to the Editor of The Australian
You are right in your editorial ("No value in sham diversity that stifles honest debate", 2/1) to champion "honest discussions that are necessary to do justice to complex and contentious topics". Here are four contexts in which more openness and fairness are needed in debate in our public forums: (1) the challenge to "orthodox" Christianity posed by comparative religion studies that strongly suggest that the story of Jesus should be understood as symbolism rather than history; (2) the peculiar way in which unfettered discussion of the history of Nazi Germany has been demonised and frustrated by obeisance to the ideology of "the Holocaust"; (3) the strong case that has emerged that the author of the works attributed to "William Shakespeare" was Sir Henry Neville; and (4) the ongoing campaigns to legally and constitutionally over-privilege Australians who possess Aboriginal ancestry. Other readers can no doubt supply other examples.
If there are "bad ideas and bigotry" to be found in these contexts, it is on the part of those inhibiting discussion, not of the dissidents themselves.
Nigel Jackson, Belgrave, Vic