GUEST POST: “No Blacks - No Dogs - No Mokos!”
Susan’s busy this week, so coming off the bench today as a replacement we have Russell Watkins of Watkins & Clark fame with a little something to offend you.
Geez, just look at the hullabaloo over the moko’d guy that was refused entry to a Christchurch bar. Have New Zealanders become more pathetic over the years? - so sensitive that adults, at the first sign of hurt feelings, run off to tell on each other to the media, or Fair Go . . . or their mums?
What’s happened over the years is that, bit by bit, there’s been a corruption of what we understand by “individual rights.” At every turn we’ve seen a cultural shift towards becoming a nation of grizzlers demanding a “right” to everything from everyone else – towards an “entitlement” culture – towards the idea that everyone is owed a living at the expense of everyone else. There is no such right. There is no such entitlement. This moko nothingness is all about the so-called right to not be offended, the so-called right to enter private property uninvited – regardless of the reasons you’ve been locked out. To make it easy for you (i.e. without having to go into a thesis on why no such rights exist), just think about the consequences of taking these rights to their natural conclusion – a place in which everyone is legally obliged to what every anyone else insists they do.
Is that the New Zealand you want to live in?
Now, no doubt you’ll be saying, “...but banning people from places, or not giving someone a job because of an aversion to someone’s race, age, religious persuasion, culture, gayness, choice of T-shirt is wrong, and should be illegal”. While I agree that most of these phobias are irrational, that doesn’t mean that holding these phobias should be illegal. Why not? – because phobias are ideas, not force; and therefore constitute nothing but a state of mind.
How do you make a state of mind illegal while holding to the values of the right to free expression & free speech? You can’t! While you may disapprove of someone else’s ideas – regardless of how awful those ideas are – that someone has a right to be wrong; your only right is to persuade them of their error or stay the hell away from them – that’s it, nothing else!
The point of law protecting free speech is simply to make the world safe for reason and rationality. It doesn’t guarantee that you’ll find it under rock you overturn.
Which leaves us with some pretty clear conclusions. That the property owner in Christchurch who’s been made the fall guy here is, as I said, quite rightly at liberty to decide who he serves in his bar. That the moko’d one in question is quite at liberty to go somewhere else. That, in that way, everyone keeps their real rights intact. And that, if the Human Rights Commission were to penalise this bar owner, then that in itself would be a breach of free speech and free expression – and as such the only thing here that must be banned.
Freedom to be irrational. If you want to be free to be reasonable, then you have to expect some nonsense to be legal as well. So get over it.
* * Russell Watkins blogs regularly at Tauranga’s Sun Live website with his colleague Graham Clark. Check them out. * *