A court case taken by anti-[redacted] zealots shows the absurdity in what they absurdly call smokefree legislation (the only legislation in which, ironically, the word “free” appears).1
A Porirua man has been convicted of obstructing bureaucrats and for displaying signs with the word [redacted] all around his [redacted] shop.
Jack Thomson is a [redacted]. He runs a [redacted] shop in Porirua, and was fined $250 for “obstructing a smokefree officer,” and $2025 for displaying [redacted] advertising. Thomson’s shop, “Discount [Redacted] Supplies,” breaks the Ministry of Health’s law banning [redacted] advertising, as did many of the posters covering the walls inside. Fearful, apparently, that the mere appearance of the word [redacted] might set people off in some way known only to themselves, men and women at the Ministry took on Mr Thomson’s shop as a project, making repeated visits until Thomson eventually blanked out two letters in the word "[redacted]" on the front of his shop with stickers. Each sticker read, "This is a banned word." But he refused to remove posters inside with the same word.
The absurdity, perhaps, is that anyone entering a [redacted] shop advertised as such by its signboard would be unsurprised to discover inside posters advertising [redacted]. The anti-[redacted] zealots however seem to think that banning words is their own reward – which for them, being just another manifestation of their power to control behaviour, it probably is.
How little we value free speech, and how easily we have accepted censorship, and control of what peaceful people choose to do.
[Pic by Stuff. Hat tip Julian D.]
1. Graham Edgeler tells me I am technically mistaken:
In legislation that is not smoking related, we also have:
Lower Hutt City (Free Ambulance Site) Act 1977
New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987
Wellington Free Ambulance Act 1941
And, adopting a broad meaning of legislation, there is also:
Electricity (China Free Trade Agreement) Regulations 2008
So there’s those. But of freedom, we have …