Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The next bylaw will ban irony

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  • Sacha,

    The Herald's latest online poll poses the conundrum: Michael Lhaws, "voice of reason" or "obnoxious ranter".

    It says much about those who vote (and inhabit the parallel universe of the Your Views section) that the vote is running 72% in favour of our man's rationality and impending sainthood.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    Because Lhaws tells it like it is, and doesn't put up this with any of this PC nonsense!

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1165 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    He's no nannying nancy.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    if it is a weak right, as you still seem to be maintaining, why would you need more than a weak justification to override it?

    You don't.

    So why criticse even to the limited degree that you have here? A weak justification is required, and one was supplied – you have no cause for criticism. Indeed, it’s hard to see how you could complain at almost any infringement of your right to free expression, as long as the authorities gave some lame excuse.

    That's why it gets overridden all the time.

    I’m not entirely sure what you’re getting at. If you are saying there are many specific instances of someone not being able to express themselves perfectly freely, there are endlessly more examples of people saying what they want, unimpeded by the state. The key issue is whether we intend freedom of expression to be one of those important rights, fundamental to good liberal-democracy, that we treat with extra care. Obviously we do, as we put it in an Act.

    The 'freedom to express anything you like' is akin to the 'freedom to do anything you like'.Which is one of our much cherished freedoms, caveated only by the entire volume of laws our nation has saying just exactly what it is you are not allowed to do. But, if it's not in there, then you're allowed. Unless we change our minds, as we do every single day.

    You're confusing two different types of principals. The freedom to do anything you like is, as you say, just another way of expressing the principal that if something is not expressly baned in the law, one can assume that it is a legal act. That's too broad to be considered a "right" as we're discussing here. And I should hope we don’t change our minds on what we are legally allowed to do every day - a society that capricious would be a real pain to live in!

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1165 posts Report Reply

  • ChrisW,

    You're confusing two different types of principals.

    Hard News: The next bylaw will ban irony

    Best I get in now then.

    Gisborne • Since Apr 2009 • 851 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    principals

    It's aggravating me, above any of the content, that this is being spelt wrong in a discussion about rights. Schools have principals.

    I get similarly up and arms when Dungeon and Dragon geeks write along the lines of "Sir Arthur took up his horse's reigns..."

    Umm, as you were.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    Ugh, sorry - yeah I know the difference. I sometimes catch myself making that mistake and fix it in my proof read, and sometimes not. No edit button and all.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1165 posts Report Reply

  • ChrisW,

    Princely pals, ples continue the conversation - or shall I at least provide positive encouragement by donating a pendant.

    Pals are obvious, tangible, you can shake hands with them, but the principal reason they're at the top of the pyramid is that they think they're important.

    Ples note that the plesure in principles is intangible but not shameful. They may be unobvious, but principles being the foundation at the base of the pyramid means they really are important.

    Gisborne • Since Apr 2009 • 851 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    principles ... they really are important.

    At least Chris agrees with me, then, Chris.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1165 posts Report Reply

  • ChrisW,

    At least Chris agrees with me, then

    At least in principle ...

    Gisborne • Since Apr 2009 • 851 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And where would we be without another piece of populist fatuity from the keyboard of Chris Trotter?

    And in the comments, our friend Tom Semmens lashed we "guilty white liberals" who, I guess, drive past Struggle Street on our way to lattes and organic brioche on Ponce-on-by Road...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Jeez. It seems like everywhere I go on the NZ internet, Tom pops up to give us all what-for. What made him Mr Angrypants?

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    What made him Mr Angrypants?

    Not like I need the competition. :) Anyway, I was tempted to get all "more working class than thou" on Messers Semmens and Trotter, but I've got three PAR pieces to finish and polish up today for recording tomorrow, so time focus on the paid work rather than my usual strategy of pulling a rabbit out of my arse at the last possible moment. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    I know one of your themes is the need for the left to disconnect from (to use the blogsphere) Public Address and reconnect with... well, people who don't have the time to blog from a nice office job.

    Heh. Whatever else he may be, Mr. Semmens certainly isn't psychic.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I like the irony of Comrade Semmens crying "first" on behalf of the keyboardless masses.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    And it looks like the kind of people favouring the gang patch ban are also the same kind of people lambasting hate-speech law as thought crime. Even the Maxims think the gang patch law is ineffectual.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5445 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Heh. Whatever else he may be, Mr. Semmens certainly isn't psychic.

    Still, its rather nice being called a 'guilty white liberal' or Russell's neutered faux-Tory lapdog instead of a shameless white right-wing shit bag. (BTW, I was too busy laughing to be offended at being accused of unprincipled populism by someone whose major contribution to on-line political discourse was photoshopping Helen Clark's head onto she-male porn.)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    [Tom Semmens, on Trotters blog]: I get the feeling many guilt ridden urban liberals would rather delude themselves gangs are noble savages...

    Who are all these deluded guilt ridden liberals who think gangs are noble? Is it you, Craig?

    I'll come right out and say it, and obviously put myself off side with all you out of touch PAS urban liberals, but... I don't think gangs are a good thing. There, I said it. Controversial I know.

    Seriously, I think Tom's concern that we are somehow supporting gangs per se is misplaced. The point of a pro-civil liberties stance is to say these liberties should be apply even to those we don't like very much. I'm reminded of that Chomsky quote that Craig cited the other day: "If we don't believe in free expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at".

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1165 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I don't think people have to love gangs to believe that "First they came for.." actually means something. Trotter's reference to WW2 history seems to ignore that part of its lessons.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    (BTW, I was too busy laughing to be offended at being accused of unprincipled populism by someone whose major contribution to on-line political discourse was photoshopping Helen Clark's head onto she-male porn.)

    Once a slimey little arsewipe, always etc.

    I hope you purged yourself with something strong after having words with both Clint and Redbaiter within a 24 hour period Craig.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    And it looks like the kind of people favouring the gang patch ban are also the same kind of people lambasting hate-speech law as thought crime.

    Heh. In explaining their support for the patch ban, Hyde waffles on about being a libertarian and how it was the state's fundamental role to protect our freedoms. Yet he concludes that "the wearing of a patch on a jacket is intimidation of law-abiding citizens".

    Yet with hate speech - which surely is often intimidating - they say (my emphasis): "Freedom of Speech is not a tool. It's a right of free people. Free Speech is not a tool of attack. It's a means of communication and critical debate. We shouldn't risk punishment for the way others feel."

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1165 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Trotter's reference to WW2 history seems to ignore that part of its lessons.

    And even on his own terms, I fail to see how imposing a dress code on the brownshirts (or Mosley's fascists, according to someone in the comments) made them any less toxic. And if we really want to Godwin the argument, it's fair to point out that in very short order the Nazis saved the German people from "intimidation" by Communists, trade unions and other nasty radical elements. All, of course, in the interests of public safety and good order.

    But of course, Laws' Law is just "the first step", which makes me wonder how arbitrary and extensive Police powers have to become before Trotter decides Ben Franklin has a point after all when he wrote: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I fail to see how imposing a dress code on the brownshirts (or Mosley's fascists, according to someone in the comments) made them any less toxic.

    Quite. Historical results somewhat undermine his argument.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Time seems right to link to the Kiwipolitico topic about the demise of public intellectuals in our fair land.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Meanwhile, Lhaws makes the front page of the online version of the UK Guardian.

    And I have just been given a horribly distrubing mental image by Linley Boniface in the DomPost.

    [Law's website is] a site absolutely awash in self-love.

    Thanks for that, Linley. Where shall I send my therapist's bill?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

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