Geoffrey Robertson, human rights celebrity lawyer and Australian expatriate (in London) swanned into Australia again this last week to promote a new book. We must expect much the same from this visit: the Robertson superior waltz while he lectures the Australian population about that esoteric thing called law which he neatly divides into the good represented by Julian Assange and the bad represented by Pope Benedict XVI; the fawning adulation of the ABC and Fairfax journalists who bow, scrape and tug the forelock to so much awesome legal intelligence; and the reaction of those wretched outcast conservatives who have to hold their hand over their mouth in response to his emetic hypocrisy, anti-religious bigotry, sanctimony, and sweeping ideological condemnations.
Back in 2010 Geoffrey Robertson did his best to drag Pope Benedict XVI before the International Criminal Court over clerical sexual abuse. The pretext was the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic religious, for which he held the Pope responsible. The real and ultimate object was the destruction of Benedict and the Catholic Church. It has ever been one of the great crusades in Robertson’s ideologically driven life – which he shares with his elitist class. It was a coming out for Robertson who had never exposed himself to the public in such ideological nakedness. I was glad of it. People could see the real Robertson.
I am the same age as Geoffrey Robertson, merely two months separating us, both born in 1946. He grew up in Eastwood, a middle class suburb of Sydney, I in Lane Cove hardly five miles away, just the suburb of Ryde separating Eastwood and Lane Cove. He probably attended a primary school in Eastwood, after which came Epping High School. I attended St Michael’s convent school in Lane Cove to grade 2, then St Pius X Chatswood to grade 6, St Mary’s Towers MSC Seminary to 4th Year. I spent my final year at St Ignatius Riverview. He went on to Sydney University Law School; I enrolled in the Arts Faculty at Sydney University on a teacher’s college scholarship.
It is possible that our paths crossed during this time, even probable, especially during the Sydney University days. Of course, we did not know each other – and were not likely to. If we had ever met he would not have wasted a dismissive sneer on me. You see, we were in opposing moral and political realms. Most grievously for someone whose record shows a deep anti-clericalism, I was one of those Catholics who, for a self-respecting leftist student of the 1960s, were worthy of limitless scorn and contempt.
Although I never knew Robertson, I knew well the radical leftist groups he was at home in. He shared their feverish hatred of Catholics and the Catholic Church. Their swaggering loudmouth bigotry was exemplary for their fellow students, many of whom strove to emulate their masters, turning that into a life-long task. I was a very green eighteen-year-old in 1964 compared to the precocious and cynical worldliness of the Sydney University and University of New South Wales radicals, but I was not so green that I did not see their monstrous hypocrisy and leftist fascism.
The first close view I had of their political nastiness, and really my political awakening, came in 1964. I was present at perhaps Australia’s first riotous leftist student demonstration, which raged outside the American Consulate in Sydney in May that year. Totally unprepared for what happened, I thought I saw some evil spirit moving through the rioting crowd as it surged this way and that, sparking spot brawls with the police. It is more than likely Robertson was in the thick of the radicals’ action. Later he defended some of those leftist mates in a famous obscenity trial in London.
Robertson was obviously a natural from the beginning in manipulating law to throw a silk moral cloak over the nastiness and grossness of human inclinations. Freedom of speech! We know what that means for Robertson and his hypocritical mates. We have fifty years’ experience. We also have fifty years’ experience of the radicals’ idea of human rights. As one of many examples, the Labor Government in Victoria some years ago passed legislation that selectively denied the fundamental rights of association and religious belief to Christians. These are Robertson’s mates in spirit. In fact, it’s more than likely that the leftist fascists who enjoyed a majority in the Victorian parliament were (and still are) disciples of Robertson’s, many no doubt attending his indoctrination sessions when he condescends to return to the country of his birth.
Our Epping High School radical went from strength to strength on a road that took him to the once accursed mother country where he acquired further academic qualifications in law – and a toffy British accent. He needed to suppress his Aussie suburban accent in order to merge with the English upper-class. In the meantime, I, insisting on a full expression of my youthful immaturity, made a total mess of my life (including studies) for several years until I met a Dutch girl. We got married and sixteen months later went to Holland where we lived for nearly three years.
Robertson remained in England, the suburban streets of Eastwood drifting into a past that was better forgotten. He wouldn’t want the new best friends to know about that, would he? It appears he remained the gay bachelor until 1990 when he and well-known Australian author Kathy Lette broke up Lette’s marriage to get together. I fear that Lette’s equally well-known grubby vulgar behaviour has increased the furtive whisperings about Australians behind upper-class English hands. As a helplessly brainwashed Catholic boy I was already married twenty years in 1990.
I always thought it an odd thing that through the years I remained alert to the reported antics of the leftist Australian ex-pats in Britain, including Robertson. I suppose it was the ever sceptical view I took of their successes, seeing in them confirmation of my views about leftist ideas and behaviour, especially the posturing hypocrisy. For a time, I had the feeling I was the only one who found Robertson’s popular ‘Hypotheticals’ on ABC TV contrived and manipulated. His dramatic exit after each program, meant to give the impression that he had cleverly led his subjects into confusion and self-contradiction, was laughable. What a fantasy world the Left live in.
I suppose I should thank Robertson and those other loud leftist republican expats who settled in the mother country. They sharpened my critical view of their ideas, helping me to understand my natural moral and political conservatism. When eventually I took up university studies again, I completed a major in Dutch language and literature at Melbourne University. That enables me to be daily entertained (by satellite) by the hypocrisy and ideological prejudice of Robertson’s mates across the Channel in the low countries. I then transferred to La Trobe University where I progressed through to a Master’s degree in philosophy with a thesis on the epistemological foundations of Edmund Burke’s thought.
Now I understood the theoretical underpinnings of people like Robertson and the limits of reason, which was the aim in taking up the formal study of philosophy. Indeed, it is likely I can explain materialist metaphysics and its political crops better than he can – a metaphysics that is the foundation of sand under their impressive ideological pronouncements and often impenetrable academic jargon. Robertson and atheistic mates Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are frauds who preach their political credo with the fervour of religious faith. Hitchens has passed away since their team efforts to indict Benedict. The foundation of sand is a fallacy called scientism. The proposition that all knowledge comes through the senses cannot be proved in its own terms.
Of course, they would never make the effort to explain the philosophical basis of their credo – if they could. They propagandise a vague but intense belief scenario, couched in beguiling platitudes, that is meant to be the undoubted truth in a world of relativism and scepticism – and that those deviating from their truth are foolish and ignorant. Worse, those deviating from the dogma of materialism and have power and influence in the community have the status of criminals.
This is really what the ferocious media attack on the Pope was all about at the time. This was the reason that Robertson, heading the triumvirate of Robertson-Dawkins-Hitchens, manoeuvred to bring Pope Benedict ‘to trial in the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity.’ It was not because the Pope is a protector of clerical ‘paedophiles’, most cases of which concerned homosexual clergy molesting pubescent boys. (That, incidentally, is where Robertson’s brilliant legal mind melts.) If it were, the super-sanctimonious Robertson would be on to the academics who openly attempt to justify cross-generational relationships. But he is not.
No, it is because the Pope was and is the strongest proponent of the moral and political views that Robertson and his class consider inimical to mankind and stand in the way of mankind’s progression to his human rights utopia and the perfection of humanity. Even worse, this Pope of the criminal ideas headed up the only institution in the world that is holding up the complete victory of the (French) Enlightenment project. He had to be crushed, he had to be destroyed.
We political conservatives who deny the possibility of perfecting society because of man’s limited reasoning powers and his essential moral fallibility – all empirically observable – and have an opposing analysis of human rights are constantly subject to attempts of disqualification by the dominant class, the tactics being mostly abuse, slander, ridicule and lies, not reasoned argument. Robertson sits at the top of the dominant class. His undertaking to bring the Pope before the International Criminal Court laid bare his purpose and ideological drive shaft. It is important, and instructive, to all concerned about our decaying Western Civilisation to know where loud and influential voices such as Robertson’s stand.
Robertson has come a long way from that street in suburban Eastwood and a time that was just about the opposite of the time and world he now inhabits. His sucking up to the English upper-class and adopting their accent was clearly for reasons of utility. Social approval and influence are important for professional reasons. His real purpose was to rise in the political class that has come to dominate the Western World. He has done that. He need not be as careful now about his true feelings for a class he and his 1960s mates execrated. I watched him in an interview this week on the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) and noted a milder manner and an effort to get back something of his Australian accent. No doubt for reasons of utility. It was not successful, though the remnants were clearly there.
The time and place in Sydney that Robertson and I grew up in gave me the happiest of childhoods. I would not exchange that social context for a thousand of the human rights utopias Robertson and his mates promise to force on us.
© Gerard Wilson