via Stephen Franks
How dissent is literally silenced and ignored instead of debated. We witnessed this just last week with the treatment of Lord Monckton. We have seen it in action with anything that Ian Wishart ever says and now we are seeing it with John Ansell.
The other trick is to quietly exclude certain people from the national discourse. It is best summed up by a German word: totschweigtaktik. To be totsched is to be subjected to death by silence: books, ideas, people that challenge the status quo are simply ignored.
In Quadrant last year, Shelley Gare wrote that those who are totsched find “their efforts left to expire soundlessly like a butterfly in a jar”. When Orwell wrote his 1938 classic Homage to Catalonia, which addressed Stalinist Russia’s involvement in the Spanish Civil War, the left-wing literati simply ignored it. By the time Orwell died in 1950, barely 1500 copies had been sold. As Gare traces, the same death by silence was used to ignore Australian writers such as Chris Kenny, who challenged the secret women’s business behind the Hindmarsh Island affair. It was used when author Kate Jennings aimed her fire at the sisterhood, postmodernism and women’s studies.
It’s used by those who tell us that climate change will destroy us all if we do not act immediately. The sceptics are being totsched. Opposing views? What opposing views? Governments have their own tactics. Those with poor ideas and even worse policies resort to something best described as the bipartisanship racket. Former prime minister Kevin Rudd called for bipartisanship on indigenous policies. In fact, Rudd sought supine obedience to the rollback of the NT intervention. If you disagreed, you were charged with politicising an issue. Just imagine if similar calls from those defending the status quo had managed to shut out the ideas from people such as Noel Pearson. The very last thing we want is bipartisanship when it is used so blatantly to stifle dissent and vest moral authority in one voice.