MUST READ: On freedom of speech and racism most vile

By   /   August 5, 2018  /   44 Comments

TDB recommends Voyager - Unlimited internet @home as fast as you can get

The most significant injustice isn’t that some barely credible white supremacists travel the world vomiting diatribe, but that racial inequality still informs and shapes life outcomes marginalising ethnic groups here and in every nation on a daily basis.

I love Aotearoa and hate racism. And the ability to protest peacefully is something I’d never want to take for granted. It’s a right, a freedom, of speech and action, and I exercise it regularly; whether it’s against environmental abuses, for animal rights, for solidarity with Palestine, for the right to access cannabis should I choose. Unjust laws and practices demand that I act on my conscience and take to the streets with banners and flags, to make a stand and to try to effect change, to mobilise against injustice.

Sometimes when I’m protesting, I’m accused of being a fanatic, part of a mob, disruptive, of being wrong. My beliefs and participation in marches and blocking the streets looks like radical political interference to those who don’t share my views. While I think it’s my moral duty to stand against injustice, others think I’m overly political and disrespectful of the established political order.
But I’ll continue to exercise that right, and recall that that not too far away in our history, anti-racist Springbok tour protestors were beaten by state forces for also protesting a view contrary to widespread opinions of the time. Our right to take to the streets in defence of personal freedoms and in favour of law change is something denied in other countries and at other times.

That this week we could freely assemble and speak against inflammatory views of visiting racists is a sign of an open society. But things are never black and white. My views expressed as freedom of speech looks like fanaticism to others. And similarly, what looks like the expression of others’ fanaticism can also look like freedom of speech to some.

These paradoxes came to a head this week with the reaction to the visiting Canadian self-described ‘libertarians’. The unpalatable, inflammatory, provocative and intolerant views of the right wingers Southern and Molyneux, were met with some intolerance on the other side.

In my view we’re right to be reject prejudiced and racist views. We should tolerate no racism. But signs saying ‘Free speech be damned’, and ‘Punch Nazis’, run the risk of bringing intolerance back onto those of us whose own views would be shut down by more conservative forces in society. I consider my own views to be humanistic, liberal and progressive, part of the fight for a more just distribution of wealth and a fairer treatment of all life on our planet. But there are plenty of others out there who see my views as radical and a threat to society. They’d like me to shut up and sit down, where I feel the need to speak up and rattle the cage.

I was heartened to see a reported thousand citizens gathered in Aotea Square on Friday night, protesting against racism and the visiting Canadian right wingers. A thousand people out on a cold wintery night, standing against racism is a powerful force. But it’s generated a lot of discussion about whether it is right to curtail free speech just because we don’t want to hear the message. What’s that mean for my own freedom of speech when people take offence at my views and would rather I just sit down too? There’s an irony in any position that expects freedom of speech for one’s own view but not for the view of others.

What concerns me most, are not the fringe and fanatical views of these visitors Molyneux and Southern, whose message has probably got a much larger audience because of the attempts at suppression, but the wider forces of racism in our society that they reflect. White supremacy has no logical justification and should have no traction.

But racism is alive and well and needs to be fought, not just on the occasional Friday night when visiting fanatics ignite the flames. The institutionalised and historic racism that sees Maori and Pacific Island people over-represented in prison statistics, in poor health outcomes, in educational under-achievement, in police bias, in poor wages and housing, in snide negative stereotypes, in lost lands and sovereignty, in a lack of self-determination, culture and mana; the racism that sees Maori and Pasifika denied access to positions of economic and social power, home ownership, in having a home, in material hardship, reduced life expectancy, these are the forms of racism that we should be fighting against every day in every sector. But you probably won’t get any of that on a slogan or a banner brandished in Aotea Square on a Friday night.

I’m sure anti-racism protestors on Friday night were as much against Southern and Molyneux as they were against racism per se. But Southern and Molyneux are a representation of more vile historical and contemporary forces, they’re the symptoms of colonial oppression and appropriation, of a dominant narrative that shapes society, the economy and our everyday lives. Racism needs to be fought on the streets, the workplace, the media, the economy, at home in New Zealand, and in nations across the world, every night. The most significant injustice isn’t that some barely credible white supremacists travel the world vomiting diatribe, but that racial inequality still informs and shapes life outcomes marginalising ethnic groups here and in every nation on a daily basis.

***
Want to support this work? Donate today
***
Follow us on Twitter & Facebook
***

44 Comments

  1. Sam Sam says:

    Just watching Tim Pools live stream of Antifa (Anti freespeech vs Proud Boys (MAGA stock crowd, (M)icrosoft, (A)mazon, (G)oogle, (A)pple) one thing that comes through the speakers is the Proud boys shout Trump ie they have a leader and Antifa doesn’t. But it’s interesting that underpinning all this is the MAGA stock. MAGA stock execs really don’t care what some one does with there products so long as sales are up for the quarter and we get our bonuses. It’s not like gadgets come with health warnings or safe practice guides or anything. Some people just have way more money than sense.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      The anti free speech crood have allowed this subject a large undue amount of press coverage that have now made Southern and Molyneux look like heros in the social media sites now with over a half a million ‘likes’ on facebook and utube with a massive support building outside NZ also so it had a positive effect on getting their veiws supported outside NZ and within.

      The aniti- free speech should have just ignored the pair and it would not have increased their support globally.

      • Marc says:

        Do a search for those two (Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux) on Canadian newspaper and media websites, and you will find little if any mention of these characters, while here they have created a ‘storm’ in the MSM and social media teacups.

        Ridiculous, just as so much happening in Niu Zillind aka Sleepy Hobbit Land.

        https://www.thestar.com/news.html
        https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/toronto/

      • Sam Sam says:

        Americas share of global GDP keeps declining. The west is losing power and enfluence and a lot of westerners don’t really know how to deal with that. This generation has grown up in relative comfort, Europe has been beep into a 20% share of global GDP for decades so it shows what we can expect from an America with a 20% share of GDP – wide spread immigration and boarder failures, low defence spending, over borrowing. It took about 60 years after WW2 before the U.K finally figured out that they weren’t a super any more, the US has a population 3 times greater than the UK so I think the fall for the U.S will be 3 times faster or the U.S loses economic and trade supremacy in 20 years. That’s not including anything dumb like nuclear war of crop failures.

      • bert says:

        I still don’t know who she is despite the media coverage. As they say she is a “Neville Nobody” She does however give blondes a good name.

        • Sam Sam says:

          It’s difficult to tell who is who because sections of the left and sections of the right are throwing around labels like there’s no tomorrow calling any one who disagrees with them fascist or commie and you can go down the list. And it’s like every one just magically transformed into fascists about a month ago. It’s a dangerous phenomenon that foreign social media personalities can cause a lose of cohesion among New Zealanders. We just have to recognise it, and show abit tolerance towards each other instead of getting screw attacked by foreigners.

  2. Vern B says:

    Christine,

    Why do you believe Southern and Molyneux are racist? Personally, I can’t standing listening to Molyneux, and Southern can grate…. but I do listen to the occasional interview. My take is that they are very much against it, so Im wondering what I have missed.

    • Vern, their racist and misogynistic chauvinism has been covered ad nauseum on this forum. Look up the comments sections on blogposts by Chris Trotter and Martyn Bradbury.

      But for starters, their bizarre view that the European race is more intelligent than other races. References: https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/stefan-molyneux

      They claim their view is based on science – but that is utter bollocks. No such science exists. This is little more than a replay of 1930s Nazi eugenics ‘theory’.

      • Andy says:

        “European” isn’t a race.

        One of the IQ issues Molyneux raised in an interview with Jordan Peterson is that Ashkenazi Jews score on average 15 points higher than the surrounding population in IQ tests
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashkenazi_Jewish_intelligence

        I guess it takes a special kind of Nazi to claim that Jews are brighter than the rest of us

        • That link you provided also suggests that there are cultural aspects to apparent “high IQ”. As someone else pointed out, if IQ tests were written by Innuit (eskimos), guess who would rate highly amongst human beings? Go on, take a guess.

          • Andy says:

            I wasn’t actually suggesting any causal relationship, just observing the differences. In the case of the Ashkenazy, they are part of the surrounding culture, though there may be differences in educational aspirations etc.

            The point I am making is that this isn’t some crank eugenics, it is fairly well established science, and Molyneux has interviewed an Otago professor on the subject

            Whether one uses the science to advance a political agenda is a separate question, of course, and then it can become distasteful at best, genocidal at worst

            • …and Molyneux has interviewed an Otago professor on the subject

              Yes, Andy, you’re correct. Molyneux spoke to Emeritus Professor James Flynn of the University of Otago.

              This was the result;

              Prof Flynn was interviewed by Mr Molyneux in 2015 – the hour-long chat is on YouTube – but said if the Canadian called now, he wouldn’t answer.

              “I wouldn’t think of going within a mile of him if he talked,” Prof Flynn told Newshub, saying while he enjoyed debating the subject of race and IQ with academics he disagreed with, such as Dr Murray and the late Arthur Jensen, there was no point in listening to what Mr Molyneux has to say.

              “These people are just coattail-hangers. They don’t have anything new to contribute to the debate – they just try and make the debate spectacular. I’ve invested a huge amount of time on this issue, read all the best thinkers, and wouldn’t think it would be worth my time.”

              In his 1980 book Race, IQ and Jensen, Prof Flynn called attempts to link IQ squarely to race “disturbing”, expressing great scepticism.

              ref: https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/national/stefan-molyneux-iq-and-race-what-the-experts-think/ar-BBLxzmC

              Thank you for pointing out this event to us. It helps demolish Molyneux as the far-right crank that he is.

              • Andy says:

                “Thank you for pointing out this event to us.”

                You are most welcome

              • Andy says:

                Since you mention Charles Murray ,who Flynn apparently disagrees with, I note that at a recent campus in the USA, his talk was shouted down by leftist activists and the liberal professor that invited him was physically assaulted and ended up in a neck brace.

                So NZ has got a wee way to go before we turn violent big time, but give it time.
                Douglas Murray and Nigel Farage are coming to our soils soon. Murray has been a critic of mass Islamic immigration into Europe, so is obviously a Nazi. Go for it team!

                • who Flynn apparently disagrees with

                  “Apparently”?!

                  Prof Flynn said “if the Canadian called now, he wouldn’t answer”.

                  Nothing “apparently” about it. He was crystal clear: “I wouldn’t think of going within a mile of him if he talked”.

  3. Johnnybg says:

    Over the free speech issue all TDB has succeeded in doing is to make a mountain out of a molehill, & act as a recruiting sergeant for the extreme right. I’ve got the message.

    This radical old free speech activist & street-fighter has been siting on the fence for a while now, but this successful attack on free speech by a tiny minority of resentment fueled, fascist like bigots & the liberal globalisation elite who they keep in power, has led to a change of heart.

    I’m now committed to joining the war to rid our country of this pernicious life negating, soul destroying plague. Time to go back to the streets & do what I can to fire up the slumbering troops, who like me, are absolutely sick & tired of being brow beaten & lorded over by an ignorant, viscous, fascist, racist & unpatriotic few who can’t see the wood for the trees.

    • Andy says:

      “I’m now committed to joining the war to rid our country of this pernicious life negating, soul destroying plague”

      That’s not how I would describe Islam, but I take your point

  4. Marc says:

    “But I’ll continue to exercise that right, and recall that that not too far away in our history, anti-racist Springbok tour protestors were beaten by state forces for also protesting a view contrary to widespread opinions of the time. Our right to take to the streets in defence of personal freedoms and in favour of law change is something denied in other countries and at other times.”

    Be sure, that your ‘freedom’ to protest and use ‘free speech’, is only condoned by the establishment elite and the deep state combined, because those who actually use their ‘right’ are minorities and pose NO true challenge to the status quo.

    The Springbok Tour unrest and protests were a sign of the time, yes, but they changed only little. In fact, so called ‘liberalism’ of a social kind, including forms of an open society and ‘multiculturalism’, have been adopted by the establishment (dominated by the rich and powerful and their mostly well educated servants), because they realised it even serves their own purposes.

    Their power and control of the status quo rests on the good old ‘divide and rule’ concept. So Southern and Molyneux fit in well into that also, stirring up others, who opposed them, leading to lively online debates, even hate tirades and to protests (albeit in small numbers) out on the streets.

    So the ones in charge can lean back, enjoy the popcorn, and laugh about all the participants, some more ignorant than others, some simply naive to the extreme, and continue playing their game.

    Only if there was mass protests that would endanger the present status quo within society, and above all its still neoliberal, capitalist order, then would we have them engage state and even private security forces, to oppose any movement for real change.

    The so called ‘freedom’ to protest must be seen in that context, and in hindsight and on reflection, it is merely a phrase, although enshrined in law (with caveats and restrictions also), and leads many to believe they actually have true freedom, that would lead to any REAL and significant change for humanity.

  5. Christine says:

    Don’t fight. Reject, and resist – Gandhi achieved quite a lot that way.

    These people want fights, want wars, but there other ways of bringing about change.

    • Marc says:

      Try search for them and anything about them on Canadian MSM and so, you will find damned little if any mention of them there:
      http://www.cbc.ca/search

      Yet searching via Google, endless results about them and what they stirred up here can be found, and only a bit about what they caused in Australia. NZ Inc is a JOKE!

      Making a mountain out of a mole hill, I fear.

    • Sam Sam says:

      The tactics Ghandi employed wasn’t with out force. I mean the wonderful British forced India to grow opium and never mind crops to feed the people ending in 200 million dead Indians and Chinese. So not down playing the role boarders and foreign affairs and a military plays at all. If we are serious about preventing skeletons in the closet that is.

  6. Lone comet says:

    I think it is right to protest against racism and lack of tolerance towards refugees and immigration. Its good that these two were not able to find a venue that would allow them to espouse racist rhetoric, and make money out of it too. Good on the Powerstation and city council too, and good riddance to bad rubbish. This is not an argument about freedom of speech.

  7. Jenny says:

    Free speech and suppression of free speech is something that the rich and powerful enjoy. The rest of us, without deep pockets, like Russel McVeigh, or in the favour of Right Wing pressure groups, that can raise $50 thousand overnight, not so much.

    “They pushed the boundaries by asking for a super-injunction while at the same time telling the public [in the wake of the Russell McVeagh revelations] that everything was fine and there was nothing to worry about.

    “They were making public statements that they weren’t suppressing Catriona MacLennan’s free speech but that’s what they were doing to me.”…..

    …..Tidy and clean-shaven, the young lawyer speaks slowly and weighs each word. The contents of the email were “distressing”, and that was compounded by the fact he was not allowed to talk to anyone about it, apart from his lawyer. And it went on for four months. “It was like a weight”.

    Taylor is presently looking for a job. A legal clash with the body representing lawyers probably doesn’t help his case – but he believed he had an obligation to stand up and do the right thing…..

    …..Taylor wears a smart shirt and black jeans. His parents, he said, come from a working class background – so he knew how lucky he was to have the opportunity to speak up. “I have more privilege to do that. It would feel wrong not to say something. I have a strong sense of justice. I don’t know if something triggered that.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/106008654/a-young-law-graduate-was-the-target-of-one-of-nzs-most-sweeping-gagging-orders

    Related comments and posts:

    “There’s No Such Thing as Free Speech”

    “…the gory freedom of free foxes in a free chicken run”

  8. Scotty says:

    I you tubed these pair and listened to their speeches.

    from what I could make out….. Stephan Moulinex reports that the US military have for decades, studied groups/cultures/races from each country around the world and factually concluded that they all have different average levels of IQ.

    And today they are judged against high average IQ groups/cultures/races and if they fall below the medium they are losers/underlings/inferiors which he believes is racist/unfair/troublesome and wrong .

    So an analogy could be…if you where not good at sports (in a majority sporty school) you where labeled a looser.

    It feels like what has happened here in NZ, is a linch mob mentality , Some called them RACIST So jump to it boys, get a rope and let’s go hang em!.

    Some one please correct me if I’m factualy wrong

  9. Marc says:

    Instead of wasting so much time on these hopeless, mischief making sidekicks Southern and Moulineux, people here should perhaps focus on the REAL challenges our society faces, which we have NO answers for to this day, as the government cannot even go as far as banning single use plastic bags:

    https://www.smithersrapra.com/news/2016/october/global-demand-for-plastic-films-is-forecast-to-gro

    ‘Global demand for plastic films is forecast to grow by 4% per annum to 2021 reaching 73.3 million tonnes’

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/282732/global-production-of-plastics-since-1950/

    Think about how to clothe, house and transport and feed the billions of people on this climate disaster facing planet without using plastic and synthetic materials for a change!

    I hear and read almost NADA on such challenges and find NO solutions that are feasible and economical, to rid us off plastic, which is largely made from petroleum and the likes.

    • Andy says:

      Southern made a doco about the plight of South African farmers, who are being tortures, murdered and raped

      Naturally, people aren’t interested in hearing gory stories about women having kneecaps drilled out with electric drills, or children being boiled alive in baths of scalding water.

      They’d much rather gather on street corners banging drums and rallies, mindlessly chanting slogans

      Bloody Nazis!

  10. Jenny says:

    “White supremacy has no logical justification and should have no traction.”
    Christine Rose

    You would think so wouldn’t you?

    The fact that Southern and Molyneaux were able to hire a 500 seat private venue at $79 a ticket, and claimed to have sold it out, shows that there is a ready market for this sort of thing.

    And those prepared to pay $749 “to break bread” with this pair, are people with the resources to back their racist program in this country after they are gone.

    $79 general admission to “hear speeches by world leading commentators and justice activists”
    $99 early admission (a few minutes early to get better seats)
    $199 meet & greet ‘strictly limited to 40 people at each event for half an hour backstage access prior to the show’
    $499 VIP meet & greet “10 people will get to spend an extra 15 minutes in the Meet & Greet, plus get a swag of personally signed, awesome merchandise”
    $749 dinner and early admission “opportunity to break bread at an intimate function prior to the main event that evening with not one but two of the most influential Alt Media personalities of our generation”

    But rather than let Southern and Molyneaux have their private meeting with 500 other like minded individuals. And conspire with a few seriously wealthy Kiwi racists over dinner.

    Personally I think it is better to use the precautionary principle.

    Racism is a bad thing, Alt-Right fascism is a bad thing. Do we really need to give platform to racists and fascists to argue that they are not?

    • Andy says:

      If they are Alt-Right racists, how come Lauren Southern gets called a “coal burner” by the Alt Right for dating a black man?

      • Marc says:

        Maybe he was only ‘painted black’, oh, I remember a Rolling Stones song with that line now.

  11. Danyl Strype says:

    This is a wonderfully nuanced piece Christine. You nailed both the ignorant irrelevance of the visiting trolls, and the degree to which the shield of liberal principles like free speech and due process protect our own freedoms to dissent. Those who say ridiculously foolhardy things like “free speech be damned” need to think about how much the owning class and the deep state would love to see that shield weakened and demolished. Be careful what you wish for …

  12. Z says:

    This is hate speech. I felt the need to give an example since NZ appears to have no concept

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_9MDHNgdpVM&pbjreload=10

    The speaker is screaming into a megaphone, “White people, give us your f***** money, your f****** house, your f****** property, we need it f****** all!”

    While talking about capitalism, protesters can be heard yelling “reparations” and “burn it down.”