The woke era will get worse in Australia before it starts to dissipate. We usually lag a bit behind American trends, so I predict it will get worse. However what we loosely refer to as "the Aussie spirit" has a BS barometer that just cannot go over a certain point without exploding. The pressure is building up. With some things that are aggravating, those who just want to get on with their life often just let the annoyance pass. But after a while they get sick of it, they get completely fed up and finally, angry. How many times have you heard someone say in a half jocular tone: "oh, you're not allowed to say that"? It is half jocular because they think you should be able to say it but in a nod to the thought and speech police you don't because it just isn't worth putting up with the fracas that will follow. In some cases that fracas can involve you getting passed over for promotion or even losing your job. We're not talking small beer here. It surprises me that the legal profession and judges have remained so oblivious to the power grab the self-appointed guardians of culture have given to themselves. You study for years to be a lawyer, practise diligently and maybe become a judge. We put our trust in these people collectively to make sure the law is applied fairly. If you steal a car or money you may get a conviction, it might be a non-recorded one and a suspended sentence so you are given the chance to rehabilitate yourself. After all, we want you as a functioning member of society not a recidivist crook. Maybe you'll spend some time in the slammer. Fair enough I don't want my car nicked. The point is thoughtful, trained minds do their best to get a fair outcome. But if you just say the "wrong thing" in the "wrong place" and a self-appointed do-gooder hears of it ... watch out. In a university your career will flatline or end. There will be no trial, no evidence led or weighed up. Sotto voce these self-appointed freedom killers will finish you off. How did we let these people, usually bureaucrats with secure jobs, get the power to ruin people's lives without any checks and balances in place? Michael Crowley wrote in Spiked online: "The purging of culture of everything that diverges from the worldview of today's cultural elites is a product of a peculiarly middle-class authoritarianism." The woke brigade are today's Stalinists. Humour is disappearing. If what you say offends me you are a bad person. I subjectively allocate or withdraw merit from you. One of the most sensitive areas for Australians is Indigenous affairs. Back in the mid 80s I had the good fortune to spend about a week with the glorious Auburn Waugh (son of Evelyn). He loved Australia and Australian wine. He marvelled at what he thought was a very relaxed and egalitarian culture, compared to the UK. However he found one taboo surprising. We cannot have, he said, open and frank discussions about Indigenous Australia. He thought you could say some things but many others were simply out of the question. He was right then and would be right if he were alive to say it today. MORE AMANDA VANSTONE: Some proponents of the Voice have taken the unwise step of labelling all those who disagree with the current proposal as racist. It is ridiculous of course. That is made plain by the opposition of a number of senior Indigenous voices. Whoever is in charge of the "Yes" campaign would do well to rein in the Stalinistic labelling tendencies of some of their peers. False claims of any sort, whether used to silence others or to validate a particular view of history are in the end counterproductive. Aaron Sarin writing in Quillette on the seemingly unrelated topic of Why AUKUS matters comments about the brainwashing of Chinese to hate the Japanese for horrific wrongs that were perpetrated by the Imperial Japanese Army in 1937/8. He talks of "the hatred they are expected to feel towards every single blameless descendant." In our case, the many horrific wrongs against Indigenous Australians perpetrated by many but not all colonialists are the motivation for so many Indigenous activists to be rightly angry and even hateful. But not against blameless descendants and the millions of migrants who have no colonial forbears at all. Looking back doesn't always do much good. Are the descendants of early Irish migrants here meant to be antagonistic to the English because of the starvation their forbears endured, or the German migrants for the religious persecution of their forbears? We only have the future in front of us. We can't rehash or redo the past but we can build a better future. If a group of people feel hated they are not usually motivated to work together with those who hate them. Again. The Stalinist labelling of good people as enemies is in the end counterproductive. We see a similar public shaming of anyone who dares to question the veracity or behaviour of anyone alleging sexual assault. Labelling someone a "victim blamer" is designed to shut down any public questioning of the claimant or their claims. When the claimant is the one who makes their claim public and apparently seeks to destroy the life of the alleged assailant it is hardly reasonable to expect the alleged assailant and their friends to say nothing. Almost everywhere we turn, people with no judicial authority are cancelling the lives and careers of good people. People of good heart and spirit are being labelled racists. That pressure valve is near breaking point. Sooner rather than later we are going to cancel cancel culture.