Over the last couple of days I’ve had an interesting exchange with someone calling themselves ‘Lushington Dalrymple Brady‘. this person acknowledges that the name is a pseudonym, and the avatar that ‘he’ adopts is supposed to be a Tasmanian Devil; to me it looks like a foppish badger imitating an 18th century dandy. What do you think?
‘Mr Brady’ calls himself a ‘liberalist’ and I must confess it is a political label I’ve never heard of. I immediately assumed ‘he’ meant libertarian and perhaps that is what ‘he’ is. But, I’m willing to take ‘Lushington’ at his word, here is a definition of liberalist. It is apparently an adherent of the philosophies of John Locke.
OK, so I went to the source — American Thinker — to see what this is all about and yes, ‘libertarian’ is probably a good synonym. It is certainly an anti-left, anti-Marxist position that has everything in common with modern right-wing libertarian thinking that argues ‘Today’s a liberal is in fact a socialist [sic]’. Why are these batshit-crazy folk also grammar-challenged?
The ‘liberalist’/libertarian is anti-state, pro free-market, and adheres to a total buy-in to the myth of individual supremacy over the social totality. In short, as I told ‘Mr Brady’ in an email, a ‘Fascist with manners’.
You might think this is a harsh judgment, particularly as this email exchange was my first interaction with the alleged ‘Lushington’. But let me present Exhibit A; a guest post by this mysterious ‘Mr Brady’ on a blog called The Connor Post which publishes under this, let’s just say, ‘interesting’ banner.
The Connor Post claims to support ‘Western nationalist’ values; I don’t know about you, but Western nationalism sounds to me like a safe word for white supremacy, but for now, let’s return to ‘Mr Brady’ guest post which has the intriguing title: What if they hung the swastika flags in Australian classrooms.
Leave aside the simple grammatical mistake (tut, tut, tut!) what is this post about? I cannot bring myself to read the whole thing; I’m sure it would make me angry enough to want to punch this young badger fair on his supercilious snout (I am working on my anger issues).
I will give you a small taste. It is enough…the mouthwash is in the downstairs’ bathroom.
Imagine, if you will, that a government-sponsored academic designed a program for students, from elementary school on, that explicitly aimed to inculcate them with particular theories of “race” that many people find disturbing. Further, it emerges that the academic in question is an ardent student of Adolf Hitler, and preaches at neo-Nazi rallies, quoting from Hitler’s speeches and books.
In 2016, such a scenario sounds ludicrous. Even Vox could scarcely imagine Trump doing such a thing. But thought experiments don’t have to be plausible, just possible.
In fact, just such a thing is happening in Australia.
The “Safe Schools” program – promoting a controversial ideology, designed by an academic infatuated with an infamous ideologue, namely Marx – was first rolled out by the socialist Andrews government in the Australian state of Victoria, then nationwide, often over the objections of parents, politicians and others. Promoted as an “anti-bullying” program, it oddly (as some of its critics have pointed out) says nothing about fat kids, kids with glasses, freaks and geeks – you know, the sort of kids who get bullied all the time. Instead it explicitly focuses on the “same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse”.
Yes, I’ve seen enough to know that this ‘liberalist’ badger is indeed a Fascist with manners; I just didn’t realise until now that this badger’s manners are appalling and certainly mean he’s never going to be invited into my house. In fact at this point I’m inclined to give the rude badger a giant ‘FUCK OFF’ and leave it at that.
However, I want to share some of the exchange with you, as it demonstrates that I actually have a high level of tolerance for idiots and that I’m genuinely quite helpful.
It all began with a post on the badger’s blog A Devil’s Curmudgeon. The post is titled Giving the Devil his due: Andrew Bolt, Martin Hirst and Free Speech.
It’s not rocket science to work out that like Roz Ward in the piece about Safe Schools, I am the ‘devil’ in this piece. However, I got the impression that the badger was actually trying to defend me on some higher-than-God principle of freedom of expression. Take this for example:
Like Bolt, Hirst is not an easy person for his opponents to defend. An unrepentant Marxist, and an abrasive and combative presence on social media, he is as much the Devil for conservatives as Bolt is for the Left. The unedifying Twitter melee that cost him his job was sadly typical of its breed. It is important, then, to remember that Christopher Hitchens described his defense of Holocaust denier David Irving as one of the proudest moments of his life. Freedom of speech is meaningless unless it means the freedom of the people and their opinions we don’t like.
‘Mr Brady’ has a go at me for not defending Andrew Bolt against Justice Bromberg. I didn’t defend Bolt then and I won’t start now. I’ll leave that to the free speech fundamentalists at Bigot Central. To be clear, I don’t agree with Hitchens’ defence of Irving either.
The right to free speech does not include a right to spout hate speech; if you want to be racist or to attack the rights of gays, or of women to gender equality then accept the consequences, including getting thumped on the streets, or going to jail if you break laws designed to protect the rights of the people you want to disparage, attack, or pour hatred on.
Hate speech is an action in itself, but as we know all too well, it also leads to other actions, like the assassination of musicians, the burning down of refugee hostels and the mass murder of Arab-speaking people in the name of a vague ‘War on Terror’ to defend the kind of ‘Western nationalism’ espoused by the Fascists with manners.
Well, as you can imagine as an ‘abrasive and combative presence on social media’ (I really am working on my anger issues) I was not happy with some elements of the badger’s post. He got some basic facts wrong about my employment dispute with Deakin, and all I will say about that is I have put my views on the record in the past and I cannot add much more.
I left a comment on the badger’s original post airing my displeasure and setting the record straight. This led to an exchange of emails and, to ‘Mr Brady”s credit, he published a correction in a separate post. I’m pleased at that because not only did the original post misrepresent the situation between Deakin and I, it also accused me (unfairly) of supporting recommendations of the 2011 Finkelstein Inquiry into media regulation that I have never endorsed. You can read a series of earlier Ethical Martini post on Finkelstein from this link.
‘Mr Brady’s corrections and clarifications can be accessed via this link. I am pleased that the badger has the courage of his convictions and provided space for my response. ‘He’ did so in the following terms:
Here at A Devil’s Curmudgeon I believe most strongly in a robust marketplace of ideas. I’m also under no delusions as to my own fallibility, no matter how diligently I try to research my pieces. So when people, particularly those who’ve been the subject of something I’ve written, respond to tell me I’ve got something wrong, or just plain disagree with me, I’m more than happy to give them space.
This marks him out from some of his fellow-travellers on the libertarian spectrum and I acknowledged that in my emails to ‘him’. ‘Lushington’ also makes a few remarks about the ‘consequences’ of ‘free speech’, which brings us full circle. Here’s what ‘he’ wrote:
One final point, and this was something I should obviously have made clearer in the original article: in his emails, Dr Hirst made reference to the consequences of his free speech. Well, my whole point was that there shouldn’t have been any – and the right, as much as the left, should have defended that.
Free speech, as far as I’m concerned, is an issue that should cross tribal lines. My whole point was that the right, who howled when the left failed to defend the free speech of Andrew Bolt, should be ashamed of themselves for not defending the free speech of Martin Hirst. Snickering into their merlots because some cartoon villain for their “side” got taken down was not good enough. Free speech is for everyone, or no-one.
As Chomsky says, if you don’t believe in freedom of expression for people you despise, you don’t believe in it at all.
I will be eternally grateful to ‘Lushington’ for calling out Bolt and the others — mostly in the #Newscorpse cabal — who not only didn’t defend me, but who actively encouraged Deakin to come for me both in 2016 and during the first round of bludgeoning I copped in 2014. If you don’t know the full story, it is all on the record, just click the link above where I first mention it.
So’Lushington’s mea culpa is OK, as far as it goes, but it doesn’t acknowledge the fundamental dispute I was having with the badger’s philosophical position. I wrote about it at length in the email exchanges, but ‘he’ chose not to include these important points in his second post.
That’s fine. A Devil’s Curmudgeon is ‘his’ blog; this one is mine, so with fair warning (I did tell ‘Mr Brady’ that would put this on the record’) here is my line on the consequences of free speech and the use of pseudonyms in politically-charged debate.
On Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 1:26 PM, Ethical Martini wrote:
You talk about the consequences of speech and you know I have borne the consequences of my own. Yet you hide behind a fake name so there are no consequences for your speech, respectfully, that makes you no better than a Chickenshit Troll on Twitter. This is true no matter how well you speak or write.
That’s your choice, but think about it.
Are you willing to face the consequences of your speech?
I don’t believe you are, like most professed “libertarians” you are a coward.
But, as I say, that’s your choice.
As a real journalist and public figure, I own my words and actions and I suffer the consequences, no matter how unpleasant.
Are you willing to do that?
There was a reply and a further exchange. Here’s what I wrote about 2pm on Saturday:
Ok, Tx I’ve seen the [correction/clarification] post and tweeted out a link with +Ve comment
Any comment from the badger on my ‘coward’ comment?
I totally get anonymity for reasons of personal safety, but YOU should own your politics and be proud of them, particularly when, as you did with me, you attack someone else in political terms.
I have total contempt for anonymous trolls on Twitter and, in my experience it is NEARLY ALWAYS conservatives who hide behind cartoons of badgers (no way is that a Tassie Devil, or any other Aussie mammal/marsupial).
You will always be a badger to me, and Lushington is not your name.
Come clean, you will feel better about yourself.
As for ‘liberalist’, what sort of pathetic camouflage label is that?
Your badger face and your label scream “punkass dilettante wannabe” to me.
Get some real politics, choose a side, don’t play “badger in the middle”.
I added a final note to my message, and let’s be clear, I meant it all in good faith.
[T]hanks for being honest enough to take my broadside and own the correction.
It is the only reason I am bothering to further our correspondence.
[Your] honesty [for admitting the first post was incorrect in some elements], and brief glimmer of a badger’s inner Devil, at least marks you out from the fucknuckle kool-aid swilling reputation assassins, and Lieberal shills at #newscorpse.
They are a bad, bad crowd, stay away from them young badger.
I am happy to continue this exchange, but ONLY if you give me your real name and email me from your real account.
I will not expose you, young badger, I am a trustworthy and loyal man, but I have no patience for fools, and ZERO TOLERANCE for assholes. Clearly you are neither.
I haven’t had a reply. If I get one I will update this post; if not maybe my initial unkind assessment of the badger is more accurate than I thought.
[Update, 24 October:
There has been further correspondence from Mr Brady, it is reported here]