Tuesday 10 July 2018

Do We Really Lack the Courage to Debate the Alt-Right? Do We Really Lack the Ideas to Defeat Them?

Testing Our Values: Over the past few days Canadian Alt-Right provocateurs Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern (above) have very skillfully tested our tolerance – and we have failed. They’ve also tested our ability to re-state, re-affirm and justify our commitment to freedom of expression. We failed that test too.

STEFAN MOLYNEUX AND LAUREN SOUTHERN gave New Zealanders an opportunity to test their values – most especially their tolerance. Controversialists, almost by profession, these two Canadians espouse ideas which most Kiwis find extremely jarring. We have come to accept human equality and religious tolerance as the unequivocal markers of all decent and rational societies. For a great many people it is deeply offensive to hear these concepts challenged openly.

Over the past few days Molyneux and Southern have very skilfully tested our tolerance – and we have failed. They’ve also tested our ability to re-state, re-affirm and justify our commitment to freedom of expression. We failed that test too.

But just imagine if, instead of asking the Minister of Immigration to prevent Molyneux and Southern from entering the country, the New Zealand Federation of Islam Associations had invited them to debate the Islamic religion with a couple of their faith’s most accomplished scholars. In the face of the Canadians’ openly hostile reading of the Koran, the Federation could have transformed their assailants’ prejudice into a profound “teaching moment” for all New Zealanders. Rather than the caricature of Islam presented by its enemies, we could have heard the true voice of the Prophet and gained a much deeper understanding of his message.

Of course, Molyneux and Southern could have refused to debate the Federations’ representatives (perhaps fearing that in a calm, respectful, and properly moderated setting, their contribution might not have sounded all that convincing) but just think about how bad that would have made them look. They would have been exposed as not having the courage of their convictions: of having “fake views”.

Imagine, too, if the Q+A programme had set aside an entire hour for a televised debate between Molyneux and Southern, representing the Alt-Right; and two representatives of the New Zealand Left. (Annette Sykes and John Minto spring to mind!) For 60 minutes, New Zealanders could have heard debated the ideas and causes that are currently driving global politics. Alternatively, TVNZ could have set up one of its live “town-hall meetings” at which a broad cross-section of Kiwis could have asked questions of the two right-wing provocateurs.

Once again they could have refused. But, once again, that would merely have confirmed their status as rhetorical bomb-throwers – not genuine protagonists of serious ideas.

But what if they restricted their appearances to halls in which only their most fervid supporters were guaranteed entry? What would the correct response be to that situation?

According to Auckland Peace Action's Valerie Morse, the response of those opposed to the views being expressed by Molyneux and Southern should have been to “stand in solidarity with the Muslim community in Aotearoa who are opposing these fascists. If they come here, we will confront them on the streets. If they come, we will blockade entry to their speaking venue”.

Which is, of course, exactly the response Molyneux and Southern would have been hoping for. It has been of enormous assistance to their cause to be able to upload on to social media the hate-filled faces of their enemies. Such images of their left-wing opponents screaming and shouting and doing all within their power to shut down their meetings are pure gold to the propagandists of the Alt-Right.

Everything that Mayor Phil Goff, the Auckland Council, Ms Morse and her fellow extremists have done so far has provided Molyneux and Southern with invaluable material for their one-million-strong YouTube audience. Every attempt to suppress their freedom of expression by administrative fiat, or force, fuels the anger of their supporters and confirms the Alt-Right’s view of the Left as dangerous enemies of liberty.

What they would have been very loath to upload, however, would have been images of them being soundly defeated by Muslim scholars; or floundering before the questioning of participants in TVNZ’s town-hall meeting. Especially useless to them would have been images of a huge and dignified gathering of New Zealanders bearing witness outside the Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna. Men and women, Maori and Pakeha, Christian and Muslim, immigrant and native-born, gay and straight – all standing quietly with their arms linked under a forest of New Zealand flags and banners proclaiming this country’s unwavering commitment to human equality, religious tolerance and freedom of speech.

Had we been mature enough, as a free and democratic nation, to meet the challenge of Molyneux and Southern in such a fashion, the two Alt-Right Canadians would have had nothing to show their followers. But, we New Zealanders would have had something to show the world.

We could have shown a global audience a nation confident enough to debate those truths proclaimed by Thomas Jefferson to be self-evident with all comers. We could have shown a planet hard beset by the worst kind of right-wing propaganda a people capable of passing the values test set by the likes of Molyneux and Southern with flying colours.

Because, as the great English poet, John Milton, wrote in his famous pamphlet, Areopagitica: “I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.”

Truth is not afraid of trigger-words. Truth does not need a safe space. Truth is not a snowflake. Truth can take the heat and most certainly should not be forced to vacate the kitchen in the face of a couple of Alt-Right provocateurs and a politically-correct Mayor.

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Tuesday, 10 July 2018.

SPECIAL NOTE:  If readers are of a mind to assist the Free Speech Coalition in its effort to fund and mount a judicial review against Auckland Mayor Phil Goff's refusal to allow Molyneux and Southern access to Auckland Council's meeting halls, please click on the following link  https://freespeechcoalition.nz/


Jack Scrivano said...

Well said, Chris. Hopefully the door has not been closed and barred.

Brian O'Brien said...

Goff should have let them hire the Town Hall at considerable expense, then face embarrassment
and financial disaster when 200 people turned up.

Brian O'brien

Sanctuary said...

It is impossible to "debate" with agent provocateurs who carve an online living by trading in sensationalist insults, a lack of common decency and plain old fashioned racism. This pair are simply troublemakers and we don't want them here. they offer nothing to any debate about anything.

Given that they can't even get visas for the UK or Australia, I think Mr. Trotter ought to choose his battles and, looking at the list of people who make up his grandiloquently styled "free speech coalition," his friends with a great deal more care.

Who have we got on this free speech coalition? traitor Michael Bassett, the unreconstructed neoliberal and racist Don Brash the plain nasty Stephen Franks, the completely bonkers Lindsay Perigo and Mr. duplicity himself Jordan Williams. Nice company you keep.

Chris Trotter said...

No, it is not impossible to debate with provocateurs, such debates happen all the time in other countries less terrified of the Right. Moreover, "troublemakers" is a term more usually applied to agitators from the Left. And this is what I find so alarming about the unwillingness of so many professed "left-wingers" to stand up in defence of free speech. That they simply cannot see the enormous risk to themselves of not standing up for the right of people holding unpopular opinions to be heard.

That I am the only person publicly associated with left-wing views to join this coalition is no way reflects poorly on me, but on all those other so-called "leftists" who lack the fortitude to defend the most basic political right of all. The right to hire a hall and invite people to come and hear what you have to say.

What does it say about the state of the Left in New Zealand that it will not defend free speech unequivocally? And what does it tell us about the Right that it is ready to do so - with money and in court?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I agree with Sanctuary. These people aren't here to debate, but to spout bullshit at their fan boys – that word again sorry. It would be like as someone said – playing chess with a pigeon.
" it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory."
But I must say, I do tend to agree with Brian about renting them the Town Hall, AND making them pay for security them being so controversial and all.

J Bloggs said...

"What they would have been very loath to upload, however, would have been images of them being soundly defeated by Muslim scholars; or floundering before the questioning of participants in TVNZ’s town-hall meeting. Especially useless to them would have been images of a huge and dignified gathering of New Zealanders bearing witness outside the Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna. Men and women, Maori and Pakeha, Christian and Muslim, immigrant and native-born, gay and straight – all standing quietly with their arms linked under a forest of New Zealand flags and banners proclaiming this country’s unwavering commitment to human equality, religious tolerance and freedom of speech."

But, Chris - that's not what would have been uploaded - What would be uploaded by these two would be a carefully edited version that removed any embarrassing challenges to thier talking points, that emphaised the part of the crowd that agrees with them and almost certianly added footage from more energetic NZ protests (something from the 1981 springbok tour maybe?) to represent the oppostion to them.

These people have an agenda, they're not going to let anything as petty as the truth get in the way of thier message.

The way these people operate, there is no situation where they do not get a win out of it. So lets not give them more of a platform than the bare minimum of being rejected.

Simon Cohen said...

Chris even though I strongly disagree with everything this couple stand for I applaud this column and your actions in conjunction with a number of other New Zealanders of varying political beliefs.
What I cannot condone is people like Sanctuary who make disparaging remarks about people but cannot sign their name to their comments.To call people traitors and racists from the protection of a pseudonym is cowardly and says more about Sanctuary than anything else he says.

Mark Hubbard said...

Sadly I knew you'd get Santuary's comment.

Somehow the state of the media in all this is important as it's woeful, and part of our long-term problem here (in case this sounds off-topic). I'll simply copy and paste my twitter comments on this, in relation to my research which was - as I'd not heard of Southern - to watch her Farmlands doco on Youtube:

1. A deeper view. I've heard Southern blamed in my TL for using words 'white genocide' ... she never said that; those were words of a South African family member of a farmer tortured & murdered. With the daily murder of white farmers, that's *daily*, with a govt there gone rogue 1/x

2. into lawlessness, making law they will confiscate farmland with no compensation, with their economy collapsing into another African basket case of misery, poverty and violence, the important question is why do I have to rely on peeps of dubious character like Southern for this 2/x

3. doco. Why am I not seeing this on Sunday, on 20/20 etc? I know why: because a mainly liberal MSM is so conflicted over the issues in an imploding South Africa, and has so long forgotten how to do objective, fact-based journalism, that such reporting is beyond them. We all lose.

And then a response to a reply:

My point is about the reporting. If I have to go to Youtube clips for news, then somehow, on a very basic level, news has failed, because I can't trust anything on Youtube.

I mean this: we are partly formed by what we see (we see alternate views, then we think on them and form opinions and positions). I want an objective journalism (again); I reckon lack of same over last decades is adding unimaginably to harm.

David George said...

Dear oh dear Sanctuary, do you even read what you write? "Sensationalist insults" appear to be all you've got.
This is about a core issue of our democracy, one without which it cannot function. You can't ban people for what they might say and, from what I can find out about the Canadian pair, they're not the monsters they are being portrayed as.
Is Lauren Southern's recent trip to Africa exposing the appalling racially motivated murders not a fight against racism at it's very worst? Her "Farmlands" documentary was to provide key discussion points for her visit. BTW You do have to wonder what our MSM are doing since these atrocities are not being covered here.

Steve Wrathall said...

Well done for being prepared to put your head above the parapet. But mate , have you become a Muslim? I mean "we could have heard the true voice of the Prophet". Not The Muslim prophet, but "THE" Prophet? Incidently Mo wasn't a great fan of free speech and had killed many poets such as Ka'b bin al-Ashraf al-Yahoodee who wrote doggeral unflattering to allah's final messanger.

Hilary Taylor said...

I've donated.
Suspect I would not have much truck with the Canadians'views but had I still been living on the Shore I might've gone along, for fun. Reasonable people quickly figure out who has a constructive point to make but if you can't hear them in the first place (don't tell me 'go online'..it's not the same as a public meeting)cos fundamentalist religious & activist,crank leftists got in someone like Goff's willing ear & decided for me, I might get mad as hell...hence the donation on principle.
Sunlight on allcomers please..I can handle the jandal...no censorship unless incitement to violence or criminality is involved..simple.
Sanctuary...I enjoy listening to all those people you list..don't have to agree with them but I'd take them over the likes of Morse in a heartbeat.

Kat said...

Didn't Charles Manson want to come to NZ back in the day, not sure if he was looking for a debate though.

David Stone said...

To be afraid of allowing another point of view to be heard does seem to suggest a lack of confidence in the veracity of your own.

Geoff Fischer said...

Kia ora Chris. You have opened up a real line of division between those leftists who are servants of the realm, and who see the use of state force as the best way to resolve any social conflict, and those of the left tradition who stand apart from the state and value instead the wisdom, strength and courage of our people.
Those in the first category have not supported our struggle against colonial rule. In fact they have been our jailers. That signifies not just a moral failure but also a failure of courage, wisdom, understanding and faith. They are now willing to see our freedom of speech extinguished by administrative decisions of the regime's bureaucrats and politicians.
"Sanctuary", whoever he or she may be, can add my name to the list of deplorables who stand behind you in defence of the rule of law and the universal right to freedom of speech and opinion.

greywarbler said...

It is interesting to hear about these people who apparently have the right to cut down our pretensions to a society of humanity, civility and respect for each other. There seems to be money and notoriety and an international lifestyle available to such people, who build a dodgy presence for themselves on being cavalier about hard-won rights for freedom of thought, future-thinking, necessary respect and concern for each other and the planet.

This pair are similar to Lord Haw Haw (Lord Monckton) and his ilk* who have funding sources to travel round the world decrying scientific findings about climate change. The man looks like a regular guy, not one of those hippy-looking greeny types whose sales pitch doesn't find widespread reception! The fact that this woman looks like a model probably helps her reception. Women's studies show that pretty woman are more likely to be believed innocent by juries in criminal court cases.

She reminds me of the pretty blonde girls who specialised in singing race and anti-immigration songs. They had been home-schooled and are saying that going to a school in another state has changed them completely.

So I am just a prejudiced old blighter who believes in remembering, contrasting and comparing with other things I have learned, when making new judgments.

And the question posed at the beginning -
"Do We Really Lack the Courage to Debate the Alt-Right? Do We Really Lack the Ideas to Defeat Them?"
I say we do lack the ideas to defeat the Alt-Right. I am distressed daily at the slippery way NZs slide out of debating the real problems presented by Rightists. The way we are now economically and socially shows our weaknesses in being able to grasp important philosophical facts. The best we can manage, when there is an attempt to discuss the openly displayed and publicised examples of disintegration of our decent society, is to give it our short attention span of a few minutes, and then turn to the latest sensation or brutality in sport. That's something we can bear to look at and debate.

About those with funds and having right-wing authority to spout dangerous drivel, particularly against climate change understanding:

David George said...

Good points Steve and who can forget the recent comments coming from Auckland preacher Dr Sahib. Something about glass houses comes to mind.

Kat said...

The Pretty Things' 1965 tour was so wild that Parliament presented the band with a life-time ban, curtains were set alight and youth were corrupted, after all.

Guitarist Dick Taylor remembered New Zealand as being "a bit like going back in England 20 years before the 60s". The infamous tour was even documented in a book called Don't Bring Me Down Under.

Given that we are now just following what the Brits and the Aussies have done in banning certain people perhaps we can take some pride in that we were once ahead of the pack.

Puddleg said...

Why stop at that? Why not invite the very ablest, most evidence-based proponents of the various views that distress us today that are relevant to our society to debate them, instead of a pair of Youtube provocateurs? Then we'd be getting somewhere.

Nick J said...

Do you need sanctuary, Sanctuary. Are you afraid to face the evils of this world head on? Or are you the evil within that wishes to dictate what others should say and hear? It's tough out there and if your views are valid you maybe need to be prepared to open them to scrutiny.

GS, if you could listen to the knee jerk reaction you spout you would be embarrassed. I don't like the views of these two, but before I say that I at least checked them out. Your description of them is so way off that if you were questioned by them you would look very stupid. If the Left are going to criticize people a little less labelling and a bit more research would go a long way.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"1. A deeper view. I've heard Southern blamed in my TL for using words 'white genocide' ... she never said that; those were words of a South African family member of a farmer tortured & murdered. With the daily murder of white farmers, that's *daily*, with a govt there gone rogue"
Disingenuous. The woman went out with the intention of promoting this meme which has become common in the alt right – or as I prefer to call them "Nazis". She down on you someone would say it and she approves of it.

2. into lawlessness, making law they will confiscate farmland with no compensation, with their economy collapsing into another African basket case of misery, poverty and violence, the important question is why do I have to rely on peeps of dubious character like Southern for this

And how did these farmers get the land in the first place? Did they pay for it or did they confiscate it without compensation? I suggest you research the native lands act of 1913.

This whole thing has been stirred up by some nutty religious maniacs who want to return to apartheid. And as usual it's a bit more complicated than you might think.

Simon Cohen said...

I note that the usual suspects Kat and Guerrilla Surgeon on here and Kimbo on another website have all criticised your actions and words Chris.The thing they all have in common is the decision to hide behind pseudonyms and their intolerance of any point of view except their own.
Their words and actions mirror the the intolerance of the facist right !!!!!

greywarbler said...

I get a strong feeling from reading many comments here that these political discussions are an interesting intellectual exercise; a debate that you enjoy watching from the sidelines with the freedom to step in when you wish.

To me it is about our future, our human future and whether it is going to continue to deteriorate while the majority comfortable bystanders or strivers, stand back and murmur their platitudes about it being right and fair to let people have the freedom to 'have a go and see if they can move us from our perches.

Most of you couldn't lay an egg; brooding on your thoughts is useless to the people bearing the brunt of present world behaviour and thought trends.

Anonymous said...

I prefer Chris' solution myself. Call their bluff (and it is a bluff), then humiliate them.

It needs careful planning though - fascists do not play fair, and do not abide by the rules of debate. All they care about is spouting their talking points, then they shift the goal posts so they insist they have a "right" to have their opinions. Rather than debating about the correctness of their views, it becomes about whether they have a right to hold those views. In short, you need someone who knows their game-plan, and has the rhetorical nous to combat them in a war of rhetoric, rather than a war of facts.

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Chris

Congratulations on your principled stand for free speech, and even more so given the apparent politics of those who prompted your action. It is also pleasing to see some on the left support you. Threats of violence and ‘no platforming’ have become the default response of too many on the left who appear unable to engage constructively with competing ideas.

As we have collectively lost our sense of transcendence, many people are no longer able to separate their politics from their personal identity. Consequently, when someone expresses a contrary opinion, they view it as a personal attack. This is a tragic state of affairs; one that does not bode well for the future of our democracy.

I did chuckle over your suggestion that a couple of Imam’s might want to debate those infidels who have become well versed in Islam, and the life of its prophet. They would have happily done this once, but I doubt they are keen to do this anymore. Since 9/11, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko-Harem, The Al-Nusra-Front, etc. Far too many of us now understand that their ‘perfect man’ Mohammad waged war, beheaded captives and took sex slaves. We also understand that the peaceful verses early in the Quran have been abrogated by the violent verses that came later. We understand the universal obligation upon all Muslims to engage in Jihad in all its forms. That most Muslims fail to take the prophets example and their holy texts seriously is cause for thanksgiving, but not for complacency.

This may account for the local Muslim leadership’s reluctance to have these topics aired in a public forum, and why they lobbied Goff and Co. to prevent the council’s venues being opened to this discussion.

This is a conversation that is long overdue, and if those who are rational and considered in their views fail to allow it to take place, then the ground is left vacant for others more radical to fill the vacuum.

Trev1 said...

Congratulations Chris. I don't share your overall worldview, I am a conservative. But we do appear to share a respect for individual freedom and the free contest of ideas. There is probably more that unites us than divides us.

Jays said...

Free speech is not conditional. Otherwise either exists utterly or not at all.
Anyone who says they are all for free speech ...except...is a fascist by definition. Oscar Kightley proved himself to be such a fascist in Stuff.co.nz in just this way.
Of course we all support speech we agree with, but are you honorable enough to support speech you don't agree with?

Bonzo said...

I've donated too.

I'd just like to point out that "we" didn't fail to uphold freedom of speech. New Zealand didn't fail to uphold freedom of speech. The regressive authoritarian left failed to uphold freedom of speech. Again. This is it's modus operandi throughout the West.

New Zealand, "we", put it's money where it's mouth is and delivered $50k within 24hrs.

The rest of your... pot boiler fantasies... of the goodies triumphing over the baddies and the world watching on in awe... ye God's!

A said...

The reason debate works on this blog is that there is someone to enforce the rules. Otherwise it would descend into mudslinging and no-one would be heard. Debate only ever really 'works' if there is some enforcement of the rules of rationality and civility. In extremis, that enforcement comes from society. Since the defining feature of our times is that we can't count on that any more, the argument for the social utility of allowing these people to debate fails. You'd only be giving them a platform to annoy and upset people.

GJE said...

Yet again Chris you demonstrate the even handedness so desperately lacking in many of those on the left...what a disgrace mayor Goff is proving to be..his decision to personally ban what he calls “hate speech” will blight what has otherwise been a career that has always reflected his reasonableness.

pat said...

A brave public stand Mr Trotter, and one that is needed.
As you note in your response (to Sanctuary) it is alarming that so many self identified 'Lefties' appear oblivious to the shared protection of the right to express controversial views, something we (of the Left) frequently demanded not so long ago, instead many are sounding as hateful,venomous and intolerant as those they disparage...a sad state of affairs that only adds to our woes.

jh said...

Especially useless to them would have been images of a huge and dignified gathering of New Zealanders bearing witness outside the Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna. Men and women, Maori and Pakeha, Christian and Muslim, immigrant and native-born, gay and straight – all standing quietly with their arms linked under a forest of New Zealand flags and banners proclaiming this country’s unwavering commitment to human equality, religious tolerance and freedom of speech.
One could hold up a sign saying "Allah is Gay!"

Greenbean said...

Chris, well spoken. I don't share the leftist point of view but there is common ground here in the defense of free speech. Worth considering that maybe the most dangerous ideas ever propagated were those of Marx who inspired various world dictators to murder millions of their own people. Yet those ideas are still being taught in our universities and even his birthday celebrated without an intolerant right wing backlash so maybe a good example of how freedom of speech works.

jh said...

Meet Australian Aborigines—They Make African Americans Look Like A Model Minority

the Left wants to institutionalize its favored constituency’s political power:

Australia, they insist, belongs only to its roughly 670,000 Aborigines, who make up 3% of its population.” Indeed, the Aborigines should be given a referendum on whether or not they should have a representative body, a ‘Voice of Parliament.’ In effect, this would be a third (albeit consultative) parliamentary chamber, voted for and stocked entirely by Aborigines. [PM says Closing the Gap results are 'promising', but Indigenous communities should be worked 'with, not to', by Lucy Sweeney, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, February 11, 2018.”]
British psychologist Richard Lynn, in his seminal study of race differences in IQ, Race and Intelligence: An Evolutionary Analysis, brings together all of the available studies on the intelligence of modern Aborigines. They have an average IQ of 64, compared to about 70 for Sub-Saharan Africans, 85 for African Americans and 100 for whites.

An IQ of below 70, in Western countries, has you classified as mentally retarded. So, the average 18-year-old Aborigine has the mental age of 11.


The SPLC stated that "Since the 1970s, Richard Lynn has been working tirelessly to place race, genes, and IQ at the center of discussions surrounding inequality. Through his own writings and those published by his Ulster Institute for Social Research, in Northern Ireland, Lynn argues that members of different races and nations possess innate differences in intelligence and behavior, and that these are responsible for everything from the incarceration rate of black Americans to the poverty of developing nations. Lynn is also an ethnic nationalist who believes that countries must 'remain racially homogenous' in order to flourish."[103] The center has also stated that "Lynn uses his authority as professor (emeritus) of psychology at the University of Ulster to argue for the genetic inferiority of non-white people."[103]



David George said...

Free thought and speech are how we find truth and balance. People instinctively know that the people trying to shut it down have something to hide, are lying to you and not to be trusted.
A proud day for our country. Kia Kaha.

Anonymous said...

Be careful with how you throw the term fascist or Nazi. Both those groups Kerb Stomped free speech to prevent dissent, those YouTube provocateurs haven't tried to stop free speech, it's the anti-liberals that have. I'd hazard a guess you haven't listened first hand to what they say but have referred to second or third hand accounts of what they say. Throwing such insults so liberally just weakens them when justified against real monsters. It's as bad as someone calling members of the green party "Comrade Stalin" or "filthy commie", the terms lose their meaning when used loosely.

I don't know too much of what both speakers have said or done but I'm yet to see anyone put forth anything that is truely racist or hateful that they've said, most of it has been overblown and appears to be taken way out of context. I certainly haven't seen anything that warrants putting them in the same category of actual neo-nazis or Mussolini.

One of the things I do know Lauren Southern has done is the social experiment on Mohammed being gay. Trust me, there are plenty of New Zealanders from all political backgrounds that feel uncomfortable around Muslim immigration (and I'm one of them) and the bubble wrap that religion is kept in. Not talking about it isn't going to quell that discomfort. Silencing that discussion by force is only going to ferment hatred and distrust. Educate us, convince us on how our opinions are wrong with open discussion, don't gag us. One of the fears I have around Islam in NZ is being shown by the NZ Federation of Islam Associations support of the ban. I don't dislike Muslim people on an individual level, they deserve and get the same level of respect as anyone else from me; but Crikey I do dislike just about every Islamic society around the world I ever hear about, they all sound like abhorrent societies with no respect for the freedoms we love. Show us that our fears are wrong. If I saw Muslims standing up en mass for the right of free speech even if it ridicules their religion my opinion would likely change.

swordfish said...

Well, I'm a Leftie who largely agrees with you on this, Chris.

Unfortunately, the Book-Burning Uber-PC / Intersectional brigade continue to move in an evermore Authoritarian direction. Rigidly-closed minds and Totalitarian impulses lying deep within.

The guarantee of free expression - of the candid exchange of ideas - has always been fundamental to the success of the Left and the safety and prosperity of minority groups (not to mention: absolutely vital to human progress and societal health in general).

Unfortunately, there's a hopelessly religious cult-like insularity to many of the rather privileged upper-middle class Puritans within the Identity Politics movement.

David George said...

You've raised some very good points Anonymous.
I see Guerrilla Surgeon has already climbed on board with the Nazi slur, I guess the "literally Hitler" can't be too far away. That's a very slippery slope to be going down GS and I wonder if you have any idea what you're doing. Shut down debate, de-platform and insult doesn't work anymore.
The brilliant Canadian psychologist, Jordan Peterson, believes we are going through a second and even more powerful Gutenberg revolution with platforms like You Tube destroying legacy media and placing knowledge and power back into the hands of the people. He sits down with Joe Rogan for a two hour, free, no holds barred chat and there's two million views in a couple of days.
Kiwis are going on line to check out these "Nazis" and finding lot's of common ground; traditional family values. Check. Strict limits on immigration. Check. Islamic extremism is a worry. Check. Respect and value Western Civilisation. Check. It's terrible what's happening to those farmers in SA (and where the hell is our media on this). Check. So what's with this ridiculous "Nazi" business they're thinking. Perhaps it's Stefan's close haircut or Lauren's blond hair and Aryan good looks?
You can go round calling people names all day long but the truth will out; you end up looking pretty silly, your highest insult completely meaningless, and your entire ideology a shabby, discredited wreck.

Nick J said...

Hell Grey those warbling blonds with the martial music, that's polluted my morning. Vicious.

I had another watch of Southern, yes she is easy on the eye, which I have long suspected is a curse of Creossus. She had some good points amongst the dubious, What she lacked was age experience and wisdom. Can't blame her for that, I hope she looks back with shame and embarrassment in future years. I feel the same way about my naivety in idealistically accepting and spouting Marxism as a youth. A great evil which contaminated my thinking for years.

Molyneaux I have less time for, he appears mainly rational but ends up being the mirror image of all he opposes (alt-Left types take note, his ugly edges match yours). It's almost as if Don Brash and Ayn Rand had a little brother. Easy to debate that one into the ground, his trick is to associate your ideas into his to give his validity, not nice.

You say we lack the ideas to debate the alt-Right and are on a slippery slope. I totally agree that we have been inneffective. The reason is the Lefts heritage of unresolved conflict between the concepts of Marx that requires the creation of "victims and grievances", and the Fabian approach that seeks to resolve inequality with equality of opportunity. We in NZ have long been committed to fighting for identity groups "rights", the mainstream Right just lap it up, divide and conquer us. The alternative approach for the Left is to promote equality of opportunity for all and resolve "identity issues" as a consequence. That is somewhere we have a real edge.

Sanctuary said...

The idea that anyone could believe that Ms. Southern and Mr. Molyneux are good faith debaters is frankly incredible, given the mountain of evidence to the contrary. Making the rather odd suggestion that the New Zealand Federation of Islam Associations invite the pair over for a pleasant chat, as if Southern and Molyneux are willing to amicably square their difficulties over a some biscuits and a cup of tea, is ingenuous to the point of foolishness. To me, it betrays an utter inability to discern the nature of the opposition and it's intent. Why do we have to have here to expose them as "...not having the courage of their convictions: of having “fake views...”? In the age of the internet we don't have to go to the moon to know it isn't made of cheese, we have ample examples of their behaviour to view without them darkening our doorstep in person.

On the other hand, you seem to believe this is an issue of selective defense of free speech. Yet the membership of your coalition contain people who wish to strip the funding of government critics (Eleanor Catton/Jordan Williams), or criminalise those whose methods of non-violent protest they find disagreeable (Flag burning/Stephen Franks) or, via racism, seek to strip an entire people of a voice (Bassett and Brash) or support race-baiting fascists (Lindsay Perigo). Yup, all champions of free speech!

At the end of the day, all Southern and Molyneux have done - at a distance - is give a bit of oxygen to the fringe merchant boils on the backside of our democracy. Why you decided to make such public common cause with the fringe dwelling detritus of our civil society is difficult to discern.

jh said...

The left is loosing control of the narrative. Evolutionary psychology is making the difference.

Ethnocentrism is not a White disorder and evidence is emerging that immigrant communities harbour invidious attitude towards Anglo Australians, disparaging their culture and the legitimacy of their central place in national identity.

Young women of Latin and Turkish origin living in Melbourne find it hard to see any Australian culture. Some see a vacuum; others see a bland milieu populated with ‘average-looking’ people. In contrast, they feel that their own migrant cultures are strong. They ‘get through more’. If there is any Australian culture it is, in their opinion, losing ground to migrant cultures.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Given that we are now just following what the Brits and the Aussies have done in banning certain people perhaps we can take some pride in that we were once ahead of the pack."

Actually, we haven't banned them. We haven't even stopped them from speaking. They have been forbidden the use of a certain venue. I wonder if this can be regarded as anti-free speech considering the various other platforms they have access to that will reach far more people than a town hall. They have been in essence been de-platformed, which hardly amounts to a ban. This is not necessarily a simple question. Does the Auckland City Council owe them a platform? Like it or not, it has decided it doesn't. And the question arises, are there none amongst their supporters who have access to a venue that could rent it to them ordinate it to them for a day?
Free speech simply means that the government will not prosecute you for what you say. It doesn't mean that the government has to facilitate what you say, it doesn't mean that private organisations have to give you a platform. And it doesn't mean that you can escape from the consequences of your speech. That might be a little deep for some of you more "right minded" people.

"I note that the usual suspects Kat and Guerrilla Surgeon...."

All I said was it's a waste of time trying to debate them. And that is translated into "criticising your actions and words". If you could have overcome your choler to the point where you finished reading my quite short comment you would have found that I thought we should allow them to use the town hall. But charge them for security, because they are deliberately provocative (well that's quite a mild word for what they do)

"The regressive authoritarian left failed to uphold freedom of speech. Again. This is it's modus operandi throughout the West.

No kidding? You obviously don't read widely enough to have found the by no means incredibly left-wing people who have been de-platformed in the US by the regressive authoritarian right. For something as mild as saying that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

What I find interesting is all the other usual suspects, who hardly ever post here are back with a vengeance saying "while we might not agree with what they say" – yeah right. :)

"Curb stomped"
A rather unfortunate choice of words, considering it was just used by a rather nasty conservative figure in the US about what should happen to the press. Which is probably where you got it from, because it's not a common phrase in New Zealand I suspect. I guess it shows us all what you read at least.

" the bubble wrap that religion is kept in"
Jesus wept, you conservatives/alt right people should really get out more, if you think this is true. Every conservative religious figure/alt right loon all over the world treats the religion with contumely. While claiming that they "love the sinner hate the sin" of course.

"Nothing that is truly racist or hateful"?

Only on that funny conservative definition of racism – the one that usually starts with "I'm not racist but...." Their documentaries on South Africa for instance? Defended by our local libertarian. Funny how for libertarians, property rights only begin when white people have bagged all the property. :)

What I find interesting is all the usual suspects who hardly ever post here have suddenly jumped on the bandwagon of free speech while saying "of course we don't agree with what they say" (while some of you at least obviously do.) Yeah right.

David Stone said...

While fully in support of Chris's stand for free speech , I am not so sure that an open debate on this subject would necessarily be won on the basis of truth and logic. Success in debates tends to be a mater of perception. If you recall our most famous political debater, in his most famous debate , on the subject of his most famous political action of nuclear free NZ, his most famous debating line countering a reasoned but unpopular argument was " I can smell the uranium on your breath". A pre prepared line ready to be inserted into the debate when the inevitable opportunity arose. This is the way debates are won and lost, not by reasoned argument, but by smart arse'd rhetoric.
i sometimes read the comments on sites like RT and The Information Clearing House , that provide a "like or dislike" reader's scoring function, good logical arguments in support of the popular sentiment of the readers of the site get good support. Good reasoned argument against the popular sentiment of the readership get negative support, and the more reasoned and better articulated the more it annoys the readership and the more negative ticks it receives . Short comments empty of facts or reason that whitily attack the unpopular side of the subject score by far the highest.
It is a consideration on the present subject of having islamic scholars debate these people, that adherents arguing the exclusive veracity of a minority religion in a secular and somewhat agnostic population could be on the back foot from the start.

Redbaiter said...

The left respect free speech? Don't buy this & think the article above is diversionary rubbish. The plain truth is that in the one party socialist/ communist state that the left desire there is no room for dissent. The state they want simply cannot come into being or exist if critics are allowed free rein.

The ambition of the left is to destroy pluralist society and replace it with a society where everybody conforms. Their system just will not work unless this happens.

You'll not allow this comment through your moderation system. I know that. No matter, the important thing is you know there are people out there who are on to you, and spreading the word in places you are (so far) unable to control completely. In the long run, you will not win. The truth you strive to suppress will defeat you.

Geoff Fischer said...

On the free speech issue, I stand with Chris. I hesitate to say "with Don Brash" after hearing his reported remark that free speech should be allowed to cover "a wide range of political opinion". That implies that Brash is advocating something short of absolute freedom of speech. My response would be that he cannot have his cake and eat it.
On what may be considered the particular substantive issue, the nature and character of Islam, I am at odds with Molyneux and Southern. I have worked and prayed with Muslims, have served on secondment to the Jihad-e-Sazandegi, and probably know as much about Islam as most of its more strident critics. Those who claim that "Allah is gay" are either being deliberately provocative or have no understanding of monotheistic religions such as Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Within the particular Jihadi organisation in which I served (I obviously cannot vouch for them all) there was a deep understanding and respect for western religious and philosophical thought, and a commitment to peaceful constructive engagement with all peoples of the world, regardless of religious or political persuasion. However, the reality is that as the west continues on its path of blind hostility and brutal aggression towards the Muslim peoples of the Middle East it will provoke an intolerant and sometimes brutal reaction. Desist from bombing, drone strikes, economic sanctions and full-scale invasions in the Muslim land and the Muslims will be better able to see you as friends and fellow human beings.

Anonymous said...

This is not a question of politics or of freedom, it is an issue of race hate. That someone so skilled in manipulating media opinion has painted such a naive view of the media's probable reaction is very telling indeed.

While there is immense political capital to be gained by unscrupulous politicians and commentators shouting "freedom of speech", the bigger picture is one of consequences, law and morals. These are being conveniently ignored. Southern is still free to speak, just not at council venues. her visa was declined by the UK because they were brave enough to look past politics and to just say "no".

You call southern and co controversialists, a more correct term is bigots, racists and hate peddlers.

Free speech is a great thing, and Chris your blog is proof that it works in New Zealand. Hate speech and intolerance of the foul flavour spouted by southern and her wannabe fascists is specifically illegal under the human rights act. Go ahead and have a read.

Anyone who really wants to sample her toxic views can still do so via youtube, no one is stopping them.

So park your politics and ask yourself this, do you condone race based hate? religious intolerance and bigotry? If so then none of what I have said matters, it is probably too late to help you.

Just stop dressing this up as a freedom of speech issue when it is really about morals and basic human decency, something the alt-right has shown itself to be surprisingly short of lately.

Freethinker (psuudonym) said...

Re the possibility of a debate between Islamic scholars and Southern/Molyneux, here's one highly-educated Muslim woman who isn't keen on debates about Islam:

"That there needs to be a debate on Islam in New Zealand is itself a ridiculous proposition because when was the last time we needed a national debate on any other religion" - Saziah Bashir, LLB BCom LLM, University of Auckland, writing on RNZ website.

Hmmm - Christianity is debated all the time in New Zealand - look at the national debates played out in the media regarding the activities of Destiny Church and Gloriavale.

Anonymous said...

Chris, you could fairly call me a critic of your work but credit where it’s due mate.

It did me good to see a dyed red lefty who can still champion liberal values and who is willing to call censorship what it is.

rouppe said...

Indeed the strategies you propose, Chris, would have been the smart way to go.

However there is no way debaters such as John Minto would have been able to have a civil debate. He's not called "The screaming skull" for nothing.

Also your assurances that any such debate would leave them exposed is not founded in fact. They have shown themselves, like Milo, to be able to hold their own.

I am reassured that there are sufficiently people willing to fight for true free speech, not just the version Morse and the inappropriately named Peace Action group say is acceptable. It's a shame few Left Wing voices are joining us.

If this speaking engagement goes ahead I predict violence from the abode groups. Blocking access is violence. Putting a loudspeaker against someone's ear and shouting at full volume is violence. Threatening anyone's safety (on the street) is violence.

Valerie Morse, the Peace Action group and all their supporters are the new fascists of the 21st century.

greywarbler said...

I will go with you on preferring the Fabian approach you mention.
But that wouldn't mean I'd want to be letting every s..t-stirrer who is invited to create dissension into the country which is being embraced by most of the right-write (and white?) commenters here.

I'm not so sure that truth and fairness can be protected so easily and end up being triumphant because of its essential goodness and outcomes. The naive get their deserts for their lack of wisdom. Remember the bear lover who outstayed his welcome and got killed by bears he hadn't bonded with? People have to be wary of each other too. The Nazis need to be quoted often. They represent high human ingenuity and high lack of respect for others in a supposedly civilised country. The German people were unable to protect themselves against ghastly right-wing eugenics, thuggery and greed, (kill the Jews and take their property. Hide the greed under some fake purity racket).
In the 1930s, Yiddish was spoken by more than 10 million people, but by 1945, 75% of them were gone.

Standing side by side in silent protest. FGS. Are we mere puppets having no agency in our lives having to drag ourselves out to defend our already precarious way of living and culture against these rabble rousers who act for the comfortable and soulless materialists, including the religious who have lot their way, if they ever aspired to find it?

We are faced with great powers stripping each country of its resources, waging wars possibly from the comfort of an air-conditioned bunker, and
interfering with economics and enforcing technology that replaces human work and wisdom. Now we are buying into planes that should be work horses but can carry missiles or some weapon. Labour got us out of that years ago, and now stupid martial Ron Mark is lining us up to be called up for service by the US on one of their provocative or deadly missions, along with our great friend Australia. And our big trading partner China is being set up to take over Russia's role as the two-headed monster.

Why not worry about that? This two are just light entertainment for right-wingers and for lefties, an example of how wide open our left defences are against 'the system' and the back-room manipulators. Do they dance as well?

Kat said...

"Why you decided to make such public common cause with the fringe dwelling detritus of our civil society is difficult to discern".

Chris's plan is so cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it a weasel. Don't just "keep your enemy closer" get right into bed with them and at the appropriate time cause maximum discomfort by whipping the covers away exposing their naked ugliness in the cold light of day.

And you are correct GS these two "online provocateurs" have only been denied access to council owned property, so far.

As for being a "usual suspect" well make me a scapegoat if you will, better than being a perpetrator.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"I see Guerrilla Surgeon has already climbed on board with the Nazi slur"
It isn't in fact a slur with these people. Anyone who thinks they're not fascists is naïve. They even march round and very similar uniforms and use very similar flags – if they're not allowed to use the actual Nazi ones.

"The plain truth is that in the one party socialist/ communist state"
Jesus wept here we go again. I get told I'm not allowed to call neo-Nazis Nazis, and yet somehow the left is always associated with the one party communist dictatorship. Or some failed state in South America. To be honest identified with the Scandinavian countries. That's about as socialist as I want to go. And is getting a trifle boring having to say so.

The other thing is I'm getting just a tad tired of people talking about "hiding behind pseudonyms". Particularly as some of our more conservative commentors also hide behind pseudonym's or the word "anonymous". And I don't actually blame them for doing so.

I will explain for the last time hopefully why I do this and maybe after this you'll STFU, but I doubt it.
I have used a consistent pseudonym for everything from Trip advisor, where I once was a destination expert, to the Whale oil blog (until I was banned for a hell of a lot less that conservatives get away with on this site I might add). It's not as if I dart in and out doing "drive-by comments" like some.
You know, when I was writing letters to newspapers I used to use my own name, because they insisted on it. And I would regularly get phone calls after I made comments, due to my penchant for criticising pseudoscience and fundamentalist religion. Most of these were fairly amiable old buffers wanting to know if I'd read the latest book about aliens or the book of Mormon or something, but some were not. And I gave up writing to the papers after my eight-year-old son was told he and his whole family were going to hell when he answered the phone.
And I guess some of you (gosh having to hold myself in here) might just have heard of the expression doxing. In case you don't know, it's where you publish the personal details of someone whose opinions you disagree with so that people can abuse them online or on the phone, or maybe (albeit rarely) in person.
Now there is only one person who comments here that I would not like to have my personal details, them being so full of spite, fear and hate – but by Christ I would not like those who comment on Whaleoil, or even Kiwiblog to know anything about me, because I can imagine after reading their comments what they are capable of and I wouldn't want my family exposed to those shit-weasels. So if you don't mind/sarc – I'll continue to hide behind my pseudonym and if anyone doesn't like it, perhaps they'd like to dox themselves and see what happens. Though to be honest, you probably get a hell of a lot less abuse from the left than you would from the RWNJ's.

Richard said...

Dear Chris,

The response of Mayor Goff for Auckland Council to ban the alt right characters proposal to speak and/ or debate in COUNCIL facilities is absurd.

All it shows is what is old is new again.

A gang of stroppy individuals dealt with this very same issue, a while ago in the United States. Admittedly it involved a bit of a war- the American Civil War and resulted in the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

One gentleman involved in that rebellion neatly summed the postion. and his words have stood the test of time:

"I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

His name was Benjamin Franklin.

R M Jefferis

expat Brisbane

Nick J said...

Indeed Grey we have some big fish to fry, and these two stirrers are definitely bottom feeders, low on the list.

The reason I'm troubled to plead their case is precisely because like yourself I fear a retreat into the dark places of authoritarianism, left or right. The current identity politics of left and right are leading us down the path of restricting dissent, labelling then actual censure. It's a slippery slope, next stop the gulag.

I have been observing the conflict between post modernist identity politics and conservative leftism for years trying to make sense of it. What these two Canadian internet creatures have done, judging by the controversy and volume of comments is light the fuse of a powder keg here. It's going to get rough.

Simon Cohen said...

If you are not prepared to use your own name why bother commenting.But it is not only you.Kat,Kimbo,Sanctuary and Greywarbler are all very regular commentators who hide behind pseudonyms.
I applaud what the newspapers have done in insisting that letters to the editors be signed with the authors name and I believe that all blogs should insist on the same.

greywarbler said...

That was both direct, honest and amusing. My smile within the political discussion, for the day.

That explains exactly why - pseudonyms. I know from my own experience.
My local MP phoned me to discuss over the phone what I had reasonably expressed in a public forum, the letters column, and expected to be replied to in the same place. It's part of the discipline of discussion in a civilised, thoughtful society. But it seems that NZs generally believe in others being disciplined, and make exceptions for themselves when it suits. And also it made me think that perhaps NZ wasn't a civilised, thoughtful society; a new idea for me to contemplate. Perhaps others might like to include this idea when pondering.

Hilary Taylor said...

Gosh..it's really easy to tie oneself up in knots apparently. I rely on gut feelings and instinct when it comes to censorship...and that's what we're speaking of here. I instinctively resile from people, views, utterances, actions that inhibit, curb or censor my own. I WANT to hear from everyone and I can make my own mind up about it's value, veracity, underpinnings & lucidity. Cndescendingly call me hateful, a low-born denizen of murky depths, a shit-weasel, an amiable old buffer, a fascist, a neo-nazi or a plain old-time one...I don't care... Just DONT tell me who I can listen too or brand their utterances before they even utter them here. GIVE me platforms & SHINE lights so I may be immersed in the consciousness of the times, run it up against the historical record and judge for myself...please. You may have yours so let me have mine. (should read above 'condescendingly.) What Goff did is just plain wrong.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

1. Okay Simon, I await you publishing your email address, phone number and home address in these columns and everywhere else you post then. And I will rely on you to persuade "jigsaw" "Charles E" "JH" our regular (well jigsaw's case maybe not so much anymore) conservative commentors to do the same. Just as an experiment, you could go over the whale oil, post something that disagrees with his disgusting supporters, and give them your address/phone number as well. Jesus Christ, when someone is willing to ring up every person in the phonebook with my name so they can abuse my kid – fuck them. That takes dedication.

2. It's easy Hilary, all you have to do is get together a group of friends and fund the hiring of a hall somewhere. After all, that's what private enterprise is all about. The government does NOT owe you a platform. Particularly as I'll be paying for the security out of taxes no doubt. And when the hell did I condescendingly call you a shit weasel, neo-Nazi, amiable old buffer? Though I might now condescend to denigrate your reading comprehension.

Anonymous said...

The fear is that some truth will be spoken, and that it will resonate with people.

Civilisation is about the continual contest of truths - always has, always will be. Yours sounds nice but it may not equal mine.

You haven't stopped them, in fact you've strengthened them.

greywarbler said...

I like you have watched identity politics restrict open and reasonable discussion, replacing it with a set of indisputable certainties and a wall of aggression and control. Post modernism is something I grapple to get the meaning of. But I do see your point. I was surprised that you were fervent in supporting this sort of free speech. I

I am not sure that we can have waves of ideas representing negative thinking projected at us, and remain inviolate against all of them, not being drowned in a sea of words, and eventually fists. I think we are affected by and absorb whatever passes by us, and may find it is perceived by others in a different way than expected. As W.H. Auden cautioned in his poem, 1 September 1939
[How] To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street, And the lie of Authority

David George said...

The free speech issue and Goff's appalling attempt to ban speakers Southern and Molyneux has been somewhat overshadowed by opinion of the rights and wrongs of the would be speakers. Guerrilla Surgeons ridiculous attempt to claim they run around with fascist uniforms and flags for example. Perhaps he/she was confusing them with the Antifa thugs.

There is so much false information out there and the cause is just sloppy investigation. Don't rely on secondhand opinions and copy from the internet; most of it is wrong and the Google search engine is heavily and intentionally corrupted. You can always find something to confirm your bias and therein lies the danger.

It is vital to invest the time to view the subjects independently, never take the opinions or presented facts at face value. Fortunately you can see Molyneux and Southern in pure form and for free, there is no excuse for accepting other sources as the deluded and dangerous Goff appears to have done.
If this little kerfuffle has shown anything it's the huge problem of falsity infesting the web. Be aware!

jh said...

Sothern Poverty Law Center have a list of quotes

They wish us to see them and slam the door shut as do Goff and supporters

In his own words
“I don’t view humanity as a single species...”
—Podcast FDR2768, “Collective Guilt for Fun and Profit”, Saturday call-in show, August 9, 2014
I'm sure that is partly rhetorical but time and geography provide different selection environments. We shouldn't slam the door shut until we have heard the arguments.

But whether we like it or not, that line has already been crossed. A recent study led by the economist Daniel Benjamin compiled information on the number of years of education from more than 400,000 people, almost all of whom were of European ancestry. After controlling for differences in socioeconomic background, he and his colleagues identified 74 genetic variations that are over-represented in genes known to be important in neurological development, each of which is incontrovertibly more common in Europeans with more years of education than in Europeans with fewer years of education.
So how should we prepare for the likelihood that in the coming years, genetic studies will show that many traits are influenced by genetic variations, and that these traits will differ on average across human populations? It will be impossible — indeed, anti-scientific, foolish and absurd — to deny those differences.


sumsuch said...

61 comments! And your comment section still flips to the bottom. Talking about what matters however -- 2-3 days running 'The Daily Blog' hasn't mentioned the nurses' strike. Where else can the people's case be made except on the streets? That is where the 'budget responsibility rules' can be overturned. And the whole anti-demo-cratic state over-turned. It needs a revolution as acrid as the rich's in 1984.An almost violent re-taking of our country. 'The Left' is apparently fully occupied with side-shows.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"The fear is that some truth will be spoken, and that it will resonate with people."

Is it buggery. The truth is already out there, on dozens if not hundreds of YouTube videos and the like. Not that these people speak the truth anyway it's more what Stephen Colbert calls "Truthiness". There's a lot of that around in conservative circles.

"Guerrilla Surgeons ridiculous attempt to claim they run around with fascist uniforms and flags for example. "

Again – didn't say that. What is it about conservatives and reading comprehension. I said the alt right run around in pseudo-Nazi uniforms often. You can't seem to post images here but anyone with a couple of brain cells and access to Google can see them. And if they're not in pseudo-Nazi uniforms, they're draping themselves and Confederate flags like the arseholes they are. Are you telling me that these two have nothing to do with that? Yeah right.
Ah, but I discover I can link:

"We shouldn't slam the door shut until we have heard the arguments."

First of all, we are not slamming the door. As I said before, the government does not owe you a platform. You want to speak, find someone who is willing to give you one. And if you want to hear the arguments, go to YouTube – except I'm pretty sure you have. Although to be honest, the way you're posting these days their arguments make a damn sight more sense than yours and that's saying something.

Again – free speech simply means the government will not prosecute or persecute you for what you say. It's restricted more here more than it is in the US, but even in the US, they have no right to demand a platform from any government agency or private organisation. And while I might not necessarily agree with what Goff has done, he has every right to do it. And I'm sure that there are plenty of RWNJ's that would be willing to hire them a hall right?

Simon Cohen said...

Dear Guerrilla Surgeon,
But I am not asking you to publish any more than your name which is what I do.And in my comment I stated that in my opinion all commentators should use there names no matter what their political beliefs.
And I have no desire to read whaleoil or make any comments on his blog.
And you must have a particular form of paranoia if you believe that people will ring everyone in the phone book with your name to try and abuse your child.
I live in a relatively small NZ city and quite a number of people have commented on my posts to me and in the main they are courteous even when they are of a conservative bent and disagree with my left wing ideas.
And if you are worried about persecution for your beliefs perhaps you could reflect on the fact that all my grandparents and aunts and uncles perished in the hell of Auschwitz for their religion.That might put things into perspective for you.
That is why when you say that you prefer to call the alt right Nazis it really concerns me.
Because you obviously have no idea of what the Nazis were and what they are capable of.As repugnant as I find the beliefs of the alt right I could never call them Nazis.

Hilary Taylor said...

GS..I read your pieces, you should give me credit for that alone, whether I comprehended it or not. You had your label dispenser out for a grab-bag of 'others'& I 'found myself' included as I've been known to occasionally comment on other blogs. I was using the 'royal me', as it were...so many dengratory labels tossed about, you would say justifiably, I don't. I thought the facts were that Pellowe hired the council space, then the council decided they didn't like their cut of thir jib and reneged. You don't think thats an issue but I do. I don't see why council spaces should not be available to allcomers...assuming the hirers pay for security.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"I don't see why council spaces should not be available to allcomers...assuming the hirers pay for security."

Well that's something we can agree on then. But I am unsure about the security arrangements. AFAIK they are usually the responsibility of the venue, but I might be wrong about that. Even so, free speech does not mean everyone owes you a platform. That's one of the biggest misunderstandings – about the legal meaning of the term anyway.

I'm still not sure why you should include yourself in amiable old buffer or shit weasel, considering I carefully explained who I was referring to there.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"And you must have a particular form of paranoia if you believe that people will ring everyone in the phone book with your name to try and abuse your child."

It's not paranoia, when they tell you exactly that's what they have done, and when you come to think of it how on earth would they find me otherwise? There was no Facebook then, or if there was I certainly wasn't on it. There was no other way to do it. And several of them actually told me what they'd done. So fuck paranoia. And yes I do react strongly when someone attacks my family. Obviously the aim was not to abuse my child, but he happened to answer the phone, and answer yes to some question like "does your dad write letters to the paper?"
And this of course was before everyone is present on the net. Where people will say things that they will not say to your face.
I am not worried about persecution from beliefs. I am worried about exposing my family to the toxic behaviour that happens on various websites. And if you haven't seen any of this, you either haven't looked or you are very naïve. I suggest you Google "gamergate" to find out how disgusting something as silly as a dispute about computer games can get.



And if you don't believe that the alt right are Nazis then you are also naïve. This site won't let you post pictures, but here's a couple of links – have a look at the pictures and then tell me they're not Nazis. They try to disguise it, because they know the brand is toxic. Jesus wept, the Daily Stormer has a style guide which tells you how to minimise the impact of their anti-Semitism and general racism. If we're talking about who knows what about Nazis, I'd bet money you haven't read that. I have. :)

And don't tell me what I know or don't know about Nazis. My father fought them, I've studied them as part of my degree, and I keep a reasonably close eye on what they do today. You're worried about me calling them Nazis, I'm worried about you not doing so.

Anonymous said...

Utter nonsense.

Free speech does not require platforms nor is free speech violated if platforms are denied. They were told outright they could spew their nonsense elsewhere and refused. Free speech is the right to say what you want without prosecution. They have not been prosecuted, they were simply told that due to their history of racism, they were not going to get a government platform.

Learn what free speech is before you speak about it.

Houtman Abrolhos said...

Loved Chris's responses to the FIANZ guy on TV, a good defence of NZ values, against someone trying to narrow free speech down to a mockery. My family came here from Europe in 1951, with an acceptance that they would learn and adopt Kiwi culture, in exchange for freedoms and life, not available to them where they had come from.

greywarbler said...

Simon Cohen
Please do not quote Auschwitz to give you authority. I respect those who lost their lives there and in other camps and places, also the gypsies and many others. It doesn't make everything you say correct because you are related. We must keep thinking about world problems, but concentrate on the Nazis I think and try to leave their victims to rest.

jh said...

As Corin Dann pointed out by Goff's rationale Trump shouldn't/wouldn't be admitted. But also the Hitchen's brothers and Douglass Murray.

Simon Cohen said...

Dear Greywarbler,
I did not quote Auschwitz to give myself authority.
But to explain why I would never refer to someone as a Nazi.
But perhaps you have no such scruples. Guerrilla Surgeon definitely doesn't.
The most surprising thing I learned is that he has a degree.
I wonder in what.It definitely isn't history !!!!

Victor said...

Simon Cohen

I too lost much of my family in the Shoah and have reached the opposite conclusion to you.

Indeed, having studied National Socialism and its origins over many years and, more recently, spent time following the activities of the global Alt-Right, I have no doubts about the Nazi-like tendencies of some of them.

But, I agree, it would be unfair to land all of them with the Nazi label, as some of them are just fascists.

Should they be banned from speaking? No

Should public funds be spent on providing them with venues? Equally obviously, no.

Were I still an Auckland rate-payer, would I have objected to such a use of the facilities I was helping to fund? You bet!

Does that make me an enemy of free speech? No way!

And, by the way, your mishpochah (may they rest in peace) weren't murdered because of their religion but because of their race. As I'm sure you're aware, conversion to Christianity would not have saved them.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Er... Well actually I have several degrees and various other qualifications. Three of them postgraduate, and two of them in history. And I think I have shown that you are incorrect. Whatever your qualifications are Simon, they are obviously not in any area where you have to use evidence. Did you even read the links? Did you look at the pictures? Did you see the uniforms? If you did and you still come to the same conclusions that these are not Nazis, there is no hope. And I am saddened rather than angered. Perhaps you should listen to Victor.

Nick J said...

Simon, GS et al...What is it with this degree thing? I'm wondering about their worth, based upon empirical evidence. Let's face it, I've got degrees, so has Wayne Mapp. Add to that Dr Don Brash, and a whole pile of Treasury economists, hardly a recommendation is it?

In my commercial dealings I'm festooned with MBAs taught by theoretical academics. Generally we shut them up with wisdom based upon real world experience. I rest my case.

Victor said...


I too am saddened (and trying not to be angered) by the inversion of obvious morality displayed by the majority on this and other recent threads on this site.

And all, not over a genuine issue of free speech, but of mere (yes mere) platforming!

Congratulations to yourself and greywarbler for your retention of moral compass when others have clearly lost theirs entirely.

Speech has consequences. We might not experience these but, when hate speech flows, there might, for example, be a badly bruised child of Islamic heritage somewhere in New Zealand who will. And that's how it all starts.

David George said...

I wrote a piece concerning false and misleading information on the web and Guerrilla Surgeon counters it with false and misleading information from the web.
What is it with you ideologues?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Nick. When have I ever mentioned my degrees, except this once when someone expressed surprise that I have them. And of course the simple fact that I have studied fascism. And studying seems to me the only way to learn about fascism. Unless you want real-world experience?

Tom Hunter said...

And all, not over a genuine issue of free speech, but of mere (yes mere) platforming!

Thank goodness I'll never have to hear again from the Left all that moaning and bitching about....

The Hollywood blacklist – as the broader entertainment industry blacklist is generally known – was the practice of denying employment to screenwriters, actors, directors, musicians, and other American entertainment professionals during the mid-20th century because they were accused of having Communist ties or sympathies. Artists were barred from work on the basis of their membership, alleged membership in, or sympathy with the Communist Party USA, or their refusal to assist investigations into the party's activities.

Wonderful to now know that they were simply de-platformed. After all, they were still free to promulgate their communist beliefs through other means, like street corners. :)

Brendan McNeill said...

Dear Victor

As much as we must all be concerned about the hypothetical ‘badly bruised child of Islamic heritage somewhere in New Zealand’ that you posit in your post, we must not allow those in your presumed and somewhat exceptional circumstances to shape our policy on free speech.

It is statistically probable that your hypothetical child is themselves a victim of Islamic violence. The facts tell us that Muslims are most at risk from the predations of Islam in all its forms.

What we offer in the West, is the ability to allow sunlight into those dark aspects of Islam that many of its adherents would seek to shield through blasphemy laws. Laws designed to prohibit any public criticism of Islam.

The best thing we can do for Muslims, and for those of us who still believe that western civilization is worth defending, is to allow free speech to disinfect the public square from all ideologies that could potentially do us harm regardless of their origins, religious or otherwise.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"I wrote a piece concerning false and misleading information on the web and Guerrilla Surgeon counters it with false and misleading information from the web.
What is it with you ideologues?"

It's getting difficult to reply without insulting my own intelligence here. But where is my information misleading? It's also getting difficult to reply without insulting yours Kiwi Dave, because you don't seem to have read my posts at all. Put up or shut up.

Nick J said...

Victor, it would worry me if I was to have to decide between free speech and platforming. Where is the line? Do you trust your own judgement and impartiality?

Nick J said...

I'm not surprised you have degrees, they are today common as, though we both probably got ours when they were rarer. I've got cynical about their worth as a consequence, and when Brash has a doctorate, nuff said.

Victor said...

Tom Hunter

You're just being obtuse. Black-listed artists could not work anywhere in the US, even if their work had nothing to do with their opinions or vice versa . These two can articulate their opinions anywhere ...but just not on a specific publicly-supplied space.


I don't know where to begin to answer your post. Hostility towards other races and religions often leads to violence. That's one of the main reasons why it's wrong and should be discouraged. One of the places such hostility most quickly manifests itself is in the way children treat each other. What's so difficult about that?

Brendan McNeill said...

Dear Victor

There is nothing in my response to you that advocated hostility towards other races or religions. What I am saying is that we must not avoid speaking truthfully simply because others may be offended.

Jesus spoke truthfully, and many were offended at him. Many still are.

There are times when the greater offense is to remain silent when we ought to speak up. Yet this is where have landed as a culture. Far too many of us consider it better to remain silent in the face of evil than to speak up and risk causing offense.

We have made a virtue out of cowardice.

We advocate intolerance (of free speech) in the name of tolerance.

War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.

If we are to avoid an Orwellian dystopia, we need to maintain free speech in the public square, and to call out any politician or ‘peace activists’ who impose censorship by decree or threat of force.

Tom Hunter said...

You're just being obtuse.
And you're just being sophistric in defending the usual Leftist double standard. In fact those black-listed artists continued to work in fringe theatre and the like - or on street corners as I suggested.

It would be lovely to go back in time and shw the following cartoon - all the rage in Lefty online circles recently - to the Blacklisted communists and their Freedom of Speech screeching supporters that I mistakenly extended good will towards for so many years by thinking that they held a principled, single standard.
Frames - 3-6
If you're yelled at, boycotted, have your show cancelled, or get banned from an internet community, your free speech rights aren't being violated.

It's just that the people listening think you're an asshole

And they're showing you the door

Good to know that this now also applies to public spaces. All I have to do is get a right-winger elected mayor of Auckland, cancel a few Leftist "controversialists" (for example, somebody advocating that diversity of opinion is just "white supremacist bullshit - see the "Inconvenient Truth About Free Speech Denialism" thread), and there will be silence on your part.

Are you sure you'll like your new rules?

sumsuch said...

Free speech, but not the rule of the people exercises people? Why we lost it. Unlike Scandinavia. We fought for 'freedom and democracy' in WW 2. Mostly as an immediate motto in the desperate situance of an endangered Empire. Freedom comes from demo-cracy, for which my namesake uncle died and his namesake Scots cousin (only child).

John Hurley said...

The internet responds

John Hurley said...

You are right about them not having answers Chris

Timothy Garton Ash says fascist should be used as an adjective with a noun [Fascist behaviour]
I suppose that should apply to Racist.
Simon Cohen called me a racist but wouldn't front up with an example of what I said?