It didn’t take long for the cultural warriors of the right to revert to form.
Having caught their breath over the weekend, they were back to their dog-whistling best: of course the Christchurch tragedy was an unforgiveable atrocity, but … And after that but, we had the usual lines about how Jihadists are the real terrorists, the extremes of the left are just as culpable of the extremes of the right, and the usual self-serving sophistry.
So let’s be clear about this: there is absolutely no moral equivalence between the Green Muslim Mehren Faruqi calling out the relentless dog-whistling of Peter Dutton and his attack on asylum seekers as paedophiles and murderers, his embrace of white South Africans as his preferred refugees, his attacks on so-called black gangs in Melbourne and the rest of his calculated xenophobic scare campaigns, and Fraser Anning blaming the victims of a white supremacist mass murderer.
The killer was, as such killers almost always are, a creature of the right – all, not some but all, of the recent mass shootings in the United States have come from the right. Indeed it is hard to remember a left-wing terror attack in Western societies. .Within Australia, the most violent actions from the left have been a bit of street brawling between Anitfa activists and neo-Nazis and graffiti of statues of Captain Cook.
Tony Abbott used to say that Islamophobia never killed anyone – well it does and it has. It is legitimate to deplore tribalism and extremism, as ScoMo had done – although he is yet to prove that he is ready to stop covertly encouraging it. But to insist that both sides are to blame equally for the problem is simply a lie.
Most absurd is the implicit attempt to conflate Jihadist terrorism with the left, as if homophobic, misogynist Islamofascists are somehow in alliance with the Greens. Give us a break. But the muddle-headed wombats of the right will not let up, and they have been given a priceless gift in the unhinged Fraser Anning.
By clambering all over each other to denounce him they are trying to virtue signal that they, of course are not like that, they are in the mainstream, the sensible centre. Typical was Janet Albrechtsen, piously positioning herself as a member of the centre right. Planet Janet may not be as far out of the solar system as Anning, but she is a long way from the sun.
The centre right is the Liberal moderate group – Malcolm Turnbull, Julie Bishop, Julia Banks, Craig Lundy, Christopher Pyne, the very people Albrechtsen and her ilk hounded as deluded do-gooders and conspired to drive out parliament. Pretending that she is not of the hard-line right is both silly and mendacious. And it indicates that nothing will really change – Anning will be scapegoated, but for the Murdoch tribe, it will be business as usual, and not only Muslims will suffer for it.
And finally, a word of caution for the magnificent Jacinta Ardern: trying to expunge the name of the killer will not work. I have told this story before, but it is more relevant than ever. Some 2000 years ago a nutter burnt down the temple of Artemis in Ephesus, one the seven wonder of the ancient world. In a quest to make his name remembered for ever. The authorities of the time decreed that it should never be mentioned, but Herostratos has never been forgotten.
So, I fear it will be with Brenton Tarrant. Better that he is publicly reviled as an outcast and a loser than suppressed as a martyr to his fellow psychopaths.