Thursday, January 28, 2021

Orwell saw this coming

 John Banks can be a hard man to defend, but defend him we must.

The former cabinet minister and mayor of Auckland has been banished in disgrace from radio station Magic Talk, where he was filling in for regular morning talkback host Peter Williams, after suggesting Maori were a Stone Age culture.

According to a report on the leftist news and commentary site The Spinoff, a caller identifying himself as Richard said Maori were genetically predisposed to crime, alcohol and educational under-performance. “Richard” said he was not interested in his children learning about Maoris’ Stone Age culture, to which Banks reportedly responded: “Your children need to get used to their Stone Age culture because if their Stone Age culture doesn’t change, these people will come through your bathroom window.”

The response was drearily predictable. Social media lynch mobs called for Banks’ head. Magic Talk advertisers Vodafone, Kiwibank and Spark virtually fell over each other in their eagerness to display their woke credentials by pulling their ads, while NZ Cricket joined the pile-on by threatening to review Magic Talk’s broadcast rights to Black Caps matches played in New Zealand.

I’m struggling to decide which was more objectionable: Banks’ statement or the nauseatingly sanctimonious platitudes from advertisers parading their commitment to “diversity and inclusion”.

Of course Banks issued the standard obligatory apology, in which he tried to shift responsibility for the furore onto his caller before acknowledging, almost as an afterthought, that he had made some negative generic comments about Maori “that could have been misconstrued as racist”.

None of this would have surprised anyone who has followed Banks’ turbulent career as a politician and radio host. He has a long history of running off at the mouth and making impulsive errors of judgment that he later had cause to regret. He seems unable to help himself. But Magic Talk management must have known this when they offered him the slot. They’re as culpable as he is.

The important question here is this: which poses the greater threat to our liberal, open democracy – Banks’ inflammatory statement, or the rush to shut him down? 

He expressed a provocative opinion that’s possibly shared by some of his listeners. Yanking him off air doesn’t get rid of the opinion. On the contrary, it can only accentuate the perception that freedom of speech is under attack, and intensify the resentment of those who feel excluded from the public conversation.

To put it another way, we have far more to fear from the prigs and bigots trying to silence him than we do from Banks himself. We live in a robust democracy that has demonstrated over many decades that it’s perfectly capable of dealing in a civilised way with contentious opinions. The free exchange of ideas is how democratic societies evolve and advance. What has changed is not the existence of such ideas, but the frightening insistence that they be stifled.  

This is happening with the connivance – indeed, encouragement – of virtue-signalling corporate advertisers, and more alarmingly with the enthusiastic backing of mainstream media outlets that should be manning the barricades in defence of free speech. The promiscuously loose use by reporters of subjective terms such as “racist”, a word for which there is no settled definition, is proof of the media’s abandonment of traditional journalistic principles.

Meanwhile, to their everlasting shame, gutless politicians, intimidated into silence by the venomous rhetoric of neo-Marxist activists, look the other way.

Both the range of subjects New Zealanders feel free to discuss, and the language they may use in discussing them, are being constantly narrowed down. George Orwell saw all this coming, but if he were still alive I don’t imagine he would derive any satisfaction from seeing how right he was.

18 comments:

The Slippery Slope said...

Well said.

Odysseus said...

Perhaps "Neolithic" "should have been used rather than "Stone Age"? It's more accurate and less pejorative. As for corporate boycotts, some of those involved are the same entities that fawned over the BLM movement whose looters, arsonists and murderers ravaged US cities in 2020. Many were sickened by the sight of the New Zealand cricket team "taking the knee" to that movement earlier this year. For the corporations involved it is a form of lazy, bankrupt virtue signaling. But in moral terms it bears out Lenin's prediction that "the capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them".

Ricardo said...

Wow. "...the BLM movement whose looters, arsonists and murderers ravaged US cities in 2020."

I think it is important to call out this sort of lie, (outrageous, persistent and insidious) straight away. Of the 9,000 approx BLM protests in 2020 across the USA, 93.79% were non-violent. Don't take my word for it, go to the US Crisis Monitor.

Why did the protests take place? Not to loot, burn or murder but to protest systemic deaths of black mem, like George Floyd who took 9 minutes to die under the boot of Derek Chauvin.

The ACLED database (impartial, non-profit) shows 25 deaths associated across 9,000 protests with a healthy representation of white armed males shooting protesters.

It is precisely these sorts of lies, unchallenged and untested, fervently promulgated, that serve as the lifeblood for so much of the hatred and vitriol we see. Surely in New Zeakand we can do better.

CXH said...

I would agree the first comment went to far. However the protests were also far from the pleasant outing you seem to indicate they were.

Ricardo said...

CXH, I don't understand your invention of "pleasant outing". Let's examine the data and the evidence. My evidence comes from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project (Acled), an organization that has long tracked political violence and unrest in regions around the world, together with Princeton University’s Bridging Divides Initiative.

With regard to BLM, the findings are clear. The US Govt and authorities were much more likely to intervene with force, using teargas, rubber bullets and pepper spray or beating demonstrators with batons. This was vividly seen again in the treatment afforded the insurrectionist traitors invading the Capitol (selfies, opened doors) compared to the BLM protest at the Lincoln memorial (armed to the teeth) or clearing Lafayette Park (tear gas and batons) for a Trump photo Op.

Furthermore, most of the non-govt violence was white KKK extremist males using guns or cars.

So again let's confront the truth please, even if it offends.

Hilary Taylor said...

Agree entirely Karl. Bunch of cowards. Who cares what Banks et al says on peurile talkback...better out than in. Remember Paul Holmes' cheeky darkie' moment...had the usual suspects fizzing at the bung at what was clearly satire? If this wasn't, well...I still don't care.

Trev1 said...

@Ricardo. At least 25 killed and insurance claims in excess of $2 billion from riots in 140 cities according to media. That doesn't sound very "peaceful". But you say "93.79%" of the demonstrations were non-violent; such an amazingly precise figure to two decimal points sounds more like the result of a North Korean leadership poll.

Ricardo said...

Trev1 When peaceful protesters are met with tear gas, baton charges, rubber bullets and militarily equipped authorities, there is a far higher chance of escalation, violence and damage. The evidence shows that this is what indeed happened in a small number of cities ref ACLED.

There will always be a criminally minded minority element looking to take advantage.

However nothing you or CXH or Odysseus emit as a smokescreen of false equivalence deflects the truth that BLM was and is a righteous movement expressing truth to a history of oppression, hatred and violence.

CXH said...

Your claim that BLM is a righteous movement expressing truth is just your opinion. Unfortunately you seem to treat it as a fact to ignore and denigrate anyone with a different opinion.

Ricardo said...

CXH, my opinions are based on the evidence and data I have read and seen. If you have real data which shows a different narrative I would be most interested to consider it. Any denigration on my part has been intended for opinions, unsupported by evidence, that cause harm and misinform.

I try never to denigrate people for their opinions, but to denigrate only their opinions. If I have conveyed denigration ad hominem then I am sorry for that impression.

I disagree with what you say but I will defend your right to say it (even through gritted teeth).

Doug Longmire said...

The BLM movement is a self declared Marxist based movement. On their website they made a clear declaration that one of their objectives was the elimination of the Western paternalistic family unit. Translation - the destruction of Western civilisation as we know it.
This declaration was quickly removed from the BLM website when it became obvious that they had shown their hand a bit too much.
Now - we all saw on the news: the burning buildings, the ransacked pharmacies and department stores.

CXH said...

Your opinions are based on your interpretation of the data, like everyone this is influenced by your own life. The fact you need gritted teeth to listen to an opinion that only mildly disagrees with yours is unfortunate.

Ricardo said...

Doug you had better tell the Nobel Prize Committee this and fast. BLM has just been nominated for the Peace Prize. They must not be reading the web pages that you do.

Doug Longmire said...

It was not "web pages".
It was just basic MSM news on TV One.

Doug Longmire said...

The credibility of the Nobel Prize Committee is very suspect, as we all have observed.
Al Gore, the IPCC, the U.N. and a variety of third world activists.
The difference is that most of the above activists given Peace Prizes were actually activists for peace.
BLM aims, as I noted previously, are Marxist, anti-family, destruction of Western Society.
Not peaceful.

Russell Parkinson said...

Certainly using the term "stone age people" is asking for trouble these days and the cancel culture bandwagon leapt on by various sponsors and a sports team was unfortunately predictable.

The unfortunate thing is that its now unacceptable to discuss what should be a serious question in that were pre European Maori a stone age people or not?

The growing of crops, organised migration and early navigations skills would suggest not. Entrenched tribal warfare, cannibalism and slavery suggest its a fair label.

It probably would take a anthropologist enlighten us but alas apparently we are not grown up enough to find out.

Shame because as a New Zealander I would really like to know.

Eamon Sloan said...

The caller to the John Banks show said he did not care for the Maori stone-age culture. But Maori did use heated stones in their hangi pits, and maybe still do? Possibly the caller once had a bad experience with hangi food. I have sampled hangi food a couple of times and all I can say it was very ordinary.

Bonzo said...

Ricardo says that 93.79% of protest were peaceful but, conveniently, neglects to mention that this refers to 7750 protests. By my calculations this means that 543 protests were anything but peaceful. Rioting, looting, arson and murder were a nightly phenomenon for months.