Attacks on pluralism (was: Re: [LINK] Surely it's time we privatised the ABC)

rchirgwin at rchirgwin at
Tue Oct 17 19:23:58 AEST 2006

Paul Bolger wrote:

> The piece referenced here is obviously a 'hand grenade' - an opinion
> piece commissioned to stir up public reaction. Got me going though.

It most certainly is. But it's also symptomatic of a political either 
strategy or behaviour (depending on your point of view). And that 
strategy/behaviour is relevant both to the "big picture" of political 
debate, and the microcosm of places like Link.

1) It's not about debate
Columnists like the "sell the ABC" guy in the O, and Anne Coulter, and 
Piers Ackerman and others are not trying to convince anyone of anything. 
The aims are twofold:
"instruction" (ie, this is what you should believe to be identified as 
'one of us' - an appeal to the desire to belong), and
"crowding" - either occupy the debate "space" so that non-right voices 
are crowded out; or in discussion groups, pollute the debate to an 
intolerable degree.

For the first, you have to have a name - you have to be a Coulter or 
Ackerman or Henderson. The second needs 'names' only for crowding 
channels like columns and broadcasters.

2) Denunciation
The practise by both the columnist and the foaming loonie of denouncing 
any opionion not endorsed by the columnist-arbiters is designed to make 
people (presumably of low intelligence) believe that they are stepping 
outside the boundaries of debate and discussion permitted by some 
overwhelming majority of which they're not part. It's an old "come the 
revolution" borrowed from the early 20th century; and the Marxists and 
Leninists etc of that period borrowed the technique from the French 
Revolution (where a denunciation was sufficient for an execution).

3) We need interpreters
Note that the right is infested with a strange messianic idea that the 
political leaders (the Thatchers of old, or the Bushes and Howards of 
today) can't speak to the punters. Rather, it's up to the columnists and 
the chatterers to 'interpret' the sayings and beliefs of their glorious 
leaders on our behalf.  A childish technique borrowed from religious 

The point, as relevant to Link, is that any pluralist seat of discussion 
like ours is considered a target. It's a threat, not because all of the 
views are leftist, but because it's got an ethic of good manners which 
tolerates a wide spectrum. It's not whether or not a group endorses a 
political view that matters; it's the permissive attitude which is 
intolerable. And that's the reason for the attack.

No, Kim H, I don't think Vic's paid for anything he writes. He's just 
another witless dupe who believes he can crowd out the debate, who 
believes denunciation is a valid aspect of debate, who thinks what he's 
told to think. Read "The Mold of Yancy" by Philip K Dick ...



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