It was a sight to behold. Scott Morrison was suddenly the darling of the twittering Left. The Immigration Minister and his foes joined hands to dispel a character called Julien Blanc from these shores. ‘At last, Scott Morrison is deporting the right people’ a flurry of twitterati announced online. So what exactly had this Blanc creature done to join the social media mob and the Immigration Minister together?
Julien Blanc is a US ‘pick-up artist’ whose mission in life is to teach any young lustful gentlemen out there how to charm the ladies. It just happens his tips are creepy beyond belief. He pulls women’s heads into his crotch, and keeps them close by wrapping his hands round their throat. If any decent person saw Mr Blanc do this in a bar, they would knock his lights out. He is a bully and a real misogynist who this nation will not miss one bit.
But Morrison shouldn’t have given in to the mob and cancelled Blanc’s visa.
‘He was putting a view that was derogatory to women and that’s just something that our values abhor in this country,’ the Minister said. Our values should certainly incline us to reject Blanc but via debate and protest, not deportation and censorship. The government just looked as if it was giving out lollies to screaming, twittering dogmatists to shut them up.
The Blanc case has left a very dangerous precedent in our immigration policy. Free speech and proper process, even for creeps, are cornerstones of our legal and political traditions. Twitter doesn’t decide who gets a visa or not.
Public protest against Blanc had, justifiably, been planned at his venues. Businesses, expecting a backlash, wouldn’t give him the time of day. Criticism was raging in the public sphere and his methods were denounced in print and online.
But there was just that little nudge from that small corner of the internet that didn’t think democracy and debate were quite enough. The enemy had to be silenced in case all those horrid men who secretly hate women rushed headlong to follow Blanc’s lead. And that’s when the ‘#takedownjulienblanc’ petition to cancel his visa appeared.
This no-tolerance policy of social media zealots isn’t applied, of course, to everyone who advocates violence. Many of these same voices had screamed at Morrison and George Brandis over plans to ban radical Islamists such as Hizb ut-Tahrir. Never mind the very horrible views on women of the maddest mullahs.
With Hizb ut-Tahrir, we were shown how best to reject people who come here with repulsive attitudes. Their spokesman Wassim Doureihi’s interviews with Sky’s David Speers and the ABC’s Emma Alberici saw any fear of this organisation dissipate in seconds. His ideas fell over under simple questioning and the public responded with derision. No need for a draconian government to silence him because Hizb ut-Tahrir lost its mystique.
The same was happening to Julien Blanc. Women, and indeed men, were standing up to take him on. Think of the cringe-worthy interviews he would have given, held over the fire by women interviewers like Leigh Sales or Helen Dalley. Never mind the throngs of protestors and wary business owners. The dog would have run. Now he’s ‘The Pick-Up Artist Too Dangerous for Down Under.’
But before he actually did anything, ‘@ScottMorrisonMP’ had made his move. By resorting to force, we lost our chance to hold this creep to account by upholding the liberties he offends. With Blanc, the twittersphere has taken both democracy and the decency of most Australian men for granted’ showing a sad element of self-doubt in the Left. Any chance they might not win the argument – even in a case where nearly everyone agrees Blanc is bad news – and drastic action must be taken. The shut-down mentality, wrapped naively and stridently in a veneer of political correctness, ultimately harms our ability to discuss and debate.
Scott Morrison and the twitteratti may have laid down their arms for now, but they’re united in a delusion. Australian democracy and Australian voices would have driven Julien Blanc away and it was a mistake not to trust them. We didn’t need brute government force and its unlikely social media buddies violating the free speech principles they supposedly share
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