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Tony Ellis an Embarrassment to Liberty

Wed, 11 Aug 2004

Tony Ellis an Embarrassment to Liberty

Libertarianz leader Bernard Darnton is appalled by the weasel-worded backsliding of Council for Civil Liberties President Tony Ellis. Ellis suggested that holocaust-denier David Irving should be allowed to come to New Zealand but that he shouldn't "indulge in holocaust denial or hate speech" in public or in private.

"These are weasel words from a so-called 'snivel libertarian'," said Darnton. "Irving should be allowed to come here and express any opinion he may hold, no matter how wrong or obnoxious. Freedom of expression is far too important an issue to sit on the fence about - if the Council for Civil Liberties don't know this they are an embarrassment to the word 'liberty'."

Darnton went on to praise the few people who were willing to defend the principle of freedom of expression. "There have been a handful of people that have stood up for freedom of speech, including the unlikely likes of Keith Locke. Well done to those few people on their principled stand." In response to Michael Cullen's comments, Darnton responded that it is "'vomit-inducing' that politicians have so little respect for the most important founding principle of a free society."

In conclusion Darnton say the issue brings to mind the words of Mark Twain, who advised that it was better to stay quiet and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. In this respect, says Darnton, "when charlatans such as Irving receive the oxygen of publicity for their views - as he did in the libel action that bankrupted him three years ago - they become exposed for the fools they are. Such is the power of free speech."


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