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PM right to see danger in extremist protesters but his response is wrong

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The Shakers were never a wildly popular Christian sect, but they were undeniably progressive. An offshoot of the Quakers, the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing emerged in England in the 1740s and earned their nickname through the zeal of their worship.

Shakers were pacifists who believed in the equality of the sexes, living a simple communal life and shunning the world. Their leader, Mother Ann Lee, led her flock to America in 1774 and, at their height, the Shakers numbered about 6000 living in 18 communities.

Protesters attempted to blockade the International Mining and Resources Conference in Melbourne last week.Credit:AAP

Like so many sects through the ages the Shakers were convinced the end of the world was nigh. Perhaps that’s why they saw no real risk in their defining belief: that Original Sin was sex, which meant Shakers committed themselves to universal, life-long celibacy.

Unremarkably, this sect without sex attracted few converts, which explains why there are now reportedly three Shakers left, living in the sole remaining US community holding out the hope that a long-overdue Jesus will arrive shortly. But, it should be noted, on the way to arranging their own extinction they made some lovely furniture.

Wealthy, Anglo-Celtic inner-city Australia in the 21st........

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