Liberals, Talk-back and Tolerance

Trouble with RSS is, that you sometimes skip over stuff. The advantage of RSS is, you can always go back and read the stuff you missed.

Like this column by Karl du Fresne:

ON JIM Mora’s radio show recently, former broadcaster and Labour Party man Brian Edwards deplored the hateful, vindictive nature of much comment in the blogosphere and on talkback radio. It was, he said, a sad aspect of New Zealand society that people took extreme views and could be highly personal in their attacks, even to the point of saying the people they were attacking were worthless and might as well be dead.

IMHO, very few blogs that are that extreme get much traffic.

“Hear hear”, I thought. Trouble was, only about half an hour before, on the same programme, Edwards had been unburdening himself of some pretty vindictive thoughts about ACT.

Nothing could please him more, he said, than the disintegration of Rodney Hide’s party. It was an awful party and they were all bullies. Indeed, they were “the most ghastly people in politics”, and the sooner we saw the back of them, the better. “Good riddance to bad rubbish,” Edwards harrumphed.

Reproducing his words in print doesn’t adequately convey the venom with which he said them. Witty and charming at his best, Edwards on this occasion revealed a less appealing side of his character.

It wasn’t clear what road-to-Damascus conversion Dr Edwards experienced between his outburst against ACT and his tut-tutting about intolerance a short time later, but it didn’t go unnoticed by the show’s host. In the light of Edwards’ condemnation of hateful comment, Mora asked playfully, did he care to reconsider his remarks about Mr Hide and ACT? No, he didn’t. “There are some people you just can’t see any good in,” Edwards declared.

So Edwards dislikes vindictive personal comment in general but exempts himself when he’s attacking people whose political views he disapproves of. In doing so he strips away the thin veneer of faux liberalism and reveals a nasty streak of intolerance lurking beneath.

I think that’s quite unfair. I’m sure that the veneer is quite thick 🙂

Unfortunately, you see that attitude a lot on the left. I think we on the right are so used to being on the receiving end of it we just accept that we’re ill thought-of. So we rarely claim the moral high ground, though I believe we should more often – I repeat that in my experience of reading random blogs that the hatred of the left stands out long before the politics does.

Ultimately however, there’s a lot to be desired on both sides of the political spectrum when it comes to tolerance. I’m not just saying that. I would point to the idiots on this discussion as a brilliant example of people on the right who ran a very productive discussion right off the rails.

1 comment

  1. As an advocate for small government, and open government, who is in power becomes irrelevant to the immense benefit that can be gained by ensuring the government of the day provides OIA requests in a timely fashion.

    Indeed, OIA is history. I’m all for pro-active disclosure, the next generation of open information in government. If the left want to use it as a bludgeon to attack National, doesn’t worry me because we would have clear laws to hold the next government to account, and the one after and the one after that.

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