“Woke” activists who are pushing the so-called “cancel culture” are presenting three dangers to society — intolerance, rage and an emphasis of difference, according to the author of a new report.
Peter Kurti of the Centre for Independent Studies says critical theory activists are effectively silencing people who have what are considered to be oppressive views.
“Firstly, we are confronted with the erosion of tolerance when ‘unacceptable’ opinions are denounced,” Mr Kurti said.
“Secondly, there is the emphasis of difference by promoting discrimination as a good thing.
“Thirdly, there is the incitement of rage and anger that makes reasonable discourse impossible.”
Mr Kurti told NCA NewsWire a recent example was the Coon Cheese controversy and the pulling down of statues.
“The idea that Australia is a country built on slavery is problematic,” he said.
“There are social issues … and there is a history of the empire … Indigenous people were displaced.
“But it doesn’t mean Australia is systemically racist.
“Australia is a beacon of liberty (but) not without its problems.”
Mr Kurti said critical theory promoted an activist agenda.
“This activism has spilled out of university campuses and into our schools, businesses, defence forces, the not-for-profit sector, the churches, the medical profession and much of the media,” he said.
“Truth is arrived at by listening to the lived experience of members of marginalised groups, which can be expressed in terms of purely subjective feelings and intuition.”
Mr Kurti suggests when words such as “racism” have a “specialised meaning” applied to them, it becomes impossible to have intelligible conversations.
“Critical theory does not aim simply at social reform but at revolution,” he said.
“This revolutionary taint makes it especially dangerous and heightens the importance of both understanding and resisting its agenda.”
Mr Kurti said many critical theory ideas were transmitted very quickly and widely on social media, but he offered a fourfold course of action for resistance.
“We have to have the courage … to stand up against this bullying activism,” he said.
“We have to restore reason in the sense that we’ve got to insist that we have rational discussions … it can’t just be driven by emotion.
“Plus, we’ve got to hold fast to what is true.”
He also said it was important for resistors not to give up.
Mr Kurti said he was prepared for the inevitable backlash to his report.
“The organisation is committed to principles of tolerance and freedom of speech,” he said.
“I’m sure that I’ll be criticised … but this has to be said.”