Monday, 9 July 2018

Some propositions on free speech





Since berks are going berserk over the so-called “death of free speech” because a property-owner has said blowhards can't speak on that property,* let’s examine again some basic propositions of free speech, just so we know what the animal looks like -- and how denying someone the right to your platform does not deny their free speech:

Some propositions on free speech

The right to free speech means the right to express one's ideas without danger of coercion, of physical suppression or of interference by the state. 
Censorship is interference by the state in the expression of ideas. (And laws against murder, rape, assault and child sex are sufficient to cover any violation of rights in the censor's current domain.)
A private network refusing to broadcast your views or a property owner deciding not to hire you their venue is not censorship - it is their choice. (Remember choice?)  
A private network choosing to offend is their business. Choosing not to watch or to withdraw advertising is yours.
Bad ideas are still ideas. You should be just as free to air them as I should be to ignore them, or to pillory them, ore to refuse to give them a home.
Just as the right to pursue happiness doesn't require that you be made happy, the principle of free speech doesn't demand that anyone provide you with a platform and a microphone.
Just as the right to do what I like with my health and my life does not mean that I have to smoke cannabis, neither does the right to free speech mean I must offend. Just as I must take responsibility for what I do with my health and my life, so too must I take responsibility for what I say.
I may choose to offend, and I have the right to, but free speech doesn't mean I have to. However, anyone able to épater le bourgeosie has always been able to count on free publicity from those being épater-ed. Drawing attention to something you dislike may give that which you dislike even more attention. Think about it.
By itself, "I'm offended," is not an argument. It's just a whine.
Saying you don't like 'South Park' is not a call for censorship. Saying you want it banned would be. Saying "I don't like that," is not censorship.
Organising a voluntary boycott is not censorship. Organising a government ban however would be.
I may be offended, but I may not commit violence against those who offend me. I may boycott, but I may not behead.
Blocking traffic, threats, and forced entry are no part of the right to protest. They are respectively a traffic hazard, an initiation of force and an act of trespass.
"Hate speech" is an illegitimate package deal. Laws against "hate speech" are illegitimate. Laws against conspiracy to commit murder are not.
The right to free speech gives the smallest minority the absolute protection of the state to air their views. The smallest minority is the individual.
My freedom ends where your nose begins. My free speech ends where your rights begin. The right to free speech does not mean that I may incorrectly besmirch your reputation by telling lies about you. This would be called fraud. Nor does it mean you may shout "fire" in a crowded theatre in which there is none, and in which the exit doors have been locked. This would be called fraud with menaces.
Speech is speech, not violent destruction.
Ridicule is better than bans.
Moral persuasion is better than force.
When tyranny occurs, it can be challenged from a thousand presses - but only if free speech and a free press has been valued in the interim; tyranny can never be easily challenged in the absence of the freedom to speak out.
Free speech has been more valued in the abstract than in reality.
"Freedom but..." is not freedom.
Forcing ideas underground does not eradicate them, it incubates them. Bad ideas are anaerobic -- the oxygen of free inquiry kills them. Bad ideas can only be fought with better ones.
If you don't like it, then just turn it off.  Don't get an arm of the state to do it for you.
_ _ _ _ _ _  _
* No, the council shouldn't be in the business of owning venues. But as long as it does, it has the right to deny hiring them to whomever it chooses. (we can have a discussion about not being required to fund those oppose in the comments, if you like.) But consider that nothing in the council's refusal to hire a venue to these idiots denies them the right to take their business elsewhere. The fact that these particular hirers have chosen not to perhaps says more about their ticket sales that they might like to let on.
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23 comments:

  1. I agree that a private property owner may choose who they have on their premises.

    Thing is the Council is not a private property owner - never has been & never will be. They are in the 'business' of providing public space for their community. As such the threshold they have to legitimately ban someone from their premises is way higher than a private property owner.

    Absolutely the council shouldn't be in the business of hall hire. But whilst they are they need to stick to their principles of community access - not whatever the ones they may wish to make up this week.

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  2. I have given some thought to this today because I am considering donating to the legal fight against the decision (https://freespeechcoalition.nz). Moleneux is not someone I want to listen to, but that is not the point. Unless the event is in some way being subsidized by public funds I see a dangerous precident being set in terms of censorship, because that is what is effectively happening here. This is not like a television or radio show that has airtime to fill or a paper that has space to fill and so the "owner" must choose what is a more worthy and less worthy viewpoint to fill that time or space (your argument would stand in those contexts). The venue hire in this case generates the council some much needed funds. To deny the hire on the grounds of objecting to the speaker or worse, behind the disingenuous cover of their safety being put at risk, is in effect to *subsidize censorship*. That is how I see it having considered your list of points above which deal with a "private network", which is not the case here. Welcome your come back.

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  3. Inside every liberal is a totalitarian screaming the progressive global program .

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  4. Terry above > you can try listening to some facts reported by Molyneux, you won't become ill, Comrade Jacinda will demean you but you will still be free >> for now. I give it two years before we have hate speech laws supported by liberals and confused programmed libertarians.

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    Replies
    1. Why would we ever need to go to the expense of draughting pesky new laws banning something that has already been taken care of?

      Delete
  5. > a property-owner has said blowhards can't speak on that property

    This tactic of smearing people with labels like "blowhards" and not explaining why or providing examples is wrong, lazy, and pitifully common. Goff does the same by saying Southern and Molyneux are promoting "hate speech" and not giving any explanation why. People do the same with Rand all the time. It is just virtue-signalling by smearing.

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  6. Lauren Southern is 24 years old and has made things such as the following on-the-ground documentary exposing what Marxism is doing to South Africa:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_bDc7FfItk

    This is powerful stuff. To PC she is just a blowhard.

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  7. The fact that these particular hirers have chosen not to perhaps says more about their ticket sales that they might like to let on.
    Or it may be that they simply can't find another venue of this size at such short notice. Which is extremely likely.

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  8. This matter is not about what would-be users of public venues have a right to do. It is about what public officials don't or shouldn't have permission to do, in this case turn away a paying customer because of their own political leanings.

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  9. I'm disappointed that being labelled far right nowadays is so easy. Has someone moved the goal posts to let Southern, who I would have thought did not approach that standard, camp on such ground?

    Goff and political response generally to his ban is appalling. Seymour was particularly disappointing but out of left field we have Elliot Ikilei making Wendyl Nissan look ill informed. The Muslim influence is also of concern - its meant to be at the 5% of the population level before we have to start sucking up to them yet here we have the possibility of hurty feelings already dictating that we cannot debate their political designs at well below that level. I can't recall a more serious barrier to free speech in NZ and this should be a worrying development for all that value it.

    3:16

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  10. Yeah, the left has now gone so far left that what was previously the centre is now seen as far-right. This new left hates free speech. It is white privilege and a tool of oppression. They are the "by any means necessary" no-platforming snowflakes. So yes, PC, we live in times where free-speech is under serious threat and Goff is virtue signaling to this crowd.

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  11. Everything you said about free speech goes without saying. But you seem to be disregarding the fact this is a state owned venue, not a private one. Of course we’d both agree the state shouldn’t be in the business of owning such venues, but so long as they are they shouldn’t be turning away business because they don’t like the politics of the speakers, or too scared to host anyone controversial.

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  12. Yes, Google, Facebook etc. being private companies have every right to censor speech and ruin the livelihood of their customers, but this does not make them respectable. Especially when they have near monopolies of those platforms, much like owning all or most public halls. I see a worrying trend with intolerance of opinion by private institutions. What could the future hold.... phone and power companies disconnecting customers with unacceptable views? Patients being turned away? Such discrimination is just as repugnant as racism

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  13. Does P Goff in his role as Mayor have the right to decide what views people are allowed to hear in a venue publicly funded by compulsory rates.The people who disagree with Southern and Moleneux aren't be forced to go.

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  14. I donated to Free Speech Coalition.nz for two reasons. That's not to count the wonderful mixture of non-partisan sponsors. To have Mr Trotter, Mr Perigo, Mr Moon, et al all on the same side..!

    1. Auckland is my city and I want it to hold free speech as civic policy, a municipal value. The way we do things here ought to be an open forum for ideas to contest, as Mr Trotter said. To do anything less is indeed to make a Feudal Crown of the Mayoral Chain! The Mayoralty becomes throne for competing interest groups to seize from one another so they can persecute their rivals and openly promote their own allies with impunity.

    2. Free Speech is part of man's right to life. If we can't express ourselves to ourselves and others who opt to receive it then we're denied the right to life (Objectivism 101.)

    Of course this self-expression implies a stop to anyone else taking the right-holders territory, property, microphone, or venue without the right-holder's consent. Free Speech means we have no right to take those things off others by force; We have the duty not to take them.

    But the venues under political control by Auckland City Council are not subject to that. They're not owned by a rights holder. They're not property, they're a stolen concept labelled "public property" meaning only that some successful political gang of bandits or another is in temporary possession of plunder. The bandits didn't earn it, they didn't build it, they stole buildings and land and tax money and shuffled them about beyond all recognition while playing musical chairs with one another so that, for the moment, Bandito Goff is King of the Castle.

    How else could it be? What would it mean if robbery was privileged with the same status as property rights? What remains of property and free speech if these things are also supposed to simultaneously mean their very antithesis? That a thief is entitled by right to protection of what he has taken and morally entitled to exclude others because he now owns it? That's impossible, even if you dress it up with inter-generational spans or time or shell games of complexity which is all that Auckland City Council has done to the art of plundering property from true owners.

    So, no, the Council is not in the business of owning venues and has no right to hire them or to deny hiring them. They are simply an imposter and in that capacity have swallowed up huge swathes of real estate and convention venues, removing them from the property free market. And now, by openly and specifically removing them from the free speech market as well, reserving them views sanctioned by himself, Goff has certainly undermined the principle of free speech as a moral right. If that's not breaking the law then we don't have any laws.

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  15. Jesus, how can the writer of this rubbish be so obtuse, or affect not to understand the real issue?

    The council-run facilities are paid for through forced contributions from all Aucklanders, that is, local rates and taxes. The council has no right to deny those same Aucklanders use of those facilities on the basis of political ideas.

    This has nothing to do with private property rights. The facilities are not private property and the funding for them is not private or voluntarily given.

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    Replies
    1. "Jesus, how can the writer of this rubbish be so obtuse, or affect not to understand the real issue?"

      Are you sure that *you* do, Anonymite?

      "This has nothing to do with private property rights."

      Maybe you should check your premises.

      For example: is it right that folk should be forced to pay for hosting something with which they violently disagree?

      In any case, I'd suggest that before this 'booking' was made the speakers would have expected no more than a dozen people to attend. After everyone had been well played, however, they might expect many more (if, indeed, they bother to show up at all).

      Do you ever get the feeling you're being cheated?

      Delete
    2. Maybe I should check my premises? Maybe you should because the premises in question are public. See what I did there?

      Is it right that folk should be forced to pay for something and then be denied the use of that something because their political views aren't acceptable to the public officials who force them to pay for that something?

      I guess in your book it is.

      Let's clarify this:

      - citizens are forced to pay taxes that fund the building of publicly-owned venues
      - officials are acting properly when they deny those paying for said venues access to those venues on the basis of their political views.

      Yet this is no different than denying those forced to pay for public hospitals treatment at those hospitals on the basis of their political views.

      And it's no different than those forced to pay for public roads being denied access to those roads on the basis of their political views.

      Should we be forced to pay for either? No. But while we are so compelled we should have no politically-correct denials made.

      But you say that's perfectly acceptable.

      What a champion of statism we have before us. No private property rights are involved yet they are invoked -- and let's cut to the chase here -- to satisfy the subjective whims of those suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome.

      My God, how transparent you are, Peter.

      Anonymite? Is that a play on words? Dynamite? Vegemite? Not sodomite, surely? Well, if there's anyone taking it up the ass it's you, and from Gauleiter Goff.

      I hope it feels good.

      Delete
  16. Missed this thread.

    I've watched Southern's Farmlands doco and got myself up to date on Molyneux via your own great heads up, Peter. However, I definitely donated to this cause, still, for what I think are two valid reasons over and above I don't think Goff can claim the role to police free speech on publicly owned assets.

    To give my view I'll simply paste my comment from NBR comments:

    I see the detractors are saying this free speech campaign is now about a bunch of white supremacists trying to get two white supremacists in. Of course, these are the same people who want hate speech laws which are anathema to free speech, but their focus is also wrong.

    I donated to the campaign not because, in the first instance, I want to bring these two speakers in (Molyneux advocates a toxic brand of white supremacy by collapsing the difference between culture and race, and holding out that genes thus race determine IQ, which is bullshit; I'm unsure about Southern, albeit I have now watched her Farmlands doco and think it has merit for nothing else other than we can't get such important topics as the murder of white farmers in Africa through our MSM (CNN, etc) because a liberal media is so conflicted reporting on this, and have forgotten how to do objective journalism ... but these two speakers are irrelevant...

    I donated to the campaign for two reasons:

    1. The Orwellian named Auckland Peace Action made public a threat to use violence to stop a peaceful speaking engagement, and;

    2. FIANZ [Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand] which holds itself out as a moderate Islam that can live with our ironclad rights and liberties, including free speech, went in the first instance to the government demanding a ban, indicating they don't understand on a very basic level the rights generations have fought for in the West since our Enlightenment.

    Forget Molyneux and Southern - if they do come I certainly won't be going to see them - those latter two points on which I donated are really important, and both have to be changed if we are to stay living in a free and peaceful society. Perhaps the best place for Auckland Peace Action to start would be little self-awareness and taking the 'Peace' out of their name.

    End comment.

    The only reply to that comment does indeed show the harm of Molyneux:

    https://www.nbr.co.nz/opinion/why-wont-phil-goff-defend-free-speech#comment-801194

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  17. Peter, please explain how the event proceeding costs ratepayers and how it not going ahead does not cost them? I am assuming here that the use of the venue would be paid for by the speakers and their agents, and so by not going ahead ratepayers will need to subsidize the lost revenue with their rates.

    And I think I see where this is going. It is going to become a test case for the Human Rights Act, and the outcome is likely to give that Act more teeth (not because it is right for it most certainly isn't but because that is how the law has been framed).

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  18. Molyneux is verbose, morally floating, and a little irritating and I wouldn't pay to see him. Lauren on the other hand..

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  19. Peter your latest article on Molyneux has answered my questions and changed my mind. Thank you.

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