Free speech’s strangulated status became obvious, if it were not already, when National Business Review cravenly capitulated to Fottles and removed Sir Bob Jones’ most recent column from its website. That was the column in which he proposed replacing Waitangi Day with Maori Gratitude Day:
I have in mind a public holiday where Maoris bring us breakfast in bed or weed our gardens, wash & polish our cars & so on, out of gratitude for existing.
It didn’t help when Bob protested that any fool could tell his piece was a “piss-take”—he’d clearly forgotten that Fottles are as dumb as they are humourless and as humourless as they are evil.
The Fottles were frenetic in the lead-up to NBR’s surrender. One, Mullah Marvelly, issued a Fatwa via Twit-Witter:
I couldn’t be more disappointed in the NBR for publishing this. If you subscribe, feel free to voice your repulsion with cancelled subscriptions.
Then a second Fatwa was launched in the form of a petition seeking to strip Sir Bob of his knighthood. Its instigator was a Fottle film-maker who speaks in that execrable fry-quack now universal among female moronnials. She squawked:
There is public support for this, somebody can’t get away with hate speech like that and not be held to account. When something like this comes out I think it’s important we stand our ground, to say actually that’s not okay and we don’t accept this type of racist rant as a reflection of who we are as a country.
Note how Fottles love to dictate what is and is not OK (most things are not OK in their neo-Puritan manual, which I assume Fottle Justin Trudeau has renamed “humanual”) and “who we are as a country.” It’s what Fascists do. Having no lives themselves, they clamour to run everybody else’s.
The Fottle film-maker was right, alas, about public support. Within minutes of this putrid petition’s going online it had garnered thousands of signatures. A counter-petition urging Sir Bob’s elevation to the House of Lords “for services to honesty, liberty and not being so bloody precious” struggled to muster one thousand over two weeks. (Count at time of writing: 1500 vs 58,000 for the Fatwa).
A seemingly disparate development coincided with the Jones brouhaha. The High Court rejected an appeal by Louisa Wall, Labour MP for Manurewa, against an earlier finding by the Human Rights Tribunal that two cartoons by Al Nisbet, published by Fairfax, about a new taxpayer-funded Free Food for Schools programme were not in breach of Section 61 of the Human Rights Act.
S61 makes it an imprisonable offence “to publish or distribute written matter which is threatening, abusive, or insulting, or to broadcast by means of radio or television or other electronic communication words which are threatening, abusive, or insulting … being matter or words likely to excite hostility against or bring into contempt any group of persons in or who may be coming to New Zealand on the ground of the colour, race, or ethnic or national origins of that group of persons.”
One of the cartoons depicted a group of dark-skinned adults, dressed as children, eating breakfast at school and saying, “Psst . . . If we can get away with this, the more cash left for booze, smokes and pokies.” The other showed a dark-skinned family sitting around a table littered with Lotto tickets, alcohol and cigarettes and saying, “Free school food is great! Eases our poverty and puts something in you kids’ bellies.”
The High Court ruled that while the cartoons were undeniably insulting, they were not in breach of the law.
Well then, you might exult, doesn’t this show that free speech is alive and well, that the Fottles haven’t won after all?
Alas, no. First, a reading of the findings makes it clear that the High Court panel, and before them the Tribunal, were bending over backwards to avoid conflating “insulting” (legal) with “likely to excite hostility and bring into contempt …” (illegal) and repaired to the most tortuous splitting of hairs in the process. Had they ruled the other way and upheld Louisa Wall’s appeal, no comparable hair-splitting would be required to argue they were upholding s61 as stated. Just read it! And it’s s61 as stated that is the problem! That law shouldn’t be there. It’s not the government’s role to police its citizens’ opinions.
Second, here’s how the High Court concluded its findings:
We dismiss the appeal.
In so doing, however, we consider it timely to repeat the observations of Thomas J in Awa v Independent News Auckland Ltd that:
‘The law’s limits do not define community standards or civic responsibility. I would be disappointed if anything which this Court might say could be taken as indicative of what people of one race may feel at liberty to say and which people of the other are expected to brook.’
The unanimous view of both the Tribunal and this Panel’s members that the cartoons were objectively offensive should in our view be a cause for reflection by the respondents and their respective editorial teams.
Therein, ladies and gentlemen, lies the Fottles’ victory. The chilling effect of a High Court injunction to “reflect” on the publication of “objectively offensive” material—in an environment where a generation of moronnials is programmed to take offence at everything and make all of life a “safe space,” “journalists” are all pseudo-credentials and no brains, and the populace at large is all group-think and no guts—this is all that is needed to finish free speech off altogether.
There’ll be no more Al Nisbet cartoons, “having a crack at all sides, tickling, provoking, firing debate, pushing the envelope as far as it can go to get a reaction” [his words].
There’ll be no more scathing satire from Bob Jones—the NBR had already showed the way in “reflecting” on “objectively offensive” material. (Update: Bob is now writing for the estimable Whale Oil blog, which will surely be in the Fottles’ sights now more than ever.)
There’ll be no more editorials like the one The Dominion Post published some years ago about murderous Muslims rampaging against those Danish cartoons:
Modern society rests on the contest of ideas, the ability to question perceived wisdom and to challenge authority. Without that contest, and without the right to free speech that makes it possible, societies stultify and become entrenched in their beliefs. That freedom to question and to challenge must include the right to be offensive, to affront people’s most heartfelt beliefs, even to disparage that which they hold sacred. Otherwise it is an empty freedom. … There have been earlier cultural confrontations between the West and a resurgent Islam, beginning with the death sentence pronounced in 1989 on author Salmon Rushdie for The Satanic Verses, and including the murder in 2004 of Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh after he made a film dealing with violence against Islamic women. They are confrontations the West cannot afford to lose. The right to freedom of speech is a precious one that must be defended.
Third, our totalitarian Race Relations Commissioner, Fottle Devoy—who dismisses anything she disapproves of as “stale, male and white” (hate speech?!)—is campaigning to make existing legislation more draconian. Not for her, “I disagree with what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it”; rather, “I disagree with what you say and will have you thrown in jail for it.” In her own words:
I believe online hatred is something we can get better at calling out. I believe we need better restrictions when it comes to the online forums, comments sections on some media outlet websites as well as their social media accounts. I am keen to see our Police begin to gather hate crime statistics – at the present time this is not something they collate when responding to call outs.
Devoy will use the High Court’s failure to find against Fairfax and Nisbet as Exhibit A in her diabolical campaign to give the law more teeth!
In this she gets her riding instructions from the UN’s International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) which enjoins its signatories to “declare an offence punishable by law all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial discrimination …” Britain, once a bulwark of free speech, has gone down this route, and now jails people for their opinions. It’s where Devoy wishes to take us. She was at an ICERD gathering in Geneva at our expense last year, assuring her fellow-Fottles that her jackboots were as spiked as theirs.
In a previous article, Devoy vs Voltaire, I wrote:
If we are to reinstate and retain freedom of speech in the face of Devoy’s upcoming onslaught, here’s what must happen:
1) Salman Rushdie’s famous dictum, “There is no such thing as a right not to be offended” must be emblazoned across the sky.
2) So too must “I disapprove of what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it.” The counter to bad ideas is good ideas, and the free exchange thereof.
3) Dame Susan must be abolished—i.e., the office of Race Relations Commissar must be disestablished.
4) Article 4 of the Bill of Rights, rendering the Bill a sham, must be repealed.
5) The Human Rights Act must be repealed [and the Human Rights Commissariat, now hilariously embroiled in a groping scandal, disestablished].
In her former life, Susan Devoy was a champion exponent of a noble sport. From the ignoble contest in which she is now engaged, freedom-lovers must ensure that Voltaire emerges the winner.
These imperatives are more urgent than ever. If the new leader of the National Party has any balls (unlikely) he will mobilise them and send them into battle. Article 4 of the Bill of Rights says all the other Articles in the Bill can be negated by other legislation. Article 4 is what allows s61 of the Human Rights Act to override Article 14 of the Bill of Rights, which says:
Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.
In addition to the repeal of Article 4, would-be free speech resurrectionists should require the co-emblazoning across the sky of Article 14 with the Voltaire and Rushdie quotes. Along with one more, from “stale, male and white” John Stuart Mill’s classic essay, On Liberty. I recommend humans acquire it before the anti- and sub-human Fottles stage public burnings of it. This addresses the question of whether free speech may extend only to those whose opinions are uncontroversial and innocuous:
Strange it is, that men should admit the validity of the arguments for free discussion, but object to their being “pushed to an extreme”; not seeing that unless the reasons are good for an extreme case, they are not good for any case.
This is wisdom for the ages, gold for the moment—and the end for the Fottles.