A system of government by the whole population of a country, typically through elected representatives.
By extension of logic, this concept suggests that the populace is equal?
According to a Holy Grail(1) apparently chaps in American times gone bye, by the name of Jefferson and later Lincoln, espoused and subscribed to the doctrine that, “all men are created equal” as a fundamental element of the American Constitution.
Evolution of democracy also manifests in freedom of expression (restrictions on abuse, obscene threatening language etc axiomatic).
Devoid of a written constitution and based on the Westminster model(2), the UK embraced a similar ethos. New Zealand followed this model.
Until the arrival of the Jacinda Ardern Labour government, the prescript that “all men are equal” was explicit and implicit in documents and conventions which contributed to what makes up our “constitution”.
Note: Better make that “all people”, given the “woke” virus currently circulating.
The creed; “Equality before the law irrespective of race, creed, colour, religion or beliefs”, together with an absolute commitment to preservation of private property, are the pillars of what I would enshrine as core philosophy of any new political party.
New political party? As Sir Bob Jones once counselled me: “Leave it till the last six months”.
In every country across the globe, Governments face opposing views.
Where opposition manifests in China and Russia and any other state which does not subscribe to the American version of democratic government, arrests, detentions and penalties imposed by those countries are vilified as anti-democratic and unacceptable breaches of the rights of people to hold opposing views.
The danger however, is how far are “Western Democracies” from the Eastern Asian version of governance?
For examples, at one extreme of “Western Democracy” we have the plight of Julian Assange & Edward Snowden. And back here in good old New Zealand?
Apartheid! Elevating one ethnic group above all others is not “democracy”.
Eminent historian, former MP, Hon Dr Michael Bassett, who clinically debunks interpretations by some Maori of the Treaty of Waitangi and who condemns the concomitant power grabs by Maori; from water rights to preferential treatment and control of New Zealand’s health industry, is now blacklisted (excuse the pun) from Main Stream Media.
Professor Rata, along with six other University of Auckland Professors and Emeritus Professors published a letter In Defence of Science, which said indigenous knowledge “falls far short of what can be defined as science itself.”
The opinions of these academic experts were vociferously attacked. Main Stream Media lead a charge from peers ostensibly in control of, who retains their employment at universities?
Banning these eminent academics by lock-out or bullying, by Main Stream Media, hardly reflects the ethos of Freedom of Speech.
And, if Hon Dr Michael Bassett is correct, that Main Stream Media is bought and paid for by the Labour government(3), the pillars of New Zealand’s democracy are under serious threat.
In fact, the perception of repression and threats of prosecution for challenging Labour’s policies formulated on the basis of race was so tangible that when I posted a contrary view in July 2021, I entitled the article:
“Apartheid in New Zealand. If I must go to jail for saying this; then so it be.”(4)
Anti Vax Anti Mandate.
Claire Deeks – a leader of Voices for Freedom, previously had her Facebook taken down.
Last week prominent anti mandate protestor Chantelle Baker(5) was blocked from Facebook. “Meta, which owns Facebook, has previously said it doesn't allow people to share misinformation on their profiles that could lead to harm.”
“Misinformation”? Pardon me, but holding a different opinion of any subject matter, must be a fundamental element of “democratic governance”!
Defining “misinformation” and providing examples taken from governments across the globe, would require a separate blog, but suffice to say in this case, the arrogance of a social media platform to presume that it’s version of events is not misinformation on behalf of a Dark Hand, exposes graphically how vulnerable “we” all are to “misinformation”.
A few months back, Ms Baker’s father – Leighton Baker - was arrested for protesting at government policies.
This is the same Baker who had his Twitter page taken down a month out from the last election. Baker’s crime? A hard-core Christian, is reported as being opposed to gender theory, prostitution, decriminalisation of abortion, marijuana and euthanasia.
So much for freedom of expression.
Note: I am pro abortion, gay rights, euthanasia and have mooted decriminalisation of dope (to deny gangs the cash flow they reap as illicit supply chains) but I recognise the democratic right Baker has to promote his views.
Not long ago, Brian Tamaki was arrested for leading protests in Auckland.
I don’t know Mr Tamaki. But I do respect his rights to express his views in the form of “protests” against this (or any) government.
What’s that? Did I hear a shout from the audience: “Hypocrite. You were a Red Squad commander which brutally put down protest against apartheid in South Africa.”
Yes, I was. But it is not the Guardians who call the shots. Read this article: “From Revered to Reviled”.(6)
I have never meet Chantelle Baker but I have met her father, and also Claire Deeks.
Meeting these people and/or supporting their rights to express their views, does not mean I share their views.
What it means is, I believe in a democratic system where opposition to government policy is a healthy manifestation that not all denizens are sheep who follow or are intimidated to reclusive status.
I also spoke about the rights gang members have in some situations. This does not mean that I support gangs (in fact I think their unbridled power today is a major concern). But I do believe in the Rule of Law.(7)
This blog is about democracy where freedom of expression is a basic right.
25 August 2022 Police arrest and charge far-right Counter-spin Media pair in Christchurch with allegedly distributing objectionable material.(8)
Tread carefully here Ross for as Voltaire warned: “God is on the side of the big battalions”. And, I’m a Pagan.
Not allowed to talk about matters before the Courts. Is this another weapon of State control over what YOU are allowed to debate? Shades of a Non-Western version of “Democracy”?
I’m not anti vax. I’m double shot.
However, I do respect that there are many who were and remain sceptical about the cacophony of fear promoted by “medical experts” and cunning politicians that the vaccination would prevent Covid – a blatant false claim.
This was accompanied by restrictions of movement imposed by (in my view) power grabbing politicians who abused the atmosphere of fear they had substantially created, which: (a) kept families separated for months (b) caused domestic violence and divorce (c) small business to crash (d) accompanied by financial grief (e) and had New Zealand labelled a “Hermit State”.
Where does this leave NZ?
A change of government is only one step toward rectifying the chaos the current government has bestowed upon New Zealand.
If Winston Churchill was right when he said: “Democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others that have been tried,” then maybe our system is the best option?
Plato however has a different point of view; that democracy is not the best form of government. According to him, equality brings power-seeking individuals who are motivated by personal gain. They can be highly corruptible, and this can eventually lead to tyranny.
In my opinion, Plato’s scenario is not far from the mark.
(1) McGrath, Cornwell, Godman, The American Democracy, MacMillan 1972.
(2) Madgwick, Introduction to British Politics, Hutchinson 1976.
Ross Meurant, graduate in politics both at university and as a Member of Parliament; formerly police inspector in charge of Auckland spies & V.I.P. security; currently Honorary Consul for an African state, Trustee and CEO of Russian owned commercial assets in New Zealand and has international business interest.