Qu’est-ce que ça veut dire? – (What does it mean?)?

Photo DAVID WHITE/STUFF

Aunty Helen’s talking parrot has flown home to perch, no doubt replete with some new and clever French phrases to show off, and happy with her strut upon the ‘World’ stage; À chaque fou plaît sa marotte. (Every fool is happy in their own folly).

Now that she’s landed we’d like to know the full intent of her mission abroad, because she’s not telling us the actual extent of her proposed anti-hate-speech claws reach, beyond assuring us of that which she wants banned, “we’ll know it when we see it”.

This is not good enough. Her obfuscation, her decided, deliberate lack of clarity is an ancient deceit, perfectly summed up in the very old and gruff Gallic phrase ‘A vrai dire peu de paroles’: Truth gives a short answer, only lies go round about it.

To find the truth behind Ardern’s veiled censorious plans we need to go back to her mentor and her sycophants who together have seeded the ground for the coming (they hope) clampdown on what we can, and cannot, see, hear, and speak, for ‘Ce que chante la corneille, chante le corneillon’: ‘As the old crow sings, so sing her fledglings’.

The first clues are in the manifesto discussion document of the Helen Clark Foundation entitled “Anti-social Media: reducing the spread of harmful content on social media networks”, where we learn of the specific threat of “far right extremism”. In fact, no other type of extremism is mentioned at all, almost as if no other type exists on social media. Isn’t that baffling?

The manifesto discussion document conflates the word ‘terrorist’, whose vileness nobody wants to see promoted on the internet, with the much more benign, and subjective, ‘harmful’. This is a deliberate pairing, used more than a dozen times in the propaganda sheet.

We all have a clear understanding of what terrorism is, but we have very different views on ‘harmful’. Nevertheless we can safely assume ‘harmful’ is, to Helen, associated with the only form of ‘extremism’ the document bothered to mention (five times in just 50-odd pages): that of the “far-right” variety.

Like her talking parrot, ‘Big-Brother’ Aunty Helen gives no hint of what such extremism looks like to her and which ‘harmful’ views need to be blocked. She leaves that dirty work to the sloppy press, those not curtailed by matters of accuracy of fact or precision in language.

And so it came to pass, carrying the unsubtle stench of terribly convenient timing, that Stuff obliged her, personifying for all of us the face of racist, extremist, harmful communicators. Please shut your eyes, you sensitive types, for they are (in order) Ben Shapiro and Milo Yiannopoulos, along with “actor James Woods, conspiracy theorist Paul Joseph Watson and alt-Right activist Lauren Southern”.

Almost laughably, Stuff assures us those mentioned are “far-Right and racist figures” whose sugary offerings the naïve are sucked into “before the website’s algorithms push them further towards more overt racist content”. I say ‘almost’ laughably, because it’s not funny, it is sinister. As if reading something from the dynamic duo of fools, Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn, (if it’s even possible to stay awake long enough to get past a single paragraph) makes the reader a far-left and murderous, genocidal, homophobic racist like Che Guevara. Sacre bleu!

Those named by Stuff are exactly the type of ‘harmful’ communicators Commissar Clark hopes are targeted, you can bet your hat on it, and subtly referred to by the talking parrot in her waffling piece in the New York Times as the ‘drivers’, the pointers to potential extremists.

Q: In that sort of company, and with many similarly held views to those slandered as extremist, where does Stuff’s ridiculous and inane hyperbole place a conservative site like Whaleoil? A: Firmly in Big Aunty’s cross-hairs.

This message needs to be kept out front and centre: we will not surrender our freedoms upon the altar of ‘doing something’ about the Christchurch atrocity. Beware Ardern-Clark’s utterings and doings; ‘L’habit ne fait pas le moine’ (The habit does not make a monk). A cloak of plausible sincerity does not disguise the possibility for evils.

Any attempts to erode our freedoms of expression justified on the basis of ridiculous assertions, much more far-fetched than far-right, and the ludicrous mental gymnastics needed to join the Clark Foundation’s dots from conservative to terrorist-extremist, must be met with the right response: À bois noueux, hache affilée. (The gnarly tree demands a sharp axe).

And do remember, Donnat, donnat (Nothing for nothing). Nothing is free, all must be earned, and having earned our freedoms, we must defend them.

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