Defining Issues

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UNFOLDING, IN A WELLINGTON COURTROOM, is a drama which speaks directly to the defining issues of our time. What is racism? How central is racial discrimination to the moral deficiencies of our society? What is Hate Speech? More importantly, what is the relationship between Hate Speech and Free Speech? And, lastly, what sanctions – if any – should be imposed upon those whose opinions give widespread offence?

It is, of course, forbidden to comment upon the rights and wrongs of a trial in progress. My apologies, then, to all those anticipating a right royal roasting of either the plaintiff, or the defendant, or both, in the matter of Sir Robert Jones versus Renae Maihi.

What can be observed of defamation cases in general, however, is that it is possible to be too protective of one’s good name. A court of law is a fearsome and dangerous place for those unaccustomed to having their ideas and opinions publicly scrutinised and dissected by persons whose ability to marshal and present contrary evidence has been honed by years of legal training and experience. There is no off-switch in a courtroom. Neither is it possible to turn the page in disgust. Ill-formed and ill-defended opinions will be exposed ruthlessly and unapologetically. As Shakespeare put it: “Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.” Sometimes the best course of action is to take no action at all.

Let us then turn, then, to the broader issues at play in that Wellington courtroom: Racism, Hate Speech, Free Speech, and the most effective response to wilful offensiveness.

Increasingly, in this country, as in other countries dominated by Europeans, racism is being viewed as the fundamental driver of social, economic and political injustice. Fifty years ago this was not the case. For most of the Twentieth Century, unequal class relations were deemed to be the primary cause of injustice. With the demise of actually existing socialism, however, and the global triumph of neoliberal capitalism, class inequality has become, to paraphrase Lord Alfred Douglas: the lack of love that dare not speak its name.

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The neoliberal ruling-class, with considerable political finesse, has tapped into the energy once devoted to uplifting the working-class (within whose ranks are many, many people of colour) and diverted it into identifying and demanding atonement for the sins of slavery and colonisation committed by the ancestors of contemporary Europeans. The process of elevating racism to the status of the West’s original and abiding sin was greatly assisted by the inspirational examples of Martin Luther King’s non-violent campaign for African-American civil rights, and the African National Congress’s four-decades-long struggle against Apartheid. The impact of these historical struggles on the indigenous victims of European colonialism was direct and enduring.

The development of Maori nationalism in New Zealand offers an excellent example of the process. As the neoliberal experiment gathered momentum in Aotearoa, the formerly close ties between Maori, the traditional left and the trade unions were broken. By the early 1990s, what Dr Elizabeth Rata has dubbed “neo-tribal capitalism” was rapidly transforming Maori nationalism into a vital political adjunct to the all-conquering neoliberal project. The nightmare of working-class Maori and Pakeha making common cause against what was fast becoming a strategically bi-cultural ruling-class faded away, to be replaced by the new and rapidly expanding Maori middle-class’s scorn for the irredeemably racist redneckery of the Pakeha proletariat.

In this context, any unabashed expression of white racial chauvinism is almost always construed by Pakeha intellectuals as an unforgiveable affront to the state’s steadily evolving anti-racist and decolonisation projects. For those Maori deeply embedded in these processes, however, such reiterations of white supremacist ideology are a godsend. Every such outburst reinforces the anti-racist and decolonisation critique and highlights the baked-in character of the colonisers’ prejudices.

Why then condemn such racially charged outbursts as “Hate Speech” and seek to punish its purveyors? Surely, by constantly exposing their racism, white supremacists provide ongoing and invaluable confirmation of the decolonisers’ moral deficiencies? This may well be true, but it’s also irrelevant. The decolonisation process can only be advanced in an environment of hair-trigger outrage and demonstrable indigenous distress. Racism must, therefore, be confronted and condemned whenever and wherever it raises its ugly head, and the offending and offensive racists held accountable for the harm they have inflicted.

It is, accordingly, entirely unsurprising that the liberal-democrats’ passionate defence of the citizen’s right to freedom of expression is viewed as a serious obstacle to the success of the anti-racist and decolonisation projects. At the core of the free speech argument is the proposition that every citizen is obliged to uphold the right of every other citizen – even those whose views fundamentally contradict their own most cherished beliefs – to express their opinions freely and without the fear of any retribution beyond their opponents’ vigorous refutation.

The problems begin when the vigorous refutation of offensive speech is no longer considered sufficient. When the paucity of intellect and the absence of evidence so obvious in the arguments put forward by the racially prejudiced cease to be the best reason for fair-minded people to reject not only the content of those arguments, but also the morally dubious claims of the people making them. When the citizenry, in their confusing and contradictory entirety, are deemed inadequate to the task of determining the proper shape of their society and its future. When the responsibilities of government are entrusted exclusively to those powerful enough to determine which opinions are “correct”. And when those who deviate from such opinions are subjected to the full rigors of the law. At that point, it is possible to give the problems a name.

Totalitarianism.

 

36 COMMENTS

  1. Freedom of speech is fine. Bullying and denegrating others, whether private or public, isn’t.
    In a democracy it is the people who choose who they want to set boundaries for them, social, economic etc. Curiously, blame and dissent is openly channeled toward those voted into power by the very finger-pointers who’ve put them there.
    In any community rules will, of necessity, eventuate as a necessary ‘evil’ against self-annihilation.
    There is no left or right, just anarchy and totalitarianism. Somewhere near the middle is the self-governed republic, bound by rules of shared decency. Problems occur when this particular civility is sacrificed for thuggery. In the case of Jones vs Maihi, Jones is a thug.
    Finally an open mind is entirely commendable, desirable even… so long as individuals aren’t so open their brains fall out onto the floor! Government and decency start with self. Confusion abounds when these simplistic, naive notions are no longer apparent… or wanted.
    Let good sense and decency prevail. All the best Renae.

        • The petition was formally closed post Jones’ recognising Maihi’s sincerity of intention. Regardless, lest the point be lost, a clear message has been sent that shared decency is the preferable option here to reactionary anarchy or totalitarianism – however that presents itself.

            • I don’t recall exactly what Jones was hard against but the way Māori develop economically does resign them to a life of servitude to the environment.

  2. To call someone pakeha is now a terrible insult. But the Treaty needs pakeha. We need lawyers to define boundaries and we need doctors to repair the damage, and we need artist to define the future. With out the Treaty 800,000 Maori may very well lose it’s cultural competitiveness vs four million New Zealanders and thus lose any notion of Tino Rangatiratanga.

    There are many things that can be done in a court room but somethings a court can not do is create nice jobs, nice homes, happy families. Courts are the wrong place to go if these are the things being sought.

    Anyone truly inclined on economic development (just to be clear no one is. I’d settle for competence because on one truly desires power) because a big part of the reason for decolonisation happening the way is does is because when ever Māori are sad, mad or bad that means a $50,000 salary for someone and no one can just abruptly walk away from that.

    What little power and structure and assets is left for Maori is left there as a dependency on the crown. It’s difficult to build semi stable governance on that, let alone something more democratise and prosperous than before.

  3. Kia ora Chris
    By making reference to the case of Sir Robert Jones, and then moving straight to the more general case, you have queered the pitch. There are few if any specifics and a lot of generality in your argument.
    Racism is a great evil and it has been recognised as such for at least two millennia. So is poverty, and callous attitude of the rich and powerful towards those who are poor and helpless.
    You write: “The decolonisation process can only be advanced in an environment of hair-trigger outrage and demonstrable indigenous distress.” I assume that this is said with irony because decolonisation can only progress in a spirit of courage, honesty, calm, reason and good will. The same is true of the struggle for material and social equality.
    The screaming and the “hair-trigger outrage” does not come from those who are seriously committed to the cause of mana motuhake. It is characteristic of those who remain closely attached to and dependent upon the colonial project, in particular the leadership and members of the New Zealand Labour Party, the Green Party and to be fair the Maori Party.
    Your own position on mana motuhake and Te Whakaminenga appears ambivalent. As a political pragmatist, you may have decided that the only sensible option is to work through the colonial parliament and in alliance with colonialist parties such as the NZLP. In doing so you will inevitably be caught up in some of the things that you rightly despise, such as neo-liberal economics and the concentration on race as a supposed defining and immutable distinction between human beings.

    • Thoughtful response, as always, Geoff.

      I must, however, take issue with your assertion that “racism is a great evil and it has been recognised as such for at least two millennia. So is poverty, and callous attitude of the rich and powerful towards those who are poor and helpless.”

      Discrimination on the basis of ethnicity and social class is as old as humanity, decried only in the last three centuries – and even then by a minority. A case could be made, i suppose, that Judaism, Christianity and Islam all take a moral stand against poverty. History, however, suggests that these religious principles have been more honoured in the breach than in the observance!

      Trump’s America stands as a brutal refutation of your hopeful analysis.

      • I was thinking of how Jesus and his parable of the good Samaritan, and of the Apostles who said “There is neither Greek nor Jew… for all are one..”
        So for at least two millennia there have been those who have transcended distinctions of race. Perhaps I overstated the case by saying that it was recognised as a “great evil” but the message of the Gospel is clear enough.
        Are these altruistic principles “Honoured in the breach”? Yes they can be, by Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, socialists, communists and social democrats – indeed by all of humanity. But at the same time honoured in truth by billions of others. There are plenty of good folk around.

  4. Maybe there should be more articles about moral behaviour in general from different races, nationalities and multinationals, because it’s getting crazy when people and businesses can come to another country (whether NZ or anywhere else in the world) and then get tax payers money and pollute to boot.

    When the growing frustration of this dirty practice is then turned into endless debates about xenophobia, protectionism (now a dirty word under neoliberalism, used to be a positive word) and racism.

    Lets look at Rio Tinto. As well as expert corporate welfare beneficiaries, they pay 25% of the power costs of normal kiwis including the poor living here, driving up power costs for everyone else, they also get away with their dirty waste stored in towns and ‘pay’ ha ha now liquidated companies to dispose of it… and that’s ok under law and our pathetic government goes about fixing it with ‘verbal’ deals?

    Rio Tinto behaviour ‘outrageous’, Environment Minister David Parker says
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/409412/rio-tinto-behaviour-outrageous-environment-minister-david-parker-says

    Had no idea that the treaty of Waitangi had so many side agreements to help multinational business and be their backers and hazardous waste cleaners.

    When the poluluters leave NZ or something goes wrong, no problem all the problems just ‘vanish’ from their books… all fine in international law. The liquidated routs…

    “Directors of Tamarind Taranaki, the New Zealand business of a Malaysian oil and gas producer say the company “may be insolvent”.

    Tamarind operates three oil fields according to its website, Tui, Amokura, and Pateke in the Tui Area oil field. It is the 100 per cent owner and operator of the fields.

    The company’s business model is to buy oil fields late in their production life.

    When buying fields off other companies, Tamarind assumes responsibility for any remediation costs when the field is closed.”

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12284777

    Failing to clean up their hazardous waste, and our council and government’s pathetic legal ‘clean and tidy’ deals with them so they don’t have to and are actually too scared to fight them in court as far to much work for lazy NZ private practice lawyers on the teat of government, and looking for a local SME to make an example of.

    https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/supreme-court-overturns-mobils-10m-wynyard-quarter-cleanup-order-b-191835

    The law no longer makes sense and when you look at some or the Morans with a law degree (Simple Simon) you can see where some of the problems lie when it’s more about changing the law for the powerful and corrupt than protecting the vulnerable. Aka “2 Chinese are more valuable than 2 Indians”.

    David Paker is yet another naive TPPA neoliberal lawyer who is totally up the neoliberals and multinational arses and a joke as minister of the environment making NZ more polluted under his watch.

  5. A lot of the confected outrage is simply a performance to prove the moral worthiness and higher virtue of the outraged.
    Not being outraged is considered – on Twitter – as being complicit, if not secretly supportive of the racism.

  6. Bob Jones combines the absolute worst combination of ignorance and arrogance. His lack of appreciation for his own white male privilege is palpable. Bob foolishly thinks that anybody can have his good fortune. He is deliberately in denial of the effects of colonialism and will remain ignorant for the rest of his life as a result. How an 80 year-old man can be so unwise is beyond me. SIR Bob Jones proves absolutely that you can put lipstick on a pig but he’s still a pig.

    • Do you not see the irony of your calling someone you disagree with ageist, sexist and racist derogatory remarks in one sentence?

      • BG: “Do you not see the irony of your calling someone you disagree with ageist, sexist and racist derogatory remarks in one sentence?”

        Heh! Yes, I also noticed this.

  7. There used to be an old law, and still is, – that incitement to riot is a prosecutable offense. That can be extrapolated to liable laws and defamation. The content of Jones written articles may be viewed as such.

    Except that we did not have the scale of ‘race riots’ as they did in the USA in the 1960’s. We were far more subtle. But it was there, more defined as being overlooked in positions, housing and even medical priority. What Jones has done is simply upheld an out of date worldview,…one doesn’t have to go into Pol Pot, or the Nazi’s to give extreme examples of the final destination of racial or political extremism.

    Jones, through the use of humor that appeals to some, – a dwindling number of which, – has attempted to tap into that archaic worldview. It creates controversy and thus publicity. Similar to what Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux attempted to do.

    However, this is where the rubber hits the road,… in all cases, it crosses the line between an ‘opinion’ … and inciting . We have suffered the massacre of 50 something individuals in Christchurch recently because of the same sort of devices.

    We recall the odious message of Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux being debated as ‘whether we should let them in on the basis of ”free speech” by many here.

    Yet the very defendants of them and ‘ free speech’ were silenced after the Christchurch massacres.

    When speech , – be that spoken , written or otherwise, leads to the harm and death of others, that is the time to silence it. It does not damage democracy to do so , – but simply reinforces its civilized validity and the moral and virtuous aspects of it. And it must be protected.

    Ask yourselves, … how many would countenance the rise of a ‘Mussolini ‘ in this country without vehemently opposing that message? It would not be long before, after mass demonstrations , its leaders, its financial backers and their lieutenants would be rounded up for even more closer scrutiny. And, like the Nazi party was in many country’s in Europe, finally outlawed as the malevolent, harmful social and political fringe element that they were.

    Many people have died in the defense of ‘ freedom of speech’ ,… yet many more people have died fighting those very regimes that denied that same privilege.

    Therefore, – is it really prudent ,…purely for the sake of academic debate and intellectual exercise to entertain malevolent, virulent and inciteful , hate filled, speech ,- whether that be in the form of spoken , written or ‘humorous’ cartoons , – when our recent forebears during World War Two suffered so much to defeat those very same totalitarian racists?

    Have we not learned anything from their blood soaked sacrifices and experiences? Are we to trample all over the horrendous sacrifices they made in their millions ( like latter day spoilt brats ) to ensure their family’s and children grew up in a world that was not shackled by tyranny?

    There comes a time, when certain elements of communication, – that is inherently evil , – is to be silenced and dismissed as outside the normal paradigms of what has value and what has merit in the value you place on your fellow human beings. And THAT , … is the guiding principle of a free world and a healthy democracy.

    ANYTHING,… that challenges that , and seeks to incite hatred, racism and the creation of an exploited underclass subservient to a ruling class is NOT either a healthy democracy nor is it one that enshrines the values of a democracy based on the common and shared values of liberty , freedom or respect for ones fellow human beings.

    Bob Jones has crossed that line multiple times.

    • You have failed, utterly, Wild Katipo, to grasp the principles for which the Allies fought in World War II.

      To help you understand, allow me to set forth the “Four Freedoms” which President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed to be the ultimate objective of the battle against fascism and extreme nationalism. They were:

      Freedom of Speech.

      Freedom of Religion

      Freedom from Want.

      Freedom from Fear.

      It really does help, sometimes, to do a little research before unleashing your opinions on the world.

      • So Voltaire, which was the origin of the first ‘freedom’ has essentially been quoted, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”.

        Which can and does , lead to enabling acts of violence. So much so, that most nations have laws that cover that area . Its called ‘ Incitement’. In the USA, they have the Nazi movement. So much so they even have marches accompanied by Police. Why is there the need for a Police presence?,… because their message is so odious and provocative that violence will surely break out.

        If your angle is to let such as these spout their virulence to merely ‘expose them’ , then that is hardly a responsible stand to take when people who oppose them actually get injured in the violence that ensues.

        And I think that is where so many navel gazers fall down and fail to grasp the dividing lines and drift off into superfluous debate. And why also the confused debate surrounding what is and what isn’t hate speech , – or even what constitutes defamation.

        That which you have quoted is typical Americana BTW…yet even they take a stand when necessary.

        Let me put it this way,… would any of you allow a stranger spouting off racial hatred and against you or your family into your living room? No, of course you wouldn’t , you would swiftly show that person the door, lock it and possibly call the Police. With no consideration at all regarding any ‘right to freedom of speech’ entering your mind.

        Why then, just because a nation is not direct ‘family’ should we be expected to do any different?

        Are we somehow to be expected to then say to ourselves a nation is different and therefore must be expected to put up with these fractious inciteful hateful individuals in the hope they ‘expose themselves’ and be judged by public opinion? And put with the social harm they cause when doing so? I’m certain that didn’t work too well in nations that were taken over by totalitarians, – whereby academics, intellectuals and public speakers were the first ones silenced…so not always does the theory of conducting public debate with these types seem to be the best answer.

        A case in point, recently laws have been passed in England that make it an offense to mock those who are disabled. That isn’t that hard is it? And there as well as NZ we have the same thing regarding race relations. There are two examples of curbing the tendencies of some maladapted personality’s who find no problem with causing mental or even physical harm to others.

    • This reminds me of the Netflix Series Sticks and Stones, with Dave Chappelle.

      During the stand-up, Dave basically abuses every race, gender alignment and creed. The Wokesters of Rotten Tomatoes were highly offended and gave a rating of 13% The public rating? 97%

      Two things, to have any serious debate about anything you need to be able to risk offending someone (and today’s identity politics, even saying nothing can offend some). Secondly, culture (seems to be the rage right now, with RNZ goings on) means many things, including the need to be able to laugh at oneself.

      On a last note, everyone has a choice. Either you choose to be offended or you don’t.

      • There is a huge difference between between the points you try to philosophically make and straight out offensive speech. Political debate, – which does not contain racial preferences is one thing. It is perfectly acceptable to criticize the CCP , not acceptable to criticize Chinese people , for example.

        What we have here is a situation where not just racial stereotypes were used in a negative way , – but also those who are on various benefits. Whole sections of the community sent up for laughs and derision ,scorned and and made the butt of sarcastic remarks , knowing that some will be receptive to those stereotypes and help reinforce those attitudes.

        Yes , you can ‘choose to be offended or not’, – but that is a very non inclusive attitude. You may not be, – yet others, less resilient, may be. And that can easily lead to violent acts of retaliation. As an aside, – there have been many Asians who have been verbally abused here in NZ,… and have promptly called the Police, and action was taken. Simply because of verbal abuse and put downs.

        So, this brings us full circle as to why it is acceptable for some media personality or other to get away with snide racial stereotypes and put downs, reaching tens of thousands with their ‘ message ‘ yet members of the general public do not enjoy that same ‘privilege’. For them, often the Police are simply called.

      • BG: “Two things, to have any serious debate about anything you need to be able to risk offending someone (and today’s identity politics, even saying nothing can offend some).”

        Agreed. Any substantive debate about, for instance, Oranga Tamariki’s role in NZ society requires commenters to be clear-eyed and honest, both about that part of society disproportionately affected by having their babies and children removed, and about the cluster of factors driving the need for those uplifts.

        “Secondly, culture (seems to be the rage right now, with RNZ goings on) means many things, including the need to be able to laugh at oneself.”

        It’s culture in the ethnic sense – not skin colour, which is an extrinsic characteristic only – which marks the difference between peoples. When I was young, the ability to laugh at oneself was a feature of one of those ethnic cultures which form my ancestry. Unfortunately, some contemporary “cultures” in NZ take themselves far too seriously.

  8. NZ is the land where dope growers are criminals and paedophiles and racist divisive bigots are sirs now in my view something is wrong here. Then we have politicians who by association should be tarred but instead these politicians take the dirty money and do the dirty deals and then say it wasn’t me and i didn’t know. A bit like the receiver and the thief. Whereby the receiver is deemed the worst but funny how his seem to elude many in politics. Based on the above national need to stop throwing stones.

  9. Only the wealthy can afford to litigate in court with their checkbook.

    Checkbook Justice is reels, because my feelings are hurt your honour and those bloody cheeky darkies should know their place!

    2017-2019: Litigation in High Courts throughout the country have doubled. 11,000 to 23,000

  10. The ironical twist here is that the identity issues are being used as a cloak for a class war. Put simply; educated people don’t like working class people and use their various isms as a club to beat them with.

    Working class people sense the hypocrisy when they get treated with prejudice for expressing their own prejudice but don’t quite know how to combat it – except to rebel, which is why they find Trump so inspiring.

    Middle class educated types are outraged about the behaviour of working class people but completely miss the irony of the fact that they’re actually acting out their own prejudice toward the working class.

    One thing is for sure, pretty much everyone in the debate has taken the ball when it comes to the behaviour of the super-rich on the planet

  11. The irony of all this is that the race issue is acting as a cloak for a class wall. Put simply middle class educated people don’t like working class people and use their racism (and other isms) as an excuse to direct a kind of righteous hate their way.

    I think working class sense the hypocrisy of being treated with prejudice because of their own prejudice but don’t know what to do about it except rebel against it – which is why Trump genuinely inspires a lot of people.

    Despite their high level of education most of the middle class is blind to the irony that they’re using other people’s prejudices to express their own hatred. All the while the elite class is getting away with murder.

    For the record I intensely dislike the effects of prejudice on minorities but I feel exactly the same about the prejudice directed at the working class.

  12. “What is racism?”

    Setting aside to fact that the notion of “racism” isn’t supported by biology, I return to the definitions of my youth: what we characterise as “racism” is in the purview of governments, not of individuals. Only governments have the legal heft to create societal arrangements which systematically discriminate against – or in favour of – particular groups in that society.

    On the usual definition of “racist” laws and institutions, the Maori seats are racist.

    What people think and say is a consequence of tribalism, broadly conceived. We humans are a groupish species: we tend to bias in favour of people who look like us, are like us, share our language and our cultural mores. There is nothing wrong with this: it is part of the human condition, and pointless to fight against. Thus far, we don’t have the thought police telling people what they may or may not think. Despite the best efforts of the woke left….

    “How central is racial discrimination to the moral deficiencies of our society?”

    I don’t doubt that many people discriminate to the extent that they choose where to live and send their kids to school on the basis of the ethnic makeup of the respective populations. I see nothing wrong with that; in any event, how would anyone stop other citizens from exercising those freedoms? We live in a democracy, after all.

    “What is Hate Speech?”

    I’m yet to see a definition that would stand up in court. As far as I can tell, those who accuse others of hate speech mean something like “things you say that I don’t like”.

    “More importantly, what is the relationship between Hate Speech and Free Speech?”

    In my view, hate speech is free speech to which some take offence, on account of its saltiness or directness, or its critique of particular groups. And possibly, on account of the language used – descriptors and the like – which some also find offensive.

    “And, lastly, what sanctions – if any – should be imposed upon those whose opinions give widespread offence?””

    None. The principle of free speech is that individuals or communities are free to express opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanction. It’s inevitable that some or many people will be offended at times by somebody’s exercise of free speech. That’s the way the world is.

    • D’Esterre – “In my view, hate speech is free speech to which some take offence, on account of its saltiness or directness, or its critique of particular groups. And possibly, on account of the language used – descriptors and the like – which some also find offensive.”

      Ok, but in my view, hate speech can be free speech designed not to necessarily provide an occasion for some to be offended, but speech utilised to deliberately hurt or damage knowing or unknowing objectified person/s, with malicious intent.

      It may be chillingly polite, erudite, or sophisticated, or delivered with panache and a smile, but its purpose goes well beyond recipients being offended or shocked – both of which are fairly subjective measures – it is designed to damage well-being or reputation, and the damage it inflicts can often not be undone, which is the whole purpose of it.

      This is “the end justifies the means” mentality of intellectually and/or morally bankrupt individuals with all sorts of agendas, but where it can be proven to be untrue, it can be satisfactorily addressed by a court of law – which most of us cannot afford, and which also can unfortunately cause concomitant damage. As such it is particularly pernicious, as haters well know. That’s the way the world is.

      I am not putting Jones in this category as I just see him as a rich show-off who got himself a knighthood and thinks himself funny and may perhaps be less cognisant of boundaries than the chivalrous knights of history and mythology.

      (King Arthur may have galloped off into the mists of somewhere, and Wagner may not have composed utterly glorious music, had the knights of old been like some of the plonkers govts now dub ‘Sirs.’ )

      • Snow White: “….hate speech can be free speech designed not to necessarily provide an occasion for some to be offended, but speech utilised to deliberately hurt or damage knowing or unknowing objectified person/s, with malicious intent.
        It may be chillingly polite, erudite, or sophisticated, or delivered with panache and a smile, but its purpose goes well beyond recipients being offended or shocked – both of which are fairly subjective measures – it is designed to damage well-being or reputation, and the damage it inflicts can often not be undone, which is the whole purpose of it.”

        I do appreciate your not screaming “raaacist!” at me for my dissenting opinion. All other things considered, I prefer my view. I don’t know whether you’ve experienced this, but I surely have: the more that talking heads rabbit on about racism, hate speech and so on, the more extreme are the opinions that some people will express in private, when they think that their interlocutor won’t disagree. This is an unintended consequence of well-intentioned activists going on endlessly about this sort of thing. As I observed earlier, society cannot prescribe how people think. No Orwellian thought police yet! But society can certainly have a legal system which proscribes what people do. And we in NZ have just that.

        I’m wondering if you’ve got any examples of what you adduce here?

        What comes to mind for me is what the US and its allies have said – and continue to say – about sundry ME countries. And China and North Korea. And of course Russia, the enemy du jour.

        I’m old enough to remember the propaganda, going all the way back to the Korean war of the early 50s. Most recently, of course, the outright lies we were told about the conflict in the former Yugoslavia; Iran and Iraq (soldiers throwing babies out of incubators, remember?), then Syria. What was it? Oh that’s right: chemical weapons attacks and barrel bombs. And the so-called “moderate rebels”. Bloody bollocks, all of it.

        All of this has brought disastrous consequences to millions of unfortunate citizens of various polities. Their only crime has been to live in countries designated by the US and its allies as ripe for regime change, or intervention of some sort. I doubt that anyone here knows or cares about the catastrophic consequences for the Ukraine of the US-sponsored putsch there in 2013-14. We certainly do: we have extended family in that part of the world.

        Hate speech? On your definition, I’d say so. But I doubt that activists anywhere in the west would have thought of it that way. Or see it that way at present.

        I’ve certainly read academic literature that’s “….chillingly polite, erudite, or sophisticated…” Once upon a time, I’d have agreed with your characterisation. However: the older I get and the more I’ve read of that sort of writing, the more I realise that such academics are presenting unpopular opinions in as polite and non-inflammatory a way as possible.

        Elizabeth Rata – mentioned in the above post – is an example. When her articles were first published, I disagreed vocally with her. Now I’ve come to realise that she was right. I recommend her to you if you haven’t already read her.

        This unfortunate academic is another:

        https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/119436810/peter-singer-youve-got-to-give-till-it-almost-hurts

        I note protests by the disability sector about his upcoming presentation here in Auckland. I doubt any of them has the least idea what his views are. But I do: I read him at uni, many years ago. He has been prevented from speaking at conferences in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The paradox: he’s a Jew, whose parents fled Vienna just before WW2. He’s an animal rights advocate. Much to my amusement, animal rights activists tie themselves in knots over his views: he formulated the “cone of moral considerability”, into which he believes some animals – primates, eg – fall, and some severely-disabled human infants don’t. Animal rights activists need to explain why they want to accord special privilege to human animals: I’m yet to hear a convincing argument.

        A further point about so-called hate speech: contemporary discourse implies that only white people are guilty of it. Which is nonsense, of course. While I wouldn’t characterise any of it as hate speech, one could scarcely have failed to notice the things that many Maori, including those classed as activists, say about non-Maori – in particular pakeha. Much of what I’ve heard and read would fit into your definition above. Designed to hurt and to cause long-term damage, which cannot be undone? You bet.

        And our msm is too ignorant or pusillanimous to challenge it, or to present a countervailing argument.

        Further to the free speech issue, the following are of interest:

        https://www.rt.com/op-ed/480879-tradwives-brainwashed-isis-feminism-patriarchy/

        https://www.rt.com/op-ed/480898-transphobic-tweets-british-court-freedom/

      • Snow White: “….I am not putting Jones in this category as I just see him as a rich show-off who got himself a knighthood…”

        Bob Jones is a man born into the working class, who grew up and went to school in a working class neighbourhood. And by dint of hard work and astuteness, he’s made a lot of money.

        He’s a serial piss-taker, has been for all of my adult life. He says things to get a reaction from earnest, humourless people. And there’s nothing he likes more than to get that reaction. The best thing to do is to laugh at his comments. People can counter-argue, if they feel strongly enough.

        I don’t give a good goddamn about his knighthood; I hold no brief for the honours system. My view is that virtue should be its own reward, and – a fortiori – nobody should be awarded an honour simply for doing their job.

        However. Jones was knighted many years ago. And Maihi was grievously mistaken in starting a petition to revoke it, most especially on the grounds that she was offended by his exercise of his free speech rights.

        Her actions looked suspiciously like attention-seeking to me.

        • D’Esterre “I don’t give a good goddamn about his knighthood; I hold no brief for the honours system.”

          I have to say that the honours system – esp the “Queen’s” honours, is totally without meaning to me – I think it funny – but I wouldn’t want that seen as diminishing the stature of Ed Hillary, or Kiri Te Kanawa, and perhaps other worthy recipients not currently occupying my grey matter.

          It was even funnier when serial hair puller John Key moved so swiftly to restore the Queen’s honours and remake the NZ flag – which was quite insolent of him – when he got the top dog job. He then offered to replace the NZ honours system with the good old Queen’s banished one, and boy did they all come running to get it – except, Jim Bolger, for whom I’ve had an affection ever since. But from memory, men from all parts of NZ – and maybe some dames – couldn’t wait to collect their replacement dongs, and I daresay future anthropologists will be able to explain all this, but ‘rewarding’ somebody for being a fat fisherman or rich businessman or dodgy politician is not for me to reason why.

          Like you I thought Maihi wanting Jones’s knighthood revoked was inappropriate and attention-seeking, if only because that was not the issue, and it smacked of vigilantism, and opportunism, and was based upon subjective value judgments with a mob out to ‘get Jones’.

          If Bob Jones thinks being rich makes him wise, he’s certainly not the first to do so – but it’s even worse when Midas’s successful flunkies do get into Parliament and behave like dumbos – Jones, however is a long-time supporter of the NZ Women’s Refuge movement, and I salute him for that – it’s not an issue uber male types are commonly associated with – there’s nothing in it for them – so hats off to Jones there – battered women come in all shapes and colours.

          • Snow White: “….when serial hair puller John Key moved so swiftly to restore the Queen’s honours and remake the NZ flag….”

            Heh! A piece of work, wasn’t he? And he didn’t refuse a gong. Richly undeserved, in my view. His knighthood neatly illustrates why I object to the honours system.

            I was delighted that his flag change effort failed so abysmally. Note to those wanting to change the world: don’t run away with the idea that a twitterstorm is an accurate reflection of what the citizenry in general think about a contentious issue.

            “If Bob Jones thinks being rich makes him wise, he’s certainly not the first to do so….”

            In fairness to him, my impression is that he doesn’t see himself that way. Though he surely is clever: making so much money requires a degree of intelligence. And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if – as the saying goes – he’s come to believe his own publicity. That was certainly true of the unlamented former Dear Leader.

            “Jones, however is a long-time supporter of the NZ Women’s Refuge movement, and I salute him for that – it’s not an issue uber male types are commonly associated with – there’s nothing in it for them – so hats off to Jones there – battered women come in all shapes and colours.”

            I completely agree. And he doesn’t make a song and dance about it, either. His charitable work exemplifies my long-held view: we should judge people by what they do, not what they say or think.

    • Racism is defined as “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior”. Nothing there to say that only governments can be racist. Nor can you plausibly argue that having Maori seats in Parliament is racist. It is in fact a small concession to democracy by the colonial regime.
      In a true democracy everyone has the right to identify with their own community of interest, whether that be based on geography, class, tribal affiliation, political or religious belief or any other criteria, and to be represented accordingly.
      At present Maori can choose to identify with either a pan-tribal grouping (in the form of the Maori constituencies) or with a geographic community (general seats). They should actually have the right to identify with an iwi or hapu, and be represented accordingly. All other citizens should have the same right to choose their own constituency based on any kind of common interest which they themselves deem to be appropriate.
      By withdrawing this limited concession to democratic principle, the colonial regime would not help matters at all, except to hasten the day of its own demise.

  13. Dementia Bob has more cents than he does have sense.
    That Euthanasia referendum couldn’t come any faster for him I think?

  14. Bob Jones is not stupid. He is clever at making money and enjoys being provocative. He started making money by stealth – relying on people buying into his schemes because they assumed he was honest. When they realised the business deal with him lost them money and wanted to take him to court, they found their contract allowed them to take him to court ONLY in Wellington. That was clever because most people gave up on seeking redress as going to Wellington was too costly.

    Jones is someone my father would have called a ratbag. He appears nasty because he is open about his ruthless pursuit of money and despises those who are susceptible to his business practices. I went to the same school where most of us lived in state houses and were not genteel. Most of the other local millionaires (not Brierley) who got knighthoods are better mannered, went to posh schools and disguise their ruthless pursuit of profit. But they share with Jones their ability to use our capitalist system to accumulate vast sums of money from vulnerable people.

    Jones used to turn up at the university debating society in a smart suit and entertain us with rapid-fire witty interjections. What a shame his sharp mind was not used for the benefit of the working class he came from, instead of for his own profit.

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