We are trapped in a topsy-turvy world. On the one hand, many Western governments have prioritised the feelings and sensibilities of protected groups over the rights and safety of the more numerous mainstream groups in laws backed by police and administrative enforcement. On the other hand, they have taken forceful action against those who demand or take action to protect themselves against actual threats and harms to public safety. This is an odd juxtaposition. The question is: Are they two sides of the same coin?
The State Protects “Safety” of Some Groups against Hurt Feelings
Over the last decade the high priests of the Heavenly Kingdom of Woke have successfully colonised most civic, political, corporate, media, and sporting institutions in the professional-managerial ranks. Their worldview and value system has become the ascendant religion in Western societies and those who would challenge the metaphysical beliefs and rites of the Holy Woke Empire are the minority cultural deviants.
You can praise any culture in the world except Western but must blame only Western culture for all the world’s ills. We are creating a society in which no one is responsible for what s/he himself did, but we are all responsible for what somebody else did decades and centuries in the past.
The sway of “safetyism” creates demand for safe spaces and the right not to be hurt and offended. Thus a British-Asian woman berated an immigrant taxi driver for asking where she was from, uploaded her interaction to TikTok thereby putting the poor man’s livelihood at risk, and complained about feeling incredibly “unsafe.” Attributing racist malice to a curiosity-based conversation starter is evidence of just how the offence-seeking attitude has poisoned the well of social harmony in a country where the prime minister is a Hindu of Indian ethnic heritage and the first minister of a Scotland is a Muslim with subcontinental origins also.
Weaponising the therapy language of safe spaces requires pigeon-holing non-Caucasian populations and whites into permanent victims and oppressors. Western kids are the equivalent of Prince Siddhartha Gautam (who became the Buddha after attaining Enlightenment), shielded from any exposure to life’s miseries and sorrows, the most insulated of any generation from any calamity, obsessing over modelled/forecast threats, microaggressions, need for trigger warnings and counselling if someone utters the n-word, petrified by imaginary threats well beyond the time horizon of their own life cycles, living in mysophobia, dissenting speech is hate speech, offending speech is literal violence, people with different moral frameworks are haters, etc…
In May it was reported that a group of seven sorority sisters at the University of Wyoming had filed a lawsuit against the national sorority organization after Artemis Langford, a 6’2” trans woman, got permission to move into their women-only Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority house. They raised concerns about shared bathroom facilities without locks and alleged that Langford was sometimes visibly aroused in their presence. One member opposed to their request told them: “Regardless of what your political views are, our Kappa values are acceptance and kindness.”
The perverse but predictable consequence of the wilful suspension of biological reality with pretend facts poses an actual threat to women’s safety, dignity, and privacy. There is good reason to create women-only spaces in toilets, changerooms, refuges, crisis services, prisons, and sports. Women’s rights would not be under threat if trans women were honestly described as biological males.
After the chaotic scenes of violence in Auckland earlier this year, Posie Parker (real name Kellie-Jay Keen Minshull) cancelled the rest of her scheduled New Zealand tour and returned home, having feared for her life because the police were conspicuous by their absence, not there to control the mob venting its fury at women who dare to have a voice. The self-righteous, self-congratulatory, juvenile trans-idiot who doused Parker in tomato juice in Auckland, Eli Rubashkyn, justified her actions thus: Parker “is advocating for our genocide and I want her to be full of blood.”
Harry Potter creator JK Rowling has had to face threats of rape and murder, threats for which no one has been charged so far. In the transformation of perpetrators of violence into victims of oppression, the characterization of critics as haters who pose a threat to the safety of trans women (as opposed to merely hurting their delicate feelings), is an essential tool for justifying the intolerance, hate, and violence directed by the trans activists at gender-critical women.
The State Victim Bashes and Blame-shifts Responsibility for Failing to Protect Mainstream Citizens
Last October–November, Just Stop Oil climate activists engaged in rolling stoppages of London’s busy traffic as police stood by politely. As public fury bubbled and intensified, some motorists resorted to direct action to drag and remove the protestors. The police cautioned the frustrated motorists against assaulting protestors.
On 1 May, there was a fatal encounter on a New York subway between Daniel Penny, a 24-year old Marine veteran, and 30-year old Jordan Neely, a homeless man whose agitated and erratic behaviour appeared threatening. Confronted with such uncomfortable and potentially violent situations, most people avoid eye contact and shuffle away in quiet embarrassment. Penny chose to intervene in the interests of public safety, subdued Neely and put him in a chokehold. Neely died. No one has suggested Penny intended to kill Neely.
On 12 May Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg filed charges against Penny for second degree manslaughter. If convicted, which will require a jury to find that Penny engaged in reckless conduct, he could face 15 years in prison. Bragg’s previous high-profile court appearance was the indictment of Donald Trump by elevating misdemeanours into felonies. Before that, Bragg had attracted notoriety for reducing large numbers of felony charges to misdemeanours and freeing the arrested persons back on the streets, becoming “the public face of lawlessness and violence on America’s city streets” (William McGurn).
The white-on-black death feeds into the Black Lives Matter narrative that demands Penny must be punished. Neely was a mentally troubled and emotionally unstable man who wasn’t given adequate medical care by the city. Ensuring public safety through law enforcement and criminal justice is another prime responsibility of the state. Subway crime has exploded in New York City in recent years. Penny may have stepped in as a “Good Samaritan’“(Ron DeSantis) to help contain a deteriorating situation. His indictment will convince even more citizens not to get involved. The lines between fear of being assaulted, of entanglement in the criminal justice system, and cultivated indifference to events unfolding around one are becoming more blurry with every passing year.
Conversely, even if it turns out the city scapegoated Penny for its own dereliction of duty, no one will be held to criminal account. This is a perverse incentive structure. As someone commented: “If he was identifying himself as a female and wearing a dress and eye makeup and did the exact same thing he would be invited to the White House by Biden & Harris.”
The case of British parliamentarian Andrew Bridgen is equally illustrative of punishing anyone who dares to point to a dereliction of duty by the organs and officers of state. In April he was expelled from the ruling Conservative Party because he dared to touch, in Parliament, the third rail of Covid-19 vaccine harms. In January he tweeted a consultant cardiologist saying that mass vaccination was the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust. A top party official said the comment had “crossed a line.” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned it as “utterly unacceptable.”
The critics need remedial lessons in logical reasoning and history. Bridgen had quoted Dr. Josh Guetzkow, a Jewish Israeli academic, not expressed his own views. Guetzkow insisted that “there is nothing at all anti-Semitic about his statement.” A group of 25 Jewish scientists, doctors and researchers from Canada, UK, and the US wrote an open letter to Sunak on 30 January accusing Bridgen’s critics of deflecting legitimate concerns over vaccine safety and efficacy by raising charges of anti-Semitism. “Weaponisation of the important issue of anti-Semitism for these purposes is particularly objectionable and disrespectful towards its victims,” they said.
Bridgen had not relativised the Holocaust. The word “since” doesn’t imply vaccine harms are equivalent to the Holocaust. Rather, he used the latter as the temporal benchmark: the last, bigger crime against humanity. A group of experts defended his speech to Parliament on the risks-benefits equation of Covid vaccines. Meanwhile the vaccine manufacturers have been granted immunity for any damage caused by their completely safe and effective products.
In Australia, state parliamentarian Moira Deeming has similarly been banished from the state Liberal Party’s parliamentary caucus in Victoria for being guilty-by-association. On 18 March, she spoke at a Let Women Speak rally outside the state parliament that also featured Posie Parker. The rally was infiltrated by masked neo-Nazis dressed in menacing black whom the police seemed to guide towards the women’s rally, instead of keeping the two groups apart.
Premier Dan Andrews immediately conflated the two groups but, surprisingly, so did Liberal leader John Pesutto. He held Deeming guilty because of her involvement with people “associated with far right-wing extremist groups including neo-Nazi activists.” His efforts to expel her from the party failed in April but did succeed at the second attempt on 12 May. In turn Deeming intends to sue Andrews for defamation for the Nazi sympathiser smear. David Adler, President of the Australian Jewish Association, wrote a powerful piece in her defence that sharply criticised the weaponisation of the Nazi smear.
Parker’s Canberra rally was disrupted by protestors. The local and federal police failed to protect her during her Canberra event where the small pro-women’s group was the target of vitriolic abuse from trans-activists hurling obscenities at them: “F..k off Fascists! Go home Nazis!” Tatum Street, a co-organiser of and marshal at the Canberra event, adds:
Finally, in the US, Baltimore became the latest city to sue car manufacturers Hyundai and Kia for an explosion in car thefts, up 95 percent from a year ago. In their minds this is clearly not a failure of civic duties on the part of city authorities—a $22 million cut in the police budget in 2020 amidst “defund the police” demands, release of criminals, and exodus of officers because of low morale—but the result of cost-cutting by the two companies in not installing more effective anti-theft devices in their cars. Mayor Brandon Scott and Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said Kia and Hyundai must be held accountable for the rise in thefts of their cars.
What next? Retail outlets being sued for not making it harder for shoplifters and looters? Oh wait. Police are already billing event organisers for protection against threats from protestors.
All these incidents of victim bashing and blame shifting responsibility for the failures of the core functions of government are symptoms of social anomie and dystopian politics poisoning contemporary Western civilisation.
About the author: Ramesh Thakur, a Brownstone Institute Senior Scholar, is a former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, and emeritus professor in the Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
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