Stuff editorial distorted my views

The Press. 23 August 2018

Last Saturday, Stuff newspapers carried an editorial headed “Behind a cloak of acceptability” which attacked me very personally.

It began by claiming that I “fronted for the Free Speech Coalition that was formed to back alt-right activists Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux”. Yes, I did give an interview on behalf of the Free Speech Coalition but I was not one of the two official spokespeople for that Coalition, and the Coalition was certainly not formed to “back alt-right activists”.  Rather it was formed to defend the principle of free speech and to oppose the Auckland mayor’s apparent veto on their use of a council-owned facility.  (I say “apparent veto” because, when challenged, Auckland Council lawyers admitted the mayor had not vetoed use of the council-owned facility and had no legal power to do so.)

The editorial then went on to say that the views of the “alt-right activists” on racial superiority “were surprisingly similar to his own.  Brash is on record as saying that ‘while Jews made up only around 0.2 per cent of the world’s population, and only 2 per cent of the American population, they had won 22 per cent of all Nobel prizes’.  Therefore ‘it is impossible to ignore the possibility that, at the very least, Jewish culture is superior to many other cultures.’”

Though purporting to quote directly from my speech at the Auckland University debate on free speech, the editorial failed to note that I was actually quoting information from a book by one of the world’s most highly regarded historians, Niall Ferguson, and that I prefaced my comment that ‘it is impossible to ignore the possibility …. that Jewish culture is superior to many other cultures’ by observing that I “don’t know” why that totally disproportionate success had been achieved.

The editorial suggested I was advancing “pseudo-scientific views on race”.  I was not advancing any views on race: I simply do not know why people of Jewish descent do vastly better in almost all forms of endeavour – Niall Ferguson also noted that they’ve also won 38% of the Oscars for Best Director, are the CEOs of almost a quarter of the Forbes 400 largest US companies, and have been the founders or co-founders of many of the most high-tech companies in the world, including Facebook, Google, Intel and Oracle.

We can all agree that every citizen, of whatever ethnicity, should have equal political rights.  But it is surely stating the obvious that some cultures are superior to others.

It is telling that almost all those who want to claim some kind of moral equivalence for all cultures have a very strong desire themselves to live in a modern “western” culture, where women are free to get an education, where female genital mutilation is illegal, where gays and those who want to abandon the religion of their birth are safe from execution, and where slavery is banned.

We don’t see millions of people clamouring to get into the countries of the Middle East or Africa.  I don’t think that tells one anything at all about race, but it surely says something about culture.

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