David Haywood has posted a mighty mashuptastic bit of Lawsery on the Richard Worth case which you should all read. Judging by some of his (Laws’, or should that be Lawses?) comments on the wireless this morning, I’d say it’s not too far off the mark.
Update: The actual column is somewhat, err, flaccid by comparison.
One word for people like Laws: Hatemonger. Him, Garth George, Linsday Perigo, Christine Rankin, Kerre Wooham, Paul Henry, John Tamihere, Willie Jackson, Danny Watson, John Bankes, Karl du Fresne are all reasons why we need hate speech laws in this country. Society will be better off when these people are given the message that inciting hatred towards minorites is wrong.
The best weapon against a masochist like Laws is ridicule. He can’t stand being laughed at, and as his response gets increasingly desperate, the laughter gets louder.
His odious fantasies are better dealt with head on out in the open. I don’t think hate speech legislation works.
I think hate speech legislation is necessary and important for the worst and most egregious examples, but similarly that the bombastic emptiness of idiots like those millsy lists is mostly beneath being treated as such. Not always, but mostly.
Save the big guns (and constraining speech is a big gun) for the really bad stuff.
Once hate speech legislation starts, where does it end?
Civil society is pretty good at figuring out, maintaining and enforcing sensible boundaries on matters like this.
How does one define civil society? It’s obvious that the hate speech being proscribed will be different depending on the nation in which the “civil society” operates.
So is there no problem, because whomever holds the power will exercise it on behalf of their “civil society”.
So are you saying that you trust our civil society to get it right for us?
Otherwise it is well known that there is an international divide over what hate speech standard should be the norm, many in the “West” seeing one proposed standard as a restriction on their free speech.
Although I have conflated them somewhat, it makes more sense to treat implementation and interpretation separately. Civil society is quite poor at implementing a policy in the public good without a very clear and immediate reason for doing so; as such, we’re unlikely to see hate speech legislation passed unless a neo-Nazi group starts a campaign of intimidation against non-Aryans, for instance. On the other hand once it decides to implement such measures civil society is pretty good at figuring out their boundaries and interpreting them sensibly. The contemporary case in point for this was the s59 repeal – a huge amount of work and political capital burned to get it passed, but since then it’s been ticking along fine.
It seems you think I’m implying that nobody need do anything since “civil society” will take care of it, which I’m not. The point I’m trying to make is that democratic societies with a civic tradition like NZ has tend to end up with the sorts of measures they want and lobby for, if they lobby hard enough. It’s an argument to be more involved in the political process as a part of civil society, not for less involvement and the idea of “trusting” the rest of the country (world, etc) to do what you want them to.