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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

National Civic Council supports MTR

The NCC does so here, in a piece published earlier in February. And don't give me a line of bullshit that the piece is solely the view of its author and does not reflect the viewpoint of the NCC: the NCC is unlikely to publish anything that is not squarely consistent with its political and social agenda, and even if I'm wrong on that the article's by-line is that of the NCC's Vice-President.

For those who don't know, the National Civic Council is an extreme right-wing pressure group cum think tank, with a long and disgraceful history here in Australia. It has notably theocratic views of politics, and in case you're wondering how I form that opinion ... well, there is ample evidence that I can point you to from its political past dating all the way back to its roots in the 1940s. You can research it for yourself. This is an organisation that seriously merits your political opposition.

If you want to know more, just look at the sort of material that is available online in recent issues of its News Weekly journal. In particular, the NCC has a record of opposing abortion rights, opposing same-sex marriage, adopting distinctively religious stances on bioethical matters in general (and numerous other matters), and supporting vicious attitudes toward homosexuals. It sometimes publishes homophobic material written in highly provocative terms. See, for example, this recent piece, which includes such gems as the following:
The ordinary person will be in no doubt about what homosexual behaviour entails, its terrible risks and its outcomes of physical, emotional and mental disease. Parents will be on their knees praying that their sons and daughters escape the infection, futility and sterility of homosexual life.

It should horrify people, after learning what homosexual behaviour entails, that gay activists are agitating to have their propaganda for gay equality included in primary school lesson material.
This epitomises the sort of hateful and bigoted views associated with the National Civic Council.

Hopefully, Melinda Tankard Reist will distance herself from this mob - she certainly won't be taken seriously as a feminist thinker by many people when she has such an extreme and notorious organisation giving her its support. Not unless she clearly repudiates it.


Bubblecar said...

"Hopefully, Melinda Tankard Reist will distance herself from this mob"

Don't hold your breath, Russell :)

Russell Blackford said...


Anonymous said...

Interesting article. Only have to disagree with you about the extreme-right wing description. You're right about right-wing social views but they have favoured medicare policy, backed the union movement, and consistently attached right-wing economic rationalism.

So you will have to find another description that suits.

Anonymous said...


"attacked" right-wing economic rationalism

Russell Blackford said...

Just because you dislike so-called "economic rationalism" (which often just means you are some kind of protectionist or economically illiterate populist) you don't get to be left wing. See Pauline Hanson as an example.

If you want to say that they are not economically right wing, maybe you have a point. It's true that "left" and "right" are tricky because politics is actually multi-dimensional, not something that exists on a single dimension.

However, the National Civic Council/Democratic Labor Party have always, historically, been seen as the extreme right of Australian politics.

JS said...

It's the problems of a biased premise that people have an emotional attachment to.

However, a mix of policies do put these people a little to the left of Attila the Hun. Like being moderately pro-union. But which union?

They are an artefact of a 40s fight with communism at a grass roots level. Dialectic has not followed the common moral moves of the majority of the society. (Then again, I don't actually have stats that say my morals reflect the majority of society.)

steve oberski said...

MTR finds herself between a rock and a hard place; does she alienate herself from her actual demographic, i.e. the theocratic conservatives who make up the membership of the NCC, by repudiating this article or does she continue to lose credibility as a "feminist thinker".

Quite likely this is an unintended consequence of her legal threat to which she did not give due consideration.

If she does not back down on her threatened legal action I would expect to see more of the same as the issue continues to polarize and various groups publicly weigh in on both sides, with MTR performing a delicate balancing act as she tries to appease both sides.