Wednesday, September 01, 2004
That said, and I know it's a lot to ask, I wish we could have had happy opposition to moral conservatism.
It did after all, allow the Dominion Post to ask "Are Liberals Fascists?" in big letters on the front page of their Saturday magazine section (not a very helpful question, a theoretically possibility on the political compass). The accompanying picture shows a shaven-headed, tatooed - if I may be permitted to guess - dyke shouting at a row of wary faces (mostly brown) in black shirts. I presume the photo was chosen because it looks vaguely like she's doing a Nazi salute with the wrong arm (she's actually pointing).
Under the headline was a lot of useful discussion on the idea of hate speech legislation. Which was preceeded by a discussion of the counter-protest to the Destiny march which I found annoyingly smug.
I can't help suspecting that David McLoughlin has never been bullied - certainly he's got no grasp of subtext. I would submit that just because one side was angry and abusive doesn't mean they were doing all the intimidating. He doesn't even pretend to understand what the gay community found so alarming in Destiny's platform (I can't be bothered explaining, David, but this may help a little). "In contrast" to the accusations of hate-ridden fascism from the left corner, one of the Destiny banners he quotes is "We prefer God's laws". I don't know about you, but that strikes fear into my heart.
We do need to recognise that this was a meeting of two groups who, deep down, don't respect the other's right to exist. And this is not a good thing. But the way Mr McLouglin allocated the intolerance made me want to commit a hate crime against him.
At least he didn't rub in the fact that liberals are in the unaccustomed position of being implacably opposed to a large-scale Maori movement.
This may be symptomatic of a wider problem.
My impression is that, as a group, Maori are more morally conservative than Pakeha. And you only need to look at the Broadcasting Standards Authority's TV-good-taste-and-decency research to find that Pacific Islanders and significantly more conservative than the population overall.
It's been noted, particularly in response to Don Brash, that in order to support our aging baby boomers we urgently need to bring the expanding Maori and Pacific Islands populations on board, both in terms of skills and education so they can contribute to the economy, and in terms of political and social processes.
Put it all together and we might be facing a plateau - I don't wish to entertain thoughts of a reversal - in the moral liberalisation of New Zealand.
And a future containing hordes of progressive types writing to newspapers venting their frustration about "them damn Māori".