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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Will Maggie Mutu complain again to Joris about racial confrontation? Probably not

February 6, 2011

Confrontation in November 2010 ...

...and confrontation in February 2011.

Waitangi Day has dawned and Radio NZ National has dished up an especially sugary dollop of pap for the kiddies at Stortytime, including The Treaty, by Bernard Gadd, told by Riwia Brown, Karanga, by Lynne Taane, told by Roma Potiki, and Whenua Tapu – Guide Rangi, by Caroline Down, told by Rima te Wiata.

There’s plenty of similar stuff in store for adult listeners, including “The Te Papa Treaty Debates 2011” from just after 4pm through until 5pm. During this time the radio audience will be subjected to an overdose of yapping about…

Power-sharing in the 21st century, with Whaimutu Dewes and Joris de Bres. Co-chaired by Claudia Orange and Carwyn Jones

Alf will be watching sport on the telly at that time. Any sport will do to steer clear of Joris: synchronised swimming, underwater hockey, tiddlywinks, pigeon racing…

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