Most Australians have never lived under an authoritarian dictatorship, and therefore we are largely ignorant of how quickly circumstances can descend. It was the great Russian novelist Alexander Solzenitsyn who resolutely warned against this kind of wishful thinking.
In Live Not By Lies, Rod Dreher takes us back to reality by diagnosing two troubling features of the current political climate in the West:
- The fallacious notion that the West cannot and will not descend into totalitarianism.
- The reality that government censorship of non-state views is both a feature and a precursor of authoritarian dictatorships.
It is because many in the West don’t recognise these facts that it’s easy to turn a blind eye to the censorship of Christian organisations like the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL).
Earlier this week, the ACL was banned from hiring a taxpayer-funded venue in Albany, WA, because of the group’s supposed ‘politically motivated objectives’.
This ban follows an edict which was enforced by the McGowan government two days after their re-election. Two days after? If this sounds frighteningly similar to the thought police in George Orwell’s 1984, that’s because it is.
The ACL’s Managing Director Martyn Iles said on Sky News this morning:
It’s one rule for [Premier] Mark [McGowan] and one rule for everyone else… the policy that the government has literally adopted for all of its publicly owned venues — which are all the best venues in WA — says that if your views do not accord with the views of the state government, then you are cancelled. These are publicly owned, taxpayer-funded venues.
According to The Australian, the citizens of Albany contribute $400,000 of their taxes annually to the Perth Theatre Trust.
The Daily Mail reports:
Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan has banned any group that disagrees with his government from hosting events in state-funded facilities. The exclusive venue hire policy was enforced just days after the state government’s definitive win in the March election.
However, according to The Australian, prior to McGowan’s re-election, the very same facilities were rented out to WA Labor candidates.
The ACL has signalled that the WA Government’s behaviour violates anti-discrimination laws contained within the 1984 Equal Opportunity Act, Section 62.
Only time will tell whether the ACL is successful in challenging the WA Government on its inconsistent application of these anti-discrimination laws.
This development comes in addition to McGowan’s pre-election commitment to ban ‘gay conversion practices’, which includes counselling Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction. McGowan’s behaviour mirrors the censorship of Benito Mussolini’s National Fascist Party. During his reign, Mussolini’s mantra was:
Everything for the state. Nothing against the state. Nothing outside the state.
If we are not vigilant, Australia will quickly become a nation in which only state-sanctioned opinions and convictions are permitted. The speed of that descent largely depends on whether Australians rise up to defend those who are being unlawfully discriminated against.