- Date published:
9:05 am, April 20th, 2018 - 105 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, democracy under attack, journalism, Media, news, Propaganda, racism, sexism, social media lolz, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: Brian Tamaki, derek battersby, duncan garner, israel folau
The right to free speech is one of the most important rights there are. The contest of ideas that free speech allows is so vital. Properly functioning liberal democracies depend on it.
But the principle gets messy when right wing idiots who normally have no time for the concept of rights raise the concept as a shield to allow them to say stupid stuff.
There have been a few examples lately.
There was Israel Folau who said publicly that gays are evil and will go to hell unless they repent.
This sort of homophobic comment is frankly awful. If you want a recent really poignant example of the effects of brainless homophobia this article by Kim Baker Wilson should cause a tear to well up.
But Folau was not alone. Just when the firestorm caused by his comments was quietening down along came Bishop Brian Tamaki to pour petrol on it.
The bible also says things about not coveting worldly goods and not judging each other and being kind to each other. Tamaki’s bible must be missing those chapters.
Then Duncan Garner clearly looking for clicks chipped in by saying all that Folau was doing was quoting the bible. From the Herald:
Duncan Garner has defended rugby star Israel Folau’s anti-LGBT comments in which he said gay people were destined for hell.
Folau’s comments caused outrage among fans and even prompted him to offer to walk away from his Rugby Australia contract as a result.
But now, The AM Show’s Garner has weighed in saying while he doesn’t agree with Folau’s views, he doesn’t have a problem with him sharing them as he was simply quoting the bible.
“That’s a lesson, a reading, a teaching in the bible – so he just merely quoted the bible,” Garner said. “What’s wrong with that? I support his right to be a church-man and to reply like that.”
The Spinoff published this terrific takedown where Garner’s defence of Folau’s homophobic comments were contrasted with his attack on Taika Waititi for pointing out the racism that still exists in New Zealand. From the article:
High profile broadcaster and columnist Duncan Garner has this morning spoken truth to power, or more specifically, truth to high profile broadcaster and columnist Duncan Garner.
In a blistering attack on Newshub’s simulcast AM Show, Duncan Garner railed against the poison of “the speech police”.
“The speech police are winning the war,” said Duncan Garner.
“Those who overreact at everything we say and everything we do in society … We need to be careful that we do not lose the precious gift that we have in this country – it’s called the freedom of speech. When you lose it, have a look at that, it is so, so important we keep it. We need a contest of ideas and thought and creativity, so do not bow down to those who want to ring-fence society with their take on our society.”
Duncan Garner’s comments were a clear denunciation of recent comments by Duncan Garner, who last week attempted to ring-fence the speech of Taika Waititi. The film-maker’s observation that New Zealand is racist was “extreme” and “sabotage”, said Duncan Garner.
“This guy, he’s gone too far, it’s too extreme.
“Lighten up, and change the record. Come home and re-introduce yourself to your country. It’s a great little country that’s not without its challenges but we’re not as racist as fuck, OK? Stop selling us out on the international stage. There’s a word for it, and it’s called sabotage.”
Duncan Garner no doubt also had in mind similar remarks by Duncan Garner, who speech policed the bejesus out of Waititi over earlier criticisms of New Zealand last year.
“He was New Zealander of the Year, this year 2017, so he’s an ambassador for New Zealand now,” said Duncan Garner. “You cannot be this treasonous about your own country. You cannot say you’re not proud to be a New Zealander if you’re the New Zealander of the year.”
And to end a week of men saying stupid things Whau Local Board member Derek Battersby was caught out calling Julie Anne Genter a silly bitch and someone who should stay at home and look after her kids, of which she currently has none.
Battersby may not realise it but he neatly reinforced the validity of Genter’s statement that old white men on boards should make way for younger more diverse talent.
Battersby repeated the defence raised by the others, that freedom of speech should allow him to say stupid things.
It really hurts when you feel like you are being urged to join the barricades to protect that most fundamental of rights and then you realise that it is in protection of a right wing bigot’s pronouncements.
But I don’t think the basic principle is that difficult.
What we are protecting is the freedom to express ideas and ideals. We can let them express their ideas and we can then explain to them in no uncertain terms why they are wrong. And being stupid.