Monday, 24 February 2020

Little's Hate Speech Laws Will Destroy This Government.

High Risk Call: Insensitive though it may seem to even pose the question: how will the electorate respond to what the Prime Minister’s opponents will undoubtedly characterise as an attack on New Zealanders’ freedom of speech? At more than twelve month’s remove from the terrible events of 15 March 2019, will Jacinda’s inspired “They Are Us” formula be enough to turn aside the free speech defenders’ counterattack?

ANDREW LITTLE has confirmed that the Coalition Government will announce changes to New Zealand’s free speech laws before the election. Clearly, Jacinda Ardern has not been able to persuade her Justice Minister that introducing “hate speech” laws is a sure-fire election loser. Or, perhaps the Prime Minister also believes that attacking freedom of speech is an election-winning strategy.

The timing of Little’s announcement is interesting. It points to a dramatic weakening in the position of Labour’s coalition partner, NZ First. For the first time since the Coalition’s formation in October 2017, Winston Peters finds himself and his party dependant on the good will and protection of the Prime Minister.

The Serious Fraud Office’s decision to launch an investigation into the NZ First Foundation has prompted multiple demands for Jacinda to stand Peters down for the duration. She has been called “weak” for refusing to discipline her Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, and he is very aware of the political rewards that would flow to the Prime Minister if she decided to give in to his critics’ demands.

If she did give in, Peters knows that any threat to “pull the plug” on the Coalition in retaliation would be met with a cool “go on then”. Being seen to have forced a snap election over the SFO investigation would seal NZ First’s fate. The electorate would punish Peters and his party mercilessly. Jacinda and the Greens, on the other hand, could present themselves to the country as the principled and courageous defenders of “clean” politics. What would undoubtedly be suicide for Peters and NZ First could end up being the making of his erstwhile coalition partners.

All of which adds up to a radically changed power dynamic on the Beehive’s Ninth Floor. From here on out, what Jacinda and her “progressive” colleagues want, Jacinda and her “progressive” colleagues are going to get. Three weeks ago Peters would have shaken his head coldly at the very thought of introducing anti-hate speech legislation prior to the election. Today, he has bowed his head meekly and walked away. The Coalition’s “handbrake” has been released.

Returning to my earlier speculation about Jacinda’s actual position on hate speech, I can’t help recalling how strongly she reacted to the pain and suffering of Christchurch’s Muslim community. I am minded, also, of her passionate advocacy for her own “Christchurch Call”. In the bitter aftermath of the Christchurch Massacre, the Prime Minister promised New Zealand’s immigrant communities her protection. Tougher gun laws were Step One. A ban on hate speech could very easily be Step Two.

Insensitive though it may seem to even pose the question: how will the electorate respond to what the Prime Minister’s opponents will undoubtedly characterise as an attack on New Zealanders’ freedom of speech? At more than twelve month’s remove from the terrible events of 15 March 2019, will Jacinda’s inspired “They Are Us” formula be enough to turn aside the free speech defenders’ counterattack?

Those in the Prime Minister’s professional and personal entourages will be adamant in their insistence that being seen to move against hate speech is not only the right thing to do, but that it will also reap Labour a rich harvest of votes – not least from New Zealand’s 57,000 Muslims. The brutal question which must be asked, however, is whether or not winning the support of the 1 percent of New Zealanders who subscribe to the Muslim faith can sensibly be counted as an unqualified addition to Labour’s overall Party Vote; or whether it will be more than offset by the defection of those New Zealanders opposed to Labour’s restriction of free speech? The next, equally brutal question is: “Where will those votes go?”

The obvious, and worrying, answer is: “They will go to the Right.”

It is one of the greatest tragedies of contemporary “left-wing” politics: that its practitioners have allowed themselves to become identified, irretrievably, with the suppression of free speech. Most particularly, with the suppression of the free speech of persons identified as “right wing”, or, more ludicrously, as “Nazis” and “fascists”. Worse still, they have secured this “de-platforming” by threatening to unleash violence and disorder if these individuals are permitted to speak. They have thus supplied local government, university and corporate leaders with the “health and safety” justification for shutting these speakers down. Free speech advocates refer to this tactic as “The Thug’s Veto”.

Little’s reaffirmed commitment to introducing legislation aimed at curbing hate speech will, therefore, be received by right-wing New Zealanders as a direct assault upon their personal liberties. Labour and its Green allies will be accused of using the power of the state to demonise and silence their political opponents.

The Right will not take this lying down.

It is, however, doubtful whether Little has given much thought to what making bitter enemies of the entire Right might lead to. While National and Act – especially Act – will be content to fight the issue at the level of abstract principle, those further along the right-wing spectrum will not hesitate to link Little’s hate speech legislation with those it is intended to protect. The very white supremacists the Left has vowed to extirpate will present Little’s laws as proof positive of the Labour/Greens’ surrender to the demands of multiculturalism in general – and of Islam in particular. Such linkages can only pose a grave threat to the safety of all New Zealand’s immigrant communities. The very ugliness that hate speech laws are intended to hide will be even more openly and defiantly displayed.

And this, sadly, is the problem which the advocates of hate speech legislation all fail to appreciate. That people cannot be forced into abandoning their erroneous, hurtful and/or dangerous opinions. They can only be argued out of them.

Does Andrew Little truly believe that hate speech laws would have stopped Brenton Tarrant? His murderous rampage was inspired not by the rantings of some fool on 4Chan, but by his close study of the centuries-long struggle between Islam and Christianity in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. Are the hate speech laws to be set wide enough to capture the wrongful interpretation of history? Will they extend to banning trips to the European battlefields where the Ottoman armies were checked by Christian knights? And if they are, how will that help to persuade people that what Little is proposing is anything more than the thin edge of the wedge of totalitarianism?

Our current laws forbid the incitement of actual physical harm, and will punish those who wilfully defame their fellow citizens. Attempting to pass laws against the giving of offence, however, is a fool’s errand. Far from eliminating offensiveness, such laws will only encourage and intensify it. Harm cannot be prevented, but it can be healed. Building trust and amity between peoples is achieved by starting conversations – not by shutting them down.

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Friday, 21 February 2020.

40 comments:

Jack Scrivano said...

Your last sentence says it all, Chris. 'Building trust and amity between peoples is achieved by starting conversations – not by shutting them down.'

Trev1 said...

In the wake of the Christchurch shootings Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt declared "we must give nothing to racism and Islamophobia" and urged that New Zealand become an international anti-Islamophobia advocate. We already have laws that criminalize racism. So what is "islamophobia"? Islam is not a race, it is a religion which is a body of ideas and practices. As prominent social commentator Douglas Murray writes: "the term ‘Islamophobia’ is so inexact that – in so far as there is a definition – it includes insult of and even inquiry into any aspect of Islam, including Muslim scripture." So are Mr Hunt and Mr Little proposing to criminalize any inquiry into and criticism of the scripture and teachings of Islam, however ridiculous and offensive people may find aspects of them? Apparently the Ministry of Justice and the Commission have completed consultations with "stakeholders"on a report to Little on new "hate speech" legislation. Tellingly the Free Speech Coalition was not regarded as a "stakeholder". New Zealanders will rightly oppose any attempt to curtail their basic freedoms and legally privilege any religion or beliefs. This will indeed be a major election issue and a boost for the Right.

John Hurley said...

On RNZ Paul Spoonley says that "the threshold has to be high but hate speech is increasing". That's because people have been saying "this isn't happening" and keeping quiet as *resistance is racist*. Now dialogue and concepts are improving and people need to pee.
There can be no us without an other.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Great on generalities and well-meaning maybe, but perhaps we could get down to some specifics?
So you're not going to let anyone say whatever they like, you're going to rely on the laws of slander libel and incitement.
Are we going to pretty much exempt politicians and famous people from these laws as they do in the US? That's going to be fun. What happens when someone says – just as a wild example – Jacinda Arderne is running a paedophile ring out of the basement of a pizza restaurant? You'd have to prove malicious intent in the US. What happens when – another wild example – someone listens to this and takes a gun down to said pizza restaurant, can't find a basement because it doesn't have one and fires a shot? Who's going to be held responsible for this?
Another ridiculous example, because I'm sure no one would ever claim it – but what if someone claims that their quack medicine cures aids? That's allowed in the US. Are they going to be liable if someone takes their medicine and dies?

I could think of some more but as I said I'm a little busy these days. But let's just finish with this.
You claim that people should be reasoned out of their ridiculous beliefs. Couple of things here.
Firstly, I believe as the saying goes you can't reason someone out of a belief they haven't reasoned themselves into.
Secondly I suspect that you can't reason someone out of a belief if their paycheck depends on them believing it.

Now I'm assuming that you don't approve of a lot of the racist, misogynistic, unscientific nonsense that is spouted in the comments on this site – but how many of the people who comment like this have you managed to persuade out of their beliefs? This is the marketplace of ideas right? Just give us one example. I suspect that the debate here confirms them in their beliefs rather than alters them. Because the science says when you provide conspiracy theorists and the like with actual evidence that shows they are believing bullshit, it just strengthens their belief in bullshit. Not much hope that right? We might as well give up, because the lunatics are winning.

pat said...

Im not sure your reasoning is sound, those struggling with the term hate speech are already lost to the 'right(?)'....it will provide yet another stick to beat Jacinda with but I doubt it will change many votes....policy seldom overrides gut instinct in politics

Kat said...

The lunatics are on the grass. Is the freedom of speech we have enjoyed now becoming off limits or is it a case of what were once habits are now vices. What a turn around. Or is it just that we have explored the dark side of politics and the establishment media, and its all dark. Time to get Jacinda some new batteries for that torch.

Scuzzaman said...

Yes, Guerilla Surgeon, you're absolutely right. See, you've convinced me by the clarity of thought and robust strength of your argument. It can happen.

We can't stop other people being arseholes so we might as well become arseholes ourselves and, oh, while we're at it, lets add the force of government to our arseholery, because ours is good, by definition. What could possibly go wrong?

It's not like the next government could be a right wing government with the power to ban "left wing hate speech", is it? There's absolutely no danger in setting such a precedent and constructing such a machine of orthodoxy enforcement that will inevitably fall into other hands.

Yep, I'm totally convinced.

Nick J said...

I will declare my hand up front. I'm totally for allowing social opprobrium to police hateful speech. I don't trust civil servants including the police and judiciary to decide what it is. I certainly dont trust politicians or pressure groups to tell me what it is. My personal sovereignty depends upon my freedom to think and act independently. The counterpoise to that sovereignty is that I have to negotiate my day to day life with other people whose opinion may differ.

My gravest fear about political correctness, woke thinking and any associated legislation is that it seeks to impose conclusions upon the individual by coercion. Good ideas need NO coercion. Totalitarian thoughts do.

kiwidave said...

GS: "you can't reason someone out of a belief they haven't reasoned themselves into"
There's little doubt about that, people "believe" all sorts of nonsense.
Though we have the ability to reason, belief (and it's fully developed sister, ideology) is usually motivated by deep seated, ancient, instinctive reactions which we feel as an emotion - fear, compassion, envy etc. We're not entirely reasonable creatures, masters of our own houses.
We have, for example, a biologically instantiated fear of strangers, those that look different, for a very good reason; they represent an unknown danger, potential disease and death. It's not something you reason yourself into, it just is, great for emergencies but it's a poor basis for belief or how to act in the world . It's when we take a feeling and try and justify it through reason and wilful blindness that it becomes a problem, full blown racism for example. We must beware of turning our feelings into beliefs.
We're all flawed in some way and that's why free speech is so vital if we are to live in dignity in a free society. We need our bad ideas and foolish beliefs tempered by exposure, by the thoughts of others and by reality itself.
The proposal to outlaw criticism (and thus genuine discussion) of ideas, beliefs, religions and cultural practices is so fundamentally wrong it's disturbing to see it has even being considered by serious adults never mind our supposedly wise leaders.

kiwidave said...

GS: "how many of the people who comment like this have you managed to persuade out of their beliefs"
Perhaps that's a question you can ask (and answer) yourself; unless, of course, all of your beliefs are unquestionably correct, driven entirely by the purist motivations and sufficient for the good all, forever, amen.

Trev1 said...

""[T]he freedom of Speech may be taken away — and, dumb & silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter." — US President George Washington, 1783."

John said...

Really Chris Trotter you're increasingly tying yourself in knots over freedom of speech issues. The thing I get from your column is that Chris Trotter supports Hate Speech. And most New Zealanders will believe this in a similar manner, not that Andrew Little's action will lead to a National Government.

greywarbler said...

People can't be allowed to go around picking fights or using verbal violence on anyone that annoys them. That would an unpleasant and scary community to live in. There has to be enough control on speech that occurs regularly even if at random times, that is vindictive, derisive, slanderous. A person needs to be able to object and the people involved need to be sanctioned somehow.

My thoughts are a bit long-winded but something like what I have written is needed. Not just public shaming and criticism and perhaps fines, even prison. We are so lazy in NZ about doing stuff to improve our community. Don't care, lock them up, fine them into next century, let them stew in their own juice. Don't go on about nurturing society, heard it all before you stupid tree-hugger etc etc. An unlovely response from people who have never learned what civilisation is.

There needs to be a fronting up and a mediation process. Something like a Tribunal for Community Wellbeing that would involve people fronting up and telling their particular stories, followed by a workshop in communication, understanding of different cultures - both racial and those prevailing in one's own known community - the different outlooks held by others. Then an assertiveness workshop should be mandatory so people can speak to their concerns reasonably, not aggressively. It is a great skill to develop and prevents much muddled thinking and stored resentment and misunderstanding.

An application to the Tribunal or an official order to attend, may result in both the speaker/s and the objectors being sanctioned because there may have been a slanging match, and the objector may have provoked the speech, either deliberately or perhaps unknowingly. There needs to be mediation then attendance by the perpetrator and possibly the other/s involved, at a short course on what behaviour is needed to be able to live in a community, how to cope with difference, how to be assertive instead of harbouring resentments that fester and show up as angry outbursts. How to handle negativity in ones own thinking, and turn it to some positive action. We can all be negative at times and find an outlet in derision, contempt, blaming and eventually rejection.

It is virtually impossible to expect empathy from people who aren't used to thinking their way through problems of handling relationships. When it comes to understanding others' situations and lives, there may be such fixed ideas that there is a total barrier there. I read of a consciousness raising class where white USA people viewed a film about the difficulties encountered by black people, and the poll at the end showed most were strengthened in their view of white superiority. The conclusion they reached was that black people were inferior and so all their lives they would be likely to be poor, lacking success and respect as a result.

Today's news relates vilification by a West Coast old man against the attempt to control whitebaiting. He has noticed a few females instigating this concern for the resource and comes up with a diatribe referring to 'chick scientists'. If you look up 'derision meaning' on google it has a large number of negative words to direct at others not liked and I see that the above man's ones are 'contumely'.
https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/frustration-sexist-chick-scientists-comment-overshadows-attempt-stop-whitebait-extinction.html


Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Perhaps that's a question you can ask (and answer) yourself; unless, of course, all of your beliefs are unquestionably correct, driven entirely by the purist motivations and sufficient for the good all, forever, amen. "
Bit of a non sequitur. Your ability to persuade people has nothing to do with the correctness of your beliefs, and I don't set out to change the minds of any of the people who comment here usually. As I said, it's extremely difficult to do, expensive and time-consuming – particularly with irrationally held beliefs and conspiracy theories and the like. I post here and elsewhere mostly to provide people with one formed beliefs an alternative. Because in this country as in many others the right has a lock on the media. Even then I'm not particularly hopeful, because I'm not even sure that anyone other than the committed even look at this blog. But there are blogs and other media with wider audiences around.

kiwidave said...

Greywarbler: If an old back country boy saying "scientist chicks" is an example of speech that needs to be made illegal I'm even more concerned than I was before. It looks like he's the one being "vilified" more than the objects of his derision.
It wouldn't entirely surprise me though; Little has already indicated that he is basing his legislation on the British model; there you can expect a visit from the law for saying a trans with a penis is not a woman. Welcome to clown world: The truth is no defence.

Anonymous said...

So if someone offends us they should be dragged to court and, if possible, thrown in jail?

Greywarbler, your authoritarian, fascist ideology that wants to imprison people for speaking their mind *greatly* offends and upsets me!

Are you prepared to go to jail for causing me this pain?

Nick J said...

For anybody who doubts the Orwellian nature of thought policing being a reality watch this true case of a British man being persecuted for "hate speech". The judge found in his favour.
https://youtu.be/x0wC7c9Sywk

John Hurley said...

On this insight program
https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/insight/audio/2018734855/free-speech-vs-hate-speech-the-government-s-dilemma

For example. Juliet Moses says she sees comments like "Hitler should have finished the job", yet these sort of comments the public will take care of. What they are really afraid of is dangerous ideas (plausible counter arguments) that knock down the gated institutional narrative.The managerial elite engaged in positive liberalism but a state is not a private institution we can opt out of; the Burke Review of Immigration may have decided diversity is of immense benefit but they have yet to convince the public. Hate speech laws are just a tightening of the noose.

I see on Insight the focus seems to be on the role of university as the eyes and ears /conscience of the nation, shame that they are bats**t crazy. What about the man in the Clapham omnibus?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zszsRDtCNFM&t=73s

Spoonley says "you won't find the answers on the internet". I disagree 1. Skin deep diversity adds nothing to performance 2. the UN modelled immigration and population ageing and found it isn't a panacea 3. the consensus amongst policy analysts is that other things are more important for NZs economic performance than immigration and population growth 4.Diversity and social cohesion are inversely related 5. Rebooting the regions means house prices go up when Chinese buy dairy factories as they buy the houses for their workers..... 5. racism is ethnocentrism and didn't come with European colonisation. 6. Napier pine was paying it's welders $3/hr 7. Ha Joon-Chan says the well being of the vast majority of people in rich countries is dependant on draconian border control. 8. the Xenophobes aren't always silly https://www.2gb.com/alarming-national-security-report-a-big-wake-up-call-for-all-australians

adam said...

Guerilla Surgeon, It's not Chris that has to prove anything - when we have someone like Daryl Davis proving exactly what you are moaning can't happen, by the simple task of just talking to people.

The only road to a meaningful solutions is an open dialogue, becasue we have history to remind us of all the people who "knew better", and how they got it so wrong.

Unknown said...

Anti-semitic, Racist, Islamaphobia and Terrorist are surely the four most overused and misused words in the English language in the 21st century. Our grandchildren will look back and wonder "What the fuck was wrong with those fellas? Couldn't they handle just a bit of criticism? Grow up for God's sake!"

Anon99 said...

If you believe there is such a thing as hate speech, you can't believe in free speech.
A belief in free speech is tolerating speech you find abhorrent, not criminalizing it.

Changing the limit of free speech from criminalizing threats of physical violence to criminalizing whoever causes hurty feelings is why they are known as the generation snowflake. Cynical politicians using this to shut down the opposition is a great example of totalitarianism.

Instead of turning NZ totalitarian, if it's so good, wouldn't it be easier just to move to North Korea, China, or Iran?

kiwidave said...

Sorry GS, I think you missed my point entirely.
Please forgive me if I have this wrong but you implied, in your previous post, that there was little point in open dialogue because it doesn't change peoples unreasonable POV.
My response was to question whether you, personally, have changed your position thanks to reasoned argument. If not I can fully understand why you would make that assertion. Is it, perhaps, more a reflection of your own intransigence (or even assumed omniscience) than the inability of others to argue in good faith.
A couple of quotes from Thomas Sowell seem appropriate:
“Considering how often throughout history even intelligent people have been proved to be wrong, it is amazing that there are still people who are convinced that the only reason anyone could possibly say something different from what they believe is stupidity or dishonesty.”
"It is amazing how many people think that they can answer an argument by attributing bad motives to those who disagree with them. Using this kind of reasoning, you can believe or not believe anything about anything, without having to bother to deal with facts or logic."

kiwidave said...

GS: "in this country as in many others the right has a lock on the media"
Right....the MSM is so chock full of right wing propaganda (anti-immigration, climate change denial, anti minority, beneficiary bashing and undeniably pro Trump/anti Ardern) it would make Goebbels blush.
I've no idea how you came to that conclusion; what are you actually reading and watching?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

You know I never thought I'd say this but judging by the mishmash of misinterpretations and – let's say clouded thinking – there has come about as a response to my "moaning" – I'm sort of glad I haven't got the time to hang around here as much as I used to.
Let me try to be clearer.
All rights come with limitations. No one here it seems to me has thought about where these limitations should be – unless you all think there should be none? My comment contain specific questions I think should be at least thought about – none of you have.
So where should the limitations be on free speech – if any?
And if none what are we going to do with people like Rick Wiles, a friend of Donald Trump's incidentally who has been given a press pass, when normal media organisations have been refused them – now that's limitation on freedom of speech nobody seems to give a shit about here. He claims that Muslims should be "stomped out like cockroaches." He claims that "Jews are going to take over the US and kill millions of Christians".
Is this "a bit of criticism?" If it is, I have nothing more to say to you.
I've just seen on a Christian website, a comment that says something like

"What's wrong with criticizing Jews when their crimes are right out in the open for all to witness?" As a reaction to 1 of Wiles's statements.
Not to mention that everyone seems happy to ignore my example of the lie about the pizza restaurant.
And just for the record, I did not say it is impossible to change people's minds. I simply said it's time-consuming and very difficult. How many people like Daryl Davis are there, and how many people from the KKK has he managed to convert? Has he truly managed to convert them? Or do they just want a "black friend" so they can't be accused of being racist?
I guess most of you would consider a statement like "gay people should be killed" to be out of bounds? I'm not at all sure to be honest. But what about something like – as has been said – gay people deserve death? I suspect this is a little more than hurt fee fees – or maybe not?


John Hurley said...

1. Put simply, the government embarked on an optimistic plan of social engineering to transform New Zealand into an 'Asian' country; unfortunately, it did a poor job of publicising its intent or rationale. Under the slogan that a global economy required global citizens, an ambitious plan was hatched to restructure society around an Asian axis. But these initiatives moved too quickly for most people, ignored the need to consult or convince people of the importance of any fundamental shift, and did little to monitor the impact of immigration on public perception (Heeringa 1996).

2. 41% think immigration from Asia will have a positive impact. Those with "most knowledge" of Asia are most likely to be positive.

3. After the mosque attacks RNZ commisioned Reaserch NZ to ask "what do NZrs think of diversity" and concluded we are "50:50" (Remember we are diverse).

4. The economic benefits have favoured the owners of land and been generally concentrated (architects/engineers/universities) whereas

Real wages in tourism and hospitality fell 24.5% between 1979 and 2006

Hi John, thanks for your email.  The figures I quote are from my PhD thesis, they were sourced from Stats NZ year books and data over that period. You can access the thesis through the AUT website,  I would send you the link but I am in Croatia and don't have access to my regular computer. I will send you the link when I get home in 4 weeks.  Yes this is a long term trend that not many people in NZ want to talk about, it affects all but the elite workforce and it's a result of the neo- liberal revolution in the 1980s, we have gained considerable economic growth and consumer choice, but the rewards of that growth are increasingly concentrated into the hands of the ones with established capital, wages earners are losing year after year

5. Giles Beckford goes hunting for "white supremacists". He goes under cover (Facebook or whereever). His colleagues at RNZ ask him "how was life in the sewer?"

6. A nice quietly spoken tourbus driver confides that "everyday I wake up I'm depressed to think that wherever I go there will be Chinese drivers (dominant)". Another really good natured man hates staying at X because it is where the Asian drivers stay and there is mutual animosity. Is this racism or human nature. A society held together by positive ligatures is a warm blanket. There is a loss of status for the New Zealander but where does that go? Ardern, Clark etc who get to strut their stuff on the "world stage".

7. The new divide is between the in group/out group. The in group gets showered with taxpayer money. They are armament factories for spreading ideas. They have the corporates on their side because inflows of capital and people are good for business. The outgroup are lepers, shabby, and deemed incompetent: Vincent O'Malley doesn't engage with Hobson's Pledge and RNZ is the mouth piece for the in-group.

David Stone said...

The free speech debate is being addressed in the Woolwich Court at the moment. This is what free speech is about. Any laws that prevent people from speaking their minds will be used as the US is seeking to prevent people from being allowed to know how government behaves . The issue in focus in Assange's case has parallels to Hager's "Hit and Run". So far the procedure reads like the court case of Pinocchio. The presiding judge as reported on RT this morning actually said to Assange when he complained that he was not able to communicate with his council in private that "“Mr Assange, generally defendants do not have a voice.” if you can believe that.
All we can hope is that the judge is demonstrating to the Americans that there is no bias in favour of Assange going on in respect of unerring their extradition agreement , and that in the end the law will free him. If not we do not live in a civilised world , and the cradle of our democratic system has turned on us.
Free speech is necessary to allow the people to protect themselves and each other from wholesale murder by the state , whether the people who need that protection live in our country or in another. Hurt feelings are not the problem , genocide like in the Chattams in 1835 is the problem. We seem to be so isolated from the harm that is being done to people in the middle east, and South America that is real, and people are suffering from it, that we have to invent persecutions to protest about while we are loosing the tenants of civilisation that matter.

D J S

David Stone said...

Further but back in the cocoon where we live, Free speech serves another important function. We know people,and we assess who to chose as friends or not by what they say. Not directly about ourselves esp in a situation where the person in question may be seeking to advance a friendship (or romance) but by the disposition that is revealed by what the say about others and about events. If people are silenced by law from giving voice to their attitudes it becomes even harder to know them. So many choices of partner are made that turn out to be a disaster because one or other party turned out to be quite different from how they seemed at first. Preventing them from identifying themselves would make that worse.

D J S

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Kiwi Dave. There's more to the right than anti-immigration, beneficiary bashing, climate change denial, and pro-Trump stories. And if you don't know that I think your reading is at fault. These are the extremes. The privately owned New Zealand media are out to make money, and they plug the party line that unregulated capitalism is good, and sometimes spike stories that offend private companies/advertisers(Freedom of speech anyone?). That's just a couple of things, but as I said a bit busy these days I might get back to you.

kiwidave said...

GS, those examples you have given are already in breach of our laws on incitement to violence, the argument is superfluous. Copping a visit from the AATP (Angry Andy's Thought Police) for saying women don't have penises is on another level altogether.

greywarbler said...

NickJ
Watched with interest that link. I think I heard a name 'Fair Cop' as a support group. I haven't looked it up yet.

(Harry Miller, a 54-year-old former police officer and now docker from Humberside, founded campaign group Fair Cop following the action against him over his Twitter posts.)

The slippery slope, and the self-centred, over-sensitive who want to live a protected 'convent life' on the outside will crucify us as was tried on Harry Miller if they aren't bridled.

Jonathan Pie would have to shut up; his rants could power the UK. Don't let him get scared of anonymous sadsacks please.
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_6APlOR_jg

greywarbler said...

As an example of someone who has gone through the whole transgender thing fully Jan Morris is someone to look up to. No whinger her. And at the end of this interview of her at 91 years she muses that kindness is probably the most important thing.
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-4aIbApvq0

Mixed with a story she wrote at a battleship she weaves in kindness - quite a person.
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfGU9IPmk_k

Unknown said...

There are clearly people out there who want to propound obnoxious, reactionary on racial and cultural issues. if `hate speech` is criminalised, they will go underground. I would far rather know who they are so I can argue openly with them.

Brian O'Brien

John Hurley said...

Re anti-immigration. @ GS do you know the difference between a taboo and a moral position?

John Hurley said...

False Belief #3: Morality is All About Care and Fairness

Haidt’s second principle of moral psychology is “There’s more to morality than care and fairness.” Care and fairness make up only a fraction of the “evolved psychological mechanisms” from which our gut feelings of right and wrong arise. Additional intuitions, Hume’s passions, of personal autonomy, loyalty to one’s in-group, respect for authority, attention to purity/sanctity, and possibly others, are found on every continent, suggesting that they are human universals. Morality is the…

“… interlocking sets of values, virtues, norms, practices, identities, institutions, technologies, and evolved psychological mechanisms that work together to suppress or regulate self-interest and make cooperative societies possible.” (The Righteous Mind, p. 314)
https://areomagazine.com/2018/05/12/understanding-human-nature-is-the-best-way-of-fixing-our-political-culture/

kiwidave said...

Sorry Guerilla Surgeon, I shouldn't have straw-manned your argument like that, just me being mischievous.
Still, I don't know of any evidence showing an imbalance favouring the right in our media, much less a "lock on the media".

greywarbler said...

kiwidave
Just to be mischievous too, when people talking about knowing I think of the impenetrable hedge around knowing, when one doesn't want to. And this:

[Donald!] Rumsfeld stated:

Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don't know we don't know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones...

Rumsfeld's statement brought much fame and public attention to the concepts of known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns, but national security and intelligence professionals have long used an analysis technique referred to as the Johari window. The idea of unknown unknowns was created in 1955 by two American psychologists, Joseph Luft (1916–2014) and Harrington Ingham (1916–1995) in their development of the Johari window. They used it as a technique to help people better understand their relationship with themselves as well as others...

Rumsfeld himself cited NASA administrator William Graham in his memoir; he wrote that he had first heard "a variant of the phrase" from Graham when they served together on the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States during the late 1990s.[4] Kirk Borne, an astrophysicist who was employed as a data scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center at the time, noted in an April 2013 TED talk that he had used the phrase "unknown unknowns" in a talk to personnel at the Homeland Security Transition Planning Office...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/There_are_known_knowns

These concepts are important to politicians and purveyors of advanced and novel systems of technology, and possible destruction and death. It is no doubt important to be able to corral off the bits of happenings that you might be blamed for and those which are complete unknown unknowns!

Nick J said...

Grey, the shocking part of the video was the revelation that he is an ex cop. His world as a cop involved upholding laws against defined offenses that could be factualised for evidence and prosecuted. Being investigated for possible ill defined hate crimes really threw him. Only an ex cop could defend himself as he did.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"GS, those examples you have given are already in breach of our laws on incitement to violence,"

Not in the US. As I said very few of you seem to have thought this through. Sorry to be so brief.

greywarbler said...

Nick J
I am sorry if I disappoint you but I thought the ex-cop was okay. His approach seemed to come within the normal behaviour of a reasonable man. I am concerned that the practice of police acting to prevent crime at their own behest seems to be widespread. I think they should be alert to what is going on in society but they seem to be ready to be self-starting, with car chases almost entrapment. China's face-recognition system next?

I won't be forgetting police in NZ setting up phony check points to get personal names and addresses of people who had attended a meeting about euthanasia, and then the police visited these people, many women, and questioned them about possession of some banned drugs. Police have a lot of discretion about what they will pursue. They butted in on these people.

rouppe said...

The thing that stands out to me is that the entire "hate speech" conversation on this blog has centred on Islam.

Any legislation is going to have to be so general as to be completely unusable. If speech that is deemed hateful to religion is the criteria, then the Koran has to be banned as it asserts that all Jews are to be eliminated.

If speech that is deemed hateful to a particular ethnic group is to be banned, then any talk by Maori of "colonialists" has to be banned.

If speech that is deemed hateful to transgender groups is to be banned, then much of the satire of the last 75 years must be banned. There'll be a "bloody good book burning" as a result.

It is absolutely crazy.