Prayer and poofters – protests against Baptist offer of help disappoints a Paihia pastor

April 12, 2014

There’s nothing stretches Alf’s liberalism and tolerance as much as intolerance.

But intolerance, sadly, is on the march.

A recent example is the outburst of indignation triggered by a Northland church’s organisation of a seminar offering to help people overcome their “same-sex attraction issues”.

This has sparked a furore on social media and in the gay community, according to the NZ Herald.

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Sort out your transvestites from your transgenders – that’s the lesson from a booklet about harlots

August 6, 2012

Alf is a bit bemused about who – exactly – has been offended by some Auckland Council pamphleteering. More important, why should they have been offended?

His bemusement is prompted by the council’s expression of regret for any offence caused over a booklet it helped produce on street prostitution in South Auckland.

It seems this booklet prompted a string of complaints to the Human Rights Commission.

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Death sentences for bolshie bloggers seems a bit steep – but would society benefit?

January 28, 2012

It’s great to be blogging from the security of the home office here in Eketahuna.

Alf would have second thoughts about expressing his thoughts on some matters if he was operating out of a house in – let’s say – Iran.

He is valuing his freedom of expression today having learned that the authorities there have arrested at least half a dozen journalists and bloggers.

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Kahui twins’ mum highlights a freedom of speech issue – and a freedom to protest issue, too

June 30, 2011

Alf kicks off on a lofty note today: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Yep. Most of us are familiar with that libertarian quote that champions our freedom of speech.

Usually it is attributed to Voltaire, although it is reasonable to suppose he would have expressed himself in French. Anyway, it seems those words were first used by an Evelyn Beatrice Hall, writing under the pseudonym of Stephen G Tallentyre in The Friends of Voltaire (1906), as a summation of Voltaire’s beliefs on freedom of thought and expression.

Now let’s vary it: “I disapprove of what you sell in your bookshop, but I will defend to the death your right to decide.”

Maybe not to the death, on second thoughts.

But Alf is happy to support the proposition that book-sellers should be free to decide which books they sell and which they do not.

This idea is not much different – if at all – from the proposition that a book publisher should be entitled to publish what he or she wants to publish, and to reject the rest.

If things were otherwise, then publishers would be obliged to publish everything brought to them and book-sellers would be obliged to sell everything that is published.

Palpably, that is bollocks.

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Feeding car-boot lawyers and felons to the lions would be good for fiscal rigour, too

November 16, 2010

Did that car-boot lawyer taste innocent or guilty, Leo?

Our splendid Government is doing a lot to save just $5 million a year, which just goes to show what a fiscally rigorous lot we are in our endeavours to give taxpayers a better deal.

We will be legislating to curtail a defendant’s rights to this, that and the other as part of changes to the criminal justice system announced yesterday, including (in many cases) the right to a trial by jury.

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Here’s a matter worthy of protest action – Te Papa’s advice to pregnant and menstruating women

October 12, 2010

Pregnant women shouldn't walk under ladders, either...

The mandarins who run our national museum have succumbed to superstition, although they tell us they are simply respecting somebody’s belief system.

They are advising pregnant or menstruating women against attending a Te Papa exhibit “for their own safety.”

An invitation for regional museums to go on a behind-the-scenes tour of some of Te Papa’s collections included the condition that “wahine who are either hapu [pregnant] or mate wahine [menstruating]” were unable to attend.

Te Papa spokeswoman Jane Keig said the policy was in place because of Maori beliefs surrounding the taonga Maori collection included in the tour.

“There are items within that collection that have been used in sacred rituals.

“That rule is in place with consideration for both the safety of the taonga and the women,” Keig said.

Oh yes. We can always come up with a credible-sounding rationale for a ridiculous rule.

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Sorry, Your Majesty, but you must leave that thing at the Manurewa Cosmopolitan Club door

June 14, 2010

Dunno why Karnail Singh made such a fuss about being refused entry to the Manurewa Cosmopolitan Club.

It seems to Alf it is a club that is best avoided by all genuinely cosmopolitan people, for the simple reason that its members have absolutely no grasp of the meaning of “cosmopolitan”.

What’s more, their silly rules about headwear would require Her Majesty the Queen to be evicted if she behaved regally, as she is entitled to do, and turned up at the club wearing her crown.

Most fundamentally, according to Alf’s understanding, “cosmopolitan” describes people who have lived and travelled in many countries, and moreover, happen to be free of national prejudices.

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Ah, so we can have a slash at Waihopai, but farting noises near the Mayor of North Shore are a no-no

March 18, 2010

Alf has awoken the morning after celebrating St Patrick’s Day in appropriate style to find the world of civil rights turned upside down.

Under modern rules of protest, we can damage an American communications installation in the South Island on the grounds we firmly believe it is a spy station responsible for contributing to the deaths of innocent people around the world.

But we can’t blow a raspberry at the Mayor of North Shore in a shopping centre.

Not even if we are female, in our 70s, and should have earned the right – by virtue of greater maturity – to blow raspberries at a Mayor regarded by some as mad.

The Herald reports both stories today –
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