Year In Review: Personal

2019 is fast coming to an end, & with the end of another year, the end of a decade in fact, comes reflection of how we’ve lived our lives thus far. This piece serves as my own personal reflection of the year that was, the lessons I’ve learnt, and everything in between.

This year has been different to years previous. I’ve experienced a lot that I never really expected, and, to say the least, I’ve grown as a person. It’s come with it’s fair share of challenges, that’s for sure. I’ve had to deal with things that I didn’t see coming, things that were completely unpredictable in nature. But with the bad came the good, & the happy moments shone through when they were needed.

I started 2019 off in a good place. Up in Noosa with family, celebrating the New Year, going on adventures to Ipswich & Australia Zoo, seeing some of the most amazing creatures on the planet, becoming obsessed with meerkats, reacquainting myself with some of the cutest otters I’ve ever seen in my life, & seeing some spectacular sights. All the while, I was pondering things, considering the year ahead, considering decisions I would have to make, doing all the regular thinking & more. And whilst I may not have realised it at the time, the stay in Noosa would be one of the better parts of my year. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent up there, & I’m hoping to go back soon. My first times on an airplane were pretty cool too.

Mentally, I was in a decent place. I’d been in pretty good condition mentally for years, with no real issues since a battle with anxiety back in 2012, something I thought was a one-off. Maybe that was why things caught me completely off-guard.

A few weeks after arriving back from Noosa, I faced my first challenge of the year. By the time February hit, a number of things happened that led to a major mental break. Mind barriers were broken, & the anxiety flooded my mind & body. Ultimately, a battle began, a battle between myself & my mind. It was something completely unexpected. Of course, I knew there was some degree of risk with things coming up in the year, I just didn’t expect them to awaken what must have lain dormant within me for years.

A number of you would have read my article from earlier this year detailing my battle with anxiety, something which can never be underestimated. Briefly, things escalated over a matter of weeks. I was mentally off-kilter, & felt physically unwell. After about a month, I finally decided to get some professional help, seeing a counsellor/psychologist, who was extremely helpful.

The next big event in my life was starting university. The process of simply enrolling was stressful enough to begin with. Having attempted to get in to a different major area for my degree at UTS (University of Technology Sydney), going from Creative Writing to Journalism, with no success online & over the phone on multiple occasions, I travelled to the Student Centre, talked to multiple people, & found a major flaw in the university system (the first of many). I enrolled in the necessary subjects for the Creative Writing course, & prepared for study once again. Yet it was not to last long at all.

After a single day at UTS, I knew something was wrong. Sure, it wasn’t a great day for me personally on a mental level, being alone at a new place, experiencing amplified anxiety levels for most of the day, doing all I could to keep the symptoms at bay. But coming home on the train that night, I knew I wasn’t doing the right thing for me. And that was when it clicked. I needed to do something for me, not for other people. It didn’t matter if others found it to be unconventional, it just had to be right for me. Whilst I’ve never been a quitter, I knew this degree, this university, was going to be toxic for me. So after one day, I quit.

Having come home & relayed my feelings to my immediate family, I felt lost. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I made contact with some people, some friends, & did some research. I eventually came across an amazing university degree run by Griffith University through Open Universities Australia, an online uni degree. Yet I knew that it would not appease everyone, considering it was not a physical university. The added pressure of that was something that weighed heavily on my mind, a similarity in many of the decisions I’ve made throughout this year. However, I chose to go ahead with the degree, & thus enrolled. I’d made a decision, a big decision, something I hadn’t really done before.

Around mid-March, in fact, right after I made the decision to withdraw from UTS, I made another decision that would really change my life for the better. For context, in late 2018, I had taken on a temporary role as a Special Religious Education (SRE) helper, assisting for a Year 6 class. It was a highly rewarding experience, & while I wanted so much to continue on in 2019, I ultimately knew that my university degree would make that difficult. This probably had some impact on the decision I would ultimately make to quit my degree & change things up.

I should say at this point, before I continue on, that there were a number of reasons that factored into my leaving UTS. It wasn’t a decision I made lightly. Being able to go back to SRE was a mid-range factor, as it was something I was passionate about. The content of the degree itself was also a factor, as well as the culture of the university in being quite the opposite to my own political views. That’s not to say that I withdrew because I couldn’t deal with opposing views. It was more to the point that I felt like I was putting myself in a space where I was going to be suppressed for three years, a place where if I spoke to my values and political opinions, or challenged the ones being put forth by lecturers & tutors, I would find myself being penalized simply for having a different set of views, a free speech issue. I thought about this, & I knew I couldn’t do that to myself. It should also be said that, whilst I could express those views online & through my blog, the university lecturers & tutors had said they were going to be checking the social media of students, something which I personally saw as completely unprofessional & unnecessary. The purpose of such a scheme could only be to find out the personal views of each student so as to categorize them into the political spectrum, something I find truly appalling. I will write more to this in a separate article, however I felt it fit here. To some degree, this whole keeping quiet thing stirred my anxiety, something which also led to my leaving UTS. That’s not to say that I still haven’t experienced similar occurrences online with Griffith. In fact, a recent assessment marking of mine, an assessment that I worked extremely hard on, came back to me with some fairly unfavourable feedback, which seemed to be politically motivated. As I said previously however, I’ll speak more to this in an upcoming article.

Back to SRE now. In mid-March, I made the decision to rejoin the SRE program in a permanent position. I became an assistant to a Year 5 class, who I ended up having the great pleasure of taking for around 6-7 weeks while their teacher was away on holiday. It was truly an amazing & extremely rewarding experience. Whilst it was nerve-wracking at first, as I got to know the students, I began to establish a real spiritual connection with them. Seeing them learn & understand more & more each week, building their relationship with God, was incredibly special. Throughout the year, up until the end of Term 3, I watched the students progress, & there was always a smile on my face when I was in the classroom with them. They were a joy to teach, & I couldn’t be more grateful for the time I had with them this year.

In Term 4, I got a promotion of sorts (well, not really, but a level up perhaps). After another SRE had to take time off, I was asked to take their Year 6 class for the term, an offer which I immediately accepted. It was incredibly daunting going in to take over a class who had been set with one teacher throughout the year, & I found it challenging at the best of times. The students, however, were amazing in the way that they guided me through how their lessons were usually run, & by the time we were a few weeks in, I was once again amazed to see how dedicated some of them were to building their relationship with God. While I had my fair share of challenging moments with some students, time flew by, & I felt blessed to have been a part of the spiritual journey of these students.

Alongside being an SRE, I completed a Level 1 Training Course, a requirement for becoming a full time SRE. This was a valuable learning experience, & something I was again truly grateful to be a part of. I met some wonderful people whilst participating in the course, we shared our experiences with each other, & we all grew in our faith & as SREs. I completed the course in November, & am now qualified to take my own class, something that I am looking forward to doing in the new year.

This year also brought with it it’s fair share of fun & friendship. I kept up to date with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, & saw the final instalment of the Eastrail 177 Trilogy (if you’re not familiar, that’s Unbreakable, Split, &, most recently, Glass). I also spent days out with friends, & went to a number of family gatherings, which are always a blast. I also got to see my Aunt & cousins who I hadn’t seen in a couple of years, & hung out with them for a few days, which was a highlight. I also got into new seasons of all my favourite television shows, but I also found a new love: The Office (the US version). This show became my all time favourite television series within the first few episodes. After watching all nine seasons through, plus highlight & blooper reels on YouTube, I watched it again with my brother. And trust me, it never loses its charm nor humour no matter how many times you watch it. The cold opens are fantastic. I’ve watched some scenes so many times, I’ve memorised the lines. And some of the catchphrases the characters use have also become a part of my own repertoire. It’s a fantastic show, & I’d highly recommend it. I’ll for sure watch it again.

Sporting matches were also in, this year’s feature being the NRL Grand Final, an event I never thought I’d go to. More on that in a moment.

Music also continued to play a major role in my life. I stuck by my favourite group by far, OneRepublic, listening to their new music as soon as it dropped. Other artists also made their way into my life, likely due to different moods & various goings-on. I got hooked on the music of Charlie Puth (an amazing musician, who also happens to have perfect pitch). And at various points in the year, there were appearances by Andy Grammer, Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco, Kygo, 5 Seconds of Summer & Guy Sebastian among others. I also continued to play music, playing piano & learning guitar, in addition to experimenting with producing music on my laptop. I’ve also recently purchased a microphone, something I’m planning on using to both record music & a podcast. Keep an eye & ear out for that next year.

Seeing as I love music so much, it stands to reason the highlight of my year would be music related. For around ten years now, basically since the beginning of the decade, I’ve been listening to the music of OneRepublic. More so since I was in Year 7, I began to follow OneRepublic & their front-man Ryan Tedder more closely. Ryan Tedder is likely my greatest musical influence, & one of the reasons I got into music. Their music has accompanied me through many times, good & not so great. For years now, I’ve dreamt of seeing them perform live, & meeting them, moreover Ryan Tedder, in person. So when OneRepublic announced this year that they were coming to Australia to perform at the NRL Grand Final, I jumped at the opportunity. Seeing them live, even for just fifteen minutes, was amazing. Although I’d really like to see them perform live at their own show, & I’m hoping they’ll be coming back to Sydney in the next couple of years, so that this time I can actually meet them.

Study has taken up a large portion of my year throughout this year, having been studying with no major breaks since the end of May. So far, I’ve completed four subjects, with another two underway currently. Thus far, I’m enjoying the degree, although there have been some setbacks over the last few months in particular which resulted in an immense amount of stress. Ultimately, this stress unfortunately resulted in a lapse of control over my anxiety, & so it’s returned. It’s something that has begun to impact on my life yet again, something which I hope to regain control over in the coming months.

I also had the privilege of going on a few holidays this year. The first was the one I’ve already mentioned, going up to Noosa. The other holiday was a Royal Caribbean cruise to the Pacific & New Zealand. This cruise was a good experience. It was nice to be able to spend time with family, particularly those I only get to see every now & then. The entertainment was good on some occasions, although it was a little underwhelming on others. Of the destinations, New Zealand’s Bay of Islands was by far the most beautiful. The food was also amazing, as were the waiters who served it to us each day & night. It was a true privilege to get to know these hard workers over the duration of the cruise. They made it all the more special. Whilst it was a good cruise, having the anxiety return did make it a little difficult for me at times, particularly in mornings. Overall though it was a really fun experience.

Looking back on this year, I feel like I’ve learnt a lot about myself. I’ve discovered my limits, but also my strengths. I’ve found that whilst you may hope for one thing, life will throw you a curveball & take you in a different direction. Personally, I’m grateful for not only the good moments this year has brought, but also the not so great moments. Because these moments show you things about yourself that you never realised. These are the times that truly bring your humanity to the surface, times of self-discovery. At the times when I was at my lowest this year, I took comfort in those who were there to support me. I’m so grateful to have those people in my life, because not only did they help me through my struggles this year, they also guided me on my journey of self-discovery.

There were moments this year when I was lost. There were times when I thought everything in my life was going wrong, & that nothing would ever go right. But certain people helped me to realise that there was still hope in my future. Hope is what kept me going, what got be back on my feet, & what inspired me to continue to share my stories.

Whilst 2019 hasn’t exactly been the most spectacular year, it’s been an experience that I likely needed. In some sense, I’m thankful to have gone through an experience that has changed me for the better. And I’m glad to have a platform to be able to share my thoughts & experiences with others, so that we can all be inspired to continue to have hope.

So, here’s to 2019: a year of learning, a year of growth, a year of self-discovery, a year of hope.

Cheers for a great year on the blog!

JJ

Abortion: Human Life In The Balance

Abortion; it’s a matter of life & death. It should be seen to be a simple topic. In fact, it should be entirely easy to see that human life is valuable, no matter what stage it’s in. Yet somehow, the topic of abortion becomes controversial. Why? Because some people don’t see that the unborn as human life. Some people place the so-called ‘choice’ of the mother-to-be above that of the life of the unborn child. And see that’s what the abortion debate truly boils down to. It’s a simple view. Those who support abortion do not see all human life as equal. If, however, you see all human life as truly equal, then you won’t support the abortion of the child. Because quite simply, you know that unborn child has just as much right to life as its mother, & as anyone living on this planet. Let’s delve a little deeper into this debate.

When it comes to the abortion debate, there’s two sides: pro-life & pro-choice. Yet when you get to the root of it, you begin to see that pro-choice simply means pro-abortion. Pro-lifers do not tolerate abortion. Pro-choicers think it should be down to the woman with child, & that it should be her choice as to whether or not she has the baby, thus being in favour of abortion if the woman so chooses. It’s important to note that it is a baby that is living inside of the pregnant woman. Often, pro-choicers will refer to it as a ‘fetus’ or a ‘clump of cells’ or any other term which aims to make this life seem small & insignificant, with the goal to make it appear as if it isn’t even a life. Yet it is. In fact, it’s scientific fact that life begins at conception. Do pro-choicers accept the science on this? Typically, they don’t. Yet life does indeed begin when the baby is conceived. From there on, the fertilized egg will grow, it will begin to form a head, body, arms, legs, hands, feet, fingers, toes, a brain, a heart, & the heart will begin to beat. Inevitably, it will form the necessary means to feel pain. In fact, while we’re here, let’s talk about that.

Pain; it’s something we all feel at some point throughout our lives. Of course, we do everything we can to avoid it, because we don’t want to feel it. But we do, in various forms. Be it physical or emotional, we feel pain, & it hurts. Some types of pain hurt more than others. Inevitable, when we feel pain, we do what we can to treat it, to rid ourselves of it, or at the very least lessen it. We are lucky that we have the ability to do so, because it would most certainly be hellish to be in constant pain without being able to do something about it. We as humans are also prone to fear. We all have our various fears, yet we can do what we need to avoid them. We can prevent them from taking hold over us. We can take ourselves out of certain situations that create fear within us. We have the capability to do that. We have the capability to escape our fears. Now I want you to imagine yourself in a situation in which you would be extremely scared. Now you might usually be able to get out of such a situation, however, in this case, you’re trapped there. You have no way out, there is no escape. You know that you’re about to feel excruciating pain, & that, ultimately, it will result in your untimely death. And there is nothing you can do about it. Not a thing. All you can do is sit there & take it as it comes. That scenario right there; that is the reality that millions of unborn babies face every single year. That is abortion.

Amongst the pro-choice side, you’d likely find that most do not think late-term abortion should be an option, unless of course it is medically necessary. Most would also say that late-term abortions only occur when medically necessary. Unfortunately, that’s incorrect. The vast majority of late-term abortions actually occur for no good reason at all. And on top of that, of all abortions, around 95% are completed at the behest of the woman with child simply because it will inconvenience her. Take a moment to think about that. All these women are denying their children a life, they are killing their children, simply because it would be an inconvenience to what they want to do. What this shows is that these women place their own lives above those of their children, they think their lives are more valuable. There’s no equality of life in their minds. It’s purely selfish. There’s no other way of saying it. These women are acting selfishly in aborting their children for their own benefit. It shouldn’t be allowed to occur.

By the same token abortion should not occur as a result of the unborn child having a developmental disorder such as Down Syndrome or the like. These babies are just as viable & just as human as anyone else. Sure, they might have some issues with development, however, they deserve just as much as anyone else to live their life. There is no valid reason to abort a baby in this circumstance.

Abortion shouldn’t be treated as some form of contraception. It isn’t contraception. Contraception is used in the prevention of pregnancy. Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. Many women who have abortions seem to abuse it as a late contraceptive method. That’s not what it is. While we’re on this, if you don’t want to fall pregnant, then there is one simple thing you can do: practice abstinence. Many pro-choicers laugh at that suggestion, or they’ll say it’s a ridiculous idea. The fact is, abstinence is 100% effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy. It is simply impossible to fall pregnant if you’re abstinent. You can then have a child when you’re ready. It’s quite simple really. There’s really no excuse for being irresponsible & falling pregnant as a result.

Now those on the pro-choice side would likely hit back here & bring up the rare cases of rape & incest. Let me make this clear: pregnancies resulting from rape & incest are extremely rare. Cases of abortion as a resultant of rape make up around 1% of all abortions, with incest cases being at 0.5%. It’s not right to justify all other abortions by using these extremely rare causes of unwanted pregnancy & abortions.

On the same point, within the abortion debate, there is often talk of rape exceptions. Things are going to get controversial here. Now often I try to remain objective when writing these articles, however for this point, that’s going to change. I personally do not believe in rape exceptions. Let me make this clear: I’m not attempting to detract from what women who fall pregnant as a result of rape have been put through. These vile criminal acts are completely disgusting & have no place in this world. All those who perpetrate such acts should face the full extent of the law. What I’m saying is that, in the rare case that the victim of a rape falls pregnant as a result, the unborn child should not have to pay for the sins of its father. Allow me to explain further.

In order for you to understand this ‘controversial’ view, I want you to take a moment & think. Think of your best friend, the one you cherish the most, the one who makes your life so much better, the one who you might not be able to live without. Now imagine that best friend was conceived in rape. Imagine that, because that best friend was conceived in rape, he/she was aborted, & never entered your life. Now I pose a few questions to you: Do you truly believe that that best friend, who’s likely a shining light in your life, deserves to die because of how they were conceived? That friend didn’t do anything wrong, did they? Why should they have to pay for the crimes their father committed?

Often, pro-choicers will also claim that ‘abortion is healthcare.’ Healthcare is defined as ‘efforts made to maintain or restore physical, mental, or emotional well-being especially by trained and licensed professionals’. Healthcare is the nurturing of a human life. Healthcare does not pertain to damaging a human life in any way. Abortion results in the taking of a human life. That isn’t healthcare. In the case of an unborn baby, healthcare would pertain to ensuring it is growing healthily, that nothing is done to cause harm to it, & that it is delivered when required. Pro-choice women also often claim that they have a right to abortion. Abortion is not strictly a right. Even in the United States, it has only been justified under the Fourth Amendment protection of privacy. It is not a Constitutional right. Women do not have a right to choose. It simply does not exist. When such ‘rights’ are discussed however in creating abortion legislation, such Bills are often brought forward under the guise of a ‘Reproductive Health’ Bill. They are anything but.

Reproductive health would bring with it the connotations of reproduction, that is, actually having a baby, & the health of the baby during the time in which it is developing pre-birth. It would not pertain to aborting a baby. Yet in recent years, Bills have been brought forward in many states in Australia, with NSW being the last state remaining in which abortion has not been decriminalized, & thus being the final frontier for life in Australia. However, in recent weeks, a Bill brought forward by Independent MP Alex Greenwich which would decriminalize abortion & allow abortions up to 22 weeks, was pushed through quickly in the Lower House, whereby the Premier Gladys Berejiklian did not follow regular process, in which such a Bill, coming from a private member, would typically be given to a Committee first before being brought into the Parliament for debate & voting. The Bill passed the Lower House 59-31, with at least two-thirds of the Liberal Party voting against it, along with a smattering of Labor & Independent MPs. Berejiklian & her deputy John Barilaro refused to speak on the Bill, then voted down Amendments & voted in favour of the Bill itself. This has of course angered Liberal MPs. Berejiklian allowed a ‘conscience vote’, then sat on the other side, voting with Labor, Greens & Independents, as well as most of the Nationals & a few Libs. This isn’t a good look for the Premier. The way in which she has gone about this has rightly resulted in anger & a sense of betrayal from the Party faithful, especially from those who voted to keep her in power. What should also be noted is that this was a conscience vote. However, anyone with a conscience would have voted to protect life, rather than take it.

The Bill has now gone to an Upper House Committee, which is conducting a series of interviews with a number of individuals including the Sydney Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher, who has been quite vocal in his own dismay toward this Bill. This Bill is not a reproductive health Bill. It is an abortion Bill. What is concerning about this Bill is that, when an Amendment was put forward by Liberal MP Tanya Davies to ensure that sex-selection abortions were outlawed, it was voted down. The Premier was one of those who voted against this Amendment. Even though all MPs condemned it, it was still voted down. Those MPs who voted against it may have condemned it, yet what is their position if they are voting against such an Amendment? Such a vote would be considered to be a vote in support of sex-selection abortion, something which is extremely deplorable. Whilst it has been agreed that there will be a report completed over the next twelve months which will indicate whether there is an occurrence of sex-selection abortions within NSW, this is clearly not enough, considering that if such abortions do occur the unborn babies that have lost their lives as a result of such selfish reasons cannot be brought back from the dead. In addition to this, the Bill would likely allow for late-term abortions, practically legalizing murder. The Bill makes it legal for abortions up to 22 weeks of gestation. There have been many cases in which babies have been born prematurely at 22 weeks who have survived & are living without any defect or deficiency. There have even been cases of babies born at 21 weeks who have survived & thrived. These babies are able to survive. Yet politicians are supporting legislation which would effectively result in their legal murder. Let me put it this way: If a man killed a baby that had just been born, it would be considered murder & he would likely go to prison for 20 years or more. Yet an abortionist can kill a baby before it is scheduled to be born, & it is considered to be perfectly fine. Does that really make sense?

There is only really one other state’s legislation we can compare this Bill to in Australia. That is Victoria. Victoria passed similar laws in 2008, whereby it was thought this would discourage late-term abortions. However, late-term abortions have increased in number. There has even been a case in which an unborn baby was aborted at 37 weeks. There’s really no question about it, that’s murder. What’s even more disturbing is that there has been a significantly large number of cases in which babies have been born alive & left to die. That’s murder. This is what NSW has almost legislated. This is what Queensland legislated just last year. When Queensland politicians passed their Bill, they celebrated it, lighting up their major bridge in purple, celebrating like it was New Year’s. When NSW Lower House politicians passed their Bill last week, there were cheers & applause, & pictures were taken showing smiles & joy on the faces of some politicians & activists. Again, this is extremely disturbing. These people are celebrating death. And if this Bill does pass, they will be complicit in the deaths to come. It’s also concerning that the Health Minister, Brad Hazzard, would defend such a Bill. He’s the Health Minister. That should entail being concerned with the health of the unborn. Hazzard should not be Health Minister if he is willfully supporting & defending a Bill which would legislate the killing of the next generation.

Adverse to what is occurring in Australia, over in the United States, several States have, one by one, pushed through restrictions &/or bans on abortion, demonstrating a turning tide in the US, whereby life is being respected as opposed to being willfully destroyed. Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, & Ohio have all passed restrictive abortion bans. Alabama pass the most restrictive laws, whereby abortions are banned in almost all circumstances, including rape & incest, with the exception of cases in which there is a serious risk to a woman’s health. Tennessee has joined these states just a few days ago, whereby legislation is being debated & will likely be passed in order to ban abortions “when a viable pregnancy is presumed to exist or has been confirmed”. It is promising to see these bans being put in place, & to see more & more States doing the same despite court challenges. It hasn’t stopped others from trying to legislate abortion to birth & even post-birth abortion, two abhorrent ideas that have been spoken about & advocated for particularly in New York. However, ultimately, if enough States banned abortion, there could be enough ground for a legitimate challenge to the Roe v Wade ruling, put in place by the Supreme Court, so as to overturn this ruling & ban abortion nationwide.

Off legislation now & onto a few other points. First, the pro-choice side tend to also be those who advocate for children in detention as a result of illegal immigration. Quick point on that, if you want to immigrate somewhere, you should go about doing it legally. True asylum seekers do not pick a country halfway around the world that they like, rather they go to the nearest country in which they can seek asylum. If you want to immigrate, however go about doing it illegally, you should expect to face consequences as a result. Back to the main point here, pro-choicers typically also advocate for children in detention. They seem to care so much about their lives yet have little to no care for the lives of the unborn. It’s hypocritical, & puts their double standards on full display.

Within the abortion debate, the pro-choice side also continue to bring up ‘bodily autonomy’. Pro-choicers often use the phrase ‘my body my choice’ or ‘her body her choice’. They will say that others, particularly men, shouldn’t be telling women what to do with their bodies. Here’s what’s wrong with that. It’s not your body. Sure, you have autonomy over your own body, but that autonomy is limited to your own body. The body of the unborn baby is not your body. It is a separate body, a body of its own. Unless of course you have two heads, four arms & legs, twenty fingers & toes, two hearts & two brains, which I highly doubt you would. If you do, that’s a medical issue that likely needs to be explored further. I doubt you’d find anyone who had such an issue however. If these people care so much about bodily autonomy, you’d think they would respect the bodily autonomy of the unborn child. Again, this simply exposes the double standards of these people. By the same token, the pro-choice side have argued that the unborn are reliant on the women who they are living inside, & thus cannot make their own decisions/choices, thereby the woman should be allowed to make a choice on their behalf. However, a valid point was made by Archbishop Fisher in conversation with 2GB radio host Alan Jones on Monday when the Archbishop made it clear that children up to three years of age cannot make their own choices. Would that mean that we should be able to abort a child that has already been born? Or one which has lived for say a year or two? Of course not. This simply demonstrates that this line of thinking of pro-choice individuals on choice is completely flawed.

Women who are pro-choice, or pro-abortion, also seem to think that the views of males on the matter of abortion are completely irrelevant. Oftentimes you’ll see that when a male tries to express their views, if they are pro-life, or anti-abortion, they are brushed away by the pro-choice side. The pro-choice side will often say of these men that their opinion doesn’t matter because they’ve never been pregnant, they cannot get pregnant, or because they don’t have a uterus. However, if you happen to be a male who is on the side of these pro-abortion individuals, you face no such criticism. The issue with this is that abortion is just as much a matter for men as it is for women. After all, it takes both a male & a female to make a baby. Men should be able to express their views on the matter of abortion freely, no matter what side of the debate they are on. However, there are a group of men who may only be expressing a certain view for their own personal benefit. These are male feminists. Male feminists, who typically side with pro-choice women on this matter, are pro-choice as it gives them a means of engaging with women without consequence. If they get a woman pregnant, the woman can go get an abortion & everything carries on as usual. They’re in it, for the most part, for selfish reasons. To the main point here however, the views of men on abortion should not be swept aside as if they carry no value, simply because the man isn’t a woman.

By the same token, pro-life views in general should not be subject to censorship. Often this side of the debate is censored in some way, so that the reach of such views is limited, whilst pro-choice views are spread far & wide, censorship free. The most recent examples of this bias against pro-life views are the limiting of the distribution of pro-life films Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer, which tells the story of abortionist Kermit Gosnell & the vile things he was doing in his abortion clinics over a number of decades, & Unplanned, the story of Abby Johnson, & her journey from the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic director to one of the most prominent pro-life activists in America, after seeing just what occurred in the carrying out of an abortion. Both these films faced extreme difficulties in being circulated, which resulted in the films only being shown in a number of select theatres across the US. Gosnell was only shown in the US. Unplanned has faced even more hurdles as there are attempts made to get the film out across a number of countries worldwide, including Australia. It faced protest & censorship when it was to be released in Canada, & after being stalled multiple times, was finally released in select theatres. It’s extremely shameful that such films would face such difficulties in being released & distributed, & brings to light the issue of censorship when it comes to showing the truth. It shouldn’t matter if it is pro-life or not. The films are truthful, & so should be shown in order to educate people above all else on what abortion truly is. It has become more & more apparent that those who support abortion do not want the truth to be shown, as it will likely destroy their own cause.

One final point. When it comes to the abortion debate, if you’re a Catholic/Christian, your views are often attributed to your religious standing. The pro-choice side will regularly claim that you’re only pro-life because of your religion. There’s an important point to be made here. Abortion is not a religious issue. It’s a moral issue. Sure at some times our views may be affected somewhat by our religious values, however it really comes down to our moral standings, our views on what is right, & what is wrong. Within the moral spectrum, abortion falls clearly into the morally wrong section. If you have good morals, you’ll see that. Abortion goes against good morals. That much is clear. Morals are at the root of religious beliefs. The abortion debate is not one of religion at heart. It is one of moral standings.

Abortion. When it comes down to it, it’s disrespectful of human life. And at the heart of the debate lies one central question. I’ll put it to you in an analogy. You have a criminal, one who has committed unspeakable evils, & a charity worker who has dedicated their life to helping others. Is the life of each of these individuals equal to the other? Now some, mostly those on the pro-choice side, would say there is no equality that exists between the lives of these two individuals. They would likely argue that the life of the criminal is of significantly less value than the charity worker. This is incorrect. Because there is a correct answer here. The life of the criminal & the life of the charity worker are equal. The reason for this is quite simple. All human life is equal. Yes, these two individuals have taken very different paths in their lives & made significantly different decisions. However, whilst these choices may change the quality of their life, including how they are viewed by others, it does not change its value. That is what is crucial to this debate. In the forefront, it’s a debate on abortion. Deeper down, it’s a debate on morals. But at its core, this is a debate on the value of a human life. So I’ll leave you with a question to consider: do you believe all human life is equal?

JJ

Fascism: Antifa’s New Anthem

Fascism; one of the most misused terms in the modern age. The definition of fascism is as follows: a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition. Fascism is oppression. Fascism is the silencing of those who have opposing views to your own. Fascism is censorship. Fascism is violence. Fascism is not democracy. In the modern day, fascism is a destructive force, however, just who it is being perpetrated by is heavily misconstrued.

Fascism is often claimed to be a trait of the ‘radical right’. Whilst this may be true, it is not simply limited to one side of the political spectrum. In fact, contrary to what the Left would want you to believe, fascism has been displayed by both sides of the spectrum, including their own. In modern times, a group known as Antifa have began to draw more attention, claiming they are doing what is necessary to stop fascists. Antifa (which is a shortening of anti-fascist) have existed in some form since the early 20th century when Mussolini came to power in Italy under his National Fascist Party. They began as the antithesis to his fascist party, which could be seen as making sense. However now, their view of fascism has become extremely distorted, to the point where Antifa themselves have become the fascists.

Antifa have a logo. On that logo are three phrases: ‘ANTI-FASCIST ACTION’, ‘SMASH FASCISM’, ‘ABOLISH CAPITALISM’. Now sure, it makes sense that they don’t like fascism. No one really does. But that is some strong language they’re using there, & you’d be forgive if you began to wonder if they’re really going about all this the right way. Additionally, there’s nothing explicitly wrong with capitalism. It’s clear they only want to abolish it so that they can then proceed to replace it with the system of shared misery that is socialism. Antifa are described as a ‘militant, anti-fascist’ conglomerate of Left-Wing individuals. This description is in most ways accurate. They are indeed militant, often carrying weapons of many varieties, & often engaging in violence. They are also all of the Left politically. In fact, & I’m sure many would agree, those who are members of Antifa are far Left. The only part of the aforementioned description that is no longer accurate is that the group is anti-fascist. Allow me to explain.

The antics of Antifa have become well known in recent years in particular. They regularly attempt to deplatform those with opposing viewpoints to their own, as well as disrupting & obstructing their events, defacing their propaganda, & committing violent acts. The major issue is that they are no longer going after true fascists. Nowadays, Antifa target those who simply disagree with them & have opposing viewpoints. Antifa practically labels any Conservative as a fascist in the modern world, even though the vast majority clearly are not fascists. They also claim to go after white supremacists, however those they target are, for the most part, not white supremacists. Those who are labelled as fascists by Antifa are likely not as such. Their idea of what a fascist is has become skewed, with the true definition of a fascist now being embodied by Antifa themselves.

In recent days, we have seen just how violent & deplorable these people have become. They hide behind masks, attacking those whose views they do not like. Case in point, Conservative journalist Andy Ngo. Ngo is clearly no white supremacist, being of Asian ethnicity, & an openly gay man. However, Ngo has previously been threatened by members of the violent militant group, & this came to head on the weekend. When Ngo attended a rally taking place in Portland, Oregon, to document & report on the events taking place, he was violently attacked by members of Antifa. These thuggish individuals not only threw milkshakes at him, but also beat him & stole his GoPro camera. They left him bloody & bruised, & without his recording device. In addition to this, the milkshakes thrown at Ngo contained quick drying cement, which resulted in lesions forming on Ngo’s body where the cement made contact. Once the Portland Police finally turned up, having not been present when the attack occurred even though the threat of violence was very real & Antifa were highly likely to commit acts of violence, Ngo was attended to, & was transported to hospital where it was found he had a brain haemorrhage, in simple terms, a brain bleed. Antifa are not only guilty of the assault & battery of this man who had done nothing wrong, who hadn’t even provoked them, who was simply there to do his job & document the events occurring, they are, in reality, guilty of the attempted murder of Andy Ngo.

It is disgraceful that the authorities allow this violence to continue to occur in their jurisdictions. This is not the first time Antifa have been violent or had the intent to be violent. And it likely will not be the last. In the past, Conservative commentator & comedian Steven Crowder has had his people successfully infiltrate Antifa, & has shown that they have the intent to deploy violence wherever they go. In his video, members of Antifa state they have guns & knives, amongst a range of other weapons, at the ready. In the case of Andy Ngo, Portland Police should have known, in fact it would be extremely difficult to see how they wouldn’t, that Antifa are dangerous & that they were likely to deploy violence when crashing the rally occurring. It also brings into question the intentions of higher authorities, particularly the Mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler. In some sense, the police & authorities such as the Mayor are just as complicit in the violence as those who commit it, as they stand idly by & allow it to occur. It has also been claimed that Wheeler had a stand down order for Portland Police, which allowed Antifa to run rampant on multiple occasions, a despicable act if true. Not only was Andy Ngo violently attacked at that rally, but a number of others, civilians who had turned up to the rally, were also beaten, two men being attacked with a crowbar, leaving them with head injuries. None of this should have been allowed to have occurred, yet it was, & it is at the behest of a group who are no longer anti-fascist, but are indeed fascists themselves.

What worsens this situation is that there are people out there, including those in media positions, such as commentators & journalists, who are defending the actions of Antifa & blaming the victims for the attacks. A number of Left-Wing journalists & media commentators shared messages over the weekend & the days following, many on Twitter, accusing Ngo of bringing this on himself. For example, journalist for The Guardian Jason Wilson dismissed the claim that the milkshakes contained quick-drying cement, claiming ’Left-Wing protesters’ used ‘actual milkshakes’, whilst also whitewashing the assaults & implying that Andy Ngo exaggerated his injuries. This is gutter journalism. The fact that those in the media would defend actions such as those taken by Antifa is appalling, & continues to show that truth in journalism is still hard to come by, particularly when that journalism comes from those on the Left. Unsurprisingly, Democratic candidates running for President have failed to condemn the violent actions of Antifa & the attack on Ngo. Gay rights organisations have also remained silent, with absolutely zero condemnation of the terrible acts of violence. On the other hand, Republican Senator Ted Cruz has condemned the violence, & has called for action to be taken against those involved. Those who have in the past called for individuals to be milkshaked, including Vox’s Carlos Maza (who, you’ll remember, recently attempted to deplatform Steven Crowder, managing to create the Vox Adpocalypse in the process), still have their posts up on Twitter, & have not yet had any action taken against them, which is entirely unsurprising considering Twitter never seem to take action against those on their own side of the political spectrum. Antifa also still have a platform on Twitter & Facebook, who have banned a number of Conservative commentators & journalists from their platform simply for their Conservative views, which they have deemed as ‘hate speech’, & speech that is dangerous. It is clear that Antifa’s speech would likely be far more dangerous than that of any one Conservative commentator.

Antifa are clearly becoming more violent in their actions. It is past time action was taken to stop this group from hurting more people. In their so-called battle to stop ‘white supremacists’ & ‘fascists’, Antifa themselves have become what they loathe. They may wear masks to hide their identities in an effort to commit violent acts without being caught, but Antifa cannot hide from the darkness that is enveloping them from the inside out. Authorities must take action, & declare Antifa as a domestic terrorist conglomerate. Indeed, in recent days it has come to light that evidence of a working relationship between American Antifa activists & terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda & ISIS is emerging. Antifa may be dangerous individuals, however they do Conservatives a great favour. They are the epitome of everything that is wrong with the Left: They have no interest in respectful reasoned debate, they label anyone with opposing views, even those that may in fact be Left-Wing themselves for the most part, as fascists, racists, white supremacists & more, they resort to insults & extremely foul language, & ultimately, turn to violence when facing those who hold opposing views. It is clear that the meaning of fascism has been lost on these individuals, indeed even on those on the Left who are slightly less Left than those of Antifa are. Many on the Left make the bold & completely misinformed claim that fascism is purely a trait of the Far Right. In reality, fascism has become more aligned with Far Left ideology. That isn’t to say there are individuals on the Far Right who aren’t necessarily fascists themselves. But it’s not something that is limited to one side or another. Fascism is in no way a good ideology. But in some sense, it’s more aligned with Communism, & the Left would know all about that. All in all, violence is never the answer. Violence only shows that you cannot logically defend your argument. And those who commit acts of violence, especially those that occurred over the weekend, should be charged & prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Those that defend violence are just as complicit. Even if it’s an egg or a milkshake, it’s still violence, it’s still assault, & it can escalate from there if it’s condoned. It may start with an egg, or a milkshake, but once those are said to be harmless, the contents of the milkshake can change. It can escalate to a milkshake containing acid, or rocks, or, as was seen over the weekend, quick-drying cement. And soon enough, it’s a knife, or a gun. Violence is never acceptable, no matter what form it comes in, & it has absolutely no place in society. Whoever those were from Antifa that clearly committed assault & battery over the weekend, particularly those who almost killed Andy Ngo, should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law without leniency. Otherwise, their actions will be justified by the authorities, & will continue to occur, likely to greater extremes.

 

The Battle For Free Speech & The Fight Against Censorship

Free Speech. It’s a basic human right. It’s probably the most fundamental human right we have. Every single human being had the right to speak freely. That should not be taken from them. Free Speech is what enables us to have discussion, to have debate. More often than not, it comes up in a political context, or a religious context. Both are of great importance.

People say you shouldn’t discuss politics nor religion at gatherings. This discourages discussion of ideas, be they religious or political, as well as keeping people silent. Most often, those who operate by this code are those who cannot stand the opposing views that others present. They tend to either blow off the opposing views in one of two ways: dismissing the view & launching a personal attack at the individual who brings it up, or getting overly emotional about the issue, putting their feelings before the facts. If you were to ask me, I’d tell you that you should discuss politics & religion every chance you get, because debate is a good thing. It contributes greatly to the progression of humanity.

What is concerning is that there are people out there who do not want discussion to be had. They do not want issues debated. They would rather shut down all discussion of things they do not like, & push their own views upon the entirety of humanity. Many even go as far as to silence those they disagree with. This is called censorship. And, unlike climate change, it will destroy the world if it is allowed to take hold.

In recent times, there has been a rapid increase in the number of individuals who have fallen victim to censorship. There are some particularly notable figures who have been targeted over and over by many individuals & organisations who want to silence them. Milo Yiannopoulos, Laura Loomer, Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson, Louis Farrakhan, James Woods, Steven Crowder, Tommy Robinson, Gavin McInnes. These are just a few of the increasing number of those who have been subject to the censorship axe swung by Silicon Valley & media corporations, YouTube, Facebook & Twitter are the major perpetrators of censorship. It’s never been seen like this before. Many of these individuals have been completely deplatformed. They have nowhere to spread their message. They are losing everything for one simple reason: they are Conservatives.

In this day & age, it seems that Conservatism has become the most hated political side on the planet. There’s a reason for that: people don’t like the truth. They don’t like it when their false narratives are exposed for being completely fraudulent. Being Conservative now is like being a criminal. It’s even been likened to being a terrorist. As is what Facebook described those who it banned from its platform mere days ago. Conservatives are attacked, harassed, & insulted on a daily basis. Now some may say: ‘You’re playing the victim here.’ Here’s the reality: we aren’t playing the victim. Despite what other people think of us, despite what they call us, despite what they do to us, we keep on fighting. We keep on coming back, we keep speaking. Many of us Conservatives these days are called racists, bigots, homophobes, transphobes, sexists, misogynists, fascists, Nazis, and a number of other words that are much too explicit to share in this article. Yet we couldn’t care less what other people call us, because all it means is that we’re saying or doing something right.

The war on Free Speech used to be restricted to college/university campuses. Many Conservative speakers were either banned from speaking at certain campuses, or the universities made it difficult for them to run their event, either by hiking security costs at the last minute, or using some technical excuse in order not to approve their permit or cancel it. The universities want to stop political discussion. They want to stifle & destroy debate. This is because the universities are controlled by the Left. They indoctrinate students with Left Wing propaganda & viewpoints, & use these students to push their agenda. This is how the climate change brigade has continued on for so long. If politics are to be taught in universities, even in schools, students should be well-informed on both sides and be allowed to formulate their own political views & opinions. Some do escape the Left Wing ideology pushed in the education system, particularly in universities, & come out the other side as Conservative. However, being a Conservative in a university is something else. There are some teachers & professors who will show bias & mark you harder just for being Conservative. Conservative views are also disrespected & admonished, whilst Left Wing views are encouraged & welcomed. Free Speech is not well-respected on university campuses. On many occasions, Conservative journalists have even been subject to students harassing them & calling the police simply because they were having conversations with students on campus. These journalists are often asked to leave, their Free Speech left to die in a gutter. It’s a tragedy for humanity.

The war on Free Speech used to be restricted to universities. Now it’s advanced to a concerning position. Social media companies are now openly censoring Conservatives on their platforms. A few years back, Milo Yiannopoulos was unjustly banned from Twitter after Leslie Jones became overtly emotional and closed her Twitter account for a few days after engaging with Milo on the platform. Milo became a scapegoat, even though Jones had encouraged her followers to harass Milo on the platform & call him some disgusting terms. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was obviously looking for a way to get rid of Milo, & so used this as his excuse to shut him down. Now Dorsey has been fairly open more recently about the bias of Twitter, practically admitting to the Left Wing bias of the social media giant. And it’s been obvious for years. Many Conservatives have been temporarily suspended, banned, or shadow-banned on Twitter in the last few years. Shadow banning is a despicable thing. For those of you reading this that don’t know what this is, shadow banning is the act of blocking or partially blocking a user or their content from an online community so that it will not be apparent to the user that they have been banned. Essentially, this means that someone could send out a Tweet & it would not be easily seen by their followers, nor anyone on the platform. It’s how Twitter restrict content so that they can censor certain views & opinions, as well as certain facts & truths they do not like.

Facebook have also now become more radical in their censoring of Conservatism. In recent days, Milo Yiannopoulos, Laura Loomer, Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson, & Louis Farrakhan were all banned from Facebook & Instagram & their pages removed. Mark Zuckerberg has now openly demonstrated his Left Wing bias. People like Jack Dorsey & Mark Zuckerberg are now demonstrating totalitarianism. They want to dictate what can & cannot be said. And the censorship is only going to get worse. In fact, it has. You can now get suspended/silenced from Twitter for simply sharing a photo of Tommy Robinson. You have to think of it like a battle, like a war. Now that these social media giants have taken out the big guns, those who speak up for others, those who had major platforms, who have been spreading the truths of the world, they have free range on taking out other Conservatives. They’re going to come for all opposition. They want to silence Conservatism.

It’s not just Facebook & Twitter that partake in censorship & deplatforming however. YouTube are just as bad. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki is also Left Wing, & demonstrates her bias on the platform. Tommy Robinson, Gavin McInnes, Alex Jones, & a number of others have been banned by YouTube. They have had their platform completely taken away from them. Additionally, notable Conservative comedian & speaker Steven Crowder has been at war with YouTube for years, having been the subject of extreme censorship. Crowder has had content taken down, & been hit with numerous copyright claims & strikes, simply because he’s Conservative. As a result, Crowder began a subscription based daily show, Louder With Crowder, on an online platform, BlazeTV. The funds from subscriptions are used to keep the show going, as well as to fund content & the costs of fighting legal battles against YouTube, Facebook, & other organisations. And in more recent times, Crowder & his team have faced the all too real prospect of their YouTube channel being taken down. This is what has become of social media, totalitarian platforms run by dictators of speech.

There is also an array of certain things you cannot say on social media platforms in the modern day without running the risk of being censored. So here is a list of a number of those things: criticizing Islam, criticizing LGBTQI+ people, supporting Israel & criticizing Palestine, acknowledging that the majority of black homicides are committed by other black people, & that the crime rate of black people is high for a small population.

Now mind you, that’s likely not everything, but it’s enough. And in an effort to show just how despicable these social media giants have become, here’s a list of things that you can say that won’t get you banned or even slightly punished, things that are common amongst the Left Wing: attacking Christianity in the most vile & disgusting ways (eg. Calling Christians pedophiles, saying that Christians believe in a sky fairy or a zombie, etc.), antisemitism, doxxing (searching for & publishing private/identifying information of a particular individual on the Internet/social media, typically with malicious intent, or asking people to do this for you), & a number of others.

To show just how hypocritical social media giants, especially Twitter & Facebook, have become, have a look deeper into Laura Loomer’s story. Loomer was banned by Twitter for sending a tweet criticizing US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Omar is a Muslim, & has made many anti-semitic remarks even whilst in office. The Left have let this slide on far too many occasions, dismissing it & even defending her comments. However, when Laura Loomer called her out in November last year, she was banned for hate speech. Here’s what Loomer tweeted: ‘Isn’t it ironic how the twitter moment used to celebrate “women, LGBTQ, and minorities” is a picture of Ilhan Omar? Ilhan is pro Sharia Ilhan is pro-FGM Under Sharia, homosexuals are oppressed & killed. Women are abused & forced to wear the hijab. Ilhan is anti Jewish.’ What Loomer said is far from hate speech. It’s the truth. And it seems that these days, truth is the new hate speech. Meanwhile, Ilhan Omar is quite literally a Muslim apologist, & gets away with making comments such as, on the topic of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, “Some people did something.” How someone like this is allowed to sit in the Congress of the United States is extremely questionable. Loomer was also banned from Facebook recently, where the only reason given was that she was a ‘dangerous’ individual, with Facebook likening her to a terrorist. Loomer is far from dangerous.

Milo Yiannopoulos, Tommy Robinson, & a number of others have also been banned for being ‘dangerous individuals’. However there is one major reason that many of these Conservative figures are banned: their comments on Islam. Islam is probably the most protected religion on the planet. The Left, ironically quite hypocritically, defend Islam to the death. It’s ironic because these same people advocate women’s rights & LGBTQI+ rights whilst defending a religion which advocates the exact opposite. Islam advocates for the killing of homosexuals, & the oppression of women. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a tradition of Islam, albeit a harmful, disgusting one. Yet you don’t see those on the Left who go on about women’s rights criticizing & slamming FGM. Homosexuals are being stoned & killed in Islamic countries around the world. Yet you don’t see those on the Left who are celebrating & advocating in favour of LGBTQI+ people criticizing these actions & speaking out against it. These are the same people who attack Christianity on a daily basis, ironically calling out Christians for being ‘fake Christians’ for being intolerant of LGBTQI+ people. The reality is, Christians are accepting of those people. We are accepting of all people. We love & welcome any & all people. We aren’t the intolerant ones. We aren’t the ones supporting & defending a religion that advocates violence & oppression. I’d encourage anyone reading this to partake in a challenge of sorts, one that Steven Crowder put out there: the Quran challenge. It’s quite simple: read five pages of the Quran. You can even read a particular part of it & then compare to the Bible. In essence, the Quran contained a message of violence pertaining to this: if Christians do not convert, kill them. Whereas the Bible contained a message of love, with Jesus loving all people, no matter who they were. As we say in the Christian community: hate the sin, love the sinner.

Getting back to the point however, Milo, Tommy, Laura, & others who have been banned simply for criticizing Islam have done nothing wrong. They have simply spoken the truth. Again however, Islam is protected. The media barely report on terrorist attacks on Christians that come at the hands of Islamic extremists, of which there have been hundreds, if not thousands, in which thousands of Christians have been killed. And even in ones that are reported, the terrorist and/or their background is often not identified straight away by the media. However, when it comes to a non-Islamic terrorist attack, or one that is carried out where Muslims are the victims, the media are all over it right away, & the terrorist is identified immediately. Most recently, these differences were easily identifiable between the Christchurch attack, & the Sri Lanka attack. In Christchurch, Muslims were the victims, & the terrorist was identified immediately as a white male, however was repeatedly misidentified by the media, politicians, & many others as a right-wing extremist. The terrorist himself identified as an eco-fascist, & previously as a communist & anarchist, none of which are at all relative to the right wing. Yet the media & others spun & pushed this lie in order to vilify & attack the Right, & put the blame squarely at the feet of all Conservatives. Waleed Aly even prepared a monologue in which he teared up, slamming this attack. Hypocritically, a few years back just after the Boston bombings, which were carried out by Islamic extremists, Waleed referred to the terrorism as a ‘perpetual irritant’. Fast forward to the Sri Lanka attacks, & Waleed was practically silent. The media didn’t identify the terrorists nor their backgrounds immediately, & many would not even refer to those attacked as Christians, instead referring to them as ‘Easter worshippers.’ It is clear that these people will do anything, & go to any length, to defend & protect Islam.

Free Speech is also very much under attack in Australia. There are certain individuals in the media who constantly come under fire from those who disagree with them. The majority of these individuals can be found on Sky News, in particularly in the night shows (or as they are commonly referred to, the After Dark shows). Andrew Bolt, Paul Murray, Peta Credlin, Rowan Dean, Alan Jones, Ross Cameron. All of these political commentators have been subject to a certain group attempting to shut down their voices & their shows through taking out their advertisers. Sleeping Giants Oz, the small Australian arm of Sleeping Giants, is a far Left social media activist group, primarily operating through Twitter. This group posts a list of Sky’s advertisers each week, & asks their followers to tweet to the advertisers, & ask them why they are advertising on Sky News. When tweeting to advertisers, the group & its followers consistently refer to Sky & certain commentators on the media outlet as being racist, sexist, misogynistic, &/or bigots. In reality, they’re just defaming those individuals. Some companies that advertise on Sky have fallen victim to this group & their ways, pulling their ads from Sky as a result. More recently, Pizza Hut & Colgate did this. What they think is that this is a big group of people, & they could lose hundreds of customers if they do not do what this group says & pull their ads. The sad reality is that by pulling their ads, they are actually losing hundreds if not thousands of customers, as opposed to losing maybe twenty at most, if any at all, if they didn’t. In reality, Sleeping Giants Oz is not a group of hundreds, nor thousands. It consists of around twenty people. Twenty people who don’t even show up for their own protest. And people are capitulating to this. Even Sky themselves capitulated to this. This group has had an aim to take out all Conservative commentators on Sky. That list of names I mentioned before. Sleeping Giants Oz want to silence all of them. They already took down Ross Cameron, after spreading a video which was cut down so as to take him out of context when he was making comments that were very pro-China on his show Outsiders. Sleeping Giants Oz trimmed the video so as to make it sound as if Ross was a racist, which he clearly is not, & Sky capitulated to them, falling for it, & sacking Ross Cameron as a result. It was a disgraceful attack on Free Speech. But this is what Sleeping Giants do. They deal in censorship of Conservatives, just like Facebook, Twitter, & YouTube.

More recently, censorship has found its way into the Australian political scene. A few individuals in politics have come out in favour of censorship of certain parts of the media. Greens leader Richard Di Natale has been extremely critical of News Corp on multiple occasions, in particular Sky News. He has often slammed political commentator Andrew Bolt, & has recently labelled News Corp as ‘a malignant influence on our democracy’, stating that they are ‘the propaganda arm of the hard right of the Liberal Party & becoming increasingly hysterical’ & that ‘they incubate hate.’ He has on numerous occasions accused Andrew Bolt of inciting hatred, & of being responsible in part for ‘Right Wing extremists’. However, despite his hatred for Sky, Di Natale has appeared on the media outlet multiple times, particularly in the lead up to the 2019 Election, & himself requested to appear on Andrew Bolt’s nightly show, The Bolt Report. For someone who hates Sky, he sure appears on it a fair amount. Di Natale has also suggested that in order to deal with News Corp, we would need to strengthen the regulator & give even more money to the ABC, which is taxpayer funded. However, the ABC should no longer be taxpayer funded. In fact, the best thing for the ABC would be to privatise the media outlet. The reason: The ABC is not at all impartial & balanced like it claims it is. In fact, it has become the propaganda arm of the Labor Party. Take shows like Q&A, Four Corners, The Weekly, Insiders & more recently the ABC’s election coverage. Q&A’s panels regularly consist of four Left Wing panelists, a token Conservative/Right Wing panelist, & host Tony Jones, who also appears to be Left biased. When Jones is absent, Virginia Trioli has been known to host, & has been extremely Left biased. Four Corners has produced specials such as the three part Trump Russia collusion special which aired after it was found there was no collusion. The Weekly regularly mocks & heavily criticizes Conservatives & the Liberal Party, with the occasional jibe at a Left Wing politician. Insiders features Left Wing panelists each week, & often criticizes the Liberal National Party, with Labor getting a free pass. Barrie Cassidy worked for the Labor Party after all. Finally, the election coverage on the ABC this year was a sight to behold. ABC journalists & commentators all came together, with many predicting a large Labor win. Yet when the Coalition were returned to government, the panel was in a state of dreary denial, very much alike to that of what occurred on many media outlets, in the US, particularly CNN, when Trump claimed victory in the 2016 election. The ABC is Left biased. There is no doubt about that. That is completely fine, so long as it is privatized. Many taxpayers would rather direct their taxpayer dollars elsewhere.

Political hopeful Oliver Yates, who failed to gain the seat of Kooyong in this year’s election, & former Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, have also both been heavily critical of the Murdoch media. Rudd has attacked it on numerous occasions, even after the election was over. Yates has called for it to be silenced, wishing to take away its media license (which is intriguing as there is no such thing in Australia). This is unfortunately how these people work. They want to silence voices in the media that they disagree with, & only allow their own beliefs to be shared. Many on the Left have often made the same claim when expressing their discontent for media outlets owned by the Murdoch family. They claim that everyone on these outlets is just a Murdoch puppet or mouthpiece, & that they all say what he wants them to say. Yet there is no substance to this claim. All those who feature on Sky, in the Daily Telegraph, & on/in any publication/media channel owned by the Murdochs speak for themselves, & express their own views. In fact, even Left Wing individuals have featured & still do feature in the Murdoch media. Laura Jayes, Nicholas Reece, Graham Richardson, Stephen Conroy, & Janine Perrett all either have their own shows, have had their own shows, or feature heavily on shows on Sky. Labor Senator Kristina Keneally even co-hosted her own show before she resigned to run in the Bennelong by-election as the Labor candidate in 2017. Many on the Left have referred to Sky News as the media outlet ‘where the truth goes to die.’ In fact, the opposite could not be more accurate. Sky News, in particular the After Dark shows & Outsiders on Sundays, is the place where the truth lives. Which brings me to my final point.

The views expressed by Conservative commentators usually attract the most criticism & the most hateful vitriol. In fact, on many occasions these views are labelled as ‘hate speech.’ And just on hate speech, there is no clear definition of what this is, but it is evident that in current times, hate speech is practically any view that the Left disagrees with. The term has lost its meaning from excessive misuse. To the main point. Views expressed by Conservatives typically attract large amounts of criticism & hateful vitriol/ There is a simple reason for which this occurs. People don’t like the truth. Because often times, the truth hurts. In fact, the truth can be destructive. When I say destructive, I don’t mean that literally, more so figuratively. The truth destroys certain narratives, it destroys certain views which are being pushed as part of a much larger agenda. There are many truths which are fought against on a daily basis by those on the Left, who want to ultimately destroy the West & all its values. Truth has indeed become the new hate speech. Allow me to demonstrate some of the truths that the Left are attempting to exterminate in a few short sentences. Prepare yourself. And a short disclaimer: the following sentences may be seen as controversial, & may offend some people. But then again, everyone’s offended by so many things these days. Here we go: Abortion is always murder, not a right. Climate change/global warming/global cooling is a hoax used by globalist elites as a profiteering scheme, & any ‘climate scientist’ that does not push it is stripped of their funding & ridiculed by the media & politicians. There are only two genders: male & female. Gender is not a social construct. The free market is good. Capitalism is good. Socialism never works. Everyone has the right to express their religious views. Islam is not necessarily a religion of peace. Feminism is no longer about equality for women, it is now an excuse to belittle men. There is no such thing as a gender pay gap. It is illegal to attempt to enter a country illegally (by boat, by border crossing, etc.). True refugees do not pick & choose the country to which they would like to go, they go to the closest peaceful country they can find. Renewables are unreliable & expensive. Coal is reliable & cheap. Nuclear energy should be an option. People shouldn’t necessarily be stripped of their gun rights. And finally: Free Speech is a basic human right to which everyone is entitled. And whilst I may not agree with a view that you have, I will always defend your right to express it.

Everything listed above is true. Many of these should be common sense. And whilst I’m not going to delve further into each one of them individually, they all collectively have one thing in common. They are all views expressed by Conservatives. And because of that, they are often attacked with hateful vitriol, even violence. Many times someone will be censored for expressing one of the above views. There are a few in particular that are censored more than others. The truth is censored. That is indeed a blight on society. Censorship is never an option. The truth should not be labelled as ‘hate speech’. People should not be silenced simply for expressing a view. If we stood idly by & allowed for this to occur, for totalitarianism to take over, for Free Speech to be decimated, then the world would end up looking like something similar to the dystopian world of 1984. Orwell never intended for this to be used as an instruction manual. 1984 was a warning, it was a guide of what not to do. Conservatism is not fascism. Conservatism is not trying to create a new world order like the UN is attempting to do. Conservatism is trying to prevent all that & more from occurring, it’s trying to prevent a slippery slope, a descent into chaos & destruction. Censorship is only the beginning of the plans of the Left, of globalists. There is so much more that they can take, that they will take, if we do not stand up & fight back. So if you have a view, if you want to express a view that’s listed in the previous paragraph, express it. Fight for your right to express it. Because if those who are willing to do so are silenced & everyone else remains silent, there will eventually be no one left to speak up for us against the totalitarianism, & certain rights will likely fade. It has never been more important to defend our right to free speech than it is now.

JJ

 

My Story: Living With Anxiety

This is probably the most personal piece I’ll ever write. Things are going to get deep. Before I begin, I need you all to know that what I’m about to share with you is not easy to talk about. It’s not easy to share. It’s hard to write this. But I want to share this with you because I want to be more open & honest, & I feel that there needs to be an increased awareness of sorts around mental health. So here goes.

For most of my life, I’ve lived relatively happily. I have had minimal stress, & I live out each day fairly smoothly & without issue. I have found happiness in many things; friends, family, music, writing, my dog, acting, & some fantastic people. But sometimes happiness doesn’t stick around. Sometimes it disappears, & you aren’t sure when it’s going to come back, if it’s going to come back. Let me give a bit of background first.

I have always been a shy person. For as long as I can remember, that has been one of my resounding qualities. It’s been a part of me my whole life. I have never really found it easy to approach people & talk to them. I get nervous, I try to find a way out, & I can’t bring myself to do it. It’s something I sometimes wish I didn’t have. Being shy makes things so much more difficult than they need to be. Many a time I have found myself wishing I was more brave, more courageous, more confident. But I lack that. I lack confidence. I lack courage. And that makes my life a lot harder. I find myself in situations where I struggle to get by. Which takes us to the anxiety.

I didn’t really experience much anxiety until 2012. Yes, that’s right, the year the then impending apocalypse was upon us. But never mind that. In early 2012, a few weeks before I began high school, I was out at a friend’s party, & whilst there, I began feeling off. I just didn’t feel right. I felt slightly sick, & I found it difficult to eat. I barely ate anything at the party, & I think the only thing I ate that night was a salad when I got home. That was likely the first time anxiety struck me. After that night, I didn’t experience that again for a number of weeks. I started Year 7, & everything was going relatively well. I was able to make new friends. I was a tad nervous about starting high school, but it was nothing major. However, a few weeks in, I began feeling sick again. I’m not entirely certain of what brought it on, but anxiety was upon me. There were many days when I woke up & did not feel like going to school. There were days when I threw up. I missed many days of school in those weeks because of the effects that anxiety had on me. I almost didn’t make it to the Year 7 camp. I remember that morning I was in pretty bad shape before I left to go to school. That camp was likely three of the worst days of my life. Whilst I was alright at camp, I still felt some anxiety, & it didn’t help that we all got food poisoning on the second night. I couldn’t wait to get back home. When I arrived back home that Friday, I remember breaking down. I was not in a good way at all. It almost got to the point where I had to go talk to a professional. But we didn’t get there. I remember I did end up having a conversation with my Year Adviser at school, & I think after that I woke up to myself, & I was able to kick the anxiety & take back control of my life & my body. I’m not sure how I did it really, but I think by the end of the term, I was ok again. I was living again. And I thought I had seen the last of my anxiety. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Throughout the years after that, I lived relatively well & peacefully. There were a few occasions where I did feel nervous, & a few times when I was feeling a bit anxious about things, such as times when I was going to go out with friends, or to parties, etc.. But they weren’t too bad. Apart from those minor attacks, I was perfectly fine. But I think what I was doing was suppressing things. I was suppressing emotions, feelings & a lot of other things, so that I could maintain a strong mentality. I think I knew I had to protect my mental health, & be strong. And so that is just what I did, for around seven years. I kept building up barriers around my mind, my mentality, all of it. And I kept suppressing things. I was able to maintain the suppression. I just needed to keep a strong mind. And above all of it, I thought I was going to be fine. I thought I could never be broken. I just didn’t realise that I would be.

Last year I decided to take a gap year. I needed a break from the education system. I needed to figure myself out, I needed time to write. I thought I would write at least one novel. I thought I would be able to write many a monologue & short story & play. I thought it would be a productive year. But then I began to lose sight. I put my novels on the backburner. I stopped writing for my blog. I stopped writing in general. And, looking at it realistically, my gap year ended up being a failure. In addition to that, I became conflicted. I had been telling people I was going to become a novelist, & people had told me that the market was volatile, that people don’t really read books anymore. And I took those comments to heart, & convinced myself I would never be a successful author. And I gave up on my dream. I tried to change my degree from creative writing to journalism. That failed.

What you need to know about me before I continue is that I care a lot about what other people think & say of me. It’s one of my biggest weaknesses. With every big decision I make, I take into consideration what other people, in particular my family & friends, will think of me. I don’t want them to see me as a failure. I don’t want to disappoint them. I don’t want to let them down.

Earlier this year, things occurred in my life. And they broke me. The last couple of months have been the hardest of my life. I’ve experienced things that I never want to experience again, & that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. My anxiety returned. And it came back worse than before. Whilst I haven’t been physically sick, I have felt really off many days. I’ve broken down many times. It’s even affecting me now just writing this. I’ve even found it difficult just to leave the house. It’s a challenge for me to even just get to work now. To be brutally honest, I really don’t like the way I’m living. I don’t like the person I’ve become, the person my anxiety turns me into. It’s hard to admit that. It’s genuinely one of the toughest things to live with. For me, I feel like I’ve lost control, & I’m fighting to get it back. I have times when I just feel so out of it, so off, almost sick. My mental health hasn’t been great. It’s been dreadful really. Thankfully, I was able to talk about things with a few of my family & friends. They know who they are. But it got to the point where I knew I needed to get help. And so I went to see a counsellor. He gave me some advice & tips/strategies, & I left feeling like things could get better now. But they didn’t. I had some really rough days. And so I went back. I talked with him again. And I will be maintaining regular contact with him.

Many of you wouldn’t have known it from looking at me or speaking with me that I wasn’t doing well. That’s because whenever I’m out in the open, I hide it. I try to suppress it for short period of time. Or if it is affecting me, I try to control it somewhat so that it doesn’t show. And I’ve been doing this for over two months now. But I think that’s making things worse in some sense. It hasn’t helped. So I made the decision to stop. Because to be honest, I’m sick of hiding now. I have to be honest, I was somewhat apprehensive to put this all out there, to put it out in the open. And whilst I know that many who read this will be very caring & all, I’d rather not discuss it openly just yet. It’s a lot for me to even share my story here. However, I need to do things on my own terms. I need to have control over my life & my journey. I need to forge my own path, & whilst currently I am not doing as much as I’d like to be doing, I will get there in time.

At the moment I’m taking things day by day, one step at a time. As you might already know, I’ve withdrawn from my University course at UTS, & I am enrolling in a Bachelor of Communications course offered by Griffith University through Open Universities Australia. The course will be completed over three years online. And I have also recently re-entered Special Religious Education (SRE) work as a helper in Catholic Scripture through my church, helping with a Year 5 class at my former primary school. I will be looking to get out more, to maybe participate in some volunteer work, get some work experience at either a radio station or publishing company or even both, & eventually get a second job. But it’s going to take time for me to get there. I’m still working to get things under control within my own mind & body, & in all honesty, I cannot really contemplate doing a lot of these things until I get it under control. It is a battle, & it’s not easy, but I’m not going to give up, I’m not going to stop fighting.

Anxiety affects so many people. It often goes unnoticed by others. It’s only noticed by the individual of whom it affects. They feel it, they experience it. It can manifest in a variety of ways, & can have different levels of intensity. And it can be hard to cope with. It can be even more difficult to talk about. Sometimes we think we can fight it alone, that we can deal with it on our own. We think we’re strong enough, we think we can handle it. And sometimes we can. But sometimes we can’t. We don’t have the strength to go it alone. We aren’t as strong as we thought we were. We didn’t realise it was ever going to be so hard. We come to a point where we can no longer suffer in silence. And that’s ok. That doesn’t make us any weaker. In fact, it takes a certain strength to admit that we can’t do it alone, that we need someone to help us along the way. So in some sense, we are still strong, just in a different way.

Whilst anxiety can take its toll, both mentally & physically, it can also be something that helps us to understand ourselves better. It can shine a light on our true selves, it can help us to see who we truly are. And after being at an all time low, you can come to appreciate the smallest things that create joy & happiness. It could be as simple as seeing someone’s face light up with joy when they see your loyal pet dog. For me, having an adorable pup has made my life better, and has brought me the slightest shred of happiness in my darkest times. Ellie has truly been my best friend through all of this, & I honestly don’t know how I would have been without her. She is truly a blessing.

Through all the hard times, I’ve also had my faith to guide me. There have been times in the last couple of months that I have questioned my faith. I’m not afraid to admit that, although it isn’t something I find easy to admit to. There were times when it seemed I was just losing everything, like I was just taking blow after blow. There were times when I felt like the universe was against me. There were times when I just started asking God one question over and over; ‘Why?’ I kept asking for guidance, for help, for the strength to get through this. And I felt like I wasn’t being heard. However, I’ve now come to see that God has provided me with help, with support. I’ve come to see that He had been listening. I still often wonder why certain things have occurred in my life. I guess I’m yet to discover the answer to that question. But I am glad I have my faith in my life. And I guess there are times when we are in a dark place, or when we endure something, & it makes us question a lot of things. I still ask myself questions, I still think about things often. But I’m happy to have my faith to help me along in my life.

I know that ultimately, my life is not going to be an easy one. And I know that I’ve still got things to sort out. I’ve still got to get things under control. However, in order to do that, I realise that I need to be more open. This is a step in that direction. And hopefully it will help me to get this out & get things back under control. I haven’t felt so strong mentally lately. It’s been a couple of months since I’ve been there. But I’m hoping I can get back there soon. I know it will take time, & it’s going to take a lot of hard work to get back to that point. But I want to get back there. This time however, it’s going to be different. This time I’m not going to hide. This time I’m going to be more true to myself. I guess in some sense I’ve been living a bit of a lie. But I’m going to change that. I’m no longer going to hide behind a façade. I’m going to be my true self. And I’m going to take back control of my own mind & body. Anxiety may take the reins throughout my life, but I’m not going to let it stay that way. I’m going to take them back. And I’m going to live my life.

I want to finish by saying this. I know anxiety is never easy to deal with. My experience over the last couple of months in particular has really challenged me, & it’s really stripped me down to my core. If anyone is ever going through something & they need someone to talk to, I’m always more than happy to be that person. I’m always happy to chat. I know it can be difficult to get through on your own. And I know from personal experience that it can be a challenge in itself to talk to someone about it. But it can make a world of difference if you get it off your chest, if you talk to someone about it. Ultimately, it’s up to each individual to decide how they deal with it, but sometimes talking to someone can make things that little bit easier. While it can feel like anxiety is beating us at times, like it is winning, like it’s taking over us, it’s important to fight back, to regain some degree of control. And while sometimes it seems like it will be impossible to feel good again, to feel happy again, it will come. I hope that by sharing my own experience, my own journey, others that might be going through similar times in their own lives will be able to feel like it’s worth fighting, & those that might be suffering in silence may feel that they can talk to someone about what they’re going through. It’s never an easy journey, but sometimes it can make us who we are, & it can help us to become even stronger than we were before.

Take care everyone, & look after yourselves.

J