Friday 10 August 2018

How The New Zealand Left Transformed Southern And Molyneux From Unknown Rightists Into Free Speech Heroes.

From Right-Wing Moles To Free Speech Mountains: Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux were confident that all they needed to do to spread their ideas in New Zealand was announce their intention of staging an event. The Left could be relied upon to do the rest.

WHAT A PITY there is no “Politburo” of the New Zealand Left. A central committee of knowledgeable and experienced left-wing strategists and organisers who could make decisions on behalf of the wider progressive movement. Had such a body existed when the news of the impending visit of Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux broke, then what happened next would have been very different.

The Politburo would have perused the available information on the Canadian duo and very quickly realised that the best course of action for the New Zealand Left was to do absolutely nothing. No media releases. No posters. No protests. Certainly no threats to disrupt the speakers’ public meetings. In response to Southern and Molyneux, the New Zealand Left would do precisely zero, zip, nada, nothing.

Why? Because even a cursory glance at Southern’s and Molyneux’s modus operandi would have alerted the Politburo to the fact that protests and threats of disruption were absolutely indispensable to the success of the pair’s political touring. 

Without the threats of disruption from Peace Action Auckland, the Auckland Council would have had no grounds for denying Southern and Molyneux access to the Bruce Mason Theatre in Takapuna (along with every other council venue in Auckland!) on health and safety grounds. The meeting would have taken place and, if the Canadians were lucky, they might have merited a few brief paragraphs in the NZ Herald. Most Kiwis would have remained blissfully unaware that Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux even existed.

If provocateurs fail to provoke, do they make any sound at all?

We’ll never know. Because, of course, the New Zealand Left does not have a Politburo to provide it with sagacious strategic advice. It is a wild, anarchic melange of individuals and groups, united only by the fierce conviction that all those who challenge the phantasmagoria of sectional sensitivities which constitute the contemporary “progressive” movement must ipso facto be fascists whose every public utterance, being “hate speech”, must be suppressed – by any means necessary.

Knowing this, Southern and Molyneux would have been confident that all they needed to do to spread their ideas in New Zealand was announce their intention to hold a meeting. The Left could be relied upon to do the rest.

That the Canadians’ first infusion of power came from the Mayor of New Zealand’s largest city must, however, have struck them as more than usually fortuitous. Phil Goff’s naked assertion of the right to determine what the citizens of Auckland could and could not hear was bound to rouse the defenders of free expression to action. Better and better! Southern and Molyneux could now count on tens-of-thousands of New Zealanders googling their names and watching their YouTube channels.

The next step was to begin the game of “will they or won’t they be able to secure a private venue?”. With social media crackling with ideological thrust and counter-thrust and “anti-fascist” coalitions being announced, the next phase of the propaganda operation was ready to unfold.

It was a phase Southern and Molyneux could hardly lose. Either the secured venue would stand firm against the inevitable threats and the meeting would go ahead. Or, the venue’s owners would be subjected to such intolerable pressure that the meeting was cancelled. If the former eventuated, then it would inevitably attract hundreds, if not thousands, of screaming left-wing protesters. If it was cancelled, the Canadians could present themselves as the victims of left-wing intimidation. Either way, the mainstream news media would feel obligated to step into the story.

Which, with the Powerstation’s decision to first hire out, and then deny, its facilities to the duo, is exactly what happened.

Had the proposed meeting at the Bruce Mason Theatre gone ahead without incident, Southern and Molyneux would have been able to preach to, at most, 800 already converted enthusiasts. As they wing their way back to Canada, however, they will be congratulating themselves on being presented to the tens-of-thousands of Kiwis watching the television current affairs programme “Sunday” in prime-time.

Many socially-conservative New Zealanders, seeing the Canadians for the first time, will doubtless have wondered how anyone could be offended by two such telegenic and articulate individuals. The stridency of their opponents, by contrast, must have appeared strange – even slightly sinister.

Had it ever been the intention of the Left and its kindred souls in the Human Rights Commission to extend and strengthen New Zealand’s laws against “hate speech”, then its fruitless attempts to suppress the views of Southern and Molyneux can only have rendered such an exercise significantly more difficult.

The debate stirred up by the repeated denial of both public and private stages to the pair on account of threats and intimidation has placed the issue of free speech squarely on New Zealand’s political agenda. The Left will find it much harder, now, to sell its arguments in favour of limiting New Zealanders right to free expression that would have been the case if Southern and Molyneux had simply been allowed to come and go without incident.

The Powerstation, Auckland, graffitied.

The person who sprayed graffiti on the Powerstation’s walls over the weekend described Southern’s and Molyneux’s foray into New Zealand politics as the “FREE SPEECH - EULOGY TOUR”. Given that eulogies are only pronounced over the dead, the graffitist is clearly someone who believes the Left has either already killed free speech, or is intending to do so in the near future.

He, or she, is wrong on both counts.

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Tuesday, 7 August 2018.


Patricia said...

This free speech thing is fine but surely there is a limit? The extreme is shouting fire in a packed theatre and the mildest is that you don’t like whatever. There are many free speech statements in between that if allowed to be repeated can, over time, cause a lot of damage. People are easily led and influenced as history and politics has shown and is showing.

Chris Morris said...

That misquote, and a partial one at that, shows that people don't think through the implications of it. Here is the history of that case
I think Chris (the blog host) has made some very valid points that society needs to take a big think about.

Anonymous said...

Here is a good illustration of what happens when those opposing racists/ fascists protesters don't think

Michael Johnston said...

The appropriate limits are direct and credible threats of, or incitements to, violence and speech, such as in the packed theatre example, that is likely to endanger people in the immediate term. Anything beyond that becomes all too easy to use for the purposes of political censorship and also runs a risk of inhibiting people from formulating and debating ideas. The fact that some people will abuse free speech for the purpose of hurting others is a price we have to pay for a free society. The redress for that is for people of goodwill to robustly defend the targets of that abuse whenever it occurs.

John Hurley said...

the best course of action for the New Zealand Left was to do absolutely nothing. No media releases. No posters. No protests. Certainly no threats to disrupt the speakers’ public meetings. In response to Southern and Molyneux, the New Zealand Left would do precisely zero, zip, nada, nothing.
That was Colin Peacocks message on Mediawatch Hmmmmm!??? (of course correlation doesn't equal causality).

The internet has done it's own Mediawatch

Anonymous said...

The law already sets the limits. No need for Phil Goff to set different limits, or the crazies in Auckland Peace Action to set mad limits they made up themselves.

John Hurley said...

Dear John,

The MediaWorks Standards Committee is responsible for considering formal complaints about MediaWorks’ online news content, and deciding whether or not it complied with the Principles set out by the New Zealand Media Council.

Your complaint relates to a video created by a third-party and published by Youtube. MediaWorks is only required to consider complaints about content published by MediaWorks. Therefore, we are not required to accept your complaint.

[actually that's not true I complain about the original content accurately portrayed by modern technology]

In any event, we are satisfied that The Project material you referred to in your complaint complied with the Media Council’s Principle of Accuracy, Fairness and Balance.

Discussing Canadian right-wing personality Lauren Southern’s attempts to prevent a refugee ship from docking in Sicily, presenter Jesse Mulligan stated:“She says that women and children would be better to die than come into Europe”.

The Committee has determined that Mr Mulligan did not quote something Ms Southern had actually said, but rather inferred her views from her actions. Having considered Ms Southern’s actions, we are satisfied that Mr Mulligan's characterisation of her views was accurate.

Kind regards,

Robert Dowd

For the MediaWorks Standards Committee

That's the media for you.

Slugger said...

I understand Southern is a university drop-out.

How is she an authority on anything?

llloyd said...

I think you are a bit wrong there. I just checked Webster. Eulogy, good speech, is for those alive and dead. The correct word for a lament for the dead is elegy.

Nick J said...

As a graduate many years ago, my observation is that authority is earned, not gifted because you passed an exam. People who front issues others are scared to address become authorities by default as the sheep run away. Academics hide behind robes, activists avoid unsafe spaces, Southern faces the issues. She becomes the authority on unicorns because she is the only person to see one.

Nick J said...

John Hurley, well done for pursuing this one. Yes that is the media for you. Fortunately we have currently diverse sources from the web to make our own decisions from.

Those sources are now under attack by censorship. It is all becoming very Orwellian.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

These people court controversy. It's the way they make their living. Without it you don't get those idiots clicking on your YouTube channel. Well, not in politics anyway. And they would have found a way to get themselves in the papers and other media, because the actual job of the media is to make money rather than inform the public, and they would have lapped it up one way or another. It would have been nice of the media to ignore them, but if it gets clicks they can't do it.

thesorrowandthepity said...

"The Left will find it much harder, now, to sell its arguments in favour of limiting New Zealanders right to free expression"
The problem with the left is that it can't see through all of its 'good intentions' to realise the honest truth that they're blindly skipping & dancing down a dark Orwellian path of their own making.
multiculturalism has become a deity to the left; to question it brings forth the sort of visceral reaction one would associate with members of a religious cult, & in a sense multiculturalism is a cult.
As evidenced in Paddy Gower's 3rd rate interview attempts, the cult followers of the left have chanted the mantras for so long, that they're incapable of understanding the difference between the concepts of a multiracial society, & a multcultural one.
To see the results of making any discussion of multi culturalism 'Haram,' we only need to look at the push of Salafist groups in the UK, who describe female genital mutilation as a "good & honourable practice", of forced child marriages, sharia courts within some communities & of course grooming gangs.
Ordinary NZers have actually been done a good service by our local social Marxists. They've been able to see them on the news as the screaming self deluded crazies that they actually all are; it's been a good wake up call, & that these same cult members of social Marxism wish "to sell its arguments in favour of limiting New Zealanders right to free expression" should be very alarming to ordinary NZers indeed.

Draytonian said...

From the horses mouth:“…[racists] are an infinitesimal percentage of people and they’re only made important because the left media gives them a microphone.”
Steve Bannon recently in a ‘Four Corners’ interview on ABC


John Hurley said...

Goff has an argument sorted