Switzer misses the point again

By September 4, 2017Australian Politics

After some of his recent ignorant efforts1,2; whenever I find an article written by Tom Switzer, I expect to see something so wide of the mark that it can often be mistaken for satire3. So, it was with significant trepidation that I read his latest effort in the Fairfax press4. It was a diatribe against the marriage equality ‘movement’. Switzer started this off with “Many important issues now can’t be debated openly without inspiring immediate hysteria. Same-sex marriage is one of them. Anyone who tries to defend traditional marriage – or even highlights the risks that the campaign poses to religious freedom – is instantly treated with shock and distaste”4. He doesn’t say what the other issues that engender hysteria are, and I could no more guess what he has in his, um, unusual mind, than do a triple somersault off a three metre board. There are several things wrong with his initial three sentences, which he seems not to realise.

Firstly, the hysteria to which Switzer refers is caused by the presumption of ‘No same-sex marriage’ campaigners that it is perfectly acceptable to discriminate against someone because of who they are. These days it is about homosexuals being allowed to marry. It used to be about whether they could have same-sex partners, something which was illegal. Some churches campaigned against the legalisation of homosexuality and argued for discrimination against homosexual couples5. Prior to that, it was whether black people could marry each other. In Western Australia blacks were prevented from marrying blacks so they would be absorbed into the white population. In 1935, the ‘half-caste women of Broome’ had to petition the Western Australian Parliament to ask to be allowed to marry whom they chose. In Queensland blacks were prevented from marrying whites to prevent miscegenation6. If someone who, favouring reintroduction of race-based laws, expressed such views, I imagine that even Tom Switzer would bridle at them. I certainly would tend to become hysterical at the thought of someone in the 21st century having such views, let alone expressing them.

Secondly, “defending traditional marriage”1 is simply a euphemism for preventing same-sex marriage; i.e. bigotry. It is effectively stating that because you are homosexual you are not equal to a heterosexual; you do not deserve to be treated equally. In the preceding sentence, change homosexual to ‘black’ and heterosexual to ‘white’, and then you will understand why people get upset. A black or white person cannot change their skin colour, any more than a homosexual or a heterosexual can change their sexual orientation.

Thirdly, the ‘risks’ to ‘religious freedom’ is a furphy7. If you are bigoted enough to refuse to make a wedding cake, sell a wedding dress, book a wedding venue, or perform a wedding ceremony for a same-sex couple, that is your prerogative under the proposed legislation. If someone refused to do these things for people of other religions or other skin colours, I would think much the same of them, and that would be complete contempt. I will tolerate almost anything, except bigotry.

What Switzer seems not to realise is that people get hysterical at the assumption the religious make; that they have the right to tell others how to live their lives and the rights they can and cannot have. Those days are over, and the sooner Switzer realises it, the better.

Sources

  1. http://www.blotreport.com/australian-politics/tom-switzer-scientific-illiterate/
  2. http://www.blotreport.com/australian-politics/trickle-down-tom/
  3. http://www.blotreport.com/australian-politics/tom-switzer-satirist/
  4. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/the-marriage-equality-movement-and-the-new-intolerance-20170902-gy9hyq.html
  5. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2007-10-30/pell-backs-discrimination-against-gays/710288
  6. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-07-01/croomemarriage/2778326
  7. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/seven-common-myths-in-the-marriage-equality-debate-20170831-gy84vu.html

 

2 Comments

  • Jim says:

    In Adelaide we do not have a Fairfax publication and hence do see Tom Switzer’s comments unless we go out and buy The Age. Hence I have not seen his articles. However, from your comments at least part of his article is a criticism of political correctness. Without dealing with the Same Sex Marriage debate, I have some sympathy with this view. There is no doubt that in some circles you do not get much of a hearing unless you are on the “politically correct” side of the fence. Without going into details I had an experience of this late last year when I suggested to a young lady, who had diarrhoea of the voice box and had no intention of listening to any opinion but her own, that she did not know what she was talking about. Her response was to call me a male chauvinist pig which had nothing to do with the discussion. I suspect it was her standard response to any criticism from males.
    Indeed one of the problems with the whole Same Sex Marriage debate is that there are quite entrenched positions on both sides. The discussion could get quite nasty which could have been avoided if the government had simply called for a parliamentary vote. As noted previously I resent that we are paying 120 million dollars for this nonbinding voluntary survey, particularly given that the result is almost a foregone conclusion if the opinion polls are correct. One other point it is that it is not just the religious types who will be voting against SSM. I know of several people who have no interest in religion who will be voting “no”–in at least one case I was quite surprised.

    • admin says:

      Jim,

      That is not really political correctness. It sounds like it was, as you said, a response to your pointing out her lack of knowledge. There is a famous saying whose attribution is unclear: “better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt”. That is one aphorism that Scott Morrison could do well to heed. The definition of political correctness is: ‘the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalise or insult groups of people who are disadvantaged or discriminated against’. Essentially it is a matter of empathy and politeness. Like you, I have struck the occasional person who, although they said they were not religious, were going to vote no. Indeed, I have a had a couple of run-ins today with people whose logic seemed to be that they were not worried about it so were going to vote no. I told them that I thought they should not be allowed to be married because they were not the right sort of person, and that they also should not be allowed to eat pork and seafood. It told them that it was very important that they follow these strictures because it was what my religion told them they should do. I hope it made them think.

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