Freedom of Speech

The culture of “shut up”

Jon Levett writes at The Atlantic about modern society’s propensity to shout down those who we don’t agree with.

A recent example is the ostracisation of the Mozilla CE for daring to democratically put his money where his personal beliefs lay, and for daring to support one side of a democratic argument.

Then there is the case of Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty being bullied off air, and the moves by the media and the pro-warming crowd to silence skeptics on global warming who dare to challenge their views on the matter.

Teacher unions and scientists use this technique all the time…”Shut up, when was the last time you were in a classroom teaching”…as if that is a valid argument for the right to have a say on education. “Shut up, what is your science degree in relation to? Was it in climate science” using the same childish argument to silence critics.

Homer Simpson once said that alcohol is the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems. And I kept thinking: That’s actually a pretty good description of the Internet and how it’s changing our discourse. It’s basically the cause of, and solution to, everything that plagues our culture.

That’s an exaggeration, of course. The Internet didn’t cause Donald Trump, and it certainly can’t solve Donald Trump. The way you defeat Donald Trump is by getting the ring of power into the hands of a pure soul, a hobbit, say, and that hobbit must journey to Mount Doom and release the ring into its fires. But the Internet: Did you know that every single day, the Internet produces more speech than was created between the dawn of civilization and the year 2006? You didn’t know that, because I just made it up. But it feels true. We are all bombarded. We are drowning in information. It’s no longer thrown on our doorstep each sunrise, or even just broadcast into our living rooms; it’s in our hands every waking hour; the endless stream of talking, as we spend all day moving our eyes from screen to screen to screen; it’s the first thing we see each morning and the last thing we see before we go to bed. The shower is the last safe space, which is why it’s the only place where we have decent ideas anymore.

In many ways this is good and getting better: We have unlocked the gates and we are removing the gatekeepers. We aren’t beholden to the views of the three green elders in the village. (See, I tied it back.) But what happens next—how we face the downside of so much connectedness—will determine whether or not this revolution empowers us, or once again empowers those gatekeepers. And I don’t want that to happen, because those gatekeepers suck. They’re arrogant and easily swayed by big, nice-sounding dangerous ideas; they’re ambitious and careerist and forgetful and unimaginative and shortsighted; they’re subject to groupthink, beholden to corporate interests, and enamored of fame and power.

I don’t want those voices to drown out the diverse and compelling voices that now have a better chance of making it in front of us than ever before—even as we still have a ways to go. And what I think we have to do, then, to protect this new wonderful thing of ‘a good idea can come from anyone anywhere’—is we need to stop telling each other to shut up. We need to get comfortable with the reality that no one is going to shut up. You aren’t going to shut up. I’m not going to shut up. The idiots aren’t going to shut up.

We need to learn to live with the noise and tolerate the noise even when the noise is stupid, even when the noise is offensive, even when the noise is at times dangerous. Because no matter how noble the intent, it’s a demand for conformity that encourages people on all sides of a debate to police each other instead of argue and convince each other. And, ultimately, the cycle of attack and apology, of disagreement and boycott, will leave us with fewer and fewer people talking more and more about less and less.  Read more »

Kim Dotcom commences bullying former staff [AUDIO]

Last week I broke the story of his threats to the security guards who just want their outstanding back pay.

Kim Dotcom has refused to meet or discuss their requests and ignored legal letters regarding the outstanding payments. Failure to pay the guards means that they were effectively on $8-00 per hour, well under the legal requirement of the minimum wage laws of New Zealand.

I posted this audio of his threats against the security guards:

Today he started a twitter campaign against the same guards.

He thinks nothing of legal agreements except in order to protect his interests. He has also falsely claimed that the guards had confidentiality agreements, which is false.

Look at how many tweets he has made about it.

They just want what is owed to them and this is how Kim Dotcom reacts. Where is the Mana party now? Where is Labour? What about the unions?   Read more »

Is an apology good enough and do you buy their excuses?

TVNZ have issues and apology, but is it enough?

What about their explanation that these two muppets thought it was satire?

Sheesh I have literally hundreds of abusive emails, tweets, and Facebook messages I could list…and these guys made some up.

Regan at Throng asks though if anyone will actually take the fall for this cock up?

Shane Taurima scurried out the door after revelations he had bought a serious conflict of interest into the TVNZ newsroom.  Now we find two more TVNZ staff, one of whom has been a trustworthy figure in many homes delivering news most days of the week, have been making stuff up.

While TVNZ will spin this, and have, as a simple misunderstanding of what the piece was, this brings into question the integrity of the newsroom where at least one high profiled news reader has now been found to have made up statements for what was viewed as a serious and truthful news piece.

The question that now goes begging is “What else do TVNZ make up?”

If TVNZ take their stated position as being the country’s most watched news provider seriously, and launched an investigation into Taurima’s conflict of interest after he justifiably resigned, what actions will they take to assure the public that this isn’t endemic in their newsroom because it’s certainly starting tolook that way.

Will there be directions given to the nearest exit or will the transgressions be ignored?

We seem to have a culture of excusing away bad behaviour, especially in government departments…will TVNZ actually do something meaningful in this case.

I’m not holding my breath.

An email from a reader

I have received a great deal of email over the past few days and as you can expect there is the fair share of haters and excuse makers. I even got one from a longtime family friend that followed the usual patterns of people saying no one deserves death threats BUT…you brought this on yourself. There is no BUT…you either condone death threats, rape threats, and violence of the mob or you do not…there is no BUT.

And then buried in that morass of filth you find emails like this from people you have never met nor are ever likely to.

Dear Cameron,

I was saddened to hear both of the cyber attack on your site and the abuse and death threats that have come your way.

I have been the recipient of both abuse and death threats in the past [from some religious conservatives] and know the effect this had on those who are close to me.  My sympathy is with you at this time.   Read more »

Gutsy decision to rein in Aussie Human Rights Commission

Judith Collins could learn from Australia’s Attorney-General George Brandis who has just set the cat amongst the pigeons with a new appointment to their Human Rights Commission.

Senator Brandis said Mr Wilson’s appointment would “restore balance to the Australian Human Rights Commission” which, he said had “become increasingly narrow and selective in its view of human rights” under Labor.

He praised Mr Wilson’s credentials for the role.

“He has published and broadcast widely on the topics of personal freedom, liberal democratic values and the rule of law. He was at the forefront in thwarting recent attempts to erode freedom of speech, freedom of the press and artistic freedom – rights and freedoms Australians have always held precious.”   Read more »

The benefits of sunlight

Len Brown called for more privacy for politicians after I busted on of his sordid little secrets wide open.

Like Len’s mistresses, secrets fester in the darkness…Matthew Norman at The Telegraph explains clearly why any moves to curtail press and media freedoms must be opposed strenuously.

Secrets are onerous, dangerous and destructive things, in public life as in human relationships. They fester in the darkness and become fetid, until eventually they turn toxic. Just as people become ill without enough Vitamin D, so the body politic needs sunlight to stay healthy.   Read more »

Rowan Atkinson on Free Speech

The Muhammad Cartoons

I doubt the MSM have the courage to publish them.

French embassies and schools around the world have been put on high alert in fear of a backlash after a magazine published cartoons mocking the prophet Muhammad and Muslims.

Paris has ordered special security measures at official buildings, including diplomatic and consular representations, and instructed those in 20 particularly sensitive countries to close on Friday, the Islamic prayer day.

Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister said he was “concerned” at the possibility of hostile reactions to the caricatures published in the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The cartoons, some of which feature Muhammad, come amid continuing protests by Muslims around the globe over an anti-Islam film, Innocence of Muslims.

The offices of Charlie Hebdo were firebombed last November after it published an edition entitled Charia Hebdo, supposedly guest-edited by Muhammad.

On Wednesday, France’s prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, said in a statement: “In the current climate, the prime minister wishes to stress his disapproval of all excesses and calls on everyone to behave responsibly.”

Questioned on RTL radio, he added: “We are in a country where the freedom of expression is guaranteed, along with the freedom to caricature.”

I agree with France’s Prime Minister….and so I will publish some of them. All the cartoons can be found at this French language site.

More after the break: Read more »

Free Speech wins, AUSA are still losers

Yesterday the AUSA tried to ban a group from campus because they didn’t like what they say. They contrived a vote…organised some treating…and lost:

Anti-abortion group ProLife has been allowed to stay as a club within the Auckland University Students’ Association despite complaints the group was harassing vulnerable students on campus.

The association had received two complaints about pamphlets containing “misinformed” health information on abortions being distributed by the group, and of students feeling harassed.

The association held a meeting yesterday to decide whether the group should be disaffiliated.

There was heated debate during the meeting, which attracted about 300 people, and students eventually voted 225 to 117 to allow the club to stay within the association.

ProLife New Zealand spokeswoman Rachel Wong disputed the club had done anything wrong in the first place.

She said the association failed to communicate with the club after receiving an “anonymous” and “unsubstantiated” email complaint.

AUSA hates free speech

NZ Herald

The leftists in charge of the AUSA hate free speech. They are trying to shut down a club and remove them from campus simply because they do not agree with them:

A free-speech battle is shaping up at Auckland University tomorrow over a move to boot out an anti-abortion group from university facilities.

ProLife Auckland, which claims more than 400 student members, faces disaffiliation from the students’ association after a complaint that it distributed a pamphlet containing “misleading health information”.

The students’ association is laying on a barbecue as an incentive to attract the required quorum of 200 students at a special general meeting to consider the motion in the university quad at 1pm tomorrow.

Association vice-president Dan Haines said the executive was not recommending disaffiliation but was just putting the motion to the meeting.

“People communicated to our women’s rights officers that it was an issue. It was the women’s rights officers who brought it up,” he said.

“Personally I think that maybe having a discussion is a good thing. It is a contentious club.”

They obfuscate by denying they are recommending disaffiliation…no club should ever have their right to be a club put up for a vote…perhaps someone moves that Princes Street Labour be dis affiliated and then see where that ends up. Universities are supposed to be the bastion of free speech and yet here we have jumped up little Stalinists decreeing who can and can’t belong.