Open mike 27/04/2024

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 27th, 2024 - 77 comments
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Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

77 comments on “Open mike 27/04/2024 ”

  1. Ad 1

    " How to kill off debt without selling your favourite classic car or treasured artwork"

    Headline in NZHerald today which perfectly reflects our massive food bank lines in a recession.

  2. Hunter Thompson II 2

    Today's NZ Herald also carried stories about:

    * car thieves stealing a Porsche from a Parnell address and leading the police a merry dance thru' the Waikato before they were stopped

    * overworked after-hours medical centres and stressed GPs

    * a man who needed knee surgery spending a long time on the surgical waiting list

    So it's business as usual in GodZone.

    • Phillip ure 2.1

      C'mon..!.. that's a bit unfair to Herald ..

      They don't only do bleed-journalism..

      ..they also do entertain-stories..!

      .. so they do achieve a balance ..of sorts..

      • Hunter Thompson II 2.1.1

        Forgot to add that:

        * our public hospitals have been told to cut $105 million from their budgets by July.

        * the navy is in a "fragile" state.

        Despite all that, we should count our blessings.

  3. Traveller 3

    A free speech event is postponed because, well, some students don’t like their perceived view of the speakers. https://www.thepost.co.nz/nz-news/350258865/victoria-university-postpones-challenging-free-speech-event

    This is the weird country we have become.

    • AB 3.1

      How do we know whether a self-proclaimed free speech advocate actually means what they say – or in reality just seeks the continued dominance of their preferred speech and the social and economic arrangements that their preferred speech justifies?

      Some people think that the political right has hijacked the notion of free speech to this end. So they are suspicious of anyone who loudly and conspicuously pins the star of free speech to their valiant chest. I find it hard to disagree with that view – though I do not approve of some of the more excessive actions that flow from it.

      Privately, I have instead started talking about free and equal speech as the touchstone of a democracy – where all voices are heard and have (roughly) equal influence.

      • Traveller 3.1.1

        How do we know? By listening to them. The only people wanting their preferred speech to dominate in this instance are a cohort of students.

        • SPC 3.1.1.1

          Some students would have noted the FSU made no defence of pro Palestinian protestors when they were accused of antisemitism. And the connection to the TU campaign against three waters (co-governance fears).

          The event should go ahead all the same.

          It can be presumed the FSU would oppose political funding of political parties because money has to dominate discourse.

          • Traveller 3.1.1.1.1

            "Some students would have noted the FSU made no defence of pro Palestinian protestors when they were accused of antisemitism. "
            Really? My response to that would be they should go along and use the Q&A to ask.

            • SPC 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes really. And relevant to the USA university issue atm.

              • Traveller

                I'm not quite sure why the FSU are expected to speak into the issue of 'pro palestinian protestors' being accused of anti-semitism. If the protestors were having their freedom of speech/expression curtailed, that's one thing, but being labelled anti-semitic is not that.

                • SPC

                  Sure, but if that is free speech, then labelling the state of Israel an apartheid state, is so as well.

                  Israelis warned back in 1977 that if they began to settle occupied territory it would undermine the standing of their nation state – and they were right.

                  There is only one party to the Oslo Accord peace process (state of Israel)(Likud government) running a river to the sea policy – and the Likud leader BN has always opposed that peace process.

                  • Traveller

                    "Sure, but if that is free speech, then labelling the state of Israel an apartheid state, is so as well."

                    Of course. Why would it be otherwise?

      • weka 3.1.2

        It doesn't appear to be a RW event. Jane Kelsey was one of the speakers. The other two I don't know, so just doing a quick google.

        Nicola Moreham, not a lot online about her, but there is this paper on physical privacy

        https://www.wgtn.ac.nz/law/pdf/staff-profile-publications/2014-Intrusion-CLJ.pdf

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicole_Moreham

        John Byron, is a policy advisor at an Australian university, and was an advisor for the Australian Labour party in opposition.

        https://theconversation.com/profiles/john-byron-117201

        The two RWers are Free Speech Union president Jonathan Ayling and the New Zealand Initiative’s Dr Michael Johnston.

        I like the reframing of free speech though. 'Free speech' is an Americanism. In NZ we have legislation around freedom of expression. Not sure about the idea of equal speech (I don't think that is possible), but definitely agree the inequity issues need addressing.

        Otoh, it was the right that stepped up to stop women's rights campaigners from being blocked from public venue hires. The left can complain about the right's free speech agenda, but it is dropping the ball in many ways on fairness.

        • Traveller 3.1.2.1

          Isn't freedom of expression just free speech extended to all other forms of communication?

          • weka 3.1.2.1.1

            I find this from NZ HRC useful,

            Freedom of expression embraces free speech, the sanctity of an individual’s opinion, a free press, the transmission and receipt of ideas and information, the freedom of expression in art and other forms, the ability to receive ideas from elsewhere, and the right to silence.

            Freedom of expression is one of a number of mutually supporting rights (including freedom of thought, of association and of assembly, and the right to vote) and is integral to other civil and political rights, such as the right to justice, and the right to take part in public affairs. Equally, the right to freedom of expression impacts on social and cultural rights, such as the right to education.

            https://tikatangata.org.nz/human-rights-in-aotearoa/freedom-of-opinion-and-expression

            The term 'free speech' comes with a particular US political slant that I think is unhelpful in the NZ context. It gets used as a synonym for 'say what you want when you want'. And that slant is now part of the NZ culture wars where the liberal left use tactics to inhibit freedom of expression and the right go on about free speech rights, and we can't even have a decent conversation any more. Both sides are involved in positions that are anti-democratic and undermine freedom of expression.

            AB's point about the right's impact on equity of access sits alongside the liberal left's use of ostracisation and ridicule, deplatforming, and more recently noise to disrupt the expression of others.

            I don't value free speech above other forms of freedom of expression and see the principles underlying them as more important then the right to speak. And I say that as someone who frequently chooses to not write on certain topics because of concern about the backlash. We need to look at what is inhibiting or enabling freedom of expression, rather than relying on simplistic memes of 'free speech'.

            • Traveller 3.1.2.1.1.1

              Thanks Weka, you make some excellent points.

            • SPC 3.1.2.1.1.2

              AB's point about the right's impact on equity of access sits alongside the liberal left's use of ostracisation and ridicule, deplatforming, and more recently noise to disrupt the expression of others.

              From the right also come outright threats, often to women politicians on the left. And from some politicians – personal information releases by a former National MSD Minister come to mind.

              Brash attacking Clark for having no children while she advocated for tax credits for low income families.

              As for cancellation, what comes close to One New Zealand Brash proposing the end of Maori electorate seats. And Seymour on the Treaty and WT and NZF on references to the Treaty in legislation.

              And I say that as someone who frequently chooses to not write on certain topics because of concern about the backlash.

              It's worse over in the USA, the FBI sees its mission as to prevent threats to government authority and capitalism (pre and post the HUAC era). The numbers on their Fusion Centre watchlist is astonishing (from left to right, right to left).

              • weka

                I'm not sure what your points are here. That the right is worse and thus the left don't have to look at ourselves and our own actions?

                The point of the sentence you quoted out of context was to place emphasis on the rest of the paragraph,

                I don't value free speech above other forms of freedom of expression and see the principles underlying them as more important then the right to speak. And I say that as someone who frequently chooses to not write on certain topics because of concern about the backlash. We need to look at what is inhibiting or enabling freedom of expression, rather than relying on simplistic memes of 'free speech'.

                Emphasis now added in italics. But I could also have written,

                if the left won't look at our own undermining of freedom of expression, we have no ground upon to which put our criticism of others. And the others know this.

                • SPC

                  I was fairly sure I got your point. Which was to soft soap the criticism of the right, limiting it to access, and load it on the left.

                  That a woman would do that, given how the right behaves is somewhat astonishing .. and not get it … is astonishing.

                  And I did not quote anything out of context, I quoted something you said to relate to something in another country

                  And I say that as someone who frequently chooses to not write on certain topics because of concern about the backlash.

                  I know how that feels.

                  • weka

                    I was fairly sure I got your point. Which was to soft soap the criticism of the right, limiting it to access, and load it on the left.

                    No, and you're an idiot. Sorry, I can't be bothered with this. I'm really happy to share my thinking and clarify when asked, and I put a fair amount of effort in doing that pre-emptively, but this is starting to look like wilful ignorance.

                    If you cannot handle critique of the left, then you are in the wrong place. If you think critiquing the left = supporting the right, then you're just stupid.

                    But thanks for adding to my point. People that think they know what others thing, even when the person corrects them, are a big part of the problem. Why bother engaging with the arguments I am making when you can just write them off as RW apologia.

                    The reason I critique the left is because we are losing and if we don't sort this shit out, we will lose very very badly. And I know exactly what that will mean for women. Too many lefties are still running round apparently thinking we can just dump on the right and win the next election and everything will be alright. Meanwhile, society is breaking down in front of our eyes, and while the right bear the larger portion of the responsibility for that, they are not the only problem here.

                    • weka

                      anyway, thanks for being honest about what you think my values are, that's refreshing even if it's wrong.

                  • SPC

                    If … straw argument .. is not debating my point.

                    Your original post was unbalanced, end of.

                    I've debated on many boards – years on Kiwiblog …my left wing skin is much thicker than your own.

                    K-J K-M said, she would annihilate those women on the left in her way. You probably realise what she meant more than most (as given your views on the global environment and social justice you'll be staying on the left) as she is of a mind to divide women against the left on the birth sex/womens identity issue (and then her next issues prostitution and pornography).

                    You need to be mindful that while the idea that the left cannot win without women voters is true (and nor can Trump/GOP) and yet it is women who face the consequences of right wing government the most.

                    Gaslighting others on the left – telling them they have to worthy on the womens ID issue to win is unfair and sometimes untrue.

                    Only where the right is opposing self-ID does the point has relevance.

                    If the right can make/retain the issue self ID as one that divides the left and then leave the left to it, they will.

                    • weka

                      that's quite the misinterpretation.

                      My original post said these things,

                      • the postponed event had five speakers from across the political spectrum
                      • that I agreed with AB that framing free speech to include the concept of equity of access/opportunity was useful
                      • that the right has stepped up on freedom of expression and the left has dropped the ball

                      What would balance that? If I said that the left does good things too? Or that teh right does bad things? These are givens on a blog like TS.

                      Why exactly are we talking about KJK all of a sudden? She is a centre right populist trying to build power. She's not trying to divide women on the left, she hates women on the left, the left generally, and feminists. The only women she accepts are those that agree with her. But why are we talking about her at all?

                      You need to be mindful that while the idea that the left cannot win without women voters is true (and nor can Trump/GOP) and yet it is women who face the consequences of right wing government the most.

                      When I say the left is losing, I am not talking about women voters (although it may come to that). I mean that we are outnumbered, we have no strong vision and narrative to win people back to a progressive position, and large chunks of the left are engaged in a culture war we cannot win because the other side fights dirty and we don't except for the whole ostracisation thing. Telling people who don't think like us they are wrong isn't going to get them to vote left. No-one can tell me what the end game is on that stuff.

                      … and yet it is women who face the consequences of right wing government the most.

                      And? That's so obvious I'm not sure why you felt the need to say it. Of course. That's why I want the left to sort its shit out so we can avoid a fascist future.

                      Gaslighting others on the left – telling them they have to worthy on the womens ID issue to win is unfair and sometimes untrue.

                      I don't know where you think I am gaslighting because you haven't said. I am highly critical of the liberal left that has abandoned women over our sex based rights. I hadn't actually thought about whether a chance on self ID is necessary to win, but on the face of it I would say it's not necessarily. You seem to be assuming my criticism of the left is simply about self ID. It's not. It's about our lose of class politics, loss of a commitment to community and the good of all, and the apparent idea that we can force people to think like us. All of that exists independently of the gender/sex wars.

                      Only where the right is opposing self-ID does the point has relevance.

                      If the right can make/retain the issue self ID as one that divides the left and then leave the left to it, they will.

                      Yes, another good reason for the left to sort its shit out. The right will use whatever means it can to gain power. Women won't give up their rights. That leaves the left some choices, but ignoring women isn't one of them.

                    • SPC

                      I was referring to the post I replied to – 3.1.2.1.1.

                    • SPC

                      Why exactly are we talking about KJK all of a sudden?

                      I raised her agenda – war against the left on the women's birth sex identity issue (the so called GCF cause – an irony when she herself says she is no feminist), because it is so often cited in the free speech issue by yourself.

                      I would have thought it obvious, it is one driving some GCF from the left, cancel culture etc.

                      Relevant? I would have thought so.

                      I don't know where you think I am gaslighting because you haven't said

                      Sigh.

                      I'm not sure what your points are here.

                      I would have pointed it out, But I've had enough of the, then make your points clearer then. They were clear.

                      No, and you're an idiot. Sorry, I can't be bothered with this

                      And the sarc.

                      But thanks for adding to my point.

        • Dolomedes III 3.1.2.2

          "The left can complain about the right's free speech agenda, but it is dropping the ball in many ways on fairness."

          So right. The left used to defend free speech, but now progressives want to shut down events that include "right-wing" voices. So much for progressives' holy trinity of diversity, equity and inclusion. VUW have acted spinelessly, as NZ university leaders all too often do.

          Why is it so hard for self-righteous progressives to understand that democracy requires a balance of liberal and conservative views? If conservatives rule unopposed, the likely result is stagnation and religious despotism. If liberals rule largely unopposed (as they have in NZ for 40 years), the result is the slide we now find ourselves upon, as our institutions become captured by "progressives" who actually undermine liberal values like freedom of expression and equality before the law.

          Who was it who opposed the inclusion of gender identity in the Conversion Practices legislation? Eight conservatives – an island of sanity in our parliament. It is conservatives who are likely to challenge ideas that are at odds with the accumulated wisdom of human experience. When Chloe Swarbrick says she wants to abolish prisons, a conservative might ask her to name a single advanced civilization that has done so successfully.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 3.2

      This is the weird country we have become.

      Yes – a backlash led by (fee-paying) students, i.e. Victoria Uni stakeholders – what has become of our notionally independent tertiary education institutions? Will free speech stop the rot in universities, and elsewhere? I fear not, but it can be a crucial diversion.

      And it's not only Aotearoa NZ, although we could be a fast follower. Let's not go here.

      We pay so much to be there," she [2023 graduate Olivia Lee] said. "I think that students have a right to know where their tuition money goes and is invested in.
      https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/uscs-move-cancel-commencement-amid-protests-draws-criticism-109655075

      June 26, 2017: Wisconsin State Assembly Supports Campus Free Speech Act
      The Wisconsin State Assembly sent to the State Senate last week the Campus Free Speech Act, legislation which would institute severe penalties — including suspension or explosion — for University of Wisconsin students who engage in “violent, abusive, indecent, profane, boisterous, obscene, unreasonably loud or other disorderly conduct that interferes with the free speech of others.

      "Explosion"! There's a severe penalty indeed, if ever there was one. Not much chance of an exploded student exercising their right to free speech.
      Free speech never hurt anyone, and some free speech is more equal than others wink

      https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/quality-and-standards/freedom-of-speech/changes-to-regulation/

      • Traveller 3.2.1

        Those students (who btw only pay a fraction of the cost of their education) will learn the hard way that in life people say things they may find uncomfortable.

        • weka 3.2.1.1

          we should definitely make their education free then.

          • Dolomedes III 3.2.1.1.1

            I agree. Turning students into customers has given students too much power. University administrators live in fear of "brand damage" by student accusations of "racism", "transphobia" etc on social media. The old fees-free model needed reform, not replacement.

            Not that I'm absolving university administrators of responsibility for the present situation. I wish they would show more spine and leadership in resisting activist pressure.

        • Drowsy M. Kram 3.2.1.2

          @weka – My tertiary education wasn’t free for NZ taxpayers, but it was practically free for me, and I became a taxpayer in due course.

          @Traveller – Yes, life is hard, for some, and learning the hard way is all some people understand.

          Commodification of higher education has largely bled the unrest from our brightest and best, but there's still the occasional issue "those students" will rally behind – thank goodness.

          Twas apartheid in my later university days, and I guess protests against the Vietnam war before that – interesting times, although nowhere near as interesting as where we are now, and where we're going.

          • Traveller 3.2.1.2.1

            Do you think it's a good idea for students (at a University of all places smiley) to be exposed to a range of views and opinions? Because that's the issue here, not who pays for their education.

            • Drowsy M. Kram 3.2.1.2.1.1

              Do you think it's a good idea for students (at a University of all places) to be exposed to a range of views and opinions?

              A range? Absolutely. I'd draw a line at, say, advocating white supremacy, but The Christchurch Call isn't everyone's cuppa – we each have our own line(s), university supremos included.

              Because that's the issue here, not who pays for their education.

              Might there be funding-related tensions (suggested @3.2.1.1.1) between the neoliberal university industry (increasingly financially-dependent on moar customers, particularly overseas students, i.e.bums on seats’), and commitment to free speech, or indeed academic freedom. Such tensions may shift power imbalances – hmm, free speech knee-capped by commodification.

              Free speech vs hate speech: Victoria University postpones debate after student backlash [27 Apr 2024]
              In a statement, vice-chancellor Nic Smith said the debate had been postponed to ensure there was enough time to finalise the most effective format and speakers for the event. He said the university remained committed to holding the debate in late May.

              "Over 600 people have registered to attend the event, reflecting the high level of interest across our community in discussing this topic. We have also had a large number of different voices express an interest in being part of the conversation. We want to ensure we have a cross-section of balanced and representative views in the discussion and we need more time to do this – hence the decision to postpone the event for a few weeks."

              Patience is a virtue. A balance (that's key, imho) will likely be struck soon, although nowhere near soon enough to stop sensitive souls on all sides from working themselves into a distracting yet laser-focused lather. Are the 'freeze-peachers' and/or their opponents capable of learning during this hiatus?

              And should commitment to free speech be a prerequisite for university admission? That's a tough one.

              "If students are not resilient enough or mature enough to be able to deal in ideas – even those that they find uncomfortable – then maybe they shouldn't be at university."

              Difficult to police though, as an individual's thoughts about what they find 'uncomfortable' remain private – sometimes even after they open their mouth.

              Psychological pillars of support for free speech: Tolerance for offensive, disagreeing, socially divisive, and heterodox speech
              [8 Dec 2023]
              Interestingly, the data revealed an exception: younger adults with right-wing political views showed a stronger inclination towards supporting free speech.

              Also, hope that university managers do due diligence to minimise the dissemination of misinformation (at a University, of all places.)

              Forgot to add (@3.2.1.2) that 'some people never learn' – I blame poor teachers (just kidding teachers – keep up the good work).

              • Traveller

                "And should commitment to free speech be a prerequisite for university admission? "

                Absolutely. Or at least, as Weka has recently articulated, freedom of expression. Students, of all people, should welcome the sunlight of free and open debate. Unless, of course, they hold to the somewhat elitist view that only their opinions, only those with which they are comfortable, matter.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  Absolutely.

                  I'd be comfortable with 16 / 17 / 18-year-old (potential) university students questioning the value of free speech events on campus, on a case-by-case basis. At that age, nascent, open-minded and/or changeable views might not be such a rarity, and shouldn't bar access to tuition, imho.

                  And perhaps those who are truly committed to free speech would be open to the idea of not excluding potential university students who are questioning, or even hold a contrary view – after all, university students are a diverse bunch, thank goodness, and could be more representative still. Just a thought.

                  • weka

                    I'd be comfortable with 17 / 18-year-old university students questioning the value of free speech events on campus, on a case-by-case basis.

                    Do you mean trying to get shut down? Or more that it's healthy for them to be making the critique?

                    And perhaps those who are truly committed to free speech would be open to the idea of not excluding potential university students who currently have a contrary view? Just a thought.

                    Sorry, who is being excluded?

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Do you mean trying to get shut down? Or more that it's healthy for them to be making the critique?

                      Yes, healthy – questioning the potential value (and cost) of events is healthy. I often question the value of sporting events, but never tried to shut one down, although did come close in Hamilton in 1981.

                      Sorry, who is being excluded?

                      That exchange (with Traveller) kicked off when I quoted this statement from an RNZ report.

                      "If students are not resilient enough or mature enough to be able to deal in ideas – even those that they find uncomfortable – then maybe they shouldn't be at university."

                      Just thought it was problematic for a free speech advocate to be suggesting students who might choose not to deal with (some) ideas that they found uncomfortable (for whatever reason) shouldn't be at university. I’d want to know something about the backgrounds and abilities of those (vulnerable/sensitive/fragile or immature) students, before characterising them as unsuitable for university study.

                  • Traveller

                    "And perhaps those who are truly committed to free speech would be open to the idea of not excluding potential university students who are questioning, or even hold a contrary view "

                    A contrary view to what? If you're suggesting that opposing freedom of expression/free speech is something that is an option for attending university, then you would be wrong. Opposing freedom of expression is the very antithesis of what university's should be.

                  • Traveller

                    "Just thought it was problematic for a free speech advocate to be suggesting students who might choose not to deal with (some) ideas that they found uncomfortable (for whatever reason) shouldn't be at university."

                    This depends on what purpose you proscribe to universities.

                    My view is that universities are "guardian of reason, inquiry and philosophical openness, preserving pure inquiry from dominant public opinions".

                    What is the purpose of a university? (pearson.com)

                    That being the case, I expect students to be able to critique ideas they disagree with, even ones they find abhorrent, not 'freak out' at just the names on a speakers list, before they even speak.

                    "I’d want to know something about the backgrounds and abilities of those (vulnerable/sensitive/fragile or immature) students, before characterising them as unsuitable for university study."

                    You're assuming that students opposed to free speech are actually "vulnerable/sensitive/fragile or immature". My experience has been such people are actually very open to new ideas, to ideas they disagree with. The people fighting against freedom of expression are (often) actually elitist and privileged. They are not used to being drawn out of the comfort of their cozy ideas and so baulk at any suggestion they put those ideas to the test.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Salient visited the Provost/Acting Vice Chancellor, Bryony James, for a kōrero. The conversation was productive and wide-ranging, and revealed a genuine desire from James and Reece Moores (Director of the Office of the VC) to counter what they see as corrosive and polarising online discourse. They’re worried that productive dialogue has been harmed by social media, and are seeking a remedy.

                      It’s important to note that their solution is an interesting fix, and one we should be open to. Moores and James stressed the mediated debate format would allow fact-checking. They acknowledged the total absence of Māori voices was an issue, and assured Salient they were working to amend it—so watch this space. The idea is a good one, but this specific panel aint it.

                      https://www.salient.org.nz/post/nic-smith-freedom-of-speech-crusader

                      If you're suggesting that opposing freedom of expression/free speech is something that is an option for attending university, then you would be wrong.

                      And yet, opposing "a panel discussion about the rights and responsibilities associated with freedom of speech" (in its present form) was the very option chosen by some students attending Victoria University – that's the reality, however unpalatable.

                      Of course, if prospective students were tested for their propensity to question the value of a variety of events on campus, and particularly for their willingness to call for certain events to be cancelled, then youngsters scoring above an arbitrary threshold on the 'wrong-think' scale could be barred from enrolling – sweet! Otoh, that might select for students savvy enough to mask their aberrant thoughts – damn!

                      And what about those pesky students who are already enrolled; the ones who gained admission when there were no filters to screen out 'wrong thinking' customers. Instant expulsion seems harsh – after all, these are typically young people with few obvious prior 'wrong-think offences'. Perhaps a three-strikes system could be trialled to give malfunctioning students a couple of opportunities to see the error of their ways and adjust their values, thoughts and actions accordingly.

                      That being the case, I expect students to be able to critique ideas they disagree with, even ones they find abhorrent, not 'freak out' at just the names on a speakers list, before they even speak.

                      That's an (aspirational?) expectation – but these are not criteria for admission to university study in Aotearoa, and I’d be interested to learn if any university has incorporated such an expectation into their student admission processes. Imho, NZ’s tertiary education industry has no business regulating the values and thoughts of its customers with regard to free speech, among other things.

                      https://www2.nzqa.govt.nz/ncea/understanding-secondary-quals/university-entrance/

                      You're assuming that students opposed to free speech are actually "vulnerable/sensitive/fragile or immature".

                      Nope, just picked a parenthetical selection of antonyms for words in Ayling's quote at the end of this RNZ report – apologies for laziness.

                      "If students are not resilient enough or mature enough to be able to deal in ideas – even those that they find uncomfortable – then maybe they shouldn't be at university." – Ayling

                      Here are a couple of items on the tension between free speech and inclusivity/harassment in UK, European and US universities. Imho they're useful because they consider both aspects, and without compromise between pro-free speech and (new-ish) anti-harassment/pro-inclusivity factions there can be little progress, just useless and distracting conflict between absolutist camps.

                      Free speech is not universities’ problem. It’s students’
                      [9 Feb 2024]
                      Conflict on campus feels more intractable than ever – yet methods to resolve it are increasingly legalistic, silencing students in the process. Jim Dickinson sets out an alternative

                      As a new generation rises, tension between free speech and inclusivity on college campuses simmers
                      [13 Jan 2024]
                      Yet as the U.S. Education Department opens dozens of federal civil rights inquiries around antisemitism and Islamophobia, college leaders face pressure to counter hateful speech even if it’s constitutionally protected, Howard Gillman, chancellor of the University of California, Irvine, said during a panel on campus free speech on Wednesday.

                      Says Gillman: “There is increasingly now a sense of obligation on the part of campuses to do something.

                  • Traveller

                    And yet, opposing "a panel discussion about the rights and responsibilities associated with freedom of speech" (in its present form) was the very option chosen by some students attending Victoria University“

                    And that’s their right, but it’s also a misleading claim. The ‘form’ is a red herring. Here’s Marcail Parkinson’s objection:

                    “…people “freaked out” when they saw the panel line up, which looked like a platform for “right wing voices”, with the involvement of Free Speech Union president Jonathan Ayling and the New Zealand Initiative’s Dr Michael Johnston.

                    This morning I have listened to Jonathan Ayling and Marcail Parkinson interviewed by Sean Plunkett, and Henry Broadbent (Salient) interviewed by Michael Walls. They were clear that their problem is not with the format but with Ayling himself. Broadbent claimed that Ayling represents ‘hate speech’, and when asked for an example specifically cited the FSU’s support of critical feminist speakers right to speech. In fact the long form interview then became a platform for those claims to be repeated constantly by Broadbent. When asked if he was looking for a blanket ban on the FSU, he confirmed that is precisely what he wants. These are opinions/prejudices they are entitled to hold, but don’t pretend this is a debate about the ‘form’, or that it is in any way appropriate for the University to shut down the free speech of others by acting on them.

                    Of course, if prospective students were tested for their propensity to question the value of a variety of events on campus, and particularly for their willingness to call for certain events to be cancelled,“

                    ‘Tested’? My goodness what are you suggesting? And the issue is not the value of the events, the issue is that people like Marcail want to be the arbiter of the people who speak at the events.

                    “Nope, just picked a parenthetical selection of antonyms for words in Ayling's quote at the end of this RNZ report – apologies for laziness.”

                    Ayling used the words not ‘resilient’ and not ‘mature’. You used the words ‘vulnerable/sensitive/fragile or immature’ . These are very different. And this is a problem, because those who oppose free speech are often elitist bullies. They consider themselves to be the guardians of a 'new orthodoxy', and they stand on the lives of the truly vulnerable to ensure their opinions are not subject to critique or challenge.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Ayling used the words not ‘resilient’ and not ‘mature’. You used the words ‘vulnerable/sensitive/fragile or immature’. These are very different.

                      Imho, students who are "not resilient" or "not mature" (Ayling's descriptors for people he believes maybe "shouldn't be at university") might also be fairly described as "vulnerable/sensitive/fragile" or "immature", but there are other descriptors.

                      ‘Tested’? My goodness what are you suggesting?

                      Maybe think about what Ayling is suggesting. It's not up to Ayling (or you, or me) to decide who has access to a university education – thank goodness. That could be a difficult and thankless task, I reckon, and I might be tempted to favour admission of Kiwis from under-represented demographics and/or socioeconomic backgrounds.

                      "If students are not resilient enough or mature enough to be able to deal in ideas – even those that they find uncomfortable – then maybe they shouldn't be at university." – Ayling

                  • Traveller

                    “Imho, students who are "not resilient" or "not mature" (Ayling's descriptors for people he believes maybe "shouldn't be at university") might also be fairly described as "vulnerable/sensitive/fragile" or "immature"…”

                    They might ‘also be’, but they are not one and the same. I found it interesting Henry Broadbent repeatedly claimed that in defending the free speech of gender critical feminists, the FSU were somehow engaging (and yes I don’t mean defending, actually engaging) in hate speech against trans people. The inability to distinguish between defending ones right to free expression, and taking a position on the content of that expression suggests a disturbing lack of critical awareness.

                    Maybe think about what Ayling is suggesting. It's not up to Ayling (or you, or me) to decide who has access to a university education – thank goodness.

                    Ah but Ayling has a point. If people aspire to higher education, and yet are not able to cope with ideas they find challenging, perhaps university is not for them. But then again, maybe we have a different view on what the purpose of a University is. Or is not.

                    “…and I might be tempted to favour admission of Kiwis from under-represented demographics and/or socioeconomic backgrounds.

                    Mmm. Why would you specifically single out these groups to contrast the views of Ayling? Are you suggesting that it is these groups who are ‘not resilient’, or, God forbid, unable to cope with ideas they find uncomfortable?

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Are you suggesting that it is these groups who are ‘not resilient’…

                      That’s not my experience – why do you to ask wink

                  • Traveller

                    "That’s not my experience – why do you to ask "

                    It's not mine either. I felt you were implying that in the way you singled out these groups to contrast the views of Ayling. I am of the view that limits of freedom of expression actually increases, rather than diminishes, social vulnerability across society,

                  • Traveller

                    "Thanks for that – this thread has broadened my horizons as to the tensions between free speech and inclusivity et al. on uni campuses."

                    Thanks to you too! And I’ll have a look at those links when work etc permits.

    • Phillip ure 3.3

      Has a reason been proffered for this cancellation..?

      (That post link just comes up with a black page for me..)

      • Traveller 3.3.1

        From the link:

        More than 600 people had registered their interest in attending the event, a panel discussion about the role of universities in free speech. But earlier this week the university postponed the event with a notice saying “the mere framing of this event has surfaced a depth of feeling and a polarisation of views on how we should proceed, that has made it challenging to even schedule a conversation about how to have challenging conversations”.

        Student association president Marcail Parkinson said that context had not been clear and people “freaked out” when they saw the panel line up, which looked like a platform for “right wing voices”, with the involvement of Free Speech Union president Jonathan Ayling and the New Zealand Initiative’s Dr Michael Johnston.

        “Hopefully, those conversations will mean that the event is inclusive and doesn't make people feel unsafe in any way. But it's yet to be seen whether that will actually come through.”

        'Inclusive' is now code for 'agrees with what I think'.

        • Dolomedes III 3.3.1.1

          There's a Leunig cartoon that skewers "inclusivity" thus:

          "This is an inclusive society. Anyone deemed to be acting, speaking or thinking in a non-inclusive manner will be excluded".

          I have experienced this directly myself, having been uninvited from attending certain weekly academic discussions for having the wrong views about maatauranga Maaori and "systemic racism". Apparently some people didn't feel safe.

          • Traveller 3.3.1.1.1

            Yes there are some subjects that where, sadly, the discourse is now dominated by a singular point of view. The discussion around the place of Mātauranga is one case in point.

        • Phillip ure 3.3.1.2

          This is bullshit..!

          I am firmly on the side of free speech .

          I mean ..what the fornicate are universities for..?..

          ..if not the debating of ideas..?

          What is the university afraid of..?

          What is the left afraid of..?

          Can't they stand behind their ideas..?.. can't they argue them..

          If they are unable to articulate the bankruptcy of r/w politics… they should stand aside…

          ..and let someone else have a go ..

          ..and I would go and watch that..

          .I almost thirst for something like that…

          • Traveller 3.3.1.2.1

            "I mean ..what the fornicate are universities for..?….if not the debating of ideas..?"

            That horse bolted some time ago, Phillip.

            Apparently the student association head at Vic said she was "glad to see the event was postponed and being reformatted."

            It's all positively orwellian.

  4. Phillip ure 4

    The too-soon..!-file..

    This time it's ayesha verral… pontificating on vaping by young people..(!)..
    (This on focus on politics on rnz ).

    Ahem ..!…teenage vaping increased sixfold in the years labour was in power ..

    Your point ..?

    We just have to do what Australia has done…make them prescription only…

    Nothing else will work…

    And will just be an exercise in auto-eroticism…

    • adam 4.1

      I fear we have missed that boat. To many of our young are addicted, and addicted bad.

      Plus the corner dairy will most probably shut without vapes. Most of the owner I speak to, get between 65%-85% of their cash flow from vapes.

      We have dug ourselves a hell of a ugly hole.

      • Phillip ure 4.1.1

        I had a period in my life when I was addicted to crack-cocaine..(not 'p'.. cocaine..)

        As an addiction it is notable for lots and lots of wasted days and wasted nights..binges for days/nites on end….

        ..and the obsessive behaviour with the glass-pipe…

        ..with users overly focussed on the delivery vehicle..and sucking on that pipe like they are trying to suck the life out of it..and clinging onto that pipe.. seemingly for dear life..

        The echoes of that past pastime..when watching vapers..is disturbing…

        They are giving themselves a lifelong addiction…

        And the allowing of this to happen..by the last Govt…is perhaps what historians will view as their greatest failing .

        Along the lines of w.t.f. were they thinking..?

        • adam 4.1.1.1

          It was truly odd move by the last government.

          Went to Welly recently and could not believe the amount of vaping I saw. Particularly in those under 25. Plus the smell, it's a really odd smell. Tobacco has a smell, love it or hate it – but it gets moved on by the wind. But a lot of people vaping seems to linger, with that sweet sickly chemically aroma hanging about even in the wind.

        • Ad 4.1.1.2

          That's a very big confession Phillip.

          Well done for fighting hard through it and being still here.

          • Phillip ure 4.1.1.2.1

            Chrs..!

            I have always been pretty open about the wild years….

            ..in part I am an object lesson in how change is possible…junky to vegan pot-smoker..

            ..the arc is also part of my vegan narrative ..

        • SPC 4.1.1.3

          If I recall it right, you once said you beat heroin addiction via marjjuana and cocaine.

          Did the crack cocaine addiction come after that?

          We all sort of know nicotine is addictive and from that comes association with the hand and mouth habit and tobacco taste etc.

          The last government had a plan to reduce the amount of nicotine in cigarettes. Do you think that would work?

          And if so would it possible to provide vapes with lower nicotine levels to ease them off it (and any associated habits)?

          And how did you get off crack cocaine addiction?

          • Phillip ure 4.1.1.3.1

            Hi ..

            I just used marijuana when I cold-turkied off heroin…for the last time…

            A large bag of very strong weed ..and a large lump of hashish ..

            I used cannabis to help me kick alcohol…tobacco..heroin..cocaine..crack cocaine..barbiturates ..

            And I got the crack-cocaine habit after the heroin..

            This was in parts foreign…and how I kicked it was by going to Jamaica..and hanging with the rastafarians..and smoking lots of weed..

            Marijuana is medicine..

            • Phillip urel 4.1.1.3.1.1

              And cocaine would be very effective in helping p-addicts to do away with their monkey..

              'cos cocaine is easy to kick..so could make the journey to free..so much easier/do-able..

              ..a stepping stone..over/thru the horrors of meth withdrawals..

              ..and of course..some pot..

            • Phillip urel 4.1.1.3.1.2

              I have posted two more comments..they have not as yet appeared..

            • Phillip ure 4.1.1.3.1.3

              I should add that crack cocaine is much much harder to kick than powdered cocaine ..dunno why that is ..

              ..but it is the most obsessive of all the addictions I sampled…

              This is why I flew to Jamaica…to remove myself from access/opportunity to have what I so desired. .

          • Phillip ure 4.1.1.3.2

            And re reducing nicotine levels..

            ..at first look it seems ok..but if it goes too low…then that will create/feed a black market..

            And as for banning disposable vapes..this is good in an environmental impact way….but as for putting a dent in smoking levels..?… especially amongst the young ..?..

            ..yeah .nah..!..eh .?

            ..the Aussie way is the only way..

  5. Mike the Lefty 5

    All around the country hospital emergency departments are barely functioning and what does this neat benevolent government do? It demands 105 million dollars of saving in the health budget and gives each region a figure of how it is expected to save.

    Our health system was held together by paper and straw under Labour but now it is falling apart under National, and what's more – they don't care.

    We had better hope there is no huge natural disaster on the scale of Cyclone Gabrielle over the next three years because who would clean up the mess and pay for it?

    The NACTZ?

    Yeah right. They would expect the communities affected to hold a few gala days and sausage sizzles to pay for it themselves.

    • Anne 5.1

      Hi Mike the Lefty. Have a listen to this pre-election debate with Paddy Gower – between 34 mins and 44 mins. It covers Luxon's health views [in broad terms] plus a revealing few minutes on racism in NZ. Then compare with what is actually happening:

      He comes across as a lying, pompous sociopath and that is what he is proving to be.

    • SPC 5.2

      There is a problem with (supply and demand) access to primary health care and loss of any after hours clinics they provide then impacts on A and E in the hospitals.

      Not enough doctors, but also loss of nurses to hospitals (better pay and attempt to properly staff wards).

      There have been gains in new nurses (local and offshore inflow), offset with the Oz drive to take some their way.

      This is exacerbated by an economy dependent on migrant inflow, to offset loss of workers to Oz or to provide stimulus for fools growth.

      • Craig H 5.2.1

        Christchurch's after hours clinic currently closes at 10pm where it used to be 24 hours. Just another symptom of difficult times.

  6. adam 6

    So the continuation of war in Gaza, and a regional war in the Middle East all to protect a corrupt politician?

    It would appear so.

    Thousands are dead so far, making it look like our politicians are as corrupt as well.

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