Somewhere over the Rainbow

I completely understand laughing uproariously at Labour?Waiariki?MP Tamati Coffey?s ambition to be New Zealand?s first Minister for Rainbow issues. A first-term MP can be forgiven for wide-eyed ambition,?but the convention is that one keeps this to themselves. ?Breathe through your nose,? was Keith Holyoake?s advice to new National?MPs?while prime minister. If you can?t manage that, then at least aim to be something useful.

Perhaps it isn?t entirely his fault. The first generation of university-educated?SJWs?have leaked out of the tertiary sector and made it into parliament. (This?is what we used to call politically-correct until capitalist driven technological advancement eliminated virtually everything a rational person can be outraged?about.)?The three-way governing arrangement has resulted in an executive of 28 Ministers and?three?Under-secretaries with responsibilities including Women, Children, Child Poverty Reduction, Pike River Re-entry, Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Racing, Ethnic Communities, Disarmament etc. Coffey has obviously identified that the standard of talent is sufficiently low for?his idea?to actually succeed!

There is a precedent for this sort of thing. I?m not referring to the non-existent Canadian Ministry?to?which?Coffey referred (Equity and Equality in the same title should have been a clue). Auckland Council formed the Rainbow Advisory Panel in 2015. It has 10 members plus two councillors holding?three?scheduled and up to?seven?staff meetings per year. A higher salary, a bigger office and the opportunity for people to SEE him signal?his?virtue is a pretty sweet gig.

I probably don?t need to come out on Whaleoil, but for the sake of context, I will. I am an openly gay man, have been with my husband for nearly ten years; we got married in 2016 and it?s great. I really, really like being gay. I don?t know whether I?m proud of being gay or proud of being myself,?but I?m equally good at both. Anyone reading this who chose to be straight won?t relate,?but obviously, I knew I was gay for many years before coming out aged 21. It was 2004,?so I wasn?t afraid of being thrown off a roof or not being accepted. Rather, my libertarian sensibilities were horrified at being treated as a minority group rather than?as?the individual I?ve always viewed myself?as being.

A Ministry of Rainbow Affairs sounds like a silly flutter of taxpayer cash generating a few eye-rolling headlines and not much more. However,?it hides a much more insidious, long-discredited ideology that has re-invented itself to infect the minds of a new generation of idealists. You can call them?SJWs, the regressive left, neo-Marxists,?or whatever you wish?-?but ultimately it all comes down to collectivism. The subversion of the value of individuals for the sake of an arbitrarily-chosen group is a philosophy?which was?responsible for the deaths and oppression of hundreds of millions of people in the 20th century alone.

Collectivists, especially the concentration in academia, flippantly use terms such as ?Maori worldview? or the ?student?s voice? or most recently ?a Pakeha perspective?. None of those terms stands up to any serious thinking process because their obvious implication is that everyone who can tick that identity box?has identical experiences, opinions, needs and ambitions. Let?s use LGBT representatives as an example (i.e. individuals who happen to be LGBT and have representative as a by-line under their names on TV). LGBT are men who are attracted to men, women who are attracted to women, men and women who are attracted to both sexes, men and women who want to have a sex change, men and women?who?have had a sex change,?hermaphrodites, asexuals, anyone identifying as one of dozens of genders, their allies,?and more. That is a huge variety of individual traits, excluding their birthplace, upbringing, financial situation, employment status, health, political persuasions and much more. That isn?t just beyond any remote form of logic,?it’s?also deeply offensive.

On the whole, the situation for gay people in New Zealand has never been better. Homosexuality isn?t just decriminalised, it is legally recognised in marriage and child adoption. Admittedly,?things can be a bit tougher if you?re transsexual,?but generally speaking gays have won the battle against bigotry and enjoy all of the same rights before the law heterosexuals do. Being a married gay man with no children or university education who works in a supermarket is now labelled ?privileged? in the SJW lexicon. This hasn?t resulted in the professionally outraged patting themselves on the back, going home to get on with living their life and enjoying the freedom they have rightfully claimed. Now they find new ?battles to fight’.

Leading up to the 2018 census,?a campaign was launched to include questions about sexuality and gender identity. I?ve never liked giving the government more information about me than absolutely necessary. There is just one question you are allowed to decline to answer,?and that is regarding religious belief (I?m an atheist so I like answering that one). Supporters of the census claim the information is necessary for the government to provide services which seems to me like another good reason not to have it. United?Future’s last?Leader,?Damien Light,?was a big supporter of the campaign to include sexuality and gender identity, telling me that it would assist the government in providing mental health and HIV/AIDS treatment services. Talk about working to undo the progress gained following decades of fighting for equality!?If we used an increase in the number of Chinese New Zealanders as an indication that spending on road safety needed to be increased,?that would be disgraceful.?Light?s comments are the equivalent.

Unlike Che Guevara T-shirts, it isn?t very fashionable to point out that there has never been a better time to be alive in world history than today. Globally, the percentage of people living in absolute poverty (less than US$1.60 a day) is just 8%. In 1980, during the height of communism, it was 40%. The utter failure of Marxism hasn?t caused it to die and disappear, it has altered its goals and methods. The worst thing that can happen to people in most first-world countries is being offended and, like Marxists, they?re willing to use very draconian methods to prevent this.

I?m a big fan of the work of Dr Jordan Peterson,?and he illustrates how preventing offence is impossible. To paraphrase, you could make a rule that you?re not allowed to offend anyone,?and ( if?having conversations with just one other person)? could probably be achieved. However,?what if you?re talking to ten people??A hundred??A?thousand? How can you say anything that matters to?a?thousand people without offending anybody? I would ask how could you have free, fair and open elections without offending anybody?

This is why we are now paying the price of eternal vigilance in exchange for our freedoms,?most notably of speech. Now free speech doesn?t?mean?everyone can say anything they want any time and you can?t stop them. One person?s freedom of speech is not another person?s obligation to provide them with a platform. Property rights matter. If you ring up talkback radio and talk nonsense the host has every right to hang up on you. You can?t defame or slander people?s reputations (though that?s a civil issue). You can?t threaten others with harm or encourage others to inflict harm, incite suicide or riots.

However, free speech does allow you to say some very controversial things. Advocating the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the early 1980s was incredibly controversial. A petition against the law change was signed by 850,000 people. Freedom of speech is the reason I?m married to my husband today. That?s why hate speech laws must be resisted at every opportunity. Having your speech regulated is bad enough,?but the devil is in the detail. What will be defined as hate speech? Who will define it? In Russia,?that is Vladimir Putin who oppresses LGBT activists by defining the public advocacy of their rights and providing support to young people as hate speech.

I?m not a supporter of creating new government?ministries,?but if I had to create one, I?d create the Ministry of Me. All 4.5 million New Zealanders would also head their own Ministry of Me. They?d represent themselves, speak for themselves, make their own choices in life and attempt to build the most efficient, least bureaucratic Ministry they could. The government would retain its own ministries to provide the core services a government should such as social welfare, health, police,?etc. However,?instead of the government pushing each individual into a one-size-fits-all identity category and treating them according to a chart of percentages, individuals could get the temporary hand-up they need before resuming where they left off.

Individualism is compassion. Group identity is not.


by Stephen Berry

This is written in Stephen’s personal capacity and does not reflect any policy or position of the ACT party.