Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Simon O'Connor: Inconsistency at the end of the rainbow

I find many protest actions ridiculous and counter-productive. Throwing white paint over rainbow crossings is just another example. Such actions don’t achieve much, if anything. I don’t feel such actions are particularly constructive, conducive to civil discourse, or respectful. Such protests upset those symbolically targeted and often, in these modern times, simply provides media and others a further reason to fuel their erroneous ‘victim versus oppressor’ narrative. Put simply, I don’t see much good in such protest actions other than furthering grievance all round.

What was striking however, was the near wall to wall coverage (or should that be pavement to pavement?) of the rainbow crossing whitewashing incidents. It appeared to be one of the biggest media issues last week. There was commentary from the usual political suspects and community spokespeople, police statements and social media positioning. Photos and videos were widely shared and naturally, now with three people arrested, calls for these individuals to be named and shamed. And of course, to top it all off, this protest was quickly labeled a hate crime.

Yet, what is so striking is how this particular action has been treated versus so many other recent protests. As a few quick examples below will show, according to progressives, some protests are to be celebrated while others are to be vilified. The inconsistency is galling yet again illustrates a society that has lost its focus and ability to see that the end does not justify the means.

Sadly and dangerously, we have a growing political and media class (along with a commentariat) that believe protest, violence, and civil disobedience are perfectly ok if for their causes. Protest for them is ok, but not for others.

Near weekly we have pro-Hamas protests and yet little commentary beyond reporting that such events took place. These protests have included attacking synagogues, throwing fake blood into embassies and consulates, and the explicit calling for the eradication of the Jewish people including by Members of Parliament. There has also been the consistent threat of violence from these pro-Hamas supporters, so much so that peaceful counter-protestors get arrested to “protect” them. We need only think of the young female lawyer, Lucy, arrested on Auckland’s Queen Street to illustrate this.

Yet our media and others have said little. If throwing white paint over a pedestrian crossing is a clear cut case of hate speech, then one would think the likes of Green MPs calling for the eradication of an entire people would qualify as well? Of course, you would be mistaken. All these actions are mildly reported, now only in passing. There is little coverage of those involved, partly as they hide their faces, but the wider point remains - the coverage of these protests is entirely different to last week’s focus on pedestrian crossings.

We then had the defacing of a Treaty of Waitangi display at Te Papa a few weeks ago. In contrast to the painting of rainbow crossing, this paint driven defacing was celebrated by many commentators and those in media. New Green Party co-Leader, Chloe Swarbrick, is on television celebrating their actions, noting that destructive protest such as this is important and valuable. She was not the only one. In fact, this protest is to be immortalised with Te Papa thinking of how to keep the defaced item public.

The examples are of course, endless. We know of statues attacked, defaced, destroyed in the name of anti-colonialism. We have zealots such as Extinction Rebellion closing down motorways, or again, using paint to deface that which they disagree with. Where is the near endless media coverage of these events? Where is the instant calling this out as ‘hate’? Where is the naming and shaming of those involved? There is little to none of course. One rule for some, another set of rules for others.

So what are we to make of all of this? As the title of this op-ed suggests, it really all comes down to a matter of consistency. As I noted at the start, I have little sympathy for those defacing the rainbow crossing in the same way I have little sympathy with those defacing the Treaty display, or throwing paint into the foyer of the Israeli embassy.

However, many progressive politicians and media are happy to be inconsistent. White paint on rainbow crossings is hateful. Fake blood in foyers is freedom. And that is what makes these progressives dangerous and fundamentally opposed to our values of liberty and democracy.

They believe in one law for them, and another for others they disagree with.

When they speak of freedom and rights, they only mean for them.

When the speak of the importance of protest, is is only for them.

When they talk of hate speech, it is only ever something that applies to others.

And democracy is only good when it delivers what they want.

While watching inconsistency is frustrating, particularly in our political and media landscape, there is one plus side - it exposes progressives for who they are to those wise enough to see it.

Simon O'Connor a former National MP graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Political Studies . Simon blogs at On Point - where this article was sourced.


Robert Arthur said...

I support the whiter outers. It discourages Councils from more of this expensive confuisng rainbow folly soffensive to so many normal persons with less obsessive hobbies.

Max Ritchie said...

It is a great pity, Simon,that you are no longer in Parliament. You make a very good point. At least this rather silly protest by the Destiny Church members didn’t inconvenience, injure or molest anyone else. It does rather raise a question regarding the legality of coloured crossings; NZTA website is quite clear that crossings are white.

Eamon Sloan said...

If Destiny Church had very carefully painted a real pedestrian crossing alongside the multi coloured crossing I wonder which crossing the public would recognise as being legal. As many others have pointed out there is something in the law which is said to prohibit any form of informal road markings. How did we get to the situation where the so-called gay/trans agenda is given absolute privilege in cultural affairs?

What might happen if a series of Star of David flags were painted across some of our main streets? Would that be a “hate” crime?