Freedom of speech. It's a basic tenet underlying democracy.

If freedom of speech is not for everyone, you don't have democracy.

Freedom of speech is meant to permit dissent from established rule, in lawful means, protected from governmental interference.

Cancellation of an Auckland event featuring two Canadian white supremacists and a more local event featuring our own version of white privilege defender, Don Brash, has brought out their previously hidden civil rights advocacy in our extreme and moderate right wingers.


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Let's be clear -- Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux play the race cards of white supremacy to provoke, in the expectation of a big payday.

They're on record proposing chaos and mayhem -- like the bombing of Melbourne. Tickets for their ugly performance ranged from $100 to $500.

Auckland ratepayers and the Auckland council are not obligated to enrich these provocateurs anymore than our dedication to hospitality obliges us to welcome strangers who propose to relieve themselves in our front lounge.

That's not a free speech issue. It's a hygiene and security issue.

But I'm not surprised that Don Brash, who would find solace in their ravings, would suddenly seek to make the cancellation a free speech issue.

The notion of Don Brash as a free speech advocate is oxymoronic. But then so is the belated support of Chester Borrows of the same ideal, free speech.

I want first to acknowledge Chester's confession of his having profited from Don Brash's racist-tinged speech at Orewa (Chronicle; August 10).


Chester's admission of personal guilt in profiting from racism is belated but welcome as another proof of his being in recovery from Bee-Hive Syndrome.

But it's a slow rehabilitation and there's already evidence of potential for relapse.

I learned with some dismay that Chester admits he owes his political career in Parliament to the rise in National's poll numbers after that speech.

According to Chester, National's approval ratings went from 18 per cent to 45 per cent.

He has confessed that his party, National, won election in 2008 because of the same appeal to fear of "the other" that got Donald Trump elected in 2016, and that he stood by and profited from it.

Let's remember our former Whanganui MP before he found his inner civil rights activism.

In 2009 he carried the parliamentary water for Michael Laws' failed attempt to suppress the expression of membership in local gangs at a cost to the city of $1,261,209.35 in legal fees and $10 million in damaged reputation.

Racism persists, in part, because it is profitable.

It is profitable whether in terms of private prisons, opportunistic hate-spouting Canadians, popular elections, perpetuating an underclass, or supporting the white privileged one.

Racists like Donald Trump and our local imitations succeed by portraying themselves as victims of the institutions that ensure fairness -- the press, for example, or freedom of speech.

Yet they take full advantage of every opportunity to undermine those institutions, and the democracy, in favour of power and perpetuated hierarchy.

I can agree with Chester on Brash speaking at Massey. Not as a mark of free speech, but for his boring cadences and stale content ... if we could bottle that, we'd have a cure for insomnia.

But unlike Chester I would not second guess the vice-chancellor, Jan Thomas. Chester makes light of her security concerns and snarkily wonders how such a tender soul could rise to become vice-chancellor.

I remember another Chester whose car hit protesters as they stood and expressed opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

Chester, an ex-cop, did not check with police regarding the security issues he offered in mitigation for the tender sensitivities of the dildo-phobic Paula Bennett, an advocate of warrantless searches, who rose to deputy prime minister despite her "acute sensitivities" and her statement that "Criminals have fewer human rights."

Chester is a man with strong religious faith. He should know that his confession of complicity and guilt in profiting from racism is incomplete without significant acts of contrition.

We can expect good things as he searches for justice in the justice system.

*Jay Kuten is an American-trained forensic psychiatrist who emigrated to New Zealand for the fly fishing. He spent 40 years comforting the afflicted and intends to spend the rest afflicting the comfortable.