A Different Light – 18 August 2018

SPEECH MARKS        A different Light – 18 August

You have got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, and know when to bugger off back to Canada. Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux, Canada’s Alt-Righters knew this when they wanted to peddle their white supremist wears in New Zealand to the turn of $99 a pop(minimum). Phil Goff told them to bog off from his Town Hall and Aucklander’s protestations caused them a cessation.

“They were not wanted.

When they were in New Zealand.

Knowing this they left.”

A Haiku  leaving them bemused but they got what they wanted, publicity and know doubt a bigger demand for their next gig.  It certainly freed up a lot of speech in New Zealand. I am always gobsmacked at how easy it is to awaken amoebic logic and how people who you thought were relatively sophisticated revert to the most basic of arguments. “Free speech is free speech end of”, “everyone is allowed to speak their point of view”, and  “there is no harm in a point of view”. There has been some very good pieces written on the differences between free speech and hate speech. I think a very good way of recognising hate speech is when the speaker starts to wine about their rights to free speech. When people speak about free speech there is always an agenda and it’s usually self serving.

Re-wind to 2004 in Orewa where Donald(familiar?) Brash made a brash speech that cajoled and regurgitated support for then flailing National Party by what many people felt was fuelling racist sentiment toward Māoridom The speech itself was framed in terms of equality and pragmatism, arguing for doing away with policies that proactively targeted Maori to address the obvious marginalisation and obscure references to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. A catch cry to the speech was “end to the Treaty of Waitangi grievance industry”. His speech was criticised by lecturer and political writer Jon Johansson: “Whether intended or not, the Orewa speech reinforced the ignorant and racist.”

Now, Don Brash, I know he is spritely and agile but did he foresee the argie-bargie coming from a while ago? Did he line up the resent free speech debates to coincide with his Narcissist of the Year opps I mean New Zealander of the Year Nomination Award? My apologies if I seem somewhat conspiracist but the timing seems to be perfect in his lead up to the nomination. Did he choreograph his university speeches to come off the coat tails of the white supremist Canadian’s push for their right to speak? If he did it did a great job to rouse the media’s attention to defend the right to free speech and nicely arrive at the nomination to  New Zealander of the Year. I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t a book launch around the corner.

Some people get addicted to the limelight. They like to bathe in it. They get cold when the light goes out and when it does they manufacture or manipulate an event or a group of people or both to bolster their appeal no matter how common the dominator.

Sometimes it’s good to know when to bow down from a particular position whether it be in politics, governance or even an ideology. As Kenny Rogers croons “ Know when to walk away, when the dealings done.