Today we live in an Australia greatly different to the one I grew up in. Back in my early days, society was more civilised. The police found it necessary to have just two patrol cars out and about on Saturday night in Melbourne , where I lived. No drugs. Some alcohol. On Saturdays we had bodgies and widgies in the streets, but they were quite civilised by comparison with today's ferals.
Unfortunately for our society, many changes have taken place, not always for the better. I am a conservative. I don't like to change just for the sake of change. And I don't like to see people attacking each other simply because they have a different point of view.
Here I am referring to the attacks on Robert Spencer. He authors www.jihadwatch.org, which reports the activities of militant Muslims.
I have never seen Robert attack Muslims, and no one has ever been able to produce any evidence of any offence he has committed. On the other hand, I have seen many people attack Mr Spencer. All sorts of vague innuendoes. He is 'anti-Muslim', without a shred of evidence. He is a 'hate-monger', again without a shred of evidence. He is an associate of Serge Trifkovic (the old guilt-by-association, as Maxwell Smart might say). And there have been endless threats to murder him, so that he must have 24-hour protection, and hide from the public.Notice the difference. It is one thing to report on the activities of others. It is another thing altogether to attack the person himself. The first is legitimate. The second is calumny.
Robert Spencer is perhaps the greatest authority on Islamic militancy in the world today. He is a gentleman (which cannot be said for many of his opponents).
Now we expect the hard left to attack Mr Spencer. That's what they do. Attack people.
When you hear cries of 'racist', 'sexist', 'right-winger', or any other label, you know you are dealing with a person of the hard left, those who have no arguments and have to shout out labels to obscure their incompetence.
Recently we have experienced a new phenomenon. Some members of the hitherto conservative population have resorted to these tactics. They refuse to meet Robert Spencer, a fellow conservative, without having any reason to show for it, except to parrot the hard left.
The hard left does not like the teachings of Islam. They differ on homosexuality, the treatment of women, abortion, and many other things. But the hard left shares with Islam an overriding hatred of Christianity and of the USA , so despite their opposite beliefs the left are in bed with Islam. Thus we have world leaders telling us that Islam is a religion of peace, when even a brief reading of Islamic scriptures (and the speeches of Muslim leaders in their own languages) will provide an instant cure to this delusion.
The great danger we face is that some conservative leaders have succumbed to the disinformation put out by proponents of Islam. When our formerly-trusted fellow conservatives start to sound like the hard left, we are going to have serious trouble identifying who is the real enemy.
We have to look at some specific cases where debate has been suppressed. The Bishop of Worcester in the US banned Mr Spencer from his scheduled address to the Catholic Men's Conference in Sacramento in March.
The reason? "Spencer's talk about extreme, militant Islamists…might undercut the positive achievements that we Catholics have attained in our inter-religious dialogue with devout Muslims".
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