Our free­dom is in trou­ble

The Northland Age - - Local Life / Opinion -

In this new en­vi­ron­ment of highly ma­nip­u­lated fear, free speech is again com­ing un­der fo­cused at­tack, and our over­all free­dom now trem­bles.

Last Au­gust the Auck­land Coun­cil shut down pub­licly funded venues to host two speak­ers who were un­pop­u­lar with the Left, with the PM stat­ing that, “Their views are not those that are shared by this coun­try.” (A sold-out venue and 79 per cent pro-speech New­shub poll in­di­cated she was in­cor­rect).

Don Brash was pre­vented from speak­ing at Massey Univer­sity last Au­gust by vice-chan­cel­lor Jan Thomp­son, cit­ing “se­cu­rity con­cerns”. She was later found to have been ly­ing, adding to an al­ready in­ac­cu­rate as­sump­tion about Dr Brash be­ing racist.

Coali­tion MP Gol­riz Ghahra­man has long ad­vo­cated the reg­u­la­tion of free speech, last year say­ing that, “I think fu­ture gen­er­a­tions are go­ing to look at us and laugh that we don’t reg­u­late,” and last week again with, “I think fu­ture gen­er­a­tions will be as­tounded that we’re so be­hind in reg­u­lat­ing hate speech and on­line harm (most mod­ern democ­ra­cies do). Next steps NZ!”

Then the Christchur­ch Coward en­abled an ef­fec­tive ma­nip­u­la­tion of our cur­rent politi­cians, the me­dia, even many of our own peo­ple, and the fall­out is quickly be­com­ing de­struc­tive and di­vi­sive, in con­trast to cur­rent me­dia claims. This ma­nip­u­la­tion has now spread to that pil­lar of our so­ci­ety that we have lived un­der and lived for, and sac­ri­ficed our blood to keep whole.

Free­dom of Speech.

Since the coward’s at­tack, left wing groups and com­men­ta­tors have pushed to have oth­ers’ views and ac­counts shut down, with vary­ing de­grees of suc­cess, lead­ing to ob­ser­va­tions like that of Mus­lim com­men­ta­tor Maa­jid Nawaz, that “rad­i­cal Is­lamists and rad­i­cal Left­ists have seized on the Christchur­ch tragedy to push their own hate­ful agen­das.”

The two sides of the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum have been set against each other; the li­censed firearms com­mu­nity of law-abid­ing, tax-pay­ing New Zealan­ders have be­come the po­lit­i­cal punch­ing bag, evac­u­a­tions and can­cel­la­tions of events have oc­curred, and even the me­dia have been de­scribed as be­ing “ghoul­ish and deeply dis­turb­ing”. (Bren­dan O’Neill, Spiked).

The coward’s video was banned, and rightly so, but a de­ci­sion was made to ban the text doc­u­ment, ban­ning our abil­ity to freely en­gage and de­stroy the coward’s ide­ol­ogy.

Calls have gone out to shut down any­thing that can be de­scribed as ‘white na­tion­al­ism,’ ‘alt-right,’ with no real knowl­edge as to the un­der­ly­ing is­sues that set the coward on his path. Re­ac­tions are fol­low­ing re­ac­tions, cul­mi­nat­ing in an ob­served lac­er­at­ing of our free speech un­der this gov­ern­ment, which ap­pears com­pro­mised by the coward’s ma­nip­u­la­tion of fear.

Free­dom is one of the cor­ner­stone pil­lars of our so­ci­ety and cul­ture. We will not al­low fear to re­place that, and we will stand to en­sure that our free speech al­lows pub­lic en­gage­ment with all speech; to de­bate, ac­cept, re­ject, to keep free for all our peo­ple.

"Since the coward’s at­tack, left wing groups and com­men­ta­tors have pushed to have oth­ers’ views and ac­counts shut down ..."

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.