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

    It beggars belief that anyone in any privileged or public position would say such a thing. It would be reprehensible coming from the face of the IPA, although we expect extreme views from that quarter; but that Tim Wilson is now a Commissioner for Human Rights sinks it to an even lower base than that. I am appalled. As there will be few if any from the government coming out to condemn this, I can only hope the week ahead is filled with heavyweights speaking eloquently against this.

    Like

  5. Critical Thinking March 30, 2014 at 10:18 pm #

    Reblogged this on scatteredroundtheworld.

    Like

  6. Marcus March 31, 2014 at 12:10 am #

    Ah, so the “champion” of free speech has denied you yours on his Twitter account. How like a Right Whinger such as him.

    Like

  7. Marilyn March 31, 2014 at 1:30 am #

    Andrew Bolt’s son James is a member of the racist IPA, is that why the IPA are defending Bolt’s bigotry so much?

    Like

  8. misseagle March 31, 2014 at 6:14 am #

    Gee, I must have led a life more sheltered than I thought. I have lived and worked among Aboriginal communities for a good bit of my life. I have black friends. Never once have I heard or known of people in Australia who have black skin appropriate the word “nigger”. I have had a number of people complain to me when I use the word “black fella” that I can’t use that word. This, I find, has usually come from people who are racist themselves and believe that if you use this word you will be in trouble and will be jumped on in terms of “political correctness:. It sometimes comes from people who have not been in Australia very long and think that some sort of bureaucracy will jump on you for using this term. I use the term in a matter of fact way similar to that used in the Blackfella/Whitefella song which was written by a white fella and a black fella. As the song says, it doesn’t matter if you’re a black fella or a white fella as long as you are a true fella. In my own parlance Aboriginal people are black fellas. I happen to be a white fella. It is possible for quite innocuous words to become pejorative in the mouths of racists and bigots should they so choose. I think Wilson is trying to prove too hard that he is politically correct and therefore trustworthy in his new position. I don’t care really what Wilson says. I still think that he is unsuitable for the position to which he has been appointed. Because of what he says and the stands which he takes on many issues, I think that Tim Wilson has led an urban life sheltered among like minded people. Before he takes up his new position, I think it might be best if he goes and lives and works in a desert Aboriginal community – if such a community could be found to take him. He then might find that the views he expresses are not the views of a true fella.
    .

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    • Jennifer Wilson March 31, 2014 at 3:22 pm #

      That is the best advice I’ve heard for Tim Wilson. Chances of him taking it? Zero, I fear.

      Like

  9. samjandwich March 31, 2014 at 7:12 am #

    “I am enraged and heartbroken to see the gains that have been made in my lifetime crushed by the severely limited intelligence and utter lack of imagination of privileged white men”.

    A theory I’ve been working on recently is, while it seems that one of the great innovations of the post-war period is that we have honed our ability as a society to understand things from other people’s perspectives, somewhere along the line the message has become scrambled (or deliberately hijacked), such that this newfound understanding is interpreted by many people not as “it is my responsibility to respect other peoples’ perspectives”, but rather as “I am entitled to have other people respect my perspective and treat me accordingly”.

    Which means of course, that “I” shouldn’t have to bear any responsibility, or to think critically about my own position when someone disagrees with me.

    So you end up with a country full of isolationist narcissists (and I use the term in the pathological sense) – which seems to me to be a good description of the mainstream Australian psyche at the moment.

    The government is aware of this of course, and campaigns such as the right to be a bigot (itself a direct descendent of “we decide who comes into this country and the circumstances in which they come”), are pretty obviously designed to pander to the those who refuse to think for themselves… but more disturbingly is in this instance an attempt to give a structural advantage to any party who would deign to court the votes of such people. (And appointing hapless idiots like Tim Wilson to positions such as his is a rather ham-fisted attempt to advance this. Talk about inability to think for himself, he doesn’t appear to understand the obviousness of his being used as cannon fodder by his superiors).

    What did you ask him on Twitter Jennifer? Because normally I would have thought someone in his position blocking free speech would be a sackable offence.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson March 31, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

      I asked him how he would deal with a situation in which there are competing rights. Exactly the situation we are in now, with competition between freedom of speech and hate speech.
      No wonder he blocked me!!
      PS, am in Braidwood without phone or internet due to lightening strike, at library right now.

      Like

  10. bossa March 31, 2014 at 9:18 am #

    I suspect that this “government” is hijacking the anti-discrimination laws in an attempt to preemptively diffuse any attempts to sue them either by Asylum Seekers and/or anyone they wish to persecute in an attempt to boost their redneck vote at the next election.

    It follows from Tampa that the LNP Coal-ition would be lining up another easy target through which to divide and conquer the nation, that’s what they do after all. Tampa offered the opportunity to stir up hatred and fears in the community which distracted from evaluating the policies on offer at the time. This is what the LNP do.

    The LNP will keep people fighting among themselves on as many fronts as possible whilst they get on with dismantling the country for the coming fire-sale. Shock and Awe politics on every front will see many people worn out from just trying to keep up. This is what they do.

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  11. Catharine Lumby March 31, 2014 at 9:59 am #

    JDale Spender observed recently that the largest and unobserved Affirmative Action program in the history of the Western world is the one that favours white men. And boy do some of them get angry when their toys are taken away.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson March 31, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

      Oh, yes, don’t they ever.

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    • paul walter April 1, 2014 at 12:27 am #

      We need cuddling and affection, not harsh disdain.

      Make with the nice and there is not an easier subset of humanity to get along with.

      Ok, so seriously, it seems a true proposition Dr Lumby offers up, but it misses mentioning historical and evolutionary factors that make people subject to current modes of individuation and socialisation without being aware that what appears to be the norm is felt by some intelligent observers to be aberrant…very hard to unscramble cracked and poured egg.

      We need to know if the Industrial revolution and sexual division of labor, for example, increased the tendency to authoritarian patriarchy at the expense of something more rational and a better employ of both men’s and women’s brains.

      Perhaps we see the rehashing of some thing hard wired in society, culture and humans even with an evolutionary change to an industrial to post industrial setting, the jungle changes appearance but remains the jungle, the world which yielded us up at the price of us remaining its “edgy” subjects.

      From here then, we can see the absurdity of someone like Wilson as a human rights commissioner rather than someone like Dr Lumby, for Tim Wilson is an anachronism and in these time exclusively an example of the symptom of a failing culture currently unable to adjust to the realities and opportunities of a new world, that needs replacing.
      It really is necessary to figure out what it is that people like Wilson and his fellow travellers are so hostile over, as to change and human relations, or Lumby’s nostrum becomes the inevitability, for survival and it may not be the whole answer either, given the likelihood of human fallibility.

      Like

    • paul walter April 1, 2014 at 12:29 am #

      We need cuddling and affection, not harsh disdain.

      Make with the nice and there is not an easier subset of humanity to get along with.

      Ok, so seriously, it seems a true proposition Dr Lumby offers up, but it misses mentioning historical and evolutionary factors that make people subject to current modes of individuation and socialisation without being aware that what appears to be the norm is felt by some intelligent observers to be aberrant…very hard to unscramble cracked and poured egg after the event.

      We need to know if the Industrial revolution and sexual division of labor, for example, increased the tendency to authoritarian patriarchy at the expense of something more rational and a better employ of both men’s and women’s brains.

      Perhaps we see the rehashing of some thing hard wired in society, culture and humans even with an evolutionary change to an industrial to post industrial setting, the jungle changes appearance but remains the jungle, the world which yielded us up at the price of us remaining its “edgy” subjects.

      From here then, we can see the absurdity of someone like Wilson as a human rights commissioner rather than someone like Dr Lumby, for Tim Wilson is an anachronism and in these time exclusively an example of the symptom of a failing culture currently unable to adjust to the realities and opportunities of a new world, that needs replacing.
      It really is necessary to figure out what it is that people like Wilson and his fellow travellers are so hostile over, as to change and human relations, or Lumby’s nostrum becomes the inevitability, for survival and it may not be the whole answer either, given the likelihood of human fallibility.

      Like

      • helvityni April 2, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

        Wilson was an embarrassment on Monday’s Q&A amongst all those fierce, but caring women. He’s totally unsuited for this job,the American ,Mr Roth (? ) was wonderful.
        May we have women like Jennifer Wilson or Catharine Lumby elected for this position.

        Like

  12. hudsongodfrey March 31, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    The generously disposed could take Andrew Bolt for misinformed about the nature of his own racism in the comments that led to some of this. Tim Wilson on the other hand has no such excuse. He not only discounts factors of scale that would simply allow mainstream views to drown out minorities as Brandis does, but goes further to seemingly actively promote bad speech. It is as if he must think that once you get used to being hated then hate speech will somehow miraculously lose traction in public discourse.

    Tim Wilson is in short the kind of figure that you only place in the role if you quite deliberately mean to ride roughshod over any and all of the rights of minorities anyone might care to enumerate. This is true, but it’s also true that he’s the monkey to Abbott’s organ grinder!

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  13. doug quixote March 31, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

    At the risk of incurring the wrath of many of you, I think that it is at least arguable that no-one should have “a right not to be offended”, which the present Act seems to give.

    Freedom of Speech requires that words and deeds must be allowed so long as those ‘offended’ are not vilified and perhaps incited to violence by the words and deeds of others.

    I will agree that Wilson’s appointment to such a body was bizarre and intended to produce just such a result as this. The conservatives have whinged for years that political correctness went too far; this is intended to be their correction.

    We can reasonably expect that the pendulum will not go too far back to the pre-Racial Discrimination Act times. There are people of conscience in the Senate.

    Or you may disagree.

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    • Marilyn March 31, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

      We do not have freedom of speech in Australia, you are confusing our non human rights with the US who have them.

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      • doug quixote April 2, 2014 at 7:00 pm #

        You are wrong, as you often are.

        Under the Australian Common Law system you can do anything you like so long as it is not specifically banned.

        There is no Charter of Rights as such. But the problem with a charter which tries to set out rights exhaustively is that if what you want to do is not specified, then you can’t do it!

        Australian law is common law, and like democracy it is a poor system, but better than all the others ever tried.

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    • hudsongodfrey March 31, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

      When it comes to an absolute right not to be offended then I agree with a couple of qualifications.

      I see no real public good in the kind gratuitous offence where somebody is effectively not afforded the right to avoid being confronted with offensive material. It does us a disservice overall when we use offence as a blanket term if it is likely to conflate things quite so different as child pornography on the one hand and political dissent on the other. Sure, I can supply rationalisations as to why neither are really offensive in themselves so much as evocative of thoughts or actions we may variously wish to condemn on their merits. Yet the human psyche doesn’t work that way and I don’t think it does the issue any great justice to deny how emotional intelligence informs those values that in turn define our sense of whether harm comes from a range of insults varying from the merest offence to the most egregious vilification.

      George Carlin’s brilliant example of substituting the word Fuck for the word Kill in the script of a Western movie is as fine an example as any of where we get this wrong…. ‘Okay Sheriff, we’re gonna fuck ya now. But we’re gonna fuck ya slow.’

      What’s he doing there? Well, this is from Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television (1972), and he’s mocking offence taken at “bad” language, accusing people who were offended by the “big seven” of hypocrisy in a way that most people have since come to recognise was mostly true.

      Yet I don’t know if we’ve quite taken the sting out of the tail of those words much less the “N” word Jennifer mentions that black comedians can use about themselves and white Americans seem for the most part to be exceptionally repulsed by. It begs the question as to what the merit of challenging all our notions of offence might be when it seems to me very much as if the hypocrisy and double standards always pertain to the people who are most racist rather than those of us who’re trying our damnedest not to be.

      In other words surely we’re okay to be offended by the killing and the racism if not by either fucking or harmless toilet humour?

      My second qualm with changing 18C is as earlier stated, the fact that if two people have an argument and a third decides then it’s probably won on merit, whereas if the mainstream media is allowed to saturate us with a certain kind of bigotry that succeeds in marginalising a minority then its far from evident that the best arguments prevail. On the record as it stands I think the act has functioned appropriately in the public interest insofar as a common good is served by rejecting racism. So it isn’t in any real sense a broken instrument that requires fixing by this government.

      Like

      • doug quixote April 2, 2014 at 7:04 pm #

        WTF has child pornography got to do with a right not to be offended?

        It is like saying a law allowing aspirin will lead to heroin abuse!

        Like

        • hudsongodfrey April 2, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

          I think its a fair question that I asked. If you want to say that there’s no right to be offended then don’t use political correctness as your example. Try instead using the example of the vilest thing most people agree is offensive and then ask what ways are at our disposal to oppose speech in support of that thing. I think you have to do that because the act as it stands hasn’t been used to target every minor instance in some backwater of the internet where someone makes racist remarks even if the law as written might technically apply. Instead it sets the bar at some level of seriousness informed by community standards that recent debate has shown a good many people want upheld. If you deregulate that kind of bad speech the question very much does become what kind of bad speech you draw the line at. I reckon if we think about that for only a very short while then we’ll easily find plenty to offend, denigrate and vilify anyone and everyone, and therein lies the locus of my objection to abandoning a hard line on racism. If you’re a person of colour or a member of an ethnic minority then it’s cold comfort indeed that you’re also freed under the law to abuse white Anglo Saxons. The fact is that any sense in which this might positively create better speech in our society eludes me.

          So no it isn’t like saying Aspirin will lead to Heroin abuse, but it is a bit like making such an ill informed choice as would have us assume Heroin is as benign as Aspirin.

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          • doug quixote April 3, 2014 at 6:06 am #

            “No right not to be offended.”

            Please read my post thoroughly before commenting.

            Each word has significance.

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            • hudsongodfrey April 3, 2014 at 9:25 am #

              No thanks Doug. I’ve explained this to you twice, beyond that I’d just be repeating myself. If there’s anything that rightly offends you then you have a right to be offended and for me racism is one of those things.

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              • doug quixote April 3, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

                There is no right not to be offended.

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                • hudsongodfrey April 3, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

                  There is no right to be bigoted.

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                  • doug quixote April 3, 2014 at 10:19 pm #

                    Eh? So long as does not impact on others, you can be as bigoted as you want.

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                    • hudsongodfrey April 3, 2014 at 11:24 pm #

                      C’mon Doug really! If you’re going to argue with respect of offence then some expression of bigotry seems to be the minimum requirement. As such all bigotry is offensive by definition. There’s no right to it because there’s nothing at all that is right about it. It stands as something the social order ought to oppose,has opposed through the racial discrimination act, and should be proud to continue in opposition to.

                      Like

            • doug quixote April 3, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

              You are “explaining” the wrong issue.

              Like

  14. paul walter March 31, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

    Well now, there’s the thing. Most of these think tank types are Eastern subs preppies on a born to rule kick and a bit “borderline” to boot.

    They want the rules rigged so they can resort to verbal abuse of others more proletarian, without these being able to hit back- that is all.

    Their bosses and sponsors want the hostile cultural medium in place, whereby they control the public’s mind through ignorance, fear and emotion.

    Like

  15. Di Pearton March 31, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

    Oh, yes………..
    ” I am enraged and heartbroken to see the gains that have been made in my lifetime crushed by the severely limited intelligence and utter lack of imagination of privileged white men such as Brandis, Wilson, Abbott et al. ”
    ……………despairing.

    Like

  16. gerard oosterman March 31, 2014 at 11:35 pm #

    Well. Q&A was outstanding tonight. The program did show up a mealy mouthed Tim Wilson while Kenneth Roth gave an outstanding performance as did the Egyptian woman. Our refugee problem is one of colour and race. Fifty years ago it were the Greeks and Italians that bore the brunt of resentment. Now they are the Iraqis, the Shri Lankans, the Afghanis. They are brown and that is still the main problem.
    If only they had ruddy speckled faces or ate Yorkshire pudding and engaged in fish slapping, all would be honky dory.

    Like

    • hudsongodfrey April 1, 2014 at 1:39 am #

      Absolutely Mona Eltahawy, Kenneth Roth and to some lesser extent all the others with the exception of Tim Wilson revelled in the relative luxury of being able to speak honestly perhaps because they’re less mired in the political milieu of the dog whistle and the common or garden Aussie bigot.

      If I noticed anything about Tim Wilson it was that he quickly backed away from the way that according to him Fairfax construed his comments. I don’t think it told us his position has moved so much as it told us that he wasn’t so ignorant as to be unaware of the kind of baggage he carries into his role as Human Rights Commissioner. I immediately got the sense that just makes him even more dangerous so long as he maintains the guile to be a wet blanket for human rights insofar as Australia is concerned with anything beyond defending its “interests”….

      Like

    • KB April 1, 2014 at 9:29 am #

      The Egyptian woman’s name is Mona Eltahawy!

      Like

      • Gruffbutt April 1, 2014 at 12:22 pm #

        I caught the end of the show, and loved Mona’s ‘telling it like it is’, that we’re scared of brown and black people and everything else is window dressing (my words).

        Thing is, I’d like to accuse people I know of this very thing, but they already have the excuse scripted for them that stopping boats saves lives (as if anyone cared about that when Howard’s boats arrived). You don’t have to move the goalposts when the pollies and MSM do it for you. So we might have, ‘You’re just scared of the “other”‘, followed by ‘No no no, I’m a caring pragmatist who has the best interests of these people at heart. Would you rather see them drown?’

        How dare Mona accuse us of not being the decent (read: superior) people we kid ourselves we are?

        Like

        • helvityni April 3, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

          The ‘drownings’ seem to worry the Libs, just another way of saying we don’t want brown or black people here….

          Like

  17. KB April 1, 2014 at 9:03 am #

    Thank you for writing this piece .. and many others. I too am ‘enraged and heartbroken’.

    Like

  18. hudsongodfrey April 3, 2014 at 11:28 pm #

    Jennifer,

    Frequenting old haunts I noticed Jonathan Green makes some interesting comparisons between defamation and racial discrimination in free speech. I thought of you when I saw this.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-03/green—defamation/5362868

    Like

  19. samjandwich April 4, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    Here’s our friend Richard Ackland writing on the same subject:
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/culture-wars-ignite-piggy-in-the-middlestyle-bigotry-20140403-zqq6n.html

    And while I’m here, I enjoyed this article on the virtues of “wishy-washy liberalism”, partly because it kind of touched on what I was trying to get at above. No time to explain how though: http://blogs.worldbank.org/publicsphere/praise-wishy-washy-liberalism

    Like

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