Kate Sheppard would reject Marama Davidson’s concept of free speech

Lauren Southern as a suffragette. Digital image credit: Lushington

There has been a lot of debate about what ‘ true’ freedom of speech is. Green co-leader Marama Davidson’s interpretation of what ‘true’ freedom of speech is would have prevented Kate Sheppard and other suffragettes around the world from winning women the vote. This is because Marama thinks that it is acceptable to silence viewpoints that others may?find?unacceptable or offensive. Free speech to her is only for people who hold an opinion that matches her worldview of what New Zealand society should think.

When Kate Sheppard was fighting for suffrage for Kiwi women her viewpoint was neither socially acceptable nor unoffensive. Like Lauren Southern, she was doing battle with rigid mainstream ideas, armed only with persuasive arguments and an attractive face.

Freedom of speech is the very foundation upon which our society is built and evolves. It is is not needed for popular opinions because no one ever wants to silence what is seen to be acceptable or politically correct. Freedom of speech as a human right is there precisely for the outliers of our society, for the provocateurs. It allows us to have conversations about ideas that may currently not be mainstream or that are considered controversial, offensive or beyond the pale.

The idea that women would one day have the vote was extremely controversial. Many people were offended by the idea and Suffragettes were seen as women who were unfeminine, unnatural, troublemakers and radicals. People supported them being thrown in jail for protesting and didn’t care that some were force-fed when they went on a hunger strike. They were smeared by the media and by politicians hostile to their demands.

Overton’s window

I have written about?Overton’s window?previously which is the concept that ideas that may be considered beyond the pale at one point in time can become mainstream and accepted over time.

The window is changed not when politicians change their ideas but when ideas change in the society that elects them. The Left wing is particularly good at changing the window. Gay marriage is a good example. Gay marriage was an idea well outside the mainstream only a few decades ago. The idea that marriage which was defined as the union of one man and one woman could be changed to include same-sex marriage was unthinkable. Now the window has changed so much that people who openly express their belief in traditional marriage have become almost pariahs!

The ideas that Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux are expressing now need to be heard. Like Winston Churchill who warned about the danger that Hitler posed and who was ignored, they are trying to start a rational discussion about the things currently threatening Western civilisation and culture so that we can be the fence at the top of the cliff rather than the ambulance at the bottom.

People like Marama Davidson put their fingers in their ears and go la la la I’m not listening but they will be looking for leadership from people like Lauren and Stefan when they find out in the future just how wrong they were. It is quite ironic that it was Winston Churchill who had to clean up the mess of those politicians who said he was wrong and who opposed him.