The term ‘Orwellian’ has come to mean a cynical manipulation of language for the purpose of oppression. We see it in many facets of public life today and George Orwell wrote about the threats of such in many of his books. However, I doubt that even Orwell himself could have foreseen just how far this insidious process has progressed in such a short space of time.
Nowhere is it more prevalent than in the ‘debate’ about the redefinition of marriage. The advocates for change have determined that anyone opposed to changing the definition of one of our oldest social institutions is a ‘homophobe’. It is a term that has been levelled at me hundreds of times over the years and yet not one of my critics has been able to substantiate the slur with any factual evidence.
Sure, there are people who will disagree with my stance but simply disagreeing doesn’t constitute a ‘phobia’ of any description. Some seek to misquote my historical words back to me in a further smear but once again, they are relying on falsehoods to justify their cause. It happens all too often but most recently occurred on Monday night’s Q&A program.
An audience member sought to challenge the ‘homophobia’ within the Coalition, once again without providing any evidence, instead choosing to deliberately misrepresent my previous statements that redefining marriage to include same-sex couples will only lead to further calls for other changes down the track. It’s the lived experience overseas and we’d be foolish to think it wouldn’t happen here too.
However, truth and fact are no barriers to smears on the ABC even when the questions have been pre-screened. It is unfortunate that the sole guest Malcolm Turnbull didn’t correct the record and instead sought to appease the baying crowd when challenged by the left-leaning cheerleader and host Tony Jones.
By saying he’d had ‘firm discussions’ with ‘a number of colleagues’, Turnbull gave implicit support to the claim that myself and other Coalition MPs are ‘homophobic’ and implied that he’d had a conversation with me about ‘homophobia’. For the record I have never had such a conversation with any of my colleagues because they know that any such claims cannot be backed with facts.
How did we get to such a sorry state of affairs?
It wasn’t that long ago that the entire Australian parliament agreed on what marriage was. According to the abusive militants they all must have been homophobes which I am sure is news to the likes of Penny Wong. Yes that’s right, she voted (along with a majority of senators) to keep marriage as it always has been when codified by the parliament in 2004.
She went even further during a television interview in 2010 when she said:
“On the issue of marriage I think the reality is there is a cultural, religious, historical view around that which we have to respect… that is an institution that is between a man and a woman.”
She is not alone. So many others across the political divide have been hoist on their own petard of hypocrisy and yet they are still regarded as credible voices by the media.
But haven’t we ‘progressed’ since then with a new culture of enlightenment and tolerance? The answer to that is a clear no. In fact, quite the opposite has occurred.
Enlightenment was built around rational change and the belief that knowledge was gained through accumulated experience. Critical to this process was sensible dialogue. It is notably absent in the current debate surrounding redefining marriage and a host of other areas of public policy.
Instead, we simply have demands for tolerance. Unfortunately that term has become Orwellian because when used by the social justice warrior it has a different meaning.
The demand for tolerance by leftists is nothing more than a thinly veiled insistence that you surrender your views, your values and your beliefs in favour of theirs. If you don’t, the name calling starts. You instantly become a ‘phobe’, a ‘bigot’ or worse. These slurs are designed to shut down any sensible dialogue or meaningful discussion about the subject matter at hand.
Unfortunately the tactic works and it has been embraced at the highest levels in our country. In an attempt to avoid any public criticism from the vocal minority, too many will meekly parrot the latest Orwellian terms to deflect attention from their shallow rhetoric.
The country deserves better. We need political and community leadership that won’t meekly surrender to the voices who shout the loudest. We need public policy determined by the national interest rather than the narrow band of self-interest. Most importantly of all, if we are to make any inroads at all in restoring confidence in our political system, we need to confront the truth.
That means calling out the Orwellian influence at work within our public discourse and restoring common sense and straight talk that we can all rely on.