Stefan Molyneux

In New Zealand, freedom of speech doesn't have to be, and currently isn't, exclusively concerned with preventing the state from punishing people for speech. Nevertheless, people sometimes claim that freedom of speech has to take on that narrow meaning.

(With Colin Gavaghan)

The national debate over free speech is in many ways a sucker punch  - "Squirrel!" - that has drawn our view away from the equally important job of winning the argument against the racist and ignorant views being expressed by the alt-right commentators

Now I'm up for a free speech stoush as much as the next person, however I can't help but see the debate that has arisen in the past week about the now-abandoned show in New Zealand by a pair of far-right activists as a missed opportunity. 

As a society, must we let obnoxious provocateurs have a public stage? How do we decide when others must bear the burden of their speech?  

Up until about a week ago, I and most of New Zealand hadn’t the faintest clue who Lauren Southern or Stefan Molyneux were. Having better things to do than mine the seamier veins of the internet, I still haven’t really engaged in any depth with this pair of Canadian alt-right provocateurs’ “message” (such as they have one beyond “let’s make a buck from owning the libs”).