The emotional babies in Parliament will do anything to avoid discussing certain ideas on their merits.
The Australian Department of Education has been asking specialists if their appointed curriculum reviewers have been “connected” with two of Australia’s most prominent non-leftist think tanks. The crime apparently is to consort with the scum who ask if big-government is too big.
Both the IPA and CIS support free markets, individual liberty and limited government.
South Australian Greens senator, Penny Wright, wants to know.
“This is outright McCarthyism,” IPA deputy director James Paterson said. “It is pretty much ‘Are you now or have you even been a member of the IPA?’ ”
Should we or should we not teach points X, Y or Z to the children of Australia? Green-logic says it depends on whether the person making the decision has ever been associated with the IPA or the CIS. Presumably reviewers who’ve been published by Green Left Weekly, the CFMEU, The Wilderness Society, Greenpeace, or The Australian Conservation Foundation should be weeded out too. Right?
The lead author of the original history curriculum was Melbourne University historian Stuart Macintyre. His connections were not pursued by the Greens. Professor Macintyre was once a member of the Communist Party.
The unspoken implication is that merely being associated with highly respected, law abiding organizations that question the value of big-government is something that needs to be disclosed.
The battle of words
To fight this kind of irrational reasoning, the grown-ups need more tools in the language box. What word describes someone who is afraid to debate the point, or so confused about logical arguments that they ask loaded questions with the aim of denigrating their opponent? What word do we use for someone who repeatedly uses this meta-tactic to avoid polite debate? All the choices for “illogical” are here, but none seem be specific. Suggest away…
Our national conversation is stuck in kindergarten, debating and discussing various forms of name-calling. Every time we need a whole newspaper article with quotes to describe why this is such a bad idea, it tells us that we need words to describe these meta-tactics, and we need to teach them. If we have to have a National Curriculum (and we don’t), shouldn’t we at least make sure all children learn to spot the cheats and cop-outs by they way they dissemble, avoid the topic, and use character assassination as their main tool of debate.
Stick ad hominem in your curriculum.
There is no reasoning with the unreasonable
The only response to pointless, insulting questions is to satirize or scorn them:
Associate Professor Melleuish said he was selected for the review because of his extensive curriculum work for Liberal and Labor governments.
“It is an attempt to taint people by association,” he said. “There is a strange idea around, especially online, that the IPA somehow has a pernicious effect on the government.”
University of Wollongong historian Greg Melleuish said he was happy to answer the question because he had “nothing to hide”.
Unfortunately we can’t just ignore them:
Other academics confirmed they had received the request and decided not to respond.
They found the questions insulting, seemingly suggesting that publishing with these highly regarded organisations devalued their expertise.
Publicise. Publicise. Publicise. The light of day battles the dopey dark.