By Olivia Pierson
[First published on Incite Politics 12/7/18]
The response to the brand new NZ Coalition for Free Speech asking for donations to bring judicial proceedings against Auckland Council for denying Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern a taxpayer-funded venue to speak in has been surprisingly heartening! The required 50k was raised in 24 hours (actually quite a lot more).
What this shows is how ready Kiwis are to literally put their money where their mouths are.
Almost nothing is as important as the law of free expression in our nation, for on it hang all our other freedoms. Free speech and free thought are inextricably bound; to censor speech legally by making certain views or utterances a crime is exactly the same impetus as seeking to prosecute citizens for thought crimes.
The Englishman and political philosopher John Locke was the intellectual founding father of America’s founding fathers. America’s foundational documents are laced with Lockean language, and we know he was the great breeze of inspiration that filled the sails of Thomas Jefferson’s broad mind.
Locke and Jefferson, born a century apart, were the two men most responsible for bringing ‘liberalism’ to the modern western world. Liberalism equates to individual liberty, and should not be conflated with anything resembling ‘progressivism’ which always calls for more government interference around matters of personal liberty, not less.
When writing his “Act for Establishing Religious Freedom” for America, Jefferson explains the broader principle for freedom of speech, which he gleaned from Locke:
Truth is great and will prevail if left to herself; that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate; errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them.
This is where Phil Goff and his ilk go awry in their thoughts and actions. They fear something they shouldn’t from views that they personally find repugnant, but instead of taking actions to intelligently counteract the views, they arrogate power to themselves to stop those views from even being expressed. Free argument and debate are the natural weapons we possess to fight error where it is exists. They are also the only method of opposing ideas without resorting to force or violence.
As an important side note, the couple who were shut down from speaking, Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux, do not actually hold dangerous or repugnant views; they hold perfectly rational classical liberal views – and had they been allowed to speak that would have been made clear.
Goff & co, through their authoritarian opposition to the speaking engagement, actually managed to vilify and smear the duo in our press just because they happen to be provocative. Provocateurs are as meaningful in our modern civilisation as they were in France and England during Voltaire’s time, or in ancient Athens during the time of Socrates.
If they had any sense of honour, Goff, Seymour, Bridges, Davidson, the pathetically thin-skinned Muslims and all the other public figures who piled on to insult the duo, should apologise for seriously misrepresenting what the duo stand for. Lauren and Stefan hold views that are widely held by millions and millions of people around the western world – and this is the real reason why they are often so stiffly opposed by progressive globalists, for their views are becoming more paramount.
When Thomas Jefferson became president for the first time in 1801, and after a bitter election full of muckraking and slander between Republicans and Federalists, he spoke these words to the people in his first inaugural speech:
If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.
That is the very spirit of true liberalism.
Let the benevolent principles of Locke and Jefferson guide us, not the small-minded authoritarianism of Stalin and Mao.
If you enjoyed this article, please buy my book "Western Values Defended: A Primer"
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