And so it begins. The all-out assault on Truth in our nation. In the same week that the New Zealand Olympic Committee selected a man to compete against women, our Government outlined its plans to criminalise anyone who dares to publicly question such absurdity. Do so, and you risk three years in jail, or a $50,000 fine.
Think I’m joking? Read the proposals. Like this Government’s abortion reforms, their proposed hate speech laws are an exercise in extremism. It will be a crime to “maintain or normalise hatred” merely by saying something which could be interpreted as insulting to certain groups.
And when it comes to feeling offended and insulted we all know who will be lining up to air their hurt feelings. It won’t be those of a socially conservative persuasion. Such citizens (especially Christians) have been mocked and vilified in our media for years. But they don’t complain. No, the weaponising of offence will come from elsewhere. It will be the activists of wokeism who will be seeking targets on whom to unleash these laws. Those pushing the deluded ideology of gender fluidity will be especially pleased. Their cause is singled out for special treatment in the Government’s proposals. Under the law, so called gender expression and identity will become a specifically protected group characteristic.
Of course some will argue that no reasonable judge will convict someone for an alleged insult. But without any objective criteria to define normalising “hatred”, the judiciary will inevitably be guided by “generally accepted” community standards. For that you can read – whoever makes the loudest noise. And in our public square the quiet voices of reason and common sense have long since been drowned out by a very vocal minority. Will judges be able to resist the noise? “If you release this man, you are no friend of Caesar!” springs to mind.
Even if the judiciary do find courage, relying on common sense being inserted into the process at that stage will be far too late. Those accused of speech crimes, even if acquitted, will still have had to go through the whole costly and gruelling process of defending themselves in court. That will be punishment enough. And the activists who will bring complaints know it. That’s why they are such strong advocates of this legislation. It will be the best weapon they have for enforcing the cultural cleansing of any views which don’t align with their agenda.
With this law the devil is not so much in the detail. It is not even in how many court cases actually follow. The power of its poison lies almost entirely in intimidation. The mere risk of being charged with a crime will ensure most people think twice before expressing a view that might be deemed unacceptable. It’s called self-censorship. And it will follow as a chilling inevitability if these hate speech laws pass. Few will dare to question any more. Free speech will be dead.
At that point Truth will not just have fallen in our public square. It will have been actively driven out. Pursued by ideologues of multiple woke causes, but probably led by those brandishing a ridiculous list of gender pronouns in one hand, and the full force of the law in the other.