To start with the positive, I liked both Lauren and Stefan as people. I liked that they have the courage to say what they think, even against all the death threats, police fees and riots, when our own politicians are largely too afraid to even take on something as glaringly insane as "Safe Schools" publicly. Most people at the event were ordinary, decent people interested in hearing an opinion different to the brainwashing media and education system we have in Australia. Everyone I talked to was capable of having an actual discussion about issues - including Lauren and Stefan - without getting angry or offended and actually putting forth arguments and listening to counter arguments.
However there are many parts of their politics that I don't agree with, and there was also a definite far right element at the event, with people that I'd say probably Lauren and Stefan themselves wouldn't want to be associated with.
One example is people on one of the buses told me there was one crazy guy (out of about 40) who was going on racist rants the entire bus trip, while others tried to shut him up. So obviously just a weird minority, but it clearly is true that those sort are attracted to these kind of events, along with the normal people.
Here's what I think is the crux of the matter though. Both Lauren and Stefan have views I don't agree with. I am not anti-Islam, where Lauren is somewhat (from our brief conversation I think she is more conflicted on it than she lets on in her videos), and I'm not as "pro Western culture" as Stefan is. Frankly, one day I hope to see a culture or civilization on Earth, but it hasn't happened yet. There were a few things Stefan stated as facts that I'd definitely question - he somehow ignored Asia when discussing the history of technological development in the world (though to his credit, he himself encouraged everyone to question his facts and opinions, which you never hear from left wing speakers).
I also find that Lauren's way of stirring controversy in particular can do more harm than good. Like the "It's okay to be white," shirt to her is just a funny way of pointing out media bias, but at the same time while she doesn't hold any racist views that I could discern (remembering that religions and races are different), she knows that saying that will make others think she is racist and get her support from actual racist groups who use similar slogans.
But here is the bigger HOWEVER, nothing either of them said at the event, or have said or done in the past (that they've actually said or done, ignoring media hype) is even close to as disturbing, wrong or harmful as the words and actions of many left wingers that are considered perfectly acceptable in modern society.
Lauren and Stefan are accused of hate speech, well I'd argue it's hate speech when the left demonizes business owners as greedy criminals and males as unbridled rapists, but apparently, that's okay. But saying that kids should be raised in a stable family environment and not indoctrinated on 50 plus genders? Hate speech!
And let's not get started about little kids in drag at "Pride parades" or the likes of PETA and Greenpeace.
When you have left wing social justice warriors at American universities literally protesting against free speech, chanting that "speech is violence", and academics and politicians who take that nonsense seriously, it's not surprising that some people may go overboard in response.
I'm no stranger to holding and voicing controversial opinions, and I also like hearing the views of people with interesting things to say, whether I agree with them or not. It's rather troubling that now attending an event to hear someone speak, immediately means you are a supporter of them and all their views. I had the idea that you go to such an event to find out more about what the speakers believe so you can make up your own mind, but apparently according to the Australian media and the left, that is no longer the case. We either blindly obey, or they viciously attack as can be seen in any media report about the protests.
Remember, the people using actual violence, were not the people in the event. And that includes the more extreme far right element that were present.
So, what actually happened there?
I was texted the secret address of the dinner at around lunch time on the day, so I was able to drive there directly and miss the protesters. Turns out that after I think it was 98 venues had rejected them, this place was booked just the night before, the only place that would have them!
I arrived at 4:50pm to find a horde of police presence, but no protesters yet. There were about 20 guests at the dinner, which is a lot more than I expected given the hefty price tag. Before Lauren and Stefan arrived, we milled around a bit and chatted among ourselves and the conversation was mostly people being surprised about how much fuss there was over the whole thing. The mood I could best describe as "a little bemused".
No one when they booked their tickets it seemed was expecting a big controversy or some kind of hate fueled event, they were there for a dinner and a chat to a couple of people they respected for taking massive risks to talk about subjects that Australian politicians are afraid to discuss in the open, from LGBT indoctrination through "Safe Schools", to our failing and left wing education system, and the general moral decline of society. (And for anyone wondering, no one I spoke to at least even seemed interested in the subjects of immigration or religion at the dinner, one person even said he hopes they don't waste too much time just talking about that).
We eventually sat at 3 tables and Lauren and Stefan rotated between tables for about 20 minutes each table. Interestingly, the majority of people were there to see Stefan rather than Lauren, which was surprising given the media paid him almost no attention.
Lauren and Stefan were both very pleasant and reasonable people to talk to. I would have liked to go more in depth with them, but time of course didn't permit. I definitely didn't get any notion of hatred or desire for violence from either of them, they both talked very openly and sounded like they genuinely care about trying to improve conditions. It's refreshing after a lot of Liberal political functions I've been to, where people treat every word they say as a bomb that might get them killed if someone takes it the wrong way. I've met a lot of able, intelligent politicians, who yet can't achieve anything because they are too afraid anyone will hear what they actually think about things as shocking as having a dissenting view about abortion, same sex marriage, religious freedom and so on.
Someone told me one of the people there was a member of a far right, anti-Islam and racist group. I only got to speak to him for a couple of minutes, but I did bring that up and if he did have any controversial opinions, he didn't go into them with me. Maybe he just didn't want to get into an argument, as he was perfectly polite to me (though I am a straight, white male). Or maybe he just wasn't actually racist/anti-Islam. Again, just not enough time to really find out!
The Main Event:
I'm not great at estimating crowds, but I'd say there were 500-600 people there. Probably 70% were European male (not specifically "white"), then most of the rest were Euro female. In the whole room there were probably only 10 or so people of other races.
I think that's likely more because of how the media portray Stefan and Lauren than because of anything they actually say or believe. If there were a handful of people who may have taken issue to other races being there, the 500-600 others would have quickly taken issue with them (along with Stefan, Lauren and security). I'd be curious to hear from any of those 10 or so people if they did encounter any issues by attending (even if it was just dirty looks).
I will say the main event had a different vibe to the private dinner. There definitely were some pretty drunk and angry looking people there, but they didn't actually say or do anything racist or otherwise offensive that I observed, so that's just the impression I got from them. If they were actually racists or anti-Islam or otherwise bigoted, they probably realised they weren't actually at a suitable venue to voice that.
There were quite a few interesting things throughout the event, but there's two that stood out to me. Stefan said during his speech (and really the main point he was making was) that it is vital freedom of thought and speech be permitted in society and that we don't allow violent protesters to prevent reasoned debate from occurring. He said if we aren't permitted to freely talk now about what kind of society we want to live in and if we let dissenting opinions be suppressed, then eventually there will be no freedom at all and that will only lead to violence and destruction.
So that sounds pretty sensible, but one person did come up and ask a bit of a veiled question of Stefan which to paraphrase was basically "So when do you think violence will be necessary to fight back against the left." The implication being he was looking for an excuse to do so. Stefan (and Lauren who was next to him) seemed a bit taken aback by the question, and his response was that there shouldn't be any violence, but if we ever get to a point where it is literally impossible to have freedom of speech, it is just an inevitability that it will occur.
The other thing that stood out as mostly pandering to the wrong audience was how Stefan ended his talk. He encouraged everyone to chant "West is best!" His point, which he made clear, was that right wing people (who hold traditional Western, Judeo-Christian beliefs) need to stop being ashamed of their beliefs and feeling self conscious about being attacked, but instead actually be proud of their own culture, just like other cultures are proud of theirs. But obviously he would have known that some several hundred white guys chanting that definitely has a different connotation, especially to any extremists who may have been there.
As I said before, I can't really get behind pride in any extant culture. If I were to chant, it would be more like "Human's need a civilization," or some-such.
And that leaves just the protesters to discuss.
I mean really. WOW!
From my seating position I couldn't see if there were multiple or just individuals at some points, but several times throughout the event someone who got in with a ticket turned out to be a protester. Maybe 6 people in total.
And those people were like wild animals. Like these weren't humans in there protesting, I have to assume they were either on drugs, or were actual rabid dogs in human form.
From what I could see they were all white women in their 20s and all they did was run around and shriek like lunatics for a few seconds until they got dragged out by security while the audience laughed and cheered.
I'm really curious what they were doing while waiting for their moment and how they decided when to start. How did they even pass as human long enough to get through security? Hell how did they use a computer to order tickets, or did someone do it for them?
I didn't see much of the outside protesters, so I guess I'll find out on the news what they were like, but inside I've never seen more mentally deranged people in real life, only on some YouTube videos. It was kind of surreal and worth the ticket price alone.
The Police Fees:
It's been all over the news that the police are charging $68,000 for the security provided.
Now all credit to the police and security present for doing an excellent job. I can't criticise them at all. But despite the idea that police charge event organisers for police presence regularly, there is a key difference here:
The difference is that generally events that need police are large, public gathering where people are getting drunk or on drugs and police are needed to stop general violence and problems.
At this event, police didn't need to be there because of the event itself. At the event itself there was plenty of security and none of the attendees (except the protesters who got it) got violent or caused any problems. Police only needed to be there because terrorists were threatening violence and turned up to attack the attendees of the event.
That is a very different circumstance to a normal event. At a normal event, people show up, some may get rowdy and are handled by police. At this event, the only people the police were needed to handle were people not there for the event, but criminals and terrorists coming to disrupt the event. Thus by charging the event organisers, the police are literally charging the victims of crime for protection. This was clearly a political decision from uplines in the force (or perhaps even at government level) and not the fault of any of the police present of course.
The correct handling would have been to inform protesters that any violence would result in immediate arrest and criminal charges and then to turn up, quickly arrest anyone breaking the law (including assault such at throwing things at people), filing criminal charges against them and leaving it at that. That would have left a bunch of non violent protesters who didn't need police to handle them, and a bunch of criminals and terrorists off the streets.
So in summary my view of the whole thing is that Stefan and Lauren are pretty reasonable people, with some views I disagree with, but nothing that can't be discussed on a rational level (and nothing they wouldn't be perfectly happy to discuss either). Stefan probably has more controversial views than Lauren, but Lauren is definitely more overt in causing offense to get attention.
Most of the attendees were normal people who just wanted some place they could hear views outside the mainstream, brainwashing media.
There were some people who it seemed were extreme who were present, but they probably didn't get what they were coming for.
The protesters were batshit crazy animals and when those are your opposition, it shows you must be doing at least something right.
And would I go to one of their events again? Probably not. If Jordan Peterson comes down again, I'll have to make sure to see him, but while I like Lauren and Stefan, I don't think the event was actually constructive to improving things in Australia. I definitely don't think it was harmful or dangerous, and I'm glad that some other views are being spoken here, but they didn't really present much of a solution to go forward with.
Actually I think Lauren in particular could achieve a lot more good if she tried to be less shocking and relied more just on reason. That's actually something a guy sitting next to me said to her at the dinner, that she presents much better in a reasoned argument in person than she does on her videos and in the media. She said she agrees, but it's basically impossible to have a real conversation with the media or with anyone from the left, as they aren't willing to actually talk, but just attack. The protesters certainly lend some credibility to that argument, though Peterson has shown it is possible.
I'm definitely glad I went, I know plenty of people thought I shouldn't go, but I don't believe that speech is violence and opinions are dangerous and I think anyone who does is the real danger to society.
And if anyone thinks I'm a terrible person just for wanting to discuss some interesting issues, well I'd much rather someone hate me for who I am, than like me for who I'm not.
If anyone wants to hear a good summary of both their views, I just watched this which covers it all quite well.
Minor corrections. Apparently it was 88 not 98 venues, and there were 4 protesters inside.