Free Speech Under Attack Right Here
Friday, July 13, 2018 at 11:07AM
Bill Barclay

Many a reader will have been bemused by the 'free speech' debate that has taken place over the last couple of weeks arising from Phil Goff's denial of a venue for Canadian polemecists Lauren Southern and Stephan Moleneux. I suspect that most will have been horrified at this intrusion by Goff into this fraught area where he wouldsurely  have been far better to let matters take their course.

Object, or otherwise to the content of the presentation of these two (and I suspect that most would not have a clue as to what it is they are claiming), it is clear that banning people of this nature who are not advocating violence - simply stating a political (if objectionable to some), standpoint, is deeply redolent of the 'slippery slope.' And I for one make no apology for opposing the tigers of the left who certainly do not lack for platforms. who have done their level best to keep them at bay, with the inexplicable help of Mayor Goff.

I am seldom in the Chris Trotter camp on any matter, but on this occasion was gratified at the totally consistent stand he took in joining and supporting the 'Free-Speech Coalition with other supporters from right across the political spectrum.

In particular, i am totally supportive of Chris's column on the subject from which I have drawn the following:

"It has been dispiriting, this past week, to learn how little people who consider themselves leftists know about fascism.

The cause of this ignorance is, I suspect, generational. Those who grew up at a time when fascism was strong, and who later confronted its armies in World War II, are now very few in number. Their children and grandchildren, lacking their elders’ direct experience of fascism and fascists, have allowed the meaning of the word, along with the historical context out of which it grew, to fade and blur.

As the recent torrid exchanges between the defenders of free speech and the opponents of right-wing Canadians Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux have made clear, the word “fascist” now denotes little more than conservative views provocatively expressed.

So torrid did these exchanges become that, by the middle of the week, the opponents of Southern and Molyneux were reduced to making the extraordinary assertion that “there’s no such thing as free speech”.

The argument advanced in support of this profoundly anti-democratic claim is as crude as it is curious. Opponents quote: Quote.

“[F]reedom of expression … is a mirage. Real freedom is not what you say, it’s how you live. And we do not live free lives. The world is not free from poverty, is not free from climate change, is not free from fear. Most importantly, we are not free of capitalism, which profits handsomely from our enslavement.”

Exactly how a world without poverty, climate change, fear and capitalism could possibly be achieved without freedom of expression defies the imagination. Without the ability to speak, write, publish and broadcast freely, independent political discussion and organisation cease to exist.

One certainly does not debate or organise politically in the totalitarian societies where the suppression of free speech holds sway, one simply parrots the party line and obeys without question the orders handed down from politburo or führer."

Strong words, but nonetheless appropriate in this strange Trumpian environment into which we have all been cast 'willy-nilly.' The role of the media has never been under greater social media attack than at present - certainly within the those areas of the World that we have been pleased to designate democracies. 

How far behind are we? Not far, should we fail to recognise the dangers of what Goff has acccomplished by his uncalled for actions.

 

 

 

Article originally appeared on BillBarcBlog (http://billbarclay.co.nz/).
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