Thursday, December 4, 2014

Learning to act right (45)… a racist old white guy
Torrey Orton
Dec 04, 2014

I’m swearing at the tube again…

I’m becoming a racist old white guy, much by the same process of my stopping being a homophobe years ago. Daily I’m confronted with objectively powerful white guys (and some white gals) bemoaning aggressively their perilous condition, if they are not spurring other white guys and gals to fear their own perilous condition as members of a threatened dominant species – white folks. The amount of scaring other white guys and gals they do is proportional to their power – those in government and corporate leadership are more aggressively scarifying than those out of it.

That I’m a white-on-white racist is exposed in my frequent resort to expressions like “white, Christian fuckwits” (our current national government is notably avowedly Christian, undoubtedly white and undeniably male, but for one minister) while watching the news.  Few count as “old” in the normal sense of the term, but they aren’t young. They are unified in my appreciation by an absolutely consistent refusal to speak ordinary English and acknowledge that anything they have said might be wrong. It may turn out that this refusal has crystallized into an inability. Whichever, this is particularly galling when they are hiding invasions of others’ freedoms and rights – notably, the usual suspect refugees, unionists, et al.

As one of this government’s cheerleaders J. Albrechtsen said in The Australian (261114) of the ABC funding fiasco:

… But instead of working through that initial error, the government played condescending word games. Finance Minister Mathias Cormann declared: “These are not cuts.” The PM, in question time on Monday, refused to answer the question of a broken promise about cuts.

This utter nonsense leaves voters fuming. When the government doesn’t respect them with straight-talking honesty, voters will respond with even more disrespect.”

Some of us think such mis-spokes (see Bigotry-is-OK-Brandis for another whopper out of the same kettle) actually occur because they do not respect the voters or working families or the community, full stop, not because they are having failures of rhetorical competence. The right wing argument for freedom of speech so often comes down to unintentional, unaware, unconscious (?) authorisations of vile speech (bigotry, etc.) rather than just acknowledgment of it as part of the speech practice spectrum. Dog whistling to the pub standard??

Speaking of bigotry, now that I can draw on its implicit authorisation by the government and the IPA* (surrogate for a beer style of imported popularity from a place over there which specialises in bigotry, racism, classism….), I’m noting that my disdain for the current crop of middle-aged white guys leeches out into the current opposition, driven partly by their being the initial authors of the great moral scandal of our immigration policy and practice and they too being often self-espoused Christians, but more gender generous in their composition!!! And the leeching goes further since the institutions of their belief (the various churches) never act with consistent moral fervour or ethical precision to publically embarrass the hypocrisy of that policy!!

And. in the end it’s the repetition that gets me…of weasels’ words and wishes and the blind and dumb refusal to follow the evidence of their effects, while creating the conditions in which their effects cannot be perceived, hidden as they are in the closet of neo-liberal plus PC plus anti-terror speechifying.

And, most irritating / enraging are the powerful who deny their power either outright by lying or covertly by keeping their processes from us. Deception is a far greater threat to a relationship than a misdeed, or even deeds, for they can be known and that is a kind of certainty. Uncertainty is the greatest threat to stability in all (?) things.

But the coincidence of their behaviours with numerous challenges of deep and broad sorts - climate change, economic conflicts, ethical transgressions – regresses me in rage, itself fuelled by endless public reportage inflammations of all manner of human events into tragedies and smash-ups and truth flipflops and…. My rage is not far in its inarticulate name calling (“white Christian fuckwits” being the higher end of my expressive spectrum in this matter) from that of the anti-abortion fundamentalists at the Fertility Control Clinic, though our terms of condemnation differ. Ah, we are on common ground at last!!

*IPA = Institute for Public Affairs, a self-anointed think shop with a thought range from Ayn Rand on the right to Hayek / Friedman on the left.

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