Sunday 12 August 2018

Checkmate In Two Years?

Checkmate: The impending political crisis over free speech threatens at least two of the multiple players currently engaged on New Zealand’s political chessboard. For Labour and the Greens it may already be too late to protect themselves from the moves of their opponents. For National and NZ First, however, a path to electoral victory in 2020 beckons.

A CHESS GRAND-MASTER can discern the future direction of the game from the way the pieces on the board are configured. He is thus able to predict the moves of his opponent with considerable accuracy. In some instances, he will be able to identify a path to victory that cannot be blocked. When both players see this path, the doomed King is laid flat and the game is over.

The impending political crisis over free speech threatens at least two of the multiple players currently engaged on New Zealand’s political chessboard. For Labour and the Greens it may already be too late to protect themselves from the moves of their opponents. For National and NZ First, however, a path to electoral victory in 2020 beckons.

The passions aroused by the recent visit of two Canadian right-wing provocateurs, Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux, are evidence of deep cultural tensions within New Zealand society.

Superficially, these tensions appear to be generated by powerful disagreements over what freedom of speech actually means. Those who regard free speech as an indispensable precondition for any functioning democracy pit themselves against those who consider the whole concept to be a mere rhetorical flourish: a principle promoted by dominant groups for no better reason than to maintain their economic, social and cultural privilege.

At a deeper level, however, the controversy threw into sharp relief the ideological contours of twenty-first century New Zealand. Multiculturalism was exposed as something much more than an academic buzzword. What Southern and Molyneux made clear, by opposing it so openly and aggressively, is that multiculturalism has become our official state ideology.

There’s a saying, often attributed to Voltaire, which declares: “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise.” The free speech controversy, by identifying multiculturalism as the concept Kiwis are not allowed to critique without drawing down the unrelenting wrath of its state-sanctioned and supported defenders, has caused many citizens to wonder when and how “nationalism” and “biculturalism” became dirty words.

The answer is bound up with New Zealand’s – or, at least “official” New Zealand’s – wholesale embrace of neoliberalism and globalisation. A country whose elites have signed-up to an economic philosophy based on the free movement of goods, capital and labour: the three fundamental drivers of globalisation; is more or less obliged to adopt multiculturalism as it core social philosophy.

Old fashioned New Zealand nationalism, and its more recent offshoot “biculturalism”, were products of a country which saw itself as offering something uniquely and positively its own to the rest of the world. It is probable that a substantial majority of Kiwis still subscribe to this notion (although a significant minority still struggle with the concept of biculturalism).

What the free speech controversy of the past four weeks revealed to New Zealanders was that too forthright an expression of cultural nationalism can result in the persons advocating such notions being branded xenophobic or racist – and even to accusations of being a white supremacist, fascist or Nazi.

The battle for free speech cannot, therefore, be prevented from extending out into a broader discussion over whether or not New Zealanders have the right to reject the downsides of neoliberalism, globalisation and multiculturalism. Is it any longer possible to advance the radically nationalistic idea that the nature and future of New Zealand is a matter which New Zealanders alone must decide, without finding oneself pilloried on Twitter or banned from the nation’s universities?

Returning to our chess analogy, it is possible to foresee that in the months ahead NZ First will find itself feeling more and more alienated from the radical multiculturalists in Labour and the Greens. The sharper the free speech debate becomes, the more likely it is that Winston Peters and his fellow “fetishizers of New Zealandness” will find themselves branded purveyors of “hate speech” by the Red and Green pieces on the political chessboard.

If National refuses to take the lead role in upholding free speech, then the chances are high that a new political party dedicated to defending New Zealanders’ rights and freedoms will start placing additional pieces on the chessboard. The sheer venom (and violent protests) such a party would be bound to attract from the Ctrl-Left would very soon lift its support above the 5 percent MMP threshold.

Checkmate in two years.

This essay was originally published in The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 10 August 2018.


peteswriteplace said...

You may find that the Act Party may try and manoeuvre itself into the role you suggest.However, most of what you have written is an exaggeration. The two Canadians just overstayed their welcome. Kiwis are not really interested in their message. However we need to sort out this so-called biculturalism. We are a multicultural and bilingual country. As soon as the Waitangi Tribunal can sort out the existing land problems it is mandated to do, make itself redundant and let us get on with the process of uniting our society.

Sanctuary said...

Give it a rest already.

Kat said...

Its has been clearly very obvious that if the current political parties remain the same then National will have to deliver a FPP win in 2020 to become the govt. That is highly unlikely and most political commentators share that view. National have set out to destroy NZ First who understandably have no plans or desire to be in bed with National anytime soon. The Greens are not even a consideration. Act is a dismal one man band going nowhere. Therefore the only way for National to get back into power sooner than later is to have a coalition partner either over the 5% threshold or an electorate seat at least by 2023. That means a new party has to be on the horizon to provide a new mate for National. That is one reason why the National opposition so vehemently opposes the Electoral Integrity Amendment Bill before the house at present. National will also be championing democracy and free speech with volume to assist its new mate party to gain a footing and any day soon will be warning the hard working and good people of Hobbitsville that the Cossack's are coming.

John Hurley said...

Hate speech is out but love speech is in and telling us the news is good, good and good

Real wages in tourism and hospitality have been falling since the 1970's.
Increased diversity leads to a reduction in social cohesion in the large majority of studies.
I can see lots of houses but have yet to see Silicon valley.
Christchurch had it's environmental assets in the 1950's with half it's population (50% of the population cycled).

John Hurley said...

Politics are getting way down to the molecular level. Watch this video from about 1:27?

Unknown said...

Sorry I meant this video [1:27]

pat said...

I think you are correct about the underlying cause though Im not sure I agree with your conclusion, however it does explain Nationals luke warm positioning.

Curiously those most vocal about 'hate speech' are generally the same those loudest about the inequality the globalisation model has exacerbated...go figure.

I suspect if any new party is to form prior to the next election it is unlikely to meet the threshold regardless of its positioning and the next election will be decided largely on the state of the economy and how it is impacting the this incumbency confers advantage and things would have to turn considerably for that advantage to be lost.

John Hurley said...

NZ First has never got anywhere because it has always been shot down by the media and intellectuals. For example Paul Spoonley and Marcus Lush "we've got our argument back". Mr Brown asked "will they (a whole swag of Asians) fit in?". Now Paul Spoonley asks: "Are local voters prepared to see a candidate who might be a different ethnicity to themselves, as a suitable representative to themselves ? " (i.e the sort who wouldn't fit in)? Apparently that was the plan all along.

In the US a group of Californian writers who could see what is happening to California turned the Republican Party. People such as Victor Davis Hansen and Steve Sailer. Steve Sailer is credited with Donald Trumps strategy of appealing to the white working class rather than Hispanics.

"Perhaps the Sailerist idea most closely echoed by the Trump movement is “citizenism,” which he describes as the philosophy that a nation should give overwhelming preference to the interests of its current citizens over foreigners, in the same way as a corporation prioritizes the interests of its current shareholders over everyone else. Effectuating this philosophy — putting “Americans First,” as he put it in 2006—would, according to Sailer, require a draconian reduction in immigration levels.
Most liberals would take issue with citizenism as reactionary, and perhaps see it as a closeted form of the white nationalism openly championed by many bloggers on the alt-right. Yet Sailer describes citizenism as the best possible bulwark against ethnonationalist impulses. In Sailer’s view, people are naturally inclined to pursue “ethnic nepotism” — that is, to help those like themselves at the expense of those who are not. The goal of citizenism, therefore, is to redirect these energies by providing a more expansive definition of “us” than the race or tribe."

Chris Morris said...

You left out a very big and realistic possibility Kat. If both NZF and Greens get below 5%, NZ goes back to being only two parties in Parliament and National having maybe 60% of the seats. National then doesn't need a coalition partner and any new party that has to form will cannibalise Labour as Winston will be too old and the Greens will split into the green and red factions.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"too forthright an expression of cultural nationalism can result in the persons advocating such notions being branded xenophobic or racist – and even to accusations of being a white supremacist, fascist or Nazi."

And unfortunately some of them are. You lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

Jack Scrivano said...

I had known my friend Ron for more than 35 years before I discovered that he was born in Wales. ‘I thought that you were a born and bred Kiwi,’ I said.

He told me that when his family had arrived in New Zealand, sometime back in the ‘60s, his parents had told him: ‘You now live in another country. Be proud of your Welsh heritage, but learn to be a Kiwi.’ And so he did. The fact that he already spoke English and loved rugby probably helped. But there was never any question that he was going to show Kiwis how to do things the Welsh way.

I have never understood why people come to live in New Zealand and expect to make it like wherever they have come from. Join the tribe; be the tribe. The great big melting pot is a myth.

David Stone said...

"Multiculturalism" or wholesale immigration goes hand in hand with financial globalism. Half of the equation is moving industry to low -wage low industrial safety regulated countries; the other half is importing cheap labour from poorer countries who will put up with pay and conditions that the local work force have left in the past.
Most of the cries for being generous to immigrants seek to depict them as refugees, but we take in only a tiny number of refugees. There would be a moral argument for allowing in many more with far more justification than those we do welcome.
The last month of discussion about free speech; esp. that of Southern and Molyenux , has almost entirely left out identifying exactly what they have been saying and specifically countering it, despite repeated claims that the best way of dealing with their offensive messages is to do just that. The approach of the majority chorus to silence them is not clear counter-argument but rant. The impression could be left that people don't actually have good arguments to bring to the debate.
What could put it to rest might be for their philosophical opponents to invite them back. Not for a platform for themselves alone, but for a moderated debate where both side's experts (including Phil Goff) get equal speaking time and equal opportunity of reply.
I suspect they would jump at the opportunity and the original promoters would do better out of the event than what has
been canceled.

Anonymous said...

Still love your St Jacinda govt, Chris? Don't see her upholding anything, nor Winston First. Opportunitst snake he is.


Sam said...

Jacinda was installed to manage a crises and lead Labour above 30%. She's done that and the crises is over. We can argue about what triggered the crises, business confedince, economic reforms, demotic reforms, what ever. I recall Metiria when asked did she smoke marijuana by a reporter, Metiria replied yes. That changed the game for the left as they where constantly pushing this giant nothing burger up hill. And that seems to mark the lefts ambitions of pushing giant policy up over the 50% mark. Where as on New Zealand's right, they don't even try to lift.

rouppe said...

@David Stone: The opportunity was already there. Molyneux and Southern always said they welcomed questions in a Q&A at the end of their event. Notwithstanding that the power always favours the stage, their opponents didn't want to debate them, they simply wanted to shut them down.

You can't blame Molyneux and Southern for their being no debate, that blame rests squarely with those opponents of free speech that are too frightened of hearing ideas not aligned with their world view.

As for Chris's post, it's possible but it would be difficult for such a party to gain traction in the face of the inevitable hate that would be poured on it. People would be too afraid to be associated with it, despite it being necessary in a society rapidly falling into Ctrl-Left fascism

David George said...

The Prime Minister's directive on how NZers think is surely offensive to many - whether it reflects a childish naivety or is a reflection of her totalitarian tendencies it's a no win position. The MSM appear to have her back for now but they are obviously both offside with a large number of perfectly reasonable Kiwis. As an example it was highly enlightening to see how TVNZ severely edited the M&S interview to show them in the worst possible light. Fortunately the full thing was independently filmed.
A study of the disastrous history of true multiculturalism should raise serious concerns over it's promotion here. Fortunately we don't yet have it in NZ to any significant extent - we have a Kiwi culture overlayed with a taste of various cultures and a general trend towards a totally common culture. What sort of idiotic thinking is behind total immersion Maori language schools and why would any government with any long term vision promote such a thing?
Those with a separatist driven agenda (European, Maori, Islamist, whatever) are doing the social cohesion of this country a great deal of long term harm. It's never worked and never will.

Unknown said...

Go to a marae and say that

Kat said...

@Chris Morris, you are assuming that if NZ First and the Greens both fall below 5% then the lost percentage either does not vote or votes for National. The conundrum for Labour is if its support goes up it will most likely be at the expense of the Greens, should the Greens dip below 5%. The challenge for Labour is to take votes off National not the Greens. The challenge for National is to stay in the 40% up to the next election. A new party on the right would be looking to take votes from NZ First and by default National but then on a party/candidate split so National would not lose out in the big picture. National will be looking to take votes from Labour and that in my view appears at this point the best scenario for National getting back into power.

KJT said...

I see too many who are unable to see the irony in National "championing" "free speech".

The party that has blackmailed University staff, welfare recipients, state servants, journalists, statisticians, and many ordinary citizens, into silence.

Where were they when Mike Joy was being silenced, as Jones is suing a Maori lady for speaking up, as Hone was refused speaking rights in Auckland, because Young National members threatened to disrupt it, or when Bennett was blackmailing beneficiaries into silence.

Bridges supporting "Freedom of Speech" is the height of opportunistic hypocrisy.

The lefts "own goal", in giving Brash, and the two Canadian nut jobs, free publicity doesn't help, however.

Anonymous said...

Guerilla Surgeon said...
And unfortunately some of them are. You lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.
"Check this sook out"
"Needs to harden up,i been out nth Queensland in the 80s pub had a sign no blacks above the door!And the patrons were all Mick Taylor look alikes and had firm ideas on women,wogs,and 'blacks'!"
You would lump us all with them.

Daniel Copeland said...

One can accept that free speech is "an indispensable precondition for any functioning democracy", and yet see that letting every loudmouth hog the microphone for as long as they want isn't genuinely free speech for anyone but the biggest loudmouth. That being the case, free speech requires judicious moderation in order to stay free.

However timely calls for free speech might be, they don't settle the question of whether Mayor Phil Goff's decision to deny Southern and Molyneux the Bruce Mason Centre falls within the remit of such judicious moderation.

Geoff Fischer said...

Multiculturism goes back a long way, at least to the foundations of the Roman Empire, and it has always been associated with imperialism. A century back New Zealand children were given picture books with colour plates of "Peoples of the British Empire". Indians wearing sari, Inuits in seal fur coats, Maori in piupiu and korowai, smiling and happy, secure in the peace and prosperity of the British empire. This multiculturalism flourished under a British sovereign, British law, British commerce and British industry all conducted in the English language.
This same imperial ideal can be seen in the contemporary religious imagery of the Jehovah's Witness faith. Contented families in their national dress walking upon a paradise earth while the great God Jehovah and Christ his appointed King sit enthroned in the heavens regulating all that goes on below.
So what does "multicultural diversity" amount to? National dress to be worn for ceremonial occasions, national languages to be spoken in the home, and national religions to be tolerated so long as they are subordinate to British law (as they had been to Roman law two millennia before).
But there is a shadow side to imperial multi-culturalism. The empire moved Tamils to Sri Lanka to pick tea, Indians to Fiji to cut sugar cane, Chinese to Malaya to tap rubber, Scots to Canada to reap wheat, English to South Africa to supervise the diamond mines, Irish and Welsh to New Zealand to cut timber, milk cows and shear sheep. As the empire expanded there was friction between indigenous and migrant peoples, and when it collapsed there was bloody conflict. Multiculturalism was a fine concept for a global empire in its ascendance but no sound basis for the nation states into which the empire devolved.
When the reign of global capitalism ends and liberalism is exhausted, multiculturalism reveals itself as at best a theatric performance of ethnic dances in national costume, and at worst a sinister caste system in which various ethnic groups predominate in the ranks of the police, the military, civil service, farming, horticulture, commerce, medicine, teaching, information technology and so on. The story of biculturalism is no different in principle, and is well revealed in the imagery of the New Zealand coat of arms.
There are a number of ways in which nations deal with the collapse of empire. Unificiation, partitition and confederation are three of the options. New Zealand First stands for "unification", which is really the continuation of the basic principles of empire once the empire itself has gone, the kind of hangover that survived at various places on the outskirts of the Roman empire after the centre had been destroyed. Partition, and its illegitimate sibling secession, tend to be bitter and bloody - think al Nakba, the partition of India, the Irish rebellion and the Tamil revolt in Sri Lanka. Brexit and Trump are a less obvious expression of this process of separation and partition that accompanies the breakdown of empire, while China attempts to take on the role of the Byzantine defender of imperial values.
The question for New Zealand is whether unification will be possible, and if so, at what cost. Unification in the post-imperial era requires authoritarian rule, of the kind that Lee Kuan Yew imposed on Singapore. Some form of confederation would seem to be a gentler and more constructive solution to the problems that New Zealand will face if or when imperialism suffers a major collapse. (Comment terminated at this point because over-length)

Geoff Fischer said...

(continued from comment above)
Confederation seems similar to imperial multiculturalism but in fact it is radically different. Freely taken up, rather than imposed by force. Moving towards kotahitanga rather than teetering on the edge of ethnic violence. Switzerland rather than Palestine.
For the present, the liberal multicultural ideology of global capitalism continues to dominate in New Zealand and throughout the world, but critical analysis of multiculturalism undermines the ideological foundations of global capitalism, and that is one reason why Mr Goff and Ms Thomas called a stop to it.
Goff is the mayor of New Zealand's most multicultural city. Thomas heads a major multicultural educational institution. Both Goff and Thomas are personally committed to multiculturalism and the cause of global capitalism. They fear attacks upon multiculturalism for the sake of the institutions which they serve, and they are not wrong to do so. The threat to them is more real and immediate than it is to the mayors of other towns, the leaders of central government, and the general public and that is why Goff and Thomas have largely acted alone.
So the regime as a whole has not attempted to gag Southern, Molyneux or Brash, and still purports (quite falsely) to stand behind the free speech principle. It is actually waiting to see which way the cookie crumbles. For the time being and for its own purposes it is willing to allow a debate. Will the world return to its pre-Trump state? Or has it changed, as the pundits like to say, "forever"? On the answer to that question depends which side the regime will support, and until it knows which is the winning side it must allow the debate to proceed.
Meanwhile the situation shifts by the day. It will not stay where it is, with isolated provocateurs trying to incite communal tensions, and out-of-step institutional leaders trying to forcibly suppress ideological attacks upon capitalist multiculturalism.
The multicultural consensus is breaking down globally, and New Zealand is a case of the part imitating the whole. The "security chiefs" (heads of the Security Intelligence Service, GCSB and the New Zealand Defence Force) who are closely tied to the Trump administration in the US, have deemed that the security relationship with the US must over-ride New Zealand's twin commitments to global capitalism and domestic multiculturalism.
In my own view the multicultural consensus is breaking down irretrievably. Goff and Thomas do not have an answer to the dilemma. Neither do the security chiefs of the regime. Certainly Brash, Southern and Molyneux do not. Yet the answer is simple enough. We must shake loose from the bonds of the empire, re-establish and reinvigorate our native institutions and freely unite as one people.

Sam said...

As migrants to New Zealand from the Pacific, Asia and Middle East increase, while at the same time migrants to New Zealand from Europe to decrease, non-Māori New Zealanders will become increasingly uncomfortable as more and more brown people take up the lower level Mc Jobs that pakeha used to do. It's got nothing to do with access to free-speech at all, and everything to do with what brown people may do with industrial power and wages.

Pacific Islanders running from climate change have had nothing to do with the causes.

Asians running from the effects of globalisation has had nothing to do with the causes.

Middle easterners running from war have had nothing to do with it.

Multiculturalism, as long as it's white Christians is fine. But as soon as some one deviates even a little bit then it all comes out. That a large majority consistently fails to govern alone under MMP can not pull minority groups to there side. Tolerance as Eisenhower new it would have irreversible effects on New Zealand and world politics.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"You would lump us all with them."
To the extent that you freely associate with them, as Southern and Molyneux do. To the extent that you make no attempt to distance yourself from them. To the extent that you legitimise them by doing neither of these things then – yes I do.

John Hurley said...

On RNZ facebook Southern and Molyneux are suggesting patrons forgo a refund 417 comments. Alliance wants to bring in 100 workers from overseas 8 comments. Where are Te Magnificent Maori and the other SJW's?

David George said...

In reply to "unknown".
I am more than happy to discuss my opinions with anyone, they're not dependent on the approval of others.
I believe that Maori today are leading what is basically a kiwi lifestyle with a Maori flavour. Essentially; a common language,values, dress, heroes, leisure, employment etc. as well as high levels of friendship and intermarriage between the cultures. The commonality of culture may be more apparent here in Northland.
I believe that's a good thing and attempts to create difference are not a good idea and history certainly bares that out. It's good to value and respect your traditions but important to not become separate; that's one of the things that concern me greatly with the Muslim fundamentalists where things like intermarriage and acceptance of others is explicitly rejected. I have Maori ancestry (the formidable Hongi Hika no less) but don't consider myself Maori or have any great affinity for the culture but good on those who do. I just don't like to see any aspect of their identity dominate, to see yourself as Maori first and New Zealander second is not a good idea IMHO.

John Hurley said...

Geoff Fischer said...
Multiculturism goes back a long way, at least to the foundations of the Roman Empire
I don't think so. This is top down and not done for the good of the people but for a Utopian world (ignoring the one-way feature of the exchange of peoples)

Will Kymlicka is the invisible Jordan Peterson
" He is a most trusted intellectual ostensibly standing above petty motives and crass interests. He is arguably the best connected and best funded academic in Canada, regularly producing papers commissioned by government agencies and corporations, including Forum of Federations, ICCS, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Transatlantic Council on Migration."

"What he welcomes are group rights that afford immigrant minorities “external protections” against majority decisions and that provide minorities with the cultural resources to enhance their opportunities for individual success within the “dominant” societal culture. These include policies that end discrimination, affirmative action, exemption from some rules that violate religious practices, and public funding of cultural practices."

"There are two fundamental contradictions in Kymlicka’s theory. The first one is that Kymlicka ignores altogether the cultural identity and the national rights of the “societal culture” of the majority English Canadians."

"The second major problem in Kymlicka, and with the entire project of immigrant multiculturalism, is the assumption that Western nations, if they are to live up to their liberal principles, must be open to mass immigration and diverse ethnic groups"

The Social Psychology of Social (Dis)harmony: Implications for Political Leaders and Public Policy
Luisa Batalha, Katherine J. Reynolds & Emina Subasic
Australian National University

"This work thus suggests that for multiculturalism to succeed identities need to be transformed. And, importantly, as Kymlicka suggests, this transformation applies not only to the minority but also to the majority. Indeed, perhaps the major identity transformation is required from members of the majority as their attributes are, as a rule, the same as the ones that define the national identity. Minorities need to be written into the self-definition of the national identity such as to imbue them with existential legitimacy as citizens in parity with the majority."

Such civic definitions serve to place the majority group as a sub-group within the system of intergroup relations,which allows for a new identity to emerge. Legitimacy and status as members of the new community are then less likely to be defined by ethnicity. Such civic based definitions also shape sub-group relations such that ethnically-defined difference becomes less relevant to the community as a whole.

Implications for Social Policy
Moreover, there needs to be an institutionalisation of the public discourse as in line with terms outlined by Parekh (2006).

Anonymous said...

And now Peters is gunning for the Maori seats. The nats'll be lovin' it.

Daniel Copeland said...

Once again I have written a blog post of my own answering this one, since the answer is a bit too long for a comment. Very Rarely Stable: In defence of multiculturalism