Hate speech: where do you start?

Author Mike Bain: Christian Voice New Zealand August 5 2021

There has been so much printed and spoken about its removal of free speech, liberty, and rights.

Everyone agrees the Government’s proposed new hate speech laws are a mess.

The consultation document and explanations by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her ministers proves what New Zealanders have been saying since the law was first proposed – the Government cannot define what hate speech is.

The key for this debate comes down to tolerance.

What is tolerated and who is tolerated.

What I say today in a Christian setting may not be termed as hate speech.

But if I were to repeat it “elsewhere” to a “different” audience it may be seen as such.

National leader Judith Collins has it right when she say’s “New Zealanders are having to second guess everything they say.”

With any new law I like to look at the starting place.

Let’s go back to the intent of the law.

Prime Minister Ardern seized on an opportunity following the Christchurch Mosque attacks resulting in deaths of 51 people.

Her intentions at the time I believe, were honourable.

Albert Einstein said, “in the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.

And the opportunity has been seized from the left to take away control of how we think and speak.

We must be allowed and tolerate differing opinions and debate them.

Tolerance is the key word here, tolerance about different people, ideas, and race.

In his book “Why the rest hates the West,” Meic Perse shows this new tolerance we have today, will have an adverse effect on society.

“The currency of the term “tolerance” has recently become badly debased,” he said.

“It used to mean the respecting of real hard differences.

Now it has become come to mean instead the dogmatic abdication of truth, claims and a moralistic adherence to moral relativism.

Departure from either is stigmatized as intolerance.

Where the old tolerance allowed hard differences on religion and morality to rub shoulders and compete freely in the public square.

The new variety wishes to lock them all indoors as matter of private judgment.

The public square must be given over to ambiguity.” The issues with the proposed legislation noted by many comes with significant risks for the freedom of our society, as enshrined in the Bill of Rights: notably items 13/14 referenced below.

13 Freedom of thought, conscience, and religion: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and belief, including the right to adopt and to hold opinions without interference.

“14 Freedom of expression: Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.”

Regardless of the intent, the outcome of any proposed legislation to shut down free speech should be vigorously opposed.

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