Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The true face of the right

Columnists from both the Dominion-Post and New Zealand Herald are united: free trade is more important than free speech, and diplomacy more important than democracy. Speech which risks upsetting rich, powerful neighbours should be suppressed so that a few farmers can make money.

It's an appallingly undemocratic attitude, but par for the course for the right in New Zealand (see also: John Key and Murray McCully). While they cloak themselves in the language of democracy and freedom, their actions are classicly authoritarian. Democracy is dismantled the moment it becomes inconvenient. Freedom of speech is suppressed in the name of money. The only freedom they really care about is the "freedom" of the rich not to pay taxes.

As for Long and Armstrong, the thought that this threatens their own freedom of speech, and that under such a regime their columns could be suppressed in the name of good diplomatic relations never seems to cross their mind. But that's because both Richard Long and John Armstrong are united in their desire to never write anything which might upset the rich and powerful. In which case they are not journalists, but courtiers, who have no business writing for a newspaper at all.