Sunday, March 26, 2023

Karl du Fresne: The battle for free speech won't be won by hiding in the shadows

The rally planned for Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, aka Posie Parker, in Wellington tomorrow has been cancelled following the shameful assault on free speech in Auckland today. The threat of violence was too great and the New Zealand Police are either too gutless or too politicised to guarantee the speaker's safety.The enemies of free speech have won this round. Whether they will win the war will depend on whether the defenders of free speech have the guts and the resolve to fight back.

That means deciding whether to commit fully to the cause or to continue putting up only a half-hearted resistance.

The enemies of free speech have no qualms about outing themselves, as we saw today. They are so convinced of their rightness, and so confident of support from the media, that they don’t mind being seen on the TV news. In fact they revel in the exposure.

I hate to say it, but in this respect they have the high ground over many of those who profess to support free speech, including many commenters on this blog.

The enemies of free speech will not be countered by keyboard warriors lamely commenting behind the safety of pseudonyms. The woke activists we saw in action today must draw great encouragement from the fact that many of their opponents so lack confidence in their cause that they are frightened to identify themselves.

The defenders of free speech need to put themselves out there. To use a cliché, they should have the courage of their convictions. They should be prepared to march in the streets if necessary. At the very least they should be willing to openly declare themselves as being prepared to fight for the survival of liberal democracy.

Accordingly, this blog will no longer publish comments from people hiding behind pseudonyms. If an idea is worth expressing, it’s worth putting your name to. And if free speech is worth saving, then it requires a meaningful commitment.

I can anticipate the objections. People will say I don’t understand what a battlefield it is out there and how vicious the wokesters can be. But plenty of commentators publish ideologically unfashionable opinions under their own names and others should take courage from their example. The battle for freedom of speech will never be won as long as one side hides in the shadows.

Beyond that, I can do no better than publish the following statement issued today by the feminist group Speak Up for Women. It’s an admirable summary of the issues raised by today’s ugly triumph of mob rule at Albert Park.

Today in Albert Park as women were punched, kicked, spat at, trampled, and overrun by a violent mob, New Zealanders have seen the true colours of some of those who, ordinarily, cloak themselves in claims of diversity, tolerance, and inclusion.

In the same week that World Athletics has stated what all reasonable New Zealanders know to be true – that fairness, safety and opportunities for women in sport require the exclusion of males, no matter how they choose to identify – New Zealand activists have shown that they believe women should not be able to have anything for themselves. Not even a small band rotunda in an Auckland park.

So let us clearly say the things that Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull was not able to say today. Lesbians cannot have penises. Men have no place in women’s single sex facilities, services, or sports, regardless of what they proclaim their inner gender identity to be. Puberty blockers, created to castrate male sex offenders and treat prostate cancer, are experimental and harm vulnerable children. And people cannot change biological sex no matter how much they may want to or how many documents they may possess saying otherwise.

Saying that does not deny the existence of people who identify as gender diverse, or instigate harm or violence against them, or make them unsafe, it simply states the truth. Biological sex is real and it matters.

Storming barricades and assaulting women is not “free speech”. It is violent sexism and misogyny. Drowning out the speech of people you don’t like is the cowardly approach of people unwilling to debate contesting views. A 5’1” woman needing four security guards to form a human shield around her to protect her from a screaming, spitting mob is not a New Zealand we know. But it is a true representation of a movement that has become increasingly determined to shut down and destroy anyone with views about sex and gender that they don’t like.

We see those of you in the media who are already trying to downplay the results of the frenzy you were busy whipping up all week. There was not a “scuffle” between supporters and Mrs Keen-Minshull did not leave because she got some paint thrown at her. A small group of courageous women were stampeded by an activist mob and a number were assaulted and physically harmed. Fortunately, in the age of technology New Zealanders can see for themselves what happened.

In the country that was the first in the world to give women the vote, tomorrow’s Let Women Speak gathering in Wellington has been cancelled. Mrs Keen-Minshull’s security team have advised her that they cannot keep her safe from mob violence and the police have declined to do so.

Activists spent the week being courted by a complicit media platforming their claims of being scared, fearing for their safety, deliberately lying to propagate their claims of New Zealand being full of “queer hatred”, and claiming that words they don’t like are harmful and make them feel unsafe. In reality it is clear who really was unsafe today. It is clear who was actually harmed. And it was not the activists taking gloating selfies from a band rotunda.

Speak Up for Women thanks Mrs Keen-Minshull for having the courage to come to New Zealand and showing up in Albert Park today, despite receiving multiple death threats and threats of violence in the last week.

In the coming weeks Speak Up for Women will be gathering witness statements and laying a formal complaint with the Independent Police Conduct Authority about the lack of police action to prevent violence in what was clearly an increasingly volatile situation.We call on all political leaders to roundly condemn the violence that transgender activists perpetuated this morning.

We speak directly to the Greens, who actively courted and promoted the violence that occurred today, including just this morning posting on social media that they were ready to “fight the Nazis”. And by Nazis they meant the 70 year-old woman who was punched in the head by the mob they instigated. The Green Party was founded by people who fought for free speech, including speech they found abhorrent, you should be ashamed of what you have turned the party into.

Karl du Fresne, a freelance journalist, is the former editor of The Dominion newspaper. He blogs at


hughvane said...

I have to wonder if any of the Rent A Rabble at Albert Park on Saturday have ever studied, or been told about, Germany of the 1930s. Circumstances were different, but two of the groups targeted by the Nazis and their sycophants were Jews and .... homosexuals!

That last definition has been expanded exponentially to include those who were demonstrating exactly the sort of intolerance shown to their predecessors of 90 years ago.

There will be a deluge of outrage, but it comes and will continue to come from the regulars who contribute to blogs such as this, many of them ‘older white folk’ at least a generation apart from those who disgraced NZ and its reputation (I needn’t elaborate) forever at Albert Park on Saturday 25 March 2023.

Hugh Evans (hughvane)

RH Brown said...

It was obvious that the police and media are on side with the hatred and violence demonstrated yesterday.

Martin Hanson said...

Brilliant, Karl. As Journalist Jo Bartosch said, "When did believing in biology become a thoughtcrime?"

DeeM said...

"Accordingly, this blog will no longer publish comments from people hiding behind pseudonyms."

That's very noble and I understand the sentiment. BUT, many people are too scared to identify themselves for a variety of reasons, often connected to their employment.
We have plenty of examples of people being hounded out of their jobs for expressing their unfashionable opinions openly.
And look at Thomas Cranmer!

So, Karl is now denying these people the right to express their views anonymously on his blog. That's his prerogative.

Of course, there is an easy way around this. Just make up a real name and use that. Yes, it's still a pseudonym but it doesn't look like one.
Unless Karl is going to demand some kind of formal ID verification of each commenter then that should do the job.

You can still partake in the discussion and make your views known but be effectively anonymous.

Meng Foon aka DeeM

Anonymous said...

I'm still laughing, Dee M got published and saved me from saying the very same thing. I do agree with Karl that we need to stand up and I hope the anonymous commenters would be out on the streets in support if they had a cause to stand up for.
I'm a protester waiting to happen.
Joan Blogs aka MC

Chris Morris said...

I agree with the general policy of standing by what you write, but there have been so many instances of people doxed and "punished" that I am more than a little concerned at the practicalities of its application.

Anonymous said...

As a Femina I agree with the italicised story. My gender is femina to give me an identity given my previous one has been overtaken, courrupted and now truly shameful. As a femina I am strong assured and delighted to be what I am.

Peter Ness said...

Hi Karl
I have to agree with DeeM and his comment re blogging anonymously.
Many people stood up for free speech on the lawn of Parliament and were mandated out of their jobs, homes and livelihoods.
If you’re Mike Hosking for example. ( sorry Mike for dragging you into this) you can say what you like, within reason because it’s going to be a big call to fire him for what he says and watch your ratings sink like a stone.
Very different if you’re a Policeman or Doctor, Nurse etc.
An anonymous voice, small and tiny is worth listening to (that’s courtesy of Horton hears a Who).
So I would urge you to reconsider your objection to anonymous comments.
I suspect you are every bit as angry as most of us would be by that display at the weekend. The cause of witch can squarely be laid at the feet of the NZ Herald. Even Ms Posie woke up to the fact that the media is totally woke and refused to talk to them.

Robert Arthur said...

No doubt the Left and maori have observed with interest. Able to count on the presencce of those who live for notoriety and trouble, the gangs, they will be able to completely rout all open public address by the counter cogoverance roadshow, and later National and Act roadshows. Democracy is destroyed even before co governace is acheived.
And MF aka DM above is spot on. I have just reread Polack and am currently reading The Musket Wars. That utu instinct was so overwhelming I doubt if even 200 years and huge blood dilution has eliminated, any more than other traits have disappeared..

Anonymous said...

I agree with DeeM.
Karl you have challenged me and I thank you for that.
Without doubt i will lose a 40 year career and my home if i go public.
Equity is where everyone has to have the same outcome no matter their circumstance.
It seems you want everyone to speak out immediately no matter their circumstance.
I didn’t think you pushed an equity barrow.
Maybe you should focus more on equality of opportunity. Giving everyone the chance to speak out in the way that is best for them.
Do Aesop’s fables carry less weight because the original author is anonymous?
What if something DeeM says resonates with another who’s opportunity to speak out using their full name ( eg someone retired) is able to be realised? Are you denying them the ability to benefit from her perspective? ( for if DeeM is not a woman i will eat my hat).
Please keep the suggestions coming. I will listen to and consider every one you offer.
Maybe soon i will even risk my career and my home. But i will do it when i am ready. Don’t shut me out.

Anonymous said...

There is and never has been honour and respect for whistleblowers even though they were/are usually doing the right thing ie standing up against wrong doers. Likewise the revenge against the person who delivered/delivers the message. Hence the need for anonymity.

Ross said...

The way I look at it, what happened yesterday is all the gains for women that many feminists and women's advocates fought so hard for over the last 30-40 years, were trashed.

People like Helen Clarke, Sue Kedgley , the National Council for Women, The Minister for Women's Affairs etc. etc. should be shouting from the roof tops. But it will never happen.

Barend Vlaardingerbroek said...

As indicated by several comments above, you don't have to be in North Korea to be facing official exclusion because of your political views.

Ross said...

I omitted to add this in my earlier post. A copy of a tweet from yesterday

“And a Malakai TM nails it,

Posie Parker has actually won.
She’s exposed the trans movement for what it is. Ugly, narcissistic, aggressive, violent and absolutely not something that can be tolerated in civil society. “

Goes a little too far by saying the movement should not be tolerated but certainly their actions yesterday should not be tolerated.

Anonymous said...

Jacinda Arden addressed the UN last year saying " Free speech is a dangerous weapon, ......." .
Barely mentioned in the NZ MSM.
Censored again?

Mick said...

I can't believe this disgusting performance.Surely the vast majority of New Zealanders would condemn what happened yesterday.It seems quite obvious that what is needed is a rally of significant proportion as a reply.If people can line the streets to celebrate sports teams or the Santa parade surely they can front up for something way more important to their future and their children's future.

Unknown said...

New Zealand is now experiencing what has occurred in Great Britain, and also America.
All we need now is out local version of "Antifa' and we have joined the "Masses that now seek to rule our lives, led by the Gay Community" (supported by our 'charming' Green Party), that last group who in America are now taking charge of the education of children.
When these groups started to appear in and across America, there were those in the Conservative Media who prevailed upon like minded People to stand up against the "rise of this madness". Those that did "got cancelled" and never mentally recovered from the "onslaught & hatred applied upon them". We will now see this occur in NZ.
Also it is interesting that Australian media, have looked at the Melbourne Posie Parker Rally & the counter rallies and are asking questions, especially of the Police, and how a specific group was able to create mis-direction & chaos, with out Police intervention!
I recorded the following quote (from a USA Conservative Media outlet) -
".. with every passing moment, the more patient we are, the more radical they are/become.." (anon)
Our NZ reputation has "been damaged" by the recent "riots" (I can find no other words to describe the action in Auckland) that will have an impact on those who sought to visit our "green & pleasant Land", who will take that tourist dollar elsewhere.

Terry Morrissey said...

— “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,”
I find it very hard to be able to understand how the police cannot send sufficient staff to ensure the safety and freedom of speech for Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, aka Posie Parker, when they could find 620 police to beat the crap out of peaceful protestors at Parliament. I find no satisfaction in assuming that the current ruling labour/greens cult did not agree with the protest at Parliament but was definitely in agreement with the lowlifes at Auckland, and in fact became part of them. The presence of greens co-leader and the comments of the likes of the Minister if Immigration, the Prime Minister and other sitting MPs leaves no doubt that there is most certainly a very disturbing trend toward the government’s opposition to freedom of either person or speech.
If the Police Commissioner can be influenced to take the recorded action at Parliament but does little to nothing to protect someone in Auckland, things are beginning to fail the sniff test. It is not too great a step to wonder just how many agents provocateur were involved in each event and how deeply involved is the governments propaganda wing, the media, both written and visual.
I find the attitude, statements, and actions (or lack of by the police) and government absolutely repugnant.
When a fringe organisation of sexual deviants are enabled by the government, the police and the media to cause such embarrassment to a country, we definitely have a credibility problem for government, police hierarchy and the media.
I have sympathy for the dedicated front line of the police as they have little or no influence over the decisions of the politicised senior management.
I feel no compunction whatsoever in suggesting that the government and police owe Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, aka Posie Parker, and the whole country (apart from the low lifes involved) an apology, plus the resignation of the Prime Minister and the Police Commissioner.

Phil said...

I see Karl's point that NZ is in serious trouble. It isn't hyperbolic to view this overarching ideology surrounding us as being of a fascist nature. The reason being elevation of special groups over other citizens, compliant media, compliant police force, dismantling of democratic norms, use of mob to shut down free speech in various forums from trans to co-governance. I think safety in numbers is the best response and I plan to align with the Free Speech Union.

Mick said...

Well said Terry and you too Phil.

Lynette Kilgour said...

What I can’t understand is when I looked up Posie Parker on google most of what I found was nz media suggesting that what she had to say was ‘hate speech’, repugnant and repellent . There were no quotes from her, no explanation of her stance, no fairness in the reporting. This lack of information is concerning and points to a discriminatory agenda.