We saw last week a couple of heated posts by pro smacking ban advocates, who instead of debating the issues, decided to demonise supporters based on who else was arguing against the bill. It was classic guilt by association.
I recall reading their fury at the Libertarianz being on the same side of the debate as Destiny Church. It was suggested this meant the Libertarianz had abandoned principle.
On the contrary the Libertarianz were staying true to their principles (say what you like about them, but flip flopping is not something you can accuse them of) and they were standing up for what they believe, regardless of whether they like those who agree with them on that issue. In fact it should make those who advocate the Bradford bill consider the merits of it, if it can unite everyone from Libertarianz to Destiny Church against it.
Now let us look at how incredibly stupid this guilt by association attempt is:
Ngai Tahu, the Greens and the Business Roundtable had much the same view on the Foreshore & Seabed legislation, being an unjust confiscation of property rights and legal process. Does this mean one demonises the Greens as being the nasty party in cahoots with the BRT?
Labour is currently supported in Government, by NZ First which has attacked Asian immigrants. Does this mean Labour is now judged by what NZ First stands for?
The religious right and the unions combine forces to stop shop trading on religious holidays. Does this mean the unions are tainted by this association? Or the religious groups?
Take myself. I’m happy to work with Keith Locke on republican issues, with Tim Barnett and most of Labour on civil unions, with Family First on Section 59, with Peter Dunne on sedition, with NZ First on free speech issues, with ACT on selling SOEs, with David Cunliffe and the Govt on telecommunication issues, with the Coalition for Open Government on the parts of electoral law reform we agree on, with the CTU in 1997 to defeat the compulsory savings referenda (despite my own PM backing it), with Heritage Foundation on defence issues, with the BRT on improving our economic performance, with student associations on improving accountability of tertiary institutes, with Cato on trade issues etc etc etc.
I regard this as the principled thing to do. I stand up for what I believe in, and work with any legitimate group to advance those beliefs. The suggestion made that one should not oppose the Bradford bill because Destiny, Maxim and Family First (and to be fair to FF they are nothing like Destiny) are also opposed is just unprincipled and unethical. Yes I will work with even Destiny on an issue, but I will also work with say Rainbow Labour to stop them ever getting into Parliament. I’ll work with Family First on the issues I agree with them on, and I’ll take the mickey out of them on the issues I disagree.
If being unwilling to only work with groups those on the left approve of, means I am a member of what was labelled “the nasty party”, then that is a badge I will wear with pride. I would rather work with the “wrong” people to get the “right” result than only work with the “approved” groups to get the wrong result.
I suspect I am not alone in this.