Dom Post on extremism and free speech

The Dom Post Editorial:

Few things are more abhorrent than the extreme Right and those who perpetuate its thuggish philosophies.

I always wonder why they are called extreme right, as invariably such groups support protectionism and left-wing economic policies. Take the whose economic policies are:

  • anti foreign investment
  • wants the subordination of the power of the City to the power of the government
  • self sufficiency in food production
  • is critical of corporatism and big capitalism
  • seeks to reduce income inequality

The arrival in the Hutt Valley of supporters of the far-Right , Right wing Resistance and New Zealand Nationalist Alliance at the weekend is only slightly more concerning. With their truncated version of the Nazi symbol, skinheads and their sparsely-attended parade through Wellington’s streets, they succeeded only in demonstrating they are inconsequential and have no support in New Zealand.

True.

An anti-racism campaigner was appalled that a holiday park allowed the groups to stay. However, the alternative – allowing discrimination on the grounds of political belief – would not only be illegal, it would also be a difficult concept for many New Zealanders to swallow.

There is a sensible middle group. Don’t discriminate on the basis of membership or belief, but hell if I owned a holiday park, and you started waving a swastika about, you’d be gone.

More difficult to resolve is the debate raging in Britain over whether British National Party leader Nick Griffin should have been given a slot on the BBC’s Question Time programme. Those who believe he should not, argue that it gave his whites-only party an undeserved aura of political respectability. They claim 3000 expressed interest in joining the party just before and after the appearance.

BBC bosses argue that, as a state broadcaster, the corporation has to cover all political parties with a national presence – something it judges the BNP to have achieved because, though it has no MPs at Westminster, in European parliamentary elections this year it won two seats with just under a million votes.

The BBC is right in principle and in practice. A principled democracy cannot simply silence views that the majority disagree with.

Absolutely.  And a state broadcaster especially must not censor minority views.

In practice, Mr Griffin’s appearance has simply revealed his politics for the illogical farrago of prejudices they are. He floundered over whether he denied the Holocaust had taken place and defended the Ku Klux Klan as “almost totally non-violent”.

Griffin tries to pretend that he is now merely a defended of indigenous Brits. He is a former National Front member (he joined at age 14) and not only is he a Holocaust denier, he even criticised David Irving for admitting the number of Jews who died may be up to four million. He has also praised the Waffen SS and ironically attacked the RAF for its bombing of Nazi Germany.

He has also attempted to form an Alliance with Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini!

There is no room for complacency about those who preach the politics of hate, but the way to deal with them is to confront them and expose their policies to the unblinking light of reason. The alternative – pretending they do not exist – simply feeds their conspiracy theories and allows their distortions to grow unchallenged.

Again – I agree. One reason I publish regular updates on the National Front and its various splinter groups.

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