Saturday, 26 November 2016

Charges of Hate-Speech Are Pathological

The Long Lingering Death of Free Speech

It seems that folk chatter more about "hate speech" than they do about free speech these days which implies that one of the most fundamental of all human rights--free speech--is under serious threat.  The threat appears to be coming mainly from the Left.

In New Zealand we have had two recent incidents.  The first is a pastor of a local church who had the temerity to proclaim that the recent earthquake in Kaikoura, following the 2011 quake in Christchurch, are acts of God's judgment upon New Zealand.  Public outrage spewed forth as the pastor was accused of hate speech.  Not one response--at least as far as we have been able to find--actually attempted to confront the pastor's arguments per se.  Instead, the barrage of outrage was more along the lines of "Shut the fellow up" and a general declamation of "hate speech" which must be rejected at all costs.

For folk raised in the Christian traditions, the pastor's assertion was hardly remarkable.  Inept, one might argue.  Hardly consistent with the Scriptures in specific detail, one might point out.  But the general concept was hardly unorthodox: God's judgement has fallen upon the human race in many times and in divers places.  After all, Noah and his family were not out for a weekend jaunt on their yacht.
 New Zealand society is so pagan, so dead to God, so minatory in its condemnation of the Christian faith, that causes of divine judgement falling are not hard to find.  Manifold causes.  And, yes, the Scriptures do identify earthquakes as one of the forms of calamity which God has used to judge or chasten a people--and will use.

The problem is that most New Zealanders believe that the very notion of divine judgement is "hate speech" by very definition.  To warn of the judgment to come would be regarded as nasty and negative.  To stand in the open square and proclaim, "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" and "the wages of sin is death" would be classified as hate speech in the minds of many.  Cries for punishment would be fast following--as was indeed the case with our erstwhile local pastor.

The second incident involved an Islamic imam.  Now this chappie is a bit more of a problem. Sheik Dr Anwar Sahib has created a firestorm with the release of a video of a lecture in which he vilified Jews and taught traditional Islamic practices with respect to women.
In 2001, the Centre for Islamic Pluralism published an article that described Sheik Dr Anwar Sahib as a high-ranking Islamic cleric trained in and funded by Saudi Arabia. A Fiji Indian, he spent 15 years being trained as a cleric by the Saudis and was described as an ultra-conservative fundamentalist. The Wahhabi sect to which Sheik Dr Anwar Sahib belongs is described as adhering to the most extreme form of Islamic fundamentalism. The author of Intellectuals and Assassins, Stephen Schwartz, said of Wahhabism that “it is violent, it is intolerant and it is fanatical beyond belief.”

Sheik Dr Anwar Sahib came to New Zealand on a Saudi-funded scholarship and was exposed as having ties to Osama bin Ladin. The then president of FIANZ, Dr Anwar Ghani, dismissed the concerns, saying he knew of no terrorist fundraising or terrorism-linked activity among local Muslims.
It is unlikely that the gentleman will be deported as he has become a citizen.  Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that his espousal of Wahhabism will continue in New Zealand, with all its attendant evils.  It is reasonable to conclude that radicalisation of some will occur as a result.  If international patterns repeat, we will have terrorist acts and suicide bombers operating in this country at some time.

Few (if any) are defending the Sheik's rights to free speech.  There is plenty of vociferous condemnation.  Outrage runs knee deep in the gutters.  But, once again, no attempts to refute the Sheik's arguments or propositions can be found.  Rather, it is a case of, "We don't like it.  Ban the Sheik and his hate speech."

A question is begged: Why has Western liberalism become so inept at defending free speech by the age old means of critical analysis and counter argument?

We suspect that the authorities, the universities, the Chattering Classes, and the educated are anaemic and ineffectual because they know that whatever principles and axioms they might bring to bear against the Sheik's particular views have themselves no foundation. The hang from sky hooks.  They amount to nothing more than cultural prejudices and general conditioning.  There is no absolute or higher authority upon which Western ideological beliefs can be grounded.

Take, for example, the egregious notions of anti-Semitism espoused by Dr Anwar Sahib.  Who is to say that he is incorrect?  By what standard?  The New Zealand talking heads have no answer.  They are profoundly agnostic in the matter.  They believe anti-Semitism is wrong, but have no principial foundation for the belief.  In the end, their anti-anti-Semitism boils down to a prejudice.

Doubtless there would be a lot of smoke and bluster attempting to obscure this reality.  Some may appeal to universal human rights, for example, as a standard upon which to base the rejection anti-Semitism.  But questions like, "what is a human being?" and "why should human beings and not other animals enjoy universal rights?" remain unanswerable.  The best they can offer is, "Evolution has made it so".  Whoop de do.  And evolution is a process of constant continual flux and change, right?  It's like standing on the fault line in Kaikoura when a quake hits.  The ideological road is here today, gone tomorrow.

Within the West's secular humanist world view there is no standard by which the Sheik's opinions can be proven wrong, and the consensus views of the majority of New Zealanders proved right.  Since New Zealand rejects the Living God there is no standard by which anything else can be rejected.  Man is left the Master of All Things, and nothing human (including any opinions and views)  is foreign or implicitly or absolutely evil.

Faced with this inescapable reality, the immediate response--and therefore the only response--is to deny the Sheik Dr Anwar Sahib's free speech rights.  Shut him down.  Shut him up.  Fire him.  Exile him.  And so forth.  Ironically, it is that reaction which will galvanize his acolytes and followers more than any other.

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