All hate is equal (but some hate is more equal than others)
In Western Australia, the police spring into action, News.com.au reports:
Police are investigating those involved in an Australia Day party last week that gained attention after images emerged of attendees’ Nazi flag.
People were quick to condemn the event in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, after one of the partygoers posted a photo to Facebook of the homemade swastika flag, along with the captions “Happy victory day” and “Stay white Australia”.
Another picture from the party shows that someone went to the trouble of cutting a map of Australia into the grass and carving a swastika on top of it.
Facebook doesn’t allow material that incites racial hatred or vilification and both pictures, along with the account responsible for uploading them, have since been deleted from the social media site. But not before others were able to screenshot the post.
This is what the police are investigating:
News.com.au further notes:
Acting Superintendent for Goldfields-Esperance District Police Tony Colfer told the ABC that authorities had launched an investigation into the incident.
“We don’t tolerate this kind of behaviour in our community,” Superintendent Colfer said. “These people need to have a serious think about what they’re doing, because material like this hurts everybody.”
To be sure, flying a swastika flag is a dickhead thing to do. As it transpired a few weeks back in my own quiet and leafy outer inner northern Brisbane suburb, I do have a low tolerance of Nazi insignia myself, as well as of the racial warriors, who in my experience are the very Caucasians who have the least to feel superior about vis-a-vis anyone else:
A question, however, springs to mind – the Kalgoorlie police, to quote the superintendent, doesn’t tolerate that sort of a behaviour in their community because it hurts everyone. As a result, swastika-wavers are now being investigated. But is it only the Nazi iconography that’s a no-no? If so, why only? If not, what else?
For example, if someone were to fly a hammer-and-sickle in Kalgoorlie, say, on the 1st of May, and wish the proletariat a speedy victory over the bourgeoisie, would that interest the Goldfields-Esperance Regional Police? Or any other police force, for that matter? It’s a hypothetical question for the regional Western Australia, to be sure, but not so hypothetical for, say, Melbourne. Why is swastika not tolerated and instead investigated, but symbols of an ideology that murdered 100 million people in the last century, including the relatives of many of our fellow Australians, is by contrast very much tolerated by law enforcement. If swastika is hurting everybody, surely so is the red star.
Or another recent example: what about Tareen Onus-Williams’s call at the Australia Day protest, “F*** Australia, hope it f***ing burns to the ground”? And signs like “Don’t Change the Date – Smash the State”? Doesn’t that hurt everybody too?
Australia, unlike the United State, has neither its First Amendment nor the political culture engendered by it. Many expressions are tolerated in America as free speech that wouldn’t be in Australia. Personally, I prefer the American approach. I’m happy for the dropkicks of all totalitarian tendencies to identify themselves publicly and face ridicule, just as I want ideas debated, not suppressed. You want to slap a swastika on a street lamp pole in Wooloowin? Fine; this Wooloowin Australian Pole will slap its own sticker over your sticker. We’re both expressing our ideas.
So personally I don’t want the police launching investigations into people displaying political symbols, no matter how abhorrent. I’d rather them be spending their limited time and resources investigating some real crimes. But I understand that my free speech views are probably not shared to the same extent by the majority of Australians. In which case, the least I could hope for is our authorities to be consistent.