Perigo's Perspective: A Whole Lotta Emblazonin' Goin' On

Stefan Molyneux has a video on YouTube titled Why Free Speech Is All that Matters

In it, he argues that all the great moral advances of civilisation, such as the abolition of slavery, were made possible only by the existence of free speech and vigorous debate of the matter at hand. Without a free marketplace of competing ideas, Stefan says, we'd be locked into stagnation and tyranny.

Clearly any man who could say such things as that is a racist and a bigot who should not be allowed into New Zealand!

Neither should his compatriot Lauren Southern, who likes to tease Muslims that Allah is gay—a matter on which they are eminently unteasable.

Of course, Stefan and Lauren were banned from speaking at Auckland's Bruce Mason Centre or any other Council venue by then-Mayor Phil Goff in 2018.

The New Zealand Federation of Islam Associations wrote  letters to the Immigration Minister, Minister for Ethnic Communities and the Human Rights Commission asking for Lauren Southern to be denied entry altogether. The Federation's president said, “I don't think insulting Muslims comes under free speech.”

In a speech at the time, I said:

“I hate to break it to him, but it does. Insulting Muslims does come under free speech. So does insulting Christians or Buddhists or Rastafarians or libertarians or atheists. Insults might not be the ideal mode of argument, but they are most assuredly allowed under free speech. … As Salman Rushdie, himself the object of a Muslim fatwa has put it, “There's no such thing as a right not to be offended.'” That ought to be emblazoned across the sky!

A Marxist group calling itself Peace Action—”Peace” in this instance being Orwellian Doublespeak for “violence” straight out of 1984— threatened:

“If they come here [Stefan and Lauren], we will confront them on the streets. If they come, we will blockade entry to their speaking venue.” Thus was reborn “the heckler's veto.” I prefer to call it “the Brownshirts' veto.”

In the event the pair, whom David Seymour called “nutty as squirrel poo” while upholding their right to speak, were allowed in, spoke at a private venue and even scored an interview on TV3, albeit hostile, of course, where they didn't seem nutty at all. 

The attempt to ban them was the last straw that led directly to the formation of the Free Speech Coalition, now the Free Speech Union, where people from all over the political spectrum joined together to protect and promote freedom of speech.

Woke-Fascist Phil may have done free speech lovers a favour by galvanising us to overlook our other differences and fight for one thing we all believed in. Founding member Chris Trotter said at the time, “Truth is not afraid of trigger-words. Truth does not need a safe space. Truth is not a snowflake. Truth can take the heat and most certainly should not be forced to vacate the kitchen in the face of a couple of Alt-Right populists and a politically-correct Mayor.”

Ladies and gentlemen, as I've reminded RCR listeners often, Section 14 of New Zealand's Bill of Rights says:

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.

That is the standard to which we must continually repair, and we must work for the repeal of any legislation that negates it—such as Section 61 of the Human Rights Act under which it is a crime to insult someone on the grounds of colour, race, or ethnic or national origin. Tell the joke about how to make an Irishman burn his ear and you'll go to jail!

We must make sure New Zealand doesn't go the way of Britain: no longer great, no longer free, dotted with no-go zones and pockets of Sharia Law, where one can be jailed for one's opinions.

May we instead have it also emblazoned across the sky: I disagree with what you say but defend to the death your right to say it?

One good thing the regime of Jacinda Jackboot did was repeal New Zealand’s antiquated blasphemy law. In doing so, Justice Minister Andrew Little noted it was an “obsolete provision [that] has no place in a modern society which protects freedom of expression.” Yes, someone from that regime said that!

Now, with the election imminent, the Free Speech Union has published a kind of report card on the political parties' stances on free speech. Its highest marks go to ACT. Quote:

The ACT Party is consistently the first and most vocal party to raise free expression principles, both in reaction to Government action and in its own proactive work, such as members’ bills. Its record is not clean however, with free expression issues slipping under ACT’s radar, even when others point them out.

I would note that free speech seems to have slipped entirely under the radar for ACT this election campaign. 

I shall not be voting ACT in spite of its high marks from the Free Speech Union. Its refusal to meet the anti-mandate protesters at Parliament marked it out clearly as part of the Uniparty regime.

I highly commend the report, though, which can be found at

Perigo's perspective is that it should be a condition of citizenship, including the right to vote, that, whether born here or an immigrant, one should be required to take this pledge, which should also be emblazoned across our skies:

 “Just as I reserve the right to hold and express my opinions on any matter whatsoever, I promise to respect the right of all others to do the same. I renounce unreservedly the use of coercion and violence in the promotion of my opinions.”

Oh, and one more thing while we're in emblazoning mode: this from Noam Chomsky – 

If we do not believe in freedom of speech for those we despise, we do not believe in it at all.

Our Contributor

Lindsay Perigo
Lindsay Perigo is a New Zealand broadcaster, author and commentator, once hailed by Metro magazine as “the doyen of political interviewers.” He infamously walked out of Television New Zealand in 1993, calling its news and current affairs “braindead.” Lindsay contributes to the Breakfast programme with Perigo's Perspective on Thursday mornings.

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