Under the universal declaration of human rights, everyone has the right to hold opinions and the right to express them, including in writing – so we are informed by Jeremy Wells on Seven Sharp.

It is a little hypocritical for TVNZ to tell us this as TVNZ “free speech” does not apply to anyone exposing a contrary view on the supposed climate crisis; but I digress. 

The segment was about Otago University Emeritus Professor Jim Flynn. Jim has written many books and even has an effect named after him, so he is a bright lad. See the Flynn Effect.

However, his latest book, ironically on the defence of free speech, has been turned down by his UK publishers on the grounds that someone might object under UK hate speech laws.

The publishers were afraid that someone might take portions out of context and use them to stir people up. As Flynn points out, that is true of any book ever written in the history of mankind.

Seven Sharp asked him, “What do think this says about the current state of free speech if you can’t publish a book, […] debating free speech?”

I think it is a sad reflection. When I was young, during the McCarthy period, it was people like me on the left that were fired from universities and I always thought that as universities get more liberal, they will get more tolerant.

And now on many campuses, where the students are predominantly left-wing, they even want these books banned from libraries. That is,  rather than arguing with their opponents they want to make it a test of might-makes-right.

Well all that they are demonstrating is that they are more powerful than their opponents, not that they have more evidence on their side.

Once you make might-makes-right take over, free speech is dead. It just depends on who has the biggest battalions.


A few days ago, another leftie was also lamenting the state of play.

I’m a bit of a leftie but can generally have a conversation with people on the right without things getting personal or abusive.

Not so with the hard left, it’s got totalitarian.

Rachel Stewart – A Newspaper


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