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There’s No Such Thing as Free Speech

Written By: - Date published: 6:48 pm, July 11th, 2018 - 186 comments
Categories: accountability, boycott, capitalism, class war, Propaganda - Tags: , ,

Kia ora! There have been some terrific posts here at TS on the cancelled Canadian crypto fascists’ speaking tour. I also have some thoughts on the matter.

Firstly, there is no such thing as ‘free speech’. Secondly,  Chris Trotter is the very definition of a ‘useful idiot’.

This week, the self identified “left leaning commentator” was the poster boy for NZ’s Alt Reich, claiming that stopping neo Nazis from spreading hate was A Very Bad Thing.

“We accept the case for blocking genuine hate speech, such as incitements of violence or other illegal activity. But curbing free debate under threat of disruption is neither desirable nor acceptable in a free and democratic society. Truth is not afraid of trigger-words. Truth does not need a safe space. Truth is not a snowflake. Truth can take the heat and most certainly should not be forced to vacate the kitchen in the face of a couple of Alt-Right populists and a politically-correct Mayor.”

Note the use of the language of the oppressor. Trigger words, safe space, snowflake, politically correct. How daring to use the sneering memes of the Breitbart (de)generation. And who’s ‘we’, I hear you ask.

Well, Trotter’s Independent Traders include the following right wing hacks:

  • Dr. Michael Bassett
  • Dr. Don Brash
  • Stephen Franks
  • Lindsay Perigo
  • Jordan Williams

Fine company for a supposed lefty, if you don’t mind holding your nose!

Brash, of course, is a thoroughly obnoxious hypocrite, whose hatred of ‘free speech’ was best illustrated by his recent red faced racist tirade against te reo maori. The rest of the old white men listed above are also Actoids or worse. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the far right in NZ would want to press the flesh of the two Canadian ubermensches, however, it’s shameful and ignorant for the old white man Chris Trotter to fall for this blackshirted bollocks.

There never has been free speech. Even its artsy fartsy cousin, freedom of expression, is a mirage. Real freedom is not what you say, it’s how you live. And we do not live free lives. The world is not free from poverty, is not free from climate change, is not free from fear. Most importantly, we are not free of capitalism, which profits handsomely from our enslavement.

There never has been free speech and there never will be. What the supposed ‘Free Speech Coalition’ actually want is freedom from consequence. That’s the same attitude international capital takes towards climate change; sure we caused it, but cleaning it up is your problem, world.

Yeah, nah.  There is always consequence. Chat shit, get banged, as the footballing philosopher Jamie Vardy put it.

Lets be clear; fascism is not an intellectual exercise. It’s the epitome of evil, a cancer on humanity. My grandparents didn’t debate Nazis, they shot them.

Chris Trotter has got a new gig as a fluffer for fascism. Never forget that. Next time you read one of his pompous pieces in the paper or on a blog that should know better, remember that this is the guy who was happy to big up bigotry.


186 comments on “There’s No Such Thing as Free Speech ”

  1. marty mars 1

    Nice one TRP.

    I agree with you – free speech is illusory.

    Nice to see your post too 🙂

  2. Ad 2

    Good to see you back TRP and pithy as ever.

    May not be free but it’s getting cheap.

    Which is what I would like.

    A good old fashioned fight using ideas, rhetoric, and facts, toe to toe in a hall. They are revivals.

  3. Robert Guyton 3

    I find the claim that debate between say, a crypto fascist and someone like yourself, Te Reo Putake, would result in the audience having the opportunity to fairly and rationally choose the “true” side and reject the nasty story, seriously faulty. I remember reading of Gish gallop and the effect that such debating techniques have on the outcome of such “one on one” debates and have no faith that the person taking the night’s prize will be the one we hope would prevail. Techniques tried and true, used by such characters as crypto fascists, perhaps, tilt the playing field significantly and employing such techniques seems so much easier for the rotters. Can you make head or tail of my meaning here?

  4. RedLogix 4

    Welcome back to the illusion zone TRP.

    But maybe you should hold off on smashing up that capitalist keyboard which has enslaved you. 🙂

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Chances are it wasn’t a capitalist that invented the keyboard or even had a hand in developing it. Entrepreneurial-capitalist is an oxymoron.

      • RedLogix 4.1.1

        Again only part of the story. It’s easy to reduce life to simplistic narratives if persist in only selectively looking at parts of the story.

        Capitalism does not exist in a vacuum, it’s only a component of a complex social and technical environment. Nonetheless it can be generally thought of as an accelerant or amplifier in the system. So for example while the Soviet Union produced a number of relatively primitive and early versions of the PC, none developed fast enough or dropped in cost quickly enough to be accepted by the mass market.

        And again it’s probably not a complete coincidence that the Industrial Revolution first appeared in Europe, just at the same time as capitalism began to move from it’s early infant forms, to something close to what we might recognise today. Once the two came together roughly in the mid-1800’s there was a discontinuous explosion of science, technology and engineering. … and corresponding human welfare.

        Capitalism is only an economic tool, and one that has undergone constant evolution in the several centuries since it’s origins. It cannot and should not take all the credit for the huge strides in human progress in that time, but equally it’s wrong to erase or even vilify its positive contribution entirely. It’s kind of like someone gave a very powerful router to a child in a workshop full of timber; a lot of mess and awful rejects have been created, but at the same time as the child got a smarter some quite extraordinary things have been achieved.

        Far from a luddite instinct to smash this router, the left would be better served thinking about how to make it serve our purposes better.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Why we can’t afford the rich

          It’s pretty much a must read.

          It’s not capitalism that’s brought about the progression of the last few centuries. In fact, I’d say that it’s stood in the way preventing it as much as possible. THat’s why we’ve had neo-liberalism forced upon us over the last thirty years – to take back some of the progress that the preceding socialism had brought about.

          • RedLogix

            Until you bother to read what I’m trying to say I think its fair enough that I hold off on buying the books you recommend.

            • Draco T Bastard

              I did read what you said. I responded.

              “Why we can’t afford the rich” by Andrew Sayer, Richard Wilkinson

              “Like rent, interest is asset-based unearned income that accrues without any effort. There may be some administration costs in providing a loan, but these tend to be low and can be charged to the borrower. Like rent, interest presupposes that those who produce goods and services for their income produce a surplus that the lenders can buy with their unearned income. Like rent, therefore, interest is parasitic on producers. As Michael Hudson puts it, it is a ‘deadweight cost’ on the economy.42 It is not merely a transfer, a zero-sum game (where gains equal losses), but a negative-sum game – that is, one that, other things being equal, leaves the economy worse off.”

              But that’s a private solution and leaves the underlying structural problems untouched: inadequate state pensions that can’t provide people with sufficient needs-based income in retirement; inadequate wages that prevent many from saving; private landownership that allows owners to free-ride on others; and the existence of a free-for-all (which means a game biased in favour of the already well-off) in the scramble for asset-based unearned income.

              The evidence is there to show that capitalism is generally bad for society despite the few gains that it may* have brought about.

              * There’s plenty of indications that those gains would have come about without capitalism. After all, the majority of the gains that have come about over the centuries weren’t done by the capitalists but by people employed by the capitalist. They just needed the support of the community to do so.

              • roy cartland

                Yes, good link, I’ll get it too. You should consider it too @RL; not informing yourself out of protest is hardly worth it.

                • RedLogix

                  I took a quick peek at it; I’ve no objection to what I saw. It looks pretty familiar material; and part of a larger body of work exploring the flaws and corruptions of our current economic system.

                  Contrary to what DtB and yourself may imagine I’m not in any sense wishing to dismiss or diminish the obvious problems that inequality creates.

                  • roy cartland

                    “I’m not in any sense wishing to dismiss”
                    Yeah, fair enough, I didn’t think you were 🙂

              • RedLogix

                interest is asset-based unearned income that accrues without any effort.

                Totally omits the concepts of risk and discount of the future value of money. Put simply why should I lend you money (or rent you a house) when there is a chance you won’t return it to me? And why shouldn’t I just enjoy spending it now instead of waiting for you to return it later? Again it’s easy to make a simplistic case when you leave out half the story.

                Now don’t misread me, I agree with you that capitalism as an amplifying tool has intensified our differences not reduced them. As much as some on the left would like to pretend, while people absolutely all have the same inalienable rights and fundamental dignity, in terms of performance, whether it be in sports, work, art, academia, talent, genetics, personality, appearance … the simple brutal truth is only a very few people are REALLY good at it. And life is full of chance, both good and bad. Our health is a lottery … none of these things we have much control over … and the differences in outcomes that result are an age-old consequence. Far pre-dating capitalism. Capitalism, while being part of solving one problem, has also exposed more vividly another deeper one.

                The root of inequality is not our economics or the ‘deadweight of profit’, it’s something that lies deeper than this. This is the challenge which is the natural domain of the left, how to protect the dispossessed, how to cultivate the natural dignity due all humans. In the pre-scientific era, this idea heavily overlapped with our religious narratives, but since the time of Marx the left has been seduced by the notion that it might only have a simplistic political solution … the smashing of capitalism.

                But after almost 200 years of catastrophic failure maybe we should twig that this was not the correct approach.

                • Blazer

                  ‘Totally omits the concepts of risk and discount of the future value of money. Put simply why should I lend you money (or rent you a house) when there is a chance you won’t return it to me? And why shouldn’t I just enjoy spending it now instead of waiting for you to return it later? Again it’s easy to make a simplistic case when you leave out half the story.

                  Where did this ‘money’ you have to lend originate from?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Totally omits the concepts of risk and discount of the future value of money.

                  What risk?

                  Yes, That is addressed in the book.

                  As Adair Turner – again, a more candid member of the financial establishment – put it: British citizens will be burdened for many years with either higher taxes or cuts in public services – because of an economic crisis whose origins lay in the financial system, a crisis cooked up in trading rooms where not just a few but many people earned annual bonuses equal to a lifetime’s earnings of some of those now suffering the consequences.

                  Imagine you have worked for years in a business that is then subjected to a leveraged buyout. Without consulting you, the firm’s absentee owners have sold the business to a private equity company that has borrowed tens or hundreds of millions to buy out the company, saddling your organisation with the debt repayments, putting your own job and those of others in the organisation in jeopardy.

                  The risk isn’t to people lending the money but to society and the people actually producing the wealth.

                  Put simply why should I lend you money (or rent you a house) when there is a chance you won’t return it to me?

                  If we had a decent banking system it wouldn’t matter what you wanted – loans for businesses and mortgages would be available at 0% interest from the state bank.

                  And why shouldn’t I just enjoy spending it now instead of waiting for you to return it later?

                  You should enjoy spending it now – it helps the economy whereas loaning it for interest harms the economy.

                  …the simple brutal truth is only a very few people are REALLY good at it.

                  Not really. The problem is that most don’t have the education from parents to operate well in the system. Yep, that’s addressed in the book as well:

                  Research by Leon Feinstein on children’s cognitive capacities shows that these develop more slowly in low social-class children than in high social-class children, so that by age 10 (120 months), the brightest of low social-class children at 22 months are overtaken by the weakest of high social-class children. The score at 22 months predicts educational qualifications at age 26 and is related to family background. The children of educated or wealthy parents who scored poorly in the early tests had a tendency to catch up; whereas children of worse-off parents who scored poorly were extremely unlikely to catch up. Feinstein found no evidence that entry into schooling reverses this pattern.29 Not surprisingly, social mobility in all major capitalist countries, especially the most unequal ones, is low.

                  And life is full of chance, both good and bad.

                  Not for the rich because the system is biased in their favour.

                  Far pre-dating capitalism.

                  Capitalism has been around throughout recorded history in one form or another (Debt: The last 5000 years).

                  The root of inequality is not our economics or the ‘deadweight of profit’

                  Actually, it is.

                  but since the time of Marx the left has been seduced by the notion that it might only have a simplistic political solution … the smashing of capitalism.

                  Smashing capitalism was never the solution – just something that had to be done in the process of bringing about a better system.

                  • RedLogix

                    So before debt existed all humans lived as perfect equals in an Eden? Debt is one outcome of a very subtle human idea that if I sacrifice some gratification today, I can reap a greater reward tomorrow. An idea which is almost central to all human progress and welfare.

                    As for your assertion that risk doesn’t exist … I don’t quite know what to say; except perhaps to suggest that if you pop say $100k into my bank account tomorrow I ‘promise’ to give you $200k in two years time in a no-doc deal. That’s if you’re up for it … no such thing as risk after all.

                    Yes as with anything human the system is way less than perfect; there are plenty of places to point where the coupling between risk and reward has been corrupted. But as the old saying goes, “it’s a poor workman who blames his tools”.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Debt is one outcome of a very subtle human idea that if I sacrifice some gratification today, I can reap a greater reward tomorrow.

                      Which is actually a really bad idea as it doesn’t work that way. It just gives an excuse for a few to bludge off of everyone else.

                      An idea which is almost central to all human progress and welfare.

                      No it’s not. Almost all human progress in the last two or three centuries is due to government funding (The Entrepreneurial State) with the capitalists coming in once the R&D has been done to grab windfall profits for doing nothing. Again, no risk involved.

                      except perhaps to suggest that if you pop say $100k into my bank account tomorrow I ‘promise’ to give you $200k in two years time in a no-doc deal. That’s if you’re up for it … no such thing as risk after all.

                      That’s the way banks have been operating since forever. They used to actually collapse and we’d have bank runs, bankruptcy and Great Depressions.

                      Nowadays, the banks are bailed out by taxpayers and thus risk has been removed.

                      But as the old saying goes, “it’s a poor workman who blames his tools”.

                      The system isn’t the tools. Capitalism is a corrupt system designed by those that want to bludge off of everyone else.

                  • RedLogix

                    Here’s a good article on how the link between risk and reward can be corrupted:

                    So it should be of concern to us all, according to Brooks, that in recent years the big four have “lost sight of their core purpose”, with only a third of their revenue coming from auditing and the rest earned from “consultancy services”.

                    “It’s not really any longer an accountancy profession,” Brooks said.

                    “It’s more a consultancy profession, or it would call itself professional services, with auditing just one of its business lines, and a minority one at that.”

                    Brooks argues this has created a conflict of interest, as the firms are now selling billions of dollars worth of business advice to the same companies they are supposed to independently audit.

                    “We’re in a situation where we need really good, strong, effective auditing more than ever,” Brooks said.


                    No question capitalism can be corrupted; as can any tool. I’m arguing that tossing the tool out is the wrong response. Sharpening it, improving it, learning how to use it better … are all more rational reactions.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      Maybe a flawed assumption here, inasmuch as the rationality of improving capitalism depends on our capacity to do so. In the real world, that capacity is so minimal as to be virtually non-existent. When the capitalists control the game, who is really able to operate as game-changer?

                      Jim Rickards is one of that interesting small group of players who both succeed at the game and intervene to tweak it when necessary: https://dailyreckoning.com/trumps-devastating-trade-war-weapons/

                      I have a copy of his NYT bestseller from 2016 “The Road to Ruin: The Global Elites’ Secret Plan for the Next Financial Crisis” which is as good an update on the post-gfc situation as you’ll ever find. As an insider operating at the top level of government & commerce for a long time (while concurrently blogging as a dissident, like Marty Armstrong) he mediates between the in-crowd & out-crowd well.

          • Booker

            Thanks for the link, that book looks interesting I think I’ll start on it this weekend

  5. Anne 5

    Great to see you back Te Reo. Your feisty, down to earth style of writing (which reminds me of long departed Dad) has been sorely missed.

    • Anne 5.1

      Brain Rudman hits the nail on the head with his latest article and I quote from it:

      Wellington human rights lawyer Michael Bott, summed it up recently. “Free speech, whilst it’s synonymous with democracy, is not a right that can be asserted to the exclusion of all other democratic rights and values.

      “The right to human dignity and freedom from discrimination shouldn’t be subservient to free speech where you encourage hatred of people on that basis that they’re different.”

      If I could just add, we have enough home grown fruit-loops to cope with, without throwing open our public halls to divisive stirrers from overseas.

      On that basis, the Southern and Molyneaux pair would have been guests in this country and we have a right to refuse them the ability to spread their form of hatred and venality in our publicly owned venues. If they had chosen to hire a privately owned venue it would have been a different matter but they didn’t do so… so good riddance to bad rubbish.


  6. Pat 6

    “There never has been free speech. Even its artsy fartsy cousin, freedom of expression, is a mirage. Real freedom is not what you say, it’s how you live. And we do not live free lives. The world is not free from poverty, is not free from climate change, is not free from fear. Most importantly, we are not free of capitalism, which profits handsomely from our enslavement.”

    You’ll be thankful then that you have the freedom to say that…..long may it continue because it is not a given.

  7. JanM 7

    Excellent logic – great to read – thank you

  8. Kat 8

    You may be surprised Chris Trotter has hatched a cunning plan…………

  9. RedLogix 9

    About this ‘enslavement’ TRP. Let me list some of the ways it oppresses you:

    Your life expectancy has roughly doubled since 1800, your indentured hell lasts lasts twice as long.

    You don’t get to walk through streets of shit anymore, shame the smell was bracing

    And all this clean damned water, piped to your home, hot and cold, how awful to have to wash daily

    All that electricity, just proxy slaves really. Those electrons need liberating!

    The coal mines you work in are a fair bit taller now; you can sit or stand in the heated air filtered cab of the huge machine you labour to steer with two fingers.

    The house you are in is bonded to power, water, sewerage and internet that monitors your every move, thought, siphons away your bowel motions and subjects them to forensic political analysis.

    The room you are in at this very moment, is a monument to the bitter tears of slaves everywhere, every scrap of timber, drop of paint, nail, chair, table, the metals scrapped from the womb of mother nature, the fabrics torn from her modesty … oh the pain! It must end.

    The streets are prisons, narrow slots that permit you only to rattle pointlessly from the slave factory to the slave dormitory in the suburb. The fine seal, lighting and signs are all an illusion, hiding a deep ugliness underneath; all those hidden worm-like pipes and cables, snaking and slithering their controlling tentacles

    Oh and the doctors, the dentists, the nurses, who look after your children, it’s a shame they’re all so rich, they’ll have to be the first up against the wall

    And the engineers, the technicians, the tradies and labourers who design, build, and work long unseen,silent hours to make every one of the billions of components to keep this hell-hole slave camp running for the masters … they’re all complicit too.

    Don’t start me on the lawyers … oh yes …. won’t they be fun to play with!

    And with no lawyers, we can finish off the judges, the old oppressive laws made to suit the capitalist masters can be heaped up and torched. You can write up a whole bunch of new ones to suit yourself. If you need some thugs to enforce them, I’m sure you know some tough working class gang types who can be trusted to dish out real consequences.

    Free from food, shelter and slavery, finally we can all be fearless!

    OK so I’m taking the piss … but the real estate agents I could get serious about 🙂

    • Good point, RL. I’m as much of a slave as anyone in the west, of course, and I speak from a place of relative privilege. However, the world has not improved under capitalism for most people. The rich are indeed getting richer and the poor poorer. What’s worse is that we in the west know what is technically possible but the poor are further away than ever from the best this world has to offer.

      There has been obvious human progress under capitalism, but I’d argue that we would have got ‘here’ under socialism as well. And we would have brought the majority with us.

      The relative improvement in the lives of the minority under capitalism is only possible by keeping the majority impoverished.

      The really frustrating thing is that capitalism has led us to the brink of destruction and we westerners seem to think more capitalism is the answer.

      • RedLogix 9.1.1

        I wouldn’t quibble with most of that TRP, but I’d like to add in a couple of things to the mix. The big one that we should not miss is how very rapidly absolute poverty is being reduced around the world, much of it reliably documented here:


        Personally what changed my view has been the past five years spent working in many different countries in the world, most recently in Latin America. There is palpable change happening everywhere I go; yes a lot of people are much less well off than most kiwis are (indeed most kiwis are in the top 2-3% globally), but it’s also clear that their lives are changing at a remarkable pace, so much so that impressions we formed just a decade ago will be obsolete now.

        Crucially I’ve come to see capitalism as nothing more than a tool; one that can be used or misused. In it’s defense it’s clear that it has been directly associated with a remarkable improvement in living standards and a huge reduction in absolute across the globe. While at the same time it has paradoxically increased relative poverty.

        This is why I keep coming back to the idea of gross inequality as the core issue we now face. Capitalism combined with the industrial and tech revolutions has solved the poverty problem (or at least is well on the way to doing so), but in the process has presented us with new ones that appear extremely intractable to conventional politics.

      • Richard 9.1.2

        However, the world has not improved under capitalism for most people.

        That’s complete bullshit. By any reasonable measure the proportion of the world population living in extreme poverty has never been lower.


        • te reo putake

          Your table shows that the majority of our fellow humans still live in abject poverty. That’s not success, it’s a gross failure.

          And what it doesn’t show is the strata above that 52% who are capable of joining the starving majority after just a few weeks of unemployment. 200 years of capitalism and 1 in 2 children are going hungry. Yay Team!

          In short, we’ve been sold a crock. Capitalism is entirely focussed on the enrichment of the minority. Any minor benefits to the rest can best be described as unintentional.

        • greywarshark

          You throw bullshit rather freely. Here is some back.
          Don’t live your life repeating statistics in place of meeting real people eye to eye and realising their culture. Then you won’t spout fabrications about extreme poverty levels so lightly. How extreme is that!

          • Dennis Frank

            Glass half-full some ways we look at it, half-empty from other perspectives. Hundreds of millions in diverse countries have indeed been lifted out of poverty. Undeniable. Trickle-down is minimal to non-existent in the experience of many of us. Undeniable.

            Sort of like the old controversy: is the electron a particle or a wave? Physicists almost a century ago proved that it’s both. Depends on how you design your experiment which answer you’ll get. A teachable moment – shows us that reality depends on our perception.

        • KJT

          An increase in GDP, is not necessarily a reduction in poverty.

          In fact many, especially those who were formerly small farmers and trades in third world countries are considerably worse off.

          • RedLogix

            As with the Industrial Revolution in Europe, the mass transition of economies from small scale rural enterprises certainly displaced people and brought about some awful disruption. Victorian era England was not a pretty place for most people. Yet the undeniable fact is that at say around 1820 in excess of 90% of the population lived in absolute poverty, while a century later at the even at the end of WW1, life had improved dramatically for most.

            Spend a little time working in any developing country right now (I’m thinking of Laos for example) and you’ll see a fantastic, chaotic and quite extraordinary transition happening. Drive along a highway and you’ll see rice paddy-tractors, bikes, scooters, and tuk tuks all alongside trucks, buses and flash new cars everywhere. Everyone has mobile phones, ordinary looking homes have a satellite dish and two cars parked in the grass. Power, water and elementary medical services are spreading everywhere. Small banks and shops at every stop, everyone you see looks fed and watered. There is no mass starvation and deprivation, albeit there will still be many living right on the margins. It’s uneven and all looks a bit chaotic to an westerner’s eye … but it’s happening.

            This is typical of the developing world everywhere, except nations like Nigeria and the DRC (been there too; crazy unsafe place) where utterly incompetent and corrupt governance, combined with gross over-population are stalling progress.

            • greywarshark

              The difficulty is that if you just look at economic figures which are up, and there aren’t starving people around, it seems that all is okay. NZ figures are not that bad probably. But domestic violence, and criminality with intent to cause grievous harm are becoming more common.

              You can be poor and if living in a supportive community with enjoyment in life then you are rich. NZ is poor in soul and kindness to others. The stories that have come out from social welfare agencies for decades chill the heart of anyone who can lift their eyes from their own affairs and wish others a good life. The wealthy often illustrate the old joke that having money doesn’t guarantee happiness, but you can be miserable in comfort.

      • Tuppence Shrewsbury 9.1.3

        How wide is your definition of everybody and how narrow is your definition of improvement?

        Even If it’s as wide as your eyes when someone sings the red flag and as narrow as your actual belief in democracy then there is still a vast improvement.

    • miravox 9.2

      RL, not that I’ll deny the benefits of modern day life given I’m well-off enough these days to benefit from them, but you write as if those modern day engineering feats could only have be produced through capitalism. That’s arguable at best, imo.


      In the 19th century Pākehā settlers had lower death rates from infectious diseases, and lived longer, than people in Britain. This may have been due to their better diet and higher standard of living. Also, settlements were dispersed around the country, so infections were less likely to spread. In the late 1870s Pākehā women in New Zealand were the first group in the world to have a life expectancy of 55

      Right now, I’m watching a sibling die at exactly this age. No doubt the capitalists won’t mind – she’s done her job producing new workers who know how to behave, and worn her body out in cleaning jobs and other manual labour. But she’s gonna go years before she would have called on superannuation. Economically-speaking, a capitalist win, don’t you think?

      She lives in an uninsulated cottage with an outdoors toilet. She has no internet. But she does have the running water (thank you engineers and plumbers under whatever system that was implemented), she is reliant on cellphone cards because capitalism made a landline too expensive, and the electricity that a government a development project produced way back when.

      What’s scary, is that her position in life is not unusual these days.

      • RedLogix 9.2.1

        Sorry to hear about your sister. There is nothing political that should be said about that for the moment.

        • miravox

          Thanks, yeah, it’s quite hard right now.

          • marty mars

            What a terrible situation miravox – arohanui to you, your sister and whānau.

            Yes the benefits of capitalism fall to the capitalists and many others are left to fend for themselves in the most disgusting way. This is not unusual these days.

            Kia kaha and all the best.

    • Ad 9.3

      Lovely touch to the prose there RL

    • miravox 9.4

      It does seem to me that a pot of money is being transferred around the world among the poor and while there is less absolute poverty there is more poverty overall. While the people running the show get an ever growing share of the growing supply of money.

      This is quite a good summary of the issue from The Economist (May, 2017), I thought. Sounds like a recipe for a good social-democrat government.


      But hold the Champagne.

      • RedLogix 9.4.1

        less absolute poverty there is more poverty overall.

        Yes … insert one more word there is more relative poverty overall and that would be spot on. It’s actually a bit of a paradox and illustrates both the blessing and curse of capitalism at the same time.

        But as Mark Knoffler riffs It is what it is now . It is what we have to work with. And there is a real hunger in the world to progress this, much of the instability and danger we face is the direct consequence of the left failing to find a path through this conundrum.

        I’m arguing that these two aspects, absolute and relative poverty are best treated as quite different things, with quite different causes and solutions. Absolute poverty is best framed as a material problem, one that we solved with science, technology, engineering and economics. Relative poverty seems to lie in a different domain, one that is more psychological and ethical. (That’s not to neglect it’s very real consequences either.)

        • miravox

          This topic probably requires a post of its own again one day… I’ll look forward to the debate 🙂

  10. miravox 10

    There’s always been free speech for that coalition of ugh that you’ve listed. They’re just pissed-off that they might be on a slippery slope to losing that privilege (as if!)

    Great to read a post from you TRP.

  11. Jenny 11

    Along with Italy’s far-right Forza Nuova, Greece’s neo-fascist Golden Dawn, the UK’s British National Party (BNP) and Poland’s ultranationalist National Rebirth, among others, CasaPound is part of an international front rallying on behalf of the Syrian president and sending solidarity delegations to the war-ravaged country.

    Syria’s conflict, which started as a mass uprising against Assad’s rule in March 2011, quickly morphed into a full-fledged civil war and has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

    Throughout that war, both government forces and their allies and armed opposition groups have been accused of war crimes and human rights violations.

    According to some estimates, more than 11 million people have fled their homes, finding refuge outside of the country or ending up internally displaced within its borders.

    More than a million Syrians have received or requested asylum in Europe, where rising far-right parties and populist groups have regularly rallied against their presence.


    How is the above, relevant to this post? You may ask.

    These Western fascists who openly support the genocide being committed in Syria by the Assad regime, also attack defenceless civilians fleeing the genocide they support.

    Southern is one of them.

    Europe’s Alt-right goes to sea to sink migrants and scuttle rescuers
    Barbie Latza Nadeau – May 6, 2017

    Conservative Canadian activist Lauren Southern, who tweets hate speech she does endorse by the likes of U.S. President Donald Trump and others, was apparently on the Defend Europe boat when it confronted the SOS Méditerranée rescue ship in Italy.


    [Hi, Jenny. I’ve deleted the self martyring final sentence. I note you’ve tried posting this exact same comment on multiple posts, behaviour which, from memory, is likely to really, really piss the mods off. I’ve only allowed it through here because it has a tenuous link to the post and because I’m in a particularly fine mood this frosty evening. TRP]

    • D'Esterre 11.1

      Jenny: I note that you’ve linked to Al Jazeera. Unfortunately, it’s not a commentator of record on Syria. It’s funded by Qatar, itself a funder of jihadists operating in Syria. In parts of the ME and elsewhere, Al Jazeera is known as Al Qaeda TV.

      “Syria’s conflict, which started as a mass uprising against Assad’s rule in March 2011…”

      No. It did not. From the outset, it was a jihadist uprising. This has been reported on by journos who were actually there. Syria is a secular polity: thus the jihadists didn’t have much support among local people. Syrians have fled the conflict, either displaced within Syria itself, or to other countries. You’d be wrong to conclude that they’re all fleeing Assad; in fact, the numbers who voted for him in Lebanon, along with the numbers returning to areas liberated by government troops, give the lie to that. Moreover, probably the majority going to Europe have seized the opportunity for economic reasons. Nothing wrong with that, of course, except for the fact that the numbers are overwhelming Euro countries, and many European citizens are unhappy about it, understandably.

      “…. the genocide being committed in Syria by the Assad regime….”

      This is fiction. There is no genocide being committed by the Assad government, nor has there been. The Syrian government, with the assistance of Iran, Hezbollah and Russia, has defeated ISIS and associated jihadist terrorist groups; those in Deraa have just surrendered. Note that the US has been funding terrorist groups, notably Al Qaeda. Though no doubt others have benefited from US largesse. You do know, don’t you, that the US has been attempting regime change in Syria for many years. Efforts really ramped up on Obama’s watch.

      As with other countries, Syria’s governing arrangements are for its citizens alone to determine. It is none of the US’s business; it should wait to intervene in any country until it is asked for assistance. If it ever is.

      If you want to know what’s happening – indeed, what has happened – in Syria, you won’t get it from Al Jazeera. Try Robert Fisk and Vanessa Beeley. There are other journos, but they’ll do for starters.

  12. Thanks for all the ‘welcome back’ comments, comrades. It’s nice to be part of the TS team again.

  13. Sabine 13

    thanks for this post. It was very much needed.

  14. One Two 14

    No such thing as free speech…using the title as the core premise…

    Of course free speech exists…and always will…for those who are not cowed…or concerned by consequences of speaking freely…or the cowardice of those who would seek to degrade the innate human capacity of thought and communication…

    Simple concept…no need to conflate…

  15. mauī 15

    Always good to see an author come back.

  16. Korero Pono 16

    Hallelujah, awesome OP!

  17. Roy 17

    Finally, a bit of righteous fire on the subject!

    I agree – they can think whatever they like, but to spread their bile in our public spaces? Is that really worth defending do hard?

    And you are right, if there really was free speech, I could say whatever I liked about anyone – like, Don Brash is a DELETED-abuser.

  18. greywarshark 18

    Great to read TRP. You have stated succinctly what we have to think about free speech – it’s only noble in theory, not when it gets personal, bullying and oppressing.
    There was a doozy recently in Oz parliament when an old bloke comfortable in his maleness told the young Green polly that she should stop ‘shagging ‘men. He is very free with his speech and has also continued outside parliament there.

  19. McFlock 19

    Nice post.


  20. patricia bremner 20

    Trotter always ran with the hares and hunted with the hounds imo.

  21. adam 21

    I get the feeling Trotter must have pushed some right buttons, if he pissed off the hard authoritarian left this much.


  22. Jackel 22

    No you don’t have the right to say whatever you feel like saying.

  23. Sanctuary 23

    I guess it will happen to all of us. There comes a day, usually sometime in your fifties, when we pass into irrelevance. The trick is to know when the torch was passed, to trust the adults who look like children to you, and – as Chris Trotter has just illustrated – to shut up and start worrying about next years seedlings in the greenhouse.

    The thing is, this transition is a sort of male power menopause, and it is as ever bit as hard to do as any other aging process. But really it is for the good of all to realise the future is in good hands, you’ve fought your generational shift, and it’s time to let the young bucks have their head.

    Time, Mr. Trotter, to pay attention to prepping the potato patch.

    • marty mars 23.1

      sadly many have to be dragged kicking and screaming into obsolescence – eg brash

      for those of us who have already accepted the turn of the tide there is a freedom and clarity that comes from realising someone else is holding the reins – freedom, they can’t take away our freedom.

    • RedLogix 23.2

      Funny the blind spots we tend to have. Roughly eyeballing NZ’s population pyramid I’d guess fully 30% of the population was over 50. If I was to dismiss an entire class of people … say women … as ‘irrelevant’ solely on the grounds of their gender, you’d very quickly and quite rightly call me out on it.

      Fortunately one of the defining characteristics of maturity is that you tend to care much less about what other people think of you; I doubt Mr Trotter will be polishing off his spud spade anytime soon. At least not just on your say so.

  24. Tuppence Shrewsbury 24

    So good to see the left rise to the bait and hit its authoritatiran stride so early in labour’s first term of government.

    I look forward to only a couple more years of being told what I can and can’t say by the plebiscite

  25. Andy 25

    This post perfectly describes why I utterly despise the left.

  26. North 26

    Seek help Andy, seig heilp.

    • Andy 26.1

      Most recent of Molyneux – why smacking your kids is bad, and why forced male circumcision is bad

      Obviously a Nazi

  27. Ross 27

    Nice to see you exercising your right to speak freely, TRP. You could be marching down Queen St holding up Trotter’s hand and saying he is entitled to say what he’s said.

    • Andy 27.1

      Since he doesn’t believe in free speech he’ll have to join the leftists with their baseball bats and paper spray when the event does actually go ahead

      Obviously words don’t work. Violence does

      Always the same outcome for the left

      • Robert Guyton 27.1.1

        Man, I need me some of that paper spray – got some paper that just won’t stick down.

        • marty mars

          I think he means those streamer things you pop – they’d go well with the baseball bats, either as decoration or distraction – feathers on the taiaha.

      • roy cartland 27.1.2

        Actually, no. The left is about creating fairness for everyone; which means the INDIVIDUAL, your favourite person, has to play fair.

        If you can’t play fair, you can’t play. Simple.

        • Pat

          You do realise youre talking about life dont you?

          • roy cartland

            Not exactly sure what you mean, but I no I don’t think I’m talking about ‘life’ – though I wish I were. If you look at most organisms, they exist by smothering and displacing other organisms (notwithstanding a few symbiotic examples). Humans included. We just have the capacity to a) recognise that and b) mitigate it.

            Therefore, not being fair and just following the old law-of-the-jungle is deliberately not using the thing that sets us apart from plants and animals.

            Hence pure self-interest is regressive, not progressive.

            • Pat

              “If you can’t play fair, you can’t play. Simple.”

              That is exactly the sort of absolutist polarised nonsense that the alt right revel in and you can place all the labels du jour you like around it but at some point it requires backing.
              Human interaction within a confined environment isnt a game where you can simply send someone off for foul play and carry on the game.

              • roy cartland

                “labels du jour” – what, like “alt right”? Please.

                As a country we’ve agreed on certain standards, which we’ve fought hard for (and continue to do). If you don’t want to meet them, we shouldn’t have to accommodate you (on public property), do it yourself in your own, privately-sourced venue.

                If I came to your place and insisted on airing my opinion that you were a whinging twerp (purely by way of example) would you staunchly defend my right to do so? Of course not, you’d say, “no thanks, go and spout that elsewhere” (or worse).

                • Pat

                  And what would you do if members of your family invited the same person to your house to discuss his/her views…would you throw them out too? The problem you fear is you dont control the thoughts of your kin, and nor should you….you provide your arguments and hope they agree. So, shock horror, you discover that the majority of your family dont agree with your view…what are they to do…throw you out?

                  • roy cartland

                    Not necessarily, but if they came over with the express purpose of banging on about something they knew I wasn’t into, I sure as hell wouldn’t fundraise for their ability to do it.

                    • Pat

                      Perhaps not…but your children might…would you stop them?

                    • roy cartland

                      The analogy’s got a bit stretched now. I’m not into stopping or silencing anyone; but should I be compelled to support them? I don’t reckon.

                    • Pat

                      Nobody is compelling you to support them…just acknowledge their right to express their view.

                      Funny thing about families is that sometimes the kids are right and we end up agreeing with them …but we’d never know if we wouldnt let them speak

                    • roy cartland

                      “just acknowledge their right to express their view”

                      Well in this I agree, totally. They are doing that perfectly well on Youtube, where everyone who cares can tune in.

                      Speaking in a public venue, which like it or not should at least begin to reflect the established national values we hold – with a $50k+ donation-raised fund to support them to do so – is far more than just that acknowledgement, you surely agree.

                    • Pat

                      I see little widespread acknowledgement of the right for the viewpoint to be expressed….in this particular instance i have seen a democratically elected representative announce censorship. widespread calls for the views to be ‘banned’ (however thats supposed to be enforced is unclear) right through to physical intimidation and impediment to the event….does that look like an acceptance of the right to express their views?

                      It looks exactly like what is denounced when views considered (currently) acceptable are squashed….and that is hypocrisy of the highest order…not to mention being dangerously counterproductive.

                    • solkta

                      elected representative announce censorship

                      Who did this?

    • Entitled is the key word in your comment, Ross. Trotter clearly feels the same sense of entitlement that his other rich, white mates enjoy. Me, I write under a pen name because real life gets in the way of ‘free’ speech. Consequences, innit.

      • Andy 27.2.1

        “The left is about fairness to individuals”

        I though that described classical liberalism.
        The left is all about group identity politics

        Now do remind me why these two are not playing fairly?

        • solkta

          You obviously haven’t thought a lot about it then.

          And hey, cut the misquoting bullshit. If you put speech marks around text that means the the text is as the author wrote it. If you are going to leave stuff out you need to acknowledge this “…”. The “everybody” looks to me like an important word in the context.

        • roy cartland

          “The left is all about group identity politics”
          Oh, is it? Then in that case, I don’t care for this discussion, if we’re just debating terms (terms which you raised, btw).

          And I have no idea why they aren’t playing fairly, how could I? Probably for clicks, would be my guess.

          • Andy

            If you have no idea that they are not playing fairly, why are people here trying to shut down their free speech? What exactly is it that people find objectionable?

            Has anyone actually bothered to do any research on these two, or are you all just dog-whistling?

            If you seriously don’t believe that leftism is all about identity politics then you are right, any further discussion is pointless.
            My politics are about the rights of the individual over the collective. i.e “Far Right” according to the NZ media

            • solkta

              So how is “identity politics” not about the “rights of the individual over the collective”? Identity politics is about the rights of individuals who belong to marginalised groups. Your right wing position would seem to be saying that these people should just fuck off.

              • Andy

                No I don’t think that people should just fuck off.

                A more nuanced discussion might be available at the Southern/Molyneux talk that you won’t attend because you will be outside screaming at “Nazis” and spraying women in the face with pepper spray.

                • solkta

                  I won’t be going and really don’t care what the two trolls have to say. You however are right here right now so why don’t you engage is some “nuanced discussion” and explain how right wing politics will secure and maintain the rights of ALL people, including those in marginalised groups.

                  Do you actually have anything of substance to say?

            • Incognito

              My politics are about the rights of the individual over the collective.

              And the “collective” is … made up of many “individuals”. The inconsistency & contradiction of your ‘ideology’ is screaming in your face!

              Let me try and re-phrase it for you:

              My politics are about my rights over everybody else’s.

              You’re welcome.

              • Andy

                “My politics are about my rights over everybody else’s.”

                Completely incorrect

                However, your politics are about shutting down free speech, using violence and intimidation if these needs are not met.

                You’re welcome

                By the way, all you “incognito” types will be wearing masks I presume, when you turn up with your baseball bats and pepper spray? Too afraid and pathetic to air your actually ideas in public, since you don’t have any, so you are too afraid to show the world your identity

                [lprent: Almost all handles on this site are “incognito” including your one. We don’t check them unless we think that someone is trying to indulge in identity theft or to bypass a ban.

                What we do object to are personal hypocrisy levels in attacking others for what you are doing yourself. One specialized blog trap is designed especially for the completely stupid hypocrite who criticizes the use of arbitrary handles whilst operating under one themselves. Being a complete dumbarse you just fell into it.

                Banned for 4 weeks under the ‘Gosman’ hypocrisy rule in the policy

                • solkta

                  Do you actually have anything of substance to say?

                  • Andy

                    “Do you actually have anything of substance to say?”

                    yes, but I am not sharing it with you because you don’t believe in free speech.
                    All you can do is string together a series of slogans around the “marginalised”

                    The left ran out of ideas years ago. all you have left is shutting down free speech and violence

                    That is all

                    You’re welcome

                    • solkta

                      If you don’t want to discuss stuff then that just makes you a fuckwit troll, and not a very good one.

                      I haven’t voiced an opinion on whether they should be aloud to speak at the venue.

                      It is ironic that you should say that the left has run out of ideas when you don’t display any understanding. How would you know if something was new?

                • Incognito

                  Instead of correcting your description of your ‘politics’ and explaining it to the ‘collective’ here on TS you went for a stupid & meaningless personal attack. Given that I have not stated my ‘politics’ and given that you know SFA about me I think you should stick to your own statement about yourself and clarify it, if you can …

                  I’m waiting in anticipation …

            • roy cartland

              Man, stop trolling, it’s boring. I have no idea WHY they are not playing fairly, which is what you asked. All I have is assumptions:

              1. Clicks. The more outrageous and/or weird your views, the more clicks, the more money. (As the vid below explains why Youtube is full of ever more bizarre and disturbing stuff):

              2. Entitlement. “I’m fine, why does everyone have to mess up MY buzz?” Shows a blatant disdain for one’s own privilege at the expense of the plights of others, and who easier to kick than those already down: sexual violence victims/survivors, refugees and war victims, “others”.

              3. Religious zealotry. So far up their own beliefs that they have to “convert” others, stir up hatred, bring down the system in the hope of gains. Who was it that said “when privilege is all your used to, equality looks like oppression”.

              • Andy

                How can you make these claims when you have no idea what they stand for?

                Have you or anyone else here actually bothered to find out what this is about?

                • roy cartland

                  Like I said, they’re assumptions. I don’t know why they do anything they do. But the fact that they crash protests and rallies for youtube clicks bores me into not finding out what they say they’re “really” about.

                  • Andy

                    So you are bored and think that they should be banned from NZ on that basis?

                    Lauren Southern made a doco on South Africa and the rape murder and torture of white farmers

                    Does rape, murder and torture bore you? Do you yawn when a woman has her kneecaps drilled out with a Black and Decker? Does it make you sleepy when you hear of a child being boiled alive in a bathtub?

                    Do you look the other way when your partner his hacked to death with a machete, looking idly at your watch?

                    • solkta


                    • roy cartland

                      Oh wow. Now I want to ban them, and support rape, murder and torture, do I?

                      Grow up, you’re being pathetic, even your trolling sucks.

                    • Andy


                      Exactly, The only thing leftists care about is themselves

                      You are shallow narcissist pricks that only care about your own virtue signalling

                      If you can find some non-white “minority” you will get behind them, not because it helps the minority group, but because it makes you look virtuous amongst all your fellow narcissist pricks

                    • solkta

                      Yawn, yawn.

                    • marty mars


                    • Andy

                      Have you got anything of substance to say other than “yawn”.
                      The quality of trolling here is really low

                      Maybe you rape and murder apologists might find something to say, other than “yawn”

                      Then again, you ran out of ideas decades ago. All you have left is shutting down free speech, and violence of course

                    • solkta

                      You should stop, you are making the other trolls look good, and that is some achievement.

                    • Andy

                      Solka – yes I will stop

                      I am not interested in your troll baiting. The issues that I raised about the Farmlands doco are genuine ones, yet you are not interested because white South African farmers are not part of your rainbow of victim groups, so you don’t care.

                      I find this somewhat nauseating, but then I have come to expect it.
                      The nihilism, cultural relativism and narcissism that infests modern society is leading us to the point of destruction.

                      Yawn, as you would say

                    • roy cartland

                      Gives a shit about people, especially the underprivileged = narcissist prick

                      Cares about self at expense of others = people’s hero.

                      Now THAT’s why I despise the “right”, or whatever you think you are @Andy.

                    • solkta

                      Telling me what i think again, hmm. I thought you said you were going to stop?

      • Ross 27.2.2

        TRP I dont see someone’s wealth as being relevant here. Besides how would you know who is wealthy and who is not? Maihi spoke her mind and she may be poor.

        And some of those on the Left can have a rather prurient attitude to free speech. Labour MP Louisa Wall had her sensibilities offended by two cartoons and decided the best response was to go to court! Thankfully she lost. Instead of going to court she could and should have been celebrating the cartoonist’s (and her) right to free speech.

  28. Michelle 28

    Is trotters really a lefty? I think he sits in the middle on many issues . I find his writing to be pie in the sky. He has shown his true colors here if we look at that line up above what do they all have in common apart from the colour of their skin. People always have hidden agendas and every now and then their masks comes of and we can see who they truly are and what they really represent.

    • Andy 28.1

      No he is not a lefty. he believes in free speech

      Lefties don’t believe in free speech. They believe in violence.

      • DV 28.1.1

        So the mods on the site are not left then Andy

        [lprent: Generally the mods on this site are busy people with other tasks in their lives. They expend the minimal effort required to make sure that the comments here do not make them legally liable from comments that would make them expend time in court, and to prevent unreadable flamewars thread, and post hijacking, and idiots driving other readers away.

        Some are ideological and around here are often ‘left’. But some are like me in my sysop role are simply non-ideological and more interested in human behaviour on the net. I am just interested in the depths of stupidity that ideological and non-ideological idiots can get themselves tied up in knots with.

        Personally I find it vastly amusing when I have some ‘spare’ time to assist fools to untangle their gordian knots, less by undoing them and more with strangling them with the absurdities of their attitudes and then sadistically humiliating them.

        Consider that at least you can argue with the ideologically motivated moderators and praise them for their patience. ]

        • dv

          lent, I thought it was a just bit ironic that andy was saying lefties don’t believe in free speech, yet here he? is mouthing off on this leftish blog and no getting bans.

      • marty mars 28.1.2

        Itsa ‘mare a violent ‘mare – aggro lefties everywhere arggg – must. stop. them. must.

        Yes yes andy – have a lie down old chap before you bust your fufu valve.

    • Gabby 28.2

      He likes to pontificate but I imagine he agrees that pigs are brain workers and the apples and milk are brain food.

  29. Haifcrown 29

    “Lefties don’t believe in free speech. They believe in violence.”

    I think that is another case of the kettle calling the pot black there comrade.
    If I recall correctly Gerry Brownarse and his thug mates man handled an elderly person who was trying to exercise his right to “free speech” down some stairs at a National Party conference a few years ago.

    • Andy 29.1

      This comment is typical of why you guys don’t get it. You assume that politics is like football. One one side, the left are marching to their drumbeat. On the other side, this apparent group called “the right” are the mirror image

      I have no affiliation with any political party, with Gerry Brownlee or his lot, and I certainly don’t believe in manhandling elderly people.

      I believe in free speech, because by the open and transparent exchange of views leads us to the truth, wherever that may lie.

      • solkta 29.1.1

        You are the one who has been all through these threads labeling people and then telling them what they do and don’t believe and how they act. Do you actually have anything of substance to say?

        • Andy

          Yes I do have something of substance

          I believe in free speech and the rights of people to speak peacefully in public

          I haven’t seen any argument to date that Molyneux and Southern are going to threaten NZ society in any form.

          They are certainly not Nazis or Fascists. They proposition is ridiculous

          • Stuart Munro

            Transparent tripe. You’re a blackguard – a scoundrel whose never had a sound argument in his life.

            You don’t give a flying fuck about free speech, you’re defending these scumbags because they’re fellow travellers – nasty little cryptofacists just like you.

            We’ve got your number.

      • halfcrown 29.1.2

        “This comment is typical of why you guys don’t get it. ”

        What Guys? and what don’t we get?

        “You assume that politics is like football.”
        Who the fuck are you comrade to “assume” what I or others assume or think
        You are the one making profound statements which others have already called you to account for

        After your latest rant I corrected your bullshit by reminding you of an incident by the National Party pointing out that violence in place of free speech is NOT one-sided, as you tried to claim and the exclusive modus operandi of the left.

  30. Gosman 30

    Your grandparents didn’t shoot Nazi’s. If they were involved in the War they generally shot German or Italian soldiers (who may or may not have been Nazi party members). If they flew Bombers based out of the UK then they generally bombed civilians who may or may not have been Nazi party members but the majority of them weren’t.

    • dv 30.1

      Nazi party members but the majority of them weren’t.

      Cite please.

      • Gosman 30.1.1

        “When it came to power in 1933, the Nazi Party had over 2 million members. In 1939, the membership total rose to 5.3 million with 81% being male and 19% being female. It continued to attract many more and by 1945 the party reached its peak of 8 million with 63% being male and 37% being female (about 10% of the German population of 80 million).[2][113”


        McNab, Chris (2011). Hitler’s Masterplan: The Essential Facts and Figures for Hitler’s Third Reich. Amber Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1907446962. pp. 22, 23

        • dv


        • Tricledrown

          Gossip boy when you see the numbers Hitler murdered nearly as many as supported.
          But the reasons many joined in his Fascist Party was so they didn’t become victims of his cult.
          Funny how Trump endorses these Fascist enabling possers.
          Who’s ideology is to deny freedom of speech, so Ironic and their born again cultists it makes me Cross.
          The numbers of hawhaws here defending these nasties.
          Maybe we can send them to a concentration camp to immerse themselves in the ideology.

        • Brutus Iscariot

          And many will have joined for non-ideological reasons, such as career advancement.

          • McFlock

            So now some of the actual card-carrying Nazis TRP’s ancestors might have shot (or maybe who sank my grandad’s ship) weren’t real Nazis. Probably shouldn’t have had WW2 at all, with so many good people on both sides. /sarc

            • Gosman

              The reason I made the point was I find it purile to claim some persons relative or even friend or friends of friends fought against the Nazi’s in WWII. Most people had little clue what they were fighting against other than they must be fighting something bad because the Government they were fighting for told them so. The political nuances hinted at were not there for the majority. Trying to claim they were is disingenuine.

              • McFlock

                Oh, bullshit. That doesn’t give you the logical justification to assert that specific individuals didn’t fight nazis, didn’t oppose nazism rather than merely being drafted/patriotic, or any other assertion of that nature.

                Many people went in with their eyes fully open, and even if they didn’t then towards the end of the war they sure as shit found out what they happened to be fighting against.

                • RedLogix

                  Still given that Gosman has clearly demonstrated that at most 10% of the German population were members of the Nazi party (and I’d guess only a bare 5 – 7% could be described as ‘ideological’) … it’s only reasonable to assume that a similar fraction of the Allied population were motivated on ideological grounds as well.

                  After all what fraction of people volunteered to fight fascists in the Spanish Civil War?

                  It’s my reading that Gosman is more or less correct on this; that most Allied and Axis troops were there for all the usual reasons why men get sent to war, a combination of the draft, patriotism and social shaming. Indeed most of the real horrors of the Holocaust, the primary reason why the Nazi’s are so abhorred in our time, didn’t become widespread public knowledge until well after the war.

                  This doesn’t minimise the political burden that must be laid upon the Nazis; their toxic ideology was undeniably central to the war. But most ordinary people really just aren’t that political. Some would have been well aware of the deeper reasons why they were fighting, but to be blunt you can’t help but feel that most claims ‘my grandad killed nazis’ is not much more than a weird form of virtue signalling and/or grandstanding.

                  Oh and just for the record, my mother’s family lost three of her uncles, and my father’s father did not return from the Desert. The truly sad part is they all probably died fighting ordinary Axis soldiers just as loyal, self-sacrificing and patriotic as they were.

                  • arkie

                    What would you propose was the ‘idealogical grounds’ of the allied population?

                    and to the arguement of the apolitical german army; this idea is contradicted by their own records for a start, and is a theory spread by nazi apologists that is so old that is has it’s own name:

                    The Myth of a Clean Wehrmacht

                    • RedLogix

                      Oh yes … plenty of war propaganda on both sides of the war. I’m not arguing that people were not influenced by it to some degree. Nor am I arguing for a binary ‘bad nazi/good german’ choice here; just that as Gosman’s reference demonstrates, the large majority of the Axis forces were not card carrying Nazis. In war there are few innocents; some villains and lot of corpses.

                      The Nuremberg Trials importantly established the principle that ‘just following orders’ is not a exoneration when it comes to acts such as the Holocaust. But in terms of the ordinary prosecution of the war effort, the fact that Hitler’s Generals raised no objections to his military orders, is no more surprising than the number of US Generals who refused to invade Iraq.

                  • McFlock

                    Gosman’s choice of definition is, once again, the key to his derail.

                    He’s restricting “nazi” to card-carrying Nazi party members, in order to quibble with a statement that he cannot prove to be false (TRP’s statement in the post that “My grandparents didn’t debate Nazis, they shot them.” )

                    Gosman excludes everybody who swore an oath of loyalty to Hitler, wore a swastika on their uniform, voted for a Nazi, was active in the Hitler Youth, or was an enthusiastic part of keeping the Third Reich operational as long as possible.

                    All to assume some sort of moral equivalence between someone’s right to say something merely “offensive” and actively normalising intolerance of a level that is well along the path to a nazi-style regime that’s at first happy to let people die, then decides to help them along the way.

                    We’re in a world where the largest economy on the planet has to DNA test children because it took them from their families (by executive order) without ever considering returning them. You don’t do that to people you regard as people. That’s the situation we’re in, and the people Southern and co pander to. We are at real fucking risk of that shit happening all over again, and gosman wants to debate the prevalence of membership cards.

                    • marty mars

                      Yep nailed it.

                      The splinter technique of always derailing into a smaller and smaller prick.

                    • RedLogix

                      OK so that makes more sense McF. Perhaps another way of putting this might work. While it can be demonstrated that at least 90% of Germans were not motivated to become card-carrying Nazis, despite the probable incentives to do so; crucially what you can argue is that most Germans failed to oppose an extremist and murderous ideology right under their own noses. Why not?

                      I agree this opens a whole other can of worms.

                    • McFlock


                      For the purposes of this discussion, distinguishing between shooting wermacht soldiers of the Third Reich and shooting wermacht soldiers of the Third Reich who had a nazi party membership card in their wallet is a petty distraction from the basic principle that the people paying to hear Southern etc speak are substantially more likely than the general population to participate in any modern day organisations that are similar to (and/or sympathetic to) the Nazi party of the 1920s, 1930s, and half of the 1940s.

                      And also distracts from whether they should therefore be treated as benign, open-minded folk wanting to explore and debate a variety of intellectual concepts, or whether they should in fact be treated as people who should be in no way encouraged or normalised because if we tolerate their intolerance they might gain political power, and then tolerance will no longer be tolerated.

                    • RedLogix

                      I think the problem is this; what you really want to distract from is this rather fundamental problem … if you were living in Germany in that era (or the Stalinist Soviet Union, or Maoist China or Pol Pot’s Cambodia for that matter) … what would YOU have likely done?

                      Because mentally dismissing all Germans who lived through that war as some kind of evil sub-human class whom you can fence off from the rest of humanity, and collectively slap with the guilty label ‘fascist’ … may just be a way of avoiding that question.

                    • McFlock

                      That is indeed a fundamental question, but one that is entirely irrelevant to the post, bar arguing about the probabilistic accuracy of a single sentence. So who’s distracting from what?

                      As to answering your “fundamental question”, I don’t know precisely. Up until 1924-ish or around then, I reckon I’d be doing the 1920s version of what I’m doing now, because that’s roughly where we are now in the process.

                      But if I become a collaborator in arranging out the train schedules, feel free to shoot me. Current me would be awfully grateful.

                    • RedLogix

                      Yeah … the relevancy arises like this. If less than 10% of Germans were card-carrying Nazi’s, what the fuck was the other 90% doing? They outnumbered the hard-core fanatics by at least 10 to 1. Well we all like to think we’d be Resistance heroes:


                      But a quick skim through this suggests it was only the very truthful and brave who went down that path. Not very many people were up to it.

                      We are not so far apart on this, I agree that we are at risk of it all happening again; arguably if you look at Russia and China it already is. Hell Trump is only a handful of Executive Orders away from it. It should scare the shit out of us; because faced with the banal reality of totalitarian evil, it’s us ordinary 90% of people who have the godawful task of stopping it.

              • Tricledrown

                Goadboy my Mum and Dad avoided getting bombed every day you fing idiot running to bomb shelters in the middle of the night.
                Every one new you dumb ass.
                You are showing how shallow you are with your strawman argument.

    • marty mars 30.2

      Lol YOU dont know him or his grandparents yet you feel qualified enough to put a bullshit distraction up. Cowboy hat boy you are sad. 🤣

      • te reo putake 30.2.1

        Thanks marty, you’ve hit the nail on the head yet again. Gossie’s resorting to pedantry to try and minimise the role of Nazis in WW2. Think about what that says about how his mind works.

  31. esoteric pineapples 31

    I’m with Chris Trotter on this. Ideally, it should have been all progressives who took this case to court, because there is a principle at stake that shouldn’t be confused with the motivation of right wing reactionaries.

    • Incognito 31.1

      The way I see this, in the first instance, is that it is about a commercial proposal by a number of business people who got their ‘application for a permit’ declined – this happens all the time, BTW. To get their way they, and their ‘supporters’, have cleverly turned this into an issue about free speech. It is not and never was; it is about a business that wants to do business and make money. To nullify this argument they could make the event(s) free but it won’t change the fact that it is business (as usual): https://axiomatic.events/ [not secure]

      So, why should all (!) progressives drop everything and jump to the help of these poor deprived business people as if they are a bunch of boys trapped in a cave? In any case, there are many more-worthwhile cases to champion, don’t you think?

    • cleangreen 31.2

      Count me in too esoteric pineapples.

      100% to; ‘because there is a principle at stake’

      Phil goff did not do this legally right or morally.

      He did it without any consultation with public taxpayers or the council.

  32. Gabby 32

    Where’s Manu andee boy? Leave the cows alone.

  33. The Fairy Godmother 33

    I agree there is no such thing as free speech. A lot of the speech we hear in the public platform from commentators is paid for speech. The usual suspects Hosking, sopher et al fit here. I also think Trotter does too. He brands himself as left but his speech is paid for, not as far as I know by the left but by the media. So he has a lot in common with the Canadian pair whose speech is part of a business model and is also paid for and amplified.

    • Brutus Iscariot 33.1

      Who cares if it’s paid for? He chose to write the words, and (assuming your assessment is correct, which it probably isn’t) made the tradeoff of his own volition between principle and money. It’s up to the reader to assess motive – buyer beware.

      The same argument is used to dismiss progressive views as being paid for by Soros.

    • greywarshark 33.2

      Chris Trotter does some good ruminating and discusses politics looking at the dark corners, and the airy fairy. But I think he is idealistic and nostalgic to bring back past priorities which allow too much play on the political steering which may lead to further errors and mismanagement. There is no time now to offer extreme courtesy to the Right. Any apparent courtesy from them is sly and farcical.

  34. Aaron 34

    You should have tried harder to hide how much you dislike Chris Trotter because it makes it hard to take anything else you say (in this post) very seriously.

    Do you know what makes you so angry that you can’t keep that anger out of your commentary? I Presume you read this through before posting it but it really feels like something written in the heat of the moment.

    • I don’t dislike Chris Trotter. As far as I can recall, I’ve never met the man. What I do dislike is his behaviour in this matter, where he is willingly taking the side of the far right. He’s an intelligent man and will have known that he is being used as cover by the racist Brash et al.

      Trotter makes out he is “left leaning” and gets kudos and cash in the media for being a voice from the left. The truth appears to be he is just another conservative hack, trading on principles he has long since abandoned.

      Two disclaimers; I once shook Don Brash’s hand (I’m pretty well mannered in person) and I once heard Trotter sing live on National Radio and he was excellent.

      • Dennis Frank 34.1.1

        I recall when he was part of the New Labour Party. They split due to the Rogernomes shifting Labour to the right. That appears to validate his leftist credentials: a personal track record as political activist to the left of Labour. He’s talked about his father’s formative influence on his political views (think he described his dad as a staunch unionist). Yeah, I’ve heard him sing The Red Flag when invited to by mainstream media hosts at least twice & he’s rather good.

      • Gosman 34.1.2

        I guess you are not a subscriber to the maxim “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” then.

        This is why your views are dangerous.

        • Tricledrown

          Gossipboy Ironic you defend those who’s goal is to take away all freedoms

        • greywarshark

          I think that ‘defend to the death’ is not prescriptive. Who’s death is not spelled out.

        • lprent

          I suspect that TRP is simply more nuanced and aware of the pitfalls of blinding ideological blinkers than you are. I kind of get the impression that you can’t contain more than a few actual thoughts in your head at a time, so instead you rely on simple minded slogans to cover the gaps in understanding resulting from that mental failure.

          Such fools as you would be dangerous if you were capable of actually achieving anything with any results apart from simple destruction.

      • McFlock 34.1.3

        He reminds me of a comment a left-leaning woman made about socialists/communists in the 1970s – they’d talk all about the class struggle and power structures being eliminated and equality for all, then the men would expect the women to sort out the tea and biscuits and dishes after the meeting.

      • Aaron 34.1.4

        I’ve realised the problem here is a contradiction between 2 important ideals on the left. Free speech to my mind is just as important as fighting prejudice but there is a contradiction between the two because fighting prejudice requires getting people to stop making prejudicial speech (amongst other things).

        The only thing I can think of at the moment is that we can at least treat our opponents with dignity and respect. Be the change…and all that.

        I agree it’s important to keep fascism out but falling into hate mode is only going to fuel the fire. Imagine if they had come here, and 99% of the country ignored them and then they left. If I was running a PR campaign for the 2 Canadians I don’t think I could have done anything more effective than the publicity the left has provided free of charge.

        Right now you are coming off as someone full of hate and that hatred will probably ensure that the only people who listen are those who already agree with you.

        This is also deflecting us from other important work.

        • McFlock

          The contradiction is the paradox of tolerance.

          • Bill

            The important caveat to Popper’s supposed paradox is that the tolerance is “without limit”. But no-one advocates that, do they?

            • McFlock

              Well, I think here some people are arguing for a level of tolerance that will have the same paradoxical outcome.

              Is “paradoxical” a word?

              • Dennis Frank

                I believe paradoxical is a word. Even if it doesn’t show up in a dictionary we can use it. Postmodern culture sees language as evolving, so we can actually make it up as we go along. ; )

          • Aaron

            @McFlock. Thanks for the link, good to see someone already thought of this. In a tolerant society we need to be intolerant of intolerance!

            I think it’s only a paradox at an ideological level. If we’re looking at things from a practical perspective giving intolerant people a chance to operate totally freely is asking for trouble. The first line of defense is open debate but as stated in that link society does have a right to preserve itself too. The trick is knowing when you’re up againt brownshirts and need to fight fire with fire.

            • Dennis Frank

              Yeah, reminds one of Munich & the fate of Neville Chamberlain. Non-violence as statecraft doesn’t work if applied unilaterally. Thus 67 years of Chinese genocide in Tibet so far. Didn’t work for the Moriori in the Chathams either, when the Maoris figured out how to sail European ships & went there for a free lunch (& dinner, plus takeaways for as many months ahead as they could foresee).

              The paradox of any rule about meeting force with force provides teachable moments in the application and it is indeed important for us to examine how it plays out in each relevant context.

  35. Tiger Mountain 35

    Mr Trotter has an ailment that regularly afflicts long distance columnists–a ratio of roughly one in ten columns where you write against “type”, but people I guess have been asking what is Chris Trotters “type”? since he annoyed senior unionists in the mid 80s, by writing for the National Business Review as a side earner

    he was then a member of the short lived Distribution Workers Federation, heh, mind you Rob Campbell was also then at top level of the DWF!

    but Trotter seems to have “taken it to the limit one more time” in his wilful contrarianism, he is no oracle these days, despite some good works in the past, a freelancer flogging syndicated columns

  36. In Vino 36

    Unfair, I think. To my mind the problem is that Chris Trotter is far too educated, especially in history. I believe he is a Leftie, but his knowledge leads him to picking nits that many less-educated lefties are unaware of; they then misinterpret his intentions, and accuse him of treachery.
    I usually find his arguments valid and justified. It is not all black and white in this complicated world. Sorry, but I think some here tend to rush things into black and white. Trotter is a restrained and informed voice of reason. (No offence intended, TRP.)

    • Anne 36.1

      … Trotter is a restrained and informed voice of reason…

      Agree. Except when he gets carried away. 😉

  37. joe90 37

    Chris Trotter is the very definition of a ‘useful idiot’.



    Last month, in an episode of the podcast affiliated with the now-defunct AltRight.com, co-host Gregory Conte, who works as director of operations at Spencer’s National Policy Institute, was speaking with Spencer about possible government regulation of social media in response to tech companies suspending alt-right activists from social media platforms. Conte said that he thought the alt-right would favor government regulation of speech in the short term, but seemed uncertain about what the alt-right would support long-term.

    Conte asked Spencer, “Are we even pro-free speech?”

    “No, of course not,” Spencer said. “But we have to use this platform in order—“

    “So, we’re being radically honest, here?” Conte asked.

    “Yes, radically pragmatic,” Spencer replied.


    • Ed 37.1

      One of the mistakes the Weimar Republic made was that it gave Hitler free speech.
      As soon as he and his thugs secured power, they destroyed all free speech.
      We should treat the alt-right, today’s fascists, the same way.
      They are not interested in debate.
      Trotter should look at his bedfellows.

      • Tiger Mountain 37.1.1

        Agree, they want platforms and will use plausible tactics among reasonable persons such as “free speech” to get them, but what do fascists do once in power? crap on ‘reasonable people’ from a great height…

        • greywarshark

          Those are major points Ed and Tiger Mountain.
          You put the case plainly.

  38. NZJester 38

    I would have no qualms about them speaking if there was a chance for others to have a free and open debate to refute what they have to say at the same event. Unfortunately, they would never agree to a free and fair debate. The Right has a history of filibustering debates and interviews or picking right-leaning centrists to debate against claiming they are from the left-wing and then claim that the left had their fair share of airtime.

    • Dennis Frank 38.1

      True, but our current affairs shows on tv have degenerated to the extent that the programmers and/or media owner/operators seem to have conceded that younger generations lack the intellect to engage such content anyway. Plus viewers are required to have the attention span of a gnat in order to get to the next commercial break asap. In a live public meeting you have the audience of partisans trying to heckle or shout down the speaker they are opposed to because they are biased against considering both points of view. Left & right both guilty.

      So what is required is a public service format in which participants listen to each other and everyone weighs the options presented carefully. I’d design it to produce agreement by identifying common ground: the opposite format to conventional politics. I predict knee-jerk responses from readers who believe such progress is impossible because politicos get off on demonising their opposition so much that they’ll never be able to overcome their addiction…

  39. Angel Fish 39

    First you need to understand that Capitalism is a CONSEQUENCE of scarcity!
    Your socialist utopia could only potentially be achieved if you technologically
    solved for the underlying problem of resource scarcity among others things.
    I wont say it’s impossible but it’s not achievable today nor for another hundred or so years. Especially since the most vital fuel for society, crude oil is fast running out and what not.

    So in fact, what you are going to naturally see is even stronger capitalism in the future, unless of course idiots like the OP have their way and end up ushering in mass famines like with Stalin and Mao.

    As for Freedom of Speech, it’s not freedom from social consequence, it’s freedom from GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION! You not liking someone and wanting to boycott them is your right. But you have no right to call forth the government to come in and silence someone!

  40. Pat 40

    As you are extensively quoted you may wish to read the attached.


    • Thanks, Pat. Its sort of an instant Godwin, isn’t it? Certainly in the sense that he claims being publically anti-fascist is actually, y’know, fascist. Sighs and rolly eyes all round.

      It’s also rather disingenuous, as it ignores the substance of my complaint about Trotter, which is that sucking up to bigots is poor form, even for a useful idiot.

      Anyhoo, from the self pitying tone of it, I’m obviously not the only one who has pointed out how badly Trotter has let himself down. I suppose we must hope he learns from this episode and grows up a little.

      ps, many thanks to Jenny for her kind and clever words in a reply on the piece. Much appreciated, comrade.

    • Thanks, Pat. Its sort of an instant Godwin, isn’t it? Certainly in the sense that he claims being publically anti-fascist is actually, y’know, fascist. Sighs and rolly eyes all round.

      It’s also rather disingenuous, as it ignores the substance of my complaint about Trotter, which is that sucking up to bigots is poor form, even for a useful idiot.

      Anyhoo, from the self pitying tone of it, I’m obviously not the only one who has pointed out how badly Trotter has let himself down. I suppose we must hope he learns from this episode and grows up a little.

      ps, many thanks to Jenny for her kind and clever words in a reply on the piece. Much appreciated, comrade.

  41. Lone Comet 41

    Heartening to read what you say here TRP, Chris Trotter writes things at times that make me suspect he is a secret wannabe dictator in one of those places deep in his heart of hearts and its leaking out in weird ways. Hence to the illogical membership of the so called free speech cohort named above. Not good company at all, and a very stupid thing to support as this issue is not about freedom of speech in any shape manner or form. He really should know that. Does know that…? Then there is the support of Putin, and the sighing about the lack of a left wing Politburo in NZ to control the Woke left. Weird, not left at all. Dictatorial.

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