The massacre in New Zealand can never be justified. It was pure evil and the Australian man who committed such a terrible act deserves to receive, at the very least, life imprisonment.

Within minutes of the terrible tragedy, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison made a public statement, asserting that this man massacred worshippers in an act of “an extremist right-wing violent terrorism”. 

I was deeply troubled by the words employed by the Prime Minister as it could incite violence against so called right wingers. As it turns out, it appears that the terrorist who killed 50 Muslims at the mosque’s in New Zealand is not even a right winger.

Instead, he is a self-described “anarchist” and a “radical environmentalist”.  In his own “manifesto”, the terrorist gunman explicitly stated that he wanted “no part of” conservatism. He also described himself as an “eco-fascist” and an admirer of Communist China.

How can a person, in addition to expressing his admiration for Communist China, and who has described himself as an “eco-fascist” and wants “no part of” conservatism, possibly be described as a “right winger”?

Answering a question in his manifesto “Are you a conservative?”, the gunman wrote: “No, conservatism is corporatism in disguise, I want no part of it.” “Conservatism is dead, thank god,” he also wrote.

The gunman also expressed a great admiration for Communist China. “The nation with the closest political and social values to my own is the People’s Republic of China,” he wrote.

He not only claimed that he was left wing, writing, “Depending on the definition, sure.” He also disavowed President Trump from the standpoint of his conservative policies and decisions. In answering the question: “Were you a supporter of Donald Trump?”, he replied: “Dear god no.”

In his mind the world is dying from over-population, but over-population of the “wrong” kind.

And before one claims that I have not been entirely accurate because the gunman also described himself as an eco-fascist, perhaps a few words may help understand what fascism actually means and where it can actually be placed in the ideological spectrum.

Fascism was first established in Italy after the World War I. Its creator, Benito Mussolini, was the son of an anarchist father and a Marxist mother. In 1912, he became ‘one of the most effective and widely read socialist journalists in Europe’. In that year Mussolini was appointed the head of the Socialist Party opposing ‘bourgeois’ parliaments and proposing that Italian socialism should be thoroughly Marxist. ‘Marx’, wrote Mussolini, ‘is the father and teacher … he is the magnificent philosopher of working-class violence’. On the eve of World War II, he predicted: ‘With the unleashing of a mighty clash of peoples, the bourgeoisie is playing its last card and calls forth on the world scene that which Karl Marx called the sixth great power: the socialist revolution’.

The great French historian, François Furet, explains that ‘Communism and Fascism grew up on the same soil, the soil of Italian Socialism’. According to Furet, ‘Mussolini was a member of the revolutionary wing of the Socialist movement prior to supporting Italy’s entry into the war; then, immediately afterward, he found himself in violent conflict with the Bolshevik-leaning leaders of his former party’. Above all, Mussolini agreed with Lenin, the Founder and leader of the Soviet Union, that violence was a useful and ultimately necessary means to achieve complete social dominance and full political power.

This should dissipate once and for all the false assumption that fascism is a right-wing extremist ideology. It is certainly not. To the contrary, fascism is actually an extremist left wing ideology.

As can be seen, the gunman is definitely not a right-wing extremist as falsely stated by our Prime Minister. Instead, the murderer is a left-wing extremist who absolutely hates capitalism, free markets, and free trade but he loves the Communist Chinese government and fascism, which is actually a form of nationalist socialism.

I therefore repeat: the gunman is a left-wing extremist – a radical environmentalist and sympathiser of communist regimes, who openly despises mainstream conservatism. Hence his strong condemnation for mainstream conservatives, whom he dismissed as “milquetoast civic nationalist boomers”.

So why would our Prime Minister choose to blame “right-wing extremism” rather than left-wing extremism?

As noted by a good friend of mine, “It could only be that Morrison subscribes to the leftist narrative, which seeks every opportunity to undermine conservatives and link us to violence. It’s as if this incident has caused him to nail his colours to the mast. It seems that when push comes to shove that Morrison will side with the left every time”.

I do not say that I necessarily agree, but it is certainly incongruous for the Prime Minister to lead what is supposed to be a right-wing government, but falsely associate his own government and political party to a murderer by calling him a “right winger”.

This is simply beyond the pale. Scott Morrison owes an apology to every supporter of his party and to every person in this country who considers him/herself a conservative.

Let me put it again. What happened in New Zealand is absolutely terrible and any such killing must be fully and soundly condemned.  But the actual historical record here is all a one-way traffic and the vast majority of terrorist actions conducted around the world are Islamic attacks.

In the last couple of weeks alone, you would be in the majority in not being aware of the Muslim attacks on Christians at a church in Nigeria with 32 deaths; in the Philippines where a church attack killed more than 20 Christians, not to mention the 8 dead in a Somalia market attack and the 9 dead in Egypt, etc.

The list is endless and since 9/11 there have been nearly 35,000 deadly Islamic terror attacks.

But I completely agree that nothing can possibly justify the despicable act of terrorism that took place in New Zealand. However, I am afraid it is possible to predict that many of our ruling elites will attempt to use such a terrible tragedy to further crack down on conservatives and Christians, thus using this as another excuse to implement stifling statism and further reduce individual rights.

It’s should by now be a matter of public knowledge. Morrison has never been a defender of free speech, quite to the contrary. In a March 1, 2017, at a press conference, a journalist asked the then Treasurer Morrison: “What do you make of the report regarding the Racial Discrimination Act and specifically 18C? Do you think it should be changed?” To that Morrison replied: “As Treasurer I am focused on how people are going to afford the price of energy. I am focused on how people are going to afford to get into the housing market and afford their rent. I am focused on trying to reduce people’s taxes and ensure that people can get into jobs. That is my focus …”

Australia is a society where people of different faiths and of no faith have to relate to one another and develop ways of living together. That being so, everyone should avoid being “uncomfortable” in robust conversations about religion. However, when one of our politicians asked the key questions about Islamic terrorism, and their staffers do research into the beliefs and commitments of religious communities without fear or favour, we have seen the Prime Minister accusing him of anti-religious hatred or bigotry.

There is even a plan at federal level to establish a blasphemy law by stealth by extending the deeply controversial section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act to religious grounds. Of course, criticism of Muhammad or even of Islam is not equivalent to racism. Islam is not a race and the problems with it are not the product of fear-mongering and fantasy, but of ideology and facts.

What is more, it is simply impossible to protect any group’s right to not be offended without grievously infringing on the constitutional freedom of political communication of others who strongly disagree with them.

And yet, the Prime Minister is on record supporting the idea of blasphemy law by stealth, or, in other words, the extension of federal anti-discrimination laws to the grounds of religion. Morrison told Fairfax Media, on 22 December 2017:

“It all starts when you allow … mockery to be made of your faith or your religious festivals — it always starts innocently and it’s always said it is just a joke — just like most discrimination does. And I’m just gonna call that out …  I’ve just taken the decision more recently, I’m just not going to put up with that any more, I don’t think my colleagues are either. Where I think people are being offensive to religion in this country — whichever religion that might be …  –  well, we will just call it out and we will demand the … respect that people should provide to all religions”.

This idea that religionists should be sheltered from criticism of their religion is totally inimical to freedom of speech, which is a cardinal precept of every free and democratic society, and an indispensable shelter against totalitarianism. Alarmingly, Morrison has now flagged the possibility of regulation of social media companies if they failed to act against the use of their platforms for spreading so called extremism.

Taken into account Morrison’s statement in response to the mosques attacks, our Prime Minister appears to believe only right wingers can be capable of such terrible acts of violent extremism.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister has just confirmed that he wishes to push for further suppression of free speech. He thinks this is the path that his government needs to pursue unless companies such as Facebook and Twitter took greater “social responsibility” by curbing so called what the government might consider to be radical speech.

This is a dangerous development with rather totalitarian implications. The Prime Minister has once again revealed his true colours and the Opposition Leader is certainly no better than him when it comes to promises to further undermine our individual rights and freedoms.

Bill Shorten is a radical leftist who openly says he stands shoulder to shoulder with Muslims now that they have been attacked in a similar manner to the Christians attacked by radical Muslims – with the decisive difference being that such Muslims attack Christians on a daily basis. 

Indeed, research indicates that each day, a staggering 11 Christians are killed for their faith across the globe. And yet, Shorten says nothing about this and all the Christians who are being brutally murdered regularly in most of the countries in the Islamic world.  

Above all, I simply can’t trust the Australian government and our notoriously incompetent and illiberal political elite to shield me or anyone else from certain types of speech that some intolerant religionist may consider unacceptable in accordance with the radical tenets of his/her fundamentalist doctrine and resulting threats of legal actions.

Our political leaders have demonstrated they possess an authoritarian inclination and  have no proper regard for the rule of law and the preservation of our most basic rights and freedoms.  

As for myself, I sincerely fear for the future of our nation.

Dr Augusto Zimmermann LLB (Hon.), LLM cum laude, PhD (Mon.) is Professor of Law at Sheridan College in Perth, Western Australia, and Professor of Law (Adjunct) at the University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney campus. He is also President of the Western Australian Legal Theory Association (WALTA), and a former Commissioner with the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia (2012-2017). Dr Zimmermann is also the recipient of the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research, Murdoch University (2012)

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