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