Friday, August 27, 2004

Dunne on freedom of speech

Peter Dunne stands up for freedom on speech in the Herald today, with explicit reference to David Irving. There's an obvious question of why it has taken him a month to speak up on this - a skim of Scoop's archive of United Future press releases shows nothing but tuneless whistling and foot shuffling on that front. But the real reason quickly becomes apparant: Dunne is trying to tar those who oppose fundamentalist Christian opponents of the Civil Union Bill as intolerant and opposed to freedom of speech. This is simply mistaken - no-one is saying that people like Maxim or Destiny Church have no right to speak. What they are doing is calling bigotry by its name when they see it, and turning out into the streets to oppose it. But this is simply an example of answering speech with more speech - the very freedom that Dunne praises!

What Dunne fails to acknowledge is that tolerance of a view does not mean giving it a free ride. Destiny Church and their bigoted friends have every right to speak - but they have no right to expect the rest of us to remain silent about it.