From John Ray's shorter notes

January 25, 2019

Why the Australia Day debate, and discussion about any other divisive issue, is now basically pointless

It's true that Left/Right hostility is now at a high level but who pushed it there?  Who was it who introduced all these new claims of Leftist righteousness and corresponding conservative infamy -- such as trying to destroy the patriotic holiday of Australia Day?  It was not conservatives.  They have just stuck with doing what they have always done and saying what they have always said.  It is the Left who are behind all these new hates and rages. 

The article below talks as if Left and Right were equally to blame for all the hostile arguments but all conservatives have done is to defend themselves and their customs from a whole wave of new and vitriolic attacks.  The Left have started it and only the Left can end it.  But they seem to be eaten up with hate at the moment so no change seems likely. 

Why are they do full of hate?  Because people worldwide are rejecting them and hate is how they react to rejection. Humility is beyond them. Trump, Brexit, nationalist regimes in much of Europe, Bolsonaro in Brazil, AfD in Germany, the big vote for the  Sweden Democrats and now the yellow jackets in France signal a severe cutback in Leftist influence worldwide -- and it enrages them

Leftist hatred of those who disagree with them is not new however. Thomas Jefferson in 1808 said: "It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions."

So it's no surprise that there's a similar hostility situation in Britain -- only there the issue is Brexit.  We read:

"The traditional January spike in divorce applications is off the scale, and it’s all because of Brexit. Leaver and Remainer couples are leaving each other in droves. Apparently.

According to one survey by the dating site eharmony, Brexit bust-ups were named as one of the biggest factors in breaking up with a partner since the 2016 referendum - with 1.6 million people nationally saying that they had split up with a long-term partner or stopped seeing someone new because of the arguments".

This time in 12 months, the country will once again find itself bitterly divided over whether to keep Australia Day on January 26 or move it out of respect for indigenous people.

It’s a safe bet that we’ll also still be arguing over how, or if at all, we should respond to climate change and whether immigration is too high, among other contentious issues.

The reality is that Aussies can’t agree on much these days and have become so rusted on to their existing beliefs that a discussion or debate usually descends into a verbal brawl.

“It’s human nature to want to find our tribes and fit in with them,” behaviourist Phil Owens told

“As we do that, we shift further and further to extreme positions. The leaders of those positions usually take more and more extreme positions, and if you’re only in that group, you get confirmation bias — you believe your view is the majority view.”

While this kind of natural behaviour has always occurred in some capacity, the rapid rise of social media has given it a nuclear effect, he said.

And it’s destroying the way we converse with each other — particularly those with different views.

We now increasingly digitally curate our friends based on their views, cherrypick the information we receive and build like-minded online circles to move in.

And it’s bleeding into real life, researchers say.

A study by a popular dating website in the US last year found 72 per cent of American singles wouldn’t date someone who supported an opposing political party.

This trend has prompted a number of right-wing dating apps to launch, while existing services have introduced political filters.

It’s one small example of how opposed to opposing views many of us have become.

Take the debate about Australia Day.

On one side, there’s a group who want to keep it as it is, while on the other are those who think it’s disrespectful to indigenous peoples.

One might think a good approach would be to rationally engage both sides, respecting their differing views, to try to find some common ground.

“What Scott Morrison did recently in saying we one group can have Australia Day as it is and those who don’t want it can have another day, the day after, is so divisive,” Mr Owens said.

“That’s not the way to solve an issue. There’s a lot of meaning put into Australia Day from both sides. Until we can pull the heat out of it and have a conversation, nothing will change.”

So he rejects compromise as a solution.  His solution is a "conversation".  As if we haven't been having a huge conversation already!  It is tempting to dismiss the man as a dolt but if you know what Leftists mean by a conversation, it is a bit different.  It means the Left badgering you to into agreeing with them


Go to John Ray's Main academic menu
Go to Menu of longer writings
Go to John Ray's basic home page
Go to John Ray's pictorial Home Page
Go to Selected pictures from John Ray's blogs