Even Enemies Have Rights

Even Enemies Have Rights is the title of a NZ Herald column by former Labour PM Mike Moore.

Is it about the US treatment of illegal combatants? No. It’s about NZ Labour and the Brethren.

Moore dislikes the Brethren. He says they have some appalling views, their views on the role of women and God in society are medieval, and are reactionary and cruel.

Moore however defends their right to spend their money as they see fit, within the law. He asks why is there a deafening silence from those who campaign for civil liberties?

Because, from a liberal perspective, it’s hard to defend people who oppose everything you stand for. All the more reason to stand up for your opponents’ rights. That’s what makes us better than them.

The threat to change labour law because the Brethren are “enemies of the state”, as Stalin once described opponents, is dangerous.

If you oppose the Government, will the next step be to investigate their tax status? Have they a tax privilege and preference as a church? But then what?

These are political responses to a political threat, a slippery slide to the kind of Peronist politics we witnessed during the worst excesses of the Muldoon National Government, when police reports on MPs, and Security Intelligence Service reports, were made public by the Prime Minister.

Communists and their foul practices did exist in New Zealand. They did their best to destroy us social democrats. However, it was wrong to destroy their civil liberties in the name of wider freedom in New Zealand.

It says a lot when even your former Leader compares your behaviour to Muldoon!

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