Some sensible commentary on hate speech and erosion of our rights

Paul Moon has a good piece at the NZ Herald of sensible thought regarding the push for hate speech laws, the Human Rights Commission and the erosions of our liberties: Quote:

Anyone hoping that the current purge of the Human Rights Commission will go far enough to flush out the hubris at its core is likely to be disappointed.

Indeed, despite staff changes, and a damning report into its culture, the commission will continue with its march towards introducing a damaging change to our society: its plan to make what it calls “disharmonious speech” aimed at religions an offence.

What makes this audacious and unwanted encroachment on our right to speak and think freely all the more insidious is that this proposed ban on “disharmonious speech” would not apply equally to the criticism of all religions.

The open season on attacking Christianity, for example, would remain, with its followers responding, as their faith requires, by turning the other cheek. Instead, the commission is explicit that this proposed free-speech ban would only apply to the sort of disharmonious comments that are “targeted at the religion and beliefs of ethnic minority communities” in New Zealand. End quote.

Protecting the hateful and misogynistic ideology of Islam , in other words. Quote

There are several troubling aspects of this plan. Firstly, the commission is moving from protecting people from unpleasant speech (which itself is dubious) to protecting ideas from criticism. If a belief is so fragile that some disharmonious comments might damage it, then maybe the adherents of that belief ought to reconsider its worth rather than seek to shield it from scrutiny.

Secondly, the commission is conflating religion with ethnicity, which is an appalling case of stereotyping. And to show how far the commission has tied itself in knots over this issue, by singling out the religions which it presumes are those of ethnic minorities, it is acting in a way that discriminates on the basis of race and religion, ironically possibly in violation of its own legislation. The thought of the commission investigating itself for a breach of the Act under which it operates indicates how far its ideologues are pursuing the appeasement of certain religions on a Chamberlainian scale.

Thirdly, there is the real risk that in offering protective measures for some religions, the followers of these religions will simply have to feign whatever it is that constitutes disharmony, after which they will be able to say and do things with impunity from further criticism. End quote.

The third proposition is already being used in other jurisdictions to practice ‘lawfare’ on people who dare to challenge people’s views. Quote

Fourthly, what makes the commission so intellectually superior to the rest of us that it feels it can be the arbiter of which ideas we can and cannot express? And what truths are they so afraid of that they feel the urge to silence us from making observations for fear that they might prove to be “disharmonious”?

Then there is the axiomatic issue of what exactly constitutes “disharmonious speech”. It is deliberately not defined in the commission’s report on this issue, and when I asked the commission to explain the meaning of the term, one employee replied the question “does not make sense”. No doubt we will get more clarity once the prosecutions get under way. End quote.

In the Star Chamber?Quote

The freedom to criticise religion and to try to discover the truth was a burning issue (sometimes literally) in previous centuries. Yet in our more enlightened age, the Human Rights Commission is challenging the notion that we have progressed far enough to discuss, debate, and even criticise ideas that are different from our own.

Why does the commission wish to ban and penalise free speech to protect certain beliefs? Surely the commission, and the rest of us, would be far better off adhering to the maxim of the Czech theologian Jan Hus: “Love the truth; let others have their truth, and the truth will prevail.”End quote.

Why indeed. These proposals must be resisted to the fullest extent.

That is a very sensible column from Paul Moon.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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