INDEPENDENT NEWS

Freedom and Equality are not toxic words

Published: Tue 8 Oct 2019 03:04 PM
Are you sick of Fill-in-time-Goff, but you can't stand Tamahore or Liability-Lorde either?
There are other options out there - including ACT candidate Glen Snelgar
Greetings! My name is Glen Snelgar, and I am an old school liberal. I believe in the traditional ideas of freedom, equality and humanity popularised by classical liberals, such as Jeremy Bentham, John Locke, John Stuart Mill, and Adam Smith. Voltaire’s twentieth century biographer said it best when she said:
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it
- Evelyn Beatrice Hall
We have lost that pure notion of freedom of speech, and today many of those who advocate for freedom of speech are denounced as misogynists, bigots, or racists.
Not all Freedom Hawks are racist!
I grew up in Auckland, and my ancestors have been living in Auckland since 1841. I am of British and Irish stock, but I have expanded my horizons and spent many years living overseas where I was personally subjected to racism from foreign nationals.
I recently returned home to Auckland, and I brought back my wife and kids, who were all born overseas. Since we have been back in New Zealand, my family has been subjected to racist abuse by Kiwis. My kids used to give all their pocket money to the homeless people on the streets until they were accosted by a violent and racist homeless person. Now they are afraid to approach strangers. They used to enjoy school, but now they are afraid of bullying. I have more reason than most to oppose hate speech.
Perhaps I should join the ranks of the left-wing loonies and demand hate speech laws and muzzling of oafish brutes in the street, but I’m not.
Why do I believe in freedom?
Freedom is the most important value that we have in our society. It beats out economic wellbeing and mental health, because those who abuse freedom can have a significantly detrimental effect on society as a whole. As much as I would love to protect my family from that kind of trauma and bad vibes, hurt feelings are somehow less important when compared with extra-judicial killings, administrative detention, censorship, corruption, and bad governance.
Freedom isn’t free
We are lucky to live in a free society, but freedom doesn’t come cheap. My ancestors fought to protect those values, and I will go down fighting the same battles. Whether it may be people booing my speeches, cutting off my microphone, or just telling me I am not allowed to offer an opinion because I am a white male and therefore I am responsible for everything that is wrong in the world.
Limits to freedom
Whenever I stand up for free speech, the odd heckler will always shout out that we already have limits on free speech so there is a precedent. Precedent is precedent exactly because it has been through the laborious process of lawyers and judges and expert witnesses arguing over what should happen in any given case. The fact that no existing laws can adequately deal with the situation is exactly the reason for creating a new precedent. Therefore, by definition, what these loonies are proposing has no precedent.
If I yell out “Fire” in a crowded building and someone gets trampled to death, then I am responsible for that harm. If I start a riot or engage in a criminal conspiracy, then those words create harm that I am responsible for. These are the objective consequences that organically follow the use of those words.
However, if I say that I don’t like people with freckles, then nothing happens. I am just expressing an opinion that is no different to if I say that I don’t like your cooking, or I don’t like you. Of course, there is the potential for the listener to get offended, or maybe not. That is the problem with offence – it is subjective. A reasonable person may get offended or just brush off the comment and carry on with their day.
Who judges subjective offence?
The trouble with the twenty-first century political correctness is that certain sections of society are proclaiming themselves to be the only valid judges of what constitutes free speech, and other groups in society are expected to follow these determinations. This is problematic if you happen to be in one of those social groups that are always getting judged. If we were to believe what the left wing loonies are saying in the media, then white males are responsible for everything that has gone wrong in western society. Is it any wonder that white males are now expressing dissatisfaction with the whole idea of political correctness? That does not make us misogynists, bigots, or racists. It makes us modern day victims of those in power.
Should we provide a platform to anyone who wants to offend others?
Free speech is only truly free if the same rights apply to anyone no matter what they have said before or plan to say next. Facilities that were paid for by Aucklanders should be available for all Aucklanders to use. The situation that we have today is one in which a Mayor with all the power in Auckland gets to decide who can have freedom in this city.
There is a current court case regarding two speakers from Canada who were banned from using a platform that they paid for to make a speech on their views. Actually, I had no idea who these Canadians were before the Mayor tried to ban them (so he just gave them a lot of free publicity and cost Aucklanders a lot of money in court fees). My first question was, “Are they Aucklanders?”
The more I learned about them, the more scared for our future I became. Here is an example of two guests invited to speak at a venue arranged and paid for by their supporters and not open to the public. A group of protestors decided that they didn’t like what these speakers planned to say, so they threatened to gate-crash the party and commit violent acts. None of these protestors are in jail for threatening violence.
Instead, the Mayor cancelled the event and banned the two Canadian speakers from ever speaking again at an Auckland Council venue. Of course, the Mayor now claims that he has never had the power to ban anyone. But he did it, and out of the other side of his face he has been taking credit for the whole situation. You only need to view his Tweets from the time to see proof of that. I have attached them below so he can’t delete them.
Freedom is okay if you are a member of a minority racial group, a feminist, a member of the ROYGBIV community, or a vegan.
Earlier this month, some vegan protestors took over a supermarket in St Lukes. Many shoppers became angry because the protestors were blocking them from buying meat and making a commotion. In this case, these protestors weren’t just exercising their rights to free speech, but they were physically obstructing the freedom of movement of others for a political purpose – which is in itself a form of violence.
Now, imagine if one of those shoppers became angry and struck one of the protestors. Who would be in the wrong?
Of course, we can all see that the one committing the violent act is in the wrong and should be punished. So how could it be that those protesting against the Canadian speakers and committing obvious crimes are allowed to go free, while the Canadians were sent back to Canada?
This issue is going to be with us for a long time, because people from all walks of life have got involved to resist this obvious abuse of power. Not one of us is a misogynist, bigot, or racist. We are just concerned and afraid that we live in a kind of Twilight Zone where freedom and equality are treated like toxic words while certain groups get to be more equal and more free than others. That makes other groups less equal and less free than the rest, so we are creating a new underclass to be discriminated against.

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