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Left-Wing Nut Jobs

Entry 1927, on 2018-08-07 at 18:52:06 (Rating 4, Politics)

Left-wing nut jobs are really starting to get out of control. OK, after that inflammatory opening sentence, I need to explain one thing: I am definitely well to the left politically. But I am not a left-wing nutty extremist, because I am also fact-based, and prepared to look at all controversies with some degree of nuance.

I don't see any issue as simple black and white. I don't think any person's point of view is simply right or wrong, because everyone has some good and bad aspects to their beliefs. And I think the only way to gain a better understanding of different perspectives is to listen to those who have alternative views.

And the more different the other person's views are to yours, the more important it is that you should listen to them. If you only listen to one side of an argument that is a virtual guarantee that you will be horribly mislead into a state of certainty where no certainty exists, and to a state of ignorance because you refuse to even consider a lot of new knowledge. And, in my experience, certainty and ignorance is a dangerous combination.

Free speech has been a common theme in my recent posts and with good reason. Every day it seems that the subject is in the news, and every day the nutty left seem to be more bold and more certain they are right. And, as I said above, an ignorant group who are totally certain they are right is a dangerous thing, especially when they also have an attitude of moral superiority which is completely undeserved.

I should clarify another point here: I don't think the extreme left are nuttier than the extreme right. Both are dangerous in different ways, and both are totally convinced they are right, even though any fair appraisal of their beliefs makes it very clear they are wrong on many points. But currently extreme left views are being supported by the orthodoxy and it is those on the right - and some who are actually relatively moderate right-wingers - who are being repressed by potentially extreme and violent people on the left.

The latest example is where Don Brash - a former leader of our most popular political party and former leader of our libertarian party - had an invitation to speak at a university Politics Society meeting cancelled.

The current leader of ACT (the libertarian party), David Seymour has called for the resignation of Massey University vice chancellor, Jan Thomas, who cancelled the meeting on "security grounds". Seymour said that "After veiled threats from a left-wing thug in a letter to the vice chancellor, she capitulated this morning and prevented Dr Brash from speaking on 'security' grounds."

So the message here seems to be that if you want to prevent ideas you disagree with being presented all you need to do is threaten violence. But only if the threats come from the left, because I could almost guarantee that if a left-leaning speaker was threatened by a right-wing group, the university would stand up for that speaker and do as much as possible to allow the event to go ahead.

The VC of Massey has a clear bias here, because she has said that she supports free speech on campus but is totally opposed hate speech. The problem here is that opposition to "hate speech" is just too convenient a way to stop opinions you simply disagree with. I have heard Don Brash speak on many occasions and he is polite almost to a fault. He genuinely believes in the causes he stands for and if that can be interpreted as hateful then I think, yet again, people are becoming offended far too easily.

Universities used to be a place where different views could be expressed and discussed, in fair and reasonable ways, but not any more. So I don't think Seymour's call for the resignation of Thomas is too extreme. She is entitled to her view, but she isn't entitled to repress other views. An example needs to be made. A line drawn in the sand. This is a modern, free, democratic nation and free speech is amongst our highest values. At least, it used to be.

The far left really do have an incredibly strong emotional reaction to these issues though. They really do sound like giving alternative views any exposure is an existential threat which they cannot tolerate. Why? Do they think they cannot answer these threats fairly? Do they think vast numbers of people will be persuaded to follow a political view they disapprove of? Or are they really offended emotionally rather than engaging with the subject intellectually?

Here's the way I see it. Someone says: "what you say offended me". I say: "OK. How can I help you get over that defect in your personality?"

But why do I care? After all, I have said I identify with the left politically. Shouldn't I be happy that it has this power? Well, no. Because the left has become what it has always despised in the right: it is dogmatic, authoritarian, inflexible, and ignorant.

And I don't want to belong to a political movement which is so intellectually and morally corrupt. So I officially renounce my membership of the left today. But there's no way I will be joining the right, so I guess I will just become another member of the vast majority who are totally disconnected from politics, because there's no one making any sense.

Actually, I probably won't totally leave the left. I will probably continue to advocate for left-wing causes, like fixing the environment, minimising climate change, improving inequality, and reducing the power of corporations. But I will also battle just as hard against the extremists in my own camp. I will mercilessly ridicule and criticise the social justice warriors, the post-modern neo-Marxists, and the left-wing extremist who threaten violence against anyone, even those I should traditionally disagree with.

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