Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Economy

Response to David Gee’s Statement to the Parliamentary Inquiry into ‘Religious Free Speech’

*Pic: ‘HE’S ALIVE’ … from the Twilight Zone

First published July 4

Recently, David Gee and Campbell Markham spoke as witnesses in the parliamentary inquiry into religious free speech. During this inquiry, David Gee personally spoke in defense of the free speech of neo-Nazis.

David Gee has tried to compare his street preaching in the Hobart CBD to “talking quietly in a small cafe”.

This comparison is extremely misleading.

David Gee is intentionally vague or misleading when he talks about “free speech” in order to blur the lines between a private conversation, and loudly shouting at members of the public with (and without) a Hobart City Council permit.

David Gee has essentially, in a parliamentary inquiry, endorsed the free speech of neo-Nazis in the sense that the Hobart City Council should provide them with a Speakers Spot permit, just like his own, or allow them to simply shout from any street corner they choose.

This would not only legitimize neo-Nazi views on a civic level, but allow them to behave in the exact same way that David Gee does when pushing their message onto the public, which is far from just a “quiet conversation” in a small cafe.

Furthermore, David Gee made use of Anti-Discrimination laws in order to force the Hobart City Council to create the Speakers Spot area in the CBD in the first place.

These Laws are so far at odds with neo-Nazi values, it would make it essentially impossible for them to adhere to the permit rules and guidelines for the area in the first place.

What I find particularly interesting about David Gee’s argument is that it is an argument I myself used frequently when openly defending his “free speech” in the past. I would often explain to members of the public that we should be able to hear these ugly views and openly refute them, such was my approach to David Gee himself.

What I never intended, however, was for the Hobart City Council to provide neo-Nazis with a similar permit to David Gee, and allow them to shout their views up and down a busy shopping district in Hobart’s small CBD area, parading Nazi Swastikas outside of local businesses and intimidating staff and customers with total impunity.

It was only after I spoke to the staff of one local business to find that they had been “reduced to tears” after a phone-call from Equal Opportunities, made at the behest of David Gee, that I realized I had fallen for his “free speech” rhetoric. Not long after this, I launched my own complaint against Gee.

While I am not yet in a position to say for sure what can or cannot be said in a private conversation or venue, I can say with absolute certainty that I unequivocally oppose neo-Nazis having the ability to express their views in the Hobart Speakers Spot or on street corners in the same way that David Gee expresses his.

I would note that many white-supremacist groups utilize a bastardization of biblical scripture to justify their own rhetoric on the grounds of “religious free speech” which, while not representative of modern Christian values, could be defended by the same legal arguments that David Gee is attempting to lay the groundwork for.

Whilst David Gee has openly denounced neo-Nazi ideology, this dog-whistle will be heard by that element in our community who will be nonetheless quietly praising Gee for speaking up for them in this way.

To fully understand the similarities in public debate between David Gee and neo-Nazis themselves, I would refer to this quote from Jean-Paul Sartre taken from his book Anti-Semite And The Jew:

‘Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.’

What is David Gee willing to sacrifice in the name of “free speech”? Has he really defended the rights for neo-Nazis’ views to be treated just as fairly as he feels his should be? Has he really placed his own personal religious beliefs on the same table as Adolf Hitler’s demented moral compass? Perhaps David Gee would like to give a speech at the next Anzac Day parade on this subject of neo-Nazis free speech … I myself would be keenly interested in hearing his views.

*Sam Mazur is an Atheist, and was involved in an Anti-Discrimination complaint against a local street preacher for what he saw as degrading comments made against the LGBTQI community, although he is not himself a member of that community.

Examiner: Tasmanian preacher tells religious freedoms inquiry that neo-Nazi views should be expressed publicly

• Watch Sam on YouTube …

SMH: High School students suspended after Nazi salute bullying

ABC Conversations: Young Hitler

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35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. Lynne Newington

    July 9, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    Love all humour …

  2. Leonard Colquhoun

    July 9, 2018 at 9:51 pm

    Most of us in any ‘free speech’ discussion know of the saying attributed to Voltaire^ about how strongly he’d defend everyone’s right to free speech.

    Here is another one about free(ly voiced) speech, less widely known and cited: “It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it”.

    There is something similar in the Bible but with a rather different focus: “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding”*. (To which I’ve added the as yet undiscovered third part: ‘And he which openeth his gob manifests his foolishness unto all’.

    Whatever. Above, in various posts, there are several emissions of open mouth which clearly fit the second saying.

    ^ from the Wikipedia article, “In [her] ‘The Friends of Voltaire’, [Evelyn Beatric]e Hall wrote the phrase: ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’ (which is often misattributed to Voltaire himself) as an illustration of Voltaire’s beliefs. Hall’s quotation is often cited to describe the principle of freedom of speech.”

    * Link – https://quoteinvestigator.com/2010/05/17/remain-silent/

    PS: You can thank William the Conqueror (aka or Guillaume le Bâtard to his Froggie mates) for beginning the culling of unnecessary verb suffixes (aka ‘inflections’) from our language. Ask a teacher of English to explain it all to you.

    (Sometime within the last few decades I read about one of those clever business names in Hastings: William the Concreter.)

  3. Wining Pom

    July 9, 2018 at 2:47 am

    “Who created the Creator?”

    Well, the precreator. Or maybe the procreator.

  4. Peter Bright

    July 9, 2018 at 1:23 am

    Steve at #31 asks me “Who created the Creator?”

    Too hard, Steve. I don’t know. I wasn’t there at the time.

    Well, not that I remember.

  5. Steve

    July 8, 2018 at 11:38 pm

    Re #23 … Hi Peter. Who created the Creator ? I’m looking forward to your theory on this.

    Back to the subject of free speech …

    Free speech is a basic right of a free people. It opens up debate and finds the truth . If you censor or put restrictions on free speech you lose your rights to freedom and the truth.

    Freedom of speech is directly linked to freedom of people .. and if it is lost – all is lost.

  6. Mike

    July 6, 2018 at 12:03 am

    What can the Neo Nazis try to promote that isn’t already part of the Australia Psyche?

    Concentration camps? – Got them! (Even if they are a bit offshore)
    Medical Experiments on humans? Tick! (N-bomb tests, in desert etc)
    Illegal invasion of other countries?- Done it! (Iraq etc)
    Police State? – Hitler was an amateur compared to the spy tech we have here today.
    Evil Science? – James Hardie!
    Genocide? – Done that too! (Aboriginals)
    Racism? – Please Explain!

    But to be fair, you can’t really compare Australia to Nazi Germany.

    Hitler would have never have allowed live exports of sheep and cattle.

  7. Jack

    July 5, 2018 at 12:38 am

    #28 … QED.

  8. Lynne Newington

    July 4, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    … “is anyone defending the garden of Eden these days?” (other than Lynn)

    In my opinion it was the first example of failed duty of care through Adam not protecting Eve from the old serpent, thus leaving her to bear the pain of childbirth down through history.

    Although things have changed with medical science …

  9. Leonard Colquhoun

    July 4, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    Lots of forthrightly but respectfully stated viewpoints here in an intelligently focused ‘argumentum ad rem’ mode, and a lot less (it seems) of TT’s too frequent recourse to the personal ‘ad hominem’ mode.

    Is this the crux of it all – that expressions of opinion should be (lightly) regulated by their motivation? This is the ‘shouting “Fire!” in a darkened cinema criterion, that harm to others whether deliberately or collaterally is what is subject to legal action?

    Thus, a squad of neo-Nazi thugs in full SS regalia outside an obviously Jewish location (say, a synagogue or a Jewish school or hospice) has gone beyond ‘mere’ speech, and it is that ‘beyond the pale’ behaviour and potential action which should attract the upholders of the Law. As for deliberately uncivil and disruptive no-platforming, wouldn’t there be cases where, while being at the lower end of potential violence, has the same motivation?

    One of the few discordant notes is the boring old insinuation that anyone who is not in the PC / Left-liberal (in US usage) spectrum range is ‘just a’ / ‘nothing more than a’ fascist.

    Another is the assumption that all censorship is from the Right. Talk about “tell ’em they’re dreamin’!’

  10. Stephan

    July 4, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Peter … Your generalised statements on humanity and belief ending in the statement that “denial of the obvious is nonsensical” are, in and off themselves, nonsensical in my opinion.

    Pure belief from individually observed phenomena is opinion, not fact. Mass meme and hysteria effects aside.

    As to the “something” that existed; it was very often a predator (herbivores too) that held the power of life and death over a small human community in the past. Many early idols are either those animals, or the very powerful image of a female body. Those things did not represent a creator as such; that came with the power grab of later religions.

    The mere fact that people are reading these words on a screen of some kind is a testament to the capacity for the human mind to wonder and ask “what if”. So, yes, we have always believed in something higher or out there.

    A creator? For little old us? With no direct evidence of others in the observed universe yet? Hubris doesn’t become humanity when it’s members still cannot think beyond their own individual life spans with any ease.

    The earth is a large pond and we are very prolific algae (or frogs, if you like). Keep going my pretties, it won’t be long before that special sheen shows on the surface of the pond, and all within start choking.

    It is recorded fact that global anoxic events have happened in the past. There’s one just around the geologic corner if we keep going the way we are.

    Hmmm. Free speech. It’s a wonderful thing.

  11. Wining Pom

    July 4, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    I think Jon Sumby’s post on Karl Popper’s ‘The Paradox of Tolerance’ sums it up best.

    And if everything is on the cards, can I say that someone is a pedophile? If I did, I would be sued, and in Germany if you deny the Holocaust, you go to jail.

  12. Jack

    July 4, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    Hence we should outlaw Creator Denial. What sort of prison term would you think appropriate? Perhaps execution? I mean, that would stop the virus spreading. It would be for everyone’s own good to stop them being nonsensical, right Peter?

  13. Peter Bright

    July 4, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    Jack, you are denying what I regard as obvious, namely the evidence of Creation.

    This clear evidence is everywhere!

    Also obvious to human reasoning is that the undeniable presence of Creation demands our acknowledgement of a Creator. What we [i]don’t[/i] know are the qualities of that Creator.

    Our senses cannot perceive any of those qualities and so humanity denies the existence of a Creator of any kind and says it all just happened, and refines itself by evolution.

    That’s like saying aeroplanes, given eons, assemble themselves.

    The air that aeroplanes fly in is incognisant to all human senses, but even the Neanderthals knew it existed because of the wind. They knew [i]something[/i] existed … they just didn’t know what.

    Likewise with humanity. We accept that [i]something[/i] must have created the world and everything else, but we just don’t know what.

    Denial of the obvious is nonsensical.

  14. Jack

    July 4, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    #19 … “Does that mean it’s OK to deny it?”

    It’s not OK, but just like denying global warming or thinking that the world is flat it should not be illegal. Open and democratic societies can’t outlaw stupid ideas on the basis that they are wrong.

    What if I had the power to outlaw belief in the man in the sky (god) on the basis that nobody can present evidence of him/her/it?

    It is the quality of evidence and rational arguments that must win the day – not compelled speech or compelled belief.

    “What are you going to question? How many were in each cattle truck?”

    There are a few ways of answering this. Firstly, it is a valid historical question. Finding out how many people may have died in any genocide and by what means fills volumes – and I’m very glad it does. There are countless museums and research units that dedicate themselves to such topics. So, do you really think that historians have not already debated this? And are you suggesting that they are somehow immoral if they have?

    What are you suggesting – that we set limits on inquiry? For example, it’s OK to discuss god as long as you don’t deny his existence? We can discuss global warming but we will throw you in jail if you deny it? (Believe me, I would love to throw quite a few people in jail for stupidity, but I recognise that a far higher principle must operate).

    Your retort intentionally avoids the context of what I have said, and it’s a standard ‘shaming’ tactic to avoid recognising what I am proposing. You cannot have a free society if you are selective in ideas that you permit expression of. Freedom is defined by tolerating the ‘worst’ and most obnoxious ideas, not those that you agree with. It is also defined by having robust institutions free to test the limits of truth and evidence. This is how we know something to be true.

    Once you allow the capacity to compel belief in one area it is easy to apply it to another. Its potential for abuse has no no limit.

    So I stand by my position: ‘It was a very big mistake to ring-fence the Holocaust. If we are to truly learn from history we must allow people to test it – constantly.’

    This must be the case for anything. You cannot ever have a ‘truth’ that is insulated from inquiry. It becomes compelled dogma and ceases to be accepted as a truth for this very reason. It is self-defeating because it provides the very fuel for its own destruction.

    Want to assist in the decline in religion in Australia? Make denial of god a crime. God would be dead in a week.

  15. phill Parsons

    July 4, 2018 at 11:52 am

    Some things society can allow but it cannot allow tolerance to overwhelm it. Germany, Russia, and many other countries had particular circumstances that allowed dictatorial regimes to arise.

    Letting ideas be tested in sunlight is a noble ideal but it needs checks, balances and an active polity so minorities cannot be vilified in public.

    Where they are not present we risk freedom being undermined by rogues using nutters to lead.

    Speakers corner has to be located where it cannot, by it’s very existence, intimidate, threaten or belittle. Sydney has the Domain and so does Hobart.

  16. Wining Pom

    July 4, 2018 at 11:21 am

    This is something that should be questioned regarding the charging of those who are involved in the release of information about the bugging of the Timor-Leste’s cabinet room …

    ‘The summons alleges Collaery communicated this information to the ABC journalists Marian Wilkinson, Peter Lloyd, Conor Duffy, Emma Alberici and producer Peter Cronau.

    The News Corp journalist Leo Shanahan, the first to break the story on the bugging operation, is not named in the summons.’

  17. Wining Pom

    July 4, 2018 at 11:08 am

    #17 … “It was a very big mistake to ring-fence the Holocaust. If we are to truly learn from history we must allow people to test it – constantly.”

    Does that mean it’s OK to deny it?

    “Why it is that some things can be questioned and not others?”

    What are you going to question? How many were in each cattle truck?

    And trying to compare whether there was a Garden of Eden to the Holocaust is ridiculous.

  18. Michael Anderson

    July 4, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Good article, and the Twilight Zone visual reference is right on.

    Fascism is an (economic) phenomenon of a disenfranchised middle class. The economic upheavals of the past 30 years, starting more or less officially with the Reagan-Thatcher embrace of neoliberalism, have helped create this. It’s a method employed by the elites to control a restive working class.

    It started for us here in the U.S. in the late 60s, as the Bretton-Woods financial agreement started to unravel. Corporate profits were going down. The Saudi oil embargo in ’73, and the stagflation that followed, was the first warning sign that things weren’t going to be all hot dogs and apple pie forever.

    They want it all back (pre-FDR for us) and racist scapegoating, sexist misogyny, xenophobia, calls for Lebensraum (living space) and thinking “with the blood” are devices employed to help ensure a more stable environment for material and financial accumulation to proceed as usual. One large piece of the method is to turn democratic language inside out. Trouble is, time’s running out on the accumulation process.

  19. Jack

    July 4, 2018 at 3:52 am

    #11 … ” I am, in particular, a fan of Michael Shermer who has engaged in public debates with Holocaust revisionists and received criticism for doing so. What I find fascinating about revisionists is that they are not necessarily neo-Nazi at all, but closer to conspiracy theorists who simply don’t believe the event took place as history books describe …”

    The problem is that much of history is revisionist. Historians constantly revise what has been accepted as truth. Religion is also revisionist – is anyone defending the garden of Eden these days (other than Lynn)? Science is revisionist – throwing out theories and replacing them with ones that fit the data better. Wasn’t Darwin a revisionist of a former “truth”?

    It’s totally bizarre to label any history as “true”. It’s even more bonkers to consider revisionism as evil. And it’s totally tyrannical to believe that you (or your tribe or ilk) will decide what is true and who is allowed to examine it.

    A secular democracy can’t work this way. Either everything can be questioned .. or nothing can be.

    What you or I say or believe Sam, matters not. Our feelings don’t matter. Only the search for truth matters.

    It was a very big mistake to ring-fence the Holocaust. If we are to truly learn from history we must allow people to test it – constantly, and once you declare it ‘off limits’ some people begin to ponder why it is that some things can be questioned and not others.

    You cannot have this two ways. You cannot be judge and jury. You cannot defend your tribe and criticise another. Nothing is clearer.

  20. Simon Warriner

    July 4, 2018 at 12:58 am

    Thanks for your #15 Sam, and for taking my post in the spirit it was meant. It makes a lot more sense now that I understand the background. #14 seems like a fair summation of a reasonable response.

  21. Sam Mazur

    July 4, 2018 at 12:15 am

    #12 … Yes that is fair. This was originally written as a letter for the Mercury, which had covered who David Gee and Campbell Markham were before over several articles, as well as myself and our dispute. It was written in mind for an audience which had at least some idea of who we all were.

    Campbell Markham is the Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Hobart, Tasmania. The church employs David Gee as an evangelist to preach in the Hobart CBD. About six years ago, David Gee utilised anti-discrimination laws to force the Hobart City Council to allow him to preach by creating a “speakers spot” permit area in the CBD. He also contacted Equal Opportunities over a comment made by someone working in a local store which resulted in the phone call mentioned in the article.

    Last year I launched an anti-discrimination complaint against David Gee which extended to his employer, Campbell Markham. As Gee represented Cornerstone Church in his activities, and was there to express their views, I used material taken from David Gee and Campbell Markham’s on-line religious blogs as part of my complaint to show that the views presented by Gee were incompatible with the anti-discrimination laws he himself has taken advantage of.

    http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/weblog/article/complaint-withdrawn-but-the-emperor-is-still-naked/

    Gee has operated outside of this area frequently. There was a months-long dispute between himself, the Hobart City Council, and several other shops when he started operating inside the entrance way to Cat & Fiddle arcade in 2015. Again, this was after the council created the permit area for him to preach in.

    There is obviously much more I can say on this, but that is the short version from my own perspective, of course. I knew Gee and Markham were speaking at the inquiry, but I had no idea what was spoken of until the 19th. This would have been much more relevant sooner, but the only news outlet to cover this was the Launceston Examiner. I had to print out copies of the Examiner article, as well as this original letter, and take them to the local shops so they knew what was going on. I am a little surprised the Mercury did not cover this at all, considering how much they did cover our dispute last year.

    I will try and improve the quality of my work into the future.

  22. Jon Sumby

    July 3, 2018 at 11:50 pm

    Does Karl Popper’s ‘The Paradox of Tolerance’ have a role here?

    Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance.
    If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.

    In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.

  23. Graeme

    July 3, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    The words ‘freedom of speech’ by those people like Bolt, Shelton et al … are they exactly sure of the correct meaning of these words in a sentence or speech?

    Does David Gee actually know as well? They definitely obfuscate the meaning of these words and issues they bring into their arguments to define them.

  24. Simon Warriner

    July 3, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    This article would make a lot more sense if the roles of the protagonists was spelled out at the start. Just the view of someone from the far flung reaches who has not a solitary clue about who David Gee is, or the current state of neo nazi attempts to enter the public debate in this state. Campbell Markham gets one mention and vanishes from view. Who is he and how is he relevant?

    It is an interesting subject, worthy of the discussion taking place, but the intro needs refining.

  25. Lynne Newington

    July 3, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    …[i] “So then, I hesitate to say that certain views should be inherently outlawed. I am, in particular, a fan of Michael Shermer who has engaged in public debates with Holocaust revisionists and received criticism for doing so. What I find fascinating about revisionists is that they are not necessarily neo-Nazi at all, but closer to conspiracy theorists who simply don’t believe the event took place as history books describe.”[/i]

    This brings to mind David Irving, and how dangerous revisionists can be, and the need for them to be publicly brought to account. He certainly met his match with Deborah Lipstdat.

  26. Wining Pom

    July 3, 2018 at 9:32 pm

    Good points, Sam.

  27. john hayward

    July 3, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    I’m continually puzzled as to why demands for free speech in Oz all but invariably come from right-wing types who feel frustrated by constraints on their freedom to insult and defame minorities.

    My confusion is compounded by the notorious proclivity of ultra-conservative governments to gag free speech altogether when they control government.

    Our present Federal Government, perhaps geed up by the example of the heroic Trumpsky, is taking action against a public servant in the intelligence service, namely “Witness K” who blew the whistle on Alexander Downer’s noble attempt to cheat the East Timorese of their oil reserves.

    John Hayward

  28. Sam Mazur

    July 3, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    I am genuinely thrilled at the conversation taking place here. These are all important points, and this really is the real conversation that should be taking place around these issues.

    As I said in the article, I have often used this same argument before, but when defending the “free speech” of those with whom we do not agree, we have to understand the context of what this means. I believe the phrase I would use was that we should not allow them to “fester in the shadows” unchecked.

    There are stark contrasts between a group of people holding a private function, and those shouting into crowded shopping areas. The latter quite literally forces members of the public to be bombarded with these views. To avoid this, people would avoid the area, meaning that not only would the shops be the only ones who did not have the option to simply walk away but it would also drive away their business.

    So then, I hesitate to say that certain views should be inherently outlawed. I am, in particular, a fan of Michael Shermer who has engaged in public debates with Holocaust revisionists and received criticism for doing so. What I find fascinating about revisionists is that they are not necessarily neo-Nazi at all, but closer to conspiracy theorists who simply don’t believe the event took place as history books describe. It is easy to defend the free speech of groups like neo-Nazis when their views are so openly repugnant that it seems impossible that such an ideology should ever rise to power once again.

    Instead of talking about the first things that fascist dictatorships do AFTER they rise to power, we must focus on HOW those groups rise to power in the first place. These are, after all, people who cry mercy and beg for their “free speech” to be respected .. whilst fighting in any way they can to restrict the rights of others.

    So, how then can a genuine, respectful debate take place between two groups who do not consider each other to be worthy of their respect? When both sides consider the other to be trash, or less than human?

    My concern here is that often times it cannot. A public “debate” with these groups seems far more likely to escalate to violence much more quickly than many (if not most) other groups out there. This is not to say that the neo-Nazis themselves are more likely to start a physical confrontation, but rather that these views are truly so hostile to the public mind that a physical altercation is almost inevitable.

    To me, these logical progressions of such concepts are what made Tasmania’s anti-discrimination laws begin to make sense. I was hesitant to make use of them myself for a long time, but when I realised I was defending the free speech of a man who would take away the free speech of others if given the opportunity (and had done) it gave me serious concern that I was being manipulated, and that my own, sincere concern about people’s rights to free speech was being taken advantage of.

    We have already seen an element make a political rise to power in the United States, bolstered by members of the US public who hold a variety of extreme views but who also openly denounce each other. Yet they all found themselves on the same side, and their combined support help put the current United States President in the White House. It was in this sense that I referred to a ‘dog whistle’ in my article.

    It is the easiest thing in the world to defend the “free speech” of neo-Nazis, but without proper context, or the conviction to draw a line in the sand SOMEWHERE against them, those words lack substance.

  29. Wining Pom

    July 3, 2018 at 8:18 pm

    I have no objection to people having a debate about anything, but I do not believe people should have the right to be allowed to promote evil – and Nazism is evil.

    Is communism evil, or was it Stalin? That would be a good debate. Communism works well in the kibbutzim.

  30. JDN

    July 3, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    #4 … Those who advocate for limits and restrictions on their own speech and expression can do so as they please. Their ideas are not ‘promoted’ simply because they are allowed to exist. This is the magical thing about free speech.

    Shouting ‘fire’ in a cinema is completely different as it directly endangers people.

    Is socialism evil?
    Is communism evil?
    Is national socialism evil?
    Is capitalism evil?
    Is democracy evil?

    There are people who advocate for communism openly in Australia, and who enjoy waving the hammer and sickle at rallies.

    What makes communism less evil than national socialism? Both have resulted in the deaths of millions. I’m not advocating for either of these, but there is a distinct difference between ideas and ideology than to use unlawful false claims that endanger lives directly.

    I respect an individual’s right to express ideas, no matter how stupid or vile they be.

    I loathe people who burn our flag and I loathe people who campaign for communism, but I respect their right to express their views in our free society, and I would rather they have the freedom to do so than to have a government that is in control of ideas, expression and speech.

  31. Lynne Newington

    July 3, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    Thank you Sam, for the article.

  32. Wining Pom

    July 3, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    #3 … It seems weird that allowing free speech should promote those who would ban free speech.

    As you should not allow shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded cinema, you should not be allowed to promote evil, and there is no argument against Nazis being evil.

  33. JDN

    July 3, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    “Whilst David Gee has openly denounced neo-Nazi ideology, this dog-whistle will be heard by that element in our community who will be nonetheless quietly praising Gee for speaking up for them in this way.”

    “Nazis” The kind that spout hate and racial slurs, are scum. Anyone who would willingly fly the swastika also falls into this category.

    HOWEVER, as offensive as someone brandishing an evil flag may be, it is entirely an individual’s right to carry the flag. Remember, Australians have died fighting to preserve freedom of opinion and speech, no matter any perceptions of how vile or offensive it may be.

    Thanks to their sacrifice, we are free to wave or burn whatever flag we choose, even our own.

    In order to preserve the sanctity of free speech, you must preserve even distasteful and offensive free speech. A government that has power over speech has the power at hand to dictate what it deems as illegal expression of speech to quell opposition.

    It is far more ‘Nazi’ like to have the state enforce illegal ideas and expression, and the fact that the author has called his words for freedom of speech ‘a dog whistle for Nazi’s’ is sad.

    In fascist dictatorships, the first right an individual loses is the right to free speech.

  34. Jack

    July 3, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    The unpalatable truth of the quality of free speech in any society is that you must allow the worst of views to be expressed. This is the measure of our actual freedom.

    Banning the worst opinions drives their proponents underground and gives them the power of victimhood and conspiracy. It ‘proves’ their point that they are being silenced and legitimises their claims.

    Let such people be seen and the antiseptic of sunlight shine on their views. They will pay a far higher penalty for it.

    I’d like the idiots in society to don their clown outfits and be counted. Laws that make it a crime to promote violence or discrimination must be in place. And it should also be required to show your face. But it is a big mistake to shut people up because they cause offence.

    Outrage is pointless. Outrage on behalf of other groups just promotes opposing outrage and divides us into tribes of outrage bitching at each other about whose feelings are most hurt and who has been ‘oppressed’.

    On the other hand, defending universal secular values and rights brings us together rather than driving us apart into interest groups. It is the umbrella under which we all should live.

  35. Wining Pom

    July 3, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    I find that the people who scream loudest for free speech generally talk nonsense. The IPA, Sky News, Andrew Bolt ..

    Has anyone died in Tassie yet from reusing plastic bags?

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