Bolt and Blair don’t believe in free speech after all

I had an entirely different post ready to go and lined up for today. All I had to do was press the button and it was up. Then I could have gone and had a relaxing morning picking my toenails and watching the hideous minor birds fight over a piece of toilet paper.

But no – Andrew Bolt and Tim Blair had to ruin that for me.

“Defenders of Free Speech Must Damn Pickering”

The headline screams out at you from Bolt’s site, like a feisty school librarian who has just discovered that someone is reading the latest issue of Mad magazine beneath an enormous copy of War and Peace. Bolt condemns Pickering, and simultaneously condemns the reader, if you don’t condemn Pickering as instructed.

I switched over to Tim Blair’s site and his headline was similar:

“Larry’s Latest Leap too Far.”

Bloody hell, I thought. What’s going on here?

Random penis.

It transpires that at a recent meeting of the Q Society, of which neither Bolt nor Blair were in attendance, cartoonist and writer Larry Pickering said a few things about Muslims and gays. According to Bolt:

And shame on all the conservatives and libertarians who did not howl him down when he said that while “I can’t stand Muslims … they are not all bad [because] they do chuck pillow-biters off buildings”.

I prefer the epithet “shirt-lifters” myself but each to his own.

But my God, the Australian Left must love mornings like this when they wake up and discover that two of the supposedly most strident conservative opinion writers are doing their dirty work for them. Bolt is having one of his infrequent public meltdowns where he undoes all of the previous good work that he has done. Tim Blair’s response is more subtle. He dismisses Pickering as not being worthy enough to be in their club. It is similar to the schoolyard freeze-out. Both columnists are being bullies but it is Blair who is the more insidious of the two.

I don’t need to provide any more quotes because everything that needs to be refuted is in the article heading and the quote that I have used thus far. Andrew and Tim, when you say “I believe in free speech but” that just means that you don’t actually believe in free speech. The whole point of free speech is in making people upset. Speech that doesn’t make people upset is immaterial to the argument.

Now here we have some speech that has made the two of you upset and suddenly Pickering must be “damned” and “howled down” by all conservatives everywhere. How interesting. So what you are both saying is that when push comes to shove you don’t actually believe in free speech after all. You are two members of the “I believe in free speech but” brigade. Which makes you both hypocrites, which is the usual domain of the Left. Milo Yiannopoulos was recently “howled down” by a violent mob before he even got the chance to speak. Is that the sort of howling down that you are referring to, Andrew? If not, exactly what type of howling down is acceptable and where does the line begin that differentiates between these two extremes?

The answer of course is that there is no difference. Howling down is simply howling down. We don’t need to damn Pickering. We simply need to politely say that we disagree if we happen to disagree at all. But Andrew and Tim do not own conservative opinion or public discourse. They are not the deciders of when someone steps across an invisible line. Each of us have the brains and foresight to make up our own minds on these matters. We will not be told by them when we must damn someone for something they have supposedly said. And not following Bolt or Blair’s instructions does not then disqualify us from the conservative side.

But I tell you what should disqualify somebody from the conservative side. Saying “I believe in free speech but”.

This article was originally published at Adam Piggott writes regularly and brilliantly.

3 thoughts on “Bolt and Blair don’t believe in free speech after all”

  1. Agree with every word.
    The inner Leftie (read “Fascist”) of Bolt came through in his post: “I am so morally-superior that I am entitled to condemn, from the Olympus of my moral superiority, not the argument of the person who said something I do not approve of (perfectly legitimate thing to do. – R.); and not even to get personal and simply condemn the person who said that thing (not very conducive to a robust debate, but we all do that from time to tome – just try to do so sparingly. – R.); but I am entitled to actually condemn the people who were present in the room because their reaction to that thing said that I disagree with was not exactly how I want them to have reacted (ummm, eff you, Bolt. -R.)”.

  2. The hypocrisy of Andrew Bolt on this issue is mind blowing – even scarier is the realization that he doesn’t even see the hypocrisy. And I speak as one who admires Andrew Bolt enormously (or did till now) checking his blog first thing each morning. Howling typifies the Left. That’s what the Left does: Howls you down; won’t let you speak. It’s not what true Libertarians do. And Andrew, don’t you dare criticise Larry Pickering anyway. Pickering is the greatest political cartoonist Australia has produced. He truly came of age during the Whitlam disaster. In just one frame, Pickering could say what took political journalists several column inches to say. Pickering is technically brilliant – his depiction of Whitlam as a demented chook is unforgettable. And Andrew, just like Donald Trump, Larry Pickering does not ‘do’ understatement. He is totally ‘in your face’ and that is a measure of his effectiveness. And Andrew, Larry Pickering is 110% right about Islam. In his gross exaggerations and what Ms Gillard would no doubt call ‘hyperbowl’ he is perhaps making his point far more effectively than you ever do. He has sure got the cognoscenti all up in arms, hasn’t he? Go Larry!! God Bless, and thank you for the enlightenment and pleasure your brilliantly incisive cartoons have given so many of us, over so many years.

  3. Sorry, but he slipped over to the dark side. Writing in “approving manner” of rape & murder, & even making money off it? What next?- Snuff Films? As long as they are about gays or Muslims its ok? We have to know the difference tween good & evil or we wont win this war. Its our faith in the Righteous One & His Favor for us that will guide & revive us. (Fear G-d & Live).

Comments are closed.