The Australian – 28 September 2016
There is something rather dangerous about the gay marriage debate — and it is not homosexuality or marriage.
It is the view widely held by our political Left that liberal democratic precepts can be overridden whenever they interfere with politically correct ideology.
Not content merely to deny the democratic mandate of millions who endorsed the same-sex marriage plebiscite by voting the Coalition into power, Labor is sowing civil hatred as social order.
The abysmal and divisive new ethos of Labor is the audacity of hate.
I think it would be fair to surmise that the opposition’s legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus doesn’t suffer from an excess of modesty.
But even so, his idea that the government should “win over” Labor by compromising on the plebiscite bill is remarkably arrogant. The government has an election mandate to hold a plebiscite on same-sex marriage. Labor’s denial of it constitutes a repudiation of the will of the people.
Having lost its election campaign to deny people a vote on marriage reform, Labor has swung into attack.
It is reframing the plebiscite debate by exploiting fear and manipulating emotion. In one short week, Labor has succeeded in reframing the founding principles of liberal democracy as manifestations of hatred — all in the name of love, of course.
In Labor’s grand lexicon of doublespeak, public reason, active citizenship, and the human rights to free thought and speech, freedom of association and religion are mistranslated into forms of hatred. And the citizen who seeks active participation in democracy by advocating for the same-sex marriage plebiscite is, by extension, hatred personified.
Increasingly it is the case that whenever a question of social reform arises, the political Left reverts to the audacity of hate to coerce people into conformity.
Its default position is to mob and vilify dissenters.
It acts as though Australia were a country under democratic socialism rather than liberal democracy.
Like revolutionary socialism, the democratic model holds socialism as the only end of democracy, but its tenets are introduced using the state and associated institutions rather than militant revolution.
During the past week, the socialist Left position on gay marriage has been promulgated by Labor, the Greens and the state media institutions that consistently prosecute the Left party line: SBS and the ABC.
In news and on current affairs programs, the ABC has so aggressively campaigned for the socialist Left’s anti-plebiscite position, it appeared there was no alternative. And that is perfectly consistent with the one-party-rule ethos of democratic socialism.
But it just happens to run counter to the Australian people’s will — namely, the democratic mandate for a plebiscite endorsed at the federal election.
Whenever a pro-plebiscite voice is raised, the Left howls it down in a chorus of contempt. Predictably, Christians and conservatives are the principal victims of the Left’s pre-emptive moral infallibility. For example, when it looked as though Stephen O’Doherty, chief executive of Christian Schools Australia, was winning the plebiscite debate on ABC’s The Drum, host Julia Baird interrupted to prosecute an anti-plebiscite line in unison with the other panellists.
Tony Jones, the host of ABC’s Q&A, so routinely interrupts politically incorrect panellists that the online forum Catallaxy Files holds bids for “interruption lotto” before each show.
The tendency of the political Left to contort democracy whenever it conflicts with politically correct ideology is evident also in its main counter-argument to the plebiscite, which actually constitutes a rationale for it.
Anti-plebiscite politicians and commentators believe they can relieve Australia of the people’s will by appeal to representative democracy.
Yet the zenith of representative democracy — the popular democratic election under a system of universal suffrage — yielded a yes vote for the plebiscite as a central feature of the Coalition’s election platform.
In recent years the appeal to representative democracy has been fashioned into a rhetorical tool of convenience to justify everything from policy reversals to unseating prime ministers. It is the default defence of those who seek a ready rationale for acting against the will of the people expressed in federal elections.
And it seems that appeals to representative democracy stripped of both genuine representation and democracy are especially popular among the members of left-leaning factions in both major parties.
Such appeals were used to unseat Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd and Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott.
However, hollow appeals to representative democracy threaten its future by subordinating the people’s will to party politics and replacing election mandates with polls.
They are the source of the growing democratic deficit — the vast gulf between the people and the elites — producing political instability across the West.
The government has a mandate to pass the bill for a plebiscite on same-sex marriage.
The mandate was provided by millions of Australians who voted for the Coalition in the July election.
Labor would have liked to win the election with its opposing campaign to legislate for same-sex marriage in parliament. But it did not win.
Having lost the popular vote, Labor seeks to subvert democracy by blocking the plebiscite.
The worrying implication is that the Left may actually loathe the people and mistrust democracy as much as its anti-plebiscite propaganda suggests.