Monday, March 20, 2023

Karl du Fresne: Hang on - who are the real inciters?

The Greens, displaying their customary enthusiasm for free and robust debate, want a British anti-trans activist barred from speaking in New Zealand. They say her meetings are likely to provoke violence. But who are the real inciters?

RNZ reports that three people were arrested during clashes between supporters and opponents of Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, also known as Posie Parker, in Melbourne yesterday. That was the cue for Green MPs Ricardo Menendez-March and Elizabeth Kerekere, tireless free speech champions both, to insist that the government deny Keen-Minshull a visa.

Failing that, Kerekere thinks Keen-Minshull should be denied access to speaking venues, as happened to the Canadians Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux in 2018. (Still unsure what hateful ideas the Canadians supposedly intended to disseminate? Me too. We were prevented from hearing them, so couldn’t judge them for ourselves. The protesters made sure of that.)

Kerekere claims Keen-Minshull’s meetings will incite violence against trans-gender and non-binary people. But hang on a minute: judging by media accounts of the Melbourne meeting, pro-trans protesters outnumbered Keen-Minshull’s supporters. By turning out in force and thus ensuring a confrontation, the pro-trans activists are giving oxygen to the very people they profess to want silenced. Has it ever occurred to them to stay away?

Here’s a radical suggestion. Anti-Vietnam War protesters in the 1960s used the slogan “Suppose they gave a war and nobody came”. The same idea could be applied to speaking tours by people the woke Left dislike. They could just ignore them. But of course that would deny the woke Left a chance to parade their outrage in the front of the TV cameras. Publicity opportunities like that are just too good to pass up, especially when sympathetic media are always keen to frame the confrontations as a fight against the dark forces of the far Right.

From a broader perspective, the denial of a visa or speaking venues to Keen-Minshull would again signal to the enemies of free speech, as with Southern and Molyneux, that they can shut down people they don’t like simply by threatening disruption. What could be simpler than to orchestrate a confrontation with the other side and then blame them for any unpleasantness that eventuates? In the meantime, freedom of speech has taken another hit – which of course is the objective.

Here’s another radical suggestion. Is this whole furore essentially a contest between two sets of noisy exhibitionists? I suspect both sides are immensely gratified by all the attention. I know nothing about Posie Parker, but the cute moniker suggests that she’s not averse to a bit of self-promotion. Then of course there are the tut-tutting media, who are part of the problem. In an ideal universe, they would all be locked in a room together. The rest of the world could be left to get on with things that matter.

Now, one more radical idea. LGBTQIA+ activists bombard us constantly via the media with their breast-beating laments about how oppressed they are. They are endlessly inventive in creating new definitions of sexuality or minority status – QTBIPOC, MVPFAFF, BBIPOC – that no one previously knew existed. I have even read one activist complain - seriously - that even now, there are not enough terms to capture all the variants of sexuality that queer people might identify with.

A tiny but very vocal minority have succeeded in capturing the institutions of power with their bullying diversity agenda. They have done this so effectively that they have co-opted mainstream society whether we want it or not.

But here’s the thing: I don’t think most New Zealanders give a toss about how their fellow citizens identify sexually. They rightly regard it as none of their business. On the rare occasions when a person’s sexuality has become a matter of wider interest – for example, Georgina Beyer – the public attitude has been one of acceptance and tolerance.

This, apparently, is not good enough for the activists. It’s not sufficient that the rest of us consider it their right to adopt whatever identity and lifestyle they choose and just get on with it – preferably quietly, as sexual minorities did in the past. They insist on being noticed.

Call it exhibitionism, attention-seeking, whatever. “Look at me – I’m different.” Ultimately, that’s what a lot of the activism over sexual identity seems to be about.

ADDENDUM: To his credit, Nathan Rarere on RNZ's First Up this morning invited Kerekere to explain why Tusiata Avia, author of a so-called poem (ejaculation of bile would be a more appropriate description) encouraging retribution against the descendants of white colonisers, had a right to free speech, yet Keen-Minshull didn't. There was an awkward (I hesitate to say pregnant) pause before Kerekere replied that the latter was guilty of "clear and obvious hate speech". Then she sought refuge in a string of standard woke cliches ... marginalised people blah blah ... rainbow communities blah blah .... that totally failed to substantiate her answer.

Hate speech? Really? We don't even know what Keen-Minshull has been saying at her rallies (the media don't bother to tell us), but as far as I'm aware she's a feminist who insists that men can't be women - a proposition that the vast majority of New Zealanders would consider harmless and unremarkable. Avia's poem, on the other hand, can't be interpreted in any way other than as an explicit approval of racially motivated violence. But there are no prizes for guessing which one of the two will be on the guest list at the next round of literary festivals.

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


Anonymous said...

Ricardo Menendez March. That would be the Mad March Hare. A rich boy from up north in Mexico. He's a list MP right? Cashing in on his minority status.

I was always frightened by the 'girls' on k road. They'd like to call you out to embarrass. Very uncomfortable as a young man finding his way in the 'big metropolis' back in the very early 80's.

I feel sorry for these women, all their rights to have a voice taken away. It's a bit like that all over. Now there might be a conspiracy theory pertaining to that. It does divide and make people feel hopeless doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Limelight seekers.........
Your lack of interest is just not permitted!

Robert Arthur said...

Much the same comments apply to the current counter co governance road shows. Now receiving some msm attention but it is not reported what the disrupters found so offensive. They clearly have no intention of hearing any argument, however rational it might be. I guess in that case the unruly opposition can be atributed to te ao, tikanga and application of de colonisation.
An excellent conversation with the propective pro feminine visitor on The Platform. Some of the examples she quotes are unbelievable. She reckons she is going to speak in public places in NZ but that seems very optomistic. Hopefully The Platform will continue to cover and gain the attention it deserves.

Anonymous said...

i find it strange that an MP (nash) cannot influence a govt dept (police), but an MP (menendez) can influence a govt dept (immigration).

Unknown said...

I think you will find that the reason for 'denying' Southern & Molyneux from speaking in NZ was "based on what they posted via their respective YouTube Channels.
Southern - a Canadian, spoke out about Justin Trudeau and his policies at the time. An ardent supporter of Free Speech, she felt it was being "stymied" in Canada, by Trudeau, plus other matters Political;
Molyneux, was a former Brit, now residing in Canada and was seeing the rise "of woke issues" that he had experienced in his former Homeland - activities that made him "seek refuge in Canada". He too had a YouTube channel and posted regularly on matters Political in Canada.
For both of them YouTube shut down their respective channels, it is thought that the pressure to do so came from Trudeau. (for which we have to ask, what did Jacinda Ardern ask of YT, when she visited them??)
Southern, because of her views had to leave Canada and seek "sanctuary" in another Country;
Molyneux as far a I am aware still lives in Canada.
Both had no previous exposure in NZ, so one has to "assume" that from their respective YouTube Channels and content, that we "had people in NZ who deemed them unfit to enter the Country".

Anonymous said...

" The same idea could be applied to speaking tours by people the woke Left dislike. They could just ignore them." Why? We have someone who wants to bring harm to trans and gender diverse people trying to enter the country to spread their message. Maybe the decent thing for Kiwis to do is to turn out, tell her she's not welcome, and send her packing. The counter protest in Wellington is set to have 250+ people turn out, so I think that is exactly what is going to happen. Kia ora.

OL said...

'We have someone who wants to bring harm to trans and gender diverse people' Do we though? I think you'll find she intends to speak on behalf of Women.
I think that is exactly what is going to happen. Ka kite.

Jim Trask said...

Dear Karl,

Excellent, as always!

I would like to introduce a few documents to you and readers of this blog.

First, this article, on the person who started Drag Story Hour. It is an excellent read:

Spoiler: it is an explicitly political, and Marxist, project.

I would also like to refer readers to the Facebook page of the organisation who is running the protest against Posie:

Wondered what that raised fist is about?

It is the logo for the International Socialist Organisation (ISO), which arranged the protest. That's right. The organisation running the protest is a cover group for ISO, an internationally networked communist organisation.

So what is this about; what are the communists doing, exactly? Are they really working towards deliberate provocation, as Karl intimates?

Here's an excellent summary of what they are doing - the aim is to instigate "beautiful trouble", what the Marxists used to call "the revolutionary moment":