DEBATING THE GREEN WAY
Harry Richardson is a long-time student of Islam and author of best seller, "the Story Of Mohammed - Islam Unveiled', http://thestoryofmohammed.blogspot.com.au
I made an incredible discovery when I was in kindy, I figured out a whole new way to argue. It was awesome. All you had to do was to stick fingers in ears and keep yelling “I CAN'T HEAR YOU” over and over. It worked like a charm, I never lost an argument – until I tried it on dad.
He put me straight across his knee and gave me six of the best (I didn’t see that one coming). When the tears subsided he explained that I’d be a grown-up soon and grown-ups don’t behave that way. Grown-ups are supposed to listen to each other respectfully. Grown-ups aren’t supposed to argue or debate just to win, they do it to find the truth.
Dad told me that I’d be wrong sometimes. It was only by listening to those who disagreed with me that I could find out whether I was right or wrong.
He didn’t tell me (he probably didn’t know) that this is a peculiarly Western, Judeo/Christian point of view.
Voltaire once said, “I may not agree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it.” It is no coincidence that Voltaire was a European, not an African, an Asian or an Arab.
I was too young to know it, but this willingness to listen to the point of view of others enriched our society immeasurably. It allowed us to invent things. It allowed us to build and organise ourselves and to provide comfort and safety in a dangerous world.
Of course, not all people play by the rules, but this is the way that disagreements are meant to be resolved in our culture.
There are many places where we have constructive debates. Whether around the kitchen table or in the boardroom, we argue and debate in order to find the best way to do things.
There is one place in our Nation however, where the most serious debates of all take place. This is of course the Parliament where our elected representatives gather to argue and debate all manner of ideas.
Parliament is so important because the people who debate in there, control the instruments of the State.
They control the police and army. They levy our taxes and not only make, but enforce, the rules. They have the power to enrich our society. They have the power to destroy it.
That is why we give them special dispensation to say absolutely anything. Politicians can propose the craziest ideas or make the wildest accusations. This is what is known as “Parliamentary Privilege.” This is a place where the dirtiest of linen can be aired in public.
Anyone going into Parliament should know that. It is not for the faint hearted nor the easily offended.
When we vote, we therefore have a responsibility to choose people who are intelligent, articulate and are willing to participate in reasoned debate and carefully consider the ideas of others.
Unfortunately, it seems that some of our recent politicians have no concept of this important principle.
This week, Pauline Hanson delivered her second maiden speech to Parliament. Many Australians, including many politicians, disagree strongly with Ms Hanson’s views.
One group of Senators (most allied to the Green Party) didn’t like Ms Hanson’s ideas at all. Rather than listen to these ideas and debate them however, they all got up and walked out.
Now I can’t comment on Pauline Hanson’s speech because at this point I haven’t heard it. Unfortunately, neither have the Greens.
The difference is that I am not being paid 300K+ a year to listen to such speeches and participate in this debate. The Greens are.
The Green Senators whined that Pauline’s speech contained racism. Maybe it did, but so what. That is no reason to throw a childish hissy fit and do the equivalent of putting your fingers in your ears and yelling out “I can’t hear you!”
Politicians are paid to listen to different points of view. By refusing to listen to and argue against ideas, they are failing to do what we are paying them for.
If Pauline Hanson is putting up ideas that they don’t like, they are supposed to stand firm like grown-ups and offer a counter argument. Not to spit out their dummies and storm out of the room.
If they think that someone who dislikes an ideology is racist, they should explain how this can be. Then, they should make a strong case for why Australia is better off with more Muslims.
Instead, they fired off some vapid tweet about “calling out racism.”
The introduction of such childish behaviour into Parliament is of great concern to all Australians.
If you voted Green, you should be especially angry about this.
These people are supposed to be advocating for you. They are supposed to be fighting for your views in a tough, adult environment.
This behaviour is equivalent to having your lawyer storm out of court because the prosecutor is asking you hard questions.
Maybe you voted for the Greens because you think extreme Left socialism might finally work. Perhaps you voted for them because you think two blokes should to be able to get married in a nice church service.
Maybe you voted for them because you want more Muslims in Australia. Perhaps you even think they might yet do something for the environment. The fact is the Greens are never going to achieve anything. They have shown themselves to be a bunch of spoilt kids who never grew up.
They are playing in an extremely tough adult environment which takes grit, maturity and patience to survive. The Greens have no chance to make a difference because they simply don’t have what it takes.
They have no conception of the game they are playing. They don’t even understand the most basic of rules.
There is an old saying. Never play chess with a pigeon. It will knock over the pieces, crap on the board and then try to claim victory anyway.
The Greens are supposed to be in Parliament to protect dumb animals, not to try and emulate them.