Dompost opposes hate speech legislation

There is nothing more pernicious than hate speech legislation.

In Australia it has been used to try to silence bloggers, radio hosts and media. In Europe, it is used to silence critics of immigration. In almost all cases it is used by Muslims to silence critics of Islam.

It must be opposed being introduced in New Zealand.

The call for hate-crimes legislation is understandable and even laudable. In an age of mounting xenophobia, those who preach hatred of other races or religions no longer seem a minor or fringe element. Some of the worst xenophobes now hold power in countries which used to preach tolerance and diversity.

I am not xenophobic. New Zealand needs immigration and I welcome immigrants. There are┬áprovisos, though, I believe immigrants to NZ should FIFO. They definitely should be compatible with our western liberal ideals…and not some stone age death cult.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush wants to see if there is a case for hate-crimes legislation in New Zealand, and is prompted by a horrible incident in Huntly, fortunately filmed by the Muslim woman who was the primary victim. The sight of a woman threatening and abusing a Muslim woman sitting quietly in her car is shocking and dreadful.

It was a woman whose own mother is Muslim, so effectively Muslim on Muslim. The media misreported almost everything about the incident.

However, it is clear that the incident is already covered by the law. A 27-year-old woman has pleaded guilty to assault, assault using a can of alcohol as a weapon, and behaving in an insulting manner likely to cause violence. It seems obvious that the incident that sparked the concern is not a poster for hate-crime legislation.

What I want to know is what happened before the filming started. No one goes off like that for no reason.

Bush wants more research to establish whether there is a need for hate-crimes legislation. He is concerned about a rise in reports of hate crimes around the country, but also concedes that the data is limited. “A lot of it is anecdotal.”

Given this, the Government is right to resist the idea of special hate-crimes legislation. Justice Minister Amy Adams says there is a very low level of such behaviour and when it does come up the law is able to deal with it.

That certainly seems to be the case. So far, the xenophobia that is sweeping the United States,  Britain and many parts of Europe does not seem to have erupted here. Despite a very large wave of immigration and a high percentage of foreign-born people in our population, no serious trouble has occurred.

In some ways there is less apparent tension than 20 years ago, when there was an outbreak of semi-hysteria about the (absurdly misnamed) “Asian invasion”. That led to a spike in support for New Zealand First. But the populist Winston Peters is failing to make much hay with the subject nowadays.

Mainly because in Auckland no one minds Asian neighbours…except at Chinese New Year, and Guy Fawkes, and New Years Eve…problem immigrants in Auckland aren’t Asian, they are from countries where Islam is the religion. Plus there are the local feral population who cause far more problems than any immigrant ever.

So it is broadly true, as Police Minister Paula Bennett says, that New Zealanders are in many ways more tolerant of differences than they used to be.

Since that is the case, there seems no obvious reason for hate-crimes legislation. Freedom of speech, after all, is a cornerstone of democracy. This freedom includes the right to be offensive and insulting.

There is no right to be offended, but there is a right to free speech.

The best way to handle a xenophobe is simply to let them rant and then to dismember their case in moderate and informed speech. Bigotry should always be challenged and rebutted. Freedom of speech allows the bigot to speak but allows sensible people to respond.

Yes, the answer isn’t restricting speech, the answer is more free speech…something that troughing scientists don’t seem to get.

The seriously worrying case is when the bigots win a large following among the voters and then gain power. Even then, freedom of speech will generally allow a counterattack which helps to reverse the trend.

The need for hate-speech legislation only becomes serious when democracy itself is under threat. That is thankfully not the case in New Zealand.

No, but it will be a problem if the Muslim population grows just a bit more. We are already seeing their lawfare and whining, plus they have supporters in the human Rights Commission.

 

– Dompost

 


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