Mar 302011

What is a social compact?

Cory Bernardi. Remember him? The guy Turnbull sacked because he bad-mouthed one of his own because he just happens not to like the other’s ethos? The guy who claims Islam is ‘the problem’, Muslims are fine but their religion sux? That’s right, you’ve got him. He has a blog and can’t have been getting enough hits, so he’s had a leg-up from the online news media. Which online news media? Don’t be a complete goose! The Australian, of course!

It’s a fluff piece pointing directly at this post written by Bernardi a couple of days ago, bemoaning the apparently over-whelming weight of what he calls ‘political correctness’ pressing down on free expression by Australians.

How many people have witnessed the personal slurs and illogical charges of racism and bigotry towards me and are now too scared to voice their own opinions for fear of being vilified too?

Every time I speak out in defence of our values I receive a wave of support from everyday Australians who share my concerns, but they tell me they are too afraid to speak publicly.

Time and time again we hear conservative voices—voices that seek to protect our traditions and way of life—shouted down by those who simply do not have room for another opinion. The important issues are lost in a blitz of character assassination, vitriol and misrepresentation.

Clearly, Bernardi never frequents Twitter’s cesspit, #auspol, or Debate & Relate, or P&CA, places where right-wing proponents will do their utmost to frustrate, abuse, create lies about and personally insult their interlocutors in a bid to shut down opinion which differs from their own. That’s what Bernardi’s blog post is all about. Hurt feelings on his behalf that his personal worldview isn’t allowed free reign without critique. Poor Cory. He calls for his kind to virtually rise up, stick their heads out the virtual window and shout out loud about their angst & declare they aren’t going to take it anymore. Well, Cory….stick your own virtual head into #auspol sometime. Your brand of rabid expression is alive & well, flourishing among the anonymity of social media. Anonymous for some anyway, eh, David Thiessen?

Bernardi is making false claims, expressing faux grief at the loss of something which has never been attacked. Political correctness? What is that? Is it considered assessment and understanding of what may or may not be acceptable in a tolerant society, or is it really just a set of shackles created by the anti-thesis for the likes of Cory Bernardi? I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I’m pretty much fed up with this continual bleating from the conservative side of the ideological divide about so-called repression of inappropriate, offensive, discriminatory ideals by people who clearly don’t think before they let their jaw fly open & sounds to issue forth. Do have a read of Bernardi’s post, because it’s important that we who choose to adopt the considered and thoughtful approach to engagement with our fellow humans, beings of all stripes, understand how those who don’t believe in consideration for their fellow persons, their societal compatriots, think. social compact?

I don’t accept Bernardi’s stance (surprise! surprise!) purely because what he claims is not the truth. He’s having a whinge, a whine, a gripe in a bid to garner attention for himself, and those who perform in public like him. Such behaviour is childish and attention-seeking. He makes claims that cannot be substantiated and offers no inclusive alternative. His way, or the highway. How often have we, who adopt consideration and progressiveness, heard, read & seen this argument from conservatism? Too often I say. I’d ask Bernardi just what he means by ‘social compact’; ‘our culture’, ‘our values’. What is a ‘common social covenant’ a-la-Bernardi? What is ‘our way of life’, or our ‘national identity’. Bernardi makes absolutely no effort to clarify or identify what these references mean, either to him, or to his followers, or indeed to anyone else. What he is doing is nothing less than attempting to accuse someone of being ‘UnAustralian’ simply because that person adopts a stance that doesn’t agree with his, and has the temerity to say so. Those kinds of accusations have no basis in fact and simply act as a pejorative. What Bernardi is doing in his blog post is nothing more than offering up more of the same pejorative. Challenging a perspective which is at odds with a majority view, Cory Bernardi, is real democracy. That is real freedom of expression. If you can’t handle that kind of robust engagement, then I’d suggest your hide is not as thick as you might like to imagine. Best thing to do, is open up your social compact and look into it. When you recognise that your social compact is only you and no-one else, then you might wake up to the fact that ‘our culture’ and ‘our values’ are those defined by everyone who lives in this country and calls themselves, Australian. Not just those who follow a conservative dogma.

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