NZ has just been tested by two Canadian Libertarians, and in my view, we have failed.
Then there’s Newshub’s Patrick Gower. Perhaps I should have started with him.
Gower interviewed Southern and Molyneux (it wasn’t screened, but you can see it online) and afterwards told newsreaders Samantha Hayes and Mike McRoberts that it was one interview he wouldn’t forget for a while, “and not for any good reason”.
Er, quite so. Gower complained that the Canadians’ response to his questions was “attack-like” and that they indulged in “intellectual nitpicking”. But it was Gower who set the tone of the interview with a needling, aggressive approach which seemed to proceed from the assumption that the two were purveyors of hate speech, whatever that might mean.
He can’t blame the Canadians if they fought fire with fire and left him floundering on more than one occasion. Interviewers who throw punches can’t complain if their subjects strike back.
It was not Gower’s finest moment. At one point he accused Molyneux of indulging in a rant – “rant” now being the favoured New Zealand way of dismissing any expression of opinion that someone else doesn’t like.
The Southern-Molyneux furore cried out for some sober, dispassionate journalism that sought to explain to New Zealanders why the Canadians have aroused such fury. Well, Gower was not the man to provide it. In fact throughout this saga, the media generally have made little or no attempt to probe beyond the hysteria and the simplistic name-calling.
Karl du Frense
The Canadians also fail, all to frequently. Previous generations fought for king, for empire, and for the right to be free. To preserve and protect. But we have forgotten what they said.
And that we need to recall.
We giving all gained all.
Neither lament us nor praise.
Only in all things recall,
It is Fear, not Death that slays.
From little towns in a far land we came,
To save our honour and a world aflame.
By little towns in a far land we sleep;
And trust that world we won for you to keep!
Kipling, Rudyard (1865 – 1936)
“Epitaphs of the War,” Rudyard Kipling’s Verse: Definitive Edition (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1940): 388.