Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
It was only two days ago that we noted how the Editorial Board of The New York Times wrote that America Deserves a Leader as Good as Jacinda Ardern. While the Editors loved that the Prime Minister of New Zealand was taking stern, decisive action to ban “all military-style semiautomatic and automatic weapons, parts that can be used to turn other rifles into such weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.” New Zealand’s weak Bill of Rights Act of 1990, being essentially toothless — the legislation specifically denies, in Section 4:
the Act any supremacy over other legislation. The section states that Courts looking at cases under the Act cannot implicitly repeal or revoke, or make invalid or ineffective, or decline to apply any provision of any statute made by parliament, whether before or after the Act was passed because it is inconsistent with any provision of this Bill of Rights. Section 5 allows for “Justified Limitations” on the rights guaranteed by the Act which are “subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society”, which is the same wording as contained in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
To call it a ‘Bill of Rights’ is laughable, and Miss Ardern and her ruling Labour Party can do whatever they wish, regardless of any stated rights that the Kiwis have.
But that wasn’t the only limitation on rights that Miss Ardern proposed. In the same editorial which said the US needed someone like her, the Editorial Board also noted that she was attacking freedom of the press:
Earlier in the week, she told Parliament that social media sites must address the ease with which the internet can be used to spew hate and images of violence. “We cannot simply sit back and accept that these platforms just exist and that what is said on them is not the responsibility of the place where they are published,” she said. “It cannot be a case of all profit, no responsibility.”
Translation: if someone, even someone from outside New Zealand, posts something on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram of which the government disapproves, Facebook or Twitter or Instagram could be held corporately liable if that objectionable material is read in New Zealand. Given that the Times’ editors of 48 years ago were the successful plaintiffs in the Pentagon Papers case reaffirming the freedom of the press, one would think — wrongly, it seems — that today’s Editorial Board would guard the First Amendment jealously.
So, what is Miss Ardern doing now?
By Damien Cave | March 22, 2019 | A version of this article appears in print on March 23, 2019, on Page A6 of the New York edition with the headline: “New Zealand Criminalizes Manifesto Of Suspect.”
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — Hoping to limit the spread of hateful ideas attributed to the suspect accused of the Christchurch killings, New Zealand classified his so-called manifesto as “objectionable” on Saturday, making it a crime to possess or distribute it anywhere in the country.
“People who have downloaded this document, or printed it, should destroy any copies,” said David Shanks, the chief censor in New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs.
“There is an important distinction to be made between ‘hate speech,’ which may be rejected by many right-thinking people but which is legal to express, and this type of publication, which is deliberately constructed to inspire further murder and terrorism,” Mr. Shanks said. “It crosses the line.”
The ruling is part of a wider strategy by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to undermine the attempts by the suspect, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, to gain global notoriety. She has pledged never to utter his name publicly, and to press platforms like Facebook to deny access worldwide to the manifesto, which was published just before the slaughter of 50 people in two mosques, as well as the video the gunman apparently livestreamed of part of the attacks.
That there even is an office of “chief censor” in an ostensibly free country is repugnant in itself; one wonders if he has a photo of Josef Goebbels on his wall, and surely the title Reichsminister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda sounds catchier.
I have not read the ‘manifesto’ of the Christchurch terrorist, knowing full well that it is nothing but drivel. Robert Stacy McCain described it thus:
Brenton Tarrant, the 28-year-old Australian who killed 49 people in the mosque massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, published a manifesto entitled “The Great Replacement,” that has been described as a shorter and “more sloppy” version of “the same themes” expressed in the 2011 manifesto of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik.
I can live the rest of my life without reading sloppiness, but at some point, perhaps people ought to read his drivel to attempt to understand his mind and his motivations and the way he thought. That I have a copy of Mein Kampf does not make me a Nazi any more than the fact I have a copy of the Q’ran makes me a Muslim; having them means that I have used them for research. If more people had read Mein Kampf, in which Adolf Hitler spelled out what he was going to do — Neville Chamberlain, for one? — perhaps something could have been done to stop him from doing it.
Miss Ardern’s actions banning the manifesto, making it illegal for anyone in New Zealand to “possess” a copy of it, can only make people more eager to read the stupid thing. It’s all over the internet, so it isn’t as though the government can stop people from downloading it or reading it online.
Perhaps the “chief censor” can set up a system to monitor all internet searches from anyone in the country, and send the gendarmerie to break down the doors and haul off the fifteen-year-old who searches for a copy?
Well, this is the woman the Editorial Board told us we needed as a leader in the United States; this is the woman who would hold publishers — and the Editorial Board would certainly qualify as publishers — responsible for what someone decides to post on their platforms.
Perhaps the Editorial Board think that such censorship could never happen to them, oh no, certainly not. Yet the government very much did try to censor the Times in the Pentagon Papers case, and if such a threshold is crossed in one case, it can be crossed in others, perhaps cases with which the Editorial Board would disagree. After all, it’s not like the current President of the United States is a big fan of the Times.
One wonders: does the Editorial Board still think that the United States needs a leader like Miss Ardern?
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