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Scoop Feedback: Classical Intolerance

In This Edition: Re: United Future’s Electoral Success, Classical Intolerance - Oh Really Jim?

Re: United Future’s Electoral Success - Classical Intolerance

Recently there has been a relative tirade of attacks on members of the United-Future New Zealand Party, and their personal beliefs - attacks that have smacked of classical intolerance.

United-Future represents a portion of the electorate that also largely subscribe to Christian and quasi-Christian ideas, Christians have as much right to be represented as others do.

If it were any other minority group (yes, Christians are a minority) that had just won eight seats in Parliament liberal New Zealanders would have probably held a parade to celebrate. We may not like it that Christians have gained a foothold in our liberal social-democracy but, classically, tolerance involves not agreeing, but supporting one’s right to be able to voice one’s opinion.

Tolerance is, believe it or not, also a Christian concept. Christians hold a worldview that states that all people are inherently equal, but all ideas are not - it is in the terrain of ideas that the “battle is fought”. If any idea is the truth then it has nothing to fear from being challenged, we should be very wary of anyone who wishes to stifle someone else’s opinion and prevent it from being heard. United-Future MPs are entitled to their opinions and their expression, even if it reveals their own ignorance in some cases.

It does seem as if some liberals are overreacting somewhat, showing all the signs of people who feel threatened. There is very little chance that a party with eight seats will change New Zealand society overnight, or in 3 years, from a liberal social democracy to a theocracy on par with Iran.

There are many Christians in the Dutch parliament, and yet it is one of the most, if not the most, liberal societies on the planet, the same applies to the Scandinavian nations. Tony Blair, Jack Straw, and Gordon Brown are all Christians at the top of the British Labour Party, are we worried about them taking over the country and Tony Blair being declared Lord Protector?

Being worried by a minority group’s representation in Parliament is simply anti-democratic. Democracy is not the right of the biggest minority to override others but the representation of the broadest amount of viewpoints possible in government. Proportional representation is designed so that this happens more often, as opposed to never under FPP. Like it or not we have Christians in Parliament because of our democratic process, and the allure of Peter Dunne’s not-so-common “common sense”.

The sooner some semblance of classical tolerance returns, the more stable and safe our democracy will become.

- Paul McMahon.


Oh Really Jim?

Dear Editor

Jim Anderton is once again claiming credit for reducing unemployment even further to a 14 year low of 5.1%.

New Zealand's workforce is around 1.878 million.

5.1% represents around 101,000.

Nine months ago this figure was 5.3% or 104,000. At that time we were paying 163,000 people the unemployment benefit. Why?

Jim says,"The whole New Zealand economy is reaping the rewards of the Government's focus on economic, industry and regional development."

Oh really Jim? Why then is the official "jobless rate" 8.4% ? In June this year 1,000 more people were jobless than at June 2001.

Admit it Mr Anderton. Thousands of people have given up actively looking for work and are therefore not included in the official unemployment rate.

- Lindsay Mitchell

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