Let’s all be nice…

 

Stuff has published this absurd little piece on free speech.

As the writer, Glenn McConnell, is barely into his twenties, it is an interesting insight into how the mind of the millennial works – and it shows that they think the world is a lovely place, where no one wants to hurt anyone else and we all live in castles with rainbows. I will forgive him his rose-coloured view of the world because he is young.

What I cannot forgive, however, is his complete stupidity and naivety, particularly as he is an aspiring journalist. Quote:

Here’s an age-old adage that has lasted the test of time: “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all.”

It’s funny to think how so many cranky old rhetoricians have failed to grasp this basic kindergarten lesson.

If they had, then I imagine the Free Speech Coalition supporters would now be $50,000 better off (although, I doubt they need the money). End quote. 

Here is the first little dig. These guys are so wealthy that money doesn’t matter to them. Just so you know, young man, I donated to this cause, and I am a long way from being rich. I donated because I think it is a very important issue. Quote:

Instead of wasting their time protecting racist speakers, the likes of Don Brash and Chris Trotter could have been doing something useful. Ironically, they could have been proving to us the importance of free speech. End quote.

I can understand his dislike for Don Brash, as his Orewa speech was grossly misunderstood, and therefore badly reported. However, Chris Trotter is a left-leaning political analyst who believes in free speech. It is insulting to describe him as “protecting racist speakers”. Quote:

You see, the best way to defend free speech is by saying something worth listening to.

Want proof? Just think back to your last meeting, or lecture. There was that guy, on some cringeworthy spout about goodness knows what. He was completely off topic, borderline offensive and pushing this meeting ever closer to lunching hour. What did you wish you could shout at that moment? I bet it was, “Shut up, you idiot”.

Maybe you did, and you silenced him right then and there. Kabam! Speech interrupted. End quote.

Kabam! You just stopped someone from exercising their right to speak. Even if it was boring, even if it was long winded, he still had the right to say it. Quote:

And who could blame you? That guy, holding up everyone with some nonsense about how life used to be, or the issue with identity politics, wasn’t helping anyone.

This is the key to free speech: when you feel the urge to scream your thoughts to the world, you should really think, “Is this helping anyone?” End quote.

No, it isn’t, buddy. Both parties in this exchange have equal rights to speak. You just think you have a greater right because you don’t like what you hear. You don’t. That is the essence of what the Coalition for Free Speech is all about. Quote:

When you listen to enough Newstalk ZB or read too many online comments, you start to hear a lot of incredibly unhelpful vitriol.

The outgoing Leighton Smith, for one, has an unusual fascination with toilets and masculinity. He once read a poem about what it is to be a “true man”. And he enjoys hosting long-winded conversations about the rights and wrongs of allowing transgender students to use their chosen bathroom. End quote.

So, you have the right to say what you think but Leighton Smith doesn’t? Because you don’t like what he says about transgender people?

The issue of transgender people is generally not the fact that they are transgender. Nobody particularly cares about that. It is the enormous fuss they make about toilets. Most of us simply can’t understand why they don’t just use a stall in whichever gender toilet they decide is appropriate. Why is this such an enormous issue? It really shouldn’t be. That is the reason these “demagogues” raise the matter. They feel there is something more sinister at play here. Quote:

The issue is, such valiant defenders of old-time norms aren’t helping anyone. They are simply defending the right to discriminate for the sake of it.

Unlike the PC brigade they so predictably detest, conservative demagogues cannot even claim to be speaking for the benefit of anyone other than themselves.

Instead, far too many of these so-called free speech champions use their very large platforms to protect their own comforts. End quote.

No. He is merely voicing his opinion, to which he is entitled, and you are voicing yours. You may not agree with him, but if you have any sense at all, you will defend to the death his right to say what he thinks because you are simply too young and too stupid to understand the consequences that the erosion of free speech brings with it.

Glenn, judging by your photo, it was your great-grandparents’ generation that lived through the Second World War. For most “demagogues”, many of whom are baby boomers, it was our parents’ generation that did. We “demagogues” were brought up with the lessons that those times taught. We heard about the rise of Nazism, and the freedoms that were taken away. Our parents actually took part in the war and lived through horrors that you can never imagine. So, we know – not first hand, but by hearing the stories – how awful life can be if some of the things we take for granted are suddenly not there any more.

The Nazis stopped free speech, freedom of the press and freedom of association. They burned books. They arbitrarily decided that some races were simply ‘sub-human’, so they embarked on a programme of mass extinction of Jews and Slavs. Hitler wanted a pure Aryan race, and was quite happy to murder people in order to achieve it. He did. 61 million people in all died during the war, and about 10 million of those were Slavs, six million were Jews and seven million were Russians. It is just about incomprehensible.

To you, this is as much a part of history as the Hundred Years War but this all happened less than 100 years ago, and it happened because humans didn’t stop their fundamental human rights being eroded when they could have done more about it.

Today the child-sex-slave grooming gangs in Britain are real, Glenn. These are British girls being taken as sex slaves by Muslim men. You can’t deny it. There have been prosecutions, although the authorities are not doing much about it. Why? Well, they don’t want to be seen as racist. It is just like Germany in the 1930s. They don’t like what is happening, but they turn a blind eye. A lot of people in Germany ‘held back’  in the 1930s. At first, they were concerned but said nothing and then it was too late, and they did not dare to speak.

So, take away a person’s right to say what they think, even if you find it boring or long-winded, and you start down that slippery slope. Just like Phil Goff did when he decided that Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux were going to incite racial hatred. He did not know that. He just gave in to pressure from a group he did not wish to offend. There’s that slippery slope.

If you accept that the mayor of Auckland can now decide who will be allowed to hire council venues, then you have to accept him deciding against someone whom you want to go to see. What if the next mayor of Auckland banned Barack Obama from speaking? How would you feel about free speech then? Quote:

Because, even though we all have a right to think whatever we want, sometimes it’s best if we just hold back a few moments before voicing our intolerant and unhelpful opinions. That way, we don’t end up defending racists and brutalising people for no fault of their own. End quote.

The Nazis brutalised people for no fault of their own, Glenn, and it wasn’t merely over toilets.

Don’t, whatever you do, think it will never happen again. It has already started to happen again but, like in the 1930s, people like you won’t see it until it is too late. Only the demagogues, who recognise how all this starts, can save you. And it often starts with people who deny others the right to free speech. Just like you.


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Accountant. Boring. Loves tax. Needs to get out more. Loves the environment, but hates the Greens. Has been called a dinosaur. Wears it with pride.

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