Dr Liz Gordon: Our own little Trumpian army

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You know who I’m talking about.  There is nothing like a pandemic to bring the far right out onto the streets.  Especially in Christchurch, where we are blessed with plenty of them. Whether they are spitting at security guards in supermarkets or congregating under the Bridge of Remembrance to protest lockdown, we are stuck with them.

They are idiots and sometimes worse (much worse). Their lives are built on hate.  They hate the government, any government.  They hate Muslims and Indians and all Asians and are so angry New Zealand has become multicultural.  They want a white New Zealand or, in the case of Billy Te Kahika and his colleagues, a ‘free’ New Zealand.

The live in a vicious cycle of the hate, conspiracy theories, internet memes, protests and defining themselves in opposition to the world.  They are mostly men, but some women are involved too. They do not have a high opinion of women generally.  Siouxsie Wiles, with her pink hair and endless knowledge and wisdom, really sets them off.  If they see her having breakfast in a Wellington hotel, they feel the need to SHOUT IN HER FACE and send her death threats for dessert.

So angry. Death threats. Invoking fear.  They are all over the internet, trying to ensure that their voice has some parity with all other voices.  Yes, we have seen them on TBD, of course we have.

They are not very good at communicating their views persuasively to others, and this makes them angry (everything makes them angry). Spitting is sometimes the best they can do.

But what do we want for them?  My readers know that I have strong views about the sheer waste and ineffectiveness of the institutions of justice.  This weekend, one of our habitual right-wing protestors, Kyle Chapman, is spending a leisurely weekend in custody, whether in the police cells or out in the prison.  

Perhaps he needs to be quarantined for his own good and the good of the rest of us.  He was determined to breach the level 4 lockdown and is paying the price.  But it doesn’t solve anything, does it? His views won’t change.  He’ll be back out next week disobeying the law, because that’s what you do if you are him.  

Or perhaps he will stay inside and right-wingers will have a ‘free Kyle Chapman’ march through the streets next week, leading inevitably to further arrests.

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What to do with them, the little creeps.  They have the right to hold their views but not to act on them in ways that hinder or endanger others. But acting and endangering is exactly their plan. They are like the early Christians (and later Christians), needing to proselytise, persuade and convert us all to their (frankly) flawed thinking.

It is important to remember that this group is not just a rag-tag bunch of incel misfits, although there are those among them.  We know there are some people of intelligence because of the Plan B crowd and the doctors against vaccination lot.

The ‘Plan B’ lot were back in action this week, saying that if only we had allowed herd immunity from the start, then we would not be in this situation now.  These people would have welcomed a small culling of the weak and vulnerable (I am not making this up – one of them said it this week).

The thing is, Covid isn’t something you get once and it is over.  You can get it twice, it is mutating fast, there are the worrying ‘long Covid’ variants and, oh yes, those weak and vulnerable are someone’s loved family members and friends. So the Plan B lot are defeated by the very nature of the beast they want to proliferate in the community, that slippery Covid virus.

So let’s not imprison them. Re-educating them seems impossible.  Not only are they not on the same train as the vast majority of us, but they also aren’t even at the same station.  As a socialist and a feminist, I have known what it is like to have minority views, and to argue to deaf ears over my views.  And such arguing has never changed my views, and it won’t change those of the little Trumpian army that is in our midst.

We can (and should) arrest them for endangering the rest of us.  A nice hefty fine, well-enforced, should ‘make them pay’ for attempting to cause harm in the community.  Where they are promoting small genocides of the old and vulnerable, all in the name of the science of herd immunity, they need to be challenged but not criminalised (unless they advocate the death of named people, of course).

I am of two minds about harassment.  I think there are lines that must not be crossed. I am reminded of the terror felt by one of the young women in my recent sexual harassment research when a guy on a bike pursued her along a main road screaming “I am going to rape you”.  This feels like a line to me. Annoying Siouxsie at breakfast is one thing; threats to her over the scrambled eggs are another.

I quite like the idea of naming and shaming on the internet. The natural consequence of your bad behaviour is that it can be replayed over and over on YouTube. But there is not much in our law to protect people against false accusations. Ideally, the use of phone videos can allow people to self-incriminate, and I have no problems with that.  But it is hard to get good footage when one is being pursued by a madman on a bike.

And that’s as far as I can get at this stage. I haven’t even covered the question of spreading misinformation into vulnerable communities -perhaps next week? The aliens causing Covid – perhaps September.

Stay at home and keep safe, my friends.

 

Dr Liz Gordon is a researcher and a barrister, with interests in destroying neo-liberalism in all its forms and moving towards a socially just society. She usually blogs on justice, social welfare and education topics.

80 COMMENTS

  1. Yes, we have seen them on TBD

    Sadly, very true. There’s a plague of them, spreading fear, malice, spite, false accusations, ugly versions of their own twisted worldview. They’re as unwanted as the virus itself.

  2. Naming and shaming on the internet is a rarely good idea. It is vigilantism; the wrong person may be named and shamed and victimised and destroyed ; it is socially divisive ; it gives attention seekers further attention.

    But if it comes to prioritising I’d consider declining hospital admission to covid victims who refused to vax.

  3. When you say, “They live in a vicious cycle of the hate, conspiracy theories, internet memes, protests and defining themselves in opposition to the world. They are mostly men, but some women are involved too.” You have to include the Gweens too because they’re full of the same bile too.

  4. Dr Liz, (another) exceptionally good Blog! Sadly it’s about a section of society we would like to excise. I agree prison and fines are not the solution and often counter-productive. It would seem obvious that it is the obscene behaviours of the few that are driving the Government to enact ‘hate’ laws; unfortunately the only punishments available to the State are of little use in curbing this behaviour. My observation is that there are many people throughout society who, given half a chance, would become another Trump or Hitler.

    • Considering the only alliances that are listed are the israeli peoples committee i will discount this shallow piece of crap website as just another idiot twisting facts to suit his own agenda. Just saying that doctors nurses etc support it is about as credible as israel’s excuses for genocide and apartheid in Palestine.

    • Give up on trying to prove that a square is in fact a circle Aircooled Guy.

      You consistently demonstrate that you have difficult reading technical information, have cannot distinguish evidence from opinion and have a propensity for buying into the most easily seen through conspiracy theories. One might (pointlessly?) suggest you go through each of the bullet points in the document you linked to then cross reference to alternative authoritative sources. If you did, you would easily pick up obvious anomalies, inaccuracies, dissembling and lies on the NZDSOS.com site.

  5. Mock them and satirise them publicly without anger or malice.
    To a certain extent this is happening privately and publicly now.
    It may not change them but it is satisfying.

  6. I am confused by the KKK headwear on this blog?
    The KKK was formed by the Democrats to oppose laws proposed by the Republicans that favoured the coloured people and immigrants.
    What on earth has that got to do with covid mask wearing in NZ or indeed the blog itself?

    • Good points John, maybe it’s like you said above ‘all extremists are vile right wing and left wing’. I do sometimes wonder if the broad left/right groupings are so relevant anymore as I often find myself on both sides of the theoretical divide!

    • Maybe instead of the hood the picture should’ve been of a volunteer fireman in gear to protect his face.

  7. I just hope here in the South Island [Christchurch] we go down alert levels – keep the Northies locked down at Level-4 though lol =)

    All things considered us Cantabs are pretty good about things and we have ZERO cases (so far). Maybe Level-2 is a stretch, but Level-3 at least I reckon.

  8. Instead of putting Police at risk, just spray them with purple die that takes weeks to come off. Then we can all see who they are.

  9. Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing. – Orwell

  10. Oh you guys! So many red herrings. So much straying from the point! Evidence! Truth! Views! We are indeed in post-Trumpian land. And yet…. there are truths that can be grasped. All is not lost.

  11. You come at them from the wrong position to understand them. And the wrong attitude. I have 4 in my immediate family. They prefer the warmth of certainty to the coldness of reality. Or, they come from a bad marriage in my case. Quiet words would help, my anger at them hasn’t, but they are all deep in the American plutocrats’ media-stream for producing servient orcs. Or, born-againism and other conspiracy theories.

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