To date, the elite woke opinion at Stuff has oscillated between declaring cancel culture isn’t a thing at all, to writing off criticism of Hate Speech as ‘hyperbole‘ and ‘political chatter‘ while columnists have endorsed the Maori Party Stasi and let us know that the low threshold Stuff has for hate speech includes criticism of gay lounges.
This cartoon above that ran last week sums up the smug certitude the woke have in crushing free speech for noble reasons.
It’s as if there can’t be any legitimate criticism of criminalizing speech by expanding sentences from 3months in prison to 3years based on what the Police define as hate!
She claims we should love handing power over to the Police in what will be our largest erosion of civil liberties ever, because people of colour and other minorities in NZ deserve the same respect and agency of mediocre white men.
And in those terms, we can all agree.
Where I violently disagree is in Donna’s suggestion that criminalizing speech is the solution to gaining that agency.
Everyone in a liberal progressive democracy deserves the same agency. Muslims, Queer or Trans people shouldn’t feel abused and threatened or frightened of simply being in public. Graeme Edgler has written extensively upon this and makes excellent points on how we could balance freedom of speech with the right to not feel threatened.
The debate must be focused on anti-harassment, not free speech!
Adding gender identity and religion to the existing discrimination legislation is absolutely righteous, our fellow citizens and comrades deserve to live in a society that can’t discriminate against them!
The solutions here are beefing up and expanding our current systems to ensure people aren’t harassed or discriminated against, the solution is not handing the power to censor opinions to the State!
We must also be focused on better public broadcasting and more regulations on social media (including taxes to fund that journalism) to stop the algorithms from weaponising debate.
If Government wants to make NZ more ‘socially cohesive’ they should build more houses, use a wider range of taxes against corporations and fully fund mental health, education and public health – they shouldn’t implement blasphemy laws and criminalising misuse of pronouns!
There are righteous concerns behind this push to criminalize speech and we as citizens of a liberal progressive democracy must acknowledge those righteous concerns but they are far better solved by anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws they ARE NOT solved by allowing the woke to instigate a cultural Revolution purge or by handing the power for Police to define hate.
Blasphemy laws and criminalising the misuse of pronouns as a response to a cascade intelligence apparatus failure is intellectually bankrupt.
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