Thursday, May 31, 2018

Keep your extremists, thanks

Two far-right Canadian “commentators”, including one banned from the UK for spreading racist material, are coming to Australia and New Zealand in July. They (I’m deliberately not using their names so as to avoid giving them Google Juice) are mounting a “speaking tour” to make money—oops! sorry—to speak at shows around Australia and in Auckland. They should stay home and leave us alone.

It’s probable, though not certain, that the two will have willing listeners on their tour, and not just the sort who are expecting a freak show and trainwreck. All countries have their radical elements, and as long as all they do is talk, there’s not much that can, or possibly should, be done about it. That doesn’t extend to foreign agitators, however, who enter a country, stir up trouble and bugger off with their pay, never having to worry about or experience the consequences of the extremism they spread and encourage.

What puzzled be about the younger speaker is that they’re only 22. How, I wondered, could someone so young become so filled with the negativity and regressive agenda of the radical right? Maybe the answer really is money.

According to news.au.com, the website of News Limited (all prices are in Australian dollars):
General admission tickets to the pair’s talks, starting on July 20, cost $79 per person. Those who want to get in early for “first choice of seats” can pay an extra $20. From there, it gets steep.

A meet-and-greet with the pair for 30 minutes will cost $199. If you want to spend 45 minutes and get some signed merchandise, it’s $499.

An “intimate dinner” with the pair will set you back $749.
Not bad for not doing any real work.

The young speaker promoted their appearances by saying to Australians, “Do you want to retain your culture, do you want to retain your borders, family, identity, or will the boats keep coming, will the no-go zones keep growing and will you become another victim of multiculturalism.” Whatever that means, it sounds more than a little racist.

The reason the young speaker was banned from the UK is that they distributed flyers intended to provoke Muslims. The speaker claimed the stunt was a "social experiment" to prove Islam is a homophobic religion. It doesn’t take a genius to know that deliberately provoking people proves absolutely nothing, and one could get the exact same result by passing out similar leaflets about Jesus—or maybe the current occupant of the White House—to far-right “Christians” in the USA.

These far-right folks always pretend to be a victim, with absolutely no responsibility for any violent confrontations that may happen. That’s a bit rich, since they always deliberately attempt to provoke violent confrontations.

The young speaker demurred, “I’m certain our ideas will shock people and our arguments will bring a lot of excitement to Australia, but I don’t remember discussing throwing bottles or rioting or setting anything on fire.” Then they stoked the flames: “We’re not going to be the ones bringing the mayhem, the left-wing rioters who are going to be there — they’ll be the ones doing that.” The far-right speakers clearly hope that’s the case so they get more publicity.

Both Australia and New Zealand have the power to block foreign trouble-makers from entering the country, and it would be understandable if the countries did so for these two. However, I don’t think that will happen, for a lot of reasons, and maybe that’s for the best: Banning them would do nothing to stop their racist agenda, but the publicity from doing so would build their popularity with their fans and vulnerable people who might be susceptible to recruitment.

The best thing to do would be to ignore them as much as possible: No counter protests—in fact, nothing more than a symbolic sole picketer (with a vehicle nearby to drive them to the hospital in the highly possible event that a far-right provocateur attacks them). Having one peaceful protestor designated as such would by itself provide a strong marketing image, and a far more effective one, and a much better strategy, than the violent confrontation the far-right folks crave, and the Left too frequently obliges with.

Honestly, though, it would be better if the pair just stayed home. They’re not wanted in this part of the world, and there must be a lot of people in North America they haven’t bothered yet, so why travel all this way just to annoy us?

They should just stay home.

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