Hypocrisy on free speech

Cameron Slater would have been chuffed to be included as a ‘prominent Kiwi’ in a Dominion Post article on free speech: Speech: What it costs to be free

As part of that process, and in the quest for a little clarity, we approached a number of prominent Kiwis with some experience of free speech issues. They represent different sides of the debate.

We asked them for their thoughts on these key questions:

  • Is free speech the right to say anything you like?
  • Is there any point at which something is too offensive to be said in public?
  • Is there such a thing as “hate speech” and how should it be defined?
  • Is free speech under threat in this country? If so, where is the threat coming from?

Here are their responses. Massey University Vice-Chancellor Jan Thomas declined to be involved.

There’s some interesting responses. From Slater:

Hurt feelings are not grounds for harm. Mostly they need a good cup of concrete to help them harden up.

Perhaps he should listen to his own advice. he is more inclined to throw lumps of verbal concrete than he is swallow them.

Free speech is under threat in this country. The threat comes from a lack of action standing up to those who would threaten it. For too long there have been cases of bullying people out of jobs, threatening their income, boycotting advertisers and deplatforming of speakers.

I largely agree with that. But it is a tad hypocritical given thaat four days ago Slater posted Some good ideas from David Farrar that included this specified as a Slater favourite:

5. Target Massey’s funding. Identify major donors to Massey and request meetings with them to make the case for why they should donate to one of the other universities that doesn’t ban speakers on the personal whim of the VC.

Slater from the article:

Almost exclusively these actions come from within the angry Left-wing. We have in recent years witnessed the demonisation of John Tamihere and Willie Jackson for daring to ask hard questions on radio, the hounding of Paul Henry out of television, the attacks on me by Nicky Hager, the media and the Left-wing for daring to be effective and challenging, the cancellation of speakers such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern, not to mention the recent attack against Don Brash.

It is laughable though for Slater to claim that “Almost exclusively these actions come from within the angry Left-wing.”

Slater admitted trying to procure a hack of The Standard in an attempt to discredit their speech.

Slater was a prosecution witness in a private prosecution (dismissed at trial) of Lynn Prentice (associated with The Standard) and APN News (NZ Herald) in what appears to be what Slater refers to as lawfare when others do it – see NOTTINGHAM v APN NEWS & MEDIA LTD [2018] NZHC 596 [29 March 2018]. He was also an informant.

Slater was an informant and was named as an ‘expert witness’ in a private prosecution versus myself (and Your NZ) and Allied Press (ODT) – charges were eventually withdrawn.

Slater supported his “good friends” in getting a court order against me and Your NZ trying to shut us up and shut us down. That was a farce that was quickly thrown out by the court, but it was an attempt to imprison me because they (including Slater) didn’t like being held to account.

Perhaps Slater has been slurping cement since then, or has gone a bit cold on court proceedings as he still waits for a judgment on Craig v Slater and prepares for Blomfield v Slater, both defamation proceedings.

The media by and large have forgotten their responsibilities to be truth-tellers and have in many cases joined in the witch-hunting.

A bit ironic, but Sslater is more of a heavily slanted activist than truth-teller.

Whale Oil is easy to ignore most of the time these days, but claiming that “Almost exclusively these actions come from within the angry Left-wing” warrants a bit of a serve.

Perhaps Slater has hardened up not get angry about his hypocrisy being highlighted this time.

16 Comments

  1. duperez

     /  August 12, 2018

    “For too long there have been cases of bullying people out of jobs.”

    That’s why it’s good to have people like Slater and his unchained fury let out to attack the bullies and defend the victims. That’s why the Ministry of Education didn’t have to pay out large sums of money to some bullied out of jobs – Slater was on the cases.

    Sorry, that bit is fake news – he wasn’t, he didn’t. John Key was PM and Hekia Parata was Minister so no attention was given to the bullying, besides they were only teachers in state schools so they didn’t matter. Oops, fake news again, he did care. He put the boot into at least one of those already being booted.

    Fortunately for us our interests were looked after, as the Taxpayers’ Union, fearlessly and tirelessly governed by David Farrar (as we read yesterday) was on the cases. Oops, more fake news. After the first such case a hubbub may have avoided the situations which saw the next big payouts. No hubbub, no fuss, more money.

    (Funny how you write ‘unchained’ and almost write ‘unhinged’.)

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  August 12, 2018

    The Herald has a poor contribution to the subject here:
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12104109

    Anyone who discusses free speech in terms of what is appropriate hasn’t grasped the issue at all. Sadly that is the level of much current journalism.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  August 12, 2018

      Someone there is quoted as saying that ‘If you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Labour.’ was the slogan of the Tory Party in 1964. It wasn’t. One candidate, (Griffiths ?) may not have coined the slogan, but didn’t condemn it. He won in Smethwick, It was controversial at the time and had a lot of publicity, but was never at any time a slogan for the party in that election or any other.

    • “This balancing act is as old as free speech itself.”

      That was the only sensible line in the article. However, even then the writer does not grasp that it is for the People to decide amongst themselves where the scales settle; it is not up to self-appointed guardians to dictate what information they can, or cannot use to do so.

      Any restriction whatever on Free Speech degrades it into Controlled Speech. And as they say in Latin: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

      • Gezza

         /  August 12, 2018

        Those bloody Romans knew a thing or two about talking in a language few people understand. 😉

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  August 12, 2018

          What did your Latin teacher look like?

          • Gezza

             /  August 12, 2018

            Tall, dark haired, athletic, a very muscular type, a competitive runner, had tickets on himself, arrogant as hell (we used to laff at his frequent clasping his hands and “posing” in class). His nickname was Cabbage. He was the most viciously sarcastic person – and teacher – I’d even encountered in my life until then. He picked on weak and fat kids and set them up for bullying after class or in the corridors.

            I loathed him and it was mutual. I packed Latin in after one year because of him. I stuck with French and liked it.

            • Gezza

               /  August 12, 2018

              Our French teacher was the principal & blow me down he had a gallic nose and a rotund little figure. He looked a lot like Napoleon. His nickname was Honk.

  3. David

     /  August 12, 2018

    His site is a little woeful now, it’s a shame and no doubt the mtuple court cases has hurt.
    On the whole his site was a positive in giving a voice to quite a large part of the population

  4. Duperez

     /  August 12, 2018

    AW, the connection is to the notions of Slaters’ hypocrisy. ‘Demonisation’ seems to be something he is against. He says. In one case a victim given $150,000 of our money was demonised by him. (The principal of Kristen was another?) Minister involved? Try Hekia Parata. That not necessarily for her personally but the team she was batting for.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  August 12, 2018

      I think there is plenty of evidence that Slater’s principles show self-interested flexibility. I just think your analogies were far too obscure to add much to that.