A wee while ago I wrote that I had joined the Free Speech Union of New Zealand¹. Like many others, I’m fed up with ‘cancel culture’, and the wokies who pay homage to it. They want to turn the world into a big bland tin of safe grey paint, and it’s boring the tits off me – which is a lot of boredom. Much to their histrionic dismay, some of us just won’t shut up, though. So, anticipating that I could be in the cancel firing line, too, one day, I thought that a little insurance in the form of joining the Free Speech Union might be $50 well spent.
My great sin is that I don’t believe that men can actually become women, and vice versa, no matter what their feelings are or what they do to their bodies. What I do believe is that believing men can become women – or rather, women enough to be classified as women – is compromising women’s and girls’ rights and safeties by allowing male-sexed persons into our spaces and sports. There’s a damn good reason why we’ve had a blanket rule to keep all men out of women-only spaces and sports, irrespective of character or how they might describe themselves, and that blanket rule needs to remain respected. That’s not hate – that’s called not having rose-tinted glasses on, and looking at how this plays out in the real world with real bodies.
Now, anyone who disagrees with me is entitled to do so. It’s called freedom to hold beliefs and express them. However, being free to say anything we want, in any way we want, anywhere we want I consider to be debatable. Free speech purists would give me a good telling off about that, which they’d be free to do. But at 64 years old, one thing I’m not, is pure. To digress a little, funnily enough my name, Katrina, which is derived from Katherine, means ‘pure’ 🙂 I did strive for goodness and purity (in a manner of speaking) along with the legions of other young impressionable woman in the New Age era, but thankfully I eventually got older and bored with that.
Totally free speech is a great concept, but we all have to live together somehow in this big ol’ messy world. As long as human bums point to the ground, we will bicker, scrap, and fight. That’s pretty much what all life on earth does. However, a modicum of manners and civility helps us humans not devolve into beings whose entire language consists of variations of “eff off”. Admittedly, it may be too late for some.
Recently, the Christchurch City Council has taken some harsh measures against a large group who’ve been gathering in Cranmer Square every Sunday morning for the last two months. Cranmer square is a small grassy square with trees lining the perimeter in central Christchurch, and is mostly a residential area. The group, Destiny Church², who oppose the government’s Covid measures, bring in port-a-loos, food trucks, a stage and a sound system, and proceed to hold a church service and make protest speeches. Basically, they hold a noisy event every Sunday morning in a public space for around three hours for which they have no permit. The residents have become seriously p**sed off, and put a flea in the CCC’s ear about it.
This is where the Free Speech Union and I hold differing views. They think that the Christchurch City Council is interfering with Destiny Church’s right to free speech, and I think that the CCC are right to kick Destiny’s Church’s arse for their ongoing disruption. To the Free Speech Union, it’s simple matter of the right to free speech and protest, whereas I think that Destiny Church are being arseholes. If I was living in Cranmer square and have had to listen to a large noisy event every Sunday morning for the last two months, I’d be fit for putting more than a flea in someone’s ear.
So who’s right? Me or the Free Speech Union? Most of the responses – by a handful of mainly male advocates for free speech – to the comment I made on the Free Speech Union’s Facebook page, told me in no uncertain terms, some of which were quite rude and aggressive (it was Facebook, after all), that I was wrong. In their removed world they considered it exactly the same as a Black Lives Matter or a Climate protest taking place. They, including a Free Speech Union admin, saw no difference between a one-off protest march that passes through, to a static one that takes place at the same time in the same place every week. Thank goodness I had them to mansplain my mistake to me.
For some, it’s all about free speech and nothing else. For me, and others, behaviour comes into it as well. Nothing happens in a vacuum without an impact on someone or something. In spite of the fact I believe that Destiny Church can talk about whatever shite they want if they’re not inciting harm, I don’t believe they can behave in any way they want. To me, the saying “your right to swing your arm ends where my nose begins” applies here.
In spite of my differing stance on this with the Free Speech Union, I like that they’re here, and that they won’t cancel me for disagreeing with them on this matter. But as with all philosophies, theories, concepts, and beliefs, the question of how they play out in the real world with real people always needs to be asked.