Q&A: Free speech or just plain offensive?

A topic of our times – it is easier for most of us to speak freely in public, largely on the Internet (but also on University campuses), but this is creating problems and raises questions over how free speech should be, and what consequences there could be for saying the ‘wrong’ thing.

21 Comments

  1. NOEL

     /  April 1, 2018

    Bill of Rights and Human Rights Act appear to cover most contigencies.
    One shouldn’t undermine the right to an opinion. If one is offended by speech not covered by those mechanisms acknowledge the comment is from a dicktard or throw it back.

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  April 1, 2018

    There have always been attempts to shut down free speech and always will be because speech is war by other means. Truth is the first casualty of war.

    So long as humans are free to compete this will continue.

  3. artcroft

     /  April 1, 2018

    Disharmonious speech? I’m sure that’s already a thing in Nth Korea.

    • Yes, that stood out. Is some government agency really looking in to law change related to disharmonious speech?

      • Gezza

         /  April 1, 2018

        If they are they should bloody shut up!
        Bastards! 😀

        It’s an insane idea – or certainly a ridiculous label for a law that may well prove to be completely unworkable.

        My own impression is that ideas of further restricting free speech, or banning groups with views or supporters of policies out of sync with SJW ideas from student bodies will face growing resistance here because the justification for doing so doesn’t stand up to any reasonable argument.

        It will work against the Press too. So I would expect to see any debate and conflict in these areas getting highlighted by the msm.

        • artcroft

           /  April 1, 2018

          Yes, once whatever group is accorded the power to pronounce on whether speech is harmonious or not, that power will be used ruthlessly and dissidents punished ruthlessly.

  4. sorethumb

     /  April 1, 2018

    Editor of Spinoff says that if a Maori woman says something to a White middle aged man that can’t be racist but not vice-versa because of the POWER RELATIONSHIP.

    Spoonleys definition
    Racism is the ideological belief that people can be classified into ‘races’ … [which] can be
    ranked in terms of superiority and inferiority … racism is the acceptance of racial superiority … It is often used to refer to the expression of an ideology of racial superiority in the situation where the holder has some power. Thus prejudice plus power denotes racism in the modern sense … racism is essentially an attitudinal or ideological phenomenon. … A dominant group not only holds negative beliefs about other groups but, because of the power to control resources, is able to practice those beliefs in a discriminatory way … This ideological concept structures social and political relationships and derives from a history of European colonialism. The idea of ‘race’ has evolved from its use in scientific explanation (now discredited) and as a justification in the oppression of
    colonised, non European people

    https://medianz.otago.ac.nz/medianz/article/download/34/39

    However ‘t appears that othering is a human characteristic.
    Spoonley seems to have bought the noble savage myth.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21220339

    God Save The Queen

    • sorethumb

       /  April 1, 2018

      Paul Moon says he has been non personned but they will not debate.

    • Kimbo

       /  April 1, 2018

      Yep. I remember that pious racist old fraud, the Reverend Hone Kaa First said that on TV some 30+ years ago, along with the logical corollary that Maori cannot therefore be racists. And the then-Race Relations Conciliator, Wally Hirsch, who was there on the programme with him, rather than administering an immediate slap-down as his well-paid Government-appointed position demanded, instead dissembled and mumbled something to the effect that he was aware of that definition of racism in academic circles.

      • Corky

         /  April 1, 2018

        Good memory. The theme of ”Maori can’t be racist” was explored in a film by Don Selwyn.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  April 1, 2018

          Sorethumb, my husband and I worked in a school where the headmistress was a Maori woman, so how would that fit the power thing ?

          That idea – that power always goes one way – is a gross insult to Maori women. I take it that the speaker has failed to notice that we have had Maori women MPs and Cabinet Ministers for some time. If they had been around when I was a census collector, they’d have seen that the person in charge was a Maori woman (the rest of us were a mixed bag of men, women and different races) And so on. It’s very racist to assume that Maori women are powerless by definition.

          A late manager of quite a large BNZ branch was a Maori woman, and she was still young when she died. There are Maori women in positions of responsibility in the bank I go to…

  5. Corky

     /  April 1, 2018

    There should be no such thing as ”offensive free speech.” Isn’t that an oxymoron?

    • Gezza

       /  April 1, 2018

      No. Free speech can be offensive. The irony of today’s situation was pointed out by Bryce Edwards on Q&A. In the 60’s and 70’s the clamour from liberals was that there should be no censorship. There’s been a 180 degree turn since then & now liberals cry and yell that there are many things people must not say or do – especially if they are opposed to what they think everyone should think, do or say.

      • Blazer

         /  April 2, 2018

        who exactly arare these ‘liberals’ you speak of…neo libs?

        • Gezza

           /  April 2, 2018

          Reportage. Please redirect your enquiry to Bryce Edwards.

    • David

       /  April 2, 2018

      “There should be no such thing as ”offensive free speech.” Isn’t that an oxymoron?”

      The purpose of free speech is that it is offensive. If it was not, there would be no need for the concept of free speech.

  6. There should be no restrictions whatever on Free Speech. It is the absolute bedrock of a civilised society and must therefore be accepted warts and all. Any attempt to curtail it on the grounds of ‘offensiveness’ is invariably made by ideological zealots for the express purpose of silencing criticism and crushing dissent. If you find something offensive, don’t read it.

    This spurious argument of banning speech considered by some to be offensive has reached its nadir, ironically, in the country once known throughout the world for its freedom and tolerance – Britain. A recent official statement by a very senior Police Officer said that you do not have to do anything illegal these days to be arrested for a ‘hate crime’; they only have to believe that you might be thinking something the State disapproves of. Think about that very carefully; and be grateful that in this country you will not be arrested for so doing.

    Even at the famously tolerant Speakers Corner you will now be dragged away by the police if they think you are about to say something even faintly and factually critical of Islam. If this continues, with the ordinary people being denied their constitutional right to speak, they will be left with only the moral right to revolt. And when their patience runs out, revolt they surely will. As an English poet once said: “Beware the fury of a patient man”.

    • Blazer

       /  April 2, 2018

      as for the U.K don’t forget contemplating banning RT,and the muzzling of…Assange.