The Streisand-Brash debate – free speech and protest allowed

There was a debate on free speech in Auckland last night, and of course most of the attention was on Don Brash and a few people protesting against him.

I didn’t watch the debate, I had more important things to do, but it was covered by some in comments here: Brash up-platformed in university debate tonight

RNZ:  Protesters confront Don Brash during debate

Former National Party leader Don Brash was last night front and centre of the free speech debate that’s been been making headlines in New Zealand and around the world.

Dr Brash was nearly booed off stage at the University of Auckland debate, before counter-protesters persuaded him back by chanting his name.

Dr Brash was joined by the New Conservative Party’s deputy leader Elliot Ikiley in arguing that PC culture gone has too far, to the point where it is limiting freedom of speech.

However, Dr Brash only got a few seconds to argue the point before he was drowned out by protesters.

At one stage a scuffle broke out and it looked like he was not going to continue speaking, before a section of the crowd beckoned him back.

Eventually he did get a chance to address the crowd of more than 500, arguing that the protests were a demonstration that the culture in New Zealand is inhibiting free speech.

“Anything which is a bit beyond the pale you really can’t talk about frankly,” he told the lecture theatre. “Issues relating to religion, sexual orientation, family structure, the rights of people of different races, climate change – you name it – you’ve got to tiptoe through those issues in New Zealand today.”

In the end, debate chairman Chris Ryan left it to the audience to decide who won, with both teams getting loud applause and cheers from the crowd – as well as a fair few boos.

Brash and the protesters dominated the report, with no indication given about the merits of the arguments of all the debaters.

But possibly most significantly, the right to free speech was a winner, as was the right to conduct protests.

The Massey event that was cancelled and this debate have proven the Streisand Effect – “a phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely” – has given Brash and the events far more publicity than they would have had if there were no bans or protests.

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54 Comments

  1. Perhaps it has here.

    Reply
  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  August 10, 2018

    David Farrar is advocating for a campaign to boycott Massey until their ban is overturned.

    Reply
  3. Corky

     /  August 10, 2018

    ” Let the fool talk to know he’s a fool. If you can’t tell the difference between a fool and a wise, intelligent, logical, valid person you’re a fool too. ”

    Sir John Key did that, Kimmy. He let you talk to the public, then he squashed you and your political aspirations like a bug. However, I hear you have made a cool $40 million while waiting on your deportation hearing. Maybe a a book for socialists and Fiscal Hole Robertson may be in order.😎

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  August 10, 2018

      appropriate for a few here…
      “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”
      ― Søren Kierkegaard

      and…’
      ‘“We fool ourselves so much we could do it for a living.”
      ― Stephen King, Duma Key

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  August 10, 2018

        Steven Joyce and Sir John still haunt you, don’t they, Blazer. You had so much to say about both. Real bad things at times But it looks like ( the jury is still out on Joyce) both have steam rolled you, too.

        Reply
  4. sorethumb

     /  August 10, 2018

    Earlier, they had sung Māori waiata – a clear dig at a number of controversial comments he has made about Te Reo and racial inequality in New Zealand.

    A clearly disgruntled Dr Brash soon went to sit down, as every attempt to speak was thwarted by the protesters.

    However, those demonstrating were clearly outnumbered by those wanting to hear him speak – and that was reflected in the crowd’s response, with a “Don Brash” chant soon starting up in the lecture hall.

    When the protesters finally relented, Dr Brash was able to speak and claimed victory over those demonstrating against.

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/08/we-stand-against-what-he-represents-don-brash-heckled-at-auckland-university-speaking-event.html

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  August 10, 2018

      Don took the night, Thumbs. Although his opponents had equally valid arguments. It’s just feral protesters proved Don RIGHT…and his opponents wrong by default.

      Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  August 10, 2018

      “You don’t want to debate the issues, you just want to shout your opponents down.”

      Exactly. The protesters just showed themselves to be complete loony Left dickheads who even the Left disowned. How bad is that? And the Thomas fool is right there with them.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  August 10, 2018

        tsk,tsk Al non stop denigration of the left with uncomplimentary descriptors…could be a pathological obsession.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  August 10, 2018

          If your sensitivities weren’t so delicate you could have detected my distinction between the Left and the loony Left, B. Where do you fit?

          Reply
  5. Gezza

     /  August 10, 2018

    It was notable that even speakers against the proposition “Has PC culture gone too far to the point of limiting free speech” implicitly or explicitly condemned Massey’s VC.

    Brash won the day without even trying.

    Reply
    • FarmerPete

       /  August 10, 2018

      I would take my 18 yr old son to see him as he has some good messages for young men. The reporter in the link you posted obviously hasn’t watched much Jordan Peterson as the some of sentiments she attributes to him about women are not expressed in any of the numerous videos I have watched.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  August 10, 2018

        have you asked your 18 y.o son if he wants to..go?

        Reply
        • FarmerPete

           /  August 10, 2018

          My 18 yr old already follows him.

          Reply
          • Along, I believe, with a great many others of that age group.

            He seems to me to have less hatred in his whole body than most of his detractors have in each fingernail. And more brains in each fingernail than they have in all their bodies collectively.

            It is one of life’s great pleasures to watch him pause, ponder for a moment, gently smile, then intellectually tear his opponent to shreds with the factual precision of a brain surgeon; and always without malice. It is easy to see why the Left hate him so much; and why young men admire him.

            PS: Just read the appalling drivel sorethumb posted from Newshub. Dearie me. “how he’d refuse to use the preferred pronouns of some of his students”, but no mention of his actual reason for so doing, which had nothing whatsoever to do with the students’ preferences. Sophie Bateman eh? I’ll give her a miss. If I want to read made-up stories I’ll pick up a novel.

            Reply
  6. robertguyton

     /  August 10, 2018

    “Popper’s paradox – that a tolerant society must be intolerant of intolerance:

    Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.

    https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/25998-the-so-called-paradox-of-freedom-is-the-argument-that-freedom

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  August 10, 2018

      Like Weimar Germany?

      Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  August 10, 2018

      Goes for all freedoms, Robert. Such as to what you can put your shopping in, smoke eat, say, build, plant, cut down, keep as pets, grow, buy, sell, hire or fire.

      Socialism is the arch enemy of tolerance.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  August 10, 2018

        Problems we run into with this are defining who is allowed to be intolerant of whose intolerance. And what is being defined as intolerance? Are the people held to be intolerant simply preaching against others’ intolerance? An absolute insistence on Free Speech & rational debate is the best mechanism I can think of to defeat bad ideas or screwy or dangerous or divisive speech or reasoning.

        Reply
        • Absolutely agree. Exposing things to the light is great for disinfecting the bad bits, and displaying the good.

          Reply
          • PartisanZ

             /  August 10, 2018

            If you can tell the difference?

            “For there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so” – Hamlet

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  August 10, 2018

              Exactly. What you think is good others might think is bad. Reasoning is the only way we can sort that out. And unless you’ve handed responsibility for reasoning over to someone else, that’s an individual matter, even for people in a group.

            • PartisanZ

               /  August 10, 2018

              You don’t think there are any kind of absolute laws of reasoning?

              Or of ethics and morality?

              Some kind of obsubjective*, emotellectual** (or natural ethics) ‘bottom line’ …?

              Like: The maximum of freedom for each, combined with the maximum regard for the life and freedom of every other …?

              * # 170 (or thereabouts) … ** a much earlier newly coined word.

            • Gezza

               /  August 10, 2018

              You don’t think there are any kind of absolute laws of reasoning?

              Evidence, imagination, logic & empathy all together or in combination as appropriate are probably the best tools. Happy to look at your suggested absolute laws of reasoning though?

              Or of ethics and morality? Like: The maximum of freedom for each, combined with the maximum regard for the life and freedom of every other …?

              Sounds great. Every other … what?

            • PartisanZ

               /  August 10, 2018

              Every other Being …

            • Gezza

               /  August 10, 2018

              Righto.

              And your suggested absolute laws of reasoning?

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  August 10, 2018

          You should be free to do anything that doesn’t harm others. The problem is there are an infinite number of creative ways doing anything can be claimed to harm others.

          Reply
          • PartisanZ

             /  August 10, 2018

            Just as there are an infinite number of creative ways of doing things that actually do harm others Alan …

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  August 10, 2018

              Especially while claiming to be necessary to prevent harm to others.

            • PartisanZ

               /  August 10, 2018

              And ‘loop’ that … “Ways to harm … Claims to harm … Ways to harm … Claims to harm … “

      • PartisanZ

         /  August 10, 2018

        Far from an enemy, socialism is the very progenitor of tolerance that individual capitalists appropriate, package and market …

        As it is begetter of the demands they supply …

        Reply
        • PartisanZ

           /  August 10, 2018

          And payer of the debts their privatized loses incur …

          Reservoir and purveyor of much corporate welfare … like the diesel subsidy light vehicles pay to heavy trucks and trailers …

          Reply
  7. Gezza

     /  August 10, 2018

    Hitler built a tiny political group into a mass movement. They specialised in shutting down the rallies, meetings and speeches of other groups with disruption and violence. And they got away with it too often for too long. Ultimately out of the chaos and the disenfranchisement of huge numbers of poverty stricken disaffected, they built a movement & a party large enuf to get a sizeable presence in the Reichstag. The rest of it of course is complicated and we don’t have those extreme circumstances here – but to listen to some on the left you’d think so.

    “Both within Germany and abroad initially there were few fears that Hitler could use his position to establish his later dictatorial single-party regime. Rather, the conservatives that helped to make him chancellor were convinced that they could control Hitler and “tame” the Nazi Party while setting the relevant impulses in the government themselves; foreign ambassadors played down worries by emphasizing that Hitler was “mediocre” if not a bad copy of Mussolini; even SPD politician Kurt Schumacher trivialized Hitler as a “Dekorationsstück” (“piece of scenery/decoration”) of the new government. German newspapers wrote that, without doubt, the Hitler-led government would try to fight its political enemies (the left-wing parties), but that it would be impossible to establish a dictatorship in Germany because there was “a barrier, over which violence cannot proceed” and because of the German nation being proud of “the freedom of speech and thought”.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  August 11, 2018

      the climate for Hitlers rise to power was created by the demands of Capitalism.
      The Capitalists financed him too.
      The populace embraced Hitler because he addressed unemployment and wanted to make Germany great..again.

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  August 10, 2018

      God you’re lazy. Where’s a bloody precis?

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  August 10, 2018

      Massey University staff face less than civil feedback over Don Brash speech cancellation
      Some Massey University staff members have faced less than civil feedback over the decision to cancel Don Brash’s scheduled speech due to social media threats. Massey University Vice-Chancellor Jan Thomas has since sent an email to staff outlining the reasons for cancelling his address to the Manawatū Politics Society on Tuesday.

      Thomas stressed she did not “ban” Brash but made the decision to cancel his speaking engagement in the interests of the safety of students and staff. She confirmed a social media post made reference to taking a gun to the event which was scheduled for Wednesday.There were also indications on social media of a demonstration, she said.

      “We arranged a meeting with local police to discuss security. However, before that meeting could take place, and having considered all aspects of this, I made the decision to cancel the booking of the event on our campus. “This is not the kind of decision that any VC takes lightly,” Thomas said.”
      … …
      As far as I know the police still say they had no contact. This lady seems to be digging herself deeper into a hole.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  August 10, 2018

        There is certainly a deep hole. Not sure if there is a lady. Pretty sure there is a spineless University Council but its next meeting should be amusing.

        Reply

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