The Politically Incorrect Show - 13/03/2000
[Music - Die Fledermaus]
Good afternoon, KAYA ORAAAA & welcome to the Politically Incorrect Show on the free speech network, Radio Pacific, for Monday March 13, proudly sponsored by Neanderton Nicotine Ltd, the show that says bugger the politicians & bureaucrats & all the other bossyboot busybodies who try to run our lives with our money; that stands tall for free enterprise, achievement, profit & excellence against the state-worshippers in our midst; that stands above all for the most sacred thing in the universe, the liberty of the human individual.
[Music up, music down!]
It's commonplace now in the Democratic People's Republic of Aotearoa to see free speech under siege & wanting for champions. On Wednesday of last week, Wellington's Evening Post proved itself to be an honourable exception in bucking the trend. Editor Karl du Fresne wrote an opinion piece on Salient editor Nikki Burrows' now-infamous call for Victoria University Associate-Professor Paul Dunmore to be disciplined for refusing to attend a Maori ceremony because it was hocus pocus. "Universities," du Fresne reminded us, "are supposed to be the first & last bastions of free speech: places where minds are encouraged to range freely, to inquire, to challenge & to provoke. That's the great Western intellectual tradition surely. Not as far as Burrows is concerned, it seems. She says academic freedom 'doesn't mean Dunmore has a right to say what he darned well pleases.' Well pardon me, but that's pretty much exactly what I thought it meant." Indeed! Du Fresne went on to lament the banning by the Film & Literature Board of Review of two anti-gay Christian videos as "objectionable in anyone's hands." Objectionable they may be, but freedom of speech includes the right to be objectionable. Du Fresne asks, "Were they banned because gays & lesbians are politically protected species? What other explanation could there be?"
Beneath du Fresne's essay are a series of Letters to the Editor which are equally heartening. For example, Craig Ranapia observes, ""Professor Denis Dutton is right to point out the totalitarian roots of Ms Burrows' 'free speech for me but not for thee' attitude to academic freedom." Gavin Middleton adds: "By her attack on Paul Dunmore, Salient editor Nikki Burrows has shown exactly where she stands - in favour of radical political correctness & against anyone who holds a point of view which is different to hers. ... Perhaps the saddest thing is that, through their compulsory union fee, all Victoria University students are subsidising Nikki Burrows' newspaper" - a point echoed in an especially fine letter from young libertarian Cameron Pritchard who says, "It is bad enough that the Students' Association coercively extracts money from students who have no interest in joining it. What is worse is that this very money is then used to finance the advocacy of ideas which many students do not accept. ... Students who passionately believe in the right of free speech are being forced to pay for a magazine whose editor advocates the punishment of those politically incorrect heretics with whom she disagrees."
Ms Burrows herself features, claiming that she's merely upholding Victoria University's agreement with the Crown to "protect the Maori language & Maori customs in a manner that is consistent with Maori aspirations" & "encourage all staff to develop appropriate cultural awareness," overlooking that no university should have such an insidious charter foisted upon it in the first place.
Free speech has a short & very chequered history, briefly traced in my editorial "Free Speech's Fits & Starts" in Issue 24 of The Free Radical. It is one of the most precious legacies of Western civilisation, albeit honoured more often in the breach than in the observance. The Thought Police of Political Correctness wish to snuff it out. We must never, ever let them. To the editor of the Evening Post, & its letter-writers, for rallying to free speech's defence so stoutly, the Free Radical Award.
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