Stuff co.nz 5 September 2017
Family First Comment: Well said Karl
“One rule for groups promoting “progressive” causes, but another for organisations that take a socially conservative position? That’s how it looks to me. What we are witnessing, I believe, is the gradual squeezing out of conservative voices as that monoculture steadily extends its reach.”
The warning is there….
OPINION: While the nation’s attention has been occupied by political drama and the election campaign, other things – serious things – have been going on almost unnoticed.
Last week, students at Auckland University voted to “disaffiliate” – “expel” would be a more honest word – a students’ anti-abortion group, ProLife Auckland. You don’t have to be opposed to abortion (as I am) to find this attack on free speech ominous.
A spokeswoman for Auckland Students for Choice, a women’s rights group that pushed for a referendum on the issue, said the pro-lifers were “an embarrassment”.
Clearly, groups that campaign to save unborn children are ideologically unfashionable, so must be discouraged by all means possible.
Overseas, this phenomenon is known as “no platforming” – denying a voice to people you disagree with. This is rampant on university campuses in Britain and the United States and it’s lamentable that the practice has shown up here.
But it was probably inevitable, given that universities throughout the western world have been ideologically captured and no longer bother to maintain the pretence that they promote freedom of speech and robust intellectual debate. Yet democracy is built around the contestability of ideas, as the current election campaign reminds us.
The pro-life student group was accused of “propagating harmful misinformation”. If this phrase has an uncomfortably familiar ring, it may be because it’s similar to the language used by totalitarian regimes to silence dissidents before packing them off to re-education (read “punishment”) camps.
Ironically, if anyone could be accused of propagating misinformation, it was those campaigning to banish the pro-life group.
But the Auckland student referendum isn’t the only unsettling thing to have happened in recent weeks. Last month, the Charities Registration Board announced that it was stripping the conservative lobby group Family First of its charitable status, which means donations to the organisation would no longer tax deductible.
The board made this decision on the basis that Family First “did not advance exclusively charitable purposes”. This was essentially a re-affirmation of a decision it had made previously, but which it was forced to reconsider following a court ruling.
To be fair, Family First is primarily a lobby group. But hang on a minute, so are the Child Poverty Action Group and Greenpeace, both of which enjoy charitable status.
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/96490832/theres-a-push-to-silence-conservative-viewpoints