Even an oik has freedoms

Imprisoned just for speaking

A Welsh district judge, John Charles, just barged through ancient legal protections for free speech and gaoled one Liam Stacey for 56 days for offensive tweets — essentially two months in pokey for speaking.

These tweets were obnoxiously filthy but the judge went too far. It should be possible to utter any offensive words in public without fear of arrest or legal sanction. If the words are wrong, if they accuse a person incorrectly, or make allegations without justification, then the speaker should expect to be charged with slander or similar. But so-called “hate speech” — merely insulting a person, organisation, community, city, nation or race gives insufficient grounds to deprive a person of liberty.

Shall it now be unlawful to craft insults or express hatred? Why should we not hate some people? Continue Reading →

A wee debate

free speech

Free speech in New Zealand?

Everyone claims the right to free speech, but not necessarily for ‘others’. All talk of curbing free speech is for ‘other’ people, never for oneself.

What is a debate? It’s just a few people talking to each other. Who could be afraid of a little debate? Well, when vested interests are concerned, any number of people.

Andy mentions in comments that readers at Hot Topic are talking about emailing PRINZ to stop the climate debate with Christopher Monckton. They say the debate is “unethical” because it spreads confusion.

They complain about Monckton’s use of the phrase “Hitler Youth”. He used this at Copenhagen when a group of youth activists tried to shut down his debate.

Doesn’t anyone do irony any more?

Ironic indeed, but it’s a sinister trend. We live in a free country. We champion free speech everywhere. We were leading activists for freedom from apartheid in South Africa. Now look what’s happening to us. Continue Reading →

To do good, the free will be bound

a bait ball

C. S. Lewis on Liberty

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive,” wrote C. S. Lewis, the Oxford/Cambridge scholar best known for his Christian apologetics and the Chronicles of Narnia book series. “It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

May those toiling for the improvement of society in New Zealand and around the world give these words sober contemplation.

Improvement need not be bought with the loss of our freedom. Who would lead us will learn the difference between them.

(Thanks, Keith.)