Keeping the devil down the hole

The dreadful mosque attack in Christchurch has given some politicians an opportunity to divide our society even further. Proclaiming an end to ‘hate’, they are actually promoting hate as much as they can. Chris Trotter warns us that this is not somewhere we want to go, and it is not something we should be allowing politicians to foster either. quote.

HOW SHOULD New Zealand respond to the Christchurch Mosque Shootings? 
The national unity forged out of shock, grief, compassion and solidarity, is unlikely to survive any attempt to aggressively limit free speech in New Zealand. end quote.

I hope you are right, Chris, but the signs do not look good. quote.

Already, the Leader of the Opposition, Simon Bridges, has indicated his intention to resist strongly any attempt to extend the limitations on citizens? freedom of expression. This should give Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern serious pause. A straight Left/Right battle over ?hate speech? would place her principal coalition partner, NZ First, in an impossible position. Already in a parlous situation, poll-wise, aligning itself with what its electoral base would almost certainly construe as weaponised political correctness would undoubtedly compromise still further NZ First?s chances of making it back to Parliament.

The radical wing of the Green Party is in the process of staking out an aggressively uncompromising position on hate speech

It is unclear how favourably the hard-line stance of Marama Davidson and Golriz Ghahraman is being received by the broader electorate. Labour will be keen to avoid the perception that they are being led into the ideological long grass by its ?woke? allies.

As the theme-song from the TV series ?The Wire? puts it: ?You gotta keep the Devil way down in the hole?. Transforming the free speech issue into a vicious Left/Right knife-fight would be a particularly effective way of hauling the Devil all the way up to the surface.

A more proactive Human Rights Commission, by allowing the courts to flesh out the purposes ? as well as the limitations ? of Section 61 of the Act, could establish with much more clarity what it is ? and is not ? permissible to communicate about race and identity in New Zealand. end quote.

I have wondered if the recent proclamations of Marama Davidson and Golriz actually violate Section 61 of the Human Rights Act? This would mean that activists such as Davidson and Ghahraman could not use their anti-hate platform to promote hate, which is what they are doing at the moment. quote.

The key question posed to New Zealand by the awful events of Friday 15 March 2019 is the degree to which it is possible to mount an effective defence against terrorist violence.
The proposition being advanced by Davidson, Ghahraman, and many others on the left, is that terrorist acts are the by-products of societies steeped in racism and xenophobia: that they constitute merely the awful apex of a much larger pyramid of prejudice. By discouraging the expression of the milder prejudices embedded at the base of this grim pyramid, they argue, their transmission upwards to damaged individuals like the Christchurch shooter can be interrupted, and lives saved.

The problem with this argument is that the level of intervention in the lives of casual racists and xenophobes required to make such a regime effective would, almost certainly, engender considerably more resentment and hatred than it was intended to suppress. Not only would racism and xenophobia not disappear, but the promoters and enforcers of the state?s anti-racist and anti-xenophobic policies would find themselves added to the terrorists? target list. 

No matter how much energy is devoted to persuading our fellow citizens to embrace their fellow citizens, there will always be some for whom the messages of love and respect are interpreted perversely as threats to themselves and their culture.
To stem the flow of reinforcing information to such individuals, we would not only have to censor the news media and shut down the Internet, but also close every library in the country.  end quote.

Marama and Golriz are quite capable of this, if left to their own platforms. Two weeks ago, I would have thought this impossible, but now I am not so sure. quote.

Will a proactive Human Rights Commission, dedicated to enforcing Section 61 of the Human Rights Act, prevent another massacre? Sadly, no, it won?t. Will it make New Zealand a better country to live in? Yes, it will.

Bowalley Road. end quote.

Chris Trotter, as always, is the voice of reason. Let us hope that he is right and that common sense prevails in the end.