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Two Australian researchers conclude “far-right” humour is a danger to democracy

Two Australian researchers conclude “far-right” humour is a danger to democracy

Two Australian political researchers published a paper in Television & New Media to examine “the use of online humour and ridicule to promote and normalise far-right exclusionary discourses.”

Their examination is limited to Australian politician Pauline Hanson’s cartoon series Please Explain. From this cartoon series, they have drawn all their conclusions about the “far-right,” or everyone who is to the right of their own political persuasion, which includes at least 60% of Australians.

And what are their conclusions?  In short, as Igor Chudov surmises, the two authors are suggesting that humour is a danger to our democracy.

Below, we have reproduced Chudov’s article which analyses the two Australians’ “research.”  Before we get to Chudov’s article we briefly delve into the politics of the paper’s authors and what “democracy” means to, at least, one of them.

About the Paper’s Authors

One of the authors of the paper was the University of Sydney’s Kurt Sengul who claims to have “an emerging international reputation in the study of far-right populist communication.”  He completed his PhD in Communication and Media Studies in 2022.

The second author was Jordan McSwiney who is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance (“CDDGG”) at the University of Canberra.  He completed his PhD in Philosophy at the University of Sydney in 2021 and researches the far-right, with a focus on the organisation of far-right parties and movements, their use of social media, and discourses of racism and white supremacy.

According to Britannia, deliberative democracy is a school of thought in political theory that claims that political decisions should be the product of fair and reasonable discussion and debate among citizens. Deliberation in democratic processes generates outcomes that secure the public or common good, which benefits society as a whole in contrast to the private good of individuals and sections of society.

The ”common good” and the “greater good” are nefarious concepts.  They represent collectivism as opposed to individualism.

In her ‘Letter to the UK Government’ published last year, Margaret Anna Alice touches on the subject of the “greater good.”  Her letter includes the video below which explains that collectivism is one of the reasons why freedom is retreating from this world. It is an ideology that is being promoted by most politicians; indoctrinated into the youth at school and via popular culture; and, championed by the vast majority of talking heads in corporate media.  You can read a transcript of the video HERE.

Below is a recent example of how the “common good” ideology is being used to restrict our individual rights and freedoms.

In addition to the “common good,” deliberative democracy seeks quality over quantity by limiting decision-makers to a smaller sample of the population. If only certain modes of expression, forms of argument and cultural styles are publicly acceptable, then the voices of certain citizens will be excluded. Deliberative democracy doesn’t seem to be democracy at all.

Further reading: Deliberative democracy, Tufts University, 26 January 2022

The use of deliberative processes for public decision-making is a key part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (“OECD’s”) work on open government.  In 2021, Nicole Curato, a professor at CDDGG, contributed to OECD’s report titled ‘Eight ways to institutionalise deliberative democracy’.

The OECD is not working in isolation to promote its ideology.  It collaborates with the United Nations (“UN”) in many areas.  For example, the OECD is a partner of the UN Global Compact, an initiative based on CEO commitments to “implement universal sustainability principles and to undertake partnerships in support of UN goals.”

In 2021, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution, without a vote, to increase, strengthen and enhance cooperation between the OCED and the UN on several agendas, including accelerating the implementation of the UN’s 2030 Agenda and achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Collectivism – which is found in socialist, communist and fascist movements – and, ultimately, the UN’s 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals are the politics McSwiney advocates.  In other words, McSwiney’s political persuasion is hard-left, far-left or even radical-left – which explains why he would incorrectly label the vast majority of the Australian population as “far-right.”

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Humour is a Danger to Our Democracy, Australian Political Scientists Claim

By Igor Chudov

Dear Readers: I am sorry for sprinkling humour and sarcasm throughout my Substack posts. My apologies!

Had I known that social scientists Jordan McSwiney and Kurt Sengul found the use of humour and ridicule to be an insidious attack on our democracy, I would certainly avoid even a trace of sarcasm or humour in my articles!

According to the authors, the evil far-right forces invented a novel, innovative, and subversive discursive technique called humour.

Humour is used insidiously:

We are beginning to see how dangerous humour is because laughter can keep social groups together, which is totally unacceptable. The authors go on, being utterly serious and bordering on the pompous:

Humour, it turns out, makes materials more accessible to neutral audiences:

The McSwiney et al. article turns its attention to a series of cartoons named ‘Please Explain’ by an Australian politician, Pauline Hanson.

According to the article’s authors, these cartoons illustrate why “far-right humour” is such a social danger.

The authors accuse these cartoons of promoting bigotry and xenophobia in their pseudoscientific, gobbledygook language.

I have viewed exactly one such video and shared it with my readers when I discussed The Voice, a conspiratorial attempt to push through a vague constitutional amendment to the Constitution of Australia. The proposal would create an unaccountable and unelected constitutional body that would be manipulated through shadowy “democracy committees.”

In no small part, The Voice was defeated because of this funny YouTube video, which I highly recommend watching and which I refer to in my previous post:

[Should the humour police remove the video above from YouTube you can watch it on Rumble HERE.]

Please watch the above cartoon. You will see that it ridicules the liars who deceived the Australian public about the referendum proposal – it does not in any way laugh, exclude, or make fun of Native Australians.

To the crazed political hacks McSwiney and Sengul, anything that lampoons their pet projects is far-right, exclusionary content that seeks to marginalise vulnerable groups.

The Voice referendum failed resoundingly; over 60% of Australians voted against it.

To McSwiney and Sengul, this failure represents the victory of the “exclusionary far-right” (to which 60.1% of Australians apparently belong).

Their article boringly drones on and on about “exclusionary utterances and visuals.“ You would hope that a discussion of humour would include at least one funny sentence from the authors, but you’d be disappointed: McSwiney and Sengul are deadly serious and supremely boring throughout.

The authors conclude:

Lastly, these political hacks, to whom everything oppositional is extreme right-wing, exclusionary and supremacist, declare “no competing interests.” Take a look at Jordan McSwiney’s profile:

Does that look like a profile of someone with “no competing interests”?

I propose this inclusive and democratic poll (See Chudov’s article HERE to register your vote).

Featured image: Taken from Pauline Hanson’s ‘Please Explain the Referendum Replay!

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