On Wednesday 29 September 2011, one day after he had been found guilty by Justice Mordecai Bromberg of breaching the Racial Discrimination Act, the notorious Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt hit back at his accusers with the front-page headline: THIS IS A SAD DAY FOR FREE SPEECH. The accompanying (and interminable) article bemoaned Bolt’s alleged martyrdom on the altar of political correctness. In speaking ‘frankly’ of his own struggles with his personal identity – was he Australian? was he Dutch? – Bolt declared, ‘To be frank, I consider myself first of all an individual, and wish we could all deal with each other like that. No ethnicity. No nationality. No race. Certainly no divide that’s a mere accident of birth’. Leaving aside the bizarre implication that Bolt wants everybody to be absolutely nobody, stripped entirely of any empirical contingencies or relationships, and delivered over to a vacuous deracinated egotism, it seems that Bolt, too, was proselytising for free speech to be purged of all particularities, of all restrictions – except, perhaps, for those ‘divides’ which are not ‘accidents of birth’. And what, pray tell, might those be?
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