Steyn on free speech

September 15th, 2011 at 10:06 am by David Farrar

A great op ed in the Australian by Mark Steyn:

TO be honest, I didn’t really think much about “freedom of speech” until I found myself the subject of three “hate speech” complaints in Canada in 2007.

I mean I was philosophically in favour of it, and I’d been consistently opposed to the Dominion’s ghastly “human rights” commissions and their equivalents elsewhere my entire adult life, and from time to time when an especially choice example of politically correct enforcement came up I’d whack it around for a column or two.

But I don’t think I really understood how advanced the Left’s assault on this core Western liberty actually was. In 2008, shortly before my writing was put on trial for “flagrant Islamophobia” in British Columbia, several National Review readers e-mailed from the US to query what the big deal was. C’mon, lighten up, what could some “human rights” pseudo-court do? And I replied that the statutory penalty under the British Columbia “Human Rights” Code was that Maclean’s, Canada’s biggest-selling news weekly, and by extension any other publication, would be forbidden henceforth to publish anything by me about Islam, Europe, terrorism, demography, welfare, multiculturalism, and various related subjects. And that this prohibition would last forever, and was deemed to have the force of a supreme-court decision. I would in effect be rendered unpublishable in the land of my birth.

This is why we must resist any so called hate speech laws in New Zealand. The threshold for intervention against speech should and must be very high – such as directly advocating violence.

Fourteen-year-old Codie Stott asked her teacher at Harrop Fold High School whether she could sit with another group to do her science project as in hers the other five pupils spoke Urdu and she didn’t understand what they were saying. The teacher called the police, who took her to the station, photographed her, fingerprinted her, took DNA samples, removed her jewelry and shoelaces, put her in a cell for three and a half hours, and questioned her on suspicion of committing a Section Five “racial public-order offence.” “An allegation of a serious nature was made concerning a racially motivated remark,” declared the headmaster, Antony Edkins. The school would “not stand for racism in any form.” In a statement, Greater Manchester Police said they took “hate crime” very seriously, and their treatment of Miss Stott was in line with “normal procedure.”

I thought this must be made up. But sadly it is true.

The head of the Muslim Council of Britain, Sir Iqbal was interviewed on the BBC and expressed the view that homosexuality was “immoral,” was “not acceptable,” “spreads disease,” and “damaged the very foundations of society.” A gay group complained and Sir Iqbal was investigated by Scotland Yard’s “community safety unit” for “” and “homophobia.”

Independently but simultaneously, the magazine of GALHA (the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association) called Islam a “barmy doctrine” growing “like a canker” and deeply “homophobic.” In return, the London Race Hate Crime Forum asked Scotland Yard to investigate GALHA for “Islamophobia.”

Got that? If a Muslim says that Islam is opposed to homosexuality, Scotland Yard will investigate him for homophobia; but if a gay says that Islam is opposed to homosexuality, Scotland Yard will investigate him for Islamophobia.

Two men say exactly the same thing and they’re investigated for different hate crimes.

I encourage people to ask candidates and parties where they stand on introducing hate crimes legislation in New Zealand. Don’t think there are not groups lobbying for them, because there are.

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90 Responses to “Steyn on free speech”

  1. Mick Mac (1,091 comments) says:

    I guess that stuffs me up then as I’ll be investigated by both groups complaints!

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  2. ben (2,396 comments) says:

    God this is truly disturbing. Orwell was a visionary.

    First hate crimes against Islam and homophobia. Then against climate change. Then against government policy in general.

    I think I will re-watch the movie V tonight.

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  3. RightNow (6,648 comments) says:

    Slightly on topic, Obama has launched a website and twitter account called Attackwatch, for his fans to report other people saying bad things about him. The twitter feed so far is hilarious (SMOG)
    http://twitter.com/#!/search/%23attackwatch

    More on topic, an investigation into media conduct is about to get underway in Australia. It is a thinly veiled attack on free speech, spearheaded by the Greens leader Bob Brown. Andrew Bolt sums it up best:
    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/brown_corrects_conroy_this_inquiry_will_indeed_go_after_murdoch/

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  4. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    Thou shalt not speak against The One Rightnow.

    Canada’s committee for public safety is the single greatest threat to Canadian democracy ever conceived. For years now it has operated with absolute authority and zero accountability. It should have been abolished long ago.

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  5. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    “Got that? If a Muslim says that Islam is opposed to homosexuality, Scotland Yard will investigate him for homophobia; but if a gay says that Islam is opposed to homosexuality, Scotland Yard will investigate him for Islamophobia.”

    I’m tempted to say will BOTH groups please go away, but that would be naughty :)

    Seriously though, the situation regarding free speech in Britian has long since become farcical and extremly disturbing. Thanks to reign of “New Labour” Britian looks more and more like Orwell’s prediction.

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  6. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    Ishomophobia Lee?

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  7. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    The examples, particularly the one about the fourteen year old girl, affirm my view that modern secular liberalism is the bell tolling for the death of the West.

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  8. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    “Ishomophobia Lee?”

    Yes. I’m homophobic as well :)

    The irony about the gay group also being targeted by the thought police is that the British gay rights groups have been amongst the most vocal proponents of hate speech laws and have happily used them to attack Christians.

    Morons.

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  9. AG (1,760 comments) says:

    “This is why we must resist any so called hate speech laws in New Zealand. The threshold for intervention against speech should and must be very high – such as directly advocating violence.”

    Too late, DPF: http://legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1993/0082/latest/DLM305478.html?search=ts_act_human+rights_resel&p=1

    (Enacted, you might note, in 1993 … I encourage people to ask candidates and parties where they stand on repealing this National-Party-imposed example of hate crimes legislation in New Zealand (;->))

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  10. AG (1,760 comments) says:

    “The examples, particularly the one about the fourteen year old girl, affirm my view that modern secular liberalism is the bell tolling for the death of the West.”

    Probably right … I mean, everyone knows that traditional religious communitarianism is MUCH more protective of individual liberties and the right to express one’s point of view without fear of retribution. What’s that you say, Galileo? Burn him!!!

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  11. slightlyrighty (2,496 comments) says:

    The sad fact is, that any protest against the actions taken against a 14 year old girl will not fall on deaf ears, but will be muzzled at the outset. Free Speech in the UK is history.

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  12. Scott Chris (5,875 comments) says:

    The wonderful thing about free speech, is it allows us to hear what people have to say, and subject it to rational analysis. With reference to the case stated in the above article:

    Islamic Homophobia:

    From the point of view of a Muslim, according to Islamic doctrine, which, to its followers represents a sacred truth, homosexuality is ‘Immoral and Unacceptable’. The assertion that it also spreads disease and damages the foundations of society is more a matter of opinion, but can still have its rationale traced back to Islamic scripture.

    Most non-Muslims, however, would argue that Islamic truth is relative, and therefore irrelevant to anyone other than a Muslim.

    Gay Islamaphobia:

    To say that Islam is ‘Barmy and a Canker’, does introduce a pejorative element, although it could be argued that Islam is irrational and is proliferating. The description homophobic though is accurate.

    So, Islam *is* institutionally homophobic but acting morally according to their scripture, whereas the gay magazine was partially correct and partially Islamaphobic. As they have no doctrine to fall back on as an excuse, there is no moral justification for their use of the words ‘Barmy and Canker’

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  13. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    # Lee01 (565) Says:
    September 15th, 2011 at 10:56 am

    The examples, particularly the one about the fourteen year old girl, affirm my view that modern secular liberalism is the bell tolling for the death of the West.

    —————————————

    Has nothing to do with secularism or liberalism. Quite the opposite in fact. Indeed in the case of accusations of Islamaphobia why would secularists want to punish criticism of religion?

    No this is modern day political correctness and I don’t think it has anything to do with liberalism, conservatism or anything like that. It’s advocated by idiots who have no idea what free speech actually is.

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  14. AG (1,760 comments) says:

    So, Scott … by the same token it is legitimate to describe Stalin as a mass-murderer and an authoritarian ruler … but to describe him as evil or a monster is without moral justification (unless you happen to subscribe to some belief in a sky-fairy who tells you that what he did was “evil” and “monstrous”, in which case you can say whatever you want)?

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  15. Scott Chris (5,875 comments) says:

    I love free speech, because it gives us an insight into what people are thinking:

    Sarah Palin:

    “Nuclear weaponry, of course, would be the be-all, end-all of just too many people in too many parts of our planet.”

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  16. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    “I think I will re-watch the movie V tonight.”

    One of my favourite movies. Good idea :)

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  17. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    “No this is modern day political correctness and ”

    Yes, which is a creation of cultural Marxism and has been implemented by secular liberal governments.

    But this part of your post, “this is modern”, is spot on.

    Modernism is the disease. Traditonalism is the cure.

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  18. Scott Chris (5,875 comments) says:

    AG – “but to describe him [Stalin] as evil or a monster is without moral justification”

    Yes and no, because moral justification is based on subjective truth rather than emotive epithet. ‘Evil’ is defined as a rational quality by religious doctrine, whereas I doubt ‘monster’ is.

    edit – I’m arguing from the position of moral relativity.

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  19. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    AG – Worst part of that law is the words “or bring into contempt or ridicule”. I can’t see how those words can be reconciled with the Bill of Rights which supposedly provides us the right to free speech.

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  20. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    “I mean, everyone knows that traditional religious communitarianism is MUCH more protective of individual liberties”

    I didin’t claim it was. But I’m only interested in the liberties of Western Traditionalists. The difference between me and modernists/liberals is that I don’t pretend to give a rats ass about modern notions of individual freedom. Ordered liberty, yes, social anarchy requiring a police state, no.

    Oh and there is more government control over peoples lives now than at anytime in the Wests history.

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  21. gazzmaniac (2,317 comments) says:

    The threshold for intervention against speech should and must be very high – such as directly advocating violence.

    We used to have a law against that crime, but Labour repealed it. It was called sedition.

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  22. Pete George (22,784 comments) says:

    Traditonalism is the cure.

    Which one? Do you suggest going back to traditions of fifty years ago? But that’s not truly traditional. So why not go back 150 years? Or to before the Enlightenment? Why not go back 1500 years? Or 3000 years? What traditions exactly do you suggest fixing on. Pre-wheel? Pre-fire?

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  23. AG (1,760 comments) says:

    Scott,

    But as that religiously inspired definition of “evil” applies only to those who share the particular religious doctrine, and the question of whether the particular religious doctrine is or is not true is subjective, then the religious use of the word “evil” is just as relativistic and personal as is anyone else’s use of the term. Which is fine … but it does make any attempt to say that religious use of evaluative terms is somehow different to non-religious use of evaluative terms a bit tendentious.

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  24. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Lee01 – Marxism is not liberalism Lee. You are conflating different things.

    Also it is ridiculously simplistic to favour tradition merely because it is tradition. Indeed many modern developments have been good, for instance the end of slavery, the end to the government discriminating against different races, the end to the government criminalizing homosexual relationships etc. etc.

    When things change some of it will be good and some of it will be bad. There is no inherent reason to believe that tradition is a good idea. Ideas should be judged on their merits.

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  25. AG (1,760 comments) says:

    @gazzmaniac: “We used to have a law against that crime, but Labour repealed it. It was called sedition.”

    You mean that law that EVERY party voted to repeal … except New Zealand First? Nice to see where you’ll be putting your vote in November …

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  26. gazzmaniac (2,317 comments) says:

    There are good reasons not to vote for Winston Peters and almost every single one of them outweigh the sedition vote.

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  27. AG (1,760 comments) says:

    “Oh and there is more government control over peoples lives now than at anytime in the Wests history.”

    Oh really? We’ll put to one side the fact that Italy/Germany are part of “the West” and ignore their experiences of the 1920′s-40′s. We’ll also put to one side the experiences of “Western” societies like the Czech Republic and Hungary from the 1940′s-90′s. We’ll simply say that if your claim is that the government has more control over your life now than it did in the Muldoon era, then you have an odd concept of history.

    As for “I’m only interested in the liberties of Western Traditionalists”, I’d be careful. That sounds an awful lot like Taleban talk to me … and the SIS don’t have much on their plate at the moment. A bit of police state intervention might be needed here …

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  28. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    Pete,

    Sorry for being unclear. When I use the term Traditonalisim (with a capital T note) I mean the political/social philosophy of that name, similar to saying Marxism or Liberalism. It is also known as Traditonalist Conservatism, Paleoconservatism and Toryism .So I am talking about a specific philosphy, not “traditions”.

    “Traditionalist conservatism, also known as “traditional conservatism,” “traditionalism,” “Burkean conservatism”, “classical conservatism” and (in non-American English or Australian English-speaking nations) “Toryism”, describes a political philosophy emphasizing the need for the principles of natural law and transcendent moral order, tradition, hierarchy and organic unity, agrarianism, classicism and high culture, and the intersecting spheres of loyalty.[1] Some traditionalists have embraced the labels “reactionary” and “counterrevolutionary”, defying the stigma that has attached to these terms since the Enlightenment. Having a hierarchical view of society, many traditionalist conservatives, including a few Americans, defend the monarchical political structure as the most natural and beneficial social arrangement.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditionalist_conservatism

    And please, before anyone turns this into another debate about Christianity, the political philosphy of Traditonalism is not specifically Christian. Some Traditonalists have been and are Jews, Muslims (such as Rene Guenon), non religious Theists, and even Neo-Pagans (such Alain de Benoist).

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  29. AG (1,760 comments) says:

    gazzmaniac.

    Quite right, too!

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  30. Scott Chris (5,875 comments) says:

    AG – “religious use of evaluative terms is somehow different to non-religious use of evaluative terms a bit tendentious.”

    I agree. Like I said, I was subjecting the argument to rational analysis (from a morally relative position), which, ironically, is always subjective, and the conclusion seemingly absurd.

    In theory, a religion established with honest intent, such as a hypothetical “Church of Gays” whose scripture stated that Muslims ‘Are Barmy’ could claim that calling a Muslim “barmy’ is morally justified according to their religion.

    But using classical logic, any religious assertion is impossible to justify morally. But then, using classical logic, the concept of morality is impossible to prove absolutely.

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  31. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    Weihana,

    “Marxism is not liberalism Lee. You are conflating different things.”

    Think of it like a family. Humanism and Secularism are the parents, Liberalism and Marxism are their children. So not exactly the same, but related, and all of the carrying them same family disease.

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  32. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    AG,

    “We’ll put to one side the fact that Italy/Germany are part of “the West” and ignore their experiences of the 1920′s-40′s.”

    Which were part of the modern era, which is what I was reffering to.

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  33. Pete George (22,784 comments) says:

    Lee01 at 11.30 am – still not clear. Why can’t we just leave all the fancy terminology out of it, and look at and deal with things as we see them now. Otherwise we would spend half our time reading dictionaries, half our time reading historical books, and we wouldn’t have any time left to work on changing things for better.

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  34. AG (1,760 comments) says:

    Scott,

    Which perhaps then raises the question, is “logic” the right tool to deploy when assessing a moral claim … or, rather, is it a sufficient tool?

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  35. db (22 comments) says:

    “The threshold for intervention against speech should and must be very high – such as directly advocating violence.”

    So it’s all right to publicly explain how to commit suicide, or how to grow marijuana, or how to smuggle bestiality porn into the country? Maybe everyone would like to know who that comedian is? As long as there is no constitution in New Zealand, there is no guarantee of anything, certainly not “free” speech. What we have instead is whatever the government of the day is willing to tolerate, whatever the nice police officer is prepared to turn a blind eye to, whatever the easily offended cannot be bothered to write a letter of complaint about. But of course none of that matters because we have such a wonderful lifestyle!

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  36. AG (1,760 comments) says:

    Lee,

    Except that Naziism had far, far more in common with the Traditionalism you are advocating than the relativistic liberal humanism you are decrying. So to lump Hitler’s Germany and contemporary NZ together as being “modern”, as opposed to your idealised “olden days paradise”, is just so silly as to fail the laugh test.

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  37. ben (2,396 comments) says:

    Scott Chris: analysing the quality of the arguments from competing sides in the muslim vs gay debate entirely misses the point here.

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  38. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    Pete,

    “Lee01 at 11.30 am – still not clear. Why can’t we just leave all the fancy terminology out of it, and look at and deal with things as we see them now.”‘

    In order to look at and deal with anything you must have a political/social philosphy to begin with, as you do as much as anyone. In order to change things “for the better” you must have a philosophical definition of what constitutes “better”.

    In other words, all of this is about what constitutes “the good life”, and that is a philosophical issue.

    Your political/social philosphy (as far as I can tell) is Secular Liberal Centrism. So we all have “fancy terms”, even if we are not aware of them.

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  39. Brian Smaller (3,985 comments) says:

    I think Hate Speech laws should be replaced with the Sticks and Stones Law. It is wise advice and true. Under the law anyone using Sticks and Stones to advance their agenda should get hammered, but Name calling should be left alone. Being offended is just tough luck. as far as I am aware, no one ever died of extreme offence.

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  40. Pete George (22,784 comments) says:

    Your political/social philosphy (as far as I can tell)

    You are labelling me with that from what you know of me from a brief time on Kiwiblog?

    In order to look at and deal with anything you must have a political/social philosphy to begin with

    Funny. I don’t buy into this “I’m a such-and-such-ist so I must look at this from a such-and-such perspective”. My “political/social philosphy” is use your bleeding common sense and don’t get obsessed with unattainable philosophical ideals.

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  41. Bob R (1,336 comments) says:

    I’d recommend emailing Collins & Power urging them not to restrict free speech by signing this protocol on cybercrime which would criminalise certain speech on the internet.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Additional_Protocol_to_the_Convention_on_Cybercrimethe

    This would unnecessarily restrict free speech in what is meant to be a liberal democracy. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis once said “Sunshine is the best disinfectant” and he’s right.

    J.Collins@ministers.govt.nz
    simon.power@national.org.nz

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  42. Chuck Bird (4,668 comments) says:

    Given half a chance the same thing would happen here. I helped fight against the ban on so called anti-gay videos that amongst other things showed the increased risk of homosexuals being infected with HIV.

    But the law does nothing about deviate teachers grooming 12 year olds under the pretext of sex education.

    Listen to playback of Leighton from 10:16 for an email from a concerned parent. What his 12 year old was taught was sick, sick, sick.

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  43. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    AG,

    “Except that Naziism had far, far more in common with the Traditionalism you are advocating”

    Yes and no. Thats a little like saying that the NZ Labour Party is the same as Soviet Communism.

    The Nazi’s played on SOME Traditionalist themes to win votes, but…..

    Nazism was a statist philosophy that argued for and institututed a powerful centralised state bureaucracy. Traditonalists favour very little central government, if any, instead favouring constitutionally limited monarchy, decentralised/distributed power, localism and strongly independent families and communities.

    Nazism was a racial supremacist ideology. While Traditonalist differ on the issue of race with some such as myself believing it to be a purely modern idea with no validity, ALL traditonalists oppose any kind of genuine racial supremacism ( as opposed to what the politically correct often claim is racial supremacism).

    Nazism was an imperialist ideology. Traditionalists are opposed to imperialism in all its forms and most are isolationists on defense matters, or, like myself, defense realists who oppose the neoconservative idea of imposing democracy.

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  44. mikenmild (10,636 comments) says:

    Well, a deviant teacher interfering with pupils is a crime. Making sick videos that lie about homosexuality is not a crime, just bad taste. We should only criminalise activities that cause actual harm.

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  45. Chuck Bird (4,668 comments) says:

    “Well, a deviant teacher interfering with pupils is a crime.”

    Only if they diddle with thier diddle but not if they diddle with their minds.

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  46. Chuck Bird (4,668 comments) says:

    “Making sick videos that lie about homosexuality is not a crime, just bad taste.”

    What lie? Have you seen the videos?

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  47. mikenmild (10,636 comments) says:

    Depends on exactly what they did. If they were showing thems anti-gay DVDs that would be a concern. Could well get de-registered at the very least.

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  48. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    “You are labelling me with that from what you know of me from a brief time on Kiwiblog?”

    I was taking a reasonable guess based on your own words. If I am wrong, please forgive my mistake. And I was reading KB long, long before I started posting.

    And you ARE a member of United Future, a secular, centrist liberal party.

    “I’m a such-and-such-ist so I must look at this from a such-and-such perspective”

    I don’t. “Must” does not come into it. I just believe that Traditionalism is right.

    “My “political/social philosphy” is use your bleeding common sense and don’t get obsessed with unattainable philosophical ideals.”

    Nonsense. Your definition of what is “common sense” will simply be your political social philosophy in drag. And you want to make society better. How do you decide what is “better” unless you make reference to your own philosophical and political assumptions?

    And nothing is unattainable. The environmental, political, economic and social collapse of the West and the globalist project is clearly well under way. Out of the ashes….

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  49. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    So it’s all right to publicly explain how to commit suicide, or how to grow marijuana, or how to smuggle bestiality porn into the country?

    ——————————————–

    Explain how to commit suicide? Hardly specialist knowledge.

    I think you could argue that speech could be regulated which attempts to incite unlawful action, but with regards to marijuana I don’t believe it should be unlawful in the first place.

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  50. KevinH (1,131 comments) says:

    ‘”The threshold for intervention against speech should be and must be very high- such as directly advocating violence”

    Totally agree with DPF’s statement, however the framework for dealing with hate speech is pretty much in place already:

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1990/0109/latest/whole.html

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  51. Pete George (22,784 comments) says:

    Lee-01 – I’m sure if I could be bothered checking more about the Traditionalisms out there I would find some things I agree with and some things I disagree with. Same for an -ism you want to try and apply to me.

    How do you decide what is “better” unless you make reference to your own philosophical and political assumptions?

    You look, you learn, you discuss, you listen, and you work out with other people what is better for most people.

    If you want me to have a “philosophical and political” label why not try a horses-for-courses-ist. Sometimes being conservative makes senses, sometimes being radical makes sense, sometimes being other-isms may make sense. Sometimes you have to combine different philosophies to find the right balance.

    It’s not rocket science. It’s what everyone does when they’re not paranoid about straying from their label.

    Apply straightjacketing labels to yourself if you like, but like freeedom to speak, I want freedom to pick, mix and match whatever isms suit any particular issue.

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  52. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    “You look, you learn, you discuss, you listen, and you work out with other people what is better for most people.”

    Which is how I became a Traditonalist.

    “Apply straightjacketing labels to yourself if you like, but like freeedom to speak, I want freedom to pick, mix and match whatever isms suit any particular issue.”

    You have just applied a specific philosophical “straightjacket” to yourself. It’s called pragmatism, which is loaded with philosophical assumptions.

    Thats fine, but my I prefer something more coherent and that is “radical” enough (radical originally meant getting back to the root of things) to deal with the serious problems we have.

    But my point stands. You have as much of a specific political/social philosophy as I have. You just don’t seem to like it being pointed out and named.

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  53. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    # Chuck Bird (1,731) Says:
    September 15th, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    “Well, a deviant teacher interfering with pupils is a crime.”

    Only if they diddle with thier diddle but not if they diddle with their minds.

    —————————————

    Whereas you would prefer it was *you* that “diddled” with their minds. I suppose if you are the parent you could reasonably argue that your child should be raised according to your values. But don’t you think it’s better that your child adopts your views after considering all other views and deciding that yours was superior rather than adopting your viewpoint for a lack of exposure to alternatives? Does it say something about your worldview that it is so fragile to competition? ;)

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  54. Griff (6,715 comments) says:

    Traditionalist conservatives believe that human society is essentially hierarchical (i.e., it always involves various interdependent inequalities, degrees, and classes and that political structures that recognize this fact prove the most just, thriving, and generally beneficial). Hierarchy allows for the preservation of the whole community simultaneously, instead of protecting one part at the expense of the others.

    Not going to happen in these enlightened times.
    We are all so different even on this blog the view points of all very wildly.
    Information is no longer the preserve of an elite or controllable in modern society. The rise of the Arab spring, Tinnerman square, the fall of the wall are all symptoms this global information revolution.

    We are evolving to an new society due to the rise of Information shearing and social networking. this will have repercussions similar to the invention of writing or the printed word. ten years ago twit face and twitting were not even imagined. blogging the ability to access information immediately is a herald of A new age.

    Typing this I have open tabs with
    Human Rights Act 1993 No 82 (as at 01 May 2011), Public Act http://legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1993/0082/latest/DLM305478.html?search=ts_act_human+rights_resel&p=1
    meaning of revolution http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolution
    OECDBetter Life Index http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/#/55555555555
    Traditionalist conservatism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditionalist_conservatism

    This a few short years ago would have been difficult and time consuming to access let alone. any were, any time, by anybody

    wot this will be who knows.The One thing it will bring is change.

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  55. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    Griff,

    “Traditionalist conservatives believe that human society is essentially hierarchical (i.e., it always involves various interdependent inequalities, degrees, and classes and that political structures that recognize this fact prove the most just, thriving, and generally beneficial). Hierarchy allows for the preservation of the whole community simultaneously, instead of protecting one part at the expense of the others.”

    Spot on. A good explantion.

    “Not going to happen in these enlightened times.”

    These “enlightened” times are in the throes of death and will soon be gone.

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  56. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Lee01,

    “These “enlightened” times are on the throes of death and will soon be gone.”

    Nah, modern times are good. Real good in fact. By what measure are things worse? Life span? Infant mortality? Productivity? Technology?

    It seems to me there will always be people telling us “the end is nigh” but I just don’t see it. There may be hiccups along the way but the general trend of society over the last couple hundred years has been for things to get better. I don’t want to return to the 1950′s let alone the 1800s.

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  57. Scott Chris (5,875 comments) says:

    AG – “Which perhaps then raises the question, is “logic” the right tool to deploy when assessing a moral claim … or, rather, is it a sufficient tool?”

    Sorry about slow response – had to do some work for a change.

    I think is is a good tool to illustrate that any moral argument is founded on arbitrary principles, so in order to form a coherent moral argument, it pays to state those principles, so that they can be challenged and referred back to in support of any assertions you make.

    ben – “analysing the quality of the arguments from competing sides in the muslim vs gay debate entirely misses the point here.”

    If the ‘point here’ is defined as assessing the merits of introducing ‘hate speech’ laws, then it helps to define what what ‘hate speech’ is, which is essentially a moral argument. I wasn’t pretentiously indulging in mental masturbation. (not consciously anyway)

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  58. AG (1,760 comments) says:

    Lee,

    The problem with saying you are a “Traditionalist” is that the substantive views you then state you hold turn out to be a hodge-podge of pretty standard libertarian and communitarian preferences, none of which can be traced back to any real-world antecedent. Yes, “traditional” Britain may have had smaller central government and more local/family-based social organisation, but it also was determinedly imperialistic in its national policy. The US South may have been isolationist and community minded, but it was based on notions of racial superiority that you say no Traditionalist would ever accept. And so it goes.

    Hence, the claim that your views somehow are “Traditional” sounds an awful lot like a chair to elevate them above simply being “personal preferences” (like those terrible “modern” ones) … but on closer examination the chair looks to have only 3 legs, and two of them loose at that. I guess the point is that once you abandon the appeal to history – which can’t really be sustained, given how selectively it is applied – what is there that really distinguishes your mix of policies from any other? What evidence is there that adopting them would somehow improve the lot of humankind? What case-studies demonstrate their superior outcomes over their “modern” challengers?

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  59. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    “Nah, modern times are good. Real good in fact.”

    In the last thirty years alone we have been brought to the edge of nuclear annihilation, and may still get there. We are on the bringk of an age of bio and nuclear terrorism. We have lurched from one economic crisis to the next, and the modern welfare state throughout the West is on its knnes and no longer sustainable, we have had numerous major disasters created by science and technology, we have increasingly totalitarian government, rising crime rates, social decline, family decline………

    “By what measure are things worse? Life span? Infant mortality? Productivity? Technology?”

    So quantity over quality?

    As Rene Guenon pointed out in his book ‘The Reign of Quanitity and the Signs of the Times” the modern world is based on a love of quantity over quality, the material over the spiritual.

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  60. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    Back soon. Lunchtime.

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  61. Pete George (22,784 comments) says:

    Back soon. Lunchtime.

    Is commenting here your job? That doesn’t seem very Traditionalist.

    Modern times in new Zealand – and in many other parts of the world – are better than they ever have been. We still have old problems, and we have new problems, but generally it’s better – especially for those who used to be opressed, abused, second class, third class, poor, destitute etc.

    My standard of living has improved noticeably in my lifetime.

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  62. tom hunter (4,374 comments) says:

    I think another Steyn piece may be better because it avoids the whole Islamic thing that has the left reaching for their Godwin shields.

    This one was published in National Review back in June of this year – Criminal Comedy. He starts off with this:

    I read The Joke, Milan Kundera’s first novel, when I was a schoolboy. Bit above my level, but, even as a teenager, I liked the premise. Ludvik is a young man in post-war, newly Communist Czechoslovakia. He’s a smart, witty guy, a loyal Party member with a great future ahead of him. His girlfriend, though, is a bit serious. So when she writes to him from her two-week Party training course enthusing about the early-morning calisthenics and the “healthy atmosphere,” he scribbles off a droll postcard:

    Optimism is the opium of the people! A healthy atmosphere stinks of stupidity! Long live Trotsky! Ludvik.

    A few weeks later, he’s called before a committee of the District Party Secretariat. He tries to explain he was making a joke. Immediately they remove him from his position at the Students Union; then they expel him from the Party, and the university; and shortly thereafter he’s sent to work in the mines.

    Funny in it’s absurdity no? Try today’s reality:

    … immediately after my trial they ensnared a minor stand-up comic, Guy Earle, who had committed the crime of putting down two drunken hecklers. Alas for him, they were of the lesbian persuasion. Last month, he was convicted of putting down hecklers homophobically and fined $15,000.

    Mr. Earle did not testify at his trial, nor attend it. He lives on the other side of the country, and could afford neither flight nor accommodation. Rather touchingly, he offered to pay for his trip by performing at various comedy clubs while in town, before he eventually realized that no Vancouver impresario was going to return his calls ever again.

    Steyn thinks that Ludvik would have recognised that last point also:

    Comrade Zemanek, the chairman of the plenary meeting that decides his fate, participated with him in earlier jests with the same girl, but he makes a brilliant speech explaining why Ludvik has to be punished, and everyone else agrees:

    No one spoke on my behalf, and finally everyone present (and there were about a hundred of them, including my teachers and my closest friends), yes, every last one of them raised his hand to approve my expulsion.

    And so it went for Guy Earle, hung out to dry by his comrades at the plenary session of the Canadian Collective of Edgy Transgressive Comedians.

    Steyn also refers to the US case of a doctor who made a subtle joke in Surgery News and got done over outside of any court system. But I find Guy Earle’s case far more chilling than either that or Steyn’s own. Earle, like many stand-up comedians and unlike Steyn, probably does not have two dimes to rub together and is an unknown: hence easily crucified. Perhaps he needed a lawyer deeply concerned with free speech – someone like Andrew Geddis, assuming Andrew would have been willing to represent him.

    Who would have thought all the old absurdist gags of Eastern Europe circa 1948 would transplant themselves to the heart of the West so effortlessly? Indeed, a latter-day Kundera would surely reject as far too obvious a scenario in which lesbians and feminists lean on eunuch males to destroy a man for disrespecting the vascularized vagina by suggesting that semen might have restorative properties.

    “Give it to me straight, doc. I can take it”? Not anymore. Kundera’s Joke is now on us.

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  63. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    In the last thirty years alone we have been brought to the edge of nuclear annihilation, and may still get there. We are on the bringk of an age of bio and nuclear terrorism. We have lurched from one economic crisis to the next, and the modern welfare state throughout the West is on its knnes and no longer sustainable, we have had numerous major disasters created by science and technology, we have increasingly totalitarian government, rising crime rates, social decline, family decline………

    ——————————

    Technology is always a double edged sword. Yes the risk of nuclear war exists today whereas it didn’t in times previous. But by the same token human casualties from war have declined dramatically since the advent of nuclear weapons because nuclear states no longer engage in war (at least directly). In any case, how can ANY political system undo technological advancement? Nuclear weapons exist. That cannot be undone.

    With regards terrorism note how the advocates of such are not secular and certainly not liberal. :) They are the most conservative types around. But I note your traditionalist views are apparently isolationist in many respects and I can certainly relate to that. In that respect I would agree with you but how is this specifically reflective of “modern” times? Prior to the US exercising military influence around the globe we had the British Empire. Along the lines of what AG was saying, clearly you pick and choose which “traditional” ideas you subscribe to.

    In terms of economics the recent financial crisis was a result of a lack of government regulation, not too much government. In any case it’s the biggest crisis since the Great depression which was quite a while ago now. There are ups and downs but overall we have become more prosperous.

    With regards welfare what is unsustainable is a growing elderly population that expects handouts for turning 65 to be paid by a smaller younger workforce. This is a problem and something needs to be done about it I agree. But I don’t see how “tradition” is going to solve this issue.

    Lastly, we do not have rising crime rates. IIRC crime has, overall, been reducing for the past 20 years. Moreover, the war on drugs has contributed significantly to the increase in crime rates by funding organized crime which is why I think it is so important for the drug trade to be socialized and regulated such as to minimize the harm of drug use as much as possible whilst dealing a death blow to many organized criminal enterprises. Indeed the war on drugs is largely a modern development which I oppose.

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  64. Scott Chris (5,875 comments) says:

    PG – “Lee – Why can’t we just leave all the fancy terminology out of it, and look at and deal with things as we see them now.”

    In support of Lee, he is defining the basis of his moral position, so that, in theory, he is right if his assertions are consistent with that position. Traditionalism on the other hand, is full of holes.

    A nutshell critique of traditionalism:

    Its positive theses about perennial philosophy romanticize the occult aspects of the world’s religious traditions and are backed by unsupported assumptions, tenuous comparisons based on a prejudiced selection of materials, and rather wild speculations.

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  65. Chuck Bird (4,668 comments) says:

    “Whereas you would prefer it was *you* that “diddled” with their minds. I suppose if you are the parent you could reasonably argue that your child should be raised according to your values. But don’t you think it’s better that your child adopts your views after considering all other views and deciding that yours was superior rather than adopting your viewpoint for a lack of exposure to alternatives?”

    No because mine are superior

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  66. AG (1,760 comments) says:

    “In the last thirty years alone we have been brought to the edge of nuclear annihilation, and may still get there.”

    And the Traditionalist response would be … what? Ban science? Or is nuclear physics simply a symptom of the modern world which would never have existed if we had limited government, local control and stronger families? In such a society would a critical mass of Uranium fail to generate a chain-reaction, thus meaning nuclear weapons would never have existed?

    Gosh – lucky you aren’t one of those horrible post-modern relativist types!

    “… the modern world is based on a love of quantity over quality, the material over the spiritual.”

    So I assume you survive on a diet of lentils, rice, beans and spinach, live in a hut you constructed out of timber gleaned from the rubbish tip, work the bare minimum hours needed to sustain your ascetic existence, and spend the rest of the time contemplating matters spiritual in your navel. Least you be polluted by any of that modern rubbish like espresso coffee, 3-D movies and electric heaters.

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  67. Scott Chris (5,875 comments) says:

    “In the last thirty years alone we have been brought to the edge of nuclear annihilation”

    Many would argue that the Mexican Standoff that came about as the result of the nuclear arms race has brought about unprecedented peace. If peace is good, and nuclear weapons brought this about, then:

    Nuclear Weapons Are Mostly Good. So far.

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  68. Scott Chris (5,875 comments) says:

    Weihana – “In terms of economics the recent financial crisis was a result of a lack of government regulation,”

    I would argue that it was not a lack of legislation as such. If you take the EU as an example, where, according to a funny post by Nookin on the General Debate yesterday, EU cabbage regulations run to some 27,000 words, then I’d say that either boom bust cycles are an inevitable consequence of free market capitalism, or that the legislation is clunky and poorly designed, like an old mainframe operating system with a thousand patches and a million glitches.

    Whole thing needs to be rebuilt from the ground up.

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  69. AG (1,760 comments) says:

    But Scott – look how few problems are caused by cabbages in Europe!

    QED.

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  70. St Hubbins (26 comments) says:

    RightNow (3,138) Says:
    September 15th, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Slightly on topic, Obama has launched a website and twitter account called Attackwatch, for his fans to report other people saying bad things about him. The twitter feed so far is hilarious (SMOG)
    http://twitter.com/#!/search/%23attackwatch

    Thanks for that link to the Attackwatch Twitter feed, RightNow – some golden comments in there for sure!

    This one tickled my fancy:

    Andi Silver
    @andilinks Andi Silver
    People are calling our President the Fresh Prince of Bill Ayers, that’s not allowed is it? #Attackwatch

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  71. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    My, I am popular :)

    Pete,

    “Is commenting here your job? That doesn’t seem very Traditionalist.”

    No. I am a full time student, and I have a real part time job.

    Scott,

    “Its positive theses about perennial philosophy romanticize the occult aspects of the world’s religious traditions”

    Your talking about Perennial Philosophy, which is a different “Traditionalism” than the political/social philosophy. Thats partly my fault as I have referenced Rene Guenon, who I’m a fan of. But as a Christian I do not adhere to Sophia Perennis, though I’m intrigued by Guenon’s ideas. That said, his critique of the modern world is powerful.

    AG,

    “The problem with saying you are a “Traditionalist” is that the substantive views you then state you hold turn out to be a hodge-podge of pretty standard libertarian and communitarian preferences,”

    I would argue that the influence flows in the other direction. You are right to see elements of Traditonalism in both Libertarianism and Communitarianism. This is hardly surprising. The modern world did not spring fully grown out of a vacuum. It grew out of the old world, and so its not at all a surprise that it still contains elements of it. So really the hodge podge is Modernisms, not Traditionalisms.

    In fact, to take Pete’s pick and mix analogy for a moment, you can see real Traditionalist policies in all the major NZ political parties. ACT wants less government and less state bureaucracy. National still has some commitment to “small c” conservatism and still, officialy at least, loyalty to the Crow. And I suspect many in National still prefer high culture to pop culture. New Zealand First has a concern for the organic unity of the Nation and a suspicion of globalisation and multiculturalism. The Greens have a commitment to agrarianism, localism and sustainable farming, as well as a commitement to the precautionary principle with regards to technology and science.

    So our modern world still has strong echoes of the older order. This also shows that despite Pete’s claim Traditonalism is an attainable and realistic philosphy. Its not as far away as he might think.

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  72. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    AG,

    “So I assume you survive on a diet of lentils, rice, beans and spinach, live in a hut you constructed out of timber gleaned from the rubbish tip, work the bare minimum hours needed to sustain your ascetic existence, and spend the rest of the time contemplating matters spiritual in your navel.”

    Don’t be silly. Traditonal Europeans hunted, farmed and ate meat. But your right about one thing, we need to refocus society on the things that matter, on spiritual values rather than material. This does not require a rejection of technology. In fact one positive upshot of the modern world is that advances in information technology make a move away from mass production industrialisation and to a small scale agrarian economy far more realistic and attainable.

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  73. Scott Chris (5,875 comments) says:

    AG – “look how few problems are caused by cabbages in Europe!”

    Good point. I’m utterly stumped. Looked all over the web to find bad cabbage stories and came up dry.

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  74. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    Opps, that should have read loyalty to the Crown, not the Crow! :)

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  75. Pete George (22,784 comments) says:

    So our modern world still has strong echoes of the older order. This also shows that despite Pete’s claim Traditonalism is an attainable and realistic philosphy. Its not as far away as he might think.

    That sounds like hoping for history to happen soon.

    No one has given an explanationm of how that’s going to happen apart from the notion that everyone will come around to believing the same things about someone’s past ideal that never was.

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  76. Scott Chris (5,875 comments) says:

    Lee01

    So which brand of traditionalism do you adhere to, so I can trawl the web for some dirt on it?

    Only kidding. I think you are smart enough to sort the wheat from the chaff. Just beware of treading in dogma.

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  77. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    “No one has given an explanationm of how that’s going to happen apart”

    The fact is, we will simply not have a choice. We will change or die. The combination of environmental, economic and technological problems we face will either force Traditonalism upon us or kill us.

    “someone’s past ideal that never was.”

    The past never happened? Strange idea you have there Pete.

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  78. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    “So which brand of traditionalism do you adhere to, so I can trawl the web for some dirt on it?”

    Heh, I could do that for you! In fact I can think of one potential piece of dirt that I’m surprised nobody has hit me with yet :)

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  79. Pete George (22,784 comments) says:

    will either force Traditonalism upon us or kill us.

    Ah, so all we have to do is wait and precisely your sort of Traditonalism will just naturally happen. If it’s that easy then you don’t need to bother trying to convert Kiwibloggers.

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  80. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    “Ah, so all we have to do is wait and precisely your sort of Traditonalism will just naturally happen.”

    No, I think political action, debate such as I am doing here, cultural activism, and other means are also important, such as promoting, supporting and raising up strong Christian families and conservative local churches. As to “precisely my sort” I’m not sure what you mean. Tory Traditionalism is not “mine”, and even though it was a heavily watered down version it was not that long ago that Tory Traditonalism was the basic foundation of the National Party, The Conservatives in Britian, and the Australian National Party. Its not as out of the ordinary as you seem to think. In fact the current Tory Party government in Britian has at least some elements, such as a degree of economic distributism and strong support for localism.

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  81. Scott Chris (5,875 comments) says:

    From AG’s 10.58 link:

    Human Rights Act 1993

    Inciting racial disharmony

    Jail or fine if:

    …….intent to excite hostility or ill-will against, or bring into contempt or ridicule, any group of persons in New Zealand on the ground of the colour, race, or ethnic or national origins……

    ….publishes or distributes written matter which is threatening, abusive, or insulting, or broadcasts by means of radio or television words which are threatening, abusive, or insulting……..

    …..being matter or words likely to excite hostility or ill-will against, or bring into contempt or ridicule, any such group of persons in New Zealand on the ground of the colour, race, or ethnic or national origins of that group of persons.

    written before the interweb, so perhaps you can ignore the above in this forum

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  82. F E Smith (3,302 comments) says:

    AG, re your 11.30am comment

    “We’ll also put to one side the experiences of “Western” societies like the Czech Republic and Hungary from the 1940′s-90′s”

    I think that must be wrong. During the period of 1948 (roughly) to 1989 those countries were a part of the Eastern Bloc and I think should not be considered a part of the West for that period.

    Pedantic and late, I know, but I have only just begun to read this thread.

    EDIT: or right. Either way, just don’t describe those countries as ‘western’ for that period.

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  83. kowtow (7,592 comments) says:

    The loss of freedoms and common sense in the name of human rights is extra ordinary.
    And I don’t doubt it will be witnessed in New Zealand before long.The legislation is already in place,thank you National 1993.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/8760676/Children-as-young-as-four-reprimanded-for-racist-behaviour.html

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  84. AG (1,760 comments) says:

    FES,

    My very point is that labels such as “Western” and “modern” can be switched around pretty easily … Hungary was part of Europe and the West, until it became part of the Soviet Bloc and the East, before it became Western European again. Just as Hitler was “modern”, despite his “Traditional” philiosophy …

    Lee,

    I think the underlying problem is that, far from being “Traditional” in the sense of maintaining existing practices and social orders on the presumption that the tried and true is more likely to be superior than any alternative – Burke’s point in opposition to the French Revolution, or Oakeshott’s basic philosophy – you are actually asking us to junk 50? 100? 150? years of history and change for a prescribed set of policies/social practices/institutions that you claim will provide a superior world to the one we live in. That is actually pretty radical … almost Marxist … in its ambitions!

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  85. Mick Mac (1,091 comments) says:

    Just so I’m clear, you are all against hate crimes legislation because that will stifle debate and people will use it to either shut people up or get back at people who’s viewpoints they don’t like?
    yes?

    Forgive my thinking, but all I see around me are homo’s, lefties and Muslims wanting to advance some form of hate crimes laws?
    Anyone I’ve missed?

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  86. Viking2 (11,125 comments) says:

    Well we are all fucked then! :lol: :lol:
    BB will be in jail along with MNIJ.
    Ha that’ll be fun to watch.

    And of course Wussel and Puke will the jailers.

    The new Green alternative.

    Having failed with Peak Oil, Global Warming, Climate Change they have a new Project.
    Yep.

    More on topic, an investigation into media conduct is about to get underway in Australia. It is a thinly veiled attack on free speech, spearheaded by the Greens leader Bob Brown. Andrew Bolt sums it up best:

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/brown_corrects_conroy_this_inquiry_will_indeed_go_after_murdoch/

    Rise up all us noisy buggers and tell this shitheads to move out.

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  87. Viking2 (11,125 comments) says:

    There are only two Political Parties in NZ that stand up for freedom. One that is difficult to vote for and thus shall remain anonymous and then that leaves the only upholders of citizens rights being ACT.

    Think care fully before you cast your vote for the socialists and their even increasing attempts to silence you and control your lives and money.
    Remember stuff like the ETS, Smacking, Youth Rates, WFF, FREE Student loans etc. All National Party policy.

    Remember who voted single mindedly against these things as they strove to avoid your lives being controlled by the GOVT.

    Party Vote ACT and lets get rid of the socialist elite.

    Still we could go even further right for more Freedom but that’s to come.(hopefully before we are overcome by the left entirely).

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  88. gump (1,474 comments) says:

    Scott Chris said:

    “Many would argue that the Mexican Standoff that came about as the result of the nuclear arms race has brought about unprecedented peace. If peace is good, and nuclear weapons brought this about, then:

    Nuclear Weapons Are Mostly Good. So far.”

    ———————–

    Anyone who thinks that nuclear weapons are “mostly good” should read the following wikipedia articles:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasiliy_Arkhipov
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanislav_Petrov
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Able_Archer_83
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norwegian_rocket_incident

    If you’re interested in nuclear control and command structures, you should also read the following wikipedia article:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Hering

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  89. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    If those cases are true then the actions of the authorities are a disgrace. Especially the case where the school girl was arrested. I note that this was reported by the Daily Mail, so you have to take their summary of facts with grain of salt. They often exaggerate things or make stuff up. Still, it’s hard to imagine what she could possibly have done to justify that reaction.

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  90. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    AG,

    “you are actually asking us to junk 50? 100? 150? years of history and change for a prescribed set of policies/social practices/institutions that you claim will provide a superior world to the one we live in. That is actually pretty radical … almost Marxist … in its ambitions!”

    Yes and no. As I have pointed out above, some degree of Tory Traditionalism (though watered down and with variations on the theme) was part of the mainstream Right not that long ago in English speaking parts of the Commonwealth, (Canada for a long time had a Red Tory party tradition that was very Traditionalist) and as I also showed most of the foundational policies required are already present in the major political parties on both the right and the left in NZ. let me put a scenario to you, unlikely at this time I know, but nevertheless, if the Green Party dropped its Marxism and allied with National, and NZFirst got its act together and did the same, we would have something very close to what I am talking about. Now while I know that scenario is unlikely at this time, it does show that the possibility is not as remote as some think.

    As to “radical”, if you mean getting back to the roots of our culture, then yes, it is radical.

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