AMAC Exclusive – By Ben Solis
While we often remark on the great courage of those individuals, known and unknown, who sacrificed so much to defend God-given rights and truths in the fight against communism, we should also commend those who show courage today in facing down far less brutal but similarly insidious left-wing ideologies that permeate Western society. One example of an individual who exhibited such courage is Gina Rinehart, an Australian mining magnate whom the left attempted to crucify her over supposed “climate denial” and even the comments of her late father, Lang Hancock, founder of Hancock Prospecting.
Rinehart, the richest woman in Australia, has long been a prolific supporter of Australian sports, sponsoring a number of Aussie teams. One of those was the Australian Women’s netball club, a sport similar to basketball played in many former British colonies. Ms. Rinehart generously supported the team with 15 million Australian dollars (about $9 million) over four years, in effect keeping the organization afloat.
Then, earlier this fall, one of the junior players, Donnell Wallam, began speaking out about an interview given by Rinehart’s father nearly 40 years prior in 1984. Hancock made a number of racist remarks about indigenous people during a TV appearance, saying that he’d “dope the water up so they were sterile and breed themselves out.”
The comments were undoubtedly wrong, but the other players on the team joined Wallam in demanding that Rinehart apologize for statements made by her deceased father, not her. Players also then lashed out about the supposed environmental impact of Rinehart’s mining operations, claiming that her company was contributing to “climate change” and destroying First Nations lands.
When Rinehart refused to apologize, deeming their demands “virtue signaling,” the players reacted by wearing old jerseys without the Hancock Prospecting logo. Rinehart quickly pulled her sponsorship, refusing to be bullied into compliance by the mob. In a statement, Rinehart said it was “unnecessary for sports organizations to be used as a vehicle for social or political causes” and that “there are more targeted and genuine ways to progress social or political causes without virtue signaling or for self-publicity.”
The team eventually realized the financial conundrum they had placed themselves in and tried to reverse course, promising to wear the sponsored logo, but it was too late. Rinehart would not be intimidated into begging forgiveness for alleged wrongdoing she did not commit.
Of course, the media establishment and liberals around the world applauded the players, building them up as pillars of “social justice.” But the woke brigade failed to mention that Rinehart’s companies employ far more First Nations people than does the Australian netball association. Moreover, Rinehart’s enterprise has given economic opportunity to a large number of indigenous peoples, and has a history of working well with native communities under her leadership.
This incident was also not the first time Rinehart had faced down the left-wing mob. More than a decade ago, as climate change madness continued to spread around the world, Rinehart arranged lectures with specialists on the subject like Professor Ian Pilmer of the University of Melbourne and Lord Christopher Walter Monckton, a former policy advisor to Margaret Thatcher. The events she organized blasted Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth, pointing out the scientific inaccuracies and shortcomings. In some cases, sixty percent of people who attended the conferences and had previously believed in man-made global warming came away with a different opinion.
Rinehart has also fiercely defended the free market, calling out false political claims about “free” welfare programs and reminding taxpayers that such thinking ruined once-prosperous economies in places like Argentina and Sri Lanka. A strong Trump supporter, Rinehart has advocated an “Australia First” approach to government.
While the Australian netball team eventually found another sponsor, the process exposed what a sham the players’ protests were. The eventual replacement for Hancock Prospecting was Fortescue Metals – another mining company. And unlike Hancock Prospecting under Rinehart’s leadership, Fortescue has been in legal hot water in recent years for not respecting native lands. Moreover, Sir John Forrest, the top man at Fortescue, also has a relative with a history of racist remarks about First Nations peoples. But because Fortescue is willing to say the “right” things to appease the woke mob, even if words are not followed up by action, the protests have suddenly gone silent.
Rinehart’s example shows that it is ultimately civic courage that will defeat wokeism, just as it was courage that defeated communism.
In the United States, such civic courage has also been seen in the form of parents reading sexually explicit books found in school libraries out loud at school board meetings to expose their moral repugnancy. It has also taken the form of individual citizens refusing to do business with woke companies and conservative politicians removing state funds from banks who traffic in so-called “ESG” investing.
The radical left is all about action that shocks and terrifies, from throwing paint on a priceless work of art to running into the middle of a busy highway. Leftism teaches its adherents, especially the young and impressionable generations, to act without thinking and base every decision on the tenets of wokeism, blocking youth from historical and scientific truth.
Americans must recognize radical leftism as a threat to democratic principles like free speech, free exercise of religion, and other fundamental rights. To defeat it, they must turn words into action, directing their energy and their resources to rooting out this societal cancer and restoring the shining city on a hill that functions as a source of hope and inspiration for so many around the world.
Ben Solis is the pen name of an international affairs journalist, historian, and researcher.
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