Culture Wars Continued and Continued and Continued

Miss Piss at piss’n’vinegar is rightly horrified by a proposed law in Virginia requiring women who have a miscarriage to report it to the police within 12 hours – on pain of a fine or gaol term. In a discussion on Michael’s post on Pentecostalism, Irant expressed some scepticism about whether the Religious Right agenda would easily transpose to Australian politics. I tend to agree that it doesn’t – for the reason he identifies that we are a much more secular society with a different history and a different public culture. But I’ve noticed for some time that parts of this agenda are being advanced in a secular guise. This is a tactic that Religious Right movements have used in anti-gay referenda in states like Oregon and Colorado. There’s one message for the true believers which tends to be confined to internal communication, while in the public domain the appealing discourse of rights is utilised to deprive others of “special rights”.

A good example of such an Antipodean transplant is the move last year to make it compulsory for doctors to notify parents of a teenage girl’s pregnancy. The same proposal is part of the Republican Party’s agenda in the States. Fortunately this was stopped because a Liberal backbencher who’s a GP kicked up a big stink. No justification in terms of Mr Abbott’s religious belief was offered, it was discussed purely in terms of alleged health concerns.

It does seem that some Antipodean politicians adopt such American agendas with a bit of a cultural tweak. After all, The Australian right successfully implanted the US “culture wars” and PC moral panic in Australia despite both being of little relevance in Australia – in the latter case, we had no rigid speech codes on campus or quotas for university entry or jobs but a phantom spectre of “PC Police” was nevertheless conjured up. Then Howard and Hanson ran with it. The rest is history and the Culture Wars go on, and on, and on…

About Mark Bahnisch

Mark Bahnisch is a sociologist and is the founder of this blog. He has an undergraduate degree in history and politics from UQ, and postgraduate qualifications in sociology, industrial relations and political economy from Griffith and QUT. He has recently been awarded his PhD through the Humanities Program at QUT. Mark's full bio is on this page.
This entry was posted in Politics - international, Politics - national, Religion, Society, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
31 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Cosgrove now indicates that his Bill isn’t about miscarriages (from the comments thread at DK):

“Hello:

I am Delegate Cosgrove and I wish to respond to the allegations that have been made by those who have emailed and called my office. The intent of House Bill 1677 is to require the notification of authorities of a delivery of a baby that is dead and the mother has not been attended by a medical professional. This bill was requested by the Chesapeake Police Department in its legislative package due to instances of full term babies who were abandoned shortly after birth. These poor children died horrible deaths and all that the person responsible could be charged with is the improper disposal of a human body.

The requirement for twelve hours comes from the method that a coroner would use to determine if the child had been born alive or dead. After twelve hours, it becomes next to impossible to determine if the child was alive due to decomposition gasses that build up in the body.

My bill in no way intends that a woman who suffers a miscarriage should be charged for not notifying authorities. The bill in no way mentions miscarriages, only deliveries. After discussing the bill again with our legislative services lawyers, I will include language that will define the bill to apply only to those babies that are abandoned as stated above.

I would never inflict this type of emotional torture on a woman who has suffered such a traumatic event as a miscarriage, and I am confident that the General Assembly of Virginia would also not pass such a terrible imposition on a woman.

I hope that you will understand the original intent of this bill. This bill has nothing to do with abortion, contraception and especially miscarriages. If you were alarmed by this bill or by the websites, I am sorry. I hope that this will explain the concept and intent of this bill.

Sincerely,

John A. Cosgrove”

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Thanks, Geoff. Delegate Cosgrove must be an appallingly bad legislative draftsman. As the detail on Daily Kos (link above in the post) reveals:

” He didn’t write a bill about deaths of infants, though. He wrote a bill about “fetal death”, which is defined by Virginia as covering all products of conception, regardless of gestational age. So if this honestly was his intention, he’s written a bill misses the mark. By far.”

This is also interesting:

“What I have learned, through initial research, is that the legislative agenda of numerous anti-abortion groups includes increased reporting of fetal deaths and issuance of death certificates for miscarriages. The point is to advance the legal recognition of “personhood” for all “products of conception”.

In the 2003 legislative session in Virginia, a law was passed allowing parents to request a “birth certificate” for a stillbirth, a law that is clearly in line with the agenda of anti-abortion extremists to recognize embryonic and fetal personhood. The fact that Virginia is one of the few states that requires reporting of deaths of all “products of conception” regardless of gestational age plays in to this anti-abortion agenda.

Though there is no practical benefit to the Commonwealth in collecting this information from women – in fact, there would be considerable burden placed on local law enforcement agencies.

This bill places the advancement of the cause of recognizing legal “personhood” for all products of conception far above the concerns of the Commonwealth and of the dignity of individual women whose privacy would be violated.”

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

In other words, I think Delegate Cosgrove is probably beating a tactical retreat in response to the storm of criticism.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

I don’t doubt that for a moment :)

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

Still, the stated intent of the legislation is a good thing.

Too many newborns are abandoned and left to die by their mothers. The law should be amended so it works as stated.

Incidentally, it’s asinine to pretend that PC and culture wars didn’t exist in Australia before Hanson raised the issue. The vilification of Hanson was largely due to the fact that she had dared to expose and attack these sacred cows.

The culture wars go on. The next target should be the ABC and the universitues.

Peter Smith
Peter Smith
2022 years ago

Hey Mark,

Thesis!

Enough with the displacement activity.

(BTDT)

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

EP, I wouldn’t worry too much. The ABC and the Universities have been targetted for quite some time.

So, would you care to specify how PC affected Australia?

Note also that I didn’t say that ” PC and culture wars didn’t exist in Australia before Hanson raised the issue.” The significance of Hanson’s first speech was that it enabled Howard to beat up PC which had previously been an issue with less of a political character.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Peter, it’s an occasional hobby rather than displacement :) Things are progressing!

yellowvinyl
2022 years ago

I’m an American citizen. maybe I’ll move to Virginia and run against Delegate Cosgrove!

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

One example of how PC affected Australia was the establishment of kangaroo courts like the HREOC and its state equivalents, designed and intended to suppress non-PC speech.

There were numerous other, but the appointment of unaccountable bodies with power to impose political censorship stands out.

And yes, I know the ABC and universities have been targeted for some time, but that isn’t good enough. They need to be defeated.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

“The universities” need to be defeated. Hmmm, a rather sweeping statement, EP. Smash the Business Schools, perhaps? As to the ABC, most of it is so boring these days I wonder anyone bothers.

HREOC et al spend very little of their time on complaints about vilification (which is what I assume you mean). Presumably the Howard Government acknowledges that HREOC performs some valuable function – otherwise I’d imagine it’d have been abolished by now. Though maybe that’s coming post July 1st.

Right, off to have some lunch then do some work!

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

By “defeat”, I mean reduction to a state in which the organisation is no longer capable of acting as a base for the Left in the culture wars. I’m glad you agree the ABC is useless — we could save a lot of money by defunding it.

The HREOC spends very little time on anything useful. The Government hasn’t suggested its abolition yet, but I think it could be lobbied to that effect. Of course, legislation to abolish the HREOC could not have passed the Senate prior to July 1, so there was no point in even trying.

Have a nice lunch!

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Thx, EP. Heading down the road now for my typical inner urban leftie lunch of a sausage roll and a Breaka :)

viacollins
viacollins
2022 years ago

just out of curiosity, if the ABC is “useless”, why has it just come out of its best ratings year since the Culture War commissioned chief, Shier, failed to destroy it?

i agree with mark that it’s not for me at present on the whole, but if a large slab of the population gain good use from it, what’s the issue that so irritates EP and 3 or 4 others so?

David Tiley
2022 years ago

It is called “crushing possible sources of dissent” in favour of the unified apparatus of hegemonic capitalism.

Until the only sources of news are controlled by very few people who are immensely rich and want the power to harvest even more wealth.

And yes, I know I have just stated the obvious.

As the ABC becomes more successful, it will be hunted even harder. The next stage is to ask: “why should the government finance a public broadcaster to compete with private enterprise? They are just imitating Channel 9 anyway.”

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

viacollins and David, I don’t want to imply by my comment any support for the anti-ABC crusade. Just that I don’t find a lot to watch there these days – I’m not sure if that’s populism on the part of the programmers (and I note that I’m a sometime reality tv addict and watch drama on commercial tv) or if the fare is targetted at people with different tastes to mine.

yellowvinyl
2022 years ago

what I’d like to know about the abc is if they will ever commission edgy drama again like ‘Wildside’ (currently being repeated monday nights) – or is such a program which deals with real life and controversial issues simply impossible to make in the current political climate.

EP should reflect on right-wing PC. anything that might prompt Richard Alston or the Liberal Party to send a complaint letter gets self-censored.

know idea what Balding’s like but it’s so Australia 2005 that the public broadcasting corporation is run by an accountant.

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

The ABC functions as a source of left-wing political propaganda funded by the taxpayer.

If lefties want to spread their propaganda, that is their right — but they should not expect everyone else to pay for it through taxes.

Hence, organisations which dispense political propaganda should be self-funded. The Sydney Morning Herald is a left-propaganda organ that doesn’t require tax money to prop it up.

The ABC should be made to adopt a similar model. Alternately, it could just stick to straight reporting and analysis without the spin, but I don’t think it’s actually capable of that.

yellowvinyl
2022 years ago

“The ABC functions as a source of left-wing political propaganda funded by the taxpayer.”

whatever, EP. they probably leaned to the right during the last election campaign because of their overriding fear of being labelled biassed. or at least that’s my reading of the report that was commissioned from REHAME.

the government knew what it was doing. it’s better to have the abc in place as a respected source of news and then intimidate it into leaning to the right because its credibility will disguise that.

so who are the big lefties on abc tv? Kerry O’Brien is boring, tired and egotistically opinionated as opposed to biased.

zoot
zoot
2022 years ago

“The point is to advance the legal recognition of personhood for all products of conception.”
I’m intrigued; are they seriously arguing for the “personhood” of a placenta?

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

The “big lefties” on ABC TV? What an amusing concept!

There aren’t any “big lefties”. The whole organisation is leftist.

The ABC no longer srves a useful function in Australian society. It needs either to be abolished, de-funde, or massively reformed. I’d go with whichever option is the easiest and cheapest.

yellowvinyl
2022 years ago

assertion not evidence, EP.

Red Peter
Red Peter
2022 years ago

I agree, unless the 7:30 report is reformed and starts providing real information, like the commercial current affairs programs, instead of propaganda, the only reason people will watch it is ’cause they’ve confused Kerry with Donald Trump and they think it’s “the apprentice”.

Reform or abolish! After all, I still can’t decide whether low-carb diets work or not!

nick paul
nick paul
2022 years ago

re. the ABC bias/reform/abolish idea…

the 6 Walkleys are recognition of the ABC’s competence and excellence in journalism.

perhaps this is the reason the ‘trust the commercials’ cheer squad want to see it change.

the ABC has seen a huge amount of attacks on it e.g. Alston’s list, the majority of which were dismissed. if their was a left bias (wtf?), this level of scrutiny would have shown it up.

i have yet to see the doco “Outauntied”, can somebody clue me in on the bias identified in it?

Stephen Hill
Stephen Hill
2022 years ago

From the impression I’ve gathered there are more people tuned into Channel 31 than there are people participating in the culture wars.

viacollins
viacollins
2022 years ago

Hang on, does Channel 31 need selling off too? This is going to be a bumper year for the free market.

EP, bring on the people’s opinion.

Irant
2022 years ago

Mark,

I had forgotten about the Mad Monk’s legislative misadventure. I think though that given his overt Catholicism any further ventures will be seen as being part of his religious agenda. Howard is canny enough to be aware of any policy designed to placate the religious right not seem that way. It will be interesting to see what interesting legislation pops up over the next few years.

Can someone exactly define what PC is? As far as I can make out it is some vague, amorphous concept that can’t be defined but something everyone knows it when they see it.

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

The “Walkleys”? Left-wing awards judged by left-wing journalists and given to their left-wing mates for left-wing propaganda pieces. Hardly an endorsement.

Channel 31? What’s that?

The bottom line is the fact that Lefties defend the ABC with vigour. That’s because they know it’s one of their major assets.

Since the ABC is a political organisation engaging in partisan political activities, it’s fair game for political attack.

Stephen Hill
Stephen Hill
2022 years ago

Yeh, that leftie Greg Sheriden got nominated a couple of years ago. Andrew Rule’s piece on the rape allegations surrounding Geoff Clark won the Gold Walkley two years ago, the Canterbury Bulldogs Salary cap breach (must be a left-wing propaganda that one) and what of the Mark Latham profile by the Age Investigation team, which provided “Sunday” with heaps of detail to dig into. Bloody hell this year’s Gold Walkley even got stuck into Graham Richardson and his shady dealings. You’d think they’d lay off the comrades.

You’d think those darn leftie journos would provide better coverage for their side of politics, surely they could bowl up the donkie-drops that Alan Jones delivered when he interviewed Peter Costello in the election campaign. Now there was a tough line of questioning, Peter Costello almost felt embarrassed repeatedly saying “Yes” to the eulogy of questions. All it needed in the background was Joe Cocker croaking “You’re So Beautiful”.

viacollins
viacollins
2022 years ago

EP, I love you! I wrote a reply yesterday that predicted your response on Walkleys almost to the word. One could certainly never accuse you of being fresh. Anyway, Stephen has dealt with that little issue for you.

The only reason the ABC has survived, and relatively prospered all these years are that it is vigorously defended by all sides of the political trenches. Despite your quaint description of it as a hive of leftists, it’s actually an inherently conservative spectrum peppered with differing points of view.

At radio level, it has demonstrated a through grasp of the value of a national broadcaster with local windows, and balances them quite well.

During the last summer of horror bushfires, the local ABC radio was commended all over the country as being a valuable community information source. Something networked commercials are compeletely unable to provide.

TV, as commenters here have suggested, while struggling at local level, still purchases quality, largely conservative product, from the colonies. TV could definitely do with some tuning, but that would be from a broad programming point of view, not your narrow political hobby horse.

David Tiley
2022 years ago

What viacollins put very well. There are also internal structural issues which are of importance – hierarchy, centralism, points of maximum power, relationship with production companies and the independent sector.

And about relative allocations of money between the various divisions.

And the rise of conservative programming, with a need to do other stuff which edgier.